The Short Game: Common Sense Becoming Uncommon

Mike Carlson, Spear Contributor

Today’s athletes have it all. They have the amazing athletic ability, multi-million dollar endorsements, and more notoriety than a pink-tight-wearing Shia Labeouf walking down Hollywood Boulevard. Seriously, that did happen and it was glorious. However, there is one thing lacking in these superstars of sport. That thing is common sense.

Yes, you read that right. The athletes of the modern era lack common sense.

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is missing a bit common sense and that is putting it gently. Over the summer, Winston got caught stealing crab legs. A seemingly harmless act unless you are a quarterback slated to make millions in the NFL like Winston. There was about as much common sense in this one act as there was good acting in “Sharknado. It is nonsensical to risk an entire career over some crab legs, unless, of course, this was the beginning of Jameis’s run on “Deadliest Catch.” And while Winston didn’t completely blow his shot at stardom, he did lose a bit of his future crab legs fund.

Moving from one institution to another, four Notre Dame football players were suspended for academic fraud. If you can’t find a tutor willing to help out the football team at Notre Dame then what can you find? It’s a top 20 university with a crop of students who have done everything, but achieve total world peace. Still, these players resorted to cheating and, based solely on the fact that they got caught, could have maybe benefitted from a tutor in that area as well.

In the NFL, common sense is about as prevalent as dodo birds.

When now former quarterback Brett Favre sexting a reporter is the least of your problems, you know there may be a judgement issue. Players exercise indiscretion more than they actually exercise. Plaxico Burress carried a gun into a club and accidentally shot himself in what proved to be his only target for a while. Burress was sentenced to two years in prison and one year on the Jets. Four New Orleans Saints players were handed a heavy suspension for their involvement in on-field bounty hunting. Who helped with that decision? A magic eight ball.

Major League Baseball baseball players go through steroids quicker than bubble gum. In true Oprah style, 20 players were all at once given out suspensions by MLB for violating the performance-enhancing drug policy this past summer. In other news, performance-enhancing drugs don’t enhance decision-making skills.

Remarkably enough, the NBA’s players haven’t had the same degree of discretion troubles. The owners, notwithstanding, are a different story. There is a rampant racial issue among the owners. For the NBA, this is their most taxing conflict. For the NFL, it’s called a Tuesday.

My point in all of this is that athletes need to clue in and find some common sense. They live privileged lives and with that privilege should come sound judgement. Truthfully, a normal life isn’t in the realm of possibility for an athlete. They traded their extraordinary ability for a life perpetually under the scrutiny of the public.

But what do I know. I’m just a columnist.