Carolina Panthers GM Skips NFL Draft To Go To Son’s Becker College Graduation In Worcester, Belichick Laughs

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Becker College in Worcester, Mass. wasn’t going to set its graduation date to avoid conflicting with the NFL draft, so Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman had a problem.

His son, Sam, was graduating from Becker on draft weekend. Saturday’s ceremony is on the same day as the third and final day of the NFL draft. Even though many fans have tuned out by the third day, those four rounds are crucial for NFL teams looking to build depth and maybe hit on a starter or two if they’re lucky.

Gettleman is trying to do both. He went to Worcester for the ceremony, and will run the Panthers’ draft via Skype, according to the Associated Press. Panthers owner Jerry Richardson signed off on the plan in March.

It’s probably not that big of a deal that Gettleman isn’t there. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said the Panthers sent an IT team up to Worcester to set up a replicated draft room in his hotel. The Panthers have spent months setting up a draft board and having debates on players, and by this point the conversations should be minimal. With the ability for Gettleman to Skype in, one would assume the draft will go as it normally would. Carolina has four picks, one in every round.

The NFL culture is usually that nothing is as important as football, but it’s good to see that the Panthers understood the situation and Gettleman wants to be there for his son’s graduation. Given the technology available today, it will be like he’s there anyway.


A lot of people are saying that this is a touching story. Now TurtleBoy Sports IS a family blog, but on this particular story we have to agree to disagree with those who find this OK. This is the Carolina Panthers, the team that drafted Rae-Rae Caruth. They, more than anyone else should know the importance of these three days.

Look, if you’re an NFL General Manager there are three days of the year that under no conditions are you allowed to call in sick or use a personal day. Those three days are whenever the NFL draft is. If you have the plague, you’re going into work that day. If you’re grandmother dies, you’re going into work that day. If your wife is giving birth that day, you’re going into work. Unless you have an immediate family member that is undergoing a life threatening procedure, well, you know what you’re doing.

Because guess what? You’re building your team for the next five years. You know who was drafted in the 6th round Tom Brady? Fifth round? Richard Sherman. These picks matter. And I don’t wanna hear any bullshit about Skype or that this is the 21st century or any of that nonsense. In rounds 4-7 you have five minutes to make a selection. That’s it. You have to be able to speak to a room full of people and debate the pros and cons of drafting several different athletes who play several different positions. You have to be able to discuss trading up or down and strategize how this pick will affect the rest of your draft. You simply MUST be in the room with everyone else on those days. You are the GM, you are the leader of the ship.

You know who would NEVER miss the draft? These guys


And this guy


And especially this baby

Panthers Camp Football

That’s because they LIVE for the Panthers, and unlike you, they’re not being paid. You owe it to that scared and likely neglected little baby to be at the draft.

Now, I would be a little more understanding if this guy was helping his wife get through chemotherapy. But he wasn’t. He was in good ol’ Worcester MA for his kid’s graduation from Becker. I’m sorry, but there is simply no need to go to your kid’s graduation. Your kid has no reason to go to his own graduation. I’ve had some regrets in my life, and almost all of them involve going to graduations.

My graduation from UMass was the biggest waste of time ever imaginable. I want those three hours back. I have no idea who the speaker was because no one was listening. I sat in a group of a “college” that I didn’t know I belonged to, but I was associated with nonetheless because of my major. We stood up and they said we graduated and then we sat back down. Like I was being baptized or something.

I also went to my brother’s graduation a couple years later and missed a really, really important work commitment. I let down a lot of people by not being there because I was under the impression that a college graduation is some priceless memory that you can’t miss. It’s not. The whole time I was getting updates from work, which happened to be the most important day of the year, and one in which I was listening as everything we worked for was falling apart.

Meanwhile at a college graduation you’re just one of thousands of dingleberries who gets all dressed up to watch someone you love get decreed with something that they could just as easily have had mailed to them. Honestly, besides being there for the family pictures afterwards, what was the point? To hear a bunch of cliche speeches? Let me guess, we’ve all grown together for the last four years and the memories we built will last a life time? Priceless memory right there. Priceless.


High school graduations I get, but college graduations? What’s the point? You already did all the work to get your degree. It’s not like they’re not gonna give you it if you don’t show up for the ceremony. In high school at least it’s more of a celebration of the last four years of your life in which you spent building relationships with people from the same community as you. But college? 99% of these people you will never see again. Unlike in high school where the principal probably knows your name (or at least they SHOULD), in college you’re just another anonymous drone who is about to find out the sad reality that you are going to be paying back loans for the rest of your life.

It doesn’t matter if you’re there. It especially doesn’t matter if your parents are there. It doesn’t mean you love your son any less, because it’s not an important day in his life at all. You know why? Because if Gettelman is still able to still dedicate the time that is required to what is arguably the most important day of the draft, then it just proves that he’s not missing ANYTHING at his son’s graduation. How important could the graduation be if he can step away from it for hours to go on the computer?


So no, we’re not falling for the lovefest this guy is getting for being a great family man. When you go into this line of work, there are sacrifices you have to make. Would the team be OK if one of the player’s missed a game for their kid’s graduation? What about a bah mitzvah? How about your kid’s first steps? Of course they wouldn’t. And that’s one out of 16 games. But for whatever reason the guys up top don’t have to follow the same rules as the people they employ. The bottom line is you have to draw a line somewhere, and I draw it well before a college graduation.

And I’ll tell you one more thing, this shit would NEVER happen on the Patriots. Ever. You think Belichick would even remotely consider not being at the draft? Nope. It’s funny to just to even think about. That’s why all we do is win. Because we have a guy at the top who is wiling to let his family life crumble into pieces in order for the Patriots to keep winning. And we love him for it.

We might be in the minority on this position, but that’s why you read this blog. Because we keep it real when no one else does. We don’t fall in line with the mainstream media who is praising Gettleman for being such a good dad:

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So while it would be easy for us just to go with the flow and pat him on the back, that would make us complete sellouts. If you want lame, luke-warm takes on sports, then go to ESPN. If you want the truth, keep coming here.

Here’s my solution. If you wanna have a family party at another time that’s a much better option. You get more attention, you’re the star of the show, you can schedule it around your family’s work conflicts, and most importantly there’s beer.

Yay beer!!

Feel free to share your thoughts to keep the conversation going.

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