Archive for September, 2016

Evening Sun Football Contest: week three

Friday, September 23rd, 2016
Cameron Turner

This marks the second week of The Evening Sun’s Football Contest, and what will mark my first week doing a brief recap of the week and what is to come.

If you haven’t checked out the The Football Contest, I encourage you to do so, as it is a fun way to get involved, stay up to-date on football games, and while you’re at it you get caught up on all your local news provided in The Evening Sun. Each week, I provide 20 picks ranging from high school varsity, college and even NFL. Choosing these picks has been something I look forward to as it is interesting to me to choose the most anticipated games, while also mixing in some good match-ups that not many people will have known about. This provides each contestant a fair chance as, they are required to submit their choices of the 20 games, free of charge and before 5 p.m. each Friday afternoon.

Following the weekend onslaught of football, Friday – high school, Saturday – collegiate, and Sunday – NFL, I tally up the the correct and wrong answers to find the winner. If there is a tie it goes down to the tie-breaker selection which you provide a total number and points for. The winner with the correct tie-breaker and closest number of points is deemed the winner.

Each week one contestant is rewarded for their football knowledge or lucky guessing with a $25 check from The Evening Sun. If however, a contestant guesses all 20 games correctly they are eligible for $100 that week. Check out any Evening Sun edition on a Tuesday for the full rundown of scores and picks for that week, as well a full writeup on the rules.

As for this week, out of the 38 total entries it was Sylvia Figary of Norwich who would earn the $25 weekly prize. Figary wouldn’t do so very easily however, as she would need to go down to the tie-breaker to decide the winner of the six-way tie at 15 correct games.

Figary would choose a final score in the tie breaker of 30-27 in favor of Ohio State over Oklahoma, giving her a total of 57-points in that game.

Her one point contest win would be over second place, Jeff Gezibowski of Norwich. Gezibowski would also guess 15 correct games, but would falter in the tie-breaker guessing a final score of 35-21, giving him a total of 56-points.

Needless to say the Ohio State vs. Oklahoma State game would see a final score of 45-24, making Figary’s 57-points the closest to the official grand total of 69-points scored in that game.

For anyone wondering the final outcome of scores for the rest of the contestant: six people would tie with 15 correct games, five people would tie at 14 correct games, eight people would tie with 12 correct games, four people would have 11 correct games, four people would have 10 correct games, three people would only choose nine correct, and one unlucky person would only select eight correct games.

This gave the week a median score of 12, which surprisingly for myself was one more than I guessed correctly.

While tallying up the scores I noticed some trends of games that many people missed, including myself.

To begin the Iowa against North Dakota State game would see North Dakota kick a field goal to take the lead as time expired for the 23-21 win. This was somewhat of a surprise to the contestants, as well as myself, as only four people chose North Dakota State over Iowa.

Another big surprise was the Michigan State and Notre Dame game. This would end in a 36-28 Michigan State win. This pick surprisingly wouldn’t be chosen by any of the people in the six-way tie. I would also miss the correct choice, choosing Notre Dame, as only seven contestants would pick Michigan State for the win.

In the NFL the Vikings vs. the Packers game gave people a lot of trouble. The injury riddled Vikings, despite losing Adrian Peterson, would pull off the win over the Packers. Only eight people in the contest would choose the Vikings over the Packers.

Leading the way this week for the ‘experts’ was Kevin Walsh of Parker Walsh Team, who had an impressive 17 correct games. Walsh would however miss each of the choices mentioned above, as those marked his only three misses this week.

After Walsh’s 17 correct this week, he has jumped up in the standings after two weeks, for a two-way tie in first at 31 correct games to nine misses.

Make sure to grab next Tuesday’s edition of The Evening Sun, Sept. 27, for results and the next 20 picks for week three of The Football Contest.

Good luck football fans.

Oh, Colin Kaepernick

Thursday, September 1st, 2016
Cameron Turner

Honestly I don’t even know where to start with my thoughts on Kaepernick. This is not a column to bash him or what he stands for by any means, but simply to call into question his morality when he is faced with adversity in his life, and his choice of timing in his protest of sitting during the playing of the national anthem.
I believe in The United States that freedom of speech is a right that all citizens should enjoy to the fullest. Simply put, the message Kaepernick has portrayed in the national media, and to the world is a relatively good message. We need change, and we need it now.
The war on terror is a sham, minorities are oppressed in today’s society, and most importantly our troops should always be praised for the sacrifices they have and are currently making, whether the war is believed to be just or not. And truly I believe that Colin Kaepernick can speak his mind however he sees fit, that right is his, due to the freedoms he has as a United States citizen.
However, when a former star and currently struggling athlete is known to be generally somewhat self-centered in their approach to life and the game of football, it calls into question the way Kaepernick proceeded to almost out of the blue care about the causes and struggles that do plague our once great country.
Colin Kaepernick was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Heidi Russo, a 19-year-old single white woman. Kaepernick’s biological father was not present in his life from day one, therefore his biological mother put him up for adoption to which his adopted parents took over – Rick and Teresa Kaepernick.
Under their guidance as parents, Colin took off to begin what seemed to be a promising career in the sport of football. Kaepernick even was noted to write a letter to himself at a young age, where he predicted he would be a starting NFL quarterback for either the Packers or 49ers.
After a hugely successful four years attending college at Nevada, Colin was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the second round of the 2011 draft.
His career with the 49ers pointed toward even more success than he had already achieved at the college level. As just in his second year in the NFL, he took over the reigns for an injured Alex Smith in week 10, and became the starting quarterback for the 49ers, completing his childhood prediction.
That very same year, he finished the season with 1,814 passing yards, 10 passing TDs, 3 INT, 415 rushing yards, and 5 rushing TDs, en route to a Superbowl appearance, where he ultimately fell short to the Superbowl champion Ravens, losing 34-31.
Kaepernick continued his successes in 2013, playing his first full season in the NFL and posting a stat line of 3,197 passing yards, 21 passing TDs, 8 INT, 524 rushing yards, and 4 rushing TDs. The 49ers would lose in the NFC championship game to the Seahawks on an interception thrown by Kaepernick.
After the 2013 season it all went downhill for the 49ers and their young budding star of a quarterback. On June 4, 2014, Kaepernick signed a six year contact with the 49ers, worth up to $126 million, with $54 million in potential guarantees, and $13 million fully guaranteed. This contract has Kaepernick signed through 2020 season.
The 49ers failed to make playoffs after being early season favorites in 2014, and head coach and big Kaepernick supporter Jim Harbaugh, would elect to leave the 49ers to return to coaching at the college level once again.
Kaepernick would post a 2014 stat line of: 16 games played, 3,369 passing yards, 19 passing TDs, 10 INT, 639 rushing yards, and 1 rushing TD – missing the playoffs for an underwhelming 8-8 regular season record. This would be the last year Kaepernick would see any true successes at the quarterback position.
This past season, 2015, under the tutelage of first time head coach Jim Tomsula, Kaepernick seemed to be in a make or break year for his NFL career. In week 8 of the regular season, Kaepernick was benched in favor of Blaine Gabbert (10th overall pick of the 2011 draft and still currently the 49ers starting quarterback). The 49ers finished the season with a 5-11 regular season record, missing the playoffs for the second year in a row. Some speculated that the new offensive system was not a good fit for Kaepernick, as he struggled mightily.
Kaepernick would post a stat line last year of: 1,615 passing yards, 6 passing TDs, 5 INTs, 256 rushing yards, and only one rushing TD within his span of starts that season.
Fast forward to pre-season of the 2016 NFL season, currently under the six year contact that Kaepernick is signed to, he is scheduled to make roughly $19 million when all is said and done. This astronomical number of a cap hit has had insiders speculating for months over whether or not the 49ers would trade, or possibly cut Kaepernick before the start of the new season. And to make matters worse all reports have indicated that he would serve once again as a backup quarterback to Blaine Gabbert in 2016, due to dimishing physical ability.
If somehow you have escaped the onslaught of the Colin Kaepernick controversy this past week, it should be cleared up that Colin Kaepernick was noticed to be actively protesting the playing of the national anthem at each of the 49ers pre-season games thus far, as he has elected to sit during that time.
On August 26, following the pre-season game that day, Kaepernick was quoted explaining his actions, saying, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Following the attention that Kaepernick’s actions and words have garnered, the 49ers did released a statement saying, “The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”
While peaceful protesting has done wonders for The United States, helping to slowly but surely chip away racial and sexual prejudices, as well as affording citizens many other rights, one can not help but wonder why Kaepernick, who has never been a huge voice in the activism world – instead opting for magazine shoots and headphone deals – chooses the 2016 pre-season as his platform to reach what he claims is a racially prejudice America.
One would wonder why a once thought to be up-and-coming star – who unseated a former first overall draft choice from their starting job (Alex Smith) – and was a play away from his second Superbowl appearance in that many years, would not simply put his nose to the grindstone and attempt to win his starting job back.
Would it not be more impactful if a starting quarterback making roughly $19 million dollars a year for an NFL team, spoke out against police brutality and the oppression of minorities? It would seem to be much harder to cut a star quarterback saying and doing these things, rather than a physically struggling, former star quarterback, making $19 million a year, who is just magically voicing his opinion the week before final roster cuts.
It would seem to many, that this is a desperation move by Kaepernick – possibly a smart one – as the deadline to have the final NFL 53-man roster looms this coming Saturday, September 3, at 4 p.m. Eastern Time.
The 49ers are now placed in a very tight situation, as Kaepernick assumedly planned. Under a once again new regime at head coach, Kaepernick has been reportedly struggling in the new offense of head coach Chip Kelly. Notably Kelly moved on from The Eagles after his short stay as their head coach. During that time, many NFL players spoke out, claiming Kelly was a racist coach. The Eagles have obviously since moved on, after Kelly posted regular season records of 10-6, 10-6, and 6-9. Do the allegations of Chip Kelly being a racist coach have anything to do with Kaepernick speaking out? I think not.
Not long ago, the problem of having a roster spot open for a player garnering as much money as Kaepernick, to simply sit bench, was a problem of waiting to see if Kaepernick would eventually catch on to the a new offensive system.
However, new systems on the football field have not been Kaepernick’s strong-point as he has not posted a ‘succesful’ campaign since the departure of Jim Harbaugh.
Kaepernick’s national anthem protest places the organization as a whole in a squeeze, as they must now balance their salary cap, while also taking into account the performance of a player who brings much controversy and off-field noise to a struggling organization.
Generally speaking, unless you are a superstar athlete, off field antics and political protests are put to bed relatively quickly in the sporting world. As they rightfully should be, it is a business after all, and there is always someone who can replace you.
There is an underlying truth that runs through most sporting organizations in the world. Front office management and coaching staffs do everything in their power to avoid drama on and off the field, however, as I said there are exceptions to this rule as players who consistently perform at a high rate are tolerated. Kaepernick is not currently one of those exceptional players, he is a fading backup quarterback in a league that needs production at his position in order to be successful.
So, while I highly respect Kaepernick for his words and his want to change a truly broken United States. I find it hard to believe he did not simply take advantage of the situation he was in, seeing as come this Saturday he may not have that stage to project his voice anymore, if roster cuts or a trade does in fact happen.