You Had Me At Hello ………. !

You Had Me At Hello !

In the Cameron Crowe directed and written movie ” Jerry Macguire” there’s a scene in the movie where Tom Cruise’s character Jerry Maguire ____ his wife in the film played by Oscar winner Renee Zellwegger says the words “you had me hello ” . Well here’s a case in point as I survey the world of sports and the news forthcoming within that arena . The NFL is still looking as if their problems now will be litigated within the US Federal Court system and in which an upcoming case will be heard in Minneapolis , Minnesota. What both the NFLPA ( union) and the NFL continue to show is that neither side is apparent in actually resolving this matter in which an amicable resolution is reached , albeit that owners Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft have stated that’s what they seek with the union led by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and its executive committee . Pardon me for saying this , but common sense went out the window concerning these deliberations the moment that the union sought to decertify in order that players could challenge the NFL’s antitrust exemption status and its legality within the judicial system.

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What might be further illuminating and shows that intelligence on the part of the players is merely a preconception , is the fact that they state they’re now prepared to negotiate directly with the owners rather than NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell . Less I’m mistaken wasn’t the action to instigate the lockout done at the behest of the owners and was enacted by Goodell as the NFL’s highest ranking official within the league’s hierarchy ? Well folks , there’s more to come from this soap opera’s saga and the outcome that most sorely await.

Can someone explain to me why it is that everyone is so sold on the New York Knicks even after the team’s acquisition of Carmelo Anthony instigated by GM Donnie Walsh and team owner James Dolan ? The problem is that in spite of Anthony’s acquisition along with that of Chauncey Billups the New Yorks Knicks have been a rather pedestrian 7-8 whereas the Denver Nuggets in exchange are an impressive 9-6 after Anthony’s departure under coach George Karl as the Nuggets try to make a play for a playoff spot in the Western Conference . Something that many may well have felt beyond the Nuggets after this trade was made by GM Masai Ujiri .

I’m not thoroughly convinced that this Knicks’ team even with the addition of Anthony and Billups are still good enough even with perennial All Star Amar’e Stoudemire leading this team and that’s with the advent of Mike D’Antoni’s coaching philosophy or lack of it thereof. Please don’t try and convince me that the Knicks are legit , when they can’t even play with any semblance of consistency be it on the road or at home . People were so in awe of this trade that they seem to have forgotten that neither Anthony or D’Antoni’s teams have never been known for their defensive capabilities and that clearly has been the case once again with the New York Knicks under D’Antoni’s tutelage. Madison Square Gardens may well play host to its litany New York celebrities such as Spike Lee and Chris Rock who may well be in awe of this team’s aspirations over the course of the season but the Knicks are going to in for a big surprise should they make the postseason and are still playing at the fame level inconsistency we’ve seen from the team .

Now as many of you know I’m an avowed boxing fan but as of late I’ve become disenchanted with the sport and just about anything that’s associated with the sport be it from a world title fight or the latest news involving Floyd Mayweather , Manny Pacquaio , two of the sport’s biggest stars. I’d recently written a piece that dealt with the fortieth anniversary of the fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier . To my mind that first fight and the duo which followed after-wards to make up the trilogy of fights which has made up the greatest series of boxing matches ever to have been staged at any weight category over the sport’s history ! Well this past weekend were led to believe that once again the heavyweight division was once again relevant as Vitali Klitschko would be defending his WBC title against the mandatory number one challenger Odlanier Solis in what was meant to be a bout that the fans would long to see.

The fight itself lived up to the expectations one would come to expect when you have an over hyped challenger and a title holder whose record has been based on meeting opponents either well past their prime or who essentially have been asked to step by now what I largely believe are unscrupulous promoters who don’t necessarily are what the fans think just as long as they’re making money from these staged promotions . Solis a Cuban emigre essentially gave up after one round having been knocked out Klitschko with effortless ease. Solis’ record of having been undefeated merely showed me that the heavyweight division is genuinely devoid of any real talent in spite of what the boxing journalists out there are trying to sell the public. Beyond a disinterested Manny Pacquiao who now merely is fighting for the money and a way of satisfying the ego of his promoter Bob Arum , boxing has now become mundane and about as interesting as watching paint dry or a political debate between two intellectually challenged candidates. Does anyone remember the Vice Presidential debates between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin ? Need I say anymore on the matter ?

A number of my friends know that I’m a former military member who served in the Royal Marines for a 8 1/2 year period serving in various parts of Europe and North Africa . During that time I’d seen active service having been stationed in Northern Ireland , Ethiopia , Eritrea and further afield. And I have to admit those experiences have molded me into the person I am along with my upbringing and post military experience has given me a great deal more insight than I could ever have hoped for . I’ve long maintained that without the experience of having traveled or an education then your life can be something of a void . Luckily enough having brought up by a single mother and being the eldest of the three my mother drummed it into us that education is of the utmost if we’re to strive . Having graduated from high school my initial thought wasn’t to enter college as I’d no real idea as to what I wanted in terms of a vocation. So being rather capricious I entered the military much to the dismay of my mother , and my younger brother and sister. That being said after my stint in the military I was lucky enough to be hired by a bank working within corporate finance and my employer at the time paid for my education having enrolled at UCL and then LSE where I was able to obtain an MBA and degrees in International Finance and Economics .

Now in light of ESPN’s most recent series of their 30 For 30 series of documentaries to commemorate the outlet’s thirtieth anniversary as a sports programming content provider . Their most recent edition was on Michigan’s Fab Five which was that hyped team led by Juwan Howard , Jalen Rose and Chris Webber which went to two straight Final Fours in the NCAA Tournament .

This specific episode though commissioned by the cable outlet provider was in fact produced by Rose’s own production company (Three Tier Entertainment) in conjunction with ESPN and the episode was one of the better made documentaries made shown by ESPN. In the aftermath of the episode’s showing Rose who is also an NBA analyst on TNT’s NBA show has been particularly vocal in the fact that he hates the Duke Blue Devils and the very fact that he’s felt that African Americans who’ve played for Mike Krzyzwewski have been Uncle Tom’s . Much of Rose’s anger in making that statement comes from the fact that he wasn’t recruited by by Duke when he became eligible as a college player. I can understand Rose’s statement but I do believe that the issues raised shows his ignorance and immaturity as a human being ! . Not only that given the fact that even if he’d come from a single parent home it doesn’t change the wholesale environment if what any recruit has to go through once given the chance as a student athlete at any educational establishment . The criteria that has to be met doesn’t necessarily change because of one’s socio-economic standing or ethnictiy , as Rose clearly believes that it does .

In the aftermath of this all , perhaps Duke’s greatest player Grant Hill took umbrage at the statements made by Rose and wrote a concise and illuminating op-ed piece in the Washington Post challenging Rose’s statements and preconceived ideas. If it’s not bad enough that in this day and age young African American males and female have very few role models to which they can look up to, we now have an idiot like Rose now looking to drag down African American males within his own race who just happen to role models that many of today’s youth can look up to , regardless of ethnicity and their sexual identity. What might be even more telling is that Rose hasn’t yet issued any type of formal apology or any further statement having made that original remark. It may well have been done as an effort to further publicize the Fab Five episode but if anything to my mind whatever damage done be it slight in some peoples eyes may well be something that can’t be recanted and looked at as merely a player feeling aggrieved over an issue. The fact of the matter is as great as Rose’s college career may well have been his professional career paled into insignificance where there was nothing exceptional that actually stood out !

Rose may well look back on the statement with some regret but for the moment it looks as if he’s prepared ride it for all that it’s worth while it provides the actual episode that little extra publicity it might not actually get from ESPN from any additional advertising on the cable network.

It’s extremely rare where you get a young athlete that simply takes a sport by storm and where now the expectations become so high after that individual does something that no one literally thought possible. At UFC 128 — Jon Jones the light heavyweight challenger for Mauricio Rua’s UFC title belt made such an emphatic statement that has sent a seismic shock wave across the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). In the space of three brutal and clinically decisive rounds Jones literally beat the formidable Rua and in doing so took the title holder’s belt with discriminate ease. What was scheduled to be a five round title fight where many felt that Jones would be tested by the vastly more experienced Rua simply didn’t come into being. If anything it was the young 23 year old fighter who took the fight to the champion , had him bloodied , bewildered and disheartened long before the fight came to an unlikely ending with a TKO in the third round of the five round title fight.

Now Jones will have to deal with other title aspirants within the division such as former title holders Rashad Evans , Lyoto Machida and the always dangerous and perennial title contender Ryan Bader .The speed and impressive way at which Jones (13-1) has moved up the ranks of the sport and in particular the light heavyweight division with so little allout experience in the UFC ranks speaks to how he has applied himself and the skills that he brings into the genre as a former All American collegiate wrestler. His jujitsu has improved greatly and it only adds to his all round weaponry within MMA . A prospective rematch with Rua seems unlikely given the nature of Jones’ victory over the Brazilian . And now what may well await him is a big money defense of his title against Evans the number one mandated contender for the title . Jones replaced Rashard Evans he’d suffered an injury in his preparations to fight Rua at UFC 128 , his replacement was Jones who took the fight on short notice although he’d been in training for an upcoming fight , seen as an eliminator for the light heavyweight title. Now with that belt now his own the newly anointed champion can now pick and choose his challengers while along the way gaining further notoriety , fame and wealth.

On the opposite side of the MMA genre we have the woefully inept and mediocre situation now arising within the sport of boxing . I’m sorry but I can no longer see the relevancy of the sport when the fights that the fans desire to see aren’t going to take place ! Over this past weekend Vitali Klitschko (42-2-0 ,39KO’s) defended his WBC heavyweight title against what we’re led to believe was a credible mandated number one contender by the WBC in Odlanier Solis . Well the fact that this bout took place in Cologne , Germany gives you all the credcence you need to know why the heavyweight division is no longer taken seriously . The boxing scene and in particular the the division no longer resonates with anyone within North America and the very fact that the division is now dominated by a group of lackluster and character devoid aspirants of fighters chasing greatness makes this all the comedic . There hasn’t been an undisputed champion within the heavyweight ranks for almost 7 years and it’s unlikely that there’ll be one anytime soon.

Solis came into this fight with a record (17-0 , 12 KO’s) that if anything that on paper seemed impressive but as they say what you see on paper doesn’t actually represent anything in terms of a legitimate resume’ . This fight was over before the initial bell rang for the opening round and for the fans in attendance at the Lanxess Arena , Cologne had to have been disappointed in seeing the challenger barely last three minutes into the first round having been knocked flat on his backside from a punch that on appearance didn’t seem to be all that devastating much less having any real power. But this is now what the sport of boxing has now become by way of many of the fights now being staged for the apparent appetites of the fight fans out there. I’m sorry but seeing an overweight bloated specimen being knocked flat on their ass much less lying prostrate on their back isn’t what I for one find anywhere near entertaining ! And that’s in spite of fans and boxing writers now talking as if Vitali Klitschko and his brother Wladimir are now the faces of boxing as far as the heavyweight division is concerned . The two have refused to face each other in order unify the titles within the division and create an undisputed champion within the heavyweight ranks. And fight are suppose to take either seriously within the world of boxing ?

Now one can understand why the sport of boxing and in particular the division can’t be taken seriously as a legitimate concern . I can only surmise that’s why both Don King and Bob Arum as the sport’s pre-eminent promoters aren’t overly concerned with the division or promoting any of the top ranked contenders within the division who just happen to be Europeans ! In doing so they know for a fact that they’d be facing a losing endeavor in trying to gain anyone’s interest in a proposed bout on this side of the Atlantic which is and has always been the epicenter of the fight game.

I personally have lost all faith in the legitimacy in the sport of boxing as it has become devoid of talent , character and most certainly promoters who actually wish to give the fight fans what they want and that’s competitive and entertaining fights . That’s not really too much to ask at this juncture is it ?

Well it goes without saying the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is in full swing and there have already been one or two upsets that most hadn’t envisaged. Suffice to say if your brackets have already imploded because of an errant pick on your part take heart in the fact that you’re probably amongst millions who’ve seen their situation ripped asunder because of that pick . I for one am looking forward to the rest of the tournament as we’re now down to the ” Sweet 16 ” as from hereon in it’s now going to be about the contenders being separated from the pretenders .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the weekend’s sporting events what if anything has been your own most enjoyable moment ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the issues raised within this piece and any sporting topic you wish .

Alan aka tophatal …………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

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(1) FILE – In this file photo taken Feb. 1, 2010, then Houston Texans guard Chester Pitts makes a point to members of the House Judiciary Committee during a forum in Houston. Football labor negotiations with the NFL involving a federal mediator broke off March 11, 2011, without an agreement. NFL players have been warned for years about the need to save and the importance of budgeting their money in case of a work stoppage. Well, the lockout is here. All the players have taken a bit of a financial hit already because of the lockout: NFL teams no longer are paying for their health insurance. AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, ……..

(2) NEW ORLEANS, LA – MARCH 21: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones attends the NFL Annual Meetings at the Roosevelt Hotel on March 21, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Despite a NFL owners imposed lockout in effect since March 12 the league is conducting its annual owners meeting in New Orleans. Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images …….

(3) Three of the in famous Fab 5 of Michigan’s basketball team of the early nineties that had the five freshmen reach two consecutive NCAA Final Fours . From left to right Juwan Howard , Jalen Rose (center) and Chris Webber . AP /Reuters/ Chris Hill ……………

(4) New York Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni argues a call with referee Ken Mauer (41) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 20, 2011, in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Bucks won 100-95 . AP Photo/Morry Gash ……….

(5) Milwaukee Bucks’ Andrew Bogut , right, has some words with New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 20, 2011, in Milwaukee. The Bucks won 100-95. AP Photo/Morry Gash ………..

(6) Pictured a badly beaten Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is somewhat dismayed after his loss to Jon “Bones” Jones. In losing to Jones at UFC 128 Rua lost his light heavyweight title in his very first defense to his younger opponent. MMA Fight Weeky .

(7) Jones (right) took the fight to Rua from the opening round here he’s seen unleashing a kick to the champion during their UFC light heavyweight title fight at UFC 128. Both fighters have been suspended by the UFC pending the outcome of their post-fight medical medical results . MMA Weekly.com Ken Pishna …

(8) Jones delivers a frontal kick to Rua’s midrift that he was able to avoid but only partially. Jones would use his athleticism and quickness to defeat the Brazlian jujitsu expert with considerable ease. MMA Weekly.com Ken Pishna ………..

(9) Ukrainian heavyweight titleholder Vitali Klitschko celebrates with the winner’s belt after defeating Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis after their WBC heavyweight world championship boxing match in the western German city of Cologne on March 19, 2011. World heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko won the fight and defended his WBC heavyweight title with a shock first-round knock-out of Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis. Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images ………

(10) World boxing champion Vitali Klitschko of the Ukraine, right, watches challenger Odlanier Solis of Cuba go ing down during the first round of the WBC heavyweight title bout at the arena in Cologne, Germany, Saturday, March 19, 2011. Solis lost in in the first round with an injured knee. Klitschko’s win was declared k.o. by the referee. AP Photo/Martin Meissner ………..

(11) Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis gets help as he leaves the ring after he lost the fight with Ukrainian heavyweight titleholder Vitali Klitschko in their WBC heavyweight world championship boxing match in the western German city of Cologne on March 19, 2011. World heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko won the fight and defended his WBC heavyweight title with a shock first-round knock-out of Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ

(12) Ben Hansbrough (23) of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish reacts on the bench in the second half during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the United Center on March 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Florida State won 71-57 in regulation. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……..

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NCAA Men’s basketball results

Sweet 16 draw

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Continue reading “You Had Me At Hello ………. !”

Got Yourself A Headache ? Try Being An NFL Player ?

Got Yourself A Headache ? Try Being An NFL Player ?

It’s often said ………’it takes a tragedy to happen before we truly understand or appreciate one’s mortality’ and truly that saying hits home every time. Sadly last night while having a drink in a bar with friends after work it was reported that former NFL star , two time winning Superbowl player and Pro Bowler Dave Duerson died from a self inflicted gun shot wound. Unfortunately this tragedy doesn’t encapsulate the whole facet of the player’s life after his retirement from the NFL. The player had taken his life this past Thursday at his South Florida home in Sunny Isles .

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Duerson lost his wife to an acrimonious divorce and his post professional life saw him lose his business to financial mismanagement and bankruptcy. Dave Duerson was also a rights’ advocate for current and former NFL players , specifically those who’d suffered from mental health issues related to chronic head traumas . In his will the player left specific instructions that his brain be donated to science for research into blunt head trauma injuries and chronic traumatic encephalathopy ( CTE). Neuro surgeons and Research Fellows at Boston University will be the recipients of the player’s brain and it has been there within the university’s School of Medicine and Neuroscience where research will and has been conducted into head traumas and other neurological health related injuries and diseases as it relates to the NFL. Duane Duerson during his career had suffered repeatedly from chronic symptoms of concussions on the field of play which saw him win a Superbowl with that heralded Chicago Bears’ team coached by Mike Ditka. His second triumph was gained with the New York Giants coached by Bill Parcells .

Courtesy of NFL.com wire reports

Ex-NFL safety Duerson found dead; police await word on cause

Dave Duerson, a four-time Pro Bowl safety who played on Super Bowl winners with the Chicago Bears and New York Giants, has died. He was 50.

The Bears released a statement Friday saying they were “stunned and saddened” by the news and called Duerson “a great contributor to our team and the Chicago community.”

“Today is a difficult day for all of us who loved Dave,” the team said. “We’ll miss him. Our prayers are with his family.”

Miami-Dade Police Detective Robert Williams said the body of a Dave Duerson was found Thursday in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. Computer records show that the Duerson who lived at the address was born the same month and year as the player.

Investigators haven’t determined the cause of death. Williams said detectives are awaiting the medical examiner’s report.

Duerson’s ex-wife, Alicia Duerson, told NBC Chicago that the former player “loved and cherished his family” and was “extremely proud” of Notre Dame and the Bears.

A native of Muncie, Ind., Duerson was a third-round draft pick by the Bears in 1983 out of Notre Dame and became a key figure on one of the greatest defenses ever assembled.

Who can forget the 1985 Chicago team mauling opponents while shuffling all the way to the championship with Hall of Famers such as Mike Singletary, Dan Hampton and Richard Dent up front? With Todd Bell sitting out the entire season, Duerson played a big role in the backfield with five interceptions that year and made the first of four consecutive Pro Bowls.

“He was a great player for us,” former Bears coach Mike Ditka told The Associated Press. “He stepped in and did a great job. It’s very sad.”

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With all that’s now going on concerning the NFL , the NFLPA and their ongoing collective bargaining agreement . It goes without saying that this issue may not be a part of the two parties’ ongoing negotiations. And with the two parties now said to be hard at trying to eke out and reach an amicable agreement as both NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , union President Kevin Mawae have met with a US Federal Court appointed and mandated mediator to mediate and address the issues brought up by both sides. In spite of the league’s and union’s appearance in front of the House Congressional Oversight Committee and their investigation into head traumas , their cause and effects with regard to the concussions and other neurological injuries. What we’ve now come to know is that the NFL and the union have never taken these issues seriously and that’ s in spite of the statements attributed to Goodell, Smith and members of the union’s Executive Committee .

Sadly, it may well have to take such tragedies as this , Duerson’s death, before the whole world wakes up the acute problems that players current and former face when they put their very health at risk all in the pursuit of excellence and wealth on the field of play. Granted, the life span of an NFL player on average is no more than six years at best but for those who’ve been involved in th game even longer the long terms effects of repeated injuries be they head trauma or some other inury, the aftermath at times can be catastrophic ! We now have players who’ve been retired no more than two years now suffering from early onsets of Alzheimers’ disease , debilitating and chronic head pains and other far more acute neurological disorders. Dave Duerson was a victim of repeated chronic head pains in the aftermath of the repeated concussions suffered over the course of his career. I’ve often heard the idiotic comments by fans and members of the public alike who state ….‘ let them play because this is a man’s game and they know the risks’ . Well one of the risks isn’t as such to end up in a damn wheelchair and then not knowing who members of your family are or what day of the week it is . This is the sort of asinine , idiotic statement that one would come to expect from someone who’s completely undeducated and without about as much common sense as an invertebrate !

If there’s to be an in depth study into these medical issues by independent as well the NFL’s own medical professionals then it ought to be a concerted effort by all of the parties concerned. Goodell and his predecessor Paul Tagliabue had repeatedly and it certainly hadn’t help that Smith’s predecessor Gene Upshaw were about as contrite in dealing with these issues as former Iraqi leader Sadaam Hussein had been before he decided to gas several hundred thousand Kurdish refugees in Northern Iraq as a precursor to the first Iraqi war. In realiy it has only been in recent years that the NFL and NFLPA have been proactive in dealing with this issue. Goodell and the league’s own inhouse medical professionals have long held the view that injuries suffered by players within the game , many of them at times have been or were pre-existing . Now they’ve begun to change their tune and shown a change in their attitude but they haven’t yet been completely swayed. Goodell’s counterpart , DeMaurice Smith has merely given the public sound bytes but in reality his stance hasn’t been any different than that of Gene Upshaw.

And Upshaw as a player has been someone who I’ve admired but as a union representative he has my complete and utter contempt ! His primary concern has always been how much money came rolling into the NFLPA’s coffers by way of the league’s collective bargaining agreement. His concern , if any , was never for any of his peers or the retired players and there have been public statements that can be attributed to the late union chief executive. Meanwhile the fans out there continue to be completely in awe by what they see on the field of play but rarely do they show any real wish to view after the after life of an NFL player and many of the problems that they face. I liken it how the VA (Veterans’Administration), the government and public at large say that they stand behind the troops in their support but most days they wouldn’t give a soldier the time of day much less say hello . Doubt my word ? Then ask yourself this, when was the last time you offered some form of assistance to a returning veteran much less having spent some time with one either at a military facility such as a hospital or VFW lodge ? Go ahead give it a try and let me know what the experience was like ? It may well change your mindset as to how you actually view their plight. I mean the whole world felt aggrieved with the loss of former NFL star Pat Tillman even in the advent of his death being due to friendly fire but you’d be hard pressed to hear anyone say what happened in the aftermath as to the coverup concerning his death by the Defense Department and the US Army itself ?

The NFL has long maintained that it cares about the players and their well being but you’d be hard pressed to actually believe that statement . And I do believe that the league as a whole as well as the owners as a fraternity are a bunch of conniving and greedy bastards ! Nothing that they’re liable to say as it relates to the health issues of current and former NFL players can be taken with any type of veracity and the NFLPA for their part will merely act as if their concern has always been that of their union members. What I find galling by this whole travesty has been the utter contempt shown by the league in treating this matter with the seriousness ad dignity it deserves. But instead it continues to sweep the matter under the carpet until the next crisis or incident catches the public’s and media’s attention and then it tends to act in something of a diplomatic manner.

I’d certainly like to think at this juncture some common ground can be found where both the NFL and union can work in conjunction with the medical community as well as academia in thoroughly investigating and looking to safeguard the well being of current and former NFL players not just neurological disorders but also all forms of life threatening injuries that can and are suffered over the course of a player’s career. Rather than then seeing a player being pushed aside then left to fend for themselves and more often than not being egregiously denied benefits that’s rightfully due to them. At present there’s a civil suit filed by current and former players against the NFL as the sole defendant that charges them with gross malpractice , fraud and grand larceny in the denial of benefits due to the plaintiffs , in this case a collective of seventy five current and former NFL players. The suit has been filed within the US Federal Court System in Los Angeles for which a trial date has yet to be set. The plaintffs seek unspecified as well as punitive damages . The NFL and owners for their part haven’t as such issued a public statement concerning the matter but I’ve no doubt that the league’s general counsel in all due time with gave that rather perfunctory statement saying that …..” the plaintiffs’ case is without merit”.

In light of Duane Duerson’s death and the health problems that the player is said to have sustained during his professional post NFL career do you firmly believe that the league and union has done enough with regard to safe guarding the well being and health of the players ? Or do you believe that they’ve simply obfuscated their responsibilities and would rather see the players simply deal with their own health concerns themselves ? Bear this in mind the rate of neurological health issues suffered by NFL players is far higher than the general population at large and when compared to the geriatrics (elderly) the actual rate is almost 33% higher . Cause for concern don’t you think when players in their late thirties and forties in some cases are suffering from the early onset of such afflictions as ALS , Alzheimers’ disease , Parkinson’s disease , epileptic seizures, or CTE or an abundance of other life threatening maladies ? Say what you will but at this juncture but this is no longer an issue that can be swept under the carpet as it has been repeatedly done by both the NFL and NFLPA over the years . It’s time for them to do what’s morally and legally right rather than hiding behind that veil of ignorance and complete stupidity !

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Simply chime in with your thoughts on this matter and any other issue you feel is pertinent as it relates to the NFL and this topic . Thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

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(1) Dave Duerson (right) is seen here testifying before Congress in June of 2007 . In the background seated is former Dallas Cowboys’ player Darryl Johnston . Duerson’s testimony to Congress dealt with the issues of neurological disorders suffered by current and retired players. He was a stauch advocate also for the rights of players with regard their medical plight , denial of benefits and numerous other health related issues. He was only 50 years old at the time of his death. AP/ Malcolm Warren ……….

(2) Duerson seen here during an game for the Chicago Bears playing against the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field in Chicago , Illinois . AFP/Reuters / Phil Pressman ………..

(3) Chicago Bears former safety Dave Duerson holds up his drivers’ license during a public tribute to his teammate Walter Payton at Chicago’s Soldier Field in this November 6, 1999 file photo. Duerson, a key member of the team that won the 1985 Super Bowl, has died, police said on Friday. Duerson, 50, was found dead this past Thursday night at his home in Miami, said detective Robert Williams, a spokesman for the Miami Dade Police Department. No immediate cause of death was given. REUTERS/Sue Ogrocki …..

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NFL news

Alan aka tophatal …………………

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DMX ………………. “Slippin”

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Thanks For The Memories …………. But No Thanks !

Thanks For The Memories …………. But No Thanks !

Can answer be found for the utter stupidity now being shown by both the NFL , the owners and that of the NFLPA . It now appears the line that couldn’t be crossed has been as Commissioner Roger Goodell , NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and the union’s executive committee seems to be now at a point where no one seems to be making any sense. Both sides claim that they want there to be a 2011-12 season but it’s becoming abundantly clear that scenario isn’t about to happen anytime soon. An NFL imposed lockout and labor stoppage will lead to a cataclysmic problem for the NFL from a financial standpoint and that of their major corporate sponsors. It has been estimated that each week of the regular season schedule of the NFL brings in an estimated $ 300 million in gross revenues for the league . And less we forget the postseason reaps an even bigger bonanza for all concerned .

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What might now be a cause for concern will be the fate of the unrestricted free agents that will come to the market in the offseason. Any lockout leaves those players in limbo without an existing contract and as such without a team . And while we know that the NFL Draft will still take place the contention of the league is that process goes ahead without any hindrance. At what point does the idiocy stop with regard to the demeanor of the league’s hierarchy and the union itself. Both parties seem to be self serving and completely oblivious to the image created for the fans . Each side has seen fit to produce their own ads portraying their situation from their own standpoints but in reality the discerning NFL fan out there isn’t concerned with what they want or think. All the fans want to know is that there will be an NFL season to be played rather than a league imposed lockout. And while the House Oversight Committee watches from afar you simply get the feeling that they’d like to wade into this issue and leave their own mark on it all.

Courtesy of ESPN

Roger Goodell: Latest talks ‘beneficial’

ESPN.com news service

Dallas — Quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Drew Brees were among the star players who attended a negotiating session between the NFL and players’ union Saturday, league sources told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.

While it is not unusual for players to occasionally sit in on negotiations, the presence of Manning was a surprise and is an early indication that the union is successfully getting the support of its superstar quarterbacks. During the 1987 players strike and subsequent labor strife, several of the league’s star passers broke union ranks by signing licensing rights with the NFL which weakened the union revenue pool.

Manning was also joined at Saturday’s meeting by Brees, who has been an activist as the team’s player representative. Sources did not reveal if any players spoke during the negotiating session but their presence was considered symbolic, at the very least. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who was named the NFL’s MVP on Sunday for the 2010 season, also has been an outspoken pro-union player rep.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the two-hour meeting with the players’ union was “beneficial.”

“It’s always a positive when both parties are talking,” Goodell said.

“My focus is on the next three or four weeks,” Goodell said. “I’ve often said, our agreement expires on March 4th. We have to use that period of time to reach an agreement that’s fair for the players, fair for the clubs, and allows our great game to grow for our fans.”

In an interview with “Fox News Sunday” that aired the morning of the Super Bowl, Goodell called drug testing a key issue in labor talks. Goodell also addressed the NFL’s labor issues on Sunday in an appearance on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning”.

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Given Smith’s background and the fact that he worked in DC with the litigation firm Patton Boggs LLC , I’d say that the union’s Executive Director’s circle of friends within Washington could very well be in his corner . The NFL not to be outdone have their own supporters up on Capitol Hill and the very fact that they’ve their body of lobbyists pleading their case there within Congress and the Senate has me believing that the NFL’s hierarchy is in this for the long haul even with the financial mayhem that’s bound to follow. Words fail me at this juncture as to how the two sides can’t seem to find their way to come to an amicable resolution when a $9 billion a year industry is at risk ?

The broadcast networks ABC/ESPN , Fox , CBS and NBC aren’t going to be entirely happy with this outcome should the two sides not be able to come to an amicable solution. From their standpoint they clearly won’t be happy to the fact of the loss tv viewership ad revenue . And let’s not forget the NFL stadiums around the league that will stay empty around the NFL should there be a lockout ? And what might be even more telling would be the loss in terms of the economic impact each week brings to the cities concerned when an NFL game takes place. This situation has become so acute that it’s hard not see there not being a fallout on such a seismic scale that it won’t undercut the economic impact on those communities.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft , Jerry Jones and Woody Johnson of the New York Jets had all provided the public with statements stating they believed that a compromise could be reached . But obviously the league had forgotten to make the owners aware that their private thoughts and their public stance weren’t in line with this triumvirate. In terms of open transparency the NFL is not unlike of that of MLB , NASCAR , the NBA , NHL and MLS in the fact that they never choose to open their finances up for public scrutiny. And with each of these having been given antitrust exemption courtesy of Congress it’s clear to see why the league would rather not let that happen.

The league has sought concessions from the NFLPA requesting a give back initially of $1 billion annually from off the top of the gross revenues over the next seven years . But that’s just the topping for many of the other concessions sought by the owners and Goodell. And it’s easy to see why the union led by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and union President Kevin Mawae have been averse to these and many of the other concessions sought by the NFL hierarchy. The league states one thing while the union has another idea as to what the NFL really wants and that’s specifically to add to their coffers while not acquiescing to any additional financial rewards sought by the players.

Courtesy of The Nation

DeMaurice Smith: On an NFL Lockout and Inspiration from Egypt

By Dave Zirin

There is no form of entertainment in this country more popular than football, and there is no one, save Barack Obama, being scrutinized more closely these days than DeMaurice Smith . Smith heads the National Football League’s Players Association—a union that’s being threatened with being locked out unless players give back substantial amounts in wages and agree to lengthen the season to 18 games. NFL players make large sums of money but risk a lifetime of physical debilitation and the average career lasts only 3.5 years. Owners are banking on the fact that players, with their short window to make money, will cave to every demand. Smith is banking on something bigger: a sense of history, sacrifice, and community that’s bigger than sports.

I spoke with Smith last Friday, the day after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell walked away from the table during negotiations. I asked Smith, on a scale of one to ten, whether he felt there would be a lockout. “On a scale of one to ten, it’s still 14,” he said. “We’re preparing our guys for the worst, we’re hoping for the best. I’m going to keep negotiating. We’ve got our guys on standby right now to be virtually anywhere in the country whenever they want to talk. That’s the way we’re going to roll. I’ve told them that we’re going to negotiate day and night until we get it done, but it takes two.”

Smith is negotiating with—or trying to negotiate with—some of the most powerful, politically connected corporate actors in the United States. Their reach truly inspires awe. When the NFLPA produced a television ad in an effort to garner fan support, the networks first agreed and then refused to air it, presumably after pressure exerted by the league. DeMaurice Smith deemed the censorship “stunning.”

You might think, faced with such power, this would make him pessimistic about the prospects for players, but Smith finds himself inspired by events far removed from the world of football.

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If the NFL isn’t prepared to look at their own financial template on a regular basis then how will they be able to recognize the fact that along the way there has to adjustments made that can be dealt with by the interested parties in a manner befitting of each where they actually have trust in one another. And that’s clearly not the case here between the NFL and the NFLPA ! Neither side at this juncture have shown that they can either be trusted much less the fact that they can be openly honest with one another. Each side seeks the public’s empathy and I think that as of now the fans and general public aren’t overly interested in what either side has to say ….. other than perhaps them stating that there won’t be a lockout or labor stoppage .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Now as an avid fan of the NFL I’ll say this, a lockout would to my mind be a mistake that won’t be of any help to either side . The goodwill that the league and union felt that they had amongst the fans is now hanging tenuously by a single thread . Their mistake is that they’re of the fans believe that they really care ………… the fact of the matter is the vast majority of the fans simply no longer care ! The league and the unions continue shoot themselves in the foot and will continue to do so now for the foreseeable future. The March 4th deadline for both sides to get a deal done before the current collective bargaining expires is not that far off but at the same time both Goodell and Smith act as if they have all the time in the world at their disposal , but it could in reality time is of the essence given the fact that the two sides only met for the second time twice in the last three months trying to work out a deal.

Should there be a lockout within the NFL what thoughts if any do you have and how do you envision this whole scenario panning out ? Simply proffer up your thoughts on the matter .

Picture and slide show details below.

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(1) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has until March 3 to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association and executive director DeMaurice Smith.
AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt …….

(2) NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith speaks during the NFL Players Association press conference at the Super Bowl XLV media center on February 3, 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. Scott Halleran / Getty Images North America ……….

(3) National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell, Rob Manfred, executive vice president of labor and human resources in the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, Major League Baseball, NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, Michael Weiner, general counsel for the Major League Baseball Players Association, Travis Tygart, CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, Gabriel Feldman, associate professor of law and director of the Sports Law Program at Tulane University Law School, and Jeffrey Standen, professor of law at the Willamette University College of Law (L-R), testify on Capitol Hill on November 3, 2009 in Washington, DC. The hearing focused on doping in professional sports. Getty Images North America / Brendan Hoffman ………..

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Alan aka tophatal ……………………………

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Eye candy ……….. Rosa Acosta . Doesn’t she make a slice of watermelon look ever so enticing ?

Rosa Acosta 1

What’s not to like about this side of Rosa Acosta ?

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Bones Thugs-N-Harmony …………… “First of The Month”

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The King Is Dead The King Is Dead ………. Long Live The New King ………

The King Is Dead The King Is Dead ………. Long Live The New King ………

Well OK then the ghost of Brett Favre has finally been exorcised from Lambeau Field . And Aaron Rodgers has been able to lead the Green Bay Packers to the ” Promised Land” and that of further notoriety as the team was able to overcome overwhelming odds in defeating the presumptive favorites the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Superbowl (SBXLV).

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From an entertainment standpoint this game (31-25) was filled mistakes by both teams as the event played itself out in front of a global audience of hundreds of millions and those entrenched at Cowboys Stadium , Arlington , Texas to watch the NFL’s showcase event. And for Mike McCarthy and his coaching staff this was their time to shine as they were able to keep the Steelers in check. For Rogers this has been a season to prove the doubters wrong as to show them that finally the wait as was worth it . The Lombardi Trophy comes home to Green Bay and the NFL has a worthy claimant of the trophy.

Rodgers and his teammates now know that their heroic efforts will be recognized and at the same time the fans there in Green Bay and nationwide know that Favre no longer needs to be the topic of conversation whenever it comes to associating the Superbowl to the organization’s history . And inasmuch as the former Packer is still revered across the NFL , I for one can’t help but feel that he burned some bridges in the way he departed from the Packers and his somewhat laissez-faire approach to the organization where he made his name. This much we do know, the fans in Green Bay now have a new working class hero to look up to, in Aaron Rodgers . But it’d be somewhat inappropriate to suggest that this merely about Rodgers alone as it has been more of a collective effort on the part of this team with such young studs as Clay Matthews , James Starks , Jordy Nelson and others simply stepping up to the plate throughout the regular season and into the postseason itself.

Rodgers stakes claim in Titletown lore with Super Bowl journey

By Albert Breer NFL Network

Dallas , Tx,. — This night wasn’t about Brett Favre.

The Packers said good-bye to the most decorated quarterback in franchise history 30 months prior to the day of Super Bowl XLV, and the Favre questions were really only coming up again for Aaron Rodgers in big moments like the one he had Sunday night. And all that stuff was really superficial anyway, since the shadow Favre casted hardly seemed to have any effect on the rising, young team he left.

But for a brief minute in Cowboys Stadium, still picking confetti out of their hair and with older brother Luke Rodgers toting Aaron’s trademark title belt, those closest to the newest Packers legend let the scars show.

I told both Luke and father Ed Rodgers that for all the things Brett Favre accomplished over his career, No. 4 never won Super Bowl MVP, like the kid from Chico, Calif. just had.

“He didn’t?” Ed said, grinning ear-to-ear. “Oh, I didn’t know that. OK, I like that, though. That’s awesome.”

“I didn’t know that,” Luke responded earlier. “That’s fantastic. Now Aaron’s got one up on Brett.”

If those words have a tinge of edge to them, well, then so be it.

That’s what happens when you see your son or little brother told, for the first six years of his career, more about what he isn’t than what he is. That’s what happens when the kid finally erases that last “isn’t,” leaving only room for what he’s become. And for Rodgers, that’s the biggest star on the game’s biggest stage.

Despite some uneven moments on Sunday night, particularly in the third quarter of the game, Rodgers was, to use his family’s words, awesome and fantastic.

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Throughout much of the season this Packers’ team had been beset by injuries and McCarthy had to literally look to many of the younger and inexperienced players on the roster to put forth their best . In doing so and continually showing faith in those players paid dividends for the Green Bay Packers. And while many had viewed the likes of postseason hopefuls the Atlanta Falcons , Chicago Bears as teams within the NFC that could perhaps have a chance of raising the Lombardi Trophy , the Packers simply played to their strengths never once doubting themselves or the fact that they were good enough not to win.

As an avid NFL fan I simply looked for this to be an entertaining game between two evenly matched teams. In reality however it was a game fraught with errors by both teams as they looked to stamp their identity on the game. Pittsburgh Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin was looking to become the youngest coach in NFL history to have won two Superbowls before the age of forty and the organization’s seventh win of the title itself. What transpired was that the Steelers got somewhat complacent and it led to them being too reliant on an aerial attack and for their Pro Bowl quarterback Ben Roethlisberger quarterback having to lead the charge once they found themselves with an eighteen point deficit early in the game . The team responded heartily but you simply got the feeling that it might not be enough as they were never able to fully dictate the pace of the game for any prolonged stretch as the events played themselves out in front of the fans in attendance and the countless tens of millions watching globally.

Now while the NFL can feel proud that once again their brand is in a unique position as an event it has to be said that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell now has a great deal on his hands now that the postseason has ended. The league and the NFLPA are no closer to reaching an amicable agreement in their labor negotiations and what might even more surprising to the fans out there is that this past Friday was only the second formal meeting between the two sides to discuss to impasse between the two parties. Don’t you think that the situation itself has become so insane if they’re only meeting as and when they choose to rather than actually getting together with some urgency and hammering out an agreement. Instead we have the various factions either through intermediaries or through their respective leaderships making public statements that give the impression the fans and public in general that an impending labor stoppage isn’t all that far off. NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , NFLPA President Kevin Mawae have remained steely eyed and aren’t prepared to budge from their position unless the owners and league are prepared to make a number of concessions.

The collective bargaining agreement expires at midnight March 3rd and it remains to be seen whether or not the two sides will be able to resolve this matter . From the fans’ standpoint if in viewing this Superbowl they’d come to realize that this might just be the last NFL game that they might see in quite a while were there to be a labor stoppage , I’d dare that any goodwill that the the NFL and NFLPA thought it had amongst the fans would readily disappear at the drop of a hat . The sheer stupidity being shown by both sides borders on that of two kindergarten pupils fighting in the sandbox over a toy , only this case the toy in question just happens to be the tens of billions of dollars that are at stake. Multi-millionaire owners and players all fighting over who can have the largest slice of an ever diminishing slice of a pie. Nothing says stupidity than that what we’re now seeing being played out by both sides. The league’s showcase event is meant to be the celebration of the ultimate that the game has to offer but yet there’s still so much acrimony between the two sides !

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For the Green Bay Packers , their fans there in the city of Green Bay , across the state of Wisconsin and nationally this is a time for a great deal of pride and joy. The foundations upon which this organization was built under its first coach Vince Lombardi is still adhered to . And it goes without saying that being one of the NFL’s most storied franchises has given the Green Bay Packers that air of legitimacy and even the appreciation of fans nationwide and deservedly so !

Over the last five years since Rodgers’ introduction to the league it has to be said that he’s dealt with a great deal much of which could have been avoided were it not for the actions of Brett Favre and to a lesser extent that of the front office of the organization. In large part however I think that we can all agree that the primadonna attitude of Favre has been one of a petulant child who wasn’t simply allowed to get his way ! Now the Packers’ fans can appreciate what it is that they have within their midst and simply forget about the histrionics of Favre and all that he brought to the Packers in his latter years with the team. The King Is Dead The King Is Dead ….. Long Live The New King !

What observations if any did you have on this Superbowl ? And as such were you thoroughly entertained by the game itself or did you feel in part that it was something of a letdown ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the matter and thanks as always for the continued support !

Picture and slide show details below.

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(1) Dallas , Tx,. February 7th 20011. Head coach Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers speaks to the media during a press conference at Super Bowl XLV Media Center on February 7, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images …….

(2) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (left) and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers pose with the MVP trophy after speaking to the media during a press conference at Super Bowl XLV Media Center on February 7, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images ……..

(3) Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers celebrates with teammate Josh Sitton (71) after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in the NFL football Super Bowl XLV game Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/David J. Phillip ………

(4) Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates after a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …….

(5) Green Bay Packers’ Clay Matthews, right, is congratulated by his father Clay Matthews Jr after the Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL football Super Bowl XLV game on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. The Packers won 31-25 . AP Photo/Paul Sancya ………

(6) The Black Eyed Peas’ Fergie performs with Slash during halftime of Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. Gary A. Vasquez/NFL …….

(7) The Vince Lombardi Trophy is delivered to the Green Bay Packers by Roger Staubach celebrate winning Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. Perry Knotts/ NFL ……

(8) Green Bay Packers’ Tramon Williams, bottom, fights for the ball during a fumble as Pittsburgh Steelers’ Keenan Lewis and Green Bay Packers’ Sam Shields chases NFL Super Bowl XLV football game Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/ Marcio Jose Sanchez …….

(9) Green Bay Packers running back James Starks (44) runs up field during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. Gary A. Vasquez/NFL ………

(10) Feb 6, 2011; Arlington, TX, USA; Green Bay Packers running back James Starks (44) is tackled by Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark (25) during the first half of Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium. Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE ……….

(11) Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. Kevin Terrell/NFL ……

(12) Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. Kevin Terrell/NFL ………….

(13) Aaron Rodgers (12 )of the Green Bay Packers meets with Brett Favre (4) of the Minnesota Vikings after the Packers defeated the Vikings 28-24 at Lambeau Field on October 24, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. A sure sign that the torch had been finally passed and the exorcism had began ! Getty Images / Jim Pirsching ……

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NFL news ………..

Green Bay Packers’ news ……

Pittsburgh Steelers’ news …..


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Alan aka tophatal ………………………

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Eye candy ………. Veronica Vior . Giddy up now !

Rachel Havanna . Could she be looking for some rear end action ?

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Mint Condition ………….. “What Kind of A Man Would I Be ”
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This Ain’t No Ordinary Rodeo …………

This Ain’t No Ordinary Rodeo …………

The San Antonio Spurs (42-8) are no doubt having a terrific season and they’re winning at an unprecedented rate although they’re viewed as being under the radar. All the hype has simply been about the Boston Celtics , Miami Heat and the defending NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers . Now for some reason the league saw fit to schedule 14 of the Spurs’ next nineteen games on the road as the team’s home venue is being used to host a rodeo.

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On the face of it that hasn’t really stopped the Spurs as players such as Tony Parker , Manu Ginobli , Tiago Splitter , Richard Jefferson have stepped up to the plate. Aging veteran and four time —- NBA champion —– Tim Duncan still is capable of playing at a high level when called upon but being the cerebral player we’ve all known him to be for Duncan once the postseason comes around that’s when we’ll look to see him raise his game to the next level.

Coach Gregg Popovich and his coaching staff have to be greatly appreciative of what they’re now seeing from the team and in particular from the younger players on the roster. DeJuan Blair is proving that he’s got the game to be potent within the league and his defense has vastly improved. Certainly many around the league have woken up to the fact that these aren’t the same old Spurs who’d wilt when pressed and it’s to Popovich’s credit that he’s simply nurtured this team and then at the same time seen the veteran leadership of Duncan and Antonio McDyess come to the fore . Both of these solid veterans are deeply respected by their teammates have seen if the duo can rise to the occasion then they too can simply do the same.

Though as an avid fan of the team and with the season having reached its beyond its halfway point I like what I’m seeing from the San Antonio Spurs at present and hopefully it bodes well for the rest of their season .

The NBA All Star Game is now but a week away where the event will be staged at the Staples Center and hosted by the Los Angeles Lakers. NBA Commissioner David Stern no doubt will view this as a way of gauging the game’s intrinsic value at a time when the league hierarchy has a number of economic problems . The league’s teams are on track to lose in excess of $500 million this season if Stern’s projected figures are to be believed. And to top it all the league is still in the midst of ongoing labor talks with the NBPA . NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter and the union’s representatives led by NBPA President Derek Fisher have been reticent in the fact that they’re not prepared accede and make any concessions that they believe will be to their disadvantage. And with the union having de-certified as a way of taking that first step of challenging the league’s antitrust exemption in the Federal Court system should things fall apart during the negotiating process it gives you a clear picture as to how far apart both sides are in the process.

It’d be asinine to see the NBA have an enforced lockout and labor stoppage . The players say that they don’t want this scenario evolve into a major conflict between the two sides. And from a fan standpoint the image of the league in particular , this doesn’t bode well for what David Stern and the game’s corporate partners had envisaged for the game. Twenty five years in as the game’s highest ranked official and Stern has led the organization to untold riches but at the same time his autocratic rule has been bemoaned by many in and outside of the game. Albeit that team owners around the NBA have to appreciative for what Stern has done for the game from a financial standpoint. In the twenty five years of David Stern’s tenure as NBA Commissioner they’ve seen their franchises appreciate in value and to the point where their revenues have more than quadrupled over that period of time. The branding of the NBA product represents a $4.5 billion to $6 billion ($4,500,000,000-$6,000,000,000) a year industry for all parties concerned. And it’s easy to understand why the owners are thankful to Stern and the business acumen he’s shown over the years.

The NBA much like the NFL can’t afford to be viewed as the villain of the piece as both seek union and labor stability within their respective sports. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been saying all the right things but he’s nearer in avoiding an unwanted lockout . But he simply knows that with hour glass petering and the sand emptying as the March 3rd deadline inches ever closer he has to have an agreement in place with the NFLPA Executive Committee before the March deadline. If that’s not available to him then look for the NFL owners to lock the gates and all hell break loose.

From afar I’m wondering what both the NBA and NFL think that they can achieve from all of this ! I find it somewhat ridiculous that the executives within both organizations and the respective unions could have simply thought that the untold riches that they’ve been in receipt of wasn’t ever going to decline ! But here again lies the fact that much like the present administration , Congress and Senate their thinking has been short term rather than long term when it comes to a business and economic template. How else can you simply explain the economic mess that the country is now in apart from the rather asinine behavior also shown by idiots on Wall St and within the boardrooms of major corporations across the nation ? And not unlike those entities we’re now hearing and seeing the excuses come about as they now try to explain many of the problems they now have within their midst. The NBA , NFL and US government has become >one big joke as they seek to absolve themselves of the problems which in large part much of it they created with their rather irrational and irresponsible behavior !

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What thoughts if any do you have on the San Antonio Spurs’ season ? And also chime in with your own thoughts as the NBA and NFL’s ongoing labor dispute .

Picture and slide show details .

(1) Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans , second from left, tries to the protect the ball from San Antonio Spurs’ Manu Ginobili, of Argentina, left, Tim Duncan, third from left, and Tony Parker, right, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli ……….

(2) San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, of Argentina, right, gets treatment for a cut in his mouth from Spurs trainer Will Sevening , during the second half against the Sacramento Kings in a NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. The Spurs beat the Kings 113-100 . AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli ………..

(3) San Antonio Spurs head coach Greg Popovich was called for a technical foul for arguing with official Marat Kogut , unseen, during the second half against the Sacramento Kings in a NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. The Spurs beat the Kings 113-100. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli …..

(4) San Antonio Spurs forward DeJuan Blair, right, comes up with a loose ball against Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. The Spurs beat the Kings 113-100. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli …..

(5) San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker, right, of France, drives to the basket against Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans, left, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli ……..

(6) Head coach Phil Jackson (left) of the Los Angeles Lakers receives his championship ring from NBA Commissioner David Stern before the season opening game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on October 27, 2009 in Los Angeles. Getty Images/ Kevork Djansezjian …..

NBA News

NBA Standings Conference ……… Division

NFL News

Alan aka tophatal ……………………..

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San Antonio Spurs ….

Spurs’ roster

Team Stats …

San Antonio Spurs’ 2010-11 schedule

Coaching Staff ……. led by Gregg Popovich

Team owner Peter Holt

General Manager R C Buford

San Antonio Spurs’ history

San Antonio Spurs’ news


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Summer Walker

Eye candy ……………….. Summer Walker . Hell yeah !

Summer Walker 2

Isn’t she the most interesting season of the year ? Summer Walker !

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Mint Condition ………….. “Breakin’ My Heart” (Pretty Brown Eyes)

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Chances Are ………. Things Could Get Worse Before They’ll Get A Great Deal Better

Chances Are ………. Things Could Get Worse Before They’ll Get A Great Deal Better

OK so the NFL and the NFLPA are about to have their set to and I’m thinking how is that a $ 9 billion a year industry cannot seem to deal within the parameters set by their template ? NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in his state of the NFL address to the convened press at Cowboys Stadium , Arlington , Texas has reiterated his wish to hammer out a deal with the union’s Executive Committee led by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and union President Kevin Mawae .

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The league hierarchy and the owners opted out of the league’s collective bargaining agreement which was due to expire on March 3rd 2011. Both sides knew exactly the impasse that this would create and at the same time they’re now looking for the empathy of the NFL fans. Personally I do believe that the NFL and the players had completely underestimated the resolve and tenacity of the fans who in essence will abandon the NFL and their support of their teams . The players see the league as the villains of the piece whereas the league’s view of the union is that they’re self serving and unwilling to acquiesce and make the concessions being asked by Goodell and the owners . The league seeks a give back of $1 billion ($1,000,000,000) a year for the next seven years and on the face of it that might not seem a great deal but when you consider that the figure merely accounts just over 11% of the league’s annual revenues. But also what I’d like to ask of Goodell and the league is given that when the NFL’s next television broadcast agreement comes up for renewal what are they prepared to seek from the networks in question ? I’m sure that NBC , ABC/ESPN , Fox and CBS Sports are closely monitoring these negotiations very closely. As too no doubt are league’s corporate sponsors as they’ve a lot to lose should there be a labor stoppage and a prolonged lockout.

Courtesy of CBCSports.ca

Goodell says bargaining with players ‘beneficial’

Sunday session was first formal talk since November

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says this weekend’s bargaining session with the players’ union was “beneficial.”

In an interview with Fox News Sunday that aired the morning of the Super Bowl, Goodell called drug testing a key issue in labour talks.

Goodell said “a number of” individual players and owners participated in a two-hour meeting Saturday, the first formal bargaining session since November. The labour deal expires in March.

“It’s always a positive when both parties are talking,” he said.

Outlining major sticking points, Goodell talked about revenue division, rookie salaries and benefits for retired players, adding “We want to continue on with the integrity of the game, which is my No. 1 issue.”

He also spoke of “making sure we have the best drug program in sports.”

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As to the league’s showcase even this may well be the last chance the fans will get to see a Superbowl (SBXLV) for a while . Imagine there being no 2011-12 season and nothing but an uproar from the fans while the players themselves simply sit back and wait ? Blank television screens and stadiums across the league empty , never mind the economic impact the loss would create to the 32 league markets . These are the things that I believe that Goodell knows will hamper the league’s image and the brand itself. The last stoppage to affect the league was over decade and a half ago and the fans who witnessed this all left them aggrieved and angry at the NFL.

At this juncture I’m not so sure that this impasse will be quickly resolved as both sides are entrenched and don’t appear to want to budge from their current positions. Goodell in part and the owners are also looking to have an eighteen game schedule in place by either the 2011-12 or 2012-13 season . The NFLPA aren’t about accede to that request unless the league will make several concessions , one of which would be to decrease the number preseason games from four to two. Also as a bone of contention is that of the NFL rookies’ salary contract and the idiocy that simply goes on there. Agents such Drew Rosenhaus and Leigh Steinberg may not view this as acceptable but either way they should be thankful that their clients will still get paid.

I’ve read with interest that the Wilpon family will be looking to sell a minority stake in the New York Mets and this has come about because the family has a judgment against them seeking some $350 million that they were able to profit from in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme scandal which defrauded several thousand clients to the tune of an estimated $59 billion ($59 ,000,000,000). This was as such the largest fraud perpetrated and whereby the SEC in conjunction with FBI and Justice Department were able to catch the felon , in the case Madoff and his co-conspirators. Madoff is now serving a 125 year jail sentence in in a Federal penitentiary
The Wilpon family it has been said also lost heavily which resulted in what is said to be losses of anywhere between $250 million to $ 500 million if the estimates are to be believed.

Amongst the interested parties is a syndicate of which Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s son Martin Luther King III will be part of the group seeking to become a minority stake owner in the team. Given the history and legacy of the game of baseball I find it rather ironic that it’s only now that we’ve actually seen a genuine attempt for there to be an African American owner in the sport. There’s only one other prominent minority owner in the sport and that is Arte Moreno of the Los Angeles Angeles . Albeit that the league can boast several general managers of ethnic persuasion there simply hasn’t been that ardent fervor you’d have come to expect from Commissioner Bud Selig and the baseball hierarchy for there to be a prominent African American owner within the game.

Martin Luther King III should he and his syndicate group to be successful this would most definitely be a first in MLB. It would also send a clear indication to the ethnic community at large that there is a place for them at the owner’s table should they seek to ascend to those levels. It certainly hasn’t hurt the image of the NBA where Michael Jordan still the face of the NBA is now the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats . And the franchise’s history has been well chronicled in its present guise and it’s hoped that Jordan during his tenure can lead this team some semblance of success.
This much we do know about the Mets in its present guise with the upheaval felt within the front office after the firings of Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya does portend that incoming Head of Baseball Operations Sandy Alderson and VP and Head of Scouting J P Ricciardi are the new brooms brought in by COO Jeff Wilpon to clean house and discard of the unwanted pieces in this underachieving team .

Courtesy of USA Today


Madoff lawsuit: Mets owners owe victims $300 million

New York — The owners of the New York Mets, along with their relatives and other businesses, were “collectively one of the largest beneficiaries” of Bernard Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme, receiving approximately $300 million in phantom profits that financed the team and other ventures, a newly unsealed lawsuit charged Friday.

The business empire of Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz had 483 Madoff accounts — including 16 for the Mets, from which $90 million of burned investors’ money helped pay the National League baseball franchise’s “day-to-day operations” — according to the lawsuit filed by Irving Picard. Picard is the court-appointed trustee seeking Madoff assets to repay the fraud’s thousands of victims.

The action alleges Wilpon and Katz ignored “gathering clouds” of repeated warnings from financial experts and others that Madoff’s investment operation was in reality a scam, because the owners had come to rely on the uncannily steady profits to substantially support their Sterling Equities Associates empire for a quarter of a century.

PICARD vs Mets : Read the complaint

The owners realized they “were simply in too deep,” the lawsuit says.

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The Mets’ history has been a storied one of ups and downs more downs given their recent history as they’ve seen their crosstown rivals the New York Yankees have unprecedented success over the last decade and a half. And if the Mets are to succeed then it will have to come down the coaching staff , the prudency shown by the front office and the performances of the players. If they can’t get it done this upcoming season then the New York Mets might as well throw in the towel once and for all.

I’m sorry but given the horrid season the Minnesota Timberwolves are now having and perhaps the only reason to be joyful, as they’ve seen the team’s lone All Star —– Kevin Love have a truly astonishing season with his play. A constant threat now to throw up 20 and 10 with amazing regularity the player is now being viewed as a must see around the NBA .Both Love and the Los Angeles Clippers’ —- Blake Griffin are simply just letting it rip.And they’ve quite rightly both been rewarded with roster spots on Western Conference All Star team for 2011.

Now while on appearance the Timberwolves’ season has literally spun out of control the team , Kurt Rambis’ and his coaching staff have done their utmost to put on a good face as they’ve struggled to maintain some sense of consistency . And the situation hasn’t helped that O J Mayo has had to serve an NBA mandated 10 game suspension for abusing the game’s substance abuse policy. The player himself however contends that the reason for his positive test stems from the fact that he’s used a supplement which had DHEA . That particular substance is viewed as a PED (performance enhancing drug) by the league’s hierarchy .

Whatever the outcome of this season will be for the Minnesota Timberwolves it’s clear that as of now the organization can only hope for things to get a great deal better. If not then the continued malaise will have the fans deserting the organization and looking elsewhere for to heap noteworthy praise on a team .

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

What thoughts if any do you have on the subjects raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment and I’ll do my utmost to respond expeditiously and clarity. Thanks as always for your continued support.

Picture and slide show details .

(1) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been front and center at the Super Bowl this week, dealing with questions about both this season and the possibly delayed one to come because of labor issues. David J. Phillip/Associated Press …..

(2) Center Kevin Mawae (68) of the Tennessee Titans and President of the NFL Player’s Association speaks to members of the media during the NFL Player’s Association Press Conference held at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center as part of media week for Super Bowl XLIV on February 4, 2010 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Inset also if NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith . Doug Benc / Getty Images North America Inc ……….

(3) DeMaurice Smith, NFL Player’s Association Executive Director, speaks to members of the media during the NFL Player’s Association Press Conference held at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center as part of media week for Super Bowl XLIV on February 4, 2010 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Getty Images / Doug Benc ……

(4) New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon (left) and team owner Fred Wilpon patriarch of the family. The front office of the Mets has been completely revamped and so too has the coaching staff . The organization now finds itself in an intensive lawsuit that could have some adverse effects on the team’s long term financial stability and viability as the family has been ordered to pay the victims of the Madoff Ponzi scheme an estimated $350 million . AFP/ Reuters / Michael Findley ……..

(5) Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love, left, and Denver Nuggets’ Chauncey Billups battle for a rebound in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011, in Minneapolis. The Nuggets won 113-100 . Billups scored 21 points and had 13 assists while Love scored 18 and had 19 rebounds for the Timberwolves. AP Photo/Jim Mone ……….

(6) Martin Luther King III (R) and his sister Bernice release a dove from the balcony where their father, Martin Luther King Jr., was shot to death at the conclusion of a vigil in King’s honor at the Lorraine Hotel April 4, 2008 in Memphis, Tennessee. King was killed by James Earl Ray 40 years ago today. Win McNamee / Getty Images ………

😛

Alan aka tophatal ……….

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C Black

Eye candy ……………………. Courtney Black

Courtney 2

Eight ball corner pocket, my balls and pen_s are feeling great ! Thanks Courtney !

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Ashanti ……….. ‘Rain On Me’

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Who’s Going To Protect The Players If The NFL Itself Can’t Do Its Best To Protect Them ?

Who’s Going To Protect The Players If The NFL Itself Can’t Do Its Best To Protect Them ?

It’s becoming extremely difficult to find some reason to give credence to the events that took place on the sidelines of the game between the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets . The actions of Jets’ strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi and that of a number of players who are on the teams’s injured reserved list . As the Dolphins’ Nolan Carroll raced down the sidelines Alosi made sure that his leg was there to impede Carroll causing him to fall to the ground. Now while an apology has been forthcoming from Alosi , one could clearly see that the move was intentional and not an accident as he was trying to suggest at the time. What might be even more unconscionable is the mere fact that Mike Westhoff the assistant coach to Rex Ryan is now coming to the defense of the beleaguered Alosi and suggesting that the incident was unfortunate mistake by his associate. The question I’d ask of Westhoff would he be of the same opinion were that a Jets’ player and the player in question were Mark Sanchez ? I guess we’ll never know but somehow I do believe that Westhoff and the Jets’ organization would be asking for their pound of flesh with the offender’s head being served up and placed on a silver platter !

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Alosi has since been suspended by the Jets’ organization indefinitely and the NFL is now conducting its own investigation into the incident. Roger Goodell and his office have to do more to stop this sort of irresponsible behavior and furthermore for the players who were on the sidelines at the time of the incident and stated this is done by them all the time, it begs the question why didn’t they speak out at the time of Alosi’s stupidity ? Two of the players who were on the sidelines at the time of the incident have stated that Sal Alosi asked them to be on the sidelines during regular game-time play and to be there as a way of depriving the opposing player room while in motion. Now what I’d like to know is what would have been done had Nolan Carroll been seriously injured during his fall after Alosi’s idiocy ? It’s bad enough that with the repeated injuries such concussions being suffered by a number of players after rather dubious plays in some instances we now have the NFL coming and imposing fines upon the players who are actually enacting these hits. To date the Pittsburgh Steelers’ ____ James Harrison has been penalized to the tune of $125,000 and it’d be fair to say that before season’s end that sum could rise exponentially.

Those of us who may well have seen the game between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles will have witnessed the mind numbingly physicality of the game between the two teams and there were several hits aimed at Eagles’ quarterback Michael Vick . The player who has been having a tremendous season to the extent that he’s now the top vote getter in the NFL for the Pro Bowl . That asides those hits and the fact that they were not called leads me to believe that Vick was fair game for the Cowboys’ defensive players . Were that say, Tom Brady , Peyton Manning , Philip Rivers or Drew Brees I do believe that the referees officiating the game would have called the penalties …….. roughing the passer ! But invariably the calls were not made even in light of the fact that many of the hits were most definitely after the play. It’s now being left to the league and certain officials after a game to determine what’s fair concerning a hit by a player on another player on the opposing team . If there’s no consistency by the officials officiating during a game then how can anyone believe that a decision made after the result has been determined makes things right ? If anything by perception alone this smacks of incompetency and sheer stupidity on the part of the NFL . But as Goodell’s office now determines what they deem to be appropriate then I guess that the focus and mindset within the game somehow changes in terms of the competitiveness of players and how to some extent a game will be determined.

We all know that the NFL is a ‘star driven league’ that’s essentially about the pre-eminent faces there and in this case those stars are inevitably the highly prized and well known quarterbacks around the game . As I alluded to earlier, the likes of Brady , Manning , Rivers and Brees are well protected by the officials and I’ve no doubt that this is being done at the behest of the commissioner’s office. The Green Bay Packers’ ___ Aaron Rodgers has now suffered his second concussion in as many months this season and is probable for the team’s —— game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts . That being said without Rogers at the helm the Packers’ season could very well go up in smoke as they’re fighting for not only a playoff berth but also with the possibility of winning the NFC North . Things are tightening up within the NFC and it could very well be that the Green Bay Packers who were heavily favored as a playoff contender will now be on the outside looking in.

Speaking of quarterbacks isn’t it now time for Brett Favre to put an end to this farce and the possibility of him now returning to play the final three games of the Minnesota Vikings’ season ? As bad as things have been for the Vikings this season much of it has come about as Favre has seemingly fallen apart not only professionally but also privately , as there’s still an open ongoing investigation into the allegations that the player had sent sexually explicit pictures to Jenn Sterger a former New York Jets’ employee. If that wasn’t enough Favre has admitted to sending explicit messages to Sterger but states that pictures allegedly of him are in fact of someone else. Commissioner Goodell has stated that he’s close to making a decision concerning the player’s actions and that it will be in line with the league’s personal conduct policy. At best Favre would be looking at a suspension and perhaps some form of rehab which to my mind is all too little, too late considering the nature of the player’s actions and the fact that he’s married man, a father and grandfather. The league is all about its image but the fact of the matter is when it comes to doing what’s appropriate they continue to come up short repeatedly. It’s as if at times the league condones misogyny and acts such as this which are so egregious and unlawful. It now begs the question also why weren’t law enforcement officials brought in to investigate this matter when it first came to the fore ? This has been one story that Favre and the NFL wishes would go away.

The season itself now has come down to a number of teams looking to remain consistent and those looking for a backdoor into the playoffs. I’d recently suggested to a patron of my site that I felt it was ludicrous that we could very well see a team from either of the AFC West or NFC West win their division with a sub .500 record . And far be it for me to suggest but when that happens and a team with a much better record within the conference is denied a place merely because of a divisional winner’s record that to my mind smacks of stupidity ! And inasmuch as the league deems it a fair system there is nothing at all on appearance that is really fair. It’s all a matter of perception and what the league itself wishes as a proponent of the present format.

Rich McKay who’s the President of the Atlanta Falcons has proposed that the league re-seeds the teams once the regular season is over and wherein teams with a better record than those of a divisional winner within their respective conferences are given a higher seeding and home field advantage. This isn’t as complex as it might first sound but there are a number of detractors of McKay’s proposal and the fact that those teams who’d be affected aren’t entirely with these changes. But to my mind these changes would be far more beneficial to the league and for the fans but as we know the league has an aversion to change in a number of ways. Change is normally seen as being good but somehow I feel that at this moment in time the NFL would rather be at a standstill as it deals with a number of other obligations. Case in point they are no further along in their negotiations with the NFLPA and DeMaurice Smith the Executive Director of the union. And one would have thought that speeding up the labor negotiations and coming to an amicable agreement would be a great deal easier given the things at stake and possible loss of goodwill amongst the fans. In many ways I view the NFL hierarchy , owners and players as top heavy bureaucracy that’s laden with a group of idiots at all levels from the top on down.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the NFL , the season and how the direction that things seem to be going for a number of teams around the league ? Chime in with a comment on your thoughts and views .

😛

Alan aka tophatal …………………… 🙂

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Sasha-XXL

Eye candy ………… Sasha . The month of June’s eye candy from XXL Magazine.
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Kimbella

The delectable Kimbella !. Is there anymore that needs to be said about her at this juncture ?

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Image Is Everything And Then It Can Mean Absolutely Nothing ……….

Image Is Everything And Then It Can Mean Absolutely Nothing ……….

OK so when was it that Brett Favre thought it appropriate to be sending text messages to a female sideline reporter all as part of a sexual ruse ? Sadly this now becomes the norm in terms of the behavior of some NFL players . First we have Ben Roethlisberger in complete denial as to his behavior and to this day he still claims that nothing sexually inappropriate took place in his alleged assault of a female in Milledgville , Atlanta and that’s even after a sworn affidavit by the victim . And the only reason why the Steelers’ quarterback didn’t undergo a jury trial was for the mere fact that the victim did not want to press charges against the player in spite of the fact that the District Attorney’s Office felt that there was a very good chance that the player would be found guilty . Now as we all know the player served a four game suspension that was originally set at six games but was further reduced after the player agreed to counsel administered by the league’s own in-house medical staff.

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Roethlisberger is still trying to recuperate his image not only around the NFL but also with the fans there in Pittsburgh and amongst his teammates. What I find completely egregious is the mere fact that there never seems to be an outcry by any of the players within the NFL or for that matter from the NFLPA (union) when one of its own members behaves so egregiously. It’s almost as if the union condones this sort of action and they are prepared to see women be treated as chattel. Now let’s get one thing clear many of the players are either married or are in relationships where they are monogamous. But then again you also have players around the league who’ll clandestinely be involved in multiple relationships other than with that of their spouses. And in some cases players put themselves in situations where they are vulnerable to the wares of women who are seeking a big payday. But at the end of the day it ultimately comes down to personal accountability and responsibility. I was once told by a patron on my site that many of these women of whom some are be exotic dancers are simply ‘whores’ looking to get paid . My response to him was that he was an ‘illiterate ass’ whose education was marginally above that of a mentally challenged individual. What misogynistic fool believes that it’s OK for a female to be abused for whatever reason in terms of sexual gratification ?

Favre by all accounts thought it fit to send several text messages as well as multiple sexually graphic pictures of his lower extremities (sexual organ) to Jenn Sterger a reporter who also happens to be in the employment of the New York Jets. The incident or incidents as is now being reported itself took place in 2008 when Favre was a player with the New York Jets. The Jets’ front office we are told are now conducting an internal investigation into the matter and the player himself when questioned about the incident by the local press in Minnesota has refused to comply with any requests for an explanation. If the alleged incident is found to have any veracity to it, then the image of one of the NFL’s most beloved players could very well be tarnished irrevocably. Now from my own standpoint Brett Favre could very well be innocent but then again we’ve seen this type of behavior happen before , all too often concerning an NFL player who’ll then choose to hide behind the facade of the law and with mindset that he’s innocent until proven guilty by a jury of his peers. But perception being what it is and the incident as described it’s now playing into the hands as to what we know about Favre as a player , family man and the facade that’s all too often put up for public consumption to hide what appears to be the darker side of an athlete’s personality.

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Favre, Moss, Brady turn NFL into three-ring circus

By Dan Wetzel Yahoo Sports

In the 90-year history of the National Football League it’s fairly certain that a team’s season has never been derailed because the star quarterback may have text-messaged inappropriate photos to a “media personality” who was originally discovered when a television camera captured her cowboy hat and cleavage attire in the stands of a Florida State game.

The improbability scale can be doubled by the fact that the team with that same QB had just picked up a future Hall of Fame receiver because the receiver had reportedly made fun of his former quarterback’s teenie-bopper haircut.

It’s the Real Housewives of the NFL, one bizarre situation piled on top of the other. This season is a Kardashian cameo away from needing to credit Ryan Seacrest as an executive producer.

Minnesota Vikings QB Brett Favre is under “review” by the league for potential sexual harassment of Jenn Sterger back in 2008, when Favre was with the New York Jets and Sterger was an in-stadium “reporter.”

Meanwhile, Randy Moss may have punched his ticket out of New England when he and Tom Brady(notes) had to be separated in the locker room, according to CBS’s Charley Casserly. Brady reportedly told Moss to trim his beard. Moss shot back that Brady needed to do something with his Justin Bieber-inspired hair.

“You need to get your haircut,” Moss said, according to Casserly. “You look like a girl.”

New England, which is 3-1 on the season, promptly shipped its deep threat to Minnesota, meaning it will either revamp its offense on the fly or concede a season that still held promise. Minnesota reportedly gave up a third-round pick in the 2011 NFL draft and 2012 seventh-rounder for Moss because Favre desperately needed a playmaker to turn around a 1-2 campaign. Only now, Favre is in hot water and considering Roger Goodell’s stringent personal conduct policy that could be serious.

There’s minimal fan outrage that Favre may have been practicing what generations of players before him did – trying to pick up women. Meetings of the Monogamous Quarterback Club are generally small affairs. Ideally it’s a private a matter between Favre, his family and Sterger, even after deadspin.com acquired voice-mails and pictures it purports to be of quarterback’s anatomy. Because of work place harassment laws, however, it isn’t.

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I’m not about to say that Favre is totally innocent of the charges that could be leveled against him but given what is being reported and there being factual evidence of these incidents which were retained by the victim Jenn Sterger . I’d certainly like to know what possible explanation can be offered up by the player over this particular incident ? There’s this belief that a person is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt . But certainly that may well be true in a number cases but what happens when there’s evidence there to suggest that the player has committed a crime ? As of yet law enforcement hasn’t been brought in over the incident and I hazard a guess that the commissioner’s office may well be watching this all with a great deal of scrutiny.

Roger Goodell already has his hands filled in dealing with the NFLPA and his ongoing negotiations with his union counterpart DeMaurice Smith over the renegotiating of the league’s collective bargaining agreement while at an impasse has never once touched on the recent conduct of the players’ behavior. Now under what was the then existing agreement had mandated that it was in the commissioner’s right to suspend a player for conduct detrimental to the image of the NFL. Goodell could very well use that edict given the findings of the Jets’ investigation should there be any proof that there was inappropriate behavior by the player. As I alluded to earlier, the player’s image as it is, has been sullied somewhat given his actions over the last few years but at the same time he’s still loved by a loyal following across the NFL landscape. As to the immediate groundswell of the fans and their thoughts, it may well be far too early to say what they may well think about it all and what the repercussions might be. What we do know is that Favre and his publicists will be looking to avert attention away from the player and unto that of the victim , in this case Jenn Sterger. It could be a risky move should they choose to go down this route and it has to be said that this now becomes cannon fodder for the sports’ pages across the nation. If nothing else this now could overshadow almost everything that Brett Favre had hoped to accomplish this season. It begs the question why did he choose to come back to the NFL if by week 5 we’d be discussing whether or not Favre >had been sending sexual explicit messages and pictures to a female who doesn’t happen to be his wife ?

The Minnesota Vikings and Brad Brad Childress are under a great deal of pressure to excel this season with a goal of winning the Superbowl . And even with the acquisition of Randy Moss via a trade from the New England Patriots for a third round draft pick their season isn’t as yet on the right course wherein one could still categorically say that they’re undoubted favorites within the NFC. That may well have been the case prior to the beginning of the season but given the fact the team’s play has been inconsistent as the season has progressed and at this juncture the only direction for the team to proceed is forward.That being said much of that will predicated upon the play of Favre and his teammates and with the NFC North literally now being up for grabs it’s incumbent on the Vikings having a successful regular season if they’re to make it to the postseason. This much is certain with this now alleged to be Favre’s final season in the NFL it’s all all or bust for the three time league MVP. The brass ring is there waiting to be caught and it’s down to this team to prove to us that their window of opportunity hasn’t faded or indeed has pass them by.

Strange as it may seem with this all circling around Brett Favre it’s hard to see how he’ll be able to handle the scrutiny with this not affecting his game. The accusations as serious as they are conjecture as to his guilt or innocence will leave many of us wondering what the hell is now going on not only with the player but also within the NFL hierarchy and how they deal with a player of Favre’s high profile when there’s alleged misconduct on the player’s part. It’s clear that there’ll be a great deal more about this story that’s yet to unfold and be heard.

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What thoughts if any do you have on this particular incident and whether or not there’s any veracity as to the allegation that has surfaced concerning the player ?

NB: It has now been reported that two females in the employ of the Jets as masseuses were propositioned by the player with some unwanted advances. Their claims also are now being investigated by the team for which we’ve now learned that the NFL front office is being kept abreast of the findings of the Jets.

Alan aka tophatal …………………… 🙂

I’m No One’s Bitch But My Own …… !

I’m No One’s Bitch But My Own !

OK so someone explain to me what was so noble about what was done by Reggie Bush ? Giving up his Heisman Trophy after the cheating that took place when from the outset as he lied as to the fact that he took nor did he licit any gifts from an agent or boosters from within the US Trojans’ organization. From start to finish this has been one complete charade and much of that may well have been done with the knowledge of his former coach Pete Carroll and no doubt former athletic director Mike Garrett. Pat Haden who as successor to Garrett has thanked the former Trojan for his actions and stated that…”it was a commendable thing to do”. Now as the Heisman Board of Trustees makes a decision as to whether or not to award the the trophy to runner up Vince Young or to completely vacate verdict of 2005 one has to ask what sort of a deterrent will this be seen as to other athletes ?

Clearly Bush has profited from the award financially not just from his draft status in 2006 but also from the commercial endorsements garnered by the player. The NCAA in their dealings with USC found that the program there was rife with numerous infractions stemming from 2005 and prior. In pronouncing their findings they sought punish the program with impunity. The loss of multiple scholarships and none appearances in BCS bowl games for two consecutive years. We may think that the punishment was too severe but when one considers that the program sought to hide behind this subterfuge without an admission of guilt. And the idiocy shown by former USC students in trying to negate the wrongdoing by saying that the cheating didn’t take place on the field of play was as asinine as it comes !

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The NCAA doesn’t stipulate as to how cheating is prescribed as it concerns on the field endeavors because they simply state infractions of any kind aren’t tolerated. If that’s not a clear enough definition for those individuals then the education that takes place on the campus of USC isn’t all it’s cracked up to be ! As to Young being the recipient of the award, well it may not viewed as the right thing to do but to my mind it would not settle a situation that the Heisman board members and the NCAA were in some ways fully aware as to ongoing inconsistencies going on within the Trojans’ athletic program. But the idiocy here was that they all chose to turn a blind eye to the actions that had been rumored to have taken place. ere it not for the investigative journalists who sought to seek out the truth then much of what came to light would’ve remained hidden.

The NFL season is but a week old but already injuries could well become the culprit that waylays the year for several teams . It could play a great deal as to what transpires for numerous teams. So far the New York Jets , New England Patriots , Indianapolis Colts and are but a slew of teams that has lost players to season ending injuries. And it will become a test of wills for their coaches to see if the players plugged in to fill those gaps will prove to be sufficient to keep their seasons intact .

Did I miss something concerning the San Diego Chargers’ loss to the Kansas City Chiefs ? I’m no great admirer of Norv Turner as a coach as I don’t view him as someone who knows how to handle real adversity within the NFL well. The Chargers’ defense was about as resolute as the passengers on the Titanic as they sought to save themselves. In the case of the Chargers there was nothing to be saved here other than the reputation of several veterans. The upheaval that there has been within the team where we’ve since seen the departure of future Hall of Famer LaDanian Tomlinsion and the discord between wide receiver Vincent Jackson </a? and the organization . GM A J Smith and team President & CEO Dean Spanos while looking towards the future seem to be unsure as to the what direction that they want the team to be heading in.

The AFC West long seen as the Chargers’ own personal backyard but this season could turn out to be somewhat different as the Chiefs now seem to be more resolute with the addition of Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel as the offensive and defensive coordinators for the team . The two experienced veteran coaches will provide a great deal of assistance to head coach Todd Haley . We may well also get to see how much growth there will be quarterback Matt Cassel’s game as he seeks to more cohesiveness with his team and in particular with the offense. The defense showed depth and signs of maturity in their season opener but it was special teams that brought about the victory for the success starved Chiefs.

Say what you may about the Oakland Raiders but I now get the impression that many of their fans aren’t always willing to deal with reality. And if they are, they’ll tend to wax on lyrically about past achievements rather than the reality of what’s happening at present. Can a Raiders’ fan simply explain to me how from one moment to the next this team simply plays as if they’ve no sense of acceptance or responsibility to their fans ? And from a coaching standpoint Tom Cable just hasn’t instigated any sort of discipline into this team. If there’s a Raiders fan out there who believes that he has then I’d like to hear your ideas as to where there’s evidence of that ? Two years on and it could well be that should Cable and the team not have a winning season then we could see the organization part with the coach and the ever revolving door of coaches departing from the team once again commences. It’s strange to see how far this organization has fallen from grace all under the tenure of owner Al Davis . And as storied as Davis’ legacy as been there comes a time when the keys to the kingdom has to be turned over to someone who actually knows the hell what they’re doing.

As week two approaches a number of things may well fall into place as a number of teams will actually begin to find their footing as the season progresses. My biggest concern is how realistic the league will be in the declining attendances across the NFL. Granted the cavernous edifices of Cowboys Stadium and Meadowlands Stadium may not initially reflect that given that both venues are still in their infancy but it remains to be seen whether or not the teams who call it their home can fill the venues without the anticipated success. Overall revenues are now on the decline for the NFL and so too has been game attendance although television viewership appears to be on the rise. The economic recession has played its part in this all but now with the uncertainty of a possible labor stoppage and the mere fact that there’s an impasse between the league and players’ union. And one could ask whether or not Commissioner Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith of the NFLPA are actually making a concerted effort to reach an amicable agreement that would curtail a lockout ? What we’ve heard from either side would indicate that the chasm between the two sides appears to be wider than first thought . And neither side it appears wants to be seen as the villain of the piece but clearly neither side wants to be seen as the culprit that brings about a strike within the NFL. The good faith and will built between the league and its patrons , the fans , will suffer should the league shutdown for the entire upcoming season. Chances are if that scenario were to arise then we all might as well take up needlepoint as a replacement for watching or attending NFL games.

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Picture gallery for your perusal

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What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised in this piece and how do you view things panning out specifically with regard to the league ?

Alan aka tophatal 🙂 * 😦

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Bria Myles’ 22’s but I’m sure headlights and rims are far bigger than that ! And who wouldn’t want to polish Bria’s headlights ?

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Cassidy … feat’g Swizz Beatz ……..“My Drink-N-2 Step”

Kick Ass The NFL …………….

Kick Ass The NFL !

I’m in the hole at present as my girlfriend thought it appropriate to place me in the midst of a domestic situation that I thought I’d never be in the midst of after being divorced. For some inexplicable reason she felt that it was OK for her best friend to stay at my home while she’s in the midst of a separation from her boyfriend. Now in Britain we have a saying that ‘an Englishman’s home is his castle’ . And my house is my castle where my labrador (dog) Buster and I reside. The girlfriend normally visits over the weekend and that’s usually when we spend our time together. On the other hand I’ll spend one or two days out of the week at her home in Orlando which is an amicable agreement for us both. It makes it easier for myself as I work in the city itself. That being said I’m not entirely enamored with the present situation and the fact my girlfriend’s best friend will now live in my home . I made it abundantly clear that by the end of this month she has to be out of my home. My main reason behind this comes from the fact that I do not want a raving lunatic, this female’s boyfriend acting belligerent outside my home and creating the impression amongst my neighbors that the ghetto has come to this rather rural community in Central Florida. God knows I’m not looking to kick anyone’s ass but should it come to that then I guess his ass will have to kicked.

Speaking of ass kickings the NFL season having kicked off this past Thursday with a rather lackluster game between the two finalists from last year’s NFC championship game. The New Orleans Saints readily dispatched of the Brett Favre led Minnesota Vikings. All of the hype over this team merely points to the fact that all the talent in the world doesn’t make up for the lack of cohesiveness between Favre and his teammates. And for those arrogant idiot analysts who believe that because Favre merely has to turn up just prior to the off-season , having not participated in the team’s OTA’s and that makes the Vikings relevant to the postseason. It leads to the fact that those who tend to blow smoke up your ass tend to actually be the ones who are actually dealing in the acts of flatulence.

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Slide-show for your perusal .

Sunday’s games were somewhat littered with one or two surprises as the Oakland Raiders effectively seem to be carrying on a tradition of looking mediocre. Raiders’ faithful have now got to extremely disappointed with the lack of commitment shown by this team . I was once told by a patron as to how stout their defense was and that they were going to make great strides . Well the strides that they’re said to be showing are those where this Tom Cable coached team seems to be regressing. That defense is nowhere near as good as my colleague anticipated and it showed in the Raiders’ first game of the season. The 38-13 defeat suffered at the hands of the Tennessee Titans was enough to suggest that the team faces an uphill battle for the remainder of the season . Jeff Fisher’s team duly dispatched the Raiders with the utmost of ease but at the same time it augurs well for the Titans and their season .

The continued asinine hype about the Dallas Cowboys being a talented team counts for diddly squat merely because they finally were able to win their first playoff game in over a decade. Having done so I still find it ridiculous that the feeling is the Cowboys still remain the team to beat within the NFC . In quarterback , Tony Romo they have a good signal caller but he’s no team leader. This team is also ill disciplined and the so called coaching talents of Wade Phillips and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett has now come into question after a rather ridiculous congruence of events during their game (13-7) against the Washington Redskins at Fedex Field in Landover , Maryland. Donovan McNabb is now the Redskins’ signal caller with Mike Shanahan now succeeding Jim Zorn as the team’s coach. Redskins’ owner Daniel Snyder now has to see whether or not his team has finally turned the corner after their recent years in the doldrums.

Now as glamorous lavish as the NFC East has become the quality of the football being played there at times can be inconsistent . But much of the glamor has been due to the fact of the legacy of the teams within the division. But in the league where it’s about “the here and now and what have you done for me lately”. The truth is all of the hype and brouhaha counts for nothing when you’re simply dealing with all the hyperbole and there’s nothing of substance to show for it at all. The Cowboys have become the laughing stock of the league and for the crack addict analysts who are besotted with this team. Wake the fu_k up and try to make sense of what you’re witnessing in front of your eyes . Cowboys’ Stadium may well be playing host to Superbowl 45 (SB XLV) but I seriously doubt that the Cowboys will be NFC representatives for the NFL’s showcase event !

The AFC South has been the Indianapolis Colts’ fiefdom of choice for several years and this season it was thought to be no different. If there are to be challenged then it was felt that the challenge would be coming from the Tennessee Titans and the outside possibility that the Houston Texans might aspire to be worthy challengers to the Peyton Manning led Colts. Well on Sunday we saw that the Colts are susceptible when you throw the kitchen sink along with the baby and bath water at them.And the Texans’ Arian Foster showed why it is that the Colts aren’t always comfortable when that scenario is thrown up at them . I’ve read a number of posts written by discerning Colts’ fans and all that they tend to do is to wax on lyrically about this team where Manning is their vocal leader. And while no one is under any illusion that they have a great offense and receiving corps my question for these Colts’ fans is where the hell is their running game and that of a defense that actually comes to defend ? The Texans literally ripped though that team and its defense as if were the siege of Saigon ! Now I know that the Colts’ fans will make light of the game and simply say that it’s merely the first game of the season but when you’re blown out like that there’s got to be cause for concern for not Jim Caldwell but also his coaching staff . This team was outplayed in every facet of the game and it was very telling how lackluster the team’s performance was from start to finish. Don’t be fooled by 34-24 result as it the margin of victory could have been wider had the Texans taken advantage of all the chances that came their way.

The TO and Ochocinco roadshow hit the road in the Bengals’ first regular season game and low and behold the Cincinnati Bengals found out to their cost that the NFL’s answer to Laurel & Hardy were simply no match for a New England Patriots’ team that to many are flying under the radar as a presumptive favorite in the postseason. Tom Brady and his teammates literally laid waste to the coming out party for the duo. By the end of the third quarter the Patriots had what would prove to be an insurmountable margin with a 31-17 lead. The Bengals were anemic throughout much of the game and although Chad Ochocinco statistically contributed well to the team’s performance. The rest of the offense was mediocre and lethargic and it was very telling for Marvin Lewis and his coaching staff in-front of 68,000 fans at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. For the Bengals’ fans in attendance this can’t have been what they envisaged witnessing from their team . Not one to throw more kindling unto the fire but should the performances of the Bengals become even more mediocre and it could very well lead to Marvin Lewis becoming the first coaching casualty of the season before it reaches its midway point.

Well the season as it progress will still be under a cloud as it relates to the ongoing divergence of issues and the discord between the league and the players over the collective bargaining agreement. Commissioner Roger Goodell seems to be taking a wait and see approach as to how to deal with the players’ wish to be given a bigger slice of what appears to be an ever decreasing slice of a multi-billion dollar pie. NFL revenues overall has slipped 2% over this past season and with the uncertainty of the economy bring about a fall in league attendance all-round. It has to be said that the game of cat and mouse between the two parties seems to be a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. And the very fact that the players are prepared for what could be an unprecedented work stoppage leading to an owner and league initiated lockout for the 2011-12 season. It has to be said the calmer heads that one thought to be amongst the hierarchy of the league and that of the NFLPA led by DeMaurice Smith and union President Kevin Mawae seems to be nowhere to be seen. This is like looking for intelligent life amongst two parties and that of the Congress . And as we know within Congress common sense and intelligence has never been the norm on any level but yet you have a number of individuals calling for change. Change is good if it is said to be happening but that hasn’t been the case in terms of the merry go round we’ve had to undergo with each election cycle.

Whatever resolution that comes about should there be one between the NFL and NFLPA could be one where the fans will be the one who end up ultimately having to pay the price one way or another. If you don’t believe that to be the case then simply look for what transpires and the communiques that are forthcoming from either side ? It seems to that for image sake the two sides would rather have a pissing contest on display for public consumption. If that happens then it’s going to cost the league and the players all of the goodwill that they’ve built up over the years. It has been bad enough to see the idiocy that has taken place within baseball over the last decade and a half under the auspices of Bud Selig and Donald Fehr the former union (MLBPA) Executive Director. Now as Fehr is about to assume a similar position within the NHL it begs the question how much more irrelevant the sport now wishes to become ? Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that Fehr and Selig were complicit with the subterfuge that was perpetrated upon the fans. And it’s not as if the financial well being of the NHL is now back in a healthy state to begin with. We’re now seeing situations arise where teams are now looking to circumvent the league’s mandated salary cap. And to an extent this was the same idiocy that brought about the labor dispute that led to the NHL lockout between the league and the players’ union (NHLPA).

The NFL season we all hope will be an entertaining one but at the same time I can’t help but feel that the tumult and turmoil that seems to be brewing between the league and the players could very well lead to us witnessing the idiocy and indecision we’ve now come to expect from the Congress and the political leadership in the country.

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Picture gallery for your perusal. By clicking on each frame you can see each picture in its original format.

With the first week of the NFL season having ended what if any was a big surprise in terms of the performances of the teams playing ? And how do you envisage the ongoing labor dispute between the league and the union ? Chime on in with a comment as to your thoughts .

NB: NFL results from week one . Click on the links provided to view.
Week 1 results .

Top performers .

Weekly leaders .

Alan aka tophata 🙂 _ 🙂 _ 😦

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Esther Baxter

Esther Baxter

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Janelle Stein

Video vixen and aspiring model Janelle Stein

Truth , Fact or Fiction …… ?

Truth , Fact or Fiction …… ?

The wonders of the modern media , its journalists and reporters never ceases to amazet at all. It’d appear that rather reporting a story a reporter would prefer to make themselves the story and in large part interject themselves in whatever way possible even when there isn’t a reason for doing so. We’ve all seen it countless of times and more often than not it does proves to be annoying. ESPN’s —- Jim Gray has repeatedly proven the point that he’s no more a sports reporter or journalist than one could consider Snooki from MTV’s reality show “Jersey Shore” to be a doctoral candidate for Harvard University or any other prestigious educational establishment . But somehow individuals such as these two repeatedly crop on our tv screens and continue to make completes asses of themselves !

Gray’s mea-culpa was to call US Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin a liar concerning a conversation he had with the PGA Tour professional with regard to his captain’s pick of the US team to play Europe in the upcoming event. Gray insinuated that Pavin had categorically stated that Tiger Woods would be definitely included on the team to play the Europeans . Pavin’s take on the issue was that he would consider the player only on the basis of his form and whether or not he felt that the player would be an asset to the team . Based on Woods’ present form I for one am not too sure the world’s number one golfer would prove to be an asset at all ! Given his most recent finish in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational Akron , Ohio where he finished in 78 th place in a field of eighty golfers. It does beg the question are Woods’ off the field problems still proving to be a hindrance to his form on the Tour ? An impending divorce and the fact that the custody of his children have become an over-riding issue may well have played a great deal in the player’s particular fall from atop the leaderboards on the PGA Tour.

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Slideshow for your perusal .

Now with the final major of the season now starting as of today all eyes will once again be upon Woods as he chases Jack Nicklaus’ total of 18 Grand Slam major tour wins . The PGA Championship from Whistling Straits Golf Course in Kohler , Wisconsin is the lone major left on the PGA schedule . Apart from the fact that the US teamm will picked with top ten points’ holder getting an automatic berth the captain ( Pavin) is entitled to have his two picks that will be the final makeup of the twelve man field. As it now stands Phil Mickelson is atop of those standings with the next nine players set in place. The event itself will be held in Europe at The Celtic Manor Resort Golf & CC in Newport , Wales. And the European fans will be attending en masse to support their hometown heroes led by their captain Scottish European Tour player Colin Montgomerie . The event will take place between the 1st – 3rd October , 2010 and is expected to be a soldout event with countless of millions more watching worldwide.

Gray’s credibility and his stance at this juncture can’t all be taken seriously especially in light of the fact that his rather tedious and boring interview with NBA player LeBron James was such a complete waste of time and added about as much to journalistic integrity as Jayson Blair’s career has been viewed as being one of prestige in the field of news reporting. What we do know is that ESPN paid $250,000 to James’ representatives for the exclusive rights to the interview in which the player let the whole world know that he would indeed be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to make his new found home and NBA future with the Miami Heat . Credibility comes to those who earn it by carrying out their duties judiciously and who’ve earned the respect of the fans and their peers alike. One sincerely doubts that can be said of Jim Gray amongst the fans of the sports world but on the other hand within the world of the glad handing and backslapping amongst his own. Where the mere morsel of controversy is seen as something worthwhile and of journalistic integrity. One certainly has to wonder how it is that anyone can continue to take Jim Gray and his work seriously ?

As a New England Patriots’ fan I always admired the play of Tedy Bruschi as part of the team’s Superbowl success in winning three Superbowl titles. As an analyst with the four letter network his choices and prognostications while sound at times. He tends to make the most asinine of assertions from time to time and perhaps no more than his most recent statement that the now retired former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive player Derrick Brooks is not to his mind a bona-fide first ballot Hall of Famer . Now to each his own but given the fact that Brooks has been a Superbowl winning player and a perennial Pro Bowl caliber player for much of his entire career. I’ve got to ask myself what hallucinogens has Bruschi been on and also was ESPN aware that when they hired the former Patriots’ player he would prove to be such as idiot to begin with ? Now all kidding asides when you’re going to put such statement out there you’d better have the balls to back it up ! In Bruschi’s case then there was none whatsoever and unfortunately his co-hosts and panelists on the show didn’t question his thoughts on the matter . Once again showing another reason why the sports outlet now has become nothing more than an entertainment medium rather than a source of information and good sports reporting. Has broadcast journalism and in particular within the field of sports really sank that low ? More to the point where are the really salient sports stories that the fans would expect to see being reported ? Instead now we’ve got a bunch of clowns who espouse the idea that they are indeed analysts or journalists as the case maybe and that they’re the best that the network has to offer.

As the NFL season beckons some of the stories that’ll be reported upon will no doubt be bound in very little fact but even more fiction. And that now tends to be the case the vast majority of the time with ESPN ! Be on the lookout for the next Brett Favre story as we’re now liable to hear from the likes of Chris Mortensen and John Clayton that Favre’s hemorrhoids have been playing up and that his surgically repaired ankle is now the least of his problems as it regards his impending future with the Minnesota Vikings . Somehow until Favre is actually suited up in a Vikings’ uniform this will be pretty much the staple as what to expect from the sports broadcast outlet.

When you’re said to be $40 million apart on a contract negotiation I can only surmise that youre agent and the team’s GM are either too drunk to carry out what they’re doing with great effect or that the lines of communication are indeed crossed. Such may well be the case with the ongoing negotiations concerning Jets’ cornerback Darrelle Revis and the team’s GM Mike Tannenbaum . The New York Jets are said to be offering the player a ten year $120 million contract with what is said to be as much as anywhere between $75 to $85 million plus in guaranteed money . The player and his agent are said to be looking for a 10 year $160 million contract with at least $90 million in guaranteed money and incentives. Now don’t get me wrong but when the NFL salaries are now escalating in line where we’re now seeing the type of salaries being offered to major league ballplayers I’ve got to begin to question the sanity of the teams around the NFL and their respective heirarchies. Never mind what the NFLPA might well have to say about this all because as we all know for them it has and always will be about the money and not much else !

With the Jets’ first preseason game just a few days away there’s talk that Revis is prepared to sit out the entire pre and regular season in order to get what he feels he deserves and that’s to be the highest player at his position and therefore putting him to be paid along the lines of Peyton Manning in terms of a compensatory package. Nnamdi Asomugha of the Oakland Raiders at present is the highest paid cornerback in the league herein lies the caveat the player has a proven track record whereas , Revis after one productive year expects to be paid as one of the elite at his position. Perception is everything but it can also mean absolutely nothing whatsoever ! Whether or not Rex Ryan his coaching staff and the team can do without Revis over the prolonged season remains to be seen. But this much is certain all of Ryan’s brevitas at this juncture now seems to have lost a great deal of its luster if as thought they could be without their much hyped cornerback . Never mind the fact that coach has his team winning the AFC East as well as the Superbowl this upcoming season.

Now that Tracy McGrady has signed with the Detroit Pistons I do believe that this might well be the player’s last hurrah . Once thought of as young phenom, the years and age have caught up to a player whose best years it can honestly be said are behind him. Somehow however he and Pistons’ GM Joe Dumars still feel that the player has something to offer and that he can contribute to the team . From where I sit McGrady should have hung up his spurs long ago. His dwindling ability cannot hide the fact that he’s now playing like a geriatric with only at times rarely showing glimpses of brilliance. Long having been “the lions” of the Eastern Conference the Pistons have seen other pass them by and they’re now having to look at a roster that’s lacking in leadership and real star power. Never mind the fact that in terms of sheer ability they may not have what it takes to usurp many of the now more resilient teams within their conference.

Now with the Davidson family looking to sell the team in order to curtail the estate taxes and Bill Davidson’s wife Karen since her late husband’s death is no longer keen to be a part of what he had established . The Pistons are now said to be looking for a new owner and the NBA hierarchy are now keen to make that happen expeditiously. The only real person to have shown an intense interest in purchasing the team is Detroit Tigers and Red Wings’ owner Michael Ilitch . His main reasons are the fact that he’d like to see the organization remain within Michigan and particularly at the Palace of Auburn Hills where they’re very much , still a fan favorite. He does believe that if the team were bought by an outsider then it may well be relocated and that may well be something that most Pistons’ fans would certainly feel disgruntled with. As to how that would also go down with NBA Commissioner David Stern would also be of concern . But then again Stern and the Thunder ownership certainly made light work of misleading the city of Seattle when the Sonics were moved out of town to Oklahoma City. So at this juncture nothing is written in stone and with a complete certainty concerning the storied franchise .

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The truth can be viewed in a number of ways …….. your’s , mine and somewhere in between. As to what the real truth is in any given story what we do know is that for the vast majority of the time most news gathering sources really do go out of their way to make sure that what we’re being told is the truth and that it has some rationale behind it. In the case of the likes of ESPN much of it is merely created to ramp up the interests of the viewers and that’s now become their overall claim to fame. So next time be weary of what it is that they’re reporting but even more so take a keen look at the source of the story and how it is being reported. Much of the time you get a clue as to what’s fact and what is indeed work of fiction. Chime in with a comment as to this and any other sporting topic that as of late has been of a real interest to you. We can then dissect it and perhaps in some way get to the real truth of what’s said to be happening ? Thanks as always for the continued support as it has always been appreciated !

🙂

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………. 🙂

Ravelle’s ………………..“Bolero” as conducted by Andre’ Rieu with his orchestra .

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Freida Pinto

Actress Freida Pinto .

If You Can’t Face Adversity Square On And Look At It Face On Then What Use Are You If You’ve Learned Nothing At All From It ?

If You Can’t Face Adversity Square On And Look At It Face On Then What Use Are You If You’ve Learned Nothing At All From It ?

Bitch and whine but yet throwing out statistics merely to justify a loss in a competitive match simply shows complete naivete and a lack of understanding as to what it takes to win. But low and behold forty eight hours after bowing out of the World Cup we still have US fans trying to justify the claim that the US team were better than their nemesis Ghana in the round of 16 . So the US out-shot Ghana 20-16 but it’s the end result that counts and this what I believe is the asinine realization that seems to be lost on many of these fans. Wake up and smell the friggin’ coffee the US lost 2-1 to Ghana. The African nation made it to the quarter finals and the US didn’t so for God’s sake stop the bitching and fu_king whining as you’re all coming across like children who’ve been told to take a damn timeout ! If you want to be constructive in assessing the loss then look at what positives if any have come out of this all and not harp on about why you lost the game . The result most certainly can’t be changed at this juncture . And besides who says that the US team coached by Bob Bradley was the better team to begin with ? Was it because a numb-nut like Alexi Lalas said so ? His understanding of the game and his opinions are about as warranted or merited as Paris Hilton’s views would be on peace in the Middle East ! For want of a better word who gives a sh_t to begin with ?

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Bob Bradley’s team was never that good to begin with and in terms of defense and their frontal players in attack. Well let’s just say there’d have been more presence upfront were it Adam Lambert and Clay Aiken as the frontal players on this US team. Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan showed the creativity and presence of a docile mouse. Now with the US having returned home US Soccer President Sunil Gulati can assess what went wrong, where, when and why. Personally, until there’s a real competitive presence within the MLS in terms of the “talent level” then we’ll never see the maturation of US soccer on the international stage. The respect that the US craves won’t be given and it first has to be earned which is something that the fans and their players simply have yet to learn. Nothing could be more prevalent than the attitude and demeanor shown by Bradley and in particular by Landon Donovan in their post game interviews after the loss to Ghana .


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Slide show gallery for your perusal . Use the arrow indicator to move the slide show frames as you see fit.

OK, so here we are on the first day of the NBA __ free agency period and as of yet we’ve yet to hear whether or not Lebron James will be returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers or making a move elsewhere around the NBA. The thought was that James would be the “domino effect” that would set everything into effect. But that now appears to be not the case as it would appear that Toronto Raptors’ power forward Chris Bosh could well be the carrot that lures James into making a decision. Bosh as one of the second tier free agents on the market, is the most desired of the power forwards out there. And the thinking amongst several NBA analysts and general managers around the league is that whomever lands Bosh will have the upper hand in luring and signing Lebron James.

Now in assessing the situation my own feeling is that LeBron if he’s to win an NBA title then for his alleged Jordan persona will be in need of a Scottie Pippen. James despite being saddled with Antawn Jamison and Shaquille O’Neal , this Cavaliers’ team was merely doing it all with smoking mirrors. And for the ass kissing morons at ESPN who simply had their lips pressed so closely to James’ sphincter that they couldn’t see the reality that this team was simply not good enough to beat the Los Angeles Lakers much less the Boston Celtics . Mike Brown and former GM Danny Ferry simply built a team for the long haul of the regular season but not for the rigors of the postseason . And now with Brown having been fired and Ferry inauspiciously choosing to relinquish his position with the team. It has now been left to Dan Gilbert the team owner and newly installed GM Chris Grant to try and gauge the situation concerning James and his status. It doesn’t appear that there has been a great deal communication between James’ handlers and the Cavaliers’ front office . If that’s not enough of an indicator that things could quite possibly change with regard to the Cavaliers’ future then the situation could well be lost on the Cavaliers’ fans and their executives. What I find very telling concerning the coaching staff of the Cavaliers was that not one of their members has played professionally in the NBA. That’s almost unheard of amongst the coaching staffs of a number franchises around the league.

Now with the Cavaliers now rushing to sign Byron Scott as the team’s next coach, with the position having been turned down by Lakers’ assistant Brian Shaw. This off season has been a very interesting one for the Cavaliers to say the least.

At one should a team give up on the season in baseball ? Now approaching the league’s mid-season showcase of the All Star Game to be held at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, California __ for which the event should prove be a great spectacle. The season has been filled with one or two surprises in the league and perhaps the biggest surprise might be that of the Cincinnati Reds and their ongoing battle for supremacy within the NL Central . While that has gone on , the Chicago Cubs seemingly finds with each passing game ways of sinking into further realms of mediocrity . I’m not about to say that the Cubs are done but my God if this team were a lame dog or horse they’d have been put down and euthanized. Cubs’ manager Lou Piniella seems to be out of touch and his team even more so but then again we are talking about the lovable and hapless Chicago Cubs where losing has now become the norm and winning has become a thing of the past .

Reds’ manager Dusty Baker could very well end up becoming the NL Manager of The Year should his team win the division. Other than that there’s not much more that can be said about the Cubs and their situation . As to the surprising ascendancy of the Reds it’s hard to bet against them and their season thus far. The play of Joey Votto and the middle order of the team’s offense has been simply astonishing . Their play seems to epitomize what this team seems to be about and what they’re doing makes them the NL story of the season.

Close your eyes and you’re liable to miss the image of the NFL as it sinks lower under the tenure of Roger Goodell . As for my own view on Goodell , well, let’s put it this way, for the highest ranking executive in the NFL to seem all clueless as to the players of the NFL and their behavior. Star players such as Michael Vick and Vince Young bring the image and reputation of the NFL into further disrepute and Goodell can only act like a Roman Catholic priest caught in the midst of another sex scandal . Instead of dealing with the situation with some authority , instead what we’re seeing from the NFL commissioner is the very fact that he’s a gutless individual ! Never mind the fact that there have been some serious allegations that have arisen concerning an Indianapolis Colts’ defensive tackle Eric Foster and a rape allegation . If Goodell handles this the way that he handled the Ben Roethlisberger situation then we might as well shut up shop as far as the image of the NFL is concerned. Because it’s not as if the NLPA and Executive Director DeMaurice Smith are in the least bit concerned with the image of their members to begin with. It’s as one patron of my site stated he’s not in the least bit concerned about an NFL player being involved in a fight . My question to him was what if the situation had escalated wherein the player ended up losing his life in an act of gun violence ? For which he’s yet to respond to my question but then again I shouldn’t expect anything less from someone who thinks that gun violence is probably the best way to resolve an issue. But then again amongst young African Americans that’s probably the be all end all when they’re severely lacking intelligence. Word to wise for Vince Young and in particular Michael Vick grow the fuck up and stop being and behaving like an asshole ! You’re both doing yourselves and your race a great disservice !

As for the Indianapolis Colts and their GM Bill Polian they’ve been less reticent to issue a statement concerning the matter and the alleged rape. The so called “pristine image” of the Indianapolis Colts is about as clean as that of the Roman Catholic church and their wish to be seen as God’s representative of Christianity on the earth. By my way of thinking that’s akin to asking a group of neo Nazis to be the custodians of the Torah and a church filled with young African American school children. You simply know that no good can from the outcome much like the Colts’ need to keep this all quiet and completely away from the public domain . And nowhere is this more self evident than in the actions of the organization and that of the commissioner’s office. And as to the assumption of the NFL if it’s a first time offense by a player then the league has a right to deal with the issue as it sees fit. Well whatever happened to the league’s player conduct policy ? Goodell much like his edict is completely full of shit much like the rest of the crap that he’d like for us all to buy into. I wonder how Goodell might have dealt would’ve dealt with the Ray Carruth affair were he commissioner at the time ?

Doubt my word concerning the NFL then simply look at the actions of Goodell and the inconsistencies of his rulings over the past few years ? Show me the consistencies in his deliberations and how he has come by them and then ask yourself is there any justification as to the types of punishment that has been meted out ? Goodell actions haven‘t exactly been seen as a deterrent to the players who court trouble and then hide behind the legalities of a justice system that has been all too soft on celebrities and in particular athletes. Were the actions seen that of an every day citizen then we’d be asking what the hell is going on. But as I’ve alluded to before the justice system and that of what Roger Goodell deems as being fair is about as equal in its logic as the actions of a habitual liar., Their actions are that way as a safety mechanism because it’s the only way that they know how to act.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Chime on in with a comment as you see fit and I’ll do my best to respond to your comments as succinctly as I can and once again thanks as always for your continued support and patronage. It’s been appreciated throughout my time here contributing within this domain.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal

Red Hot Chili Peppers ………… Give It Away

Discipline, The Concept of Business And Sports

Discipline, The Concept of Business And Sports

In all honesty I can say that I thoroughly enjoy my work as a research analyst within the corporate affairs department of a noted law firm . Now having said that in the endeavor of working with a number corporate litigators with regard business incorporations for corporations not just here in the United States but also in their incorporation for overseas. That being said , I’ve always felt that we can learn a great deal about sports be it from an individualistic standpoint or through a team endeavor. By merely just adapting the solid business principles applicable if one adheres to those principles then it does make things a great deal easier. I do feel that we can understand greatly what’s needed to make not only a business successful but also sports organization be it a franchise or an individual in their own respective regimen.

Practice, dedication and applying one’s self to and adhering to that discipline. Over the weekend I wasn’t really able to get in a great deal of watching that much sports as a great deal of my time was spent collating a number of files for work. Having done that I was lucky enough to see a number of sporting events that took place. The World Cup has now reached the knockout stage and all of the bitching and whining isn’t going to hide the fact that the expectations of both England and the USA had failed to be met. In the round of 16, the US fell to a well-disciplined Ghanaian team . Never mind the fact that I’d read within this forum , a number bloggers who had this asinine notion that this Bob Bradley coached team would simply march through Ghana as if they were none existent. Much of the time, when I read such diatribe I can only surmise that much of this comes from the personification of xenophobia rather than anything that has been rationally or well thought out. But a lot of that came about from the fact that those who are actually writing about the subject might not actually know a great deal about the sport.

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Slide show for your perusal .

Sadly for the US team , their journey in the World Cup came to an abrupt end in their 2-1 loss to Ghana , who now proceed on to the quarter finals of the event. The US’s Group C fellow residents, England ,would fail also to make it through to last eight of the World Cup. The Fabio Capello coached team would fail miserably as they were thoroughly outclassed by their most fabled foe and nemesis Germany. Any thought of England reliving the 1966 World Cup Finals would be thoroughly dismissed as they were outclassed by a German team that simply was too much for an English team that lacked the will and creativity to be competitive and win !. What little that the English fans in attendance saw , could only have disappointed. With that being said, Capello had thought that the game hinged on a disallowed goal, was idiotic , from the very outset. Rather than pouncing on the real reasons why his team lacked an effort and it became all the more relevant that the team became completely deflated . As they would succumb to a German that team wanted to win with a great deal of passion and desire. And that was most definitely the case, as they came a away with a thoroughly convincing 4-1 victory over their English counterparts.

Well now that the backbone of the Tampa Bay Rays seems to have been broken about the only thing left was for there to be some discord shown amongst the players. Having seen only mere snippets of the Carlos Zambrano meltdown wherein he berated his teammate Derrick Lee of the Chicago Cubs. Not that I’ve ever been overly concerned with anything that’s allegedly pertinent about the Cubs as this is an organization who simply doesn’t know how to win much less being able to spell the word were you to spot the them the letters W and N ! This is a club whose manager Lou Pinellas’s best years as a manager are behind him. With Zambrano being indefinitely being suspended by GM Jim Hendry and Piniella, it remains to be seen how the Cubs will regroup and reemerge from this all.

Over the weekend we saw the Rays’ B J Upton show us all why he will forever remain an enigma for this organization. All “the talent in the world” but Upton appears to be either a “knuckle head” or someone who just doesn’t seem to care much about the game at times. This was very much evident in the inter-league game between the Rays and the Arizona Diamondbacks . Rather than chasing down a ball hit in deep left center field ,Upton merely loll gagged as he jogged to the wall made the fielding play and then threw the ball back into the infield . He would later state that he’d misjudged the play and was under the impression that his teammate Jason Bartlett was within easy reach of the ball that would elicit a triple being attained by the Diamondbacks . For the fans who saw this , I can only surmise that for them it was either disgust or the mere fact that they’ve now become use to seeing Upton become lazy and make the most extraordinary of excuses for his lackadaisical play. What might have been more exacerbating was that Rays’ manager Joe Maddon tried to shrug this all off as if it were nothing important. But it was important enough for Rays’ third baseman Evan Longoria to see fit to dress down his teammate for his poor play ,decision making and complete lack of effort shown by the out-fielder. And for the notion that this has now all blown over if this is an indication of the meltdown we’re now seeing from a team that can’t seem to put together a series of wins much less score runs. Then before it’s all said and done we could see this team’s season go completely up in smoke.

OK by now, you all know that I am no great admirer of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith. Neither of these two high ranking officials have shown their wish to acknowledge what has now become more a rather acute topic. And that is the mere fact that players having suffered multiple concussions are now prone to multiple lapses in concentration , loss of memory and severe head pains. Now in the midst of this all with the recent autopsy and medical report concerning former Cincinnati Bengalis’ wide receiver Chris Henry . We’re now being made aware that the player had suffered several head concussions brought on from playing in the NFL . In addition, not only that but the player was said to be a sufferer of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). An abnormal bruising of the brain that can lead to mild forms of dementia, losing of one’s speech and in some cases lead to a person’s loss of their motor neuron skills. That being said, the player’s death should now be a great cause for concern, given what we now know from the findings in this medical report.

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

WVU doctors: Chris Henry had chronic brain injury


By Vicki Smith Associated Press Writer

Morgantown, W.Va,. (AP) Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry suffered from a chronic brain injury that may have influenced his mental state and behavior before he died last winter, West Virginia University researchers said Monday.

The doctors had done a microscopic tissue analysis of Henry’s brain that showed he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Neurosurgeon Julian Bailes and California medical examiner Bennet Omalu, co-directors of the Brain Injury Research Institute at WVU, announced their findings alongside Henry’s mother, Carolyn Henry Glaspy, who called it a “big shock” because she knew nothing about her 26-year-old son’s underlying condition or the disease.

Henry died in December, a day after he came out of the back of a pickup truck his fiancee was driving near their home in Charlotte, N.C. It’s unclear whether Henry jumped or fell. Toxicology tests found no alcohol in his system, and an autopsy concluded he died of numerous head injuries, including a fractured skull and brain hemorrhaging.

But Bailes, team doctor for the Mountaineers and a former Pittsburgh Steelers physician, said it’s easy to distinguish those acute traumatic injuries from the underlying condition he and Omalu found when staining tiny slices of Henry’s brain.

Bailes and fellow researchers believe chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, is caused by multiple head impacts, regardless of whether those blows result in a concussion diagnosis. A number of studies, including one commissioned by the NFL , have found that retired professional football players may have a higher rate than normal of Alzheimer’s disease and other memory problems.

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It appears that for the likes of both Goodell and Smith, this issue is the least bit of importance to them at this very juncture. I have heard it said that Goodell has a great deal on his plate as commissioner of the NFL. From my standpoint the only thing at appears to concern Goodell and Smith….. is the sound of cash falling into the NFL’s coffers and how best the two parties can best disperse of their windfall ! Goodell and DeMaurice Smith haven’t brought it upon themselves to deal with this very issue head on . If anything they both would rather hide behind their ever increasing glib sound bytes on the matter in stating that they’re taking everything under advisement from the very best medical professionals out there. My question to both Goodell and Smith is how much longer will they both carry on with this charade that the NFL and NFLPA are actually doing something proactive about this very matter ? Try pissing in a lake to see how much of a ripple effect is made and there you’ll find your answer as it concerns both the NFL and NFLPA !

Is it me but is the collective IQ of the alleged NBA writers comparable to that of the IQ’s of Paris Hilton and Heidi Montag combined ? I’m not saying that these idiots are absolutely clueless but if their continued speculation is anything to go by then each has their own idea as to where LeBron James’ final destination will be. Let us just say that both Cavaliers’ principal partner Dan Gilbert and the team’s GM Chris Grant had better know how to assemble a team that will complement James prerequisite skills . Up until now, all that James has been given is bare meat and potatoes instead of filet-mignon. In addition, as well we know when it comes eating the main course meat and potatoes does not go down well with Baron de Rothschild 62 vintage champagne. Now there is a great deal of speculation as to where James will ultimately end up. From what we know is that there are at said to be at least six interested parties for James’ services. However, if anything until we ultimately know what the teams are actually prepared to do. We can only prognosticate and debate the MVP’s future and where his future may now lay.

Now the Stephen Strasburg effect is playing its part in bringing out the fans to witness the young phenom’s prowess. I have a word of advice for the Washington Nationals’ fans out there. Now that his arbitration clock is ticking and given the fact that his agent is Scott Boras . Well, three years from now Strasburg may well be no longer be a Washington Nationals’ player. Suffice to say, that the New York Yankees will swoop down to take Strasburg off the Nationals’ hands. I don’t care what you might think but the present Nationals’ team isn’t going anywhere at all. They are simply not good enough in either facets of the game of baseball. Other than Strasburg, there is simply nothing at all worthwhile to look at, on what can be best described as a rather mundane and mediocre team.If you doubt my word simply, look at the box score of the game between the Nationals and Atlanta Braves . Strasburg pitched an outstanding effort for six innings only to see the bullpen waste an opportunity . In the end the NL East division leading Braves would come away with a 5-0 victory from Turner Field , Fulton County, Atlanta , Georgia.

Nationals’ team President Stan Kasten simply knows how to make the customary sound byte but beyond that he has to realize that he’s now facing an uphill battle in hoping to make the young pitcher the centerpiece of their future. If the Nationals cannot place a team good enough to supplement his talents then they might as well give up hope of retaining his services in the future. We know that whatever the New York Yankees simply want, they usually get and without a doubt if they desire Strasburg, much like when a lion stalks its prey before swooping down for the kill .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As I alluded to earlier at the beginning of this piece one can always gauge not only the determination and success of a business entity or sports franchise by the discipline shown by the executives within an organization as it tends to give an indication as to what they aspire to become. A good business much like a good sports franchise has to be good from ground up and from the top down..

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………….

UB40 …………………” Higher Ground”

Crap ! Say It Ain’t So ….. ?

Crap ! Say It Ain’t So …… ?

Well while the men’s NCAA basketball tournament has us all in awe and the suspense builds as the ‘Final Four’ is upon us. Life still goes on in the NFL and unfortunately the idiocy that is the Brett Favre spectacle still remains as the Minnesota Vikings awaits the player’s decision as to whether or not he’ll be making an imminent return to the game. Like we really care ?

2008  Heisman  Trophy  winner   Sam  Bradford.   The   player is widely  expected  to be  taken   number   one  overall  in  the   upcoming  NFL  Draft.   The  team  with  the   first  pick  are  the  NFC's   St  Louis  Rams .    photo  appears   courtesy  of  Associated   Press/  Chris   Rogers  ...........
2008 Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford. The player is widely expected to be taken number one overall in the upcoming NFL Draft. The team with the first pick are the NFC's St Louis Rams . photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Chris Rogers ...........

While much of this is now happening we’re close to pro days where several players will be exhibiting their skills for the general managers and coaches that’ll be in attendance. Also a number of teams will be bringing in a number of draftees personally for interviews . Amongst the players participating in this will be Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford . The Sooners’ quarterback is thought to be the desired choice of the St Louis Rams . The franchise will have the number one pick in the upcoming NFL Draft . And with Ndamokung Suh , Eric Berry , Russell Okung , Gerald McCoy and quite possibly Jimmy Claussen may well be amongst be the ‘first six picks’ taken in the draft, to commence on the 22nd April . It begs the question , will the teams, their coaching staff and general managers have done their jobs prudently ?

Personally , I don’t place a great deal in the draft geek’s in depth analysis of the players. Either these college players can take their game to the next level or they can’t . Now the situation as it arises , is one of making money in term of their draft position for the players in the first round. A drop off from being the first pick to midway in the first round can mean anywhere between $25-$30 million. The number one draft pick could be the recipient of as much as $30-million , as a signing bonus. But when one bears in mind this upcoming season in the NFL will be one that will not have a salary cap for the teams, since the NFL first adopted the salary cap in the early nineties.

The draft itself will take place from the 22nd April through to the 24th over the course of seven rounds , three odious and grueling days. Now call it what you will but I for one won’t be spending a great deal of time assessing the draft and what takes place. As I alluded to earlier my own thoughts are, can they play ? Because in this league if you’re found wanting , then it will be magnified greatly and there’s nowhere to hide if the talent isn’t there to begin with.

Eagles' quarterback    Donovan  McNabb.   The  player   is  said  to  want  to  remain  with  the  Eagles   but  it's  becoming  clear  that  he   will   be  traded  sooner   rather  than  later.   Eagles'  coach  Andy  Reid  and   team President   Joe  Banner  are   willing  to  listen  to  offers  for the Pro  Bowler.    photo  appears   courtesy  of  US  Presswire/ Jody Gomez  .............
Eagles' quarterback Donovan McNabb. The player is said to want to remain with the Eagles but it's becoming clear that he will be traded sooner rather than later. Eagles' coach Andy Reid and team President Joe Banner are willing to listen to offers for the Pro Bowler. photo appears courtesy of US Presswire/ Jody Gomez .............

There are now widely conflicting reports that the Oakland Raiders are the prohibitive favorites to land unsettled Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Donovan McNabb . The veteran Pro Bowl quarterback has been a fixture as the franchise’s signal caller for a decade. The possibility of him now moving to play for the Raiders can only mean that incumbent starter JaMarcus Russell’s days in Oakland as a starter have got to be numbered. Either that or the implicit faith that Al Davis has in the player is either waning or still there. The former LSU Tiger has been an immense disappointment to the coaching staff , the front office and in particular their long suffering fans who’ve had to witness the complete ineptitude shown by the led by Tom Cable and his staff. And to think that Raiders’ owner Al Davis is still revered within the NFL. ? I’ve got to wonder the irony of it all concerning the embarrassment to be found amongst the hapless Raiders !

Tebow (15)  left is  seen  here   alongside  his  former  college  coach   Urban  Meyer.   The   two  proved  to  be  very  sucessfule   as  a  team   combining to  win   two  national  titles   in  four  years.    photo  appears  courtesy of   boston.com/  articles ............
Tebow (15) left is seen here alongside his former college coach Urban Meyer. The two proved to be very sucessfule as a team combining to win two national titles in four years. photo appears courtesy of boston.com/ articles ............

Back again to the upcoming draft for one final time and the feeling is that Florida Gator quarterback Tim Tebow may well see his draft stock rise . Not just because of the apparent retooled delivery of his passing action but more so how the player has been conducting himself during the interview process with a number of NFL teams thus far. Now while the view is it has to be about the players’ performances during the drills and practices. Obviously how a player also performs during the interview process means a great deal and it bodes well for Tebow in showing his intelligence on and off the field of play. Do you think that former NFL player Ryan Leaf may have initially had that problem but it was overlooked firstly by the San Diego Chargers ? How fortuitous was it that the Indianapolis Colts didn’t take Leaf in the 1988 NFL Draft ?

DeMaurice Smith Executive Director of the NFLPA. Smith who assumed the position after the death of his predecessor Gene Upshaw. He was elected to the position by the board members of the Players' Association. Smith was a corporate litigation attorney for the DC law firm Patton Boggs. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Phillip Mitchell
DeMaurice Smith Executive Director of the NFLPA. Smith who assumed the position after the death of his predecessor Gene Upshaw. He was elected to the position by the board members of the Players' Association. Smith was a corporate litigation attorney for the DC law firm Patton Boggs. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Phillip Mitchell

The NFL makes sure that its season is now an all round one that is a constant reminder that to its fans as to how important the game really is. Business is business,as they say but more and more that business is all about making money . Everything else is just considered to be an afterthought .

I don’t know that I may have missed anything but how is it that the NFL still believes that it’s possible to still continue with the belief that playing a regular season game in the United Kingdom adds to the excitement of the game ? Never mind the fact that the league’s hierarchy envisages having a franchise at some time in the future placed in the city of London. Never mind the asinine notion that the city of Los Angeles still yearns for the return of the NFL. In what universe, given the fact that in order to facilitate that prospect any proposed relocation to the city would be at a cost to the taxpayers in the city ? And fans there are said to be yearning this all ? Now unless I’m mistaken I was under the impression that the residents in the greater Los Angeles area were bright and highly intelligent ? I guess I was wrong but then again look at the financial mess that the California State Legislature has placed itself in ? Could it be anymore asinine than it is at present ,given the nature of the state legislature and the apparent idiocy of the state’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger ?

Goodell speaks on the Vick incident. But need I remind you there’s a conduct policy that the commissioner can use to suspend a player for conduct detrimental to the game as agreed to in the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL (league) and the NFLPA (union). Someone should broach Goodell on the reasons why he’s yet to act concerning Roethlisberger given that the player’s conduct has also been detrimental to the sport . It’s taken him this long to meet with the player much less make a statement on the matter. But yet he has always stated he’s concerned with the image of the players and their behavior ? Unfortunately Goodell and DeMaurice Smith just keep on blowing hot smoke up everyone’s ass on the matter ! But that’s to be expected as they couldn’t give a sh_t to begin with !

The NFL for all of its proclivities it tends to forget about the fans and what they mean to the game as a whole . But it’s becoming even more apparent the fans are not thought of as an integral part of the game by the heirarchy , players and the union itself. Doubt that ? Ask yourself this what has either the NFLPA (union) or the NFL for that matter done to rein in the behavior of its members when they’ve ran amok and broken the law . It’s not as if they’ve proceeded to be proactive at a given time. Image to the NFL has been merely about looking good from one moment to the next and never about doing what’s right at the appropriate time. Somehow I think that present NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , his predecessor Paul Tagliabue and Goodell’s union counterpart NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith simply don’t give a damn ! If they did, then it’d be more apparent in their actions whereby they would either be dealing with many of the problems that have arisen. I’d like to think that there would be a concerted effort by both parties either jointly or singularly to deal with many of the problems concerning the off the field behavior of the players !

Common sense within the game at present isn’t at a premium and unfortunately it just seems to be an ongoing thing across the landscape of sports in general. Crap , just say it ain’t so ?

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………….

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Nappy Roots …………. “Po’ Folks”

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Adult  entertainment   star   and  actress   Tera  Patrick  .    Wonder  what  she   does  when   she's   got  some  down  time on  her  hands    as  they  say  ?
Adult entertainment star and actress Tera Patrick . Wonder what she does when she's got some down time on her hands as they say ?

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Calmer Heads Ought To Prevail ……..But We’re Talking About The NFL and The NFLPA (Players’ Union) Here …….. So What Gives ?

Calmer Heads Ought To Prevail ……..But We’re Talking About The NFL and The NFLPA (Players’ Union) Here …….. So What Gives ?

OK, so this is the showcase weekend for the NFL, as its piece-de-resistance’ , showcase event , as in the Superbowl takes place in the ‘cosmopolitan’ city of Miami ? . Having lived just north of the municipality, I wouldn’t exactly call Miami cosmopolitan ,in the true sense of the word. The city and the large proportion of its residents believe themselves to be entitled and better off than many of their other residents. But that’s a story for another day.

MIiami  Grounds crews prepare the field for the Super Bowl at Sun Life Stadium February 6, 2010 in Miami, Florida. <strong>Super Bowl XLIV (SB XLIV) </strong> between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints will be held tomorrow, Sunday February 7, 2010.  photo appears  courtesy  of  Getty Images/ Win McNamee  .......
MIiami Grounds crews prepare the field for the Super Bowl at Sun Life Stadium February 6, 2010 in Miami, Florida. Super Bowl XLIV (SB XLIV) between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints will be held tomorrow, Sunday February 7, 2010. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Win McNamee .......

With countless millions watching nationally and tens of millions worldwide , this is the most watched sporting event in North America. In effect it becomes a proxy ‘national holiday’ for many. And the two participants , the respective representatives of the AFC and NFC will throw down the gauntlet on Sunday evening, as they seek to achieve supremacy and be anointed ‘Superbowl’ champions. The Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints are more than deserving of their place in the championship game. And for God’s sake can the ‘Brett Favre apologists either stop whining or simply jump of the damn cliff and follow the other lemmings that might’ve done so already !

A group of New Orleans Saints players pose on the Super Bowl logo at the 50-yard line for a souvenir photograph during football practice at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010 in Miami. The Saints play the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL football Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday. photo  appears  courtesy of Associated Press /  Mark  Humphrey  ......
A group of New Orleans Saints players pose on the Super Bowl logo at the 50-yard line for a souvenir photograph during football practice at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010 in Miami. The Saints play the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL football Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press / Mark Humphrey ......

For both coaches and their entire staffs this will be something to savor , whether or not it’s their first time or a repeat , as in the case of the Colts . For first year coach Jim Caldwell of the Colts, he seeks to do what only a few men have done in the NFL in their first year as a coach and that’s to raise the Lombardi Trophy to signify that they have won the Superbowl. Caldwell’s counterpart, Sean Payton seeks to achieve his own place in history and at the same time give the residents of the city of New Orleans something to be proud of. This may well be the redemption also that Saints’ owner, Tom Benson seeks. As he’d often been thought of as something of a pariah within the city and its surrounding parishes. That may well have now changed but prior to the Hurricane Katrina disaster , let’s just say the sight of Benson within the city and its surrounding area was about as welcoming as a dose of the bubonic plague. Much of that changed once the city underwent the disaster as the nation and the inhabitants rallied around to help rebuild and resurrect the city and residents. Though a lot has been done there is still a great deal more to do.

As to the game itself , I’m not about to prognosticate and make a bold prediction. I’ll leave that to the likes of the ‘guys’ in Vegas and the analysts on tv. Suffice to say, all I’m wishing for is that this will be a highly competitive contest ! And on the day the better team will prevail. Sentiments being what they are, would suggest that some will rally around the Saints and cheer them on to victory. While others will no doubt want to see the Peyton Manning led Colts win their second Supebowl in four years. Manning having won his fourth league MVP award , now looks to cement his legacy and add to the annals of NFL history. Whether or not he’ll achieve that goal, we will know by late Sunday evening . But you can bet that he and his teammates will be looking to make it a certainty. Hoping to make sure that doesn’t happen will be Saints quarterback, Drew Brees , his high powered offense and the veteran presence of Darren Sharper .

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton leads football practice at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010 in Miami. The Saints play the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL football Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday. photo  appears  courtesy of  Associated  Press/ Mark  Humphery  .....
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton leads football practice at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010 in Miami. The Saints play the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL football Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Mark Humphery .....

Now once the game is over and all of the celebrations are to be had. We head into the off-season and all of the uncertainty that’s surrounds it. The ongoing slugfest between the two prinicipla rivals , as in the NFL and the NFLPA (Players’ Union), has left a decidedly and uniquely nasty taste and stench within our midst. One the one hand you have the players wanting, it would seem an even larger slice of an ever diminishing piece of pie. Whereon the other hand you now have the owners and the NFL pleading poverty and the fact that they’re not making as much money as they use to. Pardon me for saying this but when the fu_k have you ever heard of a ‘poverty stricken NFL owner’ ? Well other than that of the ‘Glazer family’ and their less than candor shown, as to their ongoing financial predicament with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Manchester United .

Courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer

‘We want an agreement,’ Goodell says

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – DeMaurice Smith slammed a 200-m.p.h. serve into NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s end of the court Thursday afternoon when the executive director of the players’ union strongly suggested that the owners would force a work stoppage with a lockout in 2011.

Goodell was far less aggressive with his return in yesterday’s state-of-the-league address at the Broward County Convention Center.

“We want an agreement,” Goodell said. “I think every owner will say the same thing. We want an agreement that is fair to the game, to the players, and will allow us to continue to invest in the game.

“The idea that ownership would be anxious for a work stoppage is absolutely false. You don’t make money by shutting down your business.”

That was much more diplomatic than the message sent by Smith when he met with reporters in the same building less than 24 hours earlier, but Goodell didn’t offer any substantial reasons for optimism on labor negotiations that apparently will lead to a season without a salary cap in 2010.

Smith and the Tennessee Titans’ Kevin Mawae, president of the union, the National Football League Players Association, said the owners had asked the players to take an 18 percent cut in the revenue sharing between the sides.

That contention was among 10 labor questions asked of the commissioner, who had to know the subject would dominate his news conference.

“I will tell you that what we’ve asked for very clearly” is “that when investments are made to grow the game and generate new revenue, they’re given recognition,” Goodell said. “And that will encourage further investment that will hopefully grow [the] pie.”

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NFLPA Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith and Union President, Kevin Mawae , have pretty much made it clear that if it’s a fight that the NFL wants. Then they’re pretty much prepared to give it to them. As to what form that might take , no one is sure and nor do they welcome it. But it’s pretty much safe to say that the union is prepared for a stoppage and the possibility of a lockout. The last time that happened the NFL was shut down for a few months in 1987. To think that would happen again would send a seismic shockwave across the sporting landscape. And the financial loss to all involved would cost tens of millions of dollars. Never mind that the fans would no doubt feel alienated and betrayed both parties. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , appears to be saying all of the right things but his actions and that of the owners would suggest otherwise. The owners aren’t prepared to acquiesce and give any ground to the union and the same can be said of the union and their view of the situation . For the time being it appears to be a stalemate but somehow , I for one feel that things could get a whole lot nastier before they even give the appearance of getting better. Time is essentially running out for both sides as the deadline set for both sides to reach an agreement is the 5th March. That may well seem a long way off but when measured by the lack of progress that’s been made between both sides. It feels like an eternity or as wide as the Grand Canyon, if you want a meaningful contrast and visual portrayal ?

NFLPA President Kevin Mawae seen here discussing the NFLPA’s involvement with regard to their philanthropic assistance to the strife torn country.

Courtesy of USA Today

NFLPA president Kevin Mawae: ‘What you see this Sunday may not be here in 2011’

FORT LAUDERDALE — No sooner had NFLPA assistant executive director of external affairs George Atallah said during a state of the union Thursday news conference that total league revenue rose to $7.6 billion this past year, than labor strife rhetoric ramped up.

There was NFLPA president Kevin Mawae saying inside meeting room 315 at the Super Bowl media center inside the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center that owners are asking players to take an 18% pay cut and the players’ motto is, “Once uncapped, we’ll never go back.”

The league is less than one month from entering an uncapped 2010 season. If an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement is not reached by the end of the 2010 league year in early March, NFL executive director DeMaurice Smith said on a scale of 1-10 that a lockout by owners is a “14.” And once the owners remove the salary cap for this season with restrictions in place, players won’t want to return to a salary-cap mechanism.

“It will be a very difficult task to go back to a capped season,” the veteran Tennessee Titans center said. “I can’t see going back to it. If players can make more than what they can make now in the future, than why would we go back to it?”

It is one of the key questions amid owners demanding the players’ side accept an 18% paycut.

“It’s absolutely that they’ve asked for 18%,” Mawae said. “(New York Giants co-owner) John Mara came out in a meeting last time that they proposed 20% and they won’t budge.

“It’s football. This is the greatest week in the NFL every year. It so happens to be a year when there could be possible labor unrest.

“You don’t want it to overshadow the game. But it’s obviously a part of what’s going to happen in this game. What you see this coming Sunday may not be here in 2011.”

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Tampa Bay Bucaneers former President Gay Culverhouse (R) testifies before the House Judiciary Committee about football brain injuries along with National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) and NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith (C) on Captiol Hill October 28, 2009 in Washington, DC. A recent NFL study of retired players suggested that N.F.L. retirees ages 60 to 89 are experiencing moderate to severe dementia at several times the national rate. Suffering from cancer and with six months to live, Culverhouse is an advocate for players with brain injuries and testified about her 20 years experience in the NFL.
Tampa Bay Bucaneers former President Gay Culverhouse (R) testifies before the House Judiciary Committee about football brain injuries along with National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) and NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith (C) on Captiol Hill October 28, 2009 in Washington, DC. A recent NFL study of retired players suggested that N.F.L. retirees ages 60 to 89 are experiencing moderate to severe dementia at several times the national rate. Suffering from cancer and with six months to live, Culverhouse is an advocate for players with brain injuries and testified about her 20 years experience in the NFL. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images North America / Chip Somodevilla ................

Needless to say the fans will start to get pissed , having seen the posturing of both sides and with very little having been accomplished. Kindergarten children have been known to show more resolve than what we’re now witnessing from both sides. Suffice to say, the bickering is ongoing and the only thing we’ve yet to see from either side is the name calling. When asked as to how close they were in reaching an amicable agreement upon a new collective bargaining agreement – Kevin Mawae was heard to say …..’what you see here on Sunday …may not be here in 2011′. With that one statement it’s pretty safe to say that averting a lockout, will not be happening. If an agreement can’t be reached in principal and they somehow do seek to play this upcoming season. Then it will be done without the NFL mandated salary cap. Without one in place then it petty much gives the wealthier teams around the NFL ‘carte-blanche’ to go after whomever they want and pay a player whatever they may well seek in terms of a salary. Financial constraints simply goes out the window and the mayhem ensue thereafter. If it’s one thing that we learned when the salary cap first came into being within the NFL. It was that it leveled the playing field and it made the teams and their general managers fiscally responsible. A return to the days of old and the chaos and mayhem that comes with it all , will no doubt add to the complexity of an already exacerbated situation.

If there’s one thing that we know about both the NFL and the NFLPA , it’s that they can both be inconsistently consistent as to a stance taken and then seemingly in the next breath do an about face and act as if the first stance taken by them never happened to begin with. And we’re now seeing it happen as each side is trying to portray themselves as a victim. Whilst I’m watching this unfold it has somewhat given me something of a new found respective for Bud Selig , the MLB hierarchy and that of their own MLBPA (Players Union). At least with each of the parties there , I could tell that they were blowing smoke up my ass , even if it wasn’t being done intentionally ! With the case of both the NFL and NFLPA , they would have you believe that they are sincere in trying to resolve their situation amicably and at the same time stay in the good graces of their patrons, the fans. Truth be known ? Neither party gives ‘a flying fu_k’ what the fans think to begin with because in their eyes it’s about what ‘they want’ , ‘their needs’ and how best it gets achieved !

While we’d all like to see an agreement reached that’s equitable for all of the parties concerned. It’s becoming abundantly clear that there could very well be labor unrest this off-season within the NFL. And if that does happen and there’s a lockout and stoppage. Then for all sense and purpose the NFL and its players can in effect say goodbye to the last piece of goodwill that it had amongst the fans.

Far be it for me to suggest that both the NFL and NFLPA should resort to the ‘ Chicago Way’. But it seemed to have worked for Eliot Ness and his Untouchables.

tophatal

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The  <strong>  always sensuous  <em> ravishing , captivating </em> and  sexually  alluring Italian  actress    Monica  Bellucci </strong>  .   There aren't   too  many  actresses  around  with  her   sort  of   <strong> sex  appeal </strong>   by  far  !
The always sensuous ravishing , captivating and sexually alluring Italian actress Monica Bellucci . There aren't too many actresses around with her sort of sex appeal by far !