Ups And Downs Today …

The 1983 NFL Draft was THE Year of the Quarterback.  Six QBs were taken in the first round of that Draft; three of those QBs are in the Hall of Fame – – John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.  A fourth QB taken in that first round – – Tony Eason – – was the starting QB in Super Bowl XX.  Not a bad talent pool …

I know it is far too early to evaluate the 2020 NFL Draft, but my far-too-early perspective is that there was also a deep pool of QB talent in that Draft.  Consider:

  • Joe Burrow:  He was the overall #1 pick in the Draft and has already been the starting QB in the Super Bowl.
  • Justin Herbert:  He was taken #5 overall in the Draft.  The eyeball test tells me he is going to be a great player.
  • Jalen Hurts:  He lasted until Round 2 of the Draft – the #53 pick overall.  I have no idea if he is this year’s MVP, but he will get consideration for that award.
  • Jordan Love:  He was the overall #24 pick and has seen little or no field time so far in his career because he is behind a future Hall of Fame QB in Green Bay.
  • Tua Tagovailoa:  He was picked at #6 overall in the Draft.  He has had a couple of injuries early in his career, but he certainly looks like a “keeper”.

I am absolutely not projecting three of the players above as Hall of Fame inductees and specifically, I am not saying that the 2020 NFL Draft will surpass the 1983 NF Draft in terms of producing outstanding QBs for the league.  All I want to lay out there today is that four of those five young players are already very good at their craft and the fifth guy could be as good as his colleagues.  We shall see…

That about ends the upbeat portion of today’s rant; from here on out, the subject matter is a lot darker.  Let me begin with a report from earlier this week that Texas basketball coach, Chris Beard, was arrested on charges of domestic violence and has been suspended by the university without pay “until further notice”.  According to an ESPN report, a woman identifying herself as Beard’s fiancée said that he bit her and choked her as the result of an argument between the two parties.  Because of the allegation of choking, the charge here could be a felony under Texas law and could result in a sentence of up to 10 years in jail.  The situation is clearly not a good one – – but there are some unusual aspects here.

The woman who was on the receiving end of the alleged biting/choking said that her part in the argument included “breaking a glass” and that act preceded Beard losing control.  Beard and his attorney claim that they have an “audio recording” of the alleged assault that shows it was not Beard who was the “primary aggressor” in that contretemps.  Beard was released on bail and ordered to stay away from the residence where this allegedly happened – – no surprise there.  But the real surprise for me comes from a statement by Beard’s lawyer that the complainant wants the charges dropped.

There is another story out there that was sleazy to begin with and seems to get worse with every new report is the involvement of Brett Favre in a scheme to divert government funds intended for impoverished families into funds to pay for a volleyball venue as Southern Mississippi where Favre went to college and where his daughter was/is a member of the volleyball team.  At first, it appeared that Favre had merely lent his fame/celebrity status in that part of the world to an endeavor that he thought was on the up-and-up, but which turned out to be dastardly at best.  The Mississippi Department of Human Services is seeking in court to recover funds from Favre and from others allegedly involved in this scheme and Favre’s lawyers seek to have him removed as a defendant there.

According to that motion, Favre asserts that this misappropriation of government funds was done by folks in the government and that he – as a private citizen – was in no position to effect such a misappropriation.  The former head of the Mississippi Department of Human Services has already plead guilty to charges related to this fraud and Favre’s lawyers say the lion’s share of the blame belongs to former Mississippi governor, Phil Bryant and other government officials.  As various parties to all this squalor present arguments in the case, it turns out that Favre was also involved in an effort to build a “football facility” at Southern Mississippi in 2019 as part of a recruiting effort for Deion Sanders’ son, Shadeur Sanders, to go there.

As they say in those 3:00 AM infomercials:

“But wait; there’s more…”

Another ESPN report says that Favre is a major investor in two Florida drug companies that are somehow “enmeshed” in the Mississippi welfare funds misappropriation case; Favre asserts that he invested his own funds in these speculative enterprises.  The two drug companies are researching a nasal spray to help treat concussions and a cream that would prevent/limit concussions.  Somehow, authorities allege that welfare funds from Mississippi wound up in the hands of the funder of those two drug companies.  The ESPN report on all this was done by investigative reporter, Mark Fainaru-Wada.  It is a lengthy report that describes a situation which can best be labeled as “sordid”.  Here is a link to that report; be sure you have a cup of coffee near at hand as you wade through it.

Finally, the allegations surrounding the welfare funds fraud in Mississippi lead me to close today with this observation about government by H. L. Mencken:

“Has the art of politics no apparent utility? Does it appear to be unqualifiedly ratty, raffish, sordid, obscene, and low down, and its salient virtuosi a gang of unmitigated scoundrels? Then let us not forget its high capacity to soothe and tickle the midriff, its incomparable services as a maker of entertainment.”

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



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