Tuesday, July 26, 2011


16 months ago, Tiger Woods stepped out from behind a blue curtain
and up to the microphone. Thoughts of Monte Hall playing
"Let's Make a Deal" were dancing through my head. But El Tiger
wasn't there to make any deals. The former best player in the world
was apologizing for cheating and cheating a lot on his wife.

Then came the words that caught everyone's attention, but sadly
have become a big problem in our society, "Normal rules didn't
apply..I felt entitled." I'd rewind the tape, but I don't have it, so
I'll put those words by Tiger in bold print. Normal rules didn't
apply...I felt entitled.

Entitled? Since when does someone become entitled to act like
a sex-crazed maniac, sleep with strippers, prostitutes, and just
about anything else that has a pulse? Since when is it all right,
just because you've been blessed with jaw-dropping, awe inspiring
talent to have total disregard for everyone but yourself?

I'm not exactly sure when it started, but I do know that a lot
of people are following that mantra. Normal rules didn't apply
to Reggie Bush when he took a King's Ransom, $300,000 worth
of door prizes from a potential agent while still at USC. After all,
Bush had won the Heisman Trophy already and made millions of
dollars for USC, so he must've felt that he was entitled to his
share of the pie.

Bush had to get his. Never mind that it was against NCAA rules.
Bush eventually got caught, USC went on probation, gave up its
national title and Reggie turned in his Heisman Trophy. Was it really
worth it?

Was it worth it for former Ohio State quarterback to take cash, cars,
and money in return for his autograph on memorabilia? Did the instant
gratification exceed the reality that you besmirched your reputation,
damaged the school's image, and helped get your coach fired? Probably
not, but Pryor got his because he was just entitled to it, right?

The fact is, "normal rules" don't apply to supremely talented athletes
because they are just that, supremely talented. Coaches and parents have
looked the other way for years, giving them special treatment just
because they can run fast, jump high, and do incredible things on the
playing field. If they ever get in trouble, coaches and admistrators
sometimes go to great lengths to make sure they don't get discipline
or even bad-mouthed.

That's just the way it is for the entitled. If they get away with something
once, they tend to do it again, or  stretch it to the limits, fearing
they'll never get caught, and even if they do, there will be someone
there to bail them out.

Oh, this isn't just a problem that comes up in sports. Our society is
littered with people who have to get theirs because they feel they are
entitled. Bernie Madoff had to get his, damn the people and the lives
he ruined because he robbed them of their retirement savings and
wiped out their portfolios. Ken Lay and his minions at Enron had
to get theirs, didn't they? They brought down an entire company
and tsunamied the lives and savings of most of the companies employees?

Did they care? Hell, no. Neither did Madoff, Pryor, Bush, and Woods.
They had no interest in the people they were hurting and destroying.
After all, they were entitled to the good times and good things because
they had "earned." them.

Normal rules never seem to apply anymore in this day and age. It
just seems to be one big money grab. And we seem obsessed with
having the biggest, the best, and the most of things, and if we hurt
anyone who gets in our way, screw it, because we are entitled to
get what we want, anyway we get it, right?

Perhaps it all started back in the late 80's when Gordon Gekko in
"Wall Street" uttered the famous line, "greed, for a lack of a better
word, is good." And the floodgates seemed to open. Tanya Harding's
thugs took out Nancy Kerrigan, Bill Clinton used the Oval office to
get oral sex, Enron, Madoff, Steroids scandals erupted. Everyone
was getting theirs, so why not me?

The spoils that go to those with a sense of entitlement are never really
worth it, are they? I'm sure Tiger would give everything he has to go
back and be a decent human being. I'm sure Reggie Bush wishes he
had shown just a little restraint, knowing that NFL millions were about
to come his way. Terrell Pryor, you ruin a lot of everything for what?
Less than $80,000. Nice.

Will this sense of entitlement ever vanish? Hardly. And certainly not
in this economy. This world has become one big money grab where
everyone has to get theirs, and damn the consequences.

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