Integrity matters

Column by Mark McFarland, Assistant Sports Editor

Integrity is defined in the dictionary as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.

It is not only about being honest, but about being someone who is respected and who has a good moral compass.

If that is the true, why are athletes held to a lower standard?

People see the athletes as some of the greatest people and role models in the world. The issue is athletes aren’t held to the standard they should.

There are athletes that get away with a lot of things other human beings would never get away with.

Ray Rice got caught beating his wife and got suspended from the league. Though he completed everything the NFL had asked of him to get reinstated to the league, he still cannot find a job. This is one step to stopping the problem.

If NFL general managers and owners take a stand for trying to better their teams, then maybe the NFL will try to better the league.

Issues like this are what are tainting the league and everyone involved with it. Rice is someone who does not belong in the league if the NFL does not get their act together.

Many athletes go around with “perfect” records with not a scratch on them from a moral point of view. Peyton Manning is one of those athletes.

This season, there have been rumors, though none of them have been proven true, of Manning using performance enhancing drugs (PED) to better his play in his old age, plus the rumors of sexual assault while he was still at the University of Tennessee.

Before him came players like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds.

All three of these hard-hitting baseball players were busted with PEDs, and then caught lying about the issue to Congress.

There are actually some sports writers who vote for guys like this to be put in the Hall of Fame every year.

If that does not show the amount of undeserved respect some of these athletes receive, nothing else will.

Americans have an issue with believing the best in athletes way too often.

Athletes are always given the benefit of the doubt yet constantly prove America wrong when they mess up yet again.

Granted, there are some athletes who are good people to follow morally but there are far more who have proven they need to be held accountable more often.

Athletes have a persona about them. They act invincible and can get away with anything. This is one of the major issues that has led to the issues athletes have on and off the field.

The NFL has issued more and more changes to its policy on domestic violence because it becomes more of an issue every season.

Because of the recent troubles in the NFL with domestic violence, NCAA teams, including Murray State, have been doing things to try and let their players know that it will not be tolerated. 

It is time to wake up. Much like politicians, athletes believe they are untouchable. They believe they can get away with anything and if they get caught they will try and lie about it until they are put in their grave.

Athletes are great for America. They go out there and put on a show when they are asked to so they can entertain the American people.

The issue is the amount of respect they get. When is enough enough?