Dwight D. Eisenhower once said the following about accountability: “A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both”. Seeing that Eisenhower was once our President, he may have actually known what he was talking about. After watching the unfortunate outcomes of Tiger Woods, Ben Roethlisberger, Santonio Holmes, Matt James, etc etc etc, it makes me perplexed and frustrated to see professional athletes continue to make the same poor choices again and again.
Don’t get me wrong – I am sure that being a professional athlete presents challenges that many of us would never understand. You are considered a god, and get attention and affection that a normal Joe like me would never get. Drinks, clothes, cars, ladies, everything that would make most men quiver with anticipation. You get endorsements, media attention, for some of the lucky few, political recognition. But lets not forget that whether Ben Roethlisberger likes it or not – he is immediately thrown into the “role model” arena by being a professional athlete. Teenage football players aren’t looking up to Anthony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, or Zig Zigler – they’re looking up to all the football players who have made it to the big show. And for every Michael Oher success story, we seem to get three or four miserable failures. I’m not saying that male athletes should sew themselves in a potato sack and vow to be sober for life. What I am saying is, “DON’T BE STUPID”. We may never know what really happened to Roethlisberger in the bar bathroom in Georgia. But what on earth was he doing at a bar, with trashed women in the first place?
I liked what Herm Edwards said on SportsCenter, when asked about what he would say to Tiger Woods after the whole scandal became public:
#1 – The 12am rule – nothing good ever happens after midnight
#2 – Have only one of everything – one car, one house, one piece of jewelry, one wife, etc etc
#3 – Leave a good legacy
At the end of the day, will people remember a guy like Ben Roethlisberger because of his athletic prowess, or because of his barroom affairs? Will they remember Matt James because he was a talented football recruit, or because he fell to his death after having too much to drink? Will they remember Tiger Woods for being a golfing phenom, or because he has a loose zipper?
Are we sacrificing values because we are entitled to whatever we want? Are we sacrificing ideals for instant gratification? As human beings, we don’t like rules, authority, or discipline. But living without these things doesn’t promote a life of freedom, but a life of anarchy. And anarchy will only bring a life of poor choices and self-destruction. Why so serious?