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How shallow will we go?

September 24th, 2009

Famed Ohio State University head football coach Woody Hayes used to operate under the adage that “you win with people,” suggesting that character and work ethic would eventually overtake pure talent.

I’ve never really bought into that, seeing as the last two years the Super Bowl has been won on a game-winning catch by wide receivers Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes, two guys you are unlikely to find helping an old lady across the street.

Both those guys have extensive rap sheets… but they also have Super Bowl rings. This year, my beloved Cleveland Browns drafted guys that were good football players, but also guys that performed well in the classroom.

Reading over the biographies of our draft picks, all of them seem to have been selected to their conferences “All-Academic” teams, and then they were named something like third-team all conference for their work on the field.

I’m glad they’re smart and ideally, I hope they’re good citizens, but as a fan, I just want to win. We’re already 0-2, and it’s not looking like were going to get in the win column in the near future.

On Sunday, people are going to see Michael Vick back in action for the first time since he went to jail for his involvement in a dog fighting scandal. Some Philadelphia Eagles fans are unhappy that Vick is on their team and, fearing that he will only bring trouble with him and doesn’t deserve a second chance.

I think someone that enjoys watching dogs maul each other isn’t all there in the head. At the same time, as shallow as it sounds, if he were on my team, I’d cheer just as loud for him as everybody else when he scores six points.

Ideally, athletes all act something like Derek Jeter. They go out and perform at an all-star level year after year and do great charity work, stay off the police blotter and always say the right thing to the media. That’s a dream.

The reality is, a lot of these athletes go from rags to riches, get wealthy at a young age and they don’t know how to handle their sudden fame and fortune.

I feel bad when I read about athletes doing stupid stuff off the field, but I also feel bad when the Browns lose 27-6 and don’t even come remotely close to scoring a touchdown. As shallow as it sounds, I just want to win.