Let's stop rewarding barbarians

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Forget about expecting all professional athletes to be role models for young people, some are not even decent humans.

Lest this appear to be an overly broad brush we're painting the athletes with, we need to note that the overwhelming majority of professional athletes are honorable people, but there are far too many who bring down the reputation of others in that profession and far too many owners and agents who lack the integrity to hold athletes fully accountable for their actions.

Jameis Winston was the first pick of the first round of the recent NFL draft, despite a problematic past. Winston had been accused of rape but was not prosecuted. The New York Times conducted its own investigation and concluded that neither the Tallahassee Police Department nor Florida State University had genuinely investigated the initial report.

Even without considering the rape allegation, there are red flags indicating that Winston is a dangerous man-child who feels no need to control his impulses.

In July of 2013, he went into a Burger King and started stealing soda and continued doing that after he was told to stop.

In April of 2014, Winston was cited for shoplifting crab legs from a Publix store. In September of 2014, Winston reportedly stood atop a table in the FSU Student Union and yelled an obscene statement.

Welterweight boxing champion Floyd Mayweather has a long history of arrests for domestic violence, followed by plea bargaining down from felony to misdemeanor charges. Professional boxing has never had standards of behavior for boxers' personal lives but they should.

In the absence of discipline by the profession, the judicial system needs to enforce consequences for repeated criminal behavior - no matter how famous or wealthy the criminal is.