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A few bad apples

March 31, 2010 - Michael Palmer

There is no argument that organized sports play a beneficial role in the development of children into educated and well-rounded students.

Would you agree that the successes and the failures of student-athletes do not rest solely rest on individual athletes?

In addition to the coaches that influence their young players, there are teachers, peers, parents and the media.

That said, remember that high school is a time when students begin making their own choices.

Recent headlines have highlighted the negative side of these freedoms.

A high school whose run into the basketball tournament was tarnished by one student athlete who was academically ineligible. Was this young man aware he was not supposed to be playing and what effects that would have on his teammates? Were his parents keeping track? School administration used their tried and previously accurate system to keep track of the athletes grades, but that will probably change in the future meaning more work for our already overstressed educators.

An athlete that appeared on the front page, not for his achievements on a football field, but handcuffed and accused of a crime.

What about the negative influence of some professional athletes.

Do you recall seeing these headlines:

Washington Wizards player Gilbert Arenas pleaded guilty this afternoon to a felony gun charge. He was indicted in connection with a Dec. 21 locker room incident with another player in which guns were present.

Former New York Giants star receiver Plaxico Burress is serving a two-year sentence for shooting himself in the thigh with an unlicensed gun at a New York City nightclub last year.

Former Dallas Cowboys receiver Terry Glenn has been arrested in Irving, Texas on an auto theft charge.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte' Stallworth allegedly struck and killed a pedestrian after a night of drinking at a posh Miami hotel. It carries a minimum of four years to a maximum of 15 years in prison.

The list goes on - and now even includes Tiger Woods.

Absolutely not an excuse for criminal behavior, but a valid point when we look at the changes in the social environment our students live in. It is a different world than we, the parents, grew up in.

In fact these young athletes have become their own bad examples and add to the long list of headlines that are sending the wrong message to our kids.

So - just where do we point the finger of blame?

Wherever you decide to place the blame - remember -

The media highlights the negatives -

These things are interesting because they are out of the ordinary.

If there is one thing I would like to emphasize in this blog it is that there are over 12,000 athletes in the various competitive athletic areas in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference and most of them are exemplary students and young people.



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