So what am I missing here ?

So what am I missing here ?

Well now that the dust has settled it would appear with the sudden resignation of FIFA’s four-term President Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter , and his seeking to salvage his now languid reputation. The future of soccer’s international governing body still appears to be limbo. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth as the institution will simply regroup, weather the storm and simply look to steer a new course . Nothing will actually change and there will not be any greater oversight than there was before.

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With the World Cups of 2018 and 2022 still ahead and the various associations not calling for there to any changes in the staging of those events in Russia and Qatar , respectively. The apparent idiocy shown by journalists, the none too informative and unintelligent sports’ fans in North America who believe themselves attuned to the sport, has simply indicated to me what I have always known all along. Stupidity simply comes in all shapes and sizes, with the country leading the world by an ever widening margin . which is beyond belief.

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch is seen here in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee . Lynch succeeded Eric Holder to become the nation’s highest ranking law enforcement officer. It should be noted as the State Attorney General for the Manhattan District of New York , Lynch was somewhat lenient in her prosecution of international financial institution HSBC for their wrongdoing in assisting wealthy individuals in their avoidance of paying US federal income tax . Get the feeling might well be using the issue of FIFA to show that she’s capable of being tough ? Bill Clark/ CQ/ Rolling Stone

Blatter’s stepping down will not leave a great vacuum within the FIFA hierarchy and the executive committee will now seek to either hold a quick vote in search of a new successor , while also seeking to address the issue of the ongoing investigation by the Swiss authorities who are now said to be working in conjunction with the US Justice Department .

The federal agency’s leadership headed by Attorney General Loretta Lynch has gone on record,. stating , ” the actions of the executives behind a corruption scandal and their actions being so egregious . that it brought the game of soccer into disrepute”. I’m sorry, but soccer was already up to its neck in its own fecal matter , long before this latest scandal.

Far be it for me to suggest that the NFL , NBA and MLB have not had their own litany of skeletons within their vestibules over the past few years. If the likes of Frank McCourt can literally place a baseball franchise into bankruptcy , with acts , which under normal circumstances would be seen as criminal and still not be punished by baseball’s hierarchy . Then it begs the question, what the hell is the Justice Department meant to be doing in its role as the nation’s law enforcement arm ? It is not as if the agency has the greatest success in prosecuting white collar criminals , especially those who simply were behind the eruption of the US economy and specifically within the financial sector . Yet low and behold, rabid idiot fans without a clue are looking for the implosion of an international sports’ governing body? I don’t hear of any calls for the bringing down of the WBA , WBC , IBF or WBU , but somehow those four bodies who are the international governing arms for the sport of boxing, can go untouched, because there is the belief the sport of boxing remains above reproach ?

Former Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt having taken the franchise into bankruptcy proceedings as part of his divorce settlement , was still able to walk away with $1 billion cash , even after it was noted during the proceedings McCourt had leveraged the ball-club to finance private deals, contravening league rules as well as using funds derived from the club’s revenues for his own personal use , buying commercial and , residential real estate, a yacht and several sports’ cars. Somehow, neither MLB’s hierarchy or federal prosecutors saw fit to indict or prosecute Frank McCourt for any wrongdoing on his part. AP Photo / Barry Reed

Consider, the bribery and corruptible practices within the sport and somehow, the antics of such promoters as Bob Arum and Don King are still lauded in numerous circles. Give me a fucking break , with all of this asinine bull#hit as to what the Justice Department is now seeking to do , having unearthed evidence showing that a Miami based sports’ marketing firm was used to launder monies paid to several high-ranking FIFA executives.

The sole reason the federal agency entered the fray, came from the fact a US financial institution was also being used to launder the ill-gotten gains of these executives. I wonder if the US Justice Department would use such zeal, to go after a Wall Street executive much less a US Congressman, were they actually at the center of such a probe ? They failed miserably with an inept attempt to punish former Senator Ted Stevens and all of this was done at the taxpayers’ expense ? What the fuck !

Blatter walks away from an institution which he ran like his own personal fiefdom, where his serfs were equally as corrupt. At the end of the day however, just about everyone associated with the sport has to be apportioned a certain amount of blame. There may well be idiotic outcries from pious members of the press, but they too are not innocent in this spectacle either. I mean here in the US , the media willingly turned a blind eye to the misdeeds of the players in baseball during the steroid era under , which Bud Selig might as well have showed the mendacity to punish a guilty player of steroid use as Congress might seek to punish one of their own, for an unlawful act or bringing the institution into disrepute with their behavior. There has been as much competency shown by the members there, as might be found among some fans, being witnessed now with the utter stupidity , rhetoric , pragmatism and apathy.

Will they or won’t they ? It would appear with each passing day the front office of the Minnesota Vikings are unsure what their intent might be with their running back Adrian Peterson. The disgraced player having been reinstated by the NFL after his own self induced stupidity , has first claimed , he no longer wanted to be part of the franchise and he is now at the point, that his agent still cannot be consistent with regard to his client’s statements , with each passing day , the story seems to be changing. Personally, I don’t believe the Vikings have a good enough team to win NFC North or even make the playoffs within the NFC ! The team’s starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has yet to show the consistency sought and the alternatives on the roster do not appear to be any better than the freshman passer, which leads me to believe things are not ,likely to go at all well for Minnesota this upcoming season.

Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson having been reinstated by the NFL threatened the franchise with a trade request , for what he felt was the Vikings’ disrespect for him during his recent troubles. Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings have not yet fully come away from their impasse , even though all of the right things are now being said by certain forces within the front office . Peterson’s agent and the player are known to be dissatisfied with his current contract as he is said to be seeking a more lucrative deal with the maximum amount possible in guaranteed money. The running back is not due to become an unrestricted free agent until 2017. AP Photo/ Neal Hart

For Adrian Peterson , this might be the last season where the fans get to see him in a Vikings’ uniform. As good as he has been over the years for the franchise, age and time are no longer on his side , while the window of opportunity for the Minnesota Viking have not been truly kind. Their last appearance in the NFL postseason came in 2012 , where they lost in the NFC wild-card round coming unstuck in game played against the Green Bay Packers. Prior to that , another appearance in 2009 saw the Vikings come unglued to the New Orleans Saints in the conference championship game. Needless to say, Mike Zimmer and his coaching staff will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed this season.

Minnesota will be moving into a new multi-billion dollar stadium at the start of the 2016 NFL season , providing the league with its newest state of the art venue. I doubt that comparisons will be made to the Dallas Cowboys’ lavish Texas Stadium, in Arlington, Texas, with its jumbotron and still underachieving team . Yet , there you have it , another franchise under the impression , “ if we build it , they will come “ . Someone forgot to tell these idiot owners and front office executives , you also need to have a winning on-field product the fans can take pride in , while showing their vocal support.

Vikings’ owner Zygi Wilf understands the Minnesota Vikings’ long starved fans yearn the winning of a Superbowl title and with it the bragging rights of saying they are the best team in the NFL. A great deal will be dependent of whether or not that success can be achieved based on Adrian Peterson remaining with the franchise , while producing the form that has made him one of the best running backs in the NFL over the past eight years. At the same time the Vikings will have to prove to their fans and the rest of the NFL that they are credible contenders for the Superbowl.

The Minnesota Vikings will begin that journey in earnest, with their first regular season schedule game in week one against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi Strauss Stadium in Santa Clara , California , and what will the venue for this season’s Superbowl.

Adrian Peterson may well feel disgruntled as a player , having not had a great deal of success in the postseason with the Vikings , while at the same feeling he may well have dealt with harshly by the NFL hierarchy concerning his misconduct off the field of play. Yet like any other self-absorbed collegiate or professional athlete , it begs the question , are they actually capable of showing any real signs of maturity , while also taking responsibility for their actions ? Continued idiocy of fans making excuses for an athletes’ age, yet somehow they seem unconcerned by the fact we have young men and women barely out of high school who serve the country gallantly , while being placed in danger by the decision making of dumb @ss politicians. So I pose this question where should the concern really be, with a selfish athlete or with those serving the country with honor ?

Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers is about to become the next player and quarterback about to join the $100 million club . There are players now in the NFL barely earning a quarter of that sum as a contract , but they are not deemed their franchise’s leader. Newton over the past two years has showed signs of maturity and leadership. It is now felt in some circles with the declining power of both the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints , the Panthers are seen as the team to beat in the NFC South. Here’s the deal , the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ drafting of Jameis Winston will not turn things around overnight for the Buccaneers even if he was the number one overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Was he in fact the best player among the top picks taken ? Well, that is still open to a great deal of conjecture and debate at this moment in time. It would be fair to suggest the Buccaneers will live and die by the expectations and performances seen from Winston during the regular season . The preseason I believe will tell us about his temperament and whether or not he is capable of adjusting to the rigors of the NFL.

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Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton is set to become the next $100 million player and quarterback in the NFL . How this now sits with the other quarterbacks around the league, as they look to cash in for next season will be predicated upon the deal negotiated by the player’s agent Lamell Morris of Perennial Sports & Entertainment Inc . AP Photo / Greg Richards

Last season another Heisman Trophy winner , Johnny Manziel simply imploded on the field of play for the Cleveland Browns while also showing himself to be a complete and utterly immature asshole off the field of play. Early comparisons between Manziel and Winston are already being made . The apt saying , “buyer beware “, seems to be appropriate considering the trajectory their paths have taken coming into the NFL and their troubles while in college.

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Jameis Winston , left and Johnny Manziel are two players seeking to make a name for themselves in the NFL . Both quarterbacks faced their litany of troubles while in college and will now be placed under an even bigger microscope and the glare of the NFL . Manziel’s first season in the league was viewed as an unmitigated disaster. It remains to be seen what lies ahead for the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner and Buccaneers’ draftee Jameis Winston. For Manziel as he enters his sophomore season , it remains to be unseen whether or not he can unseat Brian Hoyer to become the Cleveland Browns’
regular starting quarterback . Getty Images / Brian Carson

Johnny Manziel is unlikely to be the starting quarterback for the Browns when they begin their preseason schedule and head coach Mike Pettine seems to be unsure what to now make of his now beleaguered quarterback , who now seems to be more known for his nightlife activities rather than for his accomplishments on the field . Excuses are still being made after his first season has entered an alcohol dependency program. WTF ! Manziel is no Rod Tidwell ____ ” show me the mother-fu#king money” ?

Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers are likely to be the prohibitive favorites to win the NFC South this season with their schedule to some extent an extremely favorable one. Their toughest tests are likely come in their games where they face conference stalwarts , the Dallas Cowboys , Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks and an out of conference match-up against the Indianapolis Colts . Carolina will begin their bid for regular season divisional supremacy when they take on the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ever Bank Field in Jacksonville , Florida on the 13th September , 2015. This will be Newton’s second meeting against the Jaguars and it is likely to be a very competitive contest.

A 2-14 season last year simply summed up the ineptitude shown <a href=http://nfl.com/ by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Head coach Lovie Smith is said to be a defensive guru and a disciple of former mentor Tony Dungy . Instead what we witnessed from the team last season , was mediocrity all season long . The two victories , one deemed a quality win , was actually over an injury laden Pittsburgh Steelers’ team missing several of their front-line starters . So make of it what you will. Buccaneers’ players are in camp for mandatory OTA’s in preparation for their upcoming preseason and regular season schedule. As alluded to before , a lot will be riding on the wave of optimism as well as the talent of Jameis Winston. If he fails to ignite this team and lead them to some semblance of success this season , then it will be back to the drawing board once again for a franchise that has been so inconsistent over the last ten years.

It will be interesting to see how much playing time will be devoted to Jameis Winston during the preseason, as Lovie Smith and the coaching staff begin to assess their rookie quarterback as well as the other draftees taken in their most recent draft. GM Jason Licht has already stated that last season’s NFL Draft was the most important in the franchise’s history . I get the feeling Licht doesn’t really know enough about Buccaneers to be making such a claim.

The Buccaneers will open up their preseason schedule with a game against the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis , Minnesota , likely giving Jameis Winston his first taste of an NFL atmosphere playing in a professional game. If there is a to be a regular season contest at hand for the former FSU starter , with his dethroning Mike Glennon , then Smith may feel it prudent to have him play in the Buccaneers’ first regular season game of their schedule against the the Tennessee Titans at Raymond James Stadium , in Tampa , Florida,.

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Do you believe that the US Justice Department will prove to be successful in their prosecution of the FIFA executives at the center of this latest scandal involving soccer’s international governing body ? Also , with Sepp Blatter stepping down as President of FIFA, do you believe he ought to be facing an indictment by either the US government or the Swiss authorities ? With the NFL season not yet in full swing, what impressions do you have with regard to the preseason stories now coming into focus ?

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Tophatal …

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Stupid Is , Can’t Be As Stupid Does , Can It …. ?

Stupid Is , Can’t Be As Stupid Does , Can It …. ?

So just when you thought that all that would appear just when we had seen it all concerning the rabid stupidity that exists within collegiate athletics. It would appear that Auburn Tigers’ football coach Gene Chizik is extremely unhappy that the NCAA is still continuing its investigation of the school. Chizik had an impromptu conversation with the NCAA’s vice president for enforcement Judie Loah Roach during which the officer informed the coach that the school and its recruitment of Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton was still under investigation. As we all know there said to be a number of improprieties concerning the player’s recruitment . The player’s father Cecil Newton is said to still be a person of interest in this ongoing investigation . It’s plain to see that there is a great deal at stake should the school be found to be in violation of any type of NCCA rules . The jury is out and the blow-back from this all could very well be another nail in the coffin of another very prestigious collegiate athletics’ program.

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So the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive player James Harrison is simply proving once again why players from the NFL are better to be seen on the field of play rather than being heard . The player fresh off last season’s numerous fines has become a bona-fide asshole of the highest order ! . In criticizing the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell calling him “a crook” , “a devil “ , “a tyrant” and an ” autocratic despot “ whose power simply knows no bounds . At the same time the player was also critical of his teammate Ben Roethlisberger and the very fact that the player at times was simply not playing to the best of his abilities and was being reliant on the defense to bail out the team far too often over the course of last season . Pardon me for saying this , but shouldn’t Harrison be the one to voice these opinions behind closed doors amongst his teammates and the coaching staff as it relates to the team’s play ? As to his criticism of the commissioner , once it’s out there it becomes too late to take it all back . And that is now what the player now seems to be doing by stating that his statements were completely taken out of context. I certainly believe that when it’s all said and done if it is not Mike Tomlin who ends up speaking to James Harrison about his comments then quite possibly look a senior official from the front office to hold a private conversation with the player .

The Pittsburgh Steelers has always been an organization that chooses to conduct their problems behind closed doors and to try and make sure that the players as such are of the highest order in terms of their character. It is easy to undersstand why the are considered one of the most respected teams within the NFL and the success achieved in large part has come down to the fact here has been very little volatility within the organization and turnover in terms of the coaching staff. Unfortunately , with the antics of Santonio Holmes , Plaxico Burress and in particular Roethlisberger , his infantile and rather asinine antics over the last few years has led the Rooney family to once again scrutinize the players on the roster. Recently we had the team’s veteran wide receiver Hines Ward busted for DUI and with the player initially stating that wasn’t intoxicated, only for the police to later inform us that Ward was indeed driving over the legal limit . He would later offer an apology to his teammates and the organization for his behavior .

Shit we know rolls downhill but boy , oh boy the NBA and in particular the league hierarchy now looks as if they will try and do anything to shovel it uphill. The hierarchy feels aggrieved that the NBPA (union ) will be allowed to retain the larger part of $160 million from an escrow account that they funded based on the terms that should their cumulative salary exceed 57% of the basketball related income . Now with the teams owners and hierarchy now under siege with their position now looking all the more perilous David Stern seeks into increase their profile and take the upper hand in the ongoing lockout . It would appear that management would seek to impune the integrity of the union. The league feels that the funds in question should be placed back into a general fund rather than be at the players’ disposal . Somehow you simply knew that the league could not be trusted to show any type of integrity at all.

The NBA is still at odds with the players and the fact that they are still asserting that they are losing money. But many of the league’s problems can be traced back to the fact that Stern allowed the teams and in particular the general managers run amok with in terms of the team salaries as they seek success with apparent abandonment . David Stern has long maintained that the teams are on track to lose hundreds of millions of dollars for the fiscal year. Last season’s losses were in excess $300 million and this year it is projected to be considerably higher . It seems rather ridiculous to think that the league having set a soft salary cap in place would then seek to allow those very same teams to far exceed the figure of $57 million and then expect there not to be any serious ramifications for the league’s excessive spending .

It seems rather strange that many of the league’s high profiled owners such as Mikhail Prokhorov , Jerry Buss , Michael Jordan , James Dolan , Peter Holt and Michael Heisley have all remained steadfast behind the commissioner . However , the longer this situation goes on there is the likelihood that we may well begin to see some dissent amongst the owners who may challenge the stance the league hierarchy is taking . From my own perspective , the lockout has become simply an issue of egos and which party feels that their stance appears to be the best option available. At some point this impasse has to be resolved because before we actually know it the preseason training schedule will be upon us. It’s pretty much safe to say that neither side wants to be in this for the long haul and now with a number of players envisioning that this dispute may well be for a prolonged period we are seeing a number of them considering the lucrative option of playing abroad. It certainly will be advantageous for New Jersey Nets’ point guard Deron Williams who has signed a one year $ 5 million contract with the Turkish side Beseitkas.

Unless I missed something which I am glad that I did but the MLB All Star Game had to be one of the most boring in recent memory. Never mind the 5-1 lopsided result and win for the National League but the game had one of the lowest ratings in almost a decade and this can’t have been what Fox actually wanted from the game’s midseason show case event. At the same time the question now being asked is how best the whole format of the All Star Game can be changed where it is more of an exhilarating event not only for the participants but also for the fans in attendance and those watching the broadcast. Given the actual idiocy of the whole damn format with the fans picking the actual players they want to see on the respective rosters makes this whole event all the more asinine to begin with.

Baseball is a sport that in large part looks to its past in terms of its legitimacy and legacy as the nation’s pass-time . But once Bud Selig assumed control as commissioner of the league his reign and the fact that the league hierarchy has essentially become clueless as the most acute needs of the game , it should not have surprised anyone at all as to the outcome of the spectacle. One listless team simply didn’t turn up at all but somehow they were assured of their respective team incentives. The NL simply dished out an ass whupping of the highest order leaving the AL with their tails hanging between their legs . At this point will there anyone at all interested in the fact that next season’s game will be held at the home of the Kansas City Royals ? Well , I guess not ! The league hierarchy much like the team owners have become totally bereft any ideas and creativity when it now comes to the marketing of the game , its brand in general and likewise as it relates to the All Star Game . Tuesday night was very much a clear indication of that and it was there for all to bear witness to !

Well at last someone had the foresight to hire Brian Shaw with the former Los Angeles Lakers’ assistant coach being overlooked for several of the offseason vacancies that came about . Indiana Pacers’ general manager Larry Bird having interviewed Shaw , hired the former player to be the assistant to Frank Vogel and his staff. Bird has made it clear the new assistant’s role will to teach the players on the Pacers’ roster how best to improve their all-round game . I’ve no doubt that Shaw will prove to be a valuable asset to the team and with being able to provide to a great deal of insight as to what it takes to be successful from a player’s standpoint . If anything this steadies a listless ship and all but assures the team of retaining their best player Danny Granger who could opt to become free agent after the upcoming season.

The Pacers’ organization is flushed with youthful talent but Vogel’s biggest problem has been to harness it all into one cohesive and effective unit. With the addition of Brian Shaw and the existing members of coaching staff we could very well see something of a resurgence from this team. Not since the days of Reggie Miller and Rik Smits have the Pacers been deemed worthy to be considered a legitimate force within the NBA . And granted over the years the organization has had its problems stemming from neglect and the fact that the team was seen as one of the back-water stop offs in players’ career when they’re said to be on the decline. If things are to change with the thought of a turnaround in mind then perhaps with Brian Shaw and Frank Vogel working in tandem there could very well be something beginning to foment within the organization.

On the outside looking in I am not so sure to make of the situation now encapsulating the furor of the US women’s soccer team having made it to the finals of the World Cup . As great an accomplishment as this has been and the fact that the country will be chasing its first Cup win since 1999 the game barely registers a blip on the consciousness of the masses domestically here at home . Granted , all of the patriotism comes to the foreground in the times of triumph but what one sees as a triumph then is simply eroded when you considers that attendances for games at the club level within the WPSL ( Womens Premier Soccer League) averages no more than 2,500 per game . Salaries for players at the club level where the median is approximately $25,000 per year offers the players little by way of comfort with many of them choosing to hold down a civilian position beyond playing or for many of the top stars , some choose to split their time playing overseas.

The 2011 World Cup has to be considered a success for FIFA and in particular for the entrants to this year’s competition. Some of the matches have been competitive while others have been what one might consider to be extremely boring. But the back-drop to this all has been the very fact that the US team has sought redemption and they now have a chance at that by defeating their upcoming opponent Japan in the final game of the tournament .

Both sides have reached this stage of the competition having defeated two teams in semi-finals thought to be their equal at the international level. Japan defeated Sweden in a thoroughly convincing fashion 3-1 and the US had their problems with Brazil having to overcome a deficit before defeating the team in a penalty shootout (5-3) after a 2-2 tie in regulation .

In the final itself , we should expect a highly competitive game between two evenly matched teams . Team USA brings along the experience and a more physical style of play but Japan has speed , exuberance and a technical aspect that one would not normally associate with a team from the Far East. But much of that may well come down to the fact that there are a number high quality European coaches at the club level within the country where fan support for the game reaches rabid proportions. Obviously something that the WPSL yearns for here in the US but it still lacks support of the fans in general and the willingness of the networks to give the game much or airtime than it is now obtaining . Coverage of the game has been primarily with ESPN where basically much of women’s sports now finds its support from a viewing standpoint not only at the professional level but also at the collegiate level. Somehow one can only imagine that Title IX (Title IX) was meant to create something of a level playing field but in reality the success attained by the enactment by this legislation has not really done enough to put women’s sport on the map in the true sense of the word.

Should the USA win Sunday’s final match then we may well see something of an advancement in the game here domestically but considering the missteps along the way previously in trying to create a professional league at the club level , I firmly believe that soccer at the women’s level here much like their male counterpart still has a long way to go before it gets any real level of respect that they feel they rightly deserve . The nation has yet to take the game into its heart , feel as if it is something it can truly appreciate and that is in spite of the fact that now the game is now being played by more children at the middle , high school level and by collegiate players than baseball and basketball combined . Something to think about don’t you think ? And while the game of soccer resonate around the globe with its throng of fans it remains a bewildering back-drop for most here simply because the NBA , NFL , MLB , NASCAR and NHL rule the roost when it comes fans wanting to see something a great deal more exhilarating than 22 players chasing a round ball up down a field .

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In light of the points raised within this piece what thoughts if any do you have ? Do leave a comment as to your thoughts and thanks as always for the continued support !

Alan aka tophatal ……. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) Auburn coach Gene Chizik watches the first day of spring football practice for the national champion Auburn Tigers in Auburn, Ala., Wednesday, March 23, 2011. AP Photo / Garry Finkel …..

(2) FILE – In this Nov. 13, 2010 file photo, Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton (2) dunks coach Gene Chizik following a 49-31 win over Georgia in an NCAA college football game at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala. Chizik wants Auburn fans to remember Newton “as a great individual,” not just a Heisman Trophy-winning player. The Tigers coach defends the No. 1 NFL draft pick in the upcoming book “All In” but says it is “really a story about football, family and faith.” Chizik discussed the book Wednesday, June 29, 2011, ahead of its July 5 release that will have him hit the road for a promotional tour with nine stops in four states. AP Photo/Dave Martin ….

(3) FILE – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell listens to questions during a news conference at the NFL football owners meetings in Rosemont, Ill., in this June 21, 2011 file photo. Heavily fined Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison calls NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a “crook” and a “devil,” among other insults, in a magazine article in the August issue of Men’s Journal. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ….

(4) FILE – Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison (92) warms up before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Pittsburgh, in this Dec. 23, 2010 file photo. Heavily fined Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison calls NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a “crook” and a “devil,” among other insults, in a magazine article in the August issue of Men’s Journal. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar ……

(5) NBA union chief Billy Hunter speaks to reporters after a meeting with the NBA, Thursday, June 30, 2011 in New York. The NBA is headed to deadline day, with perhaps one last chance to avoid a lockout. Negotiators for owners and players will meet Thursday, about 12 hours before the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement and seemingly nowhere close to a deal. That meeting however would lead to the league mandated shutdown of the NBA . AP Photo/Mary Altaffer ……

(6) National League All-Star Prince Fielder (28) of the Milwaukee Brewers and his sons Jaden (R) and Haven pose with the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award after the National League defeated the American League 5-1 in the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Getty Images North America / Jeff Gross ……

(7) National League All-Star Lance Berkman (12) of the St. Louis Cardinals is tagged out at second base by American League All-Star Robinson Cano (24) of the New York Yankees in the bottom of the second inning of the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix,Az . Getty Images North America/ Jeff Gross ….

(8) Indiana Pacers new assistant head coach Brian Shaw responds to a question during a news conference in Indianapolis, .Wednesday, July 13, 2011. AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

(9) Pia Sundhage (2nd L) coach of the U.S. laughs as she listens to striker Abby Wambach (2ndR) during a practice session for the upcoming final of the women’s soccer World Cup in Frankfurt July 15, 2011. The U.S. will play Japan in the World Cup final on Sunday in Frankfurt. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach ….

(10) USA’s goalkeeper Hope Solo is stretched during a training session on July 15, 2011 in Frankfurt/Main, two days before the final football match of the FIFA women’s football World Cup Japan vs USA at the FIFA Frauen-WM-Stadion in Frankfurt/Main, central Germany, on July 17, 2011. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE …..

(11) Members of Japan’s women’s soccer team pose with placards from Japanese children from Frankfurt’s International School prior to a practice session in Frankfurt July 15, 2011. Japan will play the U.S. in the World Cup final on Sunday, July 17, in Frankfurt. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach …….

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The Greasy Wheel Is Being Oiled But Would You Would Be Surprised By Who’s Involved In It All ?

The Greasy Wheel Is Being Oiled But Would You Would Be Surprised By Who’s Involved In It All ?

If there’s one thing I know it is that once a sport becomes so corrupt at the highest levels possible it is certain that the executives involved in any wrong doing are likely to want this all covered up. In what appears to be the most egregious of acts two senior executives within FIFA have been suspended by its President Sepp Blatter . The two individuals in question Jack A. W Warner an executive (President) with CONCACAF and Mohammed Bin Hamman another senior executive within FIFA. Blatter for his part has stated that FIFA will become more openly transparent in light of the scandal which involved Hamman and Warner having accepted bribes in order to secure their votes related to the hosting of specific FIFA tournaments . Most notably the World Cup in 2018 (Russia) and 2022 (Qatar). Brazil will stage the event in 2014 and though there is nothing to suggest that the host country in South America is said to have been involved any impropriety concerning these latest allegations. There now seems to be a feeling that there may well have some form of impropriety to have taken place by one if not a number of high ranking officials within FIFA .

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Thomas Warner and Mohammed Bin Hamman are two of Sepp Blatter’s most trusted allies and it would appear that Blatter while not being immediately embroiled in this latest scandal may well have known about the duo’s activities . The FIFA President was recently re-elected for a fourth consecutive term having succeeded his predecessor Jaoa Havelange in 1998. Since Blatter’s ascendancy to the position there have been a litany of allegations that have come to light not only about senior members of the FIFA Executive Committee having accepted bribes but also misappropriations of funds . Soccer has become a complete laughing stock in light of the allegations but what might be even more idiotic are the claims now being made by US Soccer’s President Sunil Gulati that having endorsed the re-election of Blatter , he sees it as a chance for FIFA to reassert itself in the eyes of the public and become more openly transparent . Blatter has shown little sign of that given the repeated allegations and misdeeds that have taken place over the course of his tenure. Sepp Blatter has become autocratic and brow beats those who oppose him , while at the same time making sure those who are supportive of his ideas benefit financially. If nothing else , Blatter has eschewed the idea of real reform within FIFA but he may well now be forced to do so if as is being claimed Interpol will seek to get involved by conducting their very own investigation .

Now while there have been rumblings that several affiliate organizations would like to see a re-vote take place but that would be very unlikely as Blatter was the only candidate who sought the position as FIFA President . My question is how in hell is this meant to be a democratic vote when there simply is only one candidate ___ Sepp Blatter who sought to become FIFA President ? This body from top to bottom has become the laughing stock of the sports’ world given the fact that the only other body which shows this sort of ineptitude on such a scale might just be UCI which governs the sport of cycling internationally. That particular body headquartered in Aigle , Switzerland has been so complicit and culpable in not making a serious attempt in stemming the prolific abuse and use of steroids and other illicit drugs within the sport. Two of the sport’s most high profiled and visible riders , Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador both Tour de France champions have been embroiled in allegations of having the banned substance EPO (Erythropoietin) as well other illicit substances . In light of WADA now working in conjunction with UCI to have a strict and comprehensive drug testing policy in place I simply cannot see this sport ever making a serious attempt to clean up its image or the very sport .

Armstrong is now the subject of an ongoing investigation that is being conducted by the US Justice Department . The cyclist has proclaimed his innocense , states that the allegations against him are groundless and are without any foundation. But herein lies the caveat to this madness, George Hincapie and Tyler Hamilton both former teammates of the seven time Tour de France champion have stated that they saw the cyclist use not only EPO but also several other substances banned by UCI . Hamilton in a recent interview granted to the CBS news magazine program 60 Minutes reiterated his claim that not only had he seen Armstrong inject himself but he also part-took in the subterfuge in the taking of various steroids. Radio Shack team manager Johan Bruyneel for which both Armstrong and Hamilton rode categorically denies the claims being made by Hamilton and he furthermore emphasizes that at no time was there any use of any banned substances being used by any member of the Radio Shack team over his tenure as its manager. While there’s no concrete evidence to suggest that Bruyneel’s claims are false , one has to ask the question are both Hamilton and Hincapie lying , given the fact that their subpoenad testimony to the Justice Department has to be taken with some credibility ? Only an idiot would think to lie to a federal law enforcement officer knowing the legal ramifications of such an act. Lance Armstrong for his part has brought together a powerhouse , in terms of a legal team. Such has been the rider’s staunch defense of his image and credibility that he knows that if indicted he would face a monumental task in trying to prove his innocence . Granted , the rider has never tested positive while in competition but the questions still remain as to the veracity of Armstrong’s innocence as see his image and accomplishments being tarnished in the public domain as well as in the print and television media.

I have long held the notion that once the claims of corruption or wrong doing by a governing body or athlete within a sport there is no denying that once the claims are out there it is indeed very hard to try and disprove them . Cycling much like soccer has become corrupt and it has manifested itself in not only the actions of the riders but also the sheer incompetency of UCI . Doubt my word then simply look at how that governing body has simply conducted their investigations and how little the sport has actually changed in terms of trying to abate the prolific use of illicit substances with cycling ?

FIFA President Sepp Blatter for all of his new found resolve and wish to see the body he governs become more transparent . Herein lies the idiocy of those claims , two of his most trusted allies were caught with their hands in the cookie jar . It begs the question as to how deep those went and what if anything Sepp Blatter is said to have known or suborned with his own actions ? Numerous times Blatter and FIFA have been embroiled multiple scandals while simply doing nothing but tarnish the game’s image .

Being an ardent and avid soccer fan I am now at my wit’s end to understand how damn naive and stupid the affiliate organizations are within the FIFA ! To not even have a challenger to Sepp Blatter in the voting for that body’s most senior executive position shows not only the lack of intelligence within the organization but also there isn’t any real democratic process in place . There was very little chance that there would have been abstention or a vote opposing Blatter’s re-election . This is now how perverse and corrupt FIFA has become and will remain . Sepp Blatter claims he seeks transparency but in reality nothing could be further from the truth.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the allegations that have come to the fore concerning FIFA and Lance Armstrong what thoughts if any do you have with regard to those claims ? Simply chime with a comment as to your thoughts .

Alan aka tophatal ……………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below

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(1) Sepp Blatter President of Fifa speaks during the FIFA Ballon d’or Gala at the Zurich Kongresshaus on January 10, 2011 in Zurich, Switzerland. Getty Images Europe /Michael Steele ……

(2) Senior FIFA Executive Mohammed Bin Hamman who has since been suspended by the Executive Committee of FIFA for the improprieties concerning the accepting of a bribe and alleged vote rigging . Bin Hamman is a close and trusted ally of FIFA President Sepp Blatter . AFP/Reuters /Christoff Karlsson ……

(3) FIFA vice president Jack Warner, right, with Sepp Blatter, the president of the international soccer governing body. Warner also holds the position as being the President of CONCACAF which governs international soccer for the region covering North America , Central & South America and the Caribbean . Paul Chiasson/Associated Press ….

(4) Pat Quaid President of UCI is seen here with Johan Bruyneel . Photo © 2010 Fotoreporter Sirotti …. Copyrighted material all rights reserved …

(5) ADELAIDE, Australia, Jan 23, 2010 (AFP) – Lance Armstrong’s simmering row with Tour de France champion Alberto Contador (left) is “healthy” for cycling and better than the usual doping controversies, the sport’s chief said on Saturday. Both riders are still embroiled with allegations of doping within the sport of cycling. Contador recently had a suspension lifted by the CAS but it now remains to be seen how he will be viewed by his fellow competitors and the fans of cycling alike . AFP ……..

(6) US Soccer President Sunil Gulati felt it prudent in voting for the reelection of Sepp Blatter rather than voting in opposition or abstaining . The reason given by Gulati is that he felt that Blatter is sincere in changing the environment within FIFA after all the major controversies that have come to light within that esteemed body . This is the sort of idiocy now being shown that clearly the problems that have befallen FIFA are in fact also due to the gullibility of the affiliated organizations around the globe . AFP/Reuters / Paul Castle …………

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FIFA News

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If You Can’t Face Adversity Square On And Look At It Face On Then What Use Are You If You’ve Learned Nothing At All From It ?

If You Can’t Face Adversity Square On And Look At It Face On Then What Use Are You If You’ve Learned Nothing At All From It ?

Bitch and whine but yet throwing out statistics merely to justify a loss in a competitive match simply shows complete naivete and a lack of understanding as to what it takes to win. But low and behold forty eight hours after bowing out of the World Cup we still have US fans trying to justify the claim that the US team were better than their nemesis Ghana in the round of 16 . So the US out-shot Ghana 20-16 but it’s the end result that counts and this what I believe is the asinine realization that seems to be lost on many of these fans. Wake up and smell the friggin’ coffee the US lost 2-1 to Ghana. The African nation made it to the quarter finals and the US didn’t so for God’s sake stop the bitching and fu_king whining as you’re all coming across like children who’ve been told to take a damn timeout ! If you want to be constructive in assessing the loss then look at what positives if any have come out of this all and not harp on about why you lost the game . The result most certainly can’t be changed at this juncture . And besides who says that the US team coached by Bob Bradley was the better team to begin with ? Was it because a numb-nut like Alexi Lalas said so ? His understanding of the game and his opinions are about as warranted or merited as Paris Hilton’s views would be on peace in the Middle East ! For want of a better word who gives a sh_t to begin with ?

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Bob Bradley’s team was never that good to begin with and in terms of defense and their frontal players in attack. Well let’s just say there’d have been more presence upfront were it Adam Lambert and Clay Aiken as the frontal players on this US team. Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan showed the creativity and presence of a docile mouse. Now with the US having returned home US Soccer President Sunil Gulati can assess what went wrong, where, when and why. Personally, until there’s a real competitive presence within the MLS in terms of the “talent level” then we’ll never see the maturation of US soccer on the international stage. The respect that the US craves won’t be given and it first has to be earned which is something that the fans and their players simply have yet to learn. Nothing could be more prevalent than the attitude and demeanor shown by Bradley and in particular by Landon Donovan in their post game interviews after the loss to Ghana .


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Slide show gallery for your perusal . Use the arrow indicator to move the slide show frames as you see fit.

OK, so here we are on the first day of the NBA __ free agency period and as of yet we’ve yet to hear whether or not Lebron James will be returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers or making a move elsewhere around the NBA. The thought was that James would be the “domino effect” that would set everything into effect. But that now appears to be not the case as it would appear that Toronto Raptors’ power forward Chris Bosh could well be the carrot that lures James into making a decision. Bosh as one of the second tier free agents on the market, is the most desired of the power forwards out there. And the thinking amongst several NBA analysts and general managers around the league is that whomever lands Bosh will have the upper hand in luring and signing Lebron James.

Now in assessing the situation my own feeling is that LeBron if he’s to win an NBA title then for his alleged Jordan persona will be in need of a Scottie Pippen. James despite being saddled with Antawn Jamison and Shaquille O’Neal , this Cavaliers’ team was merely doing it all with smoking mirrors. And for the ass kissing morons at ESPN who simply had their lips pressed so closely to James’ sphincter that they couldn’t see the reality that this team was simply not good enough to beat the Los Angeles Lakers much less the Boston Celtics . Mike Brown and former GM Danny Ferry simply built a team for the long haul of the regular season but not for the rigors of the postseason . And now with Brown having been fired and Ferry inauspiciously choosing to relinquish his position with the team. It has now been left to Dan Gilbert the team owner and newly installed GM Chris Grant to try and gauge the situation concerning James and his status. It doesn’t appear that there has been a great deal communication between James’ handlers and the Cavaliers’ front office . If that’s not enough of an indicator that things could quite possibly change with regard to the Cavaliers’ future then the situation could well be lost on the Cavaliers’ fans and their executives. What I find very telling concerning the coaching staff of the Cavaliers was that not one of their members has played professionally in the NBA. That’s almost unheard of amongst the coaching staffs of a number franchises around the league.

Now with the Cavaliers now rushing to sign Byron Scott as the team’s next coach, with the position having been turned down by Lakers’ assistant Brian Shaw. This off season has been a very interesting one for the Cavaliers to say the least.

At one should a team give up on the season in baseball ? Now approaching the league’s mid-season showcase of the All Star Game to be held at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, California __ for which the event should prove be a great spectacle. The season has been filled with one or two surprises in the league and perhaps the biggest surprise might be that of the Cincinnati Reds and their ongoing battle for supremacy within the NL Central . While that has gone on , the Chicago Cubs seemingly finds with each passing game ways of sinking into further realms of mediocrity . I’m not about to say that the Cubs are done but my God if this team were a lame dog or horse they’d have been put down and euthanized. Cubs’ manager Lou Piniella seems to be out of touch and his team even more so but then again we are talking about the lovable and hapless Chicago Cubs where losing has now become the norm and winning has become a thing of the past .

Reds’ manager Dusty Baker could very well end up becoming the NL Manager of The Year should his team win the division. Other than that there’s not much more that can be said about the Cubs and their situation . As to the surprising ascendancy of the Reds it’s hard to bet against them and their season thus far. The play of Joey Votto and the middle order of the team’s offense has been simply astonishing . Their play seems to epitomize what this team seems to be about and what they’re doing makes them the NL story of the season.

Close your eyes and you’re liable to miss the image of the NFL as it sinks lower under the tenure of Roger Goodell . As for my own view on Goodell , well, let’s put it this way, for the highest ranking executive in the NFL to seem all clueless as to the players of the NFL and their behavior. Star players such as Michael Vick and Vince Young bring the image and reputation of the NFL into further disrepute and Goodell can only act like a Roman Catholic priest caught in the midst of another sex scandal . Instead of dealing with the situation with some authority , instead what we’re seeing from the NFL commissioner is the very fact that he’s a gutless individual ! Never mind the fact that there have been some serious allegations that have arisen concerning an Indianapolis Colts’ defensive tackle Eric Foster and a rape allegation . If Goodell handles this the way that he handled the Ben Roethlisberger situation then we might as well shut up shop as far as the image of the NFL is concerned. Because it’s not as if the NLPA and Executive Director DeMaurice Smith are in the least bit concerned with the image of their members to begin with. It’s as one patron of my site stated he’s not in the least bit concerned about an NFL player being involved in a fight . My question to him was what if the situation had escalated wherein the player ended up losing his life in an act of gun violence ? For which he’s yet to respond to my question but then again I shouldn’t expect anything less from someone who thinks that gun violence is probably the best way to resolve an issue. But then again amongst young African Americans that’s probably the be all end all when they’re severely lacking intelligence. Word to wise for Vince Young and in particular Michael Vick grow the fuck up and stop being and behaving like an asshole ! You’re both doing yourselves and your race a great disservice !

As for the Indianapolis Colts and their GM Bill Polian they’ve been less reticent to issue a statement concerning the matter and the alleged rape. The so called “pristine image” of the Indianapolis Colts is about as clean as that of the Roman Catholic church and their wish to be seen as God’s representative of Christianity on the earth. By my way of thinking that’s akin to asking a group of neo Nazis to be the custodians of the Torah and a church filled with young African American school children. You simply know that no good can from the outcome much like the Colts’ need to keep this all quiet and completely away from the public domain . And nowhere is this more self evident than in the actions of the organization and that of the commissioner’s office. And as to the assumption of the NFL if it’s a first time offense by a player then the league has a right to deal with the issue as it sees fit. Well whatever happened to the league’s player conduct policy ? Goodell much like his edict is completely full of shit much like the rest of the crap that he’d like for us all to buy into. I wonder how Goodell might have dealt would’ve dealt with the Ray Carruth affair were he commissioner at the time ?

Doubt my word concerning the NFL then simply look at the actions of Goodell and the inconsistencies of his rulings over the past few years ? Show me the consistencies in his deliberations and how he has come by them and then ask yourself is there any justification as to the types of punishment that has been meted out ? Goodell actions haven‘t exactly been seen as a deterrent to the players who court trouble and then hide behind the legalities of a justice system that has been all too soft on celebrities and in particular athletes. Were the actions seen that of an every day citizen then we’d be asking what the hell is going on. But as I’ve alluded to before the justice system and that of what Roger Goodell deems as being fair is about as equal in its logic as the actions of a habitual liar., Their actions are that way as a safety mechanism because it’s the only way that they know how to act.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Chime on in with a comment as you see fit and I’ll do my best to respond to your comments as succinctly as I can and once again thanks as always for your continued support and patronage. It’s been appreciated throughout my time here contributing within this domain.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal

Red Hot Chili Peppers ………… Give It Away

It’s How One Plays The Game And Its Principles

It’s How One Plays The Game And Its Principles

Perhaps I was under the mistaken impression that the game of soccer was being ran by FIFA to be a game about fairness ? But with the recent news that French international soccer star Thierry Henry won’t be punished in any way for his blatant hand ball in the World Cup qualifying game played against Ireland , smacks of complete idiocy and contempt of what the game purports itself to be all about. In not acting to act even suspend Henry at all , it merely suggests that they condone cheating in whatever form it now takes.

As reported by Britain’s Sky Sports and ITV News .

Courtesy of FIFA.com

Statement on Thierry Henry

On 2 December 2009, the FIFA Executive Committee asked the FIFA Disciplinary Committee to analyse the handling offence committed by Thierry Henry during the France v. Republic of Ireland match on 18 November 2009, and to consider the possible disciplinary consequences.

At its meeting on 18 January 2010, the Disciplinary Committee reached the conclusion that there was no legal foundation for the committee to consider the case because handling the ball cannot be regarded as a serious infringement as stipulated in article 77a) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.

There is no other legal text that would allow the committee to impose sanctions for any incidents missed by match officials.

The  French  national  soccer  team   seen  here   prior  to  a  World Cup  qualifying   game.  Bottom  left  corner  is  Thierry  Henry (12) ,  who  was  the  center  of  the   controversy   concerning  his   actions  in  the  World   Cup  qualifying   game  against  Ireland.     photo  appears   courtesy  of  Getty  Images/   Pascal   Bouzonne  ....................
The French national soccer team seen here prior to a World Cup qualifying game. Bottom left corner is Thierry Henry (12) , who was the center of the controversy concerning his actions in the World Cup qualifying game against Ireland. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Pascal Bouzonne ....................

The French international clearly states in his postgame interview that he intentionally handled the ball that led to France scoring a goal, that in essence garnered the team a berth in the upcoming World Cup. Thereby denying Ireland a chance of a place in the upcoming tournament to held in South Africa. The game’s hierarchy itself have been somewhat suspect in dealing with a number of issues. It has been very proactive in dealing with the racial bigotry that has been going on at league games throughout the continent of Europe that has been directed at a number of players of various ethnic origins.

Though there seems to be a marked improvement in the behavior of the fans at the league and international games . It still hasn’t entirely stamped or dampened this vile behavior of the fans. And as acute as this situation appears to be . I believe this particular faux pas by FIFA clearly sends the wrong message to the fans of the game in general. If they can condone a clear act of cheating then what else are they prepared to condone ? I can understand the referees who officiated the game may well have missed the blatant act during the game. However , what I cannot understand and fathom is why FIFA would choose not to act and send a clear message to players that cheating will not be tolerated. What will it take for FIFA to be proactive when it comes to cheating and stamping it out of the game ?

What’s even more remarkable about this incident is the indifference shown by FIFA President Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter and his continued obliviousness as to what took place. And even now I have to consider this decision merely another idiotic stance taken by the federation altogether. If they want the organization’s credibility to remain in tact, then clearly Blatter and the game’s hierarchy have to look at acts such as this and clearly make a point that this cannot be condoned in any shape or form. It gives the impression that ‘cheating ‘ will become an acceptable part of the game. And this is meant to be ‘the beautiful game’ and the world’s most popular sport ? . What are the young fans of the game to think of this , as of now ? And are players such as Thierry Henry still to be looked upon as role models after an incident such as this ? Especially given Henry’s statement to the press that his act was blatant and he felt he would get away with it because the officials didn’t see it . However, the cameras caught it all and it was there for the whole world to see.

FIFA President Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatters shows how much a real ass he is as the game’s most powerful individual, as he apologizes for an ‘off the cuff’ remark made about the Irish Soccer Federation (FAI).

Not wanting to be a conspiracy theorist or anything of that nature pertaining to the ‘Thierry Henry Incident’ but I do believe that FIFA has made ‘an enormous blunder’ with regard to this lone decision. Because should ever another situation like this arise again, with them having taken a totally different response. Then what will that suggest to the fans of the game of soccer on a worldwide basis ? Make of it what you will but this is just merely my thoughts on the matter ! When a sport has been brought into disrepute by the lone and deliberate act of a player, then there ought to be a price to pay. And not something where game’s hierarchy simply doesn’t admonish or make a clear statement on the incident that took place to begin with.