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Article:Public Opinion: Setting the Example in the Sporting World

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An absence of something usually makes the heart grow fonder.  In my case, it is making my heart weaker without any regret of missing something that I love so greatly.  I’ve been away from sports since midway through May.  After my cross-country road trip, a couple months of working at a camp and after a week of relaxing, I have come back to the world of sports to find out: the people in power are seemingly getting out of control because of public opinion.

Public opinion says if the public doesn’t agree with it, then more than likely it is wrong.  However, public opinion isn’t always right and, for that matter, the majority isn’t always right.  If so, we would still have slavery in America and a woman’s place would still be solely in the house.  Oh my, the time is changing in place.

The calendar seems to be moving but the people in power still hold tradition close to their hearts.  The person with the title says what goes, but the person in power is usually swayed by what others think i.e. public opinion.  They have not grasped the concept of Machiavelli’s question: “Is it better to be loved or feared?”

While searching for the perfect balance, the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner, is choosing to be feared.  They have taken it upon themselves to mishandle every problem that they have seen in recent months.

The WAC is choosing to further punish Hawaii’s head football coach, Greg McMackin, for using a gay slur.  I would take the time to say the slur, but I do not wish to ruin a career before it gets started.  During the WAC annual football media preview, McMackin said the Fighting Irish did a ------ dance.  [ Inserting personal opinion: the only thing good that has come from the Fighting Irish in the past decade has been re-runs of the movie “Rudy.”]  Anyway, McMackin admitted his wrongdoing and takes a 7% pay cut on his salary of $1.1 million dollars. 

In the meantime, WAC rushed into the situation that had been handled properly by McMackin and says, “We do not condone this type of verbiage.  We are above making accidents as heinous as saying a slur.  We need to make someone that is overly remorseful feel even worse because we are in power.”  Idiots. 

McMackin is suspended for 30 days without pay to set an example that we will not tolerate any type of mistake.  Football fans know that NCAA football is without any flaws, wink wink!  Still yet, WAC needed to make its presence known like Goddell does in the NFL.

Goodell is trying to appear better than his predecessor, Paul Tagliabue.  In doing so, he has made the wrong call on Michael Vick and is more than likely headed in the direction of making the wrong call on Plaxico Burress.  

Michael Vick went to prison for 23 months for his involvement in a dog fighting ring in Virginia.  He has since been punished by the NFL and by the law.  However, in his return to civility, he is still being punished for the wrongs he has admitted to and for wrongs that he has already served time off the field and behind bars.  So when Goodell conditionally reinstated Vick, it was a notion of hypocrisy. 

How much can we punish someone after the law has already punished him?  Are we, the people outside of the law, meant to be the judge of another man’s rehabilitation?  No, we can merely interject our personal opinion.  However, when personal opinion or office talk leads to ridiculous office laws, then the office head should be thrown out. 

Say goodbye to WAC Commissioner, Karl Benson, and Goodell.  When you are not fit to stand on your own, whether the public opinion agrees or disagrees with you, then you are not fit to run your own leagues. 

You guys fumbled the ball.  McMackin was a character guy that made a mistake, admitted to his mistake, and reprimanded himself.  He didn’t kill anyone.  Vick is a guy that made a huge mistake by being a part of the dog fighting ring.  He went to jail.  He was released and is now working to spread the awareness of animal safety.  Plaxico Burress is a different story.  However, there is something called due process in America.  We cannot sentence a person to a crime before a court that our fore-fathers set up to instill justice sets his punishment.  May Goodell allow the justice system to determine anymore punishment for Burress.  

In the end, my words are not saying that I agree with their wrongdoings, but it is to say that the punishment must match the crime and that our leaders must be able to withstand public opinion.  Because power, the essential show of money, title and ego, has taken over our sporting world.  It is thrown to the side of public opinion and a sturdy hand, which is breaking down the strength of true character, humility and redemption.   

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