Monday, September 7, 2009

Merriman, Nowitzki, and Me!!!

I woke up this morning to the news of Shawn Merriman being arrested and all I could do was shake my head in disappointment. Not so much at him but at us athletes in general. Sometimes we put ourselves in some really bad/volatile situations and wonder why we get in the predicaments we do. Sometimes we think we are invincible, but the reality is we are actually more vulnerable and have more at stake than the average person. How many of us have to get shot, robbed, killed, or arrested before we change our lifestyles? You would think the media exposure alone would cause us to make better decisions with our personal lives, but it doesn't.

When I was younger I used to watch a movie called DC cab, and it had a line in it that I will never forget. It said "Don't let ya dick run ya life". Too many times we fall victim to our own lack of self-discipline. The same thing (discipline) that makes us good/successful athletes is the same thing that we display the inability to use. We find ourselves chasing after the "flavor of the week", or every aspiring "model/actress" in VIP. The end result of that is gonna be #FAIL (as my twitter homies would say). I mean real talk, you don't want a baby mama. It ain't cute, it causes unnecessary drama, and if you are any type of father it sucks not to go home to your kid(s) every night. And if you already have a child, you can't bring the female you met at the club home. She can't be a good mother to your child. She was just "P" poppin' in the club.

Am I pointing fingers? Yes. At everyone and myself. I have been places I shouldn't have been, doing things I had no business doing. I have been involved with women I knew were "all bad" for me, but I was just "having fun" trying to date the hottest chicks possible. It's hard to make mature decisions when you are young, on your own for the first time, with a pocketful of money and everything in the movies and music videos at your disposal, but it's not a good excuse. When I was in college I did something stupid (1 of many things) and my parents were having a "talk" with me and my dad said "G you are tripping what are you thinking about, you are not making wise choices". My mother said You are expecting him to make decisions like a 40 year old man. Now, years later, I sit back and understand what she was saying. I was being immature and stupid. I was making decisions with my other "head" and that didn't stop in college. I know now what I was doing and wish more athletes would stop making the same dumb mistakes they see other athletes make and actually learn from their predecessors. When are we gonna stop thinking "I'm different and it won't happen to me". No you aren't and yes it will!!

We blame the media for only focusing on the negative things athletes do, but we don't take responsibility for our own actions. We are given so much (money, power, respect) and we show are gratitude for our blessings by being irresponsible and immature. To whom much is given, much is required. We think so much about the right here, right now. We have to do better PERIOD! We have to start thinking about the consequences of our actions instead of ONLY living in the moment. If more athletes dated women like their moms and grandmas, and less like the stuff we see on VH1, MTV & BET we would probably spend less money on lawyer fees and bail money. Just like the old saying goes, everything that glitters ain't gold, and everything in VIP you can't take home!!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

#94 Hout...Won't Do That Again!!!

First off, I am rocking an Oregon Ducks t-shirt as we speak! We lost last night but I am still Very proud to be a Duck. Now lets get to the real story. University of Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount has been suspended for the entire season! This is another Plaxico punishment. Another person who has been made an "example" of. I have never heard of a year long suspension for a fight especially when the person you were fighting was also in the wrong. LeGarrette Blount should not have punched Byron Hout, but he got what he deserved. Hout showed NO class in the way he hit Blount's shoulder pad and jumped in his face mocking him after the loss. Those are the type of things that happen when you do things like that. The NCAA is emphasizing sportsmanship this season and Hout's behavior was obviously not sportsman-like and inappropriate. BSU coach Chris Peterson even grabbed Hout because he saw what he did and how classless and unnecessary his actions were. There needs to be a 1 game suspension for Hout! If my son had done what Hout did and got punched, I would shake my head as I'm telling him, "Bet you won't do that again!". After the punch heard round the world Blount was walking away peacefully when people in the crowd obviously said some "magic" words that would even make a calm man enraged. People may disagree with me but I have played in certain parts of the country where those type of things happen regularly!

Blount needs to use better judgement and control himself even when provoked by classless individuals. A 3-4 game suspension for Blount would have been fitting. Media outlets, YouTube, and TV analyst talking about it was "egregious". I'm watching TV and reading twitter and the Internet and all these analyst and writers are throwing around these million dollar words and phrases making this the worst thing that ever happened. They are saying, LeGarrette Blount's actions are despicable, horrid, classless, and that they are appalled and outraged that this could happen. Seriously, all that?

Now here is the "gotcha, gotcha" because there is always a "gotcha, gotcha"...

Many people want to talk about Boise State competing for a BCS spot and a National Championship, but I will be the 1st to say they don't have what it takes. Let me just say, I like Boise State because their coach Chris Peterson was the WR coach when I was at Oregon, and I played with their Defensive Coordinator Justin Wilcox, but Hout got punched right in front of all his teammates and no one did anything to Blount. They stood by and watched. This would never be allowed to happen to any team worth winning a championship! If that would have happened to an Oregon, Florida, Alabama, Texas, or USC player it would have been a riot. Teams have to stick together through thick and thin, right or wrong, and have a "ride or die" mentality to win championships! They should have had to dig Blount out of a pile of blue and orange jerseys, but like I stated, I don't promote violence, just protecting my teammates!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Honk If You Love the Ducks!!!

I had a cool time in high school, but for the most part, I felt like a fish out of water, but then came the University of Oregon. I didn't know what to expect when I got to Eugene. All I knew about the U of O was Nike, Prefontaine "Track Town USA", and Duck football. I learned quickly what the 541 was all about. I loved my time in Eugene. My favorite breakfast spot GJ's, our favorite bar Taylors , the U.I. dorm , the CASS and most importanly, Autzen stadium, the crowd, and the student section. AMAZING!!! I'll never forget Apartment #90 which consisted of #1 aka SP aka Samie Parker, #2 aka O-S*#@*y aka Onterrio Smith and myself aka Rice-Daddy. Man, if those walls could talk, lol, but I'm glad they can't. Oregon was totally different than any other place I had ever been into my whole life, but yet it was home. Some of my fondest memories are from my time in Eugene. College was truly some of the best years of my life to date. A lot of things in my life may change, but one thing that will remain the same is I will always and forever be an Oregon Duck!

I'll never forget every home game the PA announcer would say "It never rains in Autzen Stadium". Which to me, being from Sunny So Cal, was very ironic, because I felt like it was always raining in the northwest. I still get chills thinking about scoring a touchdown and that loud fog horn going off and the band playing the fight song "Oregon our Alma Mater, we will guard thee on and on...."! I loved playing for Oregon, and now that I am in the pros, I love being a fan of Oregon. I always had my duck gear in my locker at the stadium. At least once a week in the offseason I workout in a Duck t-shirt, shorts, and my Nike Shox Duck editions (Oh Baby)! I even made a bet with my teammate Mo Williams 2 years ago that MY Ducks would crush his minuscule Wolverines, and of course they did. Mo had to wear my College jersey all week, haha GO DUCKS!! I hang on to every play of Duck football. All my teammates in Jacksonville knew when we went to away games I was only going to eat dinner at a place that had my Duck's game on! God Bless satellite tv!!

Two years ago we had the National Championship and the Heisman Trophy in our grasp and it all went down the drain when Dennis Dixon fell to the ground clutching his knee. We were on cloud nine, riding high on the backs of Dennis Dixon and Jonathan Stewart, and just that quick we had to settle for a SCHLacking of South Florida in the Sun Bowl 56-21. I was devastated. It felt like I was on that team and "we lost". I now know what "REAL" fans go through and how they feel. I have a much deeper respect for the fans of our game.

On Thursday we begin our quest for another PAC-10 title and a chance at a National Championship. Although I can't be there in person I will have my flatscreen on and my popcorn ready. It won't be an easy game, (we are playing against former Oregon coaches). We are taking on the Broncos of Bosie State, on their "Smurf Turf". The Broncos have a good team and are always tough at home, but I know the Ducks will take care of business. This year will be a good year for us up in Eugene and I will be here with my duck gear on cheering the whole way. I just can't wait until my son is old enough to really appreciate the game, so I can take him to a game at Autzen stadium, "the loudest place on earth" (for the enemy).

I was so juiced when I saw the Ducks on the cover of Sports Illustrated. I was thinking, finally, we are getting some respect. I know some of ya'll out there are skeptical of calling us a Football Powerhouse, but keep watching and trust me, you'll see. It's ok, I won't say I told you so. Actually, YES I WILL!!! GO DUCKS!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Steve McNair Talk

I only met Steve McNair a couple times, but his death affected me like we were old college roommates. Not only because of football, but because I, like so many other men empathized with him. I was not married like Steve, but it easily could have been me dead instead of him due to mistakes in my past. For a week straight everyone I knew was having or had already had the "McNair" talk with their friends, wife, girlfriend and family. Regardless of which side of the fence you were on, you had the talk. Eyebrows were raised and plenty of men got looks out of the corners of their lady's eyes. McNair's death made a lot of people take a step back and evaluate their lives, lifestyle, people they choose to hang around with and the places they decided to go. We don't always think about the magnitude of the choices we make and how severe the consequences can be. I believe in my heart of hearts if Steve could do it all over again he would be at home with his wife and children every night. No man wants to leave fatherless children and a wife to mourn your tragic death that your actions caused.

I stayed up late last night to watch my tivo'd episode of Dateline on Steve McNair: The Mysterious Death of a Titan. Eddie George, a former longtime teammate of McNair, gave an interview about the situation. If you didn't know anything about Eddie George before last night, outside of his football accolades, you had to have come away with a healthy respect for him. He was well-spoken, articulate, and most of all made a lot of sense!!! Whenever people find out that someone in the limelight (athletes, musicians, actors) has vices it always overshadows so much of their life and full body of work. They are looked at as a bad and even immoral person. McNair's Pastor said it best 'the money, fame, and attention gave him more access to his vices'. It was not just because he was a football player that he loved women but it was because he was a man. It is a lot harder to stay away from things when you have unlimited access to them. Many people have no clue what their vices are because they don't have the resources to make their fantasies reality. Money does not change you. It simply magnifies the traits that are inside you and tendencies you already have.
The same way that his money and celebrity afforded him the opportunity to fulfill his fleshly desires, it also gave him the opportunity to use his money, fame, and connections to be a positive influence in and on his community. Steve McNair has spent countless hours in the community giving back with not only his money, but with his time. He loved giving back to kids and seeing his community grow. He rallied the community of Nashville to step up and help the people affected by Hurricane Katrina and did so many other good things, because that is what was in him. That is what was in his heart. This just goes to show us that even our heroes and people who are great leaders are not perfect. Everyone I know that played with Steve said he was a great leader. He was courageous, a warrior, and a Titan (in every sense of the word). We all have things that we struggle with but we have to exercise will power and lean on God if we are to free ourselves from our natural desires.

The choices we make shape our path in life, either positively or negatively. The things we choose to do, people we associate with, and places we choose to go have a direct impact on our life and the things that happen to us. If you are not out at 3 and 4 in the morning your chance of certain things happening to you is dramatically lower. If you always wear a condom you probably won't get someone pregnant. If you hangout with criminals, regardless if you are not one yourself, chances are you will get caught up in some mess you have no business in. If you are at home with your wife and kids instead of out cheating with another women, you won't get killed with her.

To wrap this thing up. Many people have many different problems and things they struggle with but don't confuse a mans struggle with his heart. McNair should be remembered as a great football player, a leader, and a humanitarian who just like anyone else struggled to be a better person. He wasn't immune to the temptations of this world because of his heroic feats on the gridiron. Athletes may be extraordinary physical phenoms, but we struggle with the same demons and worldly trappings as everyone else. I'm praying for the McNair family, that through this tragedy they will become a stronger family and an integral part of the Nashville community.

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