Letter to Johnny Football: Your Legacy is at Stake

The more famous Johnny Manziel gets, the more people build him up and defend him, the more of a train wreck he becomes.  And it seems that no one around him is doing anything positive to try to help him out of this whirlwind of a life that he’s living.

His on the field performances so far have been phenomenal.  While he may not be great at the traditional quarterback role, he plain and simply makes things happen on the field that not many before him have been able to do.

Johnny Football was created by fans at Texas A&M.  His legacy thus far has been cemented into the history of the institution.  Aggies have waited for generations for a star of his caliber and they are making sure to milk it for everything it is worth.  Johnny Football Mania is in full effect.

But where does it go from here.  Manziel became the first player to win the Heisman trophy as a freshman.  He set a pretty high bar for himself on the field and playing in the Southeastern Conference, it’s going to be a nearly impossible bar to reach.

The SEC is proud when it comes to football.  Historically, with few exceptions, it’s been a league that cherishes low scoring, defensive battles.  Sure, there have been high-scoring offenses on occasion thanks to Steve Spurrier, but not many.

SEC defenses do not like to get embarrassed.   Frankly, Manziel embarrassed a lot of them last season. They take it personally.  The players, the coaches, and the fans.  When a player comes along that has the ability to make them look bad, they go to work to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

There is no doubt that the single biggest focus for SEC defensive coordinators this offseason was figuring out a way to contain Johnny Football.  LSU laid out the blue print last season, and others will follow.

Sorry A&M fans, but the Johnny Football you saw last year will not be there this year.

While the defenses were working hard to figure out the ways to stop him, Manziel should have been in the film room, in the weight room, and on the practice field working hard to get better.  But he wasn’t.  Instead, he was living out a “bucket list” offseason.

Courtside at the Mavericks and Rockets games, balconies on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, going to Super Bowl, NBA All-Star festivities, and partying all around Texas was how he spent his offseason.

His fans defend him by saying things like “he’s 20, it’s normal to party” or “he’s only doing what everyone his age would do.”

I call bulls–t!

He is only doing what a “normal” guy his age would do.  But guess what…he’s not a normal college kid any longer.  He won the Heisman.  He goes about his life like a celebrity.  Therefore, he doesn’t get to live a “normal” college life.  This is the life he chose.  This is the life he embraced.

It blows my mind that this kid has no one in his life that can or is even trying to get through to him to get him under control.  Well, let me try to be that voice of reason.

Johnny, if you’re reading this I want you to focus right now.  Let these words soak into your brain and take them for what they’re worth. All you have to do is calm down and be mature for one more season.  6 more months and you’re done.  Get off of Twitter (and stay off), stay out of the campus pubs, stop putting yourself in the spotlight off the field, and turn off the TV.  Don’t get caught up in the stories and the buzz. After the season, you’ll have the opportunity to make a lot of money (not that you need it) and live whatever lifestyle you choose.  6 more months and you’re free!  But right now, you have to grow up!

You’re not the first college star to become a celebrity and you won’t be the last.  This is your 15 minutes of fame. Use it wisely.  Don’t be a flash in the plan d-bag remembered for bar fights, drunken nights, and stupid tweets.  Firm up your legacy and don’t let your off-the-field antics define you forever.

Let people remember your exciting play-making abilities.  Let people remember you for your stunning performance against Alabama.  Let the Aggie fans remember how bright the spotlight shines on Kyle Field when you play. Let every undersized kid in Texas remember that it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. Let people remember the you that they fell in love with over the past year. Let people remember Johnny F—king Football!

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Racism and American Politics Not that Different

When I think of racism in its broadest sense, the first thing I think of is closed-minded individuals.  People who cannot open their mind up even a little to believe that an individual of a certain race, or group, could be different from the common stereotype.  A person like George Zimmerman, who when he saw a black teen in a hoodie, could not open his mind enough to see this kid as anything but a common criminal.  A person whose mind was so closed that the common sense thought that maybe the kid was wearing a hoodie because it was raining, never entered.

When I look at the current state of American politics, it is truly no different.  Instead of black versus white, it’s red versus blue.  Groups that are so closed-minded that they cannot entertain the notion that the other side could have any positive ideas.  They judge ideas and proposals not by the credibility of their content, but by the person who is suggesting them.  Their minds are so engulfed by the next election that they cannot allow the other to have the slightest bit of success.  Groups that put the health and well-being of the entire country at jeopardy to avoid any admission that the other could be right.

I think I speak for a large portion of Americans when I say I’m sick and tired of this non-sense.  Politics are standing in the way of progress because extremist from both parties are in a constant battle to destroy each other for the sake of the next election.  The American people deserve a government that puts them at the forefront, not career politicians sabotaging a nation for the sake of their personal agenda.

A perfect example of this non-sense happened this week when Conservative GOP Senator Ted Cruz of Texas used the high emotions surrounding the Zimmerman verdict as an opportunity to bash the President, rather than help move an ailing nation forward.

In a statement regarding the nationwide vigils and demonstrations, Obama suggested that states with “stand your ground” laws take a look at them to ensure that the laws do what they are intended to do, provide citizens with a means for self-defense, and not encourage nonsensical violence.

“I think it would be useful for us to examine some state and local laws to see if they are designed in such a way that they may encourage the kinds of altercations and confrontations and tragedies that we saw in the Florida case, rather than diffuse potential altercations,” Obama said.

Somehow, closed-minded Cruz interpreted the President’s comment as an attempt to infringe upon the right to bear arms.

“It is not surprising that the president uses, it seems, every opportunity that he can to go after our Second Amendment right to bear arms,” Cruz said.

Cruz’s response clearly demonstrates that he was not even listening to what the President was saying, but simply seizing an opportunity to play on the emotions of gun owners who are in favor of these laws.

Nowhere in the President’s statement did he even remotely “go after” anyone’s Second Amendment rights.  He simply suggested that states look to fine-tune laws that give individuals the right to use deadly force when it may not be necessary.

No one is questioning anyone’s right to use force when they are in serious jeopardy of death or injury.  But allowing individuals to pursue altercations rather than avoid them and then claim self-defense is setting the stage for a wild-west style of vigilante justice that will cause this nation to spiral out of control.

The current “stand your ground” issue is a small (but significant) example of a much bigger problem that faces the great United States of America.  As a nation we are too closed-minded.  Like racism, this behavior is learned.  We need to teach our kids to think on their own and make wise decisions rather than force feed them our opinions and beliefs.

As the President said, racism may not be eliminated in the United States, but we are definitely progressing in a positive direction.  Children these days are very open-minded, unless taught otherwise.  Let’s find something else to teach our children.  Keep the political drama out of America.

#openyourmind #savethedrama #commonsense

Charles Barkley Agrees with Zimmerman Verdict

I didn’t think this day would ever come, but I have to say that for once, I agree with Charles Barkley.  Ouch.  It hurts to even say that, but Charles is right about the Zimmerman verdict.

“I agree with the verdict”, Barkley said in an interview with CNBC.  “I feel sorry that young kid got killed, but they didn’t have enough evidence to charge him. Something clearly went wrong that night — clearly something went wrong — and I feel bad for anybody who loses a kid, but if you looked at the case and you don’t make it — there was some racial profiling, no question about it — but something happened that changed the dynamic of that night.”

Yes, it’s a sad day anytime someone loses their life, especially when they were doing nothing wrong.  And it’s horrible that people lost their son.  By all moral standards and all reasonable accounts, this was a horrible situation.

However, by Florida law, this acquittal was the right thing to do.  The jury didn’t make a mistake, the Florida legislature did, when they voted the “stand your ground” statute into law.

Barkley also pointed out his dismay over the media giving racists, both black and white, “a platform to vent their ignorance.”

This couldn’t be more accurate.

I’ve seen both sides, from the white racist stating their excitement that “justice was served” to the black racists using this situation as an opportunity to push their agenda through the media.

The bottom line is that even though there was obviously racial profiling by Zimmerman, the problem with this verdict was not race, it was the terrible Florida laws that allow someone to hunt a person down, start a fight, and then claim self-defense.

Yes, George Zimmerman is a racist.  But this verdict was not about race.  It was simply about the law and the law sucks.  The law gave the jurors no way to find Zimmerman guilty of a crime.

#repealstandyourground  #justicefortrayvon  #charlesbarkley

Abuse of “Stand Your Ground”

According to an article by the Washington Post Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. strongly condemned “stand your ground” laws Tuesday, saying the measures “senselessly expand the concept of self-defense” and may encourage “violent situations to escalate.”

Holder is 100% correct, but the simple fact is that statutes like “stand your ground” have been put into place in more than 30 states.

The basis and intent of the law is honorable, but the letter of the law allows for terrible situations, like the one in the case of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.

The intent of the law is to allow you to defend yourself, your family, or the property without the obligation to retreat.  However, the broad definition of defense is the issue at hand.

Unfortunately, the laws don’t really consider how a situation starts or escalates, just simply the exact moment that lethal force is used in “self-defense.”

In other words, it doesn’t matter who starts the fight, or who escalates the fight.  All that matters is that at the moment that force is used, the person claiming self-defense must be in reasonable fear of great bodily harm or imminent death.

This is a slippery slope.

Technically, I can walk up to you, punch you in the face and then shoot you if you return punches that make give me reasonable fear of great bodily harm or imminent death.

It just doesn’t make sense.  It opens up opportunities to get away with murder because if a person kills another and there are no clear witnesses to the altercation, no one can really know with certainty if reasonable fear of great bodily harm or imminent death was present.

States with these laws need to take a step back and think about the intent of the laws and realize the potential for abuse.

Trayvon Martin did nothing wrong the night of his murder.  For all we know, the punches thrown could have been him defending himself.  But we’ll never know because he didn’t get a chance to tell his side of the story.

George Zimmerman got away with murder.  He may not have planned it.  He may not have intended it.  But he did do it.  He killed an innocent teen because he assumed he was a criminal.  He initiated the entire encounter and claimed defense.

It just simply does not make sense.

#justice4trayvon #justicefortrayvon #nostandyourground

Peaceful Protests Turn Violent in LA

Protests turned violent when a small faction broke off and started vandalizing and looting a local Wal-Mart
Protests turned violent when a small faction broke off and started vandalizing and looting a local Wal-Mart.

According the the Los Angeles Times,  peaceful protests of the George Zimmerman verdict turned violent Monday after youths broke away from the main demonstration in Leimert Park, stomped on cars, broke windows, set fires and attacked several people.

They also invaded a Wal-Mart in the Crenshaw district, pushing their way through as guards scrambled to close security gates.

According the LA Times report the young vandals threw merchandise on the ground and yelled. Some tried to break open the jewelry glass displays.

Unfortunately, it’s this small portion of the population that furthers the profiling and stereotyping of young black males that led to the death of Trayvon Martin.

The acts of a few are outshining the peaceful and meaningful protests of many and are very counterproductive to civil rights activists’ efforts to stop the profiling of young black males.

These are simply ignorant individuals using a peaceful protest as an excuse to commit crimes and profit through looting.

It’s unfortunate that an already uphill battle for civil rights activists is made more difficult by the ignorance of a small group.

#justice4trayvon #justicefortrayvon #justiceforall #justice4all

Do you call that justice?

George Zimmerman
George Zimmerman Murdered Trayvon Martin

This was a case of a lot of speculation due to lack of actual witnesses.  However, there was so much circumstantial and just common sense evidence to convict George Zimmerman of manslaughter.  Below are just a few of the hundreds of pieces of evidence that pointed to Zimmerman’s guilt.

  • Derogatory, frustrated language directed at Martin on 911 recording when he stated that “these assholes always get away.”
  • Claims that Martin reached in his waist band for something, implying to the dispatcher that it was a weapon, yet he got out of his vehicle and followed him into a dark area.
  • Disregarded dispatcher’s request to stop following.
  • Didn’t know the name of street (one of three in the neighborhood) that he lives in and drives by daily for 4 years.
  • Told dispatcher to have officer call him rather than meet him at specific meeting spot.  He was not going to stop searching for Martin.
  • Over 2 minutes between hanging up with dispatcher and start of altercation.  Claimed to be walking back to his vehicle, which was about 15-20 seconds away.
  • Never identified himself to Martin as neighborhood watch.
  • No Zimmerman blood on his hands.
  • Refers to Martin as “suspect” in police statement.
  • No blood, dirt, or damage on Zimmerman’s jacket.  Claims to be on his back on concrete, then grass for over 45 seconds.
  • Fired shot from less than 4 inches and claims he didn’t know that he had hit Martin.
  • If Martin had Zimmerman mounted like described in statements, he would have had no access to firearm indicating that Zimmerman had the firearm out before he was mounted and “in fear of his life.”
  • Final point of the incident over 50 feet from where he said he was attacked.
  • Claims first that he was attacked from the darkness and didn’t really know where Martin came from, but thought it could have been from the bushes.
  • Changes story to Martin approaching him at the T-intersection from about 15 feet away, asking him if “he had a problem.”
  • Claims Martin punched him in the face as he was reaching for his phone, at which time he fell on his back.  However, is his reenactment, he says he didn’t fall backwards, but claims to have tried to fight off Martin as they made their way almost 50 feet down the dog path to the point in front of John Good’s home.
  • When reenacting the initiation of the confrontation when he was reaching for his “phone,” Zimmerman reaches for his right hip with both hands.  You wouldn’t use both hands to go for a phone.  However, you might use both hands if you were trying to go for a concealed weapon, using one to raise your jacket and the other to grab the gun.
  • Claims that when he was mounted by Martin, he shimmied away, lifting his jacket and accidentally exposing gun.  Think about this for a second.  At first glance, to an average juror, it makes since.  However, if someone is on top of you, beating you as he claims, you would not slide down towards them putting yourself further into the mount.  You would slide back, away from them, which would do the exact opposite to your jacket.  Even if he was not proficient in MMA grappling as his instructor claimed, he would at least know the general concepts of grappling after 18 months of training.  He would know that if you’re mounted, you want to move the person as far down your body as possible, not up on your chest.  That is the worst possible position to get in when involved in an MMA style fight.
  • Originally claims that Martin was grabbing his head and slamming it into the concrete, which unless you have hands like Shaq, would require two hands.  Then says that while this was going on, he felt Martin reach across and slide his hand down to his waste in an attempt to go for the gun.  One, two…wait, how many hands does Martin have in this story?
  • Then he changes it to Martin holding his nose and mouth to suffocate him, and says Martin actually grabbed the gun, at which time Zimmerman claims he “gained wrist control” of him and pulled the gun away.  Again, one, two…wait, too many hands.
  • None of Martin’s DNA was on gun, which defense claimed was washed away because of the weather conditions.  However, Zimmerman’s DNA was still on the gun.  I guess the rain was very selective about the DNA it washed away.

    Mark Osterman
    Mark Osterman is profiting from Trayvon Martin’s Murder.
  • Zimmerman’s key witnesses were all profiting financially from the case.  First, his friend Mark Osterman and his wife, who wrote a book about the incident.  They were conveniently saving all the proceeds to give to Zimmerman after the trial.  Then there was Adam Pollock, the owner of the gym that Zimmerman trained at, who conveniently put Zimmerman training info on his website after he testified, marketing Zimmerman’s training information to promote his business.  Then there was Daniel Shoemaker, the animation guy, who was paid by Zimmerman’s attorney to create an animated version of Zimmerman’s account of the incident and attempted to present it as expert crime recreation.  Then there was the ex-police officer, Dennis Root, who contacted the defense and volunteered to testify as an expert in law enforcement and defense tactics.  Conveniently enough, he started an “expert witness” business when the defense decided to use him as a witness.
  • Zimmerman studied criminal procedures and criminal justice, including self-defense laws, but played dumb when asked if he knew what “stand your ground” was.
  • Claimed that he thought Martin was still alive, so he spread his hands because he thought he had a weapon.  Yet he holstered his own firearm and just walked away without taking the weapon from Martin.  If you believed he had a gun in his waist band, would you just spread his hands apart and walk away without your gun drawn?  No.  You would either keep your weapon pointed at him in case he moved for his weapon, or you would give him a quick frisk to see if you could secure his weapon.

The evidence is all there that Zimmerman was at the very least, not telling an accurate account of the incident.  If he truly acted in self-defense and knew that he had, why would he embellish, exaggerate, or change the story so many times?  Why did he need to lie?  It just doesn’t add up.

If the jury couldn’t find enough evidence for second degree murder, they should have at least found him guilty of manslaughter due to pure criminal negligence.

Zimmerman initiated the confrontation by leaving his vehicle and hunting Martin down.  Negligent.

Zimmerman made assumptions that Martin was a criminal and acting “suspicious.”  Negligent.

Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin.  Negligent.

His assumptions were wrong and Martin is dead because of it.  Had he waited to let the police handle it, they would have found Martin, realized he had done nothing wrong, and that’s where this story would have ended.

Instead, Martin is dead and Zimmerman will go on to sell the story for books, movies, Lifetime specials, etc. and become wealthy.

Is that justice?

Florida Jury Creates Slippery Slope with Zimmerman Verdict

George Zimmerman verdict dangerous for Florida residents
George Zimmerman verdict dangerous for Florida residents

The six female jurors that determined that George Zimmerman was not guilty of murder may have created a slippery slope for the residents of Florida and other states with similar self-defense laws.

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman, pursued the victim, Trayvon Martin, when he thought the teenager was suspiciously walking through his neighborhood.  This we know.  What happened when he actually confronted Martin, no one will ever know.

The bottom line is Zimmerman started the event by disobeying the requests of the 911 non-emergency dispatcher to stop following Martin.  Had he simply remained in his vehicle, none of this would have occurred and Martin would still be alive.

However, instead of waiting for the police to respond, Zimmerman took it upon himself to make sure that the “suspect” didn’t get away.

After an altercation of some sort, Zimmerman shot and killed Martin.

By acquitting him of all charges of murder and manslaughter, the jury is sending a pretty clear message to the residents of Florida.  Vigilante justice is okay as long as there are no witnesses.

The fact that someone can initiate a conflict, and then claim self-defense, is a concept that I cannot grasp.  Was Martin not entitled to defend himself from a potential predator since Zimmerman never identified himself after chasing the kid both in a car and on foot?

Looking at it from the teenager’s perspective, what is he supposed to think when an adult is following him when he’s done nothing wrong?  Is he not reasonable to assume that this guy is after him? Was it not Zimmerman that was acting “suspicious” in the eyes of the unsuspecting teenager?

An issue I have with this case is that if Martin was straddling Zimmerman as he claims, and I don’t think anyone doubts that he was, Zimmerman would not have been able to grab his weapon.  So is it possible that Zimmerman already had his firearm out when he encountered Martin?  Could Martin have been simply fighting for his life and not “attacking” as Zimmerman claims?

The problem is no one but Zimmerman will ever know because he eliminated the only other witness.

Florida residents now have an open invitation to initiate conflicts that lead to murder with no repercussions, as long as the victim doesn’t make it to court.

It’s a very slippery slope that has been created by this verdict.  While I think the protests and calls for civil rights actions may be a bit exaggerated, I can’t blame a black person living in Florida for over-reacting because it was proven quite clearly that even if you are doing nothing wrong you can be profiled and targeted and the justice system will not have your back.

A young man, who may not have been a perfect citizen before the incident, was doing NOTHING wrong the night he lost his life at the hands of the horrible assumptions and decisions of a want-to-be cop out for vigilante justice.

#JusticeforTrayvon #JusticeforAll