Monday, November 28, 2011

The Spectacular Story of Marcus Dixon

    This past week, HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel did a story on Marcus Dixon, a young man from a small town in Georgia. His high school numbers? 6'6. 260 pounds. All Star Defensive End. Honor Roll Student. Full Scholarship to Vanderbilt University. Marcus Dixon had everything in the world going for him, until it all went horribly wrong.

    Dixon rose from humble beginnings to become who he is today: Defensive End for the New York Jets. As a young  African-American boy in Georgia he was left without any family to take care of him, and was taken in by a local White family. Not so much like Michael Oher, because he wasn't 350 pounds when his new family first met him. Marcus did, however, show a knack for sports at an early age, and as he continued to grow taller and stronger, he rose onto the national scene as one of the top football players in the country. However, with great ability, comes great responsibility.

    When Marcus decided to become intimate with classmate Kristie Brown, everything went wrong. Her father, a man known to be racially prejudice, found out his daughter had sex with a black boy and she accused Marcus of rape. Although that did not hold up in court, Dixon was convicted of statutory rape and aggravated child molestation, crimes that lead to a sentence of 10 years in prison with no chance of parole, because he was 18 years old, and Kristie Brown, a sophomore, was only 15.

    Soon after the conviction, HBO's Real Sports did a feature story on Dixon, and brought the case into the national spotlight. A number of people and organizations, including the NAACP, traveled to Georgia and protested. Not long after, Marcus was set free and went on to play football at Hampton University, a historically black university in Virginia. Upon graduating, he entered the NFL Draft, but was not selected. He was signed & cut by the Dallas Cowboys in 2008, but was picked up by the New York Jets in 2010, and has been making plays ever since.

    A lot of young people out there could learn from his mistakes. Although he did nothing to deserve the punishment he received, Dixon obviously put himself in an unfavorable situation. 

Word of Advice: The only way to stay out of trouble is to stay away from it.
Marcus Dixon was able to overcome it because of talent and exposure, but many others never get that chance.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Legality, Morality, and Penn State

     In the United States of America, there is a fine line between what the law says and what the human heart tells you. In the case of the Penn State Nittany Lions, they are guilty of disobeying both schools of thought in some way or another. This whole situation is absolutely sickening.
     Former Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky was caught in the act of raping a 10 year old boy by Graduate Assistant Matt McQueary in 2002. The next day, McQueary reported this to Head Football Coach Joe Paterno, who followed the chain of command and sent the report up to the Athletic Director, who told the Senior VP, who told the School President. No legal action was taken. Nobody alerted the authorities. In fact, McQueary never even did anything to stop the act as it took place. After the chain of command was followed, Sandusky was ordered to stop bringing children to the football building. Despite that, he was allowed to continue operating a summer camp at a Penn State Satellite Campus from 2002-2008 where he had daily access to young boys. During this time period, at least one known boy was molested. He told his mother a few years later, and they alerted the authorities in 2008, which began the criminal investigation against Sandusky. The neglect shown by the Penn State administration alone should have been enough to put the whole staff in Jail. However, they did follow protocol, so only the upper level admins are in legal trouble.

     From a moral standpoint, this whole situation was just plain wrong. Sandusky is a rapist, and the rest of the school is full of enablers. As an able-bodied man, it was McQueary's responsibility to put a stop to the act he saw in the team showers on that day in 2002. Sandusky's superiors should have immediately alerted the authorities. The students of Penn State support Joe Paterno through thick and thin, but this incident is too explicit to keep any of the people on the staff that knew about it. If there were no other recorded incidents of rape after the initial sighting, maybe the board of trustees would not have had to come down so hard, but the fact that even 1 other boy was harmed, tells me that some serious action had to take place. Yes, the school administration followed protocol, but the thing is, this isn't about grown men. This is not the military. These are kids that cannot protect themselves, and underprivileged kids at that. They needed somebody to protect them, and Penn State did not do that.

     Conspiracy theorists from different groups are already having a field day with this whole scandal. Is it a coincidence this action just so happened to take place days after Joe Pa broke the career wins record for D-1 Football? Would people act the same about the situation if these were 10 year old girls? Why isn't anybody at Penn State concerened with the victims? These questions will never be answered, and the reason nobody acted on their knowledge of Sandusky can never be explained, but one thing we do know is that State College, PA will never be the same.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Not even Santa can deliver an end to the NBA Lockout

     We're a week into the scheduled start of the NBA Season, and it looks like things are not going to get any better on the lockout front. Owners want money. Players want more money, its as simple as that. The problem is: The two sides can't agree on what would be a sufficient percentage of total profit for each side. In my opinion, it all boils down to one word: GREED. The average NBA player is overpaid, and above average NBA players get overpaid even worse. For example, Rashard Lewis. A streaky shooter that is past his prime, Lewis is the second highest paid player in the NBA, making over $22,000,000 this past year. Gilbert Arenas made over $19,000,000, and he hasn't been good since he did this. It makes no sense that these guys can gets paid more than LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Dwight Howard. Although the Superstars do have a legitimate gripe against the owners, the league is 99 percent role players, and that is why the owners cannot give in to them. 
     The way the market is run is never going to be successful, because the players have been allowed to run things in recent years.  The Rookie wage scale works great. Team Salary Caps are fine. There are no gripes about insurance and retirement benefits like there were in the NFL, only one issue separates the Players Association from the Owners' Association: Money. That one issue, however, is splitting the sides further and further apart as time goes on and representatives get restless.   This evening at 5pm,  the owners' current proposal of about a 50/50 split will expire, and Derek Fischer says the Players Association will not accept it. David Stern, however, says they refuse to back down, and will in fact make their next proposal even worse for the players. After 5pm comes and goes, games can be canceled all the way through Christmas.

When will the NBA Lockout end? We do not know for sure, and it may not be until after the 2011-2012 season. Whether it ends or not, Basketball Never Stops.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The 'Super Chargers' will beat the Super Bowl Champs

    Preview: Later today, The Green Bay Packers will play the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. When that game comes to end, the Pack will fall to 7-1. The Chargers (4-3) led by Phillip Rivers have experienced a recent 2-game slide, which only motivates them more. The Packers (7-0) have had smooth sailing all year, and many don't see when they will ever lose. However, further analysis tells me different. Mediocre teams, such as the Vikings and Panthers, have led the packers at halftime. This is somewhat of a trap for the Packers. They are coming off a bye week where they basked in the ambiance of their supposed 'greatness', and they have to travel halfway across the US. The Chargers are coming off a 2 game losing streak, their coach is in danger of losing his job, and their quarterback is going through a rough patch.

Gameday Notes: Aaron Rodgers has thrown for 20 touchdowns and 3 ints in 7 games this season.
Phillip Rivers currently has the lowest passer rating (80.7) he's ever had.
San Diego's defense ranks 4th in the league against the pass.
Vincent Jackson and Ryan Matthews have been limited during practice this week, but both are expected to play.
After the bye week, Packers are healthy and ready to go for the game.

Prediction: Chargers 24, Packers 20. Late 4th quarter comeback by Rivers will win it for the Chargers.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cam Newton: The Second Coming?

     Its week 9 of the NFL season now, and it has become evident that the biggest sleeper in the draft was in fact the number 1 overall pick. Through 7 games, he's managed to revive Steve Smith's career,  score 15 touchdowns, and single-handedly turn around the Panthers abysmal offense. He nearly defeated the Super Bowl Champs, and a couple weeks ago he turned his sights on the Redskins. We all know how that turned out. Last week it was the Vikings, and although they did not come out with a win, he still ended up with three touchdowns. In his first 8 games, Cam Newton has thrown for 2,393 yards and scored 18 total touchdowns. That means he is currently on pace for 4,786 passing yards and 36 total touchdowns, numbers that have never been reached by a rookie.

      The hype for Cam Newton was not always there forever. As a freshman at the University of Florida playing behind Tim Tebow, he rarely ever saw the field. During his sophomore season, he was suspended from the team for stealing a laptop. At the conclusion of the season, he made the decision to transfer to Blinn College, a junior college in Texas. In one year at Blinn, Newton redeemed himself by winning the National Championship and being elected a Junior College All-American. He then decided to transfer to Auburn University, where he led the Tigers to an undefeated season, a National Championship, and broke a number of records along the way. 

     His journey to success was not easy by any means, but he is now the most promising prospect in the NFL by far. His outstanding abilities, unlimited potential, and impressive production are just a few things that tell me he could end up being the greatest to ever set foot on the gridiron.