Living Columns & Blogs

It’s not right for UNC players to sell Air Jordans, but it’s easy to see why they’re tempted

UNC’s Chazz Surratt (12) congratulates Beau Corrales (88) after the two combined for a TD during the fourth quarter against Western Carolina in 2017.  Surratt and Corrales have both received four-game suspensions for selling school-issued shoes.
UNC’s Chazz Surratt (12) congratulates Beau Corrales (88) after the two combined for a TD during the fourth quarter against Western Carolina in 2017. Surratt and Corrales have both received four-game suspensions for selling school-issued shoes. cseward@newsobserver.com

The very idea itself is mind-boggling: a pair of shoes selling for $2,500!

Yet that’s what at least one merchant allegedly paid for a pair of Air Jordan shoes from a UNC football player, according to a News & Observer report.

The footwear’s market value was enhanced because, as part of a promotion, Nike had made the shoes available to the UNC athletic department before the new issue went on the market.

Thirteen football team members have been suspended for one to four games as punishment for selling their shoes. According to news reports, at least one local vendor said that he paid players $2,500 for their new shoes, which he in turn sold for $3,500 per pair.

”As usual, the poor players got the shaft,” wrote one reader of this column. “To play football at UNC, you have to put up with two practices a day in 94-degree weather, bust your butt running plays, lose some teeth, risk brain concussions and then wear certain brands of shoes like good little robots to promote a multi- billion dollar shoe company so it can sell more shoes,” he cynically concluded.

I tend to agree with the reader. Although I’m not defending the players’ poor judgment, I can understand how they were tempted to grab a piece of the action for themselves.

Thank you note

The large, hand-lettered “Thank you, God” sign on the back of a car on Creedmoor Road raised questions.

Was this an abiding expression of gratitude to God for daily, on-going blessings or a thank you for some recent positive experience such as a loved one’s return home from Afghanistan, the healing from some affliction, or a personal, public declaration of faith?

Charlotte is back

Every summer the spider, seemingly overnight, weaves her web in our kitchen window, and every year my wife threatens to hose her out of the window before the spider can settle in for the season. I usually intervene.

I don’t know if that’s because of the influence on me of E.B. White’s great children’s classic, “Charlotte’s Web” or because I admire the spider’s skills and her determination in the face of so many daunting challenges: wind, rain, August heat, etc.

Some summers ago, one of my doctors admitted he was late getting to the office because as he was going out the door, he lingered to admire a spectacular spider web in a nearby shrub.

To me, that admission revealed the doctor’s sensitivity to nature and respect for other forms of life that share our world.

‘Toting’ babies

I should have used better judgment than to try to tell my readers how best to hold a baby. After all, it’s been quite a spell since I was holding babies.

I just thought the one I saw being held horizontally face down was bored with the view of the restaurant floor.

Reader Ruth Hudgins thinks I presumed too much.

”I have to know, was that baby who was being carried face down crying?” she asks. “If not, I would say that she/he was happy and that whatever way a baby is carried should be for his/her comfort and not for the enjoyment of others.

“Incidentally, with colicky babies, it is often advised to hold them in a ‘football’ hold. I always remind myself not to criticize parents of babies — or even toddlers and older children — until we have walked in their proverbial shoes. Hopefully, the parents you described are able to give this baby lots of face time when the baby is in a mood to communicate. Because, as you implied, it is very important for a child’s social development!”

Fake media

Not long ago, President Donald Trump declared that I, as a member of the media, am an “enemy of the people.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, during my more than six decades of newspapering, I’ve enjoyed a warm relationship with the so-called people. I think of our readers as members of a huge family.

There are, of course, disagreements and some bickering, but a mutual respect is often expressed in letters, emails or phone calls to the editors.

I recently unearthed from the depths of a stuffed desk drawer a nugget of wisdom, origin unknown, that Trump as well as the rest of us need to keep in mind before spouting off: “Exercise the caution of a naked man, blindfolded, climbing a barbed wire fence.”

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