Two weeks ago, I wrote a blog somewhat apologizing to Kobe Bryant for finding him guilty in the court of public opinion for his dropped rape case in 2003. Like a lot of people, I had a personal grudge against Kobe that impacted how I viewed his decisions. I came to realize that Kobe isn’t that bad of a guy.
But according to The Dirty, Kobe still has some work to do.
My real dilemma with this story came with The Dirty itself. As you all should know, The Dirty landed in infamy for their exposure of Matt Leinart and the underage- girls-with-liquor story earlier this year. The blog post led to Arizona sports columnists blasting Leinart for his “lack of maturity” and “loss of determination”.
While I, like others, found some humor in those photos, I also found some humility in them. Leinart is a 25-year-old guy. What 20-something doesn’t like to party with drunk girls? The photos made him look human. But when Braylon Edwards, during the now-infamous Costas Now Buzz vs. Leitch segment, said that athletes now have to watch what they do in fear of being blasted on the internet, one question quickly popped in my mind: Shouldn’t athletes do that regardless?
Obviously, no athlete wants to go to a club thinking “I can’t get wasted; Deadspin might out me tomorrow” but human beings themselves have the right, the will and the need to be careful. Regardless whether TMZ or The Dirty is creeping in the backdoor, an athlete should be making decisions with the one tool God gave us all: common sense.
Common sense tells you not to drink and drive. Common sense tells you to not “make love in the club” or do the “two-finger split at an industry party”, and common sense should really tell you not to risk your sexual health over some two-bit trollop.
Every time an athlete makes a mistake, the first thing they say is, “I’m human and human makes mistakes.” Athletes want to be treated as human beings but they tend to treat themselves as “super-human”. Internally, they feel they can do anything, say anything without consequences (and that’s a whole ‘nother story in itself).
It becomes a problem when someone consciously makes the same mistake over and over or they never own up to their original mistake. It takes a real person to admit they messed up.
Human beings face the consequences for their actions everyday. So if athletes want to be treated like human beings, they need to start treating themselves as human beings. Make conscious decisions and if you don’t and get caught, brush the photos off, admit to yourself that you f*cked up and keep it moving.