With the United States political debate poisoned by birthers, deathers and wackos who smile proudly while carrying signs comparing the president to the Nazis, many people who don’t even know that Medicare is a government program are some of the loudest opponents to Obama’s health plans.
In fact, all of the administration’s anti-recession initiative are and have been met with a resounding no! The entire Republican Party has decided that it is in favor of absolutely nothing. The president’s stimulus package? No way. Health care reform? Forget about it. There is no end to the political craziness and incredibly, the party’s poll numbers are going up.
So why would I be surprised that many sports fans would take the negative position versus simple college athletes? I’m not!
I do talk radio nationally and read, and it is evident on the communications wire many feel Auburn’s Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton was part of his father trying to sell his enrollment. And others exclaim without pause, cut off Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor’s head for trying to make a dollar on his celebrity from his own gifts.
I’ve seen all the narratives dominating sports news. Many with unwavering moral righteousness have expressed voices expressing disgust at the players, calling them selfish and thoughtless, self-seeking.
I tend to believe the NCAA and many that elevate it are hypocrites. People who pretend to have virtues, moral beliefs and principles; however, the underlying result for colleges, coaches, administration and all the communication media and pundits that support it, they actually end up possessing millions for themselves.
When the story of Ohio State’s Pryor, receiver DeVier Posey, running back Daniel Herron, offensive lineman Mike Adams and reserve defensive end Solomon Thomas were suspended the first five games of the 2011 season by the NCAA for selling items given to them by the university (championship rings and other addendums), I first thought they must have received millions like their employees.
The facts came out that their compensation was between $1,000 and $2,500 for each player, it was as I thought. Those guys are supposed to stay broke and hungry, anything less is abuse of student/athlete privilege.
What gets lost in all the self-righteous discourse is that many of the young men who come to these universities come from less than ideal situations. It seems impossible for many to ingest the fact that student athletes might need money. How do their parents come to their games if they come from far away? How do they get home during holidays? Who buys winter clothing for those that come to the North from the South? One thousand dollars can go a long way for many who come to schools with nothing but a big body or fast feet.
“They didn’t do anything that any other person wouldn’t have done,” Julie Posey told the Columbus Dispatch. “They looked around to see what they could do to help (their families). There’s no crime here. They’re not involved with agents. They didn’t steal anything. They didn’t borrow anything from anybody. It was theirs. Nobody told them it ‘almost belongs to you.’ It belonged to them.”
There is no other occasion in America where one cannot do what they want with their own property they procured legally. It is un-American to not be able to profit from one’s celebrity or personal skill. Where are all the Obama haters screaming anti-capitalism?
I understand those who have a hard time understanding why they should feel sympathy for the Ohio State five, or any of the other players because of their families’ financial circumstances.
A noteworthy majority of students have to take loans to pay for tuition, fees, room and board, and books. I’m was a student who did that and a parent of three children who I have done that for.
But the fact of the matter is no regular student risks major injury each week, has non-negotiable practice obligations and brings in millions for everyone but themselves.
I’m glad the players’ suspension won’t start with the Sugar Bowl because I would not watch it.
Some claim they are guilty because the championship rings and game jerseys are NCAA-approved gifts that aren’t available to the general student population. How can one give someone something and tell them it is theirs, but it is not? Maybe they should keep the rings and put them in a trophy case. Heck, it is still the NCAA’s property.
Like rapper Common exposed in verse: “I just want some of your sun.” Not much, just a 1,000 or so of your millions.
Leland Stein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.