Pat Bigold

The Way I See It

By Pat Bigold

Tuesday, April 20, 1999

Just win, baby, has
become the norm

THINK of one other profession besides pro sports in which you can become fabulously wealthy despite a recent criminal background.

Well, maybe acting.

But pro sports would have a personnel shortage if it couldn't rely on people whose fingerprints are on file somewhere.

One NFL team's security investigator found 348 players in last weekend's draft with police pasts.

Miami continued to collect cons during last weekend's NFL Draft, taking running back Cecil Collins with the 134th pick.

Got to love this guy because he's a prize. He's been convicted twice for busting into women's apartments and fondling them. He's failed three drug tests. He was kicked off teams at Louisiana State and McNeese State and isn't even allowed on campus at LSU anymore.

He'll be right at home in Miami with Tony Martin, who has been accused of money laundering. Ooh, wouldn't he and Lawrence Phillips have been a pair on date night?

Minnesota has taken a chance on big defensive tackle Dimitrius Underwood, who's got a bad past. But what the heck. Who can even remember loudmouth Randy Moss' off-the-field problems now that he's established himself as the league's most exciting receiver?

That's all it takes. No matter what you've done. Win, my son, and you are exonerated.

Rape. Woman beating. Dope dealing. Sexual assault. Assault with intent to kill. Theft. Terroristic threatening.

Achieve the big "W," my son, and you are absolved.

Put butts in our seats, my son. Bring athletic prestige to our institution, my son.

You are indeed absolved.

THE message is so clear and so prevalent now, from the high school to the pro ranks, that hardly anybody gets upset about it anymore.

Yeah, chill out, Bigold.

Darryl Strawberry gets chance after chance. Mike Tyson gets chance after chance. LT gets into the Hall of Fame with all of his baggage.

And my favorite, Dennis Rodman, who makes psychotic behavior trendy, has finally run out Kurt Rambis' incredible patience. Ah but yet there are people saying the Lakers were too quick to judge.

Latrell Sprewell continues to live the sweet life as a New York Knick, even after choking his former coach on the other coast.

In the real world, where would these guys be? Huh?

Well, it is kind of good to see that some teams are putting on the brakes when it comes to drafting bums. Some are raising the bar rather high.

Heck, Akili Smith's negligible record, highlighted by a DUI arrest, doesn't bother me much. But it was part of the reason the Browns backed off him and opted for Tim Couch with the top pick.

Now that would be a nice trend. If more teams became so selective, they might wind up with a higher ratio of solid human beings on their rosters like Maa Tanuvasa, Chris Fuamatu-Maafala, Adrian Murrell or Joe Wong.

But as long as big-name college athletic programs continue to admit and support common hoods, the pro ranks are going to draft them. So, I guess there's as much hope for making it safe for kids to look up to all their sports heroes in the next millennium as there is for finishing the cleanup job in Prince William Sound.

Pat Bigold has covered sports for daily newspapers
in Hawaii and Massachusetts since 1978.

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