Mailbag: Zoom Sports and Some NFL Updates

Zoom athletics are a thing, and I am confused. Lawrenceville wants to make us attend two sessions of virtual basketball, or whatever sport you’re signed up for, for a week. I’m sorry, what?

Sports go… virtual…

Zoom athletics are a thing, and I am confused. Lawrenceville wants to make us attend two sessions of virtual basketball, or whatever sport you’re signed up for, for a week. I’m sorry, what?

If this is Lawrenceville’s way of sending me a message, I understand. I’ve definitely put on a quarantine 15. Still: isn’t this a bit excessive? Zoom athletics is an oxymoron; it’s not going to help me lose weight. Besides, Lawrenceville’s already embarrassing me by making me take math class in front of my parents. I don’t need this, too. Can we at least get a Warzone option?

I promise I’ll run over break. I’ll cut down on the frozen pizzas I’ve been pretending are dinner. Heck, I’ll even take showers and change out of sweats. So please, Lawrenceville, don’t make me awkwardly do crunches on Zoom while my family and classmates watch. I can’t flex my biceps for a whole hour.

You’ve seen Elf on the Shelf, but how about Wentz on the Bench?

Some people think the Founding Fathers’ greatest act was the establishment of a constitution which enshrined liberty and set this great American experiment in motion. It’s now clear, however, that their finest deed was moving the capital from Philadelphia to Washington D.C.

Can you imagine if Philadelphia was the capital? Philly sports fans are notoriously awful, so awful that the Philadelphia Eagles’ old stadium featured a functioning jail cell. A fan once hopped into a penalty box and fought Tie Domi, the most infamous goon in National Hockey League (NHL) history. Philly fans even booed Santa Claus—Santa Claus!—and pelted him with snowballs in 1968, prompting then player Mike Ditka to complain, “You just don’t do that to Santa Claus.” If Philadelphia were the capital, Philly fans would ruin things; public urination would be legalized and Congress would devolve into nutjobs making nonsensical statements like “Nick Foles is good'' and constantly fighting each other. Wait… the latter already happens. Anyways, Philly fans are the worst, which is why I’ve really enjoyed watching Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz this year. He’s been absolutely terrible all season.

Unfortunately, I won’t get to watch Wentz any longer, because his coach, Doug Pederson, recently announced that Wentz will no longer start games. Prior to Pederson benching him, Wentz was on pace to join an elite group—he was leading the race for the “Triple Frown” of quarterbacking: sacks, fumbles, and interceptions. Only the legendary Blake Bortles, now a practice squad player, has ever completed the “Triple Frown.” Sadly, Wentz won’t join Bortles due to our man’s being benched, but I’m still looking towards the bright side: The Eagles are paying their backup quarterback a team-crippling $128 million to sit for the next three years, unless they find a hopeless franchise they can trade him to.

In 2018, the Eagles defeated my Chicago Bears in the playoffs. Suddenly, everyone on campus had an opinion on Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky and how bad he was. I was the butt of every joke. Well, who’s laughing now? Trubisky’s contract is up at the end of 2021, but the Eagles are stuck. Good luck signing players with all that dead money wrapped up in Wentz.

Philly fans, you did this to yourselves. You can’t mess with Santa Claus. He knows who’s naughty and who’s nice, and he always delivers. This year, he delivered Wentz on the Bench—payback for 1968. From all of us non-Philly fans: Thank you, Santa Claus.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The Browns find a new way to screw up.

Wow. I knew things were going too well for the Cleveland Browns. Just when they start winning, they go and mess something up. On December 10, the Browns honored Myles Garrett as the team’s “Walter Payton Man of the Year,” an award given to the player who exemplifies excellence off the field. The list of past winners includes noted sweetheart Drew Brees, who founded a charity, raised some $35 million, and helped rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Basically, it’s the good guy award. Myles Garrett should not be up for the good guy award.

In case you don’t follow the National Football League (NFL), here’s a refresher: Last year, on November 14, Garrett ripped the helmet off of Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph. He proceeded to wield that helmet like a club, using it to bash Rudolph directly on the head. Garrett only managed to drill Rudolph once—he attempted to land more head-shots, but Rudolph’s teammates rushed to his defense and downed Garrett before he could go for seconds. Garrett is 6’4” and weighs 271 pounds. He’s an incredibly strong human. Fortunately, Rudolph escaped merely with a concussion, but given Garrett’s strength, it could’ve been much worse. Robert Cantu, the medical director of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, stated that Garrett’s recklessness “could have killed” Rudolph.

The reaction after the game was swift and appropriate. Everyone asked to comment said the right things, including Garrett, who apologized the following night. Things got sticky a week later, though, when Garrett appealed his indefinite suspension. During the appeal, Garrett claimed that Rudolph used a racial slur to provoke him. Obviously, Garrett’s allegations were serious and, if true, would cast the whole incident in a different shade. The problem: They weren’t true. The NFL conducted a thorough investigation which “found no such evidence” to support Garrett’s slander. Moreover, none of the players on the field—including Garrett’s own teammates—heard anything to support his account. In light of Garrett’s appeal, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, one of the most measured and reputable figures in the NFL, told ESPN that "I think [Rudolph's] reputation needs to be…defended aggressively,” while reiterating that the NFL “was very clear that [it] launched a thorough investigation among all parties involved, including…the analysis of technology that was on the field, and found no evidence.” Garrett, then, appears to have not only endangered the life of another player but also tried to shirk responsibility through lying.

This is not to say Garrett’s a bad guy. By all accounts, he is normally a good dude. His charitable exploits are well-documented, and they corroborate his reputation as an actively kind man. Further, his supporters are correct that one mistake shouldn’t define him, which is why he still plays in the NFL and still receives an annual salary worth over $25 million. However, as his teammate Baker Mayfield acknowledged, Garrett’s clubbing of Rudolph was “inexcusable.” Moreover, his slander was petulant. Maybe in a few years Garrett will win Man of the Year again and it will all make sense, but nominating him for a character award now, at first opportunity after his poor conduct, is callous.

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