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The Rundown: April 9, 2014

A Word on Derrick Gordon

UMass sophomore Derrick Gordon came out as gay - the first college basketball player to do so.

UMass sophomore Derrick Gordon came out as gay – the first college basketball player to do so.

I think I’ll just say this about the recent announcement that UMass Sophomore Derrick Gordon has come out as gay earlier today – the first college basketball player to do so.

Good for you, for living your truth and having the courage to do so.

Despite the fact that we are living in a more accepting, loving, open-minded society that preaches tolerance for all people more than ever, there is still the undeniable truth that makes all of it necessary: hate still exists.

As long as there is a population of people who judge you and hate you just for being one thing instead of another, there is never enough support you can have. Negativity, hate and bigotry has unimaginable power as long as positivity stands silent.

That is why the support for Gordon, as well as former Missouri DE Michael Sam, and Brooklyn Nets C Jason Collins  – who reportedly inspired Gordon to come out – and Phoenix Mercury C Brittney Griner, is still absolutely necessary. The more positivity and acceptance we see demonstrated, the more it will drown out the hate and ignorance.

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that I wish and hope for the day that an athlete coming out isn’t presented as news, but is simply an accepted fact of life for the person and his or her loved ones.

But that day will not come the more we, as the social media-driven, faceless masses, continue to resent these stories as unnecessary, obnoxious, or – especially on the part of the person brave enough to come out – blatant attention-whoring.

Furthermore, the need for discussion on topics such as these is absolutely necessary for better understanding of society’s most derisive issues. What better medium to examine them than in an institution like sports? Better to open the issue to discussion in this realm, than to further deny the issue even exists by arguing its merit in this realm.

So, as long as the negativity continues to sweep its toxic wave throughout the fabric of our society, please – continue reporting and highlighting these stories of bravery, to live life in the truest sense of the word.


Reviewing the ESPN Poll: Which Cornerback Should the 49ers Take?

Everyone’s “favorite San Francisco 49ers ESPN Reporter” (sarcasm intended) Bill Williamson recently wanted to get a feel from the fan base on where they wanted the franchise to lean in the upcoming NFL Draft.

First he asked which position the 49ers should be focused on. When the response was a resounding “cornerback”, it begged the question: Which one?

Out of over 5,300 votes (as of April 9th), the results came back as follows:

  • Trade up for Justin Gilbert (31%): At 6’0″ and 202 lbs, the Oklahoma State product may be one of the best prospects at CB that the 49ers could utilize. He is considered athletically gifted and an exceptional cover corner. With the reign of the Seahawks and their sizable (no pun intended) secondary, Gilbert may be the shot in the arm the current Niners secondary needs to compete.
  • Draft Jason Verrett (24%): My personal favorite choice, Verrett is a few inches shorter than Gilbert (5’9″), but is just as athletic and ball-hawking as anyone else in the Big 12, let alone the country, at the position. I would much rather prefer this scenario in the sense that the 49ers would not have to trade away valuable picks to get him, as some boards have him falling to the 30th spot.
Whether it's Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert (left) or TCU's Jason Verrett, the 49ers need a cornerback.

Whether it’s Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert (left) or TCU’s Jason Verrett, the 49ers need a franchise cornerback.

  • Trade up for Darqueze Dennard: (23%): In the same build as Gilbert, Dennard has the potential to be a very physical, athletic prospect for the 49ers’ secondary. The Jim Thorpe Award winner has been hampered by injuries, so his draft stock may have him falling to San Francisco, as well, without the team giving up draft picks to get him. But, if it becomes necessary, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to trade up a few spots to nab him in a late-20 spot.
  • Draft Kyle Fuller (13%): The same height as Gilbert (6’0″), Fuller has promise as a No. 1 CB – though, according to some scouting reports, he has to put on some weight, and has limitations in man-coverage. If we go after an elite WR in the first round – or trade up to get one – Fuller could be a nice Plan B in Day 2 of the draft.
  • Draft Bradley Roby (9%): A prospect with 4.39 speed, I had seen Bradley Roby in action live against Cal last year. There were some plays that reminded me a little too much of CBs the 49ers have had over the years – namely, Carlos Rogers in 2013 – where he couldn’t get ahead of plays, and it burned him. Interesting prospect, nonetheless – and another we may not have to trade up for.


Kings’ Ranadive 15th in ESPN’s Front-Office Rankings

It was no secret that, in the years leading up to the Kings’ possible impending move to Seattle, their owners at the time – the Maloofs – were considered among the worst in the league.

This time around, not so much.

Vivek Ranadive, who helped save the Sacramento Kings from relocation by agreeing to majority ownership in 2013, is currently ranked 15th overall in ESPN’s examination of the best and worst owners in the league.

With everything he had done to keep the Kings in Sacramento, some could argue he deserves much more credit than 15th – perhaps a top-10 consideration. After all, with an franchise that basically hit the reset button from an organizational standpoint – new owners, new regime, new GM in Pete D’Alessandro – they aren’t the worst team in the league, despite the fact that they may have been better served “tanking” on the 2013-2014 season.

Furthermore, Ranadive’s proposed innovations with the new downtown stadium that will most likely be built by 2016 are seen as a large asset for the franchise. He has promised a technologically-advanced arena – or an “Arena 3.0”, the first of its kind – that will be social media-friendly to the public and the press.

Hey - as long as you can promise daughter Anjali will be in the building ... I'm good.

Hey – as long as you can promise daughter Anjali will be in the building … I’m good.

In any case, the Kings, as a franchise, may be on their way to another Golden Age, thanks to “No. 15” Vivek Ranadive. Perhaps, in the future, he will see his ranking in the eyes of sports media moguls like ESPN rise to heights previously unseen in recent years.

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