It is a sad and sobering day. I have always been one who wants to believe that when someone talks to you they will tell you the truth, do the right thing, be honest and forthcoming. I still want to be able to do this, badly, but my innocence (or naiveté), has, once again, taken a major hit.
I am growing weary.
As I was sifting through different topics and stories on the morning of the day this column was written, the Adidas/Bribery/FBI scandal story broke. And there sits Auburn, right smack dab in the middle of it.
And this is, most assuredly, the tip of the iceberg. Oklahoma State, Southern Cal, and Arizona also had assistant coaches charged. The Auburn assistant coach involved is Tiger legend, Chuck Person.
It’s the same old story, umpteenth verse. Greed, corruption, arrogance, and pride. This reads like a tragedy of Greek proportions.
When will we ever learn? Can we not take the failures and flaws of such stories, past and present, apply them to our lives, and do better? Apparently not. From time immemorial, this has been the case. We haven’t learned a confounded thing, it seems.
From Cain and Abel to Jacob and Esau to Samson to King David, and right on through the crucifixion of Jesus, the Bible tells tale after tale of man’s tragic fall again and again and again.
Yes, from day one the selfish desires of hugely flawed humanity have been paraded before us in every conceivable manner, from pulp fiction to the holy writ.
“It’s the same old story, umpteenth verse. Greed, corruption, arrogance, pride. This reads like a tragedy of Greek proportions.”
“How long, oh Lord?” (Psalm 13), and also a favorite quote of the late, great Hunter S. Thompson. My answer? Today? For as long as there are homo sapiens roaming the highways and byways of good old planet earth.
We tend to fail. We tend to fail miserably. And we are usually undone by the works of our own hands. We are, all too often, more than willing accomplices. Pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth. The seven deadly sins, all on full display day after day, week after week, and year after year, illuminated in the news and gossip rags for all the world to see.
But what about redemption? Yes, that is the theme in many of these same biblical teachings, and it is, sometimes, the case in current tales of the fallen.
People screw up, and, unfortunately, often willingly. But people also redeem themselves. We can be a forgiving people, amazingly so, sometimes it seems. We just want those fallen, those guilty, those transgressors to come clean. We want them to be honest and straightforward. We want to forgive.
We also want our sports to be a place for escape, for joy, a place in which we can immerse ourselves and forget the travails that so closely surround and pound us on a daily basis. And yet, again, that place is tainted by the sights and sounds of another tale of the fallen, the lost, the prodigal.
There will be karma, people will reap what they sow. There will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. There will be long-lasting repercussions. Penalties will be meted out.
Yet in this modern morality tale, which is now unfolding in front of us, there is bound to come redemption. Where? Who? How? Why? When?
Corruption and redemption. The first part of that coupled pair is now playing out in front of us. I find myself already longing for the second part. Redemption.
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