Kan Li / Scout

Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day; August 8

A few thoughts to jump start your Monday morning...

The University of Florida is getting hammered for bringing on attorney Jake Schickel to adjudicate a Title IX hearing that involves former quarterback Treon Harris and current wide receiver Antonio Callaway. Shickel has handled many Title IX cases and by all accounts he’s one of the best in the business. There’s only one problem. He’s a former UF track athlete with UF undergraduate and law degrees. He might be the fairest man in the world, but it will not change the appearance of impropriety. The attorney for the young woman involved in this case said it was cause to boycott a hearing that was scheduled Friday.

In his statement, John Clune, who represented the accuser of FSU Heisman Trophy quarterback Jameis Winston, said the hearing was to adjudicate a sexual assault allegation against Harris and Callaway. Until Clune issued his statement there were only unsubstantiated whispers that Harris and Callaway were involved in some sort of sexual assault accusation, which led to their suspensions from the football team in January (Both were reinstated to the team in July although Harris has subsequently gained his release for the purpose of transferring out). 

Clune had every right to complain about Schickel since he’s also a UF booster who has given thousands of dollars to the University Athletic Association over the years. But, did he cross the line by stating that this was a sexual assault allegation?

Apparently defense attorney Huntley Johnson seems to think so. Johnson, who represents Callaway, issued a scathing response that among other things stated, “We are not going to besmirch his (Clune’s) client in the press. The totality of the investigation which is over one-thousand (1,000) pages will do that for us.” 

Now understand that Johnson has a reputation as a “fixer” who can get a client off the hook. To be a bit more blunt, if he thinks his client is innocent he will go to the mat for him (or her). Based on what we’ve seen through the years, if Johnson thinks there is anything to allegations against one of his clients, he will go for a settlement, the quicker the better. This case is more than seven months in the making and Johnson hasn’t been trying to get a settlement, which should be a decent indicator that he has evidence that he believes would exonerate Callaway.

Whether Johnson has rock solid evidence that will clear Callaway of any charges or not will be determined in the future. As for now, there is that matter of the appearance of impropriety, which the University of Florida can, in no way, escape. Mr. Schickel has a well-deserved reputation as a fair man, but his reputation is being dragged through the mud by the University of Florida’s choice to have him adjudicate a case involving one of its athletes. UF should have never asked Schickel to adjudicate the matter and Schickel should have said no when asked.

This has the appearance of good ole boy justice and that’s the last thing UF needs and the last thing Antonio Callaway needs. Even if Johnson has the evidence it will take to clear him, the fact that (a) UF unwisely chose Schickel and (b) Clune made the allegations public mean Callway’s reputation has been ripped and shredded. If he assaulted the girl, then it should be, but we do live in a country where you’re innocent until proven guilty. Too bad UF didn’t think about that. Too bad Jake Schickel didn’t think about it. And too bad John Clune decided to take his case to the court of public opinion.

The whole thing stinks to high heaven.

GRIDIRONNOW.COM RATES SEC LINEBACKERS/SECONDARIES

The linebackers:

1. Alabama
2. LSU

3. Tennessee

4. Vanderbilt

5. Georgia

6. Mississippi State

7. Missouri
8. Florida

9. Arkansas
10. Ole Miss
11. Auburn
12. Texas A&M
13. South Carolina

14. Kentucky

My opinion: Alabama simply reloads at linebacker every year. Last year Bama had veterans on the inside and newbies on the outside. This year, it’s just the opposite but no matter who joins OLBs Ryan Anderson and Tim Williams on the linebacker corps, Bama will be the best in the league. LSU should be #2, particularly since its personnel is best suited to the 3-4 that new DC Dave Aranda brings to the table. Vanderbilt’s LBs are better than Tennessee’s and Georgia’s are way overrated. If Alex Anzalone stays healthy, Florida’s LBs will be top three in the league.

The secondaries:

1. LSU
2. Alabama
3. FLORIDA
4. Georgia

5. Texas A&M

6. Tennessee

7. Missouri

8. Vanderbilt

9. Ole Miss

10. Mississippi State
11. Auburn
12. Kentucky

13. Arkansas

14. South Carolina

My opinion: If I had been rating the secondaries, I would have Alabama at #1 followed by Florida. LSU gave up 22 TDPs last year and 224.3 yards per game. Of course, that was with Kevin Steele coaching the LSU defense, so some of that is understandable. LSU would be my #3 and even though Georgia has all four starters back, I’m not convinced the UGa pass rush will give adequate help to the secondary. Ole Miss at #9? Look at the last four years. The Rebels have had to replace key elements in the secondary each of the last four years and the newbies keep coming up big.

RIO

Top 5 Medals by Country:

1. USA 12 (3 gold, 5 silver, 4 bronze)

2. China 8 (3 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze)

3. (Tie) Italy 7 (2 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze) and Japan 7 (1 gold, 6 bronze)

5. (Tie) Australia 5 (3 gold and 2 bronze); Korea 5 (2 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze); and Russia 5 (1 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze)

Having seen everyone but Nigeria and Argentina in the men’s basketball, I would be shocked if there is a team at the Olympics capable of playing the US within 20 points. Who needs LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Michael Westbrook, James Hardin and Anthony Davis? If they were playing they would need a mercy rule after the first quarter. Without them, there should be one after the first half. From what I have seen, the Aussies are probably the second best team. 

I feel almost as badly for any team that has to play the USA women’s team. Geno Auriemma’s trademark has always been swarming, smothering defense. This team can score almost score enough points to win against any team in the field simply with its defense.

What the US women’s gymnastics team did Sunday was reminiscent of Romania in 1976. In Sunday’s team competition, the US led China by TEN points. Per the Associated Press, “If the US had swapped out its highest score on each event with its lowest, it would still be up by six points.”

Katie Ledecky broke her own world record in the 400-meter freestyle by more than 1 second. She got a silver in the 4X100 freestyle relay and could win another three medals before the swimming portion of the games concludes. She owns 11 world records. She will be swimming for Stanford in the fall.

Venus Williams lost her first round singles match and Venus and Serena lost their first round doubles match.  Venus is 36 years old and Serena will be 35 next month. When they give up competitive tennis you have to wonder if the women’s game in the US will go the same route as the men’s.

I saw the video of French gymnast Samir Ait Said breaking his leg one time. I haven’t had the stomach to see it a second time.

The opening ceremony: too long and too boring. It could be the cure for insomnia, however.

A-ROD CALLING IT A CAREER

Alex Rodriguez will call it a career Friday. He’s 41 years old and his bat has slowed to the point that average fast balls blow by him. The New York Yankees will release him unconditionally Friday and A-Rod will sign a contract to serve as an advisor in the Yankees organization until December 31, 2017.

From a purely statistical standpoint, A-Rod is one of the greatest players of all time with 3,114 hits, 696 homers, 2,084 RBI and an all time MLB record of 25 grand slams. But the stats are tainted by his use of performance enhancing drugs and made worse by the way he tried to cover things up the second time he was caught. Since we don’t really know when he used the drugs or how often, we are left to wonder what those stats would be without juicing? Can we attribute an extra 200 homers and 400 RBI to the juice? Would it be less?

I saw A-Rod play in high school and I marveled at how easily he adjusted to the MLB game. He won the batting title (.358) and hit 36 homers with 123 RBI as a 21-year-old in his first full year in the big leagues. It still blows my mind that the Mariners couldn’t win the AL championship with A-Rod, Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, Tino Martinez, Jay Buhner and Edgar Martinez on the roster.

I put A-Rod in the same category as Barry Bonds. Bonds had good enough stats without the juice to make the Hall of Fame. He’s not in, of course, but might make it someday. Although there is no way to tell for sure how well A-Rod’s stats were padded by juicing, I have to think they would have been Hall of Fame caliber without the help of the PEDs. Like Bonds, he might make the hall someday, but even if he does, we’ll always wonder.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Jim Furyk was already one of only six players to ever record a 59 on the PGA Tour but Sunday he set the all-time record with a 58 in the Traveler’s Championship in Cromwell, CT, which took him from 1-over par to -11 and a tie for fifth place. Finishing tied for fifth was a difference of about $218,000 in prize money. His 58 included 10 birdies, one eagle and no bogeys. 

Brandon Spikes, out of the NFL since 2014, is getting a second chance with the Buffalo Bills, who might be without rookie linebacker Reggie Ragland for awhile.

Ichiro Suzuki got his 3,000th hit Sunday, becoming the 30th player in Major League Baseball history to reach that level. Ichiro didn’t break into the big leagues until he was 27 after eight full years and 1,278 hits in the Japanese League.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

How much of the Olympics did you watch over the weekend and what event(s) riveted you to your TV set?

MUSIC FOR TODAY

Sting has one of the most unique voices in the music business. I caught a few of his songs today while driving around Gainesville and it’s been in my head ever since. So, today’s music is a full concert in Moscow from 2012.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQLB5-g-KUY

 


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