Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A-Rod, Michael Phelps, and Chris Brown

So it's been a crazy week for these three men. One had a photograph surface of him smoking marijuana, one had a positive steroid test released from 6 years ago, and one allegedly beat is famous girlfriend and then left her on the side of the road. Phelps and Brown have had several sponsors and upcoming performances dropped, Brown has yet to make a comment (but charges have been confirmed), and A-Rod came out and fessed up to the Performance Enhancing Drug use.

Let's start with Phelps. Already with a DUI on his record, this isn't the first time Phelps' partying has gotten him in trouble. This time it was not a run in with the law, but a perhaps jealous or greedy party attendee that decided Phelps fate. Let's be honest, he isn't Bode Miller who has become infamous for his partying, he's a 23 year old who has set world records and won tons of medals for his country. As a result of his success, he has been put up on a pedestal to be a role model for young people. One commentator said that while he has been put in this position it is not necessarily a position he asked to be in. He accepted endorsements and in many ways was a representation of what hard work and determination will get you. So he's celebrating his accomplishments. Did his smoking marijuana that night take away from what he's done? Probably not. One comedian said parents are concerned about what to tell their kids when they ask if they can smoke marijuana like Michael Phelps and her response was "When you win 8 gold medals for your country you can smoke all the marijuana you want?" Marijuana in many states (such as Massachusetts) is slowly becoming decriminalized. I do not think that Michael Phelps career should be over over this. I don't even know if he should have been suspended, but I guess that had to make a statement. Luckily for them, the statement comes at a time when he wouldn't normally be competing for them.

Up next A-Rod (see also A-Roid, A-Hole, A-Fraud, etc). Was I disappointed when I read that A-Rod had tested positive for steroids? A little bit. Was I surprised? Not at all. Baseball is the one sport where I don't think I'd be surprised if there was a list of 104 players who tested negative for steroids. I think A-Rod's smartest move was coming forward and saying, yes I did it. I took Performance Enhancing Drugs, I didn't necessarily know what I was putting in my body, but I knew it would help me compete at a higher level. I can't believe how excited Red Sox nation was about this revelation. I'm sure if A-Rod had ended up on the Red Sox, they wouldn't be so happy about it. Again though the issue is this information was leaked. Someone with a vendetta against A-Rod or maybe the Yankees took it upon themselves to make it known 1/104 positive test results to the world. If they were concerned for the state of baseball they might have chosen to release all the names, but oddly enough they chose only one. Some are calling for the release of the other names (Curt Schilling) while others are probably shaking in their boots. I think that if we keep sweeping this under the rug it's just going to keep going. Perhaps we just put it all there and start with a clean slate. Some people will probably choose to deny it and others might admit it like A-Rod, but to punish A-Rod now is just not fair. After at the time of this testing non of the substances he tested positive for were banned by the MLB. It will be interesting as teams start reporting to Spring Training the end of this week how things progress.

Chris Brown, 20 years old, on the top of the world. Hit singles, Top 40 dominating collaborations, and a pop princess for a girlfriend. Then something went terribly wrong. While there are limited details and tons of speculation this much is known, after leaving a pre-Grammy party Chris Brown and Rihanna got into and argument that quickly escalated. It moved from the car to the park where Brown allegedly attacked Rihanna and left her on the side of the road. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. Is this the end of Chris Brown? No. Is it the end of his clean cut image? Probably. Brown is talented and an assault charge and possibly jail time isn't going to change that. People will forever think differently of him, but I'm sure it isn't the end of Chris Brown. Rihanna will come out with a killer album with Supergirl attitude and rise back to the charts, this isn't the end of her either. Domestic abuse isn't a laughing matter, but the sad part is that millions of people are involved in domestic abuse every single day. They don't have the support that Rihanna has and they don't have the money for attorney's that Chris Brown does.

All of these stories happen to ordinary people everyday. I work at Berklee with a ton of musicians, do people smoke pot? Yup. Do they have multimillion dollar endorsement deals? No, but does that make them any better or worse as people? (Financially is a whole different story.) I go to the gym almost daily, I don't necessarily know people who use performance enhancing drugs, but do they exist for sure. Are they setting records? No, but are they trying to out do the next guy or live up to a public image? And Chris Brown, Ike Turner, Bobby Brown and other celebrity's who let money and power get the best of them, their actions are not justified or acceptable, but let's remember we don't know the whole story. We're just reading all of this through the eyes and ears of 'sources' and tabloids.

Heading home for a couple days this weekend for much needed family time.


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