When I decided to attend the University of Kansas (cheerfully described in its promotional material as the “UMass of the Midwest”), there was very little fanfare. There was no signing ceremony, no stage, no cameras. I dropped the envelope containing my application into the mailbox, raised the little red flag, and went back inside to find my bong or watch Saved by the Bell or just eat Cool Ranch Doritos. Such was the life of a mediocre do-nothing 17-year-old during the twilight of the 20th century.
This week, a whole passel of athletic teenagers decided on a college and their decisions were met with great applause or anger. Across this great land of ours, cameras were trained on these freaks of nature as they thanked their mommas or their daddies or Jesus Christ hisself. And then a hat was chosen, its bill purposefully unbent. The South, still butthurt about the War of Northern Aggression, greedily laid claim to every great athlete this nation has to offer. Then, after the children had signed their letters of intent, the machine built to follow and track the movements of teenage football players sighed momentarily, then trained its sights on the next crop of 6th graders who show potential.
But before we leave this year’s celebration of purely innocent amateurism, let us take stock of one young soul who had it worst of all. His name is Alex Collins and all he wanted to do was play football for the Arkansas Razorbacks. Today, his mother hired Johnny Cochran’s ghost to represent her.
Let’s talk sports…
WOO PIG SUE-IE
Alex Collins is a running back from the Miami area who wants nothing more than to attend the University of Arkansas. Alex Collins’ mother, Andrea McDonald, thinks Alex Collins should probably stop being so stupid and let her handle his affairs. This Wednesday, as the annual circus known as Signing Day raged on, Andrea McDonald upstaged the circus. The Miami Herald describes the scene:
After Collins announced his decision on television Monday to attend the University of Arkansas, Andrea McDonald refused to go along with her son’s choice and bolted from his high school ceremony Wednesday morning without signing his National Letter of Intent.
Her school of choice: Miami.
“She said she didn’t want to sign,’’ Collins’ older brother Johnny, 20, told The Miami Herald by phone. “I know she preferred him to go to UM. Alex had said he was going to the U, and then all of a sudden he changes his mind. We found out he was going to Arkansas on TV.’’
Johnny said he and his older sister accompanied their mother, a single parent, to South Plantation High at about 10:45 a.m. for the would-be signing ceremony, and that the siblings were told to wait in the room with “the public and media’’ while she and Alex went into a separate room. But “a couple minutes later,’’ Johnny said, his mother left.
And so Alex Collins was made to wait until yesterday to sign his letter of intent. This time with his father in tow, Alex signed the paperwork to attend Arkansas. And everyone lived happily ever after. If you’ll excuse me, this is the part of our story where the ghost of Johnny Cochran upsets our otherwise placid tableau:
Also on Thursday, McDonald hired an attorney with the Cochran firm to represent the family “while she contemplates” where her son plays football in college. She is hoping to get the letter of intent voided and have her son attend Miami, like she wants.
If the son don’t quit, the mom throws a sh*t-fit.
There is nothing to suggest that the Cochran law firm can do anything to help Ms. McDonald other than issue press releases. Alex’s father signed the necessary paperwork and soon, the loco parent must necessarily give way to in loco parentis. Ms. Mcdonald should probably just sit this play out. Take a breather.
BILLY HUNTER WILL NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT
Former United States Attorney Billy Hunter has commanded the NBA Players Association since 1996 and in that time, the union has been a feckless one, bent over the knee of David Stern and swatted whenever the formerly-mustachioed commissioner has seen fit. Feckless the players could stomach. Perhaps they had known all along that they didn’t have the strong bargaining position of major league baseball players. Or perhaps they didn’t care. However, what they couldn’t stomach was nepotism. And boy, did Billy Hunter love nepotism. At least, according to an independent audit conducted by Paul Weiss into Billy Hunter’s stewardship of the Players Association.
According to the audit, Hunter used the Union as a personal stimulus plan for Billy Hunter’s family. Billy Hunter disagrees with this position:
In response to the audit, Hunter announced last week that he was cutting ties with Prim and terminating the employment of his daughter and daughter-in-law. He also instituted an anti-nepotism policy.
Hunter said he had no regrets about employing family members. “The union has not suffered as a consequence of any of that,” he said. “Let’s make that point clear. There’s been no detriment suffered by the union. We did not have an anti-nepotism policy in place, so there was nothing unprofessional, unethical about hiring my children.”
Ashley, citing the audit, added: “Even with respect to the children, the finding was, No. 1, that they were qualified; No. 2, that they did their jobs right. And they were not paid exorbitantly. We all know that, in business, very often you find many instances where people hire their children to work for them.”
Very often, you find many instances. Sometimes? You find a few.
Listen, Thomas Ashley, Hunter’s attorney, is right when he says nepotism exists everywhere. For instance, did you know that Elie is Lat’s son? I didn’t either, until I made it up just now. But where Ashley’s argument suffers is in the real world observation it leaves out. In business, very often you find many instances where people are sh*tcanned for ethically dubious things that were tolerated for a long time. While the players may have been shocked, shocked to find that nepotism was going on in there, their obvious pretense doesn’t make Billy Hunter’s position any stronger. He’s toast. And despite his protests to the contrary, I bet he knows it.
RAP SHEET ROLL CALL
* Drunk driving, plastic cups of wine, a Ford F150 and lottery tickets. The unbearable whiteness of being Todd Helton.
* Jevon Kearse is hoping he doesn’t have to tell Uzi and Ari that he got jacked by the IRS.
* A USC tight end has been charged with five felonies and I’m not making a tight end joke because I don’t think there’s anything funny about prison rape.
Mother of former Miami Hurricanes commitment Alex Collins refuses to sign letter of intent [Miami Herald]
Alex Collins’ mom hires lawyer to stop son from going to Arkansas [Los Angeles Times]
Hunter and His Lawyer Take an Audit to Task [New York Times]