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The last two weeks have been dominated by two main sport stories.

One was the “Big Ben” saga, which culminated in the Steelers quarterback receiving a six game suspension from the NFL. Well deserved and kudos to the commissioner for taking that stance. The other story that got a lot of play was “the drafting of Tim;” Tebow that is.

I found a few things interesting about both of those stories. The first, and to me most obvious, was the juxtaposition of the two stories-one guy is a two time Super Bowl winner, by all accounts one of the best players at his position in the league. Off the field he has major question marks; issues regarding his judgment, maturity and suggestions of misogyny.

Tebow is the exact opposite. He is a high character collegian who has been described as a ‘great leader’ so many times I suspect he is already being groomed to run for President at some point. His post game speech following Florida’s loss to Mississippi in 2008 is the stuff of legend. And while one guy is being suspended for his behavior, the other guys character is beyond reproach but he is hearing questions about whether he can ever be an effective NFL quarterback.

I think Ben Roethlisberger got what he deserved and actually got off lightly. Consider this point of view; he works in an exclusive field at a job only 30+ other people in the world are performing. He is earning millions at this job, is a high-profile personality and at 28 is already incredibly wealthy. He jeopardized this and risked a criminal trial and subsequent jail time to get it on with a 20 year old college student in a bar. That I believe tells you everything you need to know about him.

Tim Tebow is a deeply religious young man, a fiery competitor on the football field who has won team and individual accolades at the University of Florida. The scheme he played in college while successful doesn’t translate well to the pros (see Smith, Alex, Utah and the 49ers.)

Tebow is the type of guy you want on your team, you want leading your team, but can he play in the NFL? I hope he can but I suspect he can’t. How tragic is it that the guy you want to see succeed and root for is limited in his potential ceiling while the jerk you don’t want to root for will be collecting million dollar paychecks into the foreseeable future?

For the record, I still think Tebow is a major reach as a 1st round pick, but I sincerely hope he gets a legitimate shot at being an NFL quarterback. I also do think that the whole Roethlisberger incident contributed to Tebow being a 1st round pick, with the emphasis being currently placed on character. Call it the Bill Clinton effect, where the behavior of one person is so polarizing that it creates a 180 degree reactionary turn……that being said, sports need more good guys.

The 116th Penn Relays were held this past week in Philadelphia. As a Jamaican (and a proud Jamaica College alum,) I have always enjoyed going to Penn Relays. Most years i’m rooting for the teams of the other high schools, but the Penn Relays experience is so much bigger than the schools themselves. It’s about the atmosphere, the engaging crowds, the festival like energy in the streets and the stadium and above all, the pride.

For my generation of Jamaicans and the generation of my parents, track and field is a way of life. The casual fan might think the success of Bolt, Powell, Fraser et al is a new thing, but we know. Jamaica, a country of slightly over two million people has been a major force in track and field, especially the sprint events, for over 50 years. Our country may be one fifth the size of a state like California, but our world leading achievements have long outgrown our little island.

I grew up hearing the stories about Herb McKinley, Donald Quarrie and Lennox Miller, and then watching (and listening on the radio) to the exploits of Bert Cameron and Merlene Ottey.

Our success is not only reflected in the names of those who have represented Jamaica, but also athletes who have left Jamaica and represented other countries. The annals of American, Canadian and British track and field over the last half-century was built in no small part on the efforts of Jamaicans and athletes of Jamaican descent, a tradition that continues to this day.

I’ll name three for starters: Linford Christie, the British sprinter and former Olympic gold medalist, Donovan Bailey, former 100 meter record holder who competed for Canada, and the best US female 400 meter runner ever, Sanya Richards-Ross.

Like i’ve explained to people who seem surprised at our success time and again: Dominicans play baseball, Brazilians play soccer, Texans play football and Jamaicans run track. Its what we do, and it’s that simple.

The annual Penn Relays three day meet is the best relay competition in the northeast and arguably the best track meet in the US. The announced crowd of 54,000 on Saturday April 24th 2010 was the largest crowd ever to attend the Penn Relays, and a casual eyeball count would estimate about 3/4 of that crowd was decked out in green and gold. The Jamaican contingent travels annually from New York, Georgia, Texas and all points in between to root for their favorite team/athlete/school. They are knowledgeable, respectful and passionate, and there is no greater feeling than to hear 40,000 Jamaicans chanting JA-MAI-CA! in unison.

If you are a Jamaican living in the US and have never attended the Penn Relays, put it on your bucket list-you will walk away filled with pride.


Finally, i’m checking out the NBA playoffs, and for my money, Brandon Jennings should be the Rookie of the Year. Evans is a really nice player on a losing team, Curry is a great shooter, but Jennings has his team in the playoffs and is a major reason why they made it there.


I’m out-Let’s go Lakers!

About the author


Who's Dwight?

Well, for starters, i'm a Jamaican born resident of New York who loves sports, politics, books (reading and writing them) and meaningful debate. I'm also a published author of two books, several short stories and articles-with more on the way-and most importantly i'm never without an opinion. I try to keep abreast of the world around me and look at things from my perspective-which is sometimes irreverent, occasionally funny, frequently frank, and at times downright weird.

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