What we wish they would say


January 09, 2003|by DAN KAUFFMAN

Sports writers dream about one thing - great quotes. Great quotes make for great stories, and great stories make for happier (and hopefully more) readers. Great quotes are also almost always brutally honest.

  • Here's five quotes I can only hope I'll read at some point in my lifetime:

  • From any star college athlete - "I've got this wonderful thing called a full scholarship. It's something very, very few people have the privilege to accept. It's one of the greatest gifts a human being can receive, along with a loving family and good health. I understand I have a chance not only to play the sport I love, but also to receive a college education free of charge. I don't want to contribute to society just on the playing field, I want to contribute to society as a great man capable of great things off the playing field."

  • From any major college football or basketball coach - "Don't blame me when I say I have to worry first about winning. Blame the universities and blame the boosters. It's because of them that, if my kids have a 100 percent graduation rate and I'm a .500 coach, I'm fired within five years, but if my kids have a zero percent graduation rate and I make a couple BCS bowls or Final Fours, I'm a hero. Obviously, I have to worry about winning, because to the universities, it is most assuredly NOT about the kids."

  • From any major college board of trustees - "You know what football and basketball mean to us? Moolah.We need butts in seats, the richer the butts, the better. Mediocre programs don't put butts in seats, and if butts aren't in seats, heads will roll. But not our heads, because, well, it's good to be the kings and queens. But it is most assuredly NOT about the kids."

  • From Pete Rose - "Yes, I bet on baseball while managing the Cincinnati Reds. Yes, it was wrong. For the longest time, I thought I never did anything wrong because I never bet on my own team's games. But now I realize betting on baseball was a major conflict of interest that could have tarnished the validity of the entire sport. Therefore, I publicly apologize to baseball, to all those people involved in any aspect with baseball, and to all the fans who have supported and indeed loved baseball, even though baseball has time and time again tested your love."

  • Finally, from Martha Burke - "After attacking Augusta National's male-only membership policy with all the energy I can muster, I have decided to step back from the issue. This decision comes not because I believe I am wrong, because I still strongly believe my position is right and justified. Rather, this decision comes because there are more important issues facing women, such as equal pay for equal work, fair and respectful treatment in the workplace, and protection from domestic abuse. These issues require all the substantial energy I can give them, and their solutions will prove far more valuable than any to come out of Augusta National."

    Dan Kauffman is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 7520, or by e-mail at

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