In this week’s Around the Dorm, the “Ref,” Amy Reynolds, asks our expert panel three questions: should Americans be traveling to Russia for what has been called the most dangerous Olympic games ever, when will Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning retire, and what American athlete has the best social media presence?
1. Mike Morrell, the former deputy director for the CIA, warned on Monday, Jan. 27, that the Sochi Games are “the most dangerous” he’s ever seen. Should Americans be traveling to the region for a sporting event?
Chrissy: In regard to whether Americans should travel to Sochi for the Olympic games this week, I believe they absolutely should not. When the games are held in such a volatile region as Russia, there is always a threat of unrest or violence. However, this winter, with more than the usual unrest in Russia and its surrounding provinces, it would be severely dangerous to travel there just for a sporting event. Security is something that definitely takes precedence over athletics — no family should be willing to risk their lives for such an event. I’m concerned for every athlete traveling there to compete, but they have been training for years for this and many are willing to look past the threat of violence. But spectators are inevitably more cautious. There will always be the summer Olympics in Rio in two years and then the following winter Olympics four years from now. It’s not worth the risk for an event that is going to be held again in the future.
Gabe: Morrell also said he would go and take his family. There’s no reason to believe that this year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi are more dangerous than any other prior Olympics held all around the globe. Unless the Olympics truly becomes progressively more dangerous and likely to be the target of an attack every time they’re held, it’s hard not to take Morrell’s comments with a grain of salt. If he really believed the risk was definitely greater than at any Olympics before, why would he put himself and his family in that situation? Hopefully I’m right and Morrell is merely making an effort to have security and the public staying on their toes and being mindful of their surroundings as a precautionary measure.
George: When have we Americans ever been deterred by danger? We, who once stood unyieldingly against the abominable and unjust taxations of the dreaded King George III. We, who single-handedly saved Europe from utter cataclysm in not one, but two World Wars. We, who when threatened by foreign dangers, return fire with spectacular and controversial results. When have we ever let something as silly as “terrorism” affect our decisions? We will not bend over backwards for these criminals — we must show them that the only time we bend over is to provide moral-support-piggyback-rides-of-freedom for the talented athletes we will be sending overseas. Just as we rallied behind our troops in the World War II by buying War Bonds and planting Victory Gardens, we must also rally support for the remarkable athletes who we will be sending into the cold belly of our former-foe. Do not heed Mr. Morrell’s warnings — just because he has dubbed these Games “the most dangerous” in his life does not mean we should hide in our houses, cowering under our couch cushions for safety. We shouldn’t be afraid of danger. Danger is our middle name: United “Danger” States (it was Franklin’s idea).
Chrissy wins for saying security tops all, Gabe gets 2 points for mentioning that Morrell’s family is still going, and George gets 1 point for saying terrorism is silly.
2. When do you think Manning will retire?
Chrissy: I believe if Peyton Manning is able to lead Denver to a Super Bowl win, he should retire next year. It’s always best to end your career on top, and Manning has accomplished more than the average player in his career as an NFL player. Already having led the Colts to a Super Bowl a few years ago, Manning has proven his worth and could quite possibly lead Denver to another championship someday. With his neck injury, he would be putting too much on the line if he continues to play the next few seasons. This isn’t just a foot injury or a hand injury — a neck injury is serious and could lead to many more complications. It would be too risky to continue playing. However, if Manning can’t grab another Super Bowl, he should still retire soon since this last season was one of the best he’s ever had.
Gabe: Peyton Manning should retire when he loses his passion for the game of football. If he’s feeling old and tired or losing interest now there’s no reason why he shouldn’t hang up his helmet now. He’s already won a Super Bowl, and even the annihilation that the Broncos suffered against the Seahawks can’t change what he has done for the sport in his illustrious career. Also, the neck surgery he had a couple years ago was nothing minor, and the fact that he’s been able to recover and stay healthy for a couple seasons since then is nothing short of a miracle. At age 37, no one could blame him for walking away, but at the end of the day, I doubt he is ready to retire just yet.
George: He should retire whenever he damn wants to. Seriously, all the guy wants to do is play football. Who cares if he’s got some neck injuries that may resurface in the next few years? Who cares if his most recent Super Bowl performance was less than stellar (far less than stellar if you ask some people)? Manning is playing for himself (and also oodles of cash) — if he wants to keep playing then I say let him.
Gabe wins for saying passion trumps all, Chrissy gets 2 points for explaining how serious Peyton’s neck injury is, and George gets 1 point because it’s serious.
3. Which athlete has the best social media presence?
Chrissy: As much as it pains me to support a member of the New York Yankees, I have to pick Derek Jeter as the athlete with the best social media presence. An all-around good guy, Jeter is an impeccable role model for young kids and rookie ballplayers around the league. Even after a tough loss or disappointment, Jeter gives an interview of the classiest magnitude. He learns something from every loss. He’s willing to talk to any reporter and give his honest opinion. In light of all of the A-Rod scandals plaguing the Yankees the past few months, Jeter will serve as a constant breath of fresh air. Even though he’s not an athlete who takes to Twitter or Instagram after every game, he continues to remain in the spotlight just by being the role model he is. Sometimes it’s better for an athlete not to make public everything they do — he knows the correct balance of private and public information.
Gabe: Cristiano Ronaldo has by far the largest, best social media presence among professional athletes. Considered by many to be one of the best of all time at the world’s most popular sport, the footballer has over 24 million followers on Twitter and nearly 73 million fans on Facebook. When you consider the fact that Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Durant, currently the NBA’s three most polarizing figures, have a few million less followers on Twitter combined than Ronaldo, the evidence is insurmountable.
George: Richard Sherman — the man’s loud on the field, off the field and on the Internet. His vitriol has drummed up endless debate on the Internet over whether his words are playful or just plain mean, and since his infamous interview in which he directed his outrage toward 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree, even people who don’t care about football are chiming in on the debate. Sherman’s social media presence not only comes from other people discussing his antics, but also his own mouth (fingertips?). He’s very active on Twitter — he constantly posts pictures and other interesting tidbits, including a neat image of what media day looks like to him. If he ever gets the itch to write more than 140 characters, Sherman turns to The MMQB, a blog-esque section of the Sports Illustrated website. Sherman has written a dozen articles so far.
Gabe wins for comparing Ronaldo’s following to those of NBA stars, George gets 2 points for describing Sherman’s high activity, and Chrissy gets 1 point for picking Jeter.
Gabe wins Around the Dorm, 8-6-4
“Did you bring the sauce?” —Gabe