Guide Unsportsmanlike Conduct: 15 Professional Athletes Turned Into Murderers

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Nor was DiMaggio alone: Jackie Robinson and Ted Williams in baseball, Oscar Robertson in basketball, Sammy Baugh in football, and other successful athletes behaved with dignity and grace in and out of uniform. These were larger-than-life figures, whom kids and grownups, too could admire. T hough thankfully the sportsman hasn't completely vanished, he is an endangered species today.

Three sweeping changes, all beginning in the sixties, have hastened his decline. First is the elevation of winning above the values of sportsmanship. The prime mover of this change, ironically, was himself a great sportsman: Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of pro football's Green Bay Packers during their championship seasons in the sixties.

Lombardi's famous dictum, "Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing," had destructive consequences its author never intended. Because Lombardi's win-or-nothing imperative brought success on the field, it swept though American sports, elbowing aside the ideal of the sportsman. It even had a huge effect on school sports. Writer James Michener lamented in his mid-seventies book Sports in America that coaches were applying it to kids, robbing youth sports of civility and fun. Michener tells the troubling story of a Kentucky high school that showcased students who quit its football team in a conspicuous "hall of shame," humiliating the teens in front of their peers.

Today's parents seem squarely in Lombardi's camp, too. As the Monitor reports, a few concerned Little Leagues have tried to restrain out-of-control parents: parents in Los Angeles, for example, must sign a promise of good behavior, and in Jupiter, Florida, parents must take a good-sportsmanship class before their children even can play. One Staten Island father doesn't seem to have learned the lesson correctly, however: complaining last month that the coach's "Vince Lombardi philosophy" of winning at all costs had traumatized his ten-year-old hockey-playing son, he broke the coach's nose with a hockey stick.

Cele|bitchy | Did the US Women’s soccer team deserve to be criticized for celebrating their win?

The pressure to win at all costs has led many athletes to cheat by pumping up their performance with banned substances like anabolic steroids. Illegal drug-enhanced athletic feats have become epidemic in Olympic competition, and nearly half the respondents to a recent survey of college athletes by the National College Athletics Association claimed that the use of banned substances was a significant problem in college sports. Vince Lombardi, seeing the considerable damage his winning-is-the-only-thing ethic had wrought, renounced it shortly before his death in "I wish to hell I'd never said the damned thing.

I meant the effort. I meant having a goal. I sure as hell didn't mean for people to crush human values and morality. T he second solvent that has eaten away sportsmanship is money, lots of it, as TV turned sports into big business in the late sixties. Other sports, including college athletics, began generating big entertainment money, too. The flood of money strengthened Lombardi's winning-is-everything imperative, as teams grasped that victory brought high TV ratings and high revenues. Owners cared whether a given player helped the team win games and bring in cash, not whether he showed sportsmanship.

So teams began to put up with the likes of the NBA's pierced and tattooed Dennis Rodman, whose rebounding skills helped the Chicago Bulls win three championships but whose offensive antics included flagrant fouls and verbal abuse of officials on the court and transvestism and a squalid, much-publicized fling with Madonna off it.

Professional athletes of times past retained some of the amateur sportsman's ethic of playing for love of the game, not just for pay. Baseball's last. That ethic is a far cry from today's millionaire basketball stars who boycott training camp because a rival is suddenly making more money, or to baseball greats who charge a fee for an autograph. T he third solvent that corroded the ideal of sportsmanship was the counterculture. Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas was a devout and temperate Catholic, who lived with his wife and four kids in the Baltimore suburbs—the very model of civility and respectability.

Hard-drinking playboy Namath, who lived in a penthouse on Manhattan's Upper East Side, reportedly bedded a different starlet every week. As sportswriter Glenn Dickey sums up: "Namath. Namath ushered in a libertine era in sports, as teams dropped any pretense of enforcing sexual decorum, or indeed any decorum. By the mid-seventies, the professional athlete became a sexual conquistador, surrounded by groupies like a rock star. Basketball's only player to score points in a game, the late Wilt "the Stilt" Chamberlain, scored plenty off court as well, boasting 20, sexual partners during a long career.

In , basketball superstar Magic Johnson retired from the Los Angeles Lakers after announcing that he had contracted HIV from having had sex, he claimed, with countless women. The inimitable Dennis Rodman crudely but vividly describes today's groupie scene in his "book," Bad As I Wanna Be —a title that can serve as sportsmanship's epitaph. And they're not going to think for a second about the consequences. The worst consequence has been the breathtaking number of illegitimate children pro athletes have sired, as Grant Wahl and L.

Jon Wertheim document in a much-discussed Sports Illustrated article.


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The NBA has the most sexually irresponsible athletes—perhaps, they conclude, because so many of the players hail from single-parent, inner-city families, where live-in fathers are few. One sports agent who spends most of his time defending paternity suits estimates that there are easily more illegitimate kids born to current NBA players than there are players in the league. Cleveland Cavalier power forward Shawn Kemp, 28 and unmarried when the SI article appeared, led the list with seven illegitimate children born to six different women.

Some of the players have nothing to do with their kids beyond court-mandated child-support payments. Len Elmore, a former NBA player, worked a while as a sports agent, but quit in disgust because of the players' "lack of responsibility. The counterculture's influence, intensified by the street-hardened backgrounds of increasing numbers of pro athletes, made drug use common in sports, too. At the same time, around 40 percent of the NFL's players were using it, too, according to former player Carl Eller, an ex-junkie himself.

Because of public disgust and the obvious drug-induced deterioration of many players' skills, each of the major sports leagues began to implement drug policies of varying degrees of effectiveness in the eighties. In the fall of , for example, 24 NFL players, including superstar Lawrence Taylor, received suspensions for substance abuse after failing random drug tests.

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Several NBA stars—including crowd-pleaser Michael Ray Richardson—wound up booted out of the league permanently for repeated drug violations. As a result, nobody thinks that the substance-abuse problem of sports is as bad today as it was 15 years ago—but no one thinks it is solved, either. I n place of the sportsman, the gladiator has appeared, substituting naked aggression for the sportsman's fidelity to rules, restraint, and civility.

Ferocity has invaded even kids' sports, necessitating police intervention. In , for example, year-old Gilbert Jefferson, a New Mexico football player, received a six-month jail term for attacking a referee from behind after getting kicked out of the game for unsportsmanlike conduct. Chicago police last year charged a teen with aggravated battery for a vicious hit in a high school hockey game that left a year-old boy paralyzed.

In Texas, year-old Tony Limon, a star basketball player for South San Antonio High School, recently received a five-year prison term for aggravated assault: he had elbowed an opponent so violently that he had broken his nose and given him a serious concussion. Limon's coach reportedly helped precipitate the assault.

Winston Porter

The kids, though, are just following the lead of the pros. Each National Hockey League team, for example, now employs what sportswriters and fans call a "goon," a player whose job is to intimidate the other team's stars. The goons of rival teams regularly clash in gory punchouts. The league has tolerated the violence for 30 years, because many fans revel in it.

But the gladiators, bigger than ever, get ever closer to killing each other. Brashear suffered a bad concussion and has yet to return to the ice. Thank you for ALL your comments. This was the freaking World Cup. The players are professionals. They made history and set records. They did it while simultaneously fighting for equality. Sweet baby Jesus, what is wrong with people? Thank you and all the other sane people on this thread.

What were the women on the other team doing? Were they also not fighting for equality? I think stating that the criticism is sexist oversimplifies the issue. In hockey, it is considered bad sportsmanship. I coach teenage girls for a high level club lacrosse team and I would never let my team act like that when we are crushing a less talented team. Learning how to win and lose graciously is one of the most valuable part of sports. Now there are going to be young women and girls running thinking that it makes you weak to show grace and humility when beating an under matched opponent.

It makes me sad that people are framing this as a sexism issue because it takes away from the hundreds of other issues in sports that are actually sexist. Men should t celebrate excessively either. The whole team celebrating every goal like it was the end of the game or a winning penalty shot was OTT. The individuals celebrating after they scored, sure, the team congratulating and the end of the game, absolutely. Yeah, it truly is unsportsmanlike conduct for men AND women. If we were winning by 5, we had to do 10 pushups for every goal outside of that we scored.

No exceptions. Of course they should have scored as many goals as they could. No, they could keep scoring of course. It was historic! Our coach tried to teach us to be fair. I was using my own experience as an example. I think winning is legit when the stakes are this high!!! The problem I had with this is the over-the-top celebration after each goal.

The other team gets it. Yes to this. Should they have stopped scoring? Absolutely not. Win twenty nil if you want. BUT stop celebrating like this after the seventh or eight, against an opponent you are clearly destroying on the pitch. Small winning gestures, smiles, all fine. But this was too much. I have seen male teams win with such huge goal differences every now and again over the years and cannot remember one game in which the celebrations did not switch to a more muted version from a certain number onwards. At least once you get into double digits, darn, dial it down! And as much as I like this blog, but this has nothing to do with women not being allowed to celebrate.

Exactly the same point would and should be made with male teams. I always find it… difficult… when we as women want to be treated equal to men and then react like this towards justified criticism. Same as most on here I look at most things, as someone else put it, with a feminist angle. However, in sports the rules of fairness and sportsmanship are for everybody. Kinda agree with ostone below. The over the top celebration of your 8th, 9th, 10th …goal and against a lesser team. And they used to get called out every time.

Even their captain Puyol used to stop the celebrations when they go OTT. But I find the over the top cheering in any sport. What was over the top about their celebrations? Which of those women should not have celebrated? The ones in their first World Cup? The ones tying records? If I were there coach I would have told them that this is a long tournament and not to get carried away with celebrating. I also want to add that my first grader loves to wear soccer kits to school.

He has two Ronaldo, two Messi, Kane Mbappe is coming today lol. He also has an Alex Morgan kit and loves it. I feel like that says something about the impact of these women. Thank goodness we have white men, who, no matter how they behave, are always right. And if the men fall down on the job, we have plenty of women right here to remind us! You must not watch hockey where white players celebrating too much or being too emotional is regularly criticized.

Lol becks1. They were completely outplayed and made some horrible decisions. IDK why the Female team is great while the Male team is… not. It seems like only girls play football. Was this un-sportsman like behavior? I think so. Did it deserve to cause such a controversy and brou-haha? Who cares? It was completely unsportsman-like I agree. I think a lot of comments in here not being able to understand why this is inappropriate is really a testament to why these women did it. The arrogance and bullying side of American culture really seeps in us all.

But my god when commentors and other teams from all over the world are saying they acted like jerks and it was inappropriate its time to listen. Listen and stop trying to justify it. For people that actually are used to watch football, and specially European football, this way of celebrating is obviously not model behaviour.

Many people already said that there are many examples there, like Germany just some days ago winning for to Estonia after a actually really bad season and not celebrating like this not even complaining for wrongly rejected goals. That is even more important and the opponent clearly has a lower status.

But maybe be a bit humble to also hear the women from different cultures commenting on it from a cultural perspective. Good job by the way! Sexism in sport, yes, but also many people viewing it as yet another example of American arrogance in sport. Her arrogance cost her her gold medal and the non-American audience cheered wildly.

Not sure the US realizes or cares how they are perceived at these events…. Not everything is about gender. Every athlete knows this behavior was rude and unsportsmanlike. They are representing the US and playing into every stereotype of an American. From outside the country, that U. Honestly, I thought it was common knowledge that you tone it down when the score gets too lopsided. Thinking of certain hockey games where one team goes up 8 or 10 goals. If they keep up the bench-wide high-fives, you definitely hear about it in the paper the next day, and in all the press conferences.

The chant wears thin from inside the USA, too. Also a lifelong soccer player and totally agree with what you said. We would have been strongly discouraged from doing that. The other team was in tears. Not a good look. Save it for the locker room. I am the biggest feminist there could be, so can see there may be a sexist angle to the controversy, but I still think they crossed a line. But the celebrations did feel excessive. It felt unsporting to me. I was waiting for this post to be included!

So thank you! Men and surprisingly, few women have been all up in their feelings regarding the badassery and talent of the USWNT. Why is humility always expected when women are the ones celebrating a victory? Why is it a big deal when Serena Williams gets emotional yet nothing is said of her male counterparts? The biggest stage there is for soccer worldwide, while they are involved in litigation that undermines their work and blatantly discriminated against them.

Well done, ladies. Some of these comments are blowing my mind. I may have to step away from this thread. But Germany decided to stop celebrating after their fourth goal in order to not embarass the host country even more…. I will tell you that my brothers and I were for sure not taught humility when we played sports. We were taught to win. And yes, to be a good sport about it, but to win and to play the best you could. I won 2 state titles in team sports in high school.

We were obviously taught to win too. But we were also taught to not be assholes. Amazing how you can be taught both. And they dominated. Good for them. They can be proud of their accomplishment without all the over the top celebrations. And before anyone says anything, I expect the same from male teams. It was just too much. Have you even seen the Brazil-Germany game? Germany toned it down a lot after the third goal or something. They got a ton of praise from International media and Brazilian journalists for being respectful and considerate. They would have received a ton of hate had they not done that.

I watched it, they celebrated. Policing their crime of being happy and joyful for their huge accomplishment is the asshole move here, in my opinion! BECKS1 — you deserve all the internet points today! Their celebration was as minimal as it gets and super toned down. You can barely call it a celebration compared to the excessiveness we usually see. Which is exactly why people did talk about it- by praising the team for toning it down.

Did you actually watch the Brazil-Germany game? Germany stopped celebrating past goal 4. They actually returned from half time and decided they would not humiliate their opponent. They scored 3 more goals Brazil scored 1 , they were happy, but they did not run to the sidelines every time for a group hug and a self congratulatory show. Like when they lose and they undermine their rival or cry like babies. I remember that. The most successful country of all time, purveyors of the beautiful game and always expected to do well at the World Cup.

Brazil v Germany was a match of equals. And Goliath won by crushing David and then celebrating each blow. As a German and soccer fan I have to tell you that your example is totally wrong because our men stopped celebrating like that! In addition to that Brazil vs Germany was a match between equals. The US team vs the Thai team is totally not a match between equals. Its not the teams fault if the Thais were less than their best. You can only play whats in front of you. Nothing worse than losing by a single goal to a crap team.

Hope said they overcelebrated. They do slow down the game and just kick it around, or get criticism.


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Just 5 goals is a lot. Men are held to this standard, too, so I think some people have really no idea about football and only watch the female USA team. So if anyone, men or women, score that big they should be able to celebrate as much as they want! As a soccer mom of a boy and two girls , I thought the massive celebrations toward the end of the game were over the top. Keep scoring, keep celebrating but not with the whole bench running to the sideline. Even my 9 year old daughter said it was disrespecting to thailand especially when the team was close to tears at the end of the match.

You can celebrate but be a little humble. When they lose they r real cry babies too. Show some class. Scoring 13 goals in a soccer game is practically unheard of! The cocky comes from earning elite, world class athlete status. Kinda goes with the territory. But yeah, it seemed they were gloating, and that was a bad look for any athlete. I think The very important thing to realize is that total goals over the course of the tournament factors in to a potential win at the end if there is a tie.

Additionally, they were going for a record. Is this really an issue? I give Up. But US is going to be top of their group, period. They cleared the bench to celebrate every goal. Not the first, or the last, or a tie breaker. The Thai women were visibly distraught about to cry, and they cleared the bench as if it was the best goal ever 13x. One or two times, sure. But 13 times! Thank you crowdhood. This was the World Cup. These are all adult, professional women, competing at the most important tournament in their field.

And it also seems strange to compare this match to a group of 12 year olds playing a recreational football game.

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I feel sorry for the Thai players. But I always feel sorry when people lose matches like this, at this level, even by one goal. Becks1 — I have to disagree. I played highly competitive soccer for my whole life, into adulthood, on my way to the national team when a series of concussions knocked me out of the game for good.

I was also a referee afterwards for years, again for highly competitive soccer leagues. I mean, children have a harder time controlling their emotions, but we expect them to have good sportsmanship. Why does that go out the window with adults? Once they move on to the next round, goals scored during Group Phase do not matter, at all. Also, they could have scored 5 goals and it would have been enough. Sure, records are important so they went for it and kept scoring. Nothing wrong about that. I covered high school and college sports for years.

I have seen some serious blowouts. I have absolutely no problem with the US team scoring 13 goals, in fact it was encouraged considering the tiebreaker. But I did not like the amount of celebrating on the last few goals. The run over to the bench, mobbing each other on goal 10 or 11 or 12 was too much.

I have watched almost every level of sport, men and women, and there is a certain point where the celebrations back off. Almost every coach I have watched or played for has told us or their players too back off the celebration. At some point, it starts to feel like rubbing it in the faces of a clearly outclassed opponent. I have absolutely no problem with the score and continuing to play hard but at some point you have to read the situation and back off the celebration.

This all being said, what a stupid controversy. And no the US men will never have to deal with this because they are awful and will never be up 3 goals on a team much less 13, which makes the pay gap all the more infuriating. I think the complaining about women celebrating is OTT. Fair or not these women need to consider the optics. This is likely the biggest spotlight they will ever have and it will be used to score commercial contracts and endorsement money.

How the public perceives them has a direct influence on their marketability. My husband and I had this debate last night. He is not a fan of any celebrations in sports…. He respectfully disagreed with the celebrating, not the winning big. Answers, please, from those who have done both. With grace and sportmanship. Sportsmanship: how you show yourself when you win or lose. US certainly showed themselves — and not in a good way. Obnoxious and disrespectful. I think the controversy is not really centered on the fact that they are women, but a question of respect. The USA team largely dominated the match, as Thailand was a very weak team which is normal in the group stage matches, or teams was strong have the chance to be confronted with teams is more weaker, where they can largely dominate.

On this match have is clearly in this situation, so theirs celebration was exaggerated because is was just group stage matches, the most difficult will begin during the stage of 8 group round. It was over the effing top and it is poor sportsmanship in football, whether you like it or not. When Germany steamrolled Brazil in the WC, the player who scored would celebrate his goal and then move on. They knew they had it in the bag and they kept doing their thing.

Same goes to every other national team. When they realise the opposing team has no way of overturning the game, they keep playing without humiliating their rivals. Fans can cackle all they want — players should know better. Keep playing. Keep scoring. But do not rub it in the faces of a team that has been outclassed and out-gamed and that, by all accounts, never stood a chance. I think about the World Cup final when Germany absolutely hammered destroyed with 7 goals, out of respect they stopped celebrating like crazy after each score after a while.

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All of this to say that the optics would have been way better if the team had stop celebrating in an OTT fashion way before their last goals. Of course they were effing celebrating. My kids play competitive sports. Completely ungracious. That should be the centre of discussion! This is the World Cup. The highest stage in the world, not some friendly match between teams of fifth graders. Goal difference in all group matches is the most important tie breaker.

Yes, in the group stage you run up the score to ensure that you will advance. No, you are not obliged in any way to stop celebrating. If they do celebrate they are heavily criticized. Most of those who scored were playing in their first WC. It was a dream come true and of course they would celebrate. Giving less than their all would have been insulting to Thailand. Also, people forget that Goal Differential is a thing in soccer. People get so bent out of shape when women celebrate like men.