Same old story, just another day …

Same old story , just another day ….

The big story coming out of the world of sports was the decision made by the IOC President Thomas Bach and the Executive Committee not to issue an automatic ban for the Russian delegation heading to the Rio Olympics beginning next month. The decision has caused a great deal of dismay among other members countries , because there was clear evidence the Russian Olympic Federation knew that numerous athletes due to represent the country had been embroiled in a massive scandal , with their having tested positive repeatedly for banned substances not only in violation of the IOC rules, but also in contravention of the WADA standards. Bach , for his part, the decision made was simply done as a way of not punishing athletes within the Russian delegation deemed to be clean. There appears to be a double-standard in place by the IOC and the hypocrisy not withstanding , this remains an institution of questionable morals and principles.

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It has long been held the International Olympic Committee (IOC) operates under its own set of rules , offers very little transparency , along with corruption being rampant at all levels of the governing body. Brazil as the host nation has spent tens of billions of dollars to host the 2016 Olympic Games , while its own government undergoes severe changes , claims of massive corruption , a stagnant economy and need we be reminded of the ongoing threat of Zika Virus , as well as the possibility of a terrorist attack being staged at these games ?

From my own perspective, I do believe the right decision would have been the complete expulsion of the Russian Team from the games in Rio ! The excuses coming from not only Russian Olympic Federation as well as the country’s President Vladimir Putin have been asinine at best. Yet at the end of the day , a great deal of the blame for this morass lays squarely on the shoulders of the IOC.

Major League Baseball is now entering the final quarter of its regular season schedule and there is still a great deal to play for within a number of divisions . Granted , a number of teams have failed miserably this season and now we have the looming situation of the trade deadline with several ball-clubs looking to off-load players after a an un-competitive season. Rumors are now swirling that the New York Yankees might be major sellers on the market , with Aroldis Chapman being among a number of the players GM Brian Cashman might seek to move. Add in the fact two of the highest paid players on the Yankees’ roster have under-achieved this season and you could well understanding the reasons why Cashman would want to also shed Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira from the lineup. Due to receive a combined $45 million in 2016 and owed in excess of $80 million on the remainder of their respective contracts. It is easy to conclude why now might be the right time get rid of both Rodriguez and Teixeira . Neither player has lived up to the expectations sought and have not provided any type of veteran leadership for this team. Likely to miss the postseason in 2016 after a rather lackluster display with a wild-card round loss to the Houston Astros in 2015 . There are likely to be some major upheavals with the New York Yankees during this upcoming off-season.

Having won a World Series’ title managing the New York Yankees, Joe Girardi might also now be on the hot seat , as I believe the front office will view the franchise’s recent lack of success has a great deal to do with the lack of managerial acumen shown Girardi and his staff since the ball-club’s triumph over the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009 with a 4-2 series’ victory . Coming off a weekend series’ schedule against the San Francisco Giants , Joe Girardi will now have to seek some consistency as they round out their schedule for the month of July. The New York Yankees will begin three-game road trip against the Houston Astros , starting Monday 25th July at Minute Maid Park in Houston , Texas. Michael Pineda will be on the mound for the Yankees as he faces Dallas Keuchel of the Astros. Winning the series will be imperative for New York if they are to have any chance of resurrecting their season. It is my belief this would be the right time for baseball’s most successful franchise to start rebuilding again from the ground up , assessing the quality of their players within the farm system beyond their never-ending quest to continually overpay for free agents or make the sort of idiotic deals the New York Yankees have come to be known for in recent years .

If the New York Yankees are said to be in need of success then consider the situation now facing the Los Angeles Dodgers . The franchise in the past four years have committed to paying out over $1 .2 billion in salaries during the time-frame in question. To the dismay of baseball purists , the fact there is this belief, money can buy success , the Dodgers remain an intense study as to how asinine this exercise can be. This season the Los Angeles Dodgers remain by far the highest salaried team in the game of baseball , outstripping their closest rivals by a considerable margin. Managing partner Mark Walter and his associates within the front office have to be dissatisfied with the performances of the team this season. Struggling to keep apace with the San Francisco Giants within the NL West , the Dodgers are now in something of a dogfight for a wild-card berth within the NL. Manager Dave Roberts and his managerial staff will be preparing the team to face the Tampa Bay Rays at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles , California on Tuesday afternoon. Chris Archer of the Rays will be starting pitcher for the visiting team when he faces Bud Norris of the Dodgers. If nothing else , this should be a guaranteed win for the home team as their games against the Tampa Bay Rays have tended to be lopsided affairs over the past eight seasons.

It’s now or never for the Los Angeles and a case can be made that several of the players on this roster , their jobs are most certainly at risk. It remains to be seen what changes could be made by GM Farhan Zaidi and Head of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman . Both of these Dodgers’ executives would like to move away from the often capricious decision-making seen with former GM Ned Colletti not longer the team was brought the present owners in 2012 . Colletti was given cart-blanches do whatever it took place a competitive team on the field of play. The Los Angeles’ most recent postseason mishaps are now well-chronicled and was an indication as to the bloated ideas seen within the organization at all levels, along with the ongoing complacency seen .

With a little over two weeks before the NFL kicks off its preseason the usual amalgam of new surfaces and once again player misconduct rears its ugly head alongside the ongoing woes of Johnny Manziel . Considered a major NFL bust and it is easy to understand why this Heisman Trophy winner failed miserably at the professional level . Manziel was overrated, lacked maturity and certainly lacked the skills needed to be a successful quarterback in this league. Johnny Manziel’s former team the Cleveland Browns now appears to be in safe hands after the franchise acquired Robert Griffin III to helm the team at the quarterback position. I am not so sure what to expect of the Browns this season , but I feel they are likely to improve on their showing of last year. The Cleveland Browns’ preseason schedule , merely a warm-up for their regular season foray will certainly be interesting.

Marshawn Lynch announced his retirement from the NFL , having fulfilled a professional ambition , winning a Superbowl title. The running back’s success with the Seattle Seahawks has been well-chronicled . Seattle will likely enter the season as the prohibitive favorite to win the NFC West , with their biggest challenge quite possibly coming from the Arizona Cardinals within the division . As with all regular season contest these two divisional adversaries will meet twice over the course of the regular season , home and away . Opposing quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Carson Palmer will be tested in each of these contests . The first meeting between the two NFC West combatants will take place during week seven at University of Phoenix Stadium in Tempe , Arizona on 23rd October , 2016. Their final meeting of the regular season will be week sixteen at Century-Link Field in Seattle Washington , when the Seattle Seahawks will play host to the Arizona Cardinals.

The departure of Marshawn Lynch will undoubtedly leave a void within the Seahawks’ organization How they compensate for this loss will be dependent upon what Pete Carroll may well feel needs to be done to replace a player of Lynch’s caliber. There is depth on the roster and what appears to be a number of players eager to fill the role of starting running back for the team. Richard Sherman a teammate of Marshawn Lynch is unconvinced of his the running back’s retirement , but Lynch remains adamant his decision is final and that his eight years in the NFL are enough.

Tom Brady w ill not seek to appeal the Federal Appellate Court ruling which upheld his four-game suspension , clearing the way of his back-up Jimmy Garopollo to lead the New England Patriots through their first four games of the regular season. Meanwhile , Brady’s contemporary, the recently retired Peyton Manning has been cleared by the NFL of any alleged wrongdoing of his having used a banned substance . The facts of the league’s investigation are unlikely to be made public , but there will continue to speculation as to whether or not the NFL wished to make an example of Brady , while giving Manning the benefit of the doubt. Over the last decade and half these two quarterbacks have come to represent the face of this league , with the pairing having won six Superbowls , six League MVP’s and four Superbowl MVP’s .

While I believe was guilty of deception , I do not believe the league hierarchy had substantive evidence to fully prove their case , with much of the evidence built around hearsay , rather than factual and physical evidence. Also , it seemed somewhat suspicious that the league’s Chief Legal Counsel Jeff Pash was not called to give evidence in the original arbitration case on behalf of the NFL.

Of late the NBA has found itself embroiled in a mess of its own making. Four prominent NBA players have suddenly believe it right to be socially conscious. Dwyane Wade , Carmelo Anthony , LeBron James and Chris Paul now taking a stance against gun violence and the deaths of not only law enforcement officers , but also civilians. These deaths have now become cannon fodder for both Presidential candidates , who seem intent for the most part, to make use of the grieving families’ misfortune, without offering up any type of solution themselves. It would not be so bad , but there now seems to be no implicit faith in either the FBI , the Civil Rights’ Division of the US Justice Department much less Barack Obama during the waning days of his Presidency. Obama is lame-duck President , offering nothing decisive by way of leadership , merely offering up rhetoric and pragmatic statements on socioeconomic issues involving African-Americans. For these four stars now offering up their own stance on the issue of gun violence , it is somewhat laughable, considering over the past five years hundreds of lives have been lost, but now with law enforcement running amok , this issue has now become a racial morass, widening with each passing moment.

Following in line with what we have seen within the NBA , the WNBA in recent days, fined several players on the Indiana Fever , an undisclosed sum for their having worn black T-shirts stating “Stop The Violence” , prior to an NBA game. Lisa Borders , President of the WNBA has since rescinded the fines , with their being public outrage from fans and analysts for the actions taken by the league hierarchy. The self-righteous pomposity of the NBA seems to have found its away across to the WNBA , with their being equal amounts of bombastic pomposity and incompetence to be seen within both leagues. Adam Silver who succeeded David Stern as the NBA Commissioner, has chosen to remain silent on the latest national controversy, yet this was the very same league , who two decades ago sought to use the genre of gangsta-rap as a marketing tool to lure in the urban youth of America. Less we forget, the imagery often associated with the music form in particular , was gang violence , but somehow this must have been lost on the NBA hierarchy as well as the players’ union (NBPA) .

NBA great Michael Jordan has now began to chime in on not only the Black Lives Matter’s campaign , but also the stance being taken by the league’s players. Somehow , I would take more of an interest , if I were really sure that Jordan was in fact serious with his intent ! The billionaire owner of the Charlotte Hornets may well have raised millions through his charitable foundation to aid the need of under-privileged youth across America , but yet, while at the height of his playing career , not once was this icon ever vocal on a social issue of any importance. Not even when it was associated with his biggest corporate endorser Nike Inc , whose business as well as labor practices have come under close scrutiny from Human Rights activists and non-governmental agencies across the globe.

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Repetitive motion appears to the cycle of news not only within the world of sports, but also on the national scene as a rather disturbing trend continues unabated . What thoughts if any , do you have on the points raised within this article ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and

Tophatal ….. 2016/07/25 08:43 pm

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News , views and chews ….

As Major League Baseball awaits the victor of the ALCS series which now stands at 3-2 , with the Kansas City Royals leading the Toronto Blue Jays in the series. We await the outcome of game six which will be played at the Kauffmann Field , in Kansas City . Missouri, on Friday evening.

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Taking the mound for the home team will be former AL Cy Young winner David Price who will face Yordano Ventura of the Royals in what will be a pivotal game for both teams. A win for Kansas puts them in this year’s World Series , while a win for the Blue Jays forces an exciting game-seven decider between the two AL teams. Awaiting the winners of the AL Pennant will the their NL counterparts the New York Mets , whose convincing series’ win over the Chicago Cubs was as good as the Mets have been in a recent postseason foray. Both their pitching and offense was of the highest level expected from a well-managed Terry Collins’ team.

Away from the on-field foray has been the big news to hit the world of baseball with Don Mattingly and the Los Angeles Dodgers mutually agreeing to part ways. Unfortunately, the public explanations being given in the interviews granted to the press remain unconvincing from both parties , with neither the front office executives or Mattingly , himself , being truly convincing with their summation as to the reasons behind their abrupt dismemberment. One thing is for certain , Andrew Friedman as the Head of Baseball Operations has been given full control to make the decisions necessary to bring about a real turnaround for this franchise. The complacency seen which has been seen from the Dodgers over the past four seasons during the MLB postseason , is unlikely to be tolerated by Friedman or the team’s general manager Farhan Zaidi.

Having spent over $1 billion on salary since their acquisition of the franchise the owners have seen the team simply implode at almost every hurdle during recent postseason play . This season in particular the Los Angeles Dodgers were never good enough to convince anyone they could be seen as the presumptive favorites for the World Series. A $315 million payroll , the highest in the game , and all we witnessed from the Dodgers throughout much of the season were the thrills and spills of a highly overrated team. Granted, Zach Greinke had an exceptional season for the team and will likely be crowned the 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Typically, one would laud the feat as being a great achievement, but in retrospect , singular awards while credible , for this franchise the only success sought, was that of a World Series’ triumph , something last achieved by the Dodgers in 1988.

There can be no denying the NFL season so far has proven to be nothing more than the usual storm in a teacup. Granted, there are several teams we knew would be either be bad or just mediocre , while there will always will be one or two surprises which have left us bewildered. Who knew at this point of the season the Cincinnati Bengals (6-0) would be one of the best teams in the AFC as well as the league in general ? Coming off a week six victory over the Buffalo Bills. The Bengals have a bye-week during week seven , whereby they can rest and recuperate before resuming their schedule in week eight , with a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on 1st November,2015.

Two games on this weekend’s schedule , will likely have the fans’ attention, will be conference contests featuring the New York Jets facing the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro’ Massachusetts. Tom Brady is having an excellent season and it would appear the idiocy of the Deflate-Gate scandal now seems to be in the rear view mirror of the four-time Superbowl winning quarterback. No doubt Brady will be looking to extend his regular season record against the Jets , while the team seeks to increase their lead over the Jets within the AFC East. The other game of note, pits the Dallas Cowboys against the New York Giants , in a must-win contest for both teams. Given the mediocrity of the NFC East . there remains the possibility that the winner of the division could be no better than 8-8 or 9-7 at the end of this season.

Eight weeks into the College Football season and as expected , the talk begins as to which teams are deserving to be called the best in the nation. The Ohio State Buckeyes remain unbeaten and atop of the heap in the College Football rankings . Saturday afternoon , the Buckeyes will be on the road as they visit Piscataway , New Jersey to fact Rutgers University. Somehow , I believe this game will end in a rout , with Ohio extending their unbeaten run to twenty games dating back to last season. This Buckeyes’ team is playing at an exceptional level , barely being challenged by their opponents this season.

Texas Christian (TCU) , Baylor, Utah and LSU (Tigers) are among the unbeaten teams all vying for a playoff berth. Les Miles head coach of the Tigers will be hoping to see his team prove their worth in their scheduled contest on Saturday afternoon when they face Western Kentucky. Leonard Fournette , Louisiana’s all blistering running back will be looking to excel in this game while also showing himself to be a viable candidate for this year’s Heisman Trophy.

With four games left to the College Football schedule , there remains a great deal to play for as the season seeks slowly winds down .

The NBA regular season will begin on Tuesday 27th October , but for the moment the preseason is still winding down. Defending NBA champions the Golden State Warriors will be looking to make a successful defense of their title while also seeking to become the first back-to-back titlists since the Miami Heat were able to were able to achieve the feat in 2012 and then again in 2013 . The team was unable to make it a triple , succumbing to the San Antonio Spurs in 2014 . This season the Heat will seek to make their presence felt within the Eastern Conference where the Cleveland Cavaliers will be seen as the prohibitive favorites for the conference title.

Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are the elder statesmen on the Heat’s playing staffand they are being entrusted to lead a roster with a mix of youth and experience. Erik Spoesltra and his coaching assistants will certainly have their work cut out for them over the course of Miami’s schedule. The team will begin their regular season schedule with a home game against the Charlotte Hornets on 28th October, 2015 . However, I believe the true test for the Miami Heat will come in their conference meetings with the Chicago Bulls , Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks , three of the better teams within the Eastern Conference , based on last season’s standings. The Heat will also be counting on their young rookie Justise Winslow to make a major contribution to the team this season , as he comes under the wings of his mentor Dwyane Wade.

For the Eastern Conference champions of last season , the Cleveland Cavaliers after being soundly beaten by the Golden State Warriors in last season’s NBA Finals , this season will be their chance at seeking redemption. The Cavaliers’ front office led by team owner Dan Gilbert and GM David Griffin have acquiesced to all of LeBron James’ whims facilitating him with a roster , he believes can win the franchise a title. Big money contracts have been offered to players such as Tristan Thompson , with the hope Thompson can prove to be productive for the team.

LeBron James and his Cavaliers’ teammates will begin their regular season schedule against divisional rivals the Chicago Bulls in their game to be played at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois,. While I believe the Cleveland Cavaliers remain the best team in their conference, and likely to repeat as conference champions this season, my belief remains the this team will struggle to beat any of the top-three teams within the Western Conference.

Kevin Garnett has returned to the franchise where he first made his professional league debut. The fact that Garnett now in the twilight of his career is once again with the Minnesota Timberwolves seems not only fair , but brings back memories of a time when he was among the best all-round players in the league, able to play every position possible , without there being a problem for this once agile player. Now he brings to this team , age , experience and a basketball mind second to none , with perhaps only Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant with an adept knowledge of the game and what is needed to succeed. Having won a title with the Boston Celtics as well as multiple appearances as NBA All Star and a League MVP in 2003 . It could be said Garnett’s career has come full circle, without him having much else to prove , other than being a mentor to a young team in need of real leadership.

Flip Saunders , head coach GM , Head of Basketball Operations as well as a minority stakeholder in the Timberwolves, will seek Kevin Garnett’s assistance in providing the on-court stability needed to make Minnesota competitive this season. Karl-Anthony Towns the franchise’s first round draft pick , alongside Andrew Wiggins and Ricky Rubio are seen as the primary contributors for the team as they embark upon their schedule. The true test for the Minnesota Timberwolves will come when they take on the best the Western Conference has to offer , beginning with their regular season opener against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Speculation will continue to surround the events which led to former NBA star Lamar Odom being found lying unconscious in the room of a Nevada brothel. Unfortunately, this simply adds another episode in the life of a player who never lived up to the expectations sought as a parent or as a teammate , in spite of the sympathetic words now being used as a cacophony to make up for another athlete’s shortcomings as a habitual drug user.

Odom through his publicists and his estranged wife Khloe Kardashian have thanked the press and public alike for their well-wishes , but this latest episode cannot hide the fact the NBA actually continues to enable and facilitate the use of banned substances within the game. The league’s so-called policy on banned substances remains weak and the fact the NBPA has sought to weaken the original structure of the policy simply goes to show how much of a ferret David Stern just happened to be, before handing over the reigns as commissioner to his chosen heir-apparent Adam Silver. The NBA Commissioner has yet to issue a public statement concerning Lamar Odom’s issues, purely on the basis the player is no longer active within the league. However. it should be noted , Odom never officially announced his retirement from the NBA and was still hoping to pursue a career , by returning to the league, signing with a team seeking an experienced veteran.

The NBA Commissioner has yet to issue a public statement concerning Lamar Odom’s issues, purely on the basis the player is no longer active within the league. However. it should be noted , Odom never officially announced his retirement from the NBA and was still hoping to pursue a career , by returning to the league, signing with a team seeking an experienced veteran. It seems doubtful a franchise would be willing to risk all. after this latest debacle concerning Lamar Odom.

Speaking of athletes with some off-field issues , with his recent plea agreement with the State’s Attorney’s Office former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones has been reinstated by the UFC , allowing the fighter to makes his return to the octagon. Jones was stripped of the title , after it was revealed he fled the scene of traffic accident while under the influence. It was later revealed the fighter had high level traces of cocaine within his system. Now while he has attended drug intervention program and the fact UFC President Dana White issued an indefinite suspension of the former champion. What cannot be denied, has been the fact, White has been very lax in whom he chooses to punish with impunity when he feels it is necessary.

Jon Jones in his last bout before being stripped of the title tested positive for a banned substance and it was widely reported that several top executives were prive’ to the fact Jones’ test had come back positive on the eve of his title defense against Daniel Cormier. Dana White for his part brushed aside those claims aside , stating it was pure fabrication on the part of detractors of the UFC. However, the Nevada State Athletics Commission which governs the sport within the state has records to prove the UFC hierarchy were well aware of the positive tests. Cormier the current Light Heavyweight Champion would like to make a defense against Jon Jones , knowing such a match-up would lead to a big money payday for himself as well has his challenger. There are very few fighters with the appeal and athleticism of Jones within the UFC at present and the biggest draw currently is the Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey who seems be totally unbeatable within her weight class.

Rousey will be looking to parlay her ongoing fame and notoriety in her next bout when she meets Holly Holm at UFC 193 scheduled to take place at the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne , Australia on the 15th November, 2015.

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In light of the latest occurrences in the world of sports what do you feel will be the main talking points in the coming days or over the next week ?

Tophatal …

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