By Dan Tursky (Class of 2011)
Professional Tennis player David Ferrer was participating in the Sony Ericsson Open Quarterfinal match against Mardy Fish when a spur of events turned the match upside down. A wailing baby in the stands sparked Ferrer’s frustration as he lost his composure and decided to lob a ball up in the general direction of where the noise of the infant was coming from.
Though his action of technically throwing a ball at a helpless baby may have been an act of frustration and it may have been unintentional, it was a completely ruthless and an unnecessary act that brings a question to mind that has been coming up more recently in the past few years. Are athletes and fans alike beginning to go overboard in incidents involving sports and setting poor examples for younger viewers across the globe?
Take Cowboys rookie receiver Dez Bryant and the example he has set to all the young children across the nation early in this NFL off-season. Late this march, Bryant was escorted out of an upscale Dallas shopping mall after he was involved in a dispute regarding a pair of sagging jeans that he and some companions were wearing.
According to the statement made by the security guards at NorthPark Center in Dallas, “when the officers asked the four to pull up their trousers, Bryant launched into a profanity-laced tirade that prompted the officers to escort the four from the mall.” All that can be said about this hanus act is that it was as unneccesary and despicable as a situation can come, and it now holds a very negative effect to kids across the nation that are meant to be looking up to Bryant.
Tirades like this one concerning Dez Bryant have had more effect than just on children as well. As athletes seem to be becoming worse role models in sports, it makes a huge impact on fans as well. Maybe fans are thinking that, if athletes can get away with doing all these bad things, they can do the same as well without any consequences. And maybe this is why tragedy hit one fan and his family at the beginning of this year’s baseball season. It may have been the eye-opener concerning this issue that is starting to dramatically worsen in sports.
Major league baseball celebrated its opening day March 31, a day meant for joy and happiness rather than what occurred minutes after the Los Angeles Dodgers delivered the San Francisco Giants with a 2-1 heartbreaking opening day loss. But the defeating loss may have not been the biggest news stirring around the stadium after the game. In a parking lot at the stadium, 42-year-old Bryan Stow (a Giants fan) was brutally attacked and beaten by two Dodgers fans that knocked Stow out of consciousness and then took off running.
Occurrences like this have seemed to be happening more often and under worse circumstances. Both MLB team managers addressed their thoughts to the press about the situation that occurred involving Stow. Giants manager Bruce Bochy stated, “It’s sad. It’s a shame somebody’s in critical condition because of a ball game. When they’re out fighting in the parking lot, we’ve lost sight of what this is all about.”
New Dodgers manager and former MLB great Don Mattingly couldn’t agree more, proclaiming, “I was disappointed. You don’t want to see that. Everyone likes rivalries, but to me that’s crossing the line.” And it seems as though these incidents of crossing the line are happening more and more in sports than ever.
The real way to reverse this occuring situation undoubtedly has to start with the athletes. They are the ones that are meant to set the examples which prevent tragedies like this happening. If they are sending negative messages, then that is what will come across to people and vice-versa. It is ultimately up to them to control how their fans and viewers react to their own actions.
From Barry Bonds and Mark Mcgwire, to Tiger Woods and Serena Williams, the people our nation once thought of as great examples and who the youth of our nation wants to be when they grow up is starting to take an unexpected turn that is changing our views on them.