TribuneIn a startling first, Harvard University’€™s debating team lost to New York prison inmates.

The showdown took place at the Eastern correctional facility in New York, a maximum-security prison where convicts can take courses taught by faculty from nearby Bard College, and where inmates have formed a popular debate club.

Last month the debate club invited the Ivy League undergraduates and this year’€™s national debate champions over for a friendly competition.

Despite arguing for a motion that they strongly disagreed with, the inmates against all odds defeated the Harvard team amidst cheers from the audience.

The inmates were asked to argue that public schools should be allowed to deny enrollment to undocumented students, a position the team opposed. …

“They caught us off guard,”€ Anais Carell, a 20-year-old student told the Wall Street Journal, adding how impressed the Harvard students, who are the current national champions, had been by their opponents.

This story has been circulating for the last day or so and people seem to be universally stunned and impressed that a group of prison inmates could defeat a bunch of Ivy Leaguers in a debate. A debate held inside their maximum security prison.

I’m sorry, but am I missing something? Where’s the mystery here? I mean, talk about your home podium advantage. These guys aren’t just your garden variety hoods, serving out six month stretches at some county house of corrections. This a super max. The worst of the worst. These are recidivists, felons and habitual criminal offenders in a battle where judges decide who wins. Every one of those guys from Eastern could have gone to the dais, stared across the room in silence and still won by a unanimous decision. If they held this debate via Skype, it would be a different story. Perhaps. I don’t know how much these judges would be worried about a “Cape Fear” scenario. But as it was, those Harvard kids might as well have been playing them in basketball, weight lifting or making shanks out of toothbrushes for all the chance they had of winning.

Lord knows I’m not as smart as a Harvard debater or as intimidating as a prison inmate. But I DO understand Star Wars Law: Always let the Wookie win. Because he doesn’t pull someone’s arm off when he loses.


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Jerry Thornton
Matt Barnes of the Memphis Grizzlies drove 95 miles to fight Knicks head coach Derek Fisher over Barnes' ex-wife. Also, Skip Bayless is reportedly not very happy with how things are going over at First Take.
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Roger Goodell claims he has no regrets about the way Tom Brady was treated in Deflategate. (D Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Roger Goodell claims he has no regrets about the way Tom Brady has been treated during Deflategate. (D Dipasupil/Getty Images)

It Is What It IsNFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday he had no regrets about the way he acted throughout the Deflategate drama.

Speaking after a meeting of the NFL owners in New York, Goodell said ‘€œno’€ when a reported asked him if he regretted anything about how he or the league acted throughout the process.

He then reminded people that he still believes quarterback Tom Brady should have served a four-game ban.

“I have a lot of respect and admiration for Tom. I know him personally,”€ Goodell told reporters. “€œAs I say, I admire him tremendously. He is a future Hall of Fame player.

“But our rules apply to everybody. They apply to every single player. And every single player expects those rules to apply to everybody. Every coach does, every fan does, every partner, every team does.”

Does Roger Goodell even hear himself any more?

I get that he lies. He’s the head of huge corporate entity and makes a pornographic amount of money and will say literally anything to protect his turf. It’s what people in lucrative, positions of power do.

But there’s supposed to be an art to the telling of lies. You craft things in such a way that there could be something plausible in the claptrap you’re passing off as truth. Some shred of half-truth in there to make the lies go down, like when your mom puts your yukky medicine in orange juice so you can swallow it.

The commissioner of the NFL doesn’t even try that. He’s just goes all bold-faced right from the jump. He’s so insulated and mad with power that he thinks he can go all Kim Jong Goodell on us. “I have a lot of respect and admiration for Tom”  — he might as well be talking about the 18 holes-in-one he once shot or all the operas he’s written.

I also understand he’s got a state-run media in all these outlets that are so beholden to him financially that they’ll parrot whatever line of B.S. he feeds them and then ask for more. But does he think for one second that any of the rest of us are buying what he’s selling about how this witch hunt was all about making sure the rules apply to everyone? Does he think we don’t know about the Panthers and Aaron Rodgers and the Chargers all doing stuff to doctor the footballs while he gave zero F’s? Or that he still employing all the people who spread the lies? Or how the league completely ignored Ben Roethlisberger using his phone on the sidelines? Or that he himself has been caught lying about Deflategate every time he’s opened his mouth or his laptop?

Again, I don’t mind being lied to by influential people. There’s a little Frank Underwood in every last one of them and I respect the game. I just want Roger Goodell to respect us enough to at least draw the line at claiming he respects Tom Brady.


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The guys discuss whether Tom Brady will use Greg Hardy's cringe-worthy comments as motivation this Sunday in Dallas.