Hello friends. It’s me, Cam Underwood, State of the U’s Managing Editor. And I’m here to talk, but not about sports. Well, kind of about sports, but not really.
I’m able to write right now because I’m not at my home in Florida. I’m in Michigan, staying with family. Why? Because Hurricane Irma is bearing down on South Florida and could be one of the most devastating storms we’ve ever seen....so I left.
What did I do before I left? I got hurricane shutters and plywood put up at my mom’s house. I helped friends get water and food for themselves, their kids, and their elder family members. I took pictures of all my belongings in case I have to list nearly everything I own in this world on an insurance claim. And you know what I didn’t do?
Think about football.
But, for others, people who live far away from South Florida and have no connection to or knowledge of the impact that a Hurricane can have, they’ve been excessively — and stupidly — talking about football as though that’s what matters at a time such as this.
The University of Miami, my proud alma mater, canceled this week’s game at Arkansas State on Wednesday morning. Not only that, but UM Athletic Director Blake James made the wise decision to cancel all sporting events for UM teams: Football, Cross Country, Volleyball, and Soccer.
While the non-revenue sports’ cancellations went unnoticed by many, the football game cancellation was met with outrage and insanity by Arkansas St. fans. One such person, a blogger associated with the scout.com ArkSt site who goes by the pseudonym AStateNation and is too scared to put his name or image to his work, tweeted SEVERAL insensitive things about the situation, and wrote this hit piece on Miami for canceling the game. (late edit: it appears someone at scout.com grew a brain and deleted the piece)
The piece starts as follows:
I am all for safety and putting life ahead of football but it is crass to use those as an excuse to avoid playing a game you don't want to play.
If the first sentence is bullshit — which, let’s be clear, it is — then you can only imagine what the rest of that piece went on to say.
This same “person” went on to tweet several things that I refuse to post here, because I’m not going to give their platform more attention that I already have. But all of it was wrong and intentionally stupid and missed the point that there’s something very real, and very serious going on in and around Florida right now.
One of the main points made by that moron was the fact that every other FL-based FBS team was still scheduled to play their games. And, even then, I said Miami was ahead of the curve and did the right thing. What’s happened in the interim? UF, FSU, USF, (late edit) and now UCF this morning have all canceled their games. And, USF’s game was supposed to be ON THE ROAD, so the parallel there is clear to what Miami did early in canceling their game.
Where is the media outcry saying FSU is scared of (insert FCS team they were scheduled to play)? Where is the snark about UF, USF, or UCF? Where are the pundits and the hot takezzzz and the hit pieces?
They’re nowhere to be found, because people are operating with sanity and compassion, looking at the news every hour and seeing that massive storm system heading toward the southern-most state and realizing “oh hey, that’s serious”. Such was not the case with Miami, because UM didn’t wait for others to evaluate the situation and follow suit. Miami went out first and blazed the path that’s right and appropriate — canceling the game — that others are now following.
Adding to AStateNation’s insanity was CBS Sports’ analyst Rick Neuheisel, a fired CFB coach, who called it “suspicious” that Miami wasn’t traveling to Jonesboro to play ArkSt. Rick, you sound like a moron, and I dare you to come at me.
Want MORE insanity? AStateNation tweeted out that ArkSt and ESPN gave Miami the option to play on Friday night, but were promptly rejected. What does that matter? What does that change about the situation?
Here’s your answer: not a damn thing.
The issue is there’s a gigantic storm coming to our home. The players are people. So are the coaches. And support staff. And equipment managers. And office workers. And Digital Media Staff. And so on and so forth. All of those people have families. They have parents, and grandparents, and aunts, and uncles, and cousins, and many have children of their own. THAT is where their concern should lie at a time like this. Not traveling to a shitty town in a terrible state to play a horrible team — Al Golden’s Miami beat ArkSt by 3 TDS — just to mollify those among us who are incapable or unwilling to see that there are things more important that sports right now.
AStateNation wrote that Miami should given a loss by voters in the polls. That cowardly individual also wrote that Miami was not being serious about the storm, because UM released the players to do as they saw fit instead of evacuating the whole team elsewhere. Hey, genius, players have friends and families in Florida, most of them South Florida. Being released to do as they saw fit means the players could be with their loved ones, helping them prepare for this storm, not that they were all allowed to party on South Beach and make fun of Arkansas State for being mad. They were able to do what needed to be done to HELP THEIR FAMILIES, you moron.
Across the internet in the last 2 days, days that I spent driving 7 hours after working a full day then catching 2 flights to get to Michigan, I’ve seen a lot of bad takes, a lot of stupid ideas, a lot of bad trolling of the University of Miami, her student-athletes, and football team, and not enough understanding, sanity, and compassion.
I get that Arkansas St. thought that Miami coming to town was their chance to make a statement. I get that AStateNation is going to use his moronic statements and tweets to cultivate his 15 minutes of fame at the expense of people dealing with a serious issue that could be catastrophic.
And I also get that that’s BULLSHIT.
We, all of us who live in South Florida regardless of sports fandom, are dealing with something way bigger than sports. You know the last thing I was thinking about as I put up shutters on my mom’s house? The optics of how it would look to the nation if Miami canceled the ArkSt game. And I guarantee you, the players didn’t think about that either.
Mark Richt had thoughts on this subject, thoughts that I’m going to share with you right now:
To set the record straight we have not practiced since Tuesday and we won't til everyone gets back in town after this CATEGORY 5 hurricane!— Mark Richt (@MarkRicht) September 8, 2017
Nor have meet as a team or a staff. The safety of our players and staff and the ability for them to be w/ Family is our priority!— Mark Richt (@MarkRicht) September 8, 2017
Very sad to read some of the comments of some football fans and some members of the media believing we had some other motive! U Family!!— Mark Richt (@MarkRicht) September 8, 2017
Several other Canes, including Braxton Berrios and Demetrius Jackson, shared similar thoughts on Thursday.
Oh, and by the way, South Florida is now under a Hurricane Warning, but yeah, AStateNation, talk to me about how a group of players who are dealing with this impending storm, the strongest ever measured in the Atlantic Ocean, were solely concerned with not playing your mediocre football team for the optics and poll rankings. Please. I’m itching to hear your take on this.
Lastly, that cowardly idiot AStateNation mentioned that he was upset about the lost economic gains from the scheduled-but-canceled Miami-ArkSt game. Money is a renewable asset, so that’s a moot point. Also, if you’re concerned about the ticket and concession and hotel revenue from 1 game in September, what are your thoughts on the economic impact being seen in the island countries already affected by Irma? And, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on the economic impact of this storm on South Florida, too. You know, the place where I live where I may not even be able to return for a week or more, let alone work and earn money. Since economics matter to you more than human lives.
So, to all those who trumpet moronic ideas such as Rick Neuheisel or AStateNation, I say to you: don’t be stupid. The furthest thing from any of our minds right now is piddly ass Arkansas State football.
In today’s hot take world, and in this interaction specifically, sanity and compassion are in short supply. But, with a potentially devastating storm headed right toward where I and many others live, these are things that we need now more than ever.
Don’t debate me, bro.
Don’t @ me, bro.
Instead, think about what you would do, and what your priorites would be, if something such as Hurricane Irma were headed toward you and your loved ones.
I guarantee you, AStateNation, that football wouldn’t matter as much as you think it does.