College

Should The Giants “Tank”?

By Jake Navarro ’20 and Jack Lev ’20

After being 1-6 to start the season, the New York Giants hopes of making the playoffs are plummeting. Many Giants fans have pondered whether or not the Giants should tank in order to earn themselves the number one draft pick in 2018.    

Many Giants fans hold strong opinions on the future of their season. Sammy Guthartz ’20 is an extreme football fan and a diehard Giants fanatic. Guthartz believes the Giants should tank the remainder of their season considering their best player, Odell Beckham jr., is injured. Guthartz went on to speak of the benefits of tanking, such as earning the number one draft pick, which in turn, enables the Giants to select the potential best player in the draft.

Although Guthartz holds a strong opinion, many other people disagree with the fact that the Giants should tank, as they could actually make the playoffs. Jake Glickman ’20 has been a Giants fan since 2004. “Although we might have lost the first five games of the season, the rest of the schedule appears to be a lot easier,” he said.

Glickman went on to state how although a number of players are injured, the Giants may finally be able to establish a run game with the helps of running backs Orleans Darkwa and Wayne Gallman. Also, in 1992 the Los Angeles Chargers started out 0-5 just like the Giants, yet they made the playoffs, proving it is possible for the Giants to make it.

Holden Cohen ’20 is a fan of the New York Jets and feels that the Giants won’t win another game, and they might turn out to be the worst team in the league this year. “With the losses of Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall, elite wide receivers in the Giants offense, they might never bounce back,” he said. “They still can’t establish a run game after drafting Wayne Gallman and their offensive line gives no help.”

While there is still some hope for the Giants, as the losses pile up, their chances of making the playoffs seem to be rapidly fading.

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The Revamped NBA All-Star Game

By Matt Engler ’18

The annual NBA All-Star Game produces new scenes and surprises every year. Last year, Drake introduced each of the of the players, it was Kobe Bryant’s final all star game and Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook played with each other for the first time since Durant controversially left for the Golden State Warriors in the previous off season. This year, new changes are in store for the 2018 All-Star Game mainly featuring a controversial new voting system that should drastically alter the game.

Being played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles this year, the All-Star game will now switch to a two team captain, draft format. In previous years, the All-Star game would be a competition between the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. Each team would be entirely selected by fan voting. Now fans will vote for a pool of the top players, or ‘all stars” across the league, and two captains will pick teams based off the pool of players. There will no longer be east versus west which has been the format for the past 67 years.

This change is a result of growing criticism regarding the All-Star game in recent years. Many sports reporters and journalists have heavily criticized the game for a lack of competitiveness. NBA players tend to treat the game as a joke due to the possible risk of injury and the meaningless reward behind winning the game. However, even with these new changes, reporters are still unhappy with the competition. Stephen A Smith, an ESPN reporter, said “Y’all know what the problem is on Sundays on All-Star Weekend y’all show no effort.”

Smith went on to discuss how many of these players play much harder over the summer in pickup games with their friends rather than on All-Star Game weekend. The criticism can be refuted with the fact that the All-Star Game takes place in the latter part of the season so the risk of injury is much greater with the playoffs approaching.

Houstons Rockets point guard and former all star Chris Paul told Sports Illustrated, “I’m thrilled with what the players and the league have done to improve the All-Star Game, which has been a priority for all of us.”

There is clearly several conflicting opinions regarding the new format, however in the end it will be up to the fans to decide whether the changes were for better or worse.

The new All Star Game format offers a new outlook on how the league is approaching the annual event. These changes may or may not revitalize the All-Star Game to its former competitive atmosphere. Fans will pack the Staples Center on Feb. 18 in hope for a great weekend full of NBA culture.

To Be Paid or Not To Be

By Jackson Lev ’20 and Jake Navarro ’20

A controversial topic revolving around college sports is that collegiate athletes are illegally compensated for their athletic abilities. Recently Rick Pitino, an inductee of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, was fired on account of his staff paying athletes to attend their program.   

Many people hold strong opinions on whether or not it is right for collegiate athletes to be paid for their athletic performances. Benny Feuer ’20 is an avid fan of college sports. “College athletes should be paid,” Feuer said. He went on to discuss how only the top-tier players at certain universities deserve to be compensated because they produce money for their schools through advertisements which are being publicised on national television networks. Following this statement, Feuer stated that if certain athletes were being paid, it would only give them more of an incentive to work harder because they will desire a larger salary.    

Nevertheless, a number of people disagree with the fact that collegiate athletes should be compensated for their enhanced abilities. Former All-American track star David Cassuto is just one example of someone who disagrees with Feuer’s statements. “College athletes should not be paid,” Cassuto said. “They are getting an education, 99 percent of all collegiate athletes will not go professional in their sport. Keep the emphasis on education.”

The point of many who agree with Cassuto is that the most essential part of attending college is receiving an education. So, if student-athletes obtain a salary, they will not have the incentive to work as hard in the classroom as they do on the field.

Michael Beasley, former college basketball star at Kansas State University, and number two draft choice of the National Basketball Association, expressed his thoughts on this topic. Beasley told a reporter from USA Today Sports, “A lot of us (athletes in general) don’t make it to the professional level, let alone the NBA. So I do think guys should be getting paid. The NCAA is making billions — not just off basketball but off football and soccer — by the way, golf players get paid, tennis players get paid. There are athletes getting paid at the college level. We’re just not one of them.”

While Beasley may be correct in the sense that a number of athletes are being compensated for their abilities and the NCAA is making billions, research shows the majority of colleges would be losing money had they paid their athletes. Business Insider states, “Of the 231 division I schools, 76% make less than $50 million in athletics revenue. If we take it a step further, a little under half of the Division I schools (44%) make less than $20 million.”

Ultimately, this is the biggest issue with paying college athletes; if the college pays one athlete, they will be obligated to pay every athlete. Another issue that would be involved is paying both genders; if a college compensates the men’s basketball team, they must also compensate the women’s team. Lastly, it’s controversial enough to ask a big time program such as UCONN to compensate their athletes, but to ask a small school like Seton Hall, whom makes a fraction of what the average division I school brings in, that is unethical.  

Although Business Insider believes that it’s unfair to ask smaller colleges which bring in less of an income than larger schools to supply their athletes with a salary, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a member of the NBA Hall of Fame and UCLA alumni basketball team from 1966-1969, shares his experiences and thoughts on why college athletes should earn a salary. “Despite the hours I put in every day, practicing, learning plays, and traveling around the country to play games, and despite the millions of dollars our team generated for UCLA—both in cash and in recruiting students to attend the university—I was always too broke to do much but study, practice, and play,”

Abdul-Jabbar told Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele a reporter for the Root. He thinks college programs are inconsiderate for not rewarding their players for the hard work and money they bring in for the school. Abdul-Jabar holds this opinion because some of these scholars struggle to put food on the table for themselves and their families due to a lack of wealth.

Jeffrey Dorfman, a reporter and writer for Forbes, has researched and grasped a good understanding of why college athletes should not be paid. He states, “A student athlete at a major conference school on full scholarship is likely receiving a package of education, room, board, and coaching/training worth between $50,000 and $125,000 per year depending on their sport and whether they attend a public or private university.” Dorfman has found that college athletes are getting scholarships of a minimum of $50,000. He thinks that these scholarships are their compensation for the hard work and dedication they put in and if they are receiving a free education and textbooks, why would they need an additional salary?   

 

Local NFL Teams Off to Bad Start

By Teddy Dienst ’20 and Alex Massoud ’20

 

Patriots:

After winning the Super Bowl last season, and acquiring many key free agents such as cornerback Stephon Gilmore, running back Rex Burkhead and wide receiver Brandin Cooks, there was talk that this year’s Patriots team could go 16-0, matching that of the 2007 Pats team. However, after being dismantled by Alex Smith and the Chiefs in their opener, losing 42-27, those talks of a superteam died down. The Patriots bounced back the next week, handley defeating the Saints 36-20, but struggled at home against Houston the next Sunday. They went down by five with just over two minutes to go, but Tom Brady led another game-winning drive and delivered a touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks with 23 seconds left to give New England the win. The Panthers came to New England this past Sunday, in what looked to be a surefire blowout for the Patriots as the Panthers were beat by the Saints the previous week, but the Panthers surprised the world and beat the defending champs. Carolina went up by two touchdowns early in the fourth quarter when Belichick’s crew started to comeback, tying up the ballgame with three minutes left. However, the 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton set up Carolina kicker Graham Gano in field goal range, who proceeded to hit a 48-yarder as time expired to send the Patriots to .500 on the season. The Patriots will head to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers on Thursday night and will look to get back on the winning path.

 

Jets:

Going into the 2017 season, most analysts had very little hope for the New York Jets. They said they lacked talent and leadership above all. Through four weeks, these critics look to be somewhat incorrect. After stumbling out of the gates against the Buffalo Bills, the Jets traveled to Oakland to face the Raiders. The twelve and four team from a year ago certainly looked the part against the very flawed New York Jets, winning the game 45-20. However, Head Coach Todd Bowles and the Jets bounced back, winning two consecutive games against the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars to even themselves up at 2-2. Local Jets fan Jake Thaw ’20 attributed the two wins to the fact that they were both at home. “With the expectations of this team being so low, they were getting bombarded by opposing fans which only decreased their spirits. Coming back home really brought a lot of energy and life to a team that was seemingly dead,” Thaw said. The Jets look to continue their hot streak and potentially make the playoffs as the obvious dark-horse candidate for this 2017 season.

 

Giants:

After coming off an impressive 11-5 season the New York Giants are still seeking their first victory as the first quarter of the NFL season comes to an end. It has been an injury packed year for them with star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. coming off a hurt ankle and starting running back Paul Perkins suffering a rib injury in a 27-24 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Negatives seem to be taking over New York season but one positive is that every game they have played they have gradually been playing better. In week one, the Dallas Cowboys almost shut out the Giants by beating them 19 to 3. In week four the Giants were beating the Buccaneers late in the fourth quarter But couldn’t hold on to that lead and lost on a game winning field goal. This doesn’t justify the horrific start they have had but it should give New York fans some type of hope to grasp onto as the season progresses. “They are starting off very underwhelming,” George Nelson ’20 said. “It is clear that the offensive line and Eli Manning are struggling.” This is true, and if the Giants fill those gaps and get rolling, they could be on the verge of a much better season.

Reflecting on Carmelo Anthony’s Time with the New York Knicks

By Jack Caldwell ’18

After six long years, Carmelo Anthony’s stint with the New York Knicks finally came to an end last week, as he was traded from New York to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a draft pick to be named later. Upon arriving in Oklahoma City, Anthony was asked a reasonable question as to whether or not he would come off the bench for his new team. His response: “Who? Me?!

Thunder fans were almost immediately introduced to the harsh reality of Carmelo Anthony, a talented scorer whose desire to be popular is greater than his desire to win as evidenced in his time in New York. Although the Knickerbockers did not acquire much in return for the former scoring champion, fans should still be satisfied that the organization moved in the right direction for the first time in years. It’s time to move on from the Carmelo Anthony era.

When Carmelo Anthony demanded a trade from the Denver Nuggets in 2011, New Yorkers were fooled into believing that Anthony’s desire for a trade was fueled by a desire to return to his “hometown”. In reality, Anthony moved away from Brooklyn at age eight, developing his basketball skills in Baltimore, Maryland.  In an interview last year, he claimed that “Baltimore raised me – not Brooklyn,” and even has an apparent tattoo that says “WB” on it for West Baltimore. Anthony’s urge to come to New York directly correlated with the market’s status as number one in the country; not to mention that the Knicks’ have been the NBA’s most valuable team for years.  When Denver grew too small for his star status, Anthony held the team hostage until he was finally traded, despite the fact that his Nuggets were far more competitive than the Knicks at the time.  

Leaving a competitive Nuggets team to come to New York made it clear early on that Anthony’s willingness to be popular was stronger than his will to win. Although the Knicks were a solid team that year, they weren’t close to what Anthony had as a team in Denver – and his Knicks never matched their success.  

Early into his New York tenure, a new superstar rose, this time in unexpected fashion.  Although the madness only lasted for a few weeks, the name still has meaning for New Yorkers: Jeremy Lin. The underdog hero who saved the 2012 Knicks’ season – and unlike Carmelo Anthony, actually passed the ball – attracted much attention.  According to then-Head Coach Mike D’Antoni, Anthony resented Lin’s success as he watched from the bench during an injury. Additionally, Anthony was unwilling to adapt to help Lin continue to thrive. “They could co-exist if Melo went to the 4 [power forward], which he was unwilling to do,” D’Antoni added. Carmelo’s insistence to play the 3 (small forward) and control the offense overcame his will to do what was best for the team, and Jeremy Lin has never been close to the same since.

Sure, Anthony brought some success to New York.  The Knicks lone playoff series win in 13 years came with Carmelo as the focal point in 2013. But he also avoided winning yet again during free agency in 2014, declining offers from several competitive teams such as the Rockets and Bulls to stay in New York for more money.  Was it foolish for the Knicks to offer Carmelo another contract? Of course, and they’re to blame as well. But the Knicks also offered Anthony a contract that resembled that of other teams’ offers in order to provide salary cap relief, for $96 million. Anthony instead opted to sign for $124 million – advertising this as a whopping $6 million “hometown discount” from the $129 maximum. To provide context, $6 million doesn’t even equate to a veterans’ minimum over the five-year length of the deal. Maybe it’s not right to eviscerate Anthony for following the money, but it’s clear that he preferred money and fame over winning and success.

Carmelo Anthony’s contract has a 15 percent trade kicker, meaning that he would command one of the NBA’s most expensive salaries if he were to be traded. With his lack of flexibility evident after the Jeremy Lin situation, Anthony’s isolation style forces his team to slow down significantly. Considering the fast-paced nature of the modern NBA, the Knicks were granted a blessing in being able to trade an aging, overpaid scorer who holds the ball too much and slows down pace of play. Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott continue the youth movement for New York in return, and the future draft pick is always a plus. As for the Thunder, they can only hope that Melo can put his selfish tendencies behind him to win a championship. OKC certainly has the talent to pull it off if he complies, but if he slows down play he can also be their unraveling.