Striking a blow for decency

Someday, maybe we'll all look back on this as the week decency – and accountability – began returning to the world of big-time sports. Certainly, there have been some encouraging signs in the past few days:

- CBS fires shock Jock Don Imus for acting like a mean-spirited jerk. His condescending and crude characterization of the Rutgers women's basketball team as a bunch of "nappy-headed hos" was racist, sexist and – thankfully – the last straw.

- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspends Pacman Jones of the Tennessee Titans for a full season and Chris Henry of the Cincinnati Bengals for half a season (eight games) for acting like thugs. They may not be bright enough to get the message but most of their peers will.

These bold moves represent a good Step 1. Here are some suggestions for Step 2:

- Major League Baseball suspends for one season (without pay) any player who tries to gain a competitive advantage by using performance-enhancing drugs. A second offense brings a lifetime ban. Moreover, "juiced" players will not be eligible for the MLB record book or the Hall of Fame.

- Athletes who blatantly cheap-shot an opponent or climb into the stands to attack fans are subject to criminal prosecution. Assault is assault, whether it occurs on the street, on the gridiron or on an ice rink.

- Foul-mouthed fans who go too far in taunting players will be subject to fines. Athletes are people, too.

- National Basketball Association commissioner David Stern cleans up his league's thug image by taking more decisive action against repeat-offense thugs (see Roger Goodell).

- Athletes in all sports are randomly tested for use of illegal or performance-enhancing drugs. The argument that they're being presumed guilty until proven innocent doesn't wash. I don't carry weapons but I have to prove it each time I try to board a plane.

- The NCAA bans coaches who cheat, rather than merely penalizing the schools who made the mistake of hiring them.

And while we're at it ...

- Force recording artists (using the term loosely) who spew profanity and venom while glorifying drug use and other criminal activities to either tone down their lyrics or perform only in prison ... inside the bars.

- Eliminate all video games in which kids accumulate points by shooting policemen and stealing cars. Either that, or raise the age limit for buying/renting such videos to 40 years.


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