THE ONLY RULES ARE NO RULES
How’s this for an observation? Nobody seems to want to play by the rules any more, not that observing that trend makes me a genius. As long as nobody sees any reason to continue playing by the rules, let’s just change them. From now on, there are no rules. And we can start with the media. Remember when there used to be rules of journalism? Now, it seems, every working journalist has the right to make it up as he or she goes. Afterall, there’s no reason to let the facts get in the way of a good story. I was particularly taken by a television revue in the New York Post this morning in which the new, media created term, “White Hispanic”, was taken to another level when the new Hispanic star of the T-V series “The Bachelor” was described as looking “So white he could easily slip into a Mitt Romney family photo.” No need for rules of journalism here. Let’s get specifically into sports journalism, and the same newspaper, which featured this back page headline, “A-Rod and Reel”, over the sub-headline, “Fading Yanks 0 for 2 With Alex in Lineup”. The implication is pretty clear, it’s all A-Rod’s fault. Granted, he has brought an unnecessary distraction to the Yankees, but the last two losses aren’t his fault. He’s two for five, batting .400, in those games, on base three times last night in four plate appearances. Of course, why should the media play by the rules? Nobody else seems to see any need to, and we can start with A-Rod. Somewhere in all the red tape that exists between management and the players union in Major League Baseball is a rule against using performance enhancing substances. All we’ve learned about that rule, 20 years after the Oakland A’s “Bash Brothers”, 10 years after BALCO, is that the only thing about that rule that resonates with the players is finding ways to beat it. There will always be cheaters and they will always find a way to, at least temporarily, stay ahead of the testing. Does anyone realize there is a rule against college athletes financially profiting from their fame? That one appears to have even slipped past the NCAA, which, coinicidenally, is the governing body that came up with it. While Texas A & M quarterback Johnny Manziell is earning five figure paydays for sitting down and signing items, internet searches for college football memorabilia turns up thousands of items, some autographed by the players, some, barely disquised, player specific merchandise, sanctioned by the NCAA. If that’s the way you want it, that’s the way it should be. No rules, except for golf, where players have been known to, gasp, turn themselves in for rules infractions that only they were aware of, often costing themselves the kind of money players in other sports aren’t above cheating for. If they want to be that stupid I’m not going to try to stop them, just like I see no reason to try to stop cheating. Everybody should get to cheat, in fact, we should let cheating itself be the new competition. He who cheats last cheats best, may the best cheater win. Rules? We don’t need no stinking rules! Let the cheating, now sanctioned and approved, begin. With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.