State of Professional Sports: Corrupt, Dishonest, & Lacking Role Models

Steve PopowskiCorrespondent IJanuary 14, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC - DECEMBER 14:  An outdoor billboard featuring an ad for The Cliffs High Carolina community which is planning a Tiger Woods designed golf course is seen on December 14, 2009 in Asheville, North Carolina. Tiger Woods announced that he will take an indefinite break from professional golf to concentrate on repairing family relations after admitting to infidelity in his marriage.  (Photo by Getty Images)
Getty Images/Getty Images

There once was a time when children of all ages worshipped the ground professional athletes walked on.

As the role models of society, athletes exemplified what hard work and determination could lead to. Young children like myself dreamt they were Michael Jordan hitting the game winning three pointer or Babe Ruth calling the shot and swinging for a home run.

We traded baseball cards, stood in line for autographs, hung posters, wore jerseys, watched all the games, and gained inspiration that if we master a craft someday—just like professional athletes have—that we could one day be successful.

These days, sports figures that fit that bill are getting harder and harder to find.

In a week where once-storied slugger Mark McGwire admitted to what everybody knew in taking steroids for most of his playing career.

In a month where two Washington Wizard players pulled handguns on eachother—one being "star" Gilbert Arenas—in the locker room may I add.

In a two month period where Cincinnati wide receiver Chris Henry killed himself falling out of a moving truck while his wife was trying to flee their home.

In a four month period where golfer Tiger Woods got caught cheating on his wife with not just one, but what could be 10+ women.

In a year in which America suffered more than it has in a very long time economically, professional sports were not a source of inspiration, but a source of depression.

Major League Baseball: How its leaders continue to fuel the cancer that is steroids

First and foremost, and I think that most people would agree, the act of cheating is bad, but trying to cover it up by lying is even worse.

The players' actions are inexcusable, and all those home runs hit in the 90's-00's make a mockery of the history of the game. However, the people that run Major League Baseball—Bud Selig, the players association, all of the owners and managers—are just as much to blame, if not more to blame.

Not because they allowed it to happen, but because they failed to rip the band-aid off back in 2005 during the George Mitchell report. If they had just came clean completely, done a thorough investigation and reported TO THE PUBLIC all of the players that had cheated and then APOLOGIZED, we would be here, five years later, and steroids would only be a distant memory.

Instead, it continues to be a cancer, popping its ugly head up every with a different "star." They say that when you have a family member die of cancer, to try to remember what they were like before all of the drugs and disease set in.

Well, we are pushing almost a decade now and I am still trying to find the fun that baseball once was. Granted, there are role models out there, but until the cancer goes away and we stop hearing about it as fans, we are always going to question the legitimacy of any players' achievements.

That is what Bud and the players association don't understand and by continuing to not come clean, they are feeding the fire rather than putting it out.

Basketball: College and NBA

Remember the days when children pretended to be Michael, Magic, or Larry in the driveway hitting the last second shot to win the game?

Well, the days of NBA role models are over.

When you have former All-Star Gilbert Arenas pulling handguns on teammates in the locker rooms or Ron Artest telling the media that he drank during the halftime of games, refs betting on games, players getting in fights with fans, or players getting caught with illegal drugs on a weekly basis, there is little inspiration in the NBA these days.

It's all about the money. Team play and defense is minimal, especially in regular season games.

College basketball, and the faces of college basketball, is just as guilty. Coaches switching schools every year and the win-at-all-cost mentality is a joke.

You have John Calipari getting a raise by going to another school, leaving a school in which he helped a kid cheat on his SAT to get in. What is wrong with that picture?


Tiger Woods. Enough Said.


Andre Agassi?

Serena Williams telling a line judge to F-off and then denying it?

The country can read your lips Serena.

College Football: Scum Bag Coaches show it's all about the recruits

Why is it a coach can switch three teams in 16 months and somehow get a raise?

Lane Kiffen ring a bell?

Gets fired from Oakland, spends one year in Tennessee, and leaves all the players he just made promises to, to go to USC.

Is it a better opportunity? Yes.

Is it morally right? Absolutely not.

Then, to top it off, he is telling mid-year transfers to hold out of going to class so that they can transfer to USC.

Are you serious? Can you say scumbag?

And it's like that all through college football. It's all about the recruits, and once those papers are signed, it's all fair game.

NFL: May be on to something

Out of all the commissioners out there, Roger Goodell of the NFL is the closest thing to an admirable commish.

He is not afraid to battle the players association and lay down the law, especially on players with legal trouble.

There are still many issues that need to be resolved, but the truth is, there will always be a crazy Chris Henry or Pacman Jones out there.