Today’s professional athlete is often looked at as celebrity by many and for their exploits on the fields or courts immortal. The scratches and bruises sustained by these athletes are on a regular basis and constantly overcoming them are usually what have made them heroes and idols in the minds of many fans. The success however cannot overshadow the reality and tragedies that can occur in the world everyday and how no one is exempt.
The recent death of Washington Redskin’s safety Sean Taylor at the age of 24 was a grim reminder to the many the dangers of celebrity. Taylor was shot in his home by suspected burglars of the Florida estate and passed away while in the hospital on December 3rd. The violent death was a shock to the National Football League community as Taylor was in the pro bowl last season after changing his young wild ways for the better. The troubles of Taylor’s past is what many critics say led to his violent death but there is currently no evidence of that being true.
The lives of many athletes in every sport have been less than honorable compared to their on the field performances. The past years have seen several players have run ins with the law including being convicted of murder charges. It is interesting because these players often looked at as role models are notoriously also involved in actions that receive national attention. A classic example of this is with Hall Of Fame running back O.J. Simpson who even though completed a great career still is best known for being acquitted of murder of his wife Anna Nicole Simpson. The court trial made Simpson a household name for something other than football and forever scarred his legacy to the media.
Baltimore Ravens star Ray Lewis was also convicted of murder several years ago but was found not guilty. He shockingly has been able to rebound from his conviction and heal his image to become one football’s greatest linebackers ever. It is interesting to note that even though he was acquitted like Simpson Lewis still has received praise in the media even gracing the cover of the video game Madden 2005. The lives of both Lewis and Simpson have take very interesting turns and continue to however be known as convicted murderers.
The fortune of being acquitted of murder however did not work for former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth. Carruth was convicted and proven guilty for the murder of his pregnant girlfriend in 1998 and is currently serving time in prison. The actions of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick were consider murder as he led a dog fighting organization at one of his estates. The incident has left the once multimillion dollar image of Vick in Shambles as he is now forced to serve 23 months in prison for the crime. In the case of Vick when he gets out of prison there is no guarantee he will be let back in the league by commissioner Roger Goodell because of his lying to league authorities.
The tragic deaths of players like former Arizona Cardinals player Pat Tillman who lost his life at war in Afghanistan due to friendly fire are shocking and surprising to many fans. Tillman lost his life for a noble cause while protecting the country at war and many people still look to him as a hero and inspiration. Tragic deaths such as the loss of former National Basketball Association player Bobby Phills in a car accident a few years ago for racing leaves many people wondering how and Why?
The true answer to why these things happen can never be understood or judged. There is one thing however that can be determined and that is that athletes no matter what sport are still people and should be looked on as such. We should not feel that they will always be perfect like they are playing because everyone knows sooner or later the whistle has to blow.