Mike’d Up: Death in Qatar and Final Four predictions

A report by the International Trade Union Confederation estimates 4,000 immigrant workers will die in construction for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

Kelley: This is an absolutely appalling situation.

One 26-year-old Philippine worker said in the Bleacher Report that living conditions at the various construction sites include, “eight people to one bedroom, sixteen people share a bathroom and thirty five people share a kitchen.”

Regardless of your feelings about the politics of workers’ rights, these are torturous and inhumane conditions that are completely unacceptable. It pains me to even think that these conditions are subjected upon other human beings.

The water is salty, the heat is extreme, and sadly enough, the list continues on and on. There is seemingly no chance for reform either. Workers are able to meet with management just once per month and are banned from discussing switches, work hours, or wages. What else is there to discuss?

World leaders are classifying this as a “monumental disaster.” An International Trade Union Confederation report on the situation began with the following: “Qatar is a country without a conscience.”

Please take a second to put your own problems and concerns in perspective. I know I have and feel silly and foolish for even believing my own problems and concerns were significant. It is the 21st century and fellow human beings are still in these situations. The path to equality for all is still long and arduous.

Kowaleski: If it’s hard putting it into perspective, Deadspin.com did it for you. Their headline read: “Report: Qatar’s World Cup Expected to Take More Lives Than 9/11.”

It was a controversial move, but a necessary one in my opinion. One worker described arriving on site at 5 a.m. and finding a ton of blood on the ground. No report was filed, and when he complained, he was told to stop making noise or else he would be dismissed.

This isn’t even a matter of natural collateral when it comes to World Cup preparations. The 2010 World Cup, held in Brazil, reported seven deaths. There have been 400 Nepalese deaths alone in Qatar thus far, and 20 Indian immigrants per month died in 2013.

It’s easy for us to say in our comfy E-Z Boys of luxury, but something needs to be done if these reports are confirmed.

 

The Sweet Sixteen is set and the Final Four is just one weekend away. The Mike’d UP guys offer their predictions. Take em or leave em.

Kelley: Florida: As a Pitt fan, I watched this Florida team dismantle my Panthers in every which way – on defense, rebounding, quickness, athleticism, depth. Depending on how much time you have, I could keep going. Four seniors in its starting lineup equals success and Florida will advance to Arlington easily.

Michigan State: Never bet against Tom Izzo in the NCAA Tournament. Injuries at one point could have derailed this team. But Keith Appling and Adreian Payne are healthy and rolling and so are the Spartans. Virginia will be a tough out tonight at the Garden, but Michigan State and the Final Four go hand in hand.

Kentucky: Talk about a confidence booster for a roster littered with young talent. The Harrison twins have blossomed and James Young developed his clutch gene against No. 1 seeded Wichita State. Not to mention Julius Randle is a monster in the post with seemingly no facial expressions besides his signature ‘clueless’ look. The Wildcats and Coach Cal carry that confidence into Arlington.

Arizona: The Wildcats are loaded with talent and boast strong point guard play, which is no surprise given their coach Sean Miller made quite the name for himself running the point at Pitt. Losing Brandon Ashley was devastating no doubt, but this Arizona team is too full of talent to fall short of the Final Four.

Kowaleski: Florida: This team has looked absolutely impressive in its first two games of the tournament. They dispatched what I think is a strong Pitt team with ease, and while I think UCLA will provide the toughest test of the tournament thus far, I don’t think the Gators should have much trouble. After that it should be a cakewalk against Dayton or Stanford, and by that point we should be considering Florida the favorites to win the title.

Virginia: I picked Michigan State to win in a lot of my brackets, but watching them have a tough time against Harvard exposed some holes that I think Virginia coach Tony Bennett will exploit: the Spartans were outhustled by a determined Harvard team and big man Keith Appling was stifled. If Virginia, who dominated Memphis in their second-round game, can follow the same template, I think the Cavs can pull off the win.

Louisville: This is the toughest bracket for me to predict. The Cardinals won ugly against St. Louis, but it was a good test against one of the best defensive teams in college basketball. When they take on Kentucky in the Battle of the Bluegrass State, rekindling one of the best rivalries in college hoops, I think whomever wins has to be considered the Midwest favorite. My money’s on the Cards.

Arizona: Part of me wanted to take Baylor, or Oregon. But I chickened out at the last moment. The Wildcats have played well thus far and, even without Ashley, have one of the best rosters in the tournament. It’s not the most awe-inspiring pick, but it’s the result of process of elimination: they’re just better than the rest of the teams left in the West.

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