Columns, Sports — September 25, 2014 at 8:30 am

Sports Provide Chances For Athletes to Show Potential

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The image of athletes, especially football players, has been tarnished in the past weeks.

A lot of people already know about the video of Ray Rice allegedly beating his then fiancé reaching social media, which rightfully caused public backlash. And not a few hours later, the Baltimore Ravens released Rice and have been scrambling to cover up their cover up when he was only initially suspended for two games.

Then, Adrian Peterson allegedly hit his child with a stick to the point that he bled hours afterward.

Florida State Heisman Trophy-winner Jameis Winston was suspended for a game for yelling an offensive phrase to women on FSU’s campus.

And to top it all off, the NFL is still under heavy scrutiny for possibly covering up the Rice situation so he would find the field as early as possible.

It’s almost eerie how much has gone down at the same time for American sports.

Fargo is pretty sheltered from the rest of the sports world. We have North Dakota State football and other sports, which are all awesome and are played by student-athletes who have proven to the public to be nothing but model citizens.

However, there are a lot of athletes who are selfish, or just make down-right stupid choices.

And The Spectrum opinion section is also probably littered about reminders of how much ugly there really is in pro sports.

But don’t forget why organized sports is one of the greatest things on this planet.

On any level of competition, whether it’s the NFL or playing a game of catch in your backyard, sports can make us forget about everyday life. Actually, they don’t just make us forget, they take life’s problems and obstacles and put them into more understandable and fixable terms. I have learned from playing sports that hard work goes a long way, you can’t win on your own and other life lessons.

Sports also bring out the best in people.

Do you ever wonder where many professional athletes would be without sports? I do. It’s not pretty.

Many of them come from extremely chaotic and tough backgrounds. And what did sports get them?

Kids who would get caught in gangs got scholarships to top United States colleges. Those who become professional get the money to provide for their families, who could barely get that athlete through high school.

I’ve even seen the impact in small town North Dakota. Kids would drop out of school, work at the local gas station and do their drug of choice until the cows come home.

Instead, those kids stayed in school so they could have good enough grades to get a high school degree, and if they’re good enough, a college scholarship.

Sports are amazing, people. It’s just some of the reckless people who make a person question that, and it’s the nature of their profession that allows their actions to be public.

I don’t condone the actions of those athletes breaking the law. It’s awful for their own lives and those around them, as well as the image of their respective sport.

But I also want people to know there are a ton of people doing a ton of good with the power and money that comes with playing popular sports.

So go ahead and hate the player, but don’t hate the game.

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