Sunday, July 3, 2005

HBS: Professional Athletes Conduct

Homespun BloggersThe Homespun Bloggers venture into one of my favorite places this week: the world of baseball. But then they go and look at the dark side. That is, the conduct of professional athletes. Now, true, there are professional athletes other than baseball players. So why did I specifially mention baseball? Well, it seems that the impetus for this week's topic is the fine and suspension of Texas Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers for an altercation off the field. If you haven't heard about it, here's the story from Major League Baseball.
Texas Rangers ace Kenny Rogers was suspended for 20 games -- an
equivalent of four starts -- and fined an undisclosed amount for his physical confrontations Wednesday with two cameramen at Ameriquest Field in Arlington, Commissioner Bud Selig announced Friday.

He was reportedly fined $50,000. ...

Rogers, who has generally declined to speak with the media all season, shoved and yelled at Fox Sports Net Southwest cameraman David Mammel, then wrestled a camera away from Larry Rodriguez, a cameraman from Channel 4 KDFW in Dallas-Fort Worth, throwing his camera to the ground and kicking it.

Rodriguez was taken out of the stadium on a stretcher and went to a hospital. He has filed a police report and the Arlington Police Department is investigating the incident.

My first reaction was, "I'm glad somebody's cracking down on idiot players."

Then I thougt about it some more. And while I still think the suspension and fine are in order, I don't think the situation should end with that.

No, I'm not suggesting more punishment for Rogers. But neither am I opposed to harsher fines or stiffer penalties. No, I'm thinking Major League Baseball and Fox Sports -- as well as the media in general -- need to get their respective houses in order.

This particular incident was sparked by the reporters getting in the face of Rogers. He has declined to talk to them, but they keep trying. The teams and MLB should respect the players wishes to not speak with the media. And if the reporters keep ignoring such wishes, they should be removed. And banned from baseball if they continue.

Kenny Rogers, and all baseball players, should act like adults. But so should the adults who cover the games. There is no accountability in the media, and very little in sports. I was pleased to see MLB come down hard on Rogers for his actions. And I was happy to see the NBA's initial response to the early-season fight between the Pacers and the Pistons and the fans.

Quite honestly, if you're going to act like an ass, you ought to get your ass whipped. It should never have come down to Kenny Rogers having a camera shoved in his face.

Yes, he should be fined and suspended. But until MLB and other sports get their house in order, more incidents like this will happen.

And, if they do, I hope someone else catches it on tape. I'd love to see another reporter get his ass whipped.

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