The Principles of Liberty that Apply to the NBA Age Limit

News was made recently in the sports world on two fronts regarding how the NBA will assess the path for elite high school basketball players and what will happen to the controversial “one and done” rule. First, the NBA G-League (essentially the minor league of professional basketball) announced the start of a program that would offer $125,000 contracts to the best high school basketball players in the nation instead of playing in college. While that goes on, league commissioner Adam Silver is trying to reach an agreement with the Players Association on lowering the minimum playing age to 18. The G-League contract program would begin in 2019. The lowering of the age requirement is aimed for the year 2022.

These developments would, of course, have a huge impact on the college basketball game as we know it today. As it stands currently (and has since 2005), the NBA requires those entering the draft to be at least one year out of high school and be at least 19 years old. There had been no realistic alternative to playing basketball in college during this time unless a player was willing to play professionally overseas. The G-League’s program will certainly lure away many of the better high school basketball players from the college game until the NBA drops the age limit and allows those players to enter the draft.

This is all very good news for those like me who have been critical of the NBA’s age requirement and want to see players get paid in some capacity since the NCAA will not allow it. I’ve written about the NCAA, the “one and done” phenomenon and how they relate to the professional game before. What I would like to do here is discuss the libertarian, or free market principles that apply to how the NBA should approach the issue of elite talent coming out of high school. These are the principles that have led me to the conclusion that the NBA was foolish to raise the age above 18 in the first place.

The Right to Your Labor

As an adult, you should have the right to enter into a contract with an organization that is willing to contract with you. Certainly the NBA has the right, as a private entity, to make their minimum age whatever they want. But why should an organization prevent individuals from receiving a contract from those within it (the teams) who would certainly offer it to them? If you truly own your talent, you should be able to use it to your own benefit in a free society.

Rejecting Society’s Obsession with College

When the NCAA is criticized for not allowing their athletes to profit in any way off of the value they clearly provide, a defense that is often made on their behalf is that the athletes are able to get a college education instead. The implication being that what you can learn in college can be equally or even more valuable than an athlete’s professional contract. But this claim ignores the declining value in having a college degree (for those athletes who actually graduate), plus the disinterest or inability that many student athletes have when it comes to benefiting from higher level learning. When going to college becomes a sacred cow, being enrolled in one is never questioned for anyone even if they would be better off contributing to society in other ways.

The claim of wanting elite college basketball players to stay in school has become laughable when other collegiate sports are taken into consideration. Do people care about elite high school baseball players choosing to enter the MLB draft instead of taking a baseball scholarship? The answer would be “no” because college baseball does not cause as much viewership as does March Madness. The desire to keep great college players at the amateur level has more to do with people’s desire to see those players compete at that level for a longer time rather than some kind of alleged commitment to higher education.

There is no Substitute for On-The-Job-Training

It is frequently stated during the debate over whether a collegiate basketball player should declare for the NBA Draft or not that the player should stay in college and “work on his game.” However, this seems curious considering that the college game varies so differently from that of the NBA and that the level of competition leads to very different personnel. In fact, according to the NCAA’s own statistics, only about 1.2% of collegiate basketball players will even make it to the NBA level. So why does it benefit an athlete trying to succeed at the professional level if they are going to continue competing in an organization where the overwhelming majority aren’t good enough to play at level in the first place? Clearly the best place to develop your NBA skills is in the NBA. While there, an athlete is able to compete against the individuals that he is trying to improve himself against. The style of play and the level of athleticism work to mold the athlete into someone who can succeed on the highest level. Claiming that trying to do this against an inferior level of talent is more beneficial makes very little sense.

For all of these reasons, those of us who embrace liberty should be encouraged by these developments. Both the G-League’s proposal and the lowering of the age for NBA draftees will go a long way in ending the NCAA’s stranglehold on top level talent that it isn’t willing to compensate. Sure, these two occurrences will cause a decline in the level of talent featured in college basketball. But considering the ongoing resistance to paying the players that so many have profited off of, it’s more than appropriate to say that this has been a long time coming.

If the Left Desires to Curb Police Abuse, They Must Confront Their Allegiance to Unions

Controversial former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick is back in the news again. It seems that over the Labor Day weekend, Nike decided to use him for a new advertising campaign despite no longer being a professional athlete. Of course, Kaepernick’s continuing relevance is due to his previous kneeling in protest during the National Anthem while it played before a football game as well as other positions he’s taken on social issues. Many have cited this as the primary reason he is no longer employed by a professional football team.

The initial causes of Kaepernick’s protest were perceived injustices that he thought were happening at the hands of American law enforcement against racial minorities. When asked about his decision to do this, Kaepernick said:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Regardless of what one thinks about this former athlete’s methods to convey his message, the abuse of police power is something that most people can generally condemn. So if this abuse is a problem where it exists, it is then fair to ask what is being done to improve the situation or what is preventing the situation from improving. What are the reasons for incidents like this continuing to happen even if they are rare and do not represent the vast majority of law enforcement? If there are solutions that could lessen the tendency for abuse, what barriers do those solutions face?

If one were to list the obstacles that were preventing necessary reforms to police practice and the elimination of the “bad apples” who contribute to these harmful incidents, it would be impossible to ignore the role that police unions play. Time after time these unions defend the most abusive and worst cops in their respective departments. Firing a bad cop is extremely difficult if he/she happens to be a union member. The ability to do away with the few members of law enforcement who behave in this manner would go a long way in improving the relationship with the police and their communities.

As is the case with so many unions, the ones comprised of policemen are closely in bed with politics. Elected officials frequently receive campaign contributions from police unions. Despite the protests of abuse by law enforcement generally coming from the political left, it is the Democratic Party that receives most of this funding. Thus, the reforms and firings that would need to take place in order to best prevent the situations that the left continues to protest are prevented from occurring due to the money from these unions that goes to leftist politicians.

In this regard, police unions are rarely ever different from other unions in the public sector. Just like firing bad cops is rarely ever done, firing bad teachers and other government employees is a monumental task. Of course, those unions make sure that this is the case. The result is often a system with very little accountability for the worst workers in every sector and level of government employment.

So perhaps it was rather fitting that Nike rolled out Kaepernick’s ad campaign on Labor Day weekend since the political left frequently lauds the existence of unions during this time. Those same progressives should do some soul searching in relation to how their ideology allows them to vehemently protest police abuse while championing unions who protect the abusers and the politicians who take the union’s money. In order to fix any problem, the root cause must be identified. Ignoring the role that police unions play in this matter will only keep this problem firmly in the ground.

Bill Simmons’ “Ringer” Site Goes Soft on Socialism, Goes Hard After Pro-Lifers

It should be no surprise that sports writer Bill Simmons would promote the writing of those who lean to the political left. After all, the former ESPN personality did hire liberal pundit (and writer for Esquire) Charles P. Pierce for his former website “Grantland.” But since leaving ESPN, Simmons has founded a new website called “The Ringer.” Among the topics discussed are sports (of course), television, movies, music and politics. On the site’s “politics” page, no indication is made as to what viewpoint or angle they want to represent. But a quick browsing of the article headlines should make it pretty obvious as to what agenda they are trying to push.

That agenda becomes remarkably clear in two of their recent articles. One is titled “Is the Socialism Wave for Real?” It highlights the rise of socialist New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The other is titled “‘Roe v. Wade’ and the Ugly Future of the Movies.” It discusses the upcoming movie about the landmark case. From the articles’ titles, one could conclude a bias right off the bat. Further examining the articles makes that bias become all the more obvious.

In exploring the new “fad” of socialism, author Justin Charity describes the critics of Ocasio-Cortez as being “alarmist to a fault.” Of course, there’s no mention of any kind of alarmism that might lead someone to embrace socialism. Charity then goes on to describe this brand of socialism as “a framework in which large tax revenues support robust public services, welfare resources, and labor unions.” He makes it sound so welcoming, doesn’t he? Left out of this description is the fact that tax revenues hover around 20% of GDP regardless of tax structure, the welfare state has crippled entire generations of Americans and labor unions (contrary to what is typically taught in public schools) were not responsible for raising wages, creating a 40 hour work week or ending child labor. The harsh reality is that socialism has crushed innovation and kept droves of individuals in poverty rather than providing an escape from it.

But the “socialism” write up wasn’t the only time last month that Charity had an article with a left wing bias published by the site. Eight days earlier, he had put forward a piece discussing the upcoming pro-life movie “Roe v. Wade.” The article’s subtitle poses the question “Is a polarized country ready for far-right cinema?” Implied is the accusation that someone has to be “far right” to be pro-life or favor the overturning of Roe. Charity continues to trash the film (and by extension, the anti-abortion movement) by saying:

“The film reinforces lies that have been told over and over,” one potential investor told The Hollywood Reporter in a story published last week. “All the weird fake news about abortion is in there. All stuff that is easily debunked.” The script also includes a scene in which the birth control activist Margaret Sanger, on her deathbed, vows to “exterminate the Negro population” through legalized abortion.”

What’s going on here is a rather uncreative bait and switch. Nowhere in the article is any of this “fake news” actually cited. If it’s so easily debunked, why doesn’t Charity do so in this writing? He then describes the deathbed scene, implying that this is a complete falsehood. While this claim being made from her deathbed may be a stretch, Sanger did indeed view certain races of people as inferior and saw abortion as a way to limit the number of children those races would have. Rather than being easily debunked, Sanger’s racism is actually quite easy to prove.

So these two articles, in addition to others on The Ringer site that deal with politics, have a clear agenda and ideology that they wish to promote. But they aren’t thought provoking or objective toward politics or truth. Rather, they conveniently omit details and give flowery visions of ideologies which they are sympathetic toward but don’t actually produce their alleged results. Perhaps in the future the site can provide a more accurate assessment of the things they both agree and disagree with.

Presidential Focus on Anthem Protests Just One of Many Government Overreaches

Once again the NFL’s National Anthem controversy has reentered the world of sports. It began last week when the NFL and NFL Players Association said that they were halting enforcement of all anthem rules as a result of a situation with players from the Miami Dolphins. President Donald Trump then tweeted that:

“The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again – can’t believe it! Isn’t it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart? The $40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand. First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!”

This has been one of many instances where Trump has given his comments regarding this controversy. The league, including their players, is under no obligation to obey any of the commands that come from the White House (see: The First Amendment). But given the recent decline in NFL ratings and the desire it has to improve and sustain its image, putting forth a policy that at least tried to reign in the tension wrapped up in this polarizing issue made sense. As a result, a policy was put forward that a fine would be levied at players who kneel for the National Anthem, but players planning on doing so could remain in the locker room for the duration of the song. Trump seemed to approve of this new policy, but then came the news from the league and the NFLPA. Thus, the aforementioned tweet from Trump was made.

Many people do not care for the way that the president has injected himself into the National Anthem debate. A poll from last year indicated that the number of people wanting Trump to continue commenting on the NFL player protests had significantly decreased. Some referred to the policy of remaining in the locker room as the NFL “caving” to the Trump administration. But if athlete protests are no place for a president in particular, or government in general, to attempt to impose their will, what other areas should government at all levels avoid this kind of heavy handedness? Here are some examples:

-Governments should not be involved in setting a minimum wage for workers. This is especially the case considering the focus of the NFL anthem protests (disadvantages racial minorities) are so often the victims of minimum wage laws.

-Governments should not be involved in bailing out private entities no matter how big they are or how big a crisis the economy is going through.

-Governments should not be involved in subsidizing private businesses or entities regardless of how virtuous the private business is alleged to be.

-Governments should not be involved in banning sharing services like Uber or Air B&B. What private owners decide to do with their own property is none of the government’s business unless it directly harms someone.

-Governments should not be involved in creating occupational licensing that limits competition to protect a privileged few.

-Governments should not be involved in sending money overseas in the form of foreign aid.

-Governments should not be involved in telling a business who it can or cannot provide a product or service to.

-Governments should not be involved in dictating the health insurance that employers must provide employees.

-Governments should not be involved in dictating to individuals how to defend themselves.

These are just some of the examples of areas where government is involved where it should not be. Considering this frequent interference, should it really be a surprise when the president intervenes in the matter of a private entity like the NFL? Expecting solutions from the state only further causes those who represent it to attempt to make right all the perceived wrongs of society. Thus, Trump’s consistent addressing of the National Anthem issue is merely a symptom of society’s dependence on the government to soothe the things which make us uncomfortable. Relying on those with political power to rid our culture of its ills is certainly not a new phenomenon. It’s definitely time that those within society to stop looking to the state in this way.

Absent Fathers Play Significant Role in Fewer Black Baseball Players

Over this past weekend, Major League Baseball celebrated the 71st anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the sport’s color barrier. As one would expect, the celebration highlighted the opportunity to praise the sport for the diversity it has come to show. However, one of the issues that was discussed in an ESPN video (as well as in other places over the years) is the declining numbers of African Americans at the Major League level. Despite the fact that black players from Latin American nations are on the rise, the percentage of American blacks in the game have been on the decline since their height of 18.7% in 1981. It has now been under 10% for over a decade.

There are several theories as to why this trend has been the case. Some cite the cost of admission to little league and the price of equipment. Others talk about the rise in popularity of football and basketball coupled with the best black athletes choosing to play those sports instead. Others have cited how the lack of individualism and the fact that baseball doesn’t seem “cool” enough for black America. But a factor that often goes overlooked, and likely won’t be voiced on ESPN, is the epidemic of fatherless households in the black community and how that can impact a son’s interest in baseball.

In general, baseball is more of a game that a son learns to play and to love from his father than any other sport. Playing catch in the backyard is something fathers and sons have done for generations. Taking your child to a baseball game is a longstanding American tradition as well. According to a study done by the Austin Institute,

“While some say baseball is culturally a sport the more educated and wealthy are drawn to, this data shows it’s nowhere near the magnitude of having a father in the home. Boys and girls are 25% more likely to play baseball and softball when they live with their father. High school baseball teams are more successful in counties where, 16 years earlier, more mothers were married when they had children.”

Considering the age of baseball players during these decades of the height of blacks at the Major League level and the subsequent decline, the timeline seems to bear this out. In the previously mentioned peak year of 1981 for African Americans in MLB, the overwhelming majority of players were from the Baby Boomer generation (born between 1946 and 1964). Since President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty in 1965, the rate of blacks raised without fathers has skyrocketed. So it makes sense that the Baby Boomers would produce the highest percentage of black professional baseball players since they were the last generation to be untouched by the government’s misguided policy that destroyed black families.

This isn’t to say that other issues aren’t factors as well. The inner-city surroundings in which many young blacks are more likely to grow up in America may lead to a greater likelihood of interests in other sports than baseball. In response, the league has created the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities initiative (RBI). Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper created the Make Baseball Fun Again movement that encourages more expression in the sport. These attempts may pay dividends down the road in trying to lure more American blacks back to the country’s pastime.

But as much as socioeconomic conditions and cultural preferences can play a factor in baseball’s popularity among specific groups, one cannot underestimate the impact that fathers have when it comes to a child’s athletic experience. The fact that the national rate for black children born to unwed parents has hovered around 70% since the 1990’s will play a huge role in what activities those individuals will be drawn to in their youth. Not having a father in the home has robbed children of all races of so much. Now it appears that a child’s experience in the world of sports is not exempt from those consequences.

No, the President is not our Coach

Fox News host Laura Ingraham certainly caused a firestorm with her recent comments regarding NBA superstars LeBron James and Kevin Durant. In case you haven’t heard, both James and Durant made disparaging remarks about President Donald Trump while being “interviewed” in the back of an SUV. Ingraham then responded to these comments on her show by telling both players to (among other things) “shut up and dribble.” As expected, a massive fallout has ensued.

But what perhaps is even more interesting is a part of the initial commentary on the part of both parties that many have missed when discussing the points that were made. While discussing the president, Durant stated that “I feel our team as a country is not run by a great coach.” This resulted in Ingraham saying, “LeBron and Kevin, you’re great players, but no one voted for you. Millions elected Trump to be their coach.”

So is the label that both Ingraham and Durant (and by association, James) give to the president an accurate one? Is the President of the United States really the “coach” of the people? In virtually every aspect that one could assign the title of coach, the president does not fit this description. The president (any president) is most emphatically not our coach and both of these NBA Stars along with Ingraham are incorrect for labeling him this way.

In any sport, a coach is someone who advises, critiques, inspires and instructs you. The president doesn’t do any of these things unless you work directly for him. A coach is someone you know personally who has a vested interest in how you perform your job. James and Durant do not know the president personally and appear to have no desire to ever meet him. In our own lives very few of us will ever even meet a sitting president, much less have a personal relationship with him.

All of this runs counter to the myth that most of us have repeatedly heard that the president “runs the country.” In reality, private individuals run the country rather than the president. Small business owners, CEO’s, bosses and heads of households are the ones who really run our everyday institutions. It’s not even correct that the president runs the government. He’s in charge of the executive branch of the federal government. That’s significantly more specific.

Possibly without knowing it, James and Durant have made an excellent case for a more limited presidential power. After all, if a bad president (as they both certainly believe Trump is) can seize the kind of control they fear he can, then the more limitations that president will need placed on him. A beneficial lesson can be learned from all of this. If a president that you vote for and admire assumes more power, then that same power can be wielded by an undesirable president in the future. This is something to keep in mind when any politician amasses more authority.

In light of all this, we should be thankful that the president does not act like our coach, boss, pastor, parent or any other authority figure in our personal lives. If he did, it would be a clear violation of the constitutional limitations that are supposed to restrain him. So when we vote for a president, we aren’t voting for a coach. The person we vote for has a much more limited role in our lives than that. This is a very good thing.

Take a Page From Athletic Philosophy to Solve Black-White Academic Gap

With college football’s bowl season starting, ESPN has recently published an article titled “Bowl-bound student-athletes getting better in the classroom.” The article provides an in-depth look at the academic progress of the players from the 78 teams competing in bowl games this season. Much of this analysis consists of addressing graduation rates for the football players attending these schools. These numbers are then contrasted with the results from previous years.

As one could probably decipher from the article’s title, there have been some significant improvements when it comes to the Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of student athletes who play football. The GSR for these teams participating in bowls is 77%. This is up from 75% in 2016. All bowl teams had a GSR of at least 50%. This feat was not achieved by the bowl teams from a season ago.

But an area of concern for these athletes continues to be the gap in academic achievement between blacks and whites. Although the difference has narrowed, there is still a 16 point advantage in graduation rates of white football players over black ones. The number of these schools with GSRs displaying a 30 percentage point gap between whites and blacks who play the sport is also on the decline. However, eight of the 78 teams still have this kind of disparity.

Although we can see positive trends when it comes to the academic achievement of black athletes, we should also account for what has been the source of the continued divide between black student athletes and those of other races. What factors still persist that are causing these results? How do we identify them? What, if anything, can be done to remedy this situation?

For one possible solution, let’s look to the other institution that categorizes these young men as student athletes to begin with. That is, let’s observe the success of blacks in the realm of football. After all, there are now more blacks playing Division One Football than any other race (blacks comprise an even larger percentage of NFL players). This is despite only about 13% of the US population being black. Clearly the problem of a lack of black competitiveness in academics is non-existent on the football field. But why is this the case? Is it because there is some government funded organization that dumps extraordinary amounts of money into making black kids into great football players? No, the reason lies in the demand for excellence that blacks place upon themselves to be great at their sport. It is the responsibility that these blacks take to perfect their skills that lead to being able to compete on this kind of level. Therefore, the solution to the academic deficiencies that black students face is through a desire for personal greatness.

The articles’ author then shares a quote from a discussion he had with famous civil rights activist Jesse Jackson. As far as black student athletes were concerned, Jackson stressed that,

“The collegiate ‘student-athlete’ must continue to maximize both sides of that title by pursuing excellence both in the classroom and on the playing field. Although the academic progress that has been made is encouraging, there is still much work to be done in bridging the achievement gap, and ensuring that African American student-athletes are receiving maximum benefit from their educational experience to prepare for a successful life and career after college. Not every athlete will be a Heisman Trophy winner, a first-round draft pick or a Hall of Fame player, but every student has the opportunity through their collegiate experience to prepare, equip and empower themselves for a meaningful and impactful future.”

Certainly this is not a bad sentiment with regards to these black students. But has Jackson really put this philosophy into practice? After all, if he truly desired excellence from black students in academia and thought they were capable of it, wouldn’t he reject a mindset of victimization and policies which give any kind of preference to blacks? Creating a victim culture and applying favoritism to any race implies that excellence is beyond their grasp or at least not achievable without the assistance from those of Jackson’s ilk and the policies that they favor.

Once again, the reason for the frequent achievement of excellence by blacks on the gridiron has nothing to do with any kind of race-based favoritism or victimhood. Rather, it is the perseverance and responsibility taken by these athletes which propels them to this status. It therefore can be said that blacks have been able to accomplish these feats by applying a very anti-Jackson philosophy to their approach. A similar path put forward on academics would certainly yield better results than the one that these types of black leaders have been peddling since they rose to prominence.

Gun Control Makes Little Sense for NFL Amid Protests

At least two NFL teams have now announced an effort to fund gun control efforts. The San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles joined together before playing one another late last month to declare a fundraising drive for several issued related to the regulations of various firearms. The effort netted almost a half a million dollars. The stated goal is to push for federal bans on bump stocks, suppressors, and armor-piercing bullets as well as to fund anti-gun public service announcements.

But in the wake of the recent protests and activism we see week to week in the NFL, these gun-limiting attempts make little sense. After all, the initial motivation for players “taking a knee” while the National Anthem played was the occurrence of abuse by law enforcement against racial minorities. What logic then would be behind any attempt to disarm the public who is allegedly being victimized by these agents of the state? After all, since all laws are backed up by the use of force by the government, that same government would have to be entrusted to restrict gun rights by using its own guns. This is not exactly a consistent philosophy.

Anyone who has followed the NFL and the protests which have accompanied it knows that there has been a shift away from the initial grievance of police abuse and toward President Donald Trump. This was largely a result of Trump expressing a desire for NFL owners to discipline players who refuse to stand for the National Anthem. Some said that this was another example of the president’s hostility toward minorities. But if that is true, gun control makes even less sense if we do indeed live in a country with a racially intolerant leader. Wouldn’t the races of people that the administration is supposedly at odds with need firearms to protect themselves against an enemy as powerful as the President of the United States?

In the midst of assessing why gun control would be bad news for disadvantaged minorities, let’s also consider how it would negatively impact women. Limiting gun access especially hurts females given that a firearm is often the only way they could fend off a male attacker. Also, considering the high number of NFL players who are accused of domestic violence, supporting a policy which potentially disarms the victims of these attacks is not exactly a look that the league should want to go for. In fact, considering the size and strength it takes to play professional football, women abused by these men would be in even more need of a gun if one of these relationships were to turn violent.

So considering the motivations behind the National Anthem protests combined with the league’s issues with women, pushing for gun control makes even less sense than it normally does. Those who truly believe that American minorities live in constant threat from either a racist police force or a fascist president should be advocating for more gun freedom, not less. If the league truly cared about the well-being of women, they wouldn’t want to put more restrictions on those women who need to defend themselves against a male aggressor (especially one who is physically able to play in the NFL). Perhaps one day those who are pushing for these measures will become aware of these types of contradictions.

Barkley says NCAA is Dirty. Still Wants Players to Stay There Longer With No Pay.

The aftermath of an FBI investigation into the NCAA has rocked the world of college basketball. Results of the findings were made public late last month. The most well-known of the casualties from the fallout was the effective firing of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino. In addition, assistant coaches from Oklahoma State, Auburn, Arizona and USC were charged with corruption along with Adidas global director of sports marketing James Gatto.

One of the most strangely honest moments to come following these revelations came from NBA hall of famer and TV personality Charles Barkley. When answering the question of who is to blame for the scandal, Barkley claimed:

“All of the above. Everybody’s got dirty hands in this whole thing. ESPN, which I love, the money they make on college basketball. Myself and CBS, what we make on March Madness. What the NCAA makes on all these sports. The shoe companies who funnel kids to certain schools, their hands are dirty. The kids who take the money, they don’t have to take that money. So there is nobody who has got clean hands in this whole scenario. It’s a dirty business.”

Barkley is certainly correct about the corruption that abounds in NCAA basketball. It very much is filled with these types of realities. He is absolutely right in calling these entities out. But one wonders why, when given this reality, he continues to harbor the other opinions he has regarding the game.

Barkley is on record saying he wants to require players coming into the NBA to have played two years minimum of college basketball before entering the draft. As it stands right now, the rule is only one year. But if this entity of college basketball is as dirty as Barley has realized that it is, why then should players be forcibly subjected to it for even more time? Doesn’t this increase the amount of “dirt” that these players (especially the elite, NBA ready players) will be involved in during their collegiate careers?

One solution that some have proposed in order to lessen the tendencies to pay student athletes under the table is to allow them to be paid. After all, doing this brings the money out into the open so that the actual business of college basketball can be more closely monitored. So is Barkley in favor of student athlete compensation as a solution? No, he isn’t. In 2015 he told USA Today:

“First of all, there’s not that many good college players. Less than one percent are going to play in the NBA. All of those kids are getting a free education. But let’s say we do it your way — we don’t pay all college players — we have to pay the diving team, the swimming team. That’s crazy.”

Of course, if people are willing to watch these players, why does it matter if they have the ability to reach the NBA? March Madness draws enormous ratings every year despite the very small percentage of its participants being able to make it to the professional level. It makes sense that the talent people are willing to watch should be compensated for the wealth they bring in. Being able to play in a completely different league should not be relevant.

Considering all of the money that is apparently flying around these programs, forcing players to stay there longer and continuing the attempt to prevent access to this money seems to be a fool’s errand. So Barkley seems to be fine with complaining about how dirty the college basketball system is. But he doesn’t want to change anything about why the system is so dirty in the first place. In fact, adding another year to the time a player must spend in this system only increases the exposure to the corruption that takes place. Let’s hope the recent scandals will at least cause him to start reconsidering some of these positions.

ESPN’s Hill has a History of Race-Baiting

Controversial ESPN personality Jemele Hill recently got into some hot water regarding a tweet she sent out conveying her opinion of President Donald Trump. In her tweet, Hill said:

“Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.”

ESPN has responded by saying that her remarks do not represent the network. No action was taken against Hill for the statement.

Although many have felt that some sort of penalty should have been enforced against Hill, ESPN not taking action against her should not come as a surprise. Hill has had a significant recent history of making baseless and outlandish racial remarks while employed at the network. Several of her past columns reflect either an inability to look outside of race as a situational factor or just a blatant desire to race-bait. No action was taken against her for those things as well.

During the 2010 NFL season, Hill wrote an article entitled “Is race still an issue for NFL QBs?” The three black quarterbacks that Hill chose as examples of “unfair” treatment were Vince Young, Jason Campbell and Donovan McNabb. When examining these three QB’s with the timeframe in which the article is written, the baselessness of Hill’s claims becomes apparent. Young would have his final regular season start in the NFL just one season later. His career was also marked by immaturity and conflict with his head coach. Campbell was in the midst of a wildly inconsistent season for the Oakland Raiders in which the team ended up going 8-8. McNabb was almost completely washed-up by this point in his career and was attempting to lead a mediocre Redskins team while having only marginal success. Clearly none of these examples are cases of some sort of stellar QB being blatantly spurned by a racist coach.

Nearly a year after writing that article, Hill doubled down on her playing of the race card when comparing quarterbacks Michael Vick and Tim Tebow. In that article, Hill stated that:

“When Tim Tebow bowls over a couple of defensive players for a touchdown in a meaningless preseason game, it’s considered a display of his toughness and leadership. But when Vick launches himself at Troy Polamalu after throwing a costly interception, it’s considered risky and stupid.”

Looking into the professional status of the two quarterbacks at this time, it becomes apparent that this comparison is absurd. Vick was the established starting QB for the Eagles and was about to sign a huge contract. Tebow was still backing up Kyle Orton on the Broncos at the time and was playing under a rookie contract. But of course, Hill doesn’t want to see these types of differences. She only sees race as the source of differing narratives.

Perhaps the most egregious of Hill’s race-baiting articles came after O.J. Simpson was found guilty of orchestrating an armed robbery in 2008. When questioning how fair the case’s jury was, Hill writes in her article:

“There are also serious questions about whether the jury was unbiased. According to an Associated Press report, five of the 12 jurors — all of whom were white — wrote in their questionnaires they disagreed with the 1995 verdict…so much for an unbiased jury of one’s peers.”

So apparently according to Hill, in order to accurately and unbiasedly serve on the jury of a man accused of a crime, you must have thought he was not guilty of a previous crime he was tried for. Why is this some sort of standard for being fair and objective in an unrelated case? Also, why even mention the race of those on this jury who thought Simson was guilty back in 1995? Certainly there were blacks (and other non-whites) who thought the jury decided Simpson’s 1995 double murder case incorrectly. Would it be “biased” to allow them to serve on this jury as well? Or is it only whites who thought this way who weren’t able to decide a fair verdict for the 2008 trial?

Given that Hill has been able to voice all of these opinions in ESPN columns without consequence, it becomes apparent that any reprimand for her tweets about Donald Trump should not be expected. The network has no problem giving her a platform for her views no matter how baseless or race-obsessed they are. It’s best to keep this in mind with regard to any of her statements going forward. Getting upset with someone who has the track record of Jemele Hill just isn’t worth it.