ASE’s Picks of the Week are up!
Will Oscar Pistorius’ murder charges finally make us think twice about idolizing athletes? On a lighter note, enjoy peeking into Walt Clyde Frazier’s closet in Disdain the Mundane,a 30 for 30 Short Film about the two-time NBA champs style. And finally, since Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel was the latest to get stung by the ACL bug, a lot of questions surrounding the NCAA’s shady insurance policies for student-athletes have emerged. Get into it and have a great weekend!
Here we go again. Another day, another athlete in the media for misconduct. The culprit? Oscar “Blade Runner” Pistorius. The crime? Murder. Yesterday, the jarring news that Pistorius was suspected (and now charged) of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, rapidly traveled through the interwebs. During the Summer Olympics, Pistorius was quickly crowned the golden boy of the Olympics for becoming the first double-leg amputee to compete in Olympic’s track & field events. His heartwarming story dominated Olympic coverage and represented hope, perseverance, and determination, everything the Olympics personifies. Despite his meteoric rise, it’s now obvious we didn’t know much about Pistorius, after all. Bruce Arthur’s piece, Oscar Pistorius’ inspiring tale hides ugly side of life and sports, challenges readers to stop reading too much into the media’s one-sided portrayal of athletes.
I support this. The media’s coverage often contains partial truths. Instead, let’s remove the rose-colored glasses and stop impetuously equating an athlete’s superior talent to moral fortitude. Please.
It was incredible that this young boy had trained and persevered and become the first man to run in both the Paralympics and the Olympics. It was a story about human possibility, which is what sports is, at its best. There were stories of how he helped others with disabilities, how he was generous, how he was an icon to people around the world. People were inspired. They weren’t wrong to be.
It’s just that Oscar Pistorius, Blade Runner, wasn’t the whole story. Sports is never the whole story. Lance Armstrong coming back from testicular cancer to win seven Tours de France was not the whole story. Joe Paterno, the learned coach who balanced college football and academics and morality in a way nobody else could, was not the whole story. Manti Te’o's dead girlfriend wasn’t the whole story. Nothing an athlete ever says or does is ever the whole story, any more than your job encapsulates the fullness of your life.
As part of its 30 for 30 Short series, Grantland premiered Nelson George’s Disdain the Mundane, a six-minute video feature of Walt Clyde Frazier’s eclectic style that has uniquely defined him since the ’70s. The short film also reveals what inspired Frazier to build a rich and rhythmic vocabulary and how it’s helped distinguish him from his broadcast peers. After watching the feature, and visiting the shrine to himself at his New York City restaurant, I remain in awe of how Clyde Frazier’s brilliantly managed to turn his narcissism and self-pride into endearing and emulative qualities. Bravo, Sir. Watch Disdain the Mundane and get your style and vocab up.
Watch here: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8939836/walt-clyde-frazier-stars-latest-30-30-documentary-series
A lot of the underhanded workings of the NCAA go undisclosed until college basketball’s No. 1 NBA prospect, Nerlens Noel, suffers a season-ending ACL tear and it’s discovered he doesn’t have adequate insurance to protect his future. Due to the NCAA’s gotcha loopholes, Noel’s fate is uncertain. As revealed in the New York Times article, Injury Raises Questions About Insurance for College Stars, Noel is ineligible for the NCAA’s Exceptional Student-Athlete Disability Insurance Program (ESDI) because his injury isn’t career-ending. And had he signed up for the loss-of-value insurance that guards him against a drop in draft position, he would’ve violated NCAA rules for accepting extra benefits for a loan which could cost as much as $40,000. It’s a catch-22.
In a few days, Noel’s projected draft position dropped from one to three. According to the NY Times article, “last season’s top overall pick, Anthony Davis, signed a guaranteed contract worth $16 million, nearly twice as much as the deal for the No. 3 pick, Bradley Beal.” While rehabbing, Noel shouldn’t be forced to choose between returning to Kentucky to earn his top draft spot back or continue with his plan of entering the NBA draft, because millions of dollars are at stake. Injuries are unpredictable and a risky part of the game, and as “student-athletes”, the NCAA should be required to guarantee ALL athletes are afforded the best coverage and protection. Otherwise, the athletes need a union or someone to advocate on behalf of their best interest since the NCAA’s falling short.
Noel, a 6-foot-10 freshman, was projected by many N.B.A. draft analysts as this year’s No. 1 overall selection. That status is much less clear after the injury.
And that has led some to take a critical look at the N.C.A.A.’s policy toward athletes who seek insurance against serious injuries, especially those players who are projected to be high selections in professional drafts.
Finally, if you missed my post about Mike Tyson’s Esquire Magazine interview, read it here. It’s great. Promise.