R.E.S.P.E.C.T

It’s that time of year again. We’re all two weeks in to breaking our New Year’s resolutions, trying to pay off credit card bills at 18% and of course the NFL playoffs are in full swing. With those playoffs also comes, besides the copious amounts of nachos and beer you are sure to consume, the ‘respect’ rhetoric from the professional athletes we cheer(or boo if you’re from Philly) so loudly every week. Inevitably, there is a team advancing further than any “expert” or Vegas had them chosen to go and said team has begun their soap box lectures on ‘respect’.
In no other profession does the word ‘respect’ get tossed around more than in the wide wide world of sports. It’s used almost as much as ‘like’ in a Brittany Spears interview. Everywhere you turn someone or some team is ‘disrespecting’ or not giving enough ‘respect’ to grown men being paid to play games.
Professional athletes need to keep their ‘respect’ in perspective. First they are in fact playing games. Games you and I played in the street with our friends with that Nerf football that had all the holes in it from your dog biting it. They are being paid enormous sums of money for these games(which should be a large flashing neon sign for the amount of ‘respect’ held for these players). Kids hang posters in their rooms of them. We buy their overpriced shoes and jersey’s. We cry at losses and scream at wins. And yet because of a bookie’s line or the opposing team believing in themselves, a ‘disrespect’ has taken place. ‘Respect’ needs to be earned and not just expected. You may be the clean up hitter or can slam dunk a basketball but those qualities shouldn’t entitle you to other’s ‘respect’ for you.
That is the problem. The meaning and impact of ‘respect’ has lost it’s integrity. So much emphasis has been placed on ERA’s, quarterback ratings and field goal percentage as our measuring stick for ‘respect’, the character of the word and those demanding it have been lost. Since when do Hat Tricks and diving stabs in the outfield outweigh the content of your character? Does the wide receiver, who put their personal statistics above their team’s success, deserve our ‘respect’ as a player? Professional athletes have curtailed the impact of ‘respect’ with their whining about the perceived lack of it. When was the last time you heard a fireman or teacher complain about not being respected?
Instead of equating your level of ‘respect’ with the Vegas odds for your team making a Super Bowl run or what a retired athlete says about you on a pre-game show how about making an attempt to earn our ‘respect’ the old fashion way? Earn your ‘respect’ with hard work and humility and not with the discrepancy of your game’s point spread.
“I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me…All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.”-Jackie Robinson.
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