I’ve written quite a bit about Colin Kaepernick, and I’ve made my stance pretty clear. He has made some flat out ridiculous statements, and isn’t talented enough for the distraction to be worth it. The biggest reason he doesn’t have a job is himself, and he lacks the self-awareness to realize he is damaging his career.
I give that background because another athlete has made a political statement that many will view as similar, and I don’t have a problem with it. Is that hypocritical? No. Here’s why.
— Eleven Warriors (@11W) June 21, 2017
From a football perspective, it’s simple. The first sentence of the Eleven Warriors article sums it up.
Cleveland Heights four-star defensive end Tyreke Smith didn’t have much to prove during Ohio State’s one-day camp on Saturday, as he’s already one of the most sought-after prospects in the country.
Colin Kaepernick isn’t quite “sought-after”, he’s marginal. When you’re marginal, you don’t get to make waves on hotbutton issues. If you’re a distraction, teams don’t want you. This is a sports truth that isn’t hard to grasp.
Let’s move to the bigger issue. “I hope I don’t get killed for being black today,” is not the same as comparing the police to the slave patrol, or any of the other divisive statements Kaepernick has made. Smith’s message isn’t divisive or inflammtory, he’s not pushing the “pigs in a blanket” narrative.
“I decided to wear the shirt because I wanted to bring attention to the epidemic of blacks being killed at an alarming rate,” Smith said. “What we would like to do is have people talk about these issues to reduce the murder rate of African-Americans.”
“The shirt was created to bring light into the every day problems that blacks face between police and black-on-black crimes,” Tyreke’s older brother, Malik, said.
The negative reaction to this shirt hinges on the idea that this is an inherently anti-cop message. Instead, it’s anti-murder of young black men, in any form or fashion, by anyone. Kaepernick disrespected what the American flag represents, and those who have fought and died to defend this country, along with defending an evil dictator, and a host of other controversial statements. Smith is promoting a healthier black community. Don’t act like those are the same.
Smith’s message is also a dose of reality, while not demonizing and stereotyping an entire group. I know a lot of police officers, and they are great people. Just as in any group, a few bad apples have ruined their perception. Demonizing and stereotyping is how we get to these points in the first place. With that said, it’s hard to watch the Philando Castile video , know that the officer got off scot-free, and then act like things are fine. Is the system broken? Yes. Is driving a wedge deeper and deeper between law enforcement and the black community the answer? No, it only makes things worse. Kaepernick chose the latter, Smith didn’t.
People only read headlines. They’ll see the headline, the shirt, and they’ll make the comparison. That’s a shame, because Tyreke Smith isn’t Colin Kaepernick. He’s not even close.
A big takeaway from all this, is that Ole Miss seems intent on protecting Hugh Freeze. They acknowledge that a lot of bad things happened, but don’t want Freeze held responsible.
I understand that Ole Miss doesn’t want to part with a coach who brought them their first real success since Eli Manning, but is Hugh really worth it? With the future of your program on the line, is this the hill you want to die on?
Why is Ole Miss so intent on protecting Hugh Freeze? You gonna go to battle over a couple Bama upsets?
— Jake Mitchell (@TheJakeMitchell) June 6, 2017
I don’t think I would go to war with the NCAA over a Peach Bowl loss and a Sugar Bowl win. When you take into account the kind of roster he was gifted, it could be argued that Hugh has underachieved. Should a team that includes Robert NKemdiche, Laremy Tunsil, Laquon Treadwell, etc., lose seven games in two seasons?
Even with injuries, going 5-7 last year was inexcusable. The worst thing that can happen to a coach took place in 2016, when a 38-17 loss to Vanderbilt and a 55-20 loss in the Egg Bowl showed just how much that team had quit. You would assume a 5-7 season, after a few mediocre ones and a few above average ones, would the the death knell for an SEC coach that had been “pulling in” great recruiting classes, headlined by what Saturday Down South called the best recruiting class in the last decade.
Despite all that, considering Ole Miss talks about their wins over Alabama with more reverence than the Tide talk about their national titles, I guess they are more than satisfied.
— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) May 8, 2017
Woody Barrett deciding to transfer from Auburn is something that, quite frankly, most people saw coming. With the addition of Jarrett Stidham during the offseason, Barrett’s wait to see the field was extended by at least two years. The emergence of Malik Lewis pretty much sealed this up. Lewis will be going into his prime year when the quarterback battle opens back up, and Auburn coaches seem to love the shiny, new toy.
Sports fans, and more so college football fans, will be quick to throw out words like ‘quitter’, ‘disloyal’, and ‘soft’. Barrett is simply a guy who didn’t like his current career situation, so he found a better one. Barrett’s not a “quitter” for this decision, he’s a football player with four years to put together an NFL portfolio. I wouldn’t want to waste most, if not all, of that time sitting on the bench for a coach with a spotty record of developing quarterbacks in the first place.
Barrett isn’t ‘disloyal’ for leaving, just like Auburn wasn’t ‘disloyal’ for signing another QB after him. Loyalty goes both ways, but both sides should understand that college football is a business. Barrett has to do what’s best for him, and Auburn has to do the same. If Auburn had specifically told Barrett, ‘you’re our guy and we won’t recruit another one until you’re gone’, this would be different. They didn’t.