Sports Athletes "Coming Clean:" Oh Father, Where Art Thou? Part I

While growing up on the South Side, my good friend Lynette (whose mother made the best blueberry pancakes I ever tasted), was as Catholic as they come.  I was curious about what it meant to go to confessions, the wafers, the Holy Ghost, St. Peter, and the Pearly Gates.  And Lynette was just as interested about my Passover Seders and fasting on Yom Kippur.

Neither of us was “heavy” into our religions, but at least knowledgeable enough. She did confess a few sins, like teasing her brother or not taking the dog out. The “Father” was a nice man, but really, how could he truly understand what 12 yr. old girls like us, really thought about. We had each other to “come clean” with – and giggle each time together when “confessional” time came.

So in the last few months, it has struck me how the sports world has become the venue for more stories/ blogs/ media coverage/ reports/ and speculation about admitting what one did.  And I always ask: Why now?

Lance Armstrong came clean:  but only in the safety of Oprah’s presence.  No questions were addressed about how many lives he has ruined, how his bullying behavior impacted friends and their families, along with their life earnings with his lawsuits against them. Come on, Man!

Manti Te’o:  the ultimate abuse of this generation’s Social Media Sites have hit this young man’s life hard.  With Katie Couric’s solid questions (instead of facing a Deadspin or ESPN reporter), regarding Manti’s online girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, the Notre Dame linebacker admitted that his whole world was turned upside down, in discovering how he was caught up in a scheme that one thought could only be written into Mad Men.

While questions remain to be fully answered, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the boy with nothing more to do than cook up these schemes, has admitted to stealing the Facebook photo of Diane O’Meara and portraying her to Manti as Kekua.

Coming Clean?

Tom Brady's slide in the AFC championship game: raising his leg against safety Ed Reed was uncalled for. Thankfully no one was injured on the play. Yet unexpectedly to this South Side Sports Chick, Brady actually apologized and took responsibility for his action.  Possibly marriage, 3 Super Bowl rings, and 3 children, may have brought just a bit of humility to the man, other than losing the game, or being raised in a Catholic family.   He came clean.

Six weeks ago, a drinking-related death involved two Dallas Cowboy players, Josh Brent the driver, and Jerry Brown, the victim.  Brent has been charged with intoxication manslaughter.  Now, another Cowboys’ player, Jay Ratliff has reportedly been arrested for driving while intoxicated in Texas.

Coming Clean?

Mark Emmert, the Executive Director of the NCAA, has stated this week that he has called for an investigation of it’s own investigation team on the University of Miami investigation.  My  response:  Why now?  What dirty laundry has been hiding in the basement of which South Beach Laundromat?

Coming Clean?  Go run it through 3 machines and you’ll still be dirty. It only involves around $930 million, according to an Outside the Lines report.

Mike Napoli:  He’s got avascular neucrosis on both hips.  Any wonder the Rangers signed our own A.J. (don’t get me started on this one) and the Red Sox signed Napoli? Good thing a “pending physical” was part of the original 3 year deal, now reduced to one year.  Thus, his contract negotiation “forced” him to come clean.

Kobe:  After a loss to the Bulls (which reminded me of the Christmas Day game v. Kobe as a rookie, with the Bulls 21 pts., down and winning in OT), Bryant came clean and said that the play of the Lakers was “embarrassing,” especially in "our building," and such history with Michael, Scottie, and Phil.

Paul Sullivan:  Sully, Thank you for airing your displeasure on CTL regarding Bill Belichick.  Yes, we are in full agreement regarding this sore loser’s mentality and personality style.  Coming Clean on your feelings regarding the Patriots’ head coach simply warmed my heart.

And finally, let’s not forget the baseball players who admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) during their careers: Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez, Andy Petite, and Jason Giambi. Coming clean has not necessarily ruined their careers in baseball, but only time will tell on one’s lifetime impact.

So now it’s my turn. Coming clean.  Voiding a cardinal rule in my profession:  self-disclosure to a client, of what I had to do, to survive my own traumatic experience of living with all the symptoms of Lyme disease, but not knowing what was really going on with my body and severe neurological pain.  All the tests, doctors, medications, and hell that I had to endure for a very long time.

I did the cardinal sin and made my own self-disclosure to a client: a client with her own profound history.  Unprofessional. Was it my own counter-transference: the feelings of the clinician that arise in the course of doing therapy with the client?  Why then? Why that session?

If only I could find where Lynette was then.  I’d ask her to take me to her Priest for a confessional.  Father, Where Art Thou, when I needed you? or my own Rabbi Goodman, who moved to Saint Louis Park, Minnesota?

Part II up next.  The session:  Coming Clean. For us both.

Leave a comment