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10/10/2013
Sign of the times

It's come to THAT — no more handshakes because players can't be good sports.

Kentucky's athletic sanctioning body has ordered an end to unsupervised postgame handshakes in all sports because of poor sportsmanship.

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association gave the order in light of postgame incidents statewide and nationally. Plus, game officials must leave immediately following a contest.

If teams choose to allow end-of-contest handshakes between the winning and losing teams, then they must provide supervision. The association intends to hold teams responsible if conflict occurs.

The edict comes as a result of emotions running high after a game, whether it's a close contest or a blowout.

To put this in the perspective of the Athletic Association, the size of some of these teams is 75 players. A melee could be horrific, and has been in other nations — in the past year, one referee died as a result of beheading after he stabbed a player to death.

But, come on, we're in the United States. Emotions do run high around sports. They've run high for decades.

The difference between then and now is how it's being dealt with.

In days past, a real emphasis was put on good sportsmanship. People respected good sports, and didn't encourage rudeness and bad manners.

Now, some of the rudest players are well rewarded because of their prowess athletically and aren't held accountable for their inappropriate responses before or after a game. Such lack of accountability has sent the wrong message to not only young players, but young people, and, in some cases, older people, both on and off the field.

Fans play a role in this behavior issue, too.

Players and their fans should check themselves for proper behavior wherever they are. Such a personal accounting will make everyone winners despite the outcome of any contest.