Aug 18 2016

What The Hell Is Up With That Robbery?

If you’ve been following the Rio Olympics at all, you likely have heard about Ryan Lochte and his teammates being robbed at gunpoint.

Taser Gun

(Note: the photo above is a taser. It was in the DaddyTips image library. It has nothing to do with the story. But it is a gun, albeit not a deadly one.)

Unless it never happened. Which is not what we’re saying AT ALL. This is just reporting what others have reported and adding some musings about the “Dad is my Spokesperson” thing.

According to the AP, two of Lochte’s teammates were pulled from a plane and had their passports seized. That seems odd to me. Here’s some details:

USOC spokesperson Patrick Sandusky said Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were released by local authorities after being pulled from a flight at the Rio de Janeiro airport, with the understanding that discussions would continue amid uncertainty over what truly took place during a late outing the night Olympic swimming wrapped up at the Rio Games.
Fellow teammate Jimmy Feigen also plans to talk to officials, Sandusky said, as he navigates a judge’s order that keeps him in Brazil. The order similarly called for Lochte’s passport to be seized, but the star swimmer had already returned to the United States before authorities could enforce the decision.
A lawyer for Conger and Bentz said Thursday that they won’t be allowed to leave Brazil until they provide testimony to investigators. The swimmers didn’t speak to reporters as they left the airport, shuttled away by a black car waiting outside. They departed for an unspecified location in Brazil and had yet to testify, said attorney Sergio Viegas. (emphasis added)

Kinda bizarre, right? Is it possible that they made the whole thing up? Apparently accounts of the details of the event have changed, which is less surprising when you read that Lochte and his teammates were, according to published reports, inebriated. What is very strange to me is that the athletes aren’t being allowed to leave the country. That feels punitive.

Here’s what Lochte’s father Steve had to say (this is why I’m writing about the whole thing on DaddyTips):

Lochte’s father told The Associated Press by phone from his Florida home that his son called him Tuesday after arriving in the United States. The 32-year-old swimmer was going to pick up his car and buy a new wallet to replace the one that he said was stolen.
“I’m just happy he’s safe,” Steve Lochte said. “It was an unfortunate experience for him and the other three. I don’t know what all the controversy is. They were basically taken out of the taxi and robbed. The main thing is he’s very lucky that he’s safe and that all they got was his cash and wallet.”

So Ryan Lochte was allowed to leave Rio.

A brief word about the whole “Dad as Spokesperson” phenomenon.

This is something that I continue to be fascinated by. Why does a 32-year-old need his father to speak on his behalf? Athletes in particular seem to have their Dads talk for them, especially in situations like, say, the NFL draft. We saw that in Jerry Maguire; the father of someone Jerry is trying to represent is clearly running his kid’s life. In that case it makes a bit more sense. The kid is young, impressionable, possibly not that great with money. That was the case in Jerry Maguire. It’s probably a little less true today. But Dad as head of the Athlete Brain Trust? OK. I can work with that.

It’s “Dad as Spokesperson” that I get stuck on. It happens more often in sports than anywhere else, but it also occurs in entertainment. At a certain point, I would think that one wouldn’t want want to have one’s parents speaking for you. (I apologize for that sentence.) It just feels weird to me. I love my kids but I want them to be able to speak for themselves, especially at the age of 32.

This should in no way be construed as a dig at any athlete, nor should it be seen as shedding any doubt on the story that U.S. Olympic athletes were robbed in Rio. The story is bizarre and doesn’t seem to be getting covered the way I would like, which is to say that this seems like a straightforward series of events — guys get robbed at gunpoint, police investigate, they get to move on. People not being allowed to leave the country? That’s odd. Bottom line: we’re just reporting what other outlets have reported, outlets with actual reporters doing journalism. If you want to read more about the whole mess, there are links below.

Three American Olympic swimmers planned to meet with Brazilian law enforcement Thursday to discuss a reported robbery targeting 12-time medalist Ryan Lochte and his teammates, a U.S. Olympic Committee official said.

Source: Ryan Lochte’s swim teammates to meet with authorities on robbery – Chicago Tribune


Aug 19 2015

Mixed Feelings About James Harrison And Participation Trophies (UPDATED)

NFL player James Harrison does not believe in participation trophies. Even if they’re for his own kids.

James Harrison and coach Keith Butler can be s...

James Harrison and coach Keith Butler can be see in the background. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Via ProFootballTalk:

Anyone who’s ever watched Steelers linebacker James Harrison play football knows that he’s an intense competitor who wants to win at all costs. So perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that Harrison is passing along that intense competitiveness to his sons.

That’s a good, but imperfect, description of what Harrison did. Here’s the post from Harrison’s Instagram:

In general I agree with the notion that we have gone too far in the direction of “attaboy” awards for children and for adults. So while at first I might be inclined to join the chorus of “yay! Go James Harrison!”, in this specific case I think returning the trophies puts Harrison’s kids in an uncomfortable situation socially. Granted, their father is a professional football player, and a well-known one at that. (He’s not Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, but most NFL fans know who James Harrison is.) That makes it easier. And I would never presume to tell someone that they should go against their personal family values, even if that person isn’t someone who can throw me across a room with his pinkie. (That doesn’t mean I think people can beat their kids, or do other harm to their children in the name their individual “family values”.)

However. In this specific case, everyone gets a trophy. I admit those trophies look a lot bigger than the crappy ones that we got “just for playing” when I was young. But youth sports often have a participation trophy, or certificate of completion, or something along those lines. This analogy isn’t perfect, but if a player is injured, he still gets paid, right? The backup quarterback of a Super Bowl winning team still gets a ring, even if he never played a single down. (I know the analogy isn’t perfect. If you have a better one, let me know and I’ll post it.)

Maybe you’re a good player on a crappy team. In my case, I was a crappy player on a great team, at least my first year in youth baseball. The team was so good we won the championship. I didn’t do much to contribute, but I got a HUGE trophy. Should I have given it back because I didn’t do enough to earn it?

This is in no way a commentary on James Harrison’s parenting skills. (And not only because he could hurt me if he wanted to.) I don’t know what kind of father Mr. Harrison is, and I’m glad to see that he is, at minimum, an involved one. But while I agree that “sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better” I’m not sure it follows that participation trophies are given out because kids “cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut u [sic] up and keep you happy.” That certainly wasn’t the case when I played, nor was it the case when my own children played.

The truth is, part of life IS about showing up. Maybe the answer lies somewhere in between. Kids who never missed a game or a practice without a legitimate medical reason get a trophy, while kids who only bothered to show up every other game get bupkis. That won’t happen, but it would be a happy medium.

UPDATE: Albert Burneko wrote a piece on this topic for Deadspin that is less restrained than mine. (H/T Whit Honea.)

Source: James Harrison won’t let his sons accept participation trophies (ProFootballTalk)


Aug 09 2015

Tim Brown Happy His Son Is Happy

Former NFL great Tim Brown made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame after 6 years of eligibility. What’s he most happy about? The fact that his son is happy.

On the first night of the NFL Pre-season, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, Brown was interviewed by Paul Burmeister, who asked him how it felt to make it to Canton and what’s been his favorite part of the festivities.

Paul Burmeister: What’s been the most memorable part of the weekend?

Tim Brown: My son came up to me, he’s only 12, he didn’t see my career, but after the ceremony, at the enshrinement last night he came up to me and he said, Dad, you’re cool, you’re cool Dad. So to me, that was big time.

What can I say? I love stuff like this. Fathers and sons. Even a football legend like Tim Brown is happy that his son thinks he’s cool. This is one of those rare times when I can honestly say I know how a pro athlete feels.


May 18 2015

Man Learns About Dad’s Past Via Nazi Banner

This is a heavy news story.

Imagine getting a big Nazi banner in the mail and then realizing it has something to do with your Dad. (Actually, if it didn’t have anything to do with your Dad, that would be even more messed up.)

From Wauwatosa Now:

Wauwatosa — Robert Griffin was overcome with a wave of memories as he read a letter from a distant stranger — a letter that, at least in part, filled in some of the blanks of his father’s wartime experiences.

The letter was sent by Gigi Hickey, who uncovered a 12-foot-long, crumpled Nazi banner emblazoned with a black swastika — and complete with 84 American soldiers’ signatures — while cleaning out her deceased mother’s North Dakota home about two years ago. The banner was stuffed inside a howitzer canister and hidden in a trunk, a painful piece of history that Hickey thinks her mother, Georgia Henrichsen, wanted to stow away and forget.

Other than the specifics, this is the main bit:

Robert Griffin was overcome with a wave of memories as he read a letter from a distant stranger — a letter that, at least in part, filled in some of the blanks of his father’s wartime experiences.

I’m in the process of piecing together some of my own father’s past. There’s a lot I don’t know, and a lot that I’ve accepted I will never know. For me, this article is somewhat validating, since it shows that I’m far from the only son who wants to find out about his Dad. I can’t say that I’m expecting any artifact as dramatic and jarring as the one this man received. That said, it sounds like it was illuminating, which is a good thing.

Source: Through Nazi banner, Wauwatosa man learns of father’s experiences at war


May 09 2015

Father-Son Coach Team at Baylor

We’ve written about father and son quarterbacks, now we have fathers and sons coaching college football at Baylor.

 

English: An American football game between the...

English: An American football game between the 1952 Houston Cougars and the Baylor Bears at Rice Stadium in Houston. Pictured are Houston’s M. “Buddy” Gillioz (#77), J.D. Kimmel (#78), and Roland Johnson (#80), and Baylor’s “Cotton” Davidson (#19). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

(The above photo is old, but it does have the Baylor Bears in it. Public Domain for the win.)

“There’s obviously added pressure there,” said Kendal Briles, who will also be quarterbacks coach in his eighth season working for his father.

 

Pressure? Gee, ya think? NFL football is high stakes, but I think college football can be even more intense. Although whatever they do, it’s unlikely the Briles will screw up as royally as Shanahan and Son did in Washington.

Source: Baylor Coach Makes Father-Son Bet – NYTimes.com

 

 

 


Oct 30 2013

Denis Leary And Son, 1st World Series Game

Here is a tweet from comedian, actor, writer and father Denis Leary:

No matter who you’re rooting for, even if you don’t care about the World Series and/or baseball in general, this is something that almost any father can relate to. I know I have memories of going to special events with my kids, some of them sports related. This tweet definitely resonated with me.

For a lifelong Red Sox fan like Mr. Leary, this is a long time coming. Even though the Sawx reversed the curse in 2004, they haven’t won the World Series at home since 1918. (Read more about this at MassLive.com if you want.) If the Red Sox win tonight, the fans at Fenway Park are going to go nuts. Leary being able to share that with his son is a cool thing.


Aug 21 2013

Lee Daniels’ The Butler Is A “Father And Son Story” (DaddyTube) – UPDATED

In this video about the new movie The Butler, Lee Daniels says that he wanted to make the film because it’s “a father [and] son story, a love story between a father and his son”. The father is Forest Whitaker, the titular butler, and his son apparently gets involved in the civil rights movement. I did not know this. Now I do.

In general, the video makes a much better case for the film than the trailer. By that I mean I’m more interested in seeing it, in part because it’s about fathers and sons, and also because it seems to be about more than what was in the trailer. Not to pile on the trailer. I just think these interviews make the movie seem a lot more interesting.

Link below in case the embed doesn’t work.

Lee Daniels’ The Butler 2013 – Movie Trailers – Fandango.com.

UPDATE:  Not of the “breaking news” variety, but I wanted to mention that the interviews were done by Brad Barton, and that he posted a longer version of his interview with Oprah Winfrey. See below.