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Football to the rescue: modern-day bread and circuses

These are troubling times, and politics are not the only blood sport. We are seeing the surging forces of a regime that forces girls to cover their faces in public, does not let kids go to school, and stifles free speech. And that is the Biden Administration. I understand that the Taliban and ISIS are even worse.

If you are like me, and I really hope all of you are not, you are excited that football is starting up again to distract us from the world crumbling around us.

It is an exciting time in the South. When summer’s heat subsides and there is a nip in the morning air, we know it is time for college football. Women, if you have anything to say to your men, now is the time. Otherwise, wait until after the New Year’s Day bowl games.

Football is the modern-day “bread and circuses” meant to placate citizens, and in the South it is akin to a religious experience. Psychiatrists will tell you that football satisfies the primal human thirst for war. But our government goes ahead and gets us into a bunch of wars too, just to be on the safe side.

Of course, the South again dominates the college football rankings. Beating the North in football is rooted in far deeper issues than an amateur athletic contest. And it bothers the blue Northern states that Southern football might just be maneuvers in preparation for secession. The SEC just added another Texas school and, in order to fortify the border, ventured north to get Oklahoma on our side as well.

Being an SEC coach is a non-linear job, a feast-or-famine gig. You are either making millions by landing five-star athletes or, if you don’t sign them, driving fans to games in hopes of earning a five-star rating on Uber.

Alabama’s Nick Saban reloaded his talent and ‘Bama is the preseason number two again. During the recruiting season, the Discovery Channel decided to suspend “Shark Week” because he was distracting the sharks. Saban can focus his team on football; he is not worried about getting his players through college at Alabama — a college that graduated Forrest Gump.

College football is a great business model. Brand loyalty is baked in, and labor is free. If it hosted a TV signing day, I’d suggest it be held at historic Jamestown Colony just for the symbolism. Coaches observe preseason practices and games from a high tower in case the players get any fancy ideas about escaping.

Now college players can make some money on their names. ‘Bama signee ‘Kool-Aid’ McKinstry was smart and cut a deal with Kool-Aid. Henceforth, my pen name will be “Range Rover Ron.” Bama has had some great player names; my favorite was “HaHa” Clinton-Dix, which was also Bill Clinton’s Secret Service name.

College football continues to shine as NFL players continue to damage their brand by kneeling in self-indulgent, “silent protest” during the National Anthem. The only way a Southerner kneels during our National Anthem is if his bourbon flask slips out of his sock. We Southerners are more traditional in our values; we firmly believe that a “silent protest” has no place outside a marriage.

As a libertarian and free market believer, I am all for paying these players. If you watch “Last Chance U” (and I suggest you do), you learn that most of these kids are overwhelmed by college and the workload of football. They blur a university’s stated academic goals, are run by egghead college presidents, and structurally invite corruption. The feckless and political NCAA, started in the Roosevelt era, has not seen the football since the kick-off.

Few of the players are in school for the education. They want to develop in their sport and be drafted into the pros. Their dream is to be on TV and picked in the NFL or NBA draft or, as the Kardashian sisters call it, the Home Shopping Network.

Southern Cal, the poster child for corrupt college admissions with the “Varsity Blues” sting operation, is struggling. USC continues to illustrate how transactional college has become. Few would believe that celebrities would pay $500,000 to get their kids into a party school. But USC is the school with famous alumnus O.J. Simpson. It should have a ceremony to recognize “The Juice” and retire O.J.’s number: 1027820.

Ron Hart, a libertarian syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author and TV/radio commentator, can be reached at Ron@RonaldHart.com, or visit www.RonaldHart.com.

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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