By Julie Buehler
You know… it’s too bad.
I’d love to sit here and write about Jordan Spieth’s historic US Open title.
Or maybe I could translate the trembling putts from Dustin Johnson that cost him nearly $1 million dollars in the loss.
Or perhaps I could opine on the Women’s World Cup, the pending match against China, the last team they beat to hoist the planet’s most coveted soccer trophy and the continual struggle of Capitalism versus Communism on full display.
There’s the incredible run Albert Pujols is on, the fantastic rebound of the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs to snag attention, or perhaps the profound generosity of Carolina Panthers owner, Jerry Richardson, donating 6-figures to the families and church affected in the Charleston massacre.
All of those stories would grip the heart of the true sports fan and help us understand why sports are such an important part of our culture.
But instead, how about we discuss the cheats and liars that inhabit sports, because they refuse to see reality as it is, and it’s incumbent on us, sports fans and sports media, to recognize their failings and address it.
We needn’t entertain these matters for the sake of self-righteousness, but rather for cultural exploration. As I’ve written here before, the world of sports is not an escape, it’s a petri dish.
Everything we see happening in sports has spilled from our communities. From the steroids in baseball to the domestic violence in football, by the time a problem becomes headline news on the sports page, it’s been splattering the back pages of local papers for decades. If we allow liars to succeed and cheaters to progress in the world of sports with hallow excuses like “Everyone does it…” or because “It’s not THAT big of a deal..” we will dissolve our ability to fully appreciate those who sincerely and authentically accomplish TRUE achievement.
The latest incident comes 26 years in the making.
We now have proof that Pete Rose gambled on his own team while playing the game of baseball. There is no evidence that he bet on the Reds to lose, either while playing or managing, but there’s substantial evidence he was a problem gambler, losing hundreds of thousands of dollars and betting on multiple sports.
For 15 of the past 26 years, since he was banned from baseball he denied EVERYTHING (Read: Lied about everything). Then in 2004, with a book to sell, he “came clean” and admitted he ONLY bet on baseball as a manager. That was not a point of contrition, but an element of Capitalism. If he “came clean” book sales would surely skyrocket, and he had been lying for so long, he could only give up on part of the lie. He likely believed himself and altered his internal understanding with the decades of deceit.
But 26 years later, there they are: copies obtained from previously court-ordered sealed documents illustrating the dates, amounts, and bets placed by Pete Rose. 26 years of lies exposed in one fell swoop.
It’s remarkable Rose believed such a fool-hearted plot would succeed, even more remarkable that players in TODAY’S sports think they can publicly lie and get away with it through denial and aggressive counter-attacks.
We have Tom Brady sitting before Roger Goodell demanding exoneration from the NFL for “allegedly” plotting to deflate footballs for a competitive advantage.
Brady not only wants the 4-game suspension reduced (as many people will happen) but instead to have it expunged and removed entirely. He either doesn’t understand the evidence against him or doesn’t want to be held accountable for it, but it reminds me of A-Rod’s defiance in the face of Major League Baseball’s year-long suspension.
He bloviated that HE would sue BASEBALL for suspending him. Then more documents were released from the Bio-Genesis clinic and Tony Bosch rolled over and A-Rod left quietly to take a year off.
But now we have A-Rod surpassing milestone after milestone while the media wonders aloud how to honor, dishonor, commemorate, or ignore those accomplishments.
There is no athlete that is above consequences of their actions and no way our society should embrace liars and cheats in any way, shape or form. Whether thy are pretty-boy quarterbacks with super model wives or a guy nick-named Charlie Hustle.
Keep your standards high in life and sports. And once they are, once we no longer have to discuss and debate what to do with cheaters and liars, we’ll be able to fully enjoy the amazing accomplishments of Jordan Spieth, or Albert Pujols and genuinely congratulate the generosity of a 6-figure donation to a hurting community.
Julie Buehler hosts the Coachella Valley’s most popular sports talk radio show, “Buehler’s Day Off” every day from 2-4 on 1010 KXPS, the valley’s all sports station. She can also be seen every morning between 6-7am on KMIR sharing the coolest stories in sports. She’s an avid gym rat, slightly sarcastic and more likely to recite Steve Young’s career passing stats than American Idol winners. Tune in M-F 2-4 pst at www.team1010.com or watch “Buehler’s Day Off” on Ustream and KMIR.com for her sports reports.