And truly, often, wondrous successes bring wretched excesses.
Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world coming or going, fits because, according to his neighbor, Jodi Stewart-Henriques, he’s a party clown, whose house parties in the Norbrook housing Complex of Kingston, Jamaica, are LOUD. He’s the “neighbor from hell.” Michael Jordan fits because he’s been said to have a retinue of hangers on - up to posse of ten - cheer his way around the golf course. But none of these sycophants or Jordan, according to an unnamed source, apparently have the strength or sense to pick up his half-smoked cigar butts. Johnny Manziel? Well, he let down the whole Cleveland Browns organization (and the city) with his selfish, unprofessional ways. “Johnny Football” won’t be flashing the “money sign” this season and his fame will soon be mist if his character stays amiss.
Now, there may be more factors than just being a world-class jerk to explain why Jordan, for example, needs a posse. Some people can’t stand the thought of being alone. Some, therefore, hire friends to kill those silent moments - moments that could lead to reflection, if one wasn’t careful. It’s understandable that some sports icons might need a bodyguard or two: there are a lot of idiot “fans” just spoiling to pick on the champ, either vocally or physically. But usually, you gotta figure, having a group of gaga ooh-aah-hoorah goombahs always at your side may stem more from insecurity than a lack of security.
Let’s all remember: just because a sport star is great doesn’t mean he’s good. (And if one doesn’t have command of any commandments, why not just learn to be decent?)
To be fair, some sports icons that burn both ends of the candle may need to party hearty because they’re afraid to spend time alone. Fair enough. Party as long as you want to your heart’s content, or until your heart’s spent - that doesn’t make you an asshole. What does, is when your goings on disrupt the peaceful enjoyment of others. It’s OK to be insecure and afraid. It’s not OK to be a dork and a boob.
Now, are there any factors that could account for the Asshole Effect? Possibly. Many sports heroes, blessed with talent, usually brought to the fore by a combination of genetics, hard work, timing, and luck are feted by followers and fans. They are spoiled, and excused from facing consequences of outrageous acts. They’re given a pass for behaviors that the common, unknown, person would never be forgiven for.
It’s no small wonder that if one lives in such a protective cocoon, they’d feel entitled to do as they jolly well please, because they are “special.” One would hope, however, with insight and age, would come perspective and wisdom.
To see the light.
To realize what is going on.
To change and grow up.
Most of us mature, starting in our late teens. But some superstars have been sealed from having to deal with their egregious actions since high school. In college their morals and standards are on cruise control - abetted by university administrators. (At the University of North Carolina, for 18 years, athletes and officials scammed the system with fake “paper classes.”)
By the time, therefore, many wunderkinds step into the elite dominions of their craft - the world they have inhabited has been one big “I, see me be” orgy oyster. It is only when they retire - and the money dwindles and fame dims - that they then have to come to terms with who they are, who they have been, and who they want to become.
Just because you are a robust partier, doesn’t necessarily make you an asshole. There are perfectly understandable reasons to go off the deep end. Firstly, we are human. Sports stars are almost human. And humans do crazy things. Secondly, we may paint the town red to blow off steam. It doesn’t mean we are degenerate carousers and carolers. Or we may whoop and holler to celebrate a great achievement or a grievous loss. No problems there. (Disappointingly, however, sports stars too often succumb to selfishness when partying like we mere mortals succumb to gravity.)
Or we may be a little weak in the discipline department, vis-à-vis the hootenanny, and are, thus, susceptible to the crummy influences of enablers.
Big problems there.
(Some feel Johnny Manziel’s girlfriend, Colleen Crowley, is a bad influence on him. Here he is, just out of rehab, and she’s partying with friends like there’s no tomorrow.)
But, again, no matter what the situation or circumstances, having consideration for others, not in your bubble of booze and bong hits, separates the decent from the decadent - and the Asshole Effect.
Now for the A-holes, those incredibly wealthy and boorish jocks, instead of partying around the clock, half cocked, why not go to a place where extreme partying is a way of life, and the walk of the walk: the Monaco Grand Prix?
Of course, and this is offered partly in jest, athletes who do incredibly stupid things and live numbingly dumb lives having pissed off innocents with their rude, crude and lewd ways - at least have (let’s hope) the excuses of being possibly drunk or stoned.
But what excuses can be provided to general managers who besmirch their organizations in inking deals with bad actors like cocaine hooverer (and pitcher) Steve Howe or dog-destroyer (and thrower) Michael Vick? The GMs, presumably, were stone cold sober while doing so...How do we account for their inexplicable, unforgiveable actions? Huh? How?
A subject for another day...