These are the wrong role models

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 3, 2005

I had a scary thought this moment when I was perusing the headlines from the past year in sports. Over the past two months, professional sports have made professional wrestling look legitimate.

I'm not kidding.

Between whiny, overpaid (insert professional athlete here) refusing to take a salary because "he needs to feed his family" to basketball players leaping off of the scores table to pounce on a fan or multiple fans, Monday night Raw and Smackdown! Are looking like quality family programming.

Recently, following the NBA brawl charges were pressed against some of the fans as well as the NBA stars themselves. Although I'm relatively sure that the players will pay their fines without a second thought or either get their agent to fight it and say it was someone else's fault. The one thing learned from the NBA is that professional basketball players can't take a hard foul, let alone a punch. But don't have a problem throwing sucker-punches.

Now professional basketball players aren't the only ones who have been making news recently. Let's look at America's favorite past time.

Baseball was recently dealt a major blow when two of it's most prominent athletes were put on the stand and had to testify under penalty of perjury that they used steroids.

You know, you've got to respect Jason Giambi. The boy finally cowboy'ed up and admitted to using steroids during his 2003 MVP season.

But, thinking about it, he had to tell the truth, no one bought the intestinal parasite line. He dropped nearly a whole person because he was getting off the juice. Now for his National League counterpart, Barry Bonds, the truth was hidden behind ignorance. He thought that the steroid that was engineered for him was an arthritis rub.

Yeah, since most arthritis rubs causes a 38-year old man's head to swell two cap sizes. It's not because he's getting smarter.

And then on top of that, the league that is supposed to foster fights is having a shouting match with the administration over the need for a salary cap.

Players and owners of the National Hockey League are going skate-for-skate over the proposed salary cap.

Who would have ever thought that a league where a majority of their salaries went for bridgework and false teeth would get caught up in a financial struggle.

But, at least when you sit down and you watch a program offered by World Wrestling Entertainment, you have an idea of what you are going to be getting.

The show is going to open with someone talking in the center of the ring about themselves or the past pay-per-view or their opponent for the upcoming pay-per-view. Then another member of the sports entertainment community's music will erupt over the loudspeaker and then there will be a confrontation.

The thing about professional wrestling and sports entertainment is that they aren't ashamed of what they do. If they cheat, they don't lie about it, they carry stuff to the ring with them and then use it. If they take steroids-great. The bigger the better.

You will never hear a professional wrestler say that he thought his steroid was flaxseed oil or an arthritis rub.

People may not like the sport because it's "rasslin" or fake. Which to an extent it is.

But, compared to the professional athletes of today who are afraid to go across the middle in the NFL, take a charge in the NBA, play fair in Major League or set foot on the ice in the NHL, professional wrestlers are the better entertainers.They don't go out there and dog it because they are having a disagreement with their coach or are in the middle of contract negotiations. They aren't getting paid the ungodly huge salaries that some of the so-called megastars of sports are.

These guys go out there and perform for the crowd because it's in their blood and they want to see their industry succeed.

For that you have to admire them.

It's that simple.

Griffin Pritchard is the sports editor of the Greenville Advocate. He can be reached by email at or by phone at 382-3111.