Thursday, April 01, 2010

Reading Response – Of Team Building

I honestly could not, at first, believe what I was reading. I’d been following a story about football players at Texas A&M Commerce getting busted for possession of marijuana (and other things), when the story took an odd twist. Many of the members of the football team were implicated in stealing copies of school paper, The East Texan, in which the arrest was reported. Then head football coach Guy Morriss (thank Jesus, no relation!) called the thefts “The best team building exercise we have ever done.”
I shook my head. I read again. It was still there. I should have known. This mindset has always been there. I guess I just didn’t expect anyone to openly defend it.
College sports, and football in particular, is filled with people who have decided they live by a different set of rules, rules that make them lords of the universe and anyone who gets in their way or questions them be damned.
Team building? I know that Coach Morriss has since apologized for his statement. But I cannot help be think that he still thinks he and his players are above the law. Essentially a bunch of spoiled athletes did not like that teammates were not only caught in the act of a couple of felonies, but that a newspaper had the audacity to report it. So to “build” the team, they commit another crime (one for which the university has yet to take appropriate action). Sounds like the reasoning of a Mafioso.
Coach Morriss, if that is what you think is good for your team and the school you represent, then you can fucking have it!
I love sports, absolutely love it. But crap like this has all but ruined the joy once took I take in watching and reading about my favorite teams. This once included A&M Commerce.
This is one more example that in our culture athletes are a privileged class of people. We barely speak about the supposed “student athlete” who has no interest in education and who openly flaunts his disrespect of anyone in authority (except their coaches, of course), particularly their instructors. Most in our culture, in fact, regard teachers more often as obstacles to success, and many college athletes ramp up that attitude as if the idea itself is on steroids.
A member of the school’s Student Government Association even called the matter “over” after Morriss apologized in a statement. (For those of you not familiar with some of these fancy terms, “statement” refers to a weak-assed apology, probably not written by the coach himself, that is supposed to be a public witness of the contrite feelings he doesn’t really have about the actions that have embarrassed his employer, who has no intention of taking the kind of action against his employee that would be taken against the rest of us if we found ourselves in the same position.) So now even elected voices of the student body have helped us rest easy by sweeping more bullshit under the rug.
The president of the university has called the Morriss’ statement about “team building” “a misguided attempt at humor.” Really? That’s what you call it? The president seems to have forgotten that the coach told police he knew nothing about the thefts, and said about The East Texan “I don’t read that crap.”
I just want to get a few things straight: Lying to the police is okay. Theft is “team building.” People who write things you don’t like to hear are publishers of “crap.”  And President Dan Jones is okay with this. Morriss’ has pretended to be sorry, and he and his players have been “disciplined.” I’ll believe that when I see it.
In the meantime, I am not going to be surprised when another spoiled prince of an athlete has his way with us, or when some jerk of a coach or athletic director defends his actions.

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