Where Have All the Good Guys Gone?
I’m going to be honest. I held off writing about the whole PJ Hairston thing because I didn’t want any of it to be true. As a (still) proud alumnus of The University of North Carolina, I’ve been absolutely disgusted at my school the past few years. I became a Tar Heel because I wanted to be associated with excellence AND honesty, not just one of the two. The PJ Hairston situation is the last thing I wanted to see. There’s not a good precedent. Other incidents that seemed isolated at first, ballooned into full-fledged scandals. This one seems to be heading in that direction.
Yet, I’ve waited day after day, hoping that Hairston isn’t the type of guy that he seems to be. I like to think the best of people because everyone truly does have good inside them. Everyone’s blessed with gifts and skills, and it seems to me, that you can’t truly reach your potential unless you do the right thing. Cheating can only take you so far, and for only a while. Just look at Lance Armstrong, or Marion Jones. Even Tiger Woods to some extent. I wanted PJ to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I wanted him to have made a mistake, not a bad series of decisions. I wanted to believe that he truly understands and appreciates the opportunity that he’s been given. But, unfortunately, recent reports seem to indicate otherwise. Evidently, his relationship with Haydn “Fats” Thomas, a drug dealer and convicted felon, runs deep. The media has made sure that we know this. It all makes me wonder-
Where have all the good guys gone?
It just seems like sports news is one negative story after another these days- Aaron Hernandez, fan violence, illegal drug use, Aaron Hernandez, the me-first mentality. Where are the guys who DON’T accept benefits? Where are the guys who accept less money to stay with the team that’s been loyal to them their whole career? Where are the fans who appreciate their favorite players not just as athletes, but as people? I know they’re out there. Let’s applaud them. Let’s feature them on the front page. We’ve been trained to think that “everyone’s cheating,” but it’s simply not true. Situations like the one with PJ Hairston make it really easy to become burned out with sports. These guys are supposed to be our heroes, yet they’re squandering their money and setting a bad example to the next generation. But there are still good guys out there. There are players donating millions of dollars to charity. There are guys donating their time to important causes. There are good mothers and fathers, good sons and daughters. There are honest coaches and players. There are fans who don’t just care about winning, but they care about each other.
There are so many important lessons that can be learned in sports, but it’s easy to get caught up in the superficial. I started writing this article as another general update of what’s been going on with Hairston. I was even going to discuss former Virginia Tech running back Michael Holmes and his dismissal from the Hokie team and the parallels to Hairston’s situation. But I realized that there are some things that are more important. As fans, we can’t let the media tell us what we want to see. We have to tell THEM about the good things that are going on. We have to make sports not just fun again, we have to make them honest again. Because when it comes down to it, everybody needs a hero. They’re out there- we just have to spread the word.