27 June 2009
17 June 2009
On Monday, Cleveland Browns receiver Donte Stallworth reached a deal in his case regarding a DUI fatality he was found guilty of earlier this year. He made what was called a "substantial financial settlement" with the victim's family. You could say this was expected, considering he makes millions in the NFL. What was unexpected was that he will spend 30 days (yes, days) in jail. Thirty days, for a DUI fatality.
On the flip side, now former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was found guilty of leading a dogfighting ring and spent nearly two years in jail. There were mass protest against what he did and about the vicious creulty to the dogs. The punishment fit the crime for the most part, although it remains to be seen how his comeback will go this summer.
Why, in 2009, do we not see protests against Stallworth's sentence? He drove drunk and killed someone, and yet people are glaringly silent. Vick killed dogs and people couldn't shut up about it. Have we reached a place in our society where we value the life of a dog more than that of a human? I would like to hope not.
More so, just because these men are professional athletes does not excuse them from due process of law or the full penalty under the law. If someone is found guilty of murder, the judge should have the right to throw the book at them, regardless of social status. A crime is a crime is a crime, and guilty is guilty. Why, in 2009, are we still debating this?
That's my take...
15 June 2009
11 June 2009
While the offense seems extremely minor, it goes back to the very basis of most NCAA violations and subsequent investigations. Student-athletes should not be receiving anything free of charge on behalf of the university or otherwise. In other words, they should not be paid, in monies or otherwise. While the receiving of textbooks does not certainly promote a competitive advantage on the field, a team utilizing a player who should be ineligible is cheating, plain and simple. Alabama's penalty involves the forfeiture of an unspecified number of wins, but they get to keep scholarships. Apparently, the NCAA did not believe that the offense was enough to warrant extensive punishment.
This begs the question regarding other high profile NCAA investigations, namely the one going on at Memphis. If the NCAA can find that Derrick Rose did in fact submit a forged SAT score, do you think the NCAA would respond like they did with Alabama? Certainly the wins and Final Four appearance would come out. Add to the Tigers dilemma the fact that Dozier admitted to cheating on his SATs, and you have a much bigger mess. While the NCAA legally has to treat the incidents as separate, they cannot help but look at them equally.
The connection between Alabama and Memphis is that they both used players who were ineligible. In the past, the NCAA would tack on post-season bans along with probation. Intrestingly, ever since the "death penalty" case at SMU, probations have been lighter and lighter. Auburn's mid-90s probation is the last that comes to mind that involved post-season bans. (The football team posted an unbeaten record in 1994, in the midst of probation.) Should the same not apply here also?
You could make a case that Memphis' violations are much more severe, but probation is nothing if it doesn't carry any teeth. Stripping wins is one thing, stripping scholarships and post-season eligibility is another. I would expect this to happen at Memphis, and subsequently USC and Tennessee for their violations. But the penalty issued to Alabama just seems too light.