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Thoughts & Views: Sportsmanship? ‘Show me the money!’

So the sword has fallen on the head basketball coach and athletic director at Rutgers, our premiere State University, in the wake of the release of videos showing abusive actions and homophobic barbs by the coach toward his players.

Should we be shocked that (a) nothing happened until the videos came to public light, (b) that higher-ups knew about the coach’s aberrant behavior well before we did or (c) that lawsuits (whistleblower and otherwise) are resulting?

Nope.

Maybe y’all may remember a little scandal, not so long ago, that happened at Penn State University. A different scholastic sport, a somewhat different alleged behavior pattern by a coach, but the facts were known beforehand.

Welcome to America, boys and girls.

Maybe some of you watched the recent CBS’ “60 Minutes” episode and caught the segment on “Linsanity.” Remember the former Harvard hoops standout and later, New York Knicks guard, who exploded as a scoring star and, not long after, abandoned Madison Square Garden to blast off with the Rockets for a more lucrative deal in Houston?

It’s all about the money.

Lin told interviewer Charlie Rose that he had the support of his parents to go for the gold, rather than pursue a career as an engineer or doctor – an anomaly among more traditional Asian-Americans. And the adulation adoring fans from both the U.S. and China shower on him Lin seems to take as validation of that pursuit.

Of course, the big bucks he’s getting from Rockets’ management is also comforting, no doubt.

For American student athletes intent on edging their way into Division 1 colleges and universities, with the expectation of being scouted by pro teams, no matter what the sport, the insidious pressure – self-imposed or from outside sources – is enough to corrupt even the most pure.

So much so that many are willing to overlook the kinds of abuse foisted on them in the belief that it’s a necessary evil to make the grade.

If they can manage to do that, then it’s all worth it.

Bottom line: It’s not the value of learning to be a team player and using your talents for the best interests of you and your teammates. No. It’s all about ME and breaking the individual basketball scoring record or busting the quarterback’s head or slamming a record number of homers to attract the cheers and cashola.

Win one for the Gipper? Hell no, bro’. I’m winning this so I get picked among the top 10 in the draft.

Sure, you hear professional coaches talking all the time about “teamwork” but, to me, that’s just “trash” talk.

– Ron Leir

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