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 ?
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 ?
Picture gallery .
Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter as you see fit .
Picture and slideshow gallery details below .
(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 …. firstname.lastname@example.org
(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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This day in MLB history 18th February