Ok, I have words of wisdom for any and all midwest politicians for the next few months. Please take them from "the outsider looking in" perspective I am coming from and as the late Michael Jackson would say please accept it "with the love. L-O-V-E."
Seriously, please, during these times of turmoil in your region of the country, JUST SHUT UP! And right now, I am talking to you Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill. You are my gurl and all but what the hell was that tweet after the NCAA National Championship game? You know this one:
Look, with everything going on in the Midwest from the Religious Freedom Laws down to what is going on in your home state with Ferguson, I would assume a low profile would be the best remedy to minimize negative publicity. To me, the Midwest is the Gus Fring from Breaking Bad of the US. (Which if you have not watched the entire series of Breaking Bad yet stop reading this blog and go do so now.) The area wants to be respected and seen as God-fearing, hard working, family values folks on the surface meanwhile they are bullying the government to provide huge subsidies for genetically modified, diabetes causing, pollution creating, corn. It's the "Hide in Plain Sight" Gangster of the US. In fact, the Midwest is so Gangsta, they even figured out a way to get in on the oil business without using their reserves! (Corn ethanol anyone?)
Anyway, there is a lot of crazy going on right now in the Midwest and ill-informed tweets by politicians may not be the PR doctor's prescription to keep our minds off the crazy. This is especially true when there is so much craziness organically take the heat off your region. For Example: The West Coast is out of water, Texas has a bonafide looney running for president (and another in the wings), the East Coast has the Tony Sorpano/Fred Flintstone doppelgänger, Chris Christie preparing to announce his candidacy for president, Florida is well Florida. ("Heb" Bush, really? I have to say, the Bush kids are good with the oopsies. Remember this one? Classic Bush Kids.)
"Yabba Dabba Bada Bing!"
Sen. McCaskill, let me let you in on something real quick... While you feign concern about a handful of teenagers who stand to make millions playing a sport they love because of "one and done" there is a whole gang of people that need your help.
Why not express that concern for the millions of 20 somethings that are close to graduation and will be saddled with more student loan debt than anytime in history? You know, those people who will get a job (which they may or may not even like) to pay off unprecedented debt. I have a great place to start, your job. The first step is to not skip votes that you support so that they don't get blocked in the Senate. June, 2014 ring any bells? Senator Elizabeth Warren proposed a bill to make it easier for students to refinance their student loans and you, who gave it great lip service, didn't show up to vote so it was blocked. Does that ring a bell?
Besides that, your tweet plays into a larger question; Why is there so much concern regarding basketball and football athletes and graduation? Professional baseball and hockey recruit right out of high school and rarely is a complaint registered. In NASCAR, soccer, gymnastics, ice skating and tennis many of the athletes are "home schooled" in their formative years so they can train and then forego higher education all together for athletics, however, I don't see these type of tweets during the Olympics.
No college, no problem!
If the concern is that these athletes will go broke because they don't have an education then I will point you to the 30 for 30 episode, Broke. Its all about the high percentage professional athletes that lose all their money shortly after retirement, injury or being cut. Spoiler Alert: Not even a 4 year degree is an immunity idol.
Quite frankly, I am confused as to why are we putting up road blocks for adults (people 18 or older) who want to pursue a career straight out of high school? A potential multi-million dollar career, might I add. Most of these athletes will make in guaranteed signing bonus money what the majority of Americans will make in a lifetime of work. By the age of 18. Why are we standing in their way?
Why is no one standing up to stop NCAA and NBA collusion? Those two are thick as thieves and have created this "one and done" system to maximize their combined profits.
Also, why are their not mandatory insurance policies for athletes who play sports in college. If I am a star high school player who could be drafted after graduation why do I have to risk my well being by playing a mandatory year in college without assurances that if I get hurt I am covered?
Of course, there are people that can change all this. People who have legislative power to create bills that protect student athletes and stop this definite collusion. People like say... Senator Claire McCaskill!
I hope her basketball shoes have extra thick heels
for all the back peddling she has to do now...
Finally, I hope the Senator isn't so far gone that she doesn't realize that Duke University is one of the finest institutions in the country? (Tied for number 8 according to US News and World Reports. My alma matter, Texas Tech is ranked 156. Raider Power?) And they did not get there with a slew of "one and done" student athletes.
The Duke Basketball team and Coach Mike Krzyzewski have one of the best graduation rates of any program in history. Better than Wisconsin. In fact, Senator, if you were to rank all the teams that were in the tournament this year, Duke would make it into the Elite 8 as per Time Magazine (Here’s Who Wins March Madness in the Classroom). What round did Wisconsin make it through, you ask? Not out of the first round.
Annnyyywaaaay, it's just a strange tweet, right? Why would she assume that Wisconsin has more bonafide "student" athletes than Duke? Duke for Pete's sake! I think the Cameron Crazies mantra is "We Graduate Athletes!" (As well as the one concerning the well being of the elderly.) Where would Senator McCaskill get a notion to write such a tweet? None of the starting Duke freshmen have announced they are going into the draft. It is not really something Duke does by a rule. What would possess her....
Author's Note: This in no way discounts the tremendous accomplishments of both teams. I tip my hat to both with special emphasis on the Wisconsin Badgers who defeated an undefeated Kentucky to secure a spot in the Finals.
My comments are directed at Sen. McCaskill and other ill-informed or just plain silly commenters. Know what you are tweeting about before lamenting on social media.
I had no horse in the final four race. Unless my 156th academically ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders are playing, my interests are pretty pedestrian.
I am no fan of Duke because of the Duke form the 90's (LAETTNER!!!) and I have no particular love for Wisconsin, except JJ Watt is an alum (and noted bad ass) and that guy may carry the Houston Texans to the Super Bowl one day.
Also, (and probably most importantly) I want to note, any passing resemblance I may have to Duke guard Tyus Jones, (number 5) is strictly coincidental.