Sunday, September 21, 2014

On Kirk Cousins' Performance Against Philly

Last week I wrote an article saying that we need to tap the brakes on the Kirk Cousins bandwagon and actually let him play against a real team before we jump to such conclusions. Well ladies and gentlemen the time to jump is now. Kirk Cousins' performance today was amazing in multiple respects.

So from a basic statistical look he had fantastic numbers: 30/48 (62.5%) 427 Yards 3 TDs and 1 Interception,  numbers we haven't seen in D.C. in a long time. Cousins currently has a 105.8 QB rating which is good for 5th best in the NFL.

A slightly more in depth observation shows that MANY of Cousins' incompletions were right on the money in pressure situations but were forced out by defensive backs or dropped. Cousins rarely missed on his 48 pass attempts. His deep balls were always right there, he didn't overthrow on any long pass attempts. He also wasn't sacked and showed good awareness in both moving around the pocket and getting rid of the football on time, again almost always on the money.

Additionally, Jay Gruden put the team on Cousins' back as the running game was not there as it was against Jacksonville. Alfred Morris averaged 3.3 yards on 22 carries and Cousins was forced to move the ball through the air. He did so admirably, throwing for a whopping 427 yards. It's a lot harder to move the ball when you're one dimensional as the defense has a leg up on what you're going to do. It's hard to run when you can't pass and vice-versa but Cousins showed he can come through when we need him.

The one flaw everyone noticed at the end of the game was that Cousins isn't "clutch". Now this is a hard trait to define statistically or what have you, and is more anecdotal than anything but it's legitimate. It's sort of the like the concept of momentum in a game, hard to define but you know when it's there. With the team down a score Cousins came onto the field with 7 minutes to go in the 4th looking to even out the score. Instead of driving down he threw an interception, it looked like a mis-communication but nonetheless he turned it over. After getting the ball back Cousins lead a scoring drive to bring them to within 3. The defense held strong and got them the ball back on the Eagles' 44 yard line, maybe 9 yards away from field goal range. Cousins threw three straight incompletions to turn the ball over on downs and go on to lose the game by 3 points.

Here's what this means, if Cousins continues to play like this then Jay Gruden can't let RG3 play. The good from Cousins outweighed the bad. It's not a case of who has more upside or who did the team give up 2 first rounders to draft, it's a simple case of don't fix it if it ain't broken. Why would you bench a top 5 NFL quarterback? You simply can't justify it, especially when RG3 hasn't played a full season of NFL football straight through without getting hurt. If Cousins puts up 4 consecutive stinkers after this then we can talk, but at the very least he's earned the opportunity to show what he's capable of this season.

Other notes from the game:

  • You can't win when you have 130+ yards in penalties, plain and simple. 
  • Special teams gave up a touchdown and missed a field goal. That's -10 points for your team and is the difference in a game that ended 34-37
  • Redskins run defense is amazing, giving up less than 25 yards to both Darren Sproles and LeSean McCoy, speedy backs who've burned the Redskins in the past. 
  • Chris Baker's hit was dirty and inexcusable, division rival or not, there's no place in football for dirty play like that. 
  • The Redskins pass defense was porous to say the least and will be worse off without DeAngelo Hall, who could potentially be out for the season with that torn achilles. Tracy Porter has yet to play because of a messed up hamstring leaving three healthy corners on the roster. They might bring up Chase Minnifield from the practice squad or sign a veteran to fill the void. 
  • There's still 13 games left in the season and the way the team played against one of the better teams in the NFC is a good sign looking forward. 




Monday, September 15, 2014

On RG3 and the Redskins Quarterback Situation

So as some may have noticed we are now two weeks into the season and this is my first Redskins article. I found that for the most part my post game reaction pieces were mostly repeating the phrase "run the football" in as many different ways as possible. (Thanks Rashad!) That being said I'm now only going to write every now and then to keep my content fresh and insightful.

So Robert Griffin III got hurt after landing awkwardly on his ankle in the beginning of the Jacksonville game and was carted off the field. We now know that he has a dislocated ankle that won't require surgery and will leave him with the opportunity to return within a matter of weeks. In the meantime Kirk Cousins did an admirable job of stepping in and leading the offense to a massive 41 point finish after the 6 point dud last week.

"Sports analysts" and many fans are extremely impatient and draw way too much from single games. People are now saying that Kirk Cousins is the savior and was better than RG3 all along and that RG3's career is over. Let's be clear, there is no question as to who is the better quarterback, it's RG3. RG3 lead us to the playoffs while only throwing 5 picks the entire season. Then he had his nasty leg injury and spent the entire offseason recovering and played 2013 with a single week of practice under his belt. He had no play-makers at the receiver position besides Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed, the latter of whom missed plenty of time with injuries. Despite this Griffin put up average numbers in 13 games. Not bad numbers but not great ones either. Matt Stafford, Eli Manning and Joe Flacco all had a similar quarterback rating last season.

 The team as a whole was garbage last year, Griffin didn't fair too well but Kirk Cousins was terrible. The three games he started were enough to make him the least efficient passer in the NFL. RG3 had 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions for a ratio of 1.33 to 1 and a completion percentage just a hair above 60%. With the same team Kirk Cousins managed 4 touchdowns, 7 interceptions for a ratio of 0.571 to 1, a completion percentage of 52%, the worst quarterback rating in the NFL and not a single win in his 3 games.

In every game he's started he's turned the ball over until yesterday. He's 2-3 as a starter, both of his wins came against very weak teams that weren't sure if he was going to play that week.

Griffin was playing well in the limited action we saw this year. Last week he was really efficient against the Texans, throwing for 276 yards with a 78% completion percentage. Keep in mind that J.J Watt and the Texans defensive front forced the Redskins to take short 3 step drops for most the game and he didn't have time to throw it deep. RG3 made most of the passes from the pocket and was very accurate. Against Jacksonville, RG3 ran for two first downs, and had a deep bomb to DeSean Jackson that was right on the money but was ruled an incompletion by the incompetent referees. All signs pointed the Redskins offense having a good day until Griffin got hurt.

I'm not trying to bash Kirk Cousins, I love the guy and loved watching him go to work on Sunday. He's a little more polished in terms of being a pocket passer than Griffin because that's how he's played quarterback his whole life. What I'm trying to point out here is that we need to see some consistency from Kirk Cousins, especially against better teams. The evidence of the past 2 seasons shows that Griffin is the better quarterback with more upside and better decision making. Until we see a few more quality games against good defenses there is simply no quarterback situation and Robert Griffin III will be taking snaps as soon as he's healthy again. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Here's Your Chance to DO Something about Israel

Social media is great for creating awareness, however there has be a catalyst between awareness and actual change. I'm sure you are all aware of the near genocide that is currently going in Palestine. Here's what you can do about it in five minutes. I drafted a letter to Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, he's on the foreign relations committee in the Senate. All you have to do is put your name on it and mail it. One letter won't mean much but a barrage of them should at the very least elicit a response and it's better than just sitting behind a computer screen sharing pictures of the carnage. 

A few things to keep in mind:

1. Feel free to look the letter over and edit it as you like
2. Depending on the date you send the letter make sure to update the relevant death count and any other information that may change.
3. If you are not living in the State of Maryland then custom fit the letter to your local senator. The meat of the letter can remain the same but references to Cardin and his legislative role must be changed.
4. It's very important to send it both online AND as a hard copy.

What to do:

1. Download the letter here. (It's a mediafire download, quick and simple)
2. Read it through and put in your information.
3. Go to Ben Cardin's website here.
4. Make sure "Leave opinion on legislative issue" is check and then enter in your information, using "Foreign Affairs" as the category.
5. Copy and paste the letter, excluding the subject line. (So copy and paste from where it says "Dear Senator..."
6. Print a copy, sign it and mail it in to the address indicated on the letter.
7. Share this with anyone who wants to try and make a difference. 

If anyone see's a glaring error in the template that should be changed send me an email or leave a comment below. Avoid leaving comments on facebook as people who aren't friends with me on facebook can't see those.

The Fallacy of The Human Mind

There are many insurmountable hurdles in achieving a perfectly rational mind. Human beings are a mish-mosh of emotions and rationality. Raymond Tusk from House of Cards put it best when he said: "the rational and irrational complement each other. Individually, they're far less powerful." And the guy's a fictitious billionaire energy mogul so I'd take his word on this one.

 Now I'm the type that seriously favors my left brain; logic and rationality are useful, emotions aren't and I have no patience for useless things. But the irrational side is what makes us human. Engineers can program computers and robots to follow a logical set of code. Logic can be replicated, but human emotion can't and it has it's own value. Irrational thinking is what saved a ton of peoples' lives in The Dark Knight. In case you don't remember the Joker had two ferries rigged with bombs. One ferry was filled to the brim with innocent civilians, the other with Gotham's worst thieves and murders. Both were rigged with explosives and each ferry was given the detonator to the OTHER ferry. If one ferry blew the other up then that ferry would be saved, if neither did it by midnight then the Joker would blow them both up. 

Think about your two options in this scenario:
1. You blow up the other boat and live. 
2. You don't and get blown up, either by the other boat or by the joker. 

So your two options are literally live or die. It's a simple choice, a rational mind would have blown up the other boat in a heartbeat. One such "rational" mind on the civilian boat points this out and notes that the criminals deserved to die more than the civilians did. Eventually he takes the detonator but doesn't pull the trigger. Faced with the choice of life and death both boats chose death rather than kill the other boat. An amazingly irrational decision that bought just enough time for Batman to swoop in and save them both. 

Emotions and the irrational have their value, but are also the source of the biggest flaw in human thinking. Most people let their desires cloud rationality, causing them to ignore consequences that aren't immediate. Think about all the people who believe in a religion that holds that you will be punished for sins. Not a single one of those people, myself included, has completely avoided those sins. Often times we knowingly do these things for no other reason than the pleasure from said sin is immediate and the consequences are far off. But this is expected, believing in an afterlife is one thing, visualizing it happening is another. Plus there's the rather moronic expectation that you'll live a long enough life to be "good later" so we tend to ignore the consequences right now. 

Now let's look at the shorter term; it doesn't take a lifetime for us to ignore non-immediate consequences. A kid enters the workplace at 23 years old and gets a decent job. He saves up $10000 in two years and is wondering what to do with the money. He could lock that money up in a Roth IRA, earn 11% a year and turn that ten grand into more than half a million by the time he can collect on the IRA, that's $580,000 tax-free. But no one does that at 25, instead they buy a motorcycle, a new car, or a 65' T.V. Choosing the sexy option that provides enjoyment now is usually more preferable than waiting for the better prize. 

Even shorter term now: grades in school. There's two ways to look at this one. For some white folk the need to graduate high school in four years is overshadowed by the current need to party, have fun, and not focus on schoolwork when your future depends on it. For some people of any other race the need to avoid the can of whoop-ass for getting bad grades at the end of the semester is overshadowed by those same reasons. Think about the bums you remember from high school, the ones who wouldn't even try or show up to class. It's so stupid looking back, to not graduate or not get into college because you were skipping school to get high or even just sleep and play video games instead of going to class. 

Moving on to my favorite example, this one takes place in a matter of minutes. The last few examples have been over the course of months, years and decades. Keep in mind this doesn't apply if your parents wake you up or if your parents are home when you're supposed to be at school. During my last semester I had to wake up at 7:30 every morning to get to my 8:30 classes on time. These classes were ones where I needed to be in class to understand the material properly. Every so often I'd wake up to the sound of my alarm and just feel so tired that I'd go back to sleep, knowing full well that after I wake up I'll spend an extra 5 hours trying to understand material and copy notes for a 50 minute class. 

After the consequences eventually come into the picture all those immediate but fleeting pleasures that we enjoyed at some cost in the future seem so horribly trivial that we marvel at our stupidity back then. Think about the few kids who took those 15 A.P.s in high school and put in work while everyone else was living it up. They were the ones that got those ivy-league acceptances in April. I'm not saying that these kids were all work and no play but that they had the foresight to budget their time and energy responsibly. The retirees who invested when they were young are counting their millions now. The kid who woke up for his 8:30 class is able to enjoy a stress free nap later in the day instead of copying notes. The religious person is able to enjoy a clean and healthy conscious. This trait is naturally ingrained in our psyche and it takes serious strength to overcome. Most people realize this over a grueling period of mistake after mistake and only fix it after an extraordinary period of time. The people who realize this earlier on and overcome it in their everyday decision making are the ones who end up being successful in life, especially those who start from a young age.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Why You Should Never Go to India

Seriously, never. Unless you’re a citizen of Japan, New Zealand or about 8 other countries you should never visit India. You see India is one of the few countries in the world where most people can’t get a tourist visa on arrival. When you visit almost any other country with a U.S. passport you fill out your visa application after you arrive at your destination airport. In 2010 I visited Oman and the United Arab Emirates, both extremely gorgeous countries I might add. When we arrived at Oman we filled out a short application, less than a page, paid our twenty riyals and were on our way. When we entered the UAE we didn’t even have to fill out an application, they just stamped our passport. No fee, no fuss. To visit India however you need to get a tourist visa. In order to get that visa you have to deal with the morons working at the Indian consulate office and the bigger morons at Cox and Kings Global Services.

Let me be clear, my vocabulary isn’t nearly capable of describing the complete ineptitude and stupidity these two companies operate with. In Islam, we believe that when we are inflicted with pain some of our sins are forgiven. No suffering is done in vain. As such my father should have all 50+ years of his life wiped clean for what he had to put up with. Cox and Kings is the newest company the Indian Embassy decided to outsource its visa issuing to. Before, you just walked into the consulate office, dropped off your applications and picked up your passports that night. We applied for our visas the first day Cox and Kings were open, May 21st.
I did all the applications online and then my dad took them to the buffoons at Cox and Kings. He lost a whole days work because they took some 7 hours to issue him a receipt. Seriously, people were in there for hours waiting for a receipt AFTER their application had been processed. Eventually he got his receipt, came home tired as death but was glad that it was over; little did he know it had barely just begun.

The following day one of the guys says that three of the six applications need to be notarized because they were applications for minors. Then he tells my dad that he and my mom need to renounce their Indian citizenships. Apparently holding a U.S. passport and having U.S. citizenship certificates isn’t enough proof for them. My mom got lucky, her old Indian passport said it was “cancelled due to new citizenship.” My dad’s passport didn’t and he had to pay an extra free and delay the application because they needed proof he renounced his previous citizenship. Keep in mind this entire conversation wasted another day of paid work because they were just so damn slow.

A few days later my dad comes home holding four passports. My mom, dad, and baby sisters were done along with my own. My brother and other sister’s remained at large. This was on Thursday, May 29th, our flight to India left on June 3rd. The notarization delay couldn’t be the problem otherwise my baby sister’s would’ve been delayed as well.  Because nobody in the offices could communicate beyond the level of an ape my dad had no idea what was wrong. Eventually on Monday, the day before our flight, my Dad got an explanation.

My sister was born in India, but because both my parents were U.S. citizens by this point my sister was a U.S. citizen by birth. However, on her U.S. passport her place of birth says India. The incompetent fools at Cox and Kings wanted to see her old Indian passport and make sure she renounced her non-existent Indian citizenship. My dad tried desperately to convince him that she’s been a U.S. citizen by birth (it also said that on her application but they chose to ignore that) but to no avail. Oh, and they also lost my little brother’s passport. The consulate said Cox and Kings had it, Cox said the consulate had it. Bottom line: Monday night, no visas.

At this point all we could do was pray but you know what they say: hope for the best, plan for the worst or something along those lines. Basically we had decided that the most cost efficient last resort would be for three visa holders to go and three to stay back, costing us somewhere between $2100 - $2500 extra. That’s more than we were planning to spend during our entire trip.

The day of our flight things weren’t looking good. My dad said that they still haven’t found his passport yet and my sister still hasn’t gotten her visa. Regardless we loaded up the van with all our bags and went to Cox and Kings to help out. Our flight left at 6:10. The night before I established a cutoff time of 3:30pm. If we didn’t get them by then we had to book it or risk missing this flight too. Three thirty came and went with no visas. We decided to hold out because my dad had skillfully bullied a worker into handling our issue so we wouldn’t miss our flight. We decided to try and wait a little longer and at 3:45 they found my little brothers passport and told us both passports were at the consulate office where we would have to pick them up.
Before I continue let me explain how this works, Cox and Kings and the consulate are two separate offices, two separate buildings about 4 miles away around Mass Ave. in D.C. Cox handles all the paperwork and such and then ships off the passports to the consulate office to get the actual visa stamped.

At 3:45 we drove to the consulate and there was no one at the desk. I banged on the employee door for about 5 minutes before the secretary came out and talked to us. Then the passport officer came out to argue that my sister still needed to renounce her citizenship. I thought that maybe my dad didn’t explain it clearly to the guy because miscommunications can happen between two non-native speakers. I explained the situation and the law repeatedly such that a 4 year old could understand. He eventually caved and made my dad write a sworn statement saying that my sister was a citizen. Then, at 4:45 we had all six passports and visas and drove fast and furious style to the airport.

Like Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption I’d like to tell you that the story ended happily and we made our flight. But stories don’t always end nicely. We made it about 10 minutes after baggage check-in had closed. They said it was too late. While we were trying to figure this out the lady at the Lufthansa counter said unless we go carry-ons only there’s nothing we can do. My mom panicked and started shoveling stuff from our suitcases into our carry-ons. I told her it’s stupid but she tried anyway. Luckily the lady at the counter  said that we weren’t going to make it and cancelled our boarding passes. So we got our visas but now don’t have a plane to get on.

Our economy seats didn’t come with any travel protection benefits. The charge for each person was the fare-difference plus a $300 change fee. Total came out to $4000, we paid around $6500 for our initial reservations. That’s $6500 roundtrip and they wanted $4000 to go one-way. The lady at the Lufthansa counter wasn’t very sympathetic at first, she had just dealt with a family who missed the flight because of traffic, she didn’t buy that excuse one bit. So she told me the flight leaves at 5:30 tomorrow, don’t be late. Hoping to get some sympathy I explained that we left at 11 a.m this morning, but the embassy lost our passports. Told the same sob story I’m telling you now.  And the lady’s expression totally changed, she started whispering with her supervisor in German. She then turned to us and said that they can knock-off everyone’s change fees; almost cutting the $4000 in half. After that she apologized that she couldn’t take off the fare difference. I mean she just saved us $1800 and then apologized for it! They took care of us after that and we ate the $2200. (I’m looking to try and recoup that in small claims court when I get back so if anyone has any advice please shoot me an email!)

The next day one of the check in people recognized me and let me skip the long check in line and use the business class check in. Security was a breeze, shoes didn’t come off, laptops stayed in our bags and we were through in less than 30 minutes with no random screenings. Boarded the flight early because we had a small child and are riding comfortably now. Actually it’s 1 AM eastern time right now and I’m writing this paragraph 35,000 feet above Paris.

So in the end we paid the expected worst case scenario fee but saved the stress of making a 24 hour journey and splitting the family in half; probably the best case scenario after missing our original flight.
Why is Cox and Kings to blame? Well for one I can’t sue the Indian embassy and two they are the most disorganized office I’ve ever seen. They had a number ticketing system but weren’t using it properly and a random patron was actually keeping track and calling out numbers. All the customers in that room were bonding over how horrible the service was. But it goes beyond that. When they get a passport they don’t file it by name or date, nope they dumped them into a box. Literally, they dumped all the passports into a big cardboard box, with no way of knowing which is which. This created the black-hole where passports went, with no ability to identify them beyond opening each one and checking by hand. When passports are being moved back and forth between offices you are DEFINITELY going to lose track of a couple of them. The fact that this is has continuously been going on shows that they haven’t learned from their previous mistakes and don’t care enough to organize on even a most basic level.

Then we get into the fact these people don’t know basic citizenship laws of the United States. They failed to understand after repeated explanations that my sister was never an Indian citizen and was an American citizen by birth. Her application specifically stated that she was born in India but was an American citizen BY BIRTH. Neither that nor my parents’ citizenship certificates were enough to prove it until it was already too late. All of the applications were submitted at the same time but their disorganization and idiocy proved too much for any rational human being to conquer and we missed our flight.


So what should you make of this? Never go to India. It is easier, more time saving and cost effective for you to go to Japan, become a citizen and then go to India. Cox and Kings makes the MVA seem like the most well-oiled and customer oriented government agency in the world. I genuinely asked my Dad to bribe the officers to get the passports done. A $200 or even $500 bribe pales in comparison to the $2200 our new flights cost. But Cox and Kings and the Indian consulate are so disorganized we literally wouldn’t even know who to bribe and they’d probably lose the cash before they could spend it. I would rather jump out of this airplane, enjoy the 2 minute free fall from this altitude and subsequent splat on some French mountain than try to get an Indian visa while Cox and Kings are still in charge. And finally, if you need to go India, stowaway on a cargo ship, risk getting attacked by Somali pirates because even if you get caught, you’re still probably better off than dealing with Cox. At least the pirates will go away when you give them money.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Response to Lauren Martin's The Actual Difference Between Hot and Beautiful

Lauren Martin is an interesting writer...she starts with an interesting premise that seems to go against social convention but then in her actual writing tends to butcher the point she was trying to make and turns her own readers against her. She wrote one of these articles on EliteDaily, titled the difference between hot and beautiful. You can read the actual article here. She essentially says that all men look at are a woman's physical attributes and judge her worth off that. 

Essentially her article is summed up by the line: "because beauty isn't about wanting to fuck her; it's about wanting to be with her." Martin has apparently only seen male-female interactions in nightclubs and bars where people are only looking for hookups. In a country where sleeping around isn't frowned upon (so long as you aren't married of course) there is no reason to look past physical traits. If you're looking for a hookup then you aren't going to sleep with a girl for her personality. Likewise a woman isn't going to sleep with an unattractive man for his personality. Is there more to him than his lack of muscles and height? Absolutely, but it doesn't matter because these people aren't looking for actual relationships.

Usually preachy, social justice pieces garner affectionate comments praising the writer for their insight; Martin's top comments bashed her, which goes to show how she completely whiffed on the point she was trying to make. One of these comments, written by a woman I might add, goes: "the writer could consider broadening her horizons. If that's the caliber of men she knows or spends time with it's equally a reflection on her. Very few men I know fit into that stereotype because I choose not to spend time around narcissistic, superficial or artificial individuals." I especially liked the usage of the word individual, because she acknowledges that this focusing on outward appearance equally goes both ways, men do it and women do it. 

Attractiveness is judged by the opposite gender. I'm sorry if you people want to ignore reality but that's how it is. I can wear baggy sweats around all day and yell at girls who aren't looking past my outward attractiveness but that's just it. They don't want me because I don't fit their expectations of looking good. Are they wrong for this? Absolutely not, Martin says men have been "programmed" into believing that curves, big breasts and a big butt are attractive. No shit. She thinks this programming is done by the evil male patriarchy who insists on belittling women. That's not it, it's this thing called biology that does it for men AND women. Most men like a big butt and breasts and such. Most women like muscles, abs, height and the like. It's science, something Martin isn't all that good at according to her bio. 

There are obviously exceptions to the rule, attractiveness is subjective to every individual although the differences aren't usually big ones. Martin's article is based on the premise that all men only want one night stands and judge a woman's worth solely on her physical attractiveness. People judge each other's worth solely on attractiveness when their goal is purely physical. Men do it. Women do it. Stop hiding behind some curtain of man-hate calling men pigs while doing the exact same thing. 

When actual relationships are the goal there is a BALANCE. Like everything in the world there is a balance. I want her to be attractive...and also smart, confident and fun. A balance between physical beauty and a great personality. If you focus on either one too much the relationship won't last. Are there men who only care about a woman's looks? Absolutely. Are there women who only care about a man's looks? Absolutely. But the majority of human beings aren't like this when they're pursuing a meaningful relationship. 

You might be saying to yourself...wait this response isn't talking about the difference between being hot and beautiful. That's because the original article didn't do much of that either. She focuses instead on trying to generalize men into primitive sex-craving beasts who are incapable of anything else. She asks when was the last time you heard a man call a girl beautiful? The answer is all the time, if you actually hang around men outside of bars. At the end of the article she lists a bunch of romantic adjectives describing beauty and a bunch of bland ones describing hot. She doesn't say anything really. Yes a relationship is more meaningful than a one night stand, we get it. 

Let me touch on the question just a little bit because Martin didn't really do it. We know that hot is used to describe a woman's attractiveness but beauty is used the same way. Sure you can argue that there are small differences, considering the beautiful is defined as "exciting aesthetic pleasure." Aesthetic is another subjective word but if asked, people would easily lean towards describing physically pleasing traits as opposed to inner ones. As another comment poster notes "never heard a woman say how beautiful Channing Tatum's soul is." The article is total hypocrisy. 

The irony is that the picture Martin chose for her article is a skinny, bikini clad woman, society's definition of hot. There is a difference between being hot and being beautiful, but it's not as big or as disgusting as Lauren Martin tries to make it out to be, and writers like her are the reason men are put off by the word feminism. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Stop Complaining About Michael Sam

We've heard a lot about Michael Sam over these past few months. For those who don't know, Michael Sam is a defensive end from Missouri who came out as gay early in the year during the off-season. The off-season is a period where the NFL is starved for news and where the media eats stuff in a heartbeat. Then people started making a lot of hooplah over how late he got drafted. I mean come on, your sexuality obviously makes your football ability better right?!

I'm not for gay marriage due to my religious views. However, America isn't the most religious or moral country in the whole-wide world and people have freedoms here that they don't have in other places. Sam should be able do whatever he wants in his personal life; it's none of my business. The problem comes when Mr. Sam makes a public spectacle of his sexuality. He came out to his team first. Coaches wanted to know a little bit about their players. They asked the usual questions: "Major? Age? Fun Fact?" and Sam's fun fact was that he's gay. This was not surprising to many of his teammates and they were supportive of him. Great for him, it's one thing to come out to your friends and teammates who are close to you, it's another to do it on national television.

In an ESPN interview he said: "I understand how big this is," he said. "It's a big deal. No one has done this before. And it's kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be ... I want to be a football player in the NFL." Does anyone else see the contradiction here? You want to be a football player in the NFL? Or do you want to be a gay football player in the NFL? Sam seemed to choose the latter. If you want to get an independent assessment of your football ability then don't throw in things that you know will affect that analysis. He stated that he understands "how big this is"...that's false. Either that or he simply wanted his 15 minutes of fame.

After he came out his press conferences all revolved around his sexuality. To which he said: “I wish you guys would just say: ‘Hey, Michael Sam, how’s football going, how’s training going?’ I would love for you to ask me that question.' “But it is what it is, and I just wish you guys would see me as ‘Michael Sam the football player’, instead of ‘Michael Sam the gay football player’.” Again, he had the option of being treated the same but chose to throw another variable in the mix. If you want them to ask you how's football going and how's training going then talk to the media about football, not your sexuality. Sam brought this on himself. What on Earth did he expect?

Let's take a step back from Sam for a second and talk about Ben Gardner. Oh wait, you don't know who he is do you? He was drafted just 5 spots above Michael Sam. Plays the same position, has a similar draft grade and was projected to land in the 7th round. Never heard of him and yet no one is saying he landed in his spot because he is straight, gay or otherwise, he was drafted near the end because of his football ability. Let's compare the two guys for a second.

Sam:

  • 4.91 40 Yard Dash
  • 7.8 Second 3 Cone Drill
  • 17 Bench Press reps (2nd weakest among all DEs)
  • 25 and 1/2 inch Vertical Jump
  • 6 foot 2 inches Height
  • 262 lbs Weight
Gardner:

  • 4.83 40 Yard Dash
  • 6.78 Second 3 Cone Drill
  • Not invited to combine so no bench press reps
  • 39 and a half inch Vertical Jump
  • 6 foot 4 inches Height
  • 262 lbs Weight
Sam's combine numbers were horrendous for a defensive lineman. He lacks the size to play the position in the NFL. He isn't as explosive as you need to be in the NFL as evidenced by the slow 40 yard dash, 3 cone drill and extremely short vertical jump. Gardner had better numbers but wasn't even invited to the combine and no one outside of NFL general managers were talking about him. Gardner was projected to be a 7th rounder according to NFL.com. No one complained when he was drafted there. Sam was projected to be a 7th rounder according to NFL.com. People ranted like hell when he was drafted there.

What's more is that the NFL had draft grades posted on their website for most prospects they thought would get drafted. Michael Sam was given a 5.1 draft grade. The average grade of a person drafted in the 7th round this year was a whopping 5.13 with a standard deviation of about 0.16. Pro Football Weekly's senior editor Nolan Nawrocki had this to say about Sam: "lacks burst and acceleration off the edge to get a step on blockers and finish. Sack production results from effort and production flushed to him and is not creatively produced with savvy pass-rush moves,speed, power or bend." That's some harsh criticism for a guy whose job it is to be powerful, quick and be able to mow past enormous and strong NFL caliber offensive linemen. His draft projection on NFL.com was 7th round/undrafted.

This isn't to knock Sam as a person. This guy is great, never gets in any kind of trouble and always gives a 110% on the field. In the same blurb Nawrocki says that Sam "Plays hard -- gives great effort and competes every down. Good on-field intensity and demeanor."  that shows he's a great teammate, great person and a great college athlete.

My issue here is this: he shouldn't have made himself a public spectacle during the draft. People weren't going to talk about him because he isn't going to become a tremendous NFL athlete so now he gets his fame from people talking about his sexuality during a time when the NFL and its fans are starving for news. You really want to be an openly gay player in the NFL to make it easier for future players? Great, do it after you actually make the 53 man game-day roster. That way your sexuality won't impact your ability to make the team or get drafted and gay college players are now more comfortable coming out and playing. People are keen to talk about how his stock dropped because he was gay but there is no evidence for it. The argument can just as easily be made that being openly gay UPPED his draft stock because no one wanted to pass on him due to the uproar it would cause or "the message" it would send. It's too late to be Michael Sam the football player, he made the wrong decision in the beginning of the year. Now the headlines are going be the NFL's first openly gay player gets drafted, the NFL's first openly gay player gets signed, the NFL's first openly gay player goes to training camp, the NFL's first openly gay player gets signed or cut.