Choose Love

“Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.” -Ghandi

Me and Ghandi aren’t necessarily on the same page with a lot of things, but I have to agree with him here. Occasion demands I write the whole truth.

My post went viral yesterday. Many thousands have read it, and several hundreds have commented. I read most of them.

Many comments were in support of my post and the players.

Many others wrote that they could not and would not tolerate anyone kneeling during the national anthem. For most of those people, respect for the flag comes first, above anything or anyone else.

I love our country, too, but in this particular instance “Respecting the Flag” is sidestepping the actual issue.

Ask yourself this question:

“Do I think standing during the National Anthem is more important than the way hate groups marching on the Ole Miss campus in support of confederate relics and emblems made my black friends, Ole Miss players, neighbors and co-workers feel?”

I do not.

I know most of you are good, Bible-believing southerners like myself that don’t miss church on Sundays if you can help it.

The Bible is really clear on this.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The Bible has a lot to say about love.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Funnily enough, the Bible has NOTHING to say about a national anthem, kneeling, standing, an anthem or a flag.

A few brave Ole Miss players have given us a chance to finally be on the right side of history, and I would also argue, the right side of eternity.

I am 100 percent certain that our God in Heaven is not going to choose a flag, a song, a statue or even a country over one hair on the head of one of his children — black or white, red or brown, kneeling or standing.

Love says that outrage about a flag or an anthem is misdirected.

If you choose love for your neighbor, then your outrage will be directed at anyone who would make one of our black brothers, sisters, friends, neighbors or PLAYERS feel hated, unloved, unlovable or pained because of the color of their skin.

I know that probably (hopefully) most of you agree with me about this, but there is a vocal minority that do not. I cannot stay silent about something this important. To do so would be cowardice and I refuse to be a coward even if it means losing Facebook likes and Twitter follows.

On Wednesday night, Ole Miss will face Tennessee. It’s a huge game all by itself, but after all the national headlines from Saturday, you can bet that the sports world will be watching to see how Ole Miss fans respond to what happened on Saturday.

Thanks to those Ole Miss players we have a moment that could allow us to turn history on its head. We have the chance to do what’s right and be the change.

What’s right is to support the players who did something really brave in the face of hate and in the face of a lot of ambivalent white people who don’t want to take the time to empathize with what it might be like to be a black man on a campus with racists marching through it (If this was you it’s not too late to change. It’s never too late to change).

I would submit that you almost have a moral obligation to go buy a ticket or give yours to someone that will use it. Because what is right is to unite behind the players and yell, “Go Rebels!” at the top of your lungs on Wednesday night. Let those players feel your love and support, pack the Pavilion and beat Tennessee.

Choose love.

Hotty Toddy.

There’s never been a better time to unite

A 72-71 win over Georgia on Saturday was probably scarier than it should have been.

But Ole Miss survived!

Now Ole Miss gets rewarded with a HUGE game Wednesday night against Tennessee. Thanks to that win over Georgia, the Rebels probably don’t have to beat Tennessee or Kentucky to make the Tournament, so Ole Miss is playing with house money. A win would probably clinch a spot for the Rebels in the Big Dance. It would also be an incredible boost of confidence as we head toward the post-season.

Ole Miss is projected as an 8 seed by CBS and ESPN. The Vols, who lost to LSU in overtime on Saturday, are a Top 10 team and projected 2 seed.

This is BIG BOY basketball, in our house. I’m hoping the Pavilion will be rocking. Getting that 20th win against Tennessee would be really special.

There has never been a more perfect time for everyone to unite behind these players.

My post from yesterday about supporting the players that kneeled during the National Anthem in protest of the Confederate protesters went viral. Many people seemed to be in agreement with me. However, judging by the comments, many people don’t. I can’t hope to change any minds on this, but I do hope that people will unite behind this basketball team.

BASEBALL: The Rebels took 2 out of 3 from Tulane over the weekend, to improve to 4-2, but I’m a little worried about the starting pitching. Ole Miss had to get it done with offense and a whole lot of relief pitching.

Hopefully when Will Ethridge recovers from the blister on his throwing hand and the young guys get a little more experience things will start to balance out.

Fortunately, hits have been easy to come by. Thomas Dillard is on fire. Through 6 games his stat line remains absurd (.522 / 4 HR / 15 RBI).

True Rebels

Confession: I was on the anti-kneeling side of the argument when the debate was swirling around the NFL two years ago.

Like most of you, I love my country, and I was taught from a young age to stand with reverence during the National Anthem. It’s ingrained in me.

Also, I couldn’t put an actual face on what was being protested by the NFL players, which made it difficult for me to empathize with their position. Ignorantly perhaps, I couldn’t understand why the NFL players were causing so much commotion. I didn’t get it.

That was not the case on Saturday in Oxford, when a small group of people hijacked the Ole Miss campus to support flags, statues, relics and traditions that are obviously hurtful and painful to black people.

The Confederate protesters put an ugly face on a segment – hopefully a small and shrinking segment – of our population that has no place in my country, the country of which I remain proud.

But I was willing to sit idly by as though the Confederate support march was a mere nuisance. Not that I condoned their protest. I just didn’t give it much thought. That’s easy for me to do, since I’m just an old white guy.

It’s actually sad (for me) that I needed the players to kneel to point that out.

Maybe the real story here isn’t that the Ole Miss players kneeled during the National Anthem, but that it took Ole Miss players kneeling to help me, and hopefully others like me, to realize that what those Confederate protesters were doing wasn’t just a nuisance. It was hurtful to actual people. People that we care about.

For that, I feel like I owe the players an apology. I am sorry.

It took the brave act of a courageous few to shine that light where it needed to be shined through the peaceful act of kneeling during the National Anthem.

I’m still not a kneeler, but I wish I could have been there to kneel with those boys on Saturday.

In my mind, they are the true Rebels.

I support the players.

Read this (Feb 23)

Ole Miss can still hit the cover off the baseball. Home runs by Grae Kessinger and Cole Zabowski led the Rebels to a 6-4 win over Tulane on Friday night.

  • All-American closer Parker Caracci picked up his first save of the season.
  • Six different Rebels have homers in just four games.
  • Ole Miss improved to 3-1 after handing the Green Wave (5-1) its first loss. Game 2 is Saturday at 1pm.
  • Zack Phillips did a little better this time, allowing four runs over 4.1 innings. The Ole Miss bullpen locked it down after that.

8:30 am: Ole Miss Basketball tips off against Georgia at 2:30pm (SEC Network). The Rebs are favored and they just need to take care of business. The Bulldogs (10-16, 1-12 SEC) own just one conference win on the season. A loss would be nothing short of a big fat black eye, while a win pushes Ole Miss to 19-8 and close to that always important 20-win mark with four more games to go.

8:34 am: Breein Tyree scored 31 points when Ole Miss beat Georgia in Athens two weeks ago. At 35.0 ppg, Tyree and Terence Davis continue to be the highest scoring duo in the SEC.

8:41 am: Ole Miss shot just 21 percent from 3-point range in a 79-64 loss at South Carolina on Tuesday. Tyree and Davis were a combined 2-for-12 behind the arc. The Rebels need to get that straightened out today.

8:46 am: The Rebels are projected as a 7 (CBS) , 8 (ESPN) and 9 (Katz) seed in the three major NCAA Tournament bracket predictions. A loss to Georgia would do damage.

8:48 am: Ole Miss hasn’t swept Georgia in a season series since 1989.

8:55 am: Chase Parham offers some good analysis on Zack Phillips’ progression through two starts, including his 4.1 inning effort last night. He’s got to get better.

12:15 pm: Here’s the stats link for the Ole Miss-Georgia game.

1:38 pm: LSU vs Tennessee was a great game. LSU won in overtime 82-80, but it could have gone either way. I could see both teams going far in the NCAA Tournament. The SEC is so stacked. The Vols, Tigers and Kentucky are really elevating the conference right now.

Read this (Feb 22)

7:30 am: This story on the long road that led Trent Dilfer from the NFL and ESPN to becoming a high school football coach in Nashville is really well written. LINK

10:03 am: As we watch the rain come down and the flood waters rise in Mississippi and where I sit in Nashville, it looks like the Rebels (2-1) and Tulane (5-0) have a decent forecast down in New Orleans tonight. With Will Ethridge recovering from a blister on his throwing hand, Zack Phillips gets the starting nod and a chance to redeem himself after getting hammered by Wright State last weekend. Maybe/hopefully it was just a case of the first-game jitters for the JUCO transfer. In any event, Ole Miss is gonna need that 13.50 ERA to come down quite a bit for Phillips to maintain his spot in the weekend rotation.

Meanwhile, Thomas Dillard is off to a hot start. A really hot start.

The Friday night game starts at 6:30.

10:11 am: Joe Lunardi continues to project Ole Miss as an 8-seed in the South Regional of the NCAA Tournament. The Rebels are 18-8 (8-5 SEC). A win against Georgia (10-16, 1-12) on Saturday feels critical. Ole Miss has avoided “bad losses” this season, and without looking at the NET, it’s probably a safe bet that the Bulldogs would be a stinker.

10:49 am: DK Metcalf and AJ Brown are going to be the most heavily discussed receivers leading up to draft day, mainly because they are so physically dominant.

I can’t.

11:27 am: Thomas Dillard is batting .700 through three games. That’s 7 hits in 10 at-bats with 2 HR’s, a double, a triple and 5 RBI. He’s also been walked 4 times. I mean, I know those stats aren’t sustainable, but I’m looking forward to finding out if Dillard can keep it going this weekend.


Rebs make things harder on themselves with loss to South Carolina

A Boeing 787 airliner reached the amazing speed of 801 mph on Monday evening thanks to 200 mph tailwind. As one fascinated by airplanes, I wish I’d seen the Virgin Atlantic flight skidding across the night sky.

A tailwind makes everything easier.

If Ole Miss had beaten South Carolina on Tuesday night, those 19 wins would have had a powerful tailwind blowing the Rebels into the NCAA Tournament. With three of the final five games (UGA, Arkansas, Mizzou) being quite winnable, Ole Miss would have been playing with house money against Tennessee and Kentucky.

Instead, a 79-64 loss to the Gamecocks makes every game of the final stretch a little more critical.

Ole Miss should still be projected as an NCAA Tournament team when the brackets get updated later this week, but now, by my estimation, the Rebels need those wins against UGA, Mizzou and Arkansas just a little bit more.

A win over Tennessee or Kentucky will probably seal the deal, regardless of what happens in those games.

Ole Miss gets that Georgia W

Does Ole Miss have its groove back?

Ole Miss beat Georgia 80-64, and enjoyed a big lead for the entire second half. It was a welcome change of pace from recent play.

Georgia isn’t very good, but it doesn’t matter. Ole Miss needed a game that would let it feel good about itself again.

This game did that.

Breein Tyree scored 31 points.

Bruce Stevens redeemed himself with 8 rebounds.

The Rebels got to experience a pull-away victory on the road.

It was just what the doctor ordered for a team that has been ailing.

Now the Rebels have that winning feeling again, two straight victories, and a 16-7 (6-4 SEC) record.

Ole Miss is still in striking distance of March Madness, and maybe just maybe we’re turning a corner here.

The Rebs visit Auburn on Wednesday.

Must win in Athens

Ole Miss (15-7, 5-4 SEC) plays at Georgia on Saturday. The Bulldogs are 10-12 (1-8 SEC) and losers of seven straight SEC games (yet somehow they beat Texas on Jan. 26).

Georgia doesn’t even play close, losing by an average margin of 16.5 points per game.

The Rebels, which have been teetering on the verge of collapse since a January 15 loss to LSU, losing five of their last seven, nearly lost to Texas A&M (another 1-8 SEC team) on Wednesday, but they didn’t. They won.

Ole Miss’ NCAA Tournament chances are still living off that 10-game winning streak and wins over Auburn and Mississippi State in early January.

Joe Lunardi has the Rebels as an 8 seed.

Ole Miss is still in this thing, but a loss to Georgia would probably be catastrophic.

Ole Miss just has to win in Athens.


Ole Miss goes from hot to not

In losing to Florida, Ole Miss has gone from a 10-game winning streak to losing 4 of its last 5.

I wish I had something reassuring to say here. That would mean that I, too, was reassured. But it’s hard to find reassurance in anything when four of the last five games were losses. That 10-game winning streak might as well have been five years ago.

The Rebels are in a nosedive and it’s up to Kermit Davis, Terence Davis and Breein Tyree to figure out a way to pull them out of it.

The altitude of this season is getting dangerously low.

State visits Oxford Saturday. It’s time to pull up or perish.

Godspeed, Rebels. Godspeed.