yogi columnThere is no “I” in team, but there is an “I” in spoiled. Too often in modern sports we see temperamental, loud-mouthed athletes who have everything anyone could ever want—except a decent personality.

Some people in this world are just faster, stronger and have the stamina of a champion. But at what point is it ok for these ‘super-humans’ to act as if they are more than human? In my opinion, never.

Recently, I had the great misfortune of trying to interview a former Olympian. I set up an interview time and place to fit his schedule but when it came time to meet up he took one look at me and said, “Who do you write for?” I explained that I was with The Signpost. This athlete thought himself so pristine that he wouldn’t even speak another word to me, as if being interviewed by anyone other then The New York Times or People Magazine would tarnish his image.

I can respect the great dedication and work it requires to be able to perform on an international level as an athlete, but that doesn’t mean I have to respect someone so discourteous as a person.

Great athletes like Aaron Rodgers or WSU’s own Damian Lillard have one thing in common, they’re down to earth. They love their respected sports and put their hearts into them, but they realize there is more to life than sports and more to the game than their egos. Unfortunately, not all great players feel this way.

The character flaws of athletic egomaniacs can always be traced back to ingratitude. To me, an athlete is only as big as their fans let them be. We are the ones who can make or break an athlete’s career. We buy their merchandise, we post about them on social media and by doing this, we often end up supporting their poor behavior. If a parent spoils a child, that child will grow up rotten and entitled. If we pander to the egos of rude, selfish athletes, aren’t we doing the same thing?

We the fans are letting these players throw their fits. If a child sprawls on the floor and starts screaming because they want a treat, good parenting demands discipline by taking them to the car. Why is it that when a player throws a fit about wanting to be the highest paid quarterback in the league they are not disciplined as well?

They’ll go to another team you might say, but that wouldn’t happen if no one would hire a crybaby. Maybe the reason you can’t play without that person is because you’ve relied on them too much and you’ve let the rest of your team get rusty. I’ll take a team with solid fundamentals, good follow through and a group oriented dynamic over a star player any day.

Next time you want to stick up for your favorite player, take a look at yourself and say,”Is this what’s best for the team?” You’ll be surprised what calling out a cheater or benching a diva will do for them in the long run.

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