Now that Roger Clemens has been suspended, I’ve got another suggestion for Major League Baseball: Tell Clemens to head home for the rest of his career until he agrees to be a full-time member of his team.
Clemens has caused enough headaches for youth sports and high school coaches since he first signed a deal with the Houston Astros that allows him to skip spring training, sign a couple months into the season and only play home games.
If you don’t believe antics and examples of pros trickle down to negatively impact kids, listen to this story. Remember when Chargers kicker Rolf Benirschke was one of the best in the NFL after recovering from bouts of ulcerative colitis?
Kickers are supposed to stay back on coverage as a safety after they kick the ball, even though most aren’t athletic enough to make a tackle. But Benirschke was under orders from the Chargers’ coaches to kick off and immediately trot for the sideline so he wouldn’t be hit.
In the 1982 season, Morse High’s Darrell Rossette was not only the team’s kicker, he was one of the fastest football players in San Diego as a CIF champion sprinter.
Rossette opened a game by kicking off and trotting to the sideline instead of using his superior speed. Morse’s befuddled coaches asked what the heck he was doing.
“That’s what Rolf Benirschke does with the Chargers,” he said, assuming he was doing it the way the pros do it.
Incredible, but true.
Hall-of-Fame running back Jim Brown — who played in an era when athletes scored a touchdown, handed the ball to the referee and shook their teammates hands — says today’s showboating athletes have been negatively affected by the hip-hop culture.
“This bragging thing is a different kind of concept,” he said in April when he visited the Hall of Champions (my day job). “I don’t understand why they have to dance and shake. The best thing is do to give the ball to the referee. That’s what you’re supposed to do and then come back and run another play.”
When it’s the black athlete celebrating, Brown drew upon a historical reference to slave owner Willie Lynch.
“The slave mentality was perpetuated by Willie Lynch,” Brown said. “He brainwashed his slaves because he put in their minds what he wanted them to carry to the next generation. Every time I see an African-American in the end zone shaking his butt, I think of Willie Lynch. I think, ‘Why does a champion have to do a dance to call attention to yourself? That’s wrong, when African-American people are suffering.”
— TOM SHANAHAN