Ricky Williams and Michael Vick

Not exactly sure why, but I have begun to follow sports much more as an adult. This is a bit strange to me, because I didn’t play, or even watch much sports as a kid. Now, I see sports as a microcosm where moral, ethical, political, racial, and now bio-ethical issues play out in sharp contrast.

This week, two NFL football stars were caught doing something “bad.” Michael Vick of the Atlanta Falcons was connected to a dog fighting ring, and Ricky Williams, formerly of the Miami Dolphins, tested positive for marijuana. I’m not exactly sure how many positive marijuana tests this makes for Williams, but it is more than 2 and his drug use has already had him suspended from the league.

It is not yet clear what the consequence will be for either player, but, especially because he is a multiple offender, the early talk is that Ricky Williams’ career in the NFL might be over. Vick may or may not face a suspension, pending an investigation. William’s excuse is that he has a medical/psychological problem that marijuana helps him deal with. Vick’s explanation is that it was family members who were responsible, and he was unaware.

Much of the reason that the moral and ethical aspects of sports are magnified is the idea that these people are role models. So, sorry for the cliche but, are we telling our children that using a medical treatment that is not approved by the government is on par (even possibly worse) than participating in or condoning animal cruelty?