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AM Rumble: Solo crying, flags + flag protests

Afternoon Rumble: birthdays are the best days, banned flags, a new Division I program?

US Navy SEAL recruits participate in a surf passage training exercise Photo by Kyle D. Gahlau/US Navy via Getty Images

Before we start: if you’re feeling like embarking on something new and creative, here is some really good advice - like “there’s no substitute for actually doing something” and “cleverness is overrated; heart is underrated.”

St. John’s updates

White and Blue Review - our Creighton friends - rank this year's exempt tournaments in terms of competition quality. The Battle for Atlantis field gets second place to a stacked Maui Invitational field... it’s a stiff test for the Johnnies.

Meanwhile, did you know there was another Malik Ellison in Michigan? From Flint’s Beecher High School, he excelled on the football field in his team’s opening game. And he also plays basketball, the captain of his team’s state championship squad. Can St. John’s Malik Ellison emerge this year and trump Michigan’s Malik Ellison in the sports pages?

It’s Richard Freudenberg’s birthday. He turns 18, another very young player on the Red Storm. For comparison, redshirted freshman Marcus LoVett is 20 years old and will turn 21 in early March.

For what it’s worth, CBS’ Jon Rothstein thinks Marcus LoVett is an all-conference talent.

And while we’re talking about St. John’s players, an update on Darien Williams, who has been rehabbing his shoulders after three operations.

Williams’ legs are fine, so his athleticism and size shouldn’t be hurt; but will he be in game shape? Will he be able to use his arms well to rebound, shoot, fight for position? For a Johnnies team that still lacks interior size, his availability (at his possible best) would make the forward rotation more “competitive” than “a question mark” or “a unit that needs to hit the weight room”.

Around sports

US Women’s soccer star Hope Solo on video, crying about her suspension and possibly being permanently done with US Soccer. Can't help but feel for her when you watch (or maybe that's just me). Solo has risen through the ranks to become one of women’s soccer’s best all-time goal keepers, though not without controversial statements and a domestic violence charge along the way.

A South Carolina school is banning flags from football games? It's not what you think. H/t Snopes, the principal said the flag restriction was because the flag had been used as a prop by student fans to taunt opponents. Beth Brotherton of Greenville County, SC, Schools added:

"Greenville County Schools encourages and supports the appropriate display of the United States Flag in accord with the United States Flag Code. We do not condone the use of the Flag to shield unsportsmanlike or inappropriate conduct. To allow such use is disrespectful to the Flag, the principles which it represents and the sacrifices of those who have and are serving to defend it. There is no ban at the school or district level on the appropriate display of the United States Flag but using it in a manner that is disrespectful to it or the principles it represents will be addressed if it occurs.

Speaking of flags, let's go back to Colin Kaepernick's stand - or NOT stand - regarding the American flag, from Bomani Jones writing for the Undefeated:

This is what a stand looks like. For better or worse, stands that demand people come together rarely have that effect. And contrary to popular belief, stands do not create divisions and fissures. They amplify them. The whole point of a stand is to put them on display, to ask the world to confront and examine their hypocrisies and ask why they’re on one side and not the other. Protests that don’t offend aren’t worth the effort. The ones that do are the ones that can change the world.

Now let’s be clear: Kaepernick’s stand will not change the world. Neither did Muhammad Ali’s, nor have very few individual actions. The dramatic acts of individuals sound good in history books, but rarely seem so in real time. What Kaepernick did won’t change America or even the NFL.

That’s not his fault, though, and that’s no excuse for minimizing what he chose to do and say.

Not flag related: UC San Diego, a strong academic school that is not the West Coast Conference school (I found that so confusing, too), is looking for a move into Division I with the Big West. It’s a huge school and the program has given some strong Division I teams a run in recent years.

Is that too many Division I schools? Too many San Diego schools (considering SDSU and University of San Diego)?

In English soccer, Leicester City are looking like a one-year flash in the pan. After winning the English Premier League, a slow start and the likely ravages of age look to spell the Foxes’ doom. But what a flash it was!