With the recent reinstatement of Oregon RB LeGarrette Blount, the era of second chances continues in the world of sports.
America is and always has been a land of second chances. Throughout America’s history, immigrants have fled from persecution, whether it be religious, racial, or economic, to start anew in the United States. Whatever they had done in their prior lives was wiped clean when they set foot on American soil and they were given a second chance. The sky was the limit and this is one of the aspects which makes America so great. Most of our ancestors were the product of second chances and therefore we, as a people, are predisposed to sympathize with individuals who are in a position to garner another shot.
Whatever reason it may be, the last few years have brought this willingness to forgive to the forefront of the world of athletics. Athletes have always been misbehaving, but the way in which respective leagues deal with this misbehavior has changed throughout the years. From minimal sanctions to extreme sanctions, I believe commissioners and coaches have finally found a happy medium in how to deal with misbehaving athletes. Depending on the infraction, the coach should over-punish the athlete. This tactic garners the praise of the commissioner, the other schools within the conference, and the general public. It reinforces the idea that the main purpose of collegiate athletics is to promote equality, professionalism, and sportsmanship. As difficult as it might be for a coach to over-punish his star player, the benefits far outweigh the burdens in the long run. If, as in Blount’s case, the coach wishes to re-instate the player down the road, he can have the latitude to make this choice without backlash or uproar from anyone. If the coach takes the matter out of the commissioner’s hand at the outset, then he is the one who can decide how to proceed further down the road.
Whether it be Michael Vick or LeGarrette Blount, truly remorseful athletes are and should be given second chances. Not third or fourth chances, but second chances. Regardless of whether or not they succeed, if they have shown legitimate remorse, they deserve the opportunity to prove that they understand their mistakes and are ready to move forward.