I swear I had a clever title for this a moment ago…
Anyway, here’s my point today. Getting paid to write about sports is a pretty sweet gig. Just ask Shaun and me who don’t get paid, but write about it anyway. Recently though, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. There is way too much social commentary going on in sports journalism. If that was the extent of it, I wouldn’t be bothered. However, it’s not. The issue is that professional sports journalists and bloggers are making ridiculous statements about life and society without backing it up.
If I say I believe in the second amendment to the constitution, but believe that automatic assault rifles should be banned (both statements true), I will back it up by saying that I believe the only reason someone would own one of those kinds of firearms is if they intended to become a mass murderer. For home protection, a hand gun should suffice. For hunting, a hunting rifle should be fine. Who needs a damn AK 47 to hunt? I know, I know, the AK 47 reference is an exaggeration but my stance is not. It is now up to anyone who has an issue with my stance to state their differing opinion. Or not. But I have backed up my statement about thinking assault rifles are a ridiculuous thing for a civilian to own with plausible reason.
Now, take David Brown who is currently covering Spring Training for Yahoo! Sports. I like the way David writes. He deftly mixes humor with observation and it makes for entertaining stuff. However, in this article, he pissed me off. What a ridiculous thing to say, that we live in a society that is soft on drunk drivers. Obviously, David has never had a DUI. That’s a good thing; it means he’s responsible about his alcohol consumption and motor vehicle operation.
I, on the other hand, made a mistake years ago. I got a DUI, and I deserved it. I was not being a bad person, or willingly putting others in harm’s way. I was being ignorant. I drank too much, felt I was okay to drive, and was clearly wrong, judging by the fact that I had to pay thousands of dollars in fines, lose my driver’s license for a period of time, attend diversion classes, and be on probation for the period of three years, where if I got so much as a speeding ticket, I ran the risk of being violated and going to jail… whereI had already spent 48 hours.
I don’t know if you, kind readers, think that is a good enough penalty for a guy to pay or not. Thousands in fines does not sound like much to a professional athlete but for a young (ish) guy trying to get his life and career started, it’s potentially crippling. It didn’t stop there though.
I have good reason to believe that the district attorney’s office where I got busted (I’m not going to mention the county because I know how vindictive the DA’s office is there and don’t want to get sued… they are after all attorneys, and truth being an absolute defense against a libel charge goes out the window when you can’t afford an attorney to make that argument) had people call my place of employment and try to convince my boss to fire me. I also believe that they continually delayed charging me until the absolute last minute in hopes that I was dumb enough to make the same mistake twice. I also believe they misled the attorney I hired after I realized that getting to court without a license on short notice would be difficult, about when one of my hearings would be in hopes that she wouldn’t show up. I also know that the chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) out here is one of the biggest in the nation, and seems to have incredible lobbying power. Now, nobody will ever say that MADD is a bad organization. Their cause is a noble one. However, I also think they tried to publicize my arrest to my neighbors. I have no proof of this, but many of my neighbors curiously found out about it without me telling them.
Things became very difficult for me. And that’s fine. I broke a rule, a very serious one at that, and I needed to pay the punishment. But, nobody got hurt, thankfully. And it’s a ludicrous thing to condemn the fact that if nobody gets hurt, the punishment is less, whereas if you hurt someone, you are in much deeper waters. Still, after all is said and done, the whole thing ran me about 8 grand, and a boatload of time. My insurance rates are still high despite the number of years that have passed.
Todd Helton probably has it a bit easier. He certainly has deeper pockets. But it seems as if David thinks they should have locked him up and thrown away the key for his recent DUI arrest, and that his teammates should be advocating his deportation to a leper colony.
Wow, this has actually turned into a very long version of, if you don’t know what you are talking about, then keep your mouth shut and your hands off the keyboard.