With the fast-paced world, we live in today where the news cycles are constantly flipping over the year 2003 can seem like forever ago. The people at Baylor University would love for you act like that year never happened. A university’s athletic program that is no stranger to scandal had one its worst PR crisis’s that year. Now you may be thinking what could be as bad as the current sexual assault allegations, well there is murder.
In the summer of 2003, Patrick Dennehy was a basketball player who was murdered by his teammate Carlton Dotson. Dotson shot him two times in the head in field where the men would practice shooting guns. That is just the beginning of this crazy story. Airing on the Showtime Network is a documentary called “Disgraced” that takes a look at how all this mess started and insane fallout afterwards.
What led a young man on the basketball team to kill? Well even after watching the documentary I am not sure if you get a clear answer. What we do learn is that a lot people around Baylor University wanted this to go away as soon as possible and every want to cover their own hind parts. This is especially true for Head Coach Dave Bliss.
Coach Bliss was concerned with the NCAA finding out who was paying Dennehy’s tuition since he was not on scholarship. If it were not for help of an assistant coach with some integrity who knows what would have happened to Dennehy’s reputation. Disgraced takes us on a journey through that tumultuous summer where one player ends up dead and we wonder how fair the trial was for his killer.
This film digs deep into one of the biggest scandals ever in college sports. There are interviews with family members, former teammates, friends and local law enforcement. There are still a lot of questions about what exactly happened out in that field in Texas but what we do know is there were a lot of moving parts in Waco, Texas that wanted this story to die.
Keith B. Holt
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Director: Alex Gibney
Writers: Jim Podhoretz, Larry Weitzman
Stars: Donald Brashear, Marty McSorley and Chris Nilan
Today’s sports documentary suggestion is “The Last Gladiators” which can be found on Netflix streaming. The film takes a look at some of the last enforcers in the National Hockey League (NHL). The story is centered on Chris “Knuckles” Nilan a former enforcer for the Montreal Canadians. There are other players known affectionately as “goons” who are mentioned but the story always makes its way back to Chris.
“Gladiators” tells the story of men whose main job was to fight and protect their teammates. Nilan’s story is a complicated one that we see play out in sports all the time. He was raised in a tough hardnosed household. Nilan suggest that his upbringing followed him to the role he would go on to take in his hockey career. We get to take a look at the life of man who is pushed to the limit on the field of play but struggles to turn off that engine when he is off it.
The film paints a narrative of these enforcers whom more than a few have hard life after their playing days were over. The film is mostly about Nilan but it does a good job of using his contemporaries to give some perspective on what the era was like in the NHL. The meat of the story comes with Nilan’s struggles off the ice with drug addiction and his in ability to adjust with life post playing. It speaks to a tragic tale that is seen in all sports after the fans stop cheering and they have to live their lives.
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr