This evening a former NFL Superstar is sitting in a jail in Virginia awaiting transfer to a federal prison. Yesterday a NBA player was involved in an assault rifle shootout which wound up wounding the team's trainer. Most likely this week the Mitchell report will come out exposing multiple big name players in the largest steroid scandal in United States sports history. We cover these stories in the sports media with varying degrees of importance but when we do these stories I often wonder if we are more interested than the fans are?
My conclusion for the most part is yes. The outrage over these incidents are very strong and vocal but by every measure it has not affected baseball, football, or basketball's bottom line. By every measure all three of these sports have been hit by major scandals and yet all of these sports are seeing more fans in the arenas and stadiums than ever. There are more games on TV than ever. The TV contracts are higher than ever and most importantly the bottom lines of teams are doing better than they ever have in their respective sports entire history.
There appears to me to be no backlash at all for athletes behaving badly. As long as these players entertain the masses it appears that all is forgiven. I guarantee that when the Mitchell report comes out, and if as has been said that names will be revealed, there will be at least one current or former Cardinals player mentioned on top of the already known about Mark McGwire and Rick Ankiel stories. If that is true I will also guarantee that the Cardinals organization will not suffer one bit in the pocketbook because of the performance enhancing drug scandal. The only possible reason the Cardinals will suffer at the gate is because of performance on the field not the scandal. They will still draw 3 million plus fans regardless of who is implicated.
The same will be true all around baseball and I come back to the question do fans care about these athletes who do illegal acts? I believe the answer is a definitive NO.
Any comments I would love to hear them.