I learned something this year and that is to never hang out with Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants and Fireworks. That is a bad, bad combo. So I have been kicking around ideas and I think I am going to do a two part series of the problems in sports and how it is a reflection of society general. This week I want to discuss the issue of lying and the thought process of innocent until proven guilty even though you know you are guilty. Next week will be centered on the ESPYs and the circus it will be. So I welcome any thought or feedback and remember. I am going to generalize a lot so if it doesn’t apply to you DON’T TAKE THIS PERSONALLY. Just enjoy the read and I hope it stimulates some thought.
The main question to ask is: Why do sports figures blatantly lie even though they know they are wrong? I believe the words of the immortal George Costanza summed it up the best with this quote “It is not a lie, if you believe it.” The most recent glaring issue is once again focused on Pete Rose. There is possible evidence, hard core, conclusive documentation that he bet on baseball while he was playing and as a manager. It is also interesting that the story came out about three weeks ago and we haven’t heard much about it lately. My guess is with the All Star game approaching and in Cincinnati that everyone agreed to shelve this till after the game. So once the game is over, I am sure more info. will follow. Pete Rose has adamantly denied betting on baseball while a being a player. Then that all changed in 2004 when he came out and said, “Well ok, when I was a manager, I bet on baseball but not my team.” So from 1989 till now he has flat out lied to us and this is ok? I guess he was pretty sure that no real solid evidence would ever surface. Does this seem logical to you?
Sticking with baseball let’s run down some other names of who didn’t believe they had solid evidence. Let’s see, um, Barry Bonds and Mark Maguire’s head size grew three to seven inches well into to their late thirties and their body size tripled by age 35. I just hit 40 and I work out as much as possible and the only size I gain is in my waist. Granted I am not an athlete, but I do know about aging and it is not a time when body size triples. Think I am exaggerating, google Barry Bond early 1990s with the Pirates and Barry Bonds mid 2000’s with the Giants. Google Mark Maguire mid 1980’s and Mark Maguire late 1990’s. Just put them side by side. It is hilarious to see the difference. Yet, they denied they ever took steroids or said they unwilling knew they took them.
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Sammy Sosa, even though he had been playing in the Major Leagues for 15 years, gave countless interviews, and then when summoned, forgot how to speak English. Ryan Braun said, NO, NO, NO to use of steroids, had Aaron Rodgers come out and defend him, and then finally admitted it. Lance Armstrong, Yikes! I touched on this earlier in a blog about male soccer players falling down with fake injuries – Yes that is lying also. Michael Vick and dog fighting, Ben Johnson and Marion Jones in the Olympics. Most likely someone on your favorite football team has been involved in some form of domestic issue whether it be violence or sex and said it didn’t happen until a settlement out of court.
So how does this all tie in with us normal folk? Simple, we lie because we don’t want to get caught, we don’t want to disappoint, and we don’t want to cause conflict or confrontation. I have lied to my wife before, my family, my friends, and my work because I thought it was in their best interest. That is how I justified it. I didn’t want to disappoint.
Maybe Jack Nicholson said it best in a Few Good Men when he said “YOU CANT HANDLE THE TRUTH!” Is that really the case in society? Can we not handle the truth? Can people around us not handle the truth? I am an optimistic person by nature so I say, “YES WE CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH!” It will sting a bit, but we can handle the truth. So I am going to believe that. I encourage you to believe that and I encourage sports stars to believe that. We are a forgiving society and a forgiving culture.
So trust me on this. Don’t be like a sports star and lie when the facts are there. The people around you can handle the truth. Professional athletes run in a different crowd, lifestyle, and tax bracket than I ever will. And I will forgive my favorite stars immediately if they just come out and tell the truth. We all will. Don’t believe me, just look to Alex Rodriguez. He is still a putz in my world and probably a lot of others peoples’ worlds, but we don’t talk much about him. He just goes about his day, gets paid, and somehow hits a ball that could be worth $100,000 to $400,000 in an auction. I would say we forgave him.