SPORTS OPINION: Erdmann is more than a quarterback

By Elliot Olson
eolson002@csbsju.edu

“It’s not just what he does, it’s how he does it.”

Jackson Erdmann; devoted Lutheran, Mary 2 RA, Stranger Things enthusiast. In his free time he studies and plays big brother to 62 giddy, lost-in-the-sauce first-years. He is also the starting quarterback of the St. John’s football team.

The latter statement came as a surprise to me. He couldn’t be a football player. Too humble. Too nice. Too… into Harry Potter. Not who you would expect to be the engineer behind the imposing and versatile Johnnie offense.

Of course, I mean this in the best way possible, but he’s just different. Try making friends with the starting quarterback of the Minnesota Gophers. Or heck, the third-string quarterback of the St. Thomas football team.

Chances are, neither of them have much time for you. They’re too busy making cutoffs and mixing protein shakes (blatant stereotyping, I know). That simply isn’t Erdmann. He is deadly on the field, crazy efficient. Off of it, though, he is just as good.

The Johnnies are lucky to have a leader like Erdmann. But, as he would say, one player can’t shine alone. Our offense is deep and dynamic. Our defense is savage. There are a plethora of players that show up and work every day that may not even see the field come Saturday. All of the players that I have met have shared many of the qualities that make Erdmann so likable. They are simply good people. They don’t make statements with their talk, but with their work ethic. They are different.

Erdmann is different. His teammates are different. Our program is different.

Because of the different actions of these ordinary men, I’m proud to stand behind our football team.

Skol Johnnies.

This is the opinion of SJU first-year Elliot Olson

OPINION: Health care debate hits home for Type 1 diabetic

By Adam Schwartz
aschwartz001@csbsju.edu

While many in this country are justifiably talking about President Donald Trump’s remarks about NFL players, many are forgetting about another fight. A fight that is quite literally life or death: healthcare.

Instead of attempting to persuade you with arguments about why the new  Cassidy-Graham bill is detrimental to our system, I want to personalize the story with my own experiences with our nation’s complicated health care system.

I am a Type 1 diabetic. I have been since I was in the first grade of elementary school. No, that doesn’t mean I have an unhealthy diet that leads to my developing this disease. No, it doesn’t mean I just need to “eat right,” and all my problems will go away. Type 1 diabetes is a genetic and lifetime disease that I did nothing to contract; it’s in my genetics.

Because of this, I have been a part of our healthcare system since I was seven and I will continue to be a part of it until the day I die. I am lucky enough to have insurance through my parents who cover the majority of my costs of this unasked-for burden. If I were like the 28.2 percent uninsured Americans in 2016, I probably wouldn’t be alive to write about this.

One medication, Novolog Insulin, alone can cost upwards of $577.70 per bottle, of which I get seven of in one prescription order (totaling a total of $4,043.90 in one trip to the pharmacy). And that is just the basic medicine I need to
survive. That is not including the materials required to administer the drug, which I will not go into for the sake of time but suffice it to say it is no small cost either. I feel the need to reiterate at this point that all of this is not something I need to be “healthy” or “treated;” I need this just to survive like any normal person. And I am not alone.

According to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), approximately 1.25 million Americans are living with Type 1 diabetes, and of those 1.25 million, 200,000 of them are under the age of 20. That’s you, that’s me, that’s your
younger sibling, that’s your younger cousin. Chances are you know someone in your family who has Type 1 diabetes. Do they deserve to die because they can’t afford their life-saving medication?

The point here isn’t to insinuate that Republicans want people like me to die. It’s that they do not put real faces to these problems. I don’t believe for one second that any good-minded man would intentionally vote for someone to die. But this bill is implicitly doing just that. It’s allowing for prices to go up on life-saving medications, it’s allowing a company to reject me because of a disease I had no choice in acquiring.

Please, for me, and for the millions in America living with worse things than me,
contact your Congressmen and Congresswomen let them know how their vote could save someone’s life.

This is the opinion of Adam Schwartz, SJU sophomore

OPINION: Diversity gap still exists as CSB/SJU become more diverse then ever with arrival of class of 2021

By Emily Renteria

erenteria001@csbsju.edu

The obvious cannot be dismissed: there is a significant cultural and racial disparity within our beloved St. John’s University and College of St. Benedict.

It is true that the arrival of the Class of 2021 has brought with them the largest diversity population the school has ever received. This grand accomplishment however, consists only of eight percent male and 16 percent female people of color (POC) of the school’s population.

As it was said by many presenters during this year’s orientation, “To some, this is the most racially diverse place people have been at.”

After these statements, I saw two things: nodding from white students in agreement and confused/appalled faces by  (some white but mostly) POC incoming students. Regardless of your reaction, this is our situation.

What matters now is our perspective—how will you treat others? To our white brothers and sisters: be careful with your gestures and attitudes. Reminder: some of us are not used to being the minority of a population, which is why (we might be defensive, and) anything, and everything you do will be under scrutiny.

We are all mature college students, but not everyone practices Minnesota’s usual passive-aggressiveness. Some people will confront you and call you out. Or, you might just leave us dumb-founded by your words and actions to which we will internalize it and keep building false generalizations about the white community.

Also, do not just  stare at us. We see you just as you see us, so acknowledge us. A smile would help.

Now, mi gente—African-American, African-Caribbean, Somali, Asian (yes, I mean Indians too), Native-Americans, Hispanics and everyone else in between—do not lose hope and please keep your cool. I am not saying to dismiss ignorance—discrimination or racism—but try your best not to take what is said and done too personal.

I understand that this is difficult not to do, but when things become too personal, we tend to act defensively. Do not let this happen, for the matter at hand transcends from education about cultures and acceptance to personal aggression. It is nolonger about the cause, but rather about the individual. Also, people to tune out those who (a) disagree with them and (b) insult them.

Do not impose another hindrance for yourself over the real issue at stake. We could do this. We could make this work. All I ask from my ever-so-supportive Bennies and Johnnies is to not look at each other as challenges, rather as an opportunity to learn about our differences.

The secret to tolerance and acceptance is knowledge. Share it.

This is the opinion of Emily Renteria, CSB first-year

OPINION: Our Constitution surmounts our symbols during national anthem

By Brendan Klein
bdklein@csbsju

Once again the United States is trying to tackle the limits of free speech in the arena of professional sports.

This is not a new game that we are playing. Freedom of speech has been tested and tried throughout our country’s history, especially these last few months. The typical battle lines are drawn over whether kneeling or protesting the national anthem is disrespectful to our country and the thousands of servicemen and women who serve, or if it is a peaceful expression of constitutional rights.

Regardless of where you stand on this issue, there has to be a common consensus that no punishment should be extracted upon the players who engage in their protest.

As a former editor of The Record who has received articles from all spectrums of thought, I take the First Amendment of our Constitution very seriously.  Censorship limits our understanding of this world and our ability to grow in thought and knowledge. People must be given a choice to reject or accept what they see or hear. Freedom must be at the root of our decisions.

That is why President Trump’s call to NFL executives to fire any person who protests goes against our most sacred amendment. He asks for the conversation to be stifled. He wants to undermine our rights. This is a dangerous order since it allows those in power to set the narrative for the nation. It can be boiled down in its simplicity to: if you don’t do exactly what I want, you’re fired. This means you, myself and everyone around us would not be able to speak and act freely.

We would be forced to think a certain way for fear of punishment. This rule applies to all spectrums of ideology. I would have no right to fire someone
because they voted for Clinton or Trump, or disagreed with me on a policy issue. This is a protection that must extend to everyone, not just those who protest the
national anthem.

If a player is going to get fired, it should be because they miss too many tackles or drop too many balls, not because they go on one knee for two minutes. We have the right to disagree with the player’s actions or to defend them. This is what conversations should revolve around. But the punishment for their actions is unconstitutional and goes against everything our country stands for.

We have had men and women die to protect freedom around the world. We fought Nazis who silenced any opposition. We fought Communists who forced their compatriots to recite party doctrine. If there is anything that we should not
tolerate in this country, it should be someone who tries to force us what to think, which is why our rights surmount our symbols.

You may disagree with the method of protest, the cause or the person, but we cannot disagree on the outcome. Defending constitutional rights is what the generations of Americans did before us and it is what we must do today. We must not punish people for expressing their free opinions or else face a truly oppressed society that disrespects the efforts of everyone before us who fought to protect our freedom.

This is the opinion of Brendan Klein, SJU junior

OPINION: Taking a knee disrespects veterans who fought for our freedoms

By Matt Captain
mcaptain001@csbsju.edu

The National Football League (NFL) had a huge uprising again this weekend over the issue of taking a knee during the national anthem. President Trumps remarks on Twitter fueled the fire. This controversy started with Colin Kaepernick
sitting down during the national anthem to raise awareness for racial injustice last year during President Obama’s administration. However, in my opinion,
racial prejudice has nothing to do with standing up for the national
anthem.

Standing for the national anthem is to show respect for our nation, and to honor those who have fought for our country. Freedom isn’t free; to not stand up for those who have served in the military to allow every American to have the
opportunities of this great nation, is utterly disrespectful.

Additonaly, protesting Trump should have nothing to do with these demonstrations. Some of these protests are against Trump. A football game is not the time or place to protest a president especially when veterans are on the field. This is not about Trump; this is about respect for the military and the principles of the USA.

Specifically, the NFL teams reacted to this issue with a variety of actions this past Sunday. Some teams responded justly by locking arms and standing
together for the anthem. Conversely, others sat down or worse yet even stayed in the locker room during the anthem. The teams that chose to sit or stay in the locker room showed complete disregard for the American flag and what it
symbolizes.

The anthem is directed toward the American flag which symbolizes our freedom and human rights. The red stripes symbolically represent Britain controlling the colonies with the white stripes representing liberty cutting the ties with Britain.

The American flag is for all people. No one is excluded or oppressed because of the American flag. America was not founded on racial injustice. It was based on
equality and liberty for every individual regardless of race, religion, or status. The Pledge of Allegiance states “with Liberty and Justice for all.” How could one not stand for the symbol of freedom and justice for all in the United States?

Ultimately, the military’s sacrifice gives you the ability to receive an education, to have rights and to enjoy the freedoms we have. This sacrifice of lives along with the freedoms the United States of America stands for including equality is what the American flag represents and why we stand for the national anthem.
To be clear, I am not saying it is not your right to protest and have freedom of speech because it is your right. Every individual has the right to express how he or she feels that is part of the Constitution.

However, I am saying that it is entirely disrespectful and wrong to not stand for the anthem. Remember the reason you have the freedom of speech is that of those who protected and fought for our nation: those who you honor by standing for the national anthem.

This is the opinion of Matt Captain, SJU sophomore

OPINION: Trump takes on the National Football League

By Stanton Charlton
sacharlton@csbsju.edu

The presidency of Donald Trump has been a smashing success. Don’t let anyone tell you any differently, don’t pay attention to the approval ratings, and don’t bother following the news; it’s all fake anyway. Donald Trump is unifying America.

Last Friday night, Trump made an appearance at a rally in Alabama. At the rally, he made the bold claim that any NFL player who kneels during the national anthem should be fired. On Sunday, he took his comments a step further,
encouraging fans to stop attending NFL games until players stop  “disrespecting our flag and country.”

This is the latest chapter in a year-long saga that started with the former San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick actively protested police brutality and systemic racism by kneeling during the national anthem before the start of every game last season.

The protests were highly polarizing and Kaepernick is likely not on a football team this season because of them. Besides scoffing at anthem protesters, Trump also scoffed at the need to prevent concussions in the NFL. Efforts to do so, heexclaimed, are “ruining the game.” Trump’s timing is impeccable when one considers what we now know about former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.

In a post-mortem examination of Hernandez’s brain, it was revealed that he suffered from the degenerative brain disease, Chronic Traumatic  Encephalopathy (CTE), at just 27 years old. Hernandez committed suicide in April after being linked to and convicted of various homicides between 2007 and 2013.

CTE has been tied to concussions in football after showing up in the brain scans of more than 100 former NFL players. It is unfortunate that Trump would mock brain disease. It is also unfortunate that Trump would discourage athletes from vocalizing their support for causes they believe in and from protesting against any form of injustice; the latter goes against everything America should stand for, and places an asterisk over what should be considered free speech.

Numerous NFL owners such as Robert Kraft and Stephen Ross have deemed Trump’s comments offensive and disappointing. Even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell chimed in, describing Trump’s comments as “divisive” and stating that “The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture.”

Prior to Trump’s comments, the NFL was clearly divided on the topic of protesting the national anthem, but now, the league appears to be a more united front. When a person consistently tweets demonizing people and when a person
discourages dissent over and over again, the American thing to do is unite and say “this is wrong.”

Trump is that person, and unite is what we must do. What the NFL’s national  anthem protests should teach us is that it is important to have discussions that are uncomfortable. It is okay to disagree with one another. We must acknowledge that everyone has different experiences on these campuses and in this country. We need a president to force us to have the uncomfortable
discussions regarding free speech, race and difference, and Trump is exactly that.

Trump may not be who many—including myself—wanted to be President of the
United States, but we need him now more than ever.

This is the opinion of Stanton Charlton, SJU senior