Every-Thing Sports

Hey Andrew Luck haters: Let people live their lives

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Life's a funny thing. We go about our daily tasks and never pause to think about things. More often than not, we rarely stop to smell the roses and appreciate everything. These days, we've become so task-oriented and focused that we forget what life is all about. Andrew Luck decided to do that and people got their panties all in a bunch over it. He's a 29 year old athlete who was seemingly on top of the world. He just won Comeback Player of the Year and led his team to the Divisional round of the playoffs last season. He's made upwards of $97 million dollars in his career thus far. Don't forget about his Bachelor's Degree in Architectural Design from Stanford. He got married earlier this year to his longtime girlfriend and recently announced they're expecting their first child.

While his retirement may come as a shock to many, it shouldn't. Other notable athletes have retired "prematurely" before Luck did. My guess is that the timing caused most of the kerfuffle. Was anyone this upset when Barry Sanders or Calvin Johnson left the Lions? To a much lesser extent, did anyone get upset when Royce White stepped away from the NBA? Adam LaRoche turned down $13 million dollars from the White Sox over an issue concerning his son. Did he catch as much flack as Luck? Here are a few common themes as to why guys leave the game early:

Money isn't a factor

Today's pro athletes are getting paid exponentially more than athletes have ever gotten paid. There are also tons more revenue streams for them outside of the sport in which they became famous for. Social media has abled them to build a brand for themselves to capitalize on their fame. The athletes of today have more than enough money and ways to make money.

Injury concerns

With the advancements in medical technology, athletes today have access to more information about their bodies and injuries than ever before. Knowing the depth of an injury and likelihood of it happening again or worsening can cause you to rethink things. Guys like Luck are fully aware of what's going on with their bodies and choose long-term health over short-term fame and glory. Patrick Willis did the same thing a few years ago when he retired from the 49ers. A nagging toe injury made him walk away from the game when he was still in his prime. Football players are typically the ones who this happens to.

Family

Like I mentioned earlier, Adam LaRoche turned down $13 million dollars from the White Sox over an issue with his son. Willis was the primary caregiver for his younger siblings. Luck just got married and has a kid on the way. Jrue Holiday of the Pelicans stepped away for a while to care for his wife who was battling cancer. Dereck Fisher once facilitated his way back to the Lakers from the Jazz because his daughter's medical treatments were in Los Angeles. These guys all chose family over the games they play for one reason or another. Female athletes have it tougher than men. They want families of their own, but often time have to miss significant portions of their careers to have babies. Serena Williams is trying to come back after having a baby, but is already almost twice the age of some of her competition.

More than a game

Some of these guys have a depth of personality that most of us don't. They have an ability to see the bigger picture of life and go wit their gut. Like it or not, Colin Kaepernick knew what he was getting himself into, but chose to do what he believed felt was necessary. Pat Tillman walked away from the NFL to serve in the Army and gave his life in the process. Myron Rolle was an All-American safety at Florida State who was drafted in the sixth round by the Titans. He was also a Rhodes Scholar that eventually chose academia over football and is now a neurosurgery resident at Harvard Medical School.

Sometimes we as fans can obsess over what athletes do. The booing of Luck after the game the other night was horsesh--. This man made a decision that's best for him and his family. So what if your football team sucks again! What about him living his life the way he sees fit? Sometimes we have to realize there's a person inside those lines wearing those uniforms. They have feelings and lives like the rest of us and deserve to live them the way they see fit. Many of them walk off the beaten path. People like that are generally smart, funny, and fun to be around. They should be apperciated and celebrated. I know because my little cousin Vincent who recently passed away was one of those people. Love them while they're here. Appreciate their athletic prowess while they play. One day, they could be gone and you'll never get a chance to do so again.

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The power struggle continues. Photo by Getty Images.

Boy, with the recent blizzard of negative publicity – searing magazine cover stories with headlines blasting "Houston Has a Problem" and "The Chaplain Who Won a Power Struggle and Plunged a Franchise into Chaos" – I'll bet the Houston Texans wished they had a seasoned, respected and award-winning media director to handle damage control.

Oh yeah, that's exactly what they had in Amy Palcic, but she was fired last year. Reason: she "wasn't the right culture fit."

What exactly is the Houston Texans culture these days? Apparently the culture is players disliking and distrusting the team executive specifically charged with managing the team's culture. It's that same executive whose resume has more fudging than the Keebler Cookie Company. It's that executive who's accused of authorizing illegal practices and hiring private eyes to follow players in their private activities. It's that executive who's accused of intimidating employees who trash him to the media and threatening to sue media outlets. It's that executive who imposes his religious fervor on lower-ranked employees. It's that executive who has created a culture where gifted quarterback Deshaun Watson is said to want a trade out of Houston.

That executive is Jack Easterby - the backstabbing, butt-smooching BS'er who seems to have a Svengali hold on Texans chairman Cal McNair.

If it comes down to one stays and one has to go between Watson and Easterby … hmmm, let's see. Deshaun Watson threw for 4,823 yards and 33 touchdowns last season. Jack Easterby, zero and zero.

Last week, Texans legend Andre Johnson, who usually speaks up less than the magician Teller, tweeted: "Since Jack Easterby walk into the building nothing good has happened. For some reason someone can't seem to see what's going on. Pathetic!!!"

That "someone" would be Texans chairman Cal McNair, who continues to support Easterby despite all the accusations and revelations hurled Easterby's way.

By the way, Easterby has not sued any media outlet that is publishing stories about his bullying and sneakiness. And he won't sue because that last thing he wants is to be put in a witness chair and swear to tell the truth.

In the past 12 months, with Easterby sticking his nose in McNair's ear, the Texans have managed to alienate and infuriate superstar Watson: trade All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins and create a losing, uninspired clubhouse that has favorite son J.J. Watt wanting a trade to leave his beloved Houston.

It's not like Easterby is some mad genius who somehow produces spectacular results despite his unorthodox tactics. The Texans finished 2020 with a disastrous 4-12 record, with little to show for it, not even a top draft pick to honor their futility. The Texans are clearly in need of divine intervention, and not from huckster Easterby, whose degree is in sports management from Newberry College. Easterby is only dimples and wavy hair short of being a TV preacher.

You can't deny that Easterby is inspiration. He recently inspired a public protest on the sidewalk outside NRG Stadium and signs swaying over Southwest Freeway with the same message: #FireJackEasterby. Watson asked his supporters not to attend the rally due to COVID precaution.

Then there's the case of Deshaun Watson v. Cal McNair.

Watson was born into an economically disadvantaged family and has worked for, and deserves, every penny he is paid. He is a champion.

Cal McNair found the Houston Texans under his Christmas tree in 2018 after his father Texans original owner Bob McNair died.

Watson is an extremely bright and sensitive man who is deeply involved in social issues off the field. Last year, during the summer of racial upheaval in America, he led the charge to have the name of a former slave owner removed from a building on his alma mater Clemson's campus.

McNair hardly ever speaks in public and his stumbling, confused performance at a press conference to announce the hire of general manager Nick Caserio showed why. It's rare when a team owner has to apologize after making what should have been a happy statement promising fans a better future. However, if a stage production of the Beverly Hillbillies ever goes to Broadway, we've got our Jethro.

Many times when a player gets into a public spat with a team owner, it's a dumb jock player vs. the super-smart businessman who owns a billion-dollar company. It's usually over money. And the public typically thinks, "just get rid of the ungrateful, overpaid and greedy player."

Not this time. Watson already got his – four years at $156 million. This is a war of morality. Watson is the hero here, McNair the fool being played by Easterby, who like Cassius is Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, "has a lean and hungry look."

If it came to a public vote between Watson and McNair (Easterby), Watson's landslide win would rival Kim Jong-Un in North Korea … or LeAnn Rimes on The Masked Singer.

It's unfair to call McNair and Easterby polarizing figures because polarizing implies that there are two sides to the issue.

There is only one side. Houston loves Deshaun Watson and wants McNair to sell the team, right after he fires Easterby.

Seemingly the only defender rushing to Easterby's side is a Twitter account allegedly owned by Easterby under a fake name. If it is a burner account, Easterby has a whole lot of faith in himself.

Although football insiders say that Watson is all but out the door at NRG Stadium, there is still a chance that McNair could save the day, and do what is needed to keep Watson in Texans' gear. And that would be to fire Easterby. Now.

Sadly, given McNair's repeated pledges of loyalty to Easterby and insistence that criticism of Easterby is unwarranted, Watson's leaving Houston gets more likely each day. Andre Johnson had it right … "pathetic!!!"

Three exclamation points.

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