Tag Archives: Cam Newton

Victories or Really Winning

It is ironic in a way, and yes I am unabashed fan of irony, that the NFL combine news was overshadowed by a story from BYU, all on the same day CBS and Sports Illustrated released a report on college athletes and criminal records.   You see, most of the NFL combine news centers around Cam Newton – the former Auburn quarterback with the rather colorful history.  The CBS/SI report is self-explanatory.  And then there is the BYU basketball player, Brandon Davies, a starter and major factor in the teams amazing success this season.  He was suspended by the team for a violation of the university honor code. Dare I say his actions were hardly the stuff anyone would be suspended for on any other campus.

Brigham Young University is a unique institution, tied directly the The Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder Day Saints and to the church’s values.  However, what is interesting is that every university purports to hold the ideal of the “student athlete” sacred, that winning is not above the values and standards of the university.  Colleges and universities all proclaim that athletics is tertiary, that academics and producing graduates who are good, productive citizens and future leaders are the real mission.

BYU has enjoyed a great basketball season thus far, and the loss of Brandon Davies clearly is a huge blow to the team and their chances for post season success.  We all get it – there is a ton of money tied up in college athletics – it is big business.  Billions.  Yet BYU took action, an action that will certainly have financial repercussions.  And all because the individual in question told them of his actions that caused the violation – in effect a confession.  No one would have known – yet he and the university held to their word.

It is not about the unique and specific Brigham Young University Honor Code and if one agrees or disagrees.  It is about the fact that there is a code, that those who willingly attend the university also commit to their code.  It is about a university that held to that code – regardless of cost.  We are surrounded by corporate “codes of conduct”, of “core values”, of “oaths of office” and a host of laws and standards of behavior.  However, we rarely if ever see anyone held to account.  Think about it – who from business, sports, or even political office are held to account – ever?

In the end, the question really becomes how committed are you to “walking the walk”? BYU demonstrated they are committed. It was one impressive statement.

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Filed under Current affairs, Sports

A Holiday Thank You to ESPN

In the spirit of the season, I would like to share my sincere and heartfelt thanks to the program director at ESPN who decided to schedule the Heisman Trophy presentation, immediately followed by Pony Excess, the story of SMU football. Brilliant – absolutely brilliant.  Saturday evenings programming was by far one of the best backhanded commentaries on our sporting, if not our entire culture, that I have seen ever in a public forum.

Even the most casual observer knows of the cloud of suspicion that surrounds Cam Newton, his father, and some “pay for play” stories.  Thus far the young man has been cleared by the NCAA and is eligible to play, but it is a rather odd situation.  All of the above said, who would have ever foreseen this priceless gem coming from Cam Newton early in his acceptance speech:

My parents do a lot of things behind the scenes that go unnoticed.

Hilarious.  Was that supposed to be funny, a slight admission, a wink and a smile moment of “jokes on you – I got away with it”, or a subconscious slip?   I admit it, I throughly enjoyed the hilarity and absurdity of such a statement…looking at the others who were also in the room watching the TV, we all were busting out laughing and asking “did we really just hear that…really”.

Then, to roll quite literally from that speech into the latest installment of the ESPN 30 for 30 film series that just happened to be Pony Excess.  A film on the “pay for play” world of SMU football in the early 80’s.  Seriously, the irony was absolutely priceless.  The film is great – and it makes it abundantly clear that “pay for play” was not a new phenomenon 30 years ago, and was not isolated to just SMU.  It was also rather clear of how it all happened.  Winning, doing what it takes to win, and enjoying the spoils of victory (bragging rights, championships, revenue) in the moment were the drivers…ego and money trumped the moral and ethical right.  Based on Saturday evening programing, it seems not much has changed over the years in college football.

A huge thank you to the program director for ESPN.  Your wisdom and sense of timing, irony and humor are very much appreciated.  Maybe, just maybe, your showing us through the lens of film and sport that sometimes we need to take a step back, and remember that winning might not just be everything.  At least not winning at all costs.

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Filed under Coaching, Current affairs, Sports