Dad’s, with all of the cheating that is going on in sports these days, how do you talk to your kids about this issue?
It’s hardly new. “Back in my day”, I wanted to throw a knuckler like Phil and Joe Niekro and a spitball like Gaylord Perry. Those were fun guys and Joe and Gaylord were cheaters, but hey, it was funny right? Did George Brett really mean to run Pine Tar that far up on the bat?
Come on! Lighten up!
Now this was before we really got serious on baseball cheaters like McGwire, Sosa, Bond (allegedly), A-Rod and the list goes on and on in that sport. But then there’s “Stickum” in football, anabolic steroids, growth hormone in almost every Olympic sport, blood doping in cycling, academic cheating from junior high through college for basketball and football players, car modification cheating in racing…maybe it is true, if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying!
So we really shouldn’t be tripping out about Tom Brady.
But this article in The Root breaks down that we do view and talk about cheaters differently, I highly recommend giving it a read.
Here are some of the highlights:
“If he were black, people would be calling him a criminal and saying that his behavior reflected some innate values. They would blame hip-hop, single mothers and the culture of poverty. If he were a black player, the conversation wouldn’t be about Goodell or the system but how the lack of a work ethic and morals led him to cut corners, to win “by any means necessary.” If he were black, the conversation would turn to affirmative action and how he was forced to cheat because he lacked the skills needed to excel at this elite level….Brady demonstrates yet again that whites are innocent … until proved innocent. Any evidence to the contrary proves that the system is flawed, that we have a miscarriage of justice.”
Dad’s when you’re having this discussion with your kids, do you unknowingly talk differently based on the color of the athlete?
It’s something to think about and it’s how we teach our children about so-called race, without ever talking about race in our homes. Then we proudly exclaim to the world, “I teach my kids that skin color doesn’t matter, everybody should be treated the same!”
So do you treat everyone the same in your actions and judgements on who’s a cheater and who isn’t? Perhaps this is a good discussion to have with ourselves first, and then our children as well.
We have someone new joining the podcast, J-Sizzle!
J and I tried to limit our discussion to three topics, but we could barely make it. However, we still tried to catch up on some great topics that we’ve had on our minds that include:
ESPN’s 30-for-30: BROKE – We ponder the question, how could all of these athletes end up broke after making millions of dollars?
“I’d like to thank my lord and savior”…wait, what did Jamie Foxx just say? Did he say Barack Obama?
J-Sizzle answers the question that I will now ask every dad that appears on this show. He’s truly setting the bar high for the men that he comes in contact with, but what would your answer be to this all important question?
Today I had the opportunity to shoot my son’s football games from the field. I haven’t shot from the sidelines since his high school playing days and I must admit that I enjoy shooting sports even more than cars. I must say, there’s something about catching the action and emotion of the players on the field.
Although the score didn’t come out is his favor, it’s good that everyone was able to walk off the field. That’s something players should never take for granted whether playing flag-football, high school, or semi-pro like my son.
Enjoy the shots!
Showdown: Michigan Gators vs. Metro Detroit Wolverines
Kory Devon and I discuss the latest happenings in the sports world and try to come to an agreement on whether college athletes should get paid (legally) or not. What do you think? Sound off and let us know in the comments section!
This was actually recorded before podcast #10, so please go back and check out that episode if you’d like to hear a continuation of our discussion.
I will deal with this story and issue soon. In the meantime, I wanted to post this video from Washington Watch, as it knocks down all the stereotypes that I’m sure people are looking for. Many times people will say, “Well, I’m sure something happened to make that guy act that way” or “Maybe the kid was threatening to the man”.
What saddens me the most is that my son and I were just visiting the Orlando area exactly one month ago. I gave him more freedom while we were away than I normally would at home since his other siblings were not there. My heart rate increases when I ponder on the “what-ifs” like, “What if neighborhood watch would have been following him when he was making the one-mile walk to his cousin’s house?” “What if something would have happened when he was out playing football and on his way home just before dark?”
I think I would be thinking just like Trayvon Martin’s dad said in the above video, he would have been waiting on me to protect him, and I would not have been there.
My mentor Dr. Lyn Lewis used to say something to the affect that black men grow up knowing that they are one step from jail or dead, no matter who they are or what they do in life.
I’ll echo another saying she’d say, that’s some good Sociology right there, because this Trayvon Martin murder proves her point. Good kid, good parents, smart, athlete, but still dead like a L.A. gang member.
Lets keep the heat on this story before it gets swept away by more important things like what the Duchess of Cambridge is wearing or what Peyton Manning is doing.
I just know he’s the guy that dropped the classic line, “I love me some me!” and had the great pom-pom end zone celebration that seemed much less rehearsed than the weak Sharpie-in-the-sock celebration pulled in Seattle in 2002.
Yes, it’s been that long. Hard to believe, but the San Francisco 49ers finally eclipsed the success they had when TO was there this season, as he departed the team in 2003. Back in 1999, there was Terrell Owens, a receiver that looked like he could re-write the record books and quite honestly, he eased the pain of Jerry Rice leaving for 49er fans as his talent seemed limitless. He was in perfect shape, 6’3 220+lbs, with deep-speed where DB’s could hang with him from 0-40 yards but post-40, “bye-bye”.
But then TO was born.
Obviously TO had a lot of fun. The article states that the he earned over $80,000,000 (1). That number is not a typo. However, now Terrell Owens finds himself “broke” (dude’s apartment is still the size of my house plus he’s in L.A., and I have 6 people with me) after suffering a knee injury without a contract, at 38-years old, with big child-support payments. Turns out that TO made a ton of bad business investments and even blames agent Drew Rosenhaus for not protecting him. Over the years, TO has always blamed a lot of people for a lot of things. I just watch the ESPN-tabloid so I don’t know what’s true.
But who’s to blame for this four kids by different mothers? The article states,
Now he is in court with all four women, whom he lumps together like one big bloodsucking blob. None of them are being fair, he says: “They know I’m not working; they know the deal.” Although he never established regular visitation with any of the children through the courts, he says he sees the eldest three as much as he can when their mothers allow it. So bitter is his relationship with the mother of the youngest child, a son, that he has never met the boy. (1)
Now, before I continue on, you may ask, “Who am I to judge?” Well, I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to seek a child support reduction, have a tenuous relationship with my son’s mother and fight for visitation. I didn’t make $80 million dollars, I was making a few hundred dollars every two weeks, worried about the lights getting shut-off, and had to take out a zillion dollars in student loans just to go back to school and re-invent myself because I didn’t want my son working side-by-side with me when he turned 16 years old. So yes, I’ve been there TO.
But TO, you need to start fighting to see your kids, and not just “when their mothers allow it” and you need to find a way to be a dad to the youngest you are yet to meet.
Any other single-dad that’s reading this, let me tell you that you fight. You continue to fight. You never stop fighting. Amazing that a fool is willing to fight and kill over stepping on his Jordans, but will hide like a mouse from our own children. This is not because we don’t care, but because we’re scared.
Scared of confrontation.
Scared of our own emotions and how they make us vulnerable.
Scared of losing because we are not in control of the situation.
But you call yourself “Hard”?
How well do you fight your inner-TO?
I often hear Terrell Owens speak of his grandmother and the impact she had on his life. However, I’ve never heard him really talking about his father. Perhaps it was because he didn’t meet his dad until he was 11 years old (2). In a 2004 Sports Illustrated article, we discover,
“At age 11 Terrell developed a crush on a girl across the street and began sneaking over to flirt with her–until her father told him that he could not “be interested in her” because she was his half-sister. “It took me a while to understand that I was talking to my father,” Owens writes. When he asked his mother why she’d never told him that his father lived across the street, she said that “it wasn’t necessary to explain everything to me.”
TO asks for no sympathy because nothing in his experience has given him reason to expect any. But he is entitled to it just the same, and his critics who read this book might want to lay off him for a while. It’s not hard to understand why a man deprived of his father, deprived of his childhood, deprived of the words I love you, would develop a tendency to call attention to himself when he succeeds.”
That was Terrell Owens talking right there. A man making himself vulnerable. But TO takes over when that same man, who knows what it’s like to grow up with a father so close yet so far, turns around and continues the same cycle with his children.
If a good man is hard to find, then the impact of a bad father is even harder to get rid of.
Just as Terrell’s dad was right across the street, TO’s image will be just as close for his children as daddy is just one ESPN click, internet page, and reality show away from them.
For what it’s worth, and not because I’m a 49er fan, I think I’d like Terrell Owens if I met him in person and we hung out. He seems like a guy that I’d get along with and I’d certainly love to hit the steel with him. But it’s TO that I couldn’t roll with, and if the article is true, I don’t think Terrell even wants to roll with TO any longer. Therefore, I hope Terrell steps back up and becomes the man and the father he’s supposed to be to his kids.
Perhaps you’re a single dad or soon-to-be divorced dad and you’re having a hard time dealing with visitation. Don’t stop fighting to see them and having a relationship with your child(ren). It’s not about you and the mom any longer, so don’t let that relationship hinder you.
It’s not always easy, it’s not always fun, but when you look back and know that you fought for something worth for more than $80 million, then you have reason to celebrate like this:
Remember, you only have one shot at this, so do it right.
(1) Jeff Arnold, Terrell Owens In GQ: I’m In Hell, http://www.thepostgame.com/features/201201/terrell-owens-gq-jeremiah-trotter-told-me-not-apologize-donovan-mcnabb, January 2012
(2) Charles Hirshberg, Sympathy For The Showboat, http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1113703/index.htm, 2004
Last month I purchased The John Carlos Story (http://www.johncarlos.org/JohnCarlos/JohnCarlos-TheBook.html) for my two oldest boys. While I cannot wait for one of them to finish the book so I can start working my way through it, I have been listening to a number of interviews by Dr. John Carlos and David Zirin as they promote and tell the story behind the story.
But CNN (not Fox News) seemed to have another agenda in mind when they wanted to interview Dr. Carlos. Funny how this “mishap” as you will see, is an excellent example of the story of John Carlos and Tommie Smith. As long as they do what the nation and media wants them to do and say, great. Let us paint the portrait and you be the brush.
However, if you know anything about Dr. John Carlos, Tommie Smith, Peter Norman and Dr. Harry Edwards, you know these guys paint their own portrait, tell their own story, and the truth about America as well.
Dad’s, if you’re unfamiliar with the story of John Carlos and Tommie Smith and their protest during the 1968 Olympics held in Mexico City, please check it out and learn more. This was truly a pivotal and misunderstood moment in world history. This is also a tremendous teaching moment for your kids: Will they be willing to take a stand for what is right, if it may cost them their life?
What did Carlos and Smith have to gain by keeping silent and not protesting for human rights? Certainly fame, money, power and privilege and all we have to do is look at the lives of Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis and Usain Bolt to see the riches that can be gained just from being the fastest sprinter in the world. But what did they gain from their silent protest? Persecution, slander (by their own nation especially), broken marriages (the wife of John Carlos later took her own life), and unemployment.
How would sports be different today if more athletes would be willing to put all of that on the line to help others?
How would society be different today if more parents were willing to give up many of the same advantages to raise our children and do what is right as well?
Over the last few years, a disturbing trend has been taking place in the American sports lexicon. Larry Johnson is “a man”, Adrian Peterson is “a man”, Albert Pujos is “a man”, and the list continues with each athlete that is hot at time the statement is made. First, no person should just be labelled “a man” because they can carry a football, hit somebody so hard their shoulders clap, or hit a baseball whenever and however they like. All of us should resist having our manhood based on what we do for a living and/or our physical abilities. Second, the trials and tribulations of someone like Larry Johnson prove that “a man” can act more like, “a boy” when it comes to off-field behavior and decision-making. Looks like many fantasy football fans spoke too soon on LJ.
LJ's four arrests and various assault charges against women proves that just because you're a TD machine, doesn't mean your acting like a man.
However, I caught the story of Keith Fitzhugh on ESPN recently, and I felt that this guy is truly “a man”. Keith Fitzhugh had an opportunity to play for the New York Jets this season, but instead chose to stay home, work a “regular job”, and take care of his parents. The NFL’s minimum salary is $320,000. I assume Fitzhugh would not collect all of that since he would have joined the team so late in the season. Yet, the Jets are almost a sure lock for making the playoffs and each playoff appearance and win would mean more money on top of his salary. It is one thing to turn down a job that would pay you $5,000 more if it did not offer you the security and flexibility you desired. But I never would have imagined someone doing it for probably more than 10 times their current salary and the fame of being a professional athlete. Also, rags-to-riches stories like Kurt Warner’s, are still fresh in our mind. The former grocery store bagger would later win MVP awards, a Super Bowl ring, and make four Pro Bowl appearances.
As a former grocery store worker myself, Kurt's story even inspires me!
May I also add, what does this say about his parents, specifically his disabled father? Can they be more proud of the son they raised and wisdom that goes beyond what most know at 24 years-of-age? Remember, being a CornerstoneDad is about being the anchor of your family. Regardless of age, your life is still a part of who they are, so when you are down, they are down and there to help you. That’s being relevant, that’s being a linchpin in your family, that’s being a patriarch, that’s being a CornerstoneDad. I wonder if Fitzhugh’s dad put work and money above his family? I do not know the answer, but the fact that Fitzhugh chose his father and mother over money and fame leaves a few clues.
Often when we read about the off-field exploits of professional athletes the focus is on scandalous behavior: drugs, alcohol, violence, infidelity. It was refreshing to read this week about former pro football player Keith Fitzhugh, who gained notoriety for doing something unexpected but commanded of us: honoring his father and mother.
With several players going down with injuries, the New York Jets desperately needed help in their defensive backfield as they looked to make a run at the Super Bowl. They knew Fitzhugh, who had been in their training camp the past two years only to be cut from the squad, so they rang him up with an offer to rejoin the team immediately. Granted, the Jets weren’t throwing tons of money at him or guaranteeing him a permanent spot on their roster; still, what 24-year-old who has dreamed of playing in the NFL wouldn’t jump at a chance to pull on the pads again and possibly play his way into a long-term deal?
But the former Mississippi State standout said no.
“I know the Jets have a great opportunity of making the Super Bowl, and that’s one dream that every child has is to play sports and make it to the Super Bowl or get to the World Series,” Fitzhugh told The Associated Press. “But, there’s a time when you have to think, ‘Hey, you’ve only got one mom and dad.’ They won’t be here forever, and while they’re here, you’ve got to cherish that time.”
After the Jets cut him prior to this season, Fitzhugh decided to head back home, land a steady job, and help take care of his mother and his father, who is unable to work because of a disability. He’s been a conductor for Norfolk Southern Railroad for the past three months.
“I’ve got something now where I know every two weeks I’m getting a paycheck,” said Fitzhugh, who had a brief stint with the Baltimore Ravens last December before re-signing with the Jets in the offseason. “I don’t want to let [Norfolk Southern] down or run from them because I got a shot for a couple of weeks. I just feel that that’s not right at the moment. I’m looking more long-term in life right now than the short-term.”
In talking to the press this week, Jets coach Rex Ryan reacted to Fitzhugh’s surprising decision: “That’s one of the reasons why we wanted that kid. He’s a tough guy. He’s a guy with a lot of character. He’s just a really outstanding young man. The decision that he made was a tough one for him, but I admire his decision.”
As we debate whether our children should look to athletes as role models, maybe we need to consider not only the superstars but those like Fitzhugh who make the tough call to put the quest for fame and fortune aside for something that’s much more lasting.
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).