Here we are again…having that conversation.
The conversation about when sports and reality collide. When one’s values and dollars blur together.
We are in another ethical vortex. Last night, Jameis Winston was selected #1 overall in the NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has been accused and cleared criminally of sexual assault, although the civil suit is just getting warmed up. He has a variety of other idiotic behaviour, although there is not a thing that he has done that some idiot kid in your neighbourhood hasn’t done as well.
Some are outraged that despite his questionable behaviour, that he is going to be rewarded for his athletic gifts to the tune of 50+ million dollars. Since when did questionable behaviour get in the way of making money?
Then there is Floyd Mayweather Jr., who tomorrow night will earn over 100 million dollars for his long awaited fight with Manny Paquiao. He makes Winston look like a choir boy. Multiple, at last count at least a half dozen counts of domestic violence, battery, coercion and the like over the past decade, including jail time. There are many who believe that Mayweather forfeited his right to fight when he did the crimes. Since when did different rules apply to people that can make big money?
Let me ask the question…have both Winston and Mayweather been convicted of crimes? Yes. Have they both done their time? Yes.
Then why all the fuss? Right…the morality card.
Here are your rights. You have the right to complain bitterly about these two jackasses, and you have the right NOT to support their endeavours. However, in this world as we know it, when there is a person who can make money for you, no matter what their past, if they have served their time and they are legally entitled to work in this country or the country that they live in, they deserve that right.
You can personally try to sanction them by boycotting what they do, but to stop them from doing business breaks the very laws that we have in place that protect you and your right to work.
You are allowed to be morally opposed to someone’s actions, but then we are all hypocrites aren’t we?
Michael Vick is a convicted animal abuser…yet we still pay money to go see him play football.
Robert Downey Jr was a long time substance abuser, he was in and out of jail and rehab for years, yet we celebrate his recovery and revival and flock to see his movies…he now has a net worth of 170 million dollars, all earned AFTER his rehabilitation. Yet because he does something we may like…no problem.
Where does that moral line get crossed? Drug abusers are exempt from our wrath, but violence towards animals, children and women void the person of their opportunity to have the right to make a living? If that was the case, Ted Kennedy, a sitting US senator who drove his car off the road, should have been never allowed into a senate chamber again…but he wasn’t. Craig MacTavish was convicted of vehicular manslaughter in 1984…according to some of you, based upon the rules that you are applying to Mayweather and Winston, Mac-T should have never been allowed to set foot in a hockey rink again. He won four Stanley Cups after his incarceration and is still in the game today…yet we don’t seek to excommunicate him.
There is no magic bullet answer here…you have a choice. You can choose to complain about these people and you can choose to boycott their activities. But don’t tell the rest of us what we should or shouldn’t do. It is our right, just like yours, to decide for ourselves.