All posts by Stephen Avara

The terrible ownership and management of the Washington Commanders

When managing a professional football team, it is widely agreed upon that it takes a high level of commitment and sacrifice to make the team as great as possible. While NFL team owners have had their fair share of suspicious activity, none compares to the resume that Commanders owner Dan Snyder has built with his team. With a stadium that is falling apart as we speak and numerous allegations of poor treatment of stadium workers, this is only the beginning. These problems have been around for years and are seemingly shoved under the rug by Snyder.

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Stadium Problems

One headline associated with the Commanders is the problems with FedEx Field. While some of the issues are minor, like ridiculously high prices and sewage water falling on the stands, some issues bring into question the health and safety of the players and even the fans. In one incident, after a loss in the season finale to the Philadelphia Eagles, a group of Eagles fans saw Quarterback Jalen Hurts running and reached out their hands. In doing so, the railing that should’ve supported them collapsed, causing the fans to fall onto the field. The Commanders were sued by four of the fans for $300,000, and the situation was mostly forgotten about. The poor field construction has contributed to numerous player injuries over time. Most notably, the non-contact injury of star QB Robert Griffin III. On a bad snap, Griffin retreated backward to recover the ball, but in doing so, his leg awkwardly stretched, resulting in a torn ACL and LCL, an injury he would never quite recover from.

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Lack of Care

Dan Snyder’s ownership of the Commanders has displayed his lack of care for the team and its image. In the last season, rumors came out of a “toxic culture” endorsed by Dan Snyder. Between sexual harassment and verbal abuse of employees, Snyder was reported to have a role in the poor treatment of the employees. In another instance, Commanders were set to honor legendary Safety Sean Taylor, who tragically died early in his career in 2007. The “statue” used to honor Taylor was instead a mannequin with his jersey and a helmet on it. This underwhelming display caused outrage from social media as many agree that Taylor deserves better. Since Taylor’s passing, there has been a lack of recognition for Sean Taylor and his legacy.

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What’s Next?

There have been some rumors about the future of Snyder with the Commanders. Fans have pressured him to sell the team. In November, some high-profile names who may be interested in buying the commanders franchise, including Jeff Bezos and Jay-Z, surfaced. In another report earlier this past season, Snyder claimed that he had “dirt” on other NFL owners, trying to pose as a sort of blackmail to possibly save his image. This seems to be a defense tactic to try and take the light off what he has done wrong. Whether it is suing loyal season ticket holders in an economic recession in 2009 or throwing money left and right at mediocre players, fans have had enough for a while. It is safe to say that Dan Snyder has earned the title of the most hated man in Commanders’ history.

Stephen Avara, Junior

Steven Avara is a junior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

St. Joe students overwhelmingly choose iPhones, but should they consider Samsung instead?

The necessity of a mobile phone has become more important in an ever-changing world of technology. With this, people want the best phone in terms of longevity and features. Most people believe the iPhone is the most quality phone, as around 50 percent of mobile phone users have an iPhone in the United States. But maybe the iPhone isn’t the best mobile phone. Many people can admit to having an iPhone solely because others around them do, but this prevents the user from being informed about other mobile phone companies. In this piece, we will compare the features of the two new cell phones, the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, and decide which top-notch phone is the better.

Size and Looks

The iPhone 14 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra are the largest and newest of each company. The size of the phone is a significant factor when buying phones. The iPhone is 71.5 x 147.5 x 7.85mm (width x height x depth) with a weight of 206 grams and a 6.7″ (diagonal) screen. On the other hand, the Samsung is 77.9 x 163.3 x 8.9mm with a weight of 229 grams and a 6.8″ (diagonal) screen. Although the Samsung is bigger, the con is that it is also heavier but only has a 23-gram difference. Aside from the dimensions of the phones, the looks of the phones are very different. The iPhone has flat edges and 4 colors: Space Black, Silver, Gold, and Deep Purple. The Samsung has more rounded edges and 7 colors: Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, Burgundy, Graphite, Sky Blue, and Red. Looks are mainly on preference, but Samsung is the better option if you want a bigger phone.

Specifications and Features

Both phones have similar specifications, but they have several unique features. Both phones have face recognition, a rated IP68 (splash, dust, and water resistant), a 120Hz refresh rate, and three storage options: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB. The differences are that the iPhone has a brighter screen of 2000 nits than the Samsung, which has 1750 nits, the battery on the iPhone can last up to 29 hours while the Samsung can last 18 hours, and the Samsung has the option to come with an S pen, while the iPhone does not have any pen option. These phones have unique features, but the features and specifications come with preference. 


Without a doubt, Samsung has a better camera option than the iPhone. The Samsung consists of 5 cameras on the back: a 12MP (megapixels, which equals 1,000,000 pixels) ultra-wide camera, a 108MP wide-angle camera, a 10MP camera, and 2 telephoto cameras with 100x Space Zoom. It also has one 40MP selfie camera. The iPhone only consists of 3 cameras with 48MP. Although Samsung has better cameras, the iPhone has more features like deep fusion, more video resolution options, retina flash, Animojis, and more. Samsung does have some of the options on the iPhone, but the iPhone has more. Photos can be edited from both phones, so some of the features on the iPhone photo can be applied to a Samsung photo through editing.  


For both phones, the cost depends on the specific phone’s storage space. However, the lowest starting price for an iPhone 14 Pro Max is $1,099. The starting price for the Samsung S22 Ultra is $750, but it can cost up to $1,500 with other accessories. Generally speaking, iPhones have been more expensive after a new release than Samsung phones. Samsung has had 40 different model S22 phones, with 6 being over $1,000. iPhone has 6 models for the iPhone 14, with 2 being over $1,000. Regarding cost, when initially released, Samsung was traditionally the more affordable mobile phone.


With all this being said, the question remains; What mobile phone is the best? Well, it all comes down to preference. Some people like the features the iPhone provides, while others like the features that Samsung provides. We suggest narrowing down what feature is most important to you in a mobile phone and seeing which product offers the best version of the feature. It is hard to decide which company makes the best mobile phone, but we can make an opinion based on what we as buyers want. 

Stephen Avara is a junior member of the Multimedia Journalism Class.

Stephen Avara, Junior

Collin Park is a sophomore member of the Multimedia Journalism Class.

How bad calls from NFL referees continue to decide the outcome of games

In a forever-changing game, there is one reoccurring problem that has NFL fans like myself shaking their heads in disappointment. That problem is that on almost a weekly basis, at least one game is plagued with terrible calls that, on some occasions, have even decided the winner of a game. While some may argue that this is a common problem that can’t be solved, there is no doubt that bad calls in important division games and playoff games have fans calling for a solution. In this piece, I will provide examples of the worst cases in which NFL referees’ bad calls have decided essential games.

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Roughing the Passer

Many would argue that the quarterback position is the most critical position on the field. Increasing the frequency of roughing-the-passer calls prevents the league’s star QBs from being injured and calling to the backup QBs. In the wake of this, these calls’ consistency is questioned. NFL fans have seen times when a seemingly legal hit is called roughing the passer, and an illegal hit is not called. The official rule is that any hit to the legs or around the head area warrants a roughing the passer call. Defenders are allowed “one step” toward the QB after the ball is thrown, and more than one step warrants a roughing the passer call. Defenders also cannot hit a QB with their full body weight. While these rules seem fair and straightforward, NFL referees have shown otherwise.

One example of a bad roughing the passer call was a week 5 matchup of the 2022 regular season between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons. While the Falcons were trying to make a comeback late in the 4th quarter down six, star Defensive Tackle Grady Jarrett made a huge play, sacking QB Tom Brady. Jarrett wrapped up Brady and spun him to the ground, a seemingly ordinary sack that would have forced a Buccaneers punt on 4th down. This was flagged for roughing the passer and gave the Buccaneers a first down, allowing them to chew the rest of the clock out and stall out a Falcons comeback.

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Pass Interference

Another penalty that causes controversy for NFL referees is the pass interference calls. Like the roughing the passer penalty, pass interference gets called on an inconsistent basis where sometimes it gets called when it shouldn’t, and other times it doesn’t get called when it should. Pass interference rules state that a defender cannot initiate illegal contact that causes an unfair chance for the WR to make a play on the football. Holding, pulling, pushing, tripping, grabbing the facemask, and tackling the WR are examples of what would be called pass interference.

An example of a missed call was the 2018 NFC championship game, late in the 4th quarter, a wheel route throw from QB Drew Brees to Wide Receiver Tommylee Lewis was disrupted early from a hit by Rams Cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman. Instead of a pass interference call that would have set up the Saints’ offense with first and goal, they faced a 4th and long and had to settle for a field goal. Brees would throw an interception in overtime and allow a game-winning field goal to send the Rams to the super bowl. Many fans believe the Saints got cheated out of a super bowl appearance based on this one play alone.

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Catches and Non-Catches

NFL referees seem to have different ideas on the criteria for what is a catch and what is not. While roughing the passer and even pass interference have been more recently arising problems, the catching criterion is a problem that has been ongoing for a long time. The NFL states that if a receiver maintains possession going to the ground and the ball comes out after, it is a catch, but if the receiver doesn’t maintain control and the ball hits the ground, it is not a catch. While it can usually be determined if a receiver has possession or not, there are some cases in which a ruling is disagreed upon.

One example was a 2014 NFC divisional game between the Packers and Cowboys. With time winding down and the Cowboys finding themselves at a 4th down, QB Tony Romo takes a deep shot to WR Dez Bryant, which is caught. Bryant took a few steps towards the end zone with the ball securely in his hands before going to the ground, where the ball popped up but back into his arms. This was initially called a catch but was overturned after a review. This was especially surprising because, in terms of reviews, NFL referees need a clear view that the initial call was wrong, which there appeared to be none. Under the “rules” set by the NFL for catches, this should have been a catch.

It is clear from these calls that NFL referees have made that something needs to change. Two of these instances were in the playoffs and were the deciding factor in both games. NFL fans agree that action needs to be taken to prevent this from happening again because bad calls happen more than they should.

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Stephen Avara, Junior

Stephen Avara is a junior member of the Multi-Media Journalism class.

Thinking about options for next year already? Consider these electives

Although this brand new school year has just started, it’s never too early to consider what classes you want to fill up your schedule next year. Some classes stay the same, like Theology and Math classes, while other students might have opted into electives. One unique thing about Mount Saint Joe is that they offer different electives that you, as a student, have the choice to take. Many students like to learn new things, but they may not be familiar with what is available given their schedules. With this being said, students find themselves trying to decide what electives they feel are worth taking. I will talk about some electives and why you should take them.


One interesting elective choice is the Philosophy elective. One thing that makes this class unique is that it is taught by two teachers, Mr. Michael O’Donnell and Mr. Clay Bonham. The primary purpose of this class is for people who ask deep questions; they can maybe find an answer they are comfortable with. I got to interview Mr. Bonham, asking him some questions about the elective. When I asked Mr. Bonham why he teaches philosophy, he said, “I really liked the course in college, and I found myself asking the same questions that philosophy talks about.” Mr. Bonham also told me that Philosophy helps with different college career paths. “It can help you with different career paths, especially those concerned with morality and ethics.” If you ask these questions or maybe just want a deeper understanding of nature and life itself, this is the elective for you.

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Art Fundamentals

At MSJ, an art credit is required for all students to have to graduate. For people who play an instrument, this can help complete an art credit. Those who are talented in computer art can do digital art classes. But for those who might not be interested in a high-level art class or want to create art on paper, Art Fundamentals is the class to take. Art Fundamentals, taught by Mr. Bryan Bieniek, allows students to create artwork with flexible deadlines and in a relaxed environment. I got to ask Mr. Bieniek about the class, “This class helps you open up the creative part of your mind.” When I asked Mr. Bieniek about the impact an art class can have on potential college career paths, he told me, “it helps people with engineering and architecture majors because of the concept of creating new designs.” Art Fundamentals gives students in the class the ability to find ways to become more creative.

Mr. Bieniek’s classroom. On the tables are clay models made by students in the Art Fundamentals Class.

Other Electives to Consider

Coming from a student, I know from first-hand experience the benefits that these electives can have. Another elective that students might find interesting is the Business Law elective taught by Mr. Jerry Naylor. When interviewing my brother, John Avara ’19, and former student of Mr. Naylor’s Business Law class, he told me, “if you have aspirations to own your own business one day, this class is for you.” Another elective worth taking is the Multi-Media Journalism elective. Similar to Art Fundamentals, this class allows you to create what you want with flexible deadlines. The World Language department also offers a selection of Spanish, Italian, French, and Latin. While two language credits are required at MSJ, you are not limited to learning just one of these languages.

Students in the Multi-Media Journalism Class working on interview projects.

MSJ offers the opportunity of learning new topics that most schools don’t teach. While your traditionally required classes like Math, Theology, English, and Social Studies fill up most of your schedule, I suggest leaving open space for some of the electives I mentioned. These electives can expose you to interests you might not have thought you had.

Stephen Avara, Junior

Stephen Avara is a junior member of the Multimedia Journalism Class.

A new look – How the Ravens’ offseason made them potential contenders

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The people of Baltimore have much to look forward to in the future with their professional football team. Coming off a losing streak at the end of the 2021 season, the Ravens’ team morale was low. They were decimated by injuries and some would agree they lacked talent on some parts of the defense. Heading into the offseason, they knew what they needed to improve and responded accordingly.

Free Agency
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The Ravens started the offseason by deciding what players they wanted to resign and what players they wanted to let go. Even last year, they had under the radar talent that they would’ve liked to keep but didn’t have the money. They lost proven role players like Safety Deshon Elliot and Guard/Center Bradley Bozeman. They decided to give the money they had to players like Pro Bowl Fullback Patrick Ricard, Defensive Tackle Calais Campbell, and Inside Linebacker Josh Bynes. These moves have effectively saved money that they could possibly use to resign star Quarterback Lamar Jackson. 

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Eventually, the Ravens had moves to make for free agents. They had some issues in the secondary and some weak pass-rushing last season. Without the Ravens paying their long-time DT Brandon Williams, even their incredible run defense needed some support. Their first move was S Marcus Williams. Williams made a name for himself on the New Orleans Saints being one the lockdown safeties of that playoff-level team. The Ravens were eyeing the opportunity to snag a younger safety for cheaper and were able to get Marcus Williams for a 5-year, $70 million deal. They also brought back a familiar face in DT Michael Pierce who played for the Ravens only a few seasons ago. They also helped out Lamar Jackson by signing veteran tackle Morgan Moses and improving a position that was a struggle for the Ravens last year.

NFL Draft
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Soon enough, it was time for the NFL draft. The Ravens knew what they needed to improve coming in. They had limited money to spend in the offseason and still had some positions they would like to improve. They started by drafting S Kyle Hamilton out of Notre Dame. This was a massive upgrade at the safety position as Kyle Hamilton allowed 1 TD in 819 career college football snaps. They later traded Wide Receiver Marquise Brown to the Arizona Cardinals for their first-round pick. The Ravens used this pick on Iowa product, Center Tyler Linderbaum. The Ravens have had problems with this position in the past but they feel they might have found a guy who can consistently play this position at a top-tier level. Later-round picks, like Michigan’s star LB David Ojabo, is a high-risk high reward draft selection as Ojabo was a projected first-round pick before his unfortunate injury in his last season at Michigan.

Injuries and an unfortunate sequence of events led the Ravens to a disappointing 2021 season where they saw their first losing record since 2015. With all of the offseason moves, the Ravens look to put last year behind them and find success this upcoming season.

Stephen Avara, Junior

Stephen Avara is a Junior member of the Multimedia Journalism Class