Since it’s almost finals week here at Temple, I’ve got a bit of a pop quiz for you.
Question: Why are Correll Buckhalter and Darrell Crutchfield still playing for the Philadelphia Eagles?
Answer: Because they have the potential to be good players in the NFL, at least in the mind of the Eagles brass.
In case you’ve been living in a cave with your eyes shut and your fingers in your ears, for the past few weeks, Buckhalter, Crutchfield and another player, Terrence Carroll, were all found driving in a car on South Street with marijuana on Nov. 16.
The only one cut, or even charged by the police after the incident, was Carroll.
The other two did get the obligatory slap on the wrist: a one-game suspension. Of course, the game was against the Dallas Cowboys, who are so bad the Eagles could have suspended half the team and still won.
This is just another example of athletes getting special treatment, and it happens far too often at every level of sport.
From something as serious as a former athlete getting acquitted of a double murder charge for killing his wife and her boyfriend, to that high school basketball player who is allowed to play even though he makes Forrest Gump look like a genius, favoritism is everywhere in sports.
If he weren’t an athlete, how many chances would Dwight Gooden have gotten to rehabilitate himself after his loosing battle with drugs? How many bosses would not fire a guy like John McEnroe, whose temper was as explosive as a cluster bomb over Kabul?
Why are we as a society so lenient when it comes to curbing the wrongdoing of athletes? Are we so afraid that the team we root for will lose its best players if we hold them to the same standard everyone else faces? Or maybe it’s because we want so badly to believe they’re so much like us that if they can cheat on their taxes, so to speak, maybe we can too?
Personally, I think we do it because we love to root for the little guy: the washed-up athlete trying to put his personal problems aside and take one last stab at greatness. (Did I say “stab?” Sorry Juice).
I’m not condoning this type of preferential treatment, nor am I against athletics. All I hope to see at some point is what athletics are supposed to be based on and what has long been ignored in the interest of allowing athletes to break rules or even the law: fair play.