Pressed to report a story even when it has no merit , sports’ journalism is getting from bad to worse …
Well the big story in the NFL as the teams were mandated to cut their rosters by 4.00 PM Saturday afternoon, was the decision by the St Louis Rams to cut their much heralded seventh round draft pick defensive lineman Michael Sam . As the league’s first openly gay player, a great deal was made of the fact, leading to a rather unsavory story reported by cable sports’ broadcast and programming outlet ESPN as to Sam’s showering habits and his not being allowed to shower alongside his now former teammates . What this has to do with NFL football can only be addressed by what the outlet believes to be relevant to the game , but in reality , it simply points to the fact ESPN would rather create a furor, rather than reporting on stories that actually has their viewers enthralled. Simply call it, “gutter journalism” at its lowest , as espoused by the broadcast outlet. The fact of the matter is , ESPN remains unchallenged in an arena , which it has dominated for years and will continue to reign over , because their competitors are not much better and that includes the print media.
With Sam being waived by the NFC West based franchise , it seems unlikely the player will be picked up by another franchise before the regular season begins. Teams in need of an offensive lineman will likely take a look at Michael Sam even if his productivity with the Rams during the preseason was said to be no more than adequate. A great deal may well have been made of the player being the first openly active gay player seeking to make his debut in a regular season game , but the constant microscopic view the lineman was placed under , may well have proved to be too much for the former Missouri player to bear.
One of the more surprising deals that took place prior to the roster cuts was the New England Patriots’ decision to trade Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , a team definitely in need of defensive line help. As unpalatable as this was said to be for Patriots’ fans , the excuses now being proffered up by Bill Belichick and GM Nick Caserio seem ridiculous and insulting to the fans and to the player who was caught off-guard by the trade. Tom Brady , quarterback for the team was said to be angered by this deal, but has not voiced a public statement on the matter. Bear in mind, Brady in 2012 made $12 million available to the Patriots for them to keep the services of wide receiver Wes Welker , only for Welker to then sign with the Denver Broncos , after the incompetency shown by the front office.
New England will be seeking to make a successful defense of their AFC East title, while also seeking to make another return to the postseason. For Brady , his old and teammates , this will prove to be a tough task , as undoubtedly they will be seen as a target with a bulls’ eye on their back. A great of that will come from their divisional rivals where the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets are viewed as to two teams likely to prove to be New England’s biggest challengers during the season and their regular season meetings. The first of New England’s regular season tests will come in week one when they face the Miami Dolphins to open their schedule at Sun Life Stadium in Miami ,Florida,.
Logan Mankins will begin his career anew with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and for Lovie Smith and the Buccaneers’ acquisition of the player can only be of benefit to the younger defensive players on the team’s roster . Mankins can provide the type of leadership so lacking on a franchise for several players , something I believe Buccaners’ fans have not always been intuitive enough to acknowledge, because of their real lack of understanding what the NFL is actually about , beyond their belief if it simply being about the best or highest paid player on the roster.
Lovie Smith in his first season as coach of the Buccaneers, will himself, face as a stern test as he leads his team into the season and a NFC South division where the Carolina Panthers , New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons will be looking to prove themselves the best in the division. Tampa’s first game of the regular season will see them face Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa , Florida,. Ron Rivera and Newton will try to prove the Panther’s season in 2013 was no mere fluke , with the quarterback having his best season in the NFL since being drafted by the franchise in the 2011 NFL Draft . I believe the Panthers can prove to be a success this season within the NFL , but a great deal of that will be predicated on their play, but even more so upon the growing maturity level shown by Cam Newton , as he has become the visible and vocal leader of the team.
OK, so we know the NFL to be a league bereft of any real intelligence among the players, union (NFLPA) under the leadership of DeMaurice Smith , the NFLPA’s Executive Committee , Roger Goodell and the league hierarchy in particular . With the league now taking what they believe to be a tougher stance on the issue of domestic violence involving the players. It begs the question, why has it taken so long for the NFL to act with such action without the statement forthcoming from Smith , stating due process has to be followed concerning players charged with domestic abuse and violence? Perhaps, I am mistaken but the Players’ Union has done little to discuss the issue over the years or since DeMaurice Smith succeeded the late Gene Upshaw to become the union’s highest ranked executive. As to Roger Goodell’s own mindset concerning this matter , it would be fair to suggest the commissioner’s own lack of communicative skills , beyond making himself look an imbecile , anything he now says concerning the issue , would seem to too little and far too late in spite of the league’s actions in dealing with Baltimore Ravens’ running back Ray Rice . The NFL remains homophobic, misogynistic ,racist in many respects, but with it most definitely being clouded in secrecy , something the league would strongly deny.
With the news now coming of the arrest of San Francisco 49ers’ player Ray McDonald , who was arrested at his home and has now been charged with domestic abuse and violence . The Niners as a franchise this off-season have faced several issues concerning the behavior of several players on their roster , of which the ongoing issues of Aldon Smith seem to be something which simply will not go away and which has been poorly handled by Jed Yorke , team CEO and GM Trent Baalke .
Smith will be lost to the 49ers for the first nine games of the regular season, after the punishment meted out by the NFL , but it remains to be seen how they will now treat the issue of Ray McDonald , pending the legal process being played out within the Californian Legal System.. The NFL has the right to suspend a player for conduct harmful to the league , something agreed to by the Players’ Union in their last collective bargaining agreement , but it would seem to be an issue the executive committee and the players’ representatives believe allows the commissioner far too much latitude , in dealing with punishing their members , concerning misconduct . It is my belief the players in the NFL, are simply looking to weaken a rule , while ignoring the misconduct of their members !
LeBron James made his surprise return to the Cleveland Cavaliers , leaving the Miami Heat in sheer turmoil , with a much weakened roster and Heat President Pat Riley in sheer apoplexy concerning the upcoming season . The Monster Riley created was never going to be a dynasty even with four appearances in the NBA Finals , eking out just two series’ victories . Poor price to pay for teams upon which, fans and analysts were heaping far too much praise without looking at the rosters of both teams at the times of their triumphs and defeats.
Away from the happenings of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the latest NBA star said to be dissatisfied with his current situation is the Boston Celtics’ point guard Rajon Rondo , who is said to have demanded a trade, formerly lodging a request with Celtics’ GM Danny Ainge . The general manager and lead managing partner , Wyc Grousbeck will have to look at and take Rondo’s demands seriously. A disgruntled player on a young roster seeking leadership is likely to prove disastrous for Brad Stevens and his coaching staff , if there said to be no sense of leadership coming from a seasoned veteran, without Stevens’ inexperience coming into question..
In a season of sheer mayhem , the Boston Celtics were simply abysmal on all fronts with Rajon Rondo having a poor season alongside his teammates , as they endured defeat after defeat, with their being rarely a series’ win for the young team. Stevens proved he is still learning on the job , while Danny Ainge has done little in seeking to bolster the roster this off-season , last season or even by way of this past NBA Draft .
The real signs of the Celtics’ struggles were long seen, prior to Doc Rivers’ departure , with neither Ainge or the head coach seeking to build for the future after the team’s last triumph in the NBA Finals. Instead, there was this idiotic belief the team then built around a core of Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce , Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo. They may well have won the highly contested finals , against a Kobe Bryant led Los Angeles Lakers’ team but , in reality , the series was over before it started, because Rivers out-coached his opposite number, Phil Jackson, was something of an uneventful chess match.
It will be tough season for the Boston Celtics with or without Rajon Rondo, because the team has no real depth or a proven scorer , with the team’s top scorer last season being , Jeff Green , while Rondo was sidelined for much of the year seeking to recover from an injury . Green’s 16.9 per game average would be meager when adjudged against the top scorers within the Eastern Conference let alone the rest of the NBA and from an offensive standpoint the Celtics’ productivity was menial to say the very least. To state how dire the Boston Celtics have been , you simply have to look at how the team performed defensively and their season record (25-57) which was simply a reflection of the team.
If Danny Ainge does agree to Rajon Rondo’s request , then there are likely to be a bevy of suitors for one of the league’s best point guards, of which the player is of a proven pedigree in terms of his productivity. Among the top of the list among the teams seeking to acquire the Celtic’ point guard would be the Houston Rockets as they seek to replace the recently departed Jeremy Lin . Not to be counted out of this scenario are the Sacramento Kings , Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers , Charlotte Bobcats , Memphis Grizzlies , Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks , Denver Nuggets . Dallas Mavericks and the Milwaukee Bucks . Rondo has made it known to the front office , were he traded to the Sacramento Kings , he would not sign or be part of any part of a sign and trade deal with the franchise, limiting the Celtics’ wishes on that front. Rondo is not due to become a free agent until 2015 , and his $12.9 million salary for this season does not seem to be that much of an impediment for any of the teams pursuing the point guard. Boston will begin its their schedule against the Brooklyn Nets when the two teams meet at the TD Banknorth Gardens Pavilion in Boston , Massachusetts, on the 29th October , 2014.
I will say this repeatedly , if you write a story and give it the teeth in terms of context , then you will have the world believing the article . Nowhere is this more representative than with regard to the coverage afforded to politics and the stories that emanate from the White House , House and the Senate. Before you know it , the nation buys into the bull#hit and the idiots who call themselves Conservatives and Liberals try to dissect and disseminate the fecal matter emanating from the government without the on air political hacks trying to make sense of it all. The same can be said of how MLB and the NCAA seeks to ingratiate themselves with the fans and media alike, with the stories from both sporting edifices . Baseball with their informing the fans and press alike that Rob Manfred in succeeding Bud Selig will bring about a new era within the game , is somewhat like suggesting we have seen bipartisanship within the Congress during the Presidential terms of Barack Obama . Baseball remains distrustful of the MLBPA , while its ongoing incompetency in dealing with a number of issues shows no signs of improving.
Meanwhile, the NCAA and the FBS programs within college football is seeking to persuade the public and fans they have finally got it right in terms of their proposed format for a playoff system to decide a national champion in football. The truth of the matter remains , unless the money is shared evenly among the college conferences rather than the majority of it going into the coffers of the major college conferences and institutions , then the fans of the game will continue to be defrauded with a system , that is simply a joke . As to this idiocy of an empaneled committee being the best arbiters of determining how a system can be used to decide a national champion. Perhaps, I might suggest those behind that folly simply watch an episode of American Idol or any one of the other litany of inane talent shows now deemed to be a reality show finding their way onto the nation’s broadcast outlets
Mark Emmert and the educational institutions presided over by the NCAA need to be doing more , concerning not only the widespread allegations of academic fraud on campus, but also the criminal and felonious behavior concerning the sexual misconduct and sexual assaults that take place on college campuses across the nation , on a daily basis , Somehow, this all gets overlooked because the only thing deemed important is whether or not the defending national champions Florida State (Seminoles) can possibly make a successful defense of their national title . One ought to bear in mind their Heisman winning quarterback from last season Jameis Winston still remains a person of interest in a sexual assault, while the school itself is under investigation by the Department of Education and by US Justice Department and how they deal with their in-house investigation of such crimes. Dr Garnett S Stokes Ph.D, President of Florida State has not issued a public statement on the investigation by either of the federal agencies in question and it begs the question if he is unable do so , then why has there not been any type of statement by the school’s athletics department much less from the AD Stan Wilcox ? Yet sources close to the school have speculated on the fact , they will be taking some form of action against Jameis Winston and his not having upheld a code of conduct, as expected of student athlete of Florida State. So let me get this straight ,
Winston and his legal representatives , whose stories have changed far more often than a newborn baby’s diapers, concerning the alleged sexual assault , but somehow the athletics department , institution can see nothing wrong at all concerning the player’s conduct ? Never mind the fact of the incompetency shown by the Tallahassee Police Department in their original investigation of the incident and where there are said to have been allegations of collusion between the athletics department and the law enforcement agency . Something, which has been clear from the days when Bobby Bowden coached the football program and where many of the players under his tutelage ran afoul of the law, but were left untouched . Coincidence, in such an instance, where it concerns the police and the committal of a crime by a Seminoles’ athlete ? I think not !
The stories remain for all to see and to bear witness to, but how many of us are really interested in getting at the truth or does it come down to the fact the attention span of most sports’ fans comes down what is the next big event to take place and the likely result ? Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe worthy to discuss concerning the article.
Picture and slideshow gallery.
(1) Michael Sam , a seventh round draft pick of the St Louis Rams . Sam was cut by the organization and can be resigned by the team as a member of their practice squad , but there has been no statement by head coach Jeff Fisher addressing the matter. AP Photo/ Rick Farrell …
(2) St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, left, and general manager Les Snead hold a pre-draft news conference at the team’s practice facility, Tuesday, May 6, 2014, in St. Louis. The Rams are scheduled to have two picks in the first-round of the NFL football draft on Thursday. Snead and Fisher made the decision jointly with the coaching staff to release their seventh round draft pick Michael Sam in the lead-up to the regular season . AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …
(3) Logan Mankins of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers watches from the sidelines as the Buccaneers take on the Washington Redskins during a preseason game this exhibition season . Mankins was traded by the New England Patriots in a surprise move in August . Getty Images/ Paul Fowler …
(4) DeMaurice Smith , often an outspoken critic of the NFL and in particular of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , who he believes acts outside the limits of his jurisdiction, in meting out punishment to players who contravene the league’s rules . Smith insists that the league’s new mandate concerning players involved in allegations of spousal abuse and domestic violence should be dealt with judiciously within the legal system . However in light of the growing issue , Smith and his members have done very little to discuss the matter head on . AP Photo / Hannah Mitchell …
(5) Boston Celtics’ general manager Danny Ainge ,left, is seen here with the team’s point guard Rajon Rondo . A member of the team which won the 2008 NBA title , Rondo has requested a trade from away from the Celtics and it remains to be seen how the matter will be dealt with by the franchise’s front office in granting the player’s request. AP Photo/ Michael Howard ..
(6) Aldon Smith (99) and Ray McDonald (91) of the San Francisco 49ers are two players on the team to have fallen afoul of the law in recent months . Smith has been suspended for the first nine games of the regular season for repeated violations of the league’s conduct policy . McDonald was arrested at his home on charges of domestic abuse and violence against his pregnant fiance’ . Neither the NFL or anyone within the Niners’ front office has issued a statement concerning Ray McDonald’s arrest. Team CEO Jed Yorke and GM Trent Baalke are being kept abreast of the legal ramifications through the team’s Chief Legal Counsel, Hannah Gordon and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department . Getty Images / Paul Hughes …
(7) NCAA President Mark Emmert who presides of collegiate athletics’ governing body seems to be more focused on increasing the NCAA’s revenues estimated to be in excess of $1.65 billion annually from licensing and marketing agreements which does not include television rights fees for the broadcast for the sports which fall under their umbrella. Emmert only recently has begun to discuss the issue of on campus sexual assaults of which 50 schools are now under investigation jointly by the Education Department and the US Justice Department concerning the lax investigating rules of many of the academic institutions. AP Photo / Hazel Groves …
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