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VOL. 131 | NO. 86 | Friday, April 29, 2016

Dries

Bill Dries

Last Word: The Draft, The Greensward-Council Footnote and The Zoo Beatles

By Bill Dries

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I’ve never watched an NFL draft before Thursday evening’s in which Paxton Lynch, quarterback for the University of Memphis, was drafted by the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos as the 26th pick of the first round.

A brief detour for a bit of backstory that led to Lynch's selection. This from USA Today which reports the Dallas Cowboys wanted to put a lone star on Lynch but couldn't get back in the first round rotation fast enough.

I’ll spare you the disclaimer about how little I know about sports and just say I know more about OPEB.

But for what I’m about to say, I don’t think you really have to know a lot about Xs and Os because what I saw that registered with me seemed to have very little to do with sports.

As it turns out, it was ultimately a good thing that Lynch went later in the first round because it kept him some distance from Laremy Tunsil, the Ole Miss player expected to go near the top who was instead 13th when Miami picked him.

Someone hacked Tunsil’s Twitter account just before the draft got underway and posted a video of him using a bong through a gas mask, which Tunsil and a spokesperson for him later admitted was in fact him several years ago. Also a Confederate flag in the back too.

The statement said Tunsil was using the gas mask out of consideration for those around him.

The hackers then showed up on Tunsil’s Instagram account and alleged Ole Miss paid him money with what appeared to be a transcript of texts between Tunsil and an Ole Miss coach.

In the post-draft press conference someone asked Tunsil if it was true. He said it was with the press conference ending abruptly when one of the NFL minions came out from behind a curtain waving her arms to stop the proceedings.

Going into Thursday’s draft, Tunsil was already being sued by his stepfather who alleges Tunsil attacked him and defamed his character last summer.

From the countdown clock in the corner of the ESPN screen, this train was on the tracks for all of these young men bound for a stop in a very warped place.

Professional football is a very big business and there is no reason that the players shouldn’t have a reasonable share of an unreasonable profit for putting on football games in publicly-financed arenas. And I tend to think the reasonable share should attempt to compensate them for the head trauma and its effects many of them will suffer which the NFL continues to minimize after denying it outright.

But the NFL is still in the denial business about the lottery the draft has become for young men who are in the service of college football programs that clearly look the other way when it comes to preparing them for life in any form off the field – life in which many of them will become millionaires waiting to become targets for even more exploitation.

What a sad game-show like spectacle complete with a mindless applause track.

Big news on the Overton Park Greensward front the day before the formal opening of the Zambezi River Hippo Camp exhibit at the zoo – an agreement from the park mediation process on two parking solutions – both familiar to those who have been following this.

Shortly after the open letter from Mayor Jim Strickland on this, the list of city council committee meetings for next Tuesday was revised by the council office.

During Tuesday’s afternoon executive session, the council will now be discussing “an ordinance defining uses for Overton Park.” No copy of the proposal includes in the council’s documents section that goes with the agenda and no listing of which council member is presenting this proposal.

And here is more on the Zambezi River exhibit at the zoo, which we got a preview of.

A post script of sorts about The Beatles, the four Cape Vultures named John, Paul, George and Ringo in a tribute to the Cape Vulture characters in the Disney Jungle Book movie of the 1960s. According to Internet Movie Database, the folks at Disney talked with Beatles manager Brian Epstein about getting the real Beatles to do the voice work for the animated vultures. But John Lennon reportedly crushed the idea right off the bat, urging Epstein to tell Disney to ask Elvis Presley if he would do it.

So the vultures’ tune became a barbershop quartet-styled song while the vultures themselves kept their cartoon mop tops and Liverpool accents.

When last we saw the Grand Carousel at the Fairgrounds, it was being checked out and recrated in storage at the Coliseum for a two-year restoration process in Ohio. The glass house that will be the new home to the carousel at the Children’s Museum of Memphis, close by the Coliseum and the site of its last rides – Libertyland – was approved this week by the Board of Adjustment.

A closer look at the ripples for education reform in Tennessee and the machinery of evaluations – for students, teachers, schools and school systems – with this week’s decision by the Tennessee Department of Education to terminate its contract with the testing company Measurement Inc.

Bringing this full circle back to sports and selections. Don Wade on the roster choices the Grizzlies have to make in the off-season.

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