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Wednesday thoughts: Athlete drug scandals, Torrington basketball, Gary Robinson and the Super Bowl

POSTED January 30, 2013
BY Patrick Tiscia
Twitter: @PatrickTiscia


In what seems to be a never-ending saga, athletes and performance-enhancing drugs continue dominate the headlines.

This week, it's Alex Rodriguez (again) and Ray Lewis. Two weeks ago, it was Lance Armstrong. And a few months ago, it was Roger Clemens and his trial.

Just when you think we have moved past all of this, a reminder comes along to tell us otherwise.

The problem is what's being done when those reminders come.

Whether it's suspensions being handed out (Manny Ramirez), titles/medals being stripped (Armstrong) or just being publicly humiliated (A-Rod), these offenders don't stop. The punishments for these misdeeds need to hit these athletes hard in a place that will shake them up. And, frankly, there's only one way to do so.

Hit them in the wallet.

Each time one of these shamed individuals retreat to their home after a scandal hits the air, it's not to a modest three-bedroom home in the suburbs. They're going to their beach house, kicking back at the pool and probably laughing at us, the fans who put hundreds of millions in their pockets.

It's just a joke to them, and, no doubt, worth all the public shame for the ability to live their extravagant lifestyle.

While the Collective Bargaining Agreements in each sport currently prohibit teams from voiding contracts for such behavior, it's something these leagues need to seriously pursue when their contracts with the players associations are up. Right now, the disciplinary actions in place are not enough.

I can, almost, understand a player making a one-time mistake and realizing the errors of their ways. But that player is far and few between. It's no coincidence the same players come up in these scandals time after time. They just don't care. Simple as that.

And by not caring, they continue to set a terrible example for young athletes, especially the ones who worship the ground these athletes stand on.

It's time for the leagues to make a bigger stand. The athletes, as strongly evidenced, are not capable of making their own.

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Congrats to the Torrington basketball team, which reached its season goal of qualifying for the state tournament by beating Holy Cross on Tuesday. While this year's squad doesn't have the talent of the Mike Fabiaschi or Jordan Williams Raider teams, it plays very hard each night and never backed down despite getting off to a slow start. Head coach Eric Gamari deserves a lot of credit.

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Speaking of Torrington coaches, it was great to see Litchfield County Sports alum Gary Robinson patrolling the sidelines for the Torrington JV team the other night. I would be interested to see how much success he'd have coaching the LCS crew. Getting Rick Wilson to give up the rock would be a coaching miracle.

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I always love this time a year when everyone makes their Super Bowl picks from celebrities to "experts." Tim Gaffney will be running the local version in the coming days and in the spirit of being different, I hope you enjoy my pick. Just be smart and don't wager on it.

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