Code of conduct unbecoming

By Brian Howard

In recent week's, I have written about Michelle Wie and whether or not she is ready to be an impact player on the LPGA tour.

Well, after several e-mails from Hawaii and New York, my opinion remains the same. As a matter of fact, I may be one of only a handful to side with Michael Bamberger, the Sports Illustrated reporter who became the story more than a week and a half ago at the LPGA Samsung World Championships in Palm Desert, Calif.

Bamberger, a senior writer at SI, got involved when he witnessed an illegal drop by Wie on the seventh hole during Saturday's third round. After Wie completed a 1-under-par 71, she went to the scoring trailing to sign her scorecard. When Bamberger finally spoke with her, Wie was confident that her drop had been proper but had no specifics to set his mind at ease, an SI article stated.

Bamberger, who spent 1985 as a caddy on the PGA Tour and 1990 on the European Tour, clearly knew the rules.

Rules are rules and they're not to be broken, no matter who is involved.

Instead of being the one to report the story, Bamberger crossed the media line by becoming the story. So he made a media mistake. But in the end, SI stood by the reporter. This is the same publication, owned by Time, Inc. that had settled a lawsuit with former Washington State/Alabama football coach Mike Price less than a week prior to the event.

But Bamberger isn't just one person with the code of conduct unbecoming. A journalist should never be the story but to write the story.

In recent week's, the NFL and NBA has been subject to the same criticism that Bamberger has taken.

The NFL has always had a solid reputation, but this season has been different.

Remember where the displaced New Orleans Saints played its so-called first home game? Giants Stadium against the New York Giants. No home field advantage there as one end zone was painted in Saints colors, but the crowd was more for the Giants, than the Saints.

Then, two weeks ago, some Minnesota Vikings players decided to take things to a whole new level by having sexual lewd acts upon a few charter yachts in Lake Minnetonka. That kind of display landed Vikings owner Zygi Wilf into a tirade-laced team meeting, prompting a new organizational code of conduct.

All I know is when my birthday rolls around in April, I am inviting many Vikings players to the party and having Fred Smoot organize it.

Then there is the NBA, a league that use to have such a fan base that carried rivalries such as the Lakers (Magic Johnson) vs. the Celtics (Larry Bird) or the Bulls (Michael Jordan) vs. the Knicks (Patrick Ewing).

David Stern is on the verge of becoming one of the greatest commissioners in the entire sports industry, because of his new dress code policy.

I am certainly in favor of it based on what it brings to the table - a level of professionalism.

If two people are vying for one job and one comes in with a throwback jersey and gold chain, there is a chance that person won't get hired. If the other comes in wearing a suit (Stern's dress code policy), then that person would have a better chance at getting the job than the person wearing the throwback jersey.

In the end, I think the sports industry needs to do better with a code of conduct policy. Perhaps instead of small suspensions, make a difference and send a message.

(Brian Howard is a sports writer at The Daily. He can be e-mailed at: bhoward@news-daily.com )