Monday, August 20, 2007

Vick Takes a Plea, Runs Out Clock on his Career

This may become the classic case study on a spoiled athlete -- a cautionary tale coaches remind themselves when justifying treating their kids like -- gasp! -- any other kids.

Hopefully college and professional teams will revamp their HR departments:

Most teams have their own security directors, who are responsible for protecting players off the field and, especially, on the road. But on many teams, the security directors (if not some other officials) are also the ones who advise the athletes on which limousine companies and strip club operators have the most discretion. "It turns out the guy isn't there for bomb threats," says Shirley. "He's there to make sure the players don't get into trouble."

Most leagues require their athletes to attend programs -- "rookie seminars" -- that help teach them the finer points of the professional athlete, but with all of the high profile off-field incidents that have occurred in the last few years, from Pac Man Jones to the Cincinnati Bengals, one would assume more can be done.

There will always be great athletes willing to throw everything away for something of little value simply because they take risks for a living. That's what makes them great -- taking risks -- and unless they have guidance those athletes will start taking risks with no material gain, but simply to avoid getting caught. I don't know if that was Vick's case (it sounds far more forgiving than being motivated by a brutal blood-lust), but athletes have to be reminded that those who throw away their talents early in life are not viewed as tragic or romantic figures -- they're just punks.

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