As I follow athletes like Alex Rodriguez, who admits to steroid use, and Terrell Owens, who is a poor example in every facet of his life, and those who perform at an average level with an attitude that they should go directly to the Hall of Fame, it occurs to me that what is missing is integrity.

As I follow athletes like Alex Rodriguez, who admits to steroid use, and Terrell Owens, who is a poor example in every facet of his life, and those who perform at an average level with an attitude that they should go directly to the Hall of Fame, it occurs to me that what is missing is integrity.
Do you think they have a clue about the definition of the word? Author, Bruce Brown wrote an article, “Life Lessons for Athletes,” which defines integrity as a simple concept – it is a choice of correct behavior displayed in small daily decisions.
The cornerstone of the term character is integrity. I think back to how my father and the coaches I had in little league, high school and college always taught the importance of integrity to all the players. I don’t believe any of those coaches was ever elected to a Hall of Fame, but they taught so many the importance of integrity and how it works in sports and, in turn, life.
These men in my life always taught me that yes means yes and no means no. Their word was good, their handshake sealed the deal and their signature had value.
The athletes of today at all levels are not always being taught the important life lessons. Many coaches are displaying the art of cheating to get ahead.
The price that many athletes pay for fame and fortune is a loss of all personal character and integrity. The athletes demand respect, but my question back to them is how can anyone respect an individual who lacks integrity?
I’m not a huge Reggie Jackson fan, but he has a great quote regarding integrity: “I believe it is very important to show respect toward individuals who live up to their obligations and responsibilities, whether or not you like the individuals involved. Respect is a virtue which goes far beyond the emotion of liking.”
His point? We need more integrity at all levels of sports.
• The Kansas City area, as I predicted, had a great weekend at the state championships in wrestling and girls swimming.
• I hope Mark Teahen can make it at second base because the Royals’ offense could use another bat at that position.
• We need a pro sport to fill the Sprint Center during the winter months. The older I get, the less I like winter, so why not have a team to take away the winter blahs?
• My quote of the week is from football great, Jim Brown: “One thing I learned in football is that you must have respect. It is not so important that people like you, but it is an absolute must that you have their respect.”