I've always been fascinated with the social contracts that we make as society.
For example, if you and I were having a conversation by ourselves and I said the word 'shit,' it probably wouldn't even register. Because, in the context of our personal conversation, we understand that words like shit are not actually bad. It's just a word. As meaningful and meaningless as every other word we say. Like anything in life, when used in moderation, it's not a big deal. And we have a shared understanding that anyone can use the word shit freely and at the end of the day no one will be harmed and nothing bad will come of it.
But if a Presidential candidate were to say the 'shit' during a televised debate, WE WOULD LOSE OUR GOD DAMNED MINDS! There would be ironic panic on the Internet, actual panic in other circles, serious questions asked about the candidate and his or her ability to be a leader. Chances are, saying the word 'shit' could single-handedly cost that person the election.
Even though you know that saying the word shit isn't a big deal, you will end up saying things like "oh, he's done." Even though you're not offended. Even though you don't care. You will also agree that it was a terrible thing to do and that person is now ruined.
I'm sitting here writing it, knowing it sounds dumb. You're sitting there reading it, knowing it sounds dumb. We're all sitting here saying "this is fucking bullshit" and agreeing that it's totally okay to say the phrase "fucking bullshit."
And yet, if Hilary Clinton drops an F-bomb at some point over the next two years, it will HAUNT HER FOR THE REST OF ETERNITY.
Last week on The Bachelor (shut up), a contestant left the show after explaining how she came to realize the entire premise of the show was bonkers. She said all of this on The Bachelor. Based on the way the episode was edited and presented to audiences, The Bachelor appeared to be ON HER SIDE as she confronted Juan Pablo, said bachelor, over his shortcomings and the shortcomings of the situation. And she was actually the second contestant in as many weeks to do this.
She laid bare the entire premise of the show for what it is, gleefully admitting that there is no way on Earth that she could possibly find true love in a situation like this.
A fascinating story idea popped up over the weekend. In the face of just about every person involved with basketball saying that the solution to all of life's problems is for the NBA to raise its age minimum, Mark Cuban dropped the entire bullshit facade and proposed the most logical solution of all:
Here's why it's such a logical solution - College athletics and the way they are governed are from an antiquated time when professional sports options were limited, life was much more regional and there was little to no money involved.
Just like in football with the BCS, the solutions that have been provided in the years since all exist within this construct. Instead of demolishing the rickety old house and starting from scratch with a perfect foundation, we just keep adding level upon level.
And with things like the O'Bannon lawsuit coming to a head, there's only so long that the current, outdated model can withstand gravity until the whole thing topples over.
I'm the last person in the world to trot out jingoistic phrases like I'm in an astroturf Republican advocacy group. But the truth is, the idea of telling an 18-year-old, a legal adult, that they are not allowed to earn a living performing a skill that they excel at just seems as un-American as anything I've ever heard of.
Especially when we have a working model doing just fine in baseball.
But instead, we bullshit one another. We say that it couldn't work for basketball, because….I dunno? They're just kids! We've seen some of them fail! We need to protect them from themselves! We've always done it this way!
When Syracuse University sent out that tweet compelling people to buy a Tyler Ennis jersey, the reaction was swift. The tweet was removed and we all said it never should have happened. We trotted out rulebooks and NCAA violations and the way things are supposed to be.
But the obvious, non-bullshit truth is that SU should promote Tyler Ennis jerseys. And they should sell Tyler Ennis jerseys. And Tyler Ennis should see a percentage of that money.
You do a service. You garner attention and fame for that service. You have value. That value is assigned via merchandise. Fans buy that merchandise based on the value you give it. You receive compensation appropriate for that sale.
It's not rocket science.
So if you're an 18-year-old kid who dreams of playing in the NBA (because that's the dream, not playing for a college), you can go provide your services for a university that will make millions off of you and your likeness, or you could go to the NBA D-League where you'll earn a salary, get education relevant to your potential career and direct access to your dream, all the while playing even better competition than you would have in college and learning what it's like to be a professional.
The cold, hard truth that we don't like talking about is that college is relatively worthless for 80% of us. We end up in careers that have nothing to do with what we majored in and we learn more in six months on the job than we do in four years of school. That won't resonate with everyone but I'm willing to bet it will resonate with many.
Of course, Cuban's idea probably isn't going to happen. By Monday, it seemed to have dropped out of the news cycle altogether. No one seems interested in discussing the idea. I imagine because it would take so much more to stop the current cycle of bullshit that we can't even consider an idea like that.
But I can appreciate that the idea was brought up in the first place. It makes me think that we're getting closer and closer to a college sports world not steeped in bullshit but rather balanced and fair for all the participants. Especially for the participants.
By the way, there's a reasonable chance I'm completely wrong about this whole end of the bullshit. Remember that Bachelor contestant I was telling you about? The one who openly rejected the entire concept of the show?
By the way, I'm completely aware that I'm writing this on a college sports blog that owes its existence to the bullshit I'm railing against. I'm fine with that.