Let the players play: Athletes need freedom

To be politically correct or not to be politically correct-that is the question.

At all levels of athletic competition players are praised for hitting a game winning shot, making an impossible catch over three defenders, pitching a no-hitter, sinking a thirty-foot putt, leveling the receiver running a post down the middle and of course participating in charitable acts within the community, but that’s about where it ends.

If you- as a player- step out of those boundaries, kiss your reputation, your endorsements, and even the support of your teammates, goodbye.

Let us be clear.

I am not talking about those players who are involved in fights, robberies, drug deals, shootings and sex scandals. Anyone with half a brain can see why Wheaties would not want a convicted rapist on the front of their box.

Believe me, staring at a felon at eight in the morning while having a bowl of cereal is not the way most people want to start their day.

However, I am standing up for those players who speak honestly during post game interviews and those who choose to make an elaborate display on the field after a great play.

I am all for it. I think its great for sports and makes the games fun and entertaining. Yes, I said it.

I am sick of players getting railroaded for being…human.

Do not get me wrong, I think players should take responsibility for their actions and their words.

But ridiculing a player after a public announcement of his or her displeasure with the performance of their team or because of the touchdown dance he did on Sunday, is no reason to have them as a headliner on ESPN at 10 in the morning.

If you notice, after almost every post game interview, players give the same old redundant, bland, insincere answers.

For instance, Terrell Owens. One of the greatest athletes and playmakers that the NFL has ever had has been getting blasted all week for showing emotion on the sideline during last Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The bottom line is, the code of conduct in most sports leagues is way too extreme.

What we are witnessing is a system that advocates mindless robots that are simply bred to entertain the public.

The last time I checked, most fans enjoy the occurrence of good-natured smack talk before a big rivalry game.

This is also evident in comparisons between college and pro competition.

In fact, I’ve had countless discussions about the difference between college sports and sports at the professional level.

There are a plethora of fans out there who enjoy college sports more than professional sports simply due to the fact that college athletes exude more passion during game play.

We’ve all heard people say, “college athletes play with more passion” or “pro athletes don’t care about winning because they’ve already made it and are making millions.”

Well I say, take a look at the evidence.

Pro athletes must abide by a code that looks down upon showing emotion.

I mean, you can show emotion, just as long as you don’t step on anyone’s toes.

Some people call it unsportsmanlike conduct; I just call it being a competitor.

Winning is sweet, but it’s much sweeter when you told your opposition that you were going to win first and then challenged him to stop you.