Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Pick Your Poison

As far as this summer goes this has to be one of the worst concerning sports. The MLB has it's whole mess with Barry Bonds and the steroid investigation, the NFL has players constantly running it trouble with the law (Pacman Jones, Tank Johnson, the entire Cincinnati Bengals roster, and almost forget Michael Vick and his dogfighting allegations), and finally the NBA has a scandal involving a 13-year veteran referee possibly fixing games.

Earlier this week on OnSports with JP & Kevin on FoxSports 1230 WCWA, JP proposed the question which commissioner would you rather be?

Would you want to be Bud Selig of the MLB who is now face-to-face with Barry Bonds, a steroid user, breaking one of the most hallowed records in sports?

Or how about Roger Goodell of the NFL who now has PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) protesting outside his office for the immediate punishment of Vick following claims that the Virginia Tech grad was allegedly connected with dogfighting in someone way or another?

Or how about David Stern of the NBA? Since taking over as commissioner of the NBA, Stern has worked nonstop on the integrity of the game. He is now realizing that under his watch, 13-year veteran referee Tim Donaghy was making certain calls during games, depending on the point spread.

So if you had the choice of choosing which commissioner you would like to be at this moment who would it be? (And NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is not an option.)

Before you start brainstorming your thoughts take a look at my explanation for the poison I would choose.

First off, no way would I want to be in Bud Selig's shoes. Let's remember Selig knew that steroids where involved in baseball during the 1998 home run chase, but still let did not do anything. Even though Barry Bonds knowingly took steroids, it was Selig who did not step up and stop this mess from growing into what it is now - a disaster. In some ways, you can look at Selig as Frankenstein and this steroid investigation as the monster he created. (Just a little FYI, Frankenstein was the scientist, not the monster.)

As for the next person I would not want to be in the shoes off, that award would be given to David Stern. The reason for this is the referee scandal is something, like the steroid investigation, that will echo for more than one season. Also, it damages the one thing in basketball that could take some time to heal: the integrity of the game. Yes, Stern is not as responsible as much for this nightmare like Frankstein above, but Stern was still the man in charge.

By eliminating Selig and Stern, that leaves NFL commissioner Roger Goodell as the commissioner who's shoes I would have to be in. The reason for my decision includes two parts:

1. Even though there is a lot of controversy surrounding the NFL with Pacman and Vick's alleged dogfighting charges, these stories will only echo for this year. Granted they are terrible stories, but you will not be watching an NFL game several years from now questioning the integrity of the game like you will for the NBA and MLB. That's the key, the controversies in the NFL will not affect the integrity of the game.

2. Legal troubles are always present in sports. I am not saying this is in anyway acceptable, but it is a fact that professional athletes are always getting in trouble with the law. Look at the NBA, Ron Artest will miss the first 7 games of the 2007 season because of spousal battery, and then there's Stephen Jackson, a Golden State Warrior who will be suspended for the first 7 games of the 2007 season as well because of pulling a gun out in a parking lot dispute. As for the MLB there are the countless legal investigations of trainers, doctors, and players who were involved in the BALCO steroid ring.

All in all, choosing to fill the shoes of anyone of these men is one most people could do without. With that said, I am forced to choose the commissioner who I feel is facing more of the "normal" situations. That winner is Roger Goodell. Now by all means I am not claiming Goodell has an easy dilemma on hand. (PETA is at his office. PETA!) But his situation as compared to Selig's and Stern's never in anyway damages the most important thing for a professional sport: the integrity of the game.

And like I stated earlier, that truly is the most important aspect of a sport.

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