Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Harding Bears Responsibility

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Harding Bears Responsibility

Article excerpt

All right. So we've established that in America you can shoot your parents in the back while they watch television (the two Menendez juries were hung), cut off your husband's penis or smash a brick into the head of a passing trucker because he happens to be white - all without consequences.

Why not then take a metal baton to the knee of your prime skating rival? Heck, by current standards, Tonya Harding could have taken off Nancy Kerrigan's whole leg. Her excuse could have been early childhood abuse (which would have the advantage of being true). Or she could claim to have been the victim of an irresistible urge. Or she could explain that she was caught up in the mob psychology of competitive skating and therefore wasn't responsible for her actions.

We are living in a raw and uncouth time. Turn on the radio in search of news or weather, and you will hear programs in which the hosts ask callers for the most intimate details of their sex lives -and callers oblige. MTV pumps soft pornography into living rooms 24 hours a day. Our jokes are raunchy, our movies are bloody and our churches are politically correct. Children are robbed of their innocence at an early age, urged toward a precocious sexuality that dims the wonder of childhood and replaces it with a smarmy pseudo-sophistication.

Someone, somewhere must reintroduce the idea that actions have consequences. That lesson is certainly not taught in schools - where even the most disruptive students are permitted to remain in classrooms lest their civil rights be violated. It is obviously not enforced by the jury system. And it is not enforced in the world of sports.

John McEnroe and Ilie Nastase make a mockery of the term "gentlemen's tennis." People who curse at the umpire or extend their middle finger should be barred from the game - not admonished, not fined, but banned. It doesn't matter if the offenders are superb athletes. Their ugly behavior diminishes the elegance of the sport more than their skill enhances it.

Ice hockey games routinely disintegrate into free-for-all shoving and punching matches. …

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