My Friday Five: On Kelvin Benjamin, Braxton Beverly & iPhone X

UPDATE TO STORY #5: Northern beat Northwood 34-7 to claim a share of the Big Eight 3-A title!

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1. Yes, the Sky is Falling

I went to see Marshall on Tuesday and got home to a text from a friend. He said that Carolina Panthers wide receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, was traded to the Buffalo Bills for a third and seventh round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

WHAT?

I couldn’t believe it, to be honest. It just seemed out of the blue. Completely surprising. I wasn't alone in my sentiment, as the reaction from fans and Panthers players was swift and pretty darn brutal, particularly from fans. Just take a look at the Panthers' Facebook or Twitter pages and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Damage control began just hours later, as writers affiliated with the organization published multiple pieces in an attempt to make sense of the trade and pacify upset fans. The excuses ranged from Benjamin just wasn’t playing to his potential and this will give him a fresh start, to the trade will open up the field and give speedier guys a chance. There was also talk from the sliver fans who approved of the trade that Panthers QB, Cam Newton, had his MVP season in 2015 without Benjamin, who was out with an injury. While true, those same people conveniently forget that we had a better receiving core overall that year as well. In addition to Benjamin, Carolina had Devin Funchess; Ted Ginn, Jr.; and Philly Brown. This year, the Panthers still have Funchess but not much after him: an inexperienced Curtis Samuel, an injured Damiere Byrd (who is not eligible to return until Week 13), an unproven Kaelin Clay, and owner Jerry Richardson’s buddy Brenton Bersin.

Carolina is 5-3 heading into a pivotal NFC South division game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Trading away Kelvin Benjamin at this juncture in the season - especially when the offense has been a key issue - is just strange and ridiculous. If the Panthers want to blow this season then be my guest. But I’m not going to stand for it as a 15+ year fan. It brings me back to what I wrote last week about this franchise. To recap, I compared the Panthers organization to a broken record. There is one outstanding season, perhaps, with a trip to the Super Bowl all to lose and then tank the other seasons due to birdbrained decisions. I don’t know what can be changed but something does if this franchise ever wants to win a Super Bowl. I’m not holding my breath.

2. Durham Bulls Shut Out of MiLBYs

International League baseball named its annual MiLBY Award winners on Thursday. Fans and MiLB.com staff voted from a list of players and teams in several categories. The Durham Bulls were nominated and/or apart of a nomination in four different categories...and were shut out. That's right, the 2017 Governor's Cup and Triple A-National Champions, who have one the best fan bases in minor league baseball, didn't win a single award. The reaction, much like with the Kelvin Benjamin trade, was swift and pretty fierce. In fact, Bulls social media staff penned an article displaying some fan reactions. Yours truly was included in the article and, suffice it to say, I was pretty upset about the team getting shut out of the awards. Apparently national championships don’t matter in the eyes of MiLBYs voters.

P.S. Check out my recap of a magical season for the Durham Bulls. 

3. More NCAA Nonsense

N.C. State head men's basketball coach, Kevin Keatts, isn't even a year into his tenure in Raleigh and is already dealing with nonsense from the NCAA. Four-star freshman point guard, Braxton Beverly, initially signed with Ohio State. Buckeye head man Thad Matta abruptly left the team earlier in the year and Beverly was granted a release, transferring to N.C. State. However, thanks to the NCAA's archaic transfer regulations, Beverly was told earlier this month that he would have to sit out this season. All because he took a couple of summer classes at Ohio State, before he even played a nanosecond of basketball. Beverly filed an appeal and it was denied this week.

I'll be frank: this royally pisses me off. The double standard/hypocrisy is rich with this decision by the powers that be at the NCAA. I've always believed the transfer regulations are overreaching, ridiculous fossils that should be abolished. After all, coaches are able to move to and from whatever school they want without any issue. Athletes? Not so much. Like Cameron Johnson earlier this year, who graduated from Pittsburgh and gave the school years of his life. Yet he was denied the opportunity, at first, by Pittsburgh to transfer to North Carolina due to a supposed athletic department policy regarding players transferring to schools within the same conference. The situation was later resolved and Johnson is playing on Roy Williams’ squad. Even more absurd is a highly-touted recruit can reclassify from the Class of 2018 to the Class of 2017 and immediately be eligible to play for a university without a problem (hello, Marvin Bagley III and Duke) yet guys like Johnson and Beverly are punished for doing the right thing. Unbelievable!

4. iPhone X is Here

The iPhone X officially launched in Apple Stores today. The new phone is a leap into the future of smartphones for the brand, but it isn't a cheap one. Retailing from $999, the iPhone X features a full OLED screen, wireless charging, water/dust resistance, redesigned cameras and Apple's new Face ID recognition system, which takes the place of Touch ID. It'll certainly be interesting to see what consumers think of the iPhone X and I may even get one soon. I have an iPhone 6s currently - yes, dinosaur, I know - and will definitely check out the iPhone X in the near future. Stay tuned!

5. Big Game for Northern H.S.

My high school alma mater, Northern, has a huge football game tonight. The Knights face Northwood, with the winner taking a share of the Big Eight 3-A Championship with Orange High School. Go Knights!

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