bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Georgia running back suspended for selling autographs

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Sometimes it’s hard to tell who is worse, the players or the leagues. While the NFL and the NCAA find themselves in one bad situation after another, the players at both levels make it clear that many of them have little regard for rules or even for other human beings. At the college level, I think the good kids outnumber the bad kids by a lot, but there are still a number of them that clearly think the world revolves around them and the rules don’t apply. This week, Georgia’s star running back, Todd Gurley, was suspended indefinitely after it was alleged that he signed a whole lot of autographs while getting paid to do so, a clear violation of NCAA rules.

Gurley has had a tremendous season thus far, and has been talked about as the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy by a large contingent of people and media. He sat out his team’s win over Missouri on Saturday and it has not yet been announced when he will return. The alleged wrongdoing came to light when a few hundred signed jerseys were all submitted together for authentication by one of the largest companies that does that sort of thing. There is not yet proof that he was paid for signing all of these items, but it seems extremely unlikely that he did all of that just to be nice. Clearly, the jerseys will be sold by the company who got him to sign them, and surely money changed hands.

First, let me make it clear that I am not saying that I agree with this rule. The NCAA and its member schools make a huge amount of money off of the names and licenses of the players, so it seems absurd that the players themselves have no way to make any of that money when the interest is clearly there. I worry about what college sports would become if there were no rules of this type, though, as a free-market system would certainly lead to all kinds of corruption and shady dealings in a world that seems as if it should be free of those things. I hate that the University of Georgia, though, can sell a Gurley jersey for $120 but Gurley himself can’t collect $10 for his signature on one of them.

The main point here is that whether or not I think the rules are justified, they certainly do exist and are made very clear to all college athletes on a regular basis. Todd Gurley can not have been surprised when he found out about his punishment. When he chose to sign those jerseys, he knew very well that he was breaking a rule that could cost him his eligibility and could possibly cause his team to be punished once discovered. That’s my biggest problem with all of it. If he disagreed with the rule, he should have fought it in a different way. He selfishly did not do that, and his team will now suffer because of that.

Not to be outdone by a player to his north, walking rule-breaker and all-around bad guy Jameis Winston is also being investigated for the same thing as Gurley. Unlike Georgia, Florida State has chosen to not suspend the player during the investigation. I suppose they will turn it over to the same people that investigated the rape case. I am sure they will be thorough.

Bad sports, continued:

2) Skyler Mornhinweg, a backup quarterback for the Florida Gators and the son of New York Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, had to be treated at a hospital last Monday after a fight with Gerald Willis III, a defensive lineman on his team. The incident was apparently about a pair of cleats.

3) Players badmouthing their own fans is never a good idea. Several Cincinnati Bengals did just that last week after they were crushed by the New England Patriots on Sunday night. Andrew Whitworth and George Iloka both criticized the team’s fans for what they felt was bandwagon-jumping, both on and off, during this season. Hey guys, just play football. The fans can do what they want to do if they are the ones spending the money. If you don’t stink, they won’t criticize you.

4) Clayton Kershaw may be the best pitcher alive, but he is currently on the wrong side of history. He lost to the St. Louis Cardinals last Tuesday, marking his fourth consecutive postseason loss. He is the first Dodgers pitcher to ever do that.

5) Some people just can’t get out of their own way. Before a court appearance last week, Adrian Peterson had to take a urine test. I don’t know if he didn’t know that was coming or what, but he had apparently smoked pot before the test, which he admitted to court officials. Now, the D.A.’s office wants his bail revoked and suggested he should be arrested again.

6) Colin Kaepernick continues to act like a punk. He was fined $10,000 for wearing his pink Beats headphones during a press conference last week. A different brand makes the official NFL-endorsed product. I imagine the company paid the fine, as Kapernick endorses them, but come on. You really need to wear headphones around your neck during a press conference? Leave them in your locker. I am pretty sure there is no one who doesn’t look dumb wearing those giant things when walking around anyway. I know they are popular and it is some kind of fashion statement, but I think they look dopey.

7) A guy who was shining a laser light in the faces of the Buffalo Bills field goal kicking unit during a game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field a couple of weeks ago has been cited and fined for his actions. The person who sold him the ticket has had his season-tickets revoked as well.

8) Danny Green of the San Antonio Spurs made a very unfortunate slip last week on Facebook. He posted a selfie at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin with the caption “You know I had to do it one time lol #Holocaust.” He had earlier posted the same picture to Instagram with an appropriately serious note, and I imagine that his Facebook comment was simply mocking himself for taking a selfie at such a somber place, but the “lol” was an extremely poor choice. Once his followers ripped him, he removed the post and apologized for his poor judgment.

9) Julian Jones, a high school football star in Alabama who was projected to be a national recruit for the class of 2016, committed suicide last Monday at his home.

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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