Needless to say, it’s been a crazy sports week.
Everything from the President of the United States calling football players a profane word to NFL players and owners responding with signs of unity to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) putting the hammer down on college basketball with a La Porte County connection.
Enough to make your head spin.
Let’s start with the national anthem.
Donald Trump went on a rant last weekend about NFL player kneeling during the anthem, calling it disrespectful, and using some not-so-nice language.
Understandably, the result was players, coaches and owners showing unity during the Sunday and Monday games, with some kneeling, many arms locked and some teams not going to the field for the anthem at all.
Ranting about this has become tiresome for me.
I won’t do it anymore because you all know how I feel.
No one knows what will happen at this week’s high school football games since kids tend to emulate their adult counterparts, right or wrong (remember the story last year about Andrean fans taunting Hammond Bishop Noll during a basketball game with “Build a wall” in reference to one of Trump’s campaign promises.
Going to one of the local teams’ football games this Friday — Portage vs. Michigan City at Ames Field or La Porte at Crown Point — could provide more anticipation before the kickoff.
At least there will be drama with people like me who will be interested in whether players will kneel or stand with their arms locked.
None of the Michigan City players have anything to worry about when it comes to repercussions from the school, according to their coach’s boss.
“They can do what they want,” City athletic director Craig Shaman said.
He added that administrators have talked about possible scenarios regarding the anthem for a year.
Every school has done that, I would assume.
Many high school football teams actually don’t stand on the sidelines for the national anthem, including La Porte, according to Slicers’ athletic director Ed Gilliland.
“Our team usually doesn’t come out of the locker room until after the national anthem, at least at (home stadium) Kiwanis Field,” he said.
Gilliland also sent a statement to explain the school corporation’s policy about possible protests.
“The La Porte Community School Corporation respects the First Amendment Rights of our students and staff to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem according to their individual beliefs. In the event that said actions or inactions disrupt the environment, we will address those circumstances on an individual basis.”
That second sentence is vague. How would such actions — whether it’s kneeling or locking arms or even sitting — disrupt anything, unless fans started yelling in objection. In that case, it would be the fans disrupting and they should be reprimanded.
And then there’s the FBI coming down hard on college basketball in a “pay for play” investigation that resulted in arrests on Tuesday, mainly assistant coaches and someone from Adidas. One of the assistants was from Louisville, which resulted in Cardinals’ head coach Rick Pitino (not the first time he's been in trouble) and athletic director Tom Jurich being put on administrative leave on Wednesday.
Safe to say this isn’t new in college basketball (anybody seen the movie “Blue Chips” with awesome acting from Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway and Chesterton native Matt Nover), but the FBI being involved is definitely different.
The crux of the investigation involves La Lumiere graduate Brian Bowen, at least according to ESPN reports since the names of specific people and schools are not identified in FBI documents.
Hence, the schools are listed as “School-5” or “School-6” while players are “Player-9” and Player-10” — the last one supposedly representing Bowen.
Allegedly, Bowen’s family was paid $100,000 from Adidas to choose Louisville over other schools such as Oregon, Michigan State and DePaul. He signed with the Cardinals in early June.
That makes a lot of sense now since his recruitment process was confusing.
Bowen told students at LaLu, and one media member on hand (that’s me) during a March ceremony in which he and teammate Jaren Jackson (now at Michigan State) were honored at All-Americans that he would decide on a college within a month.
Usually high school athletes — especially high-profile basketball players — want to have a college chosen well before they graduate.
An answer didn't come from Bowen for more than two months, despite speculation that he would follow teammate Tyger Campbell, who verbally committed to DePaul, where their coach at La Lumiere, Shane Heirman, was now an assistant.
DePaul seemingly had achieved the perfect coup, but it was only half-perfect since Bowen was allegedly getting a nice big check to join Pitino’s team.
One Louisville player has been suspended, according to the school’s president, and reports say it’s Bowen.
Some may feel sorry for the kid, and yes, we all did some stupid things when we were 18 years old. But I think most of us knew the difference between legal and illegal, and Bowen made a choice that has resulted in a black mark on his record forever.
Reach sports editor Steve T. Gorches at firstname.lastname@example.org or (219) 214-4206. Follow him on Twitter @SteveTGorches.