bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Chauvinism is alive and well at the French Open

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I often fool myself into believing that we have come so far as a society. It’s 2014, and the world is incredibly different than it was when I was a kid. Any time I think that the short-sightedness and prejudices that seemed so prevalent in those years are gone, some neanderthal opens his mouth and reminds me that there are still a lot of yahoos out there. This week, tennis player Ernests Gulbis of Latvia, who is the 18th seed at the French Open, has had a bunch of success on the court, including a win over Roger Federer on Sunday to advance to the quarterfinals. His big performance was marred, though, by some things he said in a post-match interview on Friday. He stated that a career in tennis might not be a good idea for women because they need to worry about kids and family.

What is this, the 1950s? The very idea that women should be more concerned about children and having a family is offensive to me. Beyond that, it is silly to suggest that a woman waiting until her late 20s to have kids, as he says they would have to do in order to focus on a tennis career, is somehow problematic. I do not have statistics at the ready, but I have often read and also observed that women seem to be waiting longer before having children anyway. People get married later than they used to, certainly, and the whole process appears to have slid backward in years. Regardless, the fact that Gulbis would not want his sisters to go into tennis because he wants them to focus on child-bearing is simply disturbing.

More than ever before, athletes have microphones in their faces an awful lot of the time. There are an endless number of places to hear and read the comments these people make, including this one, of course. The fact that anyone cares what some yutz says about a topic about which he has absolutely no expertise simply because he plays tennis well is the soul of the problem here, I guess. I would never have thought to ask Ernests Gulbis about this subject were I the one interviewing him, but his answer is so misguided that I feel the need to share it here. There may be some of you out there who agree with him, and I suppose I have already called you neanderthals, yahoos, and yutzes in this very column, so you know where I stand on the matter.

There is nothing like being a parent. I have friends with no kids, and I respect their decisions to remain that way. I know other people with kids who often appear to wish that they had remained childless. For me, being a dad is just about my favorite thing in the world. My role in my kids’ lives has never been defined by my being a man, as I feel like a parent is a parent. My decisions about my career would not have been different if I had been a woman. I obviously could not be the one carrying the children initially, but beyond that, I prefer to see all responsibilities as shared ones. This may not make me more evolved or anything, but I certainly feel better about my attitude than I do about Gulbis’.

Bad sports, continued:

2) The Delaware State football program saw five of its players arrested last week. They were charged with breaking into dorm rooms at the University of Delaware and stealing electronic equipment.

3) Oklahoma State running back recruit Devon Thomas was arrested on Wednesday. He was allegedly part of a robbery and assault that happened in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

4) Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington has been suspended for the entire 2014 NFL season after he again violated the league’s substance abuse policy. The team is trying to find a way to not pay him a bonus that he is due after they picked up a contract option recently.

5) Ceremonial first pitches are silly. At best, some guy throws a lob to another guy and then they all pat each other on the back and start the real game. At worst, the non-pitcher on the mound gets embarrassed. Rapper 50 Cent unleashed a real doozy last weekend. Check out this beaut.

6) Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has entered into an agreement to buy the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion. I am completely baffled by this. The purchase price is nearly four times as much as anyone else has ever paid for an NBA team. That might seem okay if the last sale was a number of years ago, but it was last year. Ballmer says he is paying for the team’s “potential value.” Huh? I understand that this would factor into the price, certainly, but if you overpay by that much, haven’t you dramatically extended the number of years you would have to own the team before it is actually worth what you paid? Does that make sense here?

7) Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, already facing a suspension for violation of the NFL’s drug policy, got a speeding ticket last week during a stop that also included his passenger being cited for possession of marijuana. This will not end well for Gordon.

8) Apparently not content with the $2 billion he will somehow be getting from Steve Ballmer, Clippers owner Donald Sterling is now suing the NBA for $1 billion for supposedly forcing him to sell the team. This one will not make it to court.

9) Three different Boston Red Sox managers were ejected during the team’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday. Actual manager John Farrell was ejected in the first inning after arguing that Rays pitcher David Price should have been tossed for hitting David Ortiz with a pitch that Farrell thought was meant as retaliation for something that happened the previous week. Bench coach Torey Lovullo took over and lasted until the fourth inning when Price hit Mike Carp. Again, Price remained in the game, and Lovullo was tossed for taking exception to that. Third base coach Brian Butterfield stepped in and made it to the sixth. This time, Red Sox pitcher Brandon Workman threw a pitch behind Rays star Evan Longoria. Workman was sent off for violating the earlier warning and Butterfield had to leave with him, according to league rules. Greg Colbrunn, the Red Sox hitting coach, managed to guide the team through the remainder of the game.

10) Popular golfer Phil Mickelson, who seems to be universally liked and thought of as a good guy, is reportedly being investigated by the FBI and the Securities & Exchange Commission for possible involvement with some kind of insider trading situation. No charges have yet been filed.

Sorry, no Good Sports this week.

Bad sports, good sports appears early each week

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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