Athletes’ Activism: Is it Right to Speak Out?

If you live in America and haven’t been under a rock for the last five months, you’ve heard something on the news about the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was an African-American teenager who was shot and killed by a white police officer. While this case has made national news stories, there have a few other similar cases, including the killing of Tamir Rice (a 12-year old kid) and Eric Garner (a grown man) by police. Many people, including professional athletes, have spoken out against these killings.

But should they?

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Should Players be Able to Skip College and go Straight to the NBA?

Would Kevin Durant have played for Texas if he could have gone straight to the NBA from high school?

LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, and Kevin Garnett are just few of the many names who skipped college altogether and jumped straight from high school to the NBA. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, players were allowed to make the jump. However, after the 2004-05 NBA season, the NBA changed their rule, requiring early draft entrees to be at least one year removed from graduating high school in order to declare for the draft. Since then, many talented players such as Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, and Anthony Davis have attended college for only one year before entering their name into the NBA draft. Durant, Rose, and Davis all are currently NBA superstars who clearly would have been able to play in the NBA right after high school.

So why weren’t they allowed to?

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The Argument for Contracts in College Sports

There is an age-old debate that has really been magnified in the past few years: should college athletes be paid? There are clearly arguments to be made for either side, and it seems as if everyone has an opinion on the matter. The question was magnified earlier this year when the Northwestern football team voted to unionize, a monumental moment in the push for college athletes to be paid, that many people supported.

While college athletes being paid would be a fantastic thing, I believe it should be taken a step further than that: college athletes should sign contracts with schools in a free market system.

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The Renaissance of Cleveland Sports

In sports, many fans are obsessed about streaks. Hitting streaks in baseball, touchdown streaks in football, scoring streaks in basketball, or winning streaks in just about any sport. For all of the obsession over these positive streaks, many players and teams have infamous streaks that they would like to rid themselves of. However, one streak goes beyond just a single player or team – no professional sports team in Cleveland, Ohio has won a championship in fifty years, with the Browns being the last team to do so by winning an NFL Championship (it wasn’t even called the Super B owl yet!) in 1964.

However, I truly believe that is going to change very soon.

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Spurs Set to Defend Title With a New Face on the Sideline

The Spurs’ “Big Three” from the left: Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker

When the San Antonio Spurs start their quest to defend their title tonight against the Dallas Mavericks, they will have many familiar faces. Legendary coach Gregg Popovich is still at the helm, and on the court, the Spurs are still led by the likes of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Kawhi Leonard. In fact, the Spurs only made one change to their entire roster in the off-season (the Cleveland Cavaliers, by comparison, only return five players of fifteen players from their 2013-14 roster). So why did the Spurs – a picturesque model of consistency – make waves with a change they did make over the summer?

On August 5th, San Antonio hired Becky Hammon as an assistant coach, making her the first full-time female assistant coach in NBA history.

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Has Dave Brandon Actually Done a Bad Job as Athletic Director?

Michigan Students at the “Fire Dave Brandon” Rally

Dave Brandon was named the Athletic Director at the University of Michigan in March, 2010. Since then, he has been widely criticized by Michigan students, alumni, and fans, which culminated in a rally calling for Brandon’s firing. This disdain for Brandon is mostly because he has treated Michigan athletics totally like a business, and has shown little regard for the happiness of fans and the actual success of Michigan athletics, specifically the football team.  All Brandon seems to care about is making money, and this line of thinking is not acceptable.

Or is it? Continue reading