Greed drives corruption in sports
I don't know about you, but I have had enough of the "he said, she said" for a while.
The latest incident revolves around the ever-growing story and accusations coming out of Mobile, Ala., and whether or not a former insurance executive wired money to former Tennessee quarterback and Mobile native Tee Martin.
Diane Sanford allegedly helped Martin cover the expenses for having his sports utility vehicle repaired during his senior season in Knoxville. Sanford was an employee of Arco Insurance in Mobile at the time, and the company has filed a law suit against Sanford and her late husband claiming embezzlement.
During the investigation of this law suit, Sanford's husband committed suicide. Meanwhile, Martin adamantly claims he never received one dime from Sanford, or former Mobile Register sports reporter Wayne Rowe, who she solicited to funnel the money to Martin since Rowe and the current Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback had a long relationship.
The discovery of Martin's possible involvement also came out of the investigation, which continues to bring out new items daily. The Internal Revenue Service is now involved after learning that somebody apparently "received" $4,500 or possibly even more.
Embezzlement, insurance agents, lawyers, college athletes, death …. where is John Grisham when I really need him?
This is a sad story. And, although my Tennessee Volunteer brethren will not agree in all likelihood, the real tragedy in this story is not whether Martin was involved. No, it runs much deeper than that.
Whatever the truth is, and hopefully it will come out, eventually, a poor soul has lost his life, albeit voluntarily, over what appears to be greed.
I hate to admit this, but greed is a huge problem in college athletics. The one profession I hold more sacred than any other, especially after spending most of my adult life working in it, has its flaws. Greed is number one.
Greed killed Diane Sanford's husband. Greed drives fans and boosters, coaches and players, and even us media types.
Let me give you a few examples.
Have you checked into the average salaries of college football and basketball coaches lately? Most of these coaches are very good people, not driven by the greed that infiltrated their workplace. But, greed drove the salaries to where they are today.
Greed drives the boosters and fans. We crave conference and national championships and will do anything to get them. We want the best players to attend our universities, ones that can lead us to the promised land. We'll help our schools do anything to get them. Our ego gets in the way too often.
back out of City High School?"
It happens all the time. It soothes our soul and strokes our ego to allow others to know how important we think we are, doesn't it?
Greed drives the players, their high school coaches, and sometimes even their own families. You don't think so? I have two words for you Albert Means. Sure, Albert and his family had no idea of the bidding war that was allegedly talking place to secure his services.
But, now we all know what kind of mess it has turned out to be.
It's OK to want to be the best. That's how our country was founded. We all strive every day to reach new heights and become a better person, a better father, a better mother, a better worker, a better boss or whatever the case may be.
There is a fine line between having the desire to achieve our goals and greed.
Look into most cases the NCAA has investigated over the last 20 years and somewhere, someone's greed is to blame. Greed typically was the thing that started it, and most likely, it is the thing that caused it all to crumble.
We may never know what drove Diane Sanford's husband to tragically take his own life last week. We may never find out if money was actually wired to Tee Martin or not.
But, if we don't start controlling our greed and desire for self-gratification, this won't be last case that comes down the road.
Never has a more sad story been told.