Going Home…

In Thomas Wolfe’s novel, You Can’t Go Home Again, the protagonist is ostracized by the folks in his small hometown because they do not like the way the protagonist portrayed them in a best-selling novel. Hence, the title of Wolfe’s work and the common usage of the phrase to mean you can never go back to a simple way of life after sampling a more sophisticated/glamorous one. Well, perhaps Jon Kitna is going to be the exception to that rule.

About two weeks ago, Danny O’Neill had a story in the Seattle Times about the post-NFL life that Jon Kitna has embarked upon. After spending 15 years as an NFL quarterback – with all the attendant glamour that comes with such a status – Jon Kitna has returned to his hometown of Tacoma, Washington and returned to his high school where he is teaching algebra and coaching football. Lincoln High School is not in one of the prosperous areas of the Seattle/Tacoma area and Kitna bought weightlifting equipment for the football team’s training facility out of his own pocket. He also buys breakfasts once a week for his first period class. It sounds as if Jon Kitna just may be able to “go home again” successfully.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned here that an investigation at UNC had uncovered some academic fraud that involved football players there. It sounded to me from the reports I read that the problem had been handled by the school would fade into history but a comment from a reader of that rant said that this was going to be a bigger deal because law enforcement officials had begun an investigation into the matter. So, I went looking for more information and found another report in the Charlotte Observer by Jane Stancil saying that a District Attorney had indeed asked the State Bureau of Investigation to conduct a criminal probe into this matter. Ms. Stancil quotes the District Attorney:

“I told them I’d like them to look into any academic or computer fraud that may have taken place, any forgery that may have taken place, any conspiracy that may have taken place to commit any of those crimes or conceal any of those crimes. Of course, they can look beyond that. …This would be very extensive. They could go in a lot of different directions.”

Cue The Church Lady right about here:

    “Isn’t that special…”

I am not an attorney nor do I live in North Carolina so I did not understand why this matter seemed to be as big a deal, as it obviously is. However, I do have a reader who is an attorney and who lives in North Carolina so I asked him for some perspective. Here is some of his explanation to me:

“The SBI is the investigative arm for the State and is part of the Department of Justice. It is typically called in by State officials to investigate allegations of fraud, criminal activity, etc. by State employees. If this fraud occurred on the UNC campus by UNC (thus, State) employees, then the SBI’s involvement isn’t unusual.”

“Not sure if this involves some measure of grandstanding by the DA. As recent incidents with the football program have demonstrated, anything to do with UNC sports is particularly headline-worthy. Coming off the NCAA wrongdoing by Butch Davis and his staff, it’s not at all surprising that this would prompt the DA to get the SBI involved, especially since it has connections to the athletic department and, most notably, football players in the affected classes.”

“Because this involves the UNC athletic program, and coming on the heels (no pun intended) of the misconduct in the football program that got Butch Davis fired and garnered NCAA allegations for the team, evidence or suspicion of further fraud for the apparent benefit of athletes is going to garner a lot of attention. I’m sure there is a circulation-driven motive behind the coverage as well, but this would be a big story in NC no matter [what].”

Given this additional information, my original assessment that this matter had been “put to bed” by the UNC administration would seem to have been Pollyannaish. Perhaps, the school investigation was only Chapter 1 …?

Yesterday, HBO and the Miami Dolphins announced that this year’s Hard Knocks team will indeed be the Dolphins. Why HBO selected the Dolphins is a mystery to me in that the team isn’t very good and has not generated any “national publicity” since Bill Parcells turned a 1-15 team around in one year to put them briefly into the playoffs. Quick, name three defensive players for the Dolphins… Greg Cote had this assessment of the Dolphins recently in the Miami Herald:

“Quarterback Matt Moore is named 2011 season MVP. Perfect! So the most valuable player on the team is the one player (based on the recent draft) they most wanted to replace. In other words, the Dolphins didn’t really have a team MVP last season but felt like they needed to name somebody.”

Finally, here is another observation from Greg Cote of the Miami Herald that has nothing to do with sports:

“Jacob continued the most popular American male baby name in 2011 for the 13th straight year, while Sophia ended Isabella’s two-year reign among girls. Whatever happened to Bob and Mary? My own name, Gregory, checked in a rather embarrassed 279th. When I have time I’ll look up the popularity rank of my own sons’ names, Aardvark and Pinwhistle.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

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  • Craig Parker  On May 31, 2012 at 5:17 am

    Yes, but the breakfast consists of potato chips and danish, washed down with a Big Gulp.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On May 31, 2012 at 7:22 am


    Either that or cold slices of pizza purchased the night before. I don’t know if that qualifies as a “breakfast of champions” but I always find that to be a treat.

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