The ex-Cowboys said headline-generating scandals in a variety of sports, including the recent suspensions of baseball players for using performance-enhancing drugs, overshadow the recognition due athletes who play fairly, volunteer in their communities and, as Waters said, live as a "well-behaved member of society."
"There's always been pressure. It's part of the job," Waters said. "If you don't want that, then you don't want to be playing professional sports or even college sports.
"Unfortunately a lot of players think they can do a lot of stuff. Players need to be great on the gridiron. That's it. When they get off that, they don't have to be anything but themselves. ... There's got to be a separation," Waters said.
The former players didn't talk about specific players in scandals, though Staubach called the murder allegation against former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez "beyond belief." He said athletes should exercise peer pressure against rule-breakers and that the media and the public should find a taste for happier stories.
"I'm a bit surprised at the steroid stuff that the players who don't use it don't do something about it," Staubach said. "You want to compete against the other play with an equal advantage as far as your physical size, not someone who is drugged up. I'm hoping that more players who have not used drugs: Why aren't they doing something about the guys that do?"
He said if the public was willing to read positive stories and the media were willing to provide them, perhaps the state of sports wouldn't appear to be so bad.
"Why don't they write stories about the guys who are sacrificing their weekend because they're out with a children's charity or helping kids do something? Our society wants more negative information than positive information. Why is that?" Staubach asked. "If they appreciated positive information you guys would have more content.