Occam’s Razor; When Simpler is Better
The sports world has been going crazy for quite a long time. Hot takes are the norm. Men and women yelling at each other and spewing out nonsense while only rarely relying on facts is the state of things at the moment. It should be no surprise that in this climate Occam’s Razor has rusted. For those of you unfamiliar with the philosophy, the easiest and most straightforward description is thus; if there are two possible answers to a question, the simpler one is usually the better one. Everyone in the sports world has forgotten about this philosophy as of late, none more so than when discussing Colin Kaepernick and his lack of a signing, and Geno Auriemma and his reasoning for the decrease of women’s coaches in college basketball.
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In the football world, Colin Kaepernick and his free agent status has been hot take central. Is Kaepernick getting black-balled for his National Anthem protest last season? Is his showing up underweight after three offseason surgeries coming into the 2016 season a factor? Do NFL owners and general managers despise somebody that has gone vegan? All of these questions have gone through the hot take blender in the 2017 offseason. However, while most of the sports world is looking for the boogeyman in Colin Kaepernick’s closet, it seems like most have forgotten to look at the one thing that matters most to NFL decision makers; his game tape.
As I wrote a week and a half ago, Colin Kaepernick has simply not been that good the last couple of years. Yes, he was the quarterback of a dumpster fire team last year, but he went just 1-10 last year for the San Francisco 49ers and I posited the issue was two-fold: teams were wary about his commitment to winning games (1-10 would prove that point quite well) and most importantly he has sucked the last couple of seasons. Why would any team want a quarterback that has almost no idea where the ball is going on almost a quarter of his throws? That is a relatively important trait for a quarterback to have.
What makes the matter worse for Kaepernick is not any of the off field stuff, but rather what makes him good (his ability to use his legs) makes him a horrible backup. You cannot as an offensive coordinator create one game plan for your starter and another for your backup. There are reports that Kaepernick wants a chance to be a starter and that actually makes sense because he can never be a backup. But he has proven lately that he does not have the skills to be a starter so people are wondering what is happening with the Kaepernick situation. The situation is simple and Occam’s Razor says; he is just not that good.
Nobody Knows More About Women’s Basketball Than Geno
The women’s basketball world was thrown into upheaval on Friday night when the UConn women’s basketball team lost for the first time in 111 games. On Thursday though, UConn coach Geno Auriemma was asked about the decrease in women’s coaches in women’s basketball. His answer was simple, “There’s a reason why there’s not as many opportunities for women. Not as many women want to coach.” He got lambasted by pretty much all left leaning sports sites (most notably Deadspin, cause duh).
Why? Why would the guy who has done more for the sport of women’s basketball ever be accused of saying something sexist when his reasoning is the simplest answer possible. Why Auriemma has had as much success in Storrs, CT is because he treats his basketball players like basketball players. Not female basketball players, but basketball players. Period. He has his teams scrimmage against men. He scolds them, chastises them, asks them to give him 100% even as they sit on the bench.
The number of women’s coaches across the NCAA is roughly 40%. The number across D-I is now at 56% despite being at 63% in the 2007-2008 season. So when asked what the issue was, Auriemma comes up with literally the most logical explanation. Never mind that Muffet McGraw in a New York Times article last week mentioned the last time she had an assistant coaching vacancy the ratio of men to women that applied was 70:30. This is Occam’s Razor to a “T.” Do not let numbers and statistics get in the way of a good conspiracy theory. Ignore that Chris Dailey has been as ubiquitous as Auriemma on the UConn sideline since 1985. Forget about Shea Ralph as she comes up on her ten year anniversary as an assistant coach under Auriemma. No no. Clearly this man, one of the two faces of women’s basketball for the past 30+ years, is delusional and out of touch with the game.
Driving the faux outrage (if the outrage is not contrived, then it is bordering on lunacy) is none other than Auriemma’s daughter Ally who is a Genders Studies Adjunct Professor at UConn. She went on an all-time twitter rant where she pleaded in ALL CAPS “DAD. WALK IT BACK.” But his reasoning is logical. Ally came up with a better response a little later which was:
“My dad has always been an empowering force in my life and in the lives of countless women. To suggest that one poorly formed comment about women in the game is indicative of his entire opinion of women or is indicative of him being dismissive of women as a gender is unfortunate. That being said, as a cisgendered male, obviously his points of view are limited. He has an entirely female staff, is a champion of female coaches, and was trying to make a point about the myriad more opportunities available to women now as opposed to when he started out. Phrased badly. (Emphasis added)“
This is where the PC culture destroys logic. The fact Geno (using his first name because we are discussing two Auriemmas here) is a “cisgendered male,” should have nothing to do with what he said. If he was a orange polka-dotted dinosaur who happened to make these comments they should still be treated as liquid gold. The (evil “cisgendered” white) male just so happens to be the best coach in the history of women’s basketball. The fact he is a white guy should be besides the point.
Nobody drives women’s basketball more than Geno Auriemma. Nobody with maybe the exception of Pat Summit has done more for the game. Nobody knows more about the inner workings of the sport or has been as productive as Geno Auriemma. He should not be seen as a straight white guy saying stuff when it comes to women’s basketball. He should be seen as what he is; the best women’s basketball coach of all time. To perceive him and his comments as anything else is to go looking for conspiracies that do no exist. Every once in a blue boom there is in fact a stranger in your closet with a bloody ax looking to dismember you… but 99.999999% of the time? It is just your coat up on a hanger throwing shadows. Stop creating things that do not exist. Sometimes the simplest answer is the best one.