The one thing that has been more clear than DeAndre Ayton going 1st overall to the Phoenix Suns is his motivation for doing so. Money, and lots of it. In the last few days, Ayton has justified his signing with the titan of 80s apparel, Puma, as “Just trying to get paid,” (don’t quote check me) and voiced his opinion that success in the NBA is receiving a second contract. This is a red flag for a few reasons. 1) Do you have any idea how many players flame out because money is their motivation? Albert Haynesworth couldn’t even complete a conditioning test after signing with the Washington Redskins for $100 million. Albert Pujols has finally lived up to his last name ever since signing with Anaheim for $240 million. LeBron James fell 71% short of his championship promise when he signed with the Miami Heat back in 2010. 2) A serious point: How have these statement’s not brought about the end of University of Arizona basketball? If this guy is so dead set on making top dollar, how have the dots not been connected to his alma mater? The very same alma mater that was (is? I don’t know, ESPN hasn’t talked about it in a while.) under federal investigation or illegal payment of basketball players. I honestly find that a little odd. Now, if your thinking that any other athlete would receive the same kind of passes as Ayton, let me tell you to a sad tale involving former Ole Miss Left Tackle, Leremy Tunsil.
Laremy Tunsil, a first name I assume he has because the doctor wrote “J” backwards on his birth certificate, was just your average 320 lb NFL prospect who was at school for the same reason as everyone else, except DeAndre Ayton, to learn. Unfortunately, after a scuffle with his step-father, which the law decided to describe as “domestic violence,” Tunsil found himself in some trouble. His step-father alleged that Ole Miss was modifying Tunsil’s grades and was receiving impermissible benefits. I, like you, was very concerned when I read this. Then I saw that his step-father’s first name was Lindsey, so I knew he was not guilty. I’m not saying I don’t trust women’s names, or women in general, mind you. I’m saying I don’t trust men with women’s names that just aren’t men’s names (the jury’s still out for me on Leslie). Unfortunately, the NCAA didn’t have the same BS radar as I do and sentenced Tunsil to a 7-game suspension for his final college season. Nevertheless, he persisted, and Tunsil was able to maintain his first round status as the 2016 NFL draft approached. Meer minutes before the draft kicked off, Tunsil’s social media accounts were hacked and videos were posted of the young man smoking marijuana from a gas mask. The result? Tumbling down draft boards and landing in an abysmal place to live, Miami, Florida. Did the public care that Tunsil (probably) self-diagnosed himself with a glaucoma condition? Nope. After having his name called, he was placed in front of the media and when asked if he had received benefits, Tunsil responded, “I’d have to say yeah.” And what happened to the school of the man that said he liked money? Their coach was fired, scholarships revoked, and a program left in ruins.
So there you have it. Just because Tunsil participated in “criminal activity” or whatever, he’s sentenced to this life? I won’t stand for it. There is an innate privilege that comes with playing basketball, and those players best watch it.