clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Should High Profile Athletes Be Held To A Higher Standard?

Oh boy, here we go...

Clowney gets it. So why is it so hard for others?
Clowney gets it. So why is it so hard for others?

This is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the view point of the RBR staff and writers. Just sayin.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Jadeveon Clowney on how he stays out of trouble. &quot;Just Stay out of bars and stay off Twitter.&quot;</p>&mdash; Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) <a href="">July 16, 2013</a></blockquote>

<script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

I thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted to weigh in on the recent events surrounding John Manziel being asked to leave the Manning Football Camp due to being "Dehydrated". For starters..

1. Though Manziel is a QB for a SEC school, his supposed dyhydratedness has no relevance to Alabama.

2. A lot of strong opinions have already been laid out on social media and a response by an Alabama blog seemed unnecessary and piling on.

3. I don't really care about what Manziel does in his private time.

But this is an issue far beyond Manziel and I wanted to touch on a few viewpoints I've seen expressed over the last five days.

#1 They Aren't Kids, They Are Grown A$$ Men.

If you can die for your country in battle or can be put to death for your actions, you are no longer a kid. A child, or kid, is someone who depends on their parents or another adult to survive. Kids are coddled and defended by society and are not held to the same standard as adults. These men are 18+ years old, live on their own, away from mommy and daddy and according to the Constitution of the United States are now held to a higher standard compared to those of a lesser age.

So, please, quit calling them kids. Using this type of terminology subconsciously builds in excuses for making poor decisions. Just because you are 18 and in college doesn't mean you should be making dumb choices and shouldn't be held accountable for those actions. Disagree? Just ask the Skittles Four if they were held to a different standard.

You can go out at night, have a grand ol' time, get two hours of sleep but you'd better be prepared to go to work or class the next morning. If work is showing up to a 6 a.m. team meeting, football camp or the SEC Media Days then so be it. Like it or not, it's what's expected of you. Don't like those expectations? Fine, you can always quit but if you choose to stay don't act like those expectations aren't fair.

These MEN Have a Great Amount of Responsibilities and Expectations

This is especially true for those who play for a program like Alabama, even the third stringers. They are not living the same life as other college students. (This is even further compounded if they've won high profile awards. Sorry Johnny.)

Student athletes, football athletes in this discussion, have their lives planned out for them. Their classes, practice schedules, workout sessions, film time, rehab and meals are predetermined. The typical college student goes to class, maybe works a part time job, studies and then parties.

Are players like Manziel bad guys for showing up to a football camp presumably hungover? - Certainly not. But we shouldn't be generalizing his or any other player's actions by saying, "All college students drink so, it's OK."

We should be expecting more from them, not less. Making excuses for players and explaining away their poor behavior only further hinders their maturity.

Let's Not Forget They Are Under Scholarship.

This agreement has built in expectations and is between the athlete and the university. Agree with it or not, players can lose this scholarship for multiple reasons, just like a student on an academic scholarship, who fails to meet certain expectations, can lose theirs. This is real life folks and is yet another example of how they are definitely not kids.

Players Should Understand What They Are Facing

I don't know the exact details involving Manziel and his antics this past weekend but the fact is, and whether or not people in his position like it or not, high profile athletes are minor celebrities. Clowney gets it and handles his life accordingly. He (Clowney) understands his every action will be analyzed, interpreted, discussed and judged. So, to avoid controversy, he stays out of bars and off twitter. - slow clap for Mr. Clowney.

And in this new age of twitter, where speed-to-tweet is more important than actual facts and with frivolous sports blogs who are looking for HOT SPROTS TAKES that produce page views (i.e. Clay Travis) players can't afford to live life like other college students.

Finally, if the players don't want this attention (that most assuredly comes with the territory) perhaps they should choose a different course for their life. This is not the same game that was played 20 or even 10 years ago. College football is a growing business and the players who succeed will be those who find balance between the freedom of life and the responsibilities of football.