Same old story, just another day …

Same old story , just another day ….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tophatal ….. 2016/07/25 08:43 pm

Olympics and IOC news

MLB news

MLB schedule and probable pitchers

MLB standings (divisional) and wildcard standings

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NFL preseason schedule

NFL Hall of Fame Game unofficial preseason opener

NFL week one preseason

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WNBA news

Tedium, even in the world of sports … no real stories to be found, unless it meets an agenda

Tedium, even in the world of sports … no real stories to be found, unless it meets an agenda

Something of an uneventful weekend in the world of sports , albeit, that the Winter Olympics are being staged in Sochi , Russia , with the US Olympic Team likely to come away from the events’ staging with a slightly less medal haul than anticipated . From my own standpoint the USOC faces a hard time trying the sell the event as something worthwhile for the nation to be engrossed in . Other than the NHL’s hockey stars on parade , no one in particular , is likely to be interested in a number of events being staged, Granted, for “athletes” such as Shani Davis , Shaun White , Lolo Jones , Ted Ligety , Julia Mancuso and Bode Miller their life-long devotion and preparation for these Olympics are to be commended , but five months from now , are we as a whole , really going to remember who won the country’s first gold medal ?

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For NBC , as the sole broadcast partner for the event in the US and their continued ties to the IOC , with such largess , has me asking the question , is the network able to garner any type of meaningful profit the entire broadcast of the Winter Olympics ? I have no doubt, that for the Summer Games , it does become a formidable success for the network , but is now becoming abundantly clear that NBC may well have to look at how it televised the games and the current arrangement they have with the IOC and fees paid to the institution for the broadcast rights . With a mere five days to go before the staging of the games comes to a close , it will certainly be interesting to see how Team USA acquits itself over the remainder of the games’ schedule .

The NFL postseason came to an end with something of a whimper , as the Seattle Seahawks waylaid the ambitions of the Denver Broncos , on their way to a lopsided 43-8 victory over the AFC based franchise. For five-time winning, league MVP , Peyton Manning , this may well have been the quarterback’s last appearance in the NFL’s postseason finale. It is my own believe however , Manning will make return in , as he and his teammates seek to redeem themselves after their embarrassing loss to the Seahawks.

This off-season and we are likely to see Broncos’ team President John Elway , head coach John Fox and the coaching staff seeking to assess the needs of the team before coming to a decision as to the impending status of a number of the roster’s free agents , and their cap-hit to the franchise . It is my opinion in spite of the depreciation in his productivity , running back, Knowshon Moreno is likely to be retained, to give the team that one-two punch we have seen throughout the NFL this past season , as teams around the league seek to bolster the alternatives for their rushing game.

In the buildup to the 2014 NFL Draft , where already there has been a great deal of speculation as to whether or not Jadeveon Clowney , Johnny Manziel , Blake Bortles or Teddy Bridgewater will be taken as the number one pick overall . Clearly a case can be made for either of the four players mentioned , but the decision will be left with Rick Smith , head coach Bill O’Brien and the coaching staff of the Houston Texans . After the team’s struggles this past season, with their injuries and the startling regression in the play of Matt Schaub , it is clear that the franchise needs a new option at the position once and for all , rather than relying on a veteran, whose best years are behind him and certainly not ahead of him, as far as his future is concerned.

Though Matt Schaub is not a free agent until 2017 , his cap hit to the Texans for this upcoming season will be $14.125 million , leaving the team a little more than $2.52 million at this juncture , but his being released would save the franchise a considerable amount , in order to bolster the franchise by way of free agency and the Draft itself. I believe, like another seasoned veteran quarterback, Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles will be amongst a litany of free agent quarterbacks are likely to hit the free agency market , with many of these players likely to find a team as a backup , rather than being a starter. Vick for his part, may well believe that he is still capable to contribute to a team as a starting quarterback , but from my own perspective , he no longer possesses the skill-set to fulfill that role and it was a clear reason why Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly felt that Nick Foles was a far better option at the position , during this past season.

With Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama , as well as Roger Goodell , DeMaurice Smith , actress and gay rights’ activist Ellen Page coming out in support of Michael Sam’s openness as to his sexuality as being a gay athlete. The prospective second or third round draft pick and defensive lineman with the Missouri Tigers is on the cusp of making NFL history as the league’s first openly gay and active player. Social advances being what they are, the NFL still remains in the dark ages , in spite of the ongoing plaudits . As befitting a league, that hides behind veils of secrecy with regards to its business practices the NFL is and will remain homophobic , misogynistic and where racism is seen as a comedic part of its environment ,rather than being frowned upon with disdain. As to it, being part of the locker room workplace , is that not a great deal of hypocrisy on the part of the NFL , that allegedly tries to portray racial diversity as a positive within its league ? Consider the fact that the NFL itself , while its player personnel is made up of more than 73% of its players being of a minority background , the league itself does not have one African-American owner , other than minority stakeholder Reggie Fowler of the Minnesota Vikings. Shahid Khan , owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars , born in Pakistan , but now a naturalized American citizen , is the only other owner of color within the NFL . We already know the makeup of the coaching staffs , with just about every franchise in the league with a minority on their coaching staff , with general managers such Rick Smith , Ozzie Newsome , Ray Farmer , Reggie McKenzie and Martin Mayhew being of color in those executive positions. Amongst the league’s hierarchy working directly under NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the only person of note , who appears publicly by way of any issue is Adolpho Birch III , Legal Counsel and a senior adviser to Goodell on labor related issues .

With the findings of Ted Lewis’ alleged in-depth investigation of the Miami Dolphins and the behavior of Richie Incognito and three of his teammates in what was deemed unacceptable and conduct detrimental to the league . It begs the question, of those who are suggesting that this is simply locker room humor and not much more than that . Then can someone explain to me, what is said to comedic about misogyny and being sexually explicit in nature, in wanting to sodomize a teammate’s mother and sister ? Never mind the fact, that Incognito and teammate Mike Pouncey are said to have not only directed sexually offensive barbs at Jonathan Martin , but also to an assistant coach on the Dolphins’ roster . How this all could have escaped Joe Philbin’s attention is either an indication of the lax environment within the Miami Dolphins’ organization and the ongoing incompetence that has been shown by the franchise and the initial idiotic response from team owner , Stephen Ross . As to the fans , somehow trying to excuse this type of behavior, as mere school-boyish behavior , it is time for their dumb ass to grow the ##ck up, use common sense and show some intelligence for once !

Both Incognito , John Jerry and Mike Pouncey have been cut by the franchise , but there are rumblings that newly appointed general manager Dennis Hickey would like to reinstate and retain Pouncey as he is said to have provided the franchise with a great deal of productivity this past season . It simply now begs the question , is Hickey not intelligent enough by even proposing such an action , does he not realize that , this will not resolve the matter and places the franchise within the midst of another maelstrom of ongoing idiocy and incompetency ?

As if the image of the league could not be tarnished any further , Darren Sharper , former player in the NFL , a Superbowl champion with the New Orleans Saints and until recently , an on-air analyst with the NFL Network . Sharper, has since been suspended indefinitely, without pay by the league owned broadcast outlet, until the legal ramifications of his case have been resolved . Darren Sharper has been indicted on three accounts of sexual assault , but it would appear that there are as many as eight other incidents, that are now said to be under investigation , in which the former NFL player is said to be primary suspect in each of the alleged sexual attacks. As to what this says about Sharper’s sexual proclivities , predilection and behavior , once again points to the league’s own ongoing policy in dealing with player misconduct . One of the allegations in question dates back to Sharper’s days as a player in the NFL , and how this all could have escaped the league, may well have been predicated upon pressure being exerted by the player against his victim. The lines have been blurred, with regard to this matter, wherein these incidents, though reported, were never dealt with expeditiously by the law enforcement agencies, when first brought to their attention.

As and when a trial date is set concerning Darren Sharper , one can expect the usual “circus “ to come into being , with the national media , print and television, covering this legal process in its entirety.

The NBA this past weekend, scheduled its festivities, that encapsulates the All Star Weekend . Suffice to say, with outgoing commissioner David Stern stepping down to be succeeded by Adam Silver , a new chapter is about to begin within the league. With some still trying suggest the spectacle as being a fan friendly atmosphere, where the fans and players can mingle, can be viewed with a great deal of credulity . For the players themselves , the segue simply provides them with the opportunity to take a break from a long and arduous eighty-two game regular season schedule , while being handsomely being rewarded by way of bonuses and incentives for simply making the roster within either East or Western Conference. As to the thought that the games themselves are actually competitively or even remotely entertaining , can be viewed by the exertion shown by the participants over the course of the weekend in its entirety . In reality , the All Star Game festivities for the NBA , is no better or worse than the NFL’s self-styled Pro Bowl Game . Need I really say anymore on the matter , other than the fact that this particular NBA All Star game that ended in victory for the Eastern Conference and provided the fans with nothing of any tangible value ?

The trade deadline within the NBA is on the 20th February , with the deadline being 4.00 PM (EST) on Thursday afternoon. It certainly will be interesting to see whether or not the teams vying for a divisional title or playoff berth will seek to bolster their fortunes and that of their rosters , as they seek to play themselves into contention over the remainder of the regular season schedule. One of the more intriguing stories may well be that, of the willingness of New York Knicks’ star Carmelo Anthony and his true intentions, as to whether or not he wishes to remain a life-long Knicks’ player or once again seek to move on elsewhere . Such has been the indifference of the team’s season , going from victory to defeat , without ever really being able to out together series of rousing results that would simply be of benefit to the franchise . One can either seek to blame the coaching staff of Mike Woodson , or place the burden of the responsibility of their lackluster season , squarely upon the shoulders of the players .

Whether or not Carmelo Anthony has sought assurances from the Knicks’ hierarchy that they will seek to acquire players in order to make a concerted effort at a playoff berth , is solely dependent upon the communiques emanating from the front office . This much is clear , Mike Woodson is just as much as clueless as the fans of the franchise , as to what the outcome of this saga is likely to be . Neither GM Steve Mills or team owner, James Dolan are prepared to issue a statement at this time . Yet , I cannot help but wonder , how the fans might view this all should the All Star player be traded at the deadline or make it public of his intent to opt out of the final year of his contract ! The only likely winner, in this outcome , will be Carmelo Anthony , himself . The team will resume the second half of their schedule with a game on Wednesday night when they are the guests of the Memphis Grizzlies , who lead their season series 1-0.

As monstrous as the play has been within the Eastern Conference , there are very few positive that one can take out of the season, thus far or at its culmination. We are likely to see seven of the conference’s fifteen teams end the year with a sub . 500 record . It that is not a damning indictment of the state of play not only within East, but also, as it relates to the brand of basketball being played . Then I would like to know what is at this juncture and how the league hierarchy , general managers , owners , coaches and the players themselves consider this to be acceptable to the paying fans who either attend the games or watching from the comfort of their home !

We are, but a week away from the beginning of Spring Training and the beginning of the baseball season . As a die-hard baseball fan , it is the one time of the year I begin to circle dates on my calendar, seeking out which of the Atlanta Braves’ games I am likely to attend on their exhibition schedule . The joy of the regular season in 2013 and the team’s triumph in winning the NL East with effortless ease which had to be tempered by their dismal failure in the wildcard round of the postseason , with their lopsided series’ (3-1) defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers .

Braves’ manager Fredi Gonzalez and the managerial staff were far too laid back with regard to their approach in the postseason , leading to the team’s abrupt demise. That being said, there are lessons to be learned by the veterans and youngsters on the team as well as the entire coaching staff and organization itself. Complacency leads to mistakes and those mistakes were highlighted in the team’s play, as exhibited in the postseason. Jason Heyward , Evan Gattis , Craig Kimbrell , Justin Upton and elder sibling BJ Upton will now have to lead by example if this team in its current guise is to succeed and make further inroads within regard to their postseason play.

Brian McCann’s departure to join the New York Yankees and the team’s five-year $85 million offer was too good to refuse . It now creates a situation where Gattis, Ryan Doumit , Gerald Laird and Christian Bethancourt , the chance to vie for the catcher’s spot on the roster. A contest, that I believe will be very competitive on all fronts concerning the players in question ! Atlanta will begin their exhibition schedule , with a game against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday 26th February in Lake Buena Vista, Florida . This will be one of the seven contests being staged on the day of what will be the second day of the Spring Training Schedule around Major League Baseball .

In baseball there are few players as greatly appreciated , beloved and celebrated as Hank Aaron , the Hall of Fame great and perhaps the most revered player in Atlanta Braves’ history . Other than, Jackie Robinson , perhaps no other African-American player is more renowned and well-respected within baseball . The octogenarian recently suffered a fall while walking on some slippery ice, breaking his right hip and will undergo hip replacement surgery , in the aftermath of the incident . Aaron now a special consultant with the Braves, as well as being a Senior Vice President could be seen regularly walking in around the offices of the organization, simply showing his appreciation of the work being done by the employees from the senior executives on down, to those working within the clubhouse . The thought that he is unlikely to be at the team’s opening game of their Spring Season schedule, might be somewhat of a disappointment , but hopefully , having undergone the initial part of his physical therapy , he will be available for the Atlanta Braves’ opening home game as part of the regular season opener, which will be played against the Milwaukee Brewers on the 31st March , 2014 at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia .

Baseball needs its heroes from the past , because the current generation of players currently within the game , have been a poor example of sportsmanship , much less showing respect for the game , with a few exceptions. Unfortunately, with the league hierarchy being weakened by the unrivaled power of the MLBPA (union) , anything bordering on meaningful legislation being proposed by the league , has been often pushed back , if not completely “watered down “ or negated altogether . Bud Selig and his cast of minions within the league’s headquarters have become cartoon caricatures , with their being little real leadership being shown by the MLB Commissioner or any of his subordinates . With his prolonging the length of stay as the game’s highest ranking executive , it begs the question who is likely to want fill what will still remain a vacuum , in terms of the ongoing leadership hierarchy within the game ? Baseball’s team owners are only interested in reaping the financial rewards that are available , while seeing value of their ball-clubs appreciate substantially over the past few years . Something I believe , was brought on by the sales of both the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers , whose sales combined purchase price , saw the buyers pay out an astonishing $2.924 billion for the two franchises in question !

The expectations will be high this season within baseball , with several teams seen as likely divisional contenders as well for the respective pennants within the AL and NL . For myself , personally, I would like nothing better than to see a competitive season , without their being the continued controversies that have eclipsed the fans’ enjoyment of the game with the ongoing claims of cheating as associated with the use of PED’s . The fans deserve a great deal better from the players , owners , front office executives , but most of all from the custodians of MLB , who remain led by a bumbling stumbling imbecile in Bud Selig , whose departure from the game , cannot come around soon enough ! A February 2014 , retirement now seems to be a thing of the past , as the incumbent led us to originally believe , that he would be stepping aside roughly at the same time as his close friend David Stern . Rumors abound that the commissioner’s departure, might not now, take place, until mid to late 2016. Really, isn’t it enough , that a Presidential electoral cycle will be in full swing without the fans of baseball having to concede , that the search for Selig’s successor may well take precedence over the next buffoon likely to lead the country ?

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Picture gallery .

Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter as you see fit .

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) Shani Davis of the United States competes during the Men’s 1000m Speed Skating event during day 5 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Adler Arena Skating Center on February 12, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Getty Images Europe / Quinn Rooney ….

(2) Bobsledder Lolo Jones of the United States visits the set of The Today Show ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Olympic Park on February 3, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. . Getty Images / Scott Halleran …

(3) Snowboarder Shaun White (L) enters the stadium with the United States Olympic Team during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Ryan Pierse / Getty Images ….

(4) Denver Broncos’ head coach John Fox is seen here alongside the team’s wide receiver Eric Decker (87) as the Broncos enter unto the field at MetLife Stadium prior to the start of the Superbowl contest against the Seattle Seahawks . Denver would go on to lose that game in a lopsided loss 43-8 . Getty Images/ Stephen Dunn …..

(5) (L-R) Houston Texans Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer Cal McNair , head coach Bill O’Brien , General Manager Rick Smith and owner , Bob McNair pose together at a press conference at Reliant Stadium on January 3, 2014 in Houston, Texas. Getty Images / Scott Halleran ….

(6) Four college players all with the aspiration to be the number one pick in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft . From left to right , Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel , Teddy Bridgewater and Jadeveon Clowney . In some circles Clowney out of South Carolina is seen as the consensus #1 overall pick and is favored by a number of coaches and NFL scouting analysts . AP Photo / Keith Farmer ……

(7) Mike Sam of the Missouri Tigers , who recently revealed that he is a gay college athlete, has been commended on his stance and his proclamation . Commended by his peers within the college game and within the NFL . It remains to be seen whether or not the player is likely to be drafted as a potential first or second round pick as most believe the defensive lineman will be taken . With the NFL in the midst of a great deal of controversy , encapsulating racism , misogyny and homophobia without the continued hypocrisy of league officials and players themselves, all adding into the mix. The NFL currently has an image problem, socially , that it has no idea how deal with or fix with any degree of success . Matthew Garvey / UPI Inc….

(8) 1/8/14 Owings Mills, Md. — Pictured are from left to right , Baltimore Ravens’ General Manager Ozzie Newsome , team owner Steve Bisciotti’s and head coach John Harbaugh , who were present for the 2012 end of the season review news conference. Newsome is one of six general managers within the NFL of a minority background . Photo by Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun Staff ….

(9) Ignorance can be bliss but being an @sshole might well best suited to pictured duo, Miami Dolphins’ teammates , Richie Incognito and Mike Pouncey (61) . Both players have since been released by the organization , with their now being persistent rumors that GM Dennis Hickey may well seek to bring back Pouncey for the upcoming season 2014-15 NFL season . Getty Images / Michael Anderson …..

(10) Darren Sharper is seen here with his attorney Blair Berk of noted Los Angeles’ law firm Tarlow & Berk LLC at the scene of his arraignment having been charged in the rape of three females . @ copyrighted material TMZ Sports all rights reserved

(11) New York Knicks’ team owner , James Dolan , right, is seen where with head coach Mike Woodson . Bearing a record of 20-32 the Knicks currently lay third within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference and 2 1/2 games out of the eighth and final spot within the conference , where the Charlotte Bobcats (23-30) currently hold that final qualifying berth . With Carmelo Anthony being somewhat ambivalent , as to his long-term future and their being no apparent intent from the front office to bolster the team’s roster , there very well could be a major trade in the offing with the departure of the All Star forward . AP Photo / Peter Patterson …..

(12) Feb. 28, 2012- LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL: Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez , right, talks with catcher prospect Evan Gattis , left, during the fourth full squad workout at Champion Stadium in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Tuesday morning in Lake Buena Vista, Fl., Feb. 28, 2012. Gattis is seen as the likely successor to Brian McCann as the team’s regular season catcher for the 2014 season , but Gonzalez also has other options at the position. Atlanta Journal Constitution / Jason Getz …. jgetz@ajc.com

(13) From left to right BJ Upton . Jason Heyward and Justin Upton of the Atlanta Braves . All three players will have to contribute greatly on both sides of the game in terms of offense and defense if the Braves are to fare well over the course of their season as they seek to repeat as NL East divisional champions and make an even deeper run in the postseason . AP Photo Mark Hurst ………

ARLINGTON, TX – OCTOBER 31: Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron looks on prior to the Texas Rangers playing against the San Francisco Giants in Game Four of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. Aaron who suffered fracturing his hip , had to undergo hip replacement surgery in the aftermath of the fall and is likely to miss the ball-club’s opening game of their exhibition season as well their regular season home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers at Turner Field , in Atlanta , Georgia ,. Aaron remembered as the player who broke the career home runs’ record held by Babe Ruth , has since seen that mark surpassed by the now retired Barry Bonds , who was passed over this year for induction into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York . Photo by Elsa Martinez / Getty Images ….

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

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

Chalk one up for the Big Boys … Though Not Necessarily The Good Guys …..

Chalk one up for the Big Boys … Though Not Necessarily The Good Guys …..

by tophatal

Unofficially, the London Olympics kicked off on Wednesday afternoon (10:00 AM , EST) with the opening round of the women’s soccer tournament . The heavily favored US team led by Abby Wambach and team goalkeeper Hope Solo faced France in their opening Group G match . They came away with an easy 4-2 victory over their French opponents .

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Inasmuch, as I am looking forward to the games, it has to be said, there are far more consequential events that are being overlooked by the world and IOC Executive Committee . IOC President Jacques Rogge try as he must , faces a daunting task in trying to justify the game’s continuance in light of the international crisis now being played out in the international arena , as the Syrian government lays siege to its citizens . The country’s President , Bashir al-Assad has toyed with the West and the idiotic diplomatic strategy of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan . Never mind the fact that the country’s Foreign Minister , Walid Muallem , recently made the public statement that the country now possesses “ weapons “ of mass destruction , specifically Sarin gas , Agent Orange , and several other highly toxic chemical weapons . Muallem , also through a spokesman stated that the Syrian military would only use these weapons against outside insurgents and the enemies of the Syrian nation and its citizens . Somewhat asinine , when you consider the death toll in the eighteen months of internal strife and struggle has led to deaths of 20,000 Syrians , many of them innocent bystanders and civilians. What the world has now been made aware of , is that George Bush’s hunt for WMD’s (weapons of mass destruction) were in fact centered in the wrong fu#king country , as it has been proven that Iraq possessed none of the chemical weapons that the embellished evidence had suggested .

Donald Rumsfeld , Dick Cheney and the a#sholes at that venerable bastion of stupidity Fox News Channel kept on blowing smoke up everyone’s ass , and in large part, far too many of the public bought into the bulls#it. Currently , Syria possesses the third largest quantities and stockpiles of chemical , biochemical weaponry and germ warfare in the world , behind the United States and Russia . Somehow , this seemed to have escaped the attention of the CIA , NSA , DIA , Defense Department , FBI , State Dept , Senate Intelligence Committee , House Intelligence Committee and the god-damn US administration of Barack Obama .

Syria has sent a delegation of ten athletes and officials to the London Olympics. And it seems remarkable that the athletes and its delegation will be treated with the utmost respect. In this day and age , I find it somewhat ambivalent of Jacques Rogge, in not addressing Syria’s heinous actions against its populace . What has been even more asinine is the idiotic and rhetorical statement s made by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham-Clinton stating that Bashir al-Assad should step down as President , and that the heinous atrocities taking place within the country should come to an immediate halt . Now unless I am with Arab Spring “uprising “ of the past Fall , we saw the United States intervene in Libya , assisting the opposition to overthrow that country’s long-reigning dictator Muammar Gaddafi . This continuing asinine stance , in terms of US foreign policy, in fomenting strategic alliances with Arab partners , has ran aground like a vessel stuck in an oncoming maelstrom of violent weather , with no clear vision in sight . The State Department is no longer sure as to who its closest allies are , in the Middle East , much less dealing the rest of the Arab and the Muslim world . And God forbid , we have some dick-head of a specialist from the Brookings Institute try to allay our fears while still trying to espouse the view that Israel remains this country’s greatest ally in the Middle East . Fu#k that sh#t , Israel is simply glad to annually receive …. $8,000,000,000 ($ 8 billion) in non-discretionary aid , which in return it uses to buy heavy US military armaments . Why the hell else , would AIPAC (American Israeli Political Action Committee) be front-and-center , otherwise dictating a skewered and blatantly lopsided US foreign policy ? Plainly put , the vast majority of the US electorate are simply sheep who like to be led , rather than sifting through the bull#hit placed within their midst by the idiots on both sides of political aisle and diaspora !

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has shown that as the body’s most senior official , he simply does not countenance the respect needed to get things done . At the same time the five permanent members of the UN Security Council might as well be playing pool or Canasta for all of the good they are now said to be doing . China and Russia at every step, has sought to derail any real intent to bring about a ceasefire in Syria . The duos are the Middle Eastern country’s biggest trading partner and armament’s supplier. At $4 billion a year in arms’ sales , one could well understand why Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and his Russian counterpart , Sergey Lavrov are disingenuous , and they would rather see the United States be viewed as a “ paper lion “ whose roar is no louder than that of a mouse ,within the international diplomatic arena .

Intellectually, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s heads are rammed so far up their own ass, that they are unable to tell the difference between night and day ! If they do not realize that Bashir al-Assad is no different from his father , Hafez al-Assad , whom the young al-Assad succeeded . Then it is clear , that the information provided the duo by analysts from the NSA , US Defense Department and CIA , simply isn’t worth the paper it is written on . In other words , they are continually being provided with a whole bucket load of shit ! The estimated 20,000 lives said to have been lost in the latest Syrian uprisings are but a mere “ drop in the bucket” , when one takes into account the deaths said to have taken place during the reign of Hafez al-Assad , as the President of Syria .

With the 187 nations now either on route or having already arrived in the UK for the official Opening Ceremony this Friday, for the Olympic Games , the first controversy and act of stupidity has already raised its ugly head . Greek track star and triple jumper , Voula Papachristou , has been expelled from the game for “tweeting” racially insensitive remarks concerning African athletes and African migrants in her native Greece . Papachristou has since apologized for the remarks stating that poor judgment and the statements were originally meant as a joke . The ideals of the Olympic are foster an environment of athlete camaraderie wherein, the athletes can compete on the world stage on an equal level while exhibiting fairness and compassion . The Games’ modern-day founder Baron Pierre de-Coubertin meant for these ideals to be upheld , and in many respects those tenets have been abandoned by de-Coubertin’s successors as Presidents of the IOC . The Summer and Winter Olympics have now become far too commercialized and it has been to the complete detriment as to what the event was meant to represent .

Now there is no denying that the Olympic Games will be primarily about the more high-profiled athletes and teams in competition . Team USA Basketball , both the men’s and women’s teams will be highly favored to repeat as champions in their respective tournaments . Geno Auriemma , head coach of the women’s Team USA , will be seeded number one , and will be in Group A , pitted against China , Angola , Croatia , Czech Republic and Turkey , in the group stages of the tournament . Their toughest competition is likely to come from Australia , Brazil and China , en-route to an anticipated Olympics Final and perhaps the inevitable gold medal .

We know that the US Men’s Basketball team is laden with NBA stars led my LeBron James , Kobe Bryant , Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony . The team will be coached once again by Mike Krzyzewski . Coach K , as he is more commonly known will seek to add to his own already impressive legacy as the head coach of the national team as well as the head of the four-time NCAA championship program of Duke University (Blue Devils) .

Having won Olympic gold , in 2008 , in the men’s competition of the basketball tournament in Beijing . London 2012 will present Mike Krzyzewski’s players with a different set of obstacles and a much sterner test than most will have anticipated . Pre warm-up games asides , this team cannot afford any slip-ups at any point during the Men’s Basketball Tournament at the London Games . As highly favored as they are to repeat as champions , the bulls-eye will remain a constant target on the backs of the players , specifically LeBron James , Kobe Bryant , Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant , who are seen as the “ faces “ of the NBA . USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo has not worked in close conjunction with David Stern and the NBA hierarchy over the past three years to see this all go up in smoke . And it will be incumbent upon Team USA’s players to prove to the world that the NBA brand of basketball is far superior to that of their contemporaries around the globe . Granted , the rules to be administered for the format of the tournament will be played under the FIBA guidelines but it is anticipated that it will not prove to be a difficulty for the players or Krzyzewski’s coaching staff to understand .

Argentina , Spain and quite possibly Brazil , are seen as the toughest obstacles standing in the way of the USA repeating as champions . However, I do feel that if the team can stamp their authority from the outset , then their path to the finals should not prove to be all that difficult !

We all know of the heroics of Michael Phelps in Beijing as he swam to Olympic gold in six individual events , and then won two more gold medals in team relays . The swimmer has set his sights in London on swimming in seven events , including relays , with view to bring his medal tally to an unprecedented and astonishing twenty-one gold medals , an all-time among Olympic athletes . Phelps’ tally of Olympic medals currently stands at sixteen and counting (fourteen gold and two silver medals ) . Phelps and teammate Ryan Lochte , apart from being close friends , they will also prove to have the greatest rivalry anticipated , once the competition begins with its very first event. Both the men’s and women’s events should prove to be a real revelation , as the US’s dominance will most certainly come into question .

The real highlights and anticipation to my belief , will come from the track and field events to be held at Olympic Park in East London . The the venue that will in large part will hold the events as well as being the center the opening and closing ceremony for the games . Encompassing seventeen days , starting on the 27th July and ending 13th August 2012 , this will be the thirtieth Olympiad (XXX) of the modern era , first held in 1896 , in Athens , Greece , birthplace of the original Olympic Games . The main attraction of the track and field events will undoubtedly be the double-defending Olympic sprint champion , Usain Bolt of Jamaica . The talented sprinter , holder of the world records in the 100 meters , as well as the ” 200 meters , will hope to make a successful defense of both titles as well anchoring the 4 x 100 meter relay team (men’s) to Olympic gold for his country . Bolt however , will face a stiff challenge from teammate Yohan Blake in both events , where the talented twenty-two year-old has this year recorded the second fastest times in history , in both of the men’s sprint events . The once dominant US men’s track team is no longer there but the likelihood of Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin mounting a serious challenge to the dominant Jamaican duo remains a distinct possibility. The world record in both of the men’s (100m 9.59 & 200m 19.19 ) sprint events is likely to be challenged and perhaps lowered and that is part of the anticipation that will wet the appetites of the most ardent of track and field fans .

NBC Sports , its affiliate stations and cable partners will provide the North American television market with an unprecedented 400 hours of approximate live televised coverage (cumulative 5,000 plus hours on all of its affiliated partnering networks ) of the games , taking in repeated televising of certain events . And given the poor staple and stable of the network’s prime-time programming and television coverage . The 2012 London Olympics should provide a much-needed boost to the television viewership and bottom line for the fourth ranked television network .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As an expat Brit , now residing here in Central Florida , these Olympic Games will have a special meaning to me ! Many of the events to be staged will in and around many of the neighborhoods I frequented as a teenager . Olympic Park , itself, as it is centered in the town of Stratford , East London , and will be the venue where my attention will be keenly linked to . The town in fact , where I was born and raised , through the first eight years of my life . And though there will be venues nationwide that will stage many of the twenty six events that will make up the thirtieth Olympic Games . None perhaps , will be more riveting , spectacular or explosive as many of the track and field events taking place at Olympic Park . Whether or not you are an ardent fan of the Summer Olympics , what if anything will you be most looking forward to and why ?

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Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) Alex Morgan (left) and Megan Rapinoe celebrate as the US women’s soccer team get off the mark in their come from behind 4-2 victory over France in the opening round of group play in the Women’s Olympic soccer tournament . AP Photo / Scott Mackenzie ….

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United States’ Alex Morgan, center, is challenged by France’s Wendie Renard , left, during their women’s Group G soccer match prior to the start of the London 2012 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 25th July , 2012. AP Photo / Frank Morris ……..

(3) From left to right , IOC President Jacques Rogge , British Prime Minister , David Cameron and far right Lord Sebastian Coe , Chairman of London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games . Daily Telegraph / Mark Patterson @ copyrighted material all rights reserved ….

(4) Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is seen here with Syrian President Bashir al-Assad at the presidential palace in Damascus . Failed attempts to negotiate a long-lasting and meaningful cease-fire has led to civil war in the nation of 14 million residents . The UN’s peacekeeping observers have been powerless to stop the atrocities being perpetrated by the Syrian President’s military and security forces across the country , that has led to the loss of an estimated 20,000 people in the past eighteen months . REUTERS / Hamed El Gherrouj …….

(5) Mike Kryzewski, coach of U.S. men’s senior national team, pauses during a pre-Olympic friendly basketball match against Argentina at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, July 22, 2012. … Getty Images Europe / Alain Desjardins …

(6) Greek track athlete, Paraskevi “Voula” Papachristou becomes the first athlete to be sent home from the London Olympics . Her banishment was not for a drug related offense but for “tweeting ” racially insensitive remarks about African migrant workers in her native Greece as well making remarks about a number of African athletes housed at the Olympic village . Papachristou offered a public apology to the IOC as well as to those which her comments referred to . However , the Greek IOC as well the LOGOC felt that her act of contrition was not enough in light of her comments and she was sent home , back to Athens , Greece where a possible suspension awaits the athlete by the Greek Athletics Federation . AP/REUTERS/ Miles Eastley ….

(7) Ryan Lochte , left , and teammate Michael Phelps could provide the London Olympics with one of the most anticipated and eagerly awaited rivalries . The two swimmers will face off against each other in a number of individual events in the Aquatic Center at the upcoming games . Daily Telegraph / Adrian Whitehead ……

(8) Yohan Blake (535) defeats compatriot Usain Bolt (539) in the finals of the 100 meters on the 29th June , 2012 , at the Jamaican Olympic Trials in Kingston , Jamaica . The two , are the leading contenders in both of the sprint events at the Olympics . The Weekly Gleaner / Buster Etienne

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Hypocrisy Is The Norm Nowadays ………. !

Hypocrisy Is The Norm Nowadays

It’s not to my chagrin but the apparent hypocrisy shown by the USOC in now getting the satisfaction they sought in seeing several Chinese gymnast stripped of their Olympic medals for being under aged. So unless the the USOC has now become a conduit of the Roman Catholic church in its suborning and condoning the actions of many of the swim instructors and trainers within the governing body of USA Swimming . Then it had better get its head out of its own ass and tackle this particular subject head on .

Now while this was going on several young females on at the youth and junior level of USA swimming. Now comes the most reprehensible fact of this all, several female members have the victims of sexual abuse by their trainers who all sanctioned by USA Swimming . What may seem even more perverse in all of this , has been the fact that while this has going on . Well it has been the fact that the USOC has simply turned a blind eye to this all . Pardon me for saying this but I would’ve thought the apparent safety of a child far outweighs that the USOC simply chasing down the Chinese in conjunction with the IOC to go after the Chinese Olympic gymnastic federation. We’ve had more US athletes in the past two years banned for the use of illicit substances than there has been the accusation of the use of underage performers at the Olympics. Which to your mind is the more egregious of the alleged acts ?

Courtesy of The New York Times

Medal of Underage Chinese Gymnast Revoked

By Juliet Macur , The New York Times

After an investigation that lasted more than a year, the International Gymnastics Federation announced on Friday that a Chinese gymnast from the 2000 Olympics had been too young to compete.

The gymnast, Dong Fangxiao, a member of the Chinese women’s team that won the bronze medal, was found to have falsified her age in order to meet the requirements at those Olympics. The gymnastics federation said in a statement that Dong was actually 14, two years younger than the minimum. Her results at those Games and at several other major competitions have been revoked.

The federation — which goes by its French acronym, F.I.G. — submitted a request to the International Olympic Committee to strip the Chinese team of its Olympic bronze medal. If that happens, the United States women’s team, which finished fourth, will move into third place. The gymnasts on that squad were Amy Chow, Jamie Dantzscher, Dominique Dawes, Kristen Maloney, Elise Ray and Tasha Schwikert.

“There still is what I believe to be unanswered questions about this issue, but there is only so much you can prove when it comes to falsified documents,” Steve Penny, the president of USA Gymnastics, said. “I feel that the F.I.G. is taking this matter very seriously and has done a very responsible job here. They’ve done absolutely everything in their power to get to the bottom of a very sensitive issue.”

Mark Adams, a spokesman for the I.O.C., said the gymnastics federation’s recommendation to strip the Chinese of their medals would be studied by the I.O.C.’s executive board before any action was taken. That would probably happen at the board’s next meeting at the end of April, he said.

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How is that they are so steadfast in doing this but given the fact over two dozen young females have sexually abused have never been given the recourse sought ? Now recently one of the biggest predators in the midst of this scandal is now housed in California state prison for eight counts of sexual assault and battery that he has committed over the course of the last fifteen years. Now to say this is reprehensible wouldn’t do this statement justice but I guess it will have to do . I at times wonder which is in fact more disdainful when it comes to ambition as it concerns a governing body ? The actual pursuit of excellence or the actual commercial success ?

Courtesy of Seattle PI Sound Publishing

Oak Harbor swim coach convicted of rape featured Friday on national TV

By Jessie Stensland , Whidbey Times

The popular ABC News show 20/20 is running an investigative piece Friday night on Andrew King, a former Oak Harbor swim coach convicted of raping young swimmers, and the organization USA Swimming.

The piece investigated by Brian Ross, entitled “Inside USA Swimming: Secrets and Betrayal,” will run Friday, April 9 at 10 p.m. on ABC. A brief segment is also scheduled to be aired Friday on the 5:30 p.m. World News with Diane Sawyer.

Andrew “Andy” King, 61, is a serial child molester who used his position as a swim coach to molest at least a dozen young girls, allegedly including one Oak Harbor girl, over his 30-year career. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison earlier this year in a California courtroom after pleading no contest last fall to 20 child molestation charges.

King coached the Aquajets swim team at the North Whidbey Park and Recreation swimming pool in Oak Harbor during the 1990s, then left mysteriously amid complaints about his contact with female swimmers.

A couple of years later, one of the Oak Harbor swimmers reported that King had molested and raped her from 1994 to 1997, when she was just 12 to 13 years old. Detective Teri Gardner with the Oak Harbor police investigated the allegations extensively, but the Island County prosecutor declined to charge King.

After leaving Oak Harbor, King moved to San Jose and continued to coach swimmers associated with USA Swimming, a national organization that has been criticized over allegations that it hasn’t protected children adequately. North Whidbey Aquatics Club is affiliated with Pacific Northwest Swimming, a committee of USA Swimming, according to the club’s Web site.

Last year, investigators in San Jose uncovered King’s lengthy history of molesting child swimmers.

The Oak Harbor swimmer who was allegedly raped by King filed a $15 million claim for damages against North Whidbey Park and Recreation District. The district’s insurance company is handling the complaint.

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And at present there are several such cases either now under indictment or awaiting trial and as far as too often been the case many of the instructors in question simply left their positions with a prospective club or team only repeat the very same offenses elsewhere with a new team. Somewhat reminiscent as to how the Roman Catholic church moved their priests around the different dioceses as they carried out their pernicious acts of sexual debauchery on the young and innocent.

Commissioner Roger Goodell saw fit suspend Ben Roethlisberger but yet when Miami Dolphins’ GM Jeff Ireland saw fit to make what would in most peoples’ mind would be offensive statement. Absolutely nothing was done by the commissioner’s office. During an NFL rookie interview Ireland had the temerity to ask Oklahoma State football player Dez Bryant whether or not his mother was a prostitute (whore). Now what this has to do with the player’s abilities on the field is beyond me ! But this now appears to be what NFL executives may seek to be the norm. Were those the actions of an African American NFL executive asking that question there would have been a public outcry ! As to the lack of inaction by the commissioner’s office or that of Miami Dolphins front office will no doubt set a bad precedence within collegiate football and many of its young players. Conducting unbecoming the image of the league is meant not just to apply to the NFL players but also the entire league as it relates to the owners and executives. Goodell it appears, is only willing to fight the battles he sees fit to pursue .

Of all the executives who govern the four major sports . It might just be that NBA Commissioner David Stern has always been about the image of his sport and the conduct of its members. What recently took place between Bulls’ executive John Paxson and that of the team’s now recently fired coach Vinny Del Negro left a lot to be desired. Paxson physically assaulted the team’s then coach and threatened him. Now if Stern and the Bulls’ owner Jerry Reinsdorf is willing to overlook this action. Then what does it suggest about the hierarchy of the sport in general ? The now infamous incident wherein Latrell Sprewell in a premeditated attack choked his coach P J Carlessimo , led to the player being suspended nd fined. Sprewell an African American , was never able to live the incident down and became to be thought of as a street thug. After the incident his career essentially was derailed and spiraled out of control. Now were Paxson an African American NBA executive, one wonders what the outcome may well have been ? But in the midst of this all a public statement has not been forthcoming from either Stern , Stu Jackson or from Bulls’ owner Jerry Reinsdorf or the team’s GM Gar Forman .

I no longer take with credence anything that’s forthcoming from the hierarchies of any of the “governing officials of the four major sports” ! . It is not as if they have ever taken the fans’ interests to heart with regard to any decision that they make. For them it has and always will be about the bottom line at the expense of the fans’ goodwill. And on a bye-note if conservatives are known for being entrepreneurs and great businessmen. Then why is it the meltdown of the banking industry and automotive industry took place ? Either the conservatives on top that piece of piece of dog crap just aren’t as bright as some of the spokespersons would have us believe ? Hypocrisy on both sides of the political aisle knows no boundaries , much as in the same it knows no boundaries when it comes to the realms of sports.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………….

Continue reading “Hypocrisy Is The Norm Nowadays ………. !”

It’s Rio Or Bust Baby ………….

So a decision has been made by the IOC (Int’l Olympic Committee) and the 2016 Olympic Summer Games has been awarded to the city of Rio De Janeiro , Brazil. And for all of ballyhooing , with regard to both the attendance of President Obama and that of the First Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark for the formal announcement. No amount of persuasion could be made in order for the games to be awarded to the city of Chicago, and the state of Illinois. When it was all said and done , the choice was made and the South American country was awarded the games. This will be the first games held in the country and only the second time that the Summer Olympics has been held in Central or a South American country. The first time being, that of the Mexico Olympics of 1968.

President  Obama  and   First  Lady  Michelle Obama  in  attendance  in  Copenhagen ,  Denmark   ,  awaiting  the   acceptance  of   Chicago's  bid  to  host  the  2016  Summer  Olympics.    The   games   were   however  awarded to  Rio  De  Janeiro  ,  Brazil.    The  US  bid   failed to  make  it   beyond  the  first   round   of balloting  for  the  votes.   picture appears   courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Charles   Dharapak  ...........................
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in attendance in Copenhagen , Denmark , awaiting the acceptance of Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. The games were however awarded to Rio De Janeiro , Brazil. The US bid failed to make it beyond the first round of balloting for the votes. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Charles Dharapak ...........................

At a time when the US is in a deep economic recession , I felt it somewhat absurd that the President should deem this one particular event fit, that it required his presence. One would’ve thought that with the presence of the First Lady and members of the USOC (U S Olympic Committee) in attendance , that this would have been more than enough. Given the fact that a presentation had been made and various members of the IOC had previously visited the city of Chicago to see the proposed venue for themselves. Albeit, that the two alleged front runners were said to be Chicago and Rio De Janeiro . They were not the only choices that the IOC had to mull over. The other choices were Cairo , Egypt, Tokyo , Japan and Madrid , Spain. The final two cities however, at the final voting were in-fact Rio and that of Madrid. And with the 2012 Summer Games being held in London . It was abundantly clear to see that IOC Chairman Jacques Rogge and the board members of empaneled committee would choose the South American city. It made sense and was politically expedient.

IOC Chairman  Jacques  Rogge   makes  the   formal  announcement  that  Rio  De  Janeiro   has  won the  final   vote and  has  been  awarded  the   2016   Olympic ( Summer )  Games  .   picture  appears  courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Bjorn    Rijjs  ...................
IOC Chairman Jacques Rogge makes the formal announcement that Rio De Janeiro has won the final vote and has been awarded the 2016 Olympic ( Summer ) Games . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Bjorn Rijjs ...................

Now comes the hard part of persuading others that the ‘ fix wasn’t in’. Celebrities and personalities from every known walk of life who eschewed the city of Chicago as the perfect choice for the games were said to be bitterly disappointed. But this may well have been a blessing in disguise. When one considers what has gone one within the state of Illinois over the past two years . It does make the choice of Rio De Janeiro seem all that more relevant. You had, the then embattled governor , Rod Blagojevich seemingly willing to offer a senate seat to the highest bidder. And the epicenter of the troubled ACORN organization rooted within the city. One doubts that the IOC would wants its name further tarnished. Oh yes, I did state the IOC wouldn’t want its ‘name tarnished’ . This being the very same organization that has essentially sold its soul to the highest bidder and has in many ways made the ‘Olympic ideals’ and what it’s said to stand for , now seem irrelevant !

The formal announcement is made by IOC President and Chairman Jacques Rogge that Rio De Janeiro had been awarded the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

As I alluded to earlier , if the President was of the mindset that bringing the games to Chicago was of the utmost importance. Then so be it . But for all sense and purpose those games are 8 years away and the country is facing far more pressing issues than most know how to do deal with. And given the fact, that his administration has no real ready made solutions as to many of the country’s ills and how to alleviate them. Other than it’d appear , to print money , borrow from abroad and wax on lyrically as to how he envisages that the country will climb out of this deep morass. I can only surmise that the Brothers Grimm have been writing many of his speeches as of late ?

The Olympic Games , themselves brings about approximately 196 sovereign nations together in a forum . Where it provides for athletic endeavor in the spirit of competition. But above all it provides for an environment for nations can get together and socially interact. Unfortunately the games have now become a forum wherein political ideologies are espoused for all of the wrong reasons. And if anything it further foments hatred amongst differing groups and nations. Instead of celebrating life and the pursuance and the excellence of spirited competition. It become a celebration of whose political fervor and bent is greater than the others.

The  Brazilian  Olympic  Committe delegation  celebrates  their   triumph  in  winning  the  bid  to   host  the   2016  Olympics  in  Rio  De  Janeiro  ,  Brazil  .     To  the  right   is  Brazilian   soccer   legend  Pele  who   was  at  the    forefront  of  his    country's  bid.    To  the  left  is   Brazilian   President  Luiz  Inacio    Lula  De  Silva .     It   was  a  monumental   triumph  for  the   South  American  country.      picture  appears  courtesy   of  ap/photo/  Roberto  Garcia  ..........................
The Brazilian Olympic Committe delegation celebrates their triumph in winning the bid to host the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro , Brazil . To the right is Brazilian soccer legend Pele who was at the forefront of his country's bid. To the left is Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula De Silva . It was a monumental triumph for the South American country. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Roberto Garcia ..........................

The country of Brazil and in particular the residents of Rio De Janeiro can very much feel pleased for themselves and the efforts of their national Olympic committee and that of their President Luiz Inacio Lula De Silva and his administration in bringing the games to the country. With its burgeoning economic and political influence on the international stage. It would seem only right that the country with the world’s tenth largest economy by gross domestic product (GDP) be the beneficiary of hosting the Summer Olympics. It further adds to the country’s luster, profile and places it amongst those countries viewed as a vibrant democracy.

What this may also say about the USOC‘s failure in putting together an orchestrated and winning proposal, says much also about the country’s belief that all it had to do was to wield a list of high powered celebrities with little else to show besides that. It was if they were treating the whole electoral process as a foregone conclusion . But what might be even more asinine is the assertion that the games themselves would be financed through private financing by way of corporate donations. With naming rights being sold for various edifices that would be built. That quite possibly could well have been the case. But there weren’t that many US Fortune 500 companies stepping up to the plate to make their voices be heard when it came to this bid process from the outset. Especially those within the city of Chicago , itself.

With the games still some seven years away. We now await to see what the city of London will have to offer the world by way of the festivities and the athletic achievements as they unfold. Chances are the majority of us will the games . Much as we do any other major international sporting event. Or will we ?