If you punched a co-worker at work, breaking his nose, how many of you would be skimming the classifieds for jobs before the day is out? What if this was your second time in six years? Well, that is the case with Steve Smith, receiver for the Carolina Panthers. For those of you who don’t follow professional football, first of all, it’s God’s sport, repent now (sorry NASCAR fans–oh, and by the way, He’s a Steelers fan). Anyway, for the second time in Steve Smith’s history with the Panthers, he has broken the nose of a fellow teammate, not by “sticking” the guy in smash-mouth football fashion but with his fist. The difference between you and him is that while you’d be looking in the middle of the newspaper, he’s making the front page. Okay, so he has been suspended for two games, which will apparently cost him around $205,000.00 (and may very well cost the Panthers a win for the first two games.) And, of course, he did make (or was ”made” to make) a public apology. But is that penalty enough?
I’m not judging Steve Smith; Lord knows I’ve got enough burdens of my own. I think he’s got superb talent, he’s entertaining to watch; and he can make the difference between a win and a loss but should that excuse him from controlling his destructive behavior? Should “who he is” cancel out what he’s done? Why is it that celebrities can act disgracefully and get away with it? Politicians, public servants, and ministers of the Gospel don’t get the same courtesy; they get crucified if caught acting dishonorably and ultimately lose their jobs and their reputations. Shouldn’t celebrities be held to the same standard as everyone else?
What if it was Mackenzy Bernadeau instead of Steve Smith? WHO?! He’s a 7th round drafted guard for the Panthers. He would be cut, that’s what. Smith’s saving grace is that he is in the limelight. Quite honestly, though, that should be his defeat. If the public places you on a pedestal, then you should act worthy of being on a pedestal or risk being knocked off without regard to consequence, whether that means a losing season, a diminishing fan base, revenue shortfall, or whatever. Integrity should never take a backseat to reputation or bottom line. Let justice be done though the heavens fall.