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Friday, January 24, 2014

"Sherman, Sherman, Sherman"

Family –

I’ve done my best to stay out of the whole Richard Sherman “thing,” but some of the things I’m hearing out there are beginning to make me sick. Hopefully at some point we’ll all figure out this is about nothing more than sport, showmanship and popularity. How our sports media personalities missed this simple staging is beyond me… I guess sport media coverage has changed as much sport itself.

Hmmmmm…. Maybe that’s another blog post – nevertheless, I digress.

First of all I’m going on record by saying the man (Sherman) is genius… yep genius… and before you sport conservatives have a heart attack or come unglued; lemme ‘splain.

Sherman has single-handedly put the entire sports world on its ear by speaking his mind in a post-game interview… let’s get the basic questions out of the way. Was he crass? Yes. Was he abrupt? Yes. Did he speak his mind? Yes. Was he in the moment? Yes. Was it intentional? Yes. Is he dumb, a thug or stupid? Absolutely not!

How about this: Sherman asked that his Twitter faithful follow his teammate Derrick Coleman, Jr. (who at the time had only about 400 followers) and now Coleman boasts a verified account with some 34K followers! That’s just since Monday!!!

Hello? Is anyone out there listening???

Can you say media in the palm of his hand…? I knew ya could.

Richard Sherman isn’t a thug, a miscreant or an idiot. He is the son of educated people who attended one of the most coveted universities in the nation outside of Notre Dame… Stanford.  He is hands down the best defensive back in pro football and has the mindset and the swagger to back it all up.

Let’s look back a few years in sport shall we? Follow me now… don’t get lost…

Does anyone remember a guy named Cassius Marcellus Clay who later became “The Greatest of All Time?” Was there ever any doubt about what he was thinking or what he was planning to do in the ring? Nope… as a matter of fact the only shock the world received was when he didn’t win! Did you know that Ali is actually credited with changing showmanship in sport… by being on-edge, unpredictable and fun?!

What about this other guy who played corner in the NFL nicknamed “Primetime?”  Was he considered a thug or was he just ignorantly acting out? Hmmmm… whatever the plan he “prime-timed” his was into the NFL Hall of Fame and grabbed a couple of Super Bowl rings with the 49ers and Cowboys in route.

Anyone can say what is considered by many to be “the right thing.”  How great would it be to hear Peyton Manning say, “Brady got bitched. There was nothing they could do against our defense and my offense carved them up.” Instead he carefully chooses his words as if walking through the desert trying to avoid IED’s. In some cases completely repeating himself… not that I don’t love Peyton – jus’ sayin. Good grief man! Say what’s on your mind!!!!

In honesty it takes some stones to go against the grain on live TV… knowing that what you say will fall under the scrutiny of millions of viewers. But if you have a plan….all attention becomes good attention.

 Yeah I know… it’s rough… conservatives take a breath… this will be over soon.

Let’s switch gears shall we?

For those of you who think that Sherman didn’t plan this whole thing you’re being somewhat shallow in your thought process. Let’s look at the details shall we? A close friend of mine always says, “The devil is in the details” so let’s see what a closer examination brings.

1.       He’s going to his first Super Bowl
2.      He’s in a contract year… BIG contract year
3.      He’s a leader on arguably the best defense in the NFL
4.      He made the “play” that helped solidify his team’s place in the Super Bowl
5.      He’s in a contract year… BIG contract year
6.      He’s the best cornerback in the NFL
7.      He wrote an eloquent letter dispelling any issues regarding his actions less than 24 hours later… and posted it
8.      Wait… did I mention he’s in a contract year… BIG contract year?
9.      He spun the “incident” into a web of racism and elitism that we all jumped on hook, line and sinker
1.     And finally… he’s in a contract year…. BIG contract year

We (yes, I include myself in the madness) are giving this man exactly what he wants… attention, controversy and a great platform to catapult him from the side stage in all but forgotten Seattle to an NFL superstar amidst making a game saving play in one of the best NFC Championship games ever played. 

Why wouldn’t he do something different knowing the cameras were rolling…? DUH!!

At the end of the day we all have our opinions about athletes; what they do, how they do it and whether we agree or not… that’s one of the fundamental joys of sport. But if anyone out there doesn’t believe this whole “incident” as I heard it called today wasn’t pre-planned... maybe you should take a closer look at what’s really going on before you jump in. Professional sport is changing people….pay attention.

“Oh Sherman, Sherman, Sherman!” (Mama Klump Voice – While Clapping Hands)!

"Oh... Sherman, Sherman, Sherman"

Sport is Life

Monday, January 20, 2014

What If...?

Family –

As I sit here today basking in the freedom of living in the United States of America and celebrating Martin Luther King Day, I had some random thoughts (as I often do) run through my mind. These thoughts made me ask the inevitable question: “what if?”

The obvious first question I asked was: “What if there was no Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?” I think this question is particularly poignant given the time and the rise of civil rights leaders. Medgar Evers was assassinated on his driveway in June of 1963 and Malcolm was assassinated in February of 1965 presumably by The Nation. At that time, King stood alone in his quest for equality using a non-violent approach.

I couldn’t help but ask myself: “If there was no Dr. King would I be able to enjoy the freedoms I enjoy today as an African-American? Would someone else have risen to the forefront to open American’s eyes to the blatant inequalities running rampant in society?"

Wait…wait… don’t click off just yet… this isn’t a Civil Rights history lesson – but rather a collection of thoughts that will I’ll bring to conclusion a little later…

Lemme ‘splain.

The aforementioned thoughts gave way to my thinking about how much sport has changed and how many African American student-athletes forgo their collegiate experience and completing their educations for the money and fame of the professional ranks.

Hmmmmm…. Let’s see.

There are 102 underclassmen leaving for the NFL this season (a new record number). Given the known demographic that 67% of all NFL players are African-American it would be safe to assume that at least that percentage number of student-athletes leaving early for the NFL are also African-American.

Let’s be clear here… I’m not suggesting that student-athletes should risk losing millions of dollars as a professional in order to stay in school… what I am suggesting is that maybe there should be a change to the letters of intent they sign out of high school.

Enter my second question: “What if the NCAA changed the national letters of intent? What if all student-athletes were required to reimburse the institutions that paid for them to attend and play sports?”

Check this out…

Let’s say a player left early for the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL. If there was a clause in the national letter of intent which stated that if a player left early he would be required to:

1.       Reimburse the college or university for half of the financial aid and benefits he received during his time there


2.      Return to the college of university previously attended and pay for his full tuition and books in an effort to insure he completes his education
would we have as many student-athletes leaving early for the professional ranks? 

Interesting concept isn’t it?

Again, this isn’t a quest to deter student-athletes from seizing opportunities presented to them, but rather adding a level of conscience responsibility to their thought process. I love sport…. especially high school sport, but once the “leap” is made to the next level there seems to be a fundamental disconnect to the ultimate reason student-athletes are called STUDENT-ATHLETES not ATHLETE-STUDENTS.

Anyway, I just thought I would share some of my random thoughts with you today… let me know what you think. I would be interested to hear your perspective.

Happy MLK Day!!

Sport is Life.