Hurricanes Were Taken for a Ride

I’ve never been much of a Miami Hurricanes fan.  They were always a little slimy for me.  I didn’t like the bravado, the dirty play, or scandalous behavior of the 1980s and 90s Hurricanes.  

Sorry if I seem less cool for that.  I liked Notre Dame back then.  I do still like 2 Live Crew though.  

I know it was popular to feel pity and respect for "The U" and their plight after a very compelling and well directed 30 for 30 about the Hurricanes.  But I still have trouble respecting the players of that time, though they were very talented.  

What’s that?  You say that seems hypocritical coming from an Oakland Raiders fan?  Well, the Raiders are pros, aren’t subject to campus and university rules, and were all over the legal drinking age.  And honestly, the Raiders of my day have had far less scandals.  

But hey, we’re talking about sports and personal preference here.  You can love those years of Miami Hurricanes football, and I won’t think any less of you.  

And I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to stick up for the reputation of the Miami Hurricanes a little bit here, and question Nevin Shapiro’s motivation for his tell-all interviews.  

And honestly, that dude needs a reality check, and to remember he made his bed, or cot in this case, and he has to lie in it.

I still wasn’t into the 2001-2010 Miami Hurricanes, but didn’t really have any animosity towards them either.

I do understand the plight of the black athlete who grew up poor, and is thrown into the limelight of D-1, championship-level college football in a city like Miami.  I’ve always spoken freely about what a difficult transition that is, and the culture shock that both the athletes and mainstream fans and media experience.  

I don’t make the excuse of, “everybody does it,” for big college sports programs when they get busted for major violations.  But it is obvious the system’s broken, and is unfair to the student athlete who brings in big money for the University.    

Shapiro says he feels betrayed because the people he gave money to as a Miami booster weren’t there for him when he got in legal trouble.  Shapiro referred to those he affiliated with from the U as his family.  Family?  Really?  

Family does favors for each other and gives each other gifts out of love.  Shapiro did it for business, fame, attention, and to feel important.  He didn’t even attend the University of Miami, so how can he call them family?

Shapiro said, “Once the players became pros, they turned their back on me. It made me feel like a used friend.”

Dude, you were never their friend.  You were a hanger on.  A booster, who like Luther Campbell said, did what a booster was supposed to do.  

You were just part of the experience to these kids.  A douchey, fake-tanned, slimy ATM machine they went to because you were there, and willing to give them cash for returns down the road.  

And family doesn’t expect anything back.  Shapiro wanted favors back from the University of Miami's players, and wanted them as clients for the sports management firm he was part of.

They didn’t know you as a person.  And what they did learn about you was that you were a shady, ponzi-scheme running, crook who didn’t even have all the money he claimed.

Shapiro vowed to reveal the real Miami Hurricanes, “They might be great players, but they’re certainly not great people.”  

Wow.  The balls on this guy.  I’ll give him that at least.  There’s an old saying where I’m from, similar to the pot calling the kettle black to describe Shapiro slamming the Hurricanes players for not being great people. We would say, “that sounds like a rat calling a possum an ugly, long-nosed, mother fucker to me.”

These players probably felt like they had to take money from Shapiro, or that is was something they were supposed to do. They’re often left with little choice but to accept gifts due to NCAA restrictions on where they can get money from.  

He was there, so they took advantage of it.  He had become ingrained as part of the university’s culture. It’s probably why a lot former players Shapiro affiliated with and gave gifts too are staying silent.  It’s very possible they felt anything involving Shapiro was condoned by the university.

And it’s the University of Miami’s fault for letting Shapiro hang around.  But they were suckered in by the fast talking and dollar signs too.  They have to coddle boosters to get the funds they need.

I have little doubt that some high-ranking members of the University of Miami and its athletic department knew about Shapiro’s doings.  Miami will have to face some major punishment for major rules violations.  Though I don’t think the “death penalty” is warranted.  

And this scandal may even create another coaching search for the University of Missouri’s basketball program, who hired former Hurricane hoops coach Frank Haith, primarily due to his “character.”  

So this time, this scandal can’t just be chalked up to those selfish Miami players or coaches looking to acquire the best talent and keep them happy.  This was the work of a con artist.  A lying, thieving sham of a man, and the U got taken for a ride.

© Tim Fitzgerald 2011