Jack Nicklaus's grandson, Nick O'Leary, gave one of sorts recently when his high school football team, Palm Beach Gardens, lost a nationally-televised game to Ohio's Cleveland Glenville High. The game had a controversial ending as the officials, who were from Ohio, twice waived off an apparent go-ahead touchdown for Palm Beach.
After the game, ESPN television cameras caught young Mr. O'Leary giving the old one-fingered salute to opponents who had taunted him. The Florida High School Athletic Association has suspended the Golden Bear's grandson for two games.
This is what happens when adults treat high school football like the NFL or college football. Most teenage boys are very emotional, add a national television audience, the pressure that comes with it and the omniscient cameras of ESPN and you have a recipe for an unfortunate incident.
You can't condone O'Leary's behavior, but the adults around him let him down by allowing his talents and those of his teammates to be exploited for television content. I give a big thumbs down to ESPN and the two schools involved for putting their own interests ahead of the well-being of high school kids.
...That's what the Patriots have when it comes to picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, which starts Thursday. After all those years of stockpiling picks the way a survivalist does non-perishables the Patriots have just five picks in this year's draft, thanks to Band-aid trades for Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco and Aqib Talib. Five picks would be the fewest draft picks in franchise history. (Part of that is attributable to the trimming of the draft to just seven rounds in 1994). Further complicating matters is that two of the Patriots' greatest needs are at wide receiver and cornerback, positions where they have sustained draft droughts. With that in mind, I'm convinced the Patriots are going trade back out of the first round of a quanity-over-quality draft where you're just as likely to pick a Pro Bowl player in the second and third round as you are in the first round.