T Dog Blog Think Tank: Second Chances

Miss USA Tara Conner and Chicago Bears’ defensive tackle Terry “Tank” Johnson may not cross each other in their lifetimes, but they share a lot in common: On Tuesday, they both got second chances from their respective organizations.

Both held press conferences, both apologized, and both were told it was their last chance.

Tuesday morning, Miss Universe Organization CEO Donald Trump met Miss USA Tara Conner in New York City to discuss allegations of underage drinking and drug use, and even smooching Miss Teen USA (boy, that’ll sell well in the state of Kentucky),among other things. Mr. Trump was going into the meeting about to dismiss Ms. Conner. After the meeting came the press conference, and it seems all was forgiven, with Tara Conner going to rehab.

Miss USA in rehab. Oh, the shame, the shame. The shame of it all. (That’s Dr. Smith from Lost In Space saying that, not me. And trust me, any kid who thinks Dr. Smith is a great role model needs to be sent to DCFS, stat.)

Meanwhile, Tank Johnson was busted by Gurnee Police on Friday for having six unregistered guns in his home. That same night, he went to a bar in the River North neighborhood with one of his friends. A fight broke out in the club, someone pulled out a gun and fired, and Tank Johnson’s friend was dead. Later on Tuesday, Mr. Johnson met with Bears’ management and was suspended by the organization for one game. Bears management was considering cutting Mr. Johnson from the team.

Back in the day, we held celebrities and athletes to a higher standard. They were role models to children. But, oh how times have changed.

Beauty pageant winners and athletes aren’t perfect. They’re just like you and me. We make mistakes. Ms. Conner, a girl from a small town in Kentucky, got caught up in the whirlwind atmosphere that is New York. (or any other big city.) How can she adjust? As for Tank Johnson, it turns out that he grew up in the suburbs of Phoenix, Ariz., got good grades, and went to a good university. (So much for that image of a “thug” and being from the “ghetto”.) Yet, he fell into the same pratfalls that do in some African-American athletes.

It seems that society still hold these people to a higher standard. Why? Because Americans still have this image of their stars being like Marliyn Monroe or Joe DiMaggio. But yet, they weren’t perfect, either! If Joe or Jane Schmoo did these things, would anyone care? You wonder if these are the same people who hold politicians to a higher standard. We stopped doing that here in Chicago and Cook County years ago.

I don’t condone their actions. But hey, as I said. They’re human. Donald Trump, Lovie Smith, and Jerry Angelo are human. That’s why Miss USA and Tank Johnson got second chances. Mistakes are made. The messes are cleaned up. But the key here is — not to make them again. In the words of Stephen Colbert — They’re on notice.

And if they do make these mistakes again, I know a great punishment — make both them go on Papa Bear’s show to explain themselves — i.e. The O’Reilly Factor.