Probation for Ohio State Football?
Tressel finally goes too far.
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They ought to, right? Ohio State was found in several polls to be the most hated football team in the sports world, and the second overall to the New York Yankees. People love to hate the Buckeyes. I see constant blogs saying the Buckeyes are being investigated for this and that. No substance, so we’ll just make a few up. The logic is always near flawless, too. They must be cheating. All of those winning seasons, and doesn’t it seem like they’ve got a permanent pass to the BCS.
But Jim Tressel has gone entirely too far this time. In an Email interview with Columbus Outlook Magazine, (which is, for the record, a gay publication) expressed his views on the issue of gay participants in organized athletics.
What we have, quite often, with our athletes, and with a number of young people in any sport, is that from the time they were 6 or 7 years old, their identity has been through sports. You’re the tallest, you’re the fastest, you’re the best player. All their feedback has come in terms of their role as a player, and they are often hesitant to go beyond that narrow role. An opportunity and a real challenge we have when they get to college is to get them to see themselves with a broader lens. … We want our guys to define themselves in terms of who they are and not simply ‘what they do’ with a certain block of their time. The greatest achievement we can have as coaches is that a young man leaves us with a concept of who he is, what he wants from life, and what he can share with others – someone who is ‘comfortable in his own skin,’ and that identity can go in a number of directions.
When he was asked how he would handle an openly gay player on his Ohio State Buckeyes team, he replied:
One, we are a family. If you haven’t learned from your family at home that people have differences and those strengthen the whole, then you are hopefully going to learn it as part of the Ohio State football family. Two, every part of our team is important and every role has value – no job is too small and no person is irrelevant – that’s a great lesson that transcends into society. When I think of the diversity we’ve had on our team the past few years, it goes way beyond just a racial, sexual or ethnic mix. We’ve had players who had different religions, players who came from different economic backgrounds, players who are parents, who are spouses, who are caring for ailing parents, who are wheelchair bound, who are battling cancer, and on and on. Whatever a young man feels called to express, I hope we will help him do it in a supportive environment. Everybody is important, and maturity is learning to find and appreciate those differences in others.
Enough already! Not only does this jerk run a spotless program that teaches his players to be decent human beings, with worthless attributes like integrity and a work ethic, and not only does he win an obscene number of football games, but here we have a poster child for the conservative republican party being open minded? Rational? Tackling a real issue? And with a gay magazine? Who does he think he is?
Who he is is someone who the rest of the college football world should stand up and take notice of. In an era where stories of recruiting violations and broken rules don’t even phase us any more, Jim Tressel is a dinosaur; someone who does it the way it’s supposed to be done. But like the Buckeyes style of play, it’s far too boring. And so no one cares. How sad.