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Jon Lewis
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Hypocrisy and Cam Newton

9 comments

In our profession, we deal with hypocrisy every day. Juries will barely give a verdict for someone in a car wreck who suffers from a cervical strain, but if those same jurors are involved in a similar wreck with similar injuries, they cannot understand why the insurance company doesn’t offer them the limits available. On the one hand, they don’t want to award money for someone else’s injuries, but they sure want if for themselves.

I see very little difference between that scenario and the Cam Newton (quarterback at Auburn) scenario. The NCAA, college presidents, and other "powers that be" don’t want college athletes such as Cam Newton to receive any payment for choosing a certain university or playing football, but they sure want to reap all the rewards for having these athletes risk their health (see the recent injury to the Rutgers player), make public appearances, sell their likenesses, numbers, jerseys, etc. But, they sure don’t let the players sell them (See Georgia‘s A.J. Green).

The whole system is fraught with hypcorisy. Many of these kids don’t want to go to college and don’t aspire to have a college degree. They want to try to make it to the next level, i.e.: the NFL, NBA, or MLB. So, why does our society make them go to college? Is that the right way?

Michael Dell did not receive a college degree, and he is now a multi-billionaire. Everyone is not meant for college. Forcing individuals to attend college simply de-values the degree – see the law of economics’ supply and demand. Some people would be better off obtaining a specific skill or trade. I’ll bet many plumbers make more than many attorneys. Why? There are too many attorneys, and plumbing does not seem glamorous.

Why can’t the NFL have a development league or minor league system like the MLB? (the answer is money). At that point, kids who want to simply play football can go from high school to the minor leagues. We don’t argue that it’s wrong in baseball. Why do we argue it in football? Those that want a scholarship and a degree can still go to college. Those that don’t, don’t have to.

We waste a ton of time by arguing whether or not Cam Newton has integrity? Whether he cheated? Whether he got paid? Do we really care? Don’t we really just want to see the best athletes on the field on Saturday?

This may seem cynical, but it’s the truth. The Powers that be need to stop acting so righteous as if they want to help these kids. They want to line their pockets and move on. How many kids never graduate college and never make the pros? Where are they now? Where is the NCAA or college to help them? They would probably have been better off making a minor league salary and learning a skill or trade rather than wasting their time in college when they didn’t want to be there in the first place.

9 Comments

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  1. Matt says:
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    I hate to say this, but I totally disagree. While the analogy is sound as it relates to the NCAA’s rules towards student athletes, what the rule is trying to essentially do is two-fold.

    1) The rules help protect the players from being taken advantage of. There’s a pretty good chance that if it comes to light that money was indeed change hands for the signing of the LOI for Cam Newton that he himself (being Cam) probably didn’t know about it, and if he did, only after the fact. So many of the people involved with star athletes are the ones looking to reap illegal benefits for picking schools.

    2) It helps protect universities and programs that do things the “right way”. There are plenty of schools (probably the vast majority) that never involve themselves in paying players and/or anyone associated with them. If you have schools that will venture into that realm, it is essentially providing that school with a competitive advantage on the field, because they are willing to spend money (or give gifts, etc.) to players and/or people associated with the players in exchange for that player going to that school. If it were legal to pay players to go to a certain school, it would be like professional sports (where things like salary caps and the like are in place in certain sports).

    The allegations of cheating at Florida are separate but connected to this simply because it goes to the integrity of the person involved. If he would lie to police about a laptop, and cheat on a test (reportedly at least 3 times), then it’s not a leap to think he might be involved on some level with illegal recruitment activities. And in the wake of the Reggie Bush scandal at USC, you simply cannot be surprised this is escalating the way it has.

  2. ScottW says:
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    While I can agree to a certain point with what each of you has said, my issue with all of this is the media’s singular attention to ANY piece of information let loose concerning Cam Newton. It’s gotten to the point lately that it’s being reported without being checked out first.

    Let’s be clear here: Yes, it is a story. Has anything been proven yet concerning a pay for play scheme? No. How long has the NCAA/SEC known? Since last year or this past July depending on the source.

    I’m just glad we don’t conduct our judicial system in this very same manner else we all get found guilty by this kangaroo court that’s presiding over Cam Newton and family now.

    Knee-jerk reactions to rumor and innuendo are what’s keeping this story alive. That and someone’s serious intent in keeping the pot stirred up.

  3. Jon Lewis says:
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    Matt, thanks for your comments. I have to respectfully disagree. The system is designed where people constantly take advantage of players. The colleges take advantage of them.

    I’m not suggesting they have a free for all. I’m suggesting a minor league system be set up so those players who want to make money anderson not go to college have a place to go.

    All the colleges reap benefits. Vanderbilt pockets millions every year, and they allegedly do it the right way.

  4. Jon Lewis says:
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    Scott, thanks for the comments. I cannot imagine all of these media outlets and reporters are staking their reputations on these stories without some hard evidence. I heard tonight that there might be some sort of recorded statements implicating the Newtons.

    I don’t really care. I want him to play regardless.

  5. ScottW says:
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    I can imagine it and we’re seeing it Jon. There’s blood in the water now and not one of these so-called ‘respectable’ news outlets wants to be left in the dust when a tidbit of anything breaks on Cam Newton.

    If he sneezes, they report it. If his Dad makes a run for pizza, it’s talked about. Get my point? You’d think he was running for governor or something with all this hoopla!

    Georgia’s coach Mark Richt said it best in today’s paper: “there’s nothing that’s been proven, that’s been done, that’s been inappropriate in any way. But it’s just amazing the amount of noise there is surrounding it.”

    “Someone gets accused of something, and it’s like a bomb goes off. Whether or not it’s true – and I don’t know if some people care if it’s true or not – they’re going to sensationalize it and make a big deal of it.”

    This is exactly how I feel about what’s going on.

    If there’s any shred of evidence, where is it? Why is it being held back? There’s more to this than meets the eye and it stinks.

  6. Jon Lewis says:
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    I appreciate what you are saying Scott, but my point is why do we pretend to care so much? Why is it such big news? This has gone on for years – since the ’60s. Would we be shocked if he did get paid? I’m just making the point that the system is extremely flawed.

  7. ScottW says:
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    Maybe some do pretend to care. I’m not pretending. I do care. I care about the simple fact that a man and his family are getting their reputations smeared with little evidence to back it up.

    It’s big news because the elections are over and the news outlets have nothing else big to report on. This is a guess, mind you. (See Ike Pigott’s take on present news media and there methods.)

    I’d be disappointed if it did turn out he got paid. It’d surely lower my respect for the guy and what he’s accomplished. But again, nothings been proven so my jury is out on that awaiting the NCAA’s verdict. If they ever hand one out.

    Flawed as it is, it’s all we have at this point Jon. Like your post suggests, the system is designed to make money off these athletes, not the other way around. The athletes are getting a scholarship for their performance on the field with the opportunity to be drafted by the pros later on if they do well.

    It’s a trade-off where the colleges make their money first and the players last. IF they play well enough to get drafted or even noticed.

    I guess what ticks me off most is the simple fact that he’s being crucified without being proven guilty of a pay for play scheme and the news media is riding the bandwagon until it falls off a cliff.

    Would this be allowed to go on in a court of law? Somehow, I don’t think so. In any case, until the system changes, it’s what we’re stuck with. These are my final comments on this.

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    Jon,
    Because I’m an Auburn grad and fan, I think I need to start this comment by saying I believe in the innocence of Cam Newton and his father, and I think it’s terrible the way they are being trashed without ANY evidence being produced so far.
    That having been said, I couldn’t agree with you more. Big-time colleges use the popularity of football to raise hundreds of millions of dollars off the sweat of athletes who are woefully underpaid (by “pay,” I’m referring to scholarships, housing, etc.). The athletes have grueling jobs (spring practice, winter workouts and fall practice and the season) with a significant rate of injuries, some potentially permanent. Is so many millions of well-to-do people didn’t love the system, it would have already been outlawed. I would like to see a pro-player antitrust ruling in this area.
    And finally, you’re right about some kids not being cut out for college. Suppose the best college football player in America is simply incapable of passing college classes. Is he supposed to cheat so he can get to the NFL and pursue the career for which he is best suited, or is he to simply find whatever work is available, and watch less-talented players earn millions playing football on Sundays? What do you say?

  9. Jon Lewis says:
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    Michael, thanks for your comments. I don’t know the answer to your last questions. I think that’s the problem. He has no outlet. He should be able to earn a living based on what he can do best – play football.

    There is a gap between those that graduate high school and those who want to play football and not capable of going to college. I guess he can go to a Junior college until he can make a living in the NFL, but is that likely?

    There is an inherent incentive for a kid in that situation to cheat and for the colleges to help him cheat. In that event, they both win. That’s why the whole system is so hypocritical.