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Voice of the 'Fan

A definition of why education comes first

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You've heard by now how former Texas Tech star Michael Crabtree is holding out for a larger contract than the one the Oakland Raiders gave to Darrius Heyward-Bey. Heyward-Bey was drafted #5, Crabtree #10 in the April draft. Eugene Parker, Crabtree's agent, had promised his new client he'd be in the top 5. As it turns out, it's a good thing Parker is not in the prognostication business. He was wrong, and now has to scramble to make his client happy before he signs a deal with the San Francisco 49ers, who used that 10th pick on him.

Complicating matters is a cousin of Crabtree's, one David Wells, who claims Crabtree's willing to sit out the season and re-enter the draft next year. Wells is an idiot for saying this, exposing the fact that he and others like him are jumping on the bandwagon for the money and little else. This dork needs to keep his mouth shut and stay away from the press, which feeds on stupidity like this. When Wells made his ill-advised remarks, the pundits all said that if Crabtree were to wait it out to April '10, he'd fall into the 3rd round or further, and his stock would drop instead of rise.

Bear in mind that Crabtree decided to turn pro after his junior season at Texas Tech, thinking as so many others do that he was ready for the pros before graduating. In terms of athletic ability, he probably is, but in other matters of far more importance, such as business skills, he's far from it. This holdout, based on projections from a mock draft, mind you, coupled with Wells' idiotic grab for publicity, bear this out.

Too many athletes are using college as a stepping stone to pro riches, most of them aspiring too soon before they're fully ready. Some, like basketball stars Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, have proven they were worth the hype. But for every Kobe or LeBron or even an Adrian Peterson, for example, there is a Maurice Clarett, who decided to turn pro way too soon, and has had one legal hassle after another since. The problem comes from too many so-called "experts" who put too many ideas in the players' heads, getting them thinking they don't need to be in college too long, but the truth is, they do need those 4 years or more on campus in order to complete that most important phase of their lives.

Being a star athlete, you see, brings as many hazards as it does rewards, but there are far too many kids today who are being led to believe that education isn't even a secondary priority. They fail to heed the example of NFL Hall of Famer Gale Sayers, who titled his autobiography, "I Am Third", for a simple reason. He placed God and his family & friends ahead of himself. Professional sports today needs more people like Gale Sayers than the me-first publicity marks like Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco. If Michael Crabtree wants to make a mark in the NFL this year, he may need to find a copy of "I Am Third", plus a Bible.

Oh, yeah, I think Tony Dungy may be available to offer professional & spiritual advice----right after he makes good on his promise to get Michael Vick a job on a team this season.


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