Ain’t No Turnin’ Back

Sometimes you can look around the sports world and think to yourself “yeah they get it, they know they are lucky to be where they are.”  Someone is giving back to the community, they aren’t putting themselves above everyone else, they aren’t abusing their status or they aren’t just taking advantage of everything.

Sometimes you can looking around the sports world and ask yourself “is it just going to hell?”  We see it in the newspapers and online websites, athletes on drugs, drunk driving, illegal weapons possession, drug dealing and a long list of things that most people can’t imagine even doing.

Coming up is the NFL Draft and I keep asking myself about that number one pick.  Ya know Jameis, and all the stories that swirl around him.  From the alleged stolen soda, soda taken in ketchup cups from a fast food establishment, to the accusation of stolen crab legs, the story went from he “forgot” to pay for them to this week he told Coach Harbaugh that a guy at Publix “hooked them up” with a birthday cake before and so he thought he could just get free crustaceans.  There are the other big allegations of sexual assault that have been brought before criminal and civil court, the criminal charges have been dropped but the civil are yet to be tried.

It still appears that Tampa Bay, with the number one pick, are betting on Jameis’ talent and football IQ to lead them to the Lombardi Promised Land.  The Florida based team is projected to dump buckets of cash on the former Florida State quarterback with their first pick in the NFL draft even though questions exist about Jameis’ decisions off the field.

We’ve seen multiple players let the money and bad decision making lead them to terrible consequences starting with one of the worst most recent cases: Aaron Hernandez (Murder), Rae Carruth (Conspiracy to commit murder, shooting into an occupied vehicle, etc), Mike Vick (Dog Fighting/Unlawful Animal Cruelty), Adrian Peterson(Indicted by a grand jury on a felony charge of reckless or negligent injury to a child for using a branch to spank his son in Spring, Texas, in Ma), Ray Rice (Arrested and charged with simple assault after he allegedly struck fiancée Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City casino elevator. A grand jury indicted him on a more serious count of aggravated assault in March), Josh Brent (Charged with intoxication manslaughter after he flipped his car in accident that killed teammate Jerry Brown in Irving, Texas) and many more.

In fact, why don’t you go here and look it up for yourself?  No really, look at the names.  Make decisions for yourself.  Question it for yourself.  Ask yourself questions about all the things that happen.  We look at Jameis (and I’m not letting him off the hook) but he’s not the only one here.  He’s just joining a league where everybody else is doing something too.  No one else is perfect.  Maybe he’s just joining a group of somebodies that are getting away with some things too.  I mean who knows how many on that list are getting away with walking out of a store with something free because they are playing for an NFL team.  Maybe someone is going to a restaurant and getting a free meal?  Why?  Is it just because it draws crowds to that restaurant that the quarterback of the local NFL team eats there?  So the owner says hey, you eat free?  So why are we yelling at Jameis for doing something that someone else is doing?

Maybe it’s like “The Resistance” by Drake:

“I’m living inside a moment, not taking pictures to save it, I mean, how could I forget?

My memories never faded.  I can’t relate to these haters, my enemies never made it.

I am, still here with who I started with.

The game needed life, I put my heart in it.

I blew myself up, I’m on some martyr shit,

Carry the weight for my city like a cargo ship….

Man I couldn’t tell you where the fuck my head is

I’m holdin’ on by a thread it’s like I’m high right now

The guy right now

And you could tell lookin in my eyes right now

That nothin’ really comes as a surprise right now

Cause we just havin’ the time of our lives right now….

Did I just trade free time for camera time?

Will I blow all of this money baby, hammer time?

Yeah, I just need some closure

Ain’t no turnin’ back for me I’m in it ‘til it’s over”

There ain’t no turnin’ back for him now.  He’s burned a lot of bridges.  He’s coming out now.  It’s in it to win it.  He’s going all in.  So when he gets there, he’s going to be loved or hated, pretty much like before.  What’s changing?  He’s just going to be a pro.  More money, more problems.  Problem is, now it’s even more reported, even more microscopes even more to lose.  If he’s trying to do better than good enough, it’s time to change.  It’s time not to be better than same rut that all those guys in that rut got stuck in.  Time to take in all that advice all those guys have been trying to tell him.  Ain’t no turnin’ back yeah, but it might be too late, it might be over.

Drafts: The Curse and Blessing

Now that the NFL season is over (or has been over) talk is of the incoming college class that will make their names known on Sundays.  The combine just finished a few weeks ago and all anyone wanted to talk about was who would go first overall to the Tampa Bay Bucs.  Everyone has a favorite for whatever reason and they aren’t afraid to tell you who it is.  The draft brings out the GM/analyst in every fan/armchair quarterback.  But that’s the great thing about it.  It’s become such a spectacle where our favorite teams’ future seems to hang on that one decision.  It feels like “this is the year ” or “another year of reloading.”  But what is it about the draft?

The funny thing is that baseball and hockey have a draft that are nowhere as visible as football.  Basketball sets up a lottery to try to keep teams from bombing in order to guarantee themselves the number one pick.  It’s an interesting concept which has led to shock teams getting that valued top spot.  But what’s incredible is that even though you might get that “can’t miss” guy sometimes it doesn’t always work out.

The NFL history books are loaded with top picks that never quite panned out and I’m certain that most NFL fans can name a few without even looking them up.  Not they are necessarily busts but they didn’t end up being what the scouts said they were going to be.  Maybe they didn’t get in the right system to begin with, maybe they were forced into action too soon, maybe they struggled with injuries at one point, maybe they didn’t have the talent necessary or maybe the situation just wasn’t right.  For whatever reason these things happen.  Last year’s number one overall pick of the Texans, Jadeveon Clowney struggled with injuries and barely saw action of any sort.

Then you look at baseball or hockey and even most seasoned fans have no idea who their favorite team drafted.  They won’t see that guy play for six months if they are lucky to even years later in some cases.  Some hockey players don’t even get drafted and sign as college free agents or come from Europe as free agents.  We have no idea until they make an impact on the ice or on the diamond.  As for basketball, it seems like college has become a showcase for the NBA level talent, so they play a year and hopefully get drafted in the first round with the idea that they can get a guaranteed contract.  Second round picks aren’t afforded that luxury and can easily be cut and sent on their way.  We’ve certainly seen plenty of free agent college players make it to the pros and make a difference as well.  But the number one picks can be deceiving just as well.

That number one spot, it comes with a tremendous amount of promise and pressure.  You can make the team or ruin it; curse and a blessing.  It’s interesting how many teams gave up draft picks just recently at the NHL trade deadline in order to win now. These windows to win are small and many times the draft can be such a crapshoot.  Players can get hurt, sign somewhere else, someone else can make a bigger move or even the wheels can just fall off.  You have to go for it whle you can. Draft picks are great if you aren’t blessed with an abundance of talent but they can be a curse when you’ve got to win today and that rookie isn’t the final piece of the puzzle.