A call for reform in sports

In our society today, more people can name the five starting players on a NBA team than the five rights promised to us in the first amendment. While this obviously isn’t new news, it is a problem worthy of our concern and is an insight into the unfairly high status that many athletes have in our society. Despite America’s war on drugs being a widely debated topic, it appears as if athletes are above the law in that regard. Perhaps the most famous instance of a professional athlete gaining special privilege is ex Miami Dolphins star running back Ricky Williams. After testing positive for marijuana three times, Williams decided to leave the NFL. After leaving the NFL, Williams went to California and was immediately prescribed medicinal marijuana. Williams never faced any legal trouble for his marijuana use. This is slightly troubling because most people who get caught with marijuana will at least receive probation. The actions and decisions of many professional athletes portray another problem that many athletes have, arrogance and attitude. A perfect example of this is the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals piled up nine arrests, racking up more arrests than wins. The arrests ranged from possession of illegal substances to driving while intoxicated. These arrests are commonly viewed as a statement of character and attitude of the team. NFL players are role models in our society and they know it. Most children can tell you more about the life of a sports star like Peyton Manning than a historical figure like Winston Churchill. While it is understandable that no one is perfect, having nearly one out of every five players on a team getting arrested is ridiculous. NFL players make an average of upwards of $1.4 million, MLB players rake in over $2.6 on average, and upwards of $4.9 million goes to NBA players. Huge amounts of money are poured into player’s pockets instead of being poured into the community for sociological improvement. Two obvious examples of this are David Beckham and Terrell Owens. Beckham signed a deal worth $250 million for five years, which works out to nearly a million dollars a week. Beckham does not need a million dollars a week to live comfortably. Terrell Owens refused to play for the Philadelphia Eagles because he thought his seven-year $49 million contract was not enough. The most frustrating thing about all this injustice in professional sports is that it is all our fault. We as a society must look into this problem farther. Labor unions like the NFLPA (National Football League Players Association) are influential in letting players be over-privileged. Many of these players’ unions fight for higher wages and help players get out of legal trouble. Even with these unions, the ones to blame are ourselves. Society today praises anyone who can run, jump, and catch exceptionally well over any scientist. Sports stars only get off of crimes because we let them. If a player plays well, we all magically forget anything bad they have done. This problem is not at all hard to fix. All we have to do is to stop supporting these players and stop supplying their teams with millions of dollars to give the players. An easy way to do this is just to tune out sports stations that promote the celebrity status of athletes. If stations like ESPN were ignored when the they aired professional sports then the whole problem would not even exist. Protecting our youth also stands very important in stopping this injustice. Kids look up to sports players because they see them as heroes. The youth needs to be taught that just because someone can run, jump, and catch, that does not make them a good person. While there are obviously many reforms needed in our society, this should be an obvious one. Our society will never be perfect and we cannot expect it to be, but this blatant injustice can swiftly and easily be fixed if we all actually take a stand and show that this attitude will no longer be tolerated.