Stanford: Put Up or Shut Up

D-Day has come and gone. For the most part, the world seems to have forgotten that on that day, and in the months after, men hardly older than teenagers, fought for and died for a cause much greater than self-indulgence and personal gain. It has been nearly 72 years since D-Day and the generations have passed. However, we are not so far removed that we cannot find a record of fathers, grand-fathers and even great-grand-fathers of every race and religion who sacrificed.

Brock TurnerWe fast forward. We hear hype about how football is war. It is not. It is a game with rules. We see children being presented with participation trophies because everyone is supposedly equal. It’s not true. Some kids can hit a fastball while others whiff. We see a society that all too often turns itself inside-out to place celebrities on pedestals who should be in jail cells. We see apparel manufacturers spending ungodly amounts of money on collegiate sports while “across town” veterans of all wars languish in a wait for treatment.

All too often we experience unimaginable combinations of the above; for example, parents who believe their children are celebrities despite despicable behavior. Often, sadly, the “celebrities” are athletes. It is not just parents. Universities and professional teams have entire cadres of spin doctors, security people and public information professionals to cover up behavior that is shameful. Unfortunately terms such as “shame” and unethical behavior have taken a back seat to big money and big dreams.

Maybe we are being self-serving, but why ethical training is not required of all athletes is beyond our comprehension.

Student-Athlete

We call them student-athletes; it is not the other way around. Though there is a movement afoot to get more money into the hands of students who play sports, for the present we are pleased that “student” is the first word in the hyphenated description. Should student-athletes get paid for performing on the field? Perhaps. However, we submit that poor kids, disadvantaged kids, brilliant kids who are poor and disadvantaged should get recognized with equal zeal and commitment.

College is damn expensive. Giving an athlete a four (or five) year free ride plus expenses seems a pretty good deal, especially given that at best – even under the best of circumstances, he or she has only about a 3% shot of ever seeing a professional tryout let alone a team.

Student-athlete should mean that someone along the way needs to tell the “student” part, that the “athlete” part will rarely get him or her where they need to go in life. Yet, there are circles and inner circles of talking heads, parents and guardians who will never express that simple, obvious thought to their kids.

We wanted to set the stage of evoking sacrifice and priority to touch upon a case where a kid, just a boy really, named Brock Turner raped an unconscious, drunk coed. This occurred near a dumpster (no, the imagery does NOT escape us).

Star Athlete

The boy is repeatedly described as a “star athlete.” The description should revolt anyone, at any level of sports. Whether you are an AD, pick-up towels off the locker room floor, or the scout who sips lukewarm coffee at the rest stop, describing a rapist as a star athlete should anger you. If it doesn’t, consider another profession.

The judge who imposed the laughable sentence on the star athlete is under all kinds of recall and recuse pressure. There are petitions out there. OK, whatever and hooray for the fecklessness of online petitions. In our opinion, the father, a man blinded by the cheap gold-gilt of his son’s trophy collection has more or less defended his son’s action as a 20-minute fling. The boy has made the appropriate, spoon-fed comments we have come to expect from PR machines.

The silent partner here is Stanford. Oh, where can you be?

The university, an institution known for its high academic standards, the eloquence of its graduates, its sports and dare we say, its politically correct positions on most everything, has been remarkably silent in addressing this situation. Oh, where can you be?

By the way, it should surprise no one that aspersions have been cast that Brock Turner is also the “victim” of PC, that he was victimized as well. It seems that everyone is at fault, but no one is at fault.

The university, taking comfort in the camouflage of the outrage of others and has, in our opinion, abdicated its responsibilities. At what point in this process should the university kick this kid to the curb? He made a choice. He should now suffer a consequence. Why is that a problem?

Or is Stanford afraid of precedent?

Has our society become so ethically corrupt that celebrity privilege and athletics takes on a larger role than decency, ethics and common sense? Some 72 years ago, young people, the same age as the defendant and his victim, gave up their lives in a fight to preserve decency and a sense of ethics and justice in this world. Is this the result of their legacy?

We will leave you with that question.

Chuck Gallagher would be happy (though we are hardly happy) to discuss this ethical mess in greater detail.

 

For more information:

Chuck Gallagher, President and Co-Founder, Sports Ethics LLC

Tel.: (828) 244-1400

www.sportsethics.com

 

 

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