Hall of Fame inductions spark controversy

Shane Rich, Staff Writer

As a new set of inductees swing their way into the Hall of Fame this year, the controversy over whether players such as Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens should be inducted is stirring. Should they be taken more seriously in this vote, or do they deserve to strike out?

The MLB Hall of Fame requires a player to get at least 317 votes in favor (a total of 75 percent of the voter’s support per ESPN.com article Baseball Hall of Fame adds four new members) to be inducted. This year’s graduating class consists of former Braves 3B Chipper Jones, Expos/Angels DH Vladimir Guerrero, Padres RP Trevor Hoffman, Twins 1B/3B Jim Thome, Tigers SS Alan Trammell and SP Jack Morris. Trammell and Morris were inducted through the Modern Baseball Era Ballot, while others were through the Baseball Writers Association of America Ballot.

Shifting focus back on to Bonds and Clemens, Bonds had a total of 238 votes (56.4 percent) and Clemens with 242 votes (57.3 percent) in this year’s vote. Players who were inducted such as Jones and Thome has 97.2 and 89.8 percent of the vote respectively. The former non-steroid using Mariners DH Edgar Martinez also got 70.4 percent of the vote to be inducted this year, which was only 4.6 percent away from induction. (Baseball Hall of fame adds four new members)

Due to his clean track record, Martinez deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame before Clemens or Bonds. Otherwise, Bonds and Clemens were on a level of dominance during their time of play that is Hall of Fame worthy, but the use of performance-enhancing drugs still pose an issue.

When a player takes a performance-enhancing drug as Bonds and Clemens did throughout their careers, this gives them a clear advantage over their competitors. However, if they did not run into this issue of steroid use, they would be first-year inductees in my book.

It is a shame that Bonds especially holds the record for most home runs in a single season (73), most career home runs (762) and the most walks (2558) and hasn’t been inducted because of his steroid use. It is also a disappointment that Clemens with his 7 Cy Young’s and 1 MVP award hasn’t been inducted for the same reason. Both players are tainted by their history and would have been an easy choice for the Hall of Fame if no steroids were taken.

Even without the drugs, Bonds and Clemens would have been Hall of Fame worthy players. People make mistakes, ones that they definitely regret. To hold all of Bonds and Clemens mistakes against them and prevent their induction to the Hall of Fame would be unfair.

These record-breaking baseball legends do deserve their spot in Cooperstown along with those who were inducted this year, but not at the expense of clean players who deserve to be elected as well. Ultimately, if the election of Bonds or Clemens prevented players like Edgar Martinez or another baseball great with a clean track record from being inducted, I would say that is unjust. If not, I see no issue with voting in two of the greatest baseball players the world has ever seen.

Edited by Brendan Shriver



Tattered Pieces speaker addresses themes of loss, faith and forgiveness

Leah Joyner, Staff Writer

The Rev. Sharon Risher captured students’ attention with her raw emotion on Sunday morning, sharing how she became an accidental activist when she lost loved ones in the 2015 Charleston shooting at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.  Risher, a native of Charlotte, N.C., spoke at a lyceum event at the Batte Center.  

“From the moment Rev. Risher started sharing her story, she evoked a spirit of passion that was astonishing. It was evident that she was unequivocally devoted to her beliefs,” said senior Tripp Wright.  

Risher described the struggle she went through finding out about the deaths of her mother, two cousins, and a childhood friend on that horrific night of June 17, 2015. Since the traumatic event, Risher has spoken up about gun laws in the nation and about her process of grieving and forgiving the shooter for his deed. Her touching testimony moved the audience to rethink ways in which to engage with people who look different from them and with the hope of bringing a positive change to the nation.

“Reverend Risher told her story as though it happened yesterday. She talked about being in the courtroom with her family’s murderer as though she had only just stepped out for a moment to tell you what was going on inside. While the terrible tragedy in Charleston did occur only two and a half years ago, she gave me a feeling that she would always tell her story like this. She would always relive that day with her heart on her sleeve, allowing herself to once again feel every feeling she felt the day her family was killed in hatred,” said freshman Karah Fleming.  

In her speech, Risher shared stories about her Christian faith getting her through the tough times in her life. Accompanied by her daughter, Aja, she admitted that it took a long time to forgive the shooter for what he did to her and her family, but she ultimately let go of her anger and gave it to the Lord.

“She didn’t try to tell us that her years of following God made her want to forgive right away. She had to wrestle with God about this time in her life,” Fleming commented. “Though I have yet to face something as difficult as what she was forced to face, her honesty about the battle she had to fight within herself to do God’s will was encouraging.”

 Risher has used her story to touch others on CNN, Time Magazine, BBC Radio and other media outlets. She has been a guest at the White House on several occasions when Barack Obama was president. A former hospital chaplain, Risher now spends her time as an activist and is writing a book.   

The Reverend’s conclusion to her speech sums up her purpose for speaking out to students and the public: “I didn’t ask for this journey I’m on. I would rather not be standing up here sharing this with you, but here I am. I hope you have heard one thing today that you didn’t know before. Something that will stir your heart to do something always for the betterment of yourself, so you can bring someone along who may not look like you or talk like you. We share this country and we must be the change we want to see.”

Edited by: Brea Childs

Pictured above: The Rev. Risher and daughter Aja Risher

Dr. Cannon speaks at Union County Library on how to discern facts from fake news

Leah Joyner, Staff Writer

Monroe, N.C.– Community members in Union County may have felt like they had gone back to college when they attended a program taught by Dr. Keith Cannon, the Chair and Professor of Journalism at Wingate University in the Communications Department.

He spoke on Tuesday night at the Union County Monroe Public Library with the subject on news media being fact or fake and how to discern the truth.

Photo Credit: Leah Joyner

Cannon decided to title his talk “Today’s News: Fake, Fair, and Balanced… or Something Else Entirely” and focused on the news media and the depth of reporting. Similar to his teaching style, Cannon encouraged audience participation in his lecture. By engaging the attendees in open discussion, he was able to tailor his answers to them and help them understand his views and knowledge on the subject matter.

With over 40 years of journalism experience, he is a qualified teacher to speak about fake news and the news media in general. In addition to teaching about the history of news media, Cannon talked about the hot button topics like discerning propaganda in the media and how to fact check news sources. Cannon listed websites like Politifact and FactCheck.org to help individuals do their own research.

If some people are skeptical about fact-checking sites that they consider untrustworthy, Cannon suggested they can do their own research by going straight to the primary source. He continued to share a fake story about a Supreme Court decision that was posted on social media that people couldn’t actually find on the Supreme Court website.

“Something that I tell my students all the time is I’m not here to tell you what to think…the basic thing I am telling you is to test it for yourself,” said Cannon.

Cannon motivated the audience that to have journalistic standards, one must use objectivity, strive for accuracy, be thorough in their research, and write well. He also encouraged young professionals that now is a good time to become entrepreneurs in this market.

Since 1994, Cannon has been a Wingate faculty and has been a department chair since 2010. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a past president of the Charlotte Pro chapter of SPJ. He is very involved on social media where people can follow him at @KeithCannon on Twitter and search Keith Cannon on Facebook.
To learn more about the types of programs the Union County Public Library offers the community, visit http://www.co.union.nc.us/departments/library.

Edited by: Brea Childs