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Friday

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April 2012

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COMMENTS

Character Counts

Written by , Posted in General

Last Friday, to surprisingly little fanfare, the Chicago Police Department announced they would not file sexual assault charges against Starlin Castro.  The CPD had been investigating accusations brought against Castro by a woman he met late last September after the end of the regular season.  The investigation took so long in part because Castro spent the offseason at his home in the Dominican Republic, so it wasn’t until he returned to Chicago for the Cubs Convention in January that he was able to sit down with investigators.

Cubs fans everywhere are relieved that the specter of criminal charges and jail time has finally been lifted off of Castro, and that he appears to be free and clear of the situation now.  We’re also hopeful that he’s learned a valuable lesson at this early, pivotal point of his career and life.

The promiscuous, wanton lifestyle of the bigtime athlete is a well-worn cliche at this point, but one with increasingly shocking examples and often dire consequences.  Mike Tyson and Michael Vick might be the obvious poster boys, but there’s no end to the number of ruined careers and shattered lives you can point to as warnings.  Ricky Williams’ career was repeatedly derailed by his drug use.  Josh Hamilton’s was put on hold, costing him several years of his athletic prime.  And Todd Marinovich, Maurice Clarett, Len Bias, and several other young men’s careers never got off the ground because of their off-the-field indiscretions.  The list goes on and on.

And it’s not just young, immature athletes who destroy their careers and lives through their illicit behavior.   Former University of Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino is the latest walking illustration of Numbers 32:23, “and be sure, your sin will find you out.”

But we shouldn’t have to learn from only the worst tragedies and most grievous examples.  Some players haven’t had their careers interrupted by their misdeeds.  Yet.  The Bears’ new wide receiver Brandon Marshall is almost more well known for his misbehavior off the field than his elite performance on it.  He’s been involved in numerous bar fights–including one that led to the shooting death of teammate Darrent Williams–and was once stabbed by his wife (they’re still married).  Castro’s own situation mirrored that of former Denver defensive back Perrish Cox–one of my favorite college players in his time with Oklahoma State.  He went to trial for sexual assault, and faced up to ten years if convicted.  A jury recently acquitted him, and he has since signed with the 49ers.  Unless they get their lives together, guys like that are moral shipwrecks waiting to happen.

Other players will live with the consequences of their mistakes for years, and perhaps the rest of their lives.  Magic Johnson’s Hall of Fame career was cut short by the results of his promiscuity.  Brian Urlacher had a one-night stand and, eventually, a son with a woman who has routinely dragged him to court–her litigious history is well documented, including some allegations of sexual assault she made against the Lord of the Dance himself, Michael Flatley–and generally made his life miserable ever since.  I expect the results are exponentially worse for the Jets’ Antonio Cromartie, who has ten children with eight different women (and famously struggled to remember all their names on Hard Knocks).

Top to bottom, the sports world is full shady characters, sketchy behavior, and sleazy temptation.  It’s nothing new–we just hear and see more about it today because of Facebook, TMZ, Deadspin, and half a dozen 24-hour sports channels.  Life on the road has always and will always afford people low accountability and high potential for fulfilling their most prurient and nefarious desires.  Let’s face it: for some–maybe many–that’s part of the appeal.

But not for everyone.  There are plenty of guys who can live the life of a star athlete without succumbing to all the accompanying temptations.  It’s not impossible to be famous and a model citizen.  It just takes more effort.  As a society of fans, we ought to do a better job of celebrating quality character and the players who exemplify it.  But that’s not what sells newspapers and drives page views, so we’re likely to keep hearing more about athletes’ deviant behavior to the point where it becomes accepted as commonplace (if we’re not already there).

Like many of you, I’m hoping this episode has scared Starlin Castro straight–that he toes a finer line going forward, because he’s already been face-to-face with the consequences if he doesn’t.  I hope he knows now what many others before him have had to learn the hard way:  that there may not be a stat for good behavior, but it still counts.

  • Buddy

    I hope you’re right JJ. Unfortunately, all he may have learned is different rules often apply to rich and famous people. 

  • Really nice article, Jeremiah. In this age of entitlement I unfortunately only see it getting worse, but I love the idea of celebrating the good guys and even if we only do it here, it’s a start!!!

  • Really nice article, Jeremiah. In this age of entitlement I unfortunately only see it getting worse, but I love the idea of celebrating the good guys and even if we only do it here, it’s a start!!!

  • Norm Bothwell

    Does it count?
    Seems like the attitude towards players is directly related to how they perform on the field.

    • CaptainJ

      So where does that leave you on the Zambrano/Volstad trade?

      • Norm Bothwell

        I’m cool with that trade…
        but Cub fans loved Zambrano until he started putting up 3.9+ ERA’s with a big contract…once that was done, his character was suddenly an issue.

      • Jedi

        Cub fans have been down on Zambrano since 2007, when he finished 5th in Cy Young voting?

      • Norm Bothwell

        I know reading comprehension is tough for you…did you not catch the “with a big contract” part?
        When did he sign that big contract, before or after his 2007 season?
        What do you think I was referring to when I wrote “once that was done”?
        Nice attempt at nitpicking into an argument.

      • Jedi

        (Not sure why a question stirred up so much fight in you) It was a simple question, just wanted to know which year you thought the fans turned against him.  Zambrano made $12.4mil in 2007; that’s pretty good money.  He also had a 3.91 ERA that year and fought with a teammate.  But in 2008 with nearly identical stats, no fight with a teammate, and in the midst of the best Cubs season in at least 25 years fans turned on him then?  Because in 2009 and 2010 his ERA was NOT 3.9+.  So I’m confused as to when you think his character suddenly became an issue?

        To me that’s revisionist history.  Cub fans turned on Zambrano over time as his lack of self-control hurt the team.  Most fully acknowledged that we got back a worse pitcher (Volstad) in the trade – so obviously for those who liked that trade Zambrano’s character mattered quite a bit.  I know it mattered to me; Zambrano’s fiery outbursts seemed to grow more and more destructive to the Cubs with each new event.

      • Buddy

        You’re right Norm. When knucklehead players are producing, fans and broadcasters call them “colorful.” When they start stinking up the joint, they call them “clubhouse cancers.”

  • Norm Bothwell

    Does it count?
    Seems like the attitude towards players is directly related to how they perform on the field.

    • CaptainJ

      So where does that leave you on the Zambrano/Volstad trade?

      • Norm Bothwell

        I’m cool with that trade…
        but Cub fans loved Zambrano until he started putting up 3.9+ ERA’s with a big contract…once that was done, his character was suddenly an issue.

      • Jedi

        Cub fans have been down on Zambrano since 2007, when he finished 5th in Cy Young voting?

      • Norm Bothwell

        I know reading comprehension is tough for you…did you not catch the “with a big contract” part?
        When did he sign that big contract, before or after his 2007 season?
        What do you think I was referring to when I wrote “once that was done”?
        Nice attempt at nitpicking into an argument.

      • Buddy

        You’re right Norm. When knucklehead players are producing, fans and broadcasters call them “colorful.” When they start stinking up the joint, they call them “clubhouse cancers.”

  • BLPCB

    Everyone is going to forget about it the way they have the Kobe rape case

  • AC0000000

    Everyone is going to forget about it the way they have the Kobe rape case

  • BLPCB

    And you could add Michael Jordan to that list. He was just as big a womanizer as Canseco or Tiger, but he didn’t get tarred and feathered like Tiger did. I wonder, why isn’t the government interested in the sex lives of these men, but they cared so much about Clinton’s sex life.

    • Really?

      • Eddie Von White

        Wow!

    • Doc Raker

      Actually Bill Clinton subordinated perjury and obstructed justice in the Paula Jones case. The media focused on the perjury regarding sex, but Paula Jones was denied a fair trial because our President perjured himself and obstructed justice. Bill Clinton was disbarred because of perjury and obstruction of justice, not because he had sex with Monica Lewinsky.

  • AC0000000

    And you could add Michael Jordan to that list. He was just as big a womanizer as Canseco or Tiger, but he didn’t get tarred and feathered like Tiger did. I wonder, why isn’t the government interested in the sex lives of these men, but they cared so much about Clinton’s sex life.

    • Really?

      • Eddie Von White

        Wow!

    • Doc Raker

      Actually Bill Clinton subordinated perjury and obstructed justice in the Paula Jones case. The media focused on the perjury regarding sex, but Paula Jones was denied a fair trial because our President perjured himself and obstructed justice. Bill Clinton was disbarred because of perjury and obstruction of justice, not because he had sex with Monica Lewinsky.

  • Kris

    I have to admit I was a little relieved to see the charges were dropped. I like the angle of the article here, in that Castro needs to grow up, get smart, and realize there are consequences to getting himself into this situation. I find it really odd that Castro did not come back to talk to investigators in the off-season and that neither his agent or team management insisted he do so. Why not clear your name as quickly as possible if you’ve got nothing to hide?!BLPCP–Because the govn’t has no control over these men’s sex lives. It may be disgusting, but it isn’t illegal. And technically Clinton’s impeachement trial was about lying under oath, not about his personal affairs. (Granted I think they were just looking for a reason to go after him, but they had a legal reason for forcing the issue.)And I’m hoping to not be MIA from VFTB any more. It has been a crazy couple of weeks. Work has been interesting, I was hoping for a better outcome to the Blackhawks’ season, I have two brand new nephews, and well…I’m 27 weeks pregnant and just running behind on everything! 🙂

    • Joe Aiello

      Maybe I sound like a moron, but I always thought adultery WAS illegal. Am I wrong on that? Morally, it’s wrong, but I thought there were legal issues too.

      27 weeks pregnant? Already? Didn’t you just get married? You didn’t waste any time.

      • Noah_I

        I believe there might be states where it’s technically illegal, but even if it is I don’t believe it has been enforced in decades.  Following Lawrence v. Texas, though, I do not know if those laws would still be enforceable.  I don’t want to start a discussion about the proper scope of federal power, though, so if you don’t know what that case is you can just Google it.  There’s plenty on the interwebs.

        Generally regarding Castro, I really can’t be that critical of someone who is doing pretty much the exact same thing I was doing in 21 (well, I wasn’t hitting .300, but you know what I mean).  The most I can be critical of is the fact that he didn’t realize he is a target for some less than honest people.  Hopefully he has and will stay out of trouble from this point.

      • Kris

        I think Noah is right–it may technically be illegal, but I don’t think it is enforced. It could certainly create ramifications in court if the adultery leads to divorce, etc. (And you don’t sound like a moron–I’m now wondering if I just assumed it wasn’t against the law since no one is ever arrested for adultery these days.)

        And yes, I was married a little over a year ago. Baby is due in late July. Neither Mr. Kris nor I are getting any younger (which, if we could, would be awesome!), so we knew/hoped a little one would be along quickly. 🙂

      • Noah_I

        That is true that it can create ramifications for a divorce.  If you aren’t doing a “no fault” divorce, it can greatly impact things, and it can impact things like alimony as well.  How much if impacts the proceedings depends on the state. 

      • Great to see you Kris! I’ve been wondering how you’ve been doing and hoping everything’s going well!

      • Kris

        Everything is going just fine! I’m just tired as all get out, and I’m slow to get into the Cubs this year. 🙂 Hope everything is going well with you!

  • Kris

    I have to admit I was a little relieved to see the charges were dropped. I like the angle of the article here, in that Castro needs to grow up, get smart, and realize there are consequences to getting himself into this situation. I find it really odd that Castro did not come back to talk to investigators in the off-season and that neither his agent or team management insisted he do so. Why not clear your name as quickly as possible if you’ve got nothing to hide?!BLPCP–Because the govn’t has no control over these men’s sex lives. It may be disgusting, but it isn’t illegal. And technically Clinton’s impeachement trial was about lying under oath, not about his personal affairs. (Granted I think they were just looking for a reason to go after him, but they had a legal reason for forcing the issue.)And I’m hoping to not be MIA from VFTB any more. It has been a crazy couple of weeks. Work has been interesting, I was hoping for a better outcome to the Blackhawks’ season, I have two brand new nephews, and well…I’m 27 weeks pregnant and just running behind on everything! 🙂

    • Joe Aiello

      Maybe I sound like a moron, but I always thought adultery WAS illegal. Am I wrong on that? Morally, it’s wrong, but I thought there were legal issues too.

      27 weeks pregnant? Already? Didn’t you just get married? You didn’t waste any time.

      • Noah_I

        I believe there might be states where it’s technically illegal, but even if it is I don’t believe it has been enforced in decades.  Following Lawrence v. Texas, though, I do not know if those laws would still be enforceable.  I don’t want to start a discussion about the proper scope of federal power, though, so if you don’t know what that case is you can just Google it.  There’s plenty on the interwebs.

        Generally regarding Castro, I really can’t be that critical of someone who is doing pretty much the exact same thing I was doing in 21 (well, I wasn’t hitting .300, but you know what I mean).  The most I can be critical of is the fact that he didn’t realize he is a target for some less than honest people.  Hopefully he has and will stay out of trouble from this point.

      • Kris

        I think Noah is right–it may technically be illegal, but I don’t think it is enforced. It could certainly create ramifications in court if the adultery leads to divorce, etc. (And you don’t sound like a moron–I’m now wondering if I just assumed it wasn’t against the law since no one is ever arrested for adultery these days.)

        And yes, I was married a little over a year ago. Baby is due in late July. Neither Mr. Kris nor I are getting any younger (which, if we could, would be awesome!), so we knew/hoped a little one would be along quickly. 🙂

      • Noah_I

        That is true that it can create ramifications for a divorce.  If you aren’t doing a “no fault” divorce, it can greatly impact things, and it can impact things like alimony as well.  How much if impacts the proceedings depends on the state. 

      • Great to see you Kris! I’ve been wondering how you’ve been doing and hoping everything’s going well!

      • Kris

        Everything is going just fine! I’m just tired as all get out, and I’m slow to get into the Cubs this year. 🙂 Hope everything is going well with you!

  • BLPCB

    I know that, it was a bit of a joke, because I find it crazy that there are people who have worse sex lives than Clinton.

    I think this is the best win the Cubs will have all year.

    • I’m beginning to think you might actually write for Leno…I think he is still doing Clinton material.  

      • BLPCB

        I’m still working on Castro jokes:
        Cutler is an expert on overthrows
        LeBron is an expert on choking
        Ray Allen is a great shooter
        Dick Chaney is a weapon of ass destruction
        I need more jokes though

  • AC0000000

    I know that, it was a bit of a joke, because I find it crazy that there are people who have worse sex lives than Clinton.

    I think this is the best win the Cubs will have all year.

    • I’m beginning to think you might actually write for Leno…I think he is still doing Clinton material.  

  • Seymour Butts

    Promiscuity is it’s own reward.

  • Seymour Butts

    Promiscuity is it’s own reward.

  • cap’n obvious

    young, stupid, and a multi-millionaire is a bad combination.  Ask any NFL or NBA player.

    • Jedi

      Or Tiger Woods.

    • I wouldn’t mind giving multi-millionaire’ing a try now that I’m old.

      • BLPCB

        I wish I had a million bucks. Then I could actually go to grad school and have a nice foundation to live life on.

  • cap’n obvious

    young, stupid, and a multi-millionaire is a bad combination.  Ask any NFL or NBA player.

    • Jedi

      Or Tiger Woods.

    • I wouldn’t mind giving multi-millionaire’ing a try now that I’m old.

  • flyslinger2

    I just had a conversation last night about character/morality/integrity with my two new business partners with regards to business that we will be conducting in the middle east.  We are putting our corporate employee documents together. In there is zero tolerance for any behavior or actions that would remotely hint at improprieties with the opposite sex.  It’s cause for immediate dismissal.  And because the employee is in the middle east and their visas are guest visa their visa would be immediately revoked and they would be treated as an illegal immigrant.  Those countries do not have the tolerance that we do for illegals. 

    All that to say character does count.  If you can’t expect the POTUS to keep it in his pants, because he is representing the greatest nation on earth, then why have so much command of respect for the position?  If your are sneaky and conniving so that you get the secret service to cover for you so you can have your dalliance, how can that individual be trusted with “The Football”, negotiate in good faith with other countries, and lead our country? You can’t, he didn’t and he wasn’t punished enough for being absolutley stupid.

    Sports figures may not like the fact that they are “super hero’s” and “role models” to youngsters, but they are.  I don’t have a huge respect for the media because they are about the big break instead of reporting accurately.  I do think they should report the foibles of these sports figures only because if the sports figure has no moral compass of his/her own to guide themselves with, the accountability is forced through the media. 

    Team owners are not about to write huge morality clauses into contracts beyond what the norms of society are for that time.  Drugs, of course, are frowned on, betting, and other nefarious or included.   

    Walk forward with integrity and you never have to look backwards to cover your tracks.

  • flyslinger2

    I just had a conversation last night about character/morality/integrity with my two new business partners with regards to business that we will be conducting in the middle east.  We are putting our corporate employee documents together. In there is zero tolerance for any behavior or actions that would remotely hint at improprieties with the opposite sex.  It’s cause for immediate dismissal.  And because the employee is in the middle east and their visas are guest visa their visa would be immediately revoked and they would be treated as an illegal immigrant.  Those countries do not have the tolerance that we do for illegals. 

    All that to say character does count.  If you can’t expect the POTUS to keep it in his pants, because he is representing the greatest nation on earth, then why have so much command of respect for the position?  If your are sneaky and conniving so that you get the secret service to cover for you so you can have your dalliance, how can that individual be trusted with “The Football”, negotiate in good faith with other countries, and lead our country? You can’t, he didn’t and he wasn’t punished enough for being absolutley stupid.

    Sports figures may not like the fact that they are “super hero’s” and “role models” to youngsters, but they are.  I don’t have a huge respect for the media because they are about the big break instead of reporting accurately.  I do think they should report the foibles of these sports figures only because if the sports figure has no moral compass of his/her own to guide themselves with, the accountability is forced through the media. 

    Team owners are not about to write huge morality clauses into contracts beyond what the norms of society are for that time.  Drugs, of course, are frowned on, betting, and other nefarious or included.   

    Walk forward with integrity and you never have to look backwards to cover your tracks.

  • Doc Raker

    nefarious, when was the last time we could use the word nefarious here at the View.
    * Becareful over there Flysinger, don’t make the sign of the cross in public.

    • flyslinger2

       I’m sorry.  I’ll put a governor on my vocabulary and set it to 5 letters all with words that wont challenge us in regards to truth, justi, or the ameri way.  See, it is worki alread!

  • Doc Raker

    nefarious, when was the last time we could use the word nefarious here at the View.
    * Becareful over there Flysinger, don’t make the sign of the cross in public.

  • Eddie Von White

    Suffice it to say: “you reap what you sow.”

  • Eddie Von White

    Suffice it to say: “you reap what you sow.”