Tuesday, December 04, 2007


By Paul Levine

Sean Taylor's tragic death at age 24 reminds all of us that there's something more important than football. I speak, of course, of money.

I received an e-mail from the University of Miami Alumni Association with news of a candlelight vigil on campus for Mr. Taylor, shot to death by burglars in his home last week.
The e-mail also said there'd be a moment of silence at the basketball and football awards banquets. Additionally, students were urged to wear orange and green (which they ordinarily do, except on job interviews) and also to sign a banner that will be given to the Taylor family. All standard indicia of a a university community in mourning. But wait, there's more. Sean is dead, and the University wants your dough!

Oh well, you say. What can it hurt to ask for money for the library, or the Marine Science School, or the Medical School's study of sickle cell anemia? Ha! The palm itching to be greased is the Athletic Department. The e-mail begs for bucks for the "Hurricane Club."

"Online gifts can be made through the Student-Athlete Scholarship fund..."

Jeez, haven't you made enough off Sean Taylor while he was alive?

I think the University's money-groveling is a bit tacky and a lot creepy. But it also raises a serious question. How has the U.M. commemorated the lives of its war dead? What did the University do in the case of Dr. Roy A. Wood?

Who's he?

I guess CNN and ESPN missed it.

A U.M. med school grad, Dr. Wood, 47, worked as an E.R. physician in Fort Myers. A member of the Army National Guard, he served as a Battalion Surgeon. Following the invasion of Afghanistan, Dr. Wood resigned his officer's commission to become a Special Forces medical sergeant and serve with a combat unit. He died in an accident near Kabul in 2004, leaving behind a widow, a six-year-old son, and a three-year-old daughter.

Note to U.M. If you create a fund for Dr. Wood, I will surely contribute.ROY WOOD, JR., 6, AT HIS FATHER'S MILITARY FUNERAL

One final nit-pick regarding the University's e-mail, seeking "alms for the sports." The note referred to Mr. Taylor as an "alumnus." Inasmuch as he never graduated, "drop-out" would be a more appropriate term.

(I don't want to pick on the University of Miami. I have friends who teach there and others who serve in the Administration, plus a couple pals on the Board of Trustees. Many years ago, I worked three jobs to pay tuition at the U.M.'s middling law school. I was treated well, bestowed with honors, and made many dear, life-long friends. But in this case, fellow Canes, tighten your wallets. The University blew it).

By now, you know that Florida police have arrested four young men, ages 17 to 20, for the murder. Apparently, it was a burglary-gone-bad, rather than a hit, or even a pre-planned home invasion robbery.FOUR PRESUMABLY INNOCENT JERKS WITH CRIMINAL RECORDS

The youngest suspect, Eric Rivera, 17, (top right in photo) has his own My Space page. One photo depicts depicts him lying in a bed covered with cash. The caption:
"Dis how i sleep after a good day."

The Intro to Mr. Rivera's My Space profile is this: "FUCK A BITCH!!!!!GET YO MONEY RIGHT!!!!!!SHIT ON YOUR LIFE!!!!!KILL YOURSELF CAUSE U DONT HAVE NOTHIN TO LIVE 4!!!!!!!"

Perhaps, in addition to grieving for Sean Taylor and his family, we ought to say a prayer for the state of American education, too.


I am not a deeply religious person.

I believe in Evolution. I believe it took far longer to construct the universe than six days....longer even than it took to rebuild Trent Lott's Mississippi vacation home.

But, this time of year I get weepy and sentimental at every iconic image of the holidays. Today, this one did it."YO, GOD. SID HERE. CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?"

Shalom (and feel free to send this along by clicking the envelope button below),



  1. Yeah, that last picture just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy all over.

  2. I once had the good fortune of visiting Jerusalem, and you know I just had to go to The Wailing Wall. When I arrived I saw this very animated gentleman. He was joyously flailing his arms around and yet he seem to be languishing in his prayer. After about 2 hours of enthrallment in this metaphysical/ spiritual experience, the man rent his clothes and then turned to leave.
    I approached him and told him I had been watching him in awe. I asked,"Gee, you looked like you were in some transcendental life changing experience; what was it REALLY like?" He replied,"Oh.....it was like talking to a wall."

    I very much agree with your take on the "booster" club at UM, et al.
    The booster should be to the literacy of the students who came to college for, dare I say, an education.
    And now here's a moment of silence, before we ask you to whip out your checkbook.


    PS:missed Go-Lo yesterday...

  3. Paul, I needed your spark of witty, literate down-to-earthness this morning. Great post, cutting through the dross, as always.

  4. Great post, Paul.

    Believing in science and physics does not discount religion. They are not mutually exclusive.


  5. Who said I believe in science?