We Americans deceive ourselves more than any nation on earth. We say we revere thrift, yet spend money we don’t have and get in credit trouble up to our necks. We say we’re a Christian nation, yet tolerate and even celebrate a pagan culture.
And we embrace the concept of “student-athlete” even though it is a joke. Today’s college football players are in every way professional athletes. They are paid to attend school; we don’t call it a job, we put some respectability on it by calling it a scholarship. That payment, uh, scholarship, can be worth a hundred grand or more depending upon the school. A professional is someone who gets paid to do a job, and football players are employees in every way. It is deception to think otherwise.
Lou Holtz was the best at deception. During his years at Carolina, he had more than one thug to cause problems, and he went to outlandish lengths to give them fifth and sixth chances. But instead of admitting the team needed them to win, he’d become the great humanitarian. More than once, he’d almost cry in explaining why that poor kid needed “one more chance.” It had nothing to do with football, you see, he was just trying to help a poor kid succeed. Bull.
Now Tommy Bowden is gone. The State newspaper’s Ron Morris did a brilliant job in putting the episode in perspective.