My Friday Five: On The Ryder Cup & The National Anthem

Photo: Chris White

1. National Anthem Thoughts

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of athletes and others silently protesting the National Anthem. At UNC’s game against Pittsburgh on Saturday, there were some fans in attendance who followed suit. I wouldn’t have noticed had it not been for a post from Inside Carolina on social media (pictured below).

Courtesy: Facebook

I have a few things to say. First off, why is everyone being so ridiculous about this? Hate to break it to ya, but people do have a right to free speech – including a silent protest during the National Anthem. I don’t see people getting their knickers in a twist about those who talk during the anthem or who don’t stand at attention. Those people are not being disrespectful but those who protest the anthem are? Give me a break! Secondly, I’m very disappointed with Inside Carolina for even posting this to begin with. In my opinion, the post came across as chastising these people – particularly students as the post called out – for exercising their right to free speech. There was no need for the post, especially when it had nothing to do with the game itself.

2. Scott Wood to the Warriors

Just a quick N.C. State-related note: former Wolfpack hoops standout, Scott Wood, has signed a training camp deal with the Golden State Warriors. Wood was in one of my first classes and a project group when I was an undergrad at N.C. State. The first of many Wolfpack athletes I had a class with throughout the years. I couldn’t be happier for him. Good luck, Scott!

3. Ryder Cup Thoughts

I’m sitting here, watching Ryder Cup action from Hazeltine Golf Club, witnessing some history as Team USA just swept Team Europe 4-0 in the opening session of the Ryder Cup. It’s the first time Team USA swept the morning session on the first day of the Ryder Cup since 1975 and the first time  either team has swept a session since 1981.

But I would actually like to address something off the course. P.J. Willett, the brother of European golfer – and 2016 Masters champ – Danny Willett, penned an article in National Club Golfer magazine, tearing a part U.S. golf fans. “Fat, stupid, greedy and classless” were among some of the despicable adjectives chosen by P.J., citing U.S. fans’ chants of “Baba booey” and other phrases when a golfer hit a tee shot. He went on to say that Team Europe needed to “silence the pudgy, basement-dwelling irritants, stuffed on cookie dough and pissy beer” and “smash the obnoxious dads, with their shiny teeth, Lego-man hair, medicated ex-wives, and resentful children. Squeezed into their cargo shorts and boating shorts.”

P.J. thought his comments would be a clever way to fire up the European team, I guess. But there will be an adverse effect. I think the comments from a guy who has no vested interest in this weekend’s proceedings – other than to root for his brother from the comforts of his couch – will only boost the confidence of Team USA and put a load of pressure on Danny and Team Europe. Whether P.J.’s comments were satirical or not, they were combative, childish and not in the great spirit of the game of golf.

But what do I know? I’m just a “fat, stupid, greedy and classless” U.S. golf fan. *rolls eyes*

4. Mike Tolbert

Carolina Panthers fullback, Mike Tolbert, was not happy with the service he received from a Charlotte auto shop. Tolbert has been in a dispute with Motion Lab Tuning regarding his car. According to the Charlotte Observer, Tolbert said he initially took his car to the shop in June, when he was quoted a price of $2,700. On Monday, Tolbert and a friend checked on the status. His car still had not been fixed and the invoice had gone up to $3,900. Tolbert had an argument with the shop owner, who later told him he could pay either with cashier’s check or cash. Tolbert went to the bank and withdrew the entire amount due – in coins – and delivered it to the shop, saying the shop initially didn’t want to take it but a police officer made them. His car still not finished, mind you, Tolbert got it out of the shop and will ship it elsewhere to be completed.

The dispute didn’t end there as Tolbert condemned the shop on Instagram while the shop posted a different version of events on its Facebook page, claiming Tolbert was trying to get the work done for free because of who he is. The post has since been deleted and shop owner, Todd Marcinelli, said in an interview on Wednesday that did not happen, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Nevermind whose version of events is true, why has it taken three months for the shop to complete the work? That seems ridiculous to me. I don’t live in the Charlotte area but I know where not to take my car for repairs if I am.

5. An Incredible Story
I’m going to finish up this week’s “Friday Five” with an incredible story on Nazair Jones. The junior defensive lineman at UNC was almost paralyzed five years ago. ESPN’s Andrea Adelson wrote a beautiful piece on him and his journey. My version of this incredible story will not be close to Adelson’s, so I invite you to check out her piece. Goes to show that you never truly know someone else’s backstory!

Thanks for Reading

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