April 6, 2020
Volume 93, Issue 21
RIC aids in the fight against COVID-19
Grace Kimmell, Photo Editor
While all of Rhode Island College students have made the transition to online classes and are using isolation as an excuse to stay in their sweatpants, the campus has been transformed into a tent city. RIC has been one of the locations decided by the state of RI to be a testing site of the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19. There will be a drive up testing site on campus in parking lot B. The test, consisting of an uncomfortable nasal swab. This mobile format attempts to keep the patients contained in their cars to avoid contaminating emergency rooms and hospitals. In addition to preventing contamination with patients, it is an attempt to make the testing process easily accessible and accommodating more patients per day. Gov. Gina Raimondo hopes to do 1000 tests per day, 900 of which will come from three testing sites across RI: One site each at RIC, University of Rhode Island and Community College of Rhode Island.
Students are taking this testing center with open arms. Student Kyra Garabedian stated, “At first I thought it was awesome RIC was a testing site since it’s a place in RI that most people know. But it also made me think about how serious this all is... like how we won’t be back on campus for a long time which made me sad.”
Another student, Shaelyn Fiske, said “I think it’s great that RIC is becoming a testing site because it allows more access and locations for people who feel they may need to be tested. I think it’s important for there to be more testing sites in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and I think it is great that RIC is helping to aid in the effort to stop this virus.”
These testing sites do require an appointment and a doctor's order.
In the mass email sent to RIC students from the Office of the President, Frank Sanchez stated that “Following their shifts, and after appropriate decontamination, disposal of testing attire (i.e., scrubs, masks, etc.) at the site, these assigned personnel will utilize shower facilities within the Recreation Center before leaving each day.” Therefore, campus buildings and facilities are being used in part with this testing, but those areas will be disinfected and sanitized to Department of Health recommendations. Outside of Parking Lot B and the Recreation Center, testing should not impact the rest of the campus or create a risk for students and faculty who are not there for testing. Students who are not on campus for testing should avoid going to campus unless absolutely necessary, and should follow the CDC guidelines in cleanliness, hygiene and social distancing.
All about the pass
Jake Elmslie, Sports Editor
On Saturday afternoon the Rhode Island College Council voted in favor of transitioning all courses for the remainder of the spring semester to an alternative grading policy. Under this new policy all courses will switch to a pass/fail model where students will be assigned either a P to indicate successful completion of the course or an NP to indicate the opposite. P or NP grades will not count towards a student’s GPA, but students will have until June 1 to decide to opt into a traditional letter grades. Currently the office of academic affairs is working towards giving students the flexibility to choose to receive traditional letter grades in some courses while still receiving P/NP’s in others. Unlike typical pass/fail courses at RIC, these grades will be able to count towards general education, major and minor requirements.
According to the email sent to all RIC students by Vice President of Academic Affairs Sue Pearlmutter “Nursing-intended majors will be advised to request letter grades for cognate courses (PSYC 230, BIOL 231 and CHEM 106) to be considered for admission to the School of Nursing.” Students applying to other secondary admission programs such as the Feinstein School of Education or the School of Social Work were informed that their recorded letter grades from this semester will be considered in their applications to these programs.
The Rhode Island College Council is comprised of 37 members which includes the college’s president, Vice President of Academic Affairs, faculty representatives from each department and the president of Student Community Government. The body was scheduled to vote on the proposed policy Friday afternoon but according to Sue Pearlmutter, the Vice President of Academic Affairs, “There was very intense discussion and a lot of it, so the time to vote arrived and there were not enough people present at the time the vote was called,” and thus the vote was rescheduled to Saturday. In the end 30 council members voted on the proposal with 28 approving the change and two abstaining. Despite the near unanimous support, some faculty members still have reservations about the policy. History professor Joanne Schneider believes, “The Pass/Not Pass option is tricky. If announced too early, some students may just tune out the rest of the semester, probably not bothering to do capstone assignments which the professor had organized--missing out on valuable learning. Keeping the traditional grading is also problematic because some students are handicapped by not having WiFi at home or computers for that matter. One of my FYS students sent me a message to say that he had to do his homework on his Iphone and therefore cannot submit to the Blackboard assignments that have been created.”
RIC President Frank Sanchez was also reportedly unsure about the measure initially, but was swayed in part due to the volume of other institutions taking similar action. Both the University of Rhode Island and Community College of Rhode Island voted to enact similar grading policies on Thursday.
In a poll of RIC students conducted in the days leading up to Saturday’s announcement of the alternative grading system, 84 voted in favor of the college switching to some type of pass/fail system while 35 preferred the then current system remain intact. “Knowing that I’m either passing or failing, makes me not feel as though I need to try as hard as I regularly would. I have friends who are in the mindset of, ‘now I can do nothing and pass this semester’ which I don’t think is great. But having a pandemic going on, I think pass/fail is for the best to help students deal with having lower mental health, potentially still working full time, or family members being ill. It’s a lot on everyone’s plate,” said Lily Booth, a Senior Business Management major who responded to the poll.
Abigail Nilsson, Editor in Chief
Rhode Island is in desperate need of healthcare professionals. Gov. Gina Raimondo said in a press conference on March 31, “We will run out of people. We need you. We can't get through this crisis without you."
With that, she signed an executive order that students in an accredited nursing program with one semester completed will be able to qualify for a 90-day certified nursing assistant license so they can start working.
Previously, nursing students would need two clinical nursing courses before they could apply to take the Certified Nursing Assistant exam. At RIC that is about three completed semesters in the nursing program.
“If you’re out there, if you’re retired, if you’re only working part-time, I am calling you up," Gov. Raimondo said. “I am asking you please respond.”
RI Responds “is an initiative that places recruitment and management of Rhode Island's healthcare volunteers under one state-wide system. It is a partnership between the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), the RI Disaster Medical Assistance Team's Medical Reserve Corps (RIDMAT/MRC).”
The state of RI is asking for help from anyone who is retired from the medical field, or who is able and willing to assist others during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are positions available where people can maintain proper social distancing while helping others. The state of Rhode Island is actively looking for volunteers from all disciplines in healthcare to serve on the frontline. Volunteers can seek opportunities to help at RI Responds.
Rugged American individualism is COVID-19 biggest super spreader
Alexis Rapoza, Opinions Editor
In the United States, one of the things we value the most is our freedom. The United States Constitution asserts that American citizens have the right to freedom of religion, speech, press and the freedom of assembly. Furthermore, the Declaration of Independence states that every American is entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. When combined, these values work together to form a trait found almost exclusively in United States Citizens -- rugged individualism.
The term “rugged individualism” was actually coined in the late 1920s by the 31st president of the United States, Herbert Hoover. Although it is often associated with The Great Depression, the term was actually meant to refer to a state in which citizens are free from government intervention. Rugged Individualism is the embodiment of the American dream -- a dream that we are witnessing crumble right before our eyes.
When the news of COVID-19 first hit the United States back in January, the overwhelming majority of Americans, including myself, assumed that we would be largely unaffected. This was the first major mistake our country made. The United States often presumes that it is immune from consequences.
One of the most noticeable consequences of our perceived immunity is the lack of social distancing nationwide. Our country has become a patchwork of virus containment with small subsections of the country deciding to shut itselves down in an attempt to flatten the curve, something that would render itself nearly impossible when thousands of people are spring breaking on beaches in Miami. State governments have been led to enforce their own policies with little direction and interference from the federal government, which normally I would not necessarily argue against. However, in times of international crisis, nationwide cooperation is necessary.
Additionally, it's hard for lawmakers and elected officials on the local level to gain control over their constituents when the voice coming out of the oval office reeks of rugged individualism. The Trump administration has continuously enforced narratives of “us” vs “them” and has refused to partake in things that do not directly benefit themselves. In fact, just last week the 45th president spent an entire press conference attacking governors and declaring that he would not provide hard hit areas with aid unless they provided him with something in return. The president’s complete lack of cooperation is the embodiment of the worst of rugged individualism.
And it's not even just the president. Americans nationwide are ignoring pleas to stay home and social distance. Also last week, a Florida pastor was arrested for hosting a megachurch event in which hundreds of people attended, and people continue to buy out our supermarkets cleaning supplies and toilet paper. Although the majority of people might be obeying the rules and doing their part to help those most at risk, COVID-19 cannot be controlled without complete cooperation because, after all, viruses do not discriminate and there is no room for selfishness in the midst of a pandemic.
The waiting season
Caitlyn Tiodor, Graphics Editor
During this time of uncertainty, the only thing keeping you going may be that this is not the end. For me, it was hard not to go through all stages of grief, and I can only imagine other situations worse than mine. As we fight through this, I just wanted to write a piece that not only inspires but also validates the feelings in our communities.
As reference, earlier this semester Harambe hosted an event with Dr. Yusef Salaam, a man who was wrongfully accused of assault and other charges with four other teen boys who were also innocent. His speech was so powerful, inspiring and still relative to what is happening now. He endured a lot of heartache and trouble with his trial, but he still managed to see the positive and use his passion to inspire others. One point he made was, “Hurt people, hurt other people.” Friends, I know this is a complicated time for everyone, and it’s okay to be upset. It’s okay to cry, scream and express how you feel currently, but please don’t stay in those feelings forever.
I encourage you all to use this time to peer into your soul and think about what you would like to do. What are you willing to do? How do you want your life to be when it is time to go outside and socialize again? I know that personally I don’t reach out to others, complete small tasks or even do hobbies I enjoy. I always tell myself that there is “not enough time.” Fun fact: This is my first Anchor article and I have been saying I would write one since I started at the anchor three months ago.
Long story short, coming out of quarantine with nothing to show for the time lost means that you never lacked the time. You lacked the discipline. There are so many platforms to learn new skills, to start a business or practice a hobby. Focus on what you CAN do during this time. Learn about what it is that’s hurting you and use that to get positive results!
Everyone at RIC deserves to be a part of this community. A community that wants nothing more than to see success from its students, but you have to want it. Apply yourself to supply yourself with knowledge coming out of this situation. You can do it!
Make a mask, help a healthcare worker
Abigail Nilsson, Editor in Chief
Gov. Gina Raimondo is now suggesting that all Rhode Islanders wear face masks when going out in public. Surgical masks are in short supply, and it has been suggested that people can make their own masks with bandanas, scarves, old shirts or headbands. While this may not seem legit to some people, the CDC is recommending cloth face coverings because surgical masks and N-95 respirators are considered to be “critical supplies” and must be reserved for healthcare workers and first responders.
The CDC says, “It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus. CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.”
The point that the Department of Health and the CDC, along with the RI government officials is making is that masks are specifically used to stop the spread of infection. This means that there are many people walking around who are asymptomatic, meaning they are showing no signs or symptoms of any illness.
A cloth face covering is just as effective when it comes to preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus as a surgical mask when used while grocery shopping or performing essential tasks where you might spread the infection. The difference is that hospital workers and first responders do not have the luxury to go home and wash a cloth mask after meeting with each patient -- but you do. They are stuck wearing the same mask for eight plus hours at a time. This puts them at a much greater risk for contracting a hospital acquired infection and spreading COVID-19 from patient to patient. So, this puts both the healthcare provider and their patients at risk of spreading and contracting the infection.
N-95 respirations are also in short supply for healthcare workers. These masks are specially designed so the healthcare provider does not contract the infection. Many healthcare workers have to attend infection control training, sometimes annually depending on their company’s protocol, where they are fit and trained how and when to use these masks. I have attended these training sessions, and I have been fit for these masks. I can tell you that it is not pleasant. You try on different sizes of the mask and whoever is conducting the experiment places a hood over your head, it resembles a hood on a hazmat suit, and they release an odor into the hood. If you can smell the odor, your mask does not fit properly, and you must try a different size mask and try again. If you are claustrophobic, this test might not be for you. So, unless you have been tested for the proper size N-95 mask, you might not even be protecting yourself.
The N-95 masks are not comfortable, and by nature should not be comfortable. They smoosh your face and leave marks, sometimes bruises when they are worn for long periods of time. These are not the masks to wear to the grocery store. These are the masks that our healthcare workers need to protect themselves, so they can save us.
The best way that we can help slow the spread of COVID-19 is by staying home, social distancing, covering our cough and washing our hands.
Arts & Entertainment
Oscar Wilde: His Life & the First Celebrity Scandal
Gregory Williams, Assistant A&E Editor
Oscar Wilde once said, “To be great, is to be misunderstood,” and there was probably no other artist more misunderstood than him during his time. To summarize Wilde’s life and genius (he often touted it) in the given space would be an impossible feat. Nonetheless, I will attempt to do Wilde justice and hopefully encourage students here at Rhode Island College to pick up a collection of his works. His writings - especially his brilliant plays - are just as relevant and comical today as they were back in Victorian England.
Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was born on Oct. 16 1854, in Dublin, Ireland. His father, Sir William Wilde, was one of Ireland’s leading eye and ear surgeons as well as an author of books on archaeology and folklore. His mother, Jane Francesca Elgee (who wrote under the pseudonym Speranza) was a successful poet and authority on Irish folklore. She was also a political activist and was associated with the Young Ireland movement.
After attending Portora Royal School at Enniskillen in Northern Ireland, Oscar won a scholarship to Trinity College in Dublin. Then in 1874, Oscar went on to win another scholarship to Oxford University to study Classics. While at Oxford, he made one of his many famous remarks: “I find it harder every day to live up to my blue China,” gaining the nickname “O’Flighty.” Upon graduation, Oscar was awarded the much sought after Newdigate Prize for his poem, “Ravenna.”
Soon after graduating, Oscar moved to London and quickly established himself in society by merely being himself. “What has he done?” asked Polish actress Madame Modjeska in 1880, “He has written nothing, he does not sing or paint or act…he does nothing but talk.” Oscar would later become known as being one of the greatest speakers to ever live. In fact, it has been said that he was a better speaker than writer. He was also an incredible dandy, appearing at London parties “in a velvet coat edged with braid, knee breeches, black silk stockings, a soft loose shirt with wide low turned-down collar, and a large flowing pale green tie,” wrote his early biographer Hesketh Pearson.
A narcissist, hedonist, and aggressive self-promoter (admittedly), Oscar continued his hand at poetry and in 1881 published (at his own expense) a collection titled simply, ‘Poems.’ In the same year he published his first play, a tragedy called “Vera.” Poorly received, he went on to write another tragedy called “The Duchess of Padua,” which too was viewed unfavorably.
In 1884, Oscar married Constance Lloyd, daughter of an Irish-barrister, and together had two boys, Cyril and Vyvyan, born 1885 and 1886.
Shortly after marriage, Oscar became the editor of the English magazine ‘“Woman’s World” from 1887 to 1889. During his editorship, Oscar published “The Happy Prince and Other Tales” (1888), a collection of children's stories written in the fashion of the fairy tale.
In 1890, Oscar published “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” which first appeared in “Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine.” In 1891, he wrote an extended version of “The Picture of Dorian Gray” in book form making it his first and only novel. Categorized as a neo-gothic horror, his novel tells the story of a beautiful young man who gains eternal youth by wishing that his portrait grows old while he remains the same. However, Dorian loses his soul in exchange, essentially trapping it within the portrait while he goes out and lives a life of debauchery and sin. Oscar told the St. James Gazette in 1890, “The moral is this. All excess, as well as all renunciation, brings its own punishment.” Oscar also published in the same year ‘Intentions,’ a collection of dialogues on Aesthetic philosophy.
Enter: Lord Alfred Douglas, referred to intimately as “Bosie.”
Douglas, who was an undergraduate at Oxford at the time, catches the eye of Oscar and they soon become lovers. On top of the world and finally achieving literary greatness, Wilde’s father The Marquess of Queensberry learns of the affair between his son Douglas and Oscar, and so leaves his calling card one day at a club that Oscar frequented. It read: “For Oscar Wilde, posing somodite,” comically misspelling the word ‘sodomite.’
Oscar’s homosexuality was no secret to those in his inner circle, and others outside of it had long suspected it. Angered by the note, Oscar sued Queensberry for criminal libel. This decision would ultimately seal his fate. Douglas, who was spoiled and reckless, was only too pleased by his decision to sue. The first trial, in early April 1895, involved Oscar’s libel case against Queensberry. Queensberry’s defense presented evidence that included suggestive passages from Dorian Gray, poems and even love letters Oscar had sent to Douglas. The trial did not rule in Oscar’s favor and during the proceedings Queensberry’s defense provided enough damning evidence of homosexuality to have Oscar tried under the Criminal Law Amendment Act.
Pressured to flee the country by friends and acquaintances, Oscar refused and stood trial, either out of stubbornness or belief that he would win. Even Queensberry expected him to flee, telling him, “I will not prevent your flight, but if you take my son with you I’ll shoot you like a dog.”
Oscar spoke eloquently while on stand, but it only proved to hurt his case. The courtroom is no place for weaponizing the arts and the language Oscar was so used to deploying failed in having any influence over the jury. After two trials on charges of “gross indecency” Oscar was found guilty in May 1895 and sentenced to the maximum penalty of two years hard labor in prison.
Oscar suffered horribly while in prison. He was broken physically because of the hard manual labor and defeated mentally for having now become shunned and a public disgrace. Oscar declared bankruptcy while at Pentonville jail, losing his property and all of his possessions. From prison, he composed in the form of a letter to Douglas which would later be titled ‘De Profundis,’ Latin meaning “Out of the Depths.” It would later be published posthumously, in part, in 1905. He finished his remaining sentence at Reading Gaol and was released in 1897. His wife, Constance, who had sought divorce, died in 1898. He would also never again see his children. In the same year Oscar wrote his final work, a tragic poem called ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol,’ based on his time spent in prison. Financially broke and physically and emotionally depleted, Oscar eventually settled in France. He briefly reunited with Douglas but it did not last. Allegedly suffering from meningitis, Oscar laid dying at the cheap Hotel d’ Alsace, in Paris. He reportedly said to a friend, in his usual fashion: “In this room I am fighting a duel to the death with the wallpaper. One of us must go.” Oscar Wilde died on Nov. 30, 1900. A few days before his death, he converted to Roman Catholicism. He is buried at Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.
Corona concerns among the stars
Justine Lewis, Online Media Manager
As I’m sure you all know by now, the coronavirus is a terrible illness that has affected everyone in the world, whether they have actually contracted the virus or not. It’s a global pandemic that has closed schools, workplaces, and pretty much any place you can meet and interact with other people that isn’t essential. While it may be hard to believe, this pandemic is something that is affecting celebrities as well, as their wealth and fame can only protect them so much.
The first pair of celebrities that were noted to have contracted the novel coronavirus were Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson. Hanks and his wife were in Australia where an Elvis Presley biopic Hanks was in was being filmed. After Wilson reported having cold and flu symptoms, they both tested positive and were quarantined in a Queensland hospital for two weeks.
Actor Idris Elba also revealed that he tested positive in a Twitter video on March 16. In the video, he urged viewers to to practice social distancing and follow all CDC guidelines regarding the disease.
Broadway stars Laura Bell Bundy and Aaron Tveit have also revealed that they are fighting the virus while reassuring fans that they are staying safe and isolated.
Convicted sexual predator and former movie studio head Harvey Weinstein has also contracted the virus while serving time, and in isolation, in a New York prison.
While I can’t cover every celebrity that’s been diagnosed, I will also mention that this virus has had a severe impact on the film industry, as movies can’t be filmed or worked on during the pandemic and movie theaters are closed due to it as well. Pixar’s newest film “Onward” debuted in theaters early in March and is now on Disney’s streaming service Disney Plus, along with “Frozen 2” which premiered on the streaming service three months early.
Disney’s live action “Mulan” remake is being pushed to July while the Marvel movies “Black Widow” and “Eternals” are being delayed as well. And for all you Broadway and Lin Manual Miranda fans, the “In The Heights” movie slated for a summer release is now set to come to theaters in October.
If there’s one thing we can all learn from this pandemic, it’s to be thankful for what we have, including our forms of entertainment. There are so many films and streaming services out there to provide a bit of an escape from these tough times. We shouldn’t forget how lucky we truly are, even when it seems that the opposite is true.
Legendary musician leaves his legacy to the world
David Blais, Anchor Staff
The world lost one of the greatest musical geniuses this past Friday, Bill Withers. Withers was primarily a soul singer who took complex real life situations and applied them to catchy melodies, accompanied by his emotional vocals. He died at the age of 81 of heart complications, according to his family.
Withers was born in the small town of Slab Fork, West Virginia on Independence Day. He had a stutter growing up which makes his success in music even more astonishing. Withers enlisted into the United States Navy when he was 17 and served for nine years. During his time in the Navy, he became interested in singing and songwriting. After leaving the Navy, he relocated to Los Angeles in 1967. Withers would work several different jobs while in LA to support his musical career. Bill would sign with Sussex Records in 1970 and would release his debut album “Just As I Am” the following year.
This album included one of his most well-known songs “Ain’t No Sunshine” which earned him his first grammy in 1972 for “Best R&B Song.” Bill won three grammys in his career. The other two Grammys were for his other hit songs “Lean On Me” and “Just the Two of Us” for the same category, “Best R&B Song.” Withers released eight studio albums and one live album during his fifteen year career which spanned from 1970-1985. He was presented with an honorary Grammy award in 2014 for “Best Historical Album” to commemorate his nine-disc box set collection titled “Bill Withers: The Complete Sussex & Columbia Albums Collection.”
Withers was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015 by Stevie Wonder. Withers married twice and was married up until his death to Marcia Johnson. Marcia and Withers married in 1976 and had two children. Withers would take an interest in world issues and would appear on multiple news shows, such as MSNBC, to express his opinions on various matters.
Bill Withers was a blue-collar singer who could relate and speak to the everyday person. His songs about heartbreak, happiness and love gave the world the most beautifully haunting songs ever written. Withers work was adored by millions across the world giving people music for every feeling they endured when they needed it the most. He may be gone but his work will never go away. He left us on a day where there ain’t no sunshine.
Game review: Donut County
Sh-Ron Almeida, Anchor Staff
Throughout the decade, players have taken the role of a diminutive plumber, a very violent god of war, an ace attorney, a seductive gun toting witch and many other iconic characters in the game industry. Now, thanks to Ben Esposito’s “Donut County”, you get to play the role of a remote controlled, trash stealing donut hole. Made by the same creator noted for “Unfinished Swan” and “What Remains of Edith Finch”, “Donut County” is a story driven puzzle game with a resemblance to the hit classic Katamari Damacy. Instead of collecting a variety of items with a ball, you are gathering trash into a hole, which expands overtime.
Raccoons have begun to show up in the town to open their very own donut shop. Unfortunately, their customers are not getting their promised fattening sugar filled pastries. Instead, actual donut holes are sent to each resident, engulfing them and their junk. Despite the absurdness of the plot, it’s endearing and charming, especially with the unique cast of characters. The simple conversations between characters are lighthearted and honest, including the relationship between the selfish raccoon BK and his sensible human friend Mira.
The gameplay is simple. You start off as a small hole, but then you consume more objects and grow, big enough to capture even larger things. There are a few puzzles in the later levels to tackle but they are easily solved once you understand what you are dealing with. It is also a nice touch when all the puzzles come together in the final level in the game.
Not to mention, the music is also a treat to listen to. It captures a cozy atmosphere and can easily blend in with a study compilation music livestream on Youtube. My only gripe with this game is its short length and even after completing it, I wanted to explore more levels and areas. With that said, there were some missed opportunities to expand the town further. Regardless of that, it is a fun and satisfying little diversion.
Donut Country was released in 2018 for the Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and the PC.
The trophy case: cause I’m number one
David Blais, Anchor Staff
This year’s top QB prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft is 23 year old Joe Burrow. Burrow was the quarterback for the Louisiana State University Tigers, where he broke multiple school records and led the team to a Nation Championship victory this year. Burrow also was presented with the Heisman trophy in 2019 being recognized as the best college football player in the nation. Burrow has an impressive resume heading into the draft, but one thing is already a deciding factor in how his career will turn out. That is “hype.” Merriam-Webster defines hype as “to stimulate, to increase.” Sports media has been hyping Burrow up to be the next great QB in the NFL. He is already getting comparisons to all-time greats such as John Elway and Tom Brady without even taking a single professional snap. The media hyping him up and adding pressure to him increases the expectations he has to live up to. Let’s take another quarterback who had a storied college career and had hype heading into the NFL Draft.
Back in 2008, the University of Florida police charged backup Gators quarterback Cam Newton in the theft of a fellow student’s laptop computer. As a result of the arrest, he was suspended from the team and would eventually transfer to Blinn College in Brenham, Texas. During his first season he threw for 2,833 yards, 22 passing touchdowns, and rushed for 655 yards. This same season, he led the team and won the 2009 NJCAA National Football Championship. Newton would then transfer to Auburn University after receiving an offer.
During his first season with the team in 2010, he broke multiple records and had a memorable season. He became the first ever Southern Eastern Conference player to throw for 2,000 yards and to rush for 1,000 yards in the same season. The team would defeat Alabama in the Iron Bowl and would then defeat South Carolina in the SEC Championship game. Based on their 11-0 season record and bowl game victories, the team faced Oregon in the 2010 Bowl Championship Series championship game. Auburn would win this game and it cemented Newton as the frontrunner for the Heisman trophy. Newton would wind up winning the Heisman while simultaneously being named the 2010 SEC Offensive Player of the Year.
Newton had all the hype in the world heading into the 2011 NFL Draft. He had a remarkable college career and possibly one of the best seasons by a college quarterback in history. With controversy surrounding his time in Florida and his father taking money from schools for Newton to play for them, some questioned where Newton would fall into the draft. Newton was athletic and skilled for a 6’5 tall quarterback and would be the best young quarterback in league history when drafted. He was selected with the first pick in the first round of the 2011 draft. With being the first pick and now being the franchise player for the Panthers, Newton had pressure to perform at a high level. During his first ever NFL game, he broke Peyton Manning’s rookie record for passing yards on opening day with a 422 yard performance. He also threw for a combined 854 yards within his first two weeks of play which is the most by a rookie in league history. Newton would play in his first pro-bowl in 2012, after making the team as an alternate. Newton was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year and the Rookie of the Year awards at the 2012 NFL Honors.
In 2015, Newton set the league on fire throwing for 3,837 yards and throwing for 35 touchdowns. The Panthers would end up finishing with a 15-1 record, best in franchise history, and led the team to a Super Bowl appearance against the Denver Broncos. The Panthers would end up losing but he was named the NFL’S MVP at that year’s NFL Honors and would be named the top player in the NFL that year in the annual “NFL Top 100 Players” list.
Newton has lived up to his hype and potential in the NFL so far. He was able to deal with the immense pressure of the critics and peers alike. Joe Burrow is going through the same process in which Cam dealt with heading into the draft. Joe Burrow, like Cam, is a Heisman winner and National Champion. Burrow is predicted to be selected with the first pick by the Cincinnati Bengals. If so, Joe would be the franchise player of a struggling team, just like Cam was when he was drafted. Both have a lot of similarities obviously. But Cam was able to prove himself in the league that the hype surrounding him was real. Cam Newton was released by the Carolina Panthers this year and has not been the same player since his Super Bowl defeat. Newton is now a free agent looking to prove himself as still one of the most athletically gifted quarterbacks in the league. This shows Burrow can live up to the hype but then could possibly descend. Joe Burrow is heading into the draft with all of the hype in the world and will need to live up to it when playing in the NFL.
The next chapter: How will the Patriots look to replace Tom Brady and move forward
Ray Olivier, Anchor Staff
It is an end to an era. Tom Brady is officially a Tampa Bay Buccaneer and will no longer be suiting up for the New England Patriots. After twenty years with one quarterback as the predominant starter the Patriots will have to move on from Brady and decide what the next step is to continue the dynasty. Whether it is through free agency or the draft, the Patriots should try to make a splash in either option if they plan to keep the dynasty going. Although they have second-year man Jarett Stidham and journeyman Brian Hoyer on the depth chart the Patriots would be wise to look to free agency to bring in a more suitable veteran or draft a young quarterback of the future, if neither Stidham nor Hoyer are the man for the job. The team has other areas of concern like the lack of depth at the tight end, linebacker, and wide receiver positions, but the NFL is very much a league where teams with a productive starting quarterback have continued success. Therefore, the main focus for the team right now should be identifying who is to replace Tom Brady.
Bill Belichick is both the head coach and the general manager of the Patriots and he is tasked, as he is every year, with the job of using every avenue possible to improve the roster. Belichick has never been the type of GM to go out and sign the big-name free agent who is going to demand a large contract, Stephon Gilmore being the exception who was signed to a 5 year/ $65 million contract. Since being signed Gilmore has risen to be the top cornerback in the league, winning defensive player of the year in 2019. He signs players like Adrain Phillips, former Los Angeles Chargers safety, who are skilled and even all-pro. He finds the players who are the right fight for his scheme and will not cost more than he believes they are worth. Example being Phillips who was an All-pro special teamer in 2018 but is only making $1.5 million. Not to mention Belichick’s track record with “special teamers” like Matthew Slater or Julian Edlemen. When it comes to the draft Belichick has not had the best of luck in recent years. He has drafted productive players like Joe Thuney, Chase Winovich and even Jimmy Garoppolo, but he has also drafted players like Duke Dawson Jr, Cyrus Jones and Dominique Easley who were complete busts.
Patriots fans are skeptical of what lies ahead for the team because of Belichick’s inconsistent drafting ability. The defense seems to be in a position to succeed as it did a season ago with both McCourty brothers being re-signed, bringing in Phillips to replace Duron Harmon and not to mention the young talent players like Winovich and Ja’Whuan Bentley present. With the departure of Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts the defense will rely on both Winovich and Bentley to fill those spots and do their job. On the other hand, the offense is without a doubt the area of concern for fans of the team. Brady is gone, 33-year-old Julian Edelman is the team's number one receiver and they have no tight end, well not one that gives fans any confidence. Belichick currently has twelve draft picks to work with and four of them come in the first three rounds. Barring any trades of draft picks, which Belichick is notorious for doing, the Patriots will have plenty of opportunity to address vacancies in the depth chart. It would be beneficial for the Patriots to load-up at the wide receiver position as they are bare, and this year's draft presents a hoard of talented receivers. Also, quarterback and offensive line depth create a world of difference in the NFL and the Patriots are in need of both.