It never goes away. They try and they try. They warn, they discipline, they make examples, but a lifetime of entitlement is a difficult thing to shed. Promising young athletes are shrouded in it in their formative years and it never goes away.

We’ve seen how much growing up Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel still has to do. The greatest single part of entitlement is the belief that different rules apply to different people, particularly those with special physical ability. In the real world Browns reciever Josh Gordon would have known that one more positive test for marijuana would seriously jeopardize his career. He never before had to deal with such stark reality.

Entitlement does not breed common sense. If it did Southern Cal fifth year senior cornerback Josh Shaw wouldn’t need to be told by someone in the atlhletic department, after the fact that the media might be inclined to dig for further details of his story of Saturday night heroism, in which he claimed to have sprained both ankles jumping from a second floor balcony to save his seven year old nephew, who had fallen into a swimming pool. Shaw’s story became an embarrassment to USC, which had already sent out a press release touting his heroism. Only when other stories surfaced about how he may have actually suffered the injuries, including one in which he was said to have been involved in a burglary, did Shaw retract his version. He has since been suspended by first year head coach Steve Sarkisian, who says honesty and integrity are at the center of his program. Shaw has hired an attorney, who claims there were no illegal actions involved in the incident, but has yet to mention just what the incident was.

Meanwhile four players have been suspended from the North Carolina football team for their parts in a hazing incident that left a walk on reciever with a concussion. Just when we thought there would be no topping last year’s bizzare case of Manti Te’o the stage is set for the next college football season.

At the other end of this spectrum, entitlement unchecked, is a name from the past. You remember former Braves closer John Rocker and his anti semtic, anti Islamic, anti gay Sports Illustrated rant that left no stone unoffended. Since his baseball career fizzled he’s taken to blogging, about traveling in other countries and trying to speak their language, something he says he still wishes aliens in the U.S. would do.

He’s written a book, “Rocker; Scars and Strikes”, he’s selling T-shirts that read “Speak English” and he’s into real estate development and video streaming. Now he’s back in an even bigger way. He and his girlfriend have just signed on as competitors on the 29th season of CBS’ “Survivor”.

Entitlement, the right of passage for gifted athletes that starts early and never goes away, even when we wish it would.

With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.


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