Stroman On Sports: Troubled Athletes

Maybe it’s just because they’re already always in the news, but it seems that almost every day we hear another story about troubled athletes. Athletes being arrested, athletes committing crimes, athletes doing drugs, athletes fighting with each other, athletes going AWOL from their teams. Of course you have to take that with a grain of salt: for every pro athlete who makes the nightly news there are a hundred others who live their lives without any incident at all. Still, though, it’s worth asking: in making sports a big-money industry, in subjecting our athletes to hero worship, are we enabling athletes’ bad behavior?

Deborah Stroman is a professor at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and an expert on sport analytics. She spoke with WCHL’s Aaron Keck about two recent (and very different) instances of athletes behaving badly: NBA star Lamar Odom’s near-fatal downward spiral and NFL star Greg Hardy’s sideline meltdown.

On Lamar Odom:


On Greg Hardy:


(Discussions about Odom and Hardy begin about halfway through the conversations.)

Panthers Clinch NFC South, Edge Falcons, 21-20

ATLANTA — Cam Newton threw two touchdown passes, Greg Hardy had a team- record four sacks and the Carolina Panthers clinched the NFC South title by beating the Atlanta Falcons 21-20 on Sunday. 

The Panthers (12-4) clinched a first-round bye and home-field advantage for at least one game as the No. 2 seed in the NFC. Seattle beat St. Louis 27-9, meaning Carolina will only get home field advantage in the divisional round.

Carolina set a team record by sacking Matt Ryan nine times. The defense also produced a touchdown on Melvin White’s 7-yard interception return in the second quarter.

Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez had four catches for 56 yards and was honored at halftime in his final regular-season game. He has announced plans for retirement.