I was discussing with some co-workers the fate of the latest superstar athlete to join the “Doping Hall of Shame,” 2011 National League MVP Ryan Braun. The Milwaukee Brewer was suspended without pay for the rest of the season and the postseason this week, as the start of sanctions involving players reportedly tied to a Florida clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs.
The star outfielde accepted the 65-game ban, saying in a statement, “I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions.” I said to my pals I believe it’s OK not to be perfect, but it’s not OK to cheat. They jumped all over me, claiming country music is all about cheating! Cheating on your wife, your husband, your boss, your dog, you name it.
While it’s true there are plenty of country songs about cheating, it doesn’t make the singer a cheater.
There are some artists who swear by the virtues of adult beverages before they take the stage, as a way to get “amped up” for the crowd or perhaps because they think they sound better with some liquid courage.
Blake Shelton spills his spirit beliefs in the cover story of this month’s Men’s Journal magazine, believing his fellow “Voice” judge Adam Levine is hurting music’s reputation. “I get frustrated with Adam because, to me, rock stars are supposed to be drunk all the time. But he’s very healthy. He takes care of himself. And it drives me crazy, because I want him to be more like me. Drunk all the time.” He says that, but his mother Dorothy told the magazine it’s all smoke and mirrors. “He likes to make people think he’s drunk, but I’ve never seen that boy drunk in my life.
In this day and age, you’re more likely to find gym equipment and green vegetables on country tour buses over empty bottles and other green substances.
Tim McGraw infamously traded in his tequila for cross-fit training a few years ago. He’s such a fitness fanatic that tour mate Brantley Gilbert has nightmares the singer will knock on his tour bus door, telling him it’s time to work out. Kenny Chesney is also well known for his buff physique, but he admits to an affection for rum on occasion.
And just a few weeks ago at Country Concert in Fort Loramie, a fan offered Brad Paisley a cupful of something stronger than Kool-Aid, which the singer politely turned down. Despite the fact one of his biggest hits is titled “Alcohol,” the singer told Nightline a few years ago he doesn’t smoke or drink at all, his only vice being instruments with strings. “I have no overcoming addiction story other than the guitar itself. And I haven’t overcome that.”
As I explained to my co-workers, even though a country artist may indulge in a spirit or two before a show, or, perish the thought, something worse, it’s pretty much what-you-see-is-what-you-get, good, bad or ugly. Just ask Blake Shelton.
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