Vaught's Views: Begley says no to Playboy

February 27, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Being nominated for a national award is something any college athlete enjoys. When the nominee happens to be a placekicker, it's even a bigger thrill because kickers normally have only a few times all season when they are in the limelight.

Former Boyle County kicker Taylor Begley, though, recently turned down his chance to win a national award.

The University of Kentucky was going to nominate Begley, a sophomore, for the Anson Mount Scholar-Athlete Award sponsored by Playboy magazine. However, Begley said thanks but no thanks.

Begley didn't feel his religious convictions would allow him to be associated with an award sponsored by Playboy. He's not the first athlete to feel the same way and won't be the last.

Other athletes don't mind the editorial material, and pictures, in Playboy. Kentucky receiver Derek Abney was part of Playboy's preseason All-America team in 2003.


Players should have the right to make their own choices. That's why Kentucky had no problem when Begley declined.

His grade point average is almost a perfect 4.0

To be nominated for the Playboy award, a player must have a 3.0 grade-point average and be projected as a starter for the upcoming season. Begley's grade-point average is almost a perfect 4.0 and he certainly goes into next year projected as UK's placekicker after going 40-for-40 on extra points and 6-for-10 on field goals last year when he led the Wildcats in scoring with 58 points.

"Taylor made up his own mind and just decided he did not want to be associated with the award," said his mother, Mary Begley. "The more I thought about it, the more proud of Taylor's choice I became.

"We see so many negatives about athletes and questionable choices that are made that it is nice to see and hear when fundamental moral values are used to make choices."

She's right. Think about the sex scandal on the Colorado football team that has made national headlines recently. Think about the sex scandal that decimated the St. John's basketball program recently. Think about the problems Los Angeles Laker star Kobe Bryant has. The list could go on and on.

After Begley turned down the nomination, Kentucky opted not to nominate any other player.

"He was our best candidate and if you cannot nominate your best candidate, then I usually don't nominate anyone," said Tony Neely, UK's media relations director for football. "We felt Taylor was deserving of the nomination, but we certainly respected his wishes."

Whether you agree with Begley's decision or not, you have to applaud his courage to stick to his convictions. It's not easy to turn down that type of recognition. Or it wouldn't be easy for most of us.

However, for Begley, saying no was no harder than making a kick for Boyle County or Kentucky. He knew the award was not for him and just said no.

Central Kentucky News Articles