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Pro Sports Scandal Fatigue

Posted: May 29, 2008

While we at Swampland often write about College Football being the South’s number one passion, there’s no questioning the popularity of the NFL. We all love the ‘sport’ of professional football, but the ‘business’ of the game always seems to cause problems for fans. The money factor has gotten so big that it is worth cheating to some participants, who can then pay their way out of trouble if caught. No factor shows why we in the South get frustrated with professional sports more that the latest scandal of the Patriots’ cheating and the ensuing league cover-up. The actions of Bill Belichick and Roger Goodell definitely give fans reason for concern.

Joey Porter knows, Hines Ward knows, and most important, you fans now know the Patriots cheated for years. While the actions of Belichick and staff are quite disturbing, perhaps even worse is the NFL cover up of New England’s cheating, as Commissioner Roger Goodell destroyed the evidence. The League then imposed a fine that the Pats will barely notice on their balance sheet and took away their 31st overall pick in the Draft. It seems like Goodell just wanted to give the appearance of a punishment, and then hoped the whole thing would just go away.

As for Belichick, don’t you just love how he says the taping really didn’t help much? Really Bill? Then why did you keep doing it for eight seasons? To listen to Belichick lie to the fans of football is insulting. He is obviously only sorry for the fact that he got caught. Just like Barry Bonds, Belichick was good enough on his own to be a Hall of Famer, but he felt the need to cheat and cheat heavily. He disrespected the game that has made him a very rich man. Now, his legacy is tarnished as he lies or acts confused whenever questions of the scandal arise.

As I stated above, the money factor has grown so enormous in professional sports that it has corrupted the games we grew up loving. Besides the rampant cheating by Belichick, we have deal with NBA referee scandals, baseball players juicing to get a bigger contract, or NASCAR drivers racing for points instead of wins. Heck, even the NHL was clueless enough to take off a whole year in 2005.

I’m not saying that the college game is without scandal. It has welcomed back Nick Saban (Belichick close friend), who had to have a rule created to prevent his “random” contact with recruits in the spring. USC has had to deal with allegations in both football and basketball with payments from prospective agents going to both O.J. Mayo and Reggie Bush. However, those cases are not as much a USC issue as a “what’s wrong with Pro sports” issue once again. Both cases involve a college kid getting paid heavily so an agent can represent that player at the next level.

And then we got word last week that the NFL owners are already taking measures to get out of the current labor agreement. Would the NFL juggernaut really take off games or use replacement players again? Unbelievable- wealthy, grown men can’t figure out how to share billions of dollars. Can someone just get me to Sanford, Neyland, or Jordan-Hare Stadium and let me enjoy a good, old-fashioned SEC slobberknocker?

- Patrick Snow

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