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Bad sports behavior spins out of control

By Doug Gorman

So let me see if I've got this straight.

Texas Rangers' pitcher Kenny Rogers pushes a news photographer and receives what amounts to a slap on the wrist.

Baltimore Orioles' slugger Rafael Palmeiro tests positive to using steroids only months after testifying at a Congressional hearing to never using the junk. Now, he faces possible perjury charges.

Philadelphia Eagles' wide receiver Terrell Owens doesn't handle authority well, he gets in an argument with his coach, and then is asked to leave training camp while the rest of his teammates are sweltering in the hot August sun in an effort to get back to the Super Bowl for the second straight year.

What we have here are three examples of professional sports run amok, and I for one am tired of these over-paid, cocky athletes getting away with their antics.

In the real world, Rogers' display of bad behavior would have serious consequences. Rogers may not like the media, but that photographer wasn't some member of the paparazzi lurking in the bushes outside the pitchers' home while trying to come up with some sort of scandalous or fabricated story.

He wasn't invading Rogers' space; he was just getting footage for an upcoming newscast. Rogers was originally suspended for 20 games, four to five starts for a pitcher, but a players' union arbitrator stepped in, and Rogers is now free to pitch again.

Reducing Rogers' punishment sends a message to the rest of us that talented athletes don't have to follow society's norms.

Palmeiro, or any other athlete's, use of steroids is scary. Steroid users are nothing more than cheaters.

They have such lack of faith in their own God-given ability that they try to get an advantage by any means necessary.

Has the win-at-all-cost attitude created a bunch of players who are so determined to win they put dangerous drugs into their body, with little regard to health problems they might encounter in the future? Do we as a society tend to look the other way because steroids aren't marijuana or cocaine?

The danger in steroid use is the message it sends to high school or even younger athletes who may now look at steroids as a way to punch their ticket to the pros, or the very least earn a college scholarship.

Terrell Owens' antics are nothing new. His wish to renegotiate his seven-year, $48.97 million dollar deal after one season tells us all we need to know about the man.

"T.O" only cares about one thing, and that's "T.O." Sure, he is a talented wide receiver, but the NFL would continue to thrive without him.

Perhaps if professional sports organizations would start to get rid of their bad apples for good, their bad image would finally heal.

Then again, I guess I'm only dreaming. When it comes to professioal sport, talent will always win out over anything else, including good behavior, and that's the sad part of the story.

(Doug Gorman is sports editor of the news-daily. He can be reached at dgorman@news-daily.com ).