It’s not too often I come across a piece, an article, that brings to notion a new idea, or in this case an old idea anew, that actually makes some sense. Rarely a month, or week, goes by without some terrible sports scandal being plastered all over the news.
The recent Penn State, Paterno, Sandusky sexual abuse scandal certainly comes to mind first, with a jolt, when contemplating that statement. Even the fairly recent labor disputes and agreements between the NBA, MLB and NFL players’ organizations and their respective leagues (especially in reference to HGH testing) have, and will continue to have, a place in the media limelight.
Going back a little, the Tiger Woods sex scandal of 2009 dominated headlines for a while; in fact it was so heavily publicized it is hard to believe that it happened almost three years ago.
My point―because of the high profile nature of many of these people, the deplorable acts some were party to, and the seemingly nonstop unethical, unprecedented poor behavior the sports elite seem to be engaging in, maybe it’s time for a different approach.
That’s where Darren Heitner’s recent piece at FoxNews.com, Does the U.S. Need a Sports Czar?, really hits home. Again, as Darren also points out, not a new idea, but one that might have come full circle as our current sports culture is in need of some major overseeing.
The basic concept in his piece is that it might be time to have someone, likely the U.S. government, appoint a sports czar, and/or sports panel [my addition]. Someone, or some group, who is in charge of supervising, managing policy, and administering consequences for all U.S. elite and professional sports teams and organizations, including our Olympic teams.
A person, or group, who has no vested, or conflict of, interest with regard to decisions they make as they become the main governing body for all U.S. sports. Their judgments and resolutions based purely on what is best for the sport, and/or for society, as a whole.
WADA could fall under their jurisdiction, along with all sports organizations referenced above. A well-thought-out code of ethics could be drafted and adopted, one that would govern the mission of this person and/or group, along with most of their decisions.
Even with incidents that are completely out of their control, the sports czar would still play an important role. Take, for example, what Darren stated in his referenced piece, with regard to the Penn State scandal:
“While a sports czar cannot effectively prevent such atrocities from occurring, one could lead a think tank to implement more efficient and ethical response mechanisms within United States universities. Further, the sports czar may certainly take a tacit role in any investigations after said child sex abuse claims are made.”
Anything sports-related, the sports czar, and his group, would have some input or jurisdiction over what happens.
Now before I get lambasted for adding another “program” to the already bloated, seemingly fiscally-irresponsible government we now have, and have had for quite some time, let me go on record stating that the only job of the U.S. government in this task would be to appoint the person, or people, in charge – the Czar and his or her panel.
Financing for such a program could come from the professional sports organizations themselves, willingly, and with no strings attached – meaning the money comes into the program whether sports organizations agree or not with the mission and/or decisions of the czar and his group. Similar to union dues.
I am sure there are a good deal of important points I failed to address; however, it should be obvious to most that the sports model we currently have is not exactly pointed in the right direction.
Nice article Darren. At the very least it gives people some good food for thought.