"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"I tend to think of this verse when celebs do dumb sh*t, as they often do. In all of our idol worship, have we considered that while these people put incredble effort into their crafts, much less attention is paid to their character? Unfortunately, they don't have to - being rich is a license to do what you want to do.
However, the rules aren't necessarily the same for everyone, and my heart aches when I see that the Boo-Boo the Fool being trashed today on the blogosphere is a black, male athlete. It's like watching a horror movie, when you see someone going into the house instead of running away from it. You scream, "Don't you know how this ends?"
Yes, this is spurred by the announcement that the Miami Dolphins released wide receiver Chad Johnson a day after he was arrested for allegedly headbutting his publicity-starved wife of one good month, Evelyn Lozada. One day. He didn't get an investigation. He didn't get the PR statement that most teams immediately give to the media, "We will reserve comment until the details become clear." Nope, they just cut his silly ass. Why can't these children seem to remember that race trumps talent, no matter how many catches, carries or yards they get? Oh, you thought it was different because you don't wear a suit and go to corporate America every day? Nope, the music's still playing. Tap dance, you must.
Now, to be fair, Chad was on his last leg after a not-so-productive season with the Patriots, plus, he's getting up in age - at 34! But his incident follows an offseason where several members of the Detroit Lions managed to get arrested twice. Too busy being young and rich I guess to be concerned with such details as calling a driver service instead of driving drunk. Or leaving the marijuana at home, not taking it along for a midnight ride through the suburbs of The D.
Some people are above the law. Ask Ben Roethlisberger. (And Charlie Sheen, sidebar.) But some are not - namely, the 67 percent of his black colleagues in the NFL. Ask Michael Vick. You won't see a game where his arrest and prison time aren't mentioned. The asterisk will forever be by his name.
But sometimes I just feel sorry for them. Because the truth is, these men are overcomers. They tend not to come from private schools and the upper echelon of society. I watch the documentaries, I read the profiles. Many of these young men fight their way to the league to get out of their deplorable surroundings. However, as the saying goes, you can take a person out the hood, but you can't take the hood out the person. Imagine that overnight you go from being hungry to being a millionaire. You know how you go all day without eating, then go to the buffet and stuff yourself silly? Translate that to a world of fame, women, drugs and other vices you can indulge in without anyone telling you no. The candy store is bigger. The prizes are shinier.
A football player called me once in high school. I answered the phone as I was raised to do, "Praise the Lord." That was essentially the beginning and ending of the conversation. But somehow he managed to tell me before the hang up that he didn't believe in God because the streets were all he knew. All he saw was his mom struggling and people getting killed. Football was going to be his way out...I'm sure he's not the only one who thinks like this.
Money doesn't change people; it amplifies who they really are. If you are selfish, you'll just be more selfish with money. If you lack discipline, money will support your gluttony. And if, perchance, you are rough around the edges and not used to having anything, money will NOT automatically give you class. Paychecks don't come with instructions on how to spend them properly (other than to not sign below that hash line on the back.) I see a lot of good people trying to survive, yet other people get blessings they aren't equipped to handle.
The sad fact is sometimes these men have it all - money, endorsements, houses plural, cars plural, a model/actress on their arms...and not a bit of sense. That's a problem football can't fix.