They’re human as well , but they don’t always show it , seeking to hide behind that veil of whatever

They’re human as well , but they don’t always show it , seeking to hide behind that veil of whatever

It is a quiet time in world of sports , albeit, that the NFL is likely to provide the fans with what is likely to be the most important pair of games of its entire schedule . The league’s AFC and NFC championship games are scheduled for Sunday afternoon , where the Seattle Seahawks will play host to the San Francisco 49ers , their divisional rivals. Whereas, the AFC provides us with just as thrilling a contest , as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots travel to Mile High Stadium in Denver Colorado to meet the Denver Broncos .

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This particular AFC match-up is all the more intriguing, as it pits Tom Brady against .Peyton Manning for the fifteen time of their already historic NFL careers . Along the way, both players have provided the fans with some spectacular performances. This time around , with a Superbowl berth on the line , it would take a soothsayer to predict the outcome of this game. From my own personal standpoint as a die-hard Patriots’ fan , I am simply hoping that Brady and his teammates are able to prevail in this contest ! Anything short of that, and I will be extremely disappointed.

Away from the spectacle of this weekend’s contest, a disturbing trend continues to rear its ugly head within the game and that is the continued apparent misconduct of players off the field of play. If the allegations are to be believed, even in light of his being charged with indecent exposure , lewd and lascivious behavior, while seated in his Cadillac Escalade , where Kellen Winslow Jr was said to have been caught masturbating, in the parking lot of a Target store in New Jersey. No one can deny, that the career of New York Jets’ tight end , has been an extreme disappointment. Having to follow in the footsteps of a famous father, with a Hall of Fame career, is an extremely tough act to follow , without having your patriarch , Kellen Winslow Sr, watch your every move both on and off the field of play.

How this now all pans out for Kellen Winslow Jr , will be dependent upon the course of action sought by the prosecutors and whether they believe there is enough evidence to proceed to trial , with a case. The player suggests that , it was simply case of the witness having been mistaken and that his actions were not unlawful , with his simply stopping in the parking lot to get his bearings as he sought out a local restaurant . If your vehicle a Cadillac Escalade has GPS tracking navigation , then Winslow’s explanation, does seem somewhat dubious to say the very least. Yet somehow, his lawyers, are likely to suggest that this whole incident, is much ado about nothing , with the press and prosecution seeking to make an example of another high-profiled athlete.

As disturbing as Kellen Winslow’s situation might now appear to be , there are now allegations being leveled against NFL Network analyst and former New Orleans Saints’ defensive player Darren Sharper . Sharper has been released on $200,000 bail, on related charges of two alleged sexual assaults that took place within the space of a month. One incident is said to have taken place in December, with the second assault , in early January of this year. Darren Sharper maintains his innocence, but such has been the gravity and seriousness of the allegations made , that the NFL Network has taken action, suspending the analyst without pay .

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league hierarchy , admittedly , are almost powerless to stop the deal with the behavioral conduct of the players , never-mind the fact that Goodell’s union counterpart DeMaurice Smith of the NFLPA and the union’s executive committee do not see this as a serious issue concerning the ongoing conduct of their members. It certainly , has not helped also , by the actual conduct of the players’ legal counsel , when cases such as this arise. More often than not, they are likely to seek to paint the alleged plaintiff or victim , as a money seeker or someone of disrepute. The NFL Commissioner’s powers have become muted and his bark is now worse than his bite. A collective bargaining agreement ratified and voted upon by the union is not worth the paper it is written on , when at every turn the NFPLA seeks to challenge the authority of the league hierarchy in rendering any type of action against a player.

With the ongoing investigation and quite possibly, pending legal action against Darren Sharper. It will be interesting to see the direction this whole matter now takes and what the outcome might possibly be. As to the on-field spectacle and what we ought to expect this postseason , well that will certainly be predicated upon the play of the four remaining teams at this stage of the season.

Well, the idiocy of the Alex Rodriguez saga has now ended , with the New York Yankees’ third basemen abandoning his bid to have his suspension overturned by the US Federal Appellate Court . The fact that Rodriguez sought to go ahead with this façade ,while seeking to maintain his innocence, even when it was suggested originally that he sought to have the two hundred fourteen game suspension meted out by baseball’s hierarchy, be lowered in line with the deal offered to Milwaukee Brewers’ player Ryan Braun . Rodriguez did his co-legal counselors Joe Tacpoina and David Cornwell no favors, in choosing to disparage the MLB arbitrator Fredric Horowitz and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , prior to Horowitz rendering his verdict.

Tacpoina and Cornwell offered no evidence , to suggest that their client was innocent , but maintained that the league’s case , was simply weak and built upon the illegal gathering of evidence , which was used to substantiate their case against Alex Rodriguez . Clearly, Alex Rodriguez could not take the stand during the arbitration hearing , because in all likelihood, he would have perjured himself and provided the league with a legal case against him, were they to choose such a route. The player’s civil suit against MLB and the New York Yankees’ chief medical physician was also abandoned, with Rodriguez issuing a public statement while in Mexico City , that he would now put the whole issue behind him , while seeking to rest and recuperate throughout the entire 2014 baseball season , reassessing the things said to be important to him , before resuming his career in 2015.

The length of Alex Rodriguez’s suspension may have been lowered to one hundred and sixty-two games, with it being the greatest penalty , ever rendered against a player for their involvement with performance enhancing drugs. However, the league still faces an uphill battle to abate the proliferating use of steroids and other illicit substances at the Major League Level , but even more so, at the Minor League Level , where it has reached epidemic proportions , with over 150 players having been ensnared in baseball’s testing protocols in the past three years, alone.

If and when Alex Rodriguez returns to the game of baseball , it is hard to simply to look at his career achievements without questioning just about every aspect of those statistics over the past ten years , if not more . The player was less than candid, concerning his involvement with steroid use , after being repeatedly being questioned by not only members of the press but also by investigators from Major League Baseball, as well as by senior officials and investigators from within the Yankees’ organization . We should also take into account Rodriguez’s actions in 2007 , when questioned on air, by CBS news’ anchor Katie Couric as to his alleged use of steroids. Then, as now , he refuted those allegations , only to do an about-face in February 2009 , finally admitting his use , while offering a less than contrite apology to the New York Yankees , Major League Baseball and to his fans. I am beginning to wonder wholeheartedly , if the fans who came out in support of Alex Rodriguez this time around , have actually forgotten the events of 2009 ? Or are they simply that naïve and stupid enough to believe that the player remains innocent of any wrongdoing , concerning the allegations made against him ? Rodriguez’s pattern of behavior, has been there for all to see and it now begs the question , what else should we continue to believe concerning the player and his new-found persona ?

As the NBA season proceeds , the consensus of opinion of the vast majority of fans , has been , who is likely to mount a serious enough challenge to topple the defending NBA champions from their throne ? The Miami Heat in their last few games may well have had a few hiccups along with the way, with some notable losses against lesser teams . Those series of defeats, are only likely to force LeBron James to show even more resilience , while seeking to lead his teammates to even greater heights .

Coming off a well-deserved victory over the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania, Miami will continue with their road schedule , meeting the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night at the Time Warner Center in Charlotte , North Carolina , before ending that schedule with a further away game against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday evening . I get the feeling that as the NBA’s most watched team at present by way of attendance , outgoing commissioner David Stern is seeking to maximize the Miami Heat’s exposure globally , for the sake of the NBA brand , knowing that the league’s biggest selling point is LeBron James . Michael Jordan , may well have retired from with the game , with his accomplishments and legacy unquestioned. A new era, has dawned, with James casting a gigantic shadow over the NBA , seeking to rewrite records and adding his name to list of greats within the NBA’s pantheon of greatest players .

Only time will tell, if LeBron James goes on to surpass the feats of Jordan as well Kareem Abdul Jabbar . Ten years into an astonishing career and James continues to add to his already unbelievable repertoire as a player . It was once felt, that Kobe Bryant might well have been the closest thing we would ever see concerning the skill-set of Michael Jordan. Yet, I now firmly believe that James will surpass anything that Bryant will achieve, as the Los Angeles Lakers player sees his career , begin to wind down . Bryant may well have signed a two-year $48.5 million contract to remain in Los Angeles , but unless the franchise develops talent from within, as well as making several beneficial trades, the player and the Lakers are likely to continue with their struggles .

While Miami continues to flourish within their division and the Eastern Conference , albeit, that the New York Knicks seems to have found something of a rhythm to their game . There now seems to be an issue with the team and whether or not Mike Woodson can get the players to buy into his coaching philosophy. Considering the egos , that make up the current roster and the very fact that beyond Carmelo Anthony and his continued play , there seems to be no real desire by his teammates to follow his example . In what now appears to be a heated altercation, where words were exchanged between JR Smith and Woodson were said to have gone toe-to-toe , as if both were ready have a real pugilistic bout between the pairing .

Smith, having already been suspended, once this season, for what was deemed a transgression of league rules. It now appears that he is creating an environment, where he is likely to be jettisoned by the franchise , rather their having to deal with his continued infantile behavior . The likely outcome, may well be that GM Steve Mills will seek to engineer a trade , rather than keep JR Smith on the roster. Smith for his part , suggests that he is simply an emotional player , who often lets his emotions get the better of him , while also exploding with angry outbursts , directed at those who , he believes are against him. From my viewpoint , it suggests not only a player with anger management issues, but someone who is close to being psychotic and a danger to himself as well as those around him ! It is bad enough that the Knicks have to put up with Smith’s bad behavior , and then you consider the ” poster child ” for such tirades , Metta World Peace , also just happens to be teammate of JR Smith.

A fourteen point loss at home to the Los Angeles Clippers , where the Knicks showed the defensive capability of a group of octogenarians with hemorrhoidal problems as the Clippers simply manhandled their opponent through the entire four quarters of regular play . Yet, somehow, Knicks’ fans truly believe that this team is capable of doing something special this season. If the postseason of 2012 , was anything to go by , the New York Knicks are likely to be brushed aside in the first round of play , much like dust might be swept under the carpet, in order that those with an aversion to cleaning , simply wanting to create the impression that their home is habitable and hospitable. Not unlike the Knicks and their continued aversion to playing defense in any form when it comes to the NBA.

It looks as if former seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong just cannot keep himself out of the news. Having repeatedly lied about his use of banned substances, the now retired cyclist still seeks the public’s empathy and forgiveness. To my mind, the deceit and lies while using an illness (testicular cancer) to simply solicit tens of millions of dollars millions out of corporate and public donors , shows Armstrong to be no better than a snake-oil salesman and that of a common criminal ! While we are it , how is it , that to date, neither the US Justice Department or the US Postal Service has sought to go after Armstrong and recoup the $35 million of funds used to sponsor the cyclist ? Though the Postal Service is meant to be a stand-alone for profit entity , though it comes under the oversight of the federal government and where its debts are guaranteed by the government. In other words, the US taxpayer has the privilege of paying off any debt incurred by the USPS, were they unable to meet their liabilities. Good to know that the US government can be continued to be relied upon to show its continued incompetency while seeking to show that it remains the greatest country in the world . Really? LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

Armstrong, remains a pariah and amongst his former peers within cycling, he is looked upon with a great deal of disdain . Yet, it can be said , that the sport of cycling, as overseen by the Swiss based ICU (Union Cycliste International) has done little to truly clean up the sport , including the protocols now in place by the IOC (International Olympic Committee). Cycling’s biggest event , the Tour de France, features prominently on its calendar and is viewed as the doyenne of all the road events throughout the year , including the year when the Summer Olympics are scheduled.

A patron of this site, once suggested that Lance Armstrong’s once renowned charity Livestrong , could continue and be a success without the athlete being its main spokesperson. Well, subsequent to his admission of guilt, the charity has seen donations be impacted to the extent , where they have fallen way below projected estimates . Lance Armstrong had to be removed from the board of directors, with his no longer being associated with the charity under any circumstance . One reaps what they sow, and for Armstrong, the lies and deceit have come back to bite him in the ass , in more ways than one and deservedly so. Now looking for the public’s compassion, Lance Armstrong now seeks to reinvent himself as a humanitarian and goodwill ambassador . If only , he used the intelligence given to him , to genuinely display those traits to begin with , before entering into his delusional world of make belief , while seeking to discredit those who knew of his web of lies and deceit .

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One might believe, that fact, is stranger than fiction , but consider the following, Alex Rodriguez studiously followed the issues of Lance Armstrong and the two stars became close friends . Need one suggest, that in this particular instance , birds of a feather flock together ? Enmity between two of today’s biggest frauds in the world of sports and yet , each has their legions of supporters out there, still believing that neither has done anything wrong. ? Enmity between two of today’s biggest frauds in the world of sports and yet , each has their legions of supporters out there still believing that neither has done anything wrong. It would be remiss to suggest that Lance Armstrong did not bring a slew of new supporters to the sport of cycling with his success , but now knowing it was built on a great deal of fraud , with his own posse of accomplices , I cannot help but wonder why the now disgraced cyclist never felt that his house of lies would never come crashing down , the moment he sought to harangue many of those who were once closest to him at the time! Was he really that conceited and naïve, along with showing a great deal of stupidity on his part? Unfortunately, this is all too often, is lost on the fans and various areas of the public , who continue to show a great deal of apathy when these individuals fall from grace . In light of the points raised within this article do you believe that the hierarchy’s of the various sports act with a great deal of vigilance when dealing with athlete misconduct ? Leave a comment , as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of the site and its content , as it is greatly appreciated !

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Denver Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning is in the scrimmage of the team at Sports Authority Field in Denver, CO. Saturday, August 4, 2012 while speaking to head coach John Fox . Manning and Fox will seek a berth in the Superbowl by defeating the New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon when the two meet in the AFC championship game . This will be the fifteenth professional contest between Peyton Manning and his New England counterpart Tom Brady . Beyond being two of the most highly visible faces in the NFL , these two quarterbacks lead active passers in a number of passing categories and rank extremely high amongst the career’s list in a number of quarterback statistics. Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post….

(2) Tom Brady of the New England Patriots hands the ball off to running back Stevan Ridley (22) as the rusher makes his way for some decisive yardage during a game. Ridley and LeGarrette Blount have proven to be productive for the Patriots during the regular and postseason . Blount in particular set a franchise record for rushing and yards from scrimmage , eclipsing the mark once held by Curtis Martin . If the duo can reproduce that type of form in rushing yards, then it will certainly add to Brady’s arsenal of weaponry for their game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday afternoon. AP Photo/ Harry Thomas ….

(3) MIAMI GARDENS, FL – DECEMBER 29: Kellen Winslow (81) of the New York Jets warms up prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins on December 29, 2013 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Jets defeated the Dolphins 20-7. Winslow , having been charged with indecent exposure , lewd and lascivious behavior stemming from an incident which allegedly took place in the parking lot of a Target Superstore in New Jersey , while the player was parked in a Cadillac Escalade SUV. The female witness is said to have immediately called the police , upon witnessing the Jets’ tight end in the vehicle masturbating , a claim which Kellen Winslow totally denies . Jets’ GM John Idzik is said to have been informed of the allegations and it is believed that the player is l likely to be cut by the franchise , rather than his being retained by the team , albeit that his current contract expires this year . Hal Auerbach/Getty Images ….

(4) New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper is interviewed during a news conference in Miami on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010. The Saints will play the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL football Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday. Released on his own recognizance on a $200,000 bond , Sharper having been accused of two sexual assaults , now faces new allegations that he assaulted a third female victim. The player and his legal representatives are likely to challenge the foundation of the allegations and the victims themselves . In lieu of a pending trial , the NFL Network where Darren Sharper is employed as NFL analyst, have suspended the former NFL Pro Bowler without pay indefinitely. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …

(5) LeBron James of the Miami Heat and Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks . The two players who were part of the 2003 NBA Draft class , have seen their respective careers diverge into diametrically opposite directions. James, already a NBA Rookie of the Year , four-time League MVP , two-time NBA champion and Finals’ MVP , is seen as currently the best player in the NBA. Carmelo Anthony having begun his career with the Denver Nuggets, now finds himself in New York playing for a consistently under-achieving team over the past five seasons . With the Knicks’ , the player be able to opt out of his contract at the end of this season . There are continuous rumors that he will “test the free agency market” , where the known suitors are likely to be the Dallas Mavericks , Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors and the New York Knicks, who are likely to make the strongest bid , to retain the star by offering him a max contract, ,likely to be six years $125 million. Getty Images / Bernie Pollack …..

(6) Alex Rodriguez , right , is seen here with one of his two lead attorneys , Joe Tacopina to the player’s right . Rodriguez has now completely abandoned his entire appeals’ process in seeking to have his suspension overturned . While in Mexico City , Mexico , he issued a public statement , with his intent being to rest and recuperate throughout the entire 2014 MLB season , refocusing his energies on making a full return to the game 2015 . Undoubtedly, that career he re-seeks , will be to rejoin the New York Yankees and help them pursue a twenty-eighth World Series’ title , while perhaps also seeking to break the all-time career home runs’ record . Rodriguez currently leads all active players in terms of career home runs and runs batted in (RBI’s) . Getty Images North America . Armando Jiminez …..

(7) A rather pensive Lance Armstrong , having finally admitted his use banned substances to win a record-breaking seven Tour de France titles as well as an Olympic medal , now has time to contemplate his future , while seeking an avenue now to fulfill his life , in terms of some sort of social advocacy group or philanthropic effort. Armstrong was stripped of all seven Tour wins , his Olympic medal victory and several other professional titles won over the course of his professional career. All of the goodwill built up, during his cycling career , were shattered, when the former cycling great admitted his use of steroids as well as several other banned substances . Armstrong now faces several civil suits, where his estimated $100 million fortune is likely be completely eradicated , with many of the plaintiffs seeking monetary damages running into tens of millions of dollars . UPI/REUTERS/ Tom Glennon ….

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NFL news and news from around the league

This date in NFL history

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Minor League Baseball news

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NBA schedule 19th January 2014

NBA results 18th January

NBA standings by division

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Above, a cure for what might ail Kellen Winslow Jr , who was simply exercising his right to “beat his meat”

Are we there yet ?

Are we there yet ?

This might be one point of the year that in terms of the sporting landscape the world simply has nothing to really offer . Granted , one can point to other outside events beyond the four major professional team sports in North America . In Europe , the Tour de France has now started and that rancid stench that will continue to emanate across from France over the remaining seventeen days fifteen days of the event might be enough to induce regurgitation of one’s meal . The sport of cycling remains in tatters as to its image , with its international governing body , the ICU (International Cycling Union) still at a loss , as to how to abate the rampant and widespread cheating that still remains within the sport .

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Lance Armstrong still remains a pariah , as he continues to skirt the real reasons why he chose to cheat by using steroids as well as EPO and several other illicit substances . As to what was meant to be an in-depth interview with media maven and mogul, Oprah Winfrey . Well that bile inducing bilge , was about as noteworthy as Clint Eastwood’s appearance at the Republican National Convention , when he stood on stage , asking questions of an empty chair that suggested he was questioning Barack Obama . Well if that is what it takes the GOP , to be seen as enlightened and a party of the inclusive ____ good luck to them . Personally , I am looking for someone and a party that is keenly aware as to how to deal with many of the issues that still beset this country and not a bunch of clowns from either party , simply paying lip service and giving us sound bytes on what they believe that the electorate needs to hear .

The Tour de France is sport of cycling`s premiere event , with only the World Championships and the Olympics having as much prestige . Yet it is the classic French endurance event that brings in widespread acclaim and undoubted wealth for the winner . However , considering that Alberto Contador , Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis , three of the most recent of eight winners of the event , have in some way been caught up in the less savory and most corrupt revelations and side of the sport . Landis and Armstrong had their names stricken from the record books , as to the list of winners of the event . Contador , for some reason still remains a competitor in the sport and is a contestant in this year’s event , though he is not seen as an overall favorite .

As a Brit , I know how painful it is to watch tennis at the All England Lawn and Tennis Club at Wimbledon each year ! It has been almost eight decades since an Englishman has raised the Men’s Singles Trophy denoting a native-born winner . Fred Perry won the last of his three-straight titles in 1936. And since then , no other male player from the United Kingdom has come remotely close to producing a home-grown champion . This year’s hopes rest with the Scot , Andy Murray , who as the reigning US Open and Olympic champion , will have the nation , soundly supporting his efforts . Now, if Murray should make it through his semifinal meeting with Jerzy Janowicz , he will have the dubious privilege of having to meet the number one ranked Novak Djokovik in the Men`s Finals . All odds favor the Serbian whose run through the tournament has been nothing short of amazing . By Sunday afternoon , we may well witness Djokovik adding to his already impressive resume` , as he seeks to rewrite the history books and place himself amongst the modern-day greats of the Open Era.

The United States does not have single male or female representative left , in either the Men’s or Women’s Singles Tournament. Something I believe , that will sternly that will need to be addressed by the USTA (United States Tennis Association) and how they assess the structure and system now in place . Serena Williams has been the most dominant player in Women’s tennis for just over a decade , but as her career has now reached its apex . There is no telling how long the desire will remain for the fourteen-time singles Grand Slam winner . With her amassed wealth estimated $100 million fortune , and outside business ventures , those scenarios could very well be a driving force that sees the thirty year old step away from the sport sooner , rather than later . On the men’s side of the equation , there is not a great deal that could lead one to believe that there is a future Grand Slam winner amongst the best male players in the United States . The highest ranked in the world rankings , is Sam Querrey at number nineteen , and his run at Wimbledon was somewhat short-lived and about as scintillating as being hit in the face by a wet rag , as he succumbed to the unseeded Bernard Tomic in five sets .

The UFC will kick off UFC 162 , with a co-headline event that will see reigning middleweight champion Anderson Silva defend his title against Chris Weidman . For the Brazilian jujitsu practitioner this will be the twelfth defense of his title, as well as seeking his seventeenth consecutive win inside the octagon . All feats are now UFC records and the primary reason by Silva is considered to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in mixed martial arts (MMA) . As a practitioner (karate & muy-thai) and proponent of MMA , this is now the primary reason why I believe that mixed martial arts has simply left the sport of boxing in the dust . It has now become far more popular as a genre and participant sport , with an ever-increasing demographic, as well as now drawing a large following amongst females . Granted, , with the rise of females fighters such as Ronda Rousey , Jessica Andrade , Liz Carmouche , Alexis Davis and Germaine de Randamie . It is now easy to see why UFC President Dana White finally succumbed to admitting females within the UFC fold , as well creating the bantamweight division weight class for women . Rousey is currently the unbeaten UFC champion within that weight class .

Saturday night’s main and under-card a, provides the most discerning fans of the sport, the chance to see some of the best practitioners of this fast growing sport into the public domain . From my own perspective, I do not believe that Weidman will provide all that stern a test for the champion , simply because of the challenger`s inexperience and the lack of real quality opponents that he has faced over his short career within the UFC ! Silva for his part , has toyed with his opponents , simply making a mockery of the division and the lack of overall talent within the middleweight division . Anderson Silva is not, and has not been thoroughly challenged by any of his opponents over his last sixteen bouts . Those who believe to the contrary , simply point to an instance were that has actually been the case and then point out , what the end result tended to be .

The Mandalay Bay Hotel Resort & Casino Complex , in Las Vegas , Nevada , will be the scene for this latest extravaganza being staged by Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta , as owners of UFC. What started out , as merely a tough man contest where differing fighting styles were pitted against each other , by the respective fighters , has now become a multi-billion dollar global concern , presided over UFC by the Fertitta brothers, in conjunction wit Dana White . In a little more than a decade and a half , from UFC 1 to now , UFC 162 , this sport has become more respectable and more disciplined , in terms of safety issues, than anything shown by the international governing bodies of the sport of boxing . Subsequent events have now become regimented with a greater emphasis being placed on the safety of the fighters . Furthermore , with the misuse of steroids being part of the sports` panacea , MMA under the UFC banner has become one the few sports were their initiative beyond suspending for a first offense , they are also penalized monetarily by the UFC hierarchy and are subject to further punishment in the states where the sport is sanctioned in North America . Can the same be said , with regard to baseball , basketball , football or hockey ? Most definitely not ,when you consider the intransigence shown by the respective bodies , especially under the auspices of Bud Selig , David Stern , Roger Goodell and Gary Bettman .

Baseball has reached the midpoint of its season and a number of teams , I believe can be counted out of contention as it relates to their postseason ambitions . It is pretty much safe to say that barring divine intervention from up on high, the New York Mets (35-47) , will once again be on the outside looking in . Recent results or not , J P Ricciardi and Sandy Alderson can already begin to think about next season , while getting rid of the dead weight on the roster . Far be it for me to suggest , but if it were possible to jettison Fred Wilpon , his son, Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz . I for one , believe that we would all breathe a sigh of relief and so too might the majority of the fans within baseball ! One could also preface that, by saying the same thing for baseball`s hierarchy , because under Bud Selig , let us put it succinctly , not everything he as touched , has actually turned to gold . Selig`s imprint on the game has been akin the AIDS` virus and its virulent spread across the globe , specifically on the continent of Africa and in the Far East Asia where it still remains a scourge .

Matt Harvey may well be having a terrific season for the Mets , but beyond his contributions and that of David Wright . It is pretty much safe to say that there is not a great deal that can be taken away from the season as a positive for the franchise , much less by way of the managerial acumen of Terry Collins and his managerial staff . Coming off a 5-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks the Mets have a mere handful of games before Citi-Field in Flushing, New York, hosts the 2013 MLB All Star Game and all of the festivities we are accustomed to witnessing at the mid-season that is associated with the showcase event .

New York`s next game will pit them against the Milwaukee Brewers (34-50) in a match-up between two desperate ball-clubs seeking redemption at this point of the schedule , after performing poorly through the first half of the season. The rest of the way should prove to be really interesting over the remainder of the MLB schedule .

Homer Bailey of the Cincinnati Reds now has the unique distinction of being the only pitcher in the last decade to have pitched two no-hitters . The fact that he was able to achieve this feat inside the space of eighteen months is all the more surprising . Albeit , that for much of this season in terms of pitching heroics , the buzz has simply been about Matt Scherzer (13-0) of the Detroit Tigers and his phenomenal start to the season , in going 13-0 with a . fourteenth consecutive victory not seemingly out of the question. No-hitters and perfect games are the Holy Grails for a big-league pitcher, and for them to have their names etched in baseball immortality, is not something , that can be taken away or denied. Granted in the age of skepticism and the very fact the game of baseball has been unable to get rid of steroid cheats , makes the fans not necessarily admirers of many of today`s achievements by the players. Especially, when we know that the league hierarchy and the union itself, has done little to rectify the plague that has become widespread within the game . For those of you in doubt , then simply be aware of the fact that over almost two hundred players have now been embroiled in the abuse of steroids covering the game of baseball , covering the Minor League as well as in the Majors . Yet Bud Selig , team owners and Michael Weiner of the MLBPA have simply not offered any explanation for these statistics and the very fact that cheating still remains a blight on and to the game . There still remains the apathy of the fans and analysts alike , which is not unusual, when in large part neither shows a preponderance of showing any damn common sense concerning the issue .

To make things even worse , as it relates to an already tarnished image within the game . The Texas Rangers` GM Jon Daniels signed …. Manny Ramirez , a two-time steroid offender to a Minor League contract . Ramirez who escaped the wrath of a mandatory one hundred game suspension by immediately retiring , then went off and parlayed his services to the highest bidder by playing baseball in the Far East . Now having returned to the game , he has been welcomed back with open arms , as if his actions were never of any consequence . Daniels in a public statement ____ stated, `that taking a flier on Ramirez was well worth the risk`. What I would like to know , is how the ownership group of the Texas Rangers feels that this is in any way beneficial for their image much less of benefit to the game , which is still in a state of disrepair ? Any thoughts on that, at this juncture ?

? Baseball , but for its own stupidity , simply cannot get out of its own way or the repeated pratfalls that it constantly tends to make .

It may not have come as a surprise , given the recent upheavals amongst the coaching fraternity within the NBA . Yet the hiring of Brad Stevens to succeed the nine year tenure of Doc Rivers , may well have taken the whole world by surprise . Stevens who coached the Butler Bulldogs for six successful seasons and then on to two successive NCAA Finals Tournament appearances in 2010 and 2011. . That may well been the sort of composure and coaching acumen that impressed the Boston Celtics` front office staff , led by team owner Wyc Grousbeck and GM Danny Ainge to hire the young college coach . We know the nature of the NBA , where the mindset is to win , now , and along the way place a competitive product on the field of play . With the departures of Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers and the trades tat sent Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets . It would appear that the rebuilding process for the Celtics is now underway. To my mind this maneuver is simply two years too late . Doc Rivers over the last two seasons may well ave been somewhat disgruntled with the direction tat the franchise may well ave been heading in , but it did not seem to negate his intent , tat saw him re-sign with the Boston Celtics , a contract for a three-year extension , paying approximately $ 18 to $20 million over the period in question . Somehow, I get the feeling tat Doc Rivers was simply blowing smoke up everyone`s ass , as to his own discomfort , and $20 million was just a nice way of easing the pain .

Stevens may well bring in his own coaching staff , but a great deal of what may well transpire , will come out of the relationship fomented and built up with Celtics` point guard Rajon Rondo , which will be pivotal the success of the franchise and its long-term future . The team`s draft class and their subsequent transactions may well bring about the success sought , and in light of the cap space created , the franchise will be one of the teams that could be an ideal destination for one of the marquee free agents seeking to make that organization a legitimate contender.
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Given Boston`s poor showing in the postseason in their first round loss to the New York Knicks summed up a rather lamentable season for one of the league`s most prestigious franchises .

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At this point of the year, what if anything do you most look forward to by way of the sporting calendar and the events that may pique your interest ? Simply chime on in with a comment as you see fit .

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Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) Tejay Van Garderen of the United States riding for BMC Racing looks on prior to stage two of the 2013 Tour de France, a 156KM road stage from Bastia to Ajaccio, on June 30, 2013 in Bastia, France. The 100th edition of Le Tour de France commences on the island of Corsica and ends July 21 in Paris. Doug Pensinger /Getty Images North America …

(2) Jan Bakelants of Belgium and Radioshack Leopard celebrates as he crosses the finishing line to win stage two of the 2013 Tour de France, a 156KM road stage from Bastia to Ajaccio, on June 30, 2013 in Ajaccio, France. Getty Images / Bryan Lennon …

(3) Andy Murray of Great Britain embraces Jerzy Janowicz of Poland at the net after their Gentlemen’s Singles semi-final match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 5, 2013 in London, England. Getty Image Europe /John Finney …

(4) Andy Murray of Great Britain plays a backhand during the Gentlemen’s Singles semi-final match against Jerzy Janowicz of Poland on day eleven of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 5, 2013 in London, England. John Finney / Getty Images Europe …

(5) Chris Weidman , seen here speaking with the convened press concerning his upcoming UFC middleweight title about against champion Anderson Silva . The two will square off in the octagon this Saturday at UFC 162 at the Mandalay Bay Complex , in Las Vegas, Nevada ,. MMA Fighter @ copyrighted material …

(6) Anderson Silva , UFC middleweight champion , left , is seen here facing off against challenger Chris Weidman in a pre-fight photo promotion at the Mandalay Bay Complex in Las Vegas , Nevada . Silva is a clear favorite in this record-setting title defense against his less experienced opponent. Getty Images / Matt Berger …

(7) Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Max Scherzer throws to a Toronto Blue Jays batter during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, July 3, 2013, in Toronto. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette …

(8) CINCINNATI, OH – JULY 5: Pitcher Homer Bailey (34) of the Cincinnati Reds and catcher Ryan Hanigan (29) of the Cincinnati Reds are presented with lineup cards by Manager Dusty Baker (12) of the Cincinnati Reds to commemorate Bailey’s second career no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants two nights earlier before a game against the Seattle Mariners at Great American Ball Park on July 5, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images ….

(9) Jon Daniels whose decision to sign slugger Manny Ramirez to a minor league deal has raised a few eyebrows around Major League Baseball. The Rangers` front office executive believes the deal well worth the risk and of benefit to the Texas Rangers organization . Getty Images / Elise Amendola …

(10) Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge , left, speaks alongside new head coach Brad Stevens , right, during a news conference where Stevens was introduced Friday, July 5, 2013, at the NBA basketball team’s training facility in Waltham, Mass. Stevens twice led the Butler Bulldogs to the NCAA title game. He replaces Doc Rivers, who was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. AP Photo/Josh Reynolds …..

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tophatal ………

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A call to arms

A call to arms

There is nothing more disturbing than the continued idiocy that portends as to the self-serving attitude of the modern-day athlete and fans out there who would simply seek to defend the indefensible . Former , seven-time Tour de France winner , Lance Armstrong has become a pariah within his former sport . Not that the sport of cycling can still be taken seriously when its own governing body (International Cycling Union) has been slow to go after the cheaters within cycling and truly punish them with impunity , rather than this continued slap on the wrist and then allowing a number of those cyclists to return to the sport at a later date . Armstrong for is part now is part of an investigation now being conducted by perhaps, the most inept governmental agency within Barack Obama`s administration . The Justice Department , ran rather ineptly by Attorney General , Eric Holder , remains a damn joke .

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Holder`s office having previously conducted an investigation into the allegations against the now disgraced cyclist closed that investigation, stating , that were was insufficient evidence against Lance Armstrong to proceed with an indictment and then prosecution . Pardon me , but what has really changed in the ensuing two years that as really brought about these turn of events and changed, when the evidence first gathered, proving willful malfeasance by Armstrong and several members of his cycling team was more than conclusive ? Yet the sheer apathy of is supporters was there to be seen . Just going to show, the apple does not fall far from the tree , when you simply witness blind ignorance and damn stupidity by a group of individuals who are simply frigging clueless and would rather not seek out the information that is there for all to see. .

Lance Armstrong now believes that he should not be punished for his misdeeds , while he harangues former close confidantes , chastising in private , while now offering what is clearly nowhere as sincere , a contrite apology . For the idiots who still remain under the impression, that the USADA (US Anti Doping Agency) overstepped their boundaries in seeking out Armstrong. Simply get a clue , and actually verify the standing that particular institution has , as concerning the sport and specifically all of sports, as it relates to the IOC (International Olympic Committee) , and that the USADA acts in conjunction with the US Olympic Committee , as well as having powers as mandated by the government . Lance Armstrong`s estimated personal fortune $100 million is in jeopardy, and is now subject to several legal civil suits . As to his own charitable foundation , Live Strong , well , that organization is now seeing a precipitous fall off in public and corporation donations , albeit that the athlete no longer has any ties to the foundation he started over a decade ago , in order to seek a cure for various forms of cancer . Armstrong , himself, a cancer survivor, having overcome testicular cancer, parlayed much of the goodwill and empathy received to build a philanthropic effort that over a decade has raised in excess of $250 million for cancer research . Commendable as that might be, Lance Armstrong preyed and played on the sympathy of the public major corporations alike , lying about his heroism and his deeds . Simply inexcusable , yet many amongst us, view it as the athlete , as having done nothing wrong.

Courtesy of USA Today

For Lance Armstrong, sorry has been the hardest word

By Brent Schrotenboer , USA Today

A day before his famous confession in January, Lance Armstrong called the home of Frankie and Betsy Andreu.

Both were victims of Armstrong, people he bullied and smeared in pursuit of fame and fortune in professional cycling.

He tried to apologize.

“He told me in that phone call he wanted to meet with us, sooner rather than later,” Betsy Andreu told USA TODAY Sports. “I don’t know how Lance expresses his contrition, but ‘sorry’ is just a word unless it’s acted on. Meeting would’ve done wonders.”

She arranged to meet him in April but said he canceled at the 11th hour, telling her he didn’t trust her.

READ: E-mails between Armstrong and Andreu

Four months after he admitted in a lengthy televised interview with Oprah Winfrey that he had doped, lied and bullied for more than 10 years, Armstrong has, for one reason or another, failed to apologize to almost all of the people he promised he would. In some cases, he has tried to reach some who, after years of being attacked by Armstrong, haven’t returned his messages.

Though he had hoped the truth would set him free, Armstrong also has found it potentially could be expensive. The federal government, two insurance companies and others have filed suit against him, saying Armstrong’s confession proved he defrauded them. The potential liability in those cases is more than $135 million for the former cyclist, whose legal argument is essentially that his confession isn’t relevant to the money he collected from them.

Though he had hoped the truth would set him free, Armstrong also has found it potentially could be expensive. The federal government, two insurance companies and others have filed suit against him, saying Armstrong’s confession proved he defrauded them. The potential liability in those cases is more than $135 million for the former cyclist, whose legal argument is essentially that his confession isn’t relevant to the money he collected from them.

Armstrong said he would spend the rest of his life making amends. His critics say it’s the same old self-serving Armstrong, even in contrition. A person close to Armstrong says that’s not the case, though he acknowledged the legal issues.

“It’s way too soon to assess Lance’s post-Oprah conduct and how this will all turn out,” said the person, who didn’t want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation. The person said, “Lance is committed to participating in real dialogues and constructive change” but that his attorneys are not going to put him in “positions where he just becomes a punching bag for other people who have their own agendas.”

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Click on link to read in full.

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While we are at it , how is that a mismanaged entity such as the US Postal Service , in the past three years , has lost in excess of $25 billion and is projected to lose as much as $30 billion ($30,000,000,000) for the fiscal year ending September 2013 , is involved in sponsoring a professional cycling team ? Patriotism asides , it is this sort of asinine idiocy that takes place for what is said to be a stand-alone entity . Yet the Post Office`s debts are in fact guaranteed by the US government , ergo , the US taxpayer . There you go folks , your tax dollars simply not at work for you . When pressed on the fact the current US Postmaster General , Patrick Donahoe , seems to be nonplussed by the fact that, Lance Armstrong , having been sponsored and received in excess of $30 million from Donahoe`s concern , has yet to state why he and the USPS hierarchy have not sought legal recourse for the return of the said funds in question . Personally, I am no longer at a loss to see why it is that the Postal Service is so archaic and simply out of touch with new technology as well as being so inefficient ! Yet, time and time again , I repeatedly ere how efficient US businesses tend to be. I have yet to see it, with a number of so-called corporations , who simply cannot grow organically , but tend to do so by the use of creative accounting and layoffs , only to then have their manufacturing or ancillary staff set up in an office or factory overseas , thereby depriving the US workforce of jobs . Am I, missing something here ?

Well by now, a number of you will know by that rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z has formed a sports` management agency to represent a stable of established sports` stars . Amongst his RocNation Sports Agency signees are, the New York Yankees , Robinson Cano , New York Jets` quarterback , Geno Smith , New York Giants` wide receiver Victor Cruz and Skylar Diggins , recently of the Notre Dame women`s basketball team and drafted by the WNBA`s …. Tulsa Shock . The RocNation agency was formed in conjunction with CAA Sports , one of the worlds biggest sports management and entertainment agencies , with offices worldwide . However , Jay-Z`s latest entrepreneurial endeavor has come under a great deal of scrutiny as well as criticism , because of the way several of the company`s representatives have gone about luring several athletes to sign with the agency .

Now having accumulated an estimate fortune in excess of $450 million , with a budding business empire wherein , Jay-Z, otherwise known as Sean Carter , has multiple business interests, ranging from his upscale night clubs , 40/40 establishments, as well as, a restaurant chain , commercial and residential real estate properties . The rapper is known to be a shrewd businessman , having sold his record label Roc-A-Fella Records , for a reputed $275 million, while still retaining the musical rights to all content performed as an artist while recording for the label . Shrewd indeed , while now having formed RocNation, which now encompasses , fashion and apparel concern , an in-house promotional company , record label , studios , managing and promoting artists signed to the eponymous label. Furthermore, having divested himself of a minority stake in the Brooklyn Nets , and the franchise`s home venue the Barclays Center . It was only a matter of time before the world would begin to speculate were Jay-Z would seek to make his next fortune .

What is now known , concerning Geno Smith`s retaining RocNation as his representation , as an agent , but also for legal matters concerning endorsement deals . It has come to light , that the player , having dropped his original agent , met with representatives from RocNation in something of a clandestine manner , clearly in breaching of NFL rules , because the representatives from the company had yet to be certified by either the league (NFL) and duly recognized by the NFLPA (Players` Union) . To date, no proceedings have been taken against the company by the league hierarchy ,but it does beg the question. Was the company aware that they were in breach of league regulations , in signing the player before having met the criteria of having a certified official sign the player and become his agent ? It is something that has yet to be answered by the rapper or any of his representatives from the company. In light of this however , an impromptu statement was recently made by Smith, stating that he was not lured away from his agent to join RocNation , and that the decision to fire is then agent , was his alone . As to what bearing this might have should either the NFL or Players Union seek to order an investigation , could very well have some ramifications upon how these agents and companies represent themselves in the market place .

The NFL remains a dark and devious world , where one`s word isn’t necessarily a bond of trust or honesty . In 2010 , uber-agent , Drew Rosenhaus negotiated new contracts and deals for a reputed $ 675 million , covering rookies and free agents under his representation . However, in the midst of it all , it should be noted that Rosenhaus , is said to have knowingly poached clients away from rival agents , even when it was known that the players in question remained under contract with their agent at the time . In each of the instances in question, of which there were several , Roger Goodell`s office was said to have found no wrongdoing by Rosenhaus or any of his subordinates from his company , Rosenhaus Sports Representation . Once again, the commissioner , and his office would rather blow smoke up everyone`s rear end , rather than deal with instances, where the image of the NFL is actually being brought into disrepute . How else would you explain the apparent none action by the league even after a number of agents have repeatedly questioned the actions of Dew Rosenhaus and lodged formal complaints not just with the NFL but also the Players` Union ?

I don`t begrudge Jay-Z , or that of his company Roc Nation entering the world of athlete management representation , while seeking to level the playing field . What I do feel in such an instance, is what appears to be the mitigated and premeditated instance , where the conduct of his company has already come into question , either by a genuine mistake or what could very well have been a preplanned effort by a representative of the business , looking to make a big splash in the sports world, as well as in the world of athlete representation. If there is an intent to do something , then at least have the common sense and intelligence to do it right , rather than coming across as a haphazard and incompetent fool ! .

The Atlanta Braves have definitely cooled off from their hot start to the season . Manager Fredi Gonzalez , however, has to be perturbed in recent weeks by team`s sudden inconsistency and the loss of a number games where they were highly favored to win . This has not been lost on Gonzalez`s staff or GM Frank Wren , as they seek to find ways to stop this fait-accompli on the players` part .

One of the bright spots to the Braves` season has been the play of Justin Upton and Evan Gattis , whereby both of these young players have stepped to the plate and they have bot been extremely productive for the team. . Upton`s elder sibling, BJ Upton has been going through his own issues having been acquired by the franchise as a free agent this off-season . The outfielder has yet to find his consistency or power albeit, that as of late he has found ways to be otherwise productive for the Braves .

Coming off a well-earned 2-1 victory over divisional rivals the Washington Nationals , the Braves do seem to be primed to perhaps increase their lead over the Nationals within the NL East , in what now appears to be a two-horse race within the division. The Braves further emphasized their recent dominance of the Nationals by repeating Saturday`s effort with a 6-3 win over Davey Johnson`s players . The Washington Nationals now have problems of their own, in sidelining Bryce Harper , placing the player on the DL , with the outfielder suffering from bursitis of is right knee . And given the issues of the Nationals last season and how they dealt with Stephen Strasburg , let`s just say , are we about to see history simply repeating itself ?

The Braves will host the Pittsburgh Pirates (35-22) , starting Monday , with a three game series at Fulton County Stadium , in Atlanta , Georgia . I am not about to suggest that the Pirates are a resilient team , giving that ball-club`s undoubted affinity for simply imploding during the season and simply falling from grace and out of contention repeatedly within the NL Central over the past few years . And no matter how optimistic manager Clint Hurdle appears to be concerning this team . One simply knows it is only a matter of time before the Pirates simply makes a mockery of their season altogether .

. On the mound for the Braves in the upcoming game will be Kris Medlen , who will be facing off against AJ Burnett , in what is sure to be a great pitching duel. From my own perspective with the retirement of Chipper Jones , as a an avowed fan of this team , I am looking forward to seeing which of the players will now seek to assume the mantle of being a vocal on the field leader of this ball club . Will it be Dan Uggla , B J Upton , Jason Heyward , Craig Kimbrell , Brian McCann or someone else on the roster coming to the fore over the course of this season ?

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Picture gallery .

Your thoughts on the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit .

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) A pensive Lance Armstrong, is seen here at a conference discussing cancer research with convened members of the press as well as top medical professionals in the field of oncology and cancer research . Te former seven-time Tour de France winner was stripped of his titles , having admitted his guilt in a doping scandal that has cast a giant shadow over the sport of cycling . The ICU , the international governing body for the sport , have themselves been extremely slow in bringing in far-reaching measures , that punishes cyclists with impunity regarding their doping . Courtesy of slate,com/ ………..

(2) U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder listens to a question at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 6, 2013. Holder and his office have come in for a great deal of criticism in recent months in his agency`s handling on a wide variety of issues . having first conducted an original investigation into the allegations of Lance Armstrong having been involved in doping, along with several of his teammates on the US Postal Service Cycling team . The Attorney General`s office , the US Justice Department decided not to proceed ahead , claiming that there was insufficient evidence to lead to an indictment and successful prosecution . A mere two and a half years later , it would appear that the agency will now go ahead in prosecuting Armstrong on the basis of the original evidence gathered by the USADA and WADA . It seems that the ongoing stupidity of the US Justice Department knows no boundaries in their ongoing incompetency . REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst ….

(3) Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing about the U.S. Postal Service. Donahoe has been reluctant to explain why it is that the US Post Office has failed to go after Lance Armstrong , and seek the return of $ 30 million paid out to the cyclist in endorsement monies , in a lucrative contract with Armstrong`s team , managed by Johann Bruyneel , a former cyclist , who himself , has come under the spotlight and glare of WADA and the ICU . AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin ….

(4) Rapper , and music mogul Jay-Z ,left , is seen here with New York Jets draftee Geno Smith . The player who came in for a great deal of criticism for his behavior at the NFL Draft , is now the subject of some unwanted publicity , concerning his signing with the rapper`s newly minted sports agency RocNation Sports , a full service management firm , offering sports management and some legal services . Questions have arisen, as to whether or not Smith was signed by NFL certified agent within the agency . Should that not be the case in contravention of NFL and NFLPA rules , then the player and agency itself could become subject of an investigation and a reprimand , if there is clear evidence that those measures were contravened . ……..

(5) Drew Rosenhaus , NFL agent whose company represents over 125 current and former NFL players. Considered to be one of the most powerful agents in the NFL , Rosenhaus has been described by fellow agents and a number of NFL general managers as a pariah , while some have actually referred to him as a “bloodsucking leech “ . Drew Rosenhaus sees himself, as nothing more than a damn good agent , offering his clients the best representation that money can buy . Getty Images / Paula Marks …..

(6) Atlanta Braves’ B.J. Upton rounds third base to applause on a home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals Sunday, June 2, 2013, in Atlanta. John Amis/AP Photo …

(7) Washington Nationals’ Chad Tracy (18) , Ryan Zimmerman (11) , Rick Eckstein , and manager Davey Johnson , right, watch the final moments of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Sunday, June 2, 2013, in Atlanta. Atlanta won 6-3 . AP Photo/John Amis ….

(8) Washington Nationals catcher Jhonatan Solano tags out Atlanta Braves’ Justin Upton (8) at home plate as he tries to score on from third base on a ground ball by Evan Gattis during the sixth inning of the MLB National League baseball game, Sunday, June 2, 2013, in Atlanta. John Amis/AP Photo …

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tophatal ………… 06/03/2013

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NFL news and archived stories

NFL Draft 2013

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MLB news

MLB schedule and probable pitchers

MLB results 2nd June

MLB standings and wildcard standings

This week in MLB history and on this day 3rd June

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A Tribe Called Quest …. …. “Find A Way “

Today’s athlete , well worth the hype, or simply, a sham ?

Today’s athlete , well worth the hype, or simply, a sham ?

Perhaps , I’m wrong , but the idiocy of the fans out there concerning Lance Armstrong’s admission of guilt , is simply another cycle of what we are seeing from today’s athlete, and that is to circumvent the rules for their own financial gain . . Fans are now seeking to jump to the athlete’s defense , because , after his appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s , OWN Network in a prime-time expose` , to discuss his admission of guilt . Having been banned from cycling , Armstrong now seeks to return to competition, as a triathlete , a sport that is now seeking ratification as an event in Summer Olympics . The now, disgraced athlete, took it upon himself lie cheat and steal , in order to get ahead financially and competitively. Anyone who bore witness to this mess of an interview , has to be in complete denial, in thinking that Armstrong was being either contrite or remotely genuine .

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At the center of Lance Armstrong’s stance , is that , when he was made aware that his son sought to defend him while in school , he felt it was time , to step and admit his guilt . It now seems ironic, that having retired from cycling in 2010, now of all moments, would be the time, and he sought to admit his guilt . In that time-frame the cyclist has won several monetary awards in the UK, in several high-profiled defamation and libel lawsuit cases winning awards in excess of $ 4 million. Yet these anally retentive fans, seeking to defend Armstrong, have overlooked the fact he has defrauded the defendants in those cases . And, it should now be noted , that one of Lance Armstrong’s most prominent corporate endorsers , was the USPS (US Postal Service). The Postal Service , also, was one of the three teams that the rider rode for, professionally over the course of his career. This agency , albeit a nongovernmental enterprise , the US government is a guarantor of the agency’s debt , albeit , that the US Postmaster General Patrick R Donahue , is under a great deal of pressure to downsize the postal business as a concern , while seeking to return to profitability once again .

Pardon me for saying this , but with the postal service being a goddamn mess , what business has it, in sponsoring a cycling team , when in terms of marketing and advertising , its monies could have been better spent within the print, television and radio market as a viable way of getting their brand and product more widely known to the public ? The US Postal Service has not been a profitable concern in over eight years . Armstrong signed a multi-year, $30 million deal , which was subject to a morals’ clause when this contract became legal in standing and validation. Again, another situation, that has been overlooked by the fans seeking to come to Lance Armstrong’s defense . As of yet , neither the US Postal Service or the US Justice Department have stated whether or not they will seek to sue Lance Armstrong for the return of the sum paid out to the athlete , because he has in essence broken the terms of his contract by breaching an agreement and his admission of guilt . So I say to the fans out there still jumping to Armstrong’s defense , even if you are entitled to an opinion , do you now also condone his defrauding of the US government , as well as the US taxpayer ?

Over two consecutive nights of bile inducing giddiness, Oprah Winfrey fawned over her guest , while not seeking to elicit a meaningful answer or answers from her subject . Yet the public, were meant to take this idiotic interview, seriously ? All of Lance Armstrong’s altruism has been irreparably damage from a PR standpoint , because the fallout from this all , is that we have seen a precipitous drop-off in donations to Live Strong , Armstrong’s charitable organization. Having raised in excess of $ 500 million over the past decade for cancer research, the one good thing that the cyclist has done in his life will also somehow be besmirched in light of his recent admittance .

With ever-growing possibility that he will most definitely face the legal wrath of his former corporate sponsors , do you get the feeling that the idiotic actions of Lance Armstrong show him to be a scheming and deceitful individual , Those whom he once held as close confidantes within his inner circle , whom he then cast aside , when they became defiant and questioned his the veracity of his claims that he “was clean” , the cyclist simply sought their ruination by any means necessary , with his subordinates taking the lead . Greg Lemond , multiple winner ( three-time ) , of the Tour de France winner , cycling’s most prestigious event , also questioned the veracity of Lance Armstrong’s claims , that he competed as a drug free competitor. We now know that not to be true , however , what has now come to light was the fact Lance Armstrong used his legal representatives through surreptitious means to ruin Lemond’s Trek Cycling , a company (builder of competitive mountain and racing cycles) which Greg Lemond co-founded with several business. The former champion , was simply unable to gain financing or able to gain further access to the billion dollar annual market , when Armstrong and his legal representation fired off oral and repeated written insinuations , that Greg Lemond was not someone who could be trusted . Am I mistaken , Lance Armstrong insinuates, that , Lemond could not be trusted , but he hid behind a web of deceit and lies to cover up his own misdeeds ? . At what point , are the public meant to believe the sincerity of Lance Armstrong , when even he cannot be truthful with himself , family , friends or the public for that matter ? Fuck Lance Armstrong , the horse he rode in on , along with his throng of anally retentive fans ! Armstrong with his admission of guilt has done irreparable harm to his image , that no matter he now hopes to achieve professionally or in his private , the vast majority of the public will treat with a great deal of disdain , and deservedly so !

Well, as LeBron James and the Miami Heat seek to make a quick return to the NBA Finals . The questions arises, which of the teams within the Eastern Conference will seek to compete against the reigning champions ? There was a great deal of hype made over the acquisitions made by the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks prior to the season commencing.

The Eastern Conference is not profligate with great teams, just a number of good teams , with the lone standout exception being the Miami Heat, as defending champions. And, as LeBron James goes , <a href=”http://nba.com/heat/stats/2012″&gt; then so does this team . . The Heat (26-12) , coming into Monday , had the best record within the conference , and are closely followed by the New York Knicks (25-13) , the surprisingly resilient Indiana Pacers 25-16) and the Brooklyn Nets (24-16) . Now while there can be no denying that LeBron James is an exceptional talent , with the player first coming to the nation’s attention , with ESPN , essentially covering much of James’ high school playing career , with prime-time broadcasts , and very much the feeling , that this was simply being done , to cultivate his jump directly from high school and into the professional ranks of the NBA .

The league simply yearned for a star, that would give its image an uplift , in spite of the fact that such established stars as Kobe Bryant , Kevin Garnett , Tim Duncan , Dirk Nowizki and Allen Iverson were already providing the NBA with a great deal of entertainment and value . Undeniably, while the league has sought to market , its stars , rather than the franchises , which in essence, has led to the financial morass , we now see encompassing so many franchises around the NBA . What was really sought , was competitive balance or dare one say , a gripping rivalry within the league , it hadn’t seen since the heydays of the old …. Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers (Showtime rivalry) rivalries . And the days of Larry Bird of the Celtics going up against Magic Johnson of the Lakers , now resonates more , than a current match-up of the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers , being led by current stars , Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett .

LeBron James’ entrance into the NBA ,as the number one overall draft pick from the 2003 NBA Draft , a class , in which the player was the standout athlete and personality from the rookies of that season. Drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers , whose owner , billionaire financier , Dan Gilbert , whose virtues sought to extoll the franchise’s wishes of bringing a championship to the city of Cleveland within five years, merely because of the presence of his prodigious talent and number one draft pick. The fact of the matter was , on paper alone , one could see that the roster was not a team one could see as a posing a formidable challenge for the NBA title that season, or any other season , unless the franchise was prepared to build around the prodigious talents of LeBron James .

Courtesy of the Morning Journal


Cleveland Cavaliers maintain connections with LeBron James’ agent (NBA Insider)

By BOB FINNAN
rfinnan@MorningJournal.com
@BobCavsinsider

Say what you want about Rich Paul.

He might be young and inexperienced in the dog-eat-dog world of sports agents, but he has one very endearing quality: He’s like the Pied Piper.
Paul, 32, founded his own sports agency, Klutch Sports Group, in September. When he left Creative Arts Agency, he took an impressive list of clients with him. The most noteworthy was Miami Heat forward LeBron James.

Paul, a graduate of Benedictine High School, has begun a working relationship with Cleveland agent Mark Termini, who will oversee contract negotiations for Paul’s clients.
Termini founded Mark Termini Associates Inc. in 1986 and has negotiated more than $400 million in pro sports salaries. He has represented 15 first-round picks in the NBA and served on the Agent Advisory Committee to the National Basketball Players Association for the 1993, 1997 and 2003 NBA collective bargaining negotiations.

When Paul left CAA, several agencies tried to recruit him. He’s the hottest name in sports agents and his client list continues to grow. He recently added Wizards forward/center Kevin Seraphin to his already growing list that includes Cavaliers forward/center Tristan Thompson, Los Angeles Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe, Wizards forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Spurs guard Cory Joseph.

Termini will continue to run his agency and represent Nuggets center Kosta Koufos and several players overseas. His existing clients will not become part of Klutch Sports. The two companies will remain separate entities.
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As I alluded to earlier , James first caught the nation’s attention with the televising of his high school games by ESPN , while the young prodigy honed his skills at St Mary’s High School , in Akron , Ohio. A state title added into the mix , made Lebron James a top recruit , amongst the powerhouse college programs across the country , but he would eschew those choices, for the financial inducements, rewards and untold wealth that awaits in the NBA . Granted , there were rumors , unfounded to this day , that James , was already privee` to the financial backing of a benefactor , with suspicions being that it was his long-time agent and business partner , Leon Rose , allegations which have always been denied by the player and agent alike. Yet , there has always been a genuine suspicion , unfounded or not , that nothing everything was above board , as it related to James’ high school career . I firmly believe to this day, had he made the jump straight the college ranks , he would have been found , immediately ineligible , because of the alleged improprieties that surrounded his high school career ! There was a great deal that James would not divulge publicly , and while it no longer warrants speculation , it does give credence that although changes would later be made concerning the eligibility process of players entering the NBA Draft , specifically from the high school level , at eighteen . The concern has always been , even with those mandated changes agreed to, in principle by the NBA hierarchy , team owners and the NBPA , those maneuvers could not stop a youngster from seeking to make a professional basketball living , by simply playing in South America , Europe or China .

Be it for business purposes or otherwise , James has left the “uber-management” agency CAA to join the burgeoning sports’ management agency of Rich Paul of Klutch Sports (Management) Agency LLC,. LeBron James, remains a media darling, without having any major off-court controversy attached to his name or persona . His brand, has now become a global phenomenon , with a vast array of commercial interests attached to his name , which had made him highest earning NBA athlete leading Kobe Bryant , inclusive of on-court earnings and commercial endorsements .

The accolades for James have been pretty impressive , as he now enters his tenth year in the NBA , three league MVP awards , Rookie of the Year Award, Finals’ MVP , multiple All Star appearances (nine-times) , as well as being the youngest person to score 20,000 points and reach 5,000 assists all before the age of 28. However , the greatest non-controversy of his career , may well have been of his own creation in part , which led to his abrupt departure from the Cavaliers. A year removed from the Cavaliers’ lone appearance in the 2007 NBA Finals , rumblings grew out of the James’ sheer frustration of seeing the team embarrassed at the hands of Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs in a totally lopsided series in which the Cleveland Cavaliers were swept 4-0 .

At 10-32 , the Cavaliers are firmly rooted at the bottom of the Central Division within the Eastern Conference , with no signs of a respite on the horizon. Meanwhile , LeBron James has as such cultivated an image , in which he now might be not only be the best player in the NBA , but also its most popular player , by an enormously wide margin. Whether or not, he is able to emulate the achievements of his hero and NBA icon , Michael Jordan , remains to be seen . But it is now, becoming increasingly , that the only person who can now derail James’ own fortunes , is LeBron James , himself . LeBron James, now has the world at his feet , with the goals that he is setting for himself , as he seeks to join the legendary greats of the game . Unfortunately , the same cannot be said for a number of athletes across the sports’ panacea , who through their own sheer stupidity feel that they can either circumvent the rules of the game , or more often than not rule of law , with the ever apathetic fan , more often than not either seeking to jump to their defense ,by making the most asinine of statements without ever seeking out the details for themselves as to the athletes’ own motivations behind their misdeeds .

It seems a bygone era has past , since the sports’ world had real sportsmen parading their athleticism , on the North American sporting landscape, showing their sportsmanship both on and off the field of play. Names such as, Arthur Ashe , Bill Russell, David Robinson , Barry Sanders , Peyton Manning , Jackie Robinson , Roberto Clemente` , Sandy Koufax , Greg Maddux , Ed Moses , and Marvin Hagler graced us all with their exceptional skill-sets . We are now, being sold athletes who are gift wrapped with very little personality , invariably are moderately passable skills, in their chosen fields and who might be the possessed with the IQ to barely conversant in the English language , much less knowing how to carry themselves with some semblance of class , dignity and integrity . Make of it what you will.

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Picture gallery .

Do you believe that today’s professional athlete should be looked upon as a role model , or better yet be repeatedly used in such as medium by their respective governing bodies ? Chime on this topic and anything else you believe to be pertinent on this subject matter .

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Lance Armstrong is seen here being interviewed by talk show host and entrepreneur , Oprah Winfrey. Over two nights with each night being set aside for what was said to be an in-depth interview , Armstrong was evasive with a number of his responses , and tried to any deflect any responsibility for some of his actions. The now disgraced cyclists , seeks to make a return to the ranks of professional sports , as a triathlete . Whether or not is a a possibility remains to be seen. The sport’s governing body in North America , USA Triathlon , might not wish to be associated with the now disgraced athlete , with the baggage he still carries , in terms of his admittance and he is bound to be a defendant in a slew of litigious actions that will be taken against him as defendant in a mountain of civil suits , that could very well wipe out his estimated $100 million fortune. AP Photo/ Marc Wilson /USA Today picture @ copyrighted material …

(2) Culpable , deniability , Lance Armstrong looks pensive, as he is asked a question by Oprah Winfrey . USA Today / AP Photo / Marc Wilson ….

(3) Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) passes over Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant during the first half of their NBA basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, in Los Angeles. The Heat would go on to defeat the Lakers 99-90 . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ….

(4) LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 17: LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat rises for a dunk against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 17, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(5) Miami Heat’s LeBron James (6) dunks against the Golden State Warriors during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. James on Wednesday became the youngest player in NBA history to score 20,000 points . AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez …

(6) Cavaliers’ GM , Chris Grant , left , is seen here , seated alongside head coach Bryon Scott at the Quicken Loans Arena , in downtown Cleveland, Ohio,. This season the Cleveland Cavaliers are struggling within the Central Division of the Eastern Conference , as they are firmly rooted at the bottom of the division. It would appear that some major upheavals might be on the way concerning the roster as teams approach the the trade deadline on the 21st February , 2013 . AP Photo / Andrew Hughes …..

(7) The 2003 NBA Draft class , showing several of the first round picks . Among the notables are # 1 overall pick LeBron James , far right , Dwyane Wade , fifth from the right , Carmelo Anthony , front row, left, and immediately behind Anthony , is Chris Bosh . This class of 2003 is said to be one of the most “impressive ” and productive in recent NBA history . Picture NBA.com archives ….

(8) Arthur Ashe is seen here alongside Jimmy Connors at Wimbledon . Ashe became the first African American male to win a Grand Slams singles’ title , as well as being ranked # 1 in the men’s rankings . Arthur Ashe, would go on to defeat Connors in the 1975 Wimbledon Men’s Singles Finals pulling off the improbable upset over the then , highly favored Connors , defeating the fellow American , in four sets , 6-1, .6-1, 5-7, 6-4. BBC Enterprises …

(9) 2005 Hall of Fame inductee , Sandy Koufax is seen here at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York. . The much revered , Koufax , has been called one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history , and most certainly his stats bear this out . The player is however , admired for his integrity both on and off the field of play , and for his philanthropic and humanitarian efforts crossing all ethnic divides . AFP/ REUTERS/ Andrew McKinnon …

(10) Often called the ” greatest middleweight boxer” of the “modern era” , ” Marvelous” Marvin Hagler was an assassin in ring , but a gentleman outside the ring , leading a humble life . After his controversial loss to ” Sugar” Ray Leonard for the undisputed middleweight title in 1987 . Hagler, would quit boxing , vowing never to return to the ring again, citing the fact that, boxing had become corrupt, and filled with seedy officials at every rung of the ladder within the sport. Marvin Hagler wasn’t far off the mark in his suspicions , given the ongoing corruption , controversies and exploitation that still befalls the sport of boxing today . Ring Magazine / Boxing archives ……

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Hot chic pic of the day , Katie Price aka ” Jordan ”

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Not yet the biggest export to come out of the UK , but her “assets” are well worth looking at !

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Sports Stories That Simply Aren’t Worth Reporting But Somehow They’re Out There

Sports Stories That Simply Aren’t Worth Reporting But Somehow They’re Out There

Minnesota Timberwolves’ coach Kurt Rambis is said to be aggrieved as to the uncertainty concerning his impending future with the organization. Given his coaching record and the mere fact that the Timberwolves had another miserable season pretty much sums up what the front office’s thoughts may well be on the beleaguered coach . Team owner Glen Taylor and GM David Kahn surely know that with the upcoming NBA Draft due to take place on the 23rd June they can ill afford to any type of indecision on their part. They either retain the coach or relieve him of his duties and immediately start a search for his successor. Any indecsiveness on their part hurts the image of the franchise and shows complete ineptitude to the fans and across the NBA landscape in general .

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Things are difficult as it as already for the Minnesota Timberwolves without now further opening up themselves to ridicule concerning their coach and his job status. But then again the mindset within this organization can be easily summed up in two words …” woefully inept “.

Now don’t get me wrong I was happy to see the New York Knicks make the NBA postseason but the mere fact that their sojourn there lasted about as long as Usain Bolt would take to run a 100m race , essentially told you all that you needed to know about this team and such the organization. Team owner James Dolan is looking to extend the contract of GM Donnie Walsh the seventy four year old senior executive within the Knicks’ organization . If the rumors are to be believed Dolan wanted offer Walsh a two year contract extension as they seek to rebuild the basketball team . Donnie Walsh in spite of his undoubted NBA knowledge knows that in many ways he’s not getting any younger and at the same time his job placed him under a great deal of pressure allowing him very little time to be with his family. The general manager has told the owner that he will not be returning to the organization next season , choosing instead to relinquish his duties with the New York Knicks .

I certainly would have thought that the New York Knicks would be better prepared in terms of having a long term plan as to successor by having someone within their front office be tutored by Walsh since his original hiring by the organization. But somehow given the plethora of executives that make up board of the New York Knicks you simply knew that sheer incompetency wouldn’t be far behind in terms of the decision making that the organization has come to be known for. If Hank Ratner or any other of his peers aren’t capable of assuming Walsh’s role , then I would hate to think that Knicks would be idiotic enough to rehire Isiah Thomas to a position he once held within the organization. There is no way in hell that the Knicks would consider rehiring their former VP & Head of Basketball Operations , albeit , that Thomas stated that he has no interest in rejoining the organization but then again we are talking about the New York Knicks .

Cyclist Lance Armstrong the seven time winner of the Tour de France continues to maintain his innocence concerning the latest admissions by Armstrong’s former teammates Tyler Hamilton and George Hincapie former teammates members on the Radio Shack team ran team manager by Johan Bruyneel . The ongoing cause-de-celebre concerning concerning Armstrong’s innocence , the fact both Hamilton’s and Hincapie’s evidence was sworn testimony under oath given to law officials of the Justice Department . It would be simply idiotic to think that either cyclist would choose to perjure themselves knowing well that a federal sentence would await them courtesy of the Bureau of Prisons within the federal penitentiary system. In the advent of this all Armstrong seeks an apology from CBS News and in particular from the producers of the broadcast outlets news magazine program ’60 Minutes’. Anyone who witnessed the in depth segment on Tyler Hamilton and in particular his allegations concerning his former teammate would be hard pressed not to believe that allegations made by Hamilton . If nothing else Armstrong who has been adding to defense with a legion of of defense attorneys in pursuant of the Justice Department’s decision to seek the indictment of Armstrong for the illegal use of use steroids in particular EPO and several other known illicit substances .

From my own perspective cycling may well be the most corrupt sport on the landscape and the mere fact that UCI the international governing body for cycling has been literally all too slow in seeking to clean up its sport. L’Equipe which oversees the Tour de France has been less reluctant to actually come forward and say that they have not done enough to make this sport more appealing and its image above reproach . Instead L’Equipe’s greatest wish has been simply to make millions of dollars through the event with the broadcast rights of the Tour across the globe. My own wish would be to see the IOC the governing body of the Summer Olympics to simply suspend the sport from the Olympics until UCI has a strict and comprehensive drug policy in place . It would not be too much to ask but the idiocy within the sport of cycling does leave a great deal to be desired ! It has been all talk and with two of the sport’s most visible faces having been embroiled in drug controversy only a complete idiot would take this sport seriously and think that it has something tangible to offer !

Clearly anyone who believes that the Chicago Cubs’ fortunes are about to change hasn’t been watching this team play at all. I’m not saying that the curse of the goat still looms over Wrigley Field but at this juncture if a tornado were to hit that storied edfice the aftermath in terms of the destruction brought it would be a hell of a lot better than what the Cubs’ fans have been asked to endure since the start of the season . The NL Central where the Cubs reside along with the division leading St Louis Cardinals (33-24) whereas the Chicago Cubs have simply been mediocre . This team is on a three game losing streak and has lost seven of their last ten games during which manager Mike Quade and his coaching staff have tried to to the players playing with a great deal more resolve. GM Jim Hendry along with the ownership group headed by the Ricketts’ family has simply tried to instill a sense of purpose of and an eagerness to win . The long terms of efforts can’t go unrecognized with regard to the refurbishment of Wrigley Field in order to make the venue fan friendly. But that in of itself won’t be enough as the organization seeks its World Series title in over a century . Simply put the years of mediocrity that the fans may well have thought long gone still seem to be alive and present. .

So the so called saga concerning Alex Rodriguez’s stance that he simply abused the league’s steroid policy through sheer naivete` and the fact that he and his cousin Yuri Sucart were simply looking to get an edge no longer seems to make any sense . In the aftermath of his admission and apology to the league hierarchy and the New York Yankees still hasn’t stopped the player from associating with his cousin after Rodriguez having been advised not to associate communicate with Sucart on the Yankees’ property or any baseball facility during the season . It would appear that the requests are lost on Alex Rodriguez with there now being evidence to suggest that the player and Sucart have been seen together at the St Regis Hotel in San Francisco prior to a recent game played against the Oakland Athletics at the A’s ballpark . What might be even more unpalatable is the very fact that Sucart has accompanied Rodriguez to several games this season with the player knowing full well that he has been advised by senior executives within the Yankees’ hierarchy not to associate with his cousin.

If one remembers Rodriguez’s apology suggested that he and Yuri Sucart were merely experimenting with the use of steroids and the regimen followed was he says… so ill disciplined that it’s hard to take the player at his word when it has come to light that his name has come up repeatedly , in conjunction with the indictment of Orlando medical professional Dr Anthony Galea . The doctor is now awaiting trial with regard to the sale and transportation of illicit narcotics and steroids across international borders . The Justice Department having arraigned and indicted Galea ____ they are now seeking assistance from the medical professional in seeking the indictment of other subjects to whom he supplied steroids and other illicit substances. Many of the individuals that Anthony Galea is said to have supplied are a professional athletes in MLB , NBA , NFL and NHL and college athletes . If that isn’t now a cause for concern given the fact that Commissioner Bud Selig is still of the belief that the game now has the strictest testing policy in all professional sports , one has to ask what they will now do in light of these latest allegations concerning Alex Rodriguez. And with the player being less than forthright when asked about his name being associated with Galea and his cousin Yuri Sucart can we really now expect anything form of action by the league ? Rob Manfred a senior league official and Head for VP of Player Relations has spoken directly within the New York Yankees concerning Rodriguez’s association with his cousin. If this is what the league believes to be the appropriate action I firmly believe that the league has no idea as to what it takes to stem the flow of the illicit use of PED’s within the game , with players now flouting clear instructions makes a mockery their edicts . Is it any wonder that Manny Ramirez having failed a second drug test was allowed to walk away without any form of punishment levied against him by the league ? That is the complete asinine stance that MLB has with regard to its stance when players flout the rules . As for MLBPA and their Executive Director Michael Weiner and his response to what is now an acute issue that even the league and union have failed to really address .

In the wake of the Jim Tressel fiasco we are now learning that the quarterback for the football team Terrelle Pryor had been driving on a suspended license . What is now coming to light concerning this also is the very fact that the player who drives a 2011 Nissan 350Z which we have been informed was purchased by his mother Thomasina Pryor as a trade in . In light of that however since Pryor’s entrance to Ohio State he has been driving around in a number of vehicles for which there is no substantive evidence that would suggest he owned the vehicles in question or that they were leased by the player. The longer this saga has gone on the more idiotic both university President E Gordon Gee and the AD Gene Smith appear to be in light of their actions and what we now know Tressel had suppressed from his superiors . As the investigation went on both Gee and Smith stood behind their actions of a mere suspension and monetary fine of the coach knowing full well that were other far more serious allegations that had already come to light. Now with Pryor now subject of the school’s own internal investigation we’re now finding out that the NCAA is prepared to conduct their own separate investigation into the player and these latest allegations. And one wonders how corrupt collegiate sports is now said to be ? Why not simply allow the players to be paid, gamble on their games and have done with it ? It is becoming abundantly clear that collegiate athletics no longer can be taken seriously on any level at all !

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Picture gallery for your approval. By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit and as always thanks for the continued support as it is gratefully appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………………………………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – APRIL 13: Head coach Kurt Rambis of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts to a play against the Houston Rockets during a game on April 13, 2011 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Timberwolves’ front office is said to be undecided as to whether or the coach will be retained for the upcoming season. Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(2) David Kahn seated right alongside Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. Kahn recently assumed the mantel of being the team’s GM as well as Head of Basketball Operations. He’s also keep the title of President of the Timberwolves’ organizational structure. Besides having to deal with the Rubio situation Kahn also will be in search of a new coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Richard Clarke-Patterson ………

(3) GM Donnie Walsh (seated left) is seen here alongside Knicks’ team owner James Dolan . Walsh has declined the team’s offer for a two year contract extension deciding instead to be with his family , retiring from the NBA having been involved in the sport for over four decades. AP Photo/ Chris Young ….

(4) Lance Armstrong of the USA, riding for Team Astana, speaks with Astana team director Johan Bruyneel before the start of stage six of the 2009 Tour Down Under January 25, 2009 in Adelaide, Australia. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ….

(5) Tyler Hamilton seen here during his interview with 60 Minutes’ correspondent Scott Pelley reiterates his position that former teammate Lance Armstrong knowingly took EPO amongst other illicit banned substances during competition. Courtesy of CBS News/Getty Images …

(6) Aramis Ramirez (16) of the Chicago Cubs hits a two-RBI double against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on June 5, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Cubs 3-2 in 10 innings. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images …..

(7) Cubs’ GM Jim Hendry is seen here with Alfonso Soriano as the player is formally introduced to the convened press . AP Photo/ Tonny Todd ….

(8) Cubs’ manager Mike Quade all smiles for the moment but for how long ? His job isn’t yet imperiled but who knows should the <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/team/roster_active.jsp?c_id=chc&quot;. team continue to lose without any real effort on the part of the players ? Getty Images / Keith Stoddart …….

(9) Yuri Sucart , cousin of Yankees’ slugger Alex Rodriguez and whose name has once again been associated with the player in spite of the warnings issued to the player and New York Yankees’ organization. Both Rodriguez and Yucart were seen together in public at the St Regis Hotel and then again at the A’s ballpark . It would appear that the player has failed to heed the requests of MLB as well as the New York Yankees in not associating with his relative . The player who in his admission to the use of steroids stated that he was supplied with the prohibited substances by Yuri Sucart . AP/Getty Images / Rafael T Aguillar ……

(10) ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 5: the New York Yankees the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on June 5, 2011 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. The Yankees won 5-3 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ….

(11) In this photo taken Monday, May 30, 2011, Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor arrives for a players only meeting at the Woody Hayes Complex in Columbus, Ohio. Pryor, the highest profile recruit of former coach Jim Tressel’s 25-year coaching career, is one of five Buckeyes who have already been suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for taking money and tattoos from local tattoo-parlor owner Edward Rife, who pleaded guilty last week to federal drug trafficking and money-laundering charges. AP Photo/Terry Gilliam …

(12) Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor arrives in this Nissan 350Z, center, to a players only meeting Monday, May 30, 2011, at the Woody Hayes Complex, in Columbus, Ohio. AP Photo/Terry Gilliam ……..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

Alan aka tophatal ……………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Stupid Things Within The Realms of Sports That There Doesn’t Always Seem To Be Answer For

Stupid Things Within The Realms of Sports That There Doesn’t Always Seem To Be Answer For

There’s a time and place for everything and everything in its place. Much as I love the ardor with which an analyst expresses their passion for sports the one thing I cannot condone is when they choose to use that platform to express their political beliefs and views ! It’s not the appropriate platform and I seriously doubt that any sport’s fan really needs to hear that diatribe to begin with. My reason for saying this comes from the very fact that former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz saw fit to ask for public donations for the Republican National Committee on air during an ESPN broadcast. Had it been a Democratic supporter I still would have taken issue with that person expressing themselves in such a way !. The platform there for the mediator and hosts of the program was to discuss the landscape of the collegiate football scene and simply that. If Holtz wants to revisit the issue and look for donations then let him do so , away from halls of ESPN . He ought to go out in public and make his case there and while he’s at it Lou here’s a tip Republican politicians like their counterparts on the opposite side of the aisle also lie …….. I repeat they also lie.

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Slide show for your perusal.

Holtz’s credibility after this can’t at all be taken seriously no matter which way one tries to spin it but somehow ESPN will look to make light of it all and that’s even if the former coach is somehow reprimanded after that display. I was under the impression that the outlet was a sports broadcast network and not a political platform for the thoughts and views of their employees ? Isn’t it enough already that we have both Fox News and CNN out there squabbling like petulant children about the state of the nation without being able to offer up any solutions whatsoever for what ails the nation ?

Here’s a thought why would a respected journalist such as Brent Musburger make a statement ….. ‘that the use of steroids has a place within sports if handled correctly’ . Brett isn’t it enough that the governing bodies of the four major sports can barely deal with the issue of their athletes using steroids and other prohibited substances ? But yet you come out and make a statement that you’ve clearly not placed much thought into . And by trying to negate it somewhat by stating you don’t see where steroids has a place in varsity sports only further complicates your argument to begin with . Students athletes as well as high school athletes are still impressionable minds and by seeing what their peers are doing within the professional ranks they’ll look to do the same. At the same time by trying to use the rationale that having a medical professional be there to prescribe the medication to these athletes will stem the tide of illegal use is completely asinine to begin with ! Medical professionals like anyone else can be easily corrupted when the price is right. Simply ask Dr Anthony Galan how that can happen ? This medical professional is currently under Federal indictment for the possession of several banned steroids and the trafficking of HGH and selling of the substance without a prescription. And through this doctor’s testimony it is believed that he could very well implicate several noted athletes in each of the four major sports. The following are or have been patients of Galen and they are Alex Rodriguez , Tiger Woods , Evander Holyfield and Andy Pettite to name but a few. And while no one would insinuate that Tiger Woods may have used an illicit substance to further his career , any association with this doctor seems to have brought about a great deal of controversy.

Tour de France champion Alberto Contador was recently suspended UCI the international governing body for cycling after his blood sample tested positive for the substance clenbuterol . This substance apart from prescribed to alleviate asthma symptoms is used in the field of agriculture for the fattening up cattle and poultry before they are then slaughtered for consumption within the food chain. Contador claims the reason for such high levels in his blood stream stems from his having eaten tainted meat and that in doing so he also suffered food poisoning. Have I missed something ? For the levels registered within his body in producing such a high level of the steroid Contador might have had to have consumed at least two cows. But then again what do I know other than the fact that the sport of cycling has become a complete joke over the last decade. It’s not as if UCI and L’Equipe who oversees the sport’s most famous race the Tour De France , has ever really been on the fast track to cleaning up the sport. And at the same time while controversy swirls around one of the sport’s greatest riders in Lance Armstrong. There too Armstrong has his detractors and is now himself currently under investigation by the Justice Department. It seems Armstrong can’t catch a break no matter what he does , even when he has and exhibits the best of intentions.

Armstrong despite all of the denials and the fact that he has never tested positive for any illicit substance still can’t escape the taint of his sport. And even now having retired it seems that there too with all of the controversy that there now is within the sport he has to find a way to deflect the negative publicity that now seems to be coming his way. Friends and foes alike have given affidavits as to what they say they know and what they have seen for themselves. As to how this will all play out is dependent upon the action taken by the Justice Department as to how they will proceed. What I do know is with them having spent in excess of $15 million on the Barry Bonds’ trial and the likelihood that a large enough sum will also be spent on the upcoming Roger Clemens’ trial I get the distinct feeling that we’re not about to hear the last of this, as it concerns the plight of Lance Armstrong. And with an outcome not yet to be determined concerning Bonds’ guilt or innocence and the fact that the trial will once again resume in early April 2011, I’d like to know who’s keeping tabs on the money that’s being spent on this all ? It doesn’t appear to be anyone within the Justice Department and certainly no one within Congress seems to be acutely aware as to what’s going on. But then again these are the very same buffoons who for two solid weeks in had the hierarchies of each of the four major sports up on Capitol Hill asking them routinely idiotic questions without ever once obtaining a succinct answer. Need I say anymore on the matter when it comes to Congress’ involvement in sports ?

Baylor basketball star LaceDarius Dunn has been thrown off the basketball team and suspended indefinitely by the coach Scott Drew. The reason behind this was the fact that Dunn has been charged with aggravated assault of his girlfriend Lacharlesla Edwards , mother of Dunn’s three year old son. The player was arrested by Waco Police Dept after an altercation took place in which Dunn is alleged to have broken his girlfriend’s jaw with a punch. What makes this now so surprising is the very fact that Edwards has recanted her statement and has pleaded with coach Drew to lift the suspension on Dunn. Pardon me for saying this but what the fu_k is wrong with this female ? She now claims that she was injured in a fall at her apartment and that her jaw wasn’t broken. One can only surmise that the other bruises suffered by Edwards either came from the fall or when her child may well have squeezed too tightly on her arms and legs in the midst of crying ? I mean you never know with three year olds and how angry they can become when a parent isn’t taking any notice of them.

Lacharlesla Edwards while now stating that Dunn never proceeded to hit her , it has to be noted that the police who answered the call aren’t thoroughly convinced that she hasn’t been coerced into seeking to have the charges dropped against her boyfriend. She also claims that she’s fully recovered and that the relationship between her and the LaceDarius is better than it has ever been. Well that might be until the next time the player goes off the rails and proceeds to batter her ………. again …….. allegedly. Any form of domestic violence where we are privee` to the actions that have taken place , be it in the public eye in terms of an athlete or just an incident inside the home of an ordinary couple cannot be overlooked and thought of as merely another incident. It is still an act of violence and where it involves the victim being a female who’s in fear of her life then it has to be dealt with appropriately. I for one at first glance find this story abhorrent but what might be even more distasteful is the very fact that the victim here is in complete denial and is now pleading with the coach to lift the suspension against the player .

And while no public statement has been made by any official from Baylor over this incident. I can only hope that in this particular case Scott Drew sticks to the action that he has already taken and doesn’t rescind the suspension of LaceDarius Dunn as it would send the wrong message and at the same time condone the actions of the player. There was a reason behind law enforcement being called to the residence in the first place for this incident and I hardly think that it had anything at all to do with a slip and fall. How about you ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

What thoughts if any do you have on the topics raised within this piece ? By all means leave a comment concerning your feelings on the issues raised .

Alan aka tophatal …………… 😦 _ 🙂

News And Views In The Ever Changing World Of Sports

News And Views In The Ever Changing World Of Sports

We can all agree that at this time of the year there’s not much news out there that one would deem newsworthy in the world of sports. As of now there’s not really much to opine about as it now stands. Well that’s unless you’re an aggrieved USC Trojans’ fan then you can’t take solace in the fact that the SEC or NCAA won’t as of yet be investigating the allegations into the fact that former Gators’ player Maurkice Pouncey may well have improperly accepted $100,000 whilst attending the University of Florida while on his athletic football scholarship. Well nothing new there given the fact that Gators’ football coach Urban Meyer is bout as strict with his players as the Los Angeles County Court System are on their treatment of Hollywood celebrities . But then again what else should one expect ? It has become the norm to see athletes and celebrities be treated as nothing more than Pre-K children each time they ran afoul of the law or knowingly break the rules of an educational institution and that of the NCAA .

Knowing what we already know about collegiate athletics when stories such as this come to the public’s attention we can either choose to ignore them or we can choose to discuss them like mature adults. But then again when discussing collegiate sports and in particular football it can border upon sectarianism in its resolve in trying to garner anything intelligent or enlightening as part of any type of debate or discussion. The NCAA > for its part can come across as a rather toothless organization whose bark more often than not is worse than its bite !

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Below I’ve either provided links or in part piece of an ongoing story for you to peruse that we might discuss. So by all means having read the links provided then do chime in with a comment.

Courtesy of USA Today & Sean Leahy

Report: Steelers rookie C Maurkice Pouncey tied to improprieties at Florida

C/G Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers’ first-round draft pick, may be facing some uncomfortable questions once he signs his first NFL contract later this summer.

According to ESPN, the University of Florida is investing claims that Pouncey received a $100,000 payment from the representative of an agent prior to playing in the Gators’ Sugar Bowl win over the University of Cincinnati in January.

“We were made aware of some information in early June that we reported to law enforcement and we then shared with the NCAA and the SEC,” Gators AD Jeremy Foley said in a statement released Monday morning. “At this time we have no information that has indicated that there are any compliance issues for the University of Florida.”

Pouncey entered the 2010 NFL draft after his junior season, but his twin brother Mike, a potential first-round pick in the 2011 draft, remained in Gainesville, Fla., for his senior season. He is also an offensive lineman.

If found guilty of improprieties, Florida could have to vacate its Sugar Bowl victory over the Bearcats.

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Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

Russell pleads not guilty not guilty in Alabama case


Ex-Raider Russell pleads not guilty in Ala. case

MOBILE, Ala. (AP)—Former Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell(notes) pleaded not guilty to a charge of illegal drug possession Tuesday in Alabama.

Russell, 24, is a former LSU star who was released by Oakland after being the No. 1 draft choice in 2007. He entered the plea in court in Mobile. He is charged with felony possession of a controlled substance, codeine syrup.

Authorities have said that he did not have a prescription for the drug and that he was arrested July 5 at his home as part of an undercover investigation.

His attorney, Donald Briskman, said in a phone interview that there were about nine or 10 people in the house and that he believes once all the evidence is known, Russell will be exonerated.

Russell, a prep star in Mobile, had no comment after his court appearance. He has been free on $2,500 bond.

Briskman said he asked for an early hearing in order for Russell to get the case behind him and renew his effort to play professional football. A hearing in his case is set for Aug. 11 to determine if there is enough evidence to send the case to a grand jury.

One of the NFL’s biggest No. 1 draft busts, Russell completed just 52.1 percent of his passes in his career, with 18 touchdowns, 23 interceptions and 15 lost fumbles. He won only seven of 25 starts.

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Someone explain to me what it was that Al Davis and the rest of the Raiders’ front office saw in JaMarcus Russell to begin with ? I’ve heard it said that temperament and maturity doesn’t matter when it comes to being professional athlete . Without either then an athlete will fail to show presence of mind to become a success to begin with ! Well the idiot who made that summary and asinine remark is too dumb to realize what’s needed to compete at the professional level ! Russell had none of the attributes required to make it at the next level !

Fedrigo denies Armstrong Tour de France stage win

OK so tell me who the hell is actually interested in the Tour de France to begin with ? Lance Armstrong may well be the nom-de-plume for the moment. But he’s not going to win the event nor was he ever like to add to his tally of seven consecutive wins. Lance’s time has come and gone ! nd besides the sport itself is rife with cheating nd prolific steroid use. Never mind the fact that the sports’ governing body UCI has about as much presence in dealing with the matter as the US government’s stance has been on immigration reform and that of the US economy. Both have become those respective legislative bodies’ Waterloo. The former seven time champion currently sits in twenty fifth place some 34 minutes behind the current leader Alberto Contador of Spain ,a winner of the race in 2007 and 2009 .

Sorry Lance you’re no longer worthy of being lauded as some hero , not when the sport of cycling is rife with as much cheating that’s alleged to have gone on within the sport over the past decade. Now you’re in the midst of an ongoing battle of words with one of your fellow compatriots in Greg Lemond , himself former winner of the event. Why don’t you boys just kiss and make up instead of coming across like pair of Ru Paul’s drag queen cast offs from the drag queen’s reality show ?

Cubs manager Piniella retiring after season

Right so this should come as a surprise to whom ? Cubs’ manager Lou Piniella announces that he’ll retire at the end of the season . Low and behold after all of the torture that lovable Lou has suffered at the hands of this team and organization I’d like to commend him on his decision to begin with ! It’s not as if the team was ever capable of winning a World Series title to begin with ! Instead there’ll just be another year added to over a century of infamy and sheer ineptitude. As for those endearing fans who attend Wrigley Field religiously each season I for one just hope that they can continue to endure the suffering that they’ve had to withstand ! At some point in the future things my well change but who know when that might be ? Even the purists nd pundits can’t decide when that will be but somehow they’re holding out hope for change in the fortunes of the Chicago Cubs . How about you ? Do you ever see things turning around for the baseball club ?

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Thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

Alan Parkins aka …. tophatal ………. 🙂

Nas ………………..” Made You Look”

You Know It’s Been A Bad Day At The Office When………… Insert Your Own Thoughts Here ……………..

You Know It’s Been A Bad Day At The Office When………… Insert Your Own Thoughts Here ……………..

As much as I love the world sports and everything as such of interest that happens within it. I can’t but see the fun side of it all when I either see that the past and present meet head on in terms of a brooding controversy. Or even when it’s amongst the peers of today within a certain sports arena .

Having seen the ballyhoo made over the Chicago Bears acquiring Jay Cutler from the Denver Broncos via a trade that sent Kyle Orton to the Broncos in the opposite direction. It was felt that the Bears would improve exponentially and become a serious threat to the apparent dominance of the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North . By the way has Brett Favre come to a decision as of yet ? I mean I’ve not heard from those loyal band of followers of his, from ESPN report on anything concerning on him as of late , including his bowel movements throughout the day and the mere fact that his wife Deanna has apparently been refusing Brett his conjugal requests . But that’s another story for another day.

Coming off another disappointing season within the division and posting a record of 7-9 , can we essentially say that the Bears have been a profound disappointment to their fans and their owners alike ? Much was made that Cutler a “Pro Bowl caliber” would provide this team with the thing it was said to be missing. Personally , to me the Pro Bowl means absolute s_it in the greater order of things when you consider the game itself is essentially a bus-man’s holiday. I mean when has it meant anything to a player other than the fact that he can become “fat” in his wallet by way of his meeting certain productive targets on the field of play as part of his contract ? It’s not as if “his peers” actually vote him in to be part of the event itself. It’s left to a bunch of NFL writers casting their ballots , who for all sense and purpose show about as much common sense and intelligence as some members of Congress . And as we all know common sense , intelligence and ” Congress” shouldn’t necessarily be mentioned in the same sentence.


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This upcoming season Bears’ coach Lovie Smith will be on the “hot seat” and if he and his coaching staff fail to deliver then he’s bound to be shown the door ! Bears’ GM Jerry Angelo and Director of Player Personnel Tim Ruskell the architects of this “team” know full well that the fans will not tolerate much more from this team and the organization itself cannot think that they will. That’d show their complete and utter stupidity if they were to allow things to carry on as they are.

Three years removed from a Superbowl __(SB XLI ) appearance and their subsequent 29-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts . The reverberations from that loss can still be felt to this day. It was the sense of embarrassment to the fact that they severely underperformed and it certainly did not help that the one player on this team often thought of as their vocal leader was nowhere to be seen. Brian Urlacher over the years can either be described as a great player or quite possibly one of the best defensive players of his generation. That being said over the last few years , his play and skills have diminished to the point where one can no longer look at him as a real threat. Whereas, the ever present Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens still strikes fear into opposing players . Need I say anymore on the matter ?

Courtesy of ESPN.com in conjunction with ESPN Chicago

Ditka backs Sayers vs. Urlacher

Mike Ditka joined the chorus of Chicago Bears Hall of Famers who have come to the support of Gale Sayers in his controversy with linebacker Brian Urlacher.

The war of words started May 4, when Sayers criticized quarterback Jay Cutler’s performance in 2009, questioned the future of coach Lovie Smith if the Bears struggle again this season, and wondered how well Urlacher will come back from season-ending wrist surgery.

Urlacher responded in a Chicago Tribune article Thursday by ripping Sayers for criticizing the Bears and questioning Sayers’ credentials because the Hall of Fame running back never won a championship, or even a playoff game.

“I like Brian Urlacher a lot, I think he’s one heck of a football player,” Ditka said Friday on “Mike & Mike In The Morning ” on ESPN Radio. “It’s unfortunate to have this in the Bears family. I don’t like it.

“I don’t think Gale was being that critical, honestly. I think somebody asked him a question. They asked him about the state of the Chicago Bears. He answered very honestly what he thought about Cutler. He answered very honestly what he thought about the coach. Brian’s coming off an injury. Brian’s a great football player, he has to stay healthy, there’s no question about that. Nobody can play when they’re hurt.

“So I don’t know where it was so inflammatory. I didn’t see that. And I understand, your feathers get ruffled here and there. When somebody sees something they think is wrong, I don’t think it’s wrong to say it. Sometimes criticism pointed in the right direction can help you.”

Sayers played from 1965 to 1971, exclusively with the Bears. Ditka played from 1961 to 1966 with Chicago, and he said criticism that Sayers never won a championship is misguided.

“[Dick] Butkus never won a Super Bowl,” said Ditka, who coached the Bears to the Super Bowl XX title. “Was there a better linebacker? I don’t know. I don’t think there’s a better linebacker.

“Super Bowls are won by great teams, not necessarily by great individual players.”

Butkus backed Sayers, and he said he’s also been frustrated by the Bears, who haven’t made the playoffs since losing to the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI.
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And there’s no denying that Cutler and the Bears failed to live up to expectations last season. From a results’ standpoint with each passing week it were as if we were witnessing the gradual regression of this team. Lovie Smith for his part seem to play this all down as if it were nothing more than a team having made one or two slip ups along the way. Clearly he’s overlooked the fact that the fans aren’t so patient with his or the players’ predicament. And now with Hall of Famers __ Dick Butkus , Gale Sayers and even the team’s former coach Mike Ditka now weighing on the team’s plight. The triumvirate in question at one point or another have contributed greatly to the history and legacy of the Bears. So anything that they ma well have to say on the matter cannot be overlooked or met with just another matter of an outsider looking in and just giving the press a proverbial sound byte. However, it appears that Urlacher takes umbrage with the fact that the team and Cutler in particular has come in for a great deal of criticism from Gale Sayers. And former Bears’ great has directed his criticisms squarely at the team’s quarterback. Some might say that the criticism is unjustified whereas others may well feel differently. One thing is clear however time is running short for the team , its coach and in particular for Urlacher. He has spent more time gaining headlines for his off the field sightings with socialites , catwalk models and actresses, rather than for his work ethic and play on the field. At the end of the day it has to be asked what profession does Urlacher , himself believe that he’s in ? Is he a professional athlete or a celebrity wannabe ? In doing so he becomes fodder for the press and paparazzi alike .


If Urlacher wants to prove the criticism to be without merit, then this season he and his teammates had better set out to prove those naysayers wrong. Otherwise he might as well shut the hell up and accept the fact that he and this team simply aren’t good enough to win a Superbowl or much else for that matter.

So after all of the denials and asinine excuses as how his tests came up positive for illicit banned substances. Now disgraced and former Tour de France winner Floyd Landis has admitted what many of us had known all along. The disgraced former Tour winner who has since had his Tour victory rescinded has admitted that he has been using anabolic steroids and “HGH” as part of his regimen for years . He’s also reiterated that the sport of cycling is profligate with the abuse of both substances. Be that as it may , here are the facts as we know it, Landis is a liar and a cheat ! And for all of the xenophobic supporters of Landis at the time. How’s it now feel to find that this bastard lied like the p_ssy that he now comes across being ? Not fully content with accepting and being held accountable for his own actions. Landis now takes aim at 7 time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong , claiming that the cyclist also has taken many of the substances in question. In making those claims also Landis states that he has no categoric proof that Armstrong took anything illicit other than mere rumors and conjecture . I guess when the sh_t rolls downhill and hits you right in the face the only thing you can do to fend off even more ridicule is to misdirect the public to look elsewhere.

Armstrong having overcome brain and testicular cancer was always bound to be the center of attention once he started to win cycling’s most prestigious event an unprecedented seven successive times. But the fact of the matter is , having been tested by WADA and by UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale _[sports international governing body]) there has never been any concrete proof that Armstrong has taken anything illicit , nor has he ever tested positive in or out of competition. So what if anything is Landis trying to prove ? He’s an even bigger ass than first thought ? Armstrong for his part has tried to stay above the fray concerning this. But given the fact that the sport of cycling has been rife with cheating for a number years and the fact that it was only until recently that the sport’s governing ( UCI ) body decided that they would be proactive and address the issue head on . We would still continue to look at and treat the sport with a great deal of disdain. The sad fact is , what we’re now seeing in the sport is no different than the multitude of sins that were being exhibited and perpetrated in the sport of baseball and the prolific use of both steroids and HGH by the players. And even now with the MLB ____ hierarchy and MLPA __(union) working in conjunction to have a strict , coherent and cohesive drug testing policy in place. We are still seeing a number of major league ballplayers testing positive for banned substances. Kind of makes one wonder what we now deem to be acceptable within the world of sports ?

As the NBA’s postseason unfold we could be on the verge of seeing both conference finals turn into uncomfortable blowouts. The Boston Celtics have a rather commanding 2-0 lead over the listless Orlando Magic . And in the Western Conference Finals the Los Angeles Lakers has kept its home-field advantage in tact by opening up also a 2-0 lead over the Phoenix Suns .

In the midst of this all the Suns’ Amar`e Stoudemire has seen fit act like a petulant child by stating that the Lakers’ Lamar Odom was simply lucky in playing the way he did in game one of the conference finals. Stoudemire fails to indicate that with Odom coming off the bench to ignite the Lakers with a double-double of 19 points, 19 rebounds , it has in essence all but doomed the Suns’ postseason ambitions. And we beg the question can the Suns save grace by at least trying to eke out one win in this series ?

It is becoming abundantly clear that the Suns’ coach Alvin Gentry is being outmatched and out-coached by his divisional counterpart Phil Jackson of the Lakers. And having shown some semblance of defense in the earlier rounds. Now for all sense and purpose the Phoenix Suns simply haven’t an answer for Kobe Bryant or anyone else on the Lakers’ roster who just happens to show their offensive capabilities during this series . To put it bluntly, this is like taking candy from a baby !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Game two provided us with all the evidence we need to know that when the Lakers make the NBA Finals they will go into the series as an overwhelming favorite against the Easter Conference’s representative . The Lakers “dusted” the Suns in such a commanding way that it probably has most among us believing , are either the Celtics or Magic capable of stopping this Lakers’ juggernaut ? The Lakers’ 124-112 victory was about as emphatic as one would come to expect from such a dominant team.

Well those are just my thoughts as it concerns the subject matter in terms of the title ……..”You Know It’s Been A Bad Day At The Office When………… Insert Your Own Thoughts Here ……………..
. What specific sports issues that have caught your attention as of late has you thinking along these lines ? By all means chime on in with a comment and as usual I’ll look forward to responding in kind. Stay safe and have a great weekend !

Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals was won by the Lakers 128-107 .


Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………

Joe Budden ……………….“Pump It Up”

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50 cent feat’g Lloyd Banks …………………..“On Fire”