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Out of Bounds

Being a person that has competed athletically most of her life, I would like to believe that I’ve trained under a fair share of diverse head coaches and coaching techniques. When I reflect on my experiences with each team, I tend to look back on the coaches’ chemistry with athletes and how they dealt with certain situations rather than the team’s record. Did they make me feel like I was a vital part of the team, or was the starting line up based on the athletes’ financial income? Did they handle losses in a mature manner or give the team a bad name by arguing with referees? Most importantly, did they enforce moral values from athletes when they were representing the team?

We live in a society where a brawl between teams after a game receives more media coverage than the game itself. The incident, of course, was instigated not by an athlete but by a head coach. What happened to sportsmanship? Instead of being the person that’s supposed to lead by example- an ethical example- they stain the team’s name by starting disputes that could have easily been avoided. Leave the arguments to fans and their Facebook accounts.

It seems as if press conferences have become an opportunity for coaches to throw tamper tantrums and trash talk teams in their league more often than they discuss the athletes. I find it very idiotic when coaches lose their temper during press conferences because instead of doing the job that they were paid to do, they have to attend even more press conferences in order to be able to clear their name and explain their motive for acting irresponsible. This is time that could have been spent on improving plays, conditioning athletes and overall refining their teams. I use the term “their team” very loosely because at the end of the day, coaches are just ordinary people that happen to work for an athletic corporation. Yes, coaches are necessary to lead a team, but a few just need to realize that just because they have the title of head coach before their name doesn’t mean that they’re not replaceable. Athletes are the reason coaches have a job. Without players, there are no athletic corporations, coaching staffs, or plays. It seems as if some people tend to loose the sight of that sometimes.

Even though athletic scandals often occur, I find it ridiculous when it involves a coach or in most cases, various members of the coaching staff. Bounds bounty scandals and bribery allegations speak very little on the integrity of some professional teams and their staff. How can coaches refer themselves skilled professionals when they pay officials to favor their team or even worst, offering money to athletes when they injure opposing players? Sean Payton is considering appealing his year- long suspension the N.F.L. has punished him with after gaining knowledge of the New Orleans Saints bounds bounty program. First of all, I think that it would be very irresponsible of him if he decides to appeal the league’s decision.  They obviously want to make an example of the Saint’s scandal and I don’t blame them. This program that rewarded athletes after inflicting game-ending injuries to competition makes me question the Saints’ win against the Colts in Super Bowl 2010. Needless to say, Payton and the Saints’ coaching staff will be in need of plenty of positive publicity in order to get back in good graces with the National Football League.

In a perfect world, all coaches would conduct themselves ethically and practice perfect sportsmanship. The truth is, people competing for the same goal will do anything in their power to come out victorious. While some teams rely on late night practices in order to gain skill, others take the easy road and cheat their way to the top. Whatever tactic coaches chose to lead their team by is the way that they’ll be viewed in the public eye. Scandals make headlines but a clean slate keep coaches employed.       


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