A Word to the Wise: Delving into the messy world of modern sports such as the Penn State controversy

By: Tom Rupp, Special to the Telegraph
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We have not had a lot of good news from the world of sports lately, and it almost always about money. Years ago professional basketball player Latrell Sprewell held out for millions more in salary, arguing “I have to feed my family.” I never forgot that silly comment. More recently, a lot of the NBA regular season was cancelled because the owners and players couldn’t agree on how to divide up billions of dollars they rake in every year. That’s one of the points in this discussion — it is merely a game. On one level these games serve little beneficial function to society. Sports enthusiasts tout the loyalty that their games encourage. And then a baseball player like Albert Pujols leaves the team he just led to a World Series victory for another team, another state, and more money. Millions of dollars of more money. I followed football regularly when Johnny Unitas led the Baltimore Colts over 40 years ago. Then, one night in March of 1984, their owner Robert Irsay loaded up several moving vans and took the entire team to another city, another state. That about cured it for me. Besides money, another issue I have with sports concerns boorish behavior by both the players and fans. A recent basketball game between Xavier and Cincinnati ended in a major fight, with one of the so-called student athletes bragging about it. Someone once remarked, truthfully, that “We Americans are the only people in history who get sport mixed up with higher education.” I laugh at the concocted concept of “student-athlete.” In addition, the entire mess at Penn State as well as other college and professional teams concerning sexual abuse further alienated me and others from the entire business. It takes messes like this to underscore for me that life is too brief and too precious to waste on such tripe. Tongue in cheek, but perhaps it is time to “occupy” the stadiums and arenas until the madness at least dies down if it cannot cease. Let’s put things in perspective. Again people, it is only a game. The inane chatter of players, coaches and commentators is a whole other issue. Hockey coach Ted Nolan wisely noted that “my philosophy has always been if we score one more than them, we have a good chance of winning.” Now go watch a game and feel your IQ fall. You can reach Tom Rupp at