Leagues of extraordinary egotism

  • They weren’t taught how to behave correctly. WRONG
  • They are the best at what they do; cut them some slack. NOPE
  • They aren’t paid to be role models. FAIL

Say what you like, but it won’t change the truth. [Just like my ranting about it won’t change it.] Once again, the consummate arrogance and sheer stupidity of some pro athletes overshadows any positive force the genuine leaders display. The levels of spoiled-bratism in the NFL, MLB and NBA have risen to such ridiculous heights, even sports writers and commentators who’ve “seen it all” are raising an eyebrow.

The list of perps is too long to include here. It’s a shame in the first place that the list is long, but let me predict right here and now that it’s only going to get longer. Epidemics work like that. Anyway, here’s a taste:

#1 – Stephon Marbury

If you have a beef with your employer, refusing to go to work and making your colleagues pull your share of the responsibility is not the way to handle it. So what if Stephon has issues with the way he was being handled by the Knicks? Take care of that business during the daytime, but go to work and “tough it out” for $190,000 a night with your mates, regardless of the picayune details that seem crucial to you. At a time when people are losing their jobs in record numbers in this country, behavior like this strikes a particularly sour note. Get over yourself and do your job.

#2 – Manny Ramirez

After crossing his arms and planting his butt on the bench in Boston because things didn’t go his way, the Red Sox paid him $7 million to leave. Poor Manny.

But hey, look at the bright side. He won an award. He and fellow ding-dong Roger Clemens were top contenders for the 2008 Gobblers.

#3 – Allen Iverson

Well you can’t blame a guy for trying. I mean, I’d hate to have to work on Thanksgiving Day. Being an incredibly highly-paid school teacher, I revel in getting that day off. But I haven’t always. I’ve worked in retail, and as a waitress. I’ve worked on Christmas, Easter, New Year’s Day, and yes — Thanksgiving Day. It bit, but I did what I had to do, just like everyone else. Er, almost everyone else.

Allen apparently didn’t appreciate having to work on Thanksgiving Day, so he just took the day off, without calling anyone. At least he apologized for it later (but come on, admit it: it’s always easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission).

Bottom line, Al: if you don’t like the work schedule, get a different job.

#4 – Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson

OK, cut him some slack. He showed up late to a Bengals team meeting. Come on, he was tired. So he sat there in the chair and slouched like a pouting 5-year-old, and when he was told repeatedly by a coach to sit up and act like a man, he got up and left, earning himself a one-game suspension. Boo hoo.

All joking aside (was I joking?), it’s uncanny how out of touch some of these guys really are. You’d think that, since most of them came from (at best) regular, working-class families, they’d have a bit more perspective. And I know all about having money thrown at them from all sides, the instant riches and everything that goes with it, blah, blah…but somehow, all the “coaching” these young players get from their betters regarding on- and off-the-field behavior doesn’t quite sink in with many of them. Offending fans with cosmically stupid statements doesn’t seem to bother them, either. From a great article in the Baltimore Sun:

“I got my family to feed.” — former Timberwolves swingman Latrell Sprewell, as he turned down a 3-year, $21 million extension in 2004.

“Sure, we might make a lot of money, but we spend a lot of money, too.” — former Knicks forward Patrick Ewing, during the 1999 lockout.

“When you’re rich, you don’t write checks. … Straight cash, homey.” — then-Vikings receiver Randy Moss in 2005, about how he would pay a fine for mooning Packers fans.

“It’s a sad day for me. Our paychecks will be cut in half.” — Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, after Obama’s election. (?????)

“If I wasn’t making so much money, the fans would show a little compassion. … It would be a blessing to be a typical jock.” — Giants pitcher Barry Zito.

You’re right there, Barry. You would be blessed. I know a lot of “typical jocks” who aren’t selfish, whiny brats, and who have their self-worth and perspective completely intact.

I know the bottom-liners out there will say it’s the American way, or it won’t change until fans don’t go to games anymore, etc. But truly, we’re too far gone for that. Pro sports are hard-coded into our nation’s DNA. I myself am guilty of their propagation. It would be nice if nobody talked, wrote or cared about sniping, swaggering, selfish athletes, but that’s not the reality.

What is the reality is this: I need to start studying. Today. Have a relaxing Sunday, all. Did I mention I don’t have to go to school tomorrow? It’s Deer Huntin’ Day! Yaaahoo!

Fink, happy to teach in the boonies (actually, just happy to have a job at all)

5 thoughts on “Leagues of extraordinary egotism

  1. RD

    I agree completely with your rant, so rant on. I’ve always enjoyed sports, but I’ve lost nearly all of my interest in pro sports because of the jerky behavior of many pro athletes. You picked four who are the epitome of jerkiness. I’d love to have just a tenth of what they are paid. Hmmm… what good could I do with all that money. I’m involved with high school sports, basketball in particular, and I enjoy it. At that level it’s still mainly about the sport. None of the kids do it for the money. Neither is that the motive for most of the coaches. Generally their motive is love for the game and comraderie with their teammates. Unfortunately there’s still some jerkiness at this level too, but comparatively speaking it’s certainly minimal to the pros.

    Reply
  2. Kody

    What’s going on the last two days! First you blast Kanye, now you attack Manny and A.I.? It’s like you’re going after all my personal heroes. Is it possible you write negative comments about Hulk Hogan tomorrow? :)

    Reply
  3. Rat Fink Post author

    Nah, Kody. I’d never diss the Hulk. :-)

    But sweety, you gotta find yourself some new role models. Wait till I get started on Bart Simpson!

    Reply
  4. Stein

    I agree with ALMOST everything here…. Iverson’s a grade A hack. Manny is a wack-job, but until that 1 week stretch this year he gets the job done. He’s one of those necessary evils. Chad Ocho Cinco (that’s his legal name now, you know) is completely idiotic. Marbury’s situation, I feel, is a little bit different. He didn’t just decide to not show up. He was told by the team that he would be benched until further notice. He took a lot of the blame for how bad the team was despite his obvious ability. That team was an absolute mess. He was benched and not permitted to do anything for such a long time I don’t know if I could just say “OK” and come back and play for clean-up jobs at the end of games anymore. The only thing I can relate it to is being a musician… If I am the best saxophone player that an ensemble has, yet the director has some sort of personal issue with me and prohibits me from being a part of the ensemble, I’m going to be upset. I think outside of his team issues he has done some very good things. He created the Starbury shoe. These shoes are just as high quality as Nike, but are at most $14.95 a pair. He has done a lot to help out underpriveledged children. Don’t cut Marbury slack, just check out his angle.

    Reply
  5. Rat Fink Post author

    Stein – Did as you asked…checked out his angle again. I think he’s still dead wrong.

    I could do all kinds of wonderful things for my community if I had the resources. But from what he said to his coach when the guy said “I’ve got 30 minutes for you if you want them,” there’s still no excuse. You don’t rub your boss’s face in it, especially while you’re on the job, in the moment. Your job is to be the bigger man.

    I totally agree that you’d be upset if your director had it out for you. It would completely suck. But you’d still do your job and fulfill your “contract” until the gig was over. Any person of principle would. Afterwards, you’d quit and never give him the time of day again. But never at crunch time, because that’s the time when it isn’t about you and the “director” — it’s about not having a lead alto player and screwing the rest of the band, which is what Marbury did to his teammates.

    I know there are likely issues that Marbury is not allowed to discuss with the press, especially if there’s going to be a grievance filed. That’s fine in my book. But the boy still has to do his work for the team, or he’s not worth a fraction of what they’re paying him (as if any of them are).

    Reply

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