Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bounty Hunting

It seems as if some NFL notables now join Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, Lee Majors, Boba Fett, Autobot Lockdown, Homer Simpson and Ned Flanders as famous bounty hunters. We know that "art imitates life," especially when one follows the problems among Dog -- the Bounty Hunter -- and his sons, Duane Lee and Leland, but who would have thought professional football players would be the next cast of characters to imitate art?

Not that bounty hunting is bad. There has always been a need for people to track down and bring fugitive criminals to justice, but for football players to do this? "Say it ain't so, Joe!"

Now compared to the issues of world peace, solving hunger or rising oil prices, the fact that NFL players actually injure opponents -- and get paid for it -- probably isn't that important. But I think it ranks right up there with the 1919 Chicago White Sox, the 2006 Tour de France and the ever-present (but never proven) professional boxing scandals.

For me, every professional sports scandal chips away at the integrity of the sport, the players and the nation. A nation that produces a "win-at-all-costs" mentality will eventually produce bounty hunters and cheats. Once it is tolerated at the professional level, the college level isn't far behind; then come the high school and, eventually, the sandlots and school playgrounds. Our children will grow up with a win-at-all-costs, anything-goes, rules-are-for-losers mentality that will translate into larger issues for society than the occasional coach suspended for a year without salary.

Men, we need to elevate honesty. We need to take the high ground, offering positive examples of honesty in action where truthfulness is valued. We need to be savvy to how our attitudes and choices impact those around us. And they do impact those around us.

We need to set an example for the next generation to follow.

Tall order? You bet. That what makes it so tough -- and so necessary -- to pursue.

Now this really puts me in a quandary. What will I watch come Sunday afternoon in the fall?

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