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Tom Jones' 2 cents

Tom Jones has his opinions.

Five good guys in sports

4

December

One by one, it seems, the athletes we all look up to have fallen by the wayside in scandal and controversy. Michael Phelps wins a zillion Olympic medals, then gets caught smoking pot. Michael Vick becomes a hero to the city of Atlanta, then it's discovered he's bankrolling a dogfighting ring. The latest, of course, is Tiger Woods and what he is calling "transgressions.'' The Tiger thing has stunned sports fans not just because Woods is, arguably, the world's most famous athlete, but because the story appears so out of character of Woods, who had a pristine reputation just a week ago. So who is left? Which superstar athletes can fans trust anymore to do the right things -- legally, morally and/or otherwise? We haven't lost faith just yet. Here are five larger-than-life sports figures we still look up to and trust

Dungy Tony Dungy
Is there anyone who doesn't like this guy? It's like he’s the father figure of the entire sports world. Dungy is not a coach anymore, but he remains active in sports by being a broadcaster and acting as an adviser to everything from the NFL to troubled souls such as Vick. He overcame personal tragedy and continues to live his life with grace, class and gentleness.

Jeter Derek Jeter
Know the difference between Jeter and Woods? A wedding ring. Seriously, Jeter has had numerous flings with numerous celebrities, and we all say, "More power to him'' because he's a single adult. And yet he hasn't abused that celebrity. Think about it. He's 35 years old. He has played the marquee position for the marquee team in all of sports in the media capital of the world for the past 15 years, and you've never once heard of him being involved in any shady shenanigans or scandals off the field.

Manning Peyton Manning
It's hard to argue that there is more talented quarterback in the NFL, and yet what are the headlines about him off the field? Is it about his retiring and unretiring? Is it about him marrying a supermodel while his former girlfriend is giving birth to his child? Is it about him running a dogfighting ring? No, no and no. There are no headlines about Manning in the offseason. The only things we hear about him off the field are helping Hurricane Katrina victims, his charity work at a children’s hospital that has since been named after him and some of the most entertaining commercials on television.

Tim Tim Tebow
C'mon, how can you not respect a kid who wears eye black to promote something he believes in and it's not a Nike swoosh or dot-com company? He wears Bible verses on his face. And he doesn't just talk the talk about his faith, he walks the walk, speaking at prisons and taking missionary trips overseas while most college kids are sleeping their summers away at the beach.

Duncan Tim Duncan
A quiet, unassuming star who shuns the spotlight but goes about his job as one of the NBA's best players ever. Inspired by a promise to his mother, who died when he was 13, Duncan didn't leave college early and earned an honors degree in psychology at Wake Forest. A good family man who does so much charity work that if we listed them all here, we would run out of space.

Your turn
Which superstars would you add to the list? Send an e-mail to tjones@sptimes.com with your suggestions and be sure to leave your full name and hometown.

[Last modified: Monday, June 14, 2010 3:43pm]

    

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