Give athletes a break
Posted by Greg Reilly, Editorial Consultant on Feb 6, 2013. Filed under The Reilly Rant.
It isn’t always a good thing to be an athlete in the sports world. Rather than getting praised for the positive things athletes do on the field as well as off, it seems like the only attention athletes get these days is negative.
Some things I’ve heard thrown around to describe professional athletes are: cheater, murderer, lazy, cocky, womanizer, drunk, and rapist. And about Eckerd athletes: drunk, slut, doesn’t do their homework, skips class, cheats on papers, and does drugs.
I’m not saying every athlete is a saint, just that most athletes aren’t bad people. Sure, some cheat on their wives, get arrested, and go to court. Sure, some use performance-enhancing drugs and get caught, and some used them and didn’t get caught. Maybe not every Eckerd athlete abides by the honor code, and there are some athletes who miss class for something other than a game or a match.
But that’s not every athlete, pro or college. Some are faithful, don’t have a criminal record, are good students, and don’t cheat.
Those aren’t the athletes we seem to hear about though. On ESPN it’s constant news about who uses steroids. Leading up to the Super Bowl, more people were talking about whether or not Ray Lewis should be in prison instead of playing the game.
At Eckerd, I’ve noticed that there are several students who have a dim view of their peers who play sports. Some feel it’s unfair that athletes can miss class for a game and feel as if they get a free ride. Some students also seem to think that every athlete is either a communication or business major, as if those majors are easy and athletes aren’t competent enough to study anything else. Well, they clearly haven’t taken media ethics with Professor Albrecht.
It also amazes me the pushback some professors give student-athletes for missing class due to travel. Athletes don’t make the schedules, the NCAA does. So if the institution has chosen to be a member of the NCAA, there should be no pushback from professors. Take it out on the administration, not the athletes.
It’s as if some professors don’t think students can manage their schedules and keep up with work, and that missing a class here and there means they will miss out on a bunch of material.
I understand that lectures and discussion are valuable, but if missing a few of them for a school-sponsored event means a deduction of a grade, then professors might consider making class participation worth 50 percent of the final grade instead of 10.
All I’m saying is that not every athlete is a bad person, or stupid. And it’s time athletes get the credit and benefit of the doubt they deserve.