The Inner Discord: Should these few public figures and sports organizations be forever shunned by society for what they did in the past?

I created a list of six controversial people and sports organizations that did bad things, but will question whether those sports organizations should be forgiven, and those people’s cinematic works be canceled?

A gavel just because this is an article to test your judgment skills.

A gavel just because this is an article to test your judgment skills.

Maddox Greenberg, Staff Writer

I recently had a discussion with my dad and sister on that very question.  I saw an episode of The Cosby Show on the channel TV One and I thought, ‘well, why would they still be playing this show, even after all of what Bill Cosby did?’  We soon got to talking about other examples of people like Cosby who did great things until negative slipups ruined their reputations.  I’ll let you be the judge on whether or not they should still be treated harshly for those mistakes that deterred these people’s lives.

The Cosby Show


Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby was known as “America’s Dad”.  He was the face of the hit children cartoon series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.  He won several Grammy Awards for the Best Comedy Album.  He even made history becoming the first African American to win an Emmy for acting (winning the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 1966).  He was the star of The Cosby Show, a sitcom in the 1980s that taught kids important lessons and resolved problems in almost every episode that the entire family could enjoy.  He was a huge star, until he faced sexual assault allegations that started during the #MeToo movement that damaged his face as “America’s Dad” and his reputation.  Not only sexual assault, but rape, drug-facilitated sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual misconduct, and child sexual abuse that dated back as early as the 1960s.  He was convicted but then the ruling was overturned when the court decided he had been unfairly prosecuted. Now, I’m not saying what he did was right or what the accusers said was false.  But the big question is should we still show The Cosby Show on TV even after Bill’s accusations?  The show didn’t have nothing to do with the accusations about Bill.  The accusations about Bill could’ve tarnished the show’s reputation as being family friendly.  But the show didn’t change because of it.  It is still the same show.  Still family friendly.  Still funny.  So, who’s to say that the show shouldn’t remain on TV?  My whole family and I have always loved watching Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.  That show and The Cosby Show both brought joy to so many people.  Should we cancel this show from his earlier days?  I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Vick (#7) playing in his early days with the Atlanta Falcons.


Michael Vick

Michael Vick influenced a new generation of players.  He made the term “mobile quarterback” relevant again.  He was like my dad’s favorite Eagles player, Randall Cunningham.  Both were a quarterback of color and both were mobile quarterbacks.  Vick changed the game of the NFL during his career; he had 22,464 pass yards, 133 touchdowns, had 14 career comebacks and 15 game-winning drives, and rushed 1,039 yards in one year (759 due to scrambles).  He inspired quarterbacks today like Lamar Jackson (who broke Vick’s single season rush record for a quarterback in 2019, Jackson’s MVP season).  However, in 2007, it was reported that Michael Vick participated in betting on dog fights.  He faced 21 months in federal prison.  After that, Vick returned to the game, playing until 2015 and retiring in 2017.  However, his dogfighting days still tarnished his reputation and caused him to be the butt of all dog jokes.  So, the question is, should Vick, this man who had an incredible football career, was immortalized by kids all around the country, the face of Madden 04, the man who gave millions back to charities, be ruined for betting on dogfighting—an illegal act?  Even now that he did his time, worked hard to make a name for himself while playing with the Eagles (good luck), the Jets (yikes), and the Steelers, and the incident being years ago, should we still criticize and judge him?  I’ll let you be the judge of that.

On the left are the Astros and on the right are the greatest team in the entire world: my Patriots.


The Astros and the Patriots Cheating Allegations

Two of the most storied franchises in their respected sports (Astros being in the MLB, Patriots being in the NFL) were caught cheating in the past.  The Astros were caught using trash cans and hitting them to let the Astros players at-bat to know what the upcoming pitch would be in order to win the World Series trophy.  The Patriots were caught deflating footballs in one season and caught lipreading coaches on the opposing team to know the play in another season.  Both have been in the game for a while—the Patriots longer than the Astros.  Both have championships.  Belichick, the Patriots coach, did state the Patriots were cheating.  The Deflate-gate was in 2014, which was the year the Patriots defeated the Seahawks, 28-24, in their fourth-ever championship.  The Spygate was in 2007, in the beginning of the season, during our Super Bowl loss to the Giants.  The Astros’ and Patriots’ scandals did, however, made the game better.  The Patriots’ Spygate made coaches cover their mouths during gametime to avoid “spies,” which helped change the game for the better.  The Deflate-gate made the NFL’s Commissioner look more like a donkey.  The NFL, per a Times article in 2015, should’ve had someone checking the air pressure of every football during the season if the NFL didn’t want air pressure giving players an advantage.  And the Astros’ ordeal changed the game of baseball by shining a light onto how bad the Commissioner, Mr. Rob Manfred, did on taking care of this and demonstrating that it has happened before in the history of baseball—sign-stealing—all the way back in 1876.  Good news is for those people who dislike the Patriots and the Astros, both teams are trying to make amends (well, at least the Patriots are in a way).  The Patriots lost Brady and had one bad season after another, which kills me.  But it does show that we are now playing fair.  Also, this happened like years ago, so chill!  And the Astros lost in the World Series to the Braves last year and got tormented a lot.  But these two storied franchises, which still produced great players, coaches, and moments in sports, won championships before the scandals ever began.  So, should the Patriots and Astros still not be forgiven, even now that they are playing fair?  Or should we still blame them and not on the league on letting this happen again and again and blame the Commissioner’s for (lack of) reaction?  But just like the quote says, “If you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying.” (jk).

The cover of Allen’s most notable film (sort of a rip off from Bug’s Life), Antz.


Woody Allen

Director Woody Allen has created some extraordinary pieces of work like Antz and Midnight in Paris.  He has the record for most Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay (16 nominations, three wins) and was nominated for Best Director seven times.  He won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Director’s Guild of America and was elected as a member of the American Philosophical Society in 2010.  But back in the 1990s, his accomplishments and reputation were washed away after it was revealed he was in a sexual relationship with his ex-Mia Farrow’s adopted South Korean daughter from her marriage with ex-Andre Prevlin, Soon-Yi.  It erupted in magazines and in late-night monologues after it was revealed and that Allen was in love with Soon-Yi.  Allen defended it saying he never really seen Soon-Yi growing up nor was he actually related to her, and there is a significant age gap between these two.  Despite that, like Bill Cosby, Woody Allen dealt in the sexual abuse allegations around 1992, when he started his time with Soon-Yi.  But this was involved with Farrow’s other child, her daughter Dylan.  It was later revealed in court that Dylan wasn’t sexual abused.  Again, this was an awful thing to have happened, just like Cosby’s situation.  Also, Allen has forever been tarnished and tormented by this.  His works like Antz, which I’m sure many of you reading this have seen, was a remarkable movie.  It brought people joy and happiness.  Should we take that away because of one bad thing Allen did?  Should we take away his trophies for works he did prior to the allegations?  I’ll let you decide upon it.

One of the best movies out there, a movie that started Ben Affleck’s and Matt Damon’s acting career, which had Harvey Weinstein be the producer.


Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein, who you may have heard recently, was well-respected among Hollywood actors, actresses, and directors for his participation in producing movies like Django: Unchained, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Good Will Hunting, Scream, Inglorious Basterds, Gangs of New York, Scary Movie, Sin City, and Halloween, among many others.  All were great, cult-classic films.  This all changed when it was revealed that multiple sexual assault accusations came to light from more than 80 women against Weinstein in cases like rape, sexual misconduct, among many others.  He lost his reputation and was put in prison and is now a convicted sex offender.  He participated in great works of art in movies, but now that he is convicted of these things, should we now cancel movies like Good Will Hunting just because Harvey participated in the making of the Robin Williams-Matt Damon classic?  Still not saying what he did was good (which it wasn’t; absolutely awful) nor that the allegations weren’t true (they were true).  Those movies he helped make changed peoples lives and made us happy at times and scared at times.  We felt some kind of emotion from those films.  So, does that mean that now, considering these accusations, we should ignore the films he did because he helped create them?  I’ll let you judge that.


I’ll let you sit down and think about the most important question involving all of these people and sports teams together: should the work they did, participated in, the highlights of their work (whether in movies or on the field), the way those moments made us feel, go unappreciated?  What they did was bad, but should the work they did outside of that not be accepted anymore?  Could you name anyone else or anything else that is like these six, that did create happiness and joy and acceptance by the public be deterred by the negative things outside of it?