This Week in Sports: Sharper to Prison, Tebow to Baseball, and Bridgewater to the Hospital.

By: Morgan Smith

Former NFL safety Darren Sharper sentenced to 18 years.

You may remember Darren Sharper as a five-time-Pro-Bowler, wearing a #42 Packers, Vikings, or Saints jersey. You may also remember him as a rookie member of the Super Bowl losing Green Bay Packers in 1997 or the Super Bowl winning New Orleans Saints in 2010.  Though, if you type Darren Sharper’s name into Google today, these aren’t the facts that will pop-up.

Last week Sharper was sentenced to 18 years in prison in a case in which he was accused of drugging and raping as many as 16 women in four different states. After concluding a 14-year career in 2011, Sharper was working as an analyst for NFL Network when women began coming forward with allegations of blacking out while drinking with Sharper and waking up groggy to find they had been sexually assaulted.

One woman recalled the arrogance Sharper showed in his continued drugging and raping of women even after he knew he was under investigation.  Thankfully that arrogance caught up with him. Prior to last week’s sentencing hearing, Sharper had pleaded guilty in federal court in New Orleans, and state courts in Louisiana, Arizona, California, and Nevada. Two co-defendants, one of whom was a former sheriff’s deputy, pleaded guilty to similar charges, with charging documents alleging the men put anti-anxiety drugs or sedatives into women’s drinks so they could rape them.

While Sharper wasn’t an active member of the league any more, it’s not exactly like he was some no-name criminal. Yet no one seemed to bat an eye at his conviction. Do you know how many posts I saw about Sharper on my social media pages this week? Zero.

Colin Kaepernick. At least something has to be said.

I can tell you this, I’m not here to write yet another blog about whether or not what Colin Kaepernick did was right or wrong. I’m also not going to write a detailed blog about what Kaepernick did, because if you’re reading this, you’ve certainly been inundated with Kaepernick posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, any other social media website you can think of, and countless hours of Sportscenter as well. But here’s where my issue with the whole Kaepernick situation arises: Ex-Stanford Swimmer and convicted rapist Brock Turner is going to be released from jail today after serving only 3 months’ time; Darren Sharper was just convicted of drugging and raping 16 different women and no one batted an eye. BUUUUUT, Colin Kaepernick, a soon to be back-up quarterback, sat during the national anthem of a pre-season football game, and everyone is losing their shit. So take issue with Kaepernick if you must, but excuse me if I think it’s bullshit that this is the worst thing a player could do.

I came across this meme earlier in the week, and though it’s obviously over-simplified, it does highlight a serious issue. We put athletes on a pedestal, and only when it suits us, do we take issue with the behavior of those athletes. If you’re going to choose to show outrage, show it when it matters. If you think standing during the anthem matters, then by all means be outraged. But if you feel the need to post 800 Tomi Lahren (barf!!!!) rant videos because one person SAT DOWN, then the next time you cheer on Adrian Peterson, Michael Vick, Josh Brown, Greg Hardy, Ray McDonald, Kevin Williams, Monte Ball, or any number of other athletes convicted of heinous crimes I hope you at least think twice.

Before we move on from this discussion entirely, give SVP a quick listen.

Joey Bosa gives in and signs with San Diego.

Last week it seemed as though all hope was lost for Joey Bosa and the Chargers. But alas, Bosa will not be the next Bo Jackson (Duh!). The Chargers announced Monday that they agreed to a four-year contract with the rookie defensive-end. Both sides released a statement, neither of which even remotely alluded to the contentious negotiations that had lead up to the signing. However, when asked if he’d do it all again, Charger’s president of football operations, John Spanos, seemed to think the Chargers’ decision to go public was no big deal, and even went as far as to say he’d do it all again – no changes whatsoever.

The Bosa camp might just disagree. Though they did reach an agreement, which is the biggest step toward Bosa realizing his lifelong dream of playing in the NFL, it came at a cost to Joey. At this Monday’s press conference, Bosa said that the hateful comments on social media during the contract dispute lead him to delete Instagram and Twitter off his phone. He further said that “every single day when people were posting horrible comments on my Instagram and Twitter and saying horrible things about my family and parents and all this stuff about me, I was up early working to make your team win.” Whether or not the Chargers will do much winning this season is yet to be seen, but there is no doubt the first-round pick will be a great asset for the Bolts this season and in years to come.

From NFL to MLB?

Funny that Bo Jackson has already come up in both weeks’ blogs, and I’m not done just yet. Bo Jackson is THE name that comes up when thinking of a successful multisport athlete. Jackson is the only player to be named an All-Star in both baseball and football, though roughly 70 players have accomplished admission into both the NFL and the MLB. This week Tim Tebow sought to join this exclusive club.

 I could get used to this view. 

I could get used to this view. 

Tebow is most well known as a Heisman winning college quarterback who just didn’t find success in the NFL. (Calm down Broncos fans, yes I remember Tebow’s heroic 2011 Wild Card victory against the Steelers). After attempting to sign with any NFL team who would take him, Tebow has decided to take his talents to the baseball diamond. Twenty-nine year-old Tebow hasn’t played baseball since his high school days. He worked out earlier this week in front of 46 scouts from 28 (of 30) MLB teams. Reviews of Tebow’s performance were all over the board. One headline included both “waste of time” and “better than expected.” There seemed to be consensus that Tebow is ripped, and that it’s clear he is putting in work in the weight room. However, there also seemed to be consensus that Tebow was a bit uncoordinated, and that his big biceps, while good to look at, don’t give him the arm necessary to be a successful outfielder.

At least one team, not in the MLB, but in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, expressed interest in Tebow following his work out. This team? The Bridgeport Bluefish. Yeah, you’re not alone if you’ve never heard of them before. The Bluefish extended a contract offer for Tebow to play for the team during the 2016 season. Internet reviews of the Bluefish show that the team is typically full of gimmicks and couldn’t be farther from the goal that Tebow is trying to reach. It’s likely that Tebow will decline the Bluefish offer, but it’s unclear if any other offers will follow.

Cue Tebow montage for my friends who read this blog only to see cute guys:

 You're welcome, Kait. 

You're welcome, Kait. 

Not a great year to be a Vikings fan… not that there is ever a “great year” as a Vike.

Though the season has still yet to begin, the bad news has already started in Minnesota.  Whatever high Viking’s fans were still riding from last season’s division title disappeared Tuesday when starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater injured his ACL. Bridgewater has been ruled out for the entire 2016 season, and his timetable for return in the 2017 season is still up in the air as well. The good news for the boys in purple is that Teddy is only 23. His chance of a full recovery is likely, though not without some serious work.  

In the meantime, the Vikings will turn to now-starting QB Shaun Hill. Hill is a 10-year Veteran in the league who has experienced little success with four different teams. Interestingly enough, Hill was given the starting QB job for the Rams two seasons ago when Sam Bradford suffered (yet-another) season-ending knee injury in the preseason. He subsequently lost this role to equally-mediocre QB Austin Davis. Vikings GM Rick Spielman did as any good manager should, and told the press, following Bridgewater’s injury, that “there’s no one in the organization who doesn’t think Shaun Hill can take us where we want to go.”

As someone who had placed my faith in Shaun Hill two years ago only to be let down miserably, I hope for all of you Vikings fans out there that this story is different. But at the very least, for a team who has yet to win a Super Bowl, what’s one more year to wait?

Travis Rudolph FTW!

What a depressing blog this week. My gosh! I couldn’t bear to have you start your Friday with only sad sports news – so let’s leave it off with something a bit more heartwarming.

On Tuesday the Florida State Seminoles football team visited Montford Middle School in Tallahassee, Florida. The Seminoles joined the middle-schoolers for lunch and FSU wide receiver Travis Rudolph sat himself next to a student sitting by himself. That student was Bo Paske. Unknown to Travis, Bo has autism. Bo’s mom, Leah, posted a photo of the two lunch-goers to Facebook with this sentimental message attached:

Several times lately I have tried to remember my time in middle school, did I like all my teachers, do I even remember them? Did I have many friends? Did I sit with anyone at lunch? Just how mean were kids really? I remember one kid on the bus called me “Tammy Fay Baker” bc I started awkwardly wearing eye liner in the sixth grade, I remember being tough and calling him a silly name back, but when he couldn’t see me anymore I cried. I do remember middle school being scary, and hard. Now that I have a child starting middle school, I have feelings of anxiety for him, and they can be overwhelming if I let them. Sometimes I’m grateful for his autism. That may sound like a terrible thing to say, but in some ways I think, I hope, it shields him. He doesn’t seem to notice when people stare at him when he flaps his hands. He doesn’t seem to notice that he doesn’t get invited to birthday parties anymore. And he doesn’t seem to mind if he eats lunch alone. It’s one of my daily questions for him. Was there a time today you felt sad? Who did you eat lunch with today? Sometimes the answer is a classmate, but most days it’s nobody. Those are the days I feel sad for him, but he doesn’t seem to mind. He is a super sweet child, who always has a smile and hug for everyone he meets. A friend of mine sent this beautiful picture to me today and when I saw it with the caption “Travis Rudolph is eating lunch with your son” I replied “who is that?” He said “FSU football player”, then I had tears streaming down my face. Travis Rudolph, a wide receiver at Florida State, and several other FSU players visited my sons school today. I’m not sure what exactly made this incredibly kind man share a lunch table with my son, but I’m happy to say that it will not soon be forgotten. This is one day I didn’t have to worry if my sweet boy ate lunch alone, because he sat across from someone who is a hero in many eyes. Travis Rudolph thank you so much, you made this momma exceedingly happy, and have made us fans for life! #travisrudolph#gonoles #FSU #autismmom #fansforlife

Rudolph was unaware that anyone had taken a photo, but after it’s viral response, he’s glad that it was. “I didn’t even recognize it would be this big. It just became really viral and I just wanted it to become aware that everyone is the same, and that one man can make a difference.” And as if this couldn’t get better, Bo no longer has to eat lunch alone. Leah told Fox & Friends that yesterday at lunch Bo was sitting at a table full of girls. “He was the most popular kid in the room.” Gahhh.