College football, Controversy, Football

My problem with Dabo Swinney…

If I did not learn anything else in 2016, I learned that in times of controversy people’s true colors will shine brightly.

Enter Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney.

Before September, I was a fan of his, I guess. I had nothing against him. I liked his story. I liked the fact that he was an underdog and had been counted out numerous times. I liked his positive energy, his upbeat attitude and the fact that he always gave credit to God for his many blessings.

I liked what he stood for until he provided me with his opinion surrounding one of 2016’s most controversial figures, Colin Kaepernick.

Like the majority of coaches around the country, Swinney was asked to give his opinion regarding the manner in which Kaepernick had chosen to express his disgust regarding the unjustices plaguing black people and people of color in this country. Swinney’s initial response was that he would not discipline a player who decided to take a stance by not standing for the national anthem even though he thought it would be a distraction. Distraction huh?

Strike one.

Swinney further explains that he believed there is a right way to do things and he did not think two wrongs made a right. According to him, he would foresee the “distraction” as divisive. Divisive huh?

Strike two.

To drive home his failed point, Swinney begans to paint this picture of “luxury” that have been afforded to black people that leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. never got to experience-things that were just a dream to him. He reminded us of the fact that President Obama is a two term president, that interracial marriage is now legal, that there are black head coaches, quarterbacks, CEOs, NBA owners, etc. He ends with suggesting that if this country is so bad then “some of these people need to move to another country.”

Strikes three, four, five and six.

If you have been following my blog closely the past two years then you know how much my gears grind when people who look nothing like me try and tell others and myself how we should think, feel and act. Or how we should feel grateful that we now are able to experience “luxuries” that my grandparents could not. I do not care what your title is, where you are from, how much money you make or what side of the bed you sleep on, you do not have the right to tell me how I should react to the lopsided amount of injustices being dished out to people of color every hour.

Now that I have done a little research, I guess I should not have been surprised at his words considering the fact that a few years ago Swinney, who will receive a $400,000 bonus for winning the championship, said he would quit coaching football if players started receiving compensation “because there is enough entitlement in the world as is.” I think I am out of strikes.

As a Christian, I have a problem with Christians like Dabo Swinney who give God all the praise when millions are watching but when the numbers are few, the love he preaches about is not evident in his words. There is no love in telling people to leave who want to see things change for the better in this country. There is no love in being a leader of young men while suggesting that any form of protest against wrongdoings constitute as a “wrong.” There is no love in reminding black people how far we have come without acknowledging the backward steps that are being taken by those in power. There is no love in not supporting compensation for young men and women in a billion dollar industry while making $5.1 million a year off the backs, legs and arms of these young men. To some, this may seem like a stretch and I can almost guarantee that those who think that will not look like me.

Honestly, I would like to be all excited about Clemson’s win. I would like to be all hip hip hooray for the ACC. I would like to be able to call up one of my best friends who is the only Alabama fan I know and offer up a mound of trash talk. Unfortunately, I cannot. To revel in Alabama’s loss is to celebrate Clemson’s win and with Dabo Swinney roaming the sidelines it is impossible for me to do. Although, I am extremely excited for DeShaun Watson. Class act all the way.

However, that is where my excitement stops. I have long accepted the fact that some people will say whatever they want to and seemingly still be rewarded in spite of. One thing I do know for sure is that the Good Book was spot on when it says you reap what you sow. From one Christian to another, Dabo you have been gifted a unique opportunity. Do not ruin it because you choose to not take the time to understand. As a Christian that is exactly what you should be doing. The love you speak about should be evident in your thoughts, words and deeds.

Remember, God is watching.

 

Until next time…TOODELLS.

 

Baseball, MLB

Ken Griffey, Jr…the reason why I love baseball

I saw Ken Griffey, Jr. trending this morning and I immediately got nervous. Whew! False alarm. He’s ok. The reason for him trending? Well, today is the day that the 2016 Major League Baseball Hall of Fame class is announced. Today is the next first step in Griffey, Jr journeying to taking his rightful place in Cooperstown. Let all the fans across the globe rejoice!

Long before people associated #24 with Jeff Gordon and Kobe Bryant. Long before Dale Earnhardt, Jr would step into the spotlight as Junior, Ken Griffey, Jr. aka JUNIOR was the #24 all athletes wanted to be like. His athletic talent was outerworldly. His knowledge of the game was envious. His swagger, long before the term was ever coined, superceded everyone else’s on the diamond. Junior is easily one of the most revolutionary athletes to not only pick up a baseball bat but to play sports, period.

Continue reading “Ken Griffey, Jr…the reason why I love baseball”

NASCAR

10 years later…sweeter than the first.

The joy. The exuberance. The child-like giddyness. The smiles. The hugs. The laughter. All were present last night as NASCAR’s most beloved, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., won his second Daytona 500, 10 years after winning his first.

On a day when most of us were not even sure the race would finish on its scheduled day due to a rain delay that totaled six hours  and 22 minutes, Junior emerged victorious amongst a host of drivers who showed their endurance, stamina and determination during the grueling day and night long event. The 11 time NASCAR Most Popular Driver had gone 55 races without taking a trip to Victory Lane. Sandwich that with the fact that in three of the last four Daytona 500’s Junior had placed second,

{Source: Google Images}
{Source: Google Images}

many skeptics begun to wonder if we had seen his best. Without uttering a word, Junior let his #88 car do all the talking and when it was all said and done, the skeptics were left pondering what new story angle they could come up with.

On a night when I had planned to go to bed early so I could go to the gym early, I could not pass up an an opportunity to watch the Daytona 500 under the lights. If you would have visited me last night, you would have found me sitting on my bed squealing and pleading, much to the dismay of my cats, with Junior to hold on to the lead. You would have found me paying that no more wrecks occured. One, because I do not want to see drivers get hurt. Two, because I was tired and ready to go to bed. You would have found me covering my eyes(with two laps to go), hoping that the mysterious black material that attached itself to the front of Junior’s car did not hinder him from keeping his lead. You would have found me dancing, fist pumping and cabbage patching, again much to the dismay of my cats, as Junior raced to the finish line to capture the checkered flag.

On a night when I had just hours earlier been ready for bed, I was now too thrilled for sleep. I have followed Junior closely over the years and while I have admittedly been a fan of his, last night pushed my fandom to another level. The joy. The exuberance. The child-like giddyness. The smiles. The hugs. The laughter. He let his owner, Rick Hendrick ride on the side of the door with him to the celebration. He hugged every one of his crew members before conducting an interview. How could you not be excited for Junior??  The son who has grown up in the spotlight. The son who tragically lost his father with the whole world watching. The son who was expected to take his father’s place as the face of NASCAR(which he has). The son who publicly battled his stepmother over the direction of Dale Earnhardt Incorporated. The son who knew all too well the pressures of being the most beloved. The son who despite the pressure has always remained classy, honest and determined.

On a day when the #3 car, the one his father, Dale Sr. made famous, returned to the track, it was Junior who proved he belonged in the place he grew up: the track. It was Junior who proved that he was still a force to be reckoned with. It was Junior who proved that perseverance pays off. It was Junior who proved that good guys still finish first. It was Junior who proved that despite the obstacles you face, only you can determine whether or not you make it to Victory Lane. It was Junior who proved he is still the best person to carry on his father’s legacy.

And on yesterday, I am sure his dad, The Intimidator, was smiling up above.

{Source Google Images}
{Source Google Images}
Selfeeeee!!! Gotta love it!! {Source: Junior's Twitter}
Selfieeeee!!! Gotta love it!!
{Source: Junior’s Twitter}
{Source: Google Images}
{Source: Google Images}
My favorite picture :-} Caption read: "Look who I ran into at the Dayton Experience. Dad's Happy! #2XDaytona500Champ" {Source: Junior's Twitter}
My favorite picture :-}. Another selfie.
Caption read: “Look who I ran into at the Dayton Experience. Dad’s Happy! #2XDaytona500Champ”
{Source: Junior’s Twitter}
Controversy, NASCAR, Sports

No, I don’t want to see the #3 car back on the track

Imagine my surprise when I turned on SportsCenter the other day and heard the crazy news, NASCAR’s #3 car is coming back. Seriously? Even more crazy is the fact that Richard Childress’ grandson Austin Dillon would be driving the car. Seriously?? Seriously??? For those of you that are clueless, the late, great Dale Earnhardt drove for Childress’ RCR team.

I have nothing against Childress or Dillon. It has been 13 years since Earnhardt passed away coming out of turn four at the Daytona 500. It is a day that lives in infamy in the NASCAR  world and in the world of us who love sports. No one was as big of a name in NASCAR as Earnhardt was and still is. His stare, abilities and the mustache drew a whole new sea of fans to the sport. Immediately, after his passing, NASCAR issued a memo stating no one would be able to drive a #3 car for a year. And no one has driven it since, until now.

I have no doubt Dillon is worthy of a chance to participate in the Sprint Cup Nationwide Series but in my opinion he is not the one that should bring #3 back to the track. No one should. Not even six time Nationwide Series winner Jimmie Johnson. And that has nothing to do with his abilities on the track and everything to do with the respect that Earnhardt earned before he passed.

Most of us naturally assumed that if anyone ever drove the car again, it would be driven by his son, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. I personally think NASCAR should pull a MLB move and retire the number across the board. The number is iconic, sacred and should only be connected to Earnhardt. The man gave his life to the sport and has forever been immoralized as NASCAR’s biggest star. #3 should stay in the garage. Childress owes The Intimidator that much.

49ers, Football, NFL, Sports

The #QuestForSix continues….

Hi, my loyal Korner Kickers!! I hope you all are well. I want to apologize for my lack of posts last week. I have a lot going on!!! Good stuff though and I have not had time to write. This is another hectic week but once I get through it, I will be back to my usual writing schedule.

As you all know, IT IS SUPER BOWL WEEEEEEK!!!! I can hardly contain my excitement. Just wait until next Monday when I am posting about the San FranSIXco 49ers!!!!!

In honor of SuperBowl week, I have decided to blog about memorable Super Bowls. They may not be memorable to you but they are to me and in some instances it may not be because of the game.

My 9ers have appeared in five Super Bowls and have won all five. Although, I was a fan of the 9ers as a youngster, I did not really start developing my love for the game until I was in middle school. Therefore, the 9ers SuperBowl appearance that stands out most for me is SuperBowl XXIX(29). My 9ers vs the San Diego Chargers. Jerry Rice, Steve Young, Deion Sanders, Merton Hanks and the chicken dance, Ricky Watters, Bryant Young, Dana Stubblefield & Ken Norton, Jr. vs Junior Seau, Natrone Means, Stan Humphries and the other Chargers. My 9ers were 18.5 point favorite, rightfully so.

The game was deemed as a coming out party for Steve Young as he emerged, in the eyes of many, from Joe Montana’s shadow. On the opening drive, three paid into the game, Young found Rice in the endzone and just like that the route was on. Young threw for touchdowns on his way to MVP in a 49-26 win. Equally as impressive in the win was the fact that Rice had 29 catches for 149 yards and three touchdowns. Greatness.

As I celebrated loudly in my living room, I had no idea it would be another 18 years before we would grace the big stage again but we are back!!! That is what makes REAL FANS so special. They are there through the good and bad times. LETS GO NINERS!!!! BRING THE TROPHY BACK TO THE BAY!!!

image

Football, NFL, Sports

See you in Canton, Ray…

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! NOOOOOOOOOOO!! NOOOOOOOOO!! Please tell me this is not happening. Ray Anthony Lewis is retiring. NOOOOOOOOOO!!

The hard hitting, shoulder fracturing, knuckle popping, leader of the Baltimore Ravens is calling it quits. After 17 years, Lewis has decided to go out like a superhero: on top. Sure, he has lost a step or two or three over the last few years. However, despite his slowing down, every opponent always knew he was still capable of changing the course of the game at any time.

When the news broke Wednesday, I already knew I had to make my way to The Korner to talk about it. I even got a request to blog about it :-}.  Along with that request, my requestee asked that I offer up my opinion of Lewis being charged with murder. To me, the murder charge is irrelevant when it comes to Lewis’s career. Just like Pete Rose’s gambling. Let the man in the Hall already! Sorry, got sidetracked. Charged with murder in January of 2000, Lewis could have easily let the bad boy image that some wanted to portray define him. Found guilty of obstruction of justice and ordered to pay the NFL’s heaftiest fine at the time, Lewis could have easily decided to quietly ease back into the NFL life. Surrounded by teammates whom he would win a SuperBowl with the following year, Lewis could have easily let someone else become the face of the franchise.Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said,  “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Instead of running from the experience, Lewis took the experience and ran with it. He allowed the incident to fuel his fire and drive him to become a better father, teammate, friend, mentor and man. That murder charge has not and will not define who Lewis is. If anything, that charge served as motivation for Lewis to inadvertently become a human definition of what overcoming adversity looks like no matter how steep the mountain may be.

The amount of respect I have for Lewis is enormous and I hope to meet him one day so I can tell him. For the past 10 years, the player I have enjoyed watching the most, besides Peyton, is #52. Any time he was on my screen, I was guaranteed to see him giving 125% every time he stepped on the field. I was guaranteed to see him motivating his team. I was guranteed to see him truly loving to play the game of football. However, it is the type of man off the field that fuels the respect I have for him. Lewis is a natural born leader. If you have ever heard him speak, whether in person or in a press conference or in the huddle, you know that he has the gift of leadership. I do not think I can find a person that has not felt inspired after hearing him talk. Shoot, his retirement press conference left me feeling like I could run a marathon, that same day.

Ray Anthony Lewis is one of a kind. He revolutionized a franchise, city and league with his desire to be more than just a football player. It has been a privilege to watch him play. When he officially retires, Lewis will be revered as one of if not the best linebacker in the history of the National Football League. Some sports fanatics will argue that he is not better than LT. Some will argue that Dick Butkus was better than both of them. I was not around for the days of Butkus and I was young during the days of LT. I do know you can not go wrong with either of them. For as much as Lewis will be remembered for the way he played the game, I think he will be remembered more for the way he played the game of life while. Veni. Vedi. Vici. He came. He saw. He conquered. And he is just getting started….

Thank you Ray Lewis for your passion and dedication to the game!! I am glad you are getting your flowers while you are still here to receive them. See you in Canton in 2018!

 

P.S. I am going to truly miss seeing Ray Ray do his intro jig. I think I will now use that to announce my arrival in various places.