Athletes do not have the right to do what they want


Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun/MCT

Former Ravens running back Ray Rice, right, and his wife Janay made statements to the news media May 5, 2014, at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills, Md, regarding his assault charge for knocking her unconscious in a New Jersey casino. On Monday, Sept. 8, 2014, Rice was let go from the Baltimore Ravens after a video surfaced from TMZ showing the incident.

SportsCenter finally has something else to cover besides Lebron James’ favorite color. And, of course, the only things that could possibly distract the media from James are misbehaving football players.

A video of Ray Rice punching his wife in an elevator has recently emerged and, consequently,  Rice has been suspended from the National Football League (NFL) indefinitely. Rice got what he deserved, that’s not the problem. The problem is that this is the second video of Rice hurting his wife. However, the video of Rice dragging his unconscious fiancé (and now wife, Janay) out of an elevator only bore a two-game suspension because women pass out; it happens. Now that the second video of Rice actually punching Janay has surfaced, the NFL has decided to suspend Rice indefinitely.

So what is it with professional sports organizations turning a blind-eye to professional athletes committing crimes? I’m sure Joe Shmo who lives down the street would not have been believed if he claimed his wife to have just “passed out,” but because of Rice’s athletic abilities, it took a second video for the NFL to take action.

This is not a new issue, athletes have been getting away with criminal activity for a while. Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa all got away with doing steroids for the majority of their careers because they were popular players that sold tickets, merchandise, etc. OJ Simpson murdered his wife and got away with it because he had enough money to pay for a really good lawyer and I’m sure the fact that he was a famous football player didn’t hurt.

Professional athletes are role models to kids who want to be like the big league players when they grow up. And the fact that their role models are using steroids, beating, and killing is bad enough. On top of that, these kids are being taught that it’s okay to do something bad, as long as you’re a famous athlete.We are teaching kids that if they are a professional athlete they can pay their pay out of anything or they can be really good at what they do and everyone else will make excuses for you.

Arizona Cardinal running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested on Sept. 17 and charged with aggravated assault, criminal damage and preventing someone from calling 911. His wife contacted authorities after Dwyer sent her a photo of a knife and a message threatening to kill himself. His wife had moved out of Arizona after he allegedly head-butted her, punched her in the face and threw a shoe that hurt his 17 month-old son. So why did Dwyer think he could get away with this?

Jameis Winston, Florida State’s quarterback, was suspended for one game after yelling an “obscene phrase” in the student union. Now why would a young quarterback with a seemingly bright future ahead of him risk that future for something as silly as yelling a stupid phrase in public? Winston has the same inferiority complex that the aforementioned professionals has, as he is accumulating quite a record – from being accused of sexual assault to being kicked off of the FSU baseball team for shoplifting.

Our beloved athletes are far from role models, but does society excuse them because they entertain us?

Today’s athletes grow up watching countless athletes get away with criminal activity and a number of schools and organizations cover-up athletes’ poor decisions and being the successful athletes they are, why should their situation be any different?

Most professional athletes would not make bad decisions if they knew they would have to face consequences for their actions. But how can we expect them to “think of the consequences” before making decisions if there have never been any consequences in the past?