Come To Think of It: Sports Figures Live in a New World of Scrutiny

Bob Warja@@bobwarjaSenior Writer IApril 14, 2009

Smile, you're on Candid Camera.

In this era of Twitter, Facebook, camera phones, and other devices that would make Dick Tracy blush, it is almost impossible for a star athlete to escape the ever-watchful eye of the public.

It is with this in mind that I offer the following advice, free of charge, to any sports figure living in today's digital world: exercise good judgement, or be ready to face the consequences.

I understand that a lot of the so-called star athletes are young and immature and have loads of disposable income. Except for that last part, this also describes many of us when we were that age as well.

The difference is that today's sports figures live in a fish bowl, or something that may best be described as a shark tank. The goal is to avoid being the next one to be eaten alive.

Take the new Chicago Bears quarterback, Jay Cutler, for instance. This town is so giddy over the arrival of a real, honest-to-goodness quarterback, that he could probably run for Mayor and win handily.

Deadspin has posted pictures of a girl that Jay is said to have been out partying with until 2 AM on Easter Sunday. While I certainly don't blame him for cashing in a little of his new-found equity and trying to "get him some," is it really wise to do this so soon?

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You know, he needs to be careful, especially after being tagged with the "party animal" label in Denver. On top of that, he's an insulin-dependant diabetic.

The problem with this is that the first time he has a bad game, fans and media alike will be singing the familiar refrain that it's all because of Jay's partyin' ways. Fair or not, this is what he has created for himself.

Yes, it sucks for a young sports star to not be able to go out and enjoy himself without so much scrutiny. But hey, this is the price of fame and fortune.

Oh, and one other thing: It's not like they don't know what to expect.

While that may not make it any easier to stomach, it is what is is. Look, we all made mistakes and did goofy, childish things when we were young, but most of us weren't star athletes.

There are plenty of ways to get around the spotlight if someone so chooses. Many establishments have VIP areas where someone can go and do his or her thing without being so obvious.

For example, when was the last time you gambled with Michael Jordan? Yeah, that's what I thought. But you know that he gambles.

That's the kind of caution I'm advocating here. No, it's not foolproof, and there are always paparazzi and other slimy characters out there just looking to make a living off of someone else's misfortune.

But it is especially important in today's society where girls often brag about which star they slept with. Once thought to be a private matter, many women can't wait to go online to expose their latest conquest.

In a world full of tweets, you don't want to be a twit.

I'm not passing judgement here. That's just the way it is. Recognizing that, wouldn't it make sense for the so-called leader of his team, such as a star quarterback, to begin to demonstrate he can make good decisions by doing everything he can to avoid negative publicity?

I think so.

It may be easier said than done, but at least try to avoid situations where your privacy is exposed. Isn't that why we wear our underwear on the inside of our pants?

Hey, be careful, it's a jungle out there, come to think of it.

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