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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

Sports world is changing for worse

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I am a sports fan like most of you. And though I have my favorites - also like most of you - I am a fairly equal opportunity fan. Baseball, golf, football, tennis and college basketball all attract my interest from time to time. I don't like hockey because I don't understand the game and the violence seems much more a part of the sport than the final outcome.

But like it or not, the world of sports is changing. Barry Bonds is about to eclipse one of the most cherished records in sports - the all-time home run title - yet Bonds' obvious use of steroids will forever taint his final mark whatever that might be. And this is most certainly not simply a personal opinion. Bonds is so unpopular and his upcoming record so flawed that all of baseball is embarrassed to some extent.

And then there's Michael Vick who must be one heckuva football quarterback but his season and perhaps career are in deep jeopardy over a dogfighting scandal. Vick this week entered a not guilty plea but it seems obvious he was involved in high money dogfighting and our society - not to mention our laws - frown on watching animals kill one another.

The premiere bicycle event - the Tour de France - may be seeing its final days over continued doping scandals. American Lance Armstrong was the powerhouse in this international event but now that he has retired, the interest is all but gone. Yet every single day some rider in that event is banned for using performance enhancing junk. Interest in the event has clearly shifted from performance to performance-enhancing drugs.

Even in my beloved golf, Hall of Famer Gary Player says one player once admitted to him he had used steroids to improve his performance. I don't question the accuracy of Player's story but I think someone was not telling the truth.

How about boxing? That sport - due primarily to the ever-popular Don King and Mike Tyson - is all but forgotten, as well it should be. The duo of King and Tyson effectively killed all interest in boxing.

Pro wrestling is entertainment, not sports. But even there it is increasingly obvious that drugs produce those ginormous (a new word according to Webster) bodies and not hours in the gym. As if that should come as a surprise.

Professional basketball has become a world of thugs and now, a lilly white referee with a gambling problem apparently has been nudging the outcome of games to fit his gambling habit.

Few of you know that Duke had a national championship in Lacrosse but everyone knows about the stripper and the prosecuting attorney and the lives changed forever.

Kids no longer collect sports cards for trading. They collect college mug shots of their favorite players. And while we're at it, let's not name a sports team in some politically incorrect manner so as not to offend native Americans or some other oppressed minority.

Maybe we should simply abandon following sports and stick with Hollywood for our entertainment value. At least Paris and Britney and Lindsay are well-

grounded, All-American role models for our youth.

Go team?!

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen