Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Trey Burke, We're So Sorry

[Update: Burke has since tweeted that his comments were taken out of context. Maybe so - I want to believe it. I suppose he wasn't well-prepared to deal with the media or public panel discussions while he was in Ann Arbor anymore than he was prepared to handle anything else. And yes, maybe I'm still hard on him in my comments below. In his position, you need to know how the things you say will be twisted and interpreted, if in fact that's what happened. What I say here is just my opinion, informed by my own time at Michigan. I don't expect most people to agree with me. And that's okay. We all view things like this through the lens of our own experiences. Peace.]

I take this break in my MSU Hate Week fun to bring up a topic I only became aware of very late yesterday. Apparently while I was dreaming up invasive medical procedures for Mark Dantonio, a former Michigan basketball player, Trey Burke, was slamming the University of Michigan for a number of "slights" in a very public forum.

He appeared recently before the Knight Commission to tell about his experiences as a student-athlete at the University of Michigan. The Commission was formed as an advocacy organization for NCAA reform and NCAA athletes.

Mr. Dantonio, you can thank Mr. Burke for drawing the eye of Sauron (me, in this scenario) away from you and toward a Michigan "student-athlete" for at least today. You're welcome.

Here is my message to Trey Burke:

I used to really think you were a great guy and a great Wolverine. I was really sad when you ditched the University for the NBA after just two years here. I felt that if you stayed, we really might have become champions. But when all of you "stars" left, we did not become champions, and most of you didn't become much of anything in the NBA either. Still, I wished you well. No one figured you'd stay anyway. Life goes on ... and Harbaugh.

And now you appear before the Knight Commission to lay out a list of complaints over how you were forced to live at U-M? How you were supported? Is that the sound of the world's tiniest violin I hear? Playing the world's saddest tune? God help me.

Well, Trey, we're so very sorry that your extremely brief time here was so awful. 
That dorm food for athletes, which is 10x better than dorm food for little people like me who PAID A LOT OF MONEY to be here, was not as good as your mom's. My mom was a great cook, too. I ate dorm food for a year and Kraft Mac 'n Cheese and fish cakes for three years in an apartment after that. I never complained. And mom cooked for me as a treat when I came home or she visited. 

We're sorry you feel you need to be paid to be a student-athlete in order to survive. You got your tuition and books and room and board paid for, plus you had academic counseling, and all the physical training you could handle for FREE. But you needed more cash on hand than the average Michigan student who needs some pocket cash AND tuition and books and room and board and all the other expenses you took for granted. What a pain for you. How much fun money went toward your tattoos instead of superior food? Just askin'.

We're so very sorry that Coach Beilein and Athletic Department programs didn't prepare you to handle the potential challenges of professional basketball as a sophomore, because you seem to think that this was their job. Thank you for clarifying what their jobs were, because the rest of us all think that their jobs are to support the student-athletes,  make sure they are getting an education and as much experience as they can to improve athletically, should they want to move on to a professional career after college. Their jobs are also to WIN. It is college, not a farm team. YOU are the one who didn't prepare. YOU are the one who let the University down after they gave you so much. YOU made the choice to "check out" and stop being a student-athlete, becoming just an athlete looking for a big NBA "upscale" meal ticket. When you gave up on your commitment to the University and its success, why does the University owe you advice on how to deal with your agent or how to invest your money? If you'd stayed four years, you might have found some excellent classes to teach you that. You might have matured in a way that made you a more critical thinker when it came to analyzing how to proceed with your career.  You also might have matured as a player and increased your success in the pros.  You left and Michigan owes you nothing.

I will end this by saying, grow the fuck up. You sound like an entitled prima donna, now making millions for doing very little in the NBA. Face reality. Mommy can't always be there to cook for you or make things better. Your coaches, your managers, your bosses...you do a job for them. Sure, some may be the type of people to offer you advice and be role models for you. Don't expect that you can dishonor your own commitments and still have the world fall at your feet because you can sink a three pointer in your sleep. 

Complain about Michigan all you want. There are five arguments against you for every one you can lay down at our feet. Maybe you and Chris Webber can hang out and sort out how you both got screwed by Michigan, how the bacon and eggs were bad, and how you weren't taught to invest your millions at age 20.  

Leave the rest of us free to think about how to pay off our student loans, or how to invest in our new 401K when our first job snags us $60K/year, or how to swallow the dorm food that goes to the people who don't have access to the "Training Table."

Good luck out there. It's a tough world for a millionaire. But I can only guess at that.

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