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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(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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How about ” getting busy “ in all of Busy Philipps’ business ?

 

Buyer beware, caveat being, we need our racists, idiots running and blemishing the reputation of sports

Buyer beware, caveat being, we need our racists, idiots running and blemishing the reputation of sports

Just when you might have thought that the ongoing within the NBA had died down , Los Angeles Clippers’ beleaguered and disgraced owner , Donald Sterling has opposed the deal that would allow his estranged wife to sell the team. Sterling , once a practicing lawyer in the area of corporate litigation, before making a name of himself, as one of the city of Los Angeles’ biggest residential and commercial landlords, is ready for a legal battle , while he pursues the NBA , its hierarchy and in particular , present NBA Commissioner Adam Silver . The owner’s lawsuit , which will be filed in the US Federal Court, could lead to a long protracted legal battle, that is likely to show the inner workings of the league hierarchy , with a number of the league’s more inappropriate actions , likely to lead to a great deal of embarrassment for Adam Silver and his predecessor David Stern.

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The NBA Postseason now down to the final two participants, with the defending champions the Miami Heat seeking to defeat the San Antonio Spurs and win their third consecutive NBA title and the franchise’s fourth overall. This chapter for the NBA has overshadowed the postseason as it began to unwind. It certainly did not help, with the league itself, showing very little solidarity from the outset. Mark Cuban inferred, while there are stereotype approaches within sports and the NBA in particular, there remains a lack of understanding of the outside world beyond the domain that they cannot control.

Steve Ballmer’s $2 billion bid is now likely to be placed on hold , because Sterling can and will seek to have an injunction seeking to negate the sale and any action that the league would seek to fully carry out Ballmer’s purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers. I firmly believe at the end of this all, Donald Sterling is simply seeking to further embarrass the NBA , while the players , NBPA (Players’ Union) and owners should be also looking at themselves , concerning their lack of action , when it was widely known of the inclinations of the Clippers’ owner and his stance on race. Public interviews and his now being embraced by idiots within the African-American community, such as the NAACP and a number of African-American churches, cannot hide the statements made by this now disgraced owner.

As the news first came to the attention of the media and public alike, it was rather idiotic to witness, not only the press’ own reporting of the story, but also the complete apathy of the fans, with some rather asinine comments being made by fans. Perhaps I may well have missed something , but at what point has the United States advanced in terms of race relations ? Is it, because the electorate voted for a President, who just happens to be biracial? Or as a feel-good moment, they can actually say “ well, I have friends who are African –American and I have never used the ‘N’ word “ . If blame is to be apportioned anywhere concerning what has now happened within the NBA, then it falls squarely on the shoulders of the players , union , league hierarchy , and coaches in their failure to discuss the matter. The NBA, like their counterparts within Major League Baseball (MLB) , the NHL and NFL , have failed miserably, in dealing with a social issue that is now becoming an epidemic. If players such as LeBron James , Dwyane Wade , Tim Duncan and Kevin Durant failed to let their voices be heard , while respected coaches such Gregg Popovich , Doc Rivers , Rick Carlisle , Erik Spoelstra and Tom Thibodeau ” goose-stepped ” .behind the idiocy of Adam Silver and his predecessor David Stern, then it simply shows how completely out of touch the league remains. As to the owners themselves , prominent individuals such as James Dolan , Mikhail Prokhorov , Peter Holt , Jim Buss and Michael Jordan have all remained silent , while the incompetency of the league simply mishandled this mess, never-mind an owner such as Rich DeVos remains untouched after his homophobic diatribe . It begs the question , the NBA tolerates some egregious and heinous actions, while seeking to make an example of others , merely to curry favor with their fans.

I don’t profess to having all the answers concerning the ongoing stupidity of the NBA , but this belief, the hierarchy as led by Adam Sterling, has any real idea about what they are now doing . If this particular league, can continue to show as much incompetency, as witnessed throughout this monumental farce. Why would anyone now believe , that the league hierarchy, now has the wherewithal to defeat an owner they simply enabled over the years to get away with some of the most heinous actions one would have thought possible , especially when you consider the makeup of the league’s players in terms of ethnicity ? As to the damn idiocy, that David Stern has acted in the best interests of the NBA . Well perhaps, it would be the case, if your are simply considering how the revenues of the league have risen during his tenure, as anything else, would have to be considered a miserable failure

After two games of the best of seven games NBA Finals’ series , it will be interesting to see this rematch between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs . Game one , was a lopsided contest, with Tim Duncan and his teammates prevailing in that victory. Sunday and the Miami Heat rebounded from that loss with a narrow two-point win in game two , with LeBron James leading the way for the defending champions. Miami are seen as the prohibitive favorites to repeat as champions and join a select group of franchises to have won three consecutive NBA championships. Gregg Popovich is likely to try and make that premise as difficult for the Eastern Conference champions as is humanly possible. From my own standpoint, I feel that this series is far from being cut and dried , with true test coming from the determination shown by the Spurs’ bench , if the team is to prevail in this series.

LeBron James and Tim Duncan between them, have won six NBA titles , six League MVP Awards , four Finals’ MVP trophies and made a slew of All Star appearances , as well as being named to the All NBA First Team repeatedly , throughout the large part of their respective careers. As Duncan , having now reached the pinnacle of his career , he can perhaps now look back and review his list of achievements . Undoubtedly, the greatest player in San Antonio Spurs’ history, there is little left by way of feats, left for him to achieve , but, there is still more to be written in the Duncan bio. LeBron James in his brief tenure with the Miami Heat beyond rewriting the history books , he has sealed himself and his legacy as being that franchise’s greatest player and that is with due respect to Dwyane Wade and Alonzo Mourning .

Game three at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida on Tuesday night should prove to be something of a precursor about what the fans could very well expect over the remainder of this series . With the 2-2-1-1-1 revised format added to create more of a suspenseful postseason finale , it is clear that Miami will want to take both home games before having to once again embark on the road to face the Spurs at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas,. While LeBron James is expected be dominant throughout the series , I believe that the pivotal players in these Finals are the bench players of both the Heat and Spurs. Kawhi Leonard , will have to raise the level of his play and it is likely that Erik Spoelstra will be aware of the fact .

Last season’s NBA Finals and the very fact the San Antonio Spurs had the series well within their grasp , only have it wrestled from their hands through their complacency and the determination shown by LeBron James. For the Miami Heat player in having won his second NBA title and second consecutive Finals’ MVP Award , it suggests that James’ will to win and to prove himself the greatest player of this era and certainly one of the best ever to play the game.

LeBron James’ intent on winning a third consecutive championship is likely to play a great deal concerning his impending future with the Miami organization. A likely target during the off-season, James is unlikely to opt out of his current contract , unless the team fails in their current attempt. A series’ win and Pat Riley will be looking to start negotiations with the player , signing him to a deal that will make undoubtedly one of the highest paid players in the NBA , in terms of a salary and contract . His teammates, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade will be in a similar position , but as I alluded to earlier, a third title , makes it but a foregone conclusion that the core of the current roster will remain intact. It seems improbable, James would seek to play elsewhere , with the Heat having achieved a great deal of success over the past four seasons. Speculation that the player could be lured to New York to play alongside his close confidante Carmelo Anthony does seem unimaginable and with Phil Jackson, yet to have found a coach to fill the vacancy left after the firing of Mike Woodson . It does seem even with the likelihood of Derek Fisher being hired to succeed Woodson , there still remains the matter of rebuilding the Knicks’ roster and making it a competitive team for the upcoming season.

Money , undoubtedly be of no object for the Knicks’ organization , yet , the question one might ask , is there any common sense to be found with this particular franchise ? If so, then please explain to me , what Phil Jackson hopes to gain by acquiring Lamar Odom and adding the veteran to the roster ?

The New York Knicks remain a franchise that has fallen upon hard times and much of it, comes from the ineptitude shown by the front office , while James Dolan has presided over this entire mess . Phil Jackson has come in and yet the idiocy still continues , with the once venerable head coach now carrying on where his predecessors have left off . Care to take an opposing view, on that particular issue , where the franchise has actually ran aground ?

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Picture gallery .

Where do you believe that the NBA has made a litany mistakes in their handling of the Donald Sterling affair ? Do you think that the league can in fact win a legal argument , in terms of their action against the plaintiff (Sterling) , with their not having seriously reprimanded him for prior bad acts ?

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(1) NBA Commissioner Adam Silver pictured left and Donald Sterling , beleaguered owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. . Sterling has filed a civil suit in US Federal Court seeking damages of $1 billion and a second suit has been filed by the real estate mogul to stop the sale of the franchise. If this legal action becomes a protracted affair , the NBA is likely to see its credibility further tarnished . AP Photo / Aidan Mitchell ….

(2) Former Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer whose $2 billion bid for the Los Angeles Clippers is likely to be threatened by a legal suit, with Donald Sterling looking to negate the purchase of the team. Getty Images / Chris Moore …..

(3) LeBron James of the Miami Heat looks on prior to the start of Game Two of the 2014 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center on June 8, 2014 in San Antonio. . Getty Images/ Andy Lyons ….

(4) Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs shoots against Ray Allen (34) of the Miami Heat in Game Two of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center on June 5, 2014 in San Antonio. Getty Images North America/ Nathaniel S Butler ….

(5) The Miami Heat celebrate after defeating the San Antonio Spurs 98-96 in Game Two of the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 8, 2014 in San Antonio. Getty Images / Chris Covatta …..

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I always knew that she preferred the crossover dribble to a slam dunk ! Yet , I get the impression she just wants to play with a pair of balls .

Building blocks …………

Building blocks …………

The New York Giants’ disappointment of last season can be best summed up, by the erratic play and suggestion that the team’s quarterback, Eli Manning played for much of the year injured , thereby hampering any progress that Tom Coughlin and his coaching staff hoped for. Manning for his part, the two-time winning Superbowl winner and Superbowl MVP , simply suggested that his play was simply no worse than his detractors would imply. Apart from the player’s injury , the offense was under par , with a running game, that was woefully inept, with the underlying current being an average passing attack. The Giants’ front office during this off-season, sought to rebuild the roster , after the loss of a number of players to free agency . With attrition came the addition of new faces as the franchise now seeks resurrect their fortunes after a nonplussed 2013 , during which the fans witnessed the team’s malaise and the Philadelphia Eagles capturing the NFC East division.

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Often described as the best division in the NFL , the NFC East, if anything, it was one of erratic plays from the quartet of teams, albeit , that the Eagles took the division. The trio of the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and New York Giants were not much of a challenge within the NFC and even less so within the rest of the NFL. Criticism of Tom Coughlin in some circles was without merit , even if the common belief, is that when team fails, the blame should rest squarely on the shoulders of the head coach. Coughlin led the franchise to their two most recent triumphs in the Superbowl, each time getting the better of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots . For the Patriots, the Giants have become their Achilles’ Heel in recent postseason contests and number of their regular season meetings.

New York’s preseason schedule , will be one, where Tom Coughlin can assess his roster and specifically the draftees from this year’s 2014 NFL Draft class. If the Giants are to have any chance of competing within the NFC, then they will have to play at a high level. Eli Manning also will have to recapture the form, that placed him among the elite quarterbacks within the NFL, having surpassed elder sibling Peyton Manning , in terms of Superbowl victories. While the elder Manning’s most recent appearance ended disastrously , with the Denver Broncos having succumbed to the Seattle Seahawks in what some have described as one of the most lopsided contests in Superbowl history , that ended with the Seahawks pummeling the Broncos into submission, 43-8 . While, it would be idiotic to suggest, that the two best teams in the NFL, meeting in the league’s showcase postseason event , ought to provide the fans with the best contest possible. That match-up, was a rather innocuous affair, with Pete Carroll’s Seahawks not being challenged at any point during the game.

The departures of Osi Umenyiora and Ahmad Bradshaw in recent years , along with a slew of players who were part of the pair of Superbowl triumphs , I believe have played a part in the Giants’ demise, with their replacements being unable to fill the gaps left in various areas of the team’s defense and offense !

If there was said to be any area that the New York failed , it might well have been that beyond Eli Manning’s lack of athleticism and quickness, it was the failure of the offensive line protecting their quarterback in several of their games last season. Manning’s statistics, do not, belie that fact, nor was the propensity, for the number of false starts , fumbles and interceptions witnessed .

In terms of the New York Giants’ draft class , was somewhat, a mixed blessing , with not necessarily rave reviews , but in some circles there is a the belief that players such as Odell Beckham, Weston Richburg , Jay Bromley and Andre Williams, will provide that needed lift for the franchise, as they head into the regular season . New York, will open their season, with an away game , at Ford Field in Detroit , Michigan, when they face Matt Stafford and the Detroit Lions. Jim Schwartz and his team, are coming off another disappointing season , when many felt that the Lions could be looked at as a serious contender within the NFC. Unfortunately, several of the players on the roster did not read the script and their efforts effort over the course of the season were extremely poor by anyone’s standards. If recent encounters between the two teams are encounters are anything to go by, then this contest should be extremely entertaining , or it could very well end up being, a monotonous bore .

Where, to begin, the continued woes of the Dallas Cowboys have been well chronicled, so much so , that the news’ items and stories could be turned into plausible Hollywood script, that in some circles might have the making of a blockbuster movie. Alas, there has not anything blockbuster-like, in the repeated pratfalls of Jerry Jones’ franchise over the past eight years. If Tony Romo were the lead character in this piece of movie magic , the critics would be giving his performances during that time-span “the thumbs down “ , along with his supporting cast of characters. And if that were not enough, Jones would not be even nominated in his role , as the producer of this ongoing mess and the continued incompetence shown by head coach Jason Garrett . Off putting as this might be, it is now becoming increasingly comedic to comprehend how the general manager could in all good conscience, sign Romo to the deal that made the player among the highest paid quarterbacks within the NFL , when the quarterback’s postseason career can be best described as being mediocre.

If Tony Romo hasn’t the skill-set to lead the team during the postseason , albeit , that during the regular season , the praises heaped upon the ten-year veteran seem to be justified . I truly believe, that he is over-rated, lacking the leadership skills sought to win a Superbowl and that is with due respect to the franchise’s Hall of Fame and Superbowl winning quarterback Roger Staubach . The elder statesman of the Cowboys’ history, has described Tony Romo, as the player who gives this franchise the best opportunity to win a Superbowl. Age is a wonderful thing , but I cannot help wonder, if Staubach has not suffered one hit too many, during his playing career, to come up with that ridiculous assessment of Romo’s talent !

A season, where 8-8 , just about summed up what the Dallas Cowboys were all about in 2013, with the excuses simply pouring in, once the quarterback suffered a season-ending injury, missing the final game at the end of Dallas’ schedule. Kyle Orton was given the privilege of starting that contest as Tony Romo’s backup in the home loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Orton remains on the Cowboys’ roster , providing some semblance of experience , to a position, where I now believe there remains a great deal of uncertainty . Tony Romo may well have undergone off-season back surgery, to repair a bulging disk in his lower back, but Jerry Jones , in his infinite wisdom, felt it prudent to acquire free agent quarterback Brandon Weeden . That player’s, NFL career, while with the Cleveland Browns was simply lackluster and foreshadowed exactly why, that particular franchise, was destined to go absolutely nowhere, during his tenure .

The Cowboys’ preseason schedule , will give Jason Garrett the opportunity to assess his revamped roster , of which the changes have been considerable . The decision to let go of All Pro Defensive player DeMarcus Ware might well have come as a shock to many outside the Cowboys’ franchise, as Ware was one the most productive players for the Dallas Cowboys over the past eight years, along with tight-end Jason Witten . However, his banishment from the organization was short-lived, with his finding a new home with the Denver Broncos. That decision alone, has me questioning Jerry Jones’ reasoning , albeit, that he stated that his choice to let go of Ware had nothing to with the player’s cap value to the team last season or for the upcoming year . It might well have been that Jones’ decision had more to do with the wish to go with younger players and in needing to look long-term, in the direction, that he felt his franchise was heading .

The draft class for the Dallas Cowboys provides the team, with a chance to rebuild in several areas, especially where, last season the NFC East based franchise had one of the poorest performing secondary’s in the entire league. Defensive coordinator, Monte Kiffin will have a great deal to prove this season , as he seeks to improve the Cowboys’ ranking defensively, from a last place finish in 2013 into a top-five defense for 2014. If the team is unable to improve , in that one category , then there is no way that the Dallas Cowboys could be seen as a legitimate contender for the Superbowl (SB49) , much less , even be considered good enough to challenge for the NFC East divisional title. Too early, to be thinking that far ahead for an event that will be staged at the University of Phoenix Stadium, in Phoenix , Arizona ? Well, all thirty-two teams, have that as a target, but, there are only two berths up for grabs, in the NFL postseason showcase event. The Seattle Seahawks had their eyes on the prize and never seemed to falter, at any point during their postseason schedule in 2013.

Dallas will play host to the San Francisco 49ers at Cowboys Stadium (AT&T Stadium) , in Arlington, Texas , in a game that is likely to tell us a great deal about both teams and their aspirations for the upcoming season . Tony Romo, as he takes that first snap will be looking to have an injury-free season , while trying add to his menial postseason career . Personally, in spite of the weapons placed around the player, I still do not believe that he has the tenacity or the mindset to lead the Dallas Cowboys to a Superbowl victory ! Am I likely, to be proven wrong, with my summation on the team’s ambitions and their likelihood of achieving that goal? Well, given their recent record in the postseason, of which their last appearance came in 2009 , ending in a lopsided 34-3 defeat against their conference rivals the Minnesota Vikings . Tony Romo’s performance, in that contest, was not a memorable one and was among the worst of his NFL postseason career.

With the first pick, in the 2014 NFL Draft , the Houston Texans began the rebuilding process for this forlorn franchise. Fourteen successive defeats, in 2013 and one could well understand the reason , why there was a great deal of ridicule surrounding the Texans and the inability of Gary Kubiak and his coaching staff to get the best out of this team . Jadeveon Clowney was seen as an impact player , game changer and how he acts in tandem with JJ Watt may well mean success for the franchise or failure over the course of this season. Whether or not, he can be viewed as the best defensive player drafted, will be dependent upon his play, but also, the level of maturity shown by Clowney and whether or not he follows the example of his more seasoned teammates . The hyperbole and superlatives that surrounded the player during his collegiate career , might well have been justified, but what he was capable of doing for South Carolina under the tutelage of Steve Spurrier , will be uniquely different once he steps unto an NFL field for the very first professional game of his NFL career. There have been many great defensive players that have preceded Clowney in the past and his wish to be seen as a natural successor to the likes of Bruce Smith , Ray Lewis , Jevon Kearse and Rod Woodson , could very well lead to the rookie succeeding or failing by his own merits.

Gary Kubiak’s firing, led to the hiring of Bill O’Brien to succeed the beleaguered former head coach . O’Brien brings a keen footballing mind, along with a no-nonsense approach. Yet, his greatest obstacle, might well be finding a quarterback capable of leading this Texans’ team with the sureness he seeks and where that player , is not likely to be a liability for his teammates. With four quarterbacks now on the roster, ally vying for that starter’s job , it will be interesting to see which of the quartet, is likely to be given that role for their regular season opener , against the Washington Redskins at the Texans’ Reliant Stadium in Houston , Texas on the 7th September , 2014. Tom Savage , Case Keenum , T J Yates and ten-year veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick will be given every opportunity during Houston’s preseason schedule to prove to Bill O’Brien, that they are worthy of consideration, for that starting role. Yet, there remains continued speculation, that the head coach will seek to acquire the Patriots’ backup to Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett , a player well-known to Texans’ head coach. Fitzpatrick, given his experience, is likely to be viewed as the favorite to win that position outright , having been a starting quarterback in the NFL , but his record has not been overly impressive over the course his career. The quartet of games, that make up the preseason schedule for the NFL’s teams, will be seen as something of precursor for the regular season . Bill O’Brien will lead his Texans in the first of their preseason contests against the Arizona Cardinals , looking to gauge as a starting point, how his team might well fare and then look to make any changes needed, as he may believe necessary.

The NFL Draft might well have given us a great deal of melodrama , with it being the most watched draft televised event in recent NFL history . Johnny Manziel’s over-hyped presence, among the quarterbacks available, ignited and then subsided , when we realized, that he was not about to become a top-five or top ten pick of draftees taken in the first round . Now comes the unfortunate side, to Manziel’s future, he was drafted , by the Cleveland Browns . We have seen from this particular franchise over the past six seasons, their issues, are so widespread, that “Johnny Football” , will not be able to resurrect the fortunes of the Browns, working miracles , in terms of his now well-chronicled displays for the Texas A&M (Aggies) .

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Picture gallery.

Teams are now holding their OTA’s (organized training activities) with a view to getting their rookies acclimatized the routines of the NFL, as well as having them within their training camp environment . What player or players, among this year’s draftees are you most looking forward to seeing, during the preseason, as well as the regular season? In addition, which team do you believe might well have been among the lucky, in terms of their draft class ? Chime in, with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe to relevant to this topic .

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(1) New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin talks to quarterback Eli Manning before the Giants’ NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, in Chicago. An understated season in 2013, left the Giants and their front office were left searching for answers, with questions being raised concerning the quarterback’s abilities this past season. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ….

(2) Osi Umenyiora of the Atlanta Falcons is seen here addressing the convened press , as the player answers questions , having been recently been acquired the Falcons , with head coach Mike Smith believing that the player’s presence will bolster their defense as they seek to overcome a disastrous 2013 season. AP Photo / Paul Wilson ………

(3) Wide receiver Odell Beckham of the New York Giants is seen here with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Draft Day . The player was the twelfth overall pick in the first round when he was taken by the NFC East based Giants . The team hopes that the player will provide a much-needed boost to their receiving game this upcoming NFL season. AP Photo / Bill Benson …..

(4) Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo (9) is seen here with team owner Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones , senior front office executive within the organization . Coming off an injury , the quarterback underwent back surgery in the hope that the procedure will aid the player , who missed the final game of the season in 2013 for the franchise. Getty Images / Ricky Mason …..

(5) Defensive lineman and number one overall draft pick, Jadeveon Clowney , center , is seen here alongside team GM Rick Smith , left and head coach Bill O”Brien , right , as the player gives his first public interview to the convened press at the team’s facility at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas . The Texans are hoping that Clowney provides a solid defensive tandem alongside JJ Watt . Getty Images North America / Tim Abrahams ….

(6) Cleveland Browns’ head coach Mike Pettine, far left, is seen here with two of the team’s draft picks from the 2014 NFL Draft . Second from the left is Justin Gilbert , along with quarterback Johnny Manziel and team General Manager Ray Farmer . AP Photo / Paul Prentice ……

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These are on her rack , but I would prefer, that they rest my block !

A gift , that just keeps on giving !

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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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 “

A coalition of the weak and the stupid !

A coalition of the weak and the stupid !

I may well have missed something in light of the recent statements made by Secretary of State John Kerry that he and the President, Barack Obama believe that Syria poses an imminent threat of stability to the Middle East well as its own citizens there in the country , after evidence was found that President Bashar al Assad`s forces, have been using chemical weapons against the civilian population, as well as opposition forces in the uprising that has been ongoing in the country for the past two years. The evidence was clear for all to see, but somehow , it has taken the snail`s pace activity of the US government and its rather asinine intelligent efforts, and some two years to coming to this conclusion, as to the gross criminality in the behavior of Al Assad`s military ? It should really come as no surprise, considering the US`s continued inactivity, while there was ongoing mass genocide taking place in the Darfur region of Sudan , as the West chose to close its eyes, while such atrocities were taking place .

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During, a decade-long era of ceaseless violence, America literally stood by and did absolutely nothing, simply because that region bore no strategic importance to the United States. Yet, given the lack of a cohesive foreign policy and the dogma that encompasses the country`s full understanding of the global threats, beyond what it deems to be Al Qaeda and the Taliban. It is becoming increasingly clear, that this administration like previous administrations before is simply devoid of expertise where it is needed most when it comes to the Middle East .

It now seems that Kerry`s formal statement is meant to be a warning to the Syrian government that the United States and its allies will not tolerate the actions of the Syrian military , the inner workings of Bashar al Assad`s crack squad of covert operatives and its continued use of chemical weapons, in order to suppress what is now in essence, civil war taking place in the country . `We will no longer tolerate ` ? Two years of bloodshed, and the estimated loss of some 80,000 lives and the US will not tolerate Syria using chemical weapons. Over one million lives were lost in Darfur, from the genocide taking place there, as President Omar al-Bashir used to The Janjaweed (Men on Horseback), Sudanese Army to bring terror and terrorize and as part of his ethnic cleansing , in killing Christians, as well those in opposition to his rule of the country of Sudan . Omar al-Bashir was once described by former President George W Bush , as a man of conviction and of deep faith. Somehow, I get the feeling that when the former US President made that statement, he may not have been completely cognizant of what was going on in the region at the time. Albeit, that the statement came after a meeting between the two heads of state , while Bush was in office, during his second term.

This country can now ill afford to enter into a third military conflict in just over a decade , under the pretext of a humanitarian effort, when the real truth is like his predecessor , for Barack Obama , the strategic reality here is simply a matter of the West and its allies creating an even bigger imprint in the Middle East and perhaps gaining access to Syria`s oil reserves . The lessons to be learned from the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have not been heeded, in spite of the loss of over 5,000 lives and in excess of some 240,000 military services members wounded, at the cost of over $1.77 trillion (cumulative).

President Barack Obama , along with John Kerry , Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel , General Martin Dempsey JCOS, NSA Director Gen Keith B Alexander will now have to strategize as what militaristic options are viable. With UK Prime David Cameron having issued a public statement in the House of Commons that Britain is prepared to act unilaterally to protect the Syrian people from the wanton intent of the country`s dictator to suppress their democratic freedoms. Ad nausea, it now looks as if Cameron is also now prepared to follow in the footsteps of a former predecessor Tony Blair , as he marched locked in footstep with George W Bush, as he declared military action against Iraq, under the premise of following UN article 1441 , which did not give full military action for the invasion of that country in 2003. The resolution simply called for, use of military force should Saddam Hussein pose an imminent threat in the region, in particular to Israel and many of the West`s allies in the Middle East. At this juncture, it now begs the question , to whom does Bashir al Assad now pose a threat to, other than his own people ? Any type of joint action, sanctioned by the UN or not , is likely to be met with a great deal of opposition by the American public as well as the population of Britain. No matter how closely tied the two countries are said to be , the explanations now being offered up by Barack Obama and David Cameron will not be enough to drown out the likely antiwar sentiment that is likely to be heard from those opposing military intervention or quite possibly all-out war in Syria.

It certainly will be interesting to see which countries are likely offer a broad-based support of America and Britain , as both will undoubtedly seek a resolution from the UN Security Council and the likely input that will be made by known Syrian supporters on the Council , China and Russia , who are both permanent seated members of that particular council. . Russia remains Syria`s largest armaments` supplier as well as having oil drilling rights in the country through a number Russian based petroleum companies . The Middle Eastern nation is also one of Russia`s largest trading partners in the Arab world. So it should not come as a surprise , were the Russian to seek to veto any vote taken by the Security Council for a preemptive strike to be taken by a coalition force. Russian President Vladimir Putin has now become a thorn in the side of any perceived bilateral relationship between the United States and Russia. And with the growing reluctance by the Russian nation to expel NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden , it would be indeed correct to say that the relationship between the two nations is now close to an all-time low. Any chance that Vladimir Putin obtains to further embarrass his American counterpart is seen as a plus by the Russian President.

One of the more unappealing parts of the UN Security Council , remains the very fact, that once any two permanent member seeks to veto any action to be taken , everything becomes null and void . China`s own position may well be, now more closely tied to the other three permanent members of the UNSEC. Chinese President Xi Jinping has become market oriented with regard to his economy, which is now the world`s second largest, with an estimated $ 9.6 trillion GDP, but it should be noted that the Chinese nation is the largest holder of US sovereign debt ($2.455 trillion). What may well now take place within the United Nations will be predicated upon the cases that will be made by the US ambassador Samantha Power and UK ambassador / Philip Parham , UN ambassadors to that international body , if the argument is not laid out by either David Cameron or Barack Obama , personally , at the UN headquarters in New York City.

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The geopolitical issues are not unfounded , when one considers how any such action is likely to be viewed in the Arab world along with the possible economic costs , in terms rising gas prices , as well as possible terrorist reprisals by entities favoring Islamic fundamentalism. One has to wonder if either David Cameron or Barack Obama have seriously thought over the implication of their actions and the likely outcome . Should Bashir al-Assad be overthrown and toppled, then, who will the West seek replace him with ? Lessons, to be learned, indeed . Your thoughts on this all ?

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(1) President Barack Obama ,left, and Secretary of State John Kerry are seen here disembarking from Air Force One. Kerry now seeks to make the case that the US should intervene in Syria after the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian military against the civilian population in the Middle Eastern Country. AP Photo/ Mark Shaw ….

(2) President Bashir al- Assad of Syria , who succeeded his father Hafeez al Assad upon his death, to lead the country. The incumbent leader, denies claims now being made in the West that chemical weapons have been used by the Syrian armed forces against the civilian population as well as against the Syrian opposition in what is seen as a popular uprising against the Baathist led ruling party in Syria. The country`s only publicly known ally in the outside world would appear to be Russia , who also happens to be one of Syria`s main trading partners, as well the country`s biggest military armaments` supplier . AFP/ REUTERS/ Paul Ross …

(3) Sudanese President Omar al Bashir seen here on an official to visit Beijing China . Although the country as now been split into entities with the Muslim led North and the Christian based South. There still remains a great deal of friction between the two countries . The Sudanese leader is looked upon in the West as a war criminal , but neither the European Court or International Court , or UN Court on Human Rights have seen fit to bring charges against al Bashir. AFP/ Getty Images/ Frank Mitchell …

(4) David Cameron , left , is seen here with Barack Obama at the White House . The two leaders are seeking a UN resolution that will grant them the grounds to launch a preemptive strike against Syria . Also being sought would be a `no fly zone ` throughout the greater part of the country , as well as over the nation`s capital of Damascus. REUTERS ……….

(5) Vladimir Putin greets his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping . The two leaders could very well now be at odds, as how best to deal with the current issue in Syria . Both China and Russia have a great deal to lose , with both countries having heavily invested in the country . Adam Ross / The Guardian UK …..

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tophatal …………. 08/29/2013

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The world`s leading petroleum exporters ….. (source of information US Energy Information Agency)