Stop taking cheap shots at Urban Meyer, Dwight Howard

Going to be standing on by best Sunday soapbox a couple times, so slap me if I start preaching too much . . .

Soapbox No. 1: Personal responsibility.

As usually happens this time of year, we have had a couple of negative stories involving members of the National Football League.

The first story involves at least one murder and the arrest of former New England tight end Aaron Hernandez. We say "former" because the team dumped him mere hours after his arrest, indicating they were aware and ready to pretend he was never a Patriot.

Of course he was. Before that he was a Florida Gator working for coach Urban Meyer. Now the media is using the Patriots and Meyer as soccer balls, kicking them all over the place for not foreseeing what Hernandez allegedly has done.

The second story involves two guys who work (or did work) for the Denver Broncos that were charged with DUI within about a month of each other. The Broncos are a smaller soccer ball for not telling us about the first DUI as if that would have prevented the second.

Respectfully, to those who are making these charges, are you nuts?

Yes, it is a complicated world and nothing happens in a vacuum. But the real responsibility every time something bad happens belongs to the person who did the bad thing. We can talk about bad environment and poor support, but if you did the crime, be prepared to take the blame along with doing the time.

As for the Patriots, Gators and the Broncos, what would you have had them do? Do you never use Hernandez? He fell to the NFL's fourth round because teams were worried about his character. But are you saying all 32 teams should have refrained from giving him work because they kind of had a bad feeling about him?

Once you start down that dark path, how do you stop?

How would you feel if that happened to you? Did you see "Minority Report," the sci-fi flick with Tom Cruise playing a guy who arrests folks because a psychic foresees a crime that they are going to commit? That didn't even work in the movie and let's pray we never start thinking it should work here and now.

Yes, teams should always want to be the best they can be on and off the field, but ultimate responsibility is always found in the hands of the individual. Or, at least, that's where it always should be found.

Soap Box 2: Give Dwight a break.

This little rant is aimed mostly at the media, especially at a multimedia organization that, in Scrabble, is not worth much as it just uses a P, a S, an E and a N in some order or other.

We were told for an entire NBA season that Dwight Howard obviously did not have what it takes to be a Laker. A diva but not a true Laker diva somehow. A complainer. A whiner. Suddenly no longer a winner.

Then he chooses to go to Houston and a story is leaked that he (or "his people") tell the Lakers he might stay if they get rid of Kobe Bryant after no more than another season. Now the talking heads are screaming that he wants to take control of the Lakers. That he truly does want to be the Prime Diva after all. A schemer. A trickster.

One guy on, what is it, PNSE or something like that, said something to the effect of, "Doesn't Dwight know Kobe will always be the No. 1 Laker? When Kobe is 48 and averages eight points a game, he'll still be the No. 1 Laker."

Wow. If that's true, the Lakers are gonna stink for a long time.

Just forget Dwight until the season begins and they we'll find out if he has finally found a basketball home (and can make a free throw).

(Why did people ever choose soapboxes anyway? Were they sturdy enough to stand upon? If we are talking about me, it needs to be a box big enough to hold a lot of soap.)

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2013 YEAR IN REVIEW
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