We've become a nation of cheaters and bullies

In Los Angeles, during a riot with racial overtones, stores in an ethnic neighborhood were looted; and as she carried away a color television set, one woman spoke into a camera and told the world that stealing was basically the only way she could afford a TV. (Many of the stores destroyed and plundered were owned and operated by those of her ethnicity.)

Former heavyweight champion of the world Mike Tyson, was in the news again recently for yet another physical assault. But even though Tyson is a known wife-beater, convicted rapist and has several assaults on his record, given the opportunity fight promoters would put him in the ring tomorrow and pay him millions.

In Detroit, grown men, millionaire athletes, waded into the stands swinging their fists after being pelted by beer, thrown by other “adult” males.

In Dallas another highly paid athlete threw a chair into the stands breaking a woman's nose; a melee brought on by taunting from a partisan crowd at a Rangers' baseball game.

At a Los Angeles Clippers game Lattrell Sprewell, of the Minnesota Timberwolves shouted a sexual obscenity at a female Clippers fan who heckled him from courtside. Trouble seems to be Sprewell's middle name; in 1997 while playing for the Golden State Warriors, he choked a coach; but seven years later, he's still an athletic “hero”.

Of late, amateur track athletes, and baseball greats have admitted, or been accused of, using strength-enhancing drugs.

One sports column I read bemoaned the fact that Barry Bonds might be “cheated” out of his place in baseball history and the Hall of Fame because he “cheated” by taking steroids. The writer pointed out that, “...everyone else cheated.” so Bonds had to do so as well.

In the meantime Roger Maris has an asterik by his record of 61 home runs in a season (He played a longer season than the Babe) and still isn't in the Hall of Fame; and as far as I know, he didn't cheat.

In Texas, some schools are being investigated, accused of cheating on their students TAKS tests, the instrument used to clear them for passage from one grade to another and eventual graduation.

And less than ten years ago, Texas courts were the scene of a lawsuit brought by a Houston area high school denied a chance at the state finals in football. They had played an ineligible player, gotten caught and had to forfeit games. Instead of seeing the error of their ways, they brought suit trying to force their way into the playoffs.

We Americans have always loved a winner; but recently, we've placed our winners on too high a pedestal. A perch from where they need to fall.

Bullies and cheats should be treated as just that. Players who choke coaches, curse and assault fans, and are convicted of rapes and assaults deserve to be, and should be, banned from competitive athletics forever.

Likewise, fans who bait those athletes, and cause themselves to be assaulted should also be arrested, banned from the arenas; and any lawsuits they file for the assault be dismissed as frivolous.

Finally anyone saying they need to steal a television set should be shown the classified section of the local newspaper so they can find a job and a good price on a TV.

The word for the week is chicanery.


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