The roiled and riley Rick Reilly

Like other Jimmer and BYU fans, I too have something to say about this Rick Reilly.

Who is he anyway?  If Reilly - hereafter called “riley” as in “emotionally stirred” - claims to be anyone “famous”, then he may only be known for notoriety and being spiteful and bitchy as in his malicious article on Jimmer Fredette, BYU and the LDS (Mormon) Church. Riley seems to be really good at shooting (no pun intended) good people down. 

What I also find unbecoming - and possibly vile - is that ESPN, for which Riley works, just last year signed a multi-year TV contract with BYU for football telecasts. I would suspect therefore a good working relationship between ESPN and BYU, hence not offending the LDS Church which owns Brigham Young University. Instead Riley sees the LDS religion as the culprit and problem in BYU athletes and fans - according to his comments. That’s subtle yet potent religious bigotry there, Mr. Riley.

Therefore, Riley’s article can be a demonstration of corporate arrogance and indifference, which can translate into something like "BYU needs ESPN not the other way around." In the business context that may be true, but in the ecumenical world, normal, respectful and civil human relationships are critical and in most cases contributive and valuable to successful business dealings as well.

Of course Riley praised Jimmer as being a great, polite and smart kid. But then he contravenes all that by attributing those to Jimmer being a Mormon and a BYU student, who - according to his profiling - is overly pious at best and hypocritical at worst. Here, Riley speaking of Jimmer and BYU students:
“Great kid, though. Polite, smart (good chess player, whiz at Sudoku), studies his Bible in hotel rooms. Maybe that was the problem. Fredette and the largely Mormon BYU Nation should've never been made to come to New Orleans. You can sin just by osmosis here. You should have seen some of them on Bourbon Street, the freshly scrubbed Cougars fans, horrified to find themselves among the window strippers, the hurricane chuggers and the bead catchers.”
Hence the article is also a blow and assault on student morals. Riley seems to be someone who cares only about sports and sports only. He cares only about the athletic skills of students - not morals, not values. I’m sure that’s why he’s a sportswriter, but then in that case, by all means, write strictly about sports and not vilify or denigrate athletes' and fans’ religious beliefs, whether it’s BYU, Notre Dame or any other university.

Further, the perennial debate between the so-called “student-athlete” and “athlete-student” in terms of priority, I wouldn’t be surprised if Riley is an avid supporter of the latter - athlete first and foremost and student after, if at all. His advice in the above quote is “Bring your athletic skills and not your Mormon morals and values when you come to play.”  In essence, Riley is saying that a basketball tournament - and any other sport tournament for that matter - is war and governed only by the law of the jungle. Fights, brawls, dirty play and all other uncivilized behavior are fair game. That’s a subtle impugnment on not only BYU and other universities but NCAA rules as well.

It’s good, great, desirable and gratifying to win games, but winning is definitely NOT everything. There are more important things in life than winning basketball games.  Perspective - on sports and on life - was badly needed in Riley's article.

Some say that Riley is a sportswriter and has won Sportswriters awards. So WHAT? Or is he using that as a license to dog Jimmer, BYU and the LDS Church? Or was he trying to expand his fame and notoriety at their expense? Possibly! If so, then, that’s one thing Riley has done well - albeit in a conniving way - since now more people have tried to find out who he is; he never existed before as far as most people - let alone sports fans - are concerned. However, today, compared to Jimmer - a kid and newcomer - Riley pales in comparison. More people know - and will know - Jimmer than Riley.

So far, if googling is any indication of popularity, Jimmer Fredette trounces Rick Reilly twofold - by the millions. Without a doubt, there are other Rick Reillys - but not Jimmer Fredettes - in the world, so that would further bring his numbers down, down .... Down with “Riley”! - aka Rick Reilly.  He has been Jimmered!

PS: Jake Heaps, watch out for Rick Reilly; he is coming after you.  He can and will sack you!

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