Regarding Vontaze Burfict's anger issue

Vontaze Burfict's inability to control his anger contributed greatly to the Bengals losing the NFL playoff game that they were moments away from winning.  Burfict made an illegal hit with less than a minute left in the game.  The penalty moved the football into field goal range for the Steelers.  The Steelers kicked the field goal and won.

Burfict was over-the-top fired up throughout the game.  A sideline TV reporter announced that coaches were cautioning Burfict not to do anything that would harm him and his teammates.  I thought, “For crying out loud.  Is the guy a three-year old?  Burfict is a highly paid professional athlete.  Why can't the head coach simply say, 'Calm down and knock it off'?”

When did pro head coaches lose control of their players?  My brother has coached kids’ football for 30 years.  A few years ago, he told me he saw a disturbing change in the kids.  “They don't fear anybody [adults],” he said.  My brother was talking about the healthy respectful fear of our elders that we grew up with.  When Principal Brown told you to behave, your response was, “Yes sir.”

Sports pundits have said coaches should adjust to the new style of pro athlete, give star players a pass when they miss team meetings or celebrate too long in the end zone after scoring a touchdown – costing their team a penalty.  Hogwash!

I remember years ago when pro basketball player Vernon Maxwell ran into the stands and punched a heckler during a game.  I thought, “How stupid and crazy is that?  You're a multimillionaire.  Why should you care what a drunk knucklehead in the stands yells at you?”  Some say this mindset of never allowing anyone to “dis” you is a part of the gang culture infecting pro sports.

The thuggery-is-cool mindset is reflected in the behavior, speech, and dress of many pro athletes, particularly blacks.  Black NFL quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, who present an old-school gentleman persona, are ridiculed in sports media, their authentic blackness questioned, accused of acting white.

Former Detroit News columnist Rob Parker questioned Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III's blackness, asking, “Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother?”

In his autobiography, Dr. Ben Carson tells of the problem he had controlling his temper in his youth.  Carson realized that if he did not fix his anger issue, it could ruin his life.

After contributing greatly to the Bengals losing another playoff game, the TV camera caught a glimpse of Vontaze Burfict on the sideline bursting into tears before covering his face with his hands.  I pray that the painful loss and letting down his teammates is a turning point for the young man – his Dr. Carson moment.

Even today, in my sixties, I cringe whenever I recall idiotic mistakes I made in my youth.  Behavior has consequences.  Some life lessons are costly.  Thank God I eventually saw the light, learned, and grew.  Get it together, Vontaze – you're a great talent!

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American; LloydMarcus.com

Vontaze Burfict's inability to control his anger contributed greatly to the Bengals losing the NFL playoff game that they were moments away from winning.  Burfict made an illegal hit with less than a minute left in the game.  The penalty moved the football into field goal range for the Steelers.  The Steelers kicked the field goal and won.

Burfict was over-the-top fired up throughout the game.  A sideline TV reporter announced that coaches were cautioning Burfict not to do anything that would harm him and his teammates.  I thought, “For crying out loud.  Is the guy a three-year old?  Burfict is a highly paid professional athlete.  Why can't the head coach simply say, 'Calm down and knock it off'?”

When did pro head coaches lose control of their players?  My brother has coached kids’ football for 30 years.  A few years ago, he told me he saw a disturbing change in the kids.  “They don't fear anybody [adults],” he said.  My brother was talking about the healthy respectful fear of our elders that we grew up with.  When Principal Brown told you to behave, your response was, “Yes sir.”

Sports pundits have said coaches should adjust to the new style of pro athlete, give star players a pass when they miss team meetings or celebrate too long in the end zone after scoring a touchdown – costing their team a penalty.  Hogwash!

I remember years ago when pro basketball player Vernon Maxwell ran into the stands and punched a heckler during a game.  I thought, “How stupid and crazy is that?  You're a multimillionaire.  Why should you care what a drunk knucklehead in the stands yells at you?”  Some say this mindset of never allowing anyone to “dis” you is a part of the gang culture infecting pro sports.

The thuggery-is-cool mindset is reflected in the behavior, speech, and dress of many pro athletes, particularly blacks.  Black NFL quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, who present an old-school gentleman persona, are ridiculed in sports media, their authentic blackness questioned, accused of acting white.

Former Detroit News columnist Rob Parker questioned Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III's blackness, asking, “Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother?”

In his autobiography, Dr. Ben Carson tells of the problem he had controlling his temper in his youth.  Carson realized that if he did not fix his anger issue, it could ruin his life.

After contributing greatly to the Bengals losing another playoff game, the TV camera caught a glimpse of Vontaze Burfict on the sideline bursting into tears before covering his face with his hands.  I pray that the painful loss and letting down his teammates is a turning point for the young man – his Dr. Carson moment.

Even today, in my sixties, I cringe whenever I recall idiotic mistakes I made in my youth.  Behavior has consequences.  Some life lessons are costly.  Thank God I eventually saw the light, learned, and grew.  Get it together, Vontaze – you're a great talent!

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American; LloydMarcus.com