It’s The Sound Of The Police

Now more than ever, people have been publicizing and condemning the police brutality apparent in today’s society. Specifically with the Michael Brown case, as well as the Trayvon Martin case two years ago, it seems as though police officers have been growingly misusing their power, often against minorities. Of course, this is just one opinion currently circulating our society, nonetheless the increasing popularity of this opinion should be acknowledged. The question, however, is whether or not this police brutality is a rather new manifestation, or has it been around for longer than we thought?

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Tradition Hinders Progress

Tradition. I can practically hear the song from “Fiddler on the Roof” playing as people squawk at how the University and its football program has lost its sense of the word in recent years with the Dave Brandon era and subsequent mediocre football program that occurred during his reign. Fans proclaim that the want the tradition of the old days when football was simply about football without all of the gimmicks and high prices the program has seen lately. Yet, I highly doubt that they would be saying that if Michigan was behind in the times compared to other football powerhouses like Alabama and Ohio State. The game is now at the point where if a program isn’t up to these standards then they are considered to be behind.

A Place of Tradition

The recent firing of Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke and the departure of athletic director Dave Brandon got me thinking about the concept of conservatism and how people like consistency but most of all, tradition. In recently reading the works of Irish conservative Edmund Burke, I was struck with his idea of how “a cobbler should stay at his task” i.e. stick with what you know and don’t change things. While I think that this idea is important to a degree, I also have to disagree with it. If we never change anything then we will be stuck in the past. Part of life is change.

People will always be disgruntled. People will always have something to complain about. That’s inevitable. When Rich Rodriguez was coaching people complained about him too. What I think is telling though of how the University will and must change is the statement made by Jim Hackett the other day. He said, “I want to get rid of the word Michigan Man.’” He was referencing what has become an iconic phrase harkening back to the days of Bo Schembechler, who used the term when describing how he wanted a candidate to be a coach at Michigan. However, people typically use it in reference to how someone has to be of the Michigan character and even have ties to Michigan. The problem with that, though is that we live in a world today where that just isn’t possible. The fans and the people who work for athletics need to adapt to the changing environment while also maintaining the integrity of the sport and the program that Michigan has always been so famous for.

Some Michigan Fans

I don’t think it is bad to assume that we should maintain an air of conservatism in the way our football program carries out business, but I also think it’s important to pay attention to the fact that the business game is always changing and sometimes we need to adapt to that. You can still maintain your core values while changing the way you do business.

Times Change, What’s Right Doesn’t

A picture of Smith and Carlos protesting during the medal ceremony in the 1968 Olympic games.

With the immense popularity of professional sports today, it is no surprise that some athletes use their platform to make statements regarding social and political issues. These statements are oftentimes the issues that impact these athletes the most, from civil rights to political causes, and much more. Athletes are hoping to mitigate problems, and with their high-profile status, they can bring much attention to many issues. Two very similar, notable issues involving 1968 Olympic medal winners and the very recent incident involving St. Louis Rams football players are classic examples of players protesting using the beliefs taught by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Continue reading

Letting Go of the “Michigan Man” Tradition

In recent days, a lot of events have been occurring on the University of Michigan’s athletic campus. Most recently Jim Hackett, the interim athi-res-183178869-head-coach-brady-hoke-michigan-wolverines-calls-out-a_crop_exacthletic director, fired the head football coach Brady Hoke. While this event probably seems irrelevant to a political science class, I think Hackett might be taking an approach John Stuart Mill would’ve approved in the firing of Hoke and the ongoing search for the next football coach. And that approach is changing the tradition of the much discussed “Michigan Man”.

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Activism From Professional Athletes

Where Are the Jocks for Justice” by Kelly Candaele and Peter Dreier took a look into Adonal Foyle’s battle to change the current political system. When most athletes were spending money to rebuild playgrounds or schools, or visiting sick children in the hospital, Foyle was running a grassroots group called Democracy Matters. Democracy Matters wanted to educate children about politics, push them to vote, and bring pressure to change the current political system. Foyle clearly wanted to make a change in society and earned a lot of praise for his battle against the political system. However, not all professional athletes have been given the same praise. Continue reading

Justice in Ferguson

Depending on an individual’s point of view and their own values and background, they might see something differently than someone else. Different people may classify certain actions as being just, while others might claim that those same actions are unjust. So, who really is to say that something is entirely just or unjust in everyone’s eyes?

Last week, the Supreme Court made the executive decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the death of teen Michael Brown. Immediately following the decision, protests and riots erupted in the town of Ferguson. Angry protesters

Michael Brown and Darren Wilson

began setting local businesses on fire, blocking tunnels, and overall causing extreme chaos in the city (Sanchez). That wave of riots then began to spread across the country as more and more people joined in to protest the Court’s decision. The protesters were arguing that the ruling was an unjust act of racism against black teenager Michael Brown. In Ray Sanchez’s “Why Ferguson Touched a Raw, National Nerve,” he writes that, “To them, Ferguson is just the latest reminder that the American criminal justice system doesn’t treat blacks and whites the same — and that young black men in particular are often killed with impunity.” The people of Ferguson strongly felt that the final decision by the court was extremely wrong and unjust. Just as Martin Luther King protested the injustice toward colored people that he had witness in his lifetime, the rioters in Ferguson were fighting back against a ruling that they felt was unjust. Continue reading