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Monday, Jan. 16, 2017

Selfish athletes aren't team players

Posted Friday, August 10, 2007, at 6:48 AM

Ridiculous quotes of the week:

"This record is not tainted at all. At all. Period." (Barry Bonds, speaking of breaking Hank Aaron's record with home run No. 756).

"I want to prove that I am the greatest team-sport athlete." (Pacman Jones, the semi-Tennessee Titan now wrestling with his future).

"LaMarcus (Coker) ... has been diligent working with a medical situation." (University of Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer, revealing that his leading running back has been suspended.)

I'm willing to accept Bonds' mark. I'm in total disagreement with his alleged use of steroids, if it occurred, but the fact is the record was broken.

Jones' speaking of being a team player is ridiculous. He's just out for himself. This guy needs to be stripped of his arrogance before he can really live up to the "team player" label.

And whatever type of "medical situation" Coker's dealing with, obviously it was brought on by some sort of infraction or his absence would be handled by something other than a suspension. Even considering the fact Coker's scholarship is likely funded through athletic department contributions rather than taxpayers, he's still publicly representing a state-funded school and is an adult ... so a more detailed explanation is in order.

Applaud the athletes who compete the right way in life and keep themselves out of trouble. Have some amount of understanding, or at least human compassion, for those who make the wrong choices.

But keep in mind that many of those "wrong choices" are preventable.

And more in the way of good behavior should be expected from the overpaid pros who, like it or not, are role models.

People such as teachers, nurses, police officers and mechanics (just to name a few occupations) -- those unsung heroes who labor to keep us out of trouble, learning, healthy and on the move -- are much more deserving of high pay than athletes who, as entertaining as they are, are basically adults playing children's games on a more physical level.

I realize fans are paying the salaries of athletes and taxpayers' money pays those employed in the public sector. But the income level is still more than a little bit unequal.

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.