No respect. No respect at all. That’s all that needs to be said. In the world of sports, those two words – no respect – are generally applicable to just about everyone. Players don’t respect other players; management doesn’t respect other management; nobody respects the officials.

As a sports fan, I like certain teams and certain players. We all do; it’s part of the game. And that means that you necessarily dislike some players and teams. You like Ohio State, and by extension you therefore dislike Michigan. But no matter how much I dislike a player or a team, I am compelled to respect the players that respect their opponents.

That’s sportsmanship, and that’s what the games are all about. They should not be so much about winning as about being gracious in both victory and defeat. That’s respect. Some players have it – some don’t.

Kellen Winslow doesn’t, and that message came through loud and clear last weekend in Miami’s 10-6 loss to Tennessee. Winslow was flagged 15 yards for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the fourth quarter when he removed his helmet following a big-yardage play. This was after taunting a shaken Vol after a second-quarter hard block. Lying on the ground shaken up, Corey Campbell opened his eyes to see the Miami tight end standing at him, staring down and talking trash.

I recognize the psychological advantage Winslow might gain by calling Campbell’s mother ugly from across the line of scrimmage (not that I’m saying she is; I’m sure she’s a very nice lady). But to knock him down and then mock him shows nothing more than the truth: Winslow has no respect for Campbell, no respect for the game and no respect for himself.

Rather than shaking it off and admitting his mistake, however, Winslow went on a tirade against the officials. Apparently not content disrespecting only those involved in the game, Winslow took his tirade one step further, belittling the nation’s uniformed men and women, comparing a game to a battlefield. “It’s war,” he said in the Orlando Sentinel. “They’re out there to kill you, so I’m out there to kill them. I’m a … soldier.”

The next day, Winslow apologized. But in this case, something my mom said when I was growing up is especially applicable: sometimes sorry isn’t good enough.

Isolated incident, right? Freak happening? Nope. The week before, in a 31-7 loss at Virginia Tech, Winslow cost Miami 15 yards for punching Hokies’ linebacker Brandon Manning. Do you want to write it all off as not that big a deal, that it doesn’t disrespect anybody? Or that he’s just a college kid who makes mistakes?

The sad truth is that such blatant and wholesale disrespect isn’t just limited to kids, and it isn’t just limited to college.

Bill Singer, a guy with 14 years’ pitching experience in the majors and a two-time 20-game winner, will likely lose his job as special assistant to the Mets after just a week on the post for making racially insensitive remarks to fellow MLB desk jockey Kim Ng, assistant general manager for the Dodgers.

Singer not only disrespected Ng, himself and the game, but what’s more, he deservedly made a complete jackass of himself. According to The Washington Post, after Ng told Singer her family was originally from China though she grew up in New York, Singer allegedly mocked the Chinese before asking “what country in China” Ng was from. I’m glad to see Mets GM Jim Duquette making the right move in firing Singer, despite what I’m sure was a heartfelt apology.

And of course there was Rush Limbaugh, who while commentating for ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown made racially disrespectful remarks regarding Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Donovan cNabb.

“I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well,” Limbaugh said. “There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve.”

Clearly, Limbaugh was too concerned with pointing out the NFL’s interest in social issues to concern himself with social acceptability. In the face of criticism from McNabb and journalists, Limbaugh was right to resign his post after issuing an apology.

Winslow blamed his actions on “the heat of battle.” Singer chose to cite his diet and alcohol. Limbaugh claimed his remarks were misunderstood. The truth is that, whatever the excuse, the real culprit is a sense of absolute disregard for sportsmanship throughout the sports world.

No respect. No respect at all.

Derek Richmond can be reached at THE W appears every Tuesday.

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