MARK POPE: Doing the right thing in sports right here in Lafayette [OPINION]
Doing the right thing in sports and in life right here in Lafayette
Football season is over, so who won the Super Bowl? I don’t know since I wrote this column before the game was played. Here’s hoping that Drew Brees will be back in a New Orleans Saints’ uniform next year and that he can lead the Saints to a second Super Bowl. Brees is an honorable man – a fine family man and a Christian who is generously charitable – but I disagree with what he did in backing his buddies with this “social justice” nonsense. Saints players – along with many other NFL players – disrespected the American flag and thereby disrespected our country by kneeling during the national anthem before games this past season. I don’t care if Brees thought his support of minority players’ issue would strengthen the bond among his teammates. NFL players who disrespected our country are tone-deaf. Yes, players have freedom of expression, but there are unintended consequences.
Hey guys, you players picked the wrong venue. If you think social injustice is so commonplace and widespread, go protest on your own time, and keep your lame, politicized, disrespectful protests off the football field. Many fans are turned off by your protesting social issues during a football game and disrespecting our flag and our country. You are paid to be professional football players, and according to your rule book, you are to stand during the national anthem with your helmet cradled in your left arm, and your right hand over your heart. You violated your rules, disrespected our country, and angered many fans.
My wife helped me decide to pull for the Philadelphia Eagles during Sunday’s Super Bowl. She pointed out that Philadelphia players never took a knee during the national anthem this past season. What’s more, Eagles’ management established a prayer room for the players. Not sure when that was done, but it is commendable for management to have done so. And finally, QB Carson Wintz, who did not play due to injury, is a devout Christian. Enough reasons for me to pull for the Eagles. Doing the right thing is more important than jumping on the “Group Think Train” as many NFL players did, including our own Drew Brees.
But don’t despair. Lafayette has a shining example of a sports team doing the right thing. The Ragin’ Cajun men’s basketball team stands out this year due to its outstanding record, and more important, due to players’ dedication in the classroom as well as on the basketball court. The young men are coached to be excellent students, both academically and athletically, by Head Coach Bob Marlin. Coach Marlin is a soft-spoken man who exemplifies the type of leadership needed to train young people to succeed in life. That doesn’t mean just winning basketball games or earning money – it means teaching young people to put forth their best effort at everything they do in life, and to do the right thing, regardless of what those around you are thinking, saying, and doing.
The Ragin’ Cajuns amassed their twentieth win, with only three losses, after their victory this past Saturday over Sun Belt Conference rival, Louisiana-Monroe. The win made this year’s team the first Ragin’ Cajun basketball team to achieve 20 wins this early in the season. Quite an accomplishment. So let’s show our appreciation for Bob Marlin and his outstanding basketball team. The team is well-rounded in all aspects of the game: they play outstanding defense, they complement each other in their offensive play (lots of assists), four of the top five scorers shoot over 50% from the field, and the team shoots over 75% from the free-throw line.
Go to Ragincajuns.com and pick a game or two to attend. Shoot, go to all four of the remaining games at the Cajundome if you can. The Cajundome is beautiful after the recently-completed renovations, and you will see a team sport being played by disciplined players who are coached and taught to do the right thing.
Go Cajuns . . .