Archive for Thursday, July 26, 2007

Column: Scandals rock sports world

July 26, 2007

What's wrong with sports these days?

Is it just me or is it more cheerful to watch World's Wildest Police Chases than turn on an episode of Sportscenter?

As a sports junkie, I watch ESPN hoping to see sports highlights and scores. Instead, what do I get?

We all get the pleasure of hearing about indictments, dogfights, gambling referees, steroids and blood transfusions. Yippie!

ESPN can't even make the argument about having nothing else to cover because these stories receive national news coverage. The sports world reached a new low during the past week.

It all started last week when Atlanta Falcon's franchise quarterback Michael Vick was indicted on dog fighting charges. This news spread quicker than wildfire and it was everywhere for several days.

Vick, the most electrifying athlete to play in the National Football League, may soon be out of the league or in prison. He has been banned from training camp, which begins today, and might be suspended for a portion of the upcoming season.

I don't understand how an athlete that talented, rich and powerful can make such a dumb mistake. He hasn't been charged with a crime yet, but to even associate himself with such people or activity is absurd.

Vick was once the face of the NFL's future. Now his future in the league is up in the air, at best. Yet, Vick's case might not be the worst story of the week.

Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy is the target of a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe for allegedly betting on games, including some he officiated, during the last two seasons.

Wow! I'm not even sure where to start with this one. As if the NBA needed anything else to deface its image, now it has one enormous problem.

Baseball legend Pete Rose was banned from the game for gambling on baseball. He was just a player and manager, though. This is an official of the game, who has the power to control certain aspects of the game, especially if point spreads are concerned.

The FBI probe involves allegations that Donaghy is connected to organized crime associates. This case will get much worse before it gets better, especially if Donaghy isn't the only referee involved.

So, football and basketball have huge problems on their hands. Baseball just has its continual talk of Barry Bonds and steroids. Bonds is approaching Hank Aaron's historic record of 755 career home runs as he sits at 753.

Bonds will surely break the record if he finishes out the year. However, there are mixed feelings about whether the record will include an asterisk by it.

Bonds has been accused of taking steroids or performance enhancing products during his career. To my knowledge he has never tested positive for anything.

I am not personally a fan of Bonds, but I don't have any reason to completely dislike him either. I would like to see Aaron remain as the record holder, but I doubt that will happen since Bonds is only three away from taking its control.

In other sad sports news, cycling has once again hit a rough spot. Tour de France rider Alexandre Vinokourov tested positive for a banned blood transfusion after winning last weekend's time trial.

That prompted his Astana team to pull out of the race Tuesday and police to raid the team hotel.

Cycling still has problems with riders and performance enhancing actions. This sport is in serious need of a rule change or harsher penalties. It's sad to see that these athletes are hurting their own sport by trying to improve themselves.

These four stories have forced me to basically not watch Sportscenter for more than 10 minutes. I am tired of these negative stories and jerks ruining the world of sports for millions of others.

If those stories weren't bad enough, there is one horrific story that came from the weekend. Mike Coolbaugh, first base coach for the Tulsa Drillers, a Colorado Rockies' Double-A affiliate, was struck in the head with a line drive. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

That is one of the most awful stories I've heard in a long time and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and team.

All of this sadness isn't helping me enjoy the summer. Anyone want to come over and watch the feel-good story of Rudy?

We can chant Rudy, Rudy, Rudy with the thousands of other Notre Dame faithful.

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