Monday, December 18, 2006

Professional? Act like it

Today’s post takes a look at the world of sports. Anyone who follows professional sports closely is aware of the recent altercation involving the New York Knicks and the Denver Nuggets. For those of you who missed it, basically there was a playground-like shoving match that erupted into a full-scale courtside brawl between the two teams. Fortunately, there was no fan involvement as there was a few years ago when a similar fight spilled into the stands and involved some of the spectators, but the weekend’s fight was no less ridiculous.

Keep in mind these "men" are PROFESSIONALS, even if they rarely act like it. Because of this, at least in part, that means they are experts in their field and act as a teacher, consultant, performer or contestant. Look it up, it’s there in the dictionary word for word, and the word "teacher" is the one that stands out to me. In light of this recent behavior, I can say that I’ve seen better teaching at the local black-top pickup game. Regardless of how deserving or warranted, there are many people (mostly young people) who look up to and admire the "men" that engaged in this brawl. Some athletes may not want the admiration, but it’s there. Along with the paycheck comes role model status and there are few who live up to it.

If a doctor or lawyer were to behave in such a way, I think we all know what would happen. At best that person loses their license, or a part of their professional status, at worst they go to jail. But it’s different for athletes. They are allowed a certain level of social transgression, whether it be fighting or using illegal substances. Part of that tolerance comes from the lack of outcry from those who pay the bills – namely the fans – hence the reason for this post.

A large percentage of tomorrow’s generation is growing up without any paternal parental influence or involvement. This creates a void. Children must have some paternal influence for healthy development, studies have shown that time and again. Without it, or with the wrong type of influence, we run the risk of raising kids prone to deviant behavior. So the table is set in our society for some serious problems. Kids need some paternal influence to model a portion of their behavior after. If they don’t get it at home then many will get it from the athletes they idolize, the very athletes that are duking it out like a bad Saturday evening wrestling match when they should be acting like the professionals we’ve labeled them as. The result: a bunch of kids who think it’s OK to clock someone with your fist when things don’t go as you’d like them to. That’s why I’m speaking out.

This is true in all sports, but seems to be more of a problem in basketball. Maybe it’s because athletes are more likely to skip college, as has been the recent trend (although this isn’t such a problem with baseball players), or maybe because many of these talented players also grew up in broken homes and simply don’t know how to control their emotions and act like men rather than playground bullies. Who knows? But the fact is that the NBA has a serious problem they need to correct and fast. Part of the solution, I think, is to stop the high school-to-NBA transition. These kids need to learn a lot more than the fundamentals of basketball and if they don’t learn it at home, then maybe a college coach can teach them. Next, the NBA needs to punish this behavior…severely. When the players started fighting the fans, there were some season-long suspensions handed out. Obviously, the message wasn’t delivered. So, like in every other profession, I think behavior like this needs to threaten the athletes’ professional status. They need more than one season on the bench without pay, along with heavy fines and tons of community service. It’s not okay to behave like this if you’re a professional athlete. It’s time they started learning the lessons of life.

So, until some changes occur, I will be boycotting the NBA. I will not watch any games on TV, nor purchase any tickets. I will not buy any merchandise. If the NBA logo is on something, it will not be purchased by me. That’s the small little protest I can do and I encourage others who feel like I do to join me. Our kids need some role models…correction, some POSITIVE role models. If you get the paycheck, you get the role model status as well – act like it.


pdaddy said...

I've been on the NBA boycotting bandwagon for several years now. Glad to see more people come on board.

I am a fan of basketball, but not ghetto ball.

Wrymouth said...

Baseball may have en edge here, being as it is venerably old (how many basketball games were played during the civil war?), AND -- even better -- has extensive collegiate and minor league systems, where I suppose the vets inculcate a respect for The Game and The Show to the rookies.

Everything from not stealing a base late in a game when your team is up by 7 runs, to how to wear those fishnet stockings properly when you're a rookie on your first road trip.

Good luck to the members of the NBA who are trying to preserve the Game, in the face of greater opposition. Ditto the NFL.

Beisbol? She been bery good to me.