Opinion: The firing of DJ Durkin couldn’t come soon enough

By: Isaiah Blakely 

Maryland’s decision to fire former head coach DJ Durkin over his mishandling of Jordan McNair’s death was the right decision, but the decision took too long. Maryland Terrapins head football coach was fired on Wednesday, a day after Maryland officials reinstated him.

Durkin had been on paid administrative leave since August 11. Maryland University had taken responsibility in early August and at that point you must fire the head coach. They fired strength and conditioning coach Rick Court the same day they took responsibility for McNair’s death. That was the correct decision, but to not fire Durkin as well does not make sense. Durkin is the head coach and at the end of the day Durkin is the overseer of everyone on his staff which includes Court. An incident like this requires the man in charge to be fired.

Maryland had an opportunity to make the right decision back in August so they could clean house and make a timely responsible decision. Instead they let this incident cloud over their program for months. The athletic program and the school continued to look worse as more and more bad news broke.

An investigation was done by an external investigator, and in October the investigators found out that Maryland football had an abusive culture and a culture that lacked accountability. They found that Court used homophobic slurs and Durkin acknowledged that there was verbal abuse, but didn’t believe Court crossed any lines.

Durkin’s negligence and not seeing anything wrong should have been a sign that he needed to be fired. It’s not acceptable to run college football programs like this, and at what point did Maryland University think to just cut their losses and save some of their reputation for their athletic program and their university. Durkin is not a prestigious coach or even been super successful one in his short stint with the Terrapins. He had an 11-15 record in his two seasons, so the only reason for waiting to fire Durkin was financial.

I understand the initial hesitation to fire Durkin because he had $5.1 million left on his deal and firing him without cause resulted in the school owing him that money, but money can not always be the deciding factor especially in decisions like this.

The fact that Maryland reinstated Durkin after the investigation clearly stated that there were several problems with the culture of the football team, and the university was accountable for the death of McNair is lazy and unaware.

The Board of Regents ignored McNair’s parent’s pleas to fire Durkin for months. Then they finally caved to the outside pressure of student groups planning protests. Even state politicians got involved and condemned the board’s decision.

Maryland eventually made the right decision to fire Durkin, but there were several moments in the process where they could have fired him sooner. Maryland University chose to worry about their potential financial obligations to Durkin instead of their moral obligations to all their students and alumni.

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Mac Miller: One of the Best Artists in the Game

By Meghan Hall

Contributing Writer

“RIP Mac Miller.” The sentence feels too hard to write, too surreal to be a phrase floating around on my Twitter timeline. Mac Miller really was one of those artists that grew with you and became part of life through good times and bad.

A wordsmith with his lyrics, Miller’s career truly took off at age 18 with his fourth mixtape, K.I.D.S.After the record put him on the map, his hip hop career soared, creating insightful, thought-provoking records that proved his ability to relate to an audience that stuck with him all the way through his latest release, Swimming.

His fanbase looked forward to the relatable, transparent records he produced. Showing his roots, his outlooks on life and his struggles, he bared his soul to a world that accepted it. Never ingenuine, always pushing forward, Miller’s music became better with time.

Unlike many artists, Miller’s need to succeed persevered and furthered his need to produce meaningful sound that would garner positive reactions and reviews. As we grew up, Miller grew with us, becoming more refined and always pushing to be the artist he’d dreamed of as a young Pittsburgh teen. The 2018 release Swimming proved Miller’s prowess. Leaps and bounds ahead of his initial albums, Swimming was a culmination of the untapped potential Miller had saved, yet he still relied on his roots.

Miller’s fanbase fell in love not only with his clever, eclectic music, but his reputation as the “nice guy” in an industry filled with iconic artists whose songs were a façade for their poor attitudes. Mac Miller was real. He was candid, open with his struggles, humble. He was human—the game now is filled with artists who enjoy the status of being “untouchable.” Miller never looked for that. Sure, his initial climb to fame was riddled with a bit of glory-seeking, but whose isn’t? Once Miller made it to the top, he stayed there gracefully, recognizing that all that he had could just as easily be taken away.

The fear of losing his status never seemed to bother him, though. His 2011 single “Donald Trump” was one of his top hits, one of his signature claims to fame. However, that didn’t stop him from voicing his opinions on Trump’s presidency. Recognizing the hatred and divide that Trump has caused this country, Miller shared his thoughts on the Trump administration without hesitation and without fear of what would come next. Miller easily could’ve lost some of his fanbase to the comments, but the thing about Miller was that candor came first.

Collaborating with countless other powerful artists inside the hip hop sphere, Mac Miller became a name that any rap fan knew, and knew well. Sure, not everyone liked Mac Miller’s tunes, and not everyone understood the important impact Miller had on the hip hop industry, but there was never a shortage of respect for Mac Miller.

When we remember Mac Miller, it’s hard to get over the fact that his life was cut short by drugs. Mac Miller fans, fellow rappers, music critics and casual hip hop listeners alike mourn his death and lament the fact that his enormous potential was severed so early.

But more than Miller’s drug addiction, it’s important to realize that in less than ten years, he changed the music industry forever. It’s important to remember the smile that persisted through the hard times. It’s important to recall the way he treated the world—with respect and love.

So today, I mourn Mac Miller. But I look forward to the recognition of his contribution to this world, in terms of music, and in terms of humanity. And so, although it still seems surreal to type these words… Rest in Peace, Mac. We’ll miss you.

Bonnies Media Alumnus Talk Men’s Basketball Past and Present

By Josh Svetz and Sean Lynch

Ryan Lazo – Former sports writer for the NY Post and currently a police officer in the NYPD

Mike Lindsley – Host of ML Sports Platter and owner/reporter for PinstripePassion.com

Mike Vaccaro –  Lead sports columnist for the New York Post

When did you graduate from Bonas?

Lazo: “I graduated from St. Bonaventure in 2013 and had the opportunity to watch the rise of the program in its infancy stages under Mark Schmidt.”

Lindsley: “2002.”

Vaccaro: “1989.”

Did you cover the team while in school?

Lazo: “Yes. I started to cover the team for The Intrepid during my junior year – which also coincided with the Bonnies’ last NCAA Tournament appearance. Pretty good fortune if you ask me. “

Lindsley:  “Covered them sophomore-senior years mostly but was on staff my freshman year for radio doing sports shows.  Was the WSBU sports director sophomore year. I did color for women’s basketball and was a reporter and was a staff guy.  Then sports director. I freelanced for the BV senior year.  Just an article here and there.  A little SBU TV senior year as a sports reporter.”

Vaccaro: “My junior year, I was an editor for the paper so I didn’t get to cover.  I should have said yes because I actually did cover the team my senior year. I had done my editor stuff as a junior so we were able to cover my senior year. I also spent two years with the Times Herald covering the team.”

Describe the experience of covering them?

Lazo: “It was a weird experience both personally and professionally. From a personal standpoint, I had to fight the inner urge to give the team a benefit of the doubt, hide my emotions on the sideline and allow myself to second-guess decisions made in the game instead of defending it as a fan would. Professionally, it was the best job I could have asked for.”

“Going into the 2011-2012 season, there was very high expectations for the Bona program. With Andrew Nicholson in his senior season, and a veteran team around him which included Demetrius Conger, Michael Davenport, Matthew Wright and Charlon Kloof, there was certainly promise. It was the team that had the star in Nicholson, a shutdown defender in both Kloof and Jordan Gathers, an outside shooting presence in Wright and a do-everything player in Conger.”

“It was a slow rise to prominence, not like it has been the last few years. This was a group that learned how to win slowly. They went through the warts in the previous seasons and then with all the pressure, they folded early on. The big loss was to Arkansas State at home. It was mind-numbing. But I believe that was the turning point. The team knew they had the talent and they just had to prove it. Boy, was it fun to watch.”

Lindsley: “It was simply incredible.  NCAA’s in 1999-2000.  Loved it.  Teams were good.  RC was rocking.  Almost beat Kentucky in the tourney. I think covering Division 1 sports really helped me for later in life. Every Bona hoops night was a holiday.”

Vaccaro: “As a student, the team wasn’t terrible my senior year. They were 13-15. Professionally it was a tremendous opportunity, but the coach got fired so Adrian (Wojnarowski) and I had gone to the local news stations and one of them had ended up picking up the story and crediting the BV. For learning how to break a news story; it was a great training ground.”

Who were the Jaylen Adams/Matt Mobley/Courtney Stockards of your team?

Lazo: “The Jaylen Adams from the 2012 tournament team is obviously Nicholson. The way he was able to take over any game and dominate any big was impressive. His footwork in the paint was second to none. He just made defenders look silly.”

“Courtney Stockard is very similar to Conger, which is what Schmidt said when he committed to Bonaventure. Stockard is probably a better defender, but Conger was better offensively. Both attacked the boards. Both could create for themselves and both just had the ability to do the dirty work.”

“The Matt Mobley of the group had to be Eric Mosley. This was the time where Mosley began to come off the bench as the scoring threat who could pile up points in a hurry. Mosley was a high-volume shooter, but nowhere near as efficient as Mobley has been.”

Lindsley: “Tim Winn.  Caswell Cyrus.  David Messiah Capers. All seniors.  What a trio. Capers made three free throws against Kentucky to send it to double OT.  I was losing my mind in Cleveland.  10 rows up center court.  Also had a special sophomore J.R. Bremer. Hit a shot against Temple on January 15, 2000.  From the corner. Loudest I’ve heard the RC.”

How does the team you saw then compare to now?

Lazo: “The team I see now versus then is one that is better. Don’t get me wrong, both teams had flaws, but this current team is in better shape to do more damage. Guards win games in college basketball. With both Adams and Mobley, the Bonnies can compete with just about anyone in the country. A dominant big man like Nicholson could be contained in the paint by halting delivery and forcing him outside. Teams can’t do that with Adams or Mobley.”

Lindsley: “Equally exciting but lots of basketball left this year to see if they can lap them.  1999-2000 team had guys more ready quicker.  Patricio Prato was a really good freshman. Bremer was basically a starter but just a Sophomore.  They were better from an IQ standpoint.  And better defensively.  Their win at home was Temple.  This year Rhode Island.  Pretty darn close.  But legacies at Bona are built by making the tournament because it’s so rare and so hard for this school.

“What’s crazy is the X-factors are so similar.  Courtney Stockard now. Vidal Messiah then.  Amazing role players. Inside and outside. Can shoot it.  Defense supreme.”

Vaccaro: “There is no comparison. Not just because they’re more successful, but this is a professional operation now. The Reilly Center is a division one facility now. When it’s game day and it’s on TV, it looks first rate. It’s not a glorified high school gym anymore. The game day operations are state of the art. It’s not even close to when I was a student. It was much simpler. The difference between what the culture has become under Schmidt compared to now, I don’t know if it’s fully understood. For 30 years we charmed the world with this small school on a shoestring budget and we were able to do that in the past until the ESPNs and big TV networks came along. Then, it was impossible to compete.”

If you would have asked me in 1991 if the Bonnies could stay competitive in division one basketball, I would have said there was no chance. And this was a time where the Atlantic-10 was just starting to send teams to the tournament. Temple was good, West Virginia was good. St. Joes was good, George Washington was a sleeping giant and then Calipari came later with UMass, but still, if you would have told me St. Bonaventure would be competitive ever again, I wouldn’t have believed you. I would have believed you more if you said it was going to be a division two program. But what Schmidt has done blows me away.”

“Any coach can get lucky and stumble into a great player once and make a run, like with Andrew Nicholson. For him to have done that and then created something better, it’s mind-blowing. As great as that run was six years ago, this team is better. What he’s done the last four years staggers me. Who knows when it’ll ever be this fun again. We have to savor the ride. It’s just two entirely different realities. I was covering a sputtering division one program that had no idea how to succeed and now you’re talking about a division one team that has a lot of success and culture. I’m excited to see what the team looks like in two years. There’s an administration in place that gets it.”

How would you compare the RC’s energy from then to now? Have some of the recent changes taken away from the experience?

Lazo: “The RC’s energy is certainly coming back, but that also comes with playing winning basketball. While students come and go, the Olean community has stayed with the team. They’ve had to sit through some dormant periods of basketball, but they are excited now and rightfully so. They’ve helped make the RC a tough place to play once again. Watching on National TV this season, the RC has shown itself to be a tough place to play with chants being heard clearly through the TV feed.”

Lindsley: “The RC is still epic.  I think one thing that has helped is the big video boards.  Lots of reaction from the locals. It makes THEM louder. You never worry about the students.  The seats don’t change it much.  We were louder though, kids. “

“All kidding aside. The RC is so special.  I’ve been down twice this year.  Last year I went down.  The year before I saw them beat VCU. My eyes water when I walk-in.  After HUGE wins as a student, I went back hours after the game and sat in the red seats up top at the RC by myself and stared at the court and just thought about what I saw. “

“I know that place is old. And I know it’s cramped, but man I mean it when I say they can’t ever get rid of it. I’m joking.  The RC is as loud as its ever been. Security is ridiculous by the way.  You can quote me on that one. I think if the locals stepped-up for the games like they did for the Davidson game.  It could be unreal. “

Vaccaro: “I was apart of the last gasp of the “old RC”, back when everyone was drunk, rowdy and could say whatever they want with no penalty. There were two home games against Temple where you couldn’t talk to the guy next to you. It was deafening. I still remember the 1991 game against Penn State. I thought the roof was going to come off. Even when the team wasn’t good, the students were still loud and so were the townies. The whole venue rocked. I get why people were upset about the seats, but it’s a business. It’s a school looking to make money and stay in business. If it diminishes the game experience by 1%, I think we have to live with that.”

“One difference I’ve seen is the student body. When I was in school, no one missed games. We had bigger numbers, but even if it was a game against Concordia tickets would be sold out. It’s not a bad thing. It speaks to the change in culture. St. Bonaventure used to be a school of all suburban white kids and of course we were going to see the game. Now, it’s more diverse, there’s more students with different interest. 1,800 students don’t have to care about the basketball team and I think it speaks to the influx of diversity. The enthusiasm is still there. It comes out even through the TV. Every student at the game is rocking. The reputation is still there. No one wants to come to Allegany, New York and play St. Bonaventure at the RC.”

Since you’re an alum, you’ve seen what happens when Bonas has successful teams, in terms of producing school funds, increased enrollment, athletic prestige, etc. What does a potential NCAA tournament berth do for Bonas?

Lazo: “As an alum, a tournament berth does help in certain aspects. Let’s be real, a tournament berth means more stories, more eyeballs and free publicity on St. Bonaventure. The more of that the institution has, the better. People want to go to places that look like students and alumni have a good time and have a closeness. When a high school student sees St. Bonaventure play in the tournament and they glance in the stands to see people of all ages gathered for this tiny school in Western New York, it means more than any commercial.”

Lindsley: “It’s everything.  It puts the little engine that could on the map again.  It changes the game.  At Bonas, usually,  there is a year here and there every 10-15 years where all your eggs are in one basket JUST to make the Big Dance.  17-18 is exactly that.

“Some people say ‘wow look what we do for a small school,’ when Bona wins.  Others say ‘Well, we are small and do our best,’ when SBU loses.  Doesn’t matter which way you look at it. This program making the tournament is like a power program making a Final Four because of the circumstances.  And Adams and Mobley and this group can create a serious legacy by making the Big Dance.  The 1999-2000 team did it.  Nicholson and his group did it.  Those are the amount Rushmore teams in SBU history.  Yes. That Lanier guy counts too. “

Vaccaro: “More than most of the schools that will get those bids. It’s an opportunity we don’t get most years. It will be helpful. There’s a reason why Bona’s has maintained a high-profile basketball team even when times were tough. Basketball is a marketing tool. It draws kids to the school. When someone like Woj is talking about Bonaventure on ESPN, it can only help. When I mention the Bonnies once or twice in the Post, that’s gotta help. Even when the alumni not in the media, like the CEO  of Delta tweets “Go Bonnies,” it all helps. It gets our name out there.”

“I wouldn’t have even known about St. Bonaventure if it wasn’t for basketball. I was a big St. John’s fan as a kid, growing up watching Chris Mullin. Bona’s played them and almost won. At the time I was thinking “What the hell’s a St. Bonaventure.” It’s funny because after that game I started looking into it and then I was looking at schools and almost went to Dayton, of all places. But, Bonaventure offered me a journalism scholarship and I liked it. It fit me. But it wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for that game. Count me in as one of the kids that was introduced to St. Bonaventure because of basketball. So any exposure is beneficial. Tom Crean talking about Jaylen Adams has to help. It just does.”

“The success of the basketball team in some small way determines the success of the school. We’re a feisty little school, but being feisty won’t determine if we succeed. We have to take on the mindset that we can compete with the best. I think the students take on that mindset too and part of that comes from the basketball team. We don’t have to be the underdog all the time. We can just be successful on our own merit. I think that’s the best thing about the basketball team’s success. People can identify that as a possibility now.”

Opinion: Watson’s column ignores the positives

By Josh Svetz

It’s been over 17 years since the Buffalo Bills made the playoffs and most people, whether they root for the Bills or not, are happy.

Well, most people.

Just three days after the Bills clinched their first playoff birth since 1999, Rod Watson, a political columnist for the Buffalo News, wrote a controversial column essentially telling fans to “get a life,” specifically to focus on the real issues and stop obsessing about a football team’s accomplishments.

While we can all understand the importance of real issues and taking the time to pay attention to them, that doesn’t need to bleed into simple enjoyment of entertainment.

Carole McNall, an assistant professor at Saint Bonaventure University, said the article fell into the trap of the “either/or mentality.”

“Increasingly today, we set things up as either/or: either you like this thing or that, either you care about this thing or you care about that one,” McNall said. “The excitement I feel over the success of a team I’ve cheered for most of my life doesn’t erase the concern I feel about the issues Watson cites.”

McNall, a diehard Bills fan, brings up an interesting point.

Just because a fan base is excited about an athletic achievement doesn’t mean they’re ignoring the issues 24/7.

In fact, some philanthropic good came from the Bills making the playoffs.

After the Bills beat the Miami Dolphins, they still needed the Baltimore Ravens to lose to the Cincinnati Bengals.

That’s exactly what happened when the Bengals won off a miracle touchdown pass from Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton to Tyler Boyd.

Hours after the win, Bills fans thanked Dalton by flooding donations to his and his wife’s foundation, which provides support to seriously-ill and physically challenged children and their families in Cincinnati, Ohio and Fort Worth, Texas.

The output was enough for Dalton and his wife, J.J., to personally thank the fans for the over $315,000 in donations, ironically being published in the Buffalo News.

Yet, Watson failed to mention such in his column, something that bothered St. Bonaventure senior and Bills fanatic, Emmy Kolbe.

I’m not sure what Watson defines as ‘a little perspective,’ but I’d say that’s a huge, beautiful success.” Kolbe said. “It’s a great snapshot of the good Bills Mafia can do for surrounding communities.”

Good deeds aside, another conversation arises from the idea of escapism.

In our world, where media dominates our lives and we can access news within seconds, sometimes it’s nice to just shut off for awhile and enjoy a beloved sports team achieving a great feat, especially when it ties into the culture of the city itself.

Nate Discavage, a graduate of Saint Bonaventure University, isn’t a Bills fan, but spending part of his life in Western New York has made him aware of the Bills’ cultural significance.

“I understand that not everybody is a sports fan,” Discavage said. “But, the Bills are so ingrained in the local culture that Watson has to be aware of the impact of everything around him.”

For Buffalo native Reid Okoniewski, he thought the column misrepresented the fans.

“The fans of the Bills know what the city [of Buffalo] has to offer, especially what we pride ourselves in,” Okoniewski said. “When he talks about taking pride in the history of Buffalo, he shoves aside a cornerstone of Buffalo pride, the sports.”

But maybe the largest blind spot Watson failed to address was family impact.

Mike Hogan, a freshman at Saint Bonaventure University, wasn’t even alive the last time the Bills made the playoffs.

He doesn’t remember Jim Kelly or Thurman Thomas, he remembers Drew Bledsoe, Trent Edwards and Kyle Orton.

His family are Bills fanatics, especially his dad.

His dad got to live in the time where the Bills went to four Super Bowls, but Mike didn’t.

He watched losing. So much losing that he wondered if he’d ever see winning.

“I can remember most of the drought and asking my dad, ‘are we ever going to get to watch a playoff game together?’ Hogan said. “I’ll finally get to have that experience with my father that I’ve waited to have all of my life, watching a Buffalo Bills playoff game with the man who taught me the ups and downs of being a Bills fan.”

Watson’s column asks the reader to have “a little perspective.”

As a Pittsburgh Steelers fan from Northwest Pennsylvania, who’s in the past been annoyed by Bills’ fans over-hopefulness and over-emphasis on the team, similarly to Watson, here’s my perspective.

It’s brought a city together, raised money for charity, fostered community, made people happy and bonded families.

At the end of the day, there’s no harm in that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reaction: Stockard-led Bonnies embrace adversity, stun undefeated Maryland

By Josh Svetz

The Bonnies have provided enough highs and lows for a season’s worth of basketball and it’s only been four games.

Tonight was a high, but coming into the contest, most wouldn’t think so.

In fact, the Bonnies would have to overcome hard knocks to achieve any sort of high.

Hours before the game, star guard Jaylen Adams, who has yet to play or practice due to an ankle injury, was ruled out. Junior forward Courtney Stockard was probable, but limited in practice over the week.

Then, as tip-off neared, Bonas fans were left confounded when the official men’s basketball account tweeted that senior Matt Mobley, the Bonnies’ leading scorer, would not start due to being late for a team meeting.

On top of this, Bonas had to contend with the undefeated Maryland Terrapins, a top-20 defensive team featuring several bigs 6-foot-10 and taller alongside two NBA hopefuls, sophomores Justin Jackson and Anthony Cowan.

The only way Bonas could hope to sneak out of this game victorious was to take advantage of the Terps’ bottom-200-ranked turnover rate, translating to a turnover every four possessions, and make this game ugly.

That’s exactly what the Bonnies did. They brought the grind to the grinders.

To start, they didn’t let the size difference affect the scoring in the first half.

Bonas deployed a 1-3-1 zone to neutralize talented freshman forward Bruno Fernando and it worked.

Fernando became agitated and frustrated early, taking his head out of the game and mounting up just two points and three rebounds in the first half. While 7-foot-1 senior Michal Cekovsky filled in nicely with nine points, two blocks and two rebounds in the first half, he just didn’t provide the same upside and athleticism of Fernando.

Bonas also capitalized on turnovers, turning eleven first half miscues into twelve points.

The scrappy effort contributed heavily, as Bonas didn’t let the Terps lead by more than four at any time in the first half.

But maybe the number one reason the Bonnies handled their business was their defense.

Forcing turnovers aside, Bonas switched beautifully on screens and closed out on the Terps’ guards. This frustrated the shooters, holding them to 1 of 10 from behind the arc and just 43 percent from the field.

Despite Mobley being held to four points in the first half, everyone else stepped up offensively, with Josh Ayeni, Izaiah Brockington, LaDarien Griffin and Courtney Stockard scoring 24 of the Bonnies’ 30 first-half points.

The Bonnies headed into the locker room down one, but with momentum on their side.

Still, Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon may have summed up the situation best in his sideline interview.

“We haven’t made a jump shot, we have eleven turnovers and we’re up one,” Turgeon said. “It’s pretty amazing.”

With obvious adjustments coming for the second half, the Bonnies would need to continue the defensive tenacity and get something out of Mobley to have a chance.

The Terps came out re-energized, opening the second half with a 8-2 run in the first five minutes.

Bonas needed to answer, and with Mobley’s shot not falling, he turned to the free throw line to make a contribution.

Mobley went 10 of 10 from the free throw line, six of those coming in the second half.

But with 11 minutes left, the wheels started to come off.

Down by one, Bonas gave up two three-pointers and an and-one layup in the span of three minutes, trailing 44-52 with eight minutes remaining.

But the Bonnies wouldn’t quit.

Layups by Ayeni, Mobley and Brockington cut the deficit to two, and two free throws from Stockard tied the game at 53.

However, Bonas’ three-point defensive woes reared its ugly head, as Terps’ junior Dion Wiley drained a three.

Both teams traded free throws and Mobley made a layup to make the score 59-57 with two minutes to play.

Mobley then tied the game with two free throws.

The free throw line saved the Bonnies, as 21 of their 63 total points came from the stripe.

Then, the Bonnies caught a break when the Terps’ Jackson missed an open three.

Even with the break, Mobley missed a layup but Ayeni grabbed the offensive board and drew the foul.

Ayeni handled the pressure, draining both free throws, giving the Bonnies a 61-59 lead.

An ill-advised foul by Mobley not only gave the Terps’ Cowan free throws, but also gave him his fifth foul, taking him out of the game.

With no timeouts, Stockard-the highest scorer left in the game-was forced into the spotlight, facing adversity from the tenacious Terps’ defense.

But Stockard is no stranger to adversity.

For two years he’s battled back from foot injuries that ended his season twice. Even before the game, that same type of injury limited him all week in practice. But now, with the game in his hands, this was his moment.

He handled the ball inches in front of the half-court line, cutting to the basket and going up strong to put in the game-winning layup with 3.4 seconds left.

Stockard finished the game with fourteen points.

The Terps turned the ball over and that was it. The Bonnies won, despite everyone counting them out, despite all the adversity.

Stockard scored the game-winner, despite the adversity.

The excitement of this win will be short-lived, though, as they turn around and face TCU for the Emerald Coast Classic championship tomorrow at 7:00 p.m.

But as the glow remains fresh, the Bonnies carry a scrappy nature and underdog mentality, just like their leader tonight.

Lights Out: A first-person account of the game that wasn’t

By Jeff Uveino

Walking into the Reilly Center Wednesday night felt as normal as any other game day.

The students filing in, the teams shooting around and Kodak Black echoing through the loudspeakers–just a typical pregame in the RC. At 6:30 p.m., the St. Bonaventure Men’s basketball team prepared to play the Hawks of University of Maryland-Eastern Shore.

As the teams took warm-ups, I noticed that several lights above where UMES was shooting were out.

My initial reaction was that this was a tactical move: make the opponents warm up in the dark while we warm up in the light. An obscure strategy, but perhaps a slight advantage. Boy, was I wrong.

Shortly after noticing the lights were out, I got word that it was because of a power outage in the arena, quite an interesting development for my first time covering a Bonnies game.

Rumors spiraled around about the source of the outage and how it would affect the game, but it seemed as if no one knew for certain. Security guards, media personnel, and curious students searched for answers.

But one thing was for sure; we would have to wait.

The planned start time of 7 p.m. came and went, as the teams continued to shoot around. The scoreboards were now completely out, as was the jumbotron over center court.

A smiling Jaylen Adams hobbled around the floor, shooting with his team despite the boot he wore to protect his sprained ankle and the obvious notion of being ruled out for the contest.

More time passed. Still nothing.

Behind the scenes, the lights in the halls and media room flickered. There appeared to be lights on around other parts of campus, but no signs of progress in the Reilly Center.

Around 8 p.m., an announcement was made in the arena that National Grid would be testing the power in an attempt to have the game played. The Reilly Center, the crowd was told, would go almost completely dark for about 15 minutes.

Phone lights came on throughout the stands, electricians scrambled around campus, and “Let’s go Bonas” chants continued to cry out intermittently, as they had for nearly two hours at this point.

St. Bonaventure University President Dr. Dennis DePerro even tried his hand at a few foul shots to entertain the crowd.

Suddenly, around 8:30 p.m., the power flashed back on, sending the relatively quiet student section into a frenzy.

It appeared as if the problem had been fixed, and the game would be played after all. I couldn’t help but think that this game would be remembered for a long time as something along the lines of the “power outage game,” and be added to Reilly Center lore.

But it didn’t end there.

Everyone back into place, the Bonnies ran out to warm up once again. The crowd was alive, and Twitter was going crazy trying to keep up with what exactly was going on.

However, Matt Mobley barely had time to lead the team out and drop in a lay-up before the jumbotron went dark with an abrupt bang.

Next were the scoreboards on the ends of the gym, then the overhead lights.

At this point, the night was starting to feel like a nightmare.

The teams retreated back into the locker rooms, and everyone anxiously waited once again to hear a final word on what the outcome of the game would be.

The crowd was thinning, but those remaining could still be heard.

You could feel the collective frustration bouncing around the arena.

The players wanted to play, the coaches wanted to coach, and the Wolf Pack wanted to be the Wolf Pack.

At approximately 8:35 pm, the official announcement was made that the game would not be played. The arena was empty in an instant.

The decision was made that the game would be ruled a “no contest,” meaning that it would not count toward the record of either team. Rumors that the home team would have to forfeit if the game was not played were shot down in an instant, and a frustrated Bonas community went on its way.

After the game, barely a soul could be found throughout the arena.

The only people left were a few scattered security guards making sure everyone exited safely. After all—the power was scheduled to go out for another test in 5 minutes, as was announced. Leftover pizza sat under the continually-flickering lights of the media room.

After the frenzy of events was over, I had to take a few minutes to make sense of what had just happened.

After a heartbreaking loss to Niagara University last Friday night, now Bonas fans had to go through this? An unpredictable and unforgettable start to a season where many experts had the Bonnies making the NCAA tournament.

St. Bonaventure’s next game will be played Saturday afternoon vs Jackson State University at 4:00 pm. Who knows what will happen next? Bonnies fans have already had enough disappointment and bewilderment for a whole season.

If one thing is for sure, it is that November 15, 2017 in the Reilly Center is a day that will be remembered around the community for years to come. A decade from now, alumni and staff will reminisce:

“Remember the night when the power went out? Twice?”

I certainly won’t forget.

Politics in Sports: A Sports Journalist’s Perspective

By Isaiah Blakely

Politics have always been intertwined in sports, but recently, it has been a major topic of discussion in the NFL and NBA specifically.

President Trump paid attention to the NBA during the summer when the Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry said he was not going to the White House, and then Trump revoked the Warriors invitation.

The bigger story this season has been Trump’s reactions to NFL players kneeling during the anthem. He called the NFL players “SOB’s” and told the NFL owners to fire anyone who kneels. Trump also called for the firing of ESPN anchor Jemele Hill after she tweeted calling him a white supremacist.

Coverage of sports has changed, and I asked three established sports journalists their thoughts on politics being a bigger focus in sports.

Steve Wyche: Reporter, analyst and host for NFL Network

Kimberley Martin: Former Buffalo News columnist and current Washington Redskins beat writer for the Washington Post

Marc Spears: Senior NBA writer for ESPN’s The Undefeated

General thoughts on the amount of attention the President of the United States has paid to sports, specifically the NFL and NBA.

Wyche: “I don’t know if he’s spent more time paying attention to the NFL and NBA than other presidents. What he has done is spent more time Tweeting and remarking on them in a controversial manner. Most leaders, when they’ve commented on sports teams, have expressed fan-type support or admiration or, spoken up in times of controversy to try to spur progress. This president seems to use some of the issues, whether real or concocted, to gin up controversy.”

Martin: “The amount of energy the President has used to disparage the NFL/NBA and its players is alarming, considering the major issues that need his attention, like the threat of nuclear war, the economy, healthcare, etc.”

Spears: “It’s surprising. It should be surprising that the leader of the free world cares that much about sports. One might think it is a ploy to distract from what’s really going on in this world. There’s probably a method to the madness so far the tail is wagging the dog. Typically, in my lifetime one such is the case it’s been more light-hearted stuff like celebrating a champion or attending a game or throwing out a first pitch. Rarely is it from a political standpoint. Usually leave that up to the fans and the people that run the sports but it’s obvious that this is a different world now.”

When you see and hear the president calling on news organizations to fire employees, how concerning is that to journalists?

Wyche: “It is a major concern. It leads to journalists wondering how much support they have from their employers and creates a fear that our nation’s leadership is trying to transfer our great press freedoms into state-run propaganda. Journalists and good journalism is the ultimate check-and-balance mechanism to inform the public. If a leader can influence the narrative or media companies to shield truths, our country will suffer. If a journalist does something improper, it should be left to his or her employer to decide if discipline is necessary.”

Martin: “The President calling for law-abiding citizens to be fired from their jobs should frighten everyone, not just journalists.”

Spears: “That’s very concerning because that’s my coworker. I don’t want one of my favorite people to lose her job. Definitely stunning, and I guess it shows how much power she has that the president would even pay attention to her. The biggest thing as a journalist it’s important to fight for free speech. Nobody should ever have to be muzzled no matter what they have to say. Even if the KKK wants to have parade or want to speak you have to let them speak. It’s part of living in America. You don’t necessarily have to pay attention to it. It can take away a lot of the stress. I think the fact that he is paying attention to her, definitely shows how strong her voice is.”

What impact has Trump’s comments had on the way you cover sporting events, the way you see the industry?

Wyche: “Well, since I deal with the NFL, I’ll stay in that lane. When he called players ‘SOBs’ and said team owners should fire players who don’t stand for the anthem, it caused the media to ask players about his remarks and it led to wide spread counter-reaction from players. That re-directed the focus of normal sports coverage into more news coverage. Sports and news often mix but the tenor or anger and distrust and divisiveness is like nothing I’ve ever experienced.”

“Much of what is happening in sports and the president’s remarks mirror what is going on in society, which is why emotions have become so inflamed when he decides to chime into athletic/business/societal and economic matters.”

Martin: “As a result of this administration, I found that I watched players more closely during the singing of the national anthem than I ever had. I talked to players and football fans more about politics, the presidency, the role of government and the responsibilities of athletes than I ever have before. And as a result of this administration, I’ve seen more and more journalist friends and colleagues express their political leanings on Twitter than I’ve ever seen before.”

Spears: “He had an impact because it certainly involved the NBA. I cover the NBA for ESPN and I’m also down the street from the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors visit to the White House was in debate and eventually taken away. I was there when (Stephen) Curry said he didn’t want to go, and I was there when the President told the Warriors they weren’t invited anymore. So I got to hear a lot of choice word, laughs or concern from the Warriors side about the whole ordeal. I was in the ESPN studio in Los Angeles when Lebron had his press conference where he certainly had some choice words about the President. So it certainly has affected my job because the first couple weeks of training camp it was a hot topic.”

 How do you separate your own personal opinions on matters, from opinions that might reflect on the company you work for? Is there a way to separate the two?

Wyche: “Absolutely. We all have our opinions and beliefs but they never spill into my coverage. I report and try to always bring all perspectives into play. It is not my job to interject my personal feelings into my reports and frankly, I don’t think anyone would care.”

“However, as a minority, I can offer points of view that might not typically be reported or generated because of my experiences. I also can use different historical reference points that often get overlooked or ignored. There are also periods each year when coaches and GMs get fired. Most of the mainstream media, which is majority white, will list potential candidates for jobs. Most of those candidates they list are white. However, if I talk to the right informed people, there also are minority candidates whose names and credentials I mention just as prominently.”

Martin: “As journalists, we’re supposed to be objective and accurate. My personal opinions don’t color how I approach, deal with or try to understand the players and coaches I cover. But when the players you see every day in the locker room start talking about politics and the President challenges and insults a subsection of athletes and targets specific players, the lines become blurry for all and it becomes increasingly difficult to consistently police the opinions of journalists. (ESPN’s handling of Jemele Hill’s suspension is a perfect example.)”

“The divisive climate of the country is unlike anything this country has seen in more than 60 years and, as a result, it’s difficult as a person of color, a woman and the daughter of immigrants to check my opinions on social media. With that said, I do think twice — even three times — before I tweet. I recognize that I’m not a CNN or Fox News commentator. I’m a sportswriter and many of my followers want to be kept up to speed on NFL news. With that said, as a person of color, a woman and the daughter of immigrants, I also recognize that representation matters and that if I don’t use the platform I have, however small it might be, to bring attention to certain issues that I believe are important — who will?”

“Certain things — like nazis, racism, sexism — are wrong. Plain and simple. And there are certain concepts I’d imagine all decent humans can get behind — like, racial equality. So, I retweet articles as a way of sparking thought and discussions among my Twitter following and as a way of providing a different perspective for people who may not look or think like me. I find that it is (at times) possible to engage in constructive, healthy dialogue on social media. But in no way, am I ever offensive, nor have my tweets ever reflected poorly on my company. That being said, I’m not sure how we, as an industry, can consistently determine the dividing line between journalists representing themselves vs. journalists representing their companies on Twitter. Especially now, in these tense times, when political and social issues are dominating sports news. Like I said, it’s a slippery slope.”

Spears: “You got to be careful because we do have a social policy. You want to be edgy as a journalist and say things, but you can only go so far because you are representing a company. If I was just Marc Spears regular dude on the street I could say whatever I want but because I am working for a global company I have to be more careful about what I say.”


What do you say to people who tell journalists to “stick to sports?”

Wyche:” I tell them they can say whatever they want but it is impossible to at times because so much of life, news and sports intersect. How can some journalists stick to sports when they have to report on Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt raising millions for hurricane relief to help those who’ve been displaced or lost loved ones? How can you tell some journalists to stick to sports when an athlete is detained for no wrongdoing or is charged with domestic abuse? It is interesting, though, how some reporting can skew perception.”

“Watt’s work was heroic and correctly praised for being as much. Meanwhile, the civic work of Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett, who also raised money and school supplies for kids in Houston – his hometown – barely received a blip of attention. Instead, Bennett is more recognized for not standing for the National Anthem in order to bring awareness to those that might have suffered.”

Martin: “Sports are seen as an escape for most people, a brief respite from the stress of everyday life and what’s happening in the “real world.” People who say ‘stick to sports’ often argue that sports should remain an unadulterated space. But in doing so, those individuals forget (or choose to ignore) the many instances in which athletes helped to shine a spotlight on important social issues and managed to spark important dialogue via their platforms.”

Spears: “You don’t want to read it don’t read it. No one is forcing you to read it. Perhaps I could see where it can get overkill to some people, and they just want to hear about the game. But that’s the good thing about conversation and the good thing about these stories is it forces people to talk about things they don’t want to talk about. It pushes the uncomfortable. I love it, through all of this it will eventually make the world a better place because it forces people to face the truth. You are not going to change every everybody people are who they are. But hopefully the younger generation through education on racism, sexism, classism they will have a better feel for how the world should actually be.”

Do you feel that politics have become intertwined with sports much more than it was, say five years ago?

 Wyche: “Not really. Maybe more so in a controversial way but there always has been some form of political involvement, from local communities having their tax-dollars being leveraged to build new stadiums to retain or lose teams. Presidents have invited teams to the White House. Politicians have fought against/for integration in sports on college campuses. There is a constant battle for women’s equality in sports and at the collegiate level, forced political intervention. There’s always been some realm of cross-culture in sports and politics.”

Martin: “This isn’t the first-time sports and politics have collided, but the minute the President fired verbal jabs at athletes and professional sports leagues, we entered uncharted territory.”

Spears: “Yeah, definitely so I think it all started with what happened in St. Louis, what happened in New York and what happened in Florida. I’m talking about people who were affected by police brutality. I think it’s the constant fight, struggle that blacks have had with police brutality that has kinda sparked all of this in recent year. The funny thing about the whole Kaepernick deal is that his protest is about fighting against police brutality toward black men.”

“But yet that’s never talked about. It’s always the flag. It drives me nuts. It’s a terrible smoke screen. I had some time with Kaepernick last year and I wish he talked more so people could understand where he’s coming from because he’s a really intelligent guy. I work for The Undefeated and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I think 5 years ago we may not have had as much to write about. Now shoot just walk outside all the stories are sitting on the curb for us. It’s sad but it’s the reality of the world today. “

“I do have hope that long term all this talk all the stories all the debates all the pain can hopefully make for a better world for the younger generation. I don’t think the younger generation cares more the most part about color about race about whether somebody is gay or not. There’s so many mix kids now, it’s hard for you to be racist towards to your friends because everybody is something. There’s going to be so much more diversity in the coming years where so many people are related to somebody black, somebody Mexican, somebody Asian. You could talk to somebody that’s white and they brother in law could be black, and you don’t know it and that’s going to make them angry. I do believe there is a better world coming”

There has been less political talk in recent weeks, but athletes are using their platforms in an abundance of ways and I wouldn’t expect that to stop anytime soon.

Appropriateness is subjective under First Amendment 

[Photo courtesy of Chicago-Sun Times]

By Marshall Myers

Divisive, polarizing and controversial are all words used to describe the current state of social issues in our country. I know what you’re thinking, “Oh no, not another Donald Trump article! We can’t keep up as it is.”

However, this piece is not about our president’s voracious tweeting habits, or the always present dramas that seem to follow him everywhere.  Rather, where does our First Amendment right to free speech end, and can someone take this expression too far?

But first, a look into some recent events.  About three weeks ago, a well-known and liked ESPN host, Jemele Hill, took to twitter to voice her opinions on our current president. Using terms like “white supremacist,” “ignorant,” and “bigot,” her tweets gained notoriety very quickly.

Continue reading “Appropriateness is subjective under First Amendment “