Saban’s first crisis

What could have been a minor incident has spiraled into a major crisis for the Alabama football program—three players arrested following a scuffle outside a Strip Bar. (And who could now doubt Dr. Witt’s wisdom in cleaning the Strip?)

According to the Tuscaloosa News, Brandon Fanney, 21, was charged with disorderly conduct. His arrest follows the weekend arrest of teammates Brandon Deaderick and Roy Upchurch, who were arrested in front of “The Legacy,” a bar along the Strip.

But you probably knew those details already. What makes a college student’s (or three students) encounter with police into a big story is a trio of elements: the timing in the lull of the summer (there isn’t much else going on so it intensifies the scrutiny), it is Saban’s first real decision since coming to Alabama (will he live up to his reputation?), and finally, the arrests take on added interest because Mike Shula wasn’t able to discipline anyone.

The arrests were the topic of talk radio shows Monday. It should be the centerpiece again today. We are in an era of hyper-scrutiny on athletes. It is a time where we see athletes behave badly on all levels of sports. If you scroll down you can read a couple of stories showcasing the bad behavior of athletes in college and pro sports reported over the last couple of days. First, a U of Minnesota player charged with sexual assault and then an update on the star of bad behavior: Michael Vick.

With players behaving so poorly across all sports, it leads us to several questions. Is this the result of the media’s attention to athletes? In other words did these crimes exist in the past and we just never found out about them due to a compliant press? Or is it something more? Are these athletes behaving badly a symptom of a larger societal problem?

Another question, why do athletes who have such an opportunity make these poor choices, which lead to not only legal problems, but impairs their ability to play sports (and for the professionals, impairs their ability to earn money)?

Stories over the last couple of week’s from national sports figures acting badly: