By the Rules

This morning at the Bellevue “Y”, I overheard a couple of guys dissing two names in the news.  One was Alex Rodriguez, three-time American League MVP and baseball’s highest paid player and possibly the biggest liar to ever swing a bat. The other was former Vanderbilt football coach and “Salesman of the Century”, James “Anchor Down” Franklin.

Long story short, they seemed to be saying that both former superheroes are really egomaniacs, who ignore the rules of the game and lie to further their careers. I assume that I do not need to detail why they would say such a thing about Rodriguez. As for Franklin, they put him in the same boat alongside A Rod. Because when he was hired at Vanderbilt, he claimed he was there for the long haul and “planned to put down roots at Vanderbilt”. They think Franklin is “even a bigger low life” than Rodriguez because he took some of the Vanderbilt commitments, (kids that have verbally accepted scholarships at Vanderbilt but have not signed on the dotted line yet), with him to Penn State. Some of the nouns they used to refer to Franklin would have gotten their mouths washed out had their mommas been around.

A few years ago when Lane Kiffin bolted for USC, leaving Tennessee high and dry and then poached the best recruits, I thought the same things about him. Fortunately, I came to my senses pretty quickly. My conclusion is that both Kiffin and Franklin played within the rules as set forth by the NCAA. Perhaps I did not like what they did, but they did not do anything that is not routine and accepted in their profession. There is a huge difference between taking banned drugs and lying about it and a coach leaving a team for a better job. Say whatever you wish about Rodriguez, but do not try to make Franklin out to be an evil man. He is not. One clearly played by the rules, the other mocked them.

Something to Think About

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