Column: Athletic entitlement

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By Jon Parton

As long as you make someone else a lot of money, you can get away with numerous crimes. Just ask convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky from Penn State. More recently, Lance Armstrong admitted to using illegal performance enhancing drugs for years alongside his teammates.

In the case of Sandusky, part of the coaching staff, as well as certain school administrators knew of the abuses taking place and decided to conceal that information from law enforcement officials.

The public response for these criminals has been either one of apathy or support for those who broke the law. We like our sports and we like it when our teams win. Unfortunately, some of us are willing to forget our ethics in the name of victory.

It is precisely this overlook that encourages athletes to continue this behavior. As long as you win, sports fans don’t care what laws you break. The NFL has become notorious for allowing players to continue playing despite facing legal troubles. The Kansas City Chiefs alone have had 25 players arrested between 2000 and 2010.

We Americans have to give up the idea of winning at any cost. Sports fans continue to make excuses for these players who break the law. In rationalizing the bad behavior of these athletes, we encourage this to continue.

Two football players from Steubenville High School in Ohio were charged in the rape and kidnapping of a teenager back in August 2012. Early in January, the hacktivist group Anonymous published a video of a witness joking about the crime. One player states in the video, “They raped her quicker than Mike Tyson.”

How many rapes are worth a championship? How many violent assaults can be overlooked before we say something? Why are we protecting these people? The answer is money. It always comes down to money.

The NFL alone makes close to a billion dollars between things like ticket sales, merchandising and TV deals. As a society, we’re telling the NFL that it’s OK to have felons on teams as long as they win games.

Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 charges related to child molestation. How many years did this go on? How many innocent children are worth a shot at a Bowl game? That depends. How long are you going to support this?

Contact Jon Parton, managing editor, at jparton@jccc.edu.

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