Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day; July 4

A few thoughts to jump start your July 4th Monday...

Indulge me if you will. Today is July 4 when we celebrate our independence. If you haven’t ever taken the time to read the Declaration of Independence, please take the time to read it now and understand the amount of courage it took for the 56 men who signed the document. Read that last line where it says, “we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” By signing the Declaration, all 56 men became wanted criminals by the British Crown, subject to hanging for treason.

Take a moment and think about the liberties we have to go to a college of our choice, to be able to congregate by the thousands in these huge cathedrals built for college football and basketball, and how we have the right to go on a message board and rant to our heart’s content about anything including our favorite and most hated sports teams.

Then read the Declaration of Independence and realize that we have a good life thanks to the courage of brave me some 240 years ago.

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.



Al Horford got four years for $113 million from the Boston Celtics. It is being reported that Horford’s decision to leave Atlanta had everything to do with the Hawks signing Dwight Howard. “He didn’t want to play with Dwight,” a close source told CBSSports.com. Landing Horford will seem like the ultimate coup if the Celtics manage to lure Kevin Durant from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

When the Dallas Mavericks didn’t show enough love, Chandler Parsons elected to take a 4-year deal with the Memphis Grizzlies for $98.5 million. That represents a nearly $9 million a year raise for Chandler.

The Washington Wizards gave Bradley Beal a max contract to stay put. He’ll have to scrape by the next five years on $128 million. We can only hope manages to make ends meet.

Joakim Noah’s deal with the New York Knicks is four years and $72 million, which represents a $5 million a year raise from what he was making with the Chicago Bulls. This is a great fit for Noah. The Knicks will ask him to do the things he does best – rebound, pass and play defense – and leave the scoring to Carmelo Anthony, KP and former Chicago teammate Derrick Rose.

Noah won’t be the only former Gator with the Knicks. David Lee signed a 4-year deal worth $48 million.

Marreese Speights could be signing with the Indiana Pacers in the next day or two. He’d really like to stay with Golden State but the Warriors might not have enough cap room.

Former UF pitcher A.J. Puk, the first choice of the Oakland Athletics in the recent Major League Baseball Draft, got a $4 million signing bonus.

Dane Dunning’s contract with the Washington Nationals was good for $2 million.

First baseman Peter Alonso got a $906,000 signing bonus with the New York Mets, who picked him in the second round.

Third rounder Shaum Anderson got a $700,000 deal to sign with the Boston Red Sox.

No deals have been announced yet for Oakland A’s second round pick Logan Shore, Cincinnati Reds fourth round pick Scott Moss or Toronto Blue Jays 10th round pick Kirby Snead. 


1. Devonte Fields, Louisville, SR (64 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, 12 QB hurries, 2 forced fumbles)
2. Jarrad Davis, Florida, SR (98 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 1 interception, 7 QB hurries, 1 forced fumble)

3. Vince Biegel, Wisconsin, SR (66 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, 8 QB hurries)

4. Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Tennessee, SR (105 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 3 QB hurries, 2 forced fumbles)
5. Tim Williams, Alabama, SR (19 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, 4 QB hurries)
6. Elijah Lee, Kansas State, JR (80 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 3 interceptions, 1 QB hurry, 1 forced fumble)

7. Steven Taylor, Houston, SR (92 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, 2 iterceptions, 12 QB hurries, 2 forced fumbles, 1 blocked punt)

8. Brandon Bell, Penn State, SR (65 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 3 QB hurries, 3 forced fumbles)

9. Ryan Anderson, Alabama, SR (37 tackles, 11.5 tackles or loss, 6 sacks, 10 QB hurries, 2 forced fumbles)

10. Travin Howard, TCU, JR (105 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception, 4 QB hurries, 1 blocked punt)

Just missed: Jordan Evans, Oklahoma, SR; Tyus Bowser, SR, Houston; Ryan Anderson, Alabama, SR; Kevin Davis, Colorado State, SR; Peter Kalambayi, Stanford, SR.


In game two of the Canadian Football League season, former Gator Chris Rainey contributed four returns for 149 yards. The wider field and funky rules make the CFL and any kind of kick a Chris Rainey playground.

The late great Bill Veeck once said it wasn’t the high price of stardom that was killing Major League Baseball but the high price of mediocrity. You could probably say that about the NBA when Jon Leuer, who has never averaged more than 8.5 points per game in any of his seven seasons in the league, is going to be paid $10.5 million a year the next four years by the Detroit Pistons.

The Baylor football program is officially at ground zero. When you have to grant releases to 11 members of your 2016 signing class it’s the equivalent of nuclear winter in Wacky Waco.

Brigham Young would love to join one of the Power 5 Conferences. Wishful thinking on the part of the folks from Provo but it isn’t going to happen, largely due to the school’s ban on playing on Sundays.


Is the amount of money that’s being doled out for free agent talent in the NBA a sign of a league gone crazy or just the high price of talent these days?


On the Fourth of July there can’t be too many songs better than this a capella version of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.”


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