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Broken Justice

July 28, 2014

The trial of the second killer in the Demarius Reed case ended today with a not guilty verdict.  I call him a killer because that is what he is, and I don’t need a jury to confirm to me what I already know.  Demarius Reed is dead because the little boy accused in this case (I refuse to call him a man) cased him out and stalked him.  This ended in Demarius’s death.  When murder is the result of armed robbery, you are a killer. PERIOD.

The Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s office bungled this case so badly that now we have minimal justice for Demarius.  The person who pulled the trigger gets 15-30 years, and the person who masterminded the robbery goes free.

I held my tongue when the initial plea bargain for the shooter was struck.  It made ZERO sense to me, but I had to hope that there was a larger vision.  There wasn’t.  When the prosecutor’s office signed off on that plea bargain, they set the wheels in motion for this not guilty verdict.

Juries are only human.  People rightfully take the responsibility of sentencing a person to a long jail term very seriously.  So when the shooter pleads guilty, they assign the blame to him.  How easy is that?  It absolves them of a difficult decision.  The second player in the crime may be guilty of something, but not murder.  THE OTHER DUDE ALREADY ADMITTED SHOOTING HIM.  What did they expect the jury to do?

Sadly, the conclusion we are left to reach is that the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s office appears to be riddled with incompetence.

And what of Demarius’s closest friends, and family?  They had to sit through the horror of this trial for what?  To watch a person who operates with complete indifference to human life walk free?

Emotions are mixed and raw right now.  Anger, frustration, disbelief.  Incredulity.  Our justice system has serious flaws, and most rational people understand this.  How long are we to tolerate long sentences for non-violent crimes while cold-blooded killers go free?

I love Philosophy, and at times like this I can’t help but get philosophical.   Baruch Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher who grappled with the nature of good and evil.  He claimed that there really is no evil in the world, because evil can be negated by love.  Spinoza said that the universe is a good and beautiful thing, and that any evil contained within the universe is only a part of a greater whole, and that whole is good.  Therefore, evil cannot touch us.

I see Demarius’s teammates grieving over their loss.  I read the words of his father talking about what a great son Demarius was.  This is love.  And it trumps the act of two deranged killers.  They may have killed Demarius, but the love that his friends and family hold for him is eternal, and cannot be touched.

Our EMU family is stronger than this verdict, stronger than the depraved hate of these killers.  We renew our call to put Demarius’s name on the ring of honor.  This gesture isn’t about football, it’s about family, and respect for life.

The prosecutor may have failed us.  The jury may have failed us.  The system may have failed us.  But we have the right to create our own justice, for Demarius, for Julia, and for all victims of violence.  If the only justice we can have is REED on the ring of honor, then so be it.  At least it will be something we can call our own, and it will be something no one can take from us.

MAC blogger pre-season football rankings

July 22, 2014

With the MAC Football Media Day just around the corner (tomorrow), the bloggers of the MAC have continued our annual tradition of putting together our own pre-season poll. In addition to yours truly, ballots were submitted by Hustle Belt (SB Nation), Bull Run (SB Nation), Over The Pylon, Falcon Blog, Maroon Musket (247 Sports), The Rocket Nation (Rivals), and Chippewa Country (Rivals).
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Put REED on the Ring of Honor

July 22, 2014

Today, in Ann Arbor, the trial of one of the two suspects in the murder of Demarius Reed is set to begin.  The other suspect pleaded guilty last Friday, and will serve 15-30 years in prison for the senseless and callous murder of a bright and promising young man.  Let’s hope it’s closer to thirty years.  The thought of either of these clowns getting out of prison before their 40th  birthday makes me want to vomit.

Anger and invective aside, the conviction and sentencing of these two will not help ease the pain of those closest to Demarius.  He is gone, and nothing can change that.  What a painful and sorrowful fact that is for his friends and loved ones.

Here at EMU, the wound this act of violence caused is still an open one.  That is to be expected, as it is less than a year since Demarius was murdered, and this upcoming season would have been his senior year.  We will not miss Demarius in some abstract way, his absence on the field will be deeply felt by everyone connected with this program.

The individual remembrances for Demarius have been heartfelt and touching.  Anyone who wasn’t moved by the burying of his jersey under the new field must have a heart that is two sizes too small.  It is astoundingly clear that Demarius was loved by his teammates.  Along side these individual tributes to Demarius, a larger gesture of remembrance is required to help heal this wound.

That is why Eagle Totem is formally calling on Eastern Michigan University to retire Demarius’s number, and place his name on the ring of honor at Rynearson Stadium.  There will never be another Deuce.

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Robert Bolden to EMU — What does it mean?

July 18, 2014

I received the concrete confirmation I had been searching for on the Robert Bolden transfer late this afternoon, and now we are left to speculate what this move means to the EMU football program.

For starters, it is a prestigious get for Chris Creighton, Bolden was a highly touted high school QB from Orchard Lake St. Mary’s in Detroit, and started for Penn State as a true freshman.  He brings with him speed and athleticism the likes of which are rarely seen at Eastern Michigan.  Along with his impressive skill set, Bolden also has big game experience.  He has played for Joe Paterno and Les Miles.

Bolden is also by all accounts a character guy.  By virtue of his talent, experience, and character, he should become an instant leader in the locker room.  A guy like him, who has but one year left to play college football, will not accept a rebuilding season.  No question Bolden wants to end his career as a winner.

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Robert Bolden Considering Transfer to EMU

July 15, 2014

The twitternets were abuzz last evening with news relevant to our beloved Eastern Michigan football program.  Former Penn State and LSU QB/WR Robert Bolden is set to transfer, and EMU is one of two potential destinations.  Why EMU?  Aside from the fact that Eastern provides a world-class education, Bolden originally hails from Detroit.

There have been tweets that Bolden is coming here, but as of now I believe those are premature.  Sources in Louisiana tell me that he is still deciding, and one is even saying that he is leaning towards his other potential destination, Central Michigan.  I spent a lot of time on this last night, and could not confirm his transfer to EMU.  No final decision has been made.

Bolden began his career at Penn State, where Joe Paterno installed him as starting quarterback during his freshman season.  It didn’t go very well, for all Bolden’s speed he lacked throwing accuracy, leading to a disastrous performance at home against Alabama.  It is safe to say he was not ready to start at that point in his career, especially with a guy who now plays in the NFL, Matt McGloin, on the bench behind him.  Chalk that up to a bad decision by JoePa.  One of many.

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Chris Creighton and the Football Factory

June 19, 2014

The suspense is over, Eagle Nation.  Today’s major historic announcement has come, and Eastern Michigan is getting a new field, but not just any new field, a new gray field.  And, not only do we get a shiny new gray field, but we also get a meme.  You want to play football at EMU…bring your hard hat.  You are going to The Factory.  I will do my best to address these developments in as non-satirical a manner as I am able to manage.

For starters, Eastern needed a new field.  The old field was beat up, and shabby.  While there is nothing mystical or historic about a new football field, even a gray one, it is nice to have a new surface for the football team.  If you are going to have a D-I program, you might as well have a field that looks the part.

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“Major Historic Announcement” for EMU Football

June 19, 2014

In case you are not already aware,  EMU football will have a  “Major Historic Announcement” today at 1 PM.  Since news broke, I have been pondering a question that is near Aristotelian in its complexity: what exactly constitutes a “Major Historic Announcement.”  Given the grandiose-yet-cryptic nature of the phrase, one can not help but speculate as to what earth-shattering news awaits us at today’s press conference.

There have been rumors about a new field, or perhaps new lighting at Rynearson Stadium.  If either or both lighting/field surfaces are getting a much needed upgrade, then all the better.  Any fan of EMU football knows Rynearson desperately needs both.  The current field is a shabby mess, and the lighting is not HD capable, which means EMU is not going to be playing a home game on ESPN, or any other meaningful national broadcast outlet for that matter, until the lighting is upgraded.

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Robert Lynn “Bob” Welch: November 3, 1956 – June 9, 2014

June 10, 2014
Photo via EMUEagles.com

Photo via EMUEagles.com

Bob Welch, possibly the most decorated EMU alumnus in a sport other than track & field, has died at the age of 57.

According to a press release by the Oakland A’s, he died last night in Seal Beach, California, where he had lived. Although some reports have indicated an unknown cause of death, the LA Dodgers have reported that he suffered a fatal heart attack while at home.

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EMU Spring Football Wrap-up

May 12, 2014

The good people at The Saturday Edge asked me to contribute a spring wrap up for their website.  Here is the link. Along with what I wrote, there are spring analyses of many other MAC schools available for your reading enjoyment.

Daylen Harrison named to Academic All-MAC Team

April 23, 2014

News out of EMU Hoops central today has senior forward Daylen Harrison being named to the Academic All-MAC team. This should be a source of pride to Eagle Nation, and confirms what a lot of us thought of Daylen for the past two years. Harrison was one guy who knew how to operate in Rob Murphy’s zone, a smart, heady player who had a knack for a key steal or bucket.

Daylen cut his chops on some serious academic business at EMU, with a 3.66 GPA in Chemistry. Since Daylen was Murphy’s “glue guy” perhaps a future at 3M awaits. Something in adhesives.

As someone who covers college athletics, I love to see this. A good guy, a strong basketball player, a serious student. Congrats to Daylen from Eagle Totem.