Athletes Gone Wild : Blog Of The Nation Betting refs, dog fighting QB's,
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Athletes Gone Wild

Betting refs, dog fighting QB's, steroid-taking sluggers... I'm not a big sports guy, but even I can see why this has been called a "summer of shame" for pro ball. Thinking back, it took years for baseball to win back the fans after the last strike year. If it wasn't for the home run derby between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire, MLB stadiums might still be just as full as NHL stands these days. It takes more than a slick ad campaign to gloss over a scandal. Fans have a breaking point, if you lose them you have to earn us back. The question is: what is that breaking point? Take the Michael Vick case... is this a pro athlete who screwed up, or a guy who screwed up, who just happens to play football? The problem is, Vick isn't alone. NLF players have recently been charged with everything from drunk driving to murder. At some point, the whole league pays a price. And when you're talking about salaries well into the millions of dollars, we're talking about people who really should know better (or least pay people to offer advice on how to keep out of trouble). Look, I realize we're not talking about the "Black Sox scandal" here, but refs betting on games plus players going to prison plus doping plus bad attitudes and huge salaries eventually equals no more fans. Do you care if athletes screw up... enough to stop watching or going to games? What should the leagues do to keep players out of trouble, if anything?