Recognizing the Good, Ignoring the Ugly

Earlier this week I was taking a look at the headlines on ESPN.com, and a majority of them had to do with an athlete who was being arrested, bailed out of jail, charged, or tried for a number of felonies.  Then today we found out that Jacksonville WR Matt Jones was arrested for cutting cocaine in his car.  Unfortunately, there never seems to be a shortage of these stories.

The way I see it there are two things disturbing about these kinds of stories.  One, is the fact that it detracts from the game.  It can be so easy to get caught up in what’s happening off the field that it can take away from the enjoyment we’re supposed to get by watching what’s between the lines.  I realize these people are human and we all mess up.  But whether they like it or not they represent a game, and their crazy and dangerous behavior takes the focus off the field.

But the second tragedy behind these stories is that it takes attention away from the many athletes, employees, owners, officials, who represent their sports well and work just as hard in the community as they do at the stadium.  For each player who creates a negative headline, there are countless others doing a lot of good but getting unoticed.  So with this post I’ve highlighted just a few individuals who in the same period as time as the recent bad press, have done a lot of good not just for their sport but for their community.

Kevin Youkilis

One of the cornerstones of the Red Sox team, Youkilis is also the founder of a charity: Kevin Youkilis Hits for Kids.  He started the organization roughly a year ago.  In that brief time it’s brought in $600,000.  Two days ago they distributed a total of $250,000 between three separate charities.

Kurt Warner

Cedar Rapids, Iowa lost large portions of it’s downtown area to the Cedar River floods.  Kurt Warner lived in the southeastern part of the city as a boy, and he came home to lend a helping hand.  He helped with meal preparations, loaded water bottles onto a Red Cross van, and then helped hand out meals and autographed t-shirts to flood victims.

Chris Paul

He may be only a few years into the league, but he’s wasted no time giving back.  Paul recently announced the details of the third annual “Chris Paul Weekend” in Winston-Salem. This year, his foundation will lead a number of community projects throughout the city on September 19.

These stories are just a miniscule glimpse of a lot of the good work being done by those in the sports world. Their positive influence may not make the headlines, but they are a much more accurate representation of the leagues we love.

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One Response to “Recognizing the Good, Ignoring the Ugly”

  1. According to the papers, Matt Jones of the Jacksonville Jaguars has been helping his community by preparing party favors.

    Oh, wait – that’s a positive spin on a negative story. I got confused.

    How about Mark Richt taking his players to Columbia to build houses and coach soccer for poverty-stricken kids? Does that redeem me?

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