For Whom The Bells Toll ……….. It Tolls For Thee !

There’s not a great deal happening in the world of sports at present and with the Opening Day of baseball (MLB) set for this Thursday beyond that there isn’t a great deal to actually have the sport’s fan greatly enamored. The NBA regular season is slowly approaching the final straight and there too a number of teams are striving to gain some form of momentum in order to have themselves playoff ready for the postseason .

For Whom The Bells Toll ……….. It Tolls For Thee !

There’s not a great deal happening in the world of sports at present and with the Opening Day of baseball (MLB) set for this Thursday beyond that there isn’t a great deal to actually have the sport’s fan greatly enamored. The NBA regular season is slowly approaching the final straight and there too a number of teams are striving to gain some form of momentum in order to have themselves playoff ready for the postseason .

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Slide show for your perusal

With the NBA postseason set to commence in the second week or third week of April (April 16th), it’s easy to understand why these teams contending for a playoff berth would want to hit form of consistency that sets them on the right track as the playoffs approach . My own thoughts are that the teams looking to make a postseason berth are going to have to raise the level of their game as the playoffs approach.

A work colleague of mine brought up the subject of the NFL labor dispute and the lockout and made the statement that how is that all of a sudden the league now sets to paint the NFLPA in a dark light bearing in mind that they were the ones who sought instigate the lockout because the Executive Committee of the union were unwilling to acquiesce to a number of conditions that league proposed ? With Neil being a labor relation’s lawyer I found it somewhat surprising that he raised that point ! One of the sticking points now appears to be the league’s wish to have a comprehensive drug testing policy as it relates to PED’s and in particular HGH . For some reason I was under the impression that the league already had what they’d deemed to be a comprehensive drug testing policy but obviously it’s no better than the policy that MLB hierarchy has in place . Now if this is one of the real sticking points said to be many that the league and the union are said to be far apart on then it this lockout suddenly becomes not merely about money but a great deal more.

I know that the league (NFL) does test for certain prohibitive substances , namely marijuana , anabolic steroids and certain other illicit opiates but if they weren’t already testing for HGH then this is the question I’ve got to ask what the hell is going on within the NFL and their own credibility as it relates to the use of HGH ? Given the fact that we’ve all seen the dangers of abusing steroids and in particular a number of these opiates how is it that they’ve continued to not address the issue of HGH being used by the players . I know that it’s use has to be closely scrutinized by a medical professional. But herein lies the caveat if it’s only now that the league hierarchy under NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is prepared to address this issue then clearly there’s something that the NFL and owners weren’t prepared to make public unless they’re prepared to use it as leverage against the union. At the same time in the midst of this all Tennessee Titans’ owner Bud Adams issued a public statement saying that it is his belief that a 2011-12 season will commence on time . Unless Bud Adams is actually fully aware of some upcoming turn of events then clearly the league feels that they now hold the upper hand in any proposed return to the table concerning resolving the labor negotiations.. I’m not so sure that now appears to the case as I do believe that Goodell and the owners have been out-maneuvered by the NFLPA headed by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith .

Courtesy of NFL.com

NFL wants its players tested for human growth hormone

By Steve Wyche of NFL.com

The NFL believes now is the time to include human growth hormone testing in its banned substances policy and is pushing players to add it to a collective bargaining agreement — whenever one is reached.

The NFL and NFL Players Association discussed the policy before the union decertified March 11 and league owners imposed a lockout March 12, but no details were provided regarding where things stood.

News of the league’s insistence on HGH testing being part of the new CBA was first reported Thursday by FoxSports.com.

Adolpho Birch, the NFL’s vice president of law and labor policy, said Friday that the league has pushed for HGH testing since 2008, but with the opportunity to re-cast terms of a labor deal, it has become a priority. The NFLPA had resisted it in the past because of HGH testing methods and the reliability of results.

Blood testing remains the most reliable means to detect the presence of HGH, and that has been the sticking point — not both sides’ desire for fair play, Birch said.

“In terms of the policy, we’ve always been in lockstep with the players,” Birch said. “It’s an important tool in deterring — that’s maybe the most important part — and detecting those who are using (HGH). It helps the public understand what they are seeing is legitimate and that it’s not the result of artificial means. It’s equally important to players to know that someone hasn’t gained an artificial advantage over them.”

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Click on the link shown to read the article in its entirety.

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At this juncture the whole labor dispute nonsensical and personally with each passing day with the damage being done to the image of both parties , I now feel that the fans couldn’t give a sh_t how things turn out. It’s not as if the league or players have ever had the fans’ best interests at heart any time during their deliberations !

With the trial of Barry Bonds now hitting its stride it’s amazing to see to read or hear about the testimony now be given by the number of witnesses subpoenad to appear at the trial by the prosecution in this case the US Justice Department and the attorneys representing the People of the US. With Jason Giambi having testified that he was a recipient of steroids from Bonds’ former personal trainer Greg Anderson and Bonds’ former mistress Kimberly Bell testifying that in her time spent with the MLB slugger over the course of their relationship the player got considerably bigger. I can only surmise that apart from Bonds’ rigorous training regimen that she was trying to allude to the fact the player was using something illicit to spurt his growth or could it be that she was also taking about the size of his member ? And as absurd as this case has become I do believe that we’re going to hear a great deal more than goes from the sublime to the ridiculous !

The longer this charade goes on as to the money being spent on this case the more I continue to question the asinine stance of the MLB hierarchy under the tenure of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , in particular the owners within the game , managers and the MLBPA under then Executive Director Donald Fehr who now holds a similar position with the NHLPA . If the NHL and the sport of hockey hasn’t gone through enouhh problems as it is ther Players’ Union hires Fehr to become their Executive Director ? Are they fu_king mad ? The game is still in a financially tenuous position and it’s not as if Gary Bettman as the NHL Commissioner has actually got them now heading in the right direction as of now is it ?

As it now stands the legacy of the game throughout the nineties and into the early part of this decade has been irrevocably damaged and harmed ! With the advent of the regular season about to start as of tomorrow I can’t help but wonder what the teams , owners , union , fans and the game’s hierarchy hope to see when in large part the fans are still being reminded of the inane stupidity of the league hierarchy’s lackadaisical approach to the steroid issue . Bud Selig and his then counterpart Donald Fehr and the union as a whole were complicit in perpetrating this fraud upon the public and wherein the teams and players had a financial windfall. Were this a white collar crime committed I can assure you that the FBI , Justice Department and dare I say it the idiots within both Congress and the Senate would be asking that there be indictments of all of the guilty parties concerned ! But instead those blowholes have remained mind numbingly silent , even with those odious and sleep inducing Congressional hearings that took place and was overseen by the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee and the House Committee on Energy & Commerce . What was achieved by those hearings dependent upon one’ s views ranged somewhere between the idiotic with the grandstanding by those congressional committee members and the idiotic statements and testimony given by the league hierarchy and the players subpoenad to testify !

The one thing I for one question now is given what we may or may not know to be true is how the public view the records attained by players during the steroid era and how they ought to be viewed by the fans and public in general ? God knows the single season home run record as well as the home run record ought to have an asterisk placed at their side . I don’t state this as a damning indictment of Bonds alone . But I do feel if that he’s now to be viewed as the face of the steroid era along with Jose Canseco and several other players whom we all know to be associated with the illicit use of steroids amongst other substances banned by the game then we also ought to question silence maintained by players such as Derek Jeter , Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine who’ve often been viewed as what’s right within the game but with their avowed silence on the issue , has to have the fans thinking up to a point whether or not they condoned the actions by their fellow players ? I mean even the most menial and lowly of the low within the union (MLBPA) as well as the marquee names have profited greatly from the era having seen their salaries rise not merely based on potential alone but from the stats that were achieved during the era . And with the idiot general managers then willing to pay exorbitant salaries to players while being lassoed in by uber-agents such as Scott Boras , Arn Tellem and Leigh Steinberg making the players immeasurably wealthy beyond their wildest dreams . It now begs the question what credibility does the game of baseball really have as to its legitimacy in being viewed as the nation’s favorite pastime as well as the integrity of its players , managers and the league hierarchy itself ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As the NFL labor dispute continues to meander along whatever route it presumably takes how do you as such view the situation as a discerning fan of the game ? Do you also feel that the league’s stance with regard to them wanting to instigate a test for HGH via blood testing is the proactive thing to do by the NFL ? Or do you feel that a the federal laws in place as it relates to the use of steroids is enough of a deterrent to the players as a whole ? And what thoughts if any do you have with regard to the recently commenced federal trial of former San Francisco Giants’ slugger Barry Bonds ? Simply leave a comment on your thoughts as to the points raised within this piece and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter as you’d deem fit .

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award finalists Nnamdi Asomugha (R) of the Oakland Raiders and Israel Idonije (2ndR) of the Chicago Bears pose with the Peyton family, Connie Payton (2ndL), wife of former Chicago Bears great Walter Payton, and her children Brittney (3rdL), Jarrett (3rdR) and Adolpho Birch (L) during a press conference at the Super Bowl XLV media center on February 4, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The Green Bay Packers will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images North America Inc / Doug Pensinger ……..

(2) Birch (center) seen here with officials of the NFL and local dignitaries in Arlington , Texas prior to this past season’s Superbowl played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers . AP Photo Chris Morgan ………

(3) DeMaurice Smith (R), NFLPA executive director, arrives with NFL Players Association Spokesman George Atallah (L) and Kansas City Chiefs player Brian Waters (C) for an extra day of negotiations at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 4, 2011 in Washington, DC. Representatives from the National Football League (NFL) and National Football League Players’ Association (NFLPA) continue to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement between players and owners during a 24 hour extension in negotiations. Brian Smialowski / Getty Images North America …..

(4) Former TN. Govenor Phil Bredesen, Honoree/Owner NFL TN. Titans Bud Adams, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and current TN. Governor Bill Haslam present Bud Adams with the “Lifetime Humanitarian Award” at the 2011 T.J. Martell Foundation Honors Gala at the Hutton Hotel on March 28, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. Rick Diamond / Getty Images ……

(5) Former Major League Baseball player Barry Bonds leaves federal court at the end of the day on March 29, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Barry Bonds’ perjury trial accusing him of lying to a grand jury about his use of performance enhancing drugs when he played for the San Francisco Giants enters its second week. The trial is expected to last two to four weeks. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images ……..

(6) Major League Baseball player Jason Giambi leaves federal court after testifying during Barry Bonds’ perjury trial on March 29, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Barry Bonds’ perjury trial accusing him of lying to a grand jury about his use of performance enhancing drugs when he played for the San Francisco Giants enters its second week. The trial is expected to last two to four weeks. Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images North America ….

(7) Kimberly Bell the former mistress of Giants’ slugger Barry Bonds is seen here leaving the US Federal Courthouse in San Francisco , California, having given her testimony in the player’s obstruction of Justice and perjury trial . AP Photo / Phil Montgomery …

(8) Former Major League All Star Jose Canseco known steroid user whose revelations of widespread steroid and PED use amongst his peers in the league led to widespread outrage along with the watered down Mitchell Report and MLB ‘s inane drug policy . AP/Reuters / Keith Pettigrew ……….

(9) Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig (L) is pictured alongside then Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association Donald Fehr during testimony at a House Oversight and Government Reform committee hearing on the Mitchell Report into the use of steroids in baseball, on Capitol Hill in Washington January 15, 2008. Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell told the U.S. Congress on Tuesday that Major League Baseball’s players and owners must come together “in a well-planned, well-executed and sustained effort” to remove steroids from the national pastime . Andy Krupp /Reuters ……

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Alan aka tophatal …………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

🙂

NBA News

NFL News

MLB News

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😛

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😉

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Bubba Sparxxx ………………………….”Ugly ” .

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Dre Dre ……. feat’g ……… Snoop Dogg …………………… ” Let Me Ride ”

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TI ………… feat’g ………. Christina Aguilera ……….” Castle Walls ”

Could this better describe the situation now facing both the MLB and NFL and their respective images as they each perceive it to be ?
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We All Get Wasted ……….. It’s The Lifestyle of The Student Athlete

We All Get Wasted ……….. It’s The Lifestyle of The Student Athlete

There’s a very interesting song that was released off the well critiqued and received CD by rapper Gucci Mane called the ‘State vs Radrick Davis’ . One of the songs in question became a noted club anthem called ‘Wasted’ and it essentially chronicled the party life of the club goers and their rather excessive life styles. In saying that I’d associate it also with that of the life of the student athlete who if we’re to believe receive a college scholarship but in large part many of them end up failing to obtain their degrees and fulfilling their obligations to the schools. That being said these schools tend not to lose out because the tens of millions of dollars that comes their way each year by way of endorsements , the rights’ fees ,of course tv revenues courtesy of the NCAA and independently in some cases more than makes up for that loss.

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Slide show for your perusal.

Within the last couple of days Sports Illustrated printed an article that will be in their November issue, wherein they interviewed an agent by the name of Josh Luchs. In this interview Luchs detailed his involvement with college athletes who were primarily football players entering and about to leave the college stage to enter the NFL . As an inducement Luchs had been paying players to actually sign with him in order for representation at the next level. Some of the noted players in question whom he named were Ryan Leaf , Jonathan Ogden and Tony Banks . Now this may well be only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in terms of the players that he’d represented or had been involved with at the time and in terms of the monies involved it’s not completely chronicled as to how much was involved . But one can be assured that the amounts had to have been substantial to say the least and that Luchs was adequately compensated in terms of his own fees at the end of the day.

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated in conjunction with Dan Patrick _ article posted by Andrew Perloff

Josh Luchs offers insight into world of agents and NFL players

NFL agent Josh Luchs joined the show to talk about the Sports Illustrated cover story on the underside of the business.

Luchs tried to explain why he paid players. “I loved the players and I wanted to help them,” Luchs said.

Luchs also talked about why he started. “I got sick of not being paid back,” Luchs said. “I got sick of being lied to.”

Luchs said that a lot of agents are doing this, but he said it’s hard to prove. “It’s very hard to keep track of … it’s not just the agents any more,” Luchs said, pointing to all the runners and marketing people.

Dan asked about the part of the story that claimed Mel Kiper had a relationship with his former boss, agent Gary Wichard. Dan asked Luchs if thinks Kiper overrates Wichard clients.

“There are plenty of other agents in this business that believe that he does,” Luchs said.

Luchs said he does believe Kiper may have overrated Jimmy Clausen. But it’s not that simple. “I think Gary can be very persuasive and he was able to persuade Mel,” Luchs said.

Luchs said it’s not easy to fix this problem, and college coaches can’t do anything about it. “I truly don’t believe that they’re capable of preventing that from happening,” Luchs said.

Luchs said states need to make tough laws against this and follow through and enforce them.

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Now one could decry Luchs for being a ‘tattle tale’ as he’s no longer an involved being a big time agent. But here to my mind is where the rubber hits the road if Luchs was involved with players at the time and he was knowingly giving them money and other gratuities then where the hell was the oversight from the collegiate establishments that these very same players were attending ? Furthermore if as it’s my belief much of what Luchs states in his interview has veracity to it then there’s the likelihood that the colleges knew of his interactions with the players an chose to ignore it. At the end of the day if it benefits the program by way of the success achieved on the field and the financial returns are more than equitable then everyone seated at the table wins. And that obviously included the NCAA , the governing body for collegiate athletics across the nation.

Now in raising my next point which is to suggest that if Luchs was one of many agents out there conducting business and he’s now prepared to open up Pandora’s Box on this issue then quite possibly many of his peers at the time involved in the sports’ agent business were also conducting themselves in such a way . The likes of Drew Rosenhaus , Tom Condon , Chuck Greenberg , Scott Boras and Leigh Steinberg no doubt and would probably tell us that they’re above reproach and wouldn’t contend with enabling an athlete to contravene and then violate NCAA rules. Well if that’s the case then clearly there’s now something deeply amiss with the current situation at the collegiate athletics level. Because the very same practices to which Luchs prescribed are the very same themes that have come to the fore in the investigations of several athletics programs in the last few years bring about severe sanctions against those schools but yet no punishment against the agents who may or may not have been involved. Many of the agents in question will have a number intercedents act on their behalf in approaching the athlete indirectly to discuss being represented. The strange thing is , if this is in some cases being done openly on campuses then what are the AD’s (athletics directors , compliance officers and coaches doing about it ? Clearly nothing in the cases of schools such as USC , U Conn and the University of North Carolina to name but a few. And whilst we’re at it where is the NCAA in the midst of this all , other than their rather asinine notion that their investigations and then watered down punishments meted out tends to stop this all ? It hasn’t happened and has never been much of a deterrent to the schools or to the agents themselves. The whole system is corrupt from the NCAA on down and it’s a sad indictment of collegiate athletics as a whole.

NCAA President Mark Emmert who took over from his predecessor Dr Myles Brand a little under six months ago hasn’t really had time stamp his identity on the institution and at the same time one seriously doubts if the NCAA are at all serious in dealing with many of the ongoing issues that collegiate athletics faces. The body itself (NCAA) seems to be intent on spending more time on renewing multi-billion dollar television contracts and seeking out new corporate partners in terms of marketing the NCAA brand than they are prepared to do, than dealing with such instances as the interaction between an agent and athlete , while they are in school or about to enter college having just left high school. And if you think that these agent are merely using the college campuses as their stomping ground then think again ? Many of them are out there at high school games seeking out and looking for the next ‘big thing’ . And to be sure, many of the agents out there would be hard pressed to deny that isn’t the way they tend to conduct their business. I’m sure that agents such as Drew Rosenhaus have interacted with the parents of kids whilst they were in high school as well as the kids themselves and seeking them out surreptitiously merely to discuss their needs.

Now while no one is denying the fact that attending college on a student scholarship isn’t a noble thing, one has to ask this question if the student is there merely to hone their skills and allegedly gain an education. If the scholarship itself is of value then why not as part of the scholarship throw in a stipend for the athlete in order to negate the incidents that have arisen in the cases of athletes such as Reggie Bush and O J Mayo ? It may not deter what we know has happened but if in part a stipend were included in the scholarship with clear guidelines as to what is acceptable as a parameter then surely this would be of assistance to the athlete and actually be a way to avert any temptation there might be to accept money and representation from an agent while in college ? Clearly this is something that hasn’t arisen at any level for discussion or has been seriously looked at .

From my own perspective I view the NCAA as a broken down archaic system that simply doesn’t want to change as they are completely comfortable with their being . Concerns that they may well have, seem to be only their financial well being and in making sure that everyone on board the gravy train is well taken care of except the students themselves whose interests they are actually there to represent. Now if ever there was a clear definition of the word oxymoron then I’d nominate and place the NCAA atop of any list along with US House of Representatives and US Senate . Each of the three bodies in question to my mind on their best day have been about as much use a bucket being used to bail one’s self out of a capsizing boat. I mean what use are these bodies when even they themselves fail to act and do the right thing when the appropriate action needs to be taken ?

As to the athletes themselves they’re asked to be held accountable for their actions but clearly when temptation is placed in their way especially when it’s financial how can they deny any of it at all ? OK so the consequences can be grave but at the same time what of the actions of the individuals who have lured them into making that questionable decision ? No punishment there and until the NCAA and schools are prepared to address that particular then I say ………..’ let the party continue and let ’em all get wasted’ !

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

With Luchs having now given this interview do you feel that anyone of note from the NCAA on down to the schools will show any interest in anything has said ? And what thoughts if any do you have on how the agents themselves are said to conduct their business in terms of interacting with these agents ? Furthermore do you feel that it’s time for commissioners of MLB , NBA , NFL and NHL to step in and act in conjunction with the NCAA to stop the actions of agents where they actually are getting the college athletes to break NCAA rules ? Chime in with a comments as to your own thoughts on the matter and as always thanks for the continued support .

NB:

Click on the link provided to read related articles concerning Josh Luchs’ claims.

Links to Josh Luchs ………..

Alan aka tophatal …………… 🙂

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Gucci Mane _____ “Wasted” feat’g …… Plies

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