By Dale Lucht
The other day the NFL came out with their punishment of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots for their roles in “Deflategate”. For those of you who don’t follow football, back in the playoff game with the Colts it was noticed that the Patriots’ footballs were softer than the ones the Colts were using. League requirements are 12.5 to 13.5 psi. Balls are switched at change of possession and the Patriots balls were under the minimum. Tom Brady admitted that he preferred a softer ball, and it was found out that an equipment manager evidently let some air out to make them softer.
Anyway, I started to think that here is this future Hall of Famer, and he still has to cheat. Instead of the Hall of Fame he should be in the Hall of Shame. The Hall of Shame is for those people who have been given every benefit or talent, and it is still not good enough for them, and they have to cheat to gain an edge.
The New England Patriots have a history of cheating. In 2007 they were caught filming their opponents while they practiced. They’ve also been accused of stealing signs. Another ex-patriot, Aaron Hernandez, was found guilty of first-degree murder. The NFL could have a wing of their own in our Hall of Shame. Adrian Peterson was accused of whipping his 4 year old son with a switch. Ray Rice was photographed knocking his girlfriend out. Let us not forget Michael Vick who served 21 months in federal prison for being involved in dog fighting. The New Orleans Saints were caught handing out bounties to their players that injured opposing players. Of course it is not just in our football, it is also in the other football, soccer. Recently indictments were handed out to many officials of FIFA. FIFA in French means the International Federation of Football Association. Evidently those officials were taking bribes from countries and corporations that wanted to host the World Cup.
It is not just professional football. I remember hearing about a former UW running back who was caught using a stolen credit card. This was many years ago, and this man may be a fine upstanding citizen now, so I won’t use his name. To me the shameful part was not using the card, but that he ran away, and got caught from behind by a policeman.
Another wing of this Hall of Shame could be dedicated to actors and actresses for their many marriages and affairs, but come to think of it, that usually makes them more popular. Of course we still have Michael Richards’ and Mel Gibson’s meltdowns. We have other kinky things alleged to other performers. I’m sure we could fill a wing with actors. OMG, how could I have forgotten OJ? We could name the hall after him, but let’s move on to our next wing.
Let us not forget baseball. In the 1919 World Series some of the Chicago White Sox were bribed to throw the games. They were referred to as the Black Sox after that. One player, Shoeless Joe Jackson was also accused of throwing the game, although he denied it. His reputation was tarnished and he was thrown out of baseball for the rest of his life, though most people believe he was innocent. Baseball stayed fairly clean until we got to recent years when players started taking Human Growth Hormones and other Performance Enhancing Drugs. Sammy Sosa, Mark McGuire, Roger Clemens, Ryan Braun, you would need a program to keep score. They may not go into Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame, but they would always be welcome in our Hall of Shame. Of course we cannot forget the superstar of shame, Pete Rose, “Charlie Hustle” himself. Pete bet on baseball. He said he never bet against his team, but it is still a big no-no. He served 5 months in federal prison for tax evasion. I think he would jump at the chance to be in our Hall.
I am throwing the idea of this Hall out there for anyone to take up. I think if it were done with style and panache it could be a real money maker and a tourist destination. Of course the largest wing in our Hall of Shame would be dedicated to politicians. If you don’t know your history or are too young to remember these people or events, google them. We could go back to Andrew Jackson’s duels, or Warren Harding’s Teapot Dome scandal valuable history but of little interest now. So let’s start with Ted Kennedy at Chappaquiddick Island. After leaving a party there he drove off a wooden bridge. Mary Jo Kopechne was in the car with him. Ted made it out alive, and Mary Jo did not. Why did it take 10 hours to report the accident? In 1974 long time Arkansas Congressman Wilbur Mills was involved in a sex scandal with stripper Fanne Foxe. What is it about men from Arkansas? We can’t forget Richard Nixon and Watergate. Don’t forget, in 2009 when South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford was supposedly hiking the Appalachian Trail, and in reality he was in Argentina with his mistress. Or we could also include former Governor of Virginia Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen; they were both convicted of multiple corruption charges.
I’m getting depressed by all this lack of moral fiber. Unfortunately I don’t think we would have any shortage of members in the Political Wing of our Hall of Shame. This is the most depressing wing. We elect these people to represent us and they let us down. Sports figures have only a short amount of time to mess up, their playing career is much less than most politicians. But politicians run on their record and personality. They say “Look at me, I’m a fine upstanding person, I deserve your vote”. We vote for those that we think are better than us, but too often we are proved wrong. Are people that weak, or is the system broken that much? Individually, we as humans will fall short. Those of us who pick ourselves up and try again, will move from the Hall of Shame to the Hall of Fame.