Protesting: The Talk Of The Year This Football Season

Protesting: The Talk Of The Year This Football Season

The NFL is suffering a ratings drop and the owners have no solution.

2017 is not your usual NFL season. The Philadelphia Eagles are super bowl favorites, and the Patriots are labeled as one of the worst defenses in the league. The Cleveland Browns are probably the only model of consistency right now as one of the worst operated franchises in professional football, and are currently poised to snatch the first overall pick from San Francisco. There has however been a large political shadow cast over the NFL as of late regarding player protests of police brutality by kneeling for the national anthem. The message started when then San Francisco Quarterback, Colin Kaepernick sat on the bench during the national anthem for all four of the pre-season games in 2016. In late August, Kaepernick elaborated on the reasoning of his protests saying his goal was to essentially provide a voice for the black victims of police brutality who did not have their own voice. After being told from former military that sitting during the anthem could be perceived as a sign of disrespect, Kaepernick then preceded to kneel on one knee on the sideline during the anthem rather than sit. His reasoning is, his message is not to disrespect the military but instead to make a statement about the mistreatment of African American people from the law.

Since those initial protests from Colin Kaepernick, similar acts have been imitated in other sports and have led to an increase in black athletes speaking out against the same things Kaepernick tried to talk about. This phenomenon has polarized the NFL, leading for some to boycott the games entirely and other to commend the athletes trying to improve the lives of people. Recent controversies have arisen over Texans’ owner Bob McNair’s “inmates running the prison” comment, leading to players like Seattle Seahawks’ cornerback Richard Sherman, calling McNair out personally. Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones has gone on record saying that any member of the Cowboys who refused to stand for the anthem would be cut from the team.

The problem with the actions of these owners is they are essentially taking away the free speech rights of the players. The owners want to cover their selves and protect their investments out of a fear that the protests of their players will lead to a significant decrease in ratings. The NFL is a financial behemoth, generating billions in revenue each year. NFL owners and commissioner Roger Goodell have fallen to corporate greed, thanks to the significantly higher financial gain the league generates over all other professional sports leagues in America. Lately however, the NBA has gained distance on the gap and could potentially surpass the NFL if the NFL’s ratings continue to plummet. NFL owners have convinced themselves that the protests are the only reason the ratings are suffering, but the NBA has been on the rise since for years now. The NBA benefits from fans associating with players and their brands more so than the NBA teams themselves. The NFL is the opposite, great players are recognized but they are almost always held in regard to their team. If the NFL refuses to recognize the individual rights of their players, the turmoil will only get worse and the owners will have only themselves to blame.

Cover Image Credit: @pan1c040 on Instagram

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5 People You Didn't Know Went to Cal Poly Pomona

Bronco Alumni who made it BIG

1. Jim Zorn

Jim Zorn first went to Cerritos College and transferred to CPP where he played football for 2 seasons. While he was attending CPP, he set 44 school records and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1997. Since then he has played with the Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After his retirement, he moved onto coaching in the NFL where he has been for 16 seasons. He is currently a quarterback coach for the Kansas City Chiefs.

2. Forest Whittaker

Whittaker attended Cal Poly Pomona on a football scholarship (yes, we had a football team), but an injury left him unable to play. He changed his major to music where he was a part of the Cal Poly Chamber Singers. He ended up transferring to University of Southern California to finish up his degree, but got his start at CPP. He is now a famous actor who stared in Platoon, Bird, The Shield, The Color Money, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, and many more productions. He was also the 4th African American male to win Best Actor at the Academy Awards.

3. Hilda Solis

Solis was accepted into the Equal Opportunity Program at Cal Poly Pomona and graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. While getting her Master of Public Administration at USC, she worked for the Carter and Reagan administration. Under the Obama administration, Solis became the first Latina to serve in the US Cabinet. Currently she serves on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

4. Kevin Lyman

Lyman became well known by creating Vans Warped Tour, but before this he graduated Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in Recreation Administration in 1984. He discovered his love of music while in college and worked with on campus bands to find places to play. He took his love to the LA music scene which led to the creation of Vans Warped Tour, Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, and Down From the Mountain Tour.

5. Michael Steger

Steger graduated CPP with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and a minor in Spanish. After graduating with honors, he went on to appear in NCIS, Criminal Minds, Covert Affairs, True Blood, and several Disney Channel productions. He is best known for his role as Navid Shirazi on 90210.

Cover Image Credit: Hahn-Khayat-Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT

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The Supreme Court Legalized Sports Betting But This Doesn't Help Shoeless Joe Or Pete Rose

They still won't get in on integrity issues.

In 1992, Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which made gambling on sports illegal outside of the state of Nevada. The major sports leagues (the NFL, NHL, NBA, NCAA, and Major League Baseball) all stood by this law for 20 years. However, New Jersey governor Chris Christie set out to allow sports gambling in state casinos.

The leagues would start legal proceedings against Christie and the state in 2012. They would win every step of the way until the United States Supreme Court took over in June 2017. The trial ended on Monday with a 6-3 decision in favor of the state. Now the precedent has been set for other states to establish legal sports betting, and New Jersey, along with a handful of other states, plan on doing so.

With PASPA being deemed unconstitutional, what does it mean for players who may or may not have been implicated, and then banned, from their sport for gambling?

There are, of course, two names that come to mind. The first is Shoeless Joe Jackson, an outfielder with the Chicago White Sox who was one of the eight players indicted by the Cook County Court system for throwing the 1919 World Series. The other is Pete Rose, the all-time hits leader who was accused of throwing games when he was the manager of the Cincinnati Reds.

It isn't a question of whether or not they are Hall of Fame worthy players. They both are: Jackson was kicked out with the third highest career batting average ever at .356, while Rose knocked over 4000 hits in his career. Now the question is whether or not the Court ruling will be enough to have the writers overlook this.

Let's start with Jackson. It is hard-pressed to believe that Jackson actually knew what was going on: he was an illiterate "rube" from South Carolina. On top of that, none of the players knew what was going on half the time. In the Series, he hit .375. He slugged the only homer of the whole series. He did not commit in error out in left field. Suffice to say, if he was actually trying to lose, he would have been trying a lot harder than that.

On the other hand, he did take the money. He wanted $20,000 but only got $5,000. He then told the Grand Jury everything that he knew, even if he was liquored up at the time. Even when he tried to do right, he threw the integrity of the game right out the window.

Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis, the game's first commissioner, banned Jackson and the other players for life for being involved with gambling.

Let's look at Rose now, who was investigated for gambling activities in the 1980s. It came out that he did, in fact, bet on games during the 1987 season. If he were to cover bets for the whole season, he would have betted on 98 games during the season (with the other 64 that he didn't bet on them being when either Mario Soto or Bill Gullickson were starting on the mound).

The law may not have been in place at the time, but that doesn't matter. They were active participants in the games. They were also active participants in the gambling. They wrecked the integrity of the game, and should not be in the Hall of Fame. The voting committees for the Hall of Fame have it right: that players on the ineligible list should not be in.

In the words of Pete Grathoff for the Kansas City Star:

"While sports gambling will be legal in states other than Nevada, none of the professional leagues will allow players, managers, coaches or executives to wager on their games. That's what Rose did and why he won't have his ban overturned"

Cover Image Credit: Ghost Presenter via Unsplash

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