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July 5 - Down The Road

In the month of June, we saw the following things happen in the world of

-  J.J. Redick, Esteban Loaiza, and B.J. Upton busted on DUI charges
-  Ben Roethlisberger gets in a motorcycle accident where he wasn't wearing
a helmet, and is lucky to walk out of it with his life
-  A full gamut of other charges for athletes in all sports (bar fights, domestic
abuse, etc.)
-  The usual embarrassing riots and brawling between World Cup soccer fans

When you add this to the laundry list of other things that we've seen this year, one only wonders
whether or not what kind of road the sporting world is heading down. It seems that every time you turn
around, there's something else. This athlete got busted for that, or this former star is now in jail for
that. Drugs are not the only thing around, as now it is almost commonplace for bench clearing brawls
or athlete attacks on one another. Has everyone forgotten what Todd Bertuzzi did to Steve Moore in
2004? Or for that matter, how about last season's UEFA Champions League quarterfinal between AC
Milan and Inter Milan, where we actually saw flares and missiles thrown onto a soccer field, putting
the lives of the players in severe danger.

Recently picked by the Orlando Magic in first round of the NBA Draft, J.J. Redick will go on to possibly
have a productive NBA career standing in the corner waiting for passes from Dwight Howard and
Jameer Nelson. For whatever reason though, I can't let go of the fact that he just got charged with
something that I personally have a huge problem with, that being the previously mentioned DUI
charge. Having seen what happens with drunk driving on a very personal basis, I'm bothered by a lot
of what I've seen in the media in relation to this story. For example, at the NBA draft, they glossed over
his DUI charge and talked about his back problems. Forget the fact that he could have killed himself
and other people, let's talk about a bad back! Wait, he had to cancel draft workouts? Screw that whole
charge thing, no one cares about that, right? As long as he doesn't do it again, why should we bother
talking about it?

Sadly, with the way things go in the sporting world these days, a DUI or any other kind of mistake like
that means nothing. It's often forgotten in a week and tossed by the wayside for another story. Riding
without a helmet? Sure, he's a "good kid", he made an "honest mistake". I don't know about you, but
no good kid drives a vehicle under the influence, or goes riding a motorcycle without wearing a
protective helmet. That's far from an honest mistake, more like an incredibly stupid one. Too many
people out there have an attitude of "Hey they lived, let's just forget about it." Sometimes I wonder
what it would take for the sporting world to not just cast these things by the wayside. Will somebody
have to die? Or is one life not enough? I worry that multiple deaths will have to occur before anything
changes in the sporting world. Then again, even if it did happen it would probably be relegated to the
bottom of the newspaper after about a month. For instance, how many people remember that in the
year 2000, 13 people were trampled to death in a riot at a World Cup Qualifying match in Zimbabwe?
The road that professional sports seems to be heading down only looks worse.

I really hope I'm wrong about this.