Crescent City Blues ……….

Crescent City Blues

By Tophatal

As the NFL prepares for their showcase event , it seems somewhat tactless that the city of New Orleans as well as the NFL hierarchy simply tries to gloss over the blight that still affects the city to this day , in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina . Crime within the city has petered off slightly, but New Orleans’ homicide rate remains amongst the highest in nation , ranking it up alongside that of Chicago’s. New Orleans’ mayor , Mitch Landrieu while happy to see the event staged in the Crescent City , has to know that while the city comes under a global microscope this upcoming Sunday , his greatest concern has to be , how to best deal with the blight that still ravages his city , with the ongoing corruption , mistrust of the Police Department and the very fact that his predecessor , Ray Nagin will soon go to trial, on corruption and mail fraud charges in an indictment obtained by the US Justice Department .

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While there are wildly differing views and economic estimates as to the economic impact the staging of the Superbowl has on a municipality , it would not be out of the realms of reality to suggest it would in excess of $1 billion ($1,000,000,000) in the leadup to the event itself , during the fortnight in which the city will have been the beneficiaries of the revenues in question . One billion dollars is something of a conservative estimate, in view of the events that are staged within the confines of New Orleans . Furthermore , with the exposure gained , there has to be future growth potential derived from the event’s staging. through the city

Now, while the city’s residents can take pride in the fact that this will be eleventh time that they will have staged a Superbowl . It cannot have escaped their attention how poorly the city , state and federal government by way of FEMA , still remain , poor in responding to their needs . Billions of dollars have been poured into the state, and the city to repair infrastructure , but yet there remains several thousand homes and businesses still left in a state of disrepair. Be it, through graft and corruption, the long-held notion as to how things are done within the city and state , there remains little if any optimism that the New Orleans can once again return to the splendor it once had .

All of the altruism and optimism , that went with the election of Bobby Jindahl (R-La) , who succeeded the “ hapless” Kathleen Blanco , as governor of the state , has now become all the more glaring , when one considers that Jindahl’s administration and the legislator are hopelessly gridlocked in dealing with so many of Louisiana’s, most acutest of needs .

The Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana , will be the stage for the NFL’s showcase event , as the Baltimore Ravens will play their NFC counterparts , conference champions , the San Francisco 49ers . . Both teams had truly tremendous seasons by way of their play and the results record over the their respective schedules .

A great deal will be made of the fact that that the two opposing head coaches are siblings , with Jim Harbaugh facing off against his brother, John Harbaugh , in a game that might not necessarily create warring factions amongst the Harbaugh clan . But that remains to be seen between now and the culmination of the big event . Whatever one might now feel at this juncture , both teams are thoroughly deserving of their present positions , by way of their play in the postseason .

Quarterbacks Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick have been placed on the game’s greatest stage , where they will be both entrusted teams on a path to undoubted success . In what will be the most important games of their respective careers , these two quarterbacks will be looking to extol their abilities and indicate to the fans that their ascent to their present positions is no mere fluke but a belief in their own skill-set and the imbued faith shown in them by their respective head coaches.

Now while the media seeks those emotional stories to tug at the heart strings , as the game approaches, while Ray Lewis seeks to bow out , after an illustrious career in the NFL , his story , will be , by no means the biggest to be had , in the buildup to the event on Sunday. There are, a number of subplots to be expounded and placed in the public domain . Another seasoned veteran , who has been overlooked for much of the season , has been Niners’ wide receiver , Randy Moss . The player brought in earlier this season by GM Trent Baalke , to complement what was as such a moderately average wide receiving corps , could very well be playing his last professional game in the NFL , should the San Francisco 49ers prove to be triumphant. As to whether or not Kaepernick will now rise to the occasion in the biggest game of his career with the weapons at his disposal , will go a great way in telling us a great deal about the demeanor of this sophomore quarterback drafted by the franchise in 2011 .

While the rumblings have now subsided, with many questioning Jim Harbaugh’s decision to have Colin Kaepernick replace Alex Smith earlier in the season , after Smith initially went down with a concussion . I have always felt that the young quarterback offered his team more chances to win , than his more experienced predecessor ! Kaepernick , having won the position outright , he now has the franchise on the cusp of seeking their sixth Superbowl title .

Ozzie Newsome , the general manager of the Baltimore Ravens , might just be one of the most unassuming front office executives in the entire NFL . He has quickly, transformed this roster into in all action fully accomplished and cohesive unit. In recent years, his drafting of a pool of players , who have proven to be productive. And it has been this mindset that has allowed Harbaugh coaching staff to have attained the success we have seen recent weeks from the Baltimore Ravens , in spite of the recent upheavals to that staff. Cam Cameron , was summarily dismissed as the offensive coordinator , when it felt, that the team was not getting the best out of their running and passing game during the months of November and December . The dismissal of Cameron , led to the immediate promotion of Jim Caldwell , the former head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. In the ensuing weeks that have followed , primarily in the playoffs , where we have seen Joe Flacco raise the level of his play , to the point where he might now be considered the best performing quarterback during the postseason.

With Joe Flacco’s existing contract set to expire at the end of this postseason , the rumblings are that the player will seek a deal , commensurate with that of the highest paid players at the position within the NFL . If that amounts to a five or six year $100 million deal , I am not so sure , even in light of a Ravens’ triumph, the player is entitled to that sort of a compensation package. As good as Flacco has been for this Baltimore Ravens , it has only been in 2012 , where we have seen the maturation of the player simply reach a “peak level “ of efficiency and maturity on his part , and amongst his peers in the AFC , let alone amongst the rest of his contemporaries in the NFL , as a whole .

There have been relatively few meetings between the two teams , and their most recent match-up was not exactly a memorable event in terms of all-round productivity from either of these franchises . A 16-6 victory by the Baltimore Ravens was enough to suggest that we might well be in for either a thoroughly enticing ball game , showing the defensive capabilities of both teams or we the fans will granted the unwanted privilege of witnessing an event that could end up being a monstrous bore . And with the anticipated viewership , tens of millions nationally , and upwards of 1.3 billion globally , in what of what should be this year’s highest rated and watched television event. I for one , will be hoping , that this Superbowl provides us with a thoroughly exciting game , and one which will be totally memorable for all of the right reasons ! The NFL needs that sort of an uplifting event after the mishaps and pratfalls imparted upon the fans after another disastrous season of leadership during the tenure of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell .

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Picture gallery.

As a fan are you entirely happy with the staging of Superbowl 47 in the city of New Orleans , even as the city and state slowly work towards repairing not only its infrastructure, after the recent natural disasters, but also, its still tarnished reputation ? And what if anything , do you hope to see from this game, in terms of the undoubted competitiveness of both teams ? By all means, do take time to leave a comment on this, and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter .

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(1) An aerial view perfectly captures the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. AP Photo / John Hall …

(2) The New Orleans Superdome where thousands sought refuge from what was desribed at the time as the worst natural disaster to hit the Southeast , since Hurricane Andrew , in August of 1992. AFP/REUTERS/Arnold Gillespie …

(3)President Barack Obama, center, is greeted on the tarmac by from left to right, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu , and Gov. Bobby Jindahl, during his arrival at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, in Kenner, La. Obama traveled to the region to view the ongoing response and recovery efforts to Hurricane Isaac. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais …

(4) Kathleen Blanco , former governor of Louisiana , is seen here with President George W Bush at an emergency operations center in New Orleans , Louisiana , during the state and FEMA’s relief efforts. Critics raised questions as to Blanco’s and the state’s handling of the relief efforts , and the overall incompetence shown by the federal government , whose ongoing work continues almost eight years after the natural disaster in August 2005 . AP Photo/ Mitchell Hamilton …

(5) FILE – JANUARY 18: According to reports, former mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, has been charged with 21 corruption charges. WASHINGTON – SEPTEMBER 23: New Orleans Mayor C Ray Nagin testifies on Capitol Hill on September 23, 2008 in Washington, DC. Mayor Nagin spoke about his city’s recovery from Hurricane Katrina as well as its recent experience with hurricanes Gustav and Ike . Officials from the Gulf area were on Capitol Hill requesting lawmakers for federal funding to aid in recovery efforts for over $14 billion worth of damage after the two recent hurricanes devastated the region. Nagin has plead not guilty on all counts , and having been arraigned , and indicted , he now awaits trial in US Federal Court in New Orleans , Louisiana . Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images ….

(6) A Lower Ninth Ward resident inspects a telephone pole that was toppled onto her home by Hurricane Isaac on August 29, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The large Level 1 hurricane slowly moved across southeast Louisiana, dumping huge amounts of rain and knocking out power to Louisianans in scattered parts of the state. Getty Images North America / Mario Tama ……

(7) A tree blown over from Hurricane Isaac lies atop a cemetery tomb on August 29, 2012 in Oakville, in Plaquemines Parish , Louisiana. The parish, south of New Orleans, was the most heavily damaged by the hurricane. The system, which was downgraded to a tropical storm by the National Weather Service, moved slowly across the state, dumping large amounts of rain and knocking out power to half a million Louisianans. Getty Images / John Moore ….

(8) The Superdome is pictured Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, in New Orleans. The city will host the Super Bowl XLVII football game between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers Sunday. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel …

(9) Jack and Jackie Harbaugh, parents of Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, kiss during a news conference, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, for NFL football’s Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. Their sons will be coaching against each other in the Super Bowl on Sunday. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert …..

(10) Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis speaks at an NFL Super Bowl XLVII news conference on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, in New Orleans. The Ravens face the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday, Feb. 3. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky …

(11) Joe Flacco , left , and Colin Kaepernick , the two opposing quarterbacks who will face off against each other , this upcoming Sunday in Superbowl 47 . AP Photo / Martin Brown ….

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NFL news & news from around the league

Superbowl SB47 (SBXLVII)

Baltimore Ravens vs San Francisco 49ers , game to be played on the 3rd February, 2013 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana ,.

Baltimore Ravens’ team profile &

Baltimore Ravens’ front office

Baltimore Ravens depth chart (roster)

Baltimore Ravens’ 2012 regular season schedule & ….. AFC North standings

Baltimore Ravens postseason stats

Baltimore Ravens’ payroll

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San Francisco 49ers’ team profile

San Francisco 49ers’ front office

San Francisco 49ers depth chart (roster)

San Francisco 49ers’ 2012 regular season schedule & …… NFC West standings

San Francisco 49ers postseason stats

San Francisco 49ers’ payroll

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All-time head-to-head meetings between the Ravens and Forty Niners

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NFL player stats postseason

NFL team stats postseason

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Christina Aguilera

Singer Christina Aguilera .

Mixed signals , smoke signals and all other type of idiotic signals … name it and you will genuinely find it in the world of sports

Mixed signals , smoke signals and all other type of idiotic signals … name it and you will genuinely find it in the world of sports

Tophatal

With just the Superbowl itself remaining to culminate the schedule , it has to be said that the NFL season could not have been more underscored , than with the utter failure of the league hierarchy to get done a piece of legislation that the NFL itself, stated would be in place . Roger Goodell has been , and remains the laughing-stock of the sport’s world with his lack of intelligence , intransigence and complete lack in fully understanding, the rule of law . What might be more apparent ,is his unwillingness to admit failure or to own up when he has purposefully sought to mislead the fans of the NFL .

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Having agreed in principle to mandatory testing for HGH (human growth hormone) , both the league hierarchy and union , have placed this issue once again on the back-burner . In doing so , this simply suggests that the NFL does not care one iota about the widespread use of human growth hormones within football. Goodell tends to and for the vast majority of the time , he will indeed speak out of both sides of his mouth , and if his ass could speak , he would also have that orifice uttering words . I have never been , a great admirer of the NFL Commissioner ! Three year, s in the making and now countless promises broken , not that the dumb assholes who reside on the congressional Oversight & Government Reform Committee . And those morons have in essence become a sounding block for any half assed idea that has been placed within their midst .

One of the more annoying things about the NFL postseason , has been this constant belief that the NFL Pro Bowl game , has any merit to be on the schedule, in whatever form it might take . The games, are no longer noteworthy or competitive for that matter . And the fact that players merely see this as a chance of a paid excursion without having to really work at their craft , albeit that they will be financially rewarded for a meaningless event , only adds insult to injury for the fans , simply stupid enough to attend the event in Honolulu , Hawaii . Sunday’s event once again, was an absolute eyesore for those in attendance , and for the “ countless millions” watching the televised event at home . Suffice to say , what once was a privilege for the players has now become an unadulterated sham , perpetrated on the hard-working devotees of the NFL !

Far be it for me to suggest , but if the intent by the NFL hierarchy , was for Gregg Williams to be banished from football , after he and Saints’ head coach Sean Payton devised the now “ infamous” New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal . Then how is it, that the disgraced former defensive coordinator is now on the verge of making a tumultuous return. to the league , as the head coach’s assistant to Tennessee Titans’ head coach , Mike Munchak ? And Munchak for his part along with GM Ruston Webster, seem intent to bring in the defensive coordinator to bolster a defensive corps , that was amongst the worst performing units in the AFC as well as the entire NFL , as a whole .

The Titans’ woes this season , were well chronicled , and I seriously doubt that Williams’ acquisition alongside any decision made by the front office will have an advantageous effect on the morale of this staff ! The NFL has become a “paper tiger” during Roger Goodell’s tenure , wherein the league’s bark has to viewed as far more comedic as than its presumed bite . I am not about to suggest that Gregg Williams would seek to bring the Titans’ franchise into disrepute , but to my mind , what was meant to be a banishment from the NFL , has turned out to be nothing “ more than a slap on the wrist” for an individual who willfully sought to endanger an opponent for financial and competitive gain, while not eschewing sportsmanship .

Things , I feel could not get any worse for the Boston Celtics after the departure of Ray Allen to join the reigning world champions , the Miami Heat. Allen’s abrupt move , was seen as an act of betrayal by Celtics’ captain , Kevin Garnett , with the animus between the two future Hall of Famers , having now reached a boiling point . In a highly entertaining game played at the TD Banknorth Gardens , in Boston Massachusetts , Garnett , and his teammates came away with an impressive two-point victory over the star laden , and now some might say inconsistent Heat , who were led by their “Big Three” of LeBron James , Dywane Wade , Chris Bosh , and a coterie of bench-warmers and seasoned veterans .

The Boston Celtics have announced that their All Star , point guard , Rajon Rondo has been lost to the franchise for the remainder of the season. Rondo is amongst the most productive point guards in the league , and has been so over the past three seasons . Now one could roll off the names of players such as Chris Paul , Tony Parker, Deron Williams and Steve Nash , but to my mind none of the aforementioned players have been as productive , or who can simply change the momentum of a game , in the way that we have seen exhibited by the Celtics’ point guard. The player suffered a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) , an injury not too dissimilar , to the knee injury suffered by Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson. And as we know , the Peterson was able to make a successful return, after an eight month layoff , leading all rushers in the NFL in 2012, falling short by a mere eight yards , of breaking the single season rushing record held by Eric Dickerson .

It is imperative that GM Danny Ainge , having been in consultation with head coach Doc Rivers and team owner , managing partner Wyc Grousbeck , come to a swift decision , as to whether or not they seek to obtain a free agent point guard , who can best meet the team’s needs . The options for the Rivers are somewhat thin , as beyond seasoned veteran, Jason Terry , there is just Leandro Barbosa , Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee, albeit that Kevin Garnett , could be used as a stop-gap mainstay , but that could prove to be counter-productive for the team.

Doc Rivers for the moment will now have to go with a point guard by commission , until a decision is made by Ainge , as to whether or not the trigger will be made on a potential trade . At 21-23 , the Boston Celtics currently sit in third place within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference . Yet is the team’s standing within the conference , that would very well predicate, how their season is determined . Lying in the eighth and final spot , they find themselves 2 ½ games ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers (18-25) and 3 ½ games behind the Milwaukee Bucks (23-19) who currently sit in the seventh position within the Eastern Conference. Next up for the team , will be a game against the laboring Sacramento Kings on Wednesday , 30th January , 2013. The Kings currently lead the season series 1-0, having won the first game of their season series’ meetings 118-96 , when the two teams met in late December , 2012 . In the franchises’ head to head meetings , the Celtics lead the Kings 175-113 in regular season match-ups, with the two teams having only met seventeen times during the playoffs , again with the Boston Celtics holding a slight 11-6 lead over their Western Conference rivals . So for the moment , we can only wait to see what will now materialize for Doc Rivers’ players , as they seek to make some sense of their season .

I don’t know that there is much more else that needs to be said at this juncture as it relates to the news that Alex Rodriguez , could quite possibly be lost to the New York Yankees , for the entire 2013 regular season . Certainly, we know that with the player having to undergo , some much-needed surgery to his right hip, he will miss the team’s entire Spring Training schedule . Recuperation and rehabilitation , from such a medical procedure , normally takes anywhere between eight to fourteen months from the outset , dependent upon the level of the surgical procedure to be undertaken . That being said , who amongst you is at all surprised that Rodriguez’s body is now breaking down on him , after all these years of wanton use of steroids ? The veracity of the player’s claims cannot be entirely believed , when one bears in mind , his statement , that he only used PED’s ( performance enhancing drugs) as nothing more than a minor experiment , for a period of eighteen months , prior to and after joining the Yankees , that saw him being traded from the Texas Rangers to the Bronx Bombers in February of 2004 .

Alex Rodriguez’s subsequent admission of guilt in a thoroughly orchestrated mess engineered by the Yankees’ organization , has clearly indicated that baseball’s hierarchy and team owners do not yet have a handle on the widespread use of illicit substances , that were and are still being used by the game’s big league players , as well as the near widespread use in the minors (MILB). Rodriguez’s web of deceit and deceit , essentially started off with his spiel to former CBS news’ anchor Katie Couric , in an interview that had as much dramatic depth and journalistic integrity to it , than an interview being conducted between Pinocchio and Torquemada of the Spanish Inquisition . Gut wrenching and completely unbelievable , as the player, was far from convincing with his web of deceit and lies, which were further enhanced by many of the rather idiotic questions asked by Katie Couric , herself . And there were idiots who sought to suggest that Lance Armstrong showed contrition with his admission of guilt on a staged environment sought to elicit emotions ? Are these fools, that naïve ? I guess that they are ! Ah , well , it’s in-bred apathy ! It should be noted that in light of Rodriguez’s admission , his name would once again come up in the subsequent indictment and trial of now incarcerated Orlando medical professional , Dr Anthony Galea . Now in another turn of events the player’s name has once again been linked to another BALCO like “scandal” , that could have some serious reverberations around the league as well as damaging the Yankees’ alleged ” pristine image ” .

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Alex Rodriguez the biggest name in a new PED report that could grow into BALCO-like scandal

By Jeff Passan , Yahoo Sports

A man in south Florida supplied performance-enhancing drugs to more than half a dozen major league players, including Alex Rodriguez, according to a Miami New Times report that officials at Major League Baseball believe will grow into a doping scandal that could rival the BALCO case that tarnished Barry Bonds.

Alex Rodriguez is once again at the center of a possible PED scandal. The newspaper reported Tuesday morning that Anthony Bosch, a self-styled biochemist seen frequently in Latin American baseball circles, distributed large amounts of human growth hormone, synthetic testosterone and other cocktails of PEDs to players who previously had not been linked, such as Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz.

Some of the players could be subject to a 50-game suspension for a violation of the league’s PED policy, a league official told Yahoo! Sports. Three of Bosch’s alleged clients – outfielder Melky Cabrera, pitcher Bartolo Colon and catcher Yasmani Grandal – already have been caught and suspended by the league.

Following a relatively quiet period, PED busts spiked in baseball last season. From Ryan Braun’s positive test for testosterone – which got overturned because of alleged mishandling of evidence – to the suspensions of Cabrera, Colon, Grandal, Freddy Galvis, Marlon Byrd, Guillermo Mota and Carlos Ruiz, baseball is facing a renaissance of use, one it believes centered in south Florida.

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Rodriguez’s production in 2012 was somewhat anemic for the third baseman , and his postseason foray spoke volumes as to why the team failed so miserably in the MLB playoffs . Anemic play all round and very fact that, Joe Girardi and his staff were simply out-managed , spelled doom and gloom for the New York Yankees. The franchise’s problems in the postseason did not simply start and finish with the team’s woefully inept offense but team’s pitching during the regular and postseason left a great deal to be desired .

The Yankees have sought to bolster their roster and the during off-season , as they made some moves , seeking to prepare themselves for the upcoming season . I firmly believe that first two months of the New York Yankees’ schedule will tell us a great deal about this team and how they might possibly fare ! Undoubtedly, Derek Jeter will seek to lead by example , as he has often done throughout the course of his illustrious career.

Well the College Basketball season has started off with a bang and it has only gotten better over the ensuing weeks , and it has certainly live up to the hyperbole . The rankings have been turned upside down and on its ear , with a new number one ranked team , with Michigan (Wolverines) 19-1 , now succeeding Duke (Blue Devils) 17-2 atop of the polls, with the Blue Devils now dropping to number five in the polls. As an avid Duke Blue Devils’ fan to see the team go through two rather indifferent losses , both of which came at the hands of ACC rivals , North Carolina State and the Miami Hurricanes . Mike Krzyzewski , may not be overly concerned with his team’s plight at present , but I am sure his most pressing issue will be to get his players ready for the 2012-13 NCAA Tournament . Now while many may well seek the answers to numerous questions , as the reasons behind these two defeats to lesser opponents within the ACC . A succinct answer would be “ better to be subject of those losses , at this point of the season , rather than losing the games at a later date , as teams prepare themselves for March Madness” .

Duke’s next game will be against Wake Forest this Wednesday when the two teams meet . Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry are the two leading scorers on the Blue Devils’ roster. And it will be incumbent upon the duo to lead by example over the remainder of the team’s schedule.

As if to further solidify, how goddamn damn out of touch Bud Selig and the MLB hierarchy tends to be , on all things as it relates to the economy of baseball . Having successfully come out of bankruptcy proceedings , the Los Angeles Dodgers under the new ownership group led by Mark Walter , Todd S Boehly , NBA great , Magic Johnson and Hollywood mogul , Peter Guber . Under the astute financial leadership of Mark Walter and Boehly , whose company Guggenheim Partners LLC , a world-renowned venture capital firm , with over $125 billion , in assets and a further $700 million under management. The financial aptitude that will be brought to the franchise , will no longer make it a bastion of ridicule and self-indulgence that it had become under the stewardship of former owner Frank McCourt , while the hierarchy and baseball team owners around baseball simply stood back , and literally allowed McCourt bring the ball-club to financial ruin. And yet fans , and these lame assed MLB tv pundits feel that the game is safe hands , while Selig and idiots such as Fred Wilpon , Saul Katz , Bob Nutting and David Glass remains within its midst. Either these idiots are self-medicating or they’re completely happy , in smelling the bullshit that baseball continues to sell the fans by way of Bud Selig’s edicts .

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports & Associated Press

Dodgers secure $7B TV rights deal with TW Cable

By RYAN NAKASHIMA and RONALD BLUM (Associated Press)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers formally announced a deal with Time Warner Cable on Monday to create a new TV channel that people familiar with the situation say assures the team more than $7 billion over 25 years. That is double what Major League Baseball thought the local TV rights were worth when the team was sold out of bankruptcy just last year.

The gap will be the subject of discussions going forward as the league attempts to haggle over how much of that extra money will go into a revenue-sharing pool to help out baseball’s lower-revenue franchises.

MLB calculates that 34 percent of a team’s local revenue, after subtracting costs, is available for redistribution throughout the league. When the Dodgers were mired in bankruptcy last year, the league agreed to value the potential TV rights of any future deal at $84 million the first year, rising 4 percent every year thereafter. Over 25 years, that estimated TV rights revenue of $3.5 billion.

The actual TV rights contract represents a huge mark-up from that initial forecast. It could be a boon to the league, depending on how much of that revenue its internal rules committee says is subject to sharing. The contract is also a big win for the owners, including Guggenheim Partners and Magic Johnson, who bought the team out of bankruptcy last year for $2 billion from Frank McCourt.

The broad strokes of the deal terms were confirmed by three people who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about them publicly.

MLB spokesman Pat Courtney wouldn’t comment on the deal, but said the league would need to approve it. ”We are still awaiting further information,” he said.

If approved, fans in the Los Angeles area and Hawaii would have to switch from watching Dodgers games on Fox Sports’ regional sports channel Prime Ticket after the 2013 season.

The high price tag also means monthly TV bills are likely headed upward – in the Los Angeles market and elsewhere.

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Walter , Boehly and team President Stan Kasten have been able to negotiate what is now a record broadcast rights’ deal between a professional sports’ franchise and a broadcast outlet. In what was believed to be at the time, a television deal , that was initially worth $4 billion has now ballooned to a reputed $7 billion deal over two decades , that will net the Dodgers $350 million annually , more than enough, to meet their now ballooning payroll , with a surplus no doubt , that will allow GM Ned Colletti to pursue desired players , almost at will. However, after the league hierarchy partakes of disbursing monies to the other teams within the league , the Dodgers as the recipients of the deal have allowed the rights to their regular season games and postseason schedule in part to Time Warner Cable Incorporated , parent company of cable broadcast outlets TBS and TNT . And though the deal will need league approval , there is no denying who the greatest beneficiary of this all will be the Los Angeles Dodgers, who win out in such a magnanimous way , but small market teams will be merely offered breadcrumbs by way of this deal as it relates to the tax sharing revenue scheme .

While I do not begrudge the Dodgers their new-found wealth , what I do find somewhat asinine is the continued excuses being made by fans and team owners alike, who state they can ill afford to go out and spend money . First off , how about having a business plan, that sees a franchise with set goals ? It has been these sort of excuses that have been continually used by the likes of the Pittsburgh Pirates , whose mismanagement continues to this day under present owner , Bob Nutting . Likewise , this remains true of David Glass of the Kansas City Royals , and here within the Tampa Bay area , with lead managing partner , Stuart Sternberg and the Tampa Bay Rays . Sternberg, for his part has seen limited success in recent years with the franchise . And with the paring down of the team’s salary from last season ($64 million) to an approximate figure of $55 million for 2013 . In the midst of this all , has been the ownership group’s wish for a new venue , rather than continuing to play in what has become an archaic , and now broken down structure , known as Tropicana Field , in St Petersburg , Florida .

Bud Selig , for his part, has provided the Rays with about as much assistance in their endeavors for a new venue , as one could imagine a religious Islamic zealot offering the hand of friendship to a Jew . It would not be repulsive to suggest, that the commissioner would rather piss on the dying embers of the Rays , rather than witness the franchise continue to be an embarrassment within the game from his own opinion. Somehow , during Selig’s tenure, we have seen his and the hierarchy’s continued incompetence be ongoing and showing no signs of abatement . The contempt that he bears for the Rays’ organization and that of the local and state politicians in Florida , is in fact limitless . Yet somehow he has presided over the construction of three multimillion dollar facilities (Citi-Field, Yankees Stadium & Marlins’ Ballpark) in the last five years , two of which barely has an attendance level worth mentioning . Simply put , why spend tens of millions to build an edifice , when you can find a gullible politician willing to oblige, while they’re getting nothing of any real intrinsic value in return ?

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Picture gallery .

What signals, do you believe that have sent out within sports of as of late , are to your mind , either misleading or simply asinine ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit, on this , and anything else you think pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman (53) speaks during media day for the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game , Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, in New Orleans. AP Photo/Pat Semansky ….

(2) Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice , left, stands with offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell during NFL football practice at the team’s training facility in Owings Mills, Md., Friday, Jan. 25, 2013. The Ravens are scheduled to face the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans on Sunday, Feb. 3. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky …

(3) In a Sunday Sept. 26, 2010 photo Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams stands on the sidelines during an NFL football game at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, La. The Titans have talked with suspended defensive coordinator Williams and are interested in hiring him, said a person familiar with the situation Sunday Jan. 27, 2013. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert …

(4) Seen here , are Titans’ general manager Ruston Webster , seated left, alongside the team’s head coach Mike Munchak at the 2012 NFL Draft . The organization’s draft was not an outright success as mirrored in their standings this past NFL season. It is now being widely reported that Webster has agreed in principle to hire Gregg Williams , former defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints. Williams , after his acknowledged involvement and initiating the Saints’ bounty scandal. The former coordinator , had been suspended indefinitely by the NFL hierarchy , but would now appear that with his imminent reinstatement , he will be allowed to make a return to the NFL and continue in his duties as a coach within the league . If his interview is proved to be a success , which appears to be a formality at this juncture , Gregg Williams would become the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach , for a franchise that struggled greatly in terms of their defensive prowess in 2012. AP Photo/ Mark Walsh …

(5) Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (9) knocks Chicago Bulls guard Nate Robinson , left, out-of-the-way as he drives to the basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Boston on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013. AP Photo/Charles Krupa …

(6) FILE – In this Oct. 18, 2012 file photo, New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez prepares to hit in the sixth inning during Game 4 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park , in Detroit. Major League Baseball says it is “extremely disappointed” about a new report that says records from an anti-aging clinic in the Miami area link Rodriguez and other players to the purchase of performance-enhancing drugs. AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(7) Duke’s Seth Curry (30) drives to the basket against Maryland’s Shaquille Cleare (44) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013. AP Photo/Gerry Mahoney …

(8) Robert L. Patton, Jr ., Stan Kasten, Mark Walter, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Peter Guber and Todd Boehly (l-r) make up The Guggenheim Baseball Management Team who now own the Dodgers. The group held a press conference Wednesday at Dodger Stadium . Andy Holzman/Daily News Staff Photographer ….

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The African- American Athlete , in today’s world what do they actually stand for ?

The African-American Athlete , in today’s world what do they actually stand for ?

It’s not a matter of being politically correct but a matter of doing what is morally right and in this millennium we have the African-American athlete standing tall , widely recognized in their chosen field of endeavor in the world of sports , but rarely do we hear them voice an opinion on anything outside of their chosen sport . During the era of Hall of Fame running back , Jim Brown , we knew exactly where Brown stood on a number of social issues , Likewise with Muhammad Ali , Lew Alcindor/ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar , Bill Russell, Jackie Robinson , Arthur Ashe and Lee Elder , Tommie Smith , Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson, Bo Jackson and John Carlos .

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However, in this modern world of even more high-profiled visibility , or the internet , tabloid magazines and 24 hour cable new’ outlets , today’s African-American athletes rarely expose themselves a political issue , unless an agent has them there appearing for their very own benefit , in according them with even more visibility . Michal Jordan , Floyd Mayweather , Tiger Woods , Derek Jeter and LeBron James , perhaps the four biggest male athletes of the past two decades, to have been foisted upon the public with pristine images. Yet counter to this, we know, that all four had their issues , when, it came to their character . Jordan we know of his legacy within the NBA , but away from the court , his private life became a mess , a divorce that showed the former NBA great was just as prolific off the court, in terms of sexual exploits and proclivities , as he was renowned on the court for his feats. Rarely, however, was the player front and center on a political or social issue. Granted, as a philanthropist , he has donated millions of dollars and through his charitable foundation has helped underprivileged children with educational scholarships .

Mayweather , considered to be the best boxer of his generation , and arguably amongst the top ten greatest fighters of all-time . We know of the boxer’s extraordinary abilities , yet away from the ring this convicted spousal abuser , has all the appeal of a felon , who simply courts trouble at the drop of a hat. Floyd Mayweather, craves the limelight, above everything else , and by whatever means necessary , he will do what it takes to make sure that the public are cognizant of that. As to the fighter’s wish, to be socially active and voice his opinions on a litany of issues, well that has never been publicly seen .

LeBron James as a basketball phenomenon in high school , at St Mary’s high school , in Akron , Ohio, was lauded and placed within the public domain , far too early ,clearly creating a spectacle , where it made it extremely difficult for him to escape the glare of the spotlight. Questions and suspicions arose, when James made the direct jump from high school, straight to the professional ranks of the NBA , becoming the number one overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft , by eschewing the collegiate ranks . It was widely believed, that James and his family profited financially , from his amateur career as a high school basketball phenomenon. Yet , to this day , those questions have never been fully answered by LeBron James or any member of his immediate family , and it goes a great deal to the veracity of the claims , as to the hypocrisy of NBA Commissioner David Stern , and his own insistence to overlook those alleged improprieties.

James, as a global brand, is now reaching halcyon heights , with commercial tie ins to Nike Inc, the world’s largest sports’ apparel manufacturer , as well as several Fortune 500 companies , and the player has now become an advertisers’ dream and a doyenne of Madison Ave. Not since the days of Michael Jordan , has an NBA player become so marketable and with even more corporate sponsors on board, the LeBron James’ persona and brand, are now more highly visible than ever before . While, this remains, all so clear , on a number real social issues , we do not know where James actually stands . However , in recent years, having realized his raised high-profile , LeBron James has leant his name to a program concerning education issues , but specifically with regard to high school dropouts .

The greatest golfer of all-time , well that remains to be seen . Yet it remains abundantly clear , that Tiger Woods is, and will remain the most popular and highly visible athlete on the planet. He has yet to be truly challenged by any of his contemporaries at this stage of his career , albeit , that with the ascent of Rory McIlroy to the top of the World Golf rankings , we might now see a real rivalry that will captivate the world’s attention . With McIlroy’s recent successes , with 2 Grand Slam tournament wins already in his young and budding career. This may well be the time to truly appreciate the sport and specifically the events on the PGA Tour .

The divorce of Tiger Woods and his sexual exploits were well chronicled by the print and television media , and it has to be said , much of this , was of Woods’ idiocy and his own making . Having overcome that public embarrassment and humiliation , the golfer’s public act of contrition , believable or not , was something of a travesty , in so many ways , as this whole spectacle took on a life of its own. . Woods maintains his philanthropic efforts with regard to the education of underprivileged children , and their gaining access to tools by way of technology. All commendable and his Tiger Woods’ Foundation having raised in excess of $250 million and the foundation’s tie-in with Target , has been of great benefit to the recipients , as well as the retail chain and Woods , himself, in terms of keeping the golfer at the forefront of the sporting landscape, amongst athletes of color. From a political standpoint, Tiger Woods has never let his political affiliations be known publicly , and perhaps with good reason , rather than making himself political “ cannon fodder “ for the political pundits on both sides of what it must be said , are now groups , that are simply devoid of intelligence !

Woods maintains his philanthropic efforts with regard to the education of underprivileged children , and their gaining access to tools by way of technology. All commendable and his Tiger Woods’ Foundation having raised in excess of $250 million and the foundation’s tie-in with Target , has been of great benefit to the recipients , as well as the retail chain and Woods , himself in terms of keeping at the forefront of the sporting landscape amongst athletes of color. From a political standpoint, Tiger Woods has never let his political affiliations be known publicly , and perhaps with good reason , rather than making himself political “ cannon fodder “ for the political pundits on both sides of what it must be said , are now groups , that are simply devoid of intelligence !

As a four-time World Series’ victor with the famed New York Yankees , Derek Jeter’s career now reads like that of a modern-day hero , with the baseball player , often being called “ Captain America”. Being of biracial parentage has not been of a great hindrance to the seventeen year veteran of the Majors . His Turn 2 Key Foundation has fulfilled the player’s dream of giving back not just amongst his native community of Kalamazoo , Michigan , but also within city of New York and Tampa , where the Yankees use as their Winter base for their Spring Training schedule . The beneficiaries of Jeter’s foundation , once again are children who are at risk , while providing them with a safe haven , in after school literacy programs , and the learning of good etiquette.

Michael Jordan from his heyday with the Chicago Bulls , seemed intent on garnering the glory and wealth . Both he , and David Stern profited from their relationship greatly , with the league (NBA) seeing its revenues rise from several million dollars a year , wherein the past two decades , the NBA has now become a multi-billion dollar annual enterprise . The rivalry between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers , led to Larry Bird and Magic Johnson , respectively , where they had the fans enthralled. Yet , the exploits of Jordan and the Bulls and their dominance of the throughout much of the nineties , which heightened the visibility of the NBA and its brand , becoming a worldwide phenomena .

Jordan remains a formidable force away from the game , where his Jump-man 23 Brand , a sole entity within Nike’s sales brands, remains amongst the apparel manufacturer’s biggest revenue source. As a front office executive however , the former player’s failures have been well chronicled . As a spokesman on social issues , Jordan remains stoic and noncommittal , more so I believe , of not wanting to damage his branding and economic worth . As with any high profiled athlete . his philanthropic efforts are primarily geared towards children and their well-being .No matter how one would try to spin it , if children are the centerpiece of your efforts, the whole world simply tends to take notice . I could very well be mistaken, but Jordan may well take his pointers initially from what David Stern, and may well have felt it best , in the NBA’s interest , from an image standpoint. And about the only thing the NBA commissioner has ever felt worth his while has been to for the league to simply make money and not much else beyond that. .

From a political standpoint , the country may well have changed greatly , but in reality the perceived advancement from the civil rights’ era of the sixties are not as great, as many would like to believe . And an athlete who seeks to speak out politically on any subject is likely to be ridiculed by the press and fans alike . Conservatives feel aggrieved of their Republican Party’s poor showing in the Presidential elections , but I would preface this by saying , when your nominee is an uninspired choice, and his running mate, shows all of the character traits of an inanimate object , then there is not much more that needs to be said as it relates to , Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan !. That being said , the Democrats have regained the White House , with Barack Obama and Joe Biden gaining a second term , it has to be said the agenda set could very well define how Obama’s legacy will be defined . His initial term , was one of blunders, and a great deal of incompetence , and it looks as we could very well be in for more of the same with a second term now underway. An economy that remains stagnant , albeit that the President’s economic policy advisers (CEA) will seek offer Barack Obama a template for turning around the economy and hopefully taking it out of a tailspin , in spite of this idiocy that because the Dow Jones (DJIA) is now above 14,000 , the economy itself once again healthy. Speculation by brokers on Wall St and within the NYSE doesn’t indicate a healthy economy , and perhaps someone should remind these assholes of that fact , on both sides of the political aisle , as well as those within the print and television media .

It seems somewhat strange that four plus decades on from the civil rights’ era , African-American athletes would seek to remain quiet on a number of issues , presumably , as they have no wish to be viewed as flies amongst the ointment while a minority holds the highest political office in the land . Perhaps , I am mistaken , but I find today’s athletes , simply gutless , who would rather garner ta vast amount wealth , visibility and simply overlook the societal imbalances within their midst. Whereas, with such icons as Arthur Ashe , Lee Elder , Jim Brown , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jackie Robinson , Bill Russell , Muhammad Ali, Tommie Smith , John Carlos and Bo Jackson all had something valid to say, as to the plight of not only the plight of minorities in this country, but also being a voice for those who have simply been left out in the cold , without any real representation.

Fans may well find an athlete being politically outspoken, a detriment to society as a whole but were it not for the actions of Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson , where would the game of baseball and the African-American baseball player be , today ? Fans also seem to forget that Robinson also served his country as a war veteran and spoke of his experiences as being part of a segregated Armed Forces , yet when he played a game which became fully integrated whereas it would be almost a decade after the end of WWII (World War II) before the US Armed Forces became fully integrated , and where minorities were said to be on an equal basis with their Caucasian counterparts.

Arthur Ashe, the only African-American male tennis player to hold the # 1 ranking in the Men’s Open era of tennis was a socially active articulate spokesperson . Ashe , while all others sought to simply ignore the ignore the disreputable role that apartheid played in South Africa , in that country’s political climate for the better part of five decades , while the United States simply ignored the events taking place on the continent, rarely with the State Department or any administration seeking to cut off diplomatic ties with the country , during apartheid’s most infamous era , from sixties right through until the mid-eighties. All this from a country that has pride itself and set itself apart , as a moral beacon of light for the world to follow. There is a great deal that is great about the United States , but there also remains a great deal that is egregiously wrong with the country as how it views itself in the world and it’s continuing idiotic nonexistent foreign policy .

A tribute to the late , great , Arthur Ashe

The ATP sought to ignore Ashe’s calls for a boycott of the sanctioned events being held in the country , and it was not until major European sponsors sought to withdraw their sponsorship of events on the ATP calendar , did the governing body ITF and ATP seek to withdraw from sanctioning events , which would have far-reaching effects , when one bears in mind that the country was barred from competing in the Summer and Winter Olympics , by the IOC , because of South Africa’s political policies towards the majority of its population .

Ashe’s death, due to in an intravenous blood transfusion with tainted blood, leading to hepatitis B and then full-blown AIDS was something a shock to the world , but beyond his accomplishments on the tennis court , he will be remembered as a “ lone voice in the wilderness “ seeking to do what was morally right “ , when everyone else simply chose to ignore such a heinous issue . Apathy, I firmly believe, alongside ignorance and a sheer attitude of “not in my backyard” !

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Picture gallery .

Do you believe it pertinent today for an athlete to make their voices heard and to use their notoriety to speak out, on a wide range of issues ? Or are you of the opinion that they should merely keep their opinions to themselves , rather than haranguing the public with their views ? Simply , chime in with a comment as you see fit .

Picture and slideshow details below.

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(1) Jim Brown , Hall of Fame inductee , and social activist . Brown had a stellar NFL career before becoming a noted Hollywood actor and then transfixing himself within the political scene , raising social awareness to African-American issues as well as those among other minorities . AP Photo / Michelle George …

(2) Muhammad Ali , the voice of a nation and now suffering from Parkinson’s Disease . The fighter , a conscientious objector to the war in Vietnam , has been vocal with regard to Islamic issues having converted to Islam as a Sufi Muslim . Prior to his debilitating and ravages of the disease , ravaging Ali’s body , he sought a dialogue between Muslims and Jews , through joint meetings at various levels within the Jewish and Islamic community, in North America , as well as the Middle East . Ring Magazine @ copyrighted material all rights reserved …

(3)Former NBA basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, is seen backstage prior to a screening of his documentary film ‘On the Shoulders of Giants’ at Science Park High School, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011, in Newark, N.J. Abdul-Jabbar , an NBA Hall of Fame inductee , has written several noteworthy books , as well-being a celebrated documentary film maker , has taught on the campuses of Native American Indian schools, across the country, as well speaking about their plight , in terms of alcoholism, prolific drug abuse and violence amongst teenagers . Apart from his philanthropic efforts in that endeavor , the NBA great is a noted historian , specifically as it relates African-American World War II veterans , having written an acclaimed book on the Tuskegee Airmen . The Lakers’ great remains the NBA’s all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points . The current active leader within the NBA is Kobe Bryant with 30,726 points . AP Photo/ Aaron Pryce … ….

(4) Bill Russell is seen here being given the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama . The NBA legend and Celtics’ great was a close confidante of Dr Martin Luther King and a staunch advocate of African-American rights during the civil rights’ era . A well-respected , and often called the greatest player ever to have donned a Boston Celtics’ uniform , Russell is the most successful player in NBA history , having won eleven championship titles with the Boston Celtics . AP /Photo/ USA Today/ Tomasz Marchinkoff …..

(5) A pivotal moment in baseball history ___ Jackie Robinson shakes Branch Rickey’s hand after signing his 1948 contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers . February 12, 1948 New York City, New York, USA . MLB.com archives @ copyrighted material all rights reserved …..

(6) Lee Elder , the first African-American to play at the Masters an invitation only tournament on the PGA Tour . Elder remained a leading advocate amongst his African-American contemporaries and successors such as Calvin Peete , Charlie Sifford and Pete Brown . The PGA Tour , as of today, has only one prominent African-American player of note , regularly playing on the Tour and he happens to be , Tiger Woods . Currently ranked #2 in the world , Woods’ effort , to see a rise amongst African-American players on the PGA Tour , has seen minimal success . Something of which , PGA Tour Chairman Tim Finchem , rarely speaks publicly about , and something of which , Tiger Woods rarely addresses in public . Golf’s ” dirty little ” secret remains hidden up to a point , its inner circle will remain in control by a group of aging middle-aged male Caucasians , who would rather see the “status quo” remain as is ! AFP /REUTERS/ Eric Gallagher ….

(7) Derek Jeter is seen here with his family , left , his mother Dorothy , center , his sister , Sharlee , and to Jeter’s right , his father , Charles Jeter. The player , a five time World Series champion , Gold Glove winner , with multiple All Star appearances for the New York Yankees . Jeter , through his Turn 2 Key Foundation , is a staunch advocate of children’s rights and in promoting educational avenues for at risk kids . AP Photo / Pete Wilson …..

(8) Rory McIroy, left , and Tiger Woods , the top two ranked golfers in the world , are now viewed as the future of the sport, whose global revenues now outstrips that of the NBA and NFL combined . From humble beginnings to a now estimated $490 million a year prize money , the PGA Tour, is now the most lucrative Tour of the , four major golf Tour schedules globally. Getty Images / Kevin C. Cox ….

(9) LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat drives to the basket past Jeff Green (8) of the Boston Celtics during the game on January 27, 2013 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Heat would go on to lose the game 100-98 in a slew of scheduled match-ups played on Sunday , 27th January , 2013. Getty Images North America / Jared Wickheram ….

(10) On the dais , at the 1968 Mexico Olympics are the top three finishers from the Men’s 200 meters sprint Finals . Hands raised aloft are gold medal winner, Tommie Smith and bronze medalist John Carlos . The second placed finisher was Australia’s Peter Norman , whose son , Matt Norman directed a documentary entitled , ” Salute ” , which covers the events leading up to that significant moment in Olympic history . Smith and Carlos , though not members of the Black Panthers , whose clenched fist salute , is seen as a form of solidarity of the organization, raised their fists in support of the organization , but more so as they stated at the time , in support of the impoverished underclass of society , that were being mistreated by the US by the government and in support of those protesting against the Vietnam War , which was still in full swing. Yet somehow this was looked upon as being disrespectful of the US flag and national anthem . What might be even more disrespectful was the futility of fighting a needless war that led to the loss of so many lives without the United States earning a moral or Pyrrhic victory from the pretense of going to war to battle communism . AFP /Photo / Ron Wilson ….

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Round up, round up, and then sound off !

Round up, round up, and then sound off !

By Tophatal

Well, with the NBA season, having reached its midway point the divisional and conference pictures provide a stark contrast for the fans and TV pundits alike . The Charlotte Bobcats and Washington Wizards appear to be the two worst teams in the NBA at present, based simply upon their records , beyond the fact of their poor play and the fact that, they are each poorly coached . Add in bye-line of the ongoing woes of the Los Angeles Lakers and the league has itself a storyline that even the most appreciative of Hollywood moguls would be proud of .

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With the pending approval of the Board of Governors , the fans will see the relocation of the Sacramento Kings from the California state capitol , to Seattle , Washington , after the Maloof family agreed in principle, to the sale of the franchise to a consortium of Seattle based investors , led by billionaire venture capitalist , Chris Hansen and Microsoft Chairman , Steve Ballmer . The rumored sale price of the Kings’ franchise is believed to be $535 million. A tidy sum to be gained by Joe and Gavin Maloof , as the principal owners of the impoverished franchise. This whole episode paints a sorry picture of the NBA , and an even more embarrassing picture of the political scene within the state Capitol, especially when one considers the actions of the city’s mayor , Kevin Johnson and his begging for the NBA franchise to remain within his city’s locale. One would have thought that Johnson and the city council would have far more acute issues to deal with , rather than plead and be at the mercy of billionaire professional sports’ franchise owners . who are simply gaining a financial windfall from the municipality without ever really offering anything tangible by way of reciprocity , in return .

So we will have ourselves a “Harbaugh Bowl” , when the final game of the NFL 2012-13 season , gets underway. The AFC representative will be the Baltimore Ravens , coached by John Harbaugh , whose team will play the San Francisco 49ers , coached by Jim Harbaugh , in the NFL’s showcase event , the Superbowl (SB47) , which will be played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome , on Sunday , 3rd February 2013.

The emotional bye-lines here , with regard to the Ravens , beyond the familial rivalry between the Harbaugh brothers , will be the end of a historic career , as win or lose , defensive lineman Ray Lewis will retire from the game as perhaps one of the best defensive players in the NFL history ? Lewis’ dynamics at the position has redefined the game , in many ways just as much as another heralded defensive player stamped his mark on the NFL , as Hall of Fame inductee Lawrence Taylor had done over the course of his famed career .

Now while the main storyline will be that of the John and Jim Harbaugh , with the Lewis subplot , thrown in for good measure . How cans anyone, simply ignore the astonishing success of Colin Kaepernick this season? The attributes shown by the player during the regular season was carried over into the postseason and it was essentially one of the primary reasons why the 49ers’ franchise now finds itself making a sixth Superbowl appearance , with the ball-club having won five , with their last appearance coming in 1994 , when they triumphed (49-26) over the San Diego Chargers in Superbowl XXIX . Superbowl MVP Steve Young would go on to have an historic game passing for a record six touchdowns in the 49ers’ rout of the San Diego Chargers . No one is expecting Kaepernick to emulate those feats , but I would dare say that this game could very well provide us with an aerial display from both quarterbacks , Colin Kaepernick and Joe Flacco.

It is my belief that with both teams being so evenly matched, this game will come down to who makes the most productive use of the ball , with the least amount of errors along the way !

As an Atlanta Braves’ fan Spring Training is just around the corner , but the common feeling is that if this team is to truly compete this upcoming season against their divisional rivals within the NL East . Then it is my belief that the front office will have to bolster their offense , beyond the acquisitions made during the off-season. GM Frank Wren pulled the trigger on the deal that brought B J Upton to the Braves , where it is hoped that the player can replace the productivity provided by Chipper Jones . In what was undoubtedly a Hall of Fame career , Jones left baseball , as one of the best hitters in the game from both sides of the plate. That asides , the real issue for the Braves this season , specifically for manager Fredi Gonzalez and his coaching staff will be to get his players in the right frame of mind , after the disappointment of the playoffs in 2012, when the team fell at the first hurdle in the wildcard round . . The team’s postseason in a lopsided 6-3 loss to the St Louis Cardinals .

The rumors now are circling , that the Braves’ front office are seeking to bring in the Diamondbacks’ Justin Upton , the younger sibling of B J Upton . Should that deal come to fruition , it would certainly bode well for the aspirations of the organization this upcoming season. Another productive bat on the Braves’ offense would certainly add to the team’s potency when measured against their NL rivals . The Atlanta Braves are a fundamentally sound team , and if they are truly to prevail throughout much of this upcoming season , then, the team’s pitching will have to be at its very best . In 2012 with a team ERA of 3.42 , the Braves placed fourth amongst the National League’s sixteen teams . I believe that placement can be improved upon this season with what should be the improved play of Kris Medlen , Tim Hudson , Mark Minor , Paul Maholm , Brandon Beachy , Craig Kimbrell , coming out of the bullpen when the situation arises .

I’ll say it repeatedly , but it is now time for Stuart Sternberg to cut his losses and simply look to relocate the Tampa Bay Rays’ baseball franchise outside the state of Florida . There is no real sustainable fan-base, in the greater Tampa Bay area , and the organization can barely survive on the revenues it generates without the assist of the MLB hierarchy , never mind the repeated goddamn asinine statements forthcoming from the fans media pundits within the local market . Sternberg , the managing general partner in the Rays’ ownership group , today addressed the St Petersburg City Council , reiterating his position that he has no desire to move the baseball franchise from the only real home it has , known , that being, the now archaic Tropicana Field , in downtown St Petersburg. Florida.

Courtesy of Baseballnewssource.com

Rays Stuart Sternberg: MLB Does Not Believe In Tampa Bay Region

The Tampa Bay Rays has made it clear that they don’t expect to be playing at Tropicana Field through 2027 , when their current lease expires with the city of St. Petersburg. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg took a trip across the bay to Tampa to speak to the Hillsborough County Commission about the future of the team in the Tampa Bay area. The team is bound by an agreement that prohibits the Rays negotiating or even discussing other locations for new stadium.

Sternberg told officials that major league baseball is frustrated with the teams attendance despite producing a winning product on the field. ”Major League Baseball does not believe anymore in the Tampa Bay region,” Sternberg told the county commission during a session that ran beyond its scheduled 30 minutes.

To his credit, Sternberg said that he personally has not lost hope that the franchise could be successful in the Tampa Bay area. ”We do think about the future,” he said. “We have to take some time to plan a stadium. You don’t just snap your fingers.”

Hillsborough County Commission Chairman Ken Hagan simply stated, “it’s not a matter of whether the Rays will relocate but when and where it will happen.” St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster maintains that he plans to hold the Rays to the terms of their lease and the Rays should not discuss building a stadium outside of Pinellas County. Sternberg added, ”I’m not frustrated with Mayor Foster, I’m just frustrated,” Sternberg said afterward.

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One of the things that Stuart Sternberg reflected upon and made it abundantly clear to the city’s council members , was the very fact that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has no implicit faith in either the Rays’ organization or the city of St Petersburg , which has simply fortifies the belief that the commissioner sees no real value in the Tampa Bay Rays as a viable baseball concern, in spite of the franchise’s recent successes during the regular and postseason . Sheer frustration or not ,it is becoming apparently clear with the lease on Tropicana Field not due to expire until 2027 , the baseball franchise has no other option but to meet its contractual obligations with regard to the lease and to continue playing at ballpark for the foreseeable future. Sternberg and his partners clearly do not have the financial resources to break that lease and pay the financial penalties that would be incurred. And that is in spite of the asinine rants from the local media pundits and the anally retentive fans who feel that the organization can simply walk away and break that lease . Clearly , you now see the real reasons why the fans within this locale lack the intelligence to truly appreciate the real issues at hand , that baseball organization faces , when they come out with such ridiculous statements, that the baseball club can simply choose not to honor its lease agreement .

What should be telling but it appears that the ongoing intransigence of the Rays’ fans simply knows no boundaries as to their ongoing stupidity , if they believe that baseball’s hierarchy has any wish to assist the Tampa Bay Rays in their endeavors , in the pursuit of new baseball venue. Neither the city of St Petersburg , the county governments of Hillsborough County , Pinellas County’s neighboring county, and within whose domain the Rays reside , can afford to make the financial undertaking needed , when their own financial state remains somewhat precarious. And it is highly unlikely that the state legislature or Governor Rick Scott would favor any sort of deal using state revenues , even by way of the state’s hotel taxes.

My contention is that if Stuart Sternberg really wants to make the Tampa Bay Rays not only competitive and a financially viable concern , it may well be now time for him to seek either out a silent partner with ” deep pockets” , or sell the franchise to an interested investor.

With the College Football season , finishing with an emphatic thud , after that embarrassment, which had the audacity to be called the BCS National title game . Somehow , you simply knew that as we entered 2013 , the off-season within the game’s landscape had one or two more idiotic episodes to be offered up for the fans’ consumption. Beyond the idiocy of Manti Te`o’s imaginary girlfriend and his continued falsehoods , which now seem to be proving to be as embarrassing for Notre Dame and AD Jack Swarbrick , as it repeatedly has been for the player , himself . Well , now comes word that the NCAA’s investigation of the Miami Hurricanes’ football program has come into question , as there now seems to be a great deal of cause for concern in how the Infractions’ Committee conducted their investigation into the allegations and claims by Canes’ booster , the now incarcerated , Nevin Shapiro. Shapiro’s claims of monetary payments made to current and former players on team’s football roster has taken on more than a life of its own , with the US Justice Department Criminal Division actually conducting their own in-depth investigation, of which details in part were passed on to the NCAA . Collegiate athletics’ governing body, led by its President, Mark Emmert, promised an in-depth investigation which would be fully transparent. Well, those words now feel empty, in light of the latest revelations that the investigation was botched by the investigators of the NCAA.

Courtesy of the Huffington Post

NCAA Miami Investigation Botched by Investigators, Leads to External Review

By Michael Marot,

INDIANAPOLIS — The latest black eye for college sports belongs to the NCAA.

In an embarrassing blow to its watchdog image, the NCAA said Wednesday its enforcement staff had botched the high-profile investigation of the University of Miami by improperly conducting at least two depositions while working with an attorney for disgraced booster Nevin Shapiro. Miami has been under investigation since the convicted Ponzi scheme mastermind said he had provided improper benefits to Hurricanes recruits.

President Mark Emmert said he was disappointed and angry with the misstep, acknowledging he had not seen anything like this since taking the NCAA job 2 1/2 years ago. He said some “people” involved in this case were no longer working for the NCAA, though he declined to say who they were or whether they had been fired.

He said none of the evidence collected improperly would be used against Miami and that the long-awaited notice of allegations would be delayed until after an external review is completed in approximately two weeks.

It was an ugly stumble for the NCAA, coming less than a week after its annual convention resulted in another round of reforms intended to firm up recruiting rules and other guidelines. And it comes as the organization faces more than a half-dozen lawsuits that could reshape how it does business, including one challenging the $60 million in penalties levied against Penn State for the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

“Of course it hurts, any nick to a public perception that’s not favorable to begin with is a problem,” said Jo Potuto, former chairwoman of the NCAA infractions committee and a constitutional law professor at Nebraska. “The public perception has never been really favorable to the process or the infractions committee and so this is another hit.”

Emmert tried to reassure schools that the principle of playing by the rules extends into NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis.

“We can’t just say it, we’ve got to do it,” Emmert said. “While I have great confidence in the vast majority of cases, when you have something as candidly dramatic as this, you can’t just offer words; you have to demonstrate that you’re getting this right. The reason I wanted to get this out is to make sure that this is right. We want to hold ourselves to the same standards we hold others to.”

What happens next is anybody’s guess.

The external review, which will be conducted by former Justice Department official Kenneth L. Wainstein, a Washington attorney perhaps best known in sports for representing Gilbert Arenas after he brought guns to the Wizards locker room and confronted a teammate.

Wainstein will focus on Miami’s case, but he will have the authority to investigate the NCAA’s actions in additional cases, too.

The potential list could include the suit brought by former Southern California assistant football coach Todd McNair, who claims the NCAA was “malicious” in its investigation into his role in the benefits scandal surrounding Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Frederick Shaller has already said he was convinced the actions of NCAA investigators were “over the top.”

Wainstein also could look into the UCLA case involving freshman Shabazz Muhammad. In December, The Los Angeles Times reported that NCAA investigator Abigail Grantstein had been fired after her boyfriend was allegedly overheard discussing the case on an airplane. The NCAA has not confirmed the firing. The outside review could have potential ramifications, too, in a lawsuit brought by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett in the Penn State case.

This is not unfamiliar ground for the NCAA, and it could be that Emmert fears a lawsuit from Miami no matter how the investigation turns out. Former Washington football coach Rick Neuheisel won a $4.5 million settlement from the NCAA and university in 2005, saying he was wrongly fired for gambling in an NCAA basketball pool and failing to be forthright about it with NCAA investigators. Among other accusations, Neuheisel’s attorney said the NCAA failed to provide Neuheisel’s legal team with an updated version of its bylaws during discovery.

In this case, Emmert concluded something was wrong in the Miami case last fall when bills for an outside attorney showed up on an expense list, a hiring normally approved by the NCAA’s general counsel. Emmert said it was not, and that’s what initially caught the attention of those inside the Indy headquarters. He also said the person who had hired the lawyer was no longer working at the NCAA, making it more difficult to get information.

The fallout could lead to additional personnel moves, too, Emmert said.

Miami President Donna Shalala said she was “frustrated, disappointed and concerned” that the NCAA may have compromised the investigation. Potuto said she was surprised, describing the enforcement staff she dealt with as “open-minded” to investigations.

“I don’t know about a rogue one or two people, but it is not at all representative of my experience with the enforcement staff people who I dealt with over the years,” Potuto said. “Generally we found them (the enforcement staff) to be exceedingly fair to the point that we sometimes thought it impeded forceful investigations.”

Just last week, Emmert told The Associated Press he was pleased that the number of salacious and high-profile cases that dominated 2011 — a list that included the football programs at Miami, Ohio State and Penn State — had dissipated, though he was cautious about another big scandal popping. Within days, the hoax about Manti Te’o’s girlfriend broke, and Emmert was briefing two NCAA committees on the Miami case.

“The NCAA Executive Committee expects the enforcement program to operate within approved procedures and with the highest integrity,” said Lou Anna K. Simon, the NCAA’s executive committee chair and Michigan State president. “Although we are deeply disappointed in this turn of events, we strongly support the actions President Emmert is taking to address the problem.”

What Emmert wants now is answers about how this “severe issue of improper conduct.”

“My concern is that the policies and procedures are consistent with our values,” Emmert said. “Whether it produces good information or no information, there’s no way to cut corners on this. It’s a very difficult task, but you don’t do things inappropriately.”

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At some point someone has to ask what the hell is going on , and how incompetent is the NCAA , if as a governing body , it cannot conduct an investigation without showing this sort of incompetency , then how should the public view that collegiate body. I’ve long held the contention , that the organization presided over by Mark Emmert has become cumbersome archaic and all too self-absorbed , with their own importance, that they actually forget why they exist ! University President Donna Shalala, voiced her displeasure at this latest disclosure, that has cast a giant shadow over the university’s already tarnished reputation, which has embroiled the athletics’ program in its entirety , as well its AD Shawn Eichorst and head football coach Al Golden .

It seems completely asinine, with the mountains of evidence already at their disposal , much of it gathered by the Justice Department , it would then somehow, take the goddamn incompetency of the NCAA , to now make a complete ass of themselves , while throwing this whole investigation into a complete tailspin. This whole episode, has been playing itself out, over the past eighteen months, and the tardiness shown by the NCAA , now makes it unlikely that there will be a satisfactory outcome to this matter.

PGA Tour golfer, Phil Mickelson in a recent statement complained that he was entirely unhappy that he would be taxed at the rate of 62% on his 2012 earnings from golf and endorsement deals. The former #2 ranked golfer, on the Tour, earned $57 million last year , surpassing Tiger Woods , in total earnings on and endorsement deals on the PGA Tour . These taxes are not those specifically from federal income tax , that became in part retroactive , but the golfer’s concerns comes from California’s own state income tax , which is exorbitant , and amongst the highest in the nation.

Mickelson has since apologized for his statement , saying that it was somewhat insensitive , citing the plight of the unemployed and hard-working families, struggling to make ends meet . However, Mickelson’s, nonsensical response was asinine , when one considers that he failed to speak of California’s failed economic policies, that has left the state in a financial blight and with a burgeoning deficit and estimated $617 billion debt, and a $28 billion budget deficit. Governor, Gerry Brown , pointed to the fact that his office , and the state legislature are addressing this acute issue, but it is clear that Brown inherited a litany failed policies , and debt from his predecessor , Republican, Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’ve always felt it asinine , when I hear an athlete speak on an economic or social when issue , when it is abundantly clear that they have no fucking idea what they are actually talking about ! Unfortunately, you chalk this one up , to sheer stupidity on the part of the famed golfer.

Tennis tantrums now come, a dime, a dozen, and on the WTA circuit , it would appear to be no different . With the first Grand Slam tournament, underway , with the Australian Open now in full swing in Melbourne , Australia , . The preeminent female player on the women’s circuit over the past decade , Serena Williams , ranked #3 in the WTA rankings and seeking to make a gainful entrance to the semis of the Ladies Singles’ tournament , had an all too uncharacteristic mental breakdown in her match against fellow American , teenager , nineteen year old Sloane Stephens , in their quarter finals’ match. The normally physically imposing Williams, would prove to be, no match for her younger and more aggressive opponent . In a game, that was thrilling from start to finish , Sloane Stephens, simply let her battery of ground strokes and forehand volleys do “ her talking “ on the court , over three arduous and tantalizing sets of women’s tennis . Stephens won the match , coming back from one set down , to defeat Serena Williams, 3-6, 7-5, and 6-4 , in three sets , to earn a place in the semi-finals .

For Serena Williams , this was not so much the shock of defeat, but the way she handled herself during the match , showing a great deal of petulant anger during the match, albeit that she suffered a slight injury to her ankle during the game , but in no way should it excuse her childlike behavior as he violently smashed her racquet, repeatedly on the hard-court, while center stage in-front of an audience thousands watching and millions globally . “ Time they say waits for no one” , and at thirty-one years old , it looks as if, not only has time caught up to Serena Williams , but so too have some of her younger American protégé , in this case , a young teenager by the name of Sloane Stephens , who will move up several places in the rankings after this victory , before celebrating her twentieth birthday , in mid-March.

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What thoughts if any , do you have concerning the salient points within this article ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to subject matter .

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(1) Washington Wizards’ A.J. Price (12) defends against Utah Jazz’s Jamaal Tinsley (6) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game , Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, in Salt Lake City. AP Photo/Rick Bowmer …

(2) FILE- In this Sept. 11, 2011 file photo, Jackie and Jack Harbaugh, parents of San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, stand before an NFL football game between the 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks in San Francisco. The entire Harbaugh family already got its Super Bowl victory last Sunday, when each coach did his part to ensure a family reunion in New Orleans next week. The Ravens face off against the 49ers in the first Super Bowl coached by siblings on opposite sidelines. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma ….

(3)FILE – In this Nov. 24, 2011 file photo, Jack Harbaugh, far left, and his wife Jackie, second from left, chat with sons Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, second from right, and San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh before an NFL football game in Baltimore. The entire Harbaugh family already got its Super Bowl victory last Sunday, when each coach did his part to ensure a family reunion in New Orleans next week. The Ravens face off against the 49ers in the first Super Bowl coached by siblings on opposite sidelines. AP Photo/Gail Burton …

(4) FILE – In this Sept. 28, 2012, file photo, Arizona Diamondbacks’ Justin Upton waits on deck during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs in Phoenix. A person familiar with the situation says Arizona has traded Upton to the Atlanta Braves in a deal that sends All-Star third baseman Martin Prado to the Diamondbacks. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, because the trade has not officially been announced. AP Photo/Matt York …..

(5) Sternberg, right, said he does not expect the Rays to be playing at Tropicana Field through 2027, when the team’s contract with St. Petersburg ends. Jay Conner/ 2.tbo.com

(6) Sloane Stephens, foreground, is seen here looking to retrieve a forehand volley, made by her opponent , Serena Williams, background , during their quarter-finals’ match at the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia . Stephens won the match 2 sets to 1, 3-6, 7-5,6-4. Getty Images /AFP/Reuters/ Thomas Kenzie ….

(7) Phil Mickelson drives on the fourth hole of the North Course at Torrey Pines during the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, in San Diego. The golfer created something of a stir when he suggested that he wasn’t entirely happy to be taxed at the rate of 62% on his 2012 earnings of $57 million , also stating that he would be prepared to relocate to a more tax friendly locale . He would later recant that statement , by claiming his insensitivity in the plight of the unemployed and hard-working families striving to make ends meet. AP Photo/Gregory Bull …

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Were you ever kept in detention by a schoolteacher , who looked liked this , and was offering that type of extra curricular activity ?

This isn’t a Buss thing, as it’s about winning …. something that the Lakers aren’t accustomed to at present

This isn’t a Buss thing, as it’s about winning …. something that the Lakers aren’t accustomed to at present

By Tophatal

It is extremely difficult to focus on a starting point , let alone a finishing point , as it relates to the travails of the Los Angeles Lakers this season . The franchise’s woes, have been well chronicled in the print and television media, and with the team’s best player , Kobe Bryant , now voicing his displeasure, as to the recent lackluster efforts of his teammates , you simply know that it will be only a matter of time before Bryant rails against the management and senior executives within the organization. Mike DAntoni was brought in to replace the abruptly fired Mike Brown , after GM Mitch Kupchak and Senior Vice President , Jim Buss, son of the team’s owner , Dr Jerry Buss felt that an immediate change was needed .

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If five games into the season (1-4) , the is way, in which the NBA’s front office executives can attest to judging the playing form of their teams , then quietly possible several other of Mike Brown’s peers should have met the same fate , even if those might well have had a slightly superior record at the time . Yeah , but look , this is the Los Angeles Lakers we are discussing and anything remotely concerning common sense being shown , was thrown out the window , after the retirement of Phil Jackson , with both Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak , seeking to not offer the then vacant head coaching position to Jackson’s most trusted of his subordinates, Brian Shaw . This was even done, at the behest of Kobe Bryant, who voiced his wish both privately and publicly , for Brian Shaw to succeed Phil Jackson. Somehow , this all fell on deaf ears , as it relates to the aforementioned front office executives of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Entering into Tuesday, 22nd January , the Lakers bore a record of 17-24, within the Pacific Division of the Western Conference , wherein the team sits third place within their division , 14 ½ games behind the division leading Los Angeles Clippers (32-10) and 8 ½ games behind the second placed , and some might say the now surprisingly resilient , Golden State Warriors (25-15) , who are coached by former NBA point guard, Mark Jackson . Upon reflection , it was only a matter of time before the Lakers’ season simply resembled a train wreck , with the debris simply spread all over the place , with players simply out of gas , or feigning injury or as we are now being led to believe a number of the team’s acquisitions came into camp out of shape or with slight niggling injuries . The idiocy of this all, was that the print and television media were prepared to anoint this team as the best in the conference even before the season had tipped off . The Lakers are 2-8 in their last ten games albeit, that they are currently on three game losing streak , which does not augur well , for the franchise’s hope for a postseason berth , as they currently reside in twelfth place of the Western Conference’s fifteen teams .

The acquisitions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash , were meant to bolster the front court of this Lakers’ offense , complementing the skill-set of Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant . Gasol is now lost to the team for what is said to be an indeterminate period , and the play of Howard has been remarkably inconsistent , since starting for the Los Angeles Lakers . Another of the more troubling features of the team has been the lack defensive prowess from the players on the team , and it remains all the more asinine with claims of Mike DAntoni , that there is room for growth and toughness from his players . He and his coaching staff have “ clearly missed the boat” , as to how poor this team has been playing , and the sheer lack of determination from this entire roster . D’Antoni coached teams, have never been known for their proficiency as a defensive stalwart , and this asinine notion from the likes of current NBA analysts, Skip Bay less and Jon Barry , that the team can turn things around , as the season has now reached it’s midway point has become a cause for ridicule . I guess that both, Jon Barry and Skip Bayless are like to remain apologists for the Lakers , even when omnipresent signs of disaster are within their midst ?

Coming off a twelve-point loss to the Chicago Bulls at the United Center , in Chicago , Illinois ,. It has to be said , that seeing the team go down in an 95-83 defeat , where the effort from the Lakers’ players , was simply odious and thought-provoking. There is an increasing awareness and concern that if Mike DAntoni is not able to get this team with some semblance of cohesion and authority , then the now beleaguered coach could become the third coaching the fourth coaching casualty of the season , following Avery Johnson’s firing by the Brooklyn Nets , Mike Brown , with the Lakers , and Alvin Gentry with the Phoenix Suns . It is becoming all too clear that the hiring of the Lakers’ incumbent head coach could very well be joining his contemporaries on the tracks. Would it be too much to ask for either Jim Buss and Mitch Kolchak to now come forward and simply admit to the fact they erred in their decision to hire Mike DAntoni.

The Lakers’ draft classes in recent years have been non too impressive, and at the heart of the present roster Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol , Metta World Peace , Steve Nash and Dwight Howard , were all players acquired in a trade through free agency or in the case of Bryant , whose acquisition came by way of a trade during the 1996 NBA Draft in obtaining Kobe Bryant’s rights from the Charlotte Bobcats. The 2012 NBA Draft , saw the franchise draft , Robert Sacre , and from 2011 , Darius Morris , Andrew Goudeock and Ater Mojak . On paper alone , is there anyone who was of the belief that this team would be able to compete with any of the top teams within the conference , much less the rest of the NBA ? What the hell, are these, idiot analysts and fans actually looking at , by way of a comparison ? And should it come to a seven game series playoffs’ match-up, who amongst you, is of the belief that the Lakers , can take down the Oklahoma City Thunder , San Antonio Spurs , Los Angeles Clippers or the Memphis Grizzlies , in a seven game series during the postseason, never mind , an ultimate Finals’ meeting with the Miami Heat ?

The Lakers’ next game will be a scheduled match-up against conference rivals the Memphis Grizzlies at the Fedex Forum , in Memphis , Tennessee. The Grizzlies, who are coached by Lionel Hollins , with a team of high-caliber players , Rudy Gay , Zach Randolph , Tony Allen and Marc Gasol leading the charge for the for the franchise. And with the recent change of ownership from Michael Heisley to Memphis Basketball LLC , ownership group led by managing partner & Chairman Robert Pera and Vice-Chairman Steve Kaplan, a new era in the franchise ‘s history is now underway. Kobe Bryant and his teammates will undoubtedly be in for a stern test in tonight’s game , where another loss would hinder any progress that Mike D’Antoni and his coaching staff believes his team has. At this juncture , I would preface things by saying, I have never been convinced that D’Antoni was that great a coach to begin with , even during his reign with the Phoenix Suns , or that he was the right candidate to succeed Mike Brown !

Though, it is a growing trend amongst many of the big market franchises in all realms of professional sports , teams are beginning to exact their financial muscle , either by starting their own regional sports’ programming outlet or have a commercial tie-in with a major broadcast or cable outlet. The Los Angeles Lakers are not averse to seeking out a partner, who would be in a position to aid the franchise to maximize their exposure beyond the locale and beyond the nation , but towards a global market. Jim Buss and his sister , EVP, Jeanie Buss in conjunction with their father , team owner, Jerry Buss, have negotiated such a deal that will see the Lakers’ net an estimated $ 4 billion ($4,000,000,000) over the next two decades in a regional broadcast deal that is so financially beneficial for the organization, that , it leaves all other deals within the NBA , seemingly , trailing in the wind . Not even the mighty New York Knicks with the financial backing of parent company MSG Inc. , or team owner, James Dolan’s , patriarchy of familial holdings in Cablevision Inc could ever seek to usurp a deal of this magnitude . It now begs the question , will this be the way that the small market teams around the NBA not only seek to raise their profile but also their profitability ?

Courtesy of Forbes Inc.

Time Warner Cable Launches Two Regional Sports Networks, Lakers Reap $4 Billion

By Maury Brown , Forbes Contributor

In a continuation of the massive growth of sports programming options, the Southern California area will see the launch of not one, but two new regional sports networks through Time Warner Cable beginning today. Time Warner Cable will launch Time Warner Cable SportsNet, as well as the first-ever all Spanish language RSN, Time Warner Cable Deportes. The networks will be the new exclusive local homes of the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Galaxy and Los Angeles Sparks, as well as cover Mountain West football and basketball, in addition to soccer and boxing programming on Time Warner Cable Deportes.
The launch of the two RSNs highlights the explosion in media rights for sports over the last several years. The reported 20-year, $4 billion deal is wide-ranging and covers the rights to distribute all locally available pre-season, regular season, and post-season Lakers games, beginning with the 2012-2013 season. All Lakers games will be produced in high-definition in English & Spanish.

On-air talent for the TWC SportsNet includes former Laker great and Hall of Famer James Worthy, Chris McGee who was the Lakers’ sideline reporter at FOX SportsNet, as well as Dave Miller and Mike Trudell. That team joins Stu Lantz and Bill Macdonald who will call all Lakers games on Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Andy Adler, who joined the network in May, will serve as a studio anchor. On TWC Deportes, on-air personalities will include Ricardo Celis, Martin “El Pulpo” Zúñiga, Elmur Souza, Enrique Gutierrez and Hipolito Gamboa. Time Warner Cable Deportes will broadcast all local Lakers and Galaxy games entirely in Spanish.
Outside of basketball, TWC SportsNet will are 12 live Mountain West Conference football games and more than 24 Mountain West basketball games, making Time Warner Cable SportsNet the exclusive regional home for Aztecs, Rebels and Bulldogs.

The launch of the two regional sports networks sits against the backdrop of either new RSNs in the Southern California area cropping up, or lucrative rights extensions for the sports teams that are inking them. In mid-August, Time Warner Cable added the PAC-12 Network to their channel listing. According to the SportsBusiness Journal, PAC-12 Network has been seeking 80-cents per subscriber, which ranks higher than CNN, USA and FX. And, TWC could be positioning to land the Los Angeles Dodgers to a new deal, as well that could hit between $4-$5 billion over 20-years. Already, TWC prime competitor FOX Sports has reached a $3 billion, 20-year agreement with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
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Over the ensuing months leading up up to the NBA playoffs, which begin on the 20th April ,2013, there is no doubt that Kobe Bryant and his teammates will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed . However, I am of the opinion that Mitch Kupchak will seek to shake things up in terms of the makeup of the team’s roster , if things for the franchise are still in a quandary. The trade deadline this season falls on 21st February , which is barely a month away, so it is now incumbent upon the head coach , Mike D’Antoni and the general manager to have some intent, as to the direction that the franchise , is said to be heading . In terms of trade bait , the only viable options on the roster are, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace. Beyond that, there are no enticing pieces on the team , beyond its three preeminent stars , Bryant , Dwight Howard and Steve Nash.

After years of seemingly being in the wilderness , this season has seen a remarkable turn of events , as it relates to the Golden State Warriors (25-15) . Head coach , Mark Jackson , has this team playing an up-tempo form of basketball , that plays into the strengths of his core players , and when in transition , the Warriors just seem to be just as comfortable. The Warriors will get a further chance to assess their progress tonight, when they play hosts the Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder . In what is sure to be a high-scoring game , given the previous meeting between these two teams earlier this season, when there was a prolific output from the players on both rosters.

Leading the way for the Warriors this season , are Seth Curry and David Lee , but that would be to downplay the efforts of the duo’s teammates . And the fact that the Warriors have played themselves into a playoff berth at this point of the season , can only point to the optimism being shown not only by the coaching staff , but also by the front office led by managing partner , Joe Lacob , and indeed the franchise’s long-suffering fans. . There is a great deal that the franchise can indeed can perhaps feel contented with for the moment , they obviously have been playing in the background of gigantic shadow cast by the Los Angeles Lakers , and as of late, with the ascent of the Los Angeles Clippers , the Warriors can no longer be seen as one of the more inept franchises in NBA history. If they can simply maintain their present consistency of the remainder of their schedule , then there is every reason to believe that the franchise could very well make the postseason for the first time since the 2007 NBA Playoffs, which culminated their conference semi-finals’ loss to the Utah Jazz , after a sensational season by the franchise’s standards .

Currently, holding down the fifth spot in the Western Conference . With standings as they are currently , a first round match-up would elicit a series against the Memphis Grizzlies , the fourth seed. Again , this would be predicated upon the teams in question maintaining their consistency . So at this juncture as the remainder of the regular season schedule plays itself out .

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

In light of the ongoing issues with the Los Angeles Lakers , do you believe that the team can muster up enough wins , enabling the franchise to make the postseason ? If they fail to guarantees themselves a playoff berth , are you of the opinion that Mike D’Antoni well be retained by the front office for next season ? Chime in on this , and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter and the NBA as a whole .

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Picture and slide show details below .
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(1)FILE – In this April 26, 2012 file photo, the Maloof brothers, Phil, left, George, center and Gavin , co-owners of the Sacramento Kings, watch their team against the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif. The only thing stopping the Kings from a sale and move to Seattle is approval by NBA owners.The Maloof family has agreed to sell the Kings to a Seattle group led by investor Chris Hansen and Microsoft, Chairman , Steve Ballmer , the league confirmed in a statement Monday morning, Jan. 21, 2013.. The deal is still pending a vote by the NBA Board of Governors. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli …

(2) Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich (12) pressures Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Chicago. The Bulls won 95-83 . AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast …

(3) Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant walks off the court during a break in the action during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Chicago. The Bulls won 95-83 . AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast …

(4) Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni looks up at the scoreboard during a break in the action in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls  on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Chicago. The Bulls won 95-83. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast …

(5) From left to right , Lakers GM , Mitch Kupchak, SVP, Jim Buss , and team owner Dr Jerry Buss . With the team have reached a crisis point in their season having eight of their last ten games , it would appear that changes are in the offing for franchise amongst the player personnel , and if the rumors are to be believed , then head coach Mike DAntoni will be assessed on the team’s success between now and until the end of the season, which will be incumbent upon the Los Angeles Lakers making the playoffs. Currently laying as the twelfth seed in the Western Conference , the team is currently 3 1/2 games out of the eighth spot , held by the Houston Rockets (22-21) and are 15 1/2 games behind the conference leading Oklahoma City Thunder (33-9) . AP Photo /Martin Hill …

(6) Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) reaches for the ball held by Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. Golden State won 106-99 . Curry would go on to score 28 points in the Warriors’ surprisingly easy victory over their divisional rivals . AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez …

(7) Golden State Warriors’   David Lee , center, tries to keep a loose ball from Los Angeles Clippers’ <u> Lamar Odom </u> , left, and  <u> Eric Bledsoe</u>  during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Jan. 21, 2013.   AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez  ..  ….

(8) Head Coach  Mark Jackson   of the Golden State Warriors speaks as (L-R)   David Stern  ,   Rick Welts ,    Peter Guber ,    Joe Lacob  , Mayor   Edwin M. Lee  ,   Ahmad Rashad Jerry West   , and Lieutenant Governor of California Gavin Newsom     looks on at a press conference with the Golden State Warriors announcing plans to build a new sport and entertainment arena on the waterfront in San Francisco in time for the 2017-18 NBA Season on May 22, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  Getty  Images  North  America  / Thearon  W  Henderson  …..

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Sean Paul — feat’g Sasha …… ” I’m Still In Love “

Today’s athlete , well worth the hype, or simply, a sham ?

Today’s athlete , well worth the hype, or simply, a sham ?

Perhaps , I’m wrong , but the idiocy of the fans out there concerning Lance Armstrong’s admission of guilt , is simply another cycle of what we are seeing from today’s athlete, and that is to circumvent the rules for their own financial gain . . Fans are now seeking to jump to the athlete’s defense , because , after his appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s , OWN Network in a prime-time expose` , to discuss his admission of guilt . Having been banned from cycling , Armstrong now seeks to return to competition, as a triathlete , a sport that is now seeking ratification as an event in Summer Olympics . The now, disgraced athlete, took it upon himself lie cheat and steal , in order to get ahead financially and competitively. Anyone who bore witness to this mess of an interview , has to be in complete denial, in thinking that Armstrong was being either contrite or remotely genuine .

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At the center of Lance Armstrong’s stance , is that , when he was made aware that his son sought to defend him while in school , he felt it was time , to step and admit his guilt . It now seems ironic, that having retired from cycling in 2010, now of all moments, would be the time, and he sought to admit his guilt . In that time-frame the cyclist has won several monetary awards in the UK, in several high-profiled defamation and libel lawsuit cases winning awards in excess of $ 4 million. Yet these anally retentive fans, seeking to defend Armstrong, have overlooked the fact he has defrauded the defendants in those cases . And, it should now be noted , that one of Lance Armstrong’s most prominent corporate endorsers , was the USPS (US Postal Service). The Postal Service , also, was one of the three teams that the rider rode for, professionally over the course of his career. This agency , albeit a nongovernmental enterprise , the US government is a guarantor of the agency’s debt , albeit , that the US Postmaster General Patrick R Donahue , is under a great deal of pressure to downsize the postal business as a concern , while seeking to return to profitability once again .

Pardon me for saying this , but with the postal service being a goddamn mess , what business has it, in sponsoring a cycling team , when in terms of marketing and advertising , its monies could have been better spent within the print, television and radio market as a viable way of getting their brand and product more widely known to the public ? The US Postal Service has not been a profitable concern in over eight years . Armstrong signed a multi-year, $30 million deal , which was subject to a morals’ clause when this contract became legal in standing and validation. Again, another situation, that has been overlooked by the fans seeking to come to Lance Armstrong’s defense . As of yet , neither the US Postal Service or the US Justice Department have stated whether or not they will seek to sue Lance Armstrong for the return of the sum paid out to the athlete , because he has in essence broken the terms of his contract by breaching an agreement and his admission of guilt . So I say to the fans out there still jumping to Armstrong’s defense , even if you are entitled to an opinion , do you now also condone his defrauding of the US government , as well as the US taxpayer ?

Over two consecutive nights of bile inducing giddiness, Oprah Winfrey fawned over her guest , while not seeking to elicit a meaningful answer or answers from her subject . Yet the public, were meant to take this idiotic interview, seriously ? All of Lance Armstrong’s altruism has been irreparably damage from a PR standpoint , because the fallout from this all , is that we have seen a precipitous drop-off in donations to Live Strong , Armstrong’s charitable organization. Having raised in excess of $ 500 million over the past decade for cancer research, the one good thing that the cyclist has done in his life will also somehow be besmirched in light of his recent admittance .

With ever-growing possibility that he will most definitely face the legal wrath of his former corporate sponsors , do you get the feeling that the idiotic actions of Lance Armstrong show him to be a scheming and deceitful individual , Those whom he once held as close confidantes within his inner circle , whom he then cast aside , when they became defiant and questioned his the veracity of his claims that he “was clean” , the cyclist simply sought their ruination by any means necessary , with his subordinates taking the lead . Greg Lemond , multiple winner ( three-time ) , of the Tour de France winner , cycling’s most prestigious event , also questioned the veracity of Lance Armstrong’s claims , that he competed as a drug free competitor. We now know that not to be true , however , what has now come to light was the fact Lance Armstrong used his legal representatives through surreptitious means to ruin Lemond’s Trek Cycling , a company (builder of competitive mountain and racing cycles) which Greg Lemond co-founded with several business. The former champion , was simply unable to gain financing or able to gain further access to the billion dollar annual market , when Armstrong and his legal representation fired off oral and repeated written insinuations , that Greg Lemond was not someone who could be trusted . Am I mistaken , Lance Armstrong insinuates, that , Lemond could not be trusted , but he hid behind a web of deceit and lies to cover up his own misdeeds ? . At what point , are the public meant to believe the sincerity of Lance Armstrong , when even he cannot be truthful with himself , family , friends or the public for that matter ? Fuck Lance Armstrong , the horse he rode in on , along with his throng of anally retentive fans ! Armstrong with his admission of guilt has done irreparable harm to his image , that no matter he now hopes to achieve professionally or in his private , the vast majority of the public will treat with a great deal of disdain , and deservedly so !

Well, as LeBron James and the Miami Heat seek to make a quick return to the NBA Finals . The questions arises, which of the teams within the Eastern Conference will seek to compete against the reigning champions ? There was a great deal of hype made over the acquisitions made by the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks prior to the season commencing.

The Eastern Conference is not profligate with great teams, just a number of good teams , with the lone standout exception being the Miami Heat, as defending champions. And, as LeBron James goes , <a href=”http://nba.com/heat/stats/2012″&gt; then so does this team . . The Heat (26-12) , coming into Monday , had the best record within the conference , and are closely followed by the New York Knicks (25-13) , the surprisingly resilient Indiana Pacers 25-16) and the Brooklyn Nets (24-16) . Now while there can be no denying that LeBron James is an exceptional talent , with the player first coming to the nation’s attention , with ESPN , essentially covering much of James’ high school playing career , with prime-time broadcasts , and very much the feeling , that this was simply being done , to cultivate his jump directly from high school and into the professional ranks of the NBA .

The league simply yearned for a star, that would give its image an uplift , in spite of the fact that such established stars as Kobe Bryant , Kevin Garnett , Tim Duncan , Dirk Nowizki and Allen Iverson were already providing the NBA with a great deal of entertainment and value . Undeniably, while the league has sought to market , its stars , rather than the franchises , which in essence, has led to the financial morass , we now see encompassing so many franchises around the NBA . What was really sought , was competitive balance or dare one say , a gripping rivalry within the league , it hadn’t seen since the heydays of the old …. Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers (Showtime rivalry) rivalries . And the days of Larry Bird of the Celtics going up against Magic Johnson of the Lakers , now resonates more , than a current match-up of the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers , being led by current stars , Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett .

LeBron James’ entrance into the NBA ,as the number one overall draft pick from the 2003 NBA Draft , a class , in which the player was the standout athlete and personality from the rookies of that season. Drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers , whose owner , billionaire financier , Dan Gilbert , whose virtues sought to extoll the franchise’s wishes of bringing a championship to the city of Cleveland within five years, merely because of the presence of his prodigious talent and number one draft pick. The fact of the matter was , on paper alone , one could see that the roster was not a team one could see as a posing a formidable challenge for the NBA title that season, or any other season , unless the franchise was prepared to build around the prodigious talents of LeBron James .

Courtesy of the Morning Journal


Cleveland Cavaliers maintain connections with LeBron James’ agent (NBA Insider)

By BOB FINNAN
rfinnan@MorningJournal.com
@BobCavsinsider

Say what you want about Rich Paul.

He might be young and inexperienced in the dog-eat-dog world of sports agents, but he has one very endearing quality: He’s like the Pied Piper.
Paul, 32, founded his own sports agency, Klutch Sports Group, in September. When he left Creative Arts Agency, he took an impressive list of clients with him. The most noteworthy was Miami Heat forward LeBron James.

Paul, a graduate of Benedictine High School, has begun a working relationship with Cleveland agent Mark Termini, who will oversee contract negotiations for Paul’s clients.
Termini founded Mark Termini Associates Inc. in 1986 and has negotiated more than $400 million in pro sports salaries. He has represented 15 first-round picks in the NBA and served on the Agent Advisory Committee to the National Basketball Players Association for the 1993, 1997 and 2003 NBA collective bargaining negotiations.

When Paul left CAA, several agencies tried to recruit him. He’s the hottest name in sports agents and his client list continues to grow. He recently added Wizards forward/center Kevin Seraphin to his already growing list that includes Cavaliers forward/center Tristan Thompson, Los Angeles Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe, Wizards forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Spurs guard Cory Joseph.

Termini will continue to run his agency and represent Nuggets center Kosta Koufos and several players overseas. His existing clients will not become part of Klutch Sports. The two companies will remain separate entities.
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Click on link to read in full.
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As I alluded to earlier , James first caught the nation’s attention with the televising of his high school games by ESPN , while the young prodigy honed his skills at St Mary’s High School , in Akron , Ohio. A state title added into the mix , made Lebron James a top recruit , amongst the powerhouse college programs across the country , but he would eschew those choices, for the financial inducements, rewards and untold wealth that awaits in the NBA . Granted , there were rumors , unfounded to this day , that James , was already privee` to the financial backing of a benefactor , with suspicions being that it was his long-time agent and business partner , Leon Rose , allegations which have always been denied by the player and agent alike. Yet , there has always been a genuine suspicion , unfounded or not , that nothing everything was above board , as it related to James’ high school career . I firmly believe to this day, had he made the jump straight the college ranks , he would have been found , immediately ineligible , because of the alleged improprieties that surrounded his high school career ! There was a great deal that James would not divulge publicly , and while it no longer warrants speculation , it does give credence that although changes would later be made concerning the eligibility process of players entering the NBA Draft , specifically from the high school level , at eighteen . The concern has always been , even with those mandated changes agreed to, in principle by the NBA hierarchy , team owners and the NBPA , those maneuvers could not stop a youngster from seeking to make a professional basketball living , by simply playing in South America , Europe or China .

Be it for business purposes or otherwise , James has left the “uber-management” agency CAA to join the burgeoning sports’ management agency of Rich Paul of Klutch Sports (Management) Agency LLC,. LeBron James, remains a media darling, without having any major off-court controversy attached to his name or persona . His brand, has now become a global phenomenon , with a vast array of commercial interests attached to his name , which had made him highest earning NBA athlete leading Kobe Bryant , inclusive of on-court earnings and commercial endorsements .

The accolades for James have been pretty impressive , as he now enters his tenth year in the NBA , three league MVP awards , Rookie of the Year Award, Finals’ MVP , multiple All Star appearances (nine-times) , as well as being the youngest person to score 20,000 points and reach 5,000 assists all before the age of 28. However , the greatest non-controversy of his career , may well have been of his own creation in part , which led to his abrupt departure from the Cavaliers. A year removed from the Cavaliers’ lone appearance in the 2007 NBA Finals , rumblings grew out of the James’ sheer frustration of seeing the team embarrassed at the hands of Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs in a totally lopsided series in which the Cleveland Cavaliers were swept 4-0 .

At 10-32 , the Cavaliers are firmly rooted at the bottom of the Central Division within the Eastern Conference , with no signs of a respite on the horizon. Meanwhile , LeBron James has as such cultivated an image , in which he now might be not only be the best player in the NBA , but also its most popular player , by an enormously wide margin. Whether or not, he is able to emulate the achievements of his hero and NBA icon , Michael Jordan , remains to be seen . But it is now, becoming increasingly , that the only person who can now derail James’ own fortunes , is LeBron James , himself . LeBron James, now has the world at his feet , with the goals that he is setting for himself , as he seeks to join the legendary greats of the game . Unfortunately , the same cannot be said for a number of athletes across the sports’ panacea , who through their own sheer stupidity feel that they can either circumvent the rules of the game , or more often than not rule of law , with the ever apathetic fan , more often than not either seeking to jump to their defense ,by making the most asinine of statements without ever seeking out the details for themselves as to the athletes’ own motivations behind their misdeeds .

It seems a bygone era has past , since the sports’ world had real sportsmen parading their athleticism , on the North American sporting landscape, showing their sportsmanship both on and off the field of play. Names such as, Arthur Ashe , Bill Russell, David Robinson , Barry Sanders , Peyton Manning , Jackie Robinson , Roberto Clemente` , Sandy Koufax , Greg Maddux , Ed Moses , and Marvin Hagler graced us all with their exceptional skill-sets . We are now, being sold athletes who are gift wrapped with very little personality , invariably are moderately passable skills, in their chosen fields and who might be the possessed with the IQ to barely conversant in the English language , much less knowing how to carry themselves with some semblance of class , dignity and integrity . Make of it what you will.

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Picture gallery .

Do you believe that today’s professional athlete should be looked upon as a role model , or better yet be repeatedly used in such as medium by their respective governing bodies ? Chime on this topic and anything else you believe to be pertinent on this subject matter .

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Lance Armstrong is seen here being interviewed by talk show host and entrepreneur , Oprah Winfrey. Over two nights with each night being set aside for what was said to be an in-depth interview , Armstrong was evasive with a number of his responses , and tried to any deflect any responsibility for some of his actions. The now disgraced cyclists , seeks to make a return to the ranks of professional sports , as a triathlete . Whether or not is a a possibility remains to be seen. The sport’s governing body in North America , USA Triathlon , might not wish to be associated with the now disgraced athlete , with the baggage he still carries , in terms of his admittance and he is bound to be a defendant in a slew of litigious actions that will be taken against him as defendant in a mountain of civil suits , that could very well wipe out his estimated $100 million fortune. AP Photo/ Marc Wilson /USA Today picture @ copyrighted material …

(2) Culpable , deniability , Lance Armstrong looks pensive, as he is asked a question by Oprah Winfrey . USA Today / AP Photo / Marc Wilson ….

(3) Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) passes over Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant during the first half of their NBA basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, in Los Angeles. The Heat would go on to defeat the Lakers 99-90 . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ….

(4) LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 17: LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat rises for a dunk against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 17, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(5) Miami Heat’s LeBron James (6) dunks against the Golden State Warriors during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. James on Wednesday became the youngest player in NBA history to score 20,000 points . AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez …

(6) Cavaliers’ GM , Chris Grant , left , is seen here , seated alongside head coach Bryon Scott at the Quicken Loans Arena , in downtown Cleveland, Ohio,. This season the Cleveland Cavaliers are struggling within the Central Division of the Eastern Conference , as they are firmly rooted at the bottom of the division. It would appear that some major upheavals might be on the way concerning the roster as teams approach the the trade deadline on the 21st February , 2013 . AP Photo / Andrew Hughes …..

(7) The 2003 NBA Draft class , showing several of the first round picks . Among the notables are # 1 overall pick LeBron James , far right , Dwyane Wade , fifth from the right , Carmelo Anthony , front row, left, and immediately behind Anthony , is Chris Bosh . This class of 2003 is said to be one of the most “impressive ” and productive in recent NBA history . Picture NBA.com archives ….

(8) Arthur Ashe is seen here alongside Jimmy Connors at Wimbledon . Ashe became the first African American male to win a Grand Slams singles’ title , as well as being ranked # 1 in the men’s rankings . Arthur Ashe, would go on to defeat Connors in the 1975 Wimbledon Men’s Singles Finals pulling off the improbable upset over the then , highly favored Connors , defeating the fellow American , in four sets , 6-1, .6-1, 5-7, 6-4. BBC Enterprises …

(9) 2005 Hall of Fame inductee , Sandy Koufax is seen here at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York. . The much revered , Koufax , has been called one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history , and most certainly his stats bear this out . The player is however , admired for his integrity both on and off the field of play , and for his philanthropic and humanitarian efforts crossing all ethnic divides . AFP/ REUTERS/ Andrew McKinnon …

(10) Often called the ” greatest middleweight boxer” of the “modern era” , ” Marvelous” Marvin Hagler was an assassin in ring , but a gentleman outside the ring , leading a humble life . After his controversial loss to ” Sugar” Ray Leonard for the undisputed middleweight title in 1987 . Hagler, would quit boxing , vowing never to return to the ring again, citing the fact that, boxing had become corrupt, and filled with seedy officials at every rung of the ladder within the sport. Marvin Hagler wasn’t far off the mark in his suspicions , given the ongoing corruption , controversies and exploitation that still befalls the sport of boxing today . Ring Magazine / Boxing archives ……

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Hot chic pic of the day , Katie Price aka ” Jordan ”

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Not yet the biggest export to come out of the UK , but her “assets” are well worth looking at !

</a</a

Dumbing it down for the fans ……….

Dumbing it down for the fans ….

By Tophatal

Well to save himself from further embarrassment , Lance Armstrong agreed to what is being called an in-depth interview , by none other than Oprah Winfrey , on her, self –titled broadcast network OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network). The two-night event, encompassing four hours is meant to be hard-hitting. Far be it for me to suggest , but Winfrey hasn’t conducted a hard-hitting in-depth news’ story or interview in decades , much less conducted an interview that will have the nation riveted . Granted , the bye product of this story will be Armstrong seeking the nation’s empathy, much of that to my mind is totally undeserving , but somehow this idiocy will continue as the lowly ranked and viewer starved cable outlet will be seeking a ratings’ bonanza from this all. Oh , Tom Cruise , jumping down on a sofa declaring his undying love for Katie Holmes , his former ex-wife , to whom he was married to , for a mere four years is not riveting television , unless , you just happen to be enamored with the Hollywood actor . .Oh yeah , those are the stories, that a dumbed down nation will truly appreciate . I think not, unless of course you just happen to be anally retentive.

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Slideshow .

Armstrong used his notoriety to raise tens of millions of dollars for cancer research and to aid victims in need , from this debilitating disease . But herein lies , my question , this ungrateful asshole hasn’t the God-given fucking intelligence to consider that as a cancer survivor himself , he would then resort placing steroids and other illicit substances within his system ? So for all the bold-faced idiots out there, still pitying this dumb ass ! Can you explain Armstrong’s motives , other than it not being about the financial reward ? With an estimated $100 million fortune, the now disgraced athlete in the ensuing months , could now find himself as a defendant in several upcoming lawsuits , and deservedly so ! Was it , really worth it ?

Thursday night was a bile inducing piece of idiocy , self-indulgent and that had no merits, in terms of journalistic integrity! As for Oprah, her ratings’ challenged network will continue to suffer, unless the programming content is greatly improved.

Microsoft billionaire, Chairman, Steve Ballmer , and his erstwhile fellow. Washington State native, Chris Hansen , co-founder of venture capital firm , Vanguard Capital Inc , have agreed in principle to purchase the beleaguered Sacramento Kings’ franchise . The presumed sale price will be somewhere between $300 million to $375 million for the loss making concern. The city of Sacramento led by its mayor , Kevin Johnson , has sought some compromise from the Kings’ ownership group , led by Joe and Gavin Maloof have essentially duped the municipality and its residents , that it had been their intent to remain in the city , playing the aging Sleep Train Arena , in downtown Sacramento .

This once proud franchise , in recent years has become anathema , starved of real support ,with fans seemingly apathetic to the woes of this team. Head coach, Keith Smart , along with his coaching staff have been entrusted in guiding the Kings back to former glories past . It is hard to say where this team now goes from here, as the common feeling is , the sale of the Kings would be in the best interest of the Kings , long and short-term , rather than the continued neglect and lack of real authoritative leadership coming from anyone within the organization , on or off the basketball court. At 15-23 this team is on a two game win streak but yet that might not be enough to simply get through this current drama as there is a continued distrust of the Maloofs.

The irony in all of this , as the city yearns the return of an NBA franchise within their locale , I am not so sure that the fans in Sacramento are truly appreciative of Kings being within their midst . Clearly , there has to be some apoplexy , because if they were diehard fans of this team , then they would be turning out in droves to support this NBA franchise wholeheartedly. Instead , it has been continued bitching and whining about the city council being ready to spend tens of millions of in public funds , for the rebuilding of new state of the art venue . The infrastructure of the municipality remains a mess , yet the fans who are support of this project are seemingly showing, a great deal of short-sightedness . I guess when you reside on the West Coast, and the political leadership is about as uninspiring as a Sarah Palin speech, on any given subject matter! Apathy is definitely in the house !

I don’t know if it is appropriate to lambast Notre Dame’s Manti Te`o any further , after the football team’s embarrassing loss in the BCS national title game . The young man has now set his sights on a career in the NFL , and no doubt he will be drafted in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft . That being said , with the latest web of deceit , and what appears to be a considerable amount of continuous falsehoods by Te`o , this story of an imaginary girlfriend whom me apparently met online , is now getting weirder by the second . To complicate things even further , Notre Dame’s AD , Jack Swarbrick has openly come out having issued a statement in support of the 2012 runner-up in the Heisman Trophy voting . Good God , how lucky are we, that Te’o didn’t capture enough votes to win the most prestigious collegiate award in College Football ? My advice for Manti Te`o , at present , before you can put on your big boy pants , how about actually trying to have a real live relationship with a female that is physically in your presence ?

So let me get this straight , the still financially impoverished New York Mets , while seeking to improve their roster , after last season’s debacle , have sought to go about spending money like a drunken maritime sailor on furlough ? The signing of David Wright to a seven-year deal , financially irresponsible to say the very least , seems to be a sign that Mets’ GM , Sandy Alderson will continue with the inane stupidity shown by his predecessor Omar Minaya . If the signing of Wright was not to be viewed as an act of desperation , then how should any Mets’ fan view the front office’s acquisition of former Giants’ closer, Brian Wilson ? The player spent the entire 2012 season on the disabled list with the San Francisco Giants , as they triumphed in winning their second World Series in the past five years.

Now there is no denying that at his very best Wilson can be an overpowering and dominant closer , but the very best those traits were last seen from the player in 2010 , when he led all closers within the game in terms of saves , while the San Francisco Giants were triumphant in winning baseball’s biggest prize. It is hard to envisage Brian Wilson regaining that sort form this season for the New York Mets, on a team that will be hard pressed to compete within the NL East . Coming off “Tommy John “ surgery has never been easy , and it is extremely rare for a player having undergone that medical procedure to completely regain that form . It is a really big gamble , on the part of Sandy Alderson, manager, Terry Collins , and the manager’s coaching staff in taking a chance on the player . How this will all play out , is dependent upon the resilience shown by the team over the course of their season.

The New York Mets will begin their regular season schedule with a three game set beginning on the 1st April , 2013, when they play host to the San Diego Padres at Citi-Field, in Flushing , New York . A season of hope lies ahead for the Mets’ fans , one they no doubt hope , will end in some form of measured success .

The NFL postseason is now down to the conference championship games , with what are now arguably the four best teams in the league, based not upon divisional standing but the play of these teams over the course of the entire regular season schedule and their respective postseason forays . Franchises, that were expected to contend , fell by the wayside like leaves descendingg during “ The Fall “ . And the players thought to be leaders on their teams , were simply nowhere to be seen . What can one say, about those teams considered to pre and early season contenders ? Well , it was enough to suggest that “Black Monday” was a damning indictment of the coaches who failed miserably and who were subsequently relieved of their duties by the front office executives and owners of those beleaguered teams. Andy Reid , perhaps the biggest of the names to fall , has found himself in a position to succeed Romeo Crennel , as the new head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs .

Reid’s former team , the Philadelphia Eagles , found a way to induce Chip Kelly to leave Oregon ( Ducks) , a program he built into a perennial powerhouse within College Football . From my own perspective , I believe Kelly’s departure had more to do with the fact that the NCAA’s ongoing investigation of Oregon , had not yet concluded , but with ever wide-ranging culture of rumors fomenting , as to the scurrilous deceit and wrongdoings , all of which has happened during Kelly’s tenure. It simply made sense for the coach to make a quick departure rather than being subject to questioning by the NCAA’s Infractions’ Committee , as to his actions and those of his players, and the lack of accountability from the program’s compliance officers and the lackluster efforts of AD, Rob Mullen’s , to try to systematically clean up the image of a sullied athletics’ program.

Kelly’s biggest problem in Philadelphia , beyond fomenting a relationship with GM , Howie Roseman , will be to make a decision as to the impending future on the declining skills of Michael Vick , who in 2012, had his worst season on record . Vick’s days as a starter in the NFL are numbered , and his ego might not permit to become a glorified backup to a less experienced player, who the veteran may well feel that he has a far superior skillset , than the incumbent. We have seen it before , and we will see it again within the NFL. The 2013 NFL Draft , should prove to be a great indicator as to the direction that will be taken by Kelly and the Eagles’ front office , as they seek to write a new chapter in the franchise’s legacy.

Another of the NFL head coaches, upon a which guillotine came down on , happened to be the now departed Ken Whisenhunt of the Arizona Cardinals . Suffice to say, when you offer a player a ludicrous contract , as to the one offered to Kevin Kolb , you had better fucking well , make sure that he can play with the position effectively ! Let’s just say that chicken shit” , tastes nothing like ” chicken liver “, and essentially Kolb and John Skelton , combined , served up a whole lot of chicken shit, as it related to the Cardinals’ offense and passing game throughout 2012.

The Cardinals’ front office made what I believe has been the best hire , of the newly hired head coaches , in acquiring Bruce Arians to succeed Ken Whisenhunt . Anyone , who had the pleasure of seeing the former Steelers offensive coordinator and Colts’ assistant, interact with Andrew Luck while leading the team on their improbable run during the regular season ,while the franchise’s off-season woes dealt with the health issues of head coach , Chuck Pagano . Arians, was able to steady a team whose nucleus was primarily made up of rookies and second year starters . That may well have been the trait that was easily recognizable by the franchise’s newly installed GM , Steve Keim, as the Arizona Cardinals seek to move on from another disastrous season . If Bruce Arians is able to get half as productive an output from the Cardinals players on the current roster , by comparison than what he achieved with the Indianapolis Colts last season , then it bodes well for the team in 2013.

The NHL, is back ? So who, gives a shit? A regular season schedule of forty-eight games in the space of the three months is meant to enliven a disheartened apparent dwindling fan-base . Yet , the NHL hierarchy are still trying to sell the fans and public this time around they have got it right . I’ll pose this question, what in hell’s name has convinced Commissioner Gary Bettman that this time a ten-year negotiated deal, which sees an even split the NHL’s revenues will lead to a long-term peace accord ? Is this not the same sport , that in the space of two decades have forced their fans to endure four league induced work stoppages ? Not the self-destructive AFL-CIO , or the UAW have been as inept as the NHL and NHLPA combined , and have been able to wreak as much financial damage to their sport . Bettman’s , union counterpart , Donald Fehr , held a similar position with the MLBPA , within Major League Baseball (MLB).

Hockey has now become a sport of diminishing returns , for a vast majority of the teams within the league . A $2.5 billion ( $2,500,000,000) a year industry still remains on life support and the idiocy remains , that neither league hierarchy, team owners or the players themselves , have learned a god damn thing after this labor dispute ! They’ve learned nothing from their first , and nothing from the last stoppage to have derailed the sport ! Their heads remain up in the clouds , and in no fucking way, are their feet firmly in the ground , as this sport , is now being ran , as if it were a corner-shop convenience store, that barely carries the essentials needed to captivate the fans’ attention . Sparse attendance , a dwindling television audience , and there just happens to be the fact that the NHL ,still pays NBC Sports , to carry its content, in terms of a hockey broadcast in the United States . If that’s not a recipe for a continued economic disaster , then can someone explain to me what in their eyes , would not be another sure-fire way of seeing this sport completely disappear off the sporting landscape ?

The NHL regular season drops its puck on Saturday afternoon with a slate of thirteen games , whereby the teams will have to race out of their starting blocks and maintain a break neck speed over the course of this truncated season. Whether or not the fans will be appreciative of this all , remains to be seen, because the postseason could very well be , just as frenetic and misleading .

After Manny Pacquiao’s most recent loss to Juan Manuel-Marquez , a fight in which the eight-time titlist was relentlessly punished by his opponent , suffering the most humiliating loss , of his illustrious career . Many felt , it was time for the fighter to call it quits , and simply walk away under his own steam , while he had all of mental and physical capacities about him . A relentless fighter in his prime, he marched through each of the divisions where he reigned supreme , winning eight world titles in five different weight categories . However, the biggest fight of his career and the one that every fight fan yearned to see , proved to be elusive , and is unlikely to ever take place . Diminishing skills , and the very fact that his greatest nemesis , Floyd Mayweather Jr , now simply “ talks a good fight “ rather than being a willing participant in a bout that everyone wishes to see .

Courtesy of ESPN UK

Pacquiao given Parkinson’s warning

The possibility of retirement for Manny Pacquiao was raised on Thursday after neurologist Dr Rustico Jimenez speculated as to whether the Filipino was showing the first signs of Parkinson’s.

According to reports Jimenez, president of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, said he was concerned about the health of the fighter, who suffered a brutal knockout at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez at the end of 2012.

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, which affects Pacquiao’s world-renowned coach Freddie Roach. Dr Jimenez is concerned he can see the first signs now creeping into the physiology of the 34-year-old welterweight.

“Even though his reflexes are quick, I noticed the movement – it’s just another view, my personal view – but it seems like there are early signs,” Jimenez told radio dzMM.

“There are some movements that you will notice with his hands. It’s in the hands, and not the head, where you can easily see this. It twitches a little bit. Although I haven’t seen it up close, I think I am seeing that there are some signs.”

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Allegations of doping , an unwillingness to meet each other’s contractual demands , has in essence made this super mega-fight a nonstarter . A guaranteed multimillion dollar gate in receipts , and in excess of 2 ½ million pay per view buys, has not been enough to get Pacquiao’s or Mayweather’s representatives together , to work out the finite details of such a bout . So all that the most ardent fans can ever wish for , is what might have been , or the idiocy of several computers programmers getting together and inputting all of the fighters’ stats into a purpose-built program , to decide upon who a fictional winner might be . Floyd Mayweather’s business partner and closest confidante , Leonard Ellerbee, in recent weeks has suggested Manny Pacquiao’s promoter , Bob Arum , has rebuffed all of his calls . Personally, I believe that Arum , now has “ bigger fish to fry” , as his biggest and most lucrative client , is no longer the “ major draw” he once was. Two now punishing losses , the first of which was a highly debatable but yet justifiable result was the loss of the Filipino fighter’s WBC welterweight title belt to the then , lightly regarded , Tim Bradley. A proposed rematch with Bradley , is now unlikely to take place , so make of it , what you will.

One of the more tantalizing stories to come out of this saga , since Manny Pacquiao’s defeat, are claims by a renowned neurosurgeon that the fighter is clearly showing early signs of dementia and what could be the onset of Alzheimer’s disease . If that were the case , then it is clearly the time for the fighter to step down and save himself from further injury or a major catastrophe occurring in the ring. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize what such a major loss of this magnitude might mean for the sport . Yet , nowhere is there any common sense being shown on the part of Bob Arum or his client , who seems reluctant to walk away from the ring . Manny Pacquiao has career earnings, in excess of $ 200 million , a lucrative business empire in his native Philippines , as well as being a congressman representing his constituents of Sarangani , a highly impoverished district in the Philippines. Pacquiao’s marriage is now threatened by his reluctance to walk away, as the angst shown by his wife , Maria Geraldine Jamora (“Jinkie”) , and their four children, is etched upon her face, when she states …… “ my children would rather see their father alive , than laying dead , in a casket “. If those words are not strong enough a cause for Manny Pacquiao to now rethink his future , then it would be best for his wife to walk away , than subject her and the four children to further emotional trauma .

And while there has been no real evidence to suggest that Pacquiao has suffered any major loss of neurological functions , it would take an eternal optimist to not believe that the fighter’s two losses to Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel-Marquez hasn’t done any damage to the Filipino fighter’s psyche . After-all, who is he going to fight next, in order to convince the public that he is still relevant in the world of boxing ? Any suggestions ?

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Do you as such, have any comments that you wish to make concerning this article ? Then, by all means give us your insights, as you see fit . Continued thanks always for the support of this site and the enlightening and illuminating comments received !

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(1) Lance Armstrong is seen here with talk show host and entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey , as the former athlete confesses to doping, which he denied while an athlete . The interview conducting on Winfrey’s OWN Network came across a bile inducing apology from Armstrong , who is now essentially seeking the public’s forgiveness after the years of deceit and lies . Winfrey herself , failed to ask any really pertinent questions , primarily because the field of sports’ journalism isn’t her expertise , whereas fawning over a guest , has her appearing as matronly individual you could somehow trust to get the truth. Well in this case , there is Armstrong’s truth, as he sees it . And the truth , as the whole world now knows it to be . So who would you rather believe at this juncture ? Courtesy of USA Today /Matt Hinchcomb …. .

(2) A pensive Lance Armstrong searches for answers during an interview with Oprah Winfrey . The host on her ratings’ challenged network hopes to get a boost in the ratings for this two night four-hour expose` . The Guardian UK / Paul Wilson ….

(3) Sacramento Kings fan Gloria Bailey lets her feeling be known as the Kings played the Cleveland Cavaliers in an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. The Kings won 124-118 . The Maloof family, owners of the Kings, are rumored to be in negotiations to sell the team to a group headed by investor Chris Hansen who would relocate the team to Seattle. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli …

(4) Clockwise , from left to right , Chris Hansen, Steve Ballmer , Erik Nordstrom and Peter Nordstrom are the four lead investors seeking to purchase the Sacramento Kings and relocate the franchise to Seattle Washington , where they would play in the newly refurbished Key Arena , in Seattle , Washington ,. AP Photo / Mark Mason …

(5) James Frazier, right, holds a sign alongside his mother Karen Roth before an NBA basketball game between the Sacramento Kings and the Dallas Mavericks in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. Word of the possible sale of the team to investor Chris Hansen who would move the franchise to Seattle has Kings fan showing their support with hopes they will remain in Sacramento. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is now petitioning NBA Commissioner David Stern and the NBA Board of Governors , a body made up of the league owners and league hierarchy for an emergency meeting in seeking to retain the franchise within the city. However, Johnson has not been able to suggest how he seeks to have the Kings remain in the state capitol. No vested purchasers have come from within the greater Sacramento area , although the situation is being monitored by several parties , although no counter offer has yet been made . AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli ….

(6) Arizona Cardinals owner William Bidwill , right, talks with new head coach Bruce Arians , left, and his wife Christine Arians after Arians was introduced during an NFL football news conference at the team’s training facility Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. The Cardinals bring in Arians after he had a storybook year as the Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator-turned-temporary coach. He filled in for head coach Chuck Pagano while he was treated for cancer and helped get the Colts to the NFL playoffs . AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin ….

(7) New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur blocks a shot during the team’s first official practice since the NHL hockey lockout ended, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013, in Newark, N.J. AP Photo/Julio Cortez ..

(8) Juan Manuel Marquez , left , is seen here fighting Manny Pacquiao in the fourth of their now epic four fight quartet . Many are pressing for a fifth fight between the two , most notably Pacquiao’s promoter , Bob Arum of Top Rank Inc . AFP /REUTERS …..

(9)(L-R) Manny Pacquiao throws a right at Juan Manuel Marquez during their welterweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 8, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. But it would be Juan Manuel-Marquez who would end up being the victor in landing left hook and right cross that lead to the knockout of Pacquiao in the sixth round of their WBC welterweight title fight . FRI Mathe` Regency S.A. / Anton Pasquale … @ copyrighted material all rights reserved .

(10) Manny Pacquiao is seen here with his wife, Maria Geradine-Jamora Pacquiao (“Jinkie”), and three of their four children. Jinkie as she is more commonly known , has pleaded with her husband to now step aside and retire from the sport that he has graced over the past decade, requesting that he do so for the sake of their family, and ultimately his long-term health. The boxer has yet to make a decisive decision concerning his future, with promoter , Bob Arum pressing for a rematch against Juan Manuel-Marquez. Picture appears courtesy of BBC Sports ….

(11) Bob Arum , veteran boxing promoter and CEO of Top Rank Promotions Inc , is seen here with Manny Pacquiao , publicizing his third fight against Juan Manuel Marquez in December of 2011 , that took place at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino Resort in Las Vegas Nevada ,. AP Photo / Richard Harper ……

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50 Cent …………. ” Many Men “( Wish Death ‘pon-me)

I’m sorry , but what part of I don’t care , don’t you understand ?

I’m sorry , but what part of I don’t care , don’t you understand ?

By Tophatal

Well the divisional round of the NFL postseason came and went , with one or two surprises along the way. This just in , Denver Broncos’ Head of Player Operations , John Elway will be purchasing Bulova watches for the entire roster , as well as John Fox and his coaching staff . Clock management, clock management , you co#k-suckers . The Broncos hosting the Baltimore Ravens at Sports Authority Field in Denver , Colorado , had their game all gift-wrapped merely awaiting delivery to their fans . Somehow , Peyton Manning , Fox and the entire Broncos roster , simply let this game slip from within their grasp , and thereby sending the Ravens to their second AFC Championship game appearance, in two years.

I’m sorry , but what part of I don’t care , don’t you understand ?

By Tophatal

Well the divisional round of the NFL postseason came and went , with one or two surprises along the way. This just in , Denver Broncos’ Head of Player Operations , John Elway will be purchasing Bulova watches for the entire roster , as well as John Fox and his coaching staff . Clock management, clock management , you co#k-suckers . The Broncos hosting the Baltimore Ravens at Sports Authority Field in Denver , Colorado , had their game all gift-wrapped merely awaiting delivery to their fans . Somehow , Peyton Manning , Fox and the entire Broncos roster , simply let this game slip from within their grasp , and thereby sending the Ravens to their second AFC Championship game appearance, in two years.

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For John Harbaugh , he becomes the first coach in NFL history , to take his team to four playoff appearances in his first five seasons ,with two conference championship appearances , coming along the way. Ironically enough , Harbaugh’s brother, Jim Harbaugh will join his brother in accomplishing a similar feat , but his accomplishment might be even more impressive , as the San Francisco 49ers’ head coach will be making his second successive NFC championship game appearance , which will have come in his first two full seasons, as the head coach of this illustrious franchise. And if the subplot plays out , as a number of fans hope , a Harbaugh rivalry at Superbowl (SB XVLII) , could await us all. However, their respective opponents , the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots , will no doubt be seeking to upset the apple cart and topple that whole scenario , altogether .

There are some intriguing plotlines to both conference championship games , taking place this weekend at Gillette Stadium , in Foxboro, Massachusetts and at the Georgia Dome , in Atlanta ,Georgia . For Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens , they will be seeking to redeem themselves after last season’s disappointment in the AFC championship game. That loss , left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Ravens’ players as they will undoubtedly seek to exact revenge on their conference rivals . On the flip side of that equation , Bill Belichick and his team will be seeking to make their sixth appearance in the Superbowl , in the last ten years , with Tom Brady , and the head coach , each seeking their fourth Superbowl victories , in their respective positions within this organization.

Well, the exploits of Colin Kaepernick has simply raised the crescendo level , as to what the San Francisco , and the front office led by Trent Baalke , may well seek to do with Alex Smith , the incumbent six-year year starting quarterback for the Forty-Niners , before his dethronement by Kaepernick , earlier this season . And while it has come as a surprise as the poise and presence shown by the young quarterback , it certainly now does give credence to the decision by Jim Harbaugh , to thrust the young quarterback into the limelight . An easy win, of the NFC West, for his second successive divisional title , adds into the astuteness of Harbaugh , as a head coach. It was certainly there for all to witness, while he rebuilt the Stanford program , and made them a force to be reckoned with , within the Pac 12 . Having ascended to the professional ranks of the NFL , Jim Harbaugh has proven to be a more than worth adversary for his peers .

The continued “ knock” against Matt Ryan was the very fact that he had yet to prove himself in the postseason. Well , now that he has finally accomplished the feat of having won his first playoff game , a much loftier task awaits , and that is to lead the Atlanta Falcons pass a very hungry San Francisco 49ers’ team . That being, said it’s not as if, the Falcons are without a thirst of their own , and most certainly after the impoverished years and the years during which Michael Vick may well have brought a great deal of attention to the franchise for good , and some very infamously bad reasons . There is no denying that , Mike Smith and GM Thomas Dimitroff , team President Rich McKay and owner Arthur Blank , have brought back a sense of consistency and presence to the once beleaguered franchise.

With a season’s and league best 13-3 record , the Falcons have simply gone about their business in a thoroughly understated way . . Atlanta for its part , was never seriously challenged within the NFC South , in spite of a spirited effort from Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints . Matt Ryan and his teammates , led by Michael Turner and seasoned veteran , Tony Gonzalez , will seek to derail the hopes of Colin Kaepernick and the Forty-Niners , in what I believe might be, one of the better NFC championship games in recent memory !

Jim Harbaugh, has what might be one of the most balanced of the quartet of teams, now left at this point of the postseason . There can be no denying that the Niners’ defensive unit is amongst the very best in the league , having been extremely efficient , all season long . And it would be a tremendous slight to their offense , if they were to left out of the equation , as well . Now all that awaits is four quarters , rough and tumble all-out football, with the victorious garnering all of the “spoils” , and off-course a final berth in the Superbowl , to be played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome , in New Orleans , Louisiana on the 2nd February , 2013 .

With the ouster of Romeo Crennel and former , GM , Scott Pioli , it has to be said that it should have come as no surprise that Kansas City Chiefs’ COO Clark Hunt would come to such a decision to “clean house” with such veracity. The failures of the team were well chronicled , with a 2-14 record , in the end , to show for it all. The biggest issue, for the team , it must be said , was the poor play from the quarterbacks on the Chiefs’ roster . Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn , simply showed that they have an aversion to playing with any semblance of consistency , and that was clearly mirrored in team’s results in 2012.

Beyond the Chiefs’ absolutely poor offensive play , it has to be stated , that the team’s defense was just mediocre, and often at times, downright insulting , for the Kansas City Chiefs’ fans and the NFL fan in general to watch. And it certainly did not help that a number of the team’s rookies drafted in 2012, failed to live up expectations , and the same I believe, can be said of their draftees from 2011 ! Newly installed , general manager, John Dorsey , has entrusted to return this franchise to its former glory. Dorsey, Andy Reid, and his coaching staff will certainly be assessing the roster, to certainly see what may well be superfluous to the team’s needs.

Reid’s record, while stellar with the Philadelphia Eagles , it has to be said that 2012, may well have been the worst of his distinguished career. A listless and often impoverished Eagles’ team in 2012 , simply did not put up much of a fight , but what might be even more improbable was Andy Reid’s implicit faith in the clearly declining skillset of Michal Vick , as the veteran , labored throughout much of the season . It wasn’t until the player, suffered a concussion, that Reid relented , with rookie Nick Foles being installed to replace the injured veteran. A 4-12 season , was simply a reflection of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012, in an NFC East division that could be best described as being rather mediocre . When all said and done, 2012 was a season that the Eagles would rather forget , and specifically for Michael Vick and Foles , as their joint productivity for the team was somewhat sedentary to say the very least !

The interview process for the Philadelphia Eagles is still ongoing with GM , Howie Roseman still perusing and interviewing an ever-growing list of potential candidates , as he seeks a worthy successor to Andy Reid . As to the impending future of Michael Vick , there has been no formal statement , as to whether or not the veteran, remains a part of the franchise’s long or short-term future .

As seasons go, I don’t know that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ season could ever have been more disappointing ! What should have been one of growth and improvement , simply whimpered out , through sheer lack of conviction by the Buccaneers’ players , and a complete lack experience on the part of first year coach , Greg Schiano . Excuses asides , concerning a litany of injuries to players , but the truth of the matter comes down to a complete lack of preparation , immaturity by the rookies, as well as the seasoned veterans on the roster , along with their now , rather asinine excuses for a season of all too inept performances ! If there was a bright spark to be found on the team, then it came by way of the play of rookie running back , Doug Martin , and that of tight end , Vincent Jackson . Other performances of note, were all too fleeting , with perhaps none more so than that of starting quarterback, Josh Freeman , with another year of unfulfilled dreams.

Schiano tried to instill a robust sort of discipline , one which reverberated around the league and made the head coach and his players , the subject of a great deal of ridicule , as well as the target of a lot of defamatory remarks concerning the lack of sportsmanship on the part of the Buccaneers’ players. Yet , I feel much of that came down to the poor lack of execution , on the part of this team , and Greg Schiano’s wish to prove to opponents that his players would be “ no pushovers” . Well in retrospect , they were very much pushovers , having lost four of their last five games to end the regular season , wherein they posted a 7-9 record within the NFC South. Definitely , not much to celebrate, given the earlier expectations of Schiano and his coaching staff , prior to the beginning of the regular season.

Courtesy of NFL.com Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ official site

Greg Schiano hints at Buccaneers’ quarterback competition

By Marc Sessler , NFL.com

<u< Greg Schiano's biggest to-do this off-season ? Determining if young ,Josh Freeman goes forward as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ franchise quarterback.

The team’s first-year coach told reporters Monday he believes Freeman someday will win a Super Bowl, but he hinted the Bucs (7-9) might bring in new bodies at the position in 2013.

“The one thing I do believe in is competition at every spot, including the quarterback, so I want to have as many good players on our football team as we can at every single position,” Schiano said, per the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s a little different in the NFL.”

Pressed on if he was “all-in” on Freeman, Schiano stopped a few yards short of full support.

“That’s a question that, again, I’m not all in with myself yet, so how could I me all in with Josh Freeman or any other player?” Schiano said. “I’m not side-stepping you, but I need to evaluate.

Track the rookie QBs:
For the first time in league history, five rookie quarterbacks earned starting jobs. We’re keeping track of their performances and progress on the field throughout the season.
More …

“What I can say is, a 4,000-yard passer, a touchdown record — there’s a lot of things you say, ‘Wow.’ Are there things that frustrate you? Yeah. There are things that frustrate him, too. And I’m not ducking the question, because quite frankly, I really like Josh Freeman. But I want to make sure I don’t get ahead of my skis at all here and really evaluate every single thing to what’s best for this organization.

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With Greg Schiano having conducted his own postmortem, as to what went wrong in 2012, the Buccaneers’ head coach has sent a defiant message to all of his players , that all positions will be up for “grabs” in the 2013-14 season . Furthermore , he has become non-committal , with regard to Josh Freeman being offered a long-term contract with the franchise. There now seems to be , a gathering storm , that will be hovering above the head of Josh Freeman , and his own future with the Buccaneers’ franchise . A sense of foreboding , that , if Freeman is unable to show any signs improvement , given his alleged off-season conditioning and workout regimen , then there is the likelihood , that at the start of the Buccaneers’ OTA’s and mandatory workouts prior to next season, Josh Freeman could either be on his way out , or find himself down the pecking order for the starting role as the team’s quarterback.

The fact that the Detroit Lions’ head coach , Jim Schwartz , escaped the postseason culling , now known as “Black Monday “ , is all the more remarkable , when you consider that one of his divisional peers , Lovie Smith was summarily fired having guided the Chicago Bears to a 10-6 record within the NFC North, only to narrowly miss a playoff berth . Now while I understand , the Bears’ reasoning behind Smith’s dismissal , I do feel that GM, Phil Emery , was naïve in simply suggesting that the brunt of the blame lays primarily with the fired head coach . It must have escaped his notice , that the often coddled and overrated Jay Cutler , simply doesn’t have what it takes to lead a team , much less win a series of meaningful games in the postseason .

Matt Stafford having thrown for a career best 5038 yards in 2011. The four-year starter for the Detroit Lions , while falling short of another 5,000 yard season in 2012 , simply provided the Lions with an aerial attack , and little else by way of leadership . And while Calvin Johnson set his sights on , and having surpassed the single season receiving yards’ mark , beyond that, there was very little to suggest , that this season that the Lions were remotely in with a chance of doing anything worthwhile in 2012. And that was clearly mirrored in the team’s final standing within the NFC North , in posting a 4-12 record . At no time throughout the Lions’ season , did it ever appear that Jim Schwartz could corral this team into playing with any discipline or resolve , yet somehow he remains in a position to return next season , under the premise that injuries played a great part in derailing the team’s aspirations in 2012. . Lions’ GM , Martin Mayhew , and team Vice Chairman , William Clay Ford Jr , will seriously have to assess the performance of their head coach his coaching staff and several of the players on the roster , who simply came up short in 2012 . Both front office executives are deeply in denial , if they felt that, Jim Schwartz wasn’t part of the equation, that led to such a disastrous season for the Detroit Lions .

Inasmuch as 2012 , has been a successful season, off the field, the governance of Roger Goodell , still remains in question , as his power-base , has diminished greatly , because of his sheer contempt and conceit. The commissioner’s handling of the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal , the league hierarchy’s almost nonexistent handling of veterans’ issues, as it relates to their denial of rightfully earned benefits , speaks greatly , to Goodell’s complete lack of understanding of the position which was bestowed upon him , by the team owners and the NFL’s Board of Governors . The commissioner simply glosses over those pertinent issues , only heighten the league’s ongoing economic growth, but when pressed to address the aforementioned problems that still ensnare the NFL , he is unable to give a succinct and comprehensive answer . It is almost as if , Roger Goodell , does not care , just as long as he believes his image remains intact , while still being able to cling to power. It is at this juncture , that the fans must ask , do we not deserve a great deal more from the NFL as paying customers and loyal fans ? Your thoughts on this ?

Inasmuch as 2012 , has been a successful season, off the field, the governance of Roger Goodell , still remains in question , as his power-base , has diminished greatly , because of his sheer contempt and conceit. The commissioner’s handling of the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal , the league hierarchy’s almost nonexistent handling of veterans’ issues, as it relates to their denial of rightfully earned benefits , speaks greatly , to Goodell’s complete lack of understanding of the position which was bestowed upon him , by the team owners and the NFL’s Board of Governors .

It has been almost two years since the league hierarchy and NFLPA (Players’ Union) came to a firm agreement , ratified in their most recent CBA (collective bargaining agreement) , wherein the league would now begin mandatory testing for HGH (human growth hormones). Now in light of Lance Armstrong’s admission of guilt as to his rampant use of HGH , EPO and other illicit substances , the union led by NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , still tries to hide behind the idiotic notion that there is no concrete testing protocol that can fully detect these substances , and that until there is , he does not feel that the NFL has the right to begin blanket and mandatory testing of his members . Unless I’m mistaken , in 2007, Smith before a congressional committee did in fact give testimony , that he was not opposed the league , testing the players within the NFL , just as long as those tests were carried out by a reputable body , and that there would be safeguards to insure that mistakes were not made . Pardon me for saying this , but Smith , much like his predecessor , Gene Upshaw , just seems to be intent on blowing smoke up everyone’s ass , while hoping to see the subject of testing for HGH simply disappear from within the NFL’s midst ! It is unfortunate , that DeMaurice Smith should take this stance , while many of his current and retired members , are besieged with a litany of health issues, that are wide-ranging . Yet , it does appear that the union , much like the NFL hierarchy , simply operates, on the basis of collateral damage , and the fact that , the NFL is , now more about economic power , wealth and not much else beyond that !

Courtesy of USA Today

Bell: NFL falls further behind on HGH testing

By Jarrett Bell , USA Today Sports

The pressure just went up a notch for the NFL.

What’s the delay in implementing an HGH testing program?

We know. We’ve heard it before. The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) isn’t convinced that there is a reliable test, regardless of what anti-doping experts maintain.

Yet Major League Baseball players don’t dispute that there are valid tests, so MLB beat the NFL and its players to the punch in announcing Thursday that it will implement random, in-season blood-testing for human growth hormone.

HGH: MLB to begin in-season testing

So, despite that great photo-op on the steps of the Pro Football Hall of Fame 17 months ago, when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith announced that the NFL would become the first U.S. pro sports league to implement HGH testing as part of a new labor deal, Major League Baseball takes the honor.

Of course, this did not go unnoticed on Capitol Hill. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which has held hearings and written letters aimed at nudging the players union toward an agreement for testing, issued a statement Thursday.

It was predictable. In part, it read, “Other professional sports leagues, including the National Football League, must also implement their own robust testing regimes. Major League Baseball’s announcement increases the pressure on the NFL and its players to deliver on pledges to conduct HGH testing made in their collective bargaining agreement that was signed (nearly) two years ago.”

There was silence on the matter from the NFL players union on Thursday, although it did mention the House Committee in its statement about findings that the late Junior Seau, who committed suicide in May, suffered from a degenerative brain condition, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The NFLPA called on Reps. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee, and ranking member Elijah Cummings to look into issues related to health and safety beyond HGH testing, including its desire to have independent sideline concussion experts and revisions in the workers compensation system.

MORE: Is new drug policy sufficient ?

“We hope the MLB players' union will inspire the NFLPA to stop its stalling tactics and fulfill its commitment to begin testing for HGH,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello wrote in an e-mail to USA TODAY Sports. "If the NFLPA stands for player health and safety, it should follow the lead of the MLB players union and end the delay."

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The commissioner simply glosses over those pertinent issues , only heighten the league’s ongoing economic growth, but when pressed to address the aforementioned problems that still ensnares the NFL , he is unable to give a succinct and comprehensive answer . It is almost as if , Roger Goodell , does not care , just as long as he believes his image remains intact , while still being able to cling to power. It is at this juncture , that the fans must ask , do we not deserve a great deal more from the NFL as paying customers and loyal fans ? Your thoughts on this ?

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What if anything , has stood out for you , this NFL season ? And how do you see the AFC and NFC championship games playing out as a scenario ? Furthermore , what are you hopes during the off-season for your respective team or teams , by way of a change in their fortunes ? Chime in on this , and anything else you believe to be pertinent on the subject matter .

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(1) Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh speaks during a news conference at the team’s practice facility in Owings Mills, Md., Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. The Ravens are scheduled to face the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game on Sunday. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) …..

(2) Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis , left, watches as Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning calls a play at the line of scrimmage against the Baltimore Ravens in the second quarter of an AFC divisional playoff NFL football game , Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, in Denver. The Ravens would go on to defeat the Broncos 38-35 in overtime . AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ….

(3) Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis shakes hands Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) after the Ravens won 38-35 in overtime of an AFC divisional playoff NFL football game, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, in Denver. Lewis , a perennial Pro Bowl player , made the formal announcement statement that this would be his last season with the Ravens , with the intent of retiring at the culmination of the team’s postseason foray . AP Photo/Jack Dempsey …

(4) New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick waves to spectators following an AFC divisional playoff NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013. The Patriots defeated the Texans 41-28 . AP Photo/Elise Amendola …

(5) San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh celebrates with quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) ,after Kaepernick’s 56-yard touchdown run , against the Green Bay Packers during the third quarter of an NFC divisional playoff NFL football game in San Francisco, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. AP Photo/Ben Margot …..

(6) Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach , Greg Schiano ,left, is seen here with the team’s GM , Mark Dominik at the franchise’s training facility , One Buc Place .. The two members within the franchise’s hierarchy have come to the conclusion that incumbent starting quarterback , Josh Freeman is now in need of stiff competition , if the team , is indeed to get better . Last season proved to be amongst the least successful for the former ….. Kansas St quarterback . Drafted 17th overall in the in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Buccaneers , Freeman’s struggles have been well chronicled in the local and press . It would appear that 2012 , seems to be the year which things have come to a head , with Greg Schiano now at his wit’s end concerning his starting quarterback . Tampa Bay Times / Scott Hughes …

(7) Martin Mayhew , left , Detroit Lions’ general manager , is seen here with the team’s head coach Jim Schwartz , on the sidelines of regular season game played at Ford Field , in Detroit , Michigan. Having made the postseason in 2011 , the team fell back to earth , with disastrous thud finishing at the bottom of the pile within the NFC North , with a 4-12 record in 2012. Many were surprised that Schwartz retained his position with the franchise , but Chairman , William Clay Ford Jr and the general manager were in agreement that Jim Schwartz should be asked to return for next season. Detroit Free News / Daniel Mears ….

(8) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , left is seen here alongside NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , as each wait to address to members of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee , up on Capitol Hill , Washington DC , in October of 2010. The pair , were also joined by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , MLBPA Executive Director , Michael Weiner , David Stern of the NBA , as well as Gary Bettman of the NHL . The congressional committee convened a hearing to address the issue of performance enhancing drugs within four major professional sports . However , senior members of the committee took umbrage with both Goodell and Smith , and their reluctance to enact their initiative , which had been ratified by the NFLPA in 2010, to start testing for the use HGH (human growth hormone) by the NFL players . Three years later and the NFL is no closer to starting their testing protocols , whereas baseball has begun testing not only HGH , but a wide substances by MLB , but also designated a felony , wherein , a player is known to have obtained such a substance without medical approval and that of a prescription by a licensed medical professional , specifically for medical use. AP REUTERS / David Rogers …..

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’Maino’ feat’g Roscoe Dash ….. ”Let it Fly”

This is not what I signed up for !

This is not what I signed up for !

By Tophatal

The NBA season is moving along nicely, but for a new of teams , it now looks as their seasons could very well be over before we have reached the midway point of the 2012-13 NBA calendar . The plotlines to the season are now being played out , with Charlotte Bobcats , Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards , all three teams are seeking to redefine mediocrity , and now the fans have been witnesses this all.

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In the Eastern Conference , the three teams that seem to the setting the pace , are the Miami Heat(23-11) , New York Knicks (23-12) and the surprisingly resourceful Indiana Pacers(22-14) . While the reigning champions, the Heat are looking to make a successful defense of their title. Yet on the face of it, this team do seem to be trying to make things extremely hard for themselves with their rather inconsistent play. The NBA season, having had the first of two coaching casualties, with the dismissals of Mike Brown of the Los Angeles Lakers , five games (1-4) into their season , with a rather asinine explanation coming from GM , Mitch Kupchak , as to the reasons for the improbable decision .

The other casualty to fall , was Avery Johnson of the Brooklyn Nets , and whether or not this is pertinent , but it would appear that Nets’ point guard , Deron Williams , is now becoming known , as something of a “ coach killer” . It should come as no surprise , with the evidence being there for all to see , first with the Utah Jazz , and the departure of Jerry Sloan, albeit the famed former head coach resigned , rather than being forced out , but the tell-tale signs were there for all to see . An underperforming star , continually, complaining about his team’s play, without ever once, showing any form of leadership to his teammates . I’ll say this for Deron Williams , in spite of his play , his lack of maturity far outweighs anything that he is said to have achieved at this point of his career .

The Brooklyn Nets , with P J Carlesimo , now coaching the team on an interim basis , have made a hard push to lure famed and future bound Hall of Fame coach , Phil Jackson , out of retirement , literally offering him a King’s ransom and a rumored minority interest in the Nets’ franchise . Part ownership of a listless team, that is also without a leader , much less having any real character , is not I believe, a scenario where Jackson would be lured back into coaching ! And the same situation can now be applied to the idiocy that has now befallen the Los Angeles Lakers , another aging , uninspired franchise and team . As Kobe Bryant , recently stated, we’re getting old and heading nowhere fast “ . It is now beginning to look all the more probable that the franchise could very well end up missing the postseason , should the team continue with their ongoing season of ineptitude and inconsistency. It has now left many fans and NBA analysts wondering , how could things spiraled so out of control, so fast , without their being any inclination at the start of the season , that , it would be one , of sheer ridicule of the ownership and management ?

The hiring of Mike D’Antoni to succeed Mike Brown , is befuddling to myself , as to this ongoing belief and fascination with the paparazzi, that the career of Lindsay Lohan , still remains relevant when she has done absolutely nothing of merit over the past five years. As to D’Antoni’s resume` , well let’s just say , there’s not a great deal that one could truly say , is altogether inspiring ! I truly believe, that Mitch Kupchak and Lakers’ SVP, Jim Buss , have now erred twice in their most recent managerial hiring! If you believe my statement to be a mistake, then do take the time to explain your reasons why?

The makeup of this Lakers’ roster pivots around the play of Kobe Bryant , and as he goes , then so does the rest of the team, Granted , Bryant can go off , for forty-plus points , and inevitably given their play of the team, and they still end up losing . Yet the enigma, here , is that the team either choose not to , or has no idea , how to play a lick of goddamn defense , when it matters most ! As things now continue , with the winners of four of their last ten games , it begs the question what is the perceived direction that the team , is said to be heading in ? The Lakers now sit 12.5 games out of first place , within the Pacific Division behind the surging Los Angeles Clippers (28-8).

With Blake Griffin leading the way alongside one of the NBA’s premier point guards , in Chris Paul , it has to be said that the Lakers’ task is becoming all the more unenviable , especially when the Clippers are now seen “ as the best story happening , in the city of Angels” . Failure at this juncture , and we could very well see the franchise go through their second managerial change inside of a calendar year . Something, I would have said , was impossible at the start of the season . And this is a franchise known for its semblance of continuity , albeit , that the glitterati and paparazzi make the organization the center and focus of the NBA landscape , and that is with due respect to the residents of the “Big Apple” and “ Brooklyn” .

Now unless I’m mistaken, we were led to believe that the NBA is a brand that has become world renown , yet, I seriously doubt David Stern would have expected three teams within the Eastern Conference subjecting the fans of the league , to such abject futility! The Charlotte Bobcats (9-26) , Cleveland Cavaliers (9-29 ) , and the Washington Wizards (5-28) , this season have given a whole new meaning to the words , “ futility” and “mediocrity” , which is clearly reflected in their respective records and play.

Inasmuch , as I have admired Michael Jordan’s career as an NBA player , it has to be said his successes as an NBA front office executive is now “peppered” with a “ litany of failures” . Anyone who would now suggest that Jordan is at the forefront of his present career, as owner and de-facto general manager , should now begin to acknowledge that he might now be the NBA’s answer to Jerry Jones of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys . I am not about to suggest that Michael Jordan doesn’t accept the input of his fellow executives , in particular that of GM, Rich Cho . Yet it has become , and will remain abundantly clear, that Jordan is prepared to things his way , and is not truly prepared to accept any criticism leveled his way. And the Bobcats for their part , are not making the situation any more acceptable with the ongoing futility of this team . If there is a silver cloud to this nightmare , then it is the fact that , the organization is unlikely to end up with the worst record within the NBA at season’s end , especially when one bears in mind , the franchise’s 7-59 mark of last season , in reduced schedule of sixty-six games , from the customary eighty-two game schedule the NBA is naturally known for.

I’ve called it , and the anally retentive idiots who sought the retention of the Sacramento Kings in the California state capital , clearly have no fucking idea as to what is happening within their very midst , let alone within the front office of the Kings , altogether. I suppose that all comes down to the apathy of those fans , and what they feel is their all-knowing belief, that the NBA eats , breathes and shits , by the events take place on the West Coast, and shapes this league as a whole ! In what should not be seen as a surprising turn of events the ownership group the Sacramento Kings , led by the Maloof family , of Joe and Gavin Maloof , have agreed in principle to the sale of the NBA franchise to a Seattle-based consortium that will relocate the Kings to Washington State. For the better part of two and a half years, the city’s mayor , Kevin Johnson , himself a former NBA player , has judiciously negotiated with the Kings , primarily with GM, Geoff Petrie , but also with, Joe and Gavin Maloof.

Courtesy of USA Today

Sacramento Kings’ possible move uneasy for players, fans

SACRAMENTO (AP) — Aaron Brooks has been in an awkward spot since news surfaced that the Sacramento Kings could be sold and moved to his hometown of Seattle.

The Kings guard has no answers for family and friends who have been calling and texting for information. Even the excitement his brother, Alvertis, had when he showed up for a visit evaporated once he realized those in Sacramento might feel the same sorrow as when the SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City in 2008.

NEARING DEAL: Seattle group negotiates with Maloofs

“Seattle does need a team. But you would hate to have a team leave a city you know wants a basketball team,” Brooks said. “It’s unfortunate.”

For Sacramento players, coaches and fans, this is not an easy time.

In the first game since the latest — and perhaps most serious — round of relocation talks began, the Kings lost to the Dallas Mavericks 117-112 in overtime Thursday night, with chatter around the aging arena seemingly centering on everything but basketball.

GAME: Mavericks come back from 17 points down

Newspaper and television reporters from Seattle showed up along with an increased local media presence. Fans contemplated whether they should keep supporting a team they love. Ushers and parking attendants who depend on the team for work approached reporters wondering if they knew what might happen.

Even players and coaches admitted all the attention made it difficult to focus on the game.

“It’s definitely going to be a distraction,” said Kings coach Keith Smart. “But we’re pros. We’ve got to figure out a way how to separate the two and then get ready to play.”

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However, it has been intransigence of the franchise’s owners and the very fact , that David Stern has failed to act as a willing intermediary and peacemaker , that has led to this actual debacle . From the very outset, it was my belief that Johnson was negotiating from a position of weakness! And this continued idiocy by a number loyal but misguided Kings’ fans that it would be in the city’s best interest to use public funds in conjunction with that of private enterprise within the city’s locale , presently shows why the state and city remains a “complete cluster fuck “ , politically and economically , with no apparent leadership or the capacity to do what is ethically right , and that is to walk away while you have the option , instead of being made to look like a complete asshole ! As of now, that can be the only way to view Kevin Johnson and the Sacramento City Council. When will these municipal politicians, learn that continually kissing the ass of a billionaire or millionaire professional sports’ franchise owner , rarely benefits a city in the long-term !

Courtesy of USA Today

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson says he’ll save Kings

By Sam Amick , USA Today Sports

SACRAMENTO — Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson swears he still has a shot to save his hometown team.

Johnson, the native son and former NBA point guard who has spent recent years trying to keep the Maloof family that owns the team from taking it elsewhere, told USA TODAY Sports on Friday night that Seattle hasn’t won this game just yet. Asked if his window had closed in light of a Wednesday report that the Maloofs and the Chris Hansen-Steve Ballmer group were finalizing a deal to bring the NBA back to Seattle and more reports on Friday that the deal was done in principle for $525 million, Johnson spread his hands wide and smiled. The window, he swears, remains open.

“(NBA Commissioner David Stern) knows that I’m going to make a request to speak to the governing board (before any Seattle deal is formalized),” Johnson said, noting that the deadline to file for relocation is March 1.

NBA A-Z: Sacramento turns out to support Kings

Stern said Thursday night that potential buyers who might keep the team in Sacramento deserve a shot, even naming billionaire supermarket mogul Ron Burkle as one candidate.

“This will be decided by a committee of owners and the NBA’s board of governors with the advice of me but not leading the way,” Stern said on Thursday night.

As was the case when he made an impassioned and ultimately successful pitch at a board of governor’s meeting in New York to keep the team from going to Anaheim, Calif., in April of 2011, Johnson — who had an agreement in principle with the Maloofs and the NBA for a new arena last February before they backed out — is confident Stern will give him the time necessary to organize his effort.

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A web of lies, and deceit , have been built around this whole sale , and it is clear that the Maloofs simply sought vested parties willing to take a beleaguered and an unprofitable franchise off their hands . Now comes the hard part , how will the fans act with regard to his monumental betrayal by the ownership group , and their malfeasance ? The irony here , has been the apathy of the fans who bought into this fucking bullshit , with regard to Joe , Gavin and Robert Maloof’s intent of keeping the franchise in Sacramento . I’ve always maintained before you run , you have to learn how to walk , and before you start to talk about the economic sports, at least have the goddamn temerity to know what the hell you are talking about , and that has been the stupidity of the Kings’ fans at this juncture !

At 13-23 , there does not seem to be a great deal that the Kings seem to be offering their fan at present , no matter how you view the situation. Coming off to a tough 117-112 loss to the Dallas Mavericks at the archaic and impoverished Sleep Train Arena , one of the NBA’s more dilapidated venues , for which the Maloofs, offered no assistance in refurbishing, when this whole negotiating process began . From the very outset it was abundantly clear , that neither Joe or Gavin Maloof, intended to negotiate in good faith , yet Kings’ fans in their continued bewilderment and sheer stupidity , held out hope that an amicable agreement could be reached between the city of Sacramento and the owners of the NBA franchise. It was merely the blind, and the blissfully stupid, being led down the garden path by the Maloofs . At the end of the day , one simply knows that David Stern in celebratory mood will commending the new owners of the soon to be relocated franchise , while the city of Sacramento , are left egg on their face and a white elephant , whose only use will be to stage a number of concerts and perhaps , a number of business expositions .

Next up for the Kings, will be two consecutive home games , with the first being tonight against the Miami Heat to be followed by a meeting against the Cleveland Cavaliers , on Monday night . There is not a great deal that can be said in terms of a positive for head coach Keith Smart and his coaching staff . The team’s best player remains Tyreke Evans , who’s ably assisted by Aaron Brooks , John Salmons and the troubled enigma that is , DeMarcus Cousins , whose exploits off the court , have now become the sole reason to even take an interest in the troubled player , who just doesn’t seem capable of harnessing his abilities and being truly productive for this beleaguered franchise . Beyond that, there is not much left, that can be said !

While, I am impressed with the growing stature of the Los Angeles Clippers , and their body of work this season . There can be no denying that if this franchise is to prove itself a success , then their efforts against the top tiered teams within the league will have to be amplified and maintained over the course of the season , and Vinnie Del Negro cannot be complacent in settling for half-measures in terms of his team’s productivity . If anything , while having the league’s best record , the continued “ knock” against the Clippers , will be , until they have proved themselves in the postseason , they will just be looked upon as a very good regular season team.

If the Clippers based upon their record are deemed the best team in the NBA at present , then surely , the Oklahoma City Thunder must pose an ominous threat , along with the San Antonio Spurs , within the Western Conference ? ? The “ dark horses” within the conference are the Memphis Grizzlies , a team capable of beating the very best within the NBA when they apply themselves to the task at hand .

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Picture gallery .

The NBA this season , we have been privileged to seeing the ascent of the New York Knicks , Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies . Players , LeBron James , Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant , continue to be dominant , yet why do I get the feeling that I am likely to be continually disappointed by the league in so many ways ? What, if anything has proven to be the biggest surprise and joy to your mind, while also witnessing, the very worst that the NBA has to offer? simply, leave a comment as you see fit.

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .
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(1)Indiana Pacers’ George Hill (3) drives against Charlotte Bobcats’ Ben Gordon (8) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. The Pacers defeated the Bobcats 96-88 . AP Photo/Doug McSchooler …

(2) Denver Nuggets’ Kenneth Faried , right, shoots over Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving , left, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, in Denver. AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez …

(3) Michael Jordan , the Charlotte Bobcats’ owner , is seen here with fiancée’ , Yvette Prieto , watching the Bobcats in a game played at the team’s home venue at the Time Warner Cable Arena , in Charlotte , North Carolina . Jordan and general manager , Rich Cho , have yet to get the Bobcats heading in the right direction , and it appears that their struggles have been on ongoing over the past two seasons . Team acquisitions as well as the draft have yet to be fortuitous for the franchise . AP Photo / Suzy Marshall …

(4) Phoenix Suns’ Sebastian Telfair (31) drives the ball past Brooklyn Nets’ Deron Williams (8) in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, Jan., 11, 2013 at Barclays Center in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek ….

(5) ” Clueless in Sacramento ” , Seattle Mayor , Kevin Johnson is seen here Sacramento Kings’ owners , Joe and Gavin Maloof are seen here in attendance of a Kings’ game in 2011 . It is now being widely being reported that the franchise will be sold to a Seattle-based consortium , for a yet undisclosed, sum for which the Maloofs have agreed in principle to the sale . Johnson, has vowed to use every available means within his power avert the ” sale” and to retain Sacramento Kings within the California state capitol . AP Photo/ Paul Pennant …….

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Dior Keyshia

Keyshia Dior , a hot piece of ass that’s worth watching , up close and personal !

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James Brown ……. ” Papa’s got a brand new bag ”

Being, self-absorbed doesn’t offer dignity, it simply proves you are an ass

Being, self-absorbed doesn’t offer dignity, it simply proves you are an ass

By Tophatal

Well, after a rather meaningless gathering, the less than flattering body of the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) more commonly known in my circle as the Baseball Writers Association of A$sholes , came to a decision that the 34 players on the 2013 the Hall of Fame ballot was not worthy of being inductees in this celebratory ceremony . Now as many of you may know, that among the list of candidates were, three of the most prominent players associated with the “steroid era “ of baseball.

Roger Clemens , Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa were part of that list of players , where the adjudicators would have to make the decision to vote those candidates in , by a margin of no less than 75% of the tallied votes .

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Not wanting to make light of this all , but celebrated columnist and journalist , Bob Nightengale of USA Today , wrote a <a href=”http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2013/01/07/barry-bonds-roger-clemens-hall-of-fame-fred-mcgriff-steroids-sammy-sosa/1812111/”&gt; column stating why he would in all likelihood vote for all three of the aforementioned players to be enshrined . Nightengale suggests that on pure stats alone , the triumvirate were worthy of that accolade . It should be noted , the writer is also a voting member of the aforementioned BBWAA , a body , which I believe, no longer has any credibility or integrity ! Much of that is based on the non-committed stance of that group when the subject of “rampant steroid use” was prevalent within the game , and the very fact that this journalistic body , essentially chose to obfuscate their responsibilities as journalists , only seeking to write salacious tales or what was at the time , essentially the “ tainted feats “ of Bonds , Sosa and Mark McGwire . Needless , to say , legal actions , subpoenaed testimony in front of a congressional committee has done nothing to lift the credibility of the players involved , or raised the integrity of the BBWAA , altogether .

The BBWAA does not seem to possess the journalistic aptitude to even seek out the stories within the game that resonate with the fans and public at large , never mind the odious and often at times banal pieces that can be found within this forum on the subject matter of the illicit use of PED’s and other prohibitive substances within the game of baseball. However, it is simply not just the print media that should also bear responsibility for this apathy, because the sports’ broadcast outlets and the major television media, have essentially remained quiet on an ever </awide ranging list of topics associated with the </aseamier side of the game. Usually, it is not until a story has started to gather a great deal of steam that we tend to see all parts of the news’ media outlets start to scurry and give their perspective , one that is skewered uninformed and at times poorly written and without any real focal points, to that piece at all ! .

Courtesy of USA Today , Bob Nightengale

Barry Bonds was the first name I checked on my Hall of Fame ballot.

Roger Clemens was the second name I checked.

Sammy Sosa was the third.

There was no hesitation. No moment of wavering. Didn’t even blink.

Bonds, a seven-time MVP, might have been the greatest baseball player since Babe Ruth. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, was one of the most dominant pitchers of the last 50 years. Sosa, the only man to hit 60 or more homers in three seasons, was one of the most prolific home run hitters we’ve ever seen.

Oh, the steroids debate?

None ever failed a drug test after Major League Baseball implemented testing in 2004. They were never suspended by MLB for steroids, human growth hormone, amphetamines or any other performance-enhancing drugs.

Clemens was exonerated on perjury charges for lying about steroid use in federal court. Bonds also beat perjury charges and was convicted only on an obstruction-of-justice charge that he’s appealing.

Do I still believe they cheated? Absolutely.

Do I have proof? No.

Do I have strong suspicions that Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell cheated after witnessing their colossal changes in body type and performance? Absolutely.

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Thankfully, Bob Nightengale and his cabal of idiots for once , may well have done the right thing , in not voting anyone in , from among the list of candidate on the 2013 list of prospective inductees. Craig Biggio came the closest , garnering 68.3% of the necessary 75 % of the votes needed for enshrinement into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. However, he may well face an stiffer task in 2014 , when the list of candidates will include among those notables , Greg Maddux , Tom Glavine, Edgar Martinez , Frank Thomas , Mike Mussina , Luis Gonzalez , Kenny Rogers , and Hideo Nomo , among in the category of eligible first time candidates due for induction. And one would be hard pressed to state that neither Greg Maddux or Tom Glavine are not worthy for induction into the Hall of Fame , in Cooperstown, New York .

One of more patronizing side of the BBWAA is that self-righteous belief that is espoused is as such , as knowledgeable historians of the game , their “printed word” is sacrosanct. In all honesty , given the institution to simply sidestep controversy , merely to stay in the good graces of baseball’s hierarchy . I am beginning to wonder , whether or not it would simply be more beneficial to have a body of current and retired players along with managers and front office executive to be arbiters for a players’ induction into the Hall of Fame . Can anyone say that there is any real credence in the way the baseball writers conduct their voting process ? Who better than the players , managers and general managers to make such a decision , rather than a bunch of doe-eyed word and often times gregarious idiots be left to make such a decision. The purists and traditionalists out there may well think otherwise . Yet more often than not those are the very same imbeciles , who will make a case for the argument that the actions of Bonds , Sosa , Clemens , McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro did not do irreparable harm to the game. If they have profited financially from their actions while defrauding the fans and public alike , then off course irreparable damage has been done to the image of baseball . Only, an anally retentive asshole , would seek to suggest otherwise !

Beyond the rhetoric proffered up by baseball’s writers within their own little sphere of influence , and who have never really delved with any great depth into the financial imbalances within the game , other than to report who just happens to be the highest paid player in the game , or to remind us that the New York Yankees still carries the highest team payroll in baseball . It has been the very fact that they feel it obligatory , simply to not fall afoul of Bud Selig and his subordinates. And for the commissioner for his part , with his mind numbingly low IQ , simply offers up such banality , that is now hard to take him seriously as the game’s highest ranking executive . At $25 million a year , as a salary , I would have to say that Selig has done an extremely piss poor job through the majority of his tenure ! His handling of the “ steroid era” notwithstanding , it has been his lack of foresight and insight shown , along with not fully comprehending the malfeasance of Frank McCourt, in almost bringing about the ruination of the Los Angeles Dodgers ,

Needless to say , while Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz , fiddle , while the embers are still aglow around the New York Mets , Bud Selig will suggest to us, that there is due diligence and oversight being shown as to the franchise’s ongoing financial difficulties . Albeit , that a patron of my site has pointed out the fact , that the organization has been able to obtain financing from a number of financial institution, and that a glowing report has been written about the Mets’ “ alleged” improving financial status, by none other than Standard & Poors . Suffice to say , the once proud financial markets and investment research firm has about as much credibility as Lindsay Lohan’s acting career. These are the very same ,bumbling buffoons , who with their vast research resources were not able to spot the horrors on the horizon , short-term and long-term , when it came to the major financial institutions’ use of the derivatives’ ,markets to send not only banking sector into a downwards’ tailspin but also the vast majority of the residential mortgage industry as well. Yet because a patron points to a report , I should be assured that the Mets are heading in right direction from a financial standpoint ? This being the same baseball franchise that showed a $41 million loss , and is still projected to lose approximately $65 million for the upcoming fiscal year . But also , do bear in mind , Mets’ GM , Sandy Alderson , recently offered an exorbitant contract to David Wright , an eight-year deal worth approximately , $134 million .

Now I could go on to lambast Sandy Alderson for this apparent idiocy , but what good would it do ? I mean , given the Mets’ dreadful record last season , and their continued propensity for making such outlandish personnel moves , while considerably overpaying for moderate talent . .It is increasingly clear why the franchise has been such an incredible mess . COO & CFO , Jeff Wilpon , has taken to running and ruining the franchise , as if it were a child’s toy , that will soon outlive its’ usefulness !

The New York Mets may well have dodged a bullet when Irving H Picard , the plaintiffs’ lawyer, in a multibillion dollar lawsuit that sought the return of $1.225 billion in monies received by franchise and siphoned through another Wilpon family-controlled and owned business entity , Sterling Equities Inc . These funds were said to be the returns on the investments made, in the now infamous “Madoff Ponzi Scheme” over the past two decades , which saw in excess of 8,000 clients lose $57 billion , through the misdeeds of now incarcerated financier , Bernard “Bernie” Madoff . And for some inexplicable reason Irving Picard, would reach an out of court settlement the defendants , the New York Mets, that would see his clients receive a little over 16 cents on the dollar , netting the plaintiffs , slightly less than $100 million. Far be it , for me to suggest , but if I were one of the plaintiffs , and that agreement were reached , there would be no way in hell, that Irving Picard would still be alive today ! I would be on him “ like white on rice “ , beating his ass , to within an inch of his life ! Lawyers , just as disingenuous as a congressman , with perhaps, slightly less morals? I’ll leave it for you to be the judge of that !

If there were a team in baseball that needed to succeed , rather than being continually be looked upon as an “also ran” , then it would have to be the Los Angeles Angels . Team owner, Arte Moreno and GM , Jerry DiPoto made the “big splash” last season obtaining C J Wilson and Albert Pujols , while paying out the “big bucks” in terms of the contracts offered to both players . Yet , for all of that financial commitment , the “ best player “ on the Angels’ roster over the course of 2012 , was rookie sensation Mike Trout , who literally blew the “ door off its hinges “ , while seeking to keep pace with Miguel Cabrera as the most dominant offensive player in the AL during 2012.

And while from a competitive standpoint within AL West , the Angels simply were not up to scratch . Inconsistent pitching became just one of the many problems that Mike Scocsia and his staff had to face , as the team struggled to find their way throughout much of 2012 . A disappointing third place finish, behind the revelation of the season , the Oakland A’s , surprise winners of the division and a postseason entrant from the AL. This left Jerry DiPoto and Arte Moreno , asking , what else might be needed to bolster the team ? Money , off course was no object , given Moreno’s wealth and a financially viable franchise in the nation’s second largest ad market bodes well for the organization . Yet , having to play “ second fiddle” to the Texas Rangers for divisional supremacy over the last few years has proven to be arduous .

Adding into the frustration for the Angels, was seeing the sudden resurrection of the Los Angeles Dodgers , under the ownership of two financial “ big hitters “ and a Hollywood mogul . Throw in an NBA legend as part of ownership group that paid an astonishing $2.155 billion for beleaguered franchise , and with the ensuing talk by minority stakeholder and “ hype-man” , Magic Johnson “ that money would be of no object , in chasing after success” . And one could well understand why Moreno and company might feel like he is on the outside looking in , on a a party that he had been invited to , but somehow security will not relent , and allow him , to enter the party in question .

As I alluded to earlier , pitching was a problem for the Angels during 2012 , but it should also be noted , that a once potent offense suddenly started spluttering for all of the wrong reasons during the most untimely of situations , at times befuddling Mike Scocsia , drawing his ire. The decision was made to acquire free agent slugger , Josh Hamilton, whose final year with the Texas Rangers was filled with highs and lows through much of the season. Hamilton and his agent, Michael Moye, sought a long-term commitment from GM, Jon Daniels of the Rangers. But, team President, Nolan Ryan did not believe it prudent to acquiesce to the player and his agent’s demands, which is said to be a ten-year $275 million contract. Those demands , clearly, could only be met by a select few teams within baseball. DiPoto , at the behest of Arte Moreno swooped in , and a five-year $125 million offer was made to the slugger. Hamilton , will certainly add to the potency of this Angels’ offense, but the greatest concern , would have to be , Josh Hamilton’s health , but more importantly , his well- known sobriety problems. A recovering drug addict and alcoholic , Hamilton, has repeatedly “fallen off the wagon” , much to the angst of his family , but also drawing a certain level of criticism from the Rangers’ front office. I would certainly like to think that Josh Hamilton can keep his sobriety in check while contributing greatly to the aspirations of the Angels this upcoming season !

The Angels will open their regular season schedule with a three-game series against the Oakland A’s , beginning 9th April, 2013 , at Angel Stadium , in Anaheim , California ,.

The AL West will have a new addition to its stable with the relocation of the Houston Astros from the NL Central to its counterpart within the AL. Somehow, I do believe that Astros will be in for a long and arduous season , and for manager , Bo Porters , 2013 , might just be a year he would rather forget. Simply based on the Astros’ record (55-107) in 2012, this is not a team , that I believe will be able to compete their fellow cohabitants within the AL West , much less the rest of baseball ! Sound off , with your thoughts on this particular point raised.

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Picture gallery .

In light of the decision made by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America to not have a 2013 candidate inducted in , for this year’s ceremony , do you believe it to be the right decision made ? Or are you of the opinion , that no matter who the nominee might happen to be , he should be voted in , based on the association’s criteria , whether or not they are tainted by the steroids era ? Chime in, with your thoughts on this and anything else you feel pertinent to this topic. Do you believe, that the Los Angeles Angels will be able to mountain substantive challenge within the AL West this season ? And finally, do you believe columnist Bob Nightengale’s article , gave you a much clearer picture as to the mindset of the other adjudicators within the BBWAA ?

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) USA Today columnist , Bob Nightengale, seen here being interviewed by veteran sports’ anchor Bob Costas of NBC Sports . Nightengale a featured with the national daily , is the paper’s featured writer on baseball along with Hal Bodley . Bob Nightengale’s most recent column for the paper, gives us his unique opinion , on why , he will vote for Roger Clemens , Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa to be enshrined from the class of 2013 into Baseball’s Hall of Fame , in Cooperstown , New York .

(2) From left to right , Barry Bonds , Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens . All three were part of the class of 2013 enlistees eligible for the adjudication process for Baseball’s Hall of Fame . The trio having been stained by “steroid era” within the game , failed to obtain the necessary warranted votes (75%) to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame. AP Photo / Ellis Parsons ….

(3) MLB Commissioner , Bud Selig , left , is seen here , with now former Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner , Frank McCourt . The beleaguered businessman was forced to take the famed ball-club into bankruptcy proceedings whilst in the midst of an acrimonious divorce from ex-wife, Jamie McCourt. Bud Selig presided over this , but it was widely known that McCourt had been contravening the bye-laws of the game by using the franchise as business collateral for several of his surreptitious business deals . The league hierarchy was forced to send in an outside authority (C Thomas Schiffer) to preside over the ball-club on a day-to-day basis , much to the dislike of the owner , who stated that he was being a scapegoat for baseball’s own deficiencies . The Dodgers were auctioned off in what was said to be a sealed “bidding process” for the sum of $2.156 billion . However , a number of team owners were dissatisfied with the process , especially after it was revealed that Bud Selig interjected himself in the midst of the deliberations , and is said to have favored the winning consortium’s bid , prior to the whole endeavor’s commencement . AP/ Getty Images / Paul M . Metcalf …

(4) (L – R) Saul Katz, CEO of the Mets, Fred Wilpon, president of the Mets, Sandy Alderson and Jeff Wilpon, chief operating officer of the Mets pose for a photo during Alderson’s introduction as the general manager for the New York Mets on October 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Getty Images North America / Andrew Burton …

(5) Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno joins free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton, right, for photographs at a news conference, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Anaheim, Calif. Hamilton, a five-time All-Star and l2010 AL MVP, joins the Angels MLB team after signing a $125 million, five-year contract . Clockwise from Moreno is his wife Carole, Hamilton’s wife Katie, holding daughter Stella, Hamilton; with daughters Sierra, Michaela, and Julie. AP Photo/Chris Carlson …

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Actress Kerry Washington

This wasn’t the way it was meant to be , but I’ll take it

This wasn’t the way it was meant to be , but I’ll take it

By Tophatal ….. 01/08/2013

There’s something to be said for teams playing themselves into contention as the postseason approaches , and one could also attest to the fact that a team without a veteran presence on it , will tend to come up short in the initial round of the NFL playoffs . Clearly, that was the case, when the Baltimore Ravens played hosts to the Indianapolis Colts , led by their rookie sensation , Andrew Luck . And against the backdrop of the stories that surrounded the franchise over the course of the season , it seemed that nothing was about to go right for the team.

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it was revealed before the Sunday afternoon kickoff, that Colts’ assistant head coach, Bruce Arians had suddenly taken ill , having collapsed in his hotel room , suffering from dizziness and nausea . Considering, the health issues that befell Chuck Pagano earlier on , with his recovery from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma , having undergone several rounds of debilitating chemotherapy .One has to wonder, if this was simply a rather unjust way of getting back at the Colts after their on-field success this season?

From 2-14 in 2011 , to double-digit wins and a postseason berth in 2012 , to alongside the exhilarating play of Andrew Luck and his teammates . What no one would be in doubt with , was that Ravens’ veteran linebacker , Ray Lewis was not about to let this game be his final swan song with the Baltimore Ravens . Over his illustrious career, Lewis has racked up accolades, the way, Warren Buffett has seen his wealth grow immensely . Lewis has the respect of his peers, past and present , as well a great many number of fans across the NFL landscape. And while he made the formal announcement stating that this would be his last season in the NFL , I seriously doubt that Ray Lewis’ wish was to ride off into the sunset, with a postseason loss to the upstart Indianapolis Colts .

The Colts did their leveled best to keep this game close , but errant plays , missed opportunities , and as I alluded to , the lack postseason experience , with only a few such veterans on the roster who could provide a minutiae of what was sought , Indianapolis would in the end come up short , on the wrong side of a 24-9 loss to their AFC counterparts .

As a New England Patriots’ (12-4) fan, simply knowing that they had garnered a top two seeding in the AFC was enough of respite knowing that the team’s defense still remains a work in progress, this late into the season . Now, far be it, for me to suggest, that Bill Belichick , a defensive “guru” , simply does know what he is doing , but at times there does seem to be a reason to his madness and that of his coaching staff . As to what that might be , only the venerable head coach and his staff would clearly know what that might be .

All season long , the deficiencies in the Patriots’ defense were highlighted , with their inconsistent play , albeit that came away victorious in many of those games . Charged with making the defense a great deal stealthier , well that has been placed in the hands of Matt Patricia , while the offense is left in the hands of Josh McDaniels. While the defense has its ongoing woes, the offense of the Patriot has simply been clicking on all cylinders . Leading the way for the Patriots is the franchise’s three-time winning Superbowl quarterback and league MVP , Tom Brady , who simply goes through the motions during the regular season, but once the postseason comes around , he simply becomes a cold-hearted assassin .

The Patriots will host the Houston Texans . This will be the second successive season, in which the Texans have made the postseason . For Texans’ quarterback, Matt Schaub , he will be given the chance to redeem himself after the team’s lopsided 42-14 defeat in week fourteen to their venerable AFC East counterparts. And much of the hype that surrounded the Texans during the early part of the season wasn’t at all justified , as the team came into the final five games of the regular season , going 2-3 in those scheduled match-ups . Hardly, what one consider to be noteworthy for a franchise with Superbowl aspirations. And though one can’t really put much store in one game , I do feel however, if you gauge that by looking at the series between the two combatants , it can at times provide us with something of an indicator , as to how these games can go !

The Houston Texans have proven to be a formidable force this season , and as one of the three best teams </u in the AFC from a record and offensive standpoint , it is easy to understand why the team was seen and remains as such, one of the favorites within the conference for the Superbowl. Running backs , Arian Foster , Stevan Ridley and Danny Woodhead , should be able to provide the fans in attendance at Gillette Stadium , in Foxborough , Massachusetts with a great spectacle in terms of a running game . A stern test of both defenses will be part of the recipe , in what is hoped to be a scintillating game . If there is a victor to come out of this match-up , then it will be all predicated upon time of possession , and whomever controls the ball in that specific category will come away the winner , in this divisional round duel.

I don’t know that there will be a more highly anticipated game this upcoming weekend , than the prospective match-up between the Seattle Seahawks and the Atlanta Falcons ! For a seventh round draft pick (2012 NFL Draft) , Russell Wilson might just prove to be the invaluable and prophetic player taken that late in the NFL Draft over the past decade , since Tom Brady as was drafted by the Patriots a sixth rounder in the 2000 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots . As we know Brady’s career has been illuminated by his on-field accomplishments , his career earnings , estimated wealth , conservatively said to be between $75 million to $120 million , and the fact that he and Peyton Manning might just be the most marketable players in the NFL, and that is with the idiocy that surrounds the “marketing” of Tim Tebow , as one of the “up and coming faces “ within the NFL ! Affability as a sales’ tool when it comes to consumer branding and marketing amongst heterosexual males , might just rank up there alongside using Clay Aiken as the next spokesperson for Louis Vuitton. It just doesn’t work .

In a game that will see Matt Ryan , of the Atlanta Falcons , once again try to get off the “Schneid” in terms of garnering his first postseason victory in what will be his fourth attempt indicates the struggles the player has in terms of his postseason performances . Ryan , forever the consummate professional is a great regular season performer , yet all of his troubles tend to arise in the postseason. As to whether or not he will be able to lead the Atlanta Falcons past a self-confident and driven Seahawks’ team , well that remains to be seen .

Russell Wilson’s accomplishments this season have simply been extraordinary, and the very fact that he joined Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin as the only rookies to have taken their respective franchises into the playoffs in their very first season, speaks volumes as their play. What cannot be denied in 2012 , and it is that we may well have seen the best year amongst NFL rookie quarterbacks in well over a decade .

Whether or not he wins Comeback Player of the Year or adds to his tally of four League MVP’s , there is no denying that Peyton Manning had an astonishing season in 2012 . He led the Denver Broncos to a conference best 13-3 record , and the fact that they steamrolled their way to the AFC West divisional title , simply indicates to me that the , Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders , and San Diego Chargers , are in all likelihood , going to be playing catch-up to the Broncos for quite a few years to come !

And for the Broncos they now have a home date with the Baltimore Ravens , to be played at Sports Authority Field , in Denver , Colorado ,. The two teams met earlier in the season , in week fifteen , with the Colts coming away with a 34-17 victory over their conference rivals . It was very much a game , that pivoted around the proficiency of both offenses and defenses during a great deal of the scheduled match-up between these two teams. For quarterbacks Peyton Manning and the Ravens’ Joe Flacco , this should be an event , that will provide us with an aerial assault , as well as , a great deal of productivity on the ground , by way of a running game from both the Colts and the Ravens.

Getting beyond the travails of Alex Smith , for whom consistency has been worrisome , considering over the course of his career, it wasn’t until 2011 that we saw some growth , maturity and leadership from the seven-year veteran quarterback, drafted out of Utah State as the # overall pick of the 2005 NFL Draft. With Smith’s regression in 2012 , it has been his backup Colin Kaepernick , who has stepped to the fore to take this Niners’ team into the postseason. Head coach Jim Harbaugh , had shown all the faith he had in Smith , but once the player became injured , he was left with the backup , Colin Kaepernick. He has grasped that opportunity and relished being the incumbent starting quarterback . On Saturday , we will get the chance to see Kaepernick make his first postseason start and assuage his progress as player within the ranks ranks of the NFL .

The prospective match-up between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers , in a game to be played at Candlestick Park , in San Francisco , California, should prove to be eventful , with an all too weary Packers’ team seeking not to be duped into that false sense of security . And with Packers’ quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, looking to further cement his legacy , after another exemplary season . This game has all the makings of becoming an instantaneous classic, in more ways than one .

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Picture gallery.

What , if anything , has been the most surprising to you , in terms of the playoff games that have taken place ? And in the divisional round of the postseason , what do you hope to see from the teams participating at that juncture? Chime in, on this, and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis celebrates after an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, in Baltimore. Lewis has said he will retire at the end of the season, and the Ravens won 24-9 . AP Photo/Gail Burton …

(2) Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice (27) runs with the ball and gets away from Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman (50) , for a 47 yard gain , during the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, in Baltimore. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky …

(3) New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski faces reporters in the team’s locker room at Gillette Stadium following NFL football practice in Foxborough, Mass., Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. The Patriots host the Houston Texans on Sunday in an AFC divisional playoff game . AP Photo/Steven Senne …

(4) Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (8) reacts to throwing an interception to Cincinnati Bengals’ Leon Hall during the second quarter of an NFL wild card playoff football game Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, in Houston. Left is Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins . AP Photo/Dave Einsel …

(5) Denver Broncos coach John Fox , left, and quarterback Peyton Manning (18) watch from the sidelines against the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, in Denver. Denver won 38-3 . AP Photo/Joe Mahoney ….

(6) Head coach Jim Harbaugh talks to Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers in the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Candlestick Park on November 19, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Getty Images North America / Thomas W Henderson …

(7) Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson waves as he leaves the field after an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. The Seahawks defeated the Redskins 24-14 . AP Photo/Matt Slocum …

(8) Five quarterbacks who failed to deliver in 2012 by way of a playoff berth for their respective teams . From left to right , Eli Manning , Tony Romo , Ben Roethlisberger , Philip Rivers , and Jay Cutler . All are hoping to rebound in 2013 . …. @ copyrighted material all rights reserved …

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Wale & … Gucci Mane “Pretty Girls”

Some year, but it was 2012, just like any other year

Some year, but it was 2012, just like any other year

Tophatal

The first week of 2013 will come to an end from a sporting standpoint , we can either seek to relook at 2012 as a successful year in sports or we can simply say “ well it was good but the drama and infamous moments far outstripped the great moments “ .

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Biggest story, by far, had been the outrage and scandal that engulfed the famed football program of Penn State. And the very fact that the state’s self-absorbed governor ,Tom Corbett now seeks to address a matter that he and his fellow trustee members of school had decided that they would not seek to veto any punishment mandated by the NCAA , in light of the findings of the school’s request of an in-depth investigation carried out former FBI Director , Louis Freeh , in what has been detailed in “The Freeh Report” . With Corbett now seeking to overturn the $60 million monetary penalty that the NCAA rendered as a verdict , the governor’s actions smacks of self-indulgence and the very fact that there seems to be a lack of common sense on his part. Well , I suppose it always came down to greed and not much else as it related to many of those within the hierarchy of the once proud educational establishment . Anyone who backs Corbett’s stance should be ashamed , given Penn State’s now infamous decision to cover up the actions of the disgraced and incarcerated Jerry Sandusky. Suffice to say, Tom Corbett should bury his head in shame, rather than his asinine comments stating that the NCAA , far out-reached their authority. My question for Tom Corbett , as a trustee member , why did you not seek to hold former , university President, Graham Spanier and Tim Curley accountable for their actions ?

I’m sorry, but with Lance Armstrong now stating that he is now prepared to admit his guilt , with the fact that he has lied about his actions in stating , that he had not taken performance enhancing drugs (PED’s). At what point, should the public seek to say simply say to the disgraced athlete , why did you simply not admit from the very beginning you have been lying , instead of hiding behind a pack of lies and a great deal of deceit ? Clearly, with Armstrong all along , it has been the ” financial gain ” , and the reputed $ 100 million fortune , he sought to protect . And for the anally retentive assholes, who jumped in, with their idiotic support of the disgraced cyclist, and the claim that neither USADA (US Anti-doping Agency) or WADA had no jurisdiction or standing in punishing the athlete. Perhaps, those very same idiots should actually review what this non-governmental agency, is asked to do , by way of their work? The USADA at the behest of the USOC (US Olympic Committee) , has a mandate to carry out investigations of what they believe to be suspicious acts of illicit drug use . And though that agency does not have subpoena powers , when they seek to act in conjunction with the US Justice Department , it does carry credence to the work they carry out. It is amazing to actually how damn uneducated a great number of the public seem to be , when they choose to not actually seek out the information for themselves and simply feed off the bile and diatribe that is continually served up within their midst !

Having been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles as well as Olympic gold , Armstrong’s legacy and reputation is now in complete tatters along with that once pristine reputation . But then again, Lance Armstrong’s actions all along in this whole saga all along spoke to his lack of character to begin with ! He was so steadfast as to his innocence that even when his former teammate , Tyler Hamilton , revealed his claims under a signed affidavit and then subpoena, that both he and Armstrong had been facilitated with the use of EPO (erythropoietin) , and stanazolol amongst a slew and battery of illicit and prohibitive substances banned by the IOC as well as by the ICU (International Cycling Union) , the international governing body for the sport of cycling . It has also been the ICU’s own lackluster efforts , that should also come into question throughout this whole episode, that has engulfed not only Lance Armstrong but several world-class riders over the past decade.

In the world of baseball , the San Francisco Giants marched through the postseason with the utmost ease , serving notice to the rest of the baseball world , that they will not be an easy pushover in 2013. As the reigning World Series champions, and twice winners of the title in the past five years , it begs the question , who is capable of stepping up to the plate and stopping the dominance of the Giants within the NL , much less the rest of baseball ? Will it be, the free-wheeling and big spending Los Angeles Dodgers or the newly revamped Los Angeles Angels ?

World Series MVP , Pablo Sandoval , essentially, cemented his legacy with the San Francisco Giants, and now he seeks to be the dominant force on what is now a very good Giants’ team. The front office of this organization has been well led, and prudent in their spending . GM Brian Sabean and lead managing partner, Larry Baer , will be intent on seeing growth with this team , while manager, Bruce Bochy and his coaching staff , will carry on from where they left off from last season.

The Miami Heat , reigning champions of the NBA . Head coach , Erik Spoelstra and team President , Pat Riley have sought to revamp the team’s roster from last season . The additions of Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen , has been fortuitous , adding a mix of veteran experience as well an offensive presence , that should bode well for the team over the course of this season.

Now while the reigning champions seek to find their best lineup , and contend with their conference rivals , one of the major storylines of the season, has been the rise of the New York Knicks. And for the Knicks this season , their All Star forward Carmelo Anthony has simply been playing the best basketball of his career , in leading the team to the second best record in the Eastern Conference , while leading the starting roster to their present position , as the leaders of the Atlantic Division with a mark of 23-10.

With the recent reintroduction of Amar`e Stoudemire back to the roster, it remains to be seen how the forward will be able to acclimatize himself back into playing shape.

I firmly believe, that the Knicks will be in contention for a top five seed within the Eastern Conference at <a season’s end , but for now it is all about seeing how Mike Woodson’s players fare , as they seek rewrite a new chapter in the franchise’s history .

The Heat’s opponents in last season’s finals , the Oklahoma City Thunder are riding high while leading their division (Northwest) and are second in Western Conference. Though the Los Angeles Clippers (27-8) lead the Pacific Division of the Western Conference and like the league as a whole , it would take a fool to suggest that the Clippers are by far the best team in the NBA at present . As good as they have been , there is no real body of work other than this season to go by, whereas the Thunder over the last two seasons have have shown us their merits.

Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook , Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison seem to moving along nicely ,as they seek to make a quick return to the NBA Finals.

From last season to this season and the expectations that beckon , the fans are being subjected to some great basketball . However, that may well be taking on a whole new meaning when you consider play of the Charlotte Bobcats (8-24), Cleveland Cavaliers (8-27) and the woefully inept Washington Wizards(4-27). Are there some bad teams in the NBA , or simply bad coaches ?

A brief, and momentary mention for the NHL , yes we know that the Los Angeles Kings are the reigning Stanley Cup champions , here’s a thought, the league hierarchy have reached a tentative agreement with the NHLPA (Players’ Union) to return for a shortened season, after their almost four-month league mandated lockout. I’m sorry, but do you, still consider hockey one of the four main professional team sports? For an industry with revenues of $2.5 billion annually , the NHL hierarchy and the players’ union have completely lost their senses , while obfuscation their responsibilities as the custodians of the sport. As to the idiots, who would suggest that the popularity of the NHL remains as high as ever. Well, that might be true, if you were comparing the sport’s popularity to that of the approval ratings of the US House of Representatives , Senate and the present Presidential US administration. The NHL would be hard-pressed to be even considered as remotely popular, as College Football , College Basketball , much less their peers at the professional level within the , NBA , NFL and Major League Baseball (MLB).

Last season in the NFL, the fans of the league were swept away in the euphoria of witnessing the New York Giants win their second Superbowl in the past five years . The Giants’ scintillating victory over the New England Patriots added a further chapter in Eli Manning’s ongoing career, albeit that the teamfailed to make the postseason in 2012. Now through in the fact that at the culmination of the regular season , seven teams saw fit to fire their head coaches , with the biggest casualties of them all , being Lovie Smith , formerly of the Bears and Andy Reid , with the Eagles .

Andy Reid , having met with the Kansas City Chiefs’ hierarchy , formally accepting the vacant head coach’s position with the franchise. As to how Reid will seek to turn around the fortunes of a team that went 2-14 in 2012. Unfortunately, the problems for Romeo Crennel , Reid’s successor , it all stemmed from the extremely poor quarterback play from Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn . The pairing might just be two of the worst quarterbacks in the league over the course of the season , gives credence as to one of the many reasons why the Chiefs failed so miserably. Kansas City may well seek to address that issue during the off-season, either by obtaining a free agent quarterback or by way of the upcoming NFL Draft (2013).

With two of the wildcard round games having given us results , in which we see Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans , march on to the divisional round of the postseason. Sunday, offers the remaining two scheduled match-ups , with the Baltimore Ravens playing host to Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts . Luck, the first quarterback taken in the 2012 NFL Draft , has led the Colts to double-digit wins, in his rookie season , while essentially making believers out of the vast array of NFL fans around the league.

The other game the fans are eager to see , will pit two rookie quarterbacks , who themselves have set the league alight . When the Washington Redskins host the Seattle Seahawks at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland , the opposing quarterbacks will be Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson . And the Seahawks quarterback has been the hottest quarterback in the NFL during the month of December as the team has been on ” tear “ within the league. And with two highly explosive offenses , the Seahawks and Redskins should provide the fans with an exhilarating game.

The College Football season has given us great deal to appreciate, and yes we still yearn for postseason playoff format that isn’t a charade , in spite of what the BCS and major conference commissioners continually insinuate . College Football has now become about those who have and those who do not ! When you have programs bringing in excess of $100 million annually in revenues , while programs not considered members of the major conferences are left “ fighting for the scraps “ left at the table . It begs the question , in whose best interests does the BCS operate ? It is pretty safe to say , it not in the interests of the schools outside of the major conferences.

The BCS national championship game pits number one ranked Notre Dame (12-0) against Nick Saban’s number two ranked Alabama (Crimson Tide) , which will be played on Monday <a href night , at the Sun Life Stadium , in Miami , Florida. Brian Kelly , head coach of Notre Dame, subject of so much speculation with the belief that he will be offered one of the several NFL vacancies that at present remain open. I certainly don’t believe that Kelly will leave the program after merely a year in charge and with the growth of the players under his tutelage . And for freshman quarterback Everett Golson and defensive stalwart , Manti Te’o , this season must have been unimaginable , when one considers the issues with the Fighting Irish , have faced in recent years. A rise back to prominence and all is well , once again at one the most esteemed programs in college football.

If there is one thing that I do know and that it is , you simply do not put much store in the Men’s Basketball rankings too early in the season ! And I certainly don’t put any store with regard to the prognostications of individuals such as Digger Phelps and Dick Vitale . Moreover, if their calls prove to be wrong , it is very rare that you will hear either admit to that fact. At present , the Duke , 14-0 (Blue Devils sit atop of the rankings as they are undefeated . Mike Krzyzewski , perhaps the most respected and revered coaches in the game today , has this program playing with a great deal of passion . Leading the way for the team are Mason Plumlee , Seth Curry , Ryan Kelly and Rasheed Sulaimon . The players are answering the call of Coach “K” as he seeks his fifth national title as a head coach . And the defending champions , the Kentucky (Wildcats) appear to be having something of an indifferent season , it should be noted , John Calipari, as a head coach , has a way of getting his players ready for the NCAA Tournament , at a time when it matters most.

Calipari, for his part, continues to be an individual, that many continue question , as to his integrity and character. From my own personal standpoint , while the Wildcats’ basketball coach can continue to skirt the rules of the game, with the NCAA simply overlooking what on the face of it are violations , then in no way can we consider to take NCAA President , Mark Emmert at his word, when he states that he would like to create an environment within collegiate sports , where there is transparency at all levels within the various programs of collegiate athletics and within the universities themselves. So far, Emmert , the NCAA and college sports are batting way below the Mendoza Line , and then some ! Now many might conclude that the actions of the NCAA in penalizing the Penn State were appropriate , when you take into account the heinousness of Jerry Sandusky’s “ acts of depravity”. However , when also called upon to act with integrity , the NCAA has proven to a rather archaic and an all too pedantic authoritative force .

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Picture gallery

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Picture and slideshow gallery details
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(1) Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett speaks at a news conference following a night of rioting in response to the firing of head football coach Joe Paterno in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal on November 10, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. Corbett is the former state attorney general who launched the investigation in 2009 that eventually brought criminal charges against three former Penn State officials this week. As governor, Corbett is an ex-officio member of Penn State?s board of trustees . Paterno was fired amid allegations that former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was involved with child sex abuse. Corbett has sought to challenge the NCAA’s authority in rendering a $60 million fine against Penn State , in what the governor sees as NCAA President Mark Emmert and the NCAA overstepping their authority . It should be noted that Corbett sat on the board of trustees , who themselves , sought not to originally challenge Emmert’s decision . There now seems to few supporters for Mark Corbett’s actions in light of the heinousness of Jerry Sandusky’s depraved crimes . Getty Images North America / Mario Tama …

(2) Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong is now consulting with his legal counsel with the intent of issuing a public statement admitting his use of performance enhancing drugs . The cyclist also faces a legal fight in the UK for $2.5 million for a payment made to the cyclist by a UK media conglomerate and the original suit, in which Armstrong was victorious in a defamation lawsuit . AP Photo / Victor Allen …. .

(3) FILE – In this Oct. 28, 2012 file photo, San Francisco Giants celebrate after the Giants defeated the Detroit Tigers, 4-3 , in Game 4 of baseball’s World Series in Detroit. The Giants won the World Series 4-0 . AP Photo/Charlie Riedel …. (4) 2012 World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval is seen here with his World Series trophy after the Giants 4-0 sweep of the Detroit Tigers in the World Series for the organization’s second triumph in the past five years . Getty Images North America / Jason Riordan …

(5) Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III sits on the bench after a knee injury during an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Landover, Md., Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. The Seahawks defeated the Redskins 24-14 . In Griffin’s first postseason appearance he was somewhat pedantic , with less than stellar figures in the Redskins’ defeat. AP Photo/Evan Vucci …

(6) Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson greets Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III after an NFL wild card playoff football game in Landover, Md., Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. The Seahawks defeated the Redskins 24-14 . AP Photo/Evan Vucci …

(7) Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly pose with The Coaches’ Trophy during a news conference for the BCS National Championship college football game Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 . AP Photo/ Giles Moor ….

(8) Alabama’s Eddie Lacy interviews Christion Jones during Media Day for the BCS National Championship college football game Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, in Miami. Alabama faces Notre Dame in Monday’s championship game. AP Photo/David J. Phillip …..

(9) Duke’s Quinn Cook ,right, challenges Wake Forest’s Codi Miller-McIntyre for the loose ball in a game played between Duke and Wake Forest at Cameron Indoor Arena , Durham , North Carolina ,. The Blue Devils would defeat the Demon Deacons 80-62 . @ copyrighted material all rights reserved Washington Post/ Ted Richardson Associated Press …

(10) Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski directs his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Wake Forest in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013. Duke won 80-62 . AP Photo/Ted Richardson …

(11) Duke’s Seth Curry drives to the basket ahead of Wake Forest’s C.J. Harris , bottom right, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013. Curry scored 22 points , and Duke won 80-62. AP Photo/Ted Richardson ..

(12) Kentucky head coach John Calipari looks to his bench during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Eastern Michigan at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013. Kentucky won 90-38 . AP Photo/James Crisp …

(13) Eastern Michigan’s Da’Shonte Riley (1) fouls Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013. Kentucky won 90-38. AP Photo/James Crisp …

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Last year proved to be an exciting season of sports and although I have not covered areas of boxing or MMA , at a later date I will carry an introspective look at both sports and the events that unfolded over the calendar year. Simply chime in with your thoughts as what you believe were some of the sporting highlights of 2011.

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MLB news

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NFL news

NFL postseason schedule

NFL stats players (postseason)

NFL stats teams (postseason)

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NBA news

NBA schedule
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NCAA Football

NCAA Football & BCS schedule (postseason)

NCAA Football news

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NCAA Basketball men’s results

NCAA men’s basketball news

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The always , sensual , Penelope Cruz , above , and below Scarlett Johansson .

Scarlett Johansson

And so the idiocy continues ..

And so the idiocy continues ..

Tophatal …..

Just when you thought you’d heard the last of the Penn State “ scandal “ , it now appears that the state’s governor Tom Corbett will seek to challenge the NCAA’s $60 million fine penalizing the educational establishment in light of the heinous actions of former assistant coach , Jerry Sandusky, who is now incarcerated , having been sentenced to 60 years imprisonment having been found guilty on forty-five of forty-eight counts of sexual assault , battery , sexual battery , lewd and lascivious acts . What, we have now been made aware of, concerning all of the parties embroiled in this sordid affair. The now deceased, former head coach, Joe Paterno , has seen his legacy diminish , with it now being in tatters , with allegations in part that ,he failed to monitor the actions of Sandusky, even in light of other allegations of sexual misconduct , after the famed coach reported an incident not just to the campus police but also to the board of trustees of the now disgraced university.

And so the idiocy continues ..

Tophatal …..

Just when you thought you’d heard the last of the Penn State “ scandal “ , it now appears that the state’s governor Tom Corbett will seek to challenge the NCAA’s $60 million fine penalizing the educational establishment in light of the heinous actions of former assistant coach , Jerry Sandusky, who is now incarcerated , having been sentenced to 60 years imprisonment having been found guilty on forty-five of forty-eight counts of sexual assault , battery , sexual battery , lewd and lascivious acts . What, we have now been made aware of, concerning all of the parties embroiled in this sordid affair. The now deceased, former head coach, Joe Paterno , has seen his legacy diminish , with it now being in tatters , with allegations in part that ,he failed to monitor the actions of Sandusky, even in light of other allegations of sexual misconduct , after the famed coach reported an incident not just to the campus police but also to the board of trustees of the now disgraced university.

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The “Freeh Report” was a damning indictment of the school , and their lack of accountability shown , where it showed that at all levels of the hierarchy of the academic facility , they were complicit in a widespread cover-up that was so egregious , that this now makes Corbett’s actions , all the more inconceivable . Tom Corbett, a former , state attorney general , is now himself a seated member of the board of trustees , and it begs the question , what if anything, might well have been known , their actions , and how it all played out , as law enforcement and journalists alike uncovered the magnitude and egregious of Sandusky’s actions .

Courtesy of ESPN


Penn State’s failure of power

By Howard Bryant , ESPN

Even now, as the heartbreaking details emerge, pages of grand jury testimony are absorbed and parsed, and a seamy picture of alleged child abuse and the subsequent failures to act comes into clear, indefensible focus, the reflex of the Penn State hierarchy involved is one of tone deafness.

That focus revolves not around the children who most needed the adults to be grown-ups but around protecting the power: the big, untouchable football program with its legendary coach with the big name and the big reputation, the do-gooder charity with the board of directors with the big names on it.

Surrounded by so much bigness, virtually everyone in a position of authority at Penn State has, thus far, seemed to come up very small. Jerry Sandusky might not be innocent, but, as of today, he is legally not guilty. He was charged with 40 counts of felony sex abuse against minors. Despite anger and public opinion, Sandusky deserves the due process of the court of law as well as the presumption of innocence until his case is complete.

But Penn State president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley, vice president for business and finance Gary Schultz and coach Joe Paterno should be held to a higher standard. So should The Second Mile, a charity that was founded to help children. Whether or not Sandusky is convicted, each was faced with a critical choice with damning information and chose to protect the program. This is what power has become. More accurately, it is what power has always been, in existence to protect itself.

There is no defense for the number of people in positions of authority who had an opportunity to stop Sandusky and did not.

The university, responding to information provided by a graduate student in 2002 that he witnessed Sandusky performing anal sex in the shower on a boy about 10 years old, did nothing. The university did not call authorities and did not ever sever ties with Sandusky, allowing him to maintain an office on campus for years.

The entire edifice of the Penn State monument is crumbling, yet no one involved seems capable of producing the most obvious, and decent, response, to acknowledge that each of these men failed to uphold his responsibilities spectacularly. They failed their communities, and they failed the eight young boys the state is accusing Sandusky of sexually abusing.

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Click on link to read this article in full .

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Tom Corbett, is a buffoon , if he now feels that the proposed legal action is likely to be an outright success . It should also be noted , that there are several other parties , who as a bye product of this subterfuge have been indicted , and who now await trial on a litany of charges , ranging from perjury to the obstruction of justice . Graham Spanier , Gary Schultz and Tim Curley await their trial dates , whereas , Mike McQueary seeks damages in a $ 4 million whistle-blower lawsuit lodged against Penn State. This whole sordid affair , simply won’t go away , and those now embroiled in the drama, seek recourse and financial reward . Meanwhile, the victims , so often overlooked , will still be left with their lives in ruins , albeit that the university states , that they will provide the victims with whatever assistance they seek to reclaim their lives .

As I alluded to earlier , Governor Corbett , a former state attorney general , has not been able to downplay his often imbecilic actions during his agency’s investigation of the infamous “Hersey School “ sexual abuse scandal and the indictment and prosecution of a former school employee involved in sexual assault and battery on the students at the school . Corbett as the District Attorney was said to have handled this prosecution “ so haphazardly “ that it made a mockery of the legal system within the state of Pennsylvania . Yet somehow we’re now to believe, he is trying to morally and ethically appropriately do the proper thing , to “ right an egregious wrong” ? A procedural hearing and trial will be heard within the US Federal Courts in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania,.

There has yet to be a formal response from NCAA President, Mark Emmert on the pending legal action by the state of Pennsylvania , in seeking to have the fine and action reversed , but there is this a growing suspicion that this is simply being done to save face by Tom Corbett and further reduce the impact and damage done to Penn State’s already tarnished image .

The Dallas Cowboys’ 28-18 loss to the Washington Redskins in their final regular season scheduled game , has not yet led to repercussions for the franchise , but it has clearly expressed the futility of the Cowboys’ year . Team owner , Jerry Jones , and the team’s beleaguered quarterback , Tony Romo are off once again , now doing the rounds , and making excuses as to the reasons why the franchise has once again came up short . Repeatedly , year in and year out , claims are made , that , this will be the season in which the Cowboys will reign supreme , and it has now become “ a broken record” which no one , longer wishes to hear !

Granted , the ones who disavow common sense within the ranks of the pundits of the broadcast media , would rather make their bold predictions , rather than being insightful with their prognostications. And it has to be at this point , that we need to ask , what else is needed by the Dallas Cowboys , to make that team a great deal better ? A Pro Bowl quarterback , who has clearly failed to meet expectations , is being handsomely rewarded by the team and league standards

. Yet somehow, for all of those regular season statistics , Romo has nothing to show for it all . In a game, that was of equal importance to both teams, it was the Cowboys’ quarterback who blindsided the fans with his errant plays , leading to three costly interceptions in the game against the Washington Redskins. What also exacerbated , this whole situation , was that Romo’s opposite number , Robert Griffin III, was having a less than exemplary game , when one considers his exploits over the course of this season .

With the Dallas Cowboy being unceremoniously dumped , and missing the playoffs for a second successive year , one has to wonder where Jerry Jones , now goes from here . Draft picks asides, the Cowboys’ offense can be bewildering , one minute being the model of consistency , to the next , being completely incompetent and simply being devoid of creativity. The ramifications for the Cowboys , are twofold , one , in missing the postseason , it’s another missed opportunity for a lucrative payday , and two , with each passing season , failure by this team simply places an even greater burden upon Jason Garrett , to prove himself worthy of being a head coach in the NFL . Alright, so he wasn’t plucked from obscurity by Jerry Jones to become the head of the franchise , having succeeded Wade Philips.

So let me get this straight , a team that finishes 10-6 , having missed the playoffs , because a divisional rival , the Minnesota Vikings secured a victory in their final game of the season . In essence , it meant that Lovie Smith deserved to be fired , thereby sealing his fate and that of the Chicago Bears for the season ? Bears’ general manager , Phil Emery , has to be either the most gullible of individuals , or he simply has to no wish to apportion blame where it rightfully belongs , and that is upon the shoulders of not only Smith , but the entire roster of the Chicago Bears . It was primarily upon Emery’s insistence that the franchise acquired the highly inconsistent quarterback , Jay Cutler , who in his six years in the NFL has yet to win a meaningful game for either of the franchises where he has played.

Cutler’s propensity for simply wanting to pass the vast majority of the time, simply doesn’t assist in the play of the Bears and if anything , the quarterback becomes even more of a liability, as he has a propensity for turnovers , interceptions and need I say being sacked , numerous times throughout the season? Jay Cutler spends more time laying on his back, in a prostrate position, than a female porn star has been known to , on a film set , when asked to do a retake , simply because the director isn’t at all happy with the aesthetic imagery he is said to be seeking . Here’s a thought, perhaps Jay Cutler should give up playing in the NFL and ply his trade in the adult entertainment field. A quarterback, who can spend that much time on his back, has to be good for something , don’t you think? He may well give a whole new meaning to “taking one for the team” . Lovie Smith, is likely to fill a coaching vacancy elsewhere in the NFL , after Monday’s purge of the coaching positions around the NFL , with seven head coaches being relieved of their duties , all in a single day.

There is no denying that the Jacksonville Jaguars had a monstrous season in 2012 , with the team only being able to muster two wins over the course of their sixteen game schedule . Team owner, Shahid Khan , subsequently , has fired general manager , Gene Smith , and it would now appear that head coach , Mike Mularkey’s future could very well be in jeopardy . For much of the season the team , played without their running back , Maurice Jones-Drew , due to the player’s injury issues . Yet, that alone, cannot account for the team’s woefully inept performances over the course of 2012 . Continued poor play from both of the quarterbacks on the team’s roster became an ongoing recipe for disaster “. Suffice to say , that Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne , will not be atop anyone’s list of the most sought after quarterbacks should either be placed on the free agency market , this off-season. And now for the comical side to this all , with widely speculating rumors that the New York Jets may well seek to jettison one , if not two of the three quarterbacks now on their roster .

With Shahid Khan, showing a distinct interest in bringing Tim Tebow back to the Jacksonville area , as the city has now become the familial home for the Tebow clan. One has to speculate, is this simply being done, more for show , or is Khan really of the belief that the much maligned three-year player has something to offer the franchise by way of his play ?

Personally, after Tebow’s season with the New York Jets , I am not so sure his departure from a franchise that had more in common with a lunatic asylum , and where indecision at every point in the New York Jets’ thought process became the norm , might not be considerably better , than a franchise where having gone 2-14 , there is even more indecision within that organization (Jaguars) , than can be found with a virgin , unsure that the prom would be the best night for her to be deflowered , by her so-called steady boyfriend , who she’s only gotten close to , over the past three months. A little bit of “petting “ but not allowing him to get to third base may well seem fine , but now it’s all in (pardon the pun) , as everyone seeks to be gratified . There is no guarantee that such a move for Tim Tebow, will give him the opportunity he seeks. And in all honesty , the Jaguars are a hell of a long way off from where they need to be , to even mount a serious challenge in the AFC South , against all three of their rivals within the division . And last I looked, God , himself , had not bestowed upon Tim Tebow any miraculous traits , that would in essence , turn him from being a mediocre player, into one of the most sought after and gifted athletes currently playing in the NFL. You heard me right , Tebow isn’t gifted , nor is he that great a player , he is simply an affable guy , and the sooner fans realize that fact , the better off the NFL will be , without the ridicule of having to discuss his merits as a player, and where he should stand on any franchises’ pecking order as a quarterback .

The NFL is not a governmental welfare agency handing out food stamps , or in this case giving a player a chance to play , merely because he is on a team’s roster . Tebow’s current coach , Rex Ryan apart from admitting that the staff made a mistake in their usage of the player , has gone on record in stating that the quarterback has a fantastic “ work ethic” . My question is for Rex Ryan and for all of the fans who called for the player’s installation as Mark Sanchez’s successor when the incumbent starter , had his on-field issues . Why was it that Tim Tebow, was unable to dethrone Sanchez for that starting role , if as alleged by the head coach that the player was said to be working so hard ? If all of that hard work had been paying off , then would it not be a fact that Tim Tebow would have had at least one , if not two or three regular season starts for the New York Jets ? Yet fans who are clearly are not using the damn intelligence given to them , would rather make the asinine statement that Tebow is simply not being given the chance to start in the NFL . A few fleeting moments in 2011 , doesn’t make you an overnight sensation or a Pro Bowl caliber player . Suck it up guys , Tim Tebow is human , and I repeat not the second coming of Joe Montana or Johnny Unitas for that matter . Get over it, once and for all, and get on with your lives.

So finally , after three years of misinformed judgment , another season of infamy was needed for the Spanos family to come to the decision to relieve both Norv Turner and AJ Smith of their duties within the San Diego Chargers’ organization. There had to have been not only sighs of relief , but also tears of joy for the long-suffering Chargers’ fans . Far be it for me to suggest ,much less pose the question but would Dean Spanos have waited one more year and wasted another sixteen game schedule for a repeat of the diatribe served up by the head coach and the now former general manager ? The two having worked in conjunction , collectively ,they have had more misses than hits in assembling a competitive roster and identifying the needs of the franchise during their reign.

In light of his dismissal , Norv Turner has been vociferously critical of the Spanos’ family (owners of the Chargers) for their actions . Yet somehow , he has failed to acknowledge his own contributions that led to his being fired . In the last three seasons, Turner has gone a combined 24-24 (0.500) , and during which the Chargers’ last winning season came in 2010, and prior to that in 2009, with his best season, being that very same year. As a head coach of the San Diego Chargers , Turner took the team to the playoffs on three occasions , where they managed an appearance in the 2007 AFC championship game , which ended in a loss to the New England Patriots , who would themselves go on to the Superbowl of that year.

It has been a complete travesty having to witness the Chargers play at Qualcomm Stadium , in San Diego , California , and there can be no denying that Dean Spanos would like nothing better than to relocate the franchise to the downtown Los Angeles area . For the moment, the Chargers will remain a tenant at Qualcomm, subject to the existing lease agreement, with the city and its expiration date. . Meanwhile, veteran Chargers’ quarterback , Philip Rivers labors under the burden of a heavy yoke around his neck , with a team that is lacking in zeal and one which possesses not an iota of leadership from anyone on the roster . One lay the blame at Rivers’ feet , but he is not the only person on the team , who should be held accountable , beyond the ineptitude shown by Norv Turner and his coaching staff . Everyone fell asleep at the wheel, while the Chargers simply careened out of control over the past few years . Had they gone over a cliff, would anyone have noticed? I guess not!

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