Robert Ringer, a best selling author, wrote a fascinating article the other day on sports and the men who play it professionally. In his article, The Glorification of Sports Thuggery, he laments how pro sports, mostly basketball and football, has been been overcome by thug culture.
Ringer points out three trends that symbolize this thug culture; baggy basketball shorts, athletes covered in tattoos, and long hair. The list may sound extremely old school, but Ringer’s list points to a lack of discipline and respect. No matter how physically talented an athlete is, he’ll never reach the pros without the discipline required to sacrifice and work hard. So how is it that so many pro athletes are exhibiting boorish, undisciplined behavoir off the field? Why is it the culture of pro sports fails to honor the discipline and sacrifice required to study game film, get up early and run, or lift weight for hours, but rather embraces the identity of the thug?
With proper coaching, parenting and mentoring, sports can be one of the best ways to learn discipline and respect. But if star athletes are coddled and enabled their whole lives, they’ll never learn discipline or respect. If their parents or coaches never stop them or tell them “no” they’ll wind up suffering for it in the long run… or those around them will suffer.
I am reminded of one of the most famous sports broadcasters of all time, the late Howard Cosell. In discussing all the former athletes who turned into TV analysts he called it a “Jock-ocracy.” Perhaps he’d take a look at today’s athletes and dub it a thug-ocracy.