Pro- Con Should athletes be allowed to display multiple colors?

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Pro

 

Over the past couple of years, the sports world has seen some of its athlete role models turn from big time players to convicts.

Criminals are not always gang members and that needs to be understood. Saying that a criminal is affiliated with gangs is stereotypical.

A person with gang ties can be someone that grew up in a bad neighborhood and has friends that are involved in gangs, or in some cases family members involved in gangs.

Gang affiliation, or ties to these organizations should not be a reason to deny a talented athlete to seek employment in the professional world of sports.

Denying an athlete the opportunity to showcase his or her talent, and get paid for it, violates the athlete’s equal opportunity of employment.

Of course, if a franchise does not want to draft a player that has gang ties, or sign this player to its club then the organization also has the option of deciding not to sign the player.

One recent incident is the Philadelphia Eagles and the parting of DeSean Jackson, the team’s former star wide receiver.

The Eagles mysteriously released Jackson in late March, and soon after news circulated that Jackson was a gang member. Whether DeSean Jackson is a gang member or not shouldn’t be reason to keep him from playing in the NFL.

Jackson had just finished having one of the best careers in Philadelphia’s wide receiver history.

As long as the athlete is not a distraction to the team and he performs his job to the highest level then his ties or affiliation to organizations outside of work should not be judged.

It’s understandable that some children look at athletes as role models, but it is not the responsibility of a professional athlete to be that role model unless his contract states it. The only responsibility the athlete has is his performance on the field of play.

If sports leagues feel that gang affiliation by their performers are a distraction or dangerous to the other members of the organization then the player can be released from the team, but at the same time given the opportunity to work somewhere else.

However, if an instance occurs where affiliation with a gang causes any damage or distraction to the game, the league should be allowed to punish the player by the forfeiture of cash, suspension or both.

Aaron Hernandez, who is currently standing trial for murder, played for the New England Patriots as a wide receiver. Hernandez has been speculated as having gang ties since his indictment, but there hasn’t been any evidence that he does, or that the murder he is being accused of is gang related.

Many professional athletes have been accused of having gang ties over the years and in some cases it has been players with outstanding careers, for instance, Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics and Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls. Pierce has won an NBA Finals Championship while Rose was crowned the NBA’s most valuable player award in 2011 playing in only his third season.

As long as the athlete goes to work everyday and produces at an elite level for his sport then he should be allowed to seek employment in a professional sports league.

 

Con

 

There was a time when it seemed that organized sports were off-limits to gangs, but over these last couple of years, the number of athletes with gang affiliation has slowly started to increase. Whether it’s a basketball player flashing some hand gesture after sinking a shot or a football player scoring a touchdown then shouting something considered gang related, one thing that is certain, athletes with gang affiliation should not be allowed to participate in sports.

There are a number of teams that constantly overlook what a player does off the field or court as long as they can contribute and make the franchise money.

DeSean Jackson, for example, is an NFL superstar who recently had a career year on the field. Yet his team, the Philadelphia Eagles, released him with no explanation given.

After a couple of days, reports began to surface of Jackson having ties to a gang in LA that has been connected to two homicides since 2010.

That didn’t stop another team, the Washington Redskins, from signing Jackson to a $24 million three-year contract that includes $16 million in guaranteed money.

What message are these professional teams trying to send? That as long as you can make money and help the team win it doesn’t matter what you do or who you’re involved with in your personal life.

In the end, if a player is proven to have gang affiliation that bad publicity will always come back to haunt the team.

The New England Patriots recently had this type of problem with Aaron Hernandez.

After Hernandez was charged with murder, the Patriots did everything they could to stop it from blowing back on the team.

They released him, they removed his name from their website, released a statement distancing themselves from him and even offered free exchanges for his jersey, but that didn’t stop the constant scrutiny that the team received all season.

These athletes are given an insane amount of money for what they do and with that comes the responsibility of knowing your every move is being watched.

Most athletes know this and behave in an appropriate way but there are those that don’t seem to care.

Professional athletes are watched by millions of fans across the world. Many of those fans are kids that emulate everything these athletes do.

They copy a player’s swing, the way a player shoots, or even the dance they do after a touchdown.

Now what’s to stop these same kids from mimicking a gang sign or shouting something that their favorite athlete just did?

Being a professional athlete is their job and they must act and behave accordingly. At any other job if you were to put up some gang sign or shout something similar you would be fired.

Every athlete needs to be treated as they would at any other job – not given the extreme leeway and all the chances that other jobs don’t provide.

These athletes may not have wanted to become a role model, but in choosing to become a professional athlete they have to understand that they will be looked up to as role models.

Professional athletes should understand that being affiliated to a gang isn’t right and if they don’t they shouldn’t be playing at all.

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