Yesterday I posted a photo on the planet's facebook page that regrettably offended an international organization, several of its local members, and a local business owner. It absolutely was not my intention to offend or make light of anyone associated with the organization or the business. It was careless and downright stupid of me to do so.
The professionalization of amateur sports is something we've seen in motion for quite a while.
Specifically what's on my mind is the current push by the "big 6" college football conferences and their desire/intent to pay their players. The "Big 6", comprised of the SEC, BIG10, BIG12, ACC, PAC-12, and C-USA are, of course the six highest profile, and highest revenue generating conferences in the sport. They're seen on TV weekly, they're seen in video games, and they have a massive marketing and merchandising machine behind them.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive hinted at it, ACC commish John Swofford flirted with the notion, and the new BIG12 head honcho came right out and said it...the BIG6 commissioners feel that they have been beholden to the small conferences desire to keep the playing field level for too long, and that they should have the right to break away from the NCAA and govern themselves with their own rules. Essentially what it comes down to is money. These schools have the means to pay their players, and they feel they should have the right to.
This is what troubles me. I attended a very well known small school, Appalachian State. We had tremendous success on the playing field winning 3 national championships in a row and beating Michigan. Starting with the 2014 season App will be a member of the Sunbelt conference; we've arrived, right? Perhaps not.
Actions taken over the last 2 years show that the BIG6 has tolerated the smaller schools long enough, but want to take their ball and play somewhere else. After the 2012 season, the BIG10 announced its schools will no longer play schools from the Football Championship Subdivision and SEC's Mike Slive announced a desire to move from 8 to 9 conference games, thus practically squeezing the smaller schools off their schedule. The other conferences will be forced to follow in their own way if they want to keep up.
This is a very complex issue:
1) It's a case of an arms race between the haves and the have nots. The haves want to protect what they have, while the have nots want a piece. But conference realignment forced leagues to bring in new members, most of which were pulled from smaller conferences. To me this is backward logic. They are the ones who brought the smaller schools up, now they want to break away with those schools in tow.
2) There's the Ed O'bannion case. Essentially, the NCAA licenses the rights to use schools' names and mascots, but not its players. They've always flirted with using players' likenesses by copying their stats and jersey numbers...well it appears they used this guy's likeness a little too closely and someone caught it. He sued and won and there's a class action lawsuit in the works that could award millions to former and current players. Obviously schools make a pretty penny licensing to EA but under amateurism laws can't pass any of it along to the players. The proposed stipend system would allow schools to pay players a "reasonable" amount for playing football, license their images (as they're now being paid) thus protecting them from future similar lawsuits.
3) The ability to pay your players is a tremendous recruiting tool, especially if schools are allowed to determine their own stipend amount. Imagine you're a 17 year old kid about to commit. Would you play for Kentucky who can offer you $1,000 a year or Alabama who could offer $8,000? Would every school be forced to offer their players the same stipend? Would football players earn more than basketball players? Would soccer or lacrosse players earn anything at all? Would male athletes get paid more than female? Could you imagine the law suits involved?
4) If the BIG6 had the right to govern themselves independent of NCAA rules, would they change the number of years of eligibility? If players could stay at their schools longer and get paid for it, it would essentially make college football a rival league to the NFL. Would Roger Goodell stand for this?
I for one hope someone steps in to end this. This system would give the big revenue schools a monopoly on the best players, widening the gap between the haves and the have nots.
For those of you who do not recall part one of this blog, let me take you back to late summer 2009:
I was going out to check my mail at my old apartment complex on Roper Mountain Road when I saw something moving out of the corner of my eye. I looked down and saw a copperhead striking at me directly in front of my mailbox. Long story short, I made a few calls and waited a while before actually collecting my mail!
Fast forward to last night, I was getting off the air and heading back to my office and getting ready to run to Best Buy with Booger. As I got to the door of my office, I noticed something lying in the doorway. At first I thought maybe Booger had dropped something and then I noticed it was a snake. Initially I thought it was a rubber snake and that someone was pulling a prank. Upon further inspection, I noticed how realistic the snake looked then saw it move. I threw my headphones down on the floor of the hallway and ran back down the hall towards the studio squealing that there was a snake in my office.
Booger came running to check it out followed by Diesel and, in the commotion, the snake began its retreat. By the time we found it and I was able to take a picture of the serpent, it had moved onto a shelf on the back wing of my desk.
Booger went and grabbed a shovel and blocked it off into a corner in my office while Diesel scooped it up and put it in one of the boxes I conveniently had lying around.
The three of us took it downstairs through the bay area and let the snake out into the woods behind the station. Judging by the size and markings on the snake, I'm assuming it was either a black corn snake or possibly a not fully grown black rat snake. Needless to say, I am a bit jumpy now in my office as I am writing this! Especially considering it may have dropped down from the vent that is positioned directly over my head!
The George Zimmerman verdict came down at an odd time. Seems like it would lessen the impact, but the word spreads just as quickly on Saturday night as on Monday morning in this day and age.
We talked about it some on the show, but we never made much of it. We don't regularly talk about ongoing murder cases because we want to send people off to work and home from work in a good mood. The news is bad every time you see it, hear it or read it. We aim to have a more positive impact on everybody's frame of mind in the morning.
Basically, news people can't make their own news. It is what it is. We can choose to do whatever we want and it seems to us people are in a better mood talking about cartoons and where that girl put that boa constrictor.
With these special cases, things can get way out of hand. It doesn't take a genius to realize every news network is making truckloads of money with their Zimmerman trial coverage. It's an all-out ratings battle with all of America dragged right into the middle of competition and greed fueled by a real tragic incident in our society. The lines begin to blur. The tragedy is lost and it's become a cultural event.
For the record, I am of the mindset that ten guilty men walking free is better than one innocent man serving time. I value freedom over security. I always think it could be me on trial before a jury of my peers. Only, a jury of my peers is not a jury of my peers. My peers would be similarly aged men of similar mindset & I'd never be guilty of a crime I didn't commit. The reality is, one of the only things that comes to mind when someone asks me what I'm afraid of is that possibility I could one day find myself on trial for something I didn't do. Not just that. I could be found guilty of that crime! A nightmare.
Being of that mindset, I can see where there is a reasonable doubt in the Zimmerman case. Considering the charge and the trial and the case, I conclude there is a reasonable doubt.
So, if you ask me if George Zimmerman is guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin, I'd say not guilty.
Ask me a different question, though. Did George Zimmerman do something wrong? Quite possibly. Could the conclusion be reached that George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin? Certainly, but there is a reasonable doubt and I've been told he's innocent unless proven guilty...beyond a reasonable doubt.
Am I saying George Zimmerman is right and Trayvon Martin is wrong? No. That has nothing to do with what the jury has been asked to decide.
Do I agree with the law in Florida that leads to George Zimmerman being not guilty? Well, it doesn't matter if I agree with it. It doesn't matter if the jury agrees with it. That is the law. That is the law their decision must be based on. They can't intentionally misinterpret it. They can't re-write it. Their job is to decide, given the facts of the case, if George Zimmerman is guilty of murder according to the laws of the state of Florida.
Most important question...Did it even have to happen? Of course not. And there are a million billion things we all can do to get better. Instead, we will argue. Guilty! Not guilty!
The one thing we can all agree on is it sucks that people are being shot dead in our streets. It sucks that situations lead to shootings. Self-defense shootings suck for the very fact someone has to defend himself from another person. So we'd all like it if things like this didn't happen. It would make sense if people came together over something like this. We could do that. We won't do that. We don't pull our own puppet strings.
Ultimately, we are the ones who decide if Trayvon Martin's memory means anything. If it brings people together, it does. If it makes us argue, we've lost it and it really is a life wasted. Wasted entirely by us.
Ok, not one of my best blog titles but it adequately sums it up! The story begins on Tuesday with a studio visit from TRAPT who was in town playing a show at the Handlebar later that night. They came in and did a few acoustic songs including their big hit "Headstrong" as well as a couple of singles from their new album Reborn (out in stores NOW!), "Love Hate Relationship" and "Bring It".
After their mini acoustic set, they posed for some pics with a few of our listeners and yours truly!
Tessa was fortunate enough to get called off from work on Wednesday so I took her out to see Despicable Me 2 after I got off of work. I gotta say, DreamWorks has actually got one up on Pixar with this one as it was a better sequel than Monsters University was as a prequel! And that is saying a lot! If you loved the first one and have been anticipating this one, you will not be disappointed!
Unfortunately, Tessa was not as fortunate on the 4th. She had to work as did my Aunt Tina so my mom, Aunt Pat, Uncle James Ray and I gathered for a small cook out at Aunt Pat's house. Afterwards, mom and Aunt Pat hopped in my car and we did some exploring around Fountain Inn.
I took some leftovers home for Tessa so she wouldn't have to cook when she got in. No, ladies, I am not much of a cook! Just be envious that she gets all the sexiness of my hot, naked orangutan body!