"Wow! I never thought Dwight would go postal. It's always the person you least expect and I always thought Dwight would go postal."
- Michael Scott, The Office (deleted scene from "Conflict Resolution")
Sure, it's always the person you'd least expect, unless it's the most obvious one. In pro sports, the most obvious people are the ones who are the lowest-paid. Referees and umpires. Athletes make too much money to be worthwhile targets for gamblers who want to fix games. They can't pay them enough. Worse yet are referees with gambling problems, and Tim Donaghy is one of those. The last thing we heard about Tim was that he was getting death threats and was threatening to go to the FBI with names of other refs and/or players who may also be involved in the point-shaving effort. Expect Tim to be the next member of the Witness Protection Program.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of the National Football League, Roger Goodell, has ordered Michael Vick not to report to the Falcons' training camp pending the completion of his indictment. It's tough to be a sports fan these days. I think it's 12 players on the Bengals roster that have been in trouble with the law, Pacman Jones (the name speaks for itself), Barry Bonds, Rick Toccett, Floyd Landis ... the list goes on and on. It's strange because we are paying these mesomorphs more money than ever, yet they continue to find new and different ways to spend the money.
Either they are so bored with life as a professional athlete or they are mentally deranged - or both, since it seems as though the thrill of the game is not enough for them to fulfill their competitive desires. They feel the need to involve animals, illegal gambling, drugs and gunplay to satisfy their urges.
Fortunately for me, I have a cynical viewpoint of pro athletes and, thanks to my father's infinite wisdom, I treat everyone the same regardless of their station in life. As a result, I am disappointed by the actions of my sports icons, but not surprised. Even though they earn more money in one year than I will during most of my life, that does not predispose them from acting like either children or asses - or both - and in the meantime, they make the front page of the newspaper because we have placed them on a pedestal. The pedestal, we have found, has a false bottom. It's hard to find a historic point in sports that has a worse overall public relations problem than right now. The bigger problem is that it gets worse every week.
None of us will look at pro sports the same way again. The integrity of the games have been sacrificed and the participants have been exposed.
Strange days have tracked us down.
They're going to destroy
our casual joys.
We shall go on playing,
or find a new town.
- Jim Morrison
I think it may be time to find a new town.
All this nonsense has pushed to the back burner the fact that Drew Carey is replacing Bob Barker as host of "The Price is Right".
Strange Days, indeed.