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Surprise! A WWE Star Is Gay

19 Aug

darren young02

August 19, 2013

Darren Young, a WWE wrestling star recently came out of the closet. The NBA veteran, Jason Collins, started the trend of athletes in major sports openly talking about their sexuality and Young followed suit unprompted. When asked by a TMZ reporter if a gay wrestler in his sport could survive, he said:

“Absolutely, look at me. I’m a WWE superstar and to be honest, I’ll tell you right now. I’m gay. And I’m happy. I’m very happy.”

He also said,

“I guess if you wanna call it ‘coming out’—I’m just letting you know. I’m comfortable with who I am, and I’m happy to be living the dream.

This announcement shocked the world-wide community of wrestling fans, and has prompted comments that ranged from proud and supportive to acerbic and downright hateful. Not surprisingly, the more low-brow audiences that watch professional wrestling as a whole has not been particularly approving of the star coming out. But, wrestling fans should not have been surprised. When there is forum where only muscle-bound men oil themselves and roll around on the ground grappling with each other, then you have to assume that there are some athletes that gravitate to wrestling only because they want to roll around on the floor with sculpted, muscular men in oil.

The existence of a gay professional wrestler is not at all surprising. What has been surprising about this story is how well the wrestling community itself has taken this news considering the testosterone fueled sport. From the moment that this story broke, the wrestlers of WWE have been completely supportive and encouraging of Young. John Cena and Stephanie McMahon made public statements on Twitter and in several fora to praise Darren Young for his bravery.

Cena said this:

Oh wonderful…that’s fantastic. I know Darren personally, he’s a great guy. That’s a very bold move for him, and congratulations to him for finally doing it. It’s all about being professional, and Darren is a consummate professional. For us, it’s all about entertainment. And if you’re entertaining, you shouldn’t be judged by race, creed, or color…as long as you’re entertaining, and he is.

There will never be another time in history that this statement is made, but  the following comment is true. We should look to professional wrestling to learn how to practice tolerance. Wrestling has supported Pat Patterson, the close friend of Vince McMahon when he came out of the closet after his career had ended. Wrestling has overplayed stereotypes to add to the glamour and hyperbole of the sport, but they have also been completely tolerant of race, size, and sexual orientation throughout its history. Surprisingly, the WWE has made television ads against bullying in schools and supports education. We could all learn a lot from wrestling.


Manziel Unintentially Opens the Discussion for Paying College Athletes

16 Aug

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August 16, 2013

No one knows what the outcome of the Johnny Manziel NCAA investigation will be. Manziel is being interrogated about signing over three hundred autographs in a room filled with sports memorabilia collectors over the course of a few hours and allegedly receiving upwards of $10,000-$20,000 for doing so. Taking money or gifts from any person other than a close family member for almost any reason is a violation of the student athlete agreement that allows college athletes to play in the NCAA. If Manziel is found guilty of breaking that agreement, then he could lose his college eligibility and cost his school, Texas A&M, any games that they won while he was playing for them after committing the offense. No meaningful evidence has arisen in the media that proves that “Johnny Football” has accepted money for those autographs, however the amount of time that he spent in the room and his unsubstantiated motivations for being with the collectors leave plenty of room for speculation. And unfortunately, this is not Manziel’s first poor public foray with the media. His father recently spoke with media about his concerns with the younger Manziel’s drinking. He is known around Texas A&M as much for his partying as he is known for being the first and only freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. Publicly, Johnny Football comes off as a spoiled entitled brat who was given an award that might have pushed further into the limelight than he was capable of handling. But, the Johnny Manziel public case of allegedly taking money for his autograph brings us to an issue that has been discussed for at least a decade in college sports. Should college athletes be paid?

Supporters of the NCAA believe that college players are being paid with their scholarships. They believe that a $40,000 to $160,000 scholarship (depending on the tuition of the school) is worth the service that these young men give to the school. They would say that the education that these young men receive serve them well after they leave the hallowed walls of their institutions. And, for the last twenty recipients of scholarships on the football team and the last three scholarship athletes on the basketball team those supporters of the NCAA would be correct. The players that never see the field are well taken care of by the NCAA. They get the best training for their bodies, they get front row seats for games, and never take the wear and tear that the rest of the athletes take throughout a season. But, the rest of the scholarship athletes, specifically the starters for any NCAA football or basketball team, are making decidedly less money than they are worth to the school. In most Division I universities, the football and basketball teams make up most of the revenue for the entire school. The government funding, the tuition that regular college kids pay, and all other fundraising pales in comparison to what is generated by those two sports. The University of Texas made $93,942,815 and Texas A&M made $41,915,428 last year solely with their football programs. That is well over one billion dollars for twelve weeks of a sport, and the all the athletes at those schools receive about 1% of that money in scholarships despite producing the entertainment that creates the revenue. Even the most lucrative corporations put almost 10% of the company earnings into paying their workforce.

Johnny Manziel will have made a huge mistake by taking money for his signature if he is guilty of what he is being accused. He compromised his integrity, he held his teammates hostage with his selfishness, and he jeopardized his own football career. But, for once, the self-absorbed idiot athletes are right. Manziel should be able to capitalize off his own name and ability on the field. When fans of the Aggies buy a no. 2 Texas A&M jersey, they are buying that jersey because Manziel wears that number for the Aggies. People invest their money into schools because of the athletes that play for those schools, not solely for the school’s name. When teams perform well because of great players, revenue spikes. And when the teams lose with inferior athletes, they crash. People watch televised games to see the stars of their sports. Student-athletes are the driving force behind colleges, but they are not compensated accordingly. And, college educations are quickly becoming less valuable than they were in the past even though they are more expensive than they have ever been. Twenty years ago, a college degree insured that a graduate would find a respectable, fair-salaried job, but today more Americans are working in jobs that are outside of their field of studies and for less money than ever before in history. So, a college education is useless when facing candidates for a position who have experience in the field or training that is specific to the position. College athletes are essentially working for nothing.

There is no simple answer to the problem of paying student-athletes, but the current system is not working. Every three to four years, a story breaks about a former player who received large sums of money and gifts while he played at a university. Every two to three years a college athlete gets caught taking money and loses his eligibility. And, every year a some athlete is caught taking some form of improper benefits and he gets suspended. When the same offense keeps happening over and over again you have to question the integrity of the players, but you also have to question if the system that governs the players is fair. Maybe the NCAA could start a trust fund for players that takes and holds a percentage of their jersey sales until the leave college. Maybe college athletics should create a payment plan where the players with higher win-shares make more money yearly. Maybe the NCAA should just increase the stipend for players all its players. But, the one thing that the NCAA can not do is allow this problem to fester. Right now, the governing body of college athletics has to decide if the best player in its most lucrative sport will be allowed to play this season. Johnny Manziel has proven himself to be immature and self-centered, but if college athletes were making a sum of money that was near their actual worth to the game, then the NCAA could have possibly avoided this situation and many more like it.


Taming the Riley Cooper Slur

9 Aug

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August 9, 2013

Riley Cooper made a huge mistake last June at a Kenny Chesney concert in Lincoln Financial Field. He had a few too many drinks, got into an altercation with a Black security guard, and dropped a racial slur in the midst of the conflict. Someone caught the incident on their camera phone, uploaded it onto Youtube, and the video went viral in hours. Cooper yelled, “I will fight every nigger here!, on the video, and got into a verbal confrontation with another guy in the parking lot too.

Almost immediately after his video went viral in July, Cooper sent a set of tweets across his Twitter feed apologizing to fans, to his teammates, and for embarrassing his parents with the drunken outbursts. He said publicly that they did not raise him to be a racist and that he made a poor decision. He then went to each teammate in the Philadelphia Eagles training camp and apologized personally to them, regardless of race. He talked to 85 separate men and told them that he did not expect for them to forgive him, but that he hoped to earn their respect with his actions moving forward. He wanted the onus of his absolution to be placed on his shoulders rather than putting pressure on his teammates to forgive him.

Cooper handled this incident about as well as he could have handled it. He owned where he was wrong, he went out of his way to apologize for his actions, and he even took pressure off of his teammates to make the right comments for public perception.If more kids handled their missteps as well as Riley Cooper did this situation, then the world would be significantly more amiable.

But, this article has not been written to admonish him for his racist comments. And, it was not written to label him a racist. This article was written to put this incident into perspective.

People like to pretend that racism no longer exists in this nation. However, when comments like these surface, America is forced to look at itself for what it is, prejudiced. America is the greatest nation in the world, but it is only 50-60 years removed from segregation. The men and women who fought to keep schools separate ran this country and raised children. Some of the men who burned crosses and lynched minorities are the living grandfathers and great grandfathers of this generation. And, that truth was not realized until a young lady on the same video almost comically said that Riley used a ‘hard “R”‘ at the end of the “N” word. Riley Cooper’s comments were an accident, but they were not an aberration.

This does not mean that Riley Cooper is member of the Klan. He is probably not a bad man. Riley is just a kid who said some unfortunate words while inebriated at a concert. Every person who has the ability to express themselves has probably made at least one comment that they wished that they could retract. However, no person can blurt out something hurtful that was not already rooted firmly inside of them.

 


People Are Stupid

5 Aug

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This article was originally submitted on 5/22/11
by Rodimus Dunn

 doomsday

Allegedly the world was supposed to end yesterday.  I’m writing this piece on May 22nd, so unless Armageddon only involved a few introverted people that no one cared much about, it probably didn’t happen.  I simply can’t wrap my brain around the fact that countless people will believe anything they read or hear.  To sum it all up, some 89 year old “pastor” pulled out his scientific calculator, crunched some numbers, and determined that everything would end on May 21, 2011 at 6 PM (not sure if it was eastern, central, or pacific time).  I’m sure it took him a long time to figure all that out, but it just makes no sense.  If the formula or equation for God’s stopwatch is so obvious to figure out, how come no one came to the same conclusion?  What makes this kook so special?  Furthermore, who double checked his math?  How do we know he didn’t accidentally leave out a decimal point, or press the wrong key on his calculator?  These are valid questions because this same douche said the world was going to end in 1988 and in 1994.  He was already 0 for 2, yet scores of idiots followed his idea.

Although I think Harold Camping is a scumbag, I also think he’s a rather intelligent fellow.  People will make very irrational decisions based upon their religious convictions, and he certainly profited from this.  A very quick internet search reveals that Camping’s radio company received copious amounts of donations (because people didn’t think they would need their money if the world ended), and he’s not giving any of it back.  Why should he?  If some random engineer knocked on your door and asked for a donation because the earth will run out of water in 3 months, would you give any money?  Of course not, because it makes no sense.  How would that particular engineer be privy to information that literally no one else in the world has?  Besides, if everyone is going to die, why should I give you my money?  Are you not also going to die?!?  This is the argument that baffles me the most; why give money to a man that should suffer the same fate as everyone else?  Camping took advantage of fanatics, people with low IQs, and those grasping answers anywhere they can find them.  Not only that, those who accepted money to watch the pets of those who were supposed to disappear from Earth made a mockery of those who have a very misguided sense of loyalty.

 

 

In 1938 George Orwell wrote the following: “But I have always thought there might be a lot of cash in starting a new religion…”  L. Ron Hubbard, the creator of Scientology, is infamously known for saying (amongst other things), “You don’t get rich writing science fiction.  If you want to get rich, you start a religion,” and “The only way you can control anybody is to lie to them.”  Camping didn’t create a religion, but he added a chapter to the world’s most popular religion that had never been penned.  Furthermore, he was intentionally misleading about the world ending for the third time (or he’s just really, really bad at math).  At any rate, he was paying close attention to two of his more acclaimed contemporaries, and lied his way to greater riches and even more fame.  Sadly, those less fortunate intellectually and emotionally will hang on his every word, including his stance that the world will end again on October 21, 2011.