Born to be bland or simply being bland ? ………

Born to be bland or simply being bland?

If there has been one thing I have learned in the past few weeks, it has been the sheer apathy, stupidity, gullibility and complete lack of understanding of the American public and sports’ fan in general. Case in point, remains the real outrage in the death of Missourian teenager Michael Brown . While the teen’s death was tragic and the outrage by residents valid, their behavior was less than beneficial for their community at large. In the case of the Ferguson Police Department and their lack of professionalism, could be seen in the fact, the changing stories concerning the suspect’s death as it emanated from the agency after Brown’s at the hands of a six—year veteran of the force.

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Now with the federal government interjecting themselves in the midst of this tragedy , it begs the question, if they and others are so angered by this, then why no outrage in the other two hundred and fifty-four deaths to have taken place over the past eighteen months nationwide at the hands of a member of law enforcement ? In many of these cases , the alleged suspects were unarmed , but somehow this is all overlooked by those seeking to point out law enforcement is often being placed in an impossible situation.

From my own perspective this also comes down to the experience of the police officer and his training . Placing these officers in a training incident is completely different from what actually takes place in life. Speaking as a ten-year veteran of the British Royal Marines, where I faced armed and unarmed suspects while on active duty, it all came down to specific training and the having the help of my fellow comrades around me at the time. While I valued them being at my side, I have no doubt Officer Darren Wilson regrets the death of Michael Brown but what may well now begin to incense those within the city of Ferguson is the $250,000 raised in support of the officer . One has to wonder, where and what will be the intent in the use of these funds? ? While this whole debacle plays out, consider , in the city of Ferguson where its demographic makeup of fifty-six percent African-American , the number of officers on the city’s Police Force with a minority background is less than two percent . of its real makeup. Race has played a part in this whole melee and those who view to the contrary are clearly without a clue . Incidents such as this are on in the increase not on the decline , if only one would care to see these incidents as and when they arise.

As baseball is on the cusp of entering the final two months of its regular season schedule , a number of teams are seeking to enter the divisional and wildcard races wanting to gain a berth in the postseason. In 2013 , we saw from the play of the Boston Red Sox and what a team is capable of doing when actually playing as a team. John Farrell, the Red Sox’s manager was able to catch their opponents off-guard as the postseason got underway in 2013, with the team then going on to win their third World Series title in the past eight years .

It has surprised me to see how far the fall from grace within the AL East the reigning World Series’ champion and their season has spiraled completely out of control. GM Ben Cherington now seeking to gut the team’s roster with the departure of several mainstays from last season’s championship winning team. You simply have to ask, how could things have gotten this dire without their being any sense such a dilemma could have been placed within our midst. Of the departing players, perhaps the biggest surprise was the decision to send Jon Lester to the Oakland Athletics , whose ambitions will have been strengthened with the addition of the pitcher.

Boston’s woes have been twofold this season but in reality , what has plagued the team has been the lack of leadership from anyone on the roster this season. Even a seasoned veteran such as David Ortiz has been rarely noticeable , with Ortiz having something of mundane season in comparison to his exploits in 2013 and during the postseason, where he would end up being the World Series’ MVP after his offensive onslaught against the St Louis Cardinals during the series. , At 56-74 , firmly rooted at the bottom of the AL East the Boston Red Sox are losers of nine of their last ten games, stemming back to their last victory over the Houston Astros, their equally inept AL counterpart , whose own season, is one mired in mediocrity .

The Boston Red Sox’s loss to the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park in Boston Massachusetts , on Sunday afternoon was simply one more indicator of what has been wrong with the team all season long. I fear they will get no respite when they take on the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday , when the two teams meet at the Rogers Center , Toronto , Ontario. On the mound for Boston will be Clay Buchholz when he faces off against J A Happ of the Blue Jays. In all likelihood , John Farrell and the coaching staff will use the remainder of the season to assess the team and their younger players hoping to make an ongoing contribution to the organization with a view of being given a full-time position on the starting roster in 2015.

Baseball has always been proud to boast its history and the very fact it was the very first professional team sport in North America to be integrated. The historic day on which Jackie Robinson took to the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers may well have changed history , in the aftermath of Branch Rickey’s social experiment . Yet here lies the hypocrisy and even less significance of the event , the game and its owners at the time, . still had no wish to have an African-American umpire officiate a Major League Baseball game . Acceptance of Robinson or not , baseball still remained in the dark ages even with Robinson’s feats during his rookie season with the Dodgers.

It would be an almost two decade long wait , before fans would actually witness an African-American official umpire officiate a Major League Baseball game , when Emmett Ashford would be afforded the honor and privilege of the historic milestone. On the 9th April 1966 Emmett Ashford made his official debut as an MLB umpire where he would remain an active official for five years before being asked by then Commissioner Bowie Kuhn to take an advisory role and take to official speaking engagements as a way of luring more African-American officials to the game. In the decades leading up to Ashford’s being made an umpire , the thought process was that Ashford and many of his peers were simply not equipped to officiate a baseball game. Common place thinking within the league hierarchy and with many of Kuhn’s predecessors and the Caucasian players at the time, felt African-American umpires lacked the intellect to officiate a game much less go through and meeting the qualifications needed. . Speaks volumes as to the ongoing hypocrisy within baseball and how historians have chosen to simply record the game’s history , simply leaving out the more distasteful events within baseball’s history at the time .

The NBA at this moment in time might have two of the biggest prima donna athletes within its realms, with Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers . Both players are coming off disappointing seasons , with Bryant being of little help to the Lakers and their season , which floundered and was submerged in the depths of mediocrity . For James his departure from the Miami Heat could not have been quick enough , after his and the team’s disappointment of being totally embarrassed by the San Antonio Spurs in a rather lopsided NBA Finals . The fact of the matter remains , the Miami Heat of this past season was simply a pale shadow of the team which successfully defended its 2013 NBA title . Exposed like the Emperor without new clothes , some of the more asinine prognosis from fans alike , were as if, those offering up their summations simply had their lips firmly pressed against the ass of LeBron James, without looking at the players he was surrounded by this past season and their lack of real productivity during the regular and postseason .

LeBron James having returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers will have a new supporting cast and coaching staff at his disposal. Make no bones about it , David Blatt may well be the rookie head coach , but in reality , he will merely be a conduit for James’ ongoing ambitions and little else beyond that. This is a major gamble on the part of the team owner Dan Gilbert and the Cavaliers’ organization , as anything less than a playoff berth with the NBA title thrown in for good measure will be seen as a failure by analysts and fans alike. Having been made the prohibitive favorites by the odds-makers in Las Vegas as well as by the NBA pundits , there will be even more pressure being placed upon the shoulders of LeBron James this season than ever before. No doubt there will be some Miami Heat fans who would like to see him fail this season , whereas, others will be thankful for the success he brought to the franchise during his four-year stay . Yet, for all the success and publicity which came with James’ tenure, it now places the Miami based franchise right back at square one, with a team that is likely to be on the decline. Dwyane Wade is no longer able to play at a very high level , given his age and declining skill-set, but somehow he will be asked to lead what in essence will be a very average roster in spite of the coaching acumen of Erik Spoelstra .

Kobe Bryant is now in the waning years of what has been a magnificent Lakers’ career, albeit that he may well never be thought of as the greatest player in the franchise’s greatest players . He certainly has to be viewed as being among the top-ten players in Lakers’ history but where he might belong on that particular ladder will be a matter of debate for years to come. . Now while I believe an athlete should be paid what he or she believes they are worth, there comes a time where common sense has to prevail when it comes team payrolls and the outlandish salaries one now tends to find within the NBA and baseball in particular. Nowhere else can find athletes on this scale being rewarded for doing so little. Doubt my word, then simply look at the make-up of the payroll scales within baseball (MLB) and basketball at present. Bryant in a recent interview , stated he believed many of the marquee players within the NBA are undervalued in terms of their salaries. Last I looked, neither Joe Johnson or Amare’ Stoudemire could be considered elite players within the NBA , but the two remain among the highest paid players in the league and on the rosters of their respective teams, the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks .

Bryant in a recent interview granted with members of the press, in a statement at the time which was overlooked remains under the impression players are greatly undervalued by the NBA and specifically their organizations . Forgive me for saying this but Bryant’s two-year $48.5 million deal signed with the Los Angeles Lakers might well feel a pittance to the player, but what he has failed to notice in a time of economic blight the majority of NBA fans would find his whining an absolute insult and very narcissistic. His annual salary currently tops all NBA players in the league and is five hundred times the median income of an employee in the US workforce. Take into account Bryant earns considerably more from his off the field activities by way of commercial endorsements and his annual income tops $45 million a year . Somehow, I hardly feel that members of the Bryant household are starving , without actually acknowledging the player’s estimated $250 million fortune . It is at times like this , one has to wonder if Bryant actually shows any common sense when making such a statement , without the reporter granting the interview coming up with the claim Kobe Bryant’s statement is representative of many of his peers .

Bryant is no longer the best player in the NBA , nor does he actually hold a great deal of sway among his peers . Granted , he has now become one of the league’s elder statesmen , but do you believe Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs would have the temerity to have made such a statement to a member of the convened press? I think not ! This is all about Kobe Bryant wanting to heard , because over the past season he was rarely seen on-court due to his injury laden season and even if he were on the court , I seriously doubt his presence would have improved the outcome of the Lakers’ season given the team’s poor play all-round over the course of their schedule.

Byron Scott succeeds Mike D’Antoni as the Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach and while Scott has the blessing of former players Magic Johnson , James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar , their sentiments will mean very little as the Lakers embark upon this season . A revamped roster , totally different from last season’s lineup will be what Scott and his coaching staff will have to work with . A divisional title is definitely out of the question this season, given the strength and depth of talent on the Los Angeles Clippers , but there might well be a remote possibility of the Lakers contending for a playoff berth in the Western Conference if they can play with a great deal of consistency over the course of this upcoming season.

Twenty-four seven remains the NFL news’ cycle and the primary reason it has surpassed MLB, NBA and NHL as the most popular professional team sport in the country. The league feeds its fans even with the remotest of tidbits, merely to keep them insatiable and interested in the game even when things are at their most dire in the NFL. Granted , a number of the league’s ills have more to do with the incompetency of the hierarchy under Roger Goodell’s uninspired leadership . The boorish behavior of the players both on and off off the field of play without delving into the criminal antics of a number of the franchise owners around the NFL. I will continue to question the play within the NFL and their reasoning behind a preseason which means absolutely nothing and where the league feels it necessary to still charge full price for an exhibition season , where very little matters in the order of things. Hyperbole surrounds several of the rookies drafted this off-season and in particular the Cleveland Browns’ rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel is still proving he has yet to mature as an individual , while his play on the field has been far from scintillating. Nevertheless , the idiotic calls are already upon us for Manziel to be the team’s opening day quarterback in week one of the regular season .

Cleveland will have one of the easiest schedules in the entire NFL this season with their only having to face two playoff teams from last season , in the Cincinnati Bengals and New Orleans Saints . As to those who believe Johnny Manziel is now ready for his professional debut and curtain call in a regularly scheduled NFL game. I would hasten to add, given the woes of the Browns in 2012 and 2013 with Brandon Weeden at the helm as the Browns’ quarterback , it would be in the fans’ best interest to have the rookie sit on the bench for the moment. Those within the media still yearning to see Manziel center-stage will be the first to rip him apart should he prove to be a monumental bust.. Very little has been made about the player’s lack of maturity and leadership skills since his entry into the NFL, but here we are , and boneheaded assholes are now calling for Johnny Manziel to be made a starting quarterback in the NFL .

Manziel will likely get his chance at some point during the season but it will be ultimately be predicated upon the play of Brian Hoyer and the thought process of Mike Pettine and the Browns’ coaching staff .

As if their drafting of Michael Sam was not about to bring a great deal of attention to the St Louis Rams , the knowledge their starting quarterback Sam Bradford will be lost to the team for the regular season, having torn his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) will be a big blow to the ambitions of Jeff Fisher and the organization. Bradford’s career in the NFL has seen its fair share of ups downs . More downs than ups and the likelihood of his NFL career now abruptly coming to an end without his achieving a great deal during his tenure.

With teams now having to make roster cuts bringing their rosters down to seventy-five players, before final cuts at the culmination of the preseason , where the final fifty-three man rosters will be set . It seems imperative Jeff Fisher will be looking to obtain a seasoned veteran quarterback or perhaps make a trade for a backup player at the position . The alternatives for Fisher in terms of the Rams’ current depth chart , provides very slim pickings , if it is your wish to have your choices being made from the following list of candidates , Shaun Hill , Garrett Gilbert and Austin Davis . Somehow , I do not believe they are likely to make an opposing defense quiver in fear as to explosiveness of the Rams’ offense be it on the ground or through the air . Fisher believes Shaun Hill has the experience to lead the team throughout the season , but I believe the player’s lack of in-depth experience and play in general makes it all but a certainty, the Rams will seek a trade for a quarterback with proven ability .

With rumors now percolating Jeff Fisher may well approach the Philadelphia Eagles as to the availability of Mark Sanchez , there seems to be no rival of questions and assumptions that can be made concerning the Rams’ present situation . It would be unlikely Chip Kelly or anyone from within the front office of the Eagles would seek to trade Sanchez , with his being the only experienced backup on the team’s roster to replace Nick Foles should the incumbent starting quarterback go down to a prolonged injury. St Louis will open its regular season schedule against the Minnesota Vikings at the Edward Jones Dome Stadium in St Louis , Missouri on the 7th September , 2014. This should prove to be an interesting contest between two teams seeking reset their goals in 2014.

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this article and do you believe baseball , basketball and the NFL are in the places they need to be , in light of the ongoing issues nationwide ?

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) Michael Brown Sr and Leslie McSpadden listen to a speech as they await the funeral of their slain son , Michael Brown , shot by a Ferguson City Police officer . Brown and McSpadden have asked that the protests be kept at a minimum also asking for quell to the violence that has taken place in the small suburb. AP Photo /Charlie Riedel …

(2) Officer Michael Brown of the Ferguson City Police Force , a six-year veteran , took the life of teenager Michael Brown, an alleged suspect in a theft from a convenience store in the city of Ferguson. Missouri . Brown’s death and the anguish caused has led to rioting and violence with the state governor , Jay Nixon and local civic leaders calling for peaceful demonstrations , rather than the lootiy=2014> d acts of theft being witnessed in the aftermath. AP Photo/ Michal Bennett …

(3) Michael Brown , was college bound, but somehow his death, has led to the nation once again being embroiled in the issue of race relations , crime and the lack of training among many of the nation’s police agencies . AP/REUTERS/ Thomas Charles ….

(4) Brock Holt tags out Seattle Mariners’ Kendrys Morales, left, at third base after Kyle Seager reached on an infield single in the first inning of a baseball game in Boston, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. Boston Red Sox’s 8-6 loss led to the Mariners sweeping the series 3-0 , further adding to Boston’s embarrassingly inept season . AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

(5) David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox has been unable to lead the team with the same amount of dexterity shown in 2013 , leading many to believe if the player is still capable playing at a truly competitive level when facing real adversity on a team which is said to be floundering. AP Photo/ Paul Matthews …

(6) Emmett Ashford , first African-American umpire signed by the major leagues, confers with California Angels’ Manager Bill Rigney at Palm Springs, Calif., on March 13, 1966 as the Angels played the Chicago Cubs. Ashford was making his first appearance as a plate umpire between major league teams. He was signed from the Pacific Coast League at the close of last season. AP Photo/George Brich …..

(7) Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers in what is likely to be his last professional season in the NBA continues to make waves . Unfortunately, as one of the league’s elder statesmen , the player believes he can speak for many of his peers . AP Photo / Chris McIntyre …

(8) Sam Bradford is escorted from the field during a preseason game played against the Cleveland Browns . The quarterback is likely to be lost to the Rams for the remainder of the preseason and the entire regular season schedule . A severe blow to player whose career in the NFL seems to have been injury riddled in recent years . USA Today / Rick Osentoski ….

(9) St Louis Rams’ quarterback Sam Bradford sits on the sidelines of a regular season game played against the Dallas Cowboys . The player’s career now seems to be threatened after suffering another tear of his anterior cruciate ligament , the second such injury suffered by Bradford to very same knee injured in 2013 . AP Photo/ Mark Miller …

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It’s not the fight that is left in the dog , but whether or not, its bark and bite might send you running

It’s not the fight that is left in the dog , but whether or not, its bark and bite might send you running

It no longer pains me to say this , but the sport of boxing is now dead ! Granted, we are led to be believe that Floyd Mayweather still provides a great deal of excitement in a boxing ring. My question however , does a Mayweather fight truly induce the fans to appreciate what remains a sport that is really devoid of talent , once you take multi-talented champion out of the picture ?

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Aging veteran, Sergio Martinez recently lost his middleweight title against Miguel Cotto in a tenth round stoppage. Cotto’s record coming into this bout was not overly impressive but his manager and promoter are now seeking a bout against Floyd Mayweather , in what would prove to be the biggest purse of Miguel Cotto’s career. For Mayweather , he would once again be on his way to banking another $25-$35 million for a meaningless bout . Yet, this is now what the sport of boxing has come to , with their no longer being any meaningful fights taking place, where an undisputed champion is created.

To understand how far this sport has fallen, once can equate that with the Fall of the Roman Empire with the Emperor Nero playing an instrument while that city burned. Suffice to say, the same scenario is now set with the state of play within boxing. Richard Schaefer , former CEO of Golden Boy Promotions Inc , the boxing promotion company founded by Oscar De La Hoya . The former championship title holder and Schaeffer are said to have had a difference of opinion on the direction that the company was being directed . Golden Boy Promotions , Don King Promotions and Top Rank Inc , remain the three largest boxing promotions’ companies in North America, with the triumvirate battling to decide which of them holds sway and the power within the sport.

Oscar De La Hoya , Don King and Bob Arum are the three executives who run the respective companies that seem to have a stranglehold on the sport of boxing, where corruption , incompetence and a great deal of mismanagement reigns supreme . While all three promoters see themselves as champions of the sport in selling it to the masses, in reality, the biggest obstacle to the sport remains the fact, there are no undisputed champions in any of the weight divisions within boxing . One has to bear in mind also , with four main international governing bodies , boxing remains splintered among the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO . Given the issue , that neither of these bodies in question seems intent on perhaps merging or sharing similar standards , the only constant has been their title fights remain twelve round contests .

With Manny Pacquiao coming off his recent defeat of Timothy Bradley , the Filipino fighter is once again a world champion. However, in light of that fact, Pacquiao and his promoter, Bob Arum, remain unable to engineer the long-awaited bout with Floyd Mayweather . Both fighters are on the downside of their illustrious careers and the possibility of a mega-fight now taking place does seem remote. Unless the payout in the prize money is right and Mayweather’s favor. Then such a fight remains a major topic of debate and conjecture , with no one profiting from their continued stupidity. If the two combatants, cannot come to meet in a civil way, whereby they split a fair share in what would be the biggest boxing match in history. It seems redundant at this point, to consider a proposed bout would still ignite any type of intensity among a fan base of the sport of boxing. Quite possibly, there might be a record number of Pay-Per-View (PPV) buys for such an event, with Mayweather and Bob Arum’s Top Rank co-promoting the event.

There are a number of fighters positioning themselves to be viewed as likely challengers for Manny Pacquiao , Miguel Cotto and Floyd Mayweather , but none of them I believe will elicit enough interest whereby fans would be willing to pay $49.95 for the privilege of witnessing such a bout. Mayweather still remains the biggest draw within the sport of boxing , but he has already hinted that upon fulfilling his six-fight deal with Showtime PPV , for which he will earn $200 million . The boxer is likely to retire, with his record remaining intact, without having suffered a loss.

Richard Schaefer’s decision to leave Golden Boy Promotions , leaves a void within the organization altogether , with his business acumen engineering the substantial growth of the company. Golden Boy Promotions beyond staging and promoting fights also manages fighters , has a publishing arm , as well as branching out into other lucrative area of the sport and into the area of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). These business decisions have made Oscar De La Hoya an extremely powerful and wealthy man, with a voice big enough to influence a number of major decisions within the sport. Yet, for all the decisions made , boxing has regressed to the point where it is now having to play catch-up to the more competitive and exhilarating genre of MMA , under the UFC banner. Schaefer is likely to start his own company or possibly join Al Haymon or Mayweather Promotions Inc, where Floyd Mayweather is the primary owner of that particular business entity.

The threat to Oscar De La Hoya now, is how to keep his company relevant while remaining among the top promotional groups within the sport. His retention of fighters may well prove difficult if they are close to the end of the contracts with the company. Also bear in mind, many of the fighters saw Schaeffer more as the real brains behind Golden Boy Promotions , with De La Hoya seen as a figurehead, because of his name recognition. Boxing is now self-imploding, because of the ongoing idiocy within the sport and the dog eat dog mendacity being shown between rival groups of promoters, the seediness of the international governing bodies and dare one say , the incompetence of the Nevada State Athletic Commission and their failure to have any proper oversight of their officials ? Las Vegas remains the Mecca for the sport of boxing, but as of late , it has been the state’s Athletic Commission, that has many of the sport’s fans up in arms concerning the integrity of that agency and its failure to conduct in-depth investigations into the character and integrity of the boxing judges and referees under its jurisdiction.

There is no denying, the explosion in the growth of MMA over the past decade has primarily come from the marketing and shrewdness shown by UFC President Dana White . His eye, for what was considered to be in some circles, a barbaric sport, has now become the fastest growing global phenomena of combative competition in the world and the popularity of MMA has exceeded boxing, with many of its top practitioners being more widely recognized than some of boxing’s biggest named fighters. White , his co-founding partners , Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta , now preside over a multi-billion dollar empire , with the mercurial President running the show. Unfortunately, in recent months, Dana White has begun to make a complete ass of himself , with either veiled criticism or threats of fighters who have made the sport so popular , bringing along legions of rabid and loyal fans. Yet, for all the pomposity shown by the executive, he also must now realize that his sport is under threat when he fails to act judiciously in reprimanding fighters who fail to adhere to the sport’s strict rules .

For the third time in his career, former middleweight title challenger Chael Sonnen has failed a random drug test , with the fighter now announcing his immediate retirement. Yet, for Sonnen’s wrongdoing , White is now seeking to blame the Nevada State Athletic Commission for their draconian measures in suspending the fighter and asking that his license within the state be made permanently inactive. If Dana White wishes to uphold the integrity he believes MMA to have , then he should be pursuing the banishment of Sonnen from the UFC altogether , rather than seeking to support the fighter. It has been a pattern of behavior with Chael Sonnen, which should not be condoned as being in the best interests of the UFC or the genre of MMA. The issue may well be that with the lack of charisma of the current middleweight champion Chris Weidman and the very fact the UFC’s greatest fighter and the division’s former champion Anderson Silva is in the twilight of his career. UFC now finds itself in a position where its biggest and most popular asset is a champion in Jon ‘Bones’ Jones , a fighter who marches to the beat of his own drum and is someone who is not ready to have White dictate the terms of when and who he should fight. As immense as Dana White’s power is now said to be , he is being looked upon as an executive, who is seeking to become bigger than the sport he has built into global phenomena.

Should one man (White) be able to wield that much power? Well, dependent upon the authority and knowledge shown, I believe that some fans might not have a problem with that ! Yet , in today’s sports environment , we have executives such as Bud Selig, David Stern, Mark Emmert and Roger Goodell continually showing a great deal of incompetency , without fully understanding the ever-changing environment around them . One only has to look at Selig’s handling of the steroid issue within baseball, Stern’s apparent behavior and his failing to reprimand Donald Sterling for his behavior prior to this latest outrage in the NBA . NCAA President Mark Emmert’s ongoing lack of credibility on a slew of issues affecting collegiate sports and last, but not least, Goodell’s insistence, at the NFL all along, has acted in the best interests of football’s retired elderly veterans. With the ongoing apathy of some fans and their staunch support for idiots such as David Stern , I have no reason to believe that things are likely to get any better ! The same can be said for the lack of leadership now being shown within Congress and by a President , who now seems to be bungling his way through his second term in office, as his tenure begins to wind down.

The UFC seeks to bring the best contests possible and those events tend to have the best talent available, in marquee match-ups that headlines each of these shows. On Saturday, another of UFC’s usual fare will be on display , when they stage UFC174 , to be held at the Rogers Arena , in Vancouver, Canada, with another championship contest being staged. Headlining the card will be the marquee bout featuring Demetrious Johnson against Ali Baugautinov , as Johnson defends his UFC Flyweight Title . . This will be Johnson’s fifth defense of his title, as he seeks to cement his own legacy within MMA and specifically UFC and the champion is a firm favorite in this contest. On the under-card we have welterweight contenders Rory McDonald facing off against Tyrone Woodley, with the winner a likely future opponent for the newly crowned welterweight champion Johny Hendricks . For the welterweight champion, Hendricks would like nothing more than to prove that he is a worthy successor to Georges St Pierre , who relinquished the title rather than be forced to defend it . A great deal of criticism was leveled directly against the former champion by Dana White , who suggested that St Pierre should be willing to defend the title against all contenders. Granted, while that may well true, it might well have escaped White’s notice Georges St Pierre was one of the most active champions in UFC history , having made eleven successful defenses of the welterweight title, within a seven-year span. Yet, White with all of his bombastic attitude , sought to somehow ridicule the Canadian and many of his accomplishments within UFC. Makes one wonder, does the UFC President believe that he is above any criticism, while also being critical of Anderson Silva ? It might now be time, for Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta to consider having a new President replace their incumbent partner.

As boxing seeks to steer its way through another crisis of its own making , I firmly believe that the sport cannot regain its lofty status of being one of the country’s most beloved pastimes . A famine has ravaged boxing of real talent beyond that of an aging Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather , who are now in the twilight of their careers. Miguel Cotto may well have added to his legacy by winning another world title , but he is no longer the once dominant of five years ago . Within the heavyweight division of the sport, the most dominant champion, just happens to be a Ukrainian still seeking name recognition in North America. Wladimir Klitschko might well be the heavyweight champion , holding the titles that count, but he still remains something of a paradox in what is expected of a truly great champion .

Coming off a lopsided unanimous decision over Alex Leapai , Wladimir Klitschko’s next opponent has yet to be decided. With no real credible challengers within the heavyweight division, you simply have to wonder why anyone would bother to take an interest in any boxing match, taking place within this specific weight category. Long gone, are the days of a truly dominant champion, where everyone took note his title bouts. It has been a decade or more since the division had an undisputed champion , with that accomplishment being achieved by Lennox Lewis of Great Britain . Lewis’ title defenses were not necessarily memorable, but there were nonetheless the only thing that validated the division, without going overboard.

While boxing remains something of staple across the country , Mixed Martial Arts has yet to make a major inroad within the state of New York. The sport is banned by the New York State Legislature and the <a href=http:// New York State Athletic Commission despite receiving countless petitions by the fans and from Dana White and his partners from the UFC , the ban remains in place . Repeated votes within b both legislative chambers of the New York State Legislature, have seen the members simply reiterate their wish, to not grant a statute for the sport to become legal within New York State. The economic impact for the state would be immense ($135 million annually) but yet, there seems to opposition to a sport that is more regulated than the sport of boxing and where the issues of injuries and specifically neurological in nature, are taken far more seriously than the incompetency that has been witnessed with the an-nihilistic nature of pugilism (boxing) .

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m Do you believe, the sport of boxing is under threat from the genre of Mixed Martial Arts? In addition, what are your thoughts to the possible reasons why Richard Schaefer would leave Golden Boy Promotions under such a cloud? Finally, have the members of the New York State Assembly made a monumental mistake, in not legalizing the sport of MMA within the state? Simply leave a comment on this and anything else you believe relevant to this topic and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it is greatly appreciated !

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(1) For the second time in three years , Floyd Mayweather has been named the world’s highest paid athlete , having earned $105 million in the last calendar year. The boxer hopes to have a scheduled fight in September 2014 , with the venue being the MGM Grand Casino & Resort Complex , in Las Vegas, Nevada. AP Photo / Richard Trent ….

(2) Miguel Cotto , right , is seen here dispatching middleweight champion Sergio Martinez in their WBC title fight staged at Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York this past Saturday . Also in picture , is referee Michael Griffin . Cotto won the fight with a tenth round knockout of the former champion . AP Photo/ Arturo Gomez ….

(3) LAS VEGAS, NV – MAY 01: CEO of Golden Boy Promotions’ Richard Schaefer (L) introduces President of Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya at the final news conference for the bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Robert Guerrero at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino on May 1, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather will defend his WBC welterweight title against Guerrero. An acrimonious split between Schaefer, a co-founder of Golden Boy Promotion Inc and De La Hoya , has now left that company facing a great deal of uncertainty . Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images ….

(4) UFC Light-heavyweight champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones (left) is seen here with UFC President Dana White . The UFC executive has been extremely critical of late, of two of the sport’s biggest stars , Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva . St-Pierre has called for more stringent testing protocols within the sport, having at times come under a cloud of suspicion as to his presumed use of a banned substance . The fighter has never tested positive at any time during his professional career within the UFC . However, it now seems ironic, White would leap to the defense of Chael Sonnen , who has now tested positive for the third time in his career , within the sport . A second positive test brings about a mandatory suspension by the UFC , and a third such violation , calls for the immediate banning of that fighter, for life . AP Photo / Rich Arnold ….

(5) Chael Sonnen, a former UFC middleweight and light-heavyweight contender announced his retirement from the sport , having tested positive for the third time during his career. Sonnen has yet to give an explanation for the reasons behind testing positive for a banned substance . This was the third transgression by the fighter , that calls for a mandatory lifetime ban from the sport. Courtesy of MMA World …..

(6) Wladimir Klitschko , left , the linear heavyweight champion is seen here defeating Alex Leapai of Samoa during their WBA , WBO and IBF world title fight . Getty Images North America/ Julio Hernandez ……

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Nigger in the woodpile ? Donald Sterling doesn’t even have a plantation but he probably wished, he had one ……..

Nigger in the woodpile ? Donald Sterling doesn’t even have a plantation but he probably wished , he had one ……..

So as the NBA postseason meanders towards what the fans believe will be an inevitability , it is interesting to note, that the biggest story now surrounding the league , just happens to be the unfolding episode concerning the statements attributed to Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling that was first reported by entertainment news’ website TMZ .

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Sterling , is said to have made the comments to his girlfriend, that he would rather have her not associate herself , with “niggers” or have them attend the games of the team he owns , while they are playing at the Staples Arena in downtown Los Angeles , California . As to why anyone, would actually be surprised by these statements by Donald Sterling , when it has been a repeated pattern of behavior by one of the NBA’s most malignant owners . Furthermore , it should be noted, that the owner, has been ran afoul of the US government , by way of the US Justice Department ,with his having been successfully sued in US Federal Court in an action brought by the US Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) , for being a ” slum landlord “ , and in having many of his tenants live in squalor conditions in a number of the numerous residential properties that he owns , many of the tenants in question were minorities , of African-American , Asian-American and Hispanic ethnicity , living within the greater Los Angeles area. The fact, that the city of Los Angeles failed to act with any type of expediency when his actions first came to light with regard the ongoing negligent actions as a landlord , and one of the city’s most prominent residential owners , leads me to believe that beyond the city’s incompetency , was due the power able to be wielded by Sterling within the city and among the city council, itself.

Tantamount to this all, has been the sheer naiveté , apathy , downright stupidity and utter gullibility of fans and the NBA hierarchy , who have continually over the years overlooked Donald Sterling’s continued behavior. It has been an ongoing pattern of behavior by the owner, wherein, David Stern has turned a blind eye to the Clippers owner’s ongoing behavior not only as it relates to the racial overtones of his comments , his egregious sexist behavior but also , what is said to be mistreatment of Clippers’ employees within the organization . Stern, long seen as a bastion of presiding over a league, said to be image conscious, but yet during the time that this owner has carried on with boorish behavior , neither the former NBA Commissioner , nor his later successor , Adam Silver , has sought do a thing, to in some way suspend or fine the owner . Yet , the NBA remains a league where in the past , David Stern has seen fit to fine Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks , hundreds of thousands of dollars , when Cuban has been justified in his criticism of the league hierarchy and that of the officiating of regular and postseason games in the NBA. Need we be reminded also , that Stern has also seen fit to actually punish players with impunity for actions , he believes to be harmful to the game or conducting unbecoming ? Yet during his tenure , he has never seen fit to punish Donald Sterling , for previous allegations of having thrown out racial epithets.

I have to ask myself, what would David Stern or Adam Silver deem serious enough for them to take action against Donald Sterling, given his repeated gregarious behavior ? If that was not enough, how much of an apathetic idiot must one be , to try and suggest consider that the country has progressed beyond the racial divide , when in many cases , there still remains an economic and social chasm within this country, along its racial lines ? Also , with the recent incident , with the death of Alfred Wright in Jasper , Texas , which was also the scene of the dragging and lynching death of James Byrd IV . Can someone explain to me, why they are those, who of the opinion, that racism and dare one say “hate crimes “ are on the decrease ? Is it merely, because the US the Justice Department, would try to suggest that, as being a fact? Need we be reminded, who now heads that particular governmental agency and the continued incompetency that has been shown by Eric Holder , as the US Attorney General ?

Now beyond the racial statements attributed to Donald Sterling , his odious views on women and how sexist those tones are , does bear asking, what other views he may well have, that we have not come seen come the surface and his views on race and other numerous social issues ? Clearly, beyond this stupidity that this is now solely Adam Silver’s issue to deal with , we also need to now look at the actions of the other owners around the NBA , and why no response there about Sterling’s comments and why no formal statement from anyone within the NBPA hierarchy or from among those on the Clippers’ coaching or playing staff . This might be the one time I firmly believe that Doc Rivers or the team’s presumed leader in Chris Paul actually make a formal statement . Consider also , that the Clippers’ point guard is the current President of the Players’ Union (NBPA) . Begs the question, is there no end, to clear incompetency and apathy within the NBA and union , itself ?

As to the postseason , the reigning NBA champions the Miami Heat (3-0) are proving to be now as decisive as they have been at any point during their regular season schedule . LeBron James leads the team in scoring during the playoffs , as he seeks to add a third NBA title to his already impressive resume’ . Erik Spoelstra may well be relishing the fact that as the Heat strolls through the first three games of their first round series against the Charlotte Bobcats (0-3) , the Indiana Pacers (2-2) as the number one seeds in the Eastern Conference now find themselves in the midst of a dogfight against the Atlanta Hawks (2-2) in their quarter-final series , now tied at two games apiece (2-2), with game five scheduled for Monday night at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana , Indianapolis. Frank Vogel’s Pacers can ill-afford to lose game five and then place themselves in an almost irretrievable position, in having to win the final two games of the best of seven series . Considering, the seismic waves a first round series’ loss would create for the Indiana Pacers, can certainly be judged by the fact, that it would create an easier path for the Miami Heat, as they seek to make their way to a third consecutive NBA Finals.

In the run-up to the end of the regular season, the Chicago Bulls were very much one of the most impressive teams over the final ten games of the season. It seemed hardly likely that with the season long loss of Derrick Rose and the franchise’s decision to trade Luol Deng , that one would have guessed that the team would indeed make the NBA Playoffs as the fourth seed within the Eastern Conference . A first round series’ match-up, against the John Wall led Washington Wizards (3-1) , was if anything, expected to be a very competitive series. Instead, it has become an ongoing nightmare for Tom Thibodeau , his coaching staff and the Bulls’ players have squandered just about every advantage and opportunity , one might have thought that they might have had , in now finding themselves on the brink of elimination , now down three games to one (3-1) against the Wizards. Coming into the series , I felt that with the momentum gained by the team over their final twenty regular season games , I thought them to be perhaps, the most dangerous of the outside contenders, who might hinder the path of both the Indiana Pacers Miami Heat , and their presumed conference finals’ match-up !

Tuesday’s game , given the contest’s value , will very much be one of zeal and guise on the part of the Bulls , because , Washington Wizards’ head coach Randy Wittman, his coaching staff and players , will be seeking to close out a series , that few might have expected them to be victorious in . Turnovers and a complete lack of leadership, has simply been the tale of the Bulls’ woes throughout this series and that does come as a surprise , when one considers the level of play shown by Joakim Noah during the regular season and his winning of the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year , this past season .

A scrappy series, between the Toronto Raptors (2-2) and Brooklyn Nets (2-2) ha pretty much summed up what this season has simply been about within the Eastern Conference wherein , the level of the play has simply bordered on being insipid and downright puerile . , though the continued idiocy to sell the league and specifically the Eastern Conference as being competitive. Nothing could be further from the truth , and the very fact that we now have Adam Silver consulting with USAB Chairman Jerry Colangelo , on his thoughts, about how best to improve the branding and play within the NBA, points to the very fact that Silver, is simply out of his depth ,. as David Stern’s successor !

Now, far be it, for me to suggest, that Silver, is likely to be as successful, as the image conscious egotistical former NBA Commissioner , who many , try to espouse as being the consummate businessman. David Stern, rode on the coattails of Michael Jordan , and during the mid to late nineties used African-American teens , the genre of ” gangster rap ” and the appeal of gun violence to sell the NBA as a brand , but dumb ass idiot fans are all too ready and willing to overlook that very fact , and once again show why there is no fucking common sense among the North American sports’ fan in general , never-mind the fact, that , this was the very same commissioner , who tried to suggest that the NBA being bailed out to the tune of $550 million in 2009 and their teams having been loaned $2.5 billion over the past decade , decade , should not be viewed as a bailout, with ticket prices having increased on average in excess of 23% during years between 2009 and 2012 , all of this in the midst of an economic downturn , which has shown no real sign of dissipating.

David Stern, simply tried to suggest, that this was the cost of doing business, while his salary increased , while the league sought to hold down their expenses , when in fact team payrolls climbed , as did television revenues and that of the league’s revenues. The commissioner’s salary upon his exit , exceeded $25 million a year , on par , if not above the highest paid player in the NBA , where the largest NBA contract belongs to the Nets’ Joe Johnson , whose six-year $123.66 million contract , is as ridiculous as it sounds , but yet not one fan, can explain succinctly, what the former commissioner has achieved, in reining in the cost of teams’ expenditure , when in fact David Stern simply cannot point to one evidential, piece of success of that nature ! A ” soft salary cap” , still has not stopped teams , of seeking to be financially expedient and for the majority of fans without a degree in finance , much less economics , theirs’ continues to be the idiocy of letting the teams spend whatever , while they chase after that ever elusive success .

Current NBA Coach of the Year , Gregg Popovich , a four-time winning NBA Finals’ coach, has seen the San Antonio Spurs (1-2) squander their home-court advantage and now quite possibly a series’ lead during their instate postseason conference match-up against the Dallas Mavericks (2-1) . The conference and NBA leading sixty –two wins’ season (62-20) , might all be for nothing, should they lose their first round playoff series’ contest against the Mavericks . Over the course of the regular season , San Antonio proved to the best team in the league , as well as having the longest unbeaten winning streak during the year . Now down 2-1 in the series against Rick Carlisle’s players led by ageless wonder , Dirk Nowitzki, this contest has been busted wide open , with the likely series’ winner, being the team showing , that they can deal with whatever adversity is thrown within their midst . In two successive losses , the Spurs have shown themselves , not to be that team , as the Mavericks have simply outplayed their Western Conference rivals. Monday night’s game , when the series resumes at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas , Texas , should tell us a great deal about the mindset of both teams , with the San Antonio Spurs, seeking to erase that 2-1 deficit and squaring the series, at two games apiece (2-2).

If the San Antonio Spurs are now seen in an unenviable position against the Dallas Mavericks , then the series between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies could prove to be as equally daunting a task for the Thunder. Truth be known , in a seven game series , I would not bet against the Grizzlies to beat any of the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference , and yes that does include the less than imposing Miami Heat , who are physically and mentally soft against teams, b that are far more imposing . Were it not for the dexterity shown by LeBron James , the Heat would be no better than the third or fourth best team in the East and no better than the fifth best team in the West. All that glitters is not necessarily gold and the Miami Heat as assembled by Pat Riley this season , have proven to be at best , perhaps , “fool’s gold” with a little bit of pixie dust sprinkled in for good measure ! Likely , League MVP for this season , Kevin Durant has shown every bit of his skill-set in this playoff series against the Zach Randolph led Grizzlies and that particular match-up between Randolph and Durant has been very enticing to watch, as both players have excelled in various areas of their respective games .

When the two teams, resume their series in a pivotal game five , set for Tuesday night , with everything to play for . There is no doubt in my mind, that the winner of that contest should be in the driver’s seat for the remainder of the series ! A great deal is expected of the Scott Brooks’ coached Thunder and failure at this point of the postseason , would be seen, as not only traumatic for the organization , but pretty much summing up their season, as one of , failing to meet expectations of the front office led by Sam Presti and CEO & Chairman Clay Bennett .

Inasmuch as I hate to say this , but with these recent revelations about Donald Sterling, long known to me , having studied in-depth, a great deal about the owner and his ownership of the franchise , his treatment of current and former employees , including the lawsuit taken out against Sterling, by former front office executive Elgin Baylor . Nothing, would now give me greater pleasure, than to see the Los Angeles Clippers now bow out of the postseason, with the team being derailed by the Golden State Warriors ! As to the NBA hierarchy, taking action against the owner , there is about as much chance of that happening as an elephant devouring its own fecal matter ! Fuck it, if a self-absorbed asshole such as David Stern can overlook the boorish behavior of the Clippers’ owner , then why should I expect Adam Silver to be any different ? I mean , the current commissioner, has yet to issue a public statement on the matter , even after weekend news’ cycle within the league , was simply overshadowed by this story , but yet fans believe that the NBA is a league ran by intelligent individuals ? Fuck no , and it never has been , nor will it ever be , even with the mindless morons who still continue to drink out of the porcelain pot , that David Stern continues to piss and defecate, in ! Please seek out tangible evidence and do not buy into every piece of bullshit, ushered down by a league that is now simply devoid of intelligence, at just about every level from the league hierarchy on down to the owners , general managers , players, union and the officials themselves !

The NBA has become an all-out defective league , where sheer incompetency , masks the lack of real acumen , and where excuses are sought by the players , owners and the league’s executives , for their ongoing incompetency and where dumb ass fans , continue to buy into their never-ending bullshit !

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Picture gallery .

In light of this ongoing story within the NBA, which has now cast a giant shadow over the NBA postseason and the lack of action by the league hierarchy . Do you believe that Adam Silver can in all good conscience ignore these allegations and turn a blind eye to it all or do you believe that some form of action is called from the NBA Commissioner ? Also, which of the playoff series now in session , do you think will provide the biggest surprise in terms of a possible upset ? Simply, leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for your continued support of this site, as it is greatly appreciated !

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Picture gallery and slideshow details below .

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(1) In this photo taken on Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling , right, and girlfriend V. Stiviano , left, watch the Clippers play the Sacramento Kings during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles. The NBA is investigating a report of an audio recording in which a man purported to be Sterling makes racist remarks while speaking to Stiviano. NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement Saturday, April 26, 2014, that the league is in the process of authenticating the validity of the recording posted on TMZ’s website. Bass called the comments “disturbing and offensive” . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ……. @copyrighted material all rights reserved

(2) From left to right from the Los Angeles Clippers , Blake Griffin , Chris Paul and head coach Doc Rivers . Paul as Executive Director of the NBPA (Players Union) has yet to issue a public statement concerning the alleged racial epithets used by team owner Donal Sterling in an expletive racial taunt to his girlfriend V Stiviano. The Clippers’ front office , has yet to issue a statement from any high-ranking executive within the organization . Given the lack of action by the league hierarchy , who it is now said that they are conducting their own investigation into the matter , One has to ask , if this has been a pattern of behavior with Donald Sterling , going back several years , why is it only now , that Adam Silver’s office has sought to take action ? Repeatedly, during David Stern’s tenure as commissioner , Sterling’s behavior was known to be boorish with various comments attributed to him, often denigrating women and minorities . Yet, somehow this was all overlooked by Silver’s predecessor . AP Photo / Jason Moore ….

(3) NBA Commissioner Adam Silver , foreground , and his predecessor David Stern are seen here after the newly installed commissioner succeeded Stern and his thee decade long tenure as the league’s highest ranking executive during that time-frame. Silver , is now said to be conducting an investigation into the actions of Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling . A pattern of behavior by the franchise owner has been repeatedly ignored by the former league executive , but yet Stern , himself , has yet to answer those allegations , but somehow , anal retentive fans view the former commissioner as having been a great executive and ambassador for the league. LOL,LOL,LOL !! Getty Images / Rod Harper …..

(4) Charlotte Bobcats’ owner , Michael Jordan is seen here congratulating LeBron James of the Miami Heat . James and his teammates would go on to .defeat (109-98) the Bobcats in game four played at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte , North Carolina , sweeping their Eastern Conference rivals 4-0 in their first round series’ match-up . Getty Images / Tim Bevan …

(5) The Washington Wizards’ back-court of Bradley Beal (3) and John Wall (2) now have the team on the brink of eliminating the Chicago Bulls (1-3) , with the Wizards taking a 3-1 lead in their series . Game five takes place tonight at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois , when the Bulls play host to their conference rivals . AP Photo / Tom Murphy …..

(6) Boris Diaw (33) of the San Antonio Spurs, who alongside teammate Manu Ginobli , played a major contributory role , in the Spurs squaring their series against the Dallas Mavericks , defeating the hosts 93-89 in their game four contest played at the American Airlines Arena , in Dallas, Texas on Monday night , 28th April, 2014. Getty Images/ Rachel Adams …….

(7) Kevin Durant (35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Zach Randolph (50) of the Memphis Grizzlies are the primary reasons why their respective teams have made the NBA Playoffs and the series’ contest between these uniquely gifted players has been one of the highlights of the postseason so far . Tied at two games (2-2) apiece, this series is now about to get even more suspenseful , when their pivotal game five takes place tonight at the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma , in front of what is sure to be packed venue for this contest . AP Photo / Mason Foster …..

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What the major newspapers are now saying about the Los Angeles Clippers and Donald Sterling . Click on the links shown below to view. And for the uninitiated lame @ss fans who still believe David Stern to have been of true benefit to the league then please explain succinctly did he seek to overlook the earlier bad acts of the Clippers’ owner ? Or will you continue to be and act as apathetic as former NBA Commissioner and his now newly elected successor Adam Silver ? If there has been a pattern of behavior with the Clippers’ owner , why the fu$k is everyone now acting so surprised by this latest revelation ? Are these NBA fans and journalists alike, that f##king stupid ?

USA Today :: Jeff Ziglittt :: How will NBA’s Adam Silver punish Donald Sterling?

Boston Globe :: Bob Ryan :: Donald Sterling profile not a pretty picture

Los Angles Times :: Bill Dwyre :: Donald Sterling scandal merits an over the top reaction

Washington Post :: Mark Berman :: Why the world finally noticed Donald Sterling’s appalling history

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tophatal ………. 04/28/204

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Don’t believe the hype ……….

Don’t believe the hype

One of the seminal groups in all of music, but more so rap music, came out with a song that still resonates socially today, as it did two decades ago. Chuck D and Flava Flav , two of the founding members of the rap group Public Enemy are just as respected today, as when they first burst onto the scene over two decades ago with their socially conscious lyrics, which some suggested as being overtly racist . Take that with a pinch of salt, from a group of individuals, who at first thought that Rock-n-Roll was the Devil’s music. The song in question, by the Grammy nominated group was ‘Don’t Believe the Hype’ , delivering strong lyrics of defiance and of being socially relevant. Well today , in the world of sports , that means not being socially relevant , much less being involved. More so today, it is all about creating an image of being family friendly, in order to lure being wielding and deep pocketed corporate sponsors , broadcast networks and their billions of dollars . Nowhere, is that particular message more resonant , than within the NFL , NBA , MLB and Collegiate Athletics .

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This season in the NFL , a great deal of the hype was made over the amazing start of both the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs . Two teams who came flying out of the starting gate, having rolled off seven straight victories apiece . By week seven in the league , the Broncos had fallen back to earth , having slipped up , when Peyton Manning as the ‘prodigal son’ , made his return to Lucas Oil Stadium , home to the Indianapolis Colts , where Manning and his teammates would succumb to his former team in a thoroughly entertaining game , as we witnessed the ongoing maturation process of Andrew Luck , the number one overall pick from the 2012 NFL Draft .

With their now being only one remaining unbeaten team in the NFL, as the 7-0 Kansas City Chiefs seek to keep their quest for a perfect regular season alive . All eyes will on Andy Reid’s rather surprising roster and their seeking to keep that record intact. From my own perspective , I felt with the departure of former general manager Scott Pioli , Matt Cassel , along with a number of players who proved to be unproductive , there was a chance that the Chiefs would be something of a surprise in 2013. Little did I realize, that they would now seen, as perhaps the best team in the NFL . Certainly, the traits were already there from last season , but what was most definitely needed , were the players to execute and coaching staff in place to get the players buying to into a proven message . Pioli’s successor , John Dorsey laid the foundations for that , with the hiring of Andy Reid and the acquisition of quarterback Alex Smith and some very shrewd off-season moves . On Sunday , the Chiefs will seek to further distance themselves from the rest of the AFC West , when they play host the Cleveland Browns at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City Missouri , in what should to be a very good AFC match-up .

If to suggest that things could not get any worse for a team now seeking not only redemption but also respectability , then what more can one say, about the now stagnant Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6) , who tonight host the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa , Florida ? This team has lost focus , heart , but overall there seems to be no leadership forthcoming from anyone on the roster or coaching staff . Greg Schiano’s demeanor at times has shown a lack of discipline , which seems to have been reflected a great deal in the Buccaneers’ lackluster displays throughout the season. And as usual, the Buccaneers’ fans continue to show more optimism than anything else . A loss tonight , and the franchise can start to think about 2014 and their likely draft status next year , beyond assessing the current roster .

I was never impressed with the hiring of hiring Greg Schiano in 2012 , in spite of his pedigree as a head coach with Rutgers . All of the bally hoo, surrounding the hire and the player acquisitions that came about , with GM Mark Dominik being viewed as a front office genius. Not much, by way of tangible success was borne out of the transactions or the overall play of the team during Schiano’s first year tenure. Take into the account, the idiocy , this preseason concerning what appears to the head coach’s reluctance to play Darrelle Revis during the four exhibition games and you can now understand why the Buccaneers’ season has simply spiraled out of control , with their not being much hope that things are likely to be turned around anytime soon .

As to the week eight schedule in the NFL, there are a number of games that will most definitely carry a great deal of intrigue and hype around them . I will personally leave that to the on air television personalities to discuss , because I am always assured of something inanely stupid being stated by the individuals in question who allegedly are providing the fans with a great deal of insight.

Leave it to the NCAA , to continue to show their utter stupidity and ongoing incompetence. After almost eighteen months of continued buffoonery by the Infractions’ Committee , an announcement was made as to the punishment to be meted out the Miami Hurricanes’ program and their willful violations of the NCAA rules , on a wide variety of transgressions . Bearing in mind , the actual mistakes by the NCAA investigators , the loss of documentary evidence and then their falsification of records . The fact that NCAA President Mark Emmert is said to feel comfortable the findings and the verdict rendered , either shows signs of his own stupidity or the very fact that the NCAA has lost all touch with reality along with its own credibility . I would like to think that the University President Donna Shalala would challenge the findings and the verdict , simply based on the wrongdoings by the NCAA investigators, if nothing else , to show that Collegiate Athletics’ governing body , simply cannot change the rules to meet their needs , after their own misdeeds . Granted, the University of Miami is at fault for its failed oversight in the monitoring of the athletic staff , compliance office and that of the student athletes past and present , embroiled in the scandal that has brought further disrepute upon the program .

As to the belief, that the NCAA has always had the student athletes’ interests at heart. I will liken that premise to the slave master /plantation owner an and his overseer , who grants the slaves on the plantation some time during a hot humid day, a ten minute water break, before they are made to return to their daily chores . As Malcolm X so astutely stated, “ we didn’t land on Plymouth Rock , Plymouth Rock landed on us “ ! The students remain indentured slaves of a corrupt and flawed system , but no one seems to want to acknowledge that fact , but they are prepared to discuss what is said to best adjudge, a fair way of determining a national champion in football at the FBS (Football Subdivision D 1 Level) . Have I actually missed something here , amidst all of this, and the countless billions of dollars reaped annually within collegiate athletics , but no transparency is shown by the NCAA , BCS or the major bowl conferences by way of their finances or business practices, while each of the entities operate under a tax-exempt status ? I guess, that must be overlooked by those who try to seek some sort of justification for the latest pretense being shown by the BCS and conference commissioners ?

As Wil Muschamp and his coaching staff seek to find ways to now resurrect the Florida Gators’ season after the team were routed by the Mizzou Tigers . I can’t help but wonder what must now being going on in the minds of the Gators’ fans statewide as well as nationally ! . Yes, there are fans of the program who actually reside outside the state of Florida . Who would have thought that, but yes, they remain as loyal as ever . For my friend, Chris , who in a recent comment on my site tried to suggest that the Gators have now slipped as low as number three in the state , in terms of football prominence . My response to that , would be , you seemed to have forgotten about the rise in prominence of the centrally (Florida) based UCF Golden Knights (5-1) , a now nationally ranked program in the BCS Poll and who appear to be on route to a major BCS Bowl berth, should their season pan out .

For Wil Muschamp and the Gators, they now have a week in which to prepare before facing the Georgia (Bulldogs) on the 2nd November , during week ten of the College Football season at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville , Florida. To say that this game will be of utmost importance as a “make or break” for the season, would be a vast understatement. Nonetheless, it has to be now or never if Florida are to make something of their year.

It may not have been the World Series many had hoped for, with undoubtedly many hoping that the Los Angeles Dodgers would now be staring down the Boston Red Sox in the 109th edition baseball’s postseason finale . The Dodgers simply failed show up in game six of their NLCS game against the St Louis Cardinals , who simply laid waste the Los Angeles franchise’s ambitions for the postseason . And for one of the team’s most prominent owners , Magic Johnson . This will be the season where he can now look back and merely speculate on not only what might have been, and whether not , it is now worthwhile pushing the team’s payroll to beyond $250 million annually , which would be an MLB record in terms of a team’s salary obligations . Not even the now once mighty New York Yankees have ever been bold enough to undertake such a premise. Can someone remind me once again , why it is that Alex Rodriguez remains the highest paid player in the game ? Damned, if I know !

Game one of this year’s World Series was something of a shock as the Boston Red Sox showed their intent , in making the Cardinals pay for their defensive errors on their way to an 8-1 opening series’ game-win . A shell-shocked Mike Matheny and his coaching staff must now be wondering , if after that bombardment they are in for more of the same during game two on Thursday night when the series resumes at Fenway Park in Boston Massachusetts. I believe that this St Louis’ team has it within them to even the series but it would have to be premised on the Cardinals’ players not repeating the mistakes witnessed in game one .

The more things are said to change, the more they remain the same . That is most certainly true of what might now be the most incompetent administration to hold office political office in this nation . Once again , leave it to Barack Obama to come up with another lame comment as to why he is so upset with the contractors who set up and maintain the website for the Affordable Healthcare Act (aka Obama-care) . Upon the website’s debut there were numerous problems that Kathleen Sebelius’ department , the Department of Health and Human Services failed to acknowledge or bring to the attention of the various technicians within that agency or the contracted company providing the maintenance and administration of the site . Now leave it to none other than the House Energy & Commerce Committee who also deal with health matters within the Congress . As they have sought to empanel their committee and request the presence of Kathleen Sebelius and the contractors to answer questions, as to why this site has either repeatedly crashed or the fact that most inquiries to the site would not lead an individual beyond the homepage . Nothing like incompetence, to show what you are not missing, when the government repeatedly screws things up. For months on end , during the initial setup there were numerous issues that cropped up concerning this site (healthcare.gov), but somehow , it is only now , that there seems to be a sense of urgency after the tens of millions of dollars that have spent . Call me naive , but where else can you find this sort of incompetency without anyone being accountable for the sheer magnitude of the ineptitude executed and then somehow deliberately covered up ?

Should I now shed a tear every time Barack Obama is upset or emotionally torn apart by an issue ? I will be damned, if I now give him the time of day , much less anything else ! Is it not enough , that he has made a complete ass of himself , concerning the issue of Syria and the apparent death of 400 children, who were subjected to the use of chemical weapons by Syrian military forces , during what has now become a violent uprising in the Middle Eastern country . Yet, there seems to be no sense of outrage by this President , over the fact that approximately 550 children have been gunned down on the streets of Chicago , Illinois over the past thirty months. A great many of the victims were innocent and mere bystanders to a senseless crime wave , driven by drugs and gang related, as to the territorial rights of the various gangs at the center of this spree . The President, though not a native Chicagoan , his former senatorial seat took in certain parts of the Windy City.

Now come full circle, and with the NBA regular season is due to commence in five days and there seems to be a heightened sense that Chicago Bulls are more concerned with the start of their season , rather than the ongoing crime spree gripping the city . The city’s mayor Rahm Emmanuel , himself a former Chief of Staff to the incumbent President, has already shown his own incompetency since becoming the city’s chief executive . Emmanuel has complained, that he does not have the necessary resources to take a tough enough stance on crime , but has sought to inflame the situation even more so, by systematically cutting resources because of his city’s now burgeoning fiscal crisis. What this has now indicated to me, is that the country has become more uncaring and there is only a pretext displayed as to their being any type want to or need to aid others in distress . I believe that this all has more to do with apathy and a complete lack of understanding by the government itself , as to what is really ailing the nation at present !

No one from within the Bulls’ front office has spoken publicly on the issue of the increased violence within the city . Yet, the franchise has seen fit to air numerous radio and television commercials reminding the fans in the run-up to the start of the preseason and regular season of the return of the team’s star point guard Derrick Rose . I can only surmise that team owner Jerry Reinsdorf and GM Gar Forman do not believe that there needs to be a shared or civic responsibility as to the communal well-being of the citizens of the city , just as long as they are under the roof of the United Center in Chicago , showing their support for the team.

After an almost eighteen month layoff , a great deal is expected not only of Derrick Rose, but also the team as a whole , where the presence of Joakim Noah is likely to be felt throughout much of this upcoming season . Noah’s growing , maturity , presence and the very fact that his all-round game seems to have improved immensely over the past two seasons , would suggest that he is ready to be seen as one of better center/ power forwards within the NBA at present , especially from a defensive standpoint .

With Chicago starting off their regular season schedule as guests of the reigning NBA champions , the Miami Heat . The added expectations are that both teams will prove to be a serious challenge to each other within the Eastern Conference as well as during the playoffs this upcoming season . A likely match-up between the two, sets up some scintillating possibilities and expectations for both sets of fans , as well the NBA fans in general .

For the Miami Heat , it is not only about making a successful second defense of their NBA crown , but whether not this team can be seen as a legitimate dynasty , with its core element of LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade leading the charge towards for NBA immortality . Seen, as clear-cut favorites, to make that defense more than a reality . The question now becomes, which team within the Eastern Conference will pose a serious enough threat to derail those hopes during the postseason ? It is my belief, that the Miami Heat will gently stroll through the regular season , not necessarily posting the best record within the conference , but they will have certainly will have done enough , to make their qualification for the NBA playoffs a foregone conclusion and from there , they can simply shift into overdrive and lay waste to the opposition within the East and then await their Western Conference counterpart without a great deal of trepidation.

With finances, for any professional sports’ franchise always at the forefront of profitability, it has become increasingly annoying to hear senior basketball executives simply walk around with their head buried in the sand , acting as if the glaring precipice they are close to , does not pose an imminent threat or danger. Not unlike the mind numbing stupidity, shown by the Congress and how they have continually dealt with the fiscal budgetary crisis and the debt ceiling . After a while , there is only so far down the road where you can kick the can , before coming to the conclusion that something drastic has to be done . It is the same within the NBA and the very fact that teams who are being punished, by way of the league’s luxury tax, for exceeding the soft “salary cap” ($58.044 million) , are now looking at ways to implement a much more equitable solution. Far be it for Congress, to actually think of trying such an idea of reining in their spending or even for the members to actually seek cuts their own benefits . Like, that is ever likely to happen ? Voices of dissent, are no now coming from owners such as Micky Arison , James Dolan , Mikhail Prokhorov , Jim Buss , Robert Pera and Ted Leonsis . Yet, with David Stern not wanting to leave a maelstrom for his successor , Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver to deal with , it would appear that the NBA Commissioner will seek to calm those voices of dissent, by simply stating , that there is nothing for these owners to worry about. Where have we all heard that before , and then a calamitous event occurs ?

Though voted up upon by the NBA Board of Governors and approved, the league hierarchy’s wish to increase the rate upon which the luxury tax is based , which will rise from $1-00 for every dollar over the mandated soft cap of approximately $58 million to $1-50 for every dollar over the aforementioned figure . One can well understand the outrage of any team owner, who has a payroll in excess seventy-five or one hundred million dollars and the financial forfeiture that will have to be made to satisfy the league (NBA). Yet these are the very same owners who have allowed their general managers to spend so capriciously on players’ salaries and team payrolls. Not unlike the federal government and its idea of sound financial and fiscal restraint .

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Picture gallery .

What do you now believe to be the biggest myth or hindrance to the sporting landscape today , be it from a financial standpoint or otherwise ? Also what positives do you now believe there to be within sports ? Leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support !

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Picture gallery and slideshow details below .

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(1) Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos meet after the game at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 20, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts won 39-33 . Getty Images North America / Andy Lyons …..

(2) Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts throws the ball during the game against the Denver Broncos at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 20, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Getty Images / Andy Lyons …

(3) Quarterback Alex Smith (11) of the Kansas City Chiefs carries the ball into the end-zone for a touchdown during the 1st half of the game against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium on October 20, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images / Jamie Squires ….

(4) Wide receiver Eric Page (17) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fumbles a punt return against the Carolina Panthers October 24, 2013 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Carolina recovered and won 31 – 13 . Getty Images / Al Messerschmidt ……

(5) Quarterback Tyler Murphy (3) of the Florida Gators is hit by defensive lineman Kony Ealy (47) of the Missouri Tigers during the game at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on October 19, 2013 in Columbia, Missouri. Getty Images / Jamie Squires …..

(6) St Louis Cardinals’ pitcher Michael Wacha delivers a pitch during the first inning of game two of the World Series played at Fenway Park , in Boston Massachusetts ,. . St Louis would defeat the Boston Red Sox 4-2 to even the series at one game apiece (1-1) in the best of seven-game series . The series resumes on Saturday evening with game three scheduled at Busch Ball Park in St Louis , Missouri . AP Photo / Matt Slocum …..

(7) Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox breaks his bat hitting a single during game two of the World Series played on Thursday , 24th October , 2013 at Fenway Park against the St Louis Cardinals . Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina is well placed to see the incident . AP Photo ? Charlie Riedel ……

(8) Health & Human Services Secretary Katherine Sebelius is seen here with President Barack Obama at the White House in the Rose Garden , as the Commander-in-Chief addresses the convened press on his healthcare initiative . Sebelius’ department and the secretary , herself, have come in for mounted criticism for the handling of the technical issues concerning the website that provides all of the pertinent information concerning the Affordable Healthcare Act . The issue has been an ongoing problem for several weeks, with patrons of the site not being able access pages beyond the initial homepage . The website is actually administered by an outside government contractor . . A Congressional committee has been empaneled and convened, with both Sebelius and high-ranking personnel within the Health & Human Services’ Department summoned to attend an inquiry to answer questions concerning the still ongoing issues . Also in attendance, will be several executives from CGI Federal Inc . Reuters/ Craig Thompson …..

(9) Derrick Rose , left and Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls are looking place a serious dent in the Miami Heat’s attempt of making a successful defense of the NBA title . The Heat won the title previously in 2006 and then again 2012 and 2013 . The Florida based franchise are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive titles since the Los Angeles Lakers were able to achieve the feat in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Chicago Sun Times/ AP Photo / Mark Richardson ….

(10) From left to right , Mario Chalmers (15) , Lebron James , Chris Bosh , Greg Oden (52) and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat. Oden is the newest member of the franchise and will be seeking to add his presence to what is an experienced roster. Injuries have restricted Oden’s career in the NBA but during the off-season he was signed by the Miami based organization and has began to contribute to the team’s preseason production . Head coach Erik Spoelstra no doubt hopes that the player will be able to replicate that form during the regular season . Miami Herald / AP Photo / Paul Sharpe …..

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tophatal ……………………… 10/24/2013

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Public Enemy ” Don’t believe the hype “

So The Fallout Begins ………

So The Fallout Begins …….

By tophatal …..

Well with the NFL season having reached a satisfactory climax for some , with the New York Giants prevailing over the New England Patriots ….. 21-17. With that victory Eli Manning joins a select group of quarterbacks to have won two Superbowls and along the way garnering the game MVP award . With the Giants quarterback’s accomplishments there begins the question as to whether or not Manning is now a legitimate candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame .

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Slide show for your perusal .

I do now believe that the argument can be made that Eli Manning is on his way to making a credible claim that his career is now on a path where quite possibly his body work can justify his future enshrinement in Canton , Ohio ! Certainly his postseason play when adjudged against that of his counterparts faced can in part be a starting point for that argument and most notably Manning’s play was even more emphatic during the regular season for the Giants especially in the fourth quarter . But let’s not fool ourselves because in large part the defense of the Giants’ also played its part in their success of the franchise’s season . If praise is being given to Eli Manning then certainly there has to plaudits for Michael Boley , Mathias Kiawanuka , Osi Umenyoria , Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul .

Now as we know the idiocy of the NFL lockout , in part brought about by the NFL hierarchy led by Commissioner Roger Goodell the owners who tried to hold the NFLPA (union) at bay . The collective bargaining agreement as agreed to by both sides has become something of a joke ! The union hierarchy led by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith have reneged on their agreement concerning HGH testing and furthermore , it would appear that even with the possible intervention by the US Congress and specifically the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee . Personally , having seen these negotiations drag itself out with all of the posturing by the team owners , league hierarchy and the union itself . I’ve read with a great deal of incredulity views of a number of patrons that this collective bargaining agreement was the best possible resolution for all of the parties concerned . Unless these individuals have been living under a damn rock I can only surmise that they have no idea as to what they are talking about ! This agreement will ultimately prove to be to the detriment of the NFL , the owners and league hierarchy and union are simply to short-sighted to see that for themselves at present !

Out of this tumult the off-season now brings along a great deal of maneuvering amongst the agents who will be looking to for the best deal of for their clients . Approximately, 600 NFL players are about to hit the market as restricted and unrestricted free agents . It will be interesting to see how Drew Brees , Matt Forte , Vincent Jackson , Marshawn Lynch , Ray Rice , Brian Dawkins , Dashon Goldson , Michael Robinson and Wes Welker will be dealt with in terms of the contractual arrangements that will be made on their behalf .

Courtesy of USA Today

Unprecedented 600 players potentially free agents

The NFL could be headed for an offseason like it’s never seen.

By Robert Klemko, USA Today

Unlike in 2011, when player movement was hurried by the lockout, this free agency period will run its traditional course and feature a massive influx of free agents.

The contracts of more than 600 players are set to expire before free agency starts March 13, with most of them being unrestricted free agents.

MORE: Prominent free agents by position
MORE: Peyton Manning tops offseason questions
MORE: Player safety: Progress but still work to do

Last offseason, 289 veterans joined new teams through free agency or trades, compared with 215 in 1993, when all-pro Reggie White broke the seal on modern free agency and signed with the Green Bay Packers.
USA TODAY Sports on Twitter!

The new collective bargaining agreement agreed to in July provided for little rise in the salary cap between 2011 and 2012. That, combined with the uncertainty of an uncapped 2010, created many short-term or back-loaded contracts, says former NFL general manager Charley Casserly, who calls the scenario “carnage for the players.”

“This is unprecedented in the NFL,” Casserly says. “You’ve got more free agents than ever in the history of the NFL and a cap that is projected to be the same. So you have less money per free agent than ever before.”

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For the general managers around the NFL this will be the time for them to actually earn their pay , rather than the asinine behavior that we have at times seen from the likes of Ryan Grigson , Nick Caserio , Ozzie Newsome and A J Smith to truly show what they’re made of . It is at times like this that we will see the intent of a franchise and what portends as to their future . Nowhere might this be more appropriate than that of the Indianapolis Colts and the decisions that have to be made by the front office of the organization as it relates to their four time league MVP ……. Peyton Manning . The player is due a roster bonus of $28 million that is due on the 8th March, 2012 , and predicated upon Manning being declared healthy . The player has been given the go ahead to resume light training by his own medical team but as of yet nothing has been forthcoming from Colts’ own medical advisers . Jim Irsay as the team owner , clearly has to make a decision that is the best interest of his franchise . As to what that might be we now have to wait to see what the outcome will be .

With the 2012 NFL Draft due in April , where the top two quarterbacks atop everyone’s draft board is likely to be Andrew Luck of Stanford and Robert Griffin III of Baylor . And while everything points to the fact that the Indianapolis Colts are likely to draft a quarterback as their first pick , I can’t help but wonder if the drama now being played out for the public’s consumption isn’t simply just for show and a sense of foreboding that could very well await the Colts’ fans. All of the right things are allegedly being said but given the asinine antics of Irsay as of late . The firing of Jim Caldwell was one thing along with that of Bill and Chris Polian but at the same time the idiocy of the franchise placing all of their eggs in one basket even in light of Manning’s injury and subsequent surgeries without heeding any advice simply shows the ignorance and the absurdity shown by the actions of the executives within the Colts’ front office. Caldwell’s successor Chuck Pagano this upcoming season will have his work cut out for him while at the same time winning over the fans who saw his predecessor as the last link to era of Tony Dungy and the success achieved during his tenure .

I’ll say this for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ and the franchise headed by the Glazer family when thy choose to make waves , they either do so in order to make a great deal of noise or simply make complete asses of themselves ! Nothing has said that more loudly than the firing of Raheem Morris but somehow Morris’ partner in crime GM Mark Dominik remains in his position as the general manager . Dominik and Raheem Morris assembled the team that this past season was so woefully inept in so many facets of the game .

With the Buccaneers’ hiring of Greg Schiano the former head coach at Rutgers to succeed Raheem Morris , the feeling was that with this hire it brought a certain degree of legitimacy to the organization . Well that doesn’t appear to be the case for the newly installed coach who had a number problems in trying to assemble an assistant coaching staff. So far there have been refusals from Dan Mullen to join Schiano’s coaching staff . But there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel with it being rumored Greg Schiano has set his sights on hiring former North Carolina head coach Butch Davis as a defensive assistant ___ whom Schiano once served under as assistant.

I hate to say it , but it should come as no surprise that Greg Schiano has encountered difficulties in assembling a coaching staff ! It’s not as any prospective hire will have a great deal to work with in terms of the roster now in place with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . From top to bottom in terms of the players on this squad there seems to difficulties all round , in terms of a lack of discipline and the players themselves being willing to play with a great deal of passion . Never mind the fact that there are several who will ultimately prove to be superfluous to the needs of the coach . What might be even more befuddling in all of the stupidity shown by Mark Dominik was the belief as the general manger that he and Raheem Morris could simply exist within team based upon the fact that youth would be the prevailing factor in determining their success. The Buccaneers were in fact some $35 million under the league’s mandated salary cap of $120 million . Are the Buccaneers back to the ways of old ? More so are they seemingly intent on making the wiles of former team owner Hugh Culverhouse seem almost celebratory by comparison ?

From my own standpoint no matter what Greg Schiano now sets about doing in terms of bringing this Buccaneers’ franchise back to some form of respectability he will be caught between a rock and a hard place ! There is no doubt in my mind that with a resurgent Carolina Panthers’ …. team led by Cam Newton , along with the always competitive Atlanta Falcons and the offense minded New Orleans Saints the NFC South still remains a division that the Buccaneers will be hard pressed to be competitive in ! Certainly that was borne out this past season with regard to the team’s record at the end of the season .

The needs of the Buccaneers are many in terms of fillings the holes on this team . A corner-back is most certainly needed to replace the aging Ronde Barber but clearly the team’s offense in terms of a running game , something is needed to complement LeGarrette Blount as well as a productive wide receiver and a litany of productive players for the secondary . Whether or not Mark Dominik loosens up the purse strings and seeks to bolster this roster by way of free agency rather than the building through the draft remains to be seen . But it has become abundantly clear that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a long way to go before they can even consider themselves even a worthy to be even considered a credible contender within NFC much less the rest of the league as a whole !

Would it be remiss to suggest that the Glazer’s passion remains entrenched in observing the fate of their other sporting investment , Premiership soccer team Manchester United ? The soccer club is now firmly in battle for the divisional title as they seek to take down their crosstown rivals Manchester City . United’s manager Alex Ferguson knows that another Premiership (EPL) title simply adds to the club’s history but also at the same time given the ramifications of UEFA’s mandate that will set the tone for all the governing body’s European club soccer competitions ____ both the manager and United’s ownership structures knows that their financial house has to be put firmly in order.

Since Malcolm Glazer took control of the soccer club with a leveraged buyout ($1.255 billion) that used the club as collateral with some additional financing , this has led to a mountain of debt ($1.375 billion) that has proved to burdensome for the organization to reduce . And with the team’s financiers now unwilling to in large part renegotiate or refinance much of that original deal it has been left to the Glazers to seek other alternatives in gaining some additional funding by way of a stock issue or in some cases letting of players by way of the customary transfer. This was noticeably assisted the team when they rid themselves of their star at the time Cristiano Ronaldo , much to the outcry of the United fans . For what was then a world transfer record , the Portuguese international left Manchester United for Spanish La Liga giants Real Madrid for an astonishing and unheard of sum of $155 million (Euros 94 million approx) .

Now one can either admonish the the general managers and the team owners much of the mess we are about to witness during this off-season . Roger Goodell in his recent interview with CBS news’ Scott Pelley with his appearance on “60 Minutes” , stating that the NFL was healthier than ever , having renegotiated an additional $3 billion in revenues over the next three years via a contract extension with Fox Sports leads me to believe that it is simply business as usual with the NFL , with there really being very little change in terms of the league’s economic template ! Goodell and Smith may well have negotiated a deal that is said will lead to a decade of peace but I can guarantee you this , no strings attached or not , this new agreement will come back to bite the league in the proverbial ass !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What hopes if anything do you have and wish to see during this off-season as it relates to the free agency market within the NFL ? Also do you believe that Greg Schiano is likely to have an immediate impact with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or do you believe that it is liable to take the coach a number of years to turn the franchise’s fortunes around ?

Picture and slide show details below

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(1) NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 08: New York Giants Defensive End Justin Tuck visits Fox’s “Power and Money” at FOX Studios on February 8, 2012 in New York City. Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images …

(2) New York Giants’ Ahmad Bradshaw signs a footall during a rally for the NFL Super Bowl champions at MetLife Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Giants defeated the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl on Sunday. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ….

(3) New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, left, and linebacker Zak DeOssie wave to the fans during a victory celebration rally at MetLife Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Giants defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ….

(4) David Diehl (66) of the New York Giants signs autographs at a rally to celebrate the New York Giants’ Super Bowl victory at MetLife Stadium on February 7, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the New England Patriots 21-17 in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images …..

(5) Coach Greg Schiano of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers speaks to the media at an introduction press conference at the team training facility January 27, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ….

(6) Tampa Bay Buccaneers new head coach Greg Schiano, left, shakes hands with Buccaneers co-chairman Joel Glazer after being introduced to reporters during an NFL football news conference on Friday Jan. 27, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …. ….

(7) Curtis Compton (50) and Dominique Franks (24) of the Atlanta Falcons tackle LeGarrette Blount (27) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during play at the Georgia Dome on January 1, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Falcons won 45-24 . Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images ….

(8) Lawrence Sidbury (90) of the Atlanta Falcons sacks quarterback Josh Freeman (5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during play at the Georgia Dome on January 1, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Falcons won 45-24 . (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images ….

(9) Javier Hernandez (14) (background) of Man Utd celebrates his goal in the 3-3 tie against Chelsea in their Premiership league game played at Stamford Bridge , SW London on 5th February , 2012 . Courtesy of SkySports / Chris Parnell ….

(10) Wayne Rooney (10) (left ) of Manchester United contest a loose ball during the game against Chelsea’s AN Mikel . Sky Sports/ Chris Parnell …..

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There’s Only So Many Ways You Can Throw Sh_t Up Against A Wall

There’s Only So Many Ways You Can Throw Shit Up Against A Wall …….

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I’m not one to always jump unto the political bandwagon but what’s now happening in the country of Egypt ought to act as a reminder why it is that the US continues to be the pimple on the ass of an elephant as it relates to its foreign policy . Ever since the death of the country’s former President Anwar Sadat to a assassin’s bullet the country has tied itself to the corrupt government of Sadat’s successor Hosni Mubarak . What might be even more galling is the very fact that after the events of 9/11 when 22 terrorists saw fit to attack the country in a pre-emptive strike which took the lives of over 3,000 innocent victims the US still rallied and showed support for Egypt even though 14 of the twenty two terrorists who were part of this heinous atrocity were from that country. The remaining 8 terrorists were from the country of Saudi Arabia another we’re told a so called ally of the United States and its war on terror. At no time did the US seek to cut off diplomatic ties with either country but instead simply continued its ties with both.

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Hosni Mubarak in his tenure has rarely been opposed in terms of when he sought re-election during his reign as President as any opposition from within was viewed as a form of blatantly disavowing the country’s path under Mubarak and his policies. Now you can see the reason why the form of democracy now being espoused in the country has been a charade and the fact that the United States had thrown its support behind Mubarak over the years begs the question what the hell has the country been thinking during that time ? Now there are those who’ll say we need Egypt because as an ally , and logistically because of where the country lies and the very fact that the Suez Canal is the primary route for 70% of the world’s oil that leaves the Arab peninsular for the Western market. There in a nutshell sums up the primary reason for the United States’ interest in the region and reason for the Egypt to remain a with some form of leadership . Even if it is one that has a rather dubious form of democracy and ties to a number of organizations that many in the West view to radical.

Stability can be deceiving when one considers how corrupt the Mubarak regime has been and the very fact that the rule of law isn’t at all adhered to . The Egyptian judiciary is corrupt and the defense attorneys aren’t always to defend their clients effectively because there’s a propensity for the judges to align themselves with the prosecution and bribes shall we say that tend play its part in any decision that’s brought down as a verdict by a judge ? And this is what the US government would have us believe is a suitable form of democracy to throw its weight behind and support ? Laughable and ludicrous isn’t it ? But then again if memory serves me correct President George W Bush did once make the statement that the Sudan’s __ President Omar Al-Bashir was a leader who could be trusted . And in the Sudan some 2 1/2-3 million victims over the last decade have lost their lives to the genocide inflicted by Bashir’s security forces and that of the Janjaweed while the rest of the world seemingly looked on .

Mubarak has been President of the country for almost three decades and during his reign there has been no end of political corruption and no end of his autocratic rule. His government has been essentially one filled with a close inner circle of friends and family. Political reform if any has been minuscule but at the same time the West and in particular the United States views the country as a trusted ally in the Middle East merely because it is one of only two Arab countries in the region that actually recognizes Israel’s right to exist and who openly has diplomatic relations with that country. The other country who joins Egypt in its recognition of the state is that of Jordan which is ruled by King Abdullah .

Now for the past three decades Egypt , other than Israel have been the largest recipient of US donor aid of which the State Dept confirms that the figure has been in excess of $68 billion ($68,000,000,000,000). And while no one can actually show how this money has actually been spent we can be sure that much of it has found its way into the pockets of the Mubarak cabinet and that of his closest allies while the country itself is in an economic mess. Israel itself is not without with the largess of the United States also being the recipient of donor aid to the tune of approximately on average $3.5 billion (3,500,000,000) a year. What I’d like to know is what the US gets in return in terms of reciprocity while taxpayers’ monies are being sent to the countries in question ? Has there really been any form political or economic reform in Egypt much less Israel given the fact that the Palestinian situation each year becomes a mess that the parties involved seek an amicable accord to ?

Egypt’s capital city of Cairo has become the lightning rod and epicenter for the protests now taking part in and across the country. While this has all fomented the unrest not seen in the Arab world of this seismic in nature since Iran erupted which led to the overthrow of the Shah of Iran (Reza Pehlavi ) . In his stead the country came under the reign of the Islamic clerics led by the Ayatollah Khomeini . And as we know the country is now seen as a ‘pariah’ in the West and the conduit of terrorism as a backer of the group Hezbollah .

In the aftermath of 9/11 President Bush and his cabinet did little to seek answers from either Egypt or Saudi Arabia but yet we’re led to believe that both countries were of great assistance to the country in seeking out members of Al Qaeda , the terrorist organization actually responsible for the atrocity . Bush’s successor Barack Obama has been making statements that add little to the perspective other than to say that he supports the rights of the Egyptian people to their freedom of expression while at the same stating that he believes that Mubarak will use this as a chance to make the changes needed, bring about reform and stability back the country. If after three decades that has never been done what makes the President now believe that with the death of almost 100 Egyptian civilians and in excess of 2,000 injured that things are now about to change ? Certainly with Secretary of State —- Hillary Clinton essentially adding nothing to this at all from her own perspective other than to reiterate the President’s statements it leads me to believe that there’ll be little change if any made by Mubarak’s government.

US foreign policy over the years has bordered on being inept and downright disgraceful ! The country suborns dictatorial regimes but then chooses then uses oxymoronic tones questioning countries such as Myanmar (formerly Burma) , Iran , and Somalia , Sudan and Yemen . It wouldn’t be that bad were it not for the fact that these countries if anything in terms of transparency with regard to their respective political process isn’t that much worse than that of Egypt . And what might be even more thought provoking is that while the US hid behind their nonsensical stance that they didn’t suborn the interdiction and torture of US citizens or that of other nationals who were arrested under the suspicion of being terrorists , it was to countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia where many of these individuals where taken and tortured . Then Secretary of State Condolleeza Rice under President Bush categorically denied that very fact but we now know this not to be true.

Egypt might well have been a useful ally to have but herein lies the question with this so called right of exceptionalism , where’s the right of common decency and the rule of law in all of this ? Thankfully, Egypt as a country albeit one that has been relatively stable until the unrest now being shown but without there being true reform and the very fact that while the present US administration hopefully looks for some reform and stability merely thinking that throwing money at a problem makes it better has simply shown that the foreign policy has been myopic and without any real thought !

This type of idiotic foreign policy that the US has been entrenched in has been existence merely driven to drive its own economic interests rather than being an equal partner with many of its allies in the Middle East. It’s not something that either side of the political debate would like to admit as being fact but it’s becoming more and more apparent that it has been the zeal which has driven the debate and policy of successive Presidential administrations down the years.

Hosni Mubarak isn’t yet ready to give up his rule as President of Egypt and the changes made in seeking the resignation of his entire government while replacing them with many of his cronies and one or two members from opposition party members merely smacks of desperation on his part , while he looks to still have the support of the West and in particular that of the US and the UN . If those two esteemed bodies show their support for Mubarak then essentially nothing will in fact change.

Courtesy of Wall St Journal

ElBaradei Says Unrest Will End if Mubarak Leaves

By Matt Bradley

Cairo – President Hosni Mubarak’s announcement that he will step down after elections later this year is “an act of deception” and will not satisfy the demands of those protesting against his 29-year rule, according to opposition leader and Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei.

“Nobody is satisfied with that, nobody is ready to be naive, not see a ploy,” Mr. ElBaradei told a small group of journalists in an interview. “It’s an act of deception to me,” he added.

He said Mubarak needs to leave Egypt in order to bring an end to the mass demonstrations calling for him to step down.

“Once he’s out of the country” the demonstrators will go home, Mr. ElBaradei said.

Mr. Mubarak said Tuesday that he wouldn’t run in the next election and called for constitutional reforms, opening the door for opposition groups and his regime to square off for control of the country’s future. Mr. ElBaradei has emerged as a leader of a loose coalition of opposition forces that includes the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood .

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True political reform comes about from an ideology of change that starts from the top and one that works its way down to the benefit of one’s citizens. Egypt’s former Nobel Peace Prize award winner Mohammed ElBaradei and former head of the United Nation’s IAEA having returned to Egypt , has in part become of one of the most recognized voices that opposes the current government. As to whether or not he can viewed as one who can assume the mantel of leadership remains to be seen but it’s clear that he wants and seeks change for his country and that of its populace.

And it goes without saying that the changes sought by the Egyptian people and that of its citizens abroad will be a long time coming if the incumbent President remains in power. At the same time outside influences such as that of radical clerics who may well view this as a possible way of gaining further influence in breeding its explosive rhetoric of radical Islam could now jump into the fray and force the country into becoming in Islamic theocratic state that is administered by imams who’ll use Iran as their role model. Something that I believe that no one in the West would want at this juncture ! But in light of the relationship between the West and the Middle East at present this might not be out of the realms of possibility.

God knows with the situation that’s now in place in both Afghanistan and Iraq where the United States still involved in two wars and where both the governments of President Hamid Karzai (Afghanistan) and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki are riddled with corruption and whose idea democracy aren’t now that much different than those of their Islamic neighbors who view an Islamic theocracy as a democratic form of government. It is where the rights of the populace aren’t as important as that of seeing the downfall of the infidels in the West which essentially is now what foments the vitriol that drives the ideology of radical Islam and where in the West we are now seeing the rise of xenophobia and outright racist rhetoric coming from all sides of the political agenda. One now wonders how this all we be portrayed from the bastion of right wing conservatism Fox News and that of the rather less than knowledgeable analysts and pundits of ABC , CBS , CNN , MSNBC and NBC ? . Let’s just say all the perception of knowledge that they can give you with some incisive insight as to the state of affairs is in reality that they simply don’t really understand many of the issues with any great depth.

I’ve always maintained that a person’s right to seek one’s own freedom starts with taking a stance and that of a rallying cry. It’s now happening in Egypt but that was never the case with the countries of Afghanistan or Iraq as US the saw fit to entrench itself in a conflict, which was one of futility and not of necessity and one where the planning and its execution has bordered on sheer ineptitude. It kind of now makes one wonder how the US can now extricate itself from both situations and now on appearance, its support of another dictator that the country has supported while trying to suggest that they’re a trusted ally ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the political unrest now happening in Egypt and how things have changed not only in that country but also in Tunisia , Jordan and Yemen where we’ve seen the citizens demonstrating in the streets calling for changes and political reform ? Do you believe that Mubarak will step down as President and relinquish his role as Head of State or will he try to remain in office ? Chime in with your thoughts on this matter .

Picture and slide show details.

(1) Egypt’s capitol Cairo amidst of the vocal demonstrators who oppose President Hosni Mubarak’s stay in power . The beleaugered President having sought the firing of the Egyptian Cabinet still holds unto the reins of office having sworn in some members of the opposition and in large part many of his closes allies to be part of a new ministerial administration. However that has not been enough to vanquish the President’s staunchest opponents and the populace at large. Mubarak has since made the public statement that he’ll step down in September at the time of a new election for President and that of a new government altogether. Western analysts seek a smooth transition over the period rather than the country falling into utter chaos. Courtesy of AFP/ Reuters …………..

(2) U.S. President Barack Obama (R) speaks as (L-4th L) Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak listen during an East Room statement at the White House September 1, 2010 in Washington, DC. The White House has kicked off a new round of direct peace talks for the Middle East, the first one in more than 18 months. Getty Images North America / Alex Wong …………

(3) U.S. President Barak Obama (R) talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the Oval Office at the White House August 18, 2009 in Washington, DC. The two leaders discussed a range of issues including Middle East peace. Getty Images North America / Mark Wilson ……….

(4) Beleaguered President Hosni Murabak addresses the nation on state television informing them of the changes to be made in the country’s government. However he’s stated that he won’t step down until there’s a smooth transition and elections take place in September. His opponents had sought the President’s resignation and his departure from office and the country. Reuters/ Mohammed Al-Shahi ……

(5) Egyptian protesters hold pictures showing slain Egyptian businessman Khaled Said as they shout anti-police slogans during a demonstration in Alexandria, Egypt Wednesday. Anger is spreading in Egypt over the latest example of police brutality and torture within the close US ally. Courtesy AP/ Christian Science Monitor ….. @ copyrighted material all rights reserved

(6) U.S. President Barack Obama (right) and Secretary of State of State Hillary Clinton participate in a cabinet meeting at the White House February 1, 2011 in Washington, DC. Later in the day President Obama will meet with members of the Technology CEO Council to discuss competitiveness, innovation, and the need to create jobs. But what might be now a more pressing situation facing the administration is the growing unrest in Egypt and the presence of US citizens there now hoping to leave the country under US mandated evacuation. Getty Images/ Mark Wilson …….

(7) Anti-Government Protesters Clash With Pro-Mubarak Demonstrators A supporter of embattled Egyptian president Hosni Mubarek is thrown from a horse during a clash between pro-Mubarek and anti-government protesters in Tahrir Square on February 2, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. Yesterday President Mubarak announced that he would not run for another term in office, but would stay in power until elections later this year. Thousands of supporters of Egypt’s long-time president and opponents of the regime clashed then today in Tahrir Square, throwing rocks and fighting with improvised weapons. Getty Images / Chris Hondros ……….

(8) A wounded Egyptian man is brought away from front lines during a clash between pro- and anti-Mubarek protesters February 2, 2011 in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt. Yesterday President Mubarak announced that he would not run for another term in office, but would stay in power until elections later this year. Thousands of supporters of Egypt’s long-time president and opponents of the regime clashed then today in Tahrir Square, throwing rocks and fighting with improvised weapons. Getty Images / Chris Hondros ……….

(9) Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei is surrounded by reporters as he arrives at Cairo airport on January 27, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. Mr ElBaradei has vowed to join anti government protesters in Cairo tomorrow. Getty Images Europe / Peter Macdiarmid ……….

Facts about Egypt ………..

Alan aka tophhatal …………..

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Marvin Gaye …………. “What’s Going On/What’s Happening Brother”
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