Minor League Deception


By Craig Robbins

(April 26, 2013) – The social media era has allowed for people to perceive themselves in a different light from others whom they are actually familiar with. The amount of Twitter followers a person has can make one seem astoundingly popular. Having a plethora of “likes” on one’s Instagram photo, perhaps at an historic landmark, courtside at a Lakers game, or sharing champagne with everyone’s favorite celebrity, is possibly viewed as someone leading a more affluent lifestyle than the others. In hip-hop terms, there are plenty whom aren’t “keeping it real.”

The phrase being “catfished” has become increasingly popular recently, with Internet users deceiving potential love interests and hiding behind a name, persona, etc., he/she truly is not. Catfish, The TV Show, is a reality-based docudrama television series airing on MTV about the truths and lies of online dating. A “catfish” is a person who creates fake profiles online and pretends to be someone they are not by using someone else’s pictures and information. These “catfish” use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, usually with the intention of getting other people or a person to fall in love with them.

mfree-siteThe latest Catfish victim comes from the college football ranks, specifically, former Notre Dame Middle Linebacker Manti Te’o. During the 2012 football season, the fierce middle linebacker, having one of the most prolific seasons a defensive player could have, was faced with adversity, having, not only his grandmother die during the season, his girlfriend suddenly passed away. For some time, Te’o was involved in, what many believe to be, an online relationship, with a woman he rapidly grew feelings for. Leading up to the biggest game of Te’o’s life, The BCS National Championship Game, unfortunately, he was informed that his alleged girlfriend did not die, and that it was all a hoax. These unfortunate turn of events caused many to question his character, whether or not, mentally, he would be fit to play at a high level in the NFL, as he did in college, and if actual teams in the league wanted to deal with the, now, circus of the Manti Te’o hoax.

The idea of deception comes to mind with the catfish situation and the recent situation between San Diego veteran Defensive Back Michael Farinas and his, now, former team the SE San Diego Bombers. Earlier this week, “Semi Pro Talk” broke the story of Farinas being on the move…again and back to National City, a place where he played in 2011. The SE San Diego Bombers are owned by former Fresno State Bulldogs and NFL running back Dwayne Wright (also a San Diego, CA native), whom is ripe for the picking, which is Southern California minor league football. Wright’s number one goal is to create a platform for aspiring professional football players that is respectable, quality, and will put players in the best situation for advancement to the next level. .

Immediately out of the blocks, Farinas jumped on board with the Bombers, being the team’s primary source for recruiting and having the respectable résumé, which made the program more credible. Farinas made a concerted effort in brining guys in, selling the Bombers and changing the football spectrum in San Diego – even bashing others along the way.

It appeared Farinas would be dawning a Bombers uniform in 2013, when suddenly, he shocked the semi pro world by announcing his departure from the Bombers and his heading back to National City Bears…a team he did not leave on good terms with.

Integrity is questioned in this matter. Was Dwayne Wright “Catfished”/deceived into thinking his team would get off to a hot start, given the quality defensive back he’d acquired and the talent Farinas’ presence would bring? One could only imagine the amount of money, time and effort that was put forth on Wright’s end, knowing the potential his team had in its, what would be, inaugural season.

Issues of contracts in semi pro are prevalent and many feel should be more of a focal point on, both, the players and the administrative end. Some feel these supposed contracts are simply waivers, protecting the owners from any catastrophic incident; others feel much different and are under the impression that they are, in fact, contracts that are binding, and if broken, one should be held accountable.

Both parties (Farinas & Bombers) have now moved on and hope for the best for one another. Wright’s bombers continue to strive on, being active in the advancement of minor league football. Many experienced owners in minor league football have been very resourceful to Wright, giving him a heads up on the antics in this particular realm. In February, the team joined the world renowned Labelle Community Football League (LCFL), a sub-division on the Southern California Football Alliance.

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