The last couple days has seen stories on two college football players, one current and one former, that has shown some of the selfish side of sports.
While former running back Maurice Clarett and quarterback Harrison Beck have very little in common, they do share a "me first, screw the rest of you attitude" that we see way to much of.
Beck's leaving Nebraska over the amount of repetitions he was going to get in Fall practice was probably the tip of the iceberg as far as where his head was at. He still had a redshirt year available to him as he did play last year in a back-up role as a true freshman. He was going to be behind Zac Taylor this year, and with good reason. Yet, he, and many others before and after him, was coddled as he went through school. When you get in your head that you are the greatest thing since sliced bread, and someone tells you to wait in line, you are faced with two choices.
First, you can be a man about it and listen to the people that have been around talent for many years and strive to improve yourself, or take the second choice, whine, cry and go elsewhere. Quarterback is a leadership position, and Beck's decision to pout doesn't show a lot of leadership. He may have talent, but it can't be inspiring for future teammates to protect a guy who publicly cares about only himself. Maturity matters.
In Clarett's case, hearing the word "no" meant nothing. As humans, we are not always right, but if you mix stubbornness with pigheadedness, you get Maurice Clarett. A very sad story, that has turned into a waste. Hopefully, something will intervene in his life before he goes too far.
We, as a media, must stop glorifying selfishness in athletes. Last year's soap opera between deposed Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens and quarterback Donovan McNabb may have made for good television, in a way that NASCAR fans watch races for crashes, but in this day of 600 channels on TV and the Internet, we cannot condone this behavior. Why should teenagers respect authority when they see people like T.O and Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant get away with whatever they want?
We must treat tragic figures like tragic figures, and not glorify their desires, otherwise we get too many kids like Harrison Beck who put me before team.