Showing posts with label Jordan Jefferson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jordan Jefferson. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The last Founding Father

I would be remiss if I failed to point out that George Jefferson was a Founding Father. He also is on the $2 bill.

Not many people will tell you the full story about how momentous the sitcom character's passing is, along with that of his alter ego, Sherman Hemsley. But I just did.

You can thank me later.

Yes, this is an oldie but a goodie. But how could I not revisit it on this sad and notable occasion? Jordan Jefferson:
The gift that keeps on giving.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It takes a couyon

Here's the thing about sportswriters: When it comes to "protocol" and "professional" and following the rules and stuff, they're a lot more Felix Unger than Oscar Madison.

You can't cheer in the press box, no matter that a fair slice of the press in the box is in the tank for dear old Fill-in-the-Blank U, committing the official version of the truth to paper while dishing the juicier
(and truer) stuff back in the newsroom. Coach gets asked -- mostly -- the questions he feels like answering, and Coach gets -- mostly -- the stories he can live with.

Sometimes, though, a sportswriter gets a wild hair. Then there can be hell to pay.

AND WHEN there's hell to pay, a sports reporter can lose "access." And when a paper or TV station loses access, it can lose audience, and when it loses audience, it loses advertising, and when it loses advertising. . . .

It's all quite rational. It's all quite rationalized. And when some Boudreaux from the bayou gets pissed off and starts speaking truth to football power -- even when the Boudreaux is an Hebert who used to be an NFL quarterback -- the horrified "professionals" in the room start reaching for the smelling salts.

Like this guy from
The New York Times:
After Miles made an opening statement, the moderator opened the floor to questions. The first came from Bobby Hebert, a local broadcaster and former Saints quarterback, whose son, T-Bob Hebert, plays center and guard for L.S.U.

Hebert started, according to the transcript: “Coach, did you ever consider bringing in Jarrett Lee, considering that you weren’t taking any chances on the field? Now, I know Alabama’s defense is dominant. But, come on, that’s ridiculous, five first downs. I mean, so it’s almost an approach, I’ll tell you from the fans’ standpoint, that how can you not maybe push the ball down the field and bring in Jarrett Lee?”

In the often mundane world of post-event news conferences, where coaches spew clichés and reporters worry about deadlines, this rant, in all its fan-like anger – from a broadcaster to the man who coached his son – registered somewhere near the level of “bombshell,” as the room fell silent and faces filled with shock.

In theory, such news conferences are supposed to be attended by objective reporters, which doesn’t mean that always happens. But even then, this was unusual, too. In the press room after the game, talk of Hebert’s lack of decorum dominated conversation more than Alabama’s transcendent championship performance.

Lee served as the Tigers’ quarterback for much of the season, when Jordan Jefferson, who played all of the game Monday, was suspended for his alleged role in a bar fight. Lee, in the Tigers’ locker room Monday, said he “thought I might get” a chance to play when Jefferson and the L.S.U. offense remained stagnant from the first half into the second. But that, of course, never happened.

So back to Hebert. He continued with his “question,” later, again according to the transcript, adding, “I know the pass rush of Alabama, but there’s no reason why in five first downs … you have a great defense, L.S.U. is a great defense, but that’s ridiculous.”

At that point, the moderator interrupted, asking, “Do you have a question?”

Hebert responded: “That’s the question. Do you think you should have pushed the football more down field?”

Miles answered: “I think if you watch our calls that we did throw the football down the field. We didn’t necessarily get the football down the field.”
LISTEN, Mr. New York Times, I got a scoop for you. It's better to be the "unprofessional" oaf who asks the obvious damn question everybody wants answered than it is to be a polite, oh-so-professional, ball-less wonder who dutifully repeats coaches' bulls***.

We Louisianians have a saying about this that I just made up:
Sometimes, it takes a couyon.

UPDATE: Let's just say it didn't take long for the Empire to strike back against the Cajun Cannon.

A Sugar Bowl flack told a reporter Bobby Hebert's question was "disappointing" and that he might be banned -- in PR speak, that's called withholding "credentials" -- for future bowl games and BCS championship games.
"We don't want to credential people who go into a press conference and act like a fan," he said.

He had no comment on the future credentialing of coaches who go onto the field and act like homicidal maniacs.

Not. Helping.

Alas, after the embarrassing performance by my LSU Tigers tonight, I fear there just may not be enough booze in the world.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban is a genius. An evil genius, but a genius nevertheless. LSU's Les Miles? Not so much.

Listen. I can screw up just as badly at just about anything as the LSU coaching staff and quarterback Jordan Jefferson did Monday night at football. Please . . . somebody pay me $4 million fo f*** up just like Les did.

Better yet, how about the Gret Stet of Loosiana throw a few more million at its flagship university's actual reason for being, which is education. I am sure there are plenty of professors who can teach as bad a class as Les coached a game. I also am sure there are plenty of undergrads who can take as bad a final exam as Jefferson played a final game.

FOR GOD'S SAKE, show those f***-ups as much money love as boosters and fans show the football program. Then maybe Louisiana natives like me won't be thinking -- before the Big Game -- "Please, God, let the Tigers win. It's all we got."

Furthermore, I have theories about the inexplicable performance of LSU that are not based in reality. Well, at least not likely based in reality. Unfortunately, they make much more sense than anything that's remotely plausible -- of which I got nothing.

Congrats to hated rival Alabama. I wish the Tigers could have given you a game.

Screw football, I wish Louisiana could have given its children a national-championship future.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

'I want a brave man, I want a cave man. . . .'

Gee, this certainly looks familiar.

And -- imagine the coincidence! -- the Baton Rouge cops have the same excuse as Omaha cops did recently for their adventures in police brutality. She (he) hit us first.

Well, that certainly makes all the difference in the world, doesn't it? I'll bet the attorneys for suspended LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson are shaking their heads right now.

Or something.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The long leg of the law

Click photo for video

If LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson can keep a felony conviction off his record, I think I've found a future profession for the young alleged curb-stomper.

Omaha cop.

It falls under
"If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." Become an Omaha cop, Jordan, and you can kick the s*** out of people, then get a "Get Out of Jail Free" card!

The beauty of America is that, in one place, you can have the city prosecutor making a similar argument for the Long Leg of the Law as defense attorneys made on behalf of felony battery suspects in another. Is this a great, morally relativistic country, or what?

Omaha World-Herald takes it from here:

A tape of an Omaha police arrest has raised questions about excessive force. But authorities say the tape doesn't depict the whole story — and a review by the city prosecutor ended with no charges against the officers.

The tape, shown Tuesday on public access TV, shows police using force while taking Robert A. Wagner, 35, into custody outside Creighton University Medical Center shortly after Wagner's cousin was shot and killed on May 29. At one point, a female officer kicks Wagner repeatedly as he lies on the ground.

But authorities note that the tape doesn't show what happened before the arrest. Wagner is accused of pushing one officer and punching another, said Omaha City Prosecutor Marty Conboy.

Wagner is charged with felony assault of an officer in connection with the incident. A pretrial hearing in the case was scheduled for Wednesday morning, but was postponed. Wagner declined to comment.

Conboy said the officers involved in the incident will not face criminal charges.

The tape shows a female officer kicking Wagner three times in the right shoulder or head area. Conboy said it also shows what looks like Wagner taking a swing as he enters into the view of the hospital's security camera.

"The problem with this video is you don't see everything that was going on before," Conboy said.

AND THE PROBLEM with the LSU bar-brawl videos is that none of them show the first punch, either. But the Baton Rouge and Omaha videos do show the one relevant thing -- a curb stomp of someone helpless on the ground.

A criminal-justice professor told Omaha's
KETV television that's all he needed to see:
A [University of Nebraska at Omaha] professor, known for his expertise in police matters, says what happened during an arrest caught on surveillance tape should never have happened.

The video comes from the parking lot of Creighton University Medical Center early on the morning of May 29. Police reports allege the man in the video, Robert Wagner, punched an officer off camera. On camera, nine officers surround Wagner, and while he is one the ground, one officer kicks near his head several times.

The Omaha police department took the surveillance to the city prosecutor who found no criminal wrongdoing and as of Wednesday night there was no complaint filed by the suspect.

Dr. Sam Walker, a UNO professor and an advocate for police accountability, said he was troubled when he saw the video.

“The initial reaction was obviously just shocked,” said Walker. “The female officer kicking the guy three times, she should be fired.”

Walker said there is no legitimate reason for any officer to do that.

City prosecutor Marty Conboy watched the video and said there is nothing criminal about it.

“Whether it's appropriate or not, I can't comment,” said Conboy. “Whether it's criminally intended assault, it does not appear to be gratuitous or something she does intentionally.”

“She didn't do it accidentally,” argued Walker. “She didn't stumble, so I think he was wrong on that.”
WHETHER it's football, a bar brawl or an arrest, there's one simple rule: You don't kick a man when he's down.

If you're too stupid -- or too gangsta -- to understand that, the criminal-justice system needs to kneecap you. But good. Right now.

That's because the police force has the same room for thugs as the football team at Wossamotta U. -- none.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

But Five-0 does

“I think that we need to all take a deep breath and relax. This is college students acting like college students on both sides. I don’t buy into the word ‘victim’ at all.”
-- Lewis Unglesby
Jordan Jefferson's
defense attorney

For the record -- though I am loathe to admit it nowadays -- I am an LSU graduate.

You know, F*** Bed Check and Let's Go Get in a Bar Fight U.

I also will admit to spending my share of time in barrooms while an undergraduate -- and the drinking age was 18 back then.

And I want you to know that I am officially pissed off -- but good -- at Lewis Unglesby's lame-ass defense of the guy who may be trading in No. 9 for a much longer set of digits and a starring role in The Longest Yard 3.

It's the defense of low expectations . . . of "but everybody's doing it, Ma!" It's the same kind of non-existent expectations that historically has made my alma mater a nationwide academic also-ran and has made my home state a nationwide embarrassment.

EVERYBODY gets in bar fights and (allegedly) curb-stomps some guy.

Nobody invests in higher education -- that's for eggheads. Harvard and Stanford are just jealous of our football team.

Everybody in government's a crook. But at least ours are more entertaining, you stick-in-the-mud Yankee sissies.

Help! I've fallen and I can't get up! Give me some money, America!

As one scholarly former LSU football coach once observed in the heat of battle, "F*** that s***!"

AS I NOTED, I spent more than my fair share of time at Murphy's, the Bayou, the Cotton Club, the Spanish Moon and God knows where else. Oh, the Tiger Lair in the LSU Union . . . can't forget that Friday-afternoon favorite. (And yes, LSU had an on-campus watering hole back in the day. I'll bet you're so shocked.)

Likewise, I will stipulate that I am well familiar with jocularity, falling on my ass, puking in the bushes on the Quadrangle and bed spins. I hate bed spins.

Despite my best attempts at undergrad alcoholism and bar-hopping, however, not once did I ever engage in a bar fight. And any head I may have kicked probably was the result of drunkenly stumbling over a passed-out classmate.

I don't know. Maybe I just never got the hang of college, or of "acting like college students."

Then again, maybe counselor Unglesby is either full of crap or knows his potential jurors all too well. Probably both.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Where have all the grown-ups gone?

This video is up here because I needed to cleanse my mental palate.

You see, I just read the police report about the football riot at LSU. The one that fanboy enablers dismiss as just another "bar fight" and has Tiger quarterback Jordan Jefferson and three others in such legal hot water.

You may read the initial police report here. I don't intend to spend any more time -- at least in this missive -- on a mob of wannabe London rioters who were so stupid as to break team curfew, head to a bar, yank a guy out of his pickup, beat him senseless and do it all while "wearing official LSU Football shirts."

Who'll notice? What's the worst that could happen?

NO, FORGET that and forget them. One is hopeful Five-0 will remember well enough for the lot of us.

Remember the video above, the story of something good that descended upon Baton Rouge for more than half a century. Someone who came to WAFB television in 1960 and really built something over the next 30 years, and did it unpretentiously while, to my knowledge, not causing any mass mayhem at local barrooms while wearing Channel 9 swag.

Another grown-up has left the scene in my hometown, and in American journalism. Another grown-up from "the greatest generation" has departed America and moved to a better neighborhood, one where the streets really are paved with gold.

There will be no more Newsline 9, News-Scene or Channel 9 News for Carlton Cremeens to anchor or orchestrate. There will be no more talent for him to find, hire and develop. There will be no more insistence on stellar writing. (Turn on your local TV news tonight. I dare you.)

And there will be damned few mid-market TV anchors who can, for example, hold his own with someone like Walker Percy and then get the interview published in The Southern Review.

Another grown-up gone. Now we return you to our regularly scheduled bar brawl.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Terrible grace vs. just terrible

This week, you can't open the sports section without reading about the star-crossed relationships of 20-year-old college students and 50-something coaches.

In Baton Rouge, among the stately oaks and broad magnolias, police hauled in four LSU football players Tuesday for questioning about a bar brawl that left four men battered and bruised -- one of them with cracked vertebrae. Two of the players, including Tiger starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson, weren't even old enough to have a legal beer at the time.

The cops say somebody's going to face charges -- maybe even felony battery charges. The question now is who. Jefferson?

Some substitute who throws better punches than blocks? Some other among the 20 or so Tigers at the appropriately named bar -- Shady's -- Thursday night?

Po-po ain't done questioning the thirsty Tigers yet, according to
The Advocate:

The names of the men injured in the fight were not released. However, White said, the man who was knocked unconscious and suffered contusions to his head, nose and hands is a Marine.

White said four LSU football players implicated in the incident gave their statements to police Tuesday at State Police headquarters and gave investigators the names of at least a dozen witnesses.

The four players — senior quarterback Jordan Jefferson, 20; freshman wide receiver Jarvis Landry, 18; sophomore offensive tackle Chris Davenport, 21; and sophomore linebacker Josh Johns, 21 — met with police for about two hours, the chief said.

“They were quite gracious,” White said of the players. “They gave their statements willingly.”

Police spokesman Sgt. Don Stone said investigators will interview the witnesses the football players told them about.

“It’s possible we will talk to more football players,” he said. “Names were mentioned today (Tuesday).”

Stone said interviewing the additional witnesses could extend the police investigation five, possibly 10 days.

“This investigation is far from over,” he said. “We are still on a fact-finding mission.”

However, Stone added, based on facts investigators already have gathered, “there is a good chance that when the investigation is over arrests will be made” and that people could be booked with simple battery and second-degree battery.

Second-degree battery is a felony offense that carries a maximum five-year prison sentence upon conviction while simple battery is a misdemeanor.

LSU'S COACH, Les Miles, says he'll take action beyond extra running for the team as the situation sorts itself out. He won't say what, because LSU football coaches have their priorities -- like not tipping off No. 3 Oregon (Sept. 3, Cowboys Stadium) about personnel or the game plan.

The cynical among us are tempted to just chalk this up as "college sports today." Another typical day in the big-money, big-entitlement, BMOC world of 20-year-old jocks and their 50-something coaches.

Tempted. Tempted until another story presents itself -- one of a 50-something coach and her 20-year-old son.

This one comes out of Knoxville, Tenn., just a few hundred miles northeast of the underage beer and parking-lot brawls of Baton Rouge. Torn from the pages of
The Washington Post, it's Sally Jenkins' account of a women's basketball program, a devastating diagnosis, terrible grace and the unshakable bond between a mother and a son.

YOU WANT to know why Pat Summitt, leader of the Lady Vols the past 37 years, has won more games than any coach of either sex, anywhere? Here's a clue:

Last Thursday, Summitt, Barnett, and her 20-year-old son Tyler, who is a junior at the University of Tennessee, met with Chancellor Jimmy Cheek and Athletic Director Joan Cronan to inform them of her condition. Barnett warned Summitt that contractually school administrators had the right to remove her as head coach immediately. Instead, Cheek and Cronan listened to Summitt’s disclosure with tears streaming down their faces.

“You are now and will always be our coach,” Cheek told her. With the blessing of her university, she will continue to work for as long as she is able.

“Life is an unknown and none of us has a crystal ball,” Cronan says. “But I do have a record to go on. I know what Pat stands for: excellence, strength, honesty, and courage.”

To Barnett, Pat’s fight is characteristic; her determination to keep working, and also to act as a spokeswoman for Alzheimer’s, is not incompatible with the values she has always preached as a coach.

“If you go back to her speeches, and her discussions with players through the years, you see several things,” Barnett says. “One is absolute dedication. Two is an unwillingness ever to give up. And three is an absolute commitment to honesty. And in this challenge that she’s facing, she is displaying the exact traits that she’s always taught. . . .Pat is going to run this race to the very end.”


It wasn’t until August that the reality of her condition hit home. “There was a pretty long denial period,” Tyler says. “At first she was like, ‘I’m fine.’ ”

When the blow finally fell, it was heavy. Summitt had always been the caregiver: Friends, family and former players struggling physically or emotionally have always come to her house for comfort, a hot meal and soothing advice in that honeyed southern voice. “I want to go see Pat,” is a common refrain. It wasn’t easy to reverse the role, and to admit that she would need care.

In September 2006, not long after the death of her father, she separated from R.B. Summitt, her husband of 26 years. Some months later, she found herself immobilized by physical pain, and was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Summitt rarely betrayed in public the toll of that disease, but there were occasions, before it was successfully controlled by medication, when her son had to help her put her socks on.

In between those traumas she suffered a shoulder separation — from fighting a raccoon — and was hospitalized twice, once for cellulitis, and once for dehydration and exhaustion. Still, for all of that, she managed to lead the Lady Vols to consecutive national championships in 2007 and 2008.

Through it all, there has always been a sense of centeredness in Summitt. She is like a marble pillar, ramrod straight, that seems to have stood for a thousand years, while everything around it falls.

“Everyone has always wanted to know what Pat’s really like,” DeMoss said. “The word I’ve always used is ‘resolve.’ Pat has more resolve than any one I’ve ever known. She has a deep, deep inner strength.”

But now she will need a different kind of counterintuitive strength. Surrender and acceptance have never come naturally to her, nor has admitting vulnerability. She has trouble even uttering the word Alzheimer’s. But she’s learning.

“We sat down and had a good talk, and realized that the only reason we even made it this far, was that we had each other,” Tyler says. “It started with her father passing away, and then the divorce, and the arthritis, and then the Alzheimer’s, and each of those things, I don’t know how anyone could go through them alone. So we figured out that as much as we wanted to be Superman and Wonder Woman, and take care of things alone, we needed each other.”

MEANTIME, down on the bayou, the LSU players' high-powered yet pro-bono attorney, Nathan Fisher, says his clients are "scared to death" and that they "cried in this meeting -- they are scared to death."

Did you get the picture that they're scared to death? Do you get the picture that I'm strangely unmoved, considering?

Would that Pat Summitt might have the sad satisfaction of knowing why she's facing a sentence impervious to the best efforts of the best lawyer money can't buy. Or, thus far, to the best efforts of the best doctors that money can.

And would that a 20-year-old kid at the University of Tennessee had nothing worse to worry about than the prospect of a jail time and the wasting of a collegiate football career.

Lord, have mercy.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

George Jefferson and the Big Lie

LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson won't be movin' on up to Phi Beta Kappa.

Unfortunately for the university's media-relations types, however, he moved on up to
ESPN -- an event they touted to the world:
LSU senior quarterback Jordan Jefferson will spend Thursday at the ESPN Headquarters in Bristol, Conn., appearing on various ESPN shows and platforms throughout the day as part of the network's "car wash."

The ESPN "car wash" for Jefferson gets underway at 9:50 a.m. CT with an appearance on ESPN First Take, which will air on ESPN News. Jefferson will also participate in the network's social and digital media platforms, including an appearance for ESPN Rise Magazine's official website.

"I am excited about representing our team with this opportunity," said Jefferson Tuesday morning. "We had a great spring and we have worked very hard this offseason as a team. I can't wait until camp starts and the start of my senior year. I know our fans are just as excited with the season right around the corner."

After lunch in the ESPN cafeteria and an opportunity to visit with ESPN personalities, Jefferson will conduct an chat at noon CT followed by a live interview on the Scott Van Pelt ESPN Radio show at 12:45 p.m. CT. The "SVP show" also airs tape delayed on ESPNU at 2 p.m. CT. To access the chat, visit
HOW DO YOU screw up the answer to that question? Easy. By not having a clue about fourth-grade American history.

You get spotted the last name. You see the powdered wig. And you come up with George Jefferson of TV fame?

No, you don't. Even an LSU football player knows George Jefferson was black.

In this case, I'll bet, what you come up with is "Thomas Washington, George Jefferson . . . whatever."

That some Americans surely are that confused about the Founding Fathers and the origins of our country is tragic -- both for civics' sake and theirs -- but not surprising. That some Americans are that confused and on scholarship to an American university when scores of less-confused young people no longer can hope to afford a college education is a crime.

It also is a contradiction that American colleges and universities have ignored for decades, all for the sake of athletic glory and the almighty dollar. It's a contradiction we ignore, despite the injustices at its heart, for the sake of the bread-and-circuses segment of the American economy.

We perpetuate the Big Lie because of all we have built upon its foundation -- giant stadiums, a TV-sports money machine and de facto developmental leagues for the NFL, NBA and MLB. There's big money in the Big Lie.

And not such a Big Future -- at least anymore -- in being a former LSU quarterback in the National Football League. JaMarcus Russell, anyone?

AS CLOSE AS we get to acknowledging the Big Lie is the cynical wink we give when forced to utter the words "student athlete." And that right there is a massive injustice to the many student athletes who fit the bill -- and bear the stereotype for all those who pretend to learn while we pretend they're college material . . . or even aspire to be.

I'm not here to run athletics out of American colleges -- not that I could even if I wanted to. What I am here for is to ask you, as you polish off another damn bag of chips watching all the "student athletes" get the ESPN "car wash" treatment, to give a fleeting thought to the Big Lie.

And to say a prayer for all those non-athletes who do recognize Thomas Jefferson as they slave away for Abraham Lincolns while too many "student athletes" are otherwise occupied getting Benjamin Franklin handshakes.

Benjamin Franklin . . . now that's a Founding Father a college quarterback can appreciate.