Professional athletes should be professional

Jacob Ruffo is a junior journalism major and columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]

Jacob Ruffo

Twitter, 24-hour sports channels and TMZ are but a few options we regular folk have when it comes to following a pro athlete’s every move. Because of this, it is absolutely imperative for professional athletes to be as good off the court as they are on it. Recently, the careers of some pretty big-name athletes were severely altered by activities they engaged in off-the-clock.

Many Northeast Ohio sports fans know Johnny Manziel’s off-the-field history: The latest chapter of the “Johnny Football” saga thus far took place in the beginning of January, and saw him miss practice due to a concussion, then miss concussion protocol on the following Sunday. The protocol takes place at the stadium, mind you, the same stadium where the Cleveland Browns played a game.

Soon after, rumors circulated regarding a mysterious familiar looking party animal named “Billy” hanging out in Las Vegas the very same day. 

This has seemingly led to the Browns giving up entirely on their former first-round pick. Let’s keep in mind, Manziel won the Heisman Trophy at Texas A&M University, started for the Browns and already showed flashes of brilliance, but his off-the-field hijinks were finally too much. Both the new head coach and front office have publicly discussed plans to move on from the Johnny Football era of Browns football.

Just this month, Los Angeles Clippers basketball forward Blake Griffin broke his hand and will be out four to six weeks. He sustained this injury by punching a team staff member in the face.

The altercation occurred in a Toronto restaurant. Griffin and assistant equipment manager Matias Testi got into an argument inside the restaurant. The argument lead to Griffin punching him. When Testi attempted to leave the establishment, Griffin followed him outside and punched him again.

It’s likely the staff member did something to provoke this. Griffin is not some violent lunatic who hits random people for no reason. He is a superstar in the NBA, and he is now injured. With him out, the Clippers are fighting for a position in the Western Conference playoffs.

According to ESPN, Griffin “could face league discipline.” Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and head coach Doc Rivers issued a statement saying: “This conduct has no place in our organization.”

There have even been rumors suggesting Griffin should be traded.

Griffin has been an All-Star, Dunk Contest winner, Kia commercial staple and NBA 2K cover boy, but all he is for now is a giant idiot who cost his team four to six weeks without having a superstar in the rotation.

The people who watch ESPN and follow sports accounts on Twitter are merciless. They are savages who love watching these pro athletes – who are 20 to 30-year-old human beings – mess up. They’re predators waiting for the slightest mistake to pounce on in order to make themselves feel better.

Even if you’re doing everything right, people will still find a reason to complain about you – just ask poor Cam Newton, the Carolina Panthers’ quarterback.

Jacob Ruffo is an opinion columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]