Ok, let me make sure I have all of this right.
First we have golf's premiere player Tiger Woods taking advantage of his star power, and admitted feelings of entitlement, in order to "cheat" on his wife; and not once or twice but numerous times with numerous women. (Something I detailed extensively in my piece The Tiger Woods Apology: Please, Enough is Enough!!!)
Next comes Pittsburg Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his alleged sexual assault of a 20-year-old female college student.
Yes, it's true that prosecutors eventually declined to file charges due to their inability to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Never mind that Ben has had two other sexual assault accusations cast against him in a year, narrowly escaping a third (based on police reports).
Of course, that did not stop NFL commissioner Roger Goodell from suspending him, without pay, for six games stating:
"I recognize that the allegations in Georgia were disputed and that they did not result in criminal charges being filed against you...That said, you are held to a higher standard as an NFL player, and there is nothing about your conduct in Milledgeville that can remotely be described as admirable, responsible, or consistent with either the values of the league or the expectations of our fans." (The Huffington Post article, "Ben Roethlisberger SUSPENSION: Suspended SIX Games" and entire NFL statement)
And this is after Mr. Goodell thoroughly reviewed "the extensive volume of material released by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Milledgeville Police Department; public comments by and a private conversation with Georgia District Attorney Fred Bright; comments and recommendations of Roethlisberger's representatives.
Along with, "a personal interview with Roethlisberger on April 13; dialogue with current players, former players, the NFL Players Association, and others; and information learned by the NFL office in the course of examining the Milledgeville matter." (The Huffington Post article, "Ben Roethlisberger SUSPENSION: Suspended SIX Games" and entire NFL statement).
Based on the statements above, I would have to say that the commissioner certainly supports the idea that Mr. Roethlisberger's is having serious character flaw issues, the kind that do not represent the NFL well nor meet the "higher standards" that they expect from their players - something I suppose could be said about quite a few NFL players (along with many other pro athletes, but I digress).
Can it get worse?
Of course it can.
In a breaking story, Former Giants star Taylor charged with rape, from the Chicago Tribune (and all over the internet and TV) comes the allegations, and arrest, of former NY Giants linebacker and NFL Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor for raping a 16-year-old girl.
Yep, you heard me right, raping a 16-year-old female. And this is after she was allegedly beaten by the man who arranged the encounter between Taylor and the girl.
That shaking you hear is my head rattling as I attempt to wrap my brain around all this crazy, negative, inappropriate, unethical, hurtful, life-altering, totally unacceptable, and in the last two cases - illegal, behavior by people; athletes, who have so much more going for them than the lowlifes they are choosing to become.
I know that Lawrence Taylor's character choices have been in question before as his troubled past has brought drug charges against him in 1996 and 1997, five years of probation for false tax returns and tax evasion, and a conviction in 2001 for drug paraphernalia; and now an alleged rape of an underage girl?
If the allegations hold up to scrutiny and are true, there really aren't too many shoddier character choices that one can make. It just doesn't get much lower than this.
Hey, all you so-called former, current, and future athletic champions, there is an important message available. READ and then FOLLOW: THE CODE OF A TRUE CHAMPION located at the end of the following article, A Time For Change.
Doing so might actually make a difference.
PS - It was written because of you and for you.