Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Let’s stop tolerating bad behavior by pro football players & more November 19, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Vikings mascot

Minnesota Vikings mascot photographed on a mug belonging to my husband.

BEFORE I GET INTO THE HEART of this post, you need to know that I don’t care about sports. Not one iota. Never have. Never will.

In my opinion, sports have overrun our society, sucking away family time, assuming a pedestal of importance above all else, and more.

Yes, I recognize the value of athletics in teaching teamwork, building confidence, providing an outlet to exercise and serving as entertainment. But there needs to be a balance. Sports should not run our lives.

I don’t understand, either, the high value and adulation bestowed upon athletes, especially professionals and specifically football players.

Why do (did) people admire guys like Minnesota Vikings player Adrian Peterson, who beat his son?

That the National Football League has now suspended Peterson without pay for the rest of the season was the right thing to do. Absolutely. This sends a strong message that criminal behavior will no longer be tolerated. Or at least I hope that’s the intent. Maybe it’s more about public relations or sponsors or appearances.

I never felt that Peterson was truly sorry for beating his four-year-old, especially given his no contest plea to the misdemeanor charge of reckless assault. Maybe sorry he was caught and sorry he couldn’t play football. But not truly repentant. He didn’t appear genuinely remorseful.

Then there’s Ray Rice, the former Baltimore Ravens player who knocked his then fiancee’ (now wife) unconscious in an elevator. The domestic assault was captured on videotape. He’s appealing his indefinite suspension from the NFL. Really?

Domestic violence should not be tolerated, no matter the perpetrator or victim. Never. Ever. Perpetrators must be held accountable. On their first offense. Why are there second offenses and third and…? Why?

We as a society need to recognize domestic violence for what it is—a crime. No football player, no anybody should get away with attacking a woman. (I’m using the word “woman” here because most victims of domestic abuse are women.)

My stomach churns when I read stories about men like Rice and NFL codes of silence on domestic violence.

Enough, people. Enough. No sport is worth excusing and/or overlooking the crime of assaulting a man, woman or child.

What are your thoughts?

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


29 Responses to “Let’s stop tolerating bad behavior by pro football players & more”

  1. Dan Traun Says:

    Opening paragraph – nailed it. I could not agree with you more.

  2. I’m not a sports fan either, though I like rooting for my college team – but my life/attitude is not affected by whether they win or lose! Ian really enjoyed Cross Country this fall, though, and it was good for him to be running and making new friends. So I guess that helped me to see that there is value in such things. On the professional level, however…yeah, not a fan at all and of course all the bad behavior just makes me ill.

    • I do see the value of sports, as you point out and I did in my opening paragraphs. I’m glad Ian enjoyed Cross Country. That seems like a sport that would totally challenge one personally.

      All the money paid to pro athletes is ridiculous. For many, their behavior, especially when they are supposed “role models,” ranks as horrible. Not all, but too many. Way too many.

  3. Louise Flom Says:

    The money paid to professional sports athletes is totally out of hand. A young family can not afford to go to the games because of the cost. Yes, it is about time they are disciplined for their actions!

  4. No matter who you are when you commit a crime it is a crime! I was talking to someone about this this morning and that the doctor did not have to report the abuse. You uphold an oath as a medical professional and I know teachers in the State of MN can be fined and suspended and have their teaching license taken away if they do not report abuse. It needs to be reported because it is not acceptable behavior, especially to a child. I am off my soap box now. Great Topic for discussion today and it needs to be openly discussed too!

    • A doctor would not be legally bound to report abuse? What? That can’t possibly be. Why wouldn’t a medical professional report abuse?

      Yes, there are legal obligations to report abuse, as you mention.

      Stand on your soapbox anytime you wish.

    • They were shaming the doctor for reporting the abuse – well duh! of course the doctor would report the abuse – the media tries to make the person committing the crime the victim – GEEZ! A little sick of that. I am a citizen and I would at least call the authorities. I would not put myself in harm’s way unless I thought that was my only option.

      • Blame the victim. Really? That is just wrong, oh, so wrong. An offender will blame his victim because he doesn’t accept responsibility for his actions. But for others to point the finger at the victim and ridicule a doctor for doing what is right rates as ridiculous. Good for you to speak up. We all need to do that. Only when people understand and take domestic abuse seriously will we begin to see this crime drop and societal attitudes change. Oh, and the judicial system needs to do its job, too, and hold offenders accountable.

      • I think some of my spirit comes from working in a legal/law enforcement office and working with the Prevention Council on domestic violence.

      • You go, girl. Bless you for your work with the Prevention Council on domestic violence.

  5. Mary Redding Says:

    And don’t forget good old Kirby Puckett with domestic violence . He is still an idol . Yes. I agree with you !

    Sent from my iPhone

  6. Larry Gavin Says:

    Actually you do care about sports. Hence the post. You dislike sports. Somehow, I’m not sure how, you connect sport with these other issues. Of course they are not related. Would you blame all medicine because one doctor is guilty of malpractice? False cause and effect reasoning. Stereotypes, generalizations? Sport is an important part of what makes us human. The Greeks knew that. Both socrates and aristotle valued both body and mind.We should too. As for wages… You get paid what someone is willing to pay you. I don’t begrudge anyone from making money from their talents. How is that novel worth a million bucks? It isn’t until someone is willing to pay it and then it is.

    A criminal is a criminal, not related to an occupation…

    • Larry, I absolutely agree with your last statement. I’m not lumping all athletes into the “bad boy” category. Simply pointing out how I feel about the criminal behaviors of some.

      And, I suppose, given semantics, you could say that I care about sports or I would not have penned this post. Good point.

      You’re correct, too, that what someone is paid is determined by what someone is willing to pay. And, in the case of many pro athletes, I think it’s way too much. We’ll have to agree to disagree on that.

      As far as my attitude toward sports, I just am not interested in sports and I maintain that a balance is needed in society. I agree with you that the health of mind and body are important. I specifically addressed some of the positives I see in athletics to assure readers that I do recognize the value of sports.

      Thanks for your comment. It’s always good to exchange opinions here, even if we don’t always agree.

  7. DeLores Johnson Says:

    I agree with you Audrey. I don’t like professional sports but I do like High School sports. I think the money paid is rediculous. I am glad they are finally clamping down on the violence and abuse. I am so tired of hearing about Peterson on every news cast…over and over . When are those players going to grow up?


  8. Good for you to make that decision.

  9. hotlyspiced Says:

    I remember back to when sporting heroes were very well behaved because they were representing their country – that was the minimum standard expected of any sporting star in the public eye back then. Particularly in the US, sporting stars are paid way too much and that instant wealth and the adulation they receive is enough to send a few off the rails. They would do well to be reminded of the verse in the Bible that says, ‘Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought’ xx

    • I don’t necessarily think wealth and adulation can be tied to negative behavior. Sometimes, yes. Because pro athletes are seemingly role models for many, they should hold themselves to standards of decency and behavior worthy of respect.

  10. Beth Ann Says:

    I do enjoy watching some sports with my family but mostly at the college level. I learned to love some sports as the mom of two boys who participated over the years and that is the fun part of some of our family time together now—we enjoy going to games together. I think that professional athletes are like everyone else—however the public is often guilty of glorifying them and putting them on a pedestal and then the trouble may begin. Same goes for anyone in the public eye. There is a balance that needs to exist for ANYONE no matter where how they make their living. Abuse exists in many forms and it is unacceptable in any form, from any income bracket, or from either male or female. Thank goodness there are still a lot of level headed people out there who “get” it and know that there need to be services in place to assist those who need refuge from domestic violence.

  11. Thread crazy Says:

    Your words ring so true on all levels. Both my husband and I used to enjoy watching the pros, but now instead enjoy the college games. The recent reports of abuse are disgusting to say the least, and think of the innocent lives that they are influencing with their behavior. In my opinion, anyone who is caught on “videotape”, or in person, victimizing another individual, needs to be removed from a team not just indefinitely but permanently! If we the public, would “knock” these individuals off their pedestals that we’ve put them on, then maybe, just maybe, they’d get the message and change their ways. One can only hope.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.