Posts Tagged ‘Sportsmanship’

With Larry Johnson Baggage Comes Free!

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

It seems nowadays you are hard pressed to find an airline flight where “baggage comes Free”. Increasingly you have to pay to bring baggage with on your journeys. However, at the other end of the spectrum, the NFL, apparently baggage comes free. Unlike, in the airline industry this is not a perk! An increasing number of players have baggage. What do I mean by baggage? Arrests, assault, late night carousing, drug use (both recreational and performance), unbecoming language, greed, immaturity, I could keep going but I think you get the point. Modern sports teams not only have to evaluate the talent of a player but they also have to inspect the baggage a player carries with him/her. If a team finds a player with little baggage they are really flying high (I will stop with the airline analogies).

This blog has dedicated several posts to former Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson, whom could be the poster boy for troubled NFL players. Note the use of “former” above, the Chiefs have decided to part ways with Johnson. I would like to think my blog had something to do with this, but I am not that naive…yet! I applaud the Chiefs decision. It sends a clear message to players that unbecoming behavior will not be tolerated. Now the question becomes which team, if any, will pick up Johnson’s contract? Hopefully, the message that the Chiefs sent will not die quickly with another team indulging Johnson by allowing him to play this season. Let Johnson sit at home for the rest of the season and evaluate his behavior. Perhaps this time away will allow him to appreciate the opportunities he once had and inspire him to improve is off field behavior.

Justin Mayer, Executive Director-ISPA

APHA – Teens, Football & Risk

Monday, November 9th, 2009

At the annual meetings of the American Public Health Association (APHA) in Philadelphia, PA this past weekend (see the APHA came out with the results of a survey of teens that stated that teenage boys who played football are more likely than their peers to engage in risky behaviors such as drugs, drinking and violence.

We at ISPA and I independently in my clinical practice (see  have been saying for some time that we must be concerned about the youth culture within sports and how it can be a delicate environment, one where young people can learn negative behaviors just as much as they can learn the positive behaviors that we traditionally think sports can foster.

In my experience the negatives traits and behaviors that can grow out of sports can be prevented and even reversed by those adults who are in leadership roles in sports. It is our passion at ISPA to reach sports professionals in all fields, coaches, trainers, and the media to make a difference in this very issue of the fragile balance in sports at all levels between good values and harmful ones.

We need your help to spread the word about the International Sports Professionals Association-ISPA and our mission to improve the world of sports.

Dr. John E. Mayer, President

Marathoneering-Catching On!

Friday, October 30th, 2009

ISPA World:

Hi all, I created a word a few days ago associated with Marathons. I did it a bit tongue in cheek, but it seems to be catching on. Here at ISPA we do have a goal of innovation in the field of sports, so bring it on.

Dr. John E. Mayer


Winning Above Everything

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Idaho Vandals safety Shiloh Keo was cited for misdemeanor battery this past Saturday night after a win against Hawaii. While it is commendable that Mr. Keo eventually turned himself in this does not erase the fact that he committed a crime. It remains to be seen what will happen in a court of law; however, the most alarming news is the Idaho coach Robb Akey has done little to discipline Mr. Keo. In fact coach Akey has indicated the Mr. Keo will most likely play in an upcoming game against Nevada. How can a player be allowed to play, less than a week after committing a crime, in a football game? Does commonsense not tell us that the first step in punishing Mr. Keo would be to not permit him to play in at least one game. Coach Akey indicated that Mr. Keo would be punished. The question is when will he be punished? After the season? It is important to remember that Mr. Keo is the leading tackler on the Idaho Vandals and Idaho is off to a 6-1 start. If Mr. Keo was a second string player would he be allowed to play this week? No, he probably would be banned from playing because he is not an integral part of the team and his presence would not enhance the chance of a victory.
The Idaho Vandals are sending a dangerous message to athletes by allowing Shiloh Keo to play. Athletes must be held accountable by the team when they violate the law. The disciplinary actions must be stern and swift. All to often athletes feel above the law because of their athletic prowess and teams such as Idaho foster this mentality by not reacting to situations such as Mr. Keo’s. Hopefully, coach Akey and the Idaho Vandals will see the light and take the appropriate steps to discipline Shiloh Keo and stop the cycle of inflating players’ egos. However, as long as Idaho keeps winning this will probably not happen during the season and when the season is over it will already be too late.

Justin Mayer, Executive Director ISPA

Rush Limbaugh Excluded From Purchasing Saint Lous Rams

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

There has been much discussion about Rush Limbaugh being excluded from a group attempting to purchase the Saint Louis Rams football team. It is well known that controversy is no stranger to Mr. Limbaugh and perhaps this is one of the reasons why the group of potential buyers has decided to move forward without Mr. Limbaugh. The important thing to remember is that it is a privilege to own a football team and not a right. Unfortunately, Mr. Limbaugh is already starting to sling mud and point fingers and it is becoming apparent that he is now going to use this as a vehicle to push forward his political agenda. The NFL is already marred with much controversy; it is unfortunate that Mr. Limbaugh (supposedly a huge football fan) is fanning the already burning flames. Let’s keep the focus on sports and not ego and political agendas.

Justin Mayer

Executive Director ISPA

Not a bad year for ISPA Pres.

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Hi All;

Well, Sunday was the 32nd running of the Chicago Marathon. I am pleased to say I finished with a PR. On September 13th I ran the Chicago 1/2 Marathon and also set a PR. In June I ran the Seattle Marathon and in January both Justin (Justin Mayer-Executive Director of ISPA.) and I ran the Arizona Marathon. It was the first time we ran together the entire distance as he always beat me in any event we ran in. (Talk about a good example of Family Fit!) All in all it was a good year for running for me. I’m looking forward to next year.

BTW, the crowds lining the streets in Chicago were amazing. There were more people out watching this year’s race than I have ever seen. That was kind of bitter sweet as it reminded me of what could have been for the 2016 Olympics.

John Mayer, President-ISPA

Athlete Hero

Monday, September 14th, 2009

This week’s Sports Illustrated, September 14, 2009 issue, has a story for all of us. Written by Selena Roberts and appearing on the very last page of the magazine in the ‘Point After’ column, she writes a poignant article about a high school athlete.

It is an article about what is most joyous and what is most sad in the lives of our teenagers. The article is about a high School athlete, Kaleb Eulls, an outstanding student and athlete from Mississippi. Kaleb was on a bus one morning when another student, a 14-year-old girl took out a gun from her backpack and threatened revenge for being bullied. Kaleb was able to disarm her (Please get this magazine and read the article) and save anyone from getting hurt. Ms. Roberts details how modest and hardworking Kaleb is in his everyday life apart from this incident. He remained that way throughout the national attention he received as a result of this heroic deed.

In the last two weeks I have given many presentations on bullying and teasing at schools in my professional role as a clinical psychologist. I have also just finished publishing a very affordable and comprehensive manual for schools to apply to their school to STOP and PREVENT bullying and teasing behavior among students. My goal is to provide schools with tools they can use without expending enormous resources and money. (Comparable programs cost in the thousands of dollars-mine is a straightforward, hard-hitting manual for schools for $25.)

The appearance of this article, in a magazine devoted to sports underscores the seriousness of this problem of bullying and teasing among students of all ages. Children, teens, adults are being hurt and killed by this behavior. It is time we stopped it in our society. In the next few weeks I will have a booklet available on, I call them Mini-Manuals, for parents on this issue as well.

We could have lost this special young man, Kaleb Eulls, innocently because of this deadly behavior of teasing and bullying others. Help stop it NOW!

Dr. John E. Mayer-President, ISPA


Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

I Feel Badly

While taking a run this morning on the Chicago lakefront I did something I feel badly about. As I was well into my run my mouth developed a good deal of saliva as we men are often known to do. I looked behind me to my left and then to my right to see if another runner or cyclist was approaching me from behind because clearly there was no one approaching me. I prepared that mouthful of spittle, took a deep breath and off it went out of my mouth and on its way toward helping the lakefront grass to some nutrients. But, alas, from out of nowhere a cyclist going at an estimated speed approaching Contador and Armstrong dueling down a French mountain, came next to me at the moment of launch and my well intended lawn additive landed squarely in this cyclist’s face. After a string of choice words and a bit of a wobble on his expensive road bike he didn’t break pace and sped off.

My first reaction to this unfortunate incident was, “Oooops! I feel so bad, sorry good sir.” But, as I jogged on my merry way also not breaking stride from my blistering 10.0 mph pace I thought about how many times I had seen cyclists speed by runners, walkers, groups on this same path thinking they are re-creating a stage of the TOUR and ride up upon people without warning. I have seen cyclists run right into the backside of runners, I have seen runners change lanes suddenly and bikers swerve to avoid a crash only to be thrown violently from their bike. All of this that could have been avoided had the cyclist given the proper, “On your left” to warn the foot traffic on the path that they are approaching.

I do feel bad about what happened this morning, but cyclists please, give a warning as you approach foot traffic on the paths! At the very least you’ll be protected from the possible face full of spit.

Dr. John E. Mayer, President

International Association of Sports Professionals-ISPA

Jeffrey Jordan Epitomizes a Student Athlete

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Last week, Jeffrey Jordan, Juanita and Michael Jordan’s son announced he was going to not play college basketball for the University of Illinois this season so he could concentrate on his studies.

This announcement has so many admirable qualities to it that this post can only highlight a few. First, what a great message to send to the countless student athletes around the globe. Second, and these are in no means in any order of admiration, what character this decision took. Third, what courage this decision took. Fourth, what maturity this displayed.

Certainly the bulk of praise for this decision goes to this fine young man, but I also must acknowledge Juanita (Yes, mom first.) and Michael Jordan for raising a young man under unfathomable scrutiny and instilling these values and characteristics in this young man in spite of all those pressures.

To us professionals in The International Sports Professionals Association this is a wonderful example of what athletics represents and can aspire yet to be in this age of steroids, misplaced values, and dubious characters.

Dr. John E. Mayer


International Sports Professionals Association-ISPA

Dr. Mayer In The Wall Street Journal

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Dr. Mayer was recently interviewed for an article in the Wall Street Journal about relationships in professional tennis.

Excerpt taken from The Wall Street Journal: …All athletes wrestle with the distractions of romance in their personal lives, but tennis is one of the few professional sports where players must face love interests and old flames on almost a monthly basis on the courts and in player hotels. Dr. John Mayer, a Chicago-based sports psychologist and president of the International Sports Professionals Association who has worked with two dozen professionals on tour, likens tennis to high school or Hollywood.

Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert

“It’s kind of an incestuous world,” says Dr. Mayer. When it comes to romance, he says, even the most accomplished male players tend to behave like “neanderthals” and female players like “giggly Jonas Brothers fans.” This often results in “very adolescent” relationships, he says, that last an average of three to four months and tend to have noticeable effects on a player’s performance at various stages.

In the seduction or “wooing” period, Dr. Mayer says, performance generally peaks. Canada’s top player, Frank Dancevic, for example, says he achieved the best result of his life the first time he brought his girlfriend to a tournament in Indianapolis two years ago. “I think I was just trying to show off-I didn’t want to look like a wuss,” says Mr. Dancevic.

As relationships progress, however, things can get complicated. Dr. Mayer says he watched one tour relationship hit the skids after the male player repackaged a watch given to him by a major tour sponsor and sent it to his girlfriend, another pro player, fibbing that he’d bought the watch in Paris-not knowing that his girlfriend had received the same watch from the same sponsor.

Click here to read the entire article:   Tennis Gets Hot and Heavy