Let's handle our business first.
This week's Rushmores:
Rushmore of Dan Aykroyd: "Ghostbusters," "Trading Places," "Blues Brothers," "Spies Like Us."
Rushmore of sports self-destruction: Mike Tyson, Dwight Gooden, Diego Maradona, Mike Vick.
Rushmore of Chattanooga-area professional sports stars: Reggie White, Rick Honeycutt, Roscoe Tanner, Vonn Bell.
Rushmore of 'Horn:' Horn of Mess with the hill you get the horns, Hook 'em horns, Cape Horn and Horn of Plenty with all apologies to Bob Horner, Lil Jack Horner and Bruce Hornsby and Range.
Here's today's A2 offering and Paul Barys thinking his beard is more famous than Jim Coppinger's mustache. Is he right? Who has the most famous facial hair ever?
Who gets the Yella Wood endorsement now? Who's in charge of enforcement now, the compliance officer, accounting or human resources?
And from a slew of you: Who would have made the most from NIL of the past athletes?
Don and Co.—
The first part of this question will change multiple times over the next 12 months. Finding ways to keep these payments above board will be incredibly difficult.
Also, the schools assuredly will need to help the athletes manage the tax implications of these endorsement endeavors, so maybe some business school interns can help with that too.
The YellaWood question — Jimmy Rane spends a lot across college sports, but he is a huge Auburn fan — is the big one to watch, especially in terms of incoming stars. No one would have a problem if Trevor Lawrence last year did six figures in endorsements. But Trevor Lawrence as an 11th grader getting those deals and offers makes us all uneasy.
As for the athletes who would have made the most NIL coin, well some of the names are readily known.
Johnny Football, Tim Tebow and Herschel Walker over the last half-century would have made six figures being themselves. And if Auburn boosters were (allegedly) willing to pay Cam Newton six figures under the table, then it's certainly fair to imagine Cam getting seven figures above the table, right?
But the biggest windfalls are those beyond college football.
First, I think Zion would have been the biggest ticket for Nike in the last decade-plus. And the biggest checks will come from shoe companies to basketball players, and that has to scare the colleges the most. Because if you are Nike and you can write a smaller check to get the Zions or the Fab Five in your gear rather than adding an extra zero and five more years to the coach or the program, why wouldn't you eliminate the middleman?
But back to the question, the huge pillars are in the outliers. Think of the sports-specific Olympic-type sports.
What would Katie Ledecky have earned? Or Simone Biles?
Or Tiger Woods?
I know you listen to Morgan Wallen, fans. I love his music.
Everyone knows what he said, and it was wrong.
But my friends and I were talking about his latest album and were talking about how many hits would he have had if he had not been caught saying that racial slur.
What do you think?
I am a Morgan Wallen fan. His music is excellent, and he could have/should be an all-time country music great.
If he can still get there, I do not know. But that's not about being 'caught' as much as it is about using hateful speech. Yes, the video of Wallen in a late-night drunken rant feels shady, but it's still him. And when the N-word is concerned, it's definitely the 'Roach theory' — if you see or hear one, there are dozens or more in the shadows.
I hope he gets the chance to come back. Truly. Because I hope we as a society will never judge folks with a hard and fast line of their worst moment, especially when that moment is not criminal.
That said, Wallen's most recent album "Dangerous" is genius. Heck, without radio play or promotion it stayed atop the Billboard charts for 11 straight weeks this spring, and that's not country charts, that's Billboard charts proper, as in all genres.
As for No. 1s on "Dangerous," well if he had been controversy-free, here are the singles that would have been No. 1 in my opinion:
"Sand in My Boots," "More Than My Hometown," "This Bar" (which hit 1 before the full album was released), "7 summers," "Wasted on You," "Somebody's Problem," "Only Thing That's Gone" (with Chris Stapleton), "Silverado for Sale," and "Rednecks, Red Letters and Red Dirt" would have been dunk No. 1s.
His next chapter will be very interesting to watch.
Three for the bag: 1) Will you invest in NFTs? 2) Explain NFTs. 3) Try again, because that's nutz.
I wish I could offer an insightful definition of non-fungible tokens.
Here's the online definition: "Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are pieces of digital content linked to the blockchain, the digital database underpinning cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Unlike NFTs, those assets are fungible, meaning they can be replaced or exchanged with another identical one of the same value, much like a dollar bill.
And when that is the baseline, of course we're all confused.
As for investing, no thanks. And maybe the next 50 years will turn the stock market into an antiquated version of putting cash under my mattress, but that's OK.
But if the details are that fuzzy, and college athletes start selling items in that nebulous market, well good luck NCAA.
From A reader
Do you try on purpose to be this big of a (bleeping) (bleep)hole or is that the guy you are?
Do or do not, there is no try.
Happy Fourth everyone.