Friday, August 31, 2007

Of Felons and Football...

Perhaps I'm becoming a “Fuddy-Duddy” in my starting-to-advance years. But I've always believed that if you do something wrong, you should be penalized. It may seem outrageous or unfair, but it serves as good lesson that everyone is accountable for their actions.

Which confuses the hell out of me about the Jerome Hunt thing.

If you've been living in a cave, or out of state, here's the poop. Jerome Hunt was a state champion wrestler from Parker. He was accused and convicted of attempted rape of his teammates. During his legal problems and trial, he dropped out of what would have been his senior year.

Now he's back... at another school anyway.

Hunt is going to West Central, where he is a senior. That's not the issue. I'm all for this young man finishing his education so he can get on with his life. What I have issue with, is the fact that he, a convicted felon, is suiting up for the football team and will more than likely be involved in wrestling.

To me, being involved in high school athletics is a privilege, not a right. I've seen many young men and women being barred from participating with their teams for everything from drinking to poor grades. Frankly, I think a felony conviction would elicit some kind of restriction. But apparently not.

I'm not putting any blame on Kent Mueller, the Trojan Football coach. I've known Kent for a few years. He's a man of principle and follows the rules. My blame rests on the folks who should have put some restriction on this man playing on a high school sports team.

I also have to put some blame on the parents, as it seems they've been “shopping” Mr. Hunt around to different schools as though he were some free agent. Which begs the question.... if they're so concerned about this guy finishing his schooling, why should being involved in sports be such a deciding factor?

To me it reeks of hypocrisy. And I'm a sports director, for crying out loud!

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Couple Good Organizations

When I was younger, I would always watch the telethons that came up on the Sioux Falls stations. Jerry Lewis, UCP, CMN, all that jazz. And my dear mom always said instead of giving money, I should say a prayer.

Prayer is good, but unfortunately it's money that makes the world go round.

Now I'm at a point in my life financially where I can make a monetary contribution. But ONLY to the causes I have a vested interest in. Namely, the United Way and Children's Miracle Network.

The nice part about giving to the United Way is that my money goes to many organizations in my area. Non-political, non-advocacy groups like Little League Baseball and Softball, Lake County Search and Rescue, and Meals on Wheels. And it's only a few bucks out my paycheck, so it's not like I'm gonna miss it... but the impact it makes is long-lasting!

Children's Miracle Network has taken on a more personal note with me. Unless you're some kind of recluse, chances are you know someone or ARE someone who has had to take advantage of the services of CMN. Co-Workers, friends, friends-of-friends... these are just some of the people I know who have been helped by CMN.

The really cool part about CMN, is it's not all about research. Granted, they do give a bit to research and to help buy medical equipment. But all of the money raised STAYS LOCAL. In other words, the money you spend on donations or even on a blizzard for "Miracle Treat Day", stays in the area, and doesn't go to pay for corporate lobster dinners in New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles.

But the personal reason I do it is for a darling niece that I affectionately call "Swee' Pea." Fortunately, she is a healty, (relatively) happy baby girl and has not had any major issues. But you just never know. And while I don't like to think of the worst case scenario, I do take comfort in the fact that Zoey's parents can count on an organization like Children's Miracle Network should something happen in the future.

I'm not much for advocating causes, namely because of the guff I'd get because it's not in the correct "political spectrum". But it's a safe bet you're not going to go wrong with these organizations.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Press as Billboards

The local paper recently ran an opinion column about press photographers being forced this upcoming National Football League season to wear vests emblazoned with corporate logos. Apparently, this is part of some grand marketing scheme that the NFL cooked up with Canon and Reebok.

Frankly, it stinks to high heaven.

For starters... these journalists are not employees of the NFL. They have to abide by certain guidelines set down by the league, but are not employed by the NFL. Therefore, the idea that they can be "compelled" to be walking billboards is hogwash, especially if said persons do not receive compensation. THEN, you're looking at labor violations, not to mention any working agreements that are already in place!

Someone that wants to treat me like an employee can PAY me like an employee.

Secondly, and I agree with the article on this, it violates the idea of journalists being "objective". Now granted, journalists have done advertisements in the past. And almost every disc jockey appears on radio commercials. Hell, even Charles Osgood and Paul Harvey do commercials! But the big factor is they are not out and about like walking advertisements, being compelled by a company outside of their employ to do so.

I'm just curious... if a photographer from the Associated Press shows up to a game wearing Nike shoes and using an Olympus camera, can the NFL revoke his or her press credentials? As Dennis Hopper once said in a Nike commercial, "Bad things, Man!"