As of this writing, the word out of Charlotte is Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson will sell the team after revelations of sexual harassment and racially motivated statements, and associated cash settlements for same came to light. These allegations come on the heels of the now infamous “We can’t have the inmates running the prison” statement made by Houston Texans owner Bob McNair. Unfortunately, these stories follow the sordid Donald Sterling saga of 2015 that forced him to sell the Los Angeles Clippers.
Another Week, Another Allegation
For the past couple of weeks, months, years even, we have been greeted with a new sexual harassment allegation being levied against someone in the entertainment or political realm. Sports hasn’t been immune to its own share of drama. Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is set to return from a six-game suspension stemming from domestic violence charges. Former defensive end Greg Hardy is trying his hand as an MMA fighter, as his NFL opportunities disappeared when pictures of his battered former girlfriend surfaced. The video of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking then fiancé and now wife Janay Palmer unconscious in an elevator ended up being his “scarlet letter” as no team has signed him. Sadly, this list is too lengthy for one writing. The point is, the madness needs to stop.
All of the aforementioned players and/or owners know that they are in the media spotlight, with most, if not every move they make being closely scrutinized. To act, speak, behave, or a combination thereof inappropriately speaks to arrogance and disrespect on the part of the perpetrator. To knowingly commit behaviors that are offensive to not only the individual upon whom they are inflicted but society as a whole, is irresponsible and just plain wrong.
Owning a sports team provides one with a platform that only a select few individuals are able to enjoy. It comes with considerable influence and recognition. Likewise, being a professional athlete grants one certain privilege and opportunities not afforded the average Joe. When presented with the chance to be in either of these positions, one must always think before saying or doing anything, as if perceived as improper, it can and most likely will come back to haunt them. Earlier this season Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton found himself in hot water for comments made to a female reporter that was deemed to be sexist. He thought it “funny” to have a question posed to him by a competent female, and responded as such. Newton quickly found out how “unfunny” his response actually was. Team owners, athletes, politicians, entertainers, etc., don’t cease being human. However, they do cease receiving most, if any benefit of the doubt when involved in situations that can be construed or perceived as questionable.
It’s very likely that more stories will be made public in the future. Sadly there are opportunists that manipulate a situation for monetary gain while possessing little to no credibility. These persons make it bad, if not worse, for those who are subjected to improper treatment, yet feel powerless and afraid to speak out for fear of retribution or ridicule. While it’s wishful to think that there will be no further charges to be levied, or allegations to come forth, reality says that’s probably far from the case. Here’s hoping that the regularity with which we’ve seen them come forth screeches to a halt, if not come to a complete stop.