Even ‘my’ team makes mistakes

Published 5:31 pm Tuesday, October 29, 2013

As a sports fan, I sometimes have difficulty taking off my rose-colored glasses and looking at things objectively. A big example of that was Monday, when I was watching the Monday Night Football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the St. Louis Rams.

In the game, Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate made a good catch over St. Louis cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who then fell to the turf after trying to make the interception. Because there was nobody else covering deep on the play, Tate was able to score an easy touchdown, coasting his way into the end zone. However, as he was running the last 20 or so yards, he taunted other Ram defenders by waving “goodbye” to them and then beckoning them to catch up. In fact, he almost got tackled short of the goal line because he was taunting so much.

Had it been any other player, I’m sure I know what my instant reaction would have been. “What a punk! There’s no place for that kind of stuff in the NFL!” However, I didn’t have that immediate reaction Monday, and I know very well why. Tate played for the University of Notre Dame, my alma mater and favorite college team.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Of course, the more I thought about it, the more I realized how contradictory I was being. “You would have raked any other player over the coals for that taunt…why are you giving him a pass just because he played for the Irish?”

I’m sure fans of other teams can relate to that same quandary. When an Alabama player gets arrested, I bet most Tide fans would react in a manner like, “Good, get him off the team before he influences the other players,” or “He was framed! Probably by an Auburn alum!” But if an LSU player gets arrested, I’m sure that same Tide fan would say, “That just shows how lawless their program is over there.”

If we are to be honest as fans, we have to come to the conclusion that no team is perfect. There are always going to be players who make bad decisions, or who push the limit of good sportsmanship, or who break the law. At the same time, there are going to always be players on every team who are good role models or who have inspirational stories.

I’m sure we all could learn the same lesson when it comes to politics, as well. Not all Republicans are good, and not all Democrats are bad, or vice versa. There are both “bad apples” and good people on both sides of the political divide, and we would be dishonest to pretend that’s not the case.

I’m not saying that Golden Tate is a bad person. But what he did Monday was classless and sets a bad example for the thousands of kids who were watching the game.

I’m just disappointed in myself that it took me so long to reach that conclusion.