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          When fans care

          Kabir Gulati

          Issue date: 4/16/10 Section: Sports
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          Another week passes and another professional sports player is in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

          Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is just the newest sports star (though it is his second time through the wash) to be knocked down a peg or two due to behavior Al Capone would shake his finger at.

          There is obviously nothing decent about Roethlisberger's actions or the actions of other players caught with pants around ankles or a foot in the mouth.

          But what should fans reasonably be allowed to expect from their favorite sports stars?

          First, let's remove from this conversation those who have broken the law, because that means they are not only failing their teams and fan bases - they are failing at being human. Still, there is a long list of those with scrolls of moral indiscretions who are torn apart by the media and public alike.

          These athletes have done things that run the gamut from tweeting about weed to multiple affairs (guess who?). Yet all these transgressions have nothing to do with the game they play. Still, the players seem to be thrown under the bus and stripped of the respect they have accrued over the years. But what decides how much we should all hate these athletes and how many hoops should they have to hop through before they can win their place in our hearts again? For example, Santonio Holmes, who has a history of misdemeanors, allegedly threw a glass at a woman and was then traded away from the Steelers, while Big Ben still remains in camp in Pennsylvania.

          Or how about when LeGarrette Blount popped an opposing player after losing a game and having the opposition rub it in his face? Blount was immediately suspended for the whole season. But when women's basketball player Brittney Griner blasted another player in the face from behind in the middle of a game, she was handed a two-game suspension and it is barely mentioned when she was in the Final Four at the end of the season.

          Personally, I don't really care what my favorite players do off the field. Yes, I use the info to make fun of opposing teams and fans, but beyond that, I don't care if my defensive tackle is a big enough idiot to carry a loaded weapon onto a plane? As long as he plugs up running lanes and sits on QBs chests nine times a year, our relationship is good.

          Do I hate Tiger? No. You know why? Because he is still the master of his trade and the reason I watch golf.

          Do I hate Big Ben? Of course! Why? Because I hate the Steelers. It has nothing to do with my personal feelings regarding him being a deviant. As long as my players perform and do what they are supposed to do, our beautiful sports relationship will continue to blossom.
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          In This Issue

          News

          • Can you name this place?
          • Cleveland Institute of Art announces new president
          • Have you heard about The Confused Greenies
          • Relay For Life hoping for success as event begins today
          • Undergraduate Student Government inaugurations bring new faces, new initiatives

          Sports

          • For Gobies, this weekend is first step to goal
          • Howe's love of game grows
          • Smetona's workouts work out
          • Spartan Spotlight: Jon Edmunds
          • Spartans drop 13th and 14th straight to Wooster
          • Spartans go 2-2 against Wolverines, Lords
          • Spartans near best win total in school history
          • Whalen auditions for Browns, Mangini
          • When fans care

          Opinion

          • City boasts unusual outdoor spaces for observing Cleveland in springtime
          • Editorial: Although meal plan policy remains unchanged, policy seems fundamentally flawed
          • Letters to the editor: Greek Life opportunities
          • Political leaders are ill-equipped to decide when wars are "just"
          • Sticks and stones: bullying still hurts, but can be stopped with just one word
          • What's your favorite flower?

          Focus

          • August: Osage County astonishes audiences
          • International Conference on Narrative successful and engaging
          • Just a Perfect Day
          • Pokémon returns to Nintendo DS with best games in years
          • Rompers: this season's divisive trend
          • Safety First
          • Take a picture, It'll Last Longer: CIA student photo exhibition
          • The Buzz
          • Tremont: The A-list of Cleveland's bars
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