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Friday, August 31, 2012

"Adding Insult to Injury"

Family –
Thanks for all of your support from our last entry “Violating Team Rules.” Seems you guys like the edgier side of my writing. That said I want to quickly follow up with another post which is somewhat of an extension of the aforementioned piece.
First, let me say that I have no respect for Lane Kiffin, USC or anything about the program. Since Pete Carroll left in the dark of night that program (although stellar in athleticism and recruiting) has, in my opinion, really become… for lack of a better word disappointing. 
Wait…! Let me ‘splain –
In the last entry I talked about how student-athletes needed to be helped right? Not saying that they weren’t supposed to be disciplined for some irreverent action, but rather someone (namely the institution of their employ – yes, I believe student-athletes are university employees) should take a proactive approach in possibly preventing the issues before they arise.
Now, let’s go back to the summer of 2011. USC linebacker Simione Vehikite was arrested and charged with not one, not two, not three, but four felony counts and sentenced to a year in prison read more. Whew! Talk about “violating team rules!” Although I’m not minimizing the seriousness of drug use… but really… this is a far cry from smoking weed!
Here’s the really sleazy, USC part about it. When Vehikite was dismissed from the team, his back up (walk-on Will Andrew) stepped in…but now that Vehikite is back, Andrew is out of a scholarship.
Are you kidding me?!?!?!
Isn’t this what sport is supposed to teach our young people? If you work your butt off you get an opportunity right? What the…? What message is being sent here?
Look, I’m not saying Vehikite doesn’t deserve a second chance. We ALL make mistakes… and hopefully the young man has learned from his. I’m all for character development. At the end of the day, he’s a kid… kids do dumb stuff… luckily he still has an opportunity. I’m sure he’ll make the most of it.
What about Will Andrew? So now after earning a scholarship he’s just left out in the cold? C’mon! I don’t know Andrew and I’m not even sure what caliber player he is, but what I do know is that when the team AND the university needed him he was there… what did that get him? Maybe a handshake and a “thank you.” The handshake might even be a stretch coming from Kiffin.
What is this incident saying about the state of affairs in intercollegiate athletics? Are our institutions of higher learning picking and choosing which infractions lead to suspensions and dismissals? Are some players more expendable than other? Is there truly one set of governing rules upheld by the NCAA for everyone or is the scale slightly tilted in order to secure the most wins?
Wait… is this all about winning?
Damn… I guess winning really is the most important thing…
Just sayin’.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

"Violating Team Rules"


After careful consideration I've decided to take a closer look at the epidemic that is sweeping the country. More and more student-athletes are being suspended for "violating team rules," so I thought we would put the situation under a microscope to see what's really going on.
Yes, it’s official that the Honey Badger will not be at LSU this fall for “violating team rules…” Cierre Wood will not be starting in the backfield for the Irish for the first couple of weeks of the season due to “violating team rules…” Kansas suspended its long snapper Justin Carnes for “violating team rules…” Tennessee wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers was suspended for “violating team rules” then transferred… Auburn suspended wide receiver DeAngelo Benton for “violating team rules” and now three wide receivers from East Carolina were just suspended for… yup - you guessed it... “violating team rules.”
What the HELL is going on here?!?!?!?
This really pisses me off… simply because the schools are so concerned with their precious little images and the endowments coming in from alumni that they’re in denial about the truth.
Wake up people… we have a problem! A problem that's been around since Moby Dick was a minnow!
First let’s cut the crap and put it out there that “violating team rules” is code for he tested positive for or got caught smoking marijuana, weed, chronic, pot, Mary- Jane, blunts, skimbibbidy, wacky tobacky, Maui Wowee, sticky-icky or whatever you want to call it.
Has anyone bothered to wonder why all of the sudden these kids are getting suspended in droves?? C’mon – you can’t be that naive.
Here’s a question that maybe someone can answer for me: “Why is it that division 1A colleges and universities have huge budgets in their athletic departments, but not one penny is obviously being spent on substance abuse treatment and/or prevention?”
Someone…? Anyone…?
In my humble opinion these young people need help… not suspension. Wait, before anyone comes unglued – I’m not suggesting that they shouldn’t be disciplined for their actions, but what I am suggesting is that these young people need guidance and help. I know it might be news to some programs out there, but there’s more to life than just athletics. Agree with me or not (as I’ve said you can always start your own blog) these programs are aware of the problems these athletes have.  
Is it really a big secret? “SSSHHHHHH… don’t tell coach we smoke weed!” Really? What? Is everyone becoming Jim Tressel and “unaware” of what is happening in the program? Whatever… You mean to tell me that no one can help? Wait.. no one cares to help?
From this poor man’s perspective these institutions of higher education need to live up to what they promise these athletes and their parents when recruiting them – “take care of them.” Taking care of them doesn’t mean giving them money or a car or some lavish place to live. Helping them means living up to your end of the bargain as much as they’re supposed to on Saturday afternoon! Help them become better people… help them with their issues… help them with their studies… help them PERIOD!
Violating team rules… psssh…what a joke! #SMH

Monday, August 20, 2012

"Defining Your Cool..."

Family –

I had the opportunity to spend some time with some very intelligent, well-spoken young men on my radio show last Sunday. Malcolm Johnson and Bobby Brown lit it up on the “Ask Oscar” show with an intelligence and awareness of self that, in my opinion, has been missing from the many episodes before. One of the most profound things that came from the conversation was the quote from Bobby Brown: “You have to define your cool.”  
As I listened I thought… “What the…?” That must be some Bob Davies' bullshit...right? But as he further explained my thoughts continued to turn inward as I began to immediately self-reflect.
In all honesty, I was caught off guard by his response to my question regarding what he would say to an aspiring student-athlete about having success on the collegiate level. I guess I was looking for the traditional canned answer of staying focused and always being prepared, etc. – which is usually what that type of question calls for.
As I started to dissect his answer, I began to self-reflect on what my own “cool” would be. Wow!  I realized that even now, with the accomplishments, successes, failures, poor decisions and life experiences that I’ve had in my forty years, I still have yet to “define my cool.” Admittedly, I panicked a bit, but in the same vein an air of excitement was born from the panic. “This means I have the opportunity to grow,” I said to myself. Now I could finally, take the necessary steps to become a real, live human being!
Wait….not to get ahead of myself. To all those people I've offended and acted like a complete ass to – “I apologize” – to all those relationships I've taken for granted that had someone’s heart attached to it –“I apologize” – to my teammates (especially those at Notre Dame) and friends whom I took advantage of, while not even knowing I was doing so – “I apologize.” I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me.
We’ve all heard it said that the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem… I submit to you family, that the first step is admitting your wrong doing and asking forgiveness. I have a long way to go before I can define my "cool…." but thanks to my Notre Dame Football Family, I now know that’s what was missing in my life.
Guess there’s nothin’ like family right?
Go Irish… Forever... I'm off to define "my cool."