By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer
When you were a kid did anyone ever say something to you that was mean and hurtful? Maybe a teacher, coach, neighbor or even a relative. Something that was mean-spirited and uncalled for? It hurt. It really hurt. No matter what others said to try to make it go away it still stuck with you. Maybe even to this day you still think about it. We all have been there. That’s why it is amazing to me that grown men – adults – feel the need to bash kids about their personal lives and performance in sports.
When did we become a society that feels it is okay to bash kids for their performance – or lack of – in a sporting contest? Is there nothing else to talk about so we have to pick at things to create some type of controversy?
The latest of many is the always ignorant comments from former Indiana basketball player and coach Dan Dakich. He made the mistake of commenting on how players – specifically Derek Willis – spend their money for personal things like tattoos. His conclusion was that NCAA players do not need to get paid because they appear to have plenty of money to spend on tattoos. Stupidity at its finest.
But that is only the latest. Other analysts – like Greg McElroy and Booger McFarland of the SEC Network and ESPN – felt that it was necessary to publicly bash Matt Elam because his career has not met the expectations of the analysts that listed him as a four star football recruit out of high school. Do they know Matt Elam’s personal situation? Do they know anything at all about Matt Elam except that he is a name on a page of notes for their use as a tool to try to draw viewers?
Like Derek Willis – Matt Elam is a person with goals , aspirations and feelings like each one of us. Knowing that – and thinking back to your own years as a child and young adult – you know that words hurt. They hurt a lot. Public shame hurts a lot also. And there is no place for it in college sports for kids who are playing a game and receiving no compensation for it except a college scholarship.
So the next time you see an injustice like that occurring – call them out. Just like the BBN is doing to Dan Dakich. Don’t stoop to their level but let them know it is not okay to purposely hurt people’s feelings and quite possibly damage their lives in the chase to get ratings and viewers. Maybe if everyone took a stand like the BBN this madness would stop.
In the words of Edmund Burke “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”
Let’s not be part of that group.