Special to Sports News Highlights

(SNH) — For all their incredible feats out on the field, court, or wherever they play, it can be easy to forget that professional athletes are human. And this means that – just like every human – they can do dumb things.

This was abundantly clear when world No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler decided to ignore police – even when attached to his car – so he could get to his golf tournament on time.

Because of their fame, many athletes are given forums to express their opinions. This is all well and good when they talk about things they know. But, when they venture into areas beyond their expertise, they can look downright foolish, ignorant or worse. This has happened quite a bit over the years, but there are three recent examples that demonstrate why it may be best for sports figures to mostly stick to sports.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are now in the Western Conference Finals in large part due to the play of center Rudy Gobert, who was just named Defensive Player of the Year. Gobert didn’t play in Game 2 against Denver, however, so he could be with his girlfriend for the birth of their first child. Former player Gilbert Arenas believes Gobert made the wrong choice and said so on his podcast:

“It's a baby, bro. It's gonna be there when you get back, we hope. I’m just saying, the baby, whatever you think you about to do, he going to be asleep. I get you want to be with your [girlfriend] and smile and stuff, and your good NBA healthcare insurance. It’s because of you playing.”

By the way, the Timberwolves won the game 106-80.

A couple of weeks after Arenas’ comments, another athlete had something to say regarding women and motherhood. During a commencement speech at Benedictine College, Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker spoke extensively – and derisively – about a variety of topics, including abortion, DEI initiatives, and COVID lockdowns. But what seemed to rankle people most of all were his extremely old-fashioned views about women.

“I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolical lies told to you,” he said. “How many of you are sitting here now about to cross the stage, and are thinking about all the promotions and titles you're going to get in your career? Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world. But I would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world.”

(The speech was so inflammatory that even the nuns affiliated with the school had to issue a statement separating themselves from Butker and his comments.)

Just a few days after Butker’s speech, another football player had some bonkers things to say publicly. New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show, and the topics they discussed included the safety of COVID vaccines (Rodgers is unvaccinated), psychedelics and – perhaps most bizarrely – aliens. Said Rodgers:

“Whether you believe in alien life, UFOs, UAPs, whatever you want to call it, there's some technology out there that exists. (But) the government or powers that be don't think we’re ready to be given that information, which is wild.”

Rodgers also praised Carlson for his interview of Vladimir Putin and called the Russian dictator “an interesting, thoughtful, smart individual.”

While this comment may fly under the radar in a place like Green Bay, somebody should’ve told Rodgers that the largest Ukrainian population in the U.S. can be found in the New York metropolitan area.

We shouldn’t stop exalting athletes for their sports prowess. But these examples prove that if we look to them for anything other than game analysis, we may be sorely disappointed.

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