Note To Cris Carter: “Stop Giving Advice!”

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Talk about putting a foot in your mouth.

Sometimes telling someone what you think they should do is just NOT a good idea. Sometimes giving ill-advised advice can get you in a whole heap of trouble. And “sometimes” just came around for Cris Carter.

“In his first television appearance since his controversial remarks came to light over the weekend, ESPN analyst Cris Carter on Monday apologized for telling rookies they should have a “fall guy” when they get in trouble.

The Hall of Fame wide receiver has been lambasted for an NFL-approved video in which he told new NFC players at the 2014 NFL Rookie Symposium that it was important to have friends who would take the rap if the players got in legal trouble.

‘In case y’all not going to decide to do the right thing, if y’all got a crew, you’ve got to have a fall guy in the crew,’ Carter told the rookies. ‘Y’all not going to all do the right stuff now. So I’ve got to teach you how to get around all this stuff, too. If you’re going to have a crew, one of them fools got to know he going to jail. We’ll get him out.’

SERIOUSLY?

On ESPN’s ‘Monday Night Countdown,’ the Hall of Fame wide receiver said, ‘My heart was in the right place. I didn’t use words that I was very proud of. It’s not the kind of advice I would offer young people. I would never tell young people to break the law to avoid prosecution. It was bad advice. I really regret my words.’

Carter tweeted an apology on Sunday, ‘Seeing that video has made me realize how wrong I was. I was brought there to educate young people and instead I gave them very bad advice. Every person should take responsibility for his actions. I’m sorry and I truly regret what I said that day.’

Carter, who said he has spoken to rookies at the symposium 15-20 times over the years, said Monday, ‘I hope I learn from it, and I hope it makes me better.’

ESPN said in a statement, ‘We completely disagree with Cris’ remarks, and we have made that extremely clear to him. Those views were entirely his own and do not reflect our company’s point of view in any way.’”

And so today’s lesson is this: if we’re going to say anything at all, we should speak the truth in love. That means telling it straight and telling it right; because sometimes you must have the fortitude to say what folks don’t want to hear. Giving folks a back door to do dirt is not advice; it’s compromise.

The truth doesn’t need to hurt or be cold and hard to be heard. Jesus spoke and the masses gladly heard him. Jesus spoke with authority, and he didn’t beat around the bush or banter around the barn. So let your words be choice and let them be few. Isn’t that what the “Good Book” says?

Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.

For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.

Ecclesiastes 5:2-3, KJV

Darryl Dawkins, The Devastating Dunker Dude

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If your from Philly, or love Philly sports in general and the Philadelphia 76ers in particular, you will pause today to remember one the icons of sports, the slam dunker extraordinaire, Darryl Dawkins. This is what ESPN had to say about “Double D:”

From http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/13526002/darryl-dawkins-dies-age-58

“Darryl Dawkins was once summoned in the Philadelphia 76ers‘ locker room to meet a celebrity who wanted to meet the man known for dunking with backboard-breaking force.

The guest was Grammy Award winner Stevie Wonder. The entertainer is blind, yet even he could tell there was something unique about Dawkins’ game. ‘A guy who never saw me,’ a beaming Dawkins said in a 2011 interview, ‘gave me the name ‘Chocolate Thunder.’

The name stuck, and the rim-wrecking, glass-shattering dunks remain unforgettable — as will the giant of a man who changed the game with them. Darryl named is dunks,

Dawkins died Thursday at a hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania, according to the Lehigh County coroner’s office. He was 58, and his family released a statement saying the cause of death was a heart attack.

‘Darryl touched the hearts and spirits of so many with his big smile and personality, ferocious dunks, but more than anything, his huge, loving heart,” his family said.

Dawkins spent parts of 14 seasons in the NBA with Philadelphia, New Jersey, Utah and Detroit. He averaged 12.0 points and 6.1 rebounds in 726 regular-season games. His 57.2 field goal percentage is seventh best in NBA history.

‘The NBA family is heartbroken by the sudden and tragic passing of Darryl Dawkins,’ NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. ‘We will always remember Darryl for his incredible talent, his infectious enthusiasm and his boundless generosity. He played the game with passion, integrity and joy, never forgetting how great an influence he had on his legions of fans, young and old.’

Dawkins was selected No. 5 in the 1975 NBA draft by the 76ers. He was the first high school player to be taken in the first round of the draft.”

Darryl was one of a kind, and way before his time. He was brash and brazen, rough and rugged, and he did more for the game than we give him credit for.

So long, Chocolate Thunder.

Stay On Your Toes: The Misty Copeland Story

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To stay on your toes means to stay alert and attentive and aware and awake and spiritually alive.  And it’s what Misty Copland has done and is doing. So if you need a shot in the arm and a kick in the pants, watch this 60 Minutes feature about her.  You won’t regret it.

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Misty’s story is the story of  an ultimate upset, a comeback from way back, and a tremendous turnaround.  She’s an African American, a.k.a., a black beauty who basically backed her way into ballet. She’s gone from living in a motel with her divorced single mom and siblings, to the cover of Time and Essence Magazines, to becoming a ballerina to behold. “She’s changing perceptions one step at a time.” 

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Misty Copeland is the embodiment of the American Dream. But more than that, she is a spiritual vision and sacred visualization of what faith and hope and love can do. Misty has overcome more obstacles than many of us ever would even dare to face.  Her story is captivating and compelling and gripping and engrossing – and it deserves to be heard and held in high praise.

I hope to see her perform soon. And you will to.  

 http://www.cbsnews.com/news/misty-copeland-unlikely-ballerina-60-minutes-2/

Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch

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It’s ONLY the Pre-Season, but . . .

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. This proverb is used to warn someone not to plan anything that depends on a good thing expected to happen in the future; you tell them to wait until it really happens. It is used to tell people not to be too sure that something good you hope for will really happen, because it might not happen after all.

In other words, it’s used for ALL Philly fans everywhere, but especially at the start of this football season. You see, Philly has not won a Super Bowl. Ever. Our Eagles have played in two, only to lose to the Oakland Raiders in 1981 and the New England Patriots in 2005.

But . . . there is reason to hope yet again.

The faith of the Philly Faithful got yet another dose of determination and still another measure of muster last night as the eager Eagles beat the ragged Ravens down to the ground. It was music to our ears and a savory sight to see.

The Eagles demolished another opponent from top to bottom in their 40-17 win over the Ravens on Saturday night. Yes, it was only the preseason, and there were still plenty of mistakes, but Chip Kelly’s troops have been sharp. Even though it’s only August, and while we’ve seen this script before, here’s what we learned in this early win:

1. Sam Bradford can survive a cheap shot. Bradford looked like a wily veteran and a steady All-Pro in the pocket for one series. He was commanding and in command — but it’s only the pre-season.

2. Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley looked like worthy backups, completing passes and running the offense efficiently — but again, it’s ONLY August.

3. The defense held the Ravens to zero points through three quarters, and three of our best middle linebackers were DNP (did not play) but, repeat after me, it’s only the SECOND game of this preliminary, preparatory season.

4. Kenjon Barner, a backup running back, ran his second punt back for a touchdown in as many games, so it seems that he’s pretty much made the team. But — all together now — It’s ONLY the Pre-Season!

Spiritually speaking, we can’t count on many things, but we can count on God to do everything He promises and pledges to do. That’s what we call faith. It’s not presumption or premise; it’s not probability or possibility; it’s confidence and not conjecture in the power and capacity and muscle and might and strength and strong arm of our Almighty God.

So what can we learn? What can we glean and garner and gather from this, a precursor of a game that may or may not predict and prefigure and forecast and foretell the near future? Maybe not a whole lot, but I’ll tell you what, I’d rather do well in practice than fair poorly in my preparation. I’d rather win when it doesn’t count than lose while no one is watching. I’d rather get a running start than start running flatfooted or back on my heels.

So we all know that it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. But starting good is not so bad. Starting fast is better than finishing slow. Winning in the pre-season hopefully will lead to winning all during the season. And for my Eagles, big wins in August will hopefully translate to big wins in December. So let’s not get our hopes up but let’s keep hope alive. Because what have we, and what are we, without hope?

“The Donald” May Trump Them All

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Donald Trump is running for president. Of the United States. Of America. And in case you haven’t thought this through, as volatile and visceral as he’s been in the past, the fact that he’s running is not the big news. The fact — and it is a fact — that Trump could actually WIN the White House is even more jolting and jarring, at least for some of us. Coming out of the recent Republican Candidates Debate, he’s the front-runner. That’s right. Trump has actually taken the lead and leads the pack — and it’s certainly a pitiful pack of possibles at that —  with 25% of the vote, according to some sources.

“Bloomberg Politics Managing Editor Mark Halperin stated that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has ‘reached a turning point’ where the ‘establishment candidates’ think he can win Iowa; ‘most’ believe he can win the nomination, and ‘a significant number think he could win the White House.’ ” Of all the paltry possibles running, Trump may in fact trump them all.

 And “The Donald” may well trump us all.  He’s pulling no punches and taking no prisoners.  And since politics is a blood sport, we will certainly see much more of his brash, brazen, bravado until the final whistle sounds and the fat lady sings after the last ballot is tallied next Fall. 

So what does all of this mean? Well, for starters, it’s important to know that sports and politics are similar and the same. Politics is like baseball because the season is long and the race is not given to the swift nor the battle to the strong. Politics is like football because the ball, or the focus of the “game,” has an uncanny tendency to bounce in a funny way. Politics is like basketball because you need to play all four quarters; winning the first half doesn’t necessarily mean that you will win the game, which can be won and lost in the last two minutes. And politics is like hockey; you have to be strong and be able to take a hit.

Politics is like sports and sports are like politics. You don’t know who is going to win, so that’s why you play the games and keep score.  Anything can happen to change the race between now and Election Day, 2016.  And so the lesson is this: if the believers who still believe that God’s got the whole world in his hands will just believe and stop telling Heaven who should be in the White House, then our faith in Him will carry us through.

RGIII Says He’s The Best Quarterback in the League. Seriously?

Reblogged From Chris Chase, “For The Win” – http://ftw.usatoday.com/

Jul 30, 2015; Richmond, VA, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III speaks to media after the morning walkthrough on day one of training camp at the Washington Redskins Bon Secours Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-227802 ORIG FILE ID: 20150730_gav_sb4_003.jpg

“If it’s preseason it must be time for Robert Griffin III to utter meaningless quotes that are ridiculed for his complete lack of self-awareness. And (check your watch), it’s time.

Here was the Redskins quarterback, who should no longer be referred to as “RG3” because nicknames are for people who aren’t in quarterback battles with Kirk Cousins, speaking to Alex Parker of Washington’s ABC affiliate right before the ‘Skins broke camp (via DC Sports Bog):

I don’t feel like I have to come out here and show anybody anything or why I’m better than this guy or better than that guy. It’s more about going out and affirming that for me, I go out and I play, I know I’m the best quarterback on this team. I feel like I’m the best quarterback in the league and I have to go out and show that. Any athlete at any level, if they concede to someone else, they’re not a top competitor, they’re not trying to be the best that they can be. There’s guys in this league that have done way more than me. But, I still view myself as the best because that’s what I work toward every single day.

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III kneels on the sideline during an NFL preseason football game against the Cleveland Browns, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard) ORG XMIT: OTK

So. Many. Thoughts. Let’s go in order.

  • If working hard at something every day made you the best in a given field, then Tim Tebow would have four Super Bowl rings, Jon Gruden would call games like John Madden and Chip Kelly would be a member of MENSA.
  • The reason you don’t have to “come out here and show anybody anything or why I’m better than this guy or better than that guy” is because you play on a team where the owner undermines the head coach and may or may not decree that you are the starter.
  • As for the “best quarterback in the league” comments — I mean, fine. Without self-belief, what are we? When you’re theoretically one of the 32 best people in the world at a given profession, you don’t get there by second-guessing yourself and thinking you’re inferior. Every NFL quarterback should think he’s the best quarterback in the league, even if, in a sober assessment, they’d know they really aren’t. But the problem with Griffin isn’t that he believes this, it’s that he says it out loud after three straight years of babbling nonsense at training camp that only serves as fodder for his likely failures. He doesn’t learn his lessons. If he can’t figure this out, maybe it’s not a surprise he panics and runs every time his first option is covered.
  • And you know what? Maybe it does matter that Griffin thinks he’s the best. He said he’s the best because he works for that every day. Shouldn’t he be working to be the best? But in his head, he already is, so he’s, what, sustaining his greatness? Maybe that’s semantics, but that’s why you don’t say anything during training camp. Be boring. Be Peyton Manning. Nothing good ever came out of tweeting, late nights at clubs or being open with the press in August. Or bucket hats with drawstrings, for that matter.”
  • And so the moral of the story is this: be humble. Meekness and modesty are mannerisms that should be maintained.  It’s just like the Good Book says:

 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.   1 Corinthians 10:12

 

Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

Who Decides Who Deserves Another Chance?

Ikemefuna Enemkpali

Peter messed up big time. He had a big mouth and a hot head and a little patience and a lot of lip.  He walked on water and skated on thin ice. He was hot and cold and sweet and sour all at the same time. He pressed and pushed his way to the front to confess that Jesus was the Messiah and slunked and skunked his way back to the back to deny him.  He had high, highs and low, lows like the rest of us. And just like the rest of us, he did something he would regret the rest of his life.

But he got another chance.

Ikemefuna “IK” Enemkpali messed up. Enemkapali (pronounced in-em-PAUL-ee) is a New York Jets, err, WAS a New York Jets player who punched his teammate, who just so happened to be the team’s quarterback, in the face, breaking his jaw.  Geno Smith has been a punching bag before, but never quite like this. Now, the Jets quarterback is out 6 to 10 weeks after being “sucker punched” by his teammate, a non-starting backup, IN THE LOCKER ROOM, Tuesday morning. Smith has a broken jaw that will require surgery.

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Jet’s Head Coach Todd Bowles would not disclose what prompted the altercation other than to call it “very childish” and something unrelated to football that “sixth graders could have talked about.” Published reports, citing anonymous sources, indicate that it derived from Smith’s failure to reimburse Enemkpali $600 in airfare and limousine fees after Smith could not attend Enemkpali’s charity event last month in Texas.

“It’s something we don’t tolerate; it’s something we can’t stand,” Bowles said. “And you don’t walk up to another man and punch him in the face.” The episode shocked and deflated the Jets, scrubbing the optimism that has permeated the franchise since a new regime took over in January and revamped the roster after four seasons without a playoff berth.

Enemkpali apologized to the Jets’ organization and their fans in a statement, but was immediately released by the Jets.  Fights do happen in training camp, but they usually happen on the field. And even then fights are not acceptable.

Remember, fighting is not for fun.

And now, Enemkpali has a new team and a new lease on life.  Believe it or not, Enemkpali was signed by former Jets Coach Rex Ryan, who is now with the Buffalo Bills.  Go figure. Just like that, a goon of a guy who acts like a thug and huffs like a hood, a ruffian and a hooligan, gets another chance.  Deserving or not.

And no one should be surprised that IK Enemkpali is the newest member of the Buffalo Bills. Coach Rex Ryan’s first move in the restructuring of the Buffalo roster was signing controversial offensive guard Richie Incognito barely three weeks after he had taken the Buffalo job.

If Ryan was willing to take on a player who had been suspended by the NFL and out of the league for nearly a year and a half due to a bullying incident in Miami, signing one of his former Jets just a day after Enemkpali slugged New York quarterback Geno Smith in the face and broke his jaw seems in line.

Now the law (and Roger Goodell and the NFL) may not see it this way, because Enemkapli’s act of aggression anywhere else would be considered aggravated assault, a punishable offense.  So while he may have a new lease on life, he also may have to lease out his locker as he may not need it for a while.

And so the question is this: does Enemkapli deserve another chance? Do YOU deserve another chance? Not just a second chance, but another chance? And who decides who deserves another chance?   Thank God it’s not you and thank God it’s not me. Thank Heaven that God decides that we all deserve another chance.  

Think about it.  

Just how many “second chances” have you had in your life?