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Actions Prompt Head-Scratching

July 12, 2011
By SHAWN RINE - Sports Editor (rine@theintelligencer.net) , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING - Am I the only one constantly scratching my head in regard to the actions of pro athletes? It's difficult to understand why people with so much to lose consistently choose to throw it all away.

The latest example is Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward, who was arrested early Saturday morning in Dekalb, Ga., on suspicion of drunken driving. Ward reportedly failed a field sobriety check - hey, those things are tough to do no matter the circumstances - and then refused to take a breathalyzer.

Ward's management team denies he was intoxicated and says innocence will prevail. Unless your name is Casey Anthony, you're innocent until proven guilty in this country. So Ward, who said he had two drinks that night, should be given the benefit of the doubt.

Whether or not he is guilty of DUI will play itself out in the coming months. But as a veteran player, a team leader and a mature adult, he has to know better than to even put himself in that type of situation. What are you doing leaving a club after 2 a.m.? Nothing good happens at that time of night.

More to my point, why doesn't Hines Ward have a driver? Why couldn't he call a cab?

For goodness sakes, the NFL has a policy in place for just such instances. At any time, no matter the place, an NFL player can call a number and he will be picked up and taken home. What average guy among us wouldn't love to have that kind of option?

I know what some of you are thinking: so you've never made any mistakes? Of course I have, and the list is endless. But as I've gotten older the transgressions have gotten fewer, which is the way it should work.

But if you're looking for sympathy for a 35-year-old man and are merely passing this off as a lapse in judgment, look elsewhere.

And I don't know about you, but the thinking here is it would behoove Steelers players to drink somewhere else other than Georgia in the offseason.

Soccer Frenzy?

The Twitter feed was blowing up so much that the channel had to be changed Sunday afternoon. What was all the fuss about?

Gulp.

Soccer.

Admittedly my television was tuned in for extra time and the penalty kicks as the U.S. women knocked off Brazil in a game they had to also beat the referee, en route to advancing to the semifinals of the World Cup.

Thus, the debate about whether soccer can ever be mainstream in America begins anew. The answer, as always, is 'no.'

Granted, we seem to get excited about both the men's and women's World Cup, but does the average American give the sport a second of thought at any other time? Again, no.

Look, soccer has its niche in sports in that we rally around it every now and then. But the fact is, we don't have a lot of free time when also dealing with the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and even NASCAR. At some point we have to spend time with our families, right?

Speaking of the NFL

There are actually those out there wondering what would happen to the NFL brand if a single preseason game is missed because of the lockout. In a word, nothing.

The NFL is so highly thought of and is by far the most-watched league on the planet, that the only ones feeling the pain will be the owners. Sure, fans are going to be angry because we crave our football and don't want to miss a second of something even as innocuous as a preseason game.

But you're trying to tell me fans in places like Pittsburgh, Dallas, Green Bay, Philadelphia and New England are going to boycott games? Not in a million years.

As soon as the lockout ends - whenever that is - it will be back to business as usual. There won't be any having to win fans back like baseball and hockey experienced.

 
 

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