Fred said it: Panthers GM deserves thumbs-up for not being at draft

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - There were several headline stories - league-wide - in the just-completed NFL draft. Johnny "Football" Manziel slipped all the way down to the 22nd pick, where he was selected by the long-suffering Cleveland Browns.

Defensive end Michael Sam, out of Missouri, was taken on the final day in the final round by St. Louis. He was the 249th player chosen, seventh from last, but the first openly gay player to enter the league.

But I think one of the guys who deserves a huge round of applause for NOT being there in the final day of the draft is Carolina Panthers General Manager Dave Gettlemen. He, with the blessing of Panthers' owner Jerry Richardson, was absent on the final day. His reason? To be in attendance at his son's graduation from Becker College in Worcester, Mass.

Gettleman has taken some public heat from some radio talk show hosts I've heard who feel that a son's graduation from college is not more important than football. I couldn't disagree with them more. Your child graduates once. It is a seminal moment in your child's life. We have two children, and I pray we, as parents, live to see them both march across the stage with diploma in hand. We'll be there, no matter what.

What Gettleman's detractors didn't mention is that the Panthers set up a "draft war room" at his hotel in Massachusetts. They set up Skype so the GM didn't miss a beat.

Which would you rather live with? Seeing your child graduate via electronic device, or make your team's final draft picks by the same means? To me, it's a no-brainer. Two thumbs up for Dave Gettleman, and congratulations to your son on his very special day.

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