New Castle News

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March 13, 2010

JOE SAGER: Out-of-control behavior a reflection on today’s society — sorry

Let your play do the talking.

Those are simple words, but among the best any coach ever has given me.

Yet, these days, sports have become more about talking rather than just playing the game. More and more, I have witnessed sports evolve into a me-first extravaganza, instead of a team-first concept, which it should be — unequivocally.

This evolution has become very apparent in my years of playing and covering various athletics.

So, where did this “decline” begin?

I have thought about this for some time and the point when I really started noticing this sports selfishness was in the late 1990s. Sure, there were plenty of examples in years prior, but in my generation, this is the beginning of the end.

That’s when I really started noticing pro athletes who seemed more interested in chest-pounding and thuggery than merely playing the game.

Surely, the Internet and media explosion of the time provided more wall-to-wall sports coverage, which made athletes more aware of their impact on society. And, as contracts grew and more dollars went flying, it only made things worse until they really got out of hand.

Two examples that come to mind are Deion Sanders and Allen Iverson. Both were tremendous players, but weren’t exactly charming with their antics.

I am all for an athlete taking pride in his or her skills or playing hard, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying you shouldn’t celebrate a touchdown, a goal or a nice pass, sweet save or play with some flair. When it comes to acting tough or showing up other people – that’s the sort of crap I despise. Those boundaries have been blown away in recent years.

Like a domino effect, it wasn’t long before the look-at-me attitude really took off in college sports.

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