Thursday, February 05, 2009

Get Out of Jail Free

First, I would like to congratulate the Vikings, who have not lost a Super Bowl in 31 years! Sure, the Steelers need to be congratulated for winning the Super Bowl this year, but I’d like to point out that they lost in the Super Bowl 13 years ago.

When soldiers return from war, they go through a period of debriefing and training to get them re-adjusted to normal life. Life in a military war zone isn’t like life in a relatively peaceful area. After spending a year in England, the directors of the program gave us articles to remind us that the culture shock we faced when we moved to England would very likely re-appear when we returned home--because we had adjusted to British life, and would need to re-acclimate ourselves to American life.

And yet athletes return home, retire, etc., with no such training. Michael Phelps is such a boy. He spent years training, became a sensation with his Olympic medals, returned home…and was caught smoking pot. Many kids smoke pot, illegally, and it never makes headlines. Phelps, being famous, will be noted if he smokes pot. People know him and recognize him. A picture of a random kid with a bong, would be enough to make people sigh in disappointment, but we wouldn’t talk about it later.

This is not to excuse Phelps. The authorities and family and friends of the person pictured will always care when anyone does something wrong. This is illegal activity, no matter how common or uncommon it is (I have no idea). He should face the same consequences as anyone else.

In fact, that’s where we go wrong. We tend to treat the famous as invincibles who can never do wrong. We let athletes get away with so many things because of the pressure of their societal position, but we have trouble drawing lines. Everyone wants to see the socially awkward kid in detention, but no one wants to see the popular kid there, even if they committed the same infraction.

Athletes may have more social responsibility than others, but in compensation, they have a lot of advantages over the working class. They get a lot of free things--meals, clothes, etc. But they should not get a free pass on life.

Timberwolves update: 17-31 (1-3 since last time, 13-16 since McHale). A bad week for the Timberwolves. Or a week of normalcy after a few weeks of outliers; whatever.

Marian Gaborik Injury Status: He may possibly be ahead of his rehab schedule, and may actually start to ice skate again next week. Whoa.

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