LeBron James, Pete Carroll and Ohio State: 3 Villains who Recently Found Success

"Should I accept my role as a villain?"
 -LeBron James, Nike ad "LeBron Rise"

There are times in sports when an athlete, a coach, a team or some other source of inspiration puts on a performance that we consider heroic.

The Miracle on Ice and the Saints' return to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina come to my mind as such moments.

Then there are some moments where you wonder where the heroes are and why the villains are getting their way without consequence.

With "The Decision," LeBron risked being seen as a villain in the public eye to give himself what he considered his best chance of getting a championship ring. With the Miami Heat leading the NBA's Eastern Conference with a record of 28-9, they seem to have a real chance of giving their vilified superstar his wish.

LeBron's story isn't the only one in the sports world that seems to lack anything heroic. Over the past few days, the football universe has given us two reasons to wonder where justice could possibly be found.

Ohio State Wins Sugar Bowl with 5 Tattooed Moneymakers

It would be one thing if the Buckeyes' 31-26 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks were due to performances by anybody other than those five players whom the NCAA decided not to suspend for the Sugar Bowl despite the reception of improper benefits.

As it was, Terrelle Pryor was named the Sugar Bowl's most outstanding player. He completed 14-of-25 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 115 more yards.

To make matters worse, Solomon Thomas (another player who was suspended for the first five games of next season) made the key play that preserved Ohio State's less-than-heroic victory, intercepting a Ryan Mallett pass to stall a potential game-winning drive by Arkansas.

There are many who have argued that these two players shouldn't have been allowed to play in New Orleans last night after the NCAA ruled that they sold memorabilia and received discounted tattoos. But they got special treatment because the NCAA didn't want the Sugar Bowl to be a mismatch.

Speaking of NCAA violations...

Pete Carroll's Seahawks Win Postseason Berth with 7-9 Record

With consequences soon to be handed out to the USC football program for improper benefits given to Reggie Bush, Carroll jumped ship to the NFL's Seattle Seahawks rather than facing the consequences of his enabling (at best) behavior.

As a result of NCAA violations, USC was not allowed to play in the postseason this year and will be banned next year as well. Meanwhile, Carroll's Seahawks will host a playoff game this Saturday against the New Orleans Saints.

It would be one thing if Seattle was actually a good team and earned the right to play in the postseason. It would be another thing if the Seahawks actually had a better record than the rest of the teams in the NFC West.

Instead, the Seahawks are the first team in NFL history to win a division title with a losing record. They had the same record as the St. Louis Rams, whom they beat out for the NFC West title by having a better record within the mediocre division.

Where's Superman when you need him?

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