Hey Kids It’s Story Time ………
By tophatal …
Stories, from not so far afield and that would appear to the hold the sports fans’ interest . Well, the NFL remains the center of focus even during the off-season and for a number of reasons , both right and wrong . Roger Goodell while still trying to make his intent clear has been handling the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal with about as much care as a murderous felon on the run , who still seeks to commit at least one more crime . The commissioner is now embroiled in a “war of words” between himself and Jonathan Vilma , a defensive player for the Saints. Vilma , is one four players named in what appears to be an all too secretive report that would suggest the scandal was an event with actuality and giving clear evidence as to its existence . Having been suspended by the league over the evidence within their possession , Jonathan Vilma has filed a defamation lawsuit in US Federal Court against the NFL as well the league’s commissioner , Roger Goodell . Furthermore , as part of that filing the player has stated that he also seeks his reinstatement by the league . Now while this process has yet to be fully initiated , a hearing will take place concerning the quartet’s suspension and it may well be here that we might have some finality to this issue but one seriously doubts it .
Slide show for your perusal .
Should this defamation case go Federal Court , then the league would have to lay out its case for public scrutiny , as well as that of the plaintiff’s lawyers with theirs . Inasmuch , as the league has acted in what they believe to be a positive manner , there is a distinct feeling that all has not been above reproach in the league’s handling of this issue . It is becoming all too clear that there is a great deal that the NFL would prefer not to have laid out in public . For his part, Vilma did himself no favors by choosing not to attend the league’s headquarters for questioning by the league’s investigators when requested to do so . Instead he has sought to question the veracity of the evidence gathered by the league and its subordinates while choosing to question Goodell’s integrity . This is simply another episode in a long running drama wherein the NFL has been distrustful of the players and the NFLPA (union) as the representative of its rank and file members are no closer in having a bilateral relationship with the league hierarchy. If this decade long collective bargaining agreement was meant to stand for anything and supposedly lead the league into a ten years of peaceful coexistence . Then then it is now clear that it is not worth the paper it was written on !
Global expansion , sought by the NFL ? Is it not enough that the league fell flat on its face with their farcical experiment of NFL Europe as they sought to make the game more accessible to their fans on that particular continent ? Now with several offices across the globe and an increasing presence audience in the Far East , Latin America and the African continent , the league still yearns for a physical presence with a franchise outside the American continent . How that would work logistically during the regular season as well the possibility of a franchise being part of a postseason schedule may well not have crossed the minds of the league hierarchy and franchise owners . Roger Goodell , not long after having succeeded Paul Tagliabue to his current role , had suggested that he would like to see an NFL franchise in Europe . Preferably in the United Kingdom , and more importantly, London to his mind would be the preferable choice .
Obviously , lessons were not learned by Goodell , with the NFL having lost tens of millions of dollars with their rather idiotic experiment of NFL Europe for over a decade . Nothing really tangible came out of the experiment , although some point out to the fact it allowed for some borderline talent to play in Europe , who might not have gained access to being part of an NFL practice squad. And even though at its inception NFL Europe was an initial success , the fact that could not be hidden that having to compete against such sports soccer and cricket and several other sports not just within the UK but also on the continent , NFL football could not gain the traction needed to be self-sustaining without having to depend upon its parent for the financial backing needed to exist . Initially , there were corporate tie-ins with several prominent businesses in the participating countries (UK, Germany , France , Netherlands , Spain & Belgium) but those relationships soon quickly died , without those corporations seeing their profiles raised to any major degree . Now come full circle and over decade from the folding of NFL Europe and once again we have a prominent personality once again raising the question of having a franchise in Europe .
New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft in a recent interview stated that the NFL should make a renewed effort in getting an NFL franchise off the ground and into being , in Europe within the next decade . Now unless I am mistaken the word “ England” is already part of the Patriots’ moniker . So what in hell’s name is the Patriots’ owner trying to get at ? In addition , one seriously doubts that amongst either the landed gentry of England or even amongst the country’s wealthiest individuals that any of them would have the desire to own an NFL franchise . Especially , when one bears in mind the costs involved , and all of the political and connivance and intrigue that is said to go on between the NFL , and many of the state and municipal governmental agencies here in the United States . Kraft was broad in terms , on how best this would come into being , only to suggest that the NFL had now reach saturation point and its maturation level domestically .
From my own standpoint , the league’s biggest concern should be with “ cleaning up “ its image , dealing with player safety and above all stop taking a soft-shoe approach in dealing with the Players’ Union when it comes to the “issue “ of PED’s and other illicit substances . The league having reached an agreement with the executive committee of the NFLPA has yet to enact the statute of mandatory testing of the players even if after the union itself voted on , and ratified the deal . Instead, Goodell and the owners seem to have backed off enforcing the mandate and as usual Roger Goodell comes across looking like a “cowering bitch “ and a virgin who’s afraid to be deflowered , even though she has led her partner on .
Goodell , like the other three major high-ranking executives who oversee the four major professional sports , tends to only show a backbone when he feels he is on the winning end of a fight . He might be the very worst of a really inept bunch of individuals who have no reason to be holding the executive positions in question , much less presiding over a sports’ hierarchy .
Don’t look now but the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees have some real problems on their hands . In the case of the Dodgers they have seen a five game lead within the NL West be erased within the past three weeks , while the New York Yankees have lost two of their most high profiled pitchers to the DL . For the Dodgers , their issues stem with the loss of Andre Ethier and the slow return to form of Matt Kemp , albeit that one could attest to the fact that the team’s ….. woes are far more widespread . With the San Francisco Giants having now overtaken the Dodgers for the lead within the division , this could very well take on some chilling reverberations around the organization were the team not able to play themselves back into contention .
Now as much I admire Andy Pettite , I felt his comeback to the game of baseball , and specifically the New York Yankees was a foolhardy decision ! No sooner has he returned to the organization , he now finds himself out for a possible four to six weeks with a broken ankle . To exacerbate things further , C C Sabathia is now down with a groin strain . Yankees’ fans how’d you like those apples ? And if you thought that may well have been the end of the Bronx Bombers’ worries , then think again . Their old arch rivals , the Boston Red Sox are looming close , having played themselves into contention within the AL East , with some gritty determination but also in part they have been aided by some poor performances by their fellow occupants within the division.
As contentious as the AL East is known to be this season , the division is very much there for the taking for any of the teams with the desire to make it theirs . Granted , the Yankees possess perhaps the potent offense in the game as can be seen by the run differential which is by far the best in baseball (MLB) . With the 2012 All Star Game a mere week away , it may well give the teams that are said to be ailing with injuries , a chance to look over the injury woes and perhaps how best to address those issues .
Now comes the hard part for the managers as the mid-season showcase event approaches do they allow their players to participate in the scheduled festivities or do they order them to rest . The fans’ wishes , are to see their heroes in action but at the same when the risks are too great whereby a major star could be lost for the remainder of the season , then questions arise as to what is said to in the best interests of an organization . There is no denying that the festivities that surround the All Star Game is perhaps the best of four professional mid-season showcase events of the four major professional sports . Granted , the NBA , NHL and NFL in their capacity would have you believe their respective events are by far the most popular amongst the fans but the real proof stems in the fan involvement and attendance. Baseball’s presence of mind to give the fans what they want in terms their teams’ and their performances . What might be even more impressive are the progressive statistics of the players over the ensuing years in terms of batting averages and ERA’s for the pitchers.
This year it has been a stellar season as always with teams performing up to the usual expectation , with one or two exceptions . The pitchers this season are proving that with the “right stuff” they can make the hitters’ lives a testing one . . I would certainly like to think that in the lead-up to the All Star Game and thereafter we will be seeing a great deal more from the teams. Kauffman Stadium , in Kansas City , Missouri , will be the scene of this year’s showcase for baseball . So make of it what you will .
Picture gallery .
Do you as an NFL fan believe that we will ultimately see a franchise in Europe or quite possibly in Latin America or Canada ? By all means leave a comment on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .
Picture and slide details below .
(1) FILE – This Aug. 2, 2010 file photo shows NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaking during a news conference at the New Orleans Saints’ football training facility in Metairie, La. The appeals hearing for four players suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for their role in the Saints bounty program has begun. On hand at NFL headquarters Monday, June 18, 2012, are all four players: Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who is suspended for the 2012 season, and defensive end Will Smith, who has been docked for four games; Green Bay defensive end Anthony Hargrove, suspended for eight games; and Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita (three games). AP Photo/Gerald Herbert …..
(2) New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma arrives at the National Football League’s headquarters, Monday, June 18, 2012 in New York. Vilma and three other players are appealing their suspensions for their role in the Saints bounty program. AP Photo/Mark Lennihan …
(3) Democratic Whip Sen. Dick Durbin , D-Ill., left, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speak during a media availability after their meeting to discuss bounty programs, on Capitol Hill Wednesday, June 20, 2012 in Washington. AP Photo/Alex Brandon .. …
(4) Green Bay Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove speaks to the media outside the National Football League headquarters, Tuesday, June 19, 2012, in New York. The former New Orleans Saints player had been suspended for half of next season for his alleged involvement in a bounty program among Saints players that rewarded cash for big hits on opposing players. Hargrove maintains his innocence. AP Photo/John Minchillo ….
(5) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (L) chats with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on the field before the New England Patriots take on the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Kraft in a recent interview reiterated his wish to see an NFL franchise in the UK within the next decade . Getty Images / Ezra Shaw ….
(6) LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 29: A.J. Ellis (17) of the Los Angeles Dodgers catches the ball as Lucas Duda (21) of the New York Mets scores in the fifth inning during the MLB game at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers would go on to lose the game 9-0 . Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images …
(7) Chicago White Sox A.J. Pierzynski , right, receives congratulations from third base coach Joe McEwing as he rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees on Friday, June 29, 2012, at Yankee Stadium in New York. The White Sox defeated the Yankees 14-7 . AP Photo/Bill Kostroun …..
MLB All Star Game 2012
If at all interested take time to participate in the above mentioned poll .