Thursday, October 16, 2014

SEMINOLE SHAME

I worked  in Tallahassee for a time. I loved the game day atmosphere, and was in seventh heaven being the Director of Marketing of the hotel hosting the teams visiting Doak Campbell Stadium.  For a bit of trivia,  the "Tomahawk Chop " at Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Chief games, mimics what Seminole fans have done for decades. 

 


To those who find the entire concept of teams named after Native Americans in this century a huge embarrassment, the fact that the Seminole tribe actually sanctions FSU's use of the name is testimony to the hold sports has on the collective  mind.  It's hard to understand how we are able to be convinced there is a justification  when it comes to offensive names and mascots.  Wikipedia notes, "The Washington Redskins use the slang term "redskin" which is currently defined in dictionaries as derogatory, while the Florida State Seminoles' use of the Seminole name is officially sanctioned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida. "  Though there may be an ethical difference to some fans , there is something unsettling seeing 100,000 people  do the "Tomahawk Chop" while rooting for a taxpayer supported university. No matter how FSU spins it, the choice looks a lot closer to " Chief Wahoo" of the Cleveland Indians than the noble warrior imagery FSU and the Seminole Tribe seeks to be portraying.  



It does not take an excess of sensitivity to ask why the Seminole tribe should not rethink their endorsement of FSU on the grounds Indian activist Russell Means used back in 1972, when the Cleveland Indians were sued for libel, slander, and defamation from for their use of Chief Wahoo. Whatever one might think of that manner of litigation, the fact remains the most prominent name associated with the term "Seminole" nowadays is both a Heisman trophy winner and an alleged rapist. It seems as if Jameis Winston is conducting a conscious campaign to displace, spousal abuser Ray Rice, famed workplace bully Richie Incognito, and alleged human Adrian Peterson, as America's most despised athlete. With Winston as the poster child for the Seminole brand,  the party responsible for the marketing of the Seminole brand, must be speed dialling Paula Deen's team for Crisis Counselling.

Christine Brennan relates in USA TODAY, the Florida State administration, seems to be channelling Penn State's reaction to the Jerry Sandusky matter, in a manner that conceivably could make NFL Commissioner Goodell shake his head in envying disbelief.  That puts the FSU in a league with the football addled educators continuing to sell the Sandusky  memoir "Touched" in the PSU bookstore after all hell broke out. 

"The embarrassment continues unabated at Florida State, a school that has put the need to win football games above all else, including an alleged rape, a Title IX violation and, pending an investigation, an NCAA rule that some schools still actually follow" 

DEFYING GRAVITY 

The Jameis Winston saga deserves the adjective "Wicked".  Not the Broadway show with Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth.....


Jameis Winston is set to start the BCS consequential Notre Dame game Saturday.  His continued eligibility flies in the face of both natural (and Federal) laws. FSU Administrators and law enforcement ignored Winston's felonious acts all last year, in the service of winning the National title. Heisman trophy voters shamefully honored Winston after the iceberg's tip was revealed. Winston remains eligible despite gravity defying acts of entitled stupidity, which includes stealing crab legs from Publix, soda from Burger King,  and shooting a BB gun at his apartment complex. Suspended one game (originally one half) for standing on a table in the student union and screaming sexual vulgarities , he famously defied his coach by dressing for the game anyway. 


For the casual fan, the only thing more narcissistic than an alleged rapist standing in public and spouting misogynist smack, is someone only recently cleared of vehicular homicide executing yet another road range incident. 



There is a story breaking on ESPN about 2000 signed Winston items being authenticated by the same company involved with the suspension of Georgia running back Todd Gurley . Just when one might believe the term "character issue" could be residing in the back of Coach Jimbo Fisher's mind., we see predecessor Bobby Bowden using pigskin based local sainthood, to say Jameis simply had to grow up. " As coach for the "Free Shoes University"  (agents bought more than $6,000 worth of shoes for players) Bowden has experience in  "spin control"  for scandals.

Christine Brennan sums my feelings up brilliantly...."It must be so much fun to be a Florida State fan right now, living inside that morality-free bubble that fits so snugly over the campus in Tallahassee. Your young and impressionable football coach, Jimbo Fisher, believes every single word Winston has to say about signing autographs, because Jameis is just so, well, so incredibly believable. 

An allegation of rape? Come on. That's old news now. When you mishandle it this bad for this long, nearly two years, you might as well just forget about it entirely, right, Seminoles? Plus, that's what civil lawsuits are for.

And all those autographs Winston signed and for which he of course didn't get paid one penny? After 22 months of successfully stiff-arming scandal, why stop now? Don't be cautious like Georgia and even Texas A&M. Roll the dice. Worst case scenario, should you win another national title and have to give it up someday because Winston actually might not be telling the truth, everyone would know you won it on the field, and lost it later to the despised NCAA. So that almost counts as a win-win, right?"

THE GHOST OF JOE PATERNO

One would think that after the Joe Paterno's fall, someone at FSU would place a call to ex-Penn State President Graham Spanier. They might inquire how well similar denial strategies worked for the Nittany Lions. Bobby Bowden officially is the most victorious coach in college football history. That status is  due to the fall of Joe Paterno. In the light of that epic disgrace, its largely forgotten that in Bowden's final years, the Seminoles had to vacate 12 victories, due to an academic cheating scandal featuring athletes from the entire FSU athletic program. 


After Penn State's implosion, it's unfathomable there exists a university and community willing to defy the fates,  and become enablers for another rogue program.  While taking time from a busy schedule of "tasering" grandmothers, the Tallahassee Police Department chose to ignore serious criminal charges. Choosing not to conduct a credible investigation months ago, Florida State and Tallahassee authorities chose to kick the can down the road until FSU won the national title.  

Though the school says it's proceeding with a disciplinary hearing for Winston, it's probable his legal team will prevail stop that process given the preceding 22 months of inaction. Odds are good that substantive procedural questions will defer any proceedings until the new college football playoff concludes. By then Winston most certainly will find refuge in the league where NOW president Terry O'Neill notes, "According to FiveThirtyEight.com, the relative arrest rate of NFL players is fifty-five percent for domestic violence, and thirty-eight percent for sex offenses." Given "the shield's" outlaw culture Mr. Winston just might fit in. 

The leaders of FSU's namesake tribe must cringe each time Jameis Winston self identifies as a Seminole. 





MANY BLESSINGS- NOEL