Bob Kemp wants to make a point about athletes and coaches.
Especially the modern-day versions.
Kemp is a reader from Post Falls, and he’s not exactly an armchair critic, having participated in competitive bicycle racing for a quarter-century — both on tracks and the open road.
At age 40, he switched to running and has clocked almost too many marathons to count.
To me, that makes Bob a voice worth hearing.
What he wants to point out now is that we know that kids naturally mimic what they see while watching sports events.
And these days, Bob insists, there are too many jerks setting atrocious examples — not only for young people, but for audiences across the entire spectrum of society.
What set Bob off specifically (and moved him to write) was a tirade by Aaron Boone, manager of the New York Yankees.
Over just one pitch, by the way.
IN BOB’S view, Boone acted like a spoiled toddler and should be stuck in the corner for a while.
Oh, and Mr. Kemp doesn’t want to hear that baseball arguments have been going on for decades.
He doesn’t buy that excuse.
“I read in the paper about the fit that Aaron Boone threw at the umpire about a called strike,” Bob wrote.
“These things happen too often and there should be a stop to it. Language and attitude like that are inappropriate.
“There are people in the stands that don’t have to listen to that stuff. And reading between the lines, Boone intimidated the umpire and sounded like Boone was the boss, that he could have (the ump) eliminated from his job if he didn’t straighten himself out.
“Sure, (Boone) was fined, et cetera, but nothing that would hurt him.
“I believe that Boone should go out on the field with a microphone, and publicly apologize to the fans, to the umpire and to baseball in general for his behavior.”
Needless to say, that’s not going to happen.
Boone and all his fellow managers and coaches — not to mention players in all major sports — make so much money that fines are almost totally irrelevant.
Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott was fined millions for refusing to attend training camp while involved in a contract spat (he was at a resort in Mexico)
Predictably, though, he showed up for the first game of the regular season.
Oh, and that fine was merely theoretical.
Zeke won’t pay a dime for thumbing his nose at the Cowboys organization.
BOB KEMP suggested that Boone’s endless string of curses and umpire-baiting provides with us an atrocious example of ignoring authority.
No doubt he’d say the same about Elliott refusing to show up unless he got a better contract — which he did, agreeing to put on a uniform for $90 million over six years.
But besides the money, Bob is totally turned off by the current culture in the universe of sports.
“These guys today, who are paid millions to play ball, think they can do anything they want,” Kemp wrote.
“(They can) get mad, take a bat and beat up the dugout, destroy the water cooler, etc.
“We see all that televised. What a great example to our kids.”
There’s no question that Bob has this conduct nailed, and he’s likewise correct that young people will see athletes and their bosses acting like 5-year-olds — and ultimately will follow along because that’s how human beings learn things.
I heard an incredibly powerful question asked the other day…
Whatever happened to shame?
It’s far beyond me to answer that one, but I do know that you won’t find much shame in professional sports.
Moreover, we need people like Bob Kemp to shout about it once in a while.
I’m glad he did.
Steve Cameron’s “Cheap Seats” columns for The Press appear on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Steve also contributes the “Zags Tracker” package on Gonzaga basketball once monthly during the offseason.