Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sports Crime Blotter

I'm one of the people who are keeping the newspapers afloat right now. I get the SF Chronicle every day. I need my daily fix of local news, comics, sports and sudoku without having to look at many different pages online.

The Chronicle sports section always has a Digest column--a compilation of news from different parts of the sports world that the editors obviously feel don't deserve separate articles. Sometimes it's news from out of season sports, like pro football in April; sometimes it's news from sports that are not big here in the SF Bay Area, like women's hockey. But there's one category that has been added in the last couple of years that is disturbing. It's a paragraph or two under the heading Jurisprudence.

If you go to today's digest and scroll down, you'll see this entry:

Jurisprudence: Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najeh Davenport was acquitted of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge in Cleveland Municipal Court. Davenport had been accused of slapping and punching Anita Person, the mother of his 5-year-old son at her Cleveland home in October.

I guess I should be glad that for a change the story is about someone who was acquitted instead of convicted. These stories of run-ins with the law appear regularly, I'd say at least twice a week. And while there is some variety in the types of crimes committed--drug deals, DUI, stolen goods, gambling, etc.-- all too many of them deal with domestic violence.

So when we're looking at the culture of competitive sports, let's not be distracted by any particular issue like steroids. We must take a wider look at the current environment and see how we can make changes that will improve the condition of these athletes lives off the field as well as on.

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