GAINESVILLE -- Here's the latest reminder that college football players are not treated like human beings, rather freaks on a leash or lab rats or some kind of carnal sub classification of our species.
It's called the Breakfast Club. Like the movie Breakfast Club, young adults are detained and corralled. In the movie, kids are forced to sit in chairs (detention). In UF's Breakfast Club, kids are forced to eat (degrading). The more calories (and cholesterol) the better. Who cares about these players' long-term health, right? Anything to slap on a few more pounds for the sake of game day. It's paid for by a civically oriented institution (UAA), which provides entertainment for the populous.
Members of UF's Breakfast Club include mostly freshmen, ordered to meet in a cafeteria and eat breakfast under the supervision of "nutritionists." UF calls them nutritionists. This is a loose use of the word. "Fat doctors" would be a better description. These fat doctors watch while players eat dozens of eggs, rows of sausages and skyscrapers of pancakes.
"It makes me not enjoy eating anymore," said freshman D-lineman Duke Lemmens.
Lemmens reported to Florida a So-Cal free spirit. A native of Westlake Village, Cali., he still portrays that image with his beatnik Southern California wardrobe and hang-loose attitude. He doubles up the surfer clothes when its time to weigh in.
"When you're forced to [eat] and you've got to weigh in every day and you're trying to put on heavier clothes so you just get that extra half-pound it takes the taste out of the food," Lemmens said.
It might just be me, but I could care less if a program pays a player, buys a player's mom a house or car, pays off the farm, etc... If the NCAA really wanted to clean up college football, then it would penalize programs for dehumanizing the players.
OK, this rant might be a little too cynical. OK, it definitely is. But understand that I'm writing it just to offer a different perspective on the inside workings of major college football. I understand that the football team's on-staff nutritionists do not approach their jobs like mad scientists. Fact is, Florida force feeds its players with information on how to build muscle mass. But do these same nutritionists debrief football players on the transition back to reality? (Eating like a normal person once their football careers are over.) I hope so. In the end, eating like a pig is not healthy no matter how you spin it.
In related news ... Video of Florida Gator Duke "Bob" Lemmens combining his football responsibilities. (Eating while rushing the passer).