Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Shake the Disease

The sports world sent well wishes to former Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton after he relapsed into alcoholism and was cited for drunk driving. The school placed the 69-year old coach on "medical leave" and handed the job over to his son. Former players such as Doug Gottlieb wept during an interview hoping that the coach—who gave the guard turned broadcaster a second chance—could overcome his illness.

Alcoholism is a disease. Sutton needs help. He should not be held accountable because he had a relapse. Sports columnists, talk show hosts, bloggers all asked forgiveness for Sutton. He needs our thoughts and prayers as he wages a war against his sickness.

Then there is Ricky Williams. The moment word leaked that Williams had failed a drug test, the latest rounds of Williams pot jokes started to hit the internet and radio waves. The jokes, which were about as fresh as a Foghat concert*, were relentless and seemingly endless. It is as if people are downright gleeful that Williams tested positive. The mundane, cold February sports month suddenly heated up because Williams sparked up.

I was going to get a first down until I got high
I was going to win a rushing crown but then I got high
My career is still messed up and I know why
Because I got high, because I got high, because I got high

I was going to...

Alright we get it, Williams likes to smoke pot. But where is the compassion for Williams? Sutton boozes up, gets in a car and endangers the lives of everybody on the road and he needs our support. He has a disease. Williams is dismissed as a pothead by every wannabe comic turned sports writer who likely partook of the drug during their college days. And who, other than a box of Wheat Thins, was in danger with Williams allegedly smoking pot?

Sutton sends his son a list of things to work on and is still in contact with the OSU basketball team despite still being on medical leave. Williams will not only be banned from the Dolphins facility, but he won't be allowed back in Miami.

People are rooting for Sutton to get a second (actually third) chance to notch career win 800 (after rehab of course because alcoholism is a disease, remember.) Wiliams is viewed as throwing his career away because he wanted to get high.

Sutton gets help to his car from the freaking police. Williams must be guilty because he was hanging out in Humbolt.

Funny thing though, it appears that Williams did not test positive for marijuana. (But please, don’t let this interfere with your fresh jokes about Janet Jones betting that Williams was going to be suspended for drug again. Really, it was funny.)

Williams is already appealing the drug test. It is hard to judge how many drug test appeals have been overturned because of the alleged confidentiality. But former Dolphins running back J.J. Johnson won his appeal in 2000.

Not that it matters. Williams could win his appeal, but the damage has been down (thanks in no small part to the league’s confidential drug test). Williams could win a rushing title, a league MVP and the Super Bowl but it would not matter. People have already decided that Williams is a bad guy because of his past transgressions. And if you ask us, that is plain sick.

Talk about it in the Hater Nation Forums. (*And yes we stole that Foghat joke from Kingpin.)


Scott said...

Williams will never be a sympathetic character because of the way he left the Dolphins before the 2004 season. Alcoholism as a disease has been beaten into us for so long that we take it for granted. Flaking out and abandoning your teammates to be a gypsy and take holistic medicine classes does not a victim make.

Zach Landres-Schnur said...

don't worry about the pot jokes, they'll be coming quicker and more often than eddie sutton and booze jokes. well, maybe not more often.

mutoni said...

Sutton : old and white

Ricky : young and black

That about sums it up.

Also, sports columnists can't understand how someone with so many physical gifts wouldn't love (as much as they do) the game they get paid millions to play.

twin_daddy said...

Drug addiction and/or Alcohol addiction is not a "sickness". It's a weakness! It's a choice. We live in a world that avoids accountability and responsibility like Adm. Cooke avoided the Leper Colony on Molakai.

NFL Adam said...

Peter King wrote today that Williams must not like football. But that is a very broad stroke. Can he honestly say that Eddie Sutton must not like coaching basketball if he wanted to risk his life to drink?

Maybe we are too quick to morally judge these guys. I think the biggest sticking point with Williams is that it is pot. If he would have killed a person while driving drunk, he would still be in the league (Leonard Little). Or maybe if he would have beaten up some women, he would still be in the league.

It just kills me that Williams is going to be suspended which I personally guarantee will be an extremely stupid reason/substance.