It’s Our Ball , So Let Us Play ….

It’s Our Ball So Let Us Play

It remains the most popular sport in the world and at the international level , there is no more popular quadrennial event than the World Cup . Last held in 2014 , this year’s event is being held in Russia , where President Vladmir Putin hopes to see the host country raise the Jules Rimet Trophy to signify themselves as world champions. In the opening game of the tournament Russia overpowered their opponent , Saudi Arabia , winning the game in a lopsided fashion , 5-0 . Good enough, to set the host country on their way within their group.


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The top thirty-two teams in the world have gathered together for Soccer’s most prestigious event looking to succeed the current defending champions Germany , who will be looking to make a successful defense of their title. Quite rightly, they remain a firm favorite with an established and world-class team .Germany got off to a really rocky start in the defense of their title with a shocking loss , 1-0 against Mexico in their opening game of their group, Group F . This was one in a line of truly embarrassing results for a number of the favored teams as the opening schedule of games took place.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are considered to be the two best players in the world with each having been named the world’s best player on several occasions . Ronaldo seeks to lead Portugal to the first World Title , while Messi and his Argentinian teammates will be looking to win their third title .

Lionel Messi and his teammates will take to the field on Thursday,21st June to face Croatia . Portugal’s next game in the opening round of group games will see them face Iran . Cristiano Ronaldo has continued to set records at the international level for his country and the player will further seek to establish himself perhaps the best European player in the history of the game.

Well we can’t talk about international soccer without mentioning the name of Brazil and their list of all-time great players. Currently the best player on their roster , is Neymar Jr , perhaps the closest thing they have to matching both Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo on the international soccer stage. Brazil has gotten to a dogged start to this World Cup with a very unimpressive debut game, resulting in a 1-1 tie against Switzerland . With Serbia leading Group E , a group many believed Brazil would have all to themselves , they now have to win their next outing , when they are due to face the group leaders in a game to be played on the 27th June . Failure to win the contest and there is a chance that the Brazilians would face a tough time qualifying from their group.

While the world continues to watch the World Cup unfold, here on the West side of the Atlantic , the biggest story likely to unfold over the next forty-eight hours will be how the NBA Draft unfolds as the top-ten picks of the first round go down. Luka Doncic was thought to be the consensus number one overall pick , but his stock has been dropping faster than the popularity ratings of both Kanye West and Roseanne Barr combined. The knock against the Slovenian player , has been his lack of physicality to his game. It’s something I believe once he’s in the weight room adding on the muscle , his game being what it is , the team who drafts him will get the benefits of what made him a European Player of the Year and a Finals Four MVP in the European Club Championships. Whether or not the front office of the Phoenix Suns will choose to make Doncic that overall number one pick remains to be seen.

If Luka Doncic isn’t the player to be taken at number one , then look for the stocks to rise of players such as Marin Bagley III and DeAndre Ayton . These two players, are thought to be the best of the college declaree’s for this year’s Draft.

Over the past five years , it would appear that Dwight Howard was never going to be able to fulfill the early promise shown at the start of his career . For the second time in the last two years the player finds himself on the move as the Charlotte Hornets traded the veteran center to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Timofey Mozgov and some future picks. Far be it for me to suggest , but the Hornets even with this trade are far from where they need to be. Team owner Michael Jordan and the front office have done little to raise the profile of this franchise , since Jordan took controlling interest , having bought the Hornets from BET founder Robert L Johnson .

The decision to move Dwight Howard might well have a great deal more to do with the fact his relationship with his teammates had soured due to his antics . It was also rumored that Michael Jordan sought to improve the cap space for the team as he sought to lure a marquee free agent to the Hornets.

With the opening round of the NBA Draft set to begin tonight , 21st June and plays out over the next two nights. . It will be interesting to see what transpires , as well as bearing in mind LeBron James has yet to make the world aware of his plans. James is looking to hold the NBA’s franchises hostage and in doing so, it affects how they are likely to proceed.

Soured relationship or not what has taken place this past season between Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs should be a lesson for all teams who have superstars who now want to make demands , purely because they can’t get their way. Leonard’s season was curtailed due to injury with his only playing nine regular season games for the Spurs and being unable to participate in the NBA Playoffs where they would be summarily dismissed in the first round by the eventual NBA champions the Golden State Warriors .

Kawhi Leonard has met with Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich and it’s not known what was discussed between Popovich and the player, but it is believed that as a senior front office executive for the franchise in his capacity in that role , he has pulled the plug on any demands that Leonard might have in wanting to be traded. The disruption to the franchise has not yet met a crescendo level , but there’s no doubt in my mind Kawhi Leonard is pushing to be traded. The Spurs for their part will be concentrating on the Draft, but I also believe if the right offer came along, they might well be willing to part ways with their disgruntled star.

Jeff Luhnow , the front office executive who has systematically brought the Houston Astros back to life was given a healthy contract extension by team owner Jim Crane . Having gone from the verge of bankruptcy to their current situation where they are considered the best team in baseball , with a growing fan-base . It would be safe to say the Astros have finally arrived. The managerial staff of AJ Hinch has set this ball-club for success, for a long time come , especially with the core of this roster signed to very good contracts.

The Houston Astros have simply carried on from where they left off during the MLB postseason having won the World Series with a great deal of ease, with their lopsided triumph over the Los Angeles Dodgers . Having started out of the gate really fast in 2018, the Astros now have a commanding lead within the AL West and could have the division sewn up by late August if things carry on as they are. Houston will be in action on Friday when they take on the Kansas City Royals in a home game being played at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas,. This will be the first in a three-game home set of a weekend series against the Royals, where I fully expect the Astros to prevail against their AL rivals .

Having become the first team in the Majors this season with fifty wins to their name the Houston Astros are showing why in many respects the AL might be considered a better quality league than that of their NL rivals . That being said , it should not be considered a major knock against those teams.

Highest paid player in the game, by way of his contract and now the naysayers are sitting up and taking note as to what Giancarlo Stanton means to the New York Yankees and the team in general . It’s at times like this , I just wish the idiots would just shut hell up and simply learn something about the game of baseball ! Stanton might not be the best player in the game but he’s certainly in the argument to be considered a top-ten player that’s for sure. Giancarlo Stanton is proving to be a leader both on and off the field and his productivity this season is proof of that fact. Is he ready to assume the mantle of the team captain ? Well that’s an honor not often bestowed upon a Yankees’ player , with the last such person to be given the honor , being Derek Jeter . It has been almost five years since Jeter was last seen in the Yankees’ pinstripes.

Right now it has been the New York Yankees’ offense which has held away for the team as they battle the Boston Red Sox within the AL East . Giancarlo Stanton , Aaron Judge , Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius are the primary reasons why the Yankees are firing on all cylinders . That’s not to say the pitching staff haven’t played a part in the team’s success as it would be remiss to do so. The team’s best pitcher this season to date has been Luis Severino (11-2, 2.24 ERA) and he’s due back on the mound for the Yankees when they face the Philadelphia Phillies on the road on the 26th June. However , before that game takes place the New York Yankees will
begin a weekend series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida. New York’s CC Sabathia will be the starting pitcher on the mound as he faces Ryne Stanek of the Rays in the first of the three encounters beginning on Friday ,22nd June ,2018. I fully expect the Yankees to dominate this series , as they encounter a Rays’ team which remains very inconsistent .

As this month winds down within the world of sports, what are you own expectations of the coming months ? Also, which story within the past few days has been the one which has captured your attention the most ?


Tophatal ……..


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The ugly side to sports is no different from its image in general , still goddamn ugly

The ugly side to sports is no different from its image in general , still goddamn ugly

For the past few weeks I have been intently assisting a friend get his newly established and relocated business off the ground. He and his family moved across the county to reestablish his Caribbean styled family restaurant here in the small rural town of Dundee, Florida . Like everything else that involves the reshaping of a business , along with it comes a great deal of bureaucracy, in dealing with a new municipality as well as with a state governmental agency . Top-heavy , with way too much bureaucracy and with their being no intelligence in sight . The same could be said for the state of play in the world of professional and collegiate sports, where leadership is definitely lacking but the sheer ineptitude and apathy of the fans would have you believe that there is some integrity and leadership within the hierarchies of the NFL, NBA , NCAA , MLB , NHL and FIFA . With the latter being a prime example of how the world’s most popular sport while not lacking appeal is still mired in controversy , along with ongoing corruption at the highest levels.

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My friend’s restaurant is off to a flying start but his issues remain, in dealing with the town and the state for varying reasons, as to the degree of difficulty. The sign that adorns the restaurant is not visible to the passing vehicular traffic, because of the trees that border the pedestrian sidewalk. The trees were planted by the town , with a grant provided by the state, but it remains the municipality’s duty to have those trees properly maintained. Yet, when having made a request to the town manager, we were informed because the shrubbery is along a state highway, the responsibility in seeking any changes would have to come with state approval. It would not be so asinine , were it not for the fact the town received the grant from the state for the beautification project, with the planting of the trees. Go figure, a municipality that defers to the state, because they cannot make pertinent decision that actually affects the town more than the state.

The NFL continues the hyping of its off-season, with the meaningless news of rookies who are told are now said to be setting their training camps alight with their understanding of the playbook and their acknowledgment of their more experienced peers. Far be it for me to suggest, but the preseason is nothing more than a parade , with the regular season being the true test of the rookies’ character and skills. Jadeveon Clowney of the Houston Texans will have a great deal to prove in his rookie season , along with the considerable hype that also followed Johnny Manziel , who was a first round pick of the Cleveland Browns . For the Browns this might be a season where the disasters of 2013 are likely to be revisited. Mike Pettine and his staff have a great deal to prove, as do the players under his tutelage.

Given the Browns’ on and off the field issues in recent seasons, I personally do not see the team making any inroads within their division or the AFC once the season gets underway . Cleveland will begin their season with an away game against divisional AFC North rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers in a contest to be played at Heinz Field , in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ,on the opening weekend of the 2014 week one regular season schedule . Pettine and his team are likely to have a season of ups and downs but nothing that would suggest they are likely to seen as a major contender within the AFC this season.

If the NFL cannot find a way to keep itself out of the spotlight, you can rest assured that it will be left to either Roger Goodell or one of the league’s team owners to make a complete ass of themselves. The NFL Commissioner continues to wax on lyrically as to the ever increasing profits of the NFL, but his continued failure to discuss the most acute issues that the NFL continues to face is another reason why the league continues to have ongoing problems. Goodell lacks leadership grit and the owners remain selfless self-serving bastards. It would be idiotic to try to suggest otherwise now.

Dan Snyder and the Washington Redskins continue to be on the wrong side of an argument and debate that neither he or the franchise can win. No matter what type of magnanimous gesture is made by the Redskins’ owner , it will never be enough to appease the Native American Indians across the country. While I believe there to be a great deal of hypocrisy on both sides of the debate concerning, using the word ‘ Redskins’ as it relates to the franchise’s name. The fact that the United States Patent Office has seen fit not to renew the Redskins’ trademark of the name, smacks of government interference in a matter that should be either dealt with in the courts or through an amicable settlement between the parties concerned.

The US Trade & Patent Office stated that their why not renewing the Washington Redskins’ trademark agreement stemmed from the fact, they believed the term “ Redskins” was a derogatory use the word that denigrates the Native American Indians. Perhaps that governmental agency needs to take a look at what the Department of the Interior is presently doing as it relates to the tribes across the country to truly comprehend the meaning of the word ” denigrate ” and the meaning also of the word derogatory . Native American Indians may well be and their lands are deemed sovereign, but their treatment by the federal government remains reprehensible and often scandalous . Simply consider the lack of proper education in spite of the statistics continually spewed by the governmental agency in question , with their also being a prolific rise in drug use and crime but yet they feel the using of the word Redskins to be derogatory in this day age. If things were not so fucked up I would take less in delight in lambasting not only Department of the Interior , but also a Congress and Administration that remains clueless on so many fucking issues , that it should be viewed as criminal and extremely calculated .

Away from that specific issue for the Washington Redskins , they will embark on a new season with the new head coach and coaching staff in tow. Jay Gruden will now be given the task of turning things around for the team after a year of lackluster results and performances , with many questioning the leadership and playing ability of Robert Griffin III. Add in the fact, Griffin’s teammate Kirk Cousins sought to extricate himself from an organization that simply had lost a sense of direction. Snyder remained in the background while Mike Shanahan and Kyle Shanahan ran amok , with team GM Bruce Allen showing no sense of urgency in seeking to calm the maelstrom within his sight. I have always felt that the four teams within the NFC East were overrated along just about every element of the teams’ play within the division. As to the season by Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Nick Foles , does anyone really believe that he will be able to replicate those performances in 2014? Add in the fact the Eagles saw fit to rid themselves of their best offensive weapon last season when they allowed DeSean Jackson to leave as a free agent. Safe to say, that the Eagles’ loss will be the Washington Redskins’ gain.

This past NBA postseason showed once again why the NBA remains suckers’ game if you are always willing to bet on what you believe to be a sure thing. As to the idiocy of those, whose only explanation to favor the Miami Heat was because of the presence of LeBron James on the Heat’s roster . Last I looked James was yet to make the ascent where he can thought of as being on the same plateau as his idol Michael Jordan , whose postseason exploits have been well chronicled. Miami’s decisive 4-1 series loss was enough to suggest how overrated the Heat were said to be without having to witness LeBron James’ labor in these Finals without very little aid coming from his teammates. As to this asinine notion, that their Big Three should remain together , the real issue should be with an aging Dwyane Wade offering a mere measure of the player he was six years ago , the inconsistency of Chris Bosh and a bench whose only apparent virtue appears to be as a band of cheerleaders for their four-time League MVP winning teammate. Rashard Lewis has aged faster than an octogenarian with the early onset of Alzheimer’s and Ray Allen’s shooting can now be placed on the same level as Dick Cheney on a pheasant hunt, not likely to be the target he’s aiming for , but he is liable to hit something near.

James’ decision to opt out of his contract now creates a feeding frenzy within the NBA, with general managers around the NBA scurrying to make salary cap space available , as they seek to land one of the big fishes among the list of ” highly prized “ free agents currently on the market. Joining LeBron James , is his close confidante Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks and the possibility seems remote that the pairing could now land on the same team making that franchise a legitimate title contender.

So now for the second time in six years, the fans will be placed in the midst of this drama, as James serves notice, that he believes himself bigger than the game. It would not be so bad, if the first merry-go-round of this circus were not staged , with ESPN journalist Jim Gray , all but licking James’ sphincter and testes, while asking some of the most asinine questions posed to an athlete concerning their future. As to James and his posse of clown advisers, stating that the player’s fee, for that now infamous diatribe and garbage went to a needy cause , of the Boys & Girls Club of America. For a player who was one of the league’s highest paid players and with a reputed $40 million annually in off-court earnings. I believe the $250,000 paid out by ESPN would have been a small price to pay, had James simply donated that money to the charity himself, rather than Gray making the statement and interview had a measure of journalistic integrity to it all. That would be suggesting that the plot-line for a thirty minute porn flick, does have a measure of artistic integrity in terms of the portrayals on-screen. Everyone knows how to fuck and I guess faking an orgasm does come easy (pardon the pun) when you have practiced the art several times over. James and Gray were not very versed and the interview itself, was simply one more reason why ESPN can no longer be taken seriously as sports’ programming network .

LeBron James will be seen as a very poor version of what the NBA seeks in the second coming of Michael Jordan. The league hierarchy , still yearns for someone to carry that mantle, but unfortunately since Jordan’s retirement the players seeking to fill those shoes have repeatedly come up short. The Miami Heat player can now toy with the emotions of the Miami Heat and in particular with the fans and Pat Riley . However, should he seek to bolt from a franchise for a second time , his legacy will not only be further tarnished, but I do believe the fans around the league will not be so forgiving the second time around.

Unless I am mistaken, the season in which baseball yearned to see some great play from some of the game’s best teams , has in essence provided us with something of a letdown. The defending World Series’ champions the Boston Red Sox have performed nothing like what you would come to expect of a ball-club seeking to make a successful defense of their title. It is becoming hard to explain why John Farrell’s players have performed so badly, as we come to closing out the first half of this baseball season. The always competitive AL East remains a two-horse race at present with the Toronto Blue Jays leading the Baltimore Orioles followed by the big spending coffers of the New York Yankees . Rounding out the division we have the Red Sox followed by the last placed Tampa Bay Rays .

The Rays have proven to be pitiful and no amount of idiotic excuses can be made for the poor play from the team . Winning a series for this franchise, has become about as customary as witnessing a solar eclipse of Halley’s Comet crossing the sky at high-speed. Far be it for me to suggest , but now might be the time for fans in the Tampa Bay area to look elsewhere for their excitement this Fall ,as this franchise is unlikely to be playing any part in the Fall Classic.

Rays’ manager Joe Maddon known for serving up a great deal of rhetoric, has rarely called out his players even when they have performed poorly. Leadership is certainly lacking among the Rays and with seasoned veterans on the roster such as David Price, James Loney, Jose Molina , Evan Longoria and Erik Bedard , it is becoming extremely difficult by the second to suggest that there are any signs of a positive note to be witnessed from this team. Coming off three consecutive losses to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, the Rays will now hope for more luck on the road when they are due to face the Baltimore Orioles in a four-game series to be played at Camden Yards in Baltimore , Maryland. That series will tell us a great deal about the temperament of the Tampa Bay Rays and the direction that they are said to be heading in. The first of the quartet of games will begin on Friday 27th June ,2014 with Alex Colome taking to the mound for the Rays against a yet to be named opposing pitcher.

The longer Mark Emmert remains as the NCAA President the less credibility he continues to have. His change of tone, concerning the issue of collegiate athletes being paid is another reason why the NCAA cannot be taken seriously when it comes to addressing this matter. Whether or not, if he is being pressured by major conference commissioners or by the university presidents, it is becoming abundantly clear that Emmert’s lack of leadership and communicative skills will ultimately lead to his own undoing. Collegiate Athletics’ governing body now finds itself as a major defendant in a class action lawsuit in which one of the leading plaintiffs is former UCLA (Bruins) basketball star Ed O’Bannon . The Bruins’ star and his joint plaintiffs claim that their likeness was being used without their permission and whereby the NCAA and the colleges have profited greatly from using their images, in selling a wide assortment of sports’ paraphernalia. With the billions of dollars reaped and the claims made by the NCAA and the collegiate establishments that these funds are used for the benefit of the student athlete .That case is becoming hard to prove, when neither the NCAA or many top-tiered sports’ programs are willing to open up their books for public scrutiny. In spite of the outcry from the public , the NCAA has been able to harness their lobbying power to make sure that Congressional leaders and members are quick to avert their eyes and ears, in seeking to make changes in the antitrust exemption status granted to collegiate athletics’ governing body as well as the four major professional sports’ governing bodies.

The world’s most popular sport of soccer and the sport’s international governing body staging the World Cup in Brazil, in this quadrennial tournament being seen as a grand stage to raise the profile of South America’s most powerful economy. Staged at a cost of over $12 billion , the country is also facing a great deal internal strife ,with their being a great deal of opposition in the staging of the World Cup while there is a growing chasm between the rich and the poor within the country. Needless to say , the government states that those issues will be fully addressed once the tournament is over but for the moment soccer is now being played on the grandest of stages with the host nation being viewed as a consensus favorite.

FIFA President Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter , no stranger to controversy , having faced allegations of graft and corruption without his ever being indicted for any of the charges lodged against him. Others have somehow fallen on the sword, willing to take the blame for an executive who continues to point an accusing finger at the press for making the false accusations concerning his actions during his tenure as FIFA’s highest ranking executive.

This tournament has not been without controversy and the biggest of them all deals with the unsportsmanlike conduct of Uruguayan international Luis Suarez as he bit an Italian defender during a game between the two teams. With his team having qualified for the second round phase of the World Cup , fans now wait to see what punishment will be meted out against the player. This disgusting act was missed by the game’s officials but picked up by the cameras televising the game. Blatter and the FIFA Committee on Player Conduct will reexamine the incident, but it is s already becoming clear that the punishment levied against Luis Suarez is likely to be severe. The Uruguayan contingent have until Thursday midnight, to come up with an explanation as to the player’s behavior and the reasons behind his actions. Suarez has brushed aside this latest mea-culpa,but with his past behavior and having fined twice before for similar actions, FIFA can ill afford to have the player be let off the hook. Personally, I believe that Suarez should be suspended for the rest of the tournament, but I also find it rather bewildering that the Uruguayan delegation has not seen fit to offer a public apology for their player’s wanton misconduct.

Officiating at the World Cup has been very inconsistent with a number of on-field mistakes being made during the games , many of them proving to be costly for several of the teams on the wrong end of a decision. Reigning champions, Spain have fallen from grace and their exit in the first round stage has been a complete shock. Meanwhile, host country, Brazil , has found a consistent rhythm, after a somewhat indifferent start to the tournament. Their best player, Neymar Jr , is certainly justifying the raves reviews received, as he and the team go on their quest for a fifth World Cup title. Jose Felipe Scolari , as Brazil’s head coach is under a great deal of pressure to deliver a long-awaited title, but all roads will have to go through either Germany or the Netherlands , as both European teams have been among the most impressive of the participants playing in the tournament.

England’s failure comes as no great surprise with the team’s efforts having been ridiculed in the press back in the UK. Roy Hodgson’s tenure as the team’s head coach is likely to come to an abrupt end with his resignation being sought or being fired. Let’s just say the high expectations as one of the favorites is a thing of the past and will remain so for the foreseeable future as the country no longer produces the talent necessary to be seen as a legitimate World Cup contender.

For Jürgen Klinsmann and Team USA, the team’s pivotal final game in the first round on Thursday night is a make or break contest for both teams. Although a tie would benefit both teams , with each qualifying as the top two within their group standings. I believe it would be suicidal were both to rest on their laurels and simply play for the draw , as their opponent in the knockout stages is likely to be team that neither can afford to take lightly. As to this contest, it could very well be one where we get to see the best of this USA team , with Klinsmann missing one of the team’s best offensive players in Jozy Altidore. Whatever the outcome of the contest, it must be said that team has exceeded the expectations of their fans and I believe the majority of analysts in general covering the game for ESPN.

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In light of the recent news’ stories what do you believe to be the most interesting thing that is now happening in the sports’ world ? With team USA’s upcoming match against Germany, are they likely to be triumphant? Last but not least, what are you views on LeBron James choosing to opt out of his contract and what part is it likely to make on the decisions to be made by the NBA’s general managers ?

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(1) Seen here are the Orville Mongol restaurant owner and Dundee town Mayor Sam Pennant . The recently opened restaurant has become a downtown attraction and the center for numerous activities among the residents in the town.

(2) Jamaican Style Grill & Lounge DBA Golden Tropical Bar & Grill . The restaurant offering Jamaican styled cuisine is located in the downtown center of Dundee, located in Eastern Polk County , Florida . Seen here, pictured from left to right , Chef Donovan, Mayor Sam Pennant , Town Commissioner Bertram ‘Bert’ Goddard, Dorothy Mongol, Commissioner Steve Glenn (background) and restaurant owner Orville Mongol . The restaurant offers of a variety of Jamaican dishes featuring delicacies known among the West Indian community . Also served are vegetarian meals for those who prefer a health conscious diet , but in general patrons can find something on the menu that will be to their liking .

(3) Pictured are Jadeveon Clowney (above) and Johnny Manziel . Both players were part of the 2014 NFL Draft class of this year . Clowney and Manziel are hoping to productive contributors for their respective teams this upcoming season . AP Photo/Gerry Mason …

(4) Washington Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III is seen here with team owner Dan Snyder on the sidelines during a game in 2013 played at FedEx Field in Landover Maryland . After an indifferent season last year the Redskins hope to bounce back with a new attitude and coaching staff led by Jay Gruden who succeeds fired former head coach Mike Shanahan . Dan Snyder faces mounting criticism from Native American Indians as well as the US Patent & Trademark Office , with the franchise’s refusal in changing the name of the team. The owner has routinely sought the input from Native Americans on the issue but a great deal of the negotiations between the two parties have become highly animated . Getty Images / Paul Ross …

(5) LeBron James is seen here with Miami Heat Team President and part owner , Pat Riley . With James opting out of his existing contract , it has led to a feeding frenzy among the NBA’s general managers as they seek to make available cap space , in quite possibly making a play to lure the Heat player. LeBron James , a four-time League MVP and two-time Finals MVP has yet to make a decision on his immediate future beyond the decision but most are of the opinion he will remain with the Miami Heat. Although were he to leave the franchise , there would be a great deal of disdain for a player, who now seems to make this type of a maneuver a routine occurrence when things are not to his satisfaction. AP Photo/ Mary-Ann Phillips ….

(6) Pitcher David Price (14) of the Tampa Bay Rays is taken off the mound by manager Joe Maddon (70)of the Tampa Bay Rays after walking J.J. Hardy of the Baltimore Orioles to load the bases during the seventh inning of a game on May 8, 2014 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. There now seems to be mounting speculation that the Rays will seek to trade the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner at or prior to the trade deadline , with the team at present floundering within the AL East . Getty Images North America/ Brian Blanco …

(7) Former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon is seen here talking to the convened press to discuss his civil suit against the NCAA . O’Bannon whose brief career in the NBA was understated lodged his suit in US Federal Court seeking punitive and unspecified damages for what he says, was the unauthorized use of image to sell merchandize by the collegiate athletics’ governing body . The NCAA has reaped billions of dollars annually from merchandize sales but there seems to be no figures indicating how much is plowed back into the college programs nationally . NCAA President Mark Emmert who suggested that he believes that student athletes should be paid a monthly stipend has since shied away from that stance stating that the rules in place are satisfactory for the NCAA and the educational institutions.

(8) NATAL, BRAZIL – JUNE 23: Luis Suarez of Uruguay looks on during press conference at the Dunas Arena in Natal on June 23, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. It remains to be seen what form of punishment will be rendered against the player after an unsavory incident that took place between Uruguay and Italy during their group match . Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images …

(9) MANAUS, BRAZIL – JUNE 22: Clint Dempsey of the United States walks out to the pitch prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil in the Group G match between USA and Portugal at Arena Amazonia on June 22, 2014 in Manaus, Brazil. Photo by Stuart Franklin – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images ……

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Winding Down Or Winding Up As The Case Maybe

Winding Down Or Winding Up As The Case Maybe

Like me I suppose for the rest of you the topic and I do mean topic of conversation in the sports world may well have rested on LeBron James’ announcement that he was leaving Cleveland to resume his NBA career in Miami with the Miami Heat . Glasses were raised on South Beach while the once loyal fans of James in Cleveland showed their “disdain” for the player by burning his jersey replicas and whatever else they had in their possession associated with player. Not to be outdone Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert had a scalding reprimand for the player and essentially called him a coward.

Now far be it for me to show no real concern over this but once ESPN and their reporter Jim Gray chose to bilk this story for far more than it was worth , I essentially became tired of the story and of James the self appointed ” King” without a kingdom . Now don’t get me wrong with James now joining the Heat along also the recently acquired Chris Bosh to play with Dwyane Wade . This has now in essence made the Heat the presumptive favorites in the Eastern Conference and a legitimate challenger to the Los Angeles Lakers and the defense of their NBA title .

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Now while all of this has come into play perhaps the two proudest and most certainly the happiest are Heat team President Pat Riley and the team’s multi-billionaire owner Micky Arison who also happens to be the owner of Carnival Cruise Lines . My concern now has to be for the Heat’s coach Erik Spoelstra , given the fact that Riley engineered this coup-d’etat with little or no input from his coach. And with that in mind I wonder if Spoelstra will go now the same way of his predecessor Stan Van Gundy ? We all know that Van Gundy was relieved of his position so that Riley could make a quick exit from his executive position to take charge of the team win an a title and then relinquish the coach’s position and make a quick return back to his executive duties. Could this once again happen given the fact that the Heat now has Bosh , James and Wade all on the same team and with the lure there for Riley to return to the fray of coaching ? If I were Spoelstra at this juncture I’d be deeply concerned and looking over my shoulder with each passing second to see if Riley were there and whether or not he had a dagger in his hand !

Now while this has been going on the African continent and the country of South Africa has been hosting the World Cup. Outside the Summer Olympics this might just be the most watched sporting event and spectacle on the planet. FIFA President Joseph (“Sepp”) Blatter says that he expects as many as 700 million viewers worldwide to tune in and watch the finals itself. It has now all come down to this with the 64th and final game of the competition between Spain and the Netherlands . And though Spain would prevail as the 1-0 victors from a goal scored by Andres Iniesta in overtime , the game itself was something of a monotonous bore. With each team failing to convert a number of chances during regulatory play. As to what this might suggest to the first time observer of the sport I’ll leave that up to you to decide !

The most recent edition of FHM an adult oriented male magazine dealing in a wide range of topics issued their list of the “100 Sexiest Women In The World” and specifically dealt with their final top ten . Nothing wrong in that by my way of thinking but then again not all heterosexual males might well feel happy with FHM’s findings and their end result. Much like Maxim Magazine has its own list of their Top 100 Most Desirable Females , I for one feel that it’s something of a trade off in order to create some hype and controversy between the two publications on their observations and then leaving it for their patrons to continue to argue over or discuss !

And amongst FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women (2010) they have Desire Siahaan , Freida Pinto , Megan Fox and slew of bodacious looking females that would be enough to make a guy salivate and drool like a newborn child . But then again what grown man doesn’t when looking at a voluptuous and beautiful female ? My own thoughts on the matter goes with the old saying ………..”beauty is in the eye of the beholder” .

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Picture gallery for your perusal. Click on frame to see the picture in its original format.

Chime in with a comment if you so wish and your thoughts on the sporting weekend in general.

NB: Click on the link provided to view the list of FHM’s Sexiest Women In The World For 2010 . You will most certainly enjoy this pictorial . And that I can assure you will be the least of your concerns !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………….. 🙂

Black Sheep ………………………. “The Choice Is Yours”

Who Gives A Rat’s …….

The sporting weekend saw two old foes make their way to the knockout stages of the World Cup and for the reigning world champions and runners up from the 2006 tournament . Well they were bade a bon-adieu. Not that anyone really cared about the French or Italians to begin with . What they brought to this tournament was limited appeal , limited success and all of the pomposity that one might come to expect from a bunch of over bearing and untalented individuals . So much so , that their departure has been more than welcomed in some circles.

Now as we set about closing out the group stage of the event now comes the real excitement of the knockout stages of the World Cup. So let the games begin and the chips fall where they may. We’ll now get to see the men separated from the boys . And for the asshole who goes by the name of topcat and all of the alleged knowledger that he profoundly states that he knows about the game of soccer. Go back to sucking on your mom’s tit and make sure that her dietary supplement of semen that she so eagerly adores . Well why not supply her with some of your own you ingrate ! The “Oedipus complex” was something of a common sign of angst the Romans and no doubt within your own family ! And given your infantile behiavior in wanting to disparage me , merely because I stated a fact and and opinion concerning the Italian team that wasn’t to your liking ? The question I’ve got to ask you now …. “where’s the so called greatness of this Marco Lippi coached team They just got the bitch slapping they deserved at the lowly hands of Slovakia . How ’bout them apples ?

Alan Parkins aka tophatal

Outkast ………. “Atliens”

Round Up and Sounding Off ……………..

Well the sporting weekend seems to have been filled aptly by the comings and going of the World Cup and here stateside by the US Open which was won by Graeme McDowell of Ireland. The last round of the US Open was about as enthralling as watching paint dry as we saw the three biggest names in the world of golf mount a challenge that bordered on being comical . Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods had the tournament for the taking but they couldn’t mount a serious enough challenge. And in third round leader Dustin Johnson , one seemingly knew that the pressure would come to bear on someone who essentially has never been the pressurized atmosphere of chasing after and winning their first major Grand Slam golf tournament. As admirable as Johnson’s game was , his crumbling in the final round was reminiscent of Jean Van der Velde’s inexplicable meltdown at the British Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, in 1999. Needless to say but Van der Velde has never been the same player since. One can only hope that Johnson’s psyche won’t be adversely affected by this!

The 110TH US Open would become the Irishman’s first major victory and the fifth overall of his career. Needless to say that he now becomes the toast of Ireland.

Not so long ago the Tampa Bay Rays were the talk of baseball and seemingly they were being viewed as the team that had finally arrived amongst the “big boys” of the AL East . Well now things have become to falter for the team and the 5 ½ game lead that they had over the New York Yankees has now become a one game deficit and barely a further game ahead of the fast closing Boston Red Sox in third place within the division. Now it’s too early to say how things will pan out but it’s clear to see that if the Rays are to stop this slight drop off . Then things will have to take a quick turnaround as to their play. Furthermore they may well need to enter into the market to get themselves a big bat to assist with the offense. But given the team’s budgetary constraints the latter scenario is unlikely to materialize.

For their part, the New York Yankees find themselves in first place and everything appears to be clicking on all cylinders.But if the rumors are to be believed then it’s quite possible that they will make a swoop come the trade deadline and make a play for Seattle Mariners’ pitching ace Cliff Lee . In acquiring Lee that would simply add to the Yankees’ bountiful treasure chest while leaving their fellow competitors within the division somewhat in awe shall we say ?

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Can we now say that with the first round phase of the World Cup at but at an end we have had our shocks and surprises ? And for the ingrate and asshole who would come calling me names for merely stating a fact . Please go back to sucking on your mother’s tit rather than making a complete ass of yourself. You know who you are and I’d rather not embarrass you any further other than to suggest that Italy as the reigning world champions simply aren’t doing themselves any justice at present. Likewise France , England and the USA have shown what can happen when you seemingly become complacent when facing an opponent. All four teams and the supposed hype and expectations surrounding them has manifested itself by the teams being humbled by lesser opponents. Needless to say excuses will be made by those who seek to take that route. But I for one just look upon it from the mindset that when you become complacent and think that your superior to an opponent without taking them seriously. Then when you get hoisted on your own petard and you have absolutely no one but to blame but yourself. As for the bitching and whining concerning the officiating won‘t change a thing at this juncture. Well here too just as in the NFL , NBA , MLB and NHL the game of soccer is no different and can be filled with controversy. Needless to say that the game between Slovenia and the USA was enough of a reminder of that. A controversial 2-2 tie leaves the US in need of a win and England or Slovenia a loss to assure the team of making it to the next phase of the competition.

Now the real comedy of errors that has transpired in the competition has been to see the runners up from the 2006 World Cup fall apart like a crumbling building with its facade laying waste on the ground in South Africa. French coach Raymond Domenech has a mutiny on his hands. With the French Federation seeing fit to send home Nicolas Anelka after his profanity laced tirade at his coach. What has since transpired with the team refusing to part take in the usual morning practice because of Anelka’s expulsion. And then another all too public meltdown with team captain Patrice Evra getting into a verbal squabble with associate trainer and senior French delegation official Robert Duverne . Let’s just say that for things to get worse for the French team can only provide us all with more comedic drama .

After the team’s poor play and 2-0 loss to Mexico it has to be said that fallout from this all shouldn’t have really surprised anyone. The tournament has a way of bringing out the good and bad in everyone. And one can only imagine what the French publications are saying back in France concerning the undue embarrassment that the team caused the nation. Suffice to say that if the French team has any pride left within them then they will come out and show it and at the same time offer their host and fans a profound apology for their less than professional behavior.

With the final round of games to be played in the opening round group phase there is a great deal on the line for a number of teams. For myself watching what little of the event that I’ve taken interest in watching. I’ve got to say that I have been none too impressed with the play of England who’ve proven to be an absolute embarrassment in their two opening group games played. This is a team that is completely devoid of creativity and leadership. Team coach Fabio Capello seems to be no less involved in the team’s failings as the leadership now being shown by BP’s CEO Tony Hayward and his handling of BP Gulf disaster oil spill , that has him now being viewed as one of the most despised men in America. Nonetheless, BP’s Human Resources Department and executive board members are standing by their man at present. Much as in the same way that the FA seems to be standing by Capello. The question has to be asked but for how much longer , should the team fail to win their final group match against Slovenia this upcoming Wednesday ?

Patrice Evra the French captain and French assistant coach and delegation official Robert Duverne are seen here in the midst of what would turn out to be a heated verbal exchange between the two.


I for one won’t be at all surprised should Capello’s team fall short , as I’ve said as much in my previous posts concerning the team. They were vastly overrated and built around the premise that they were good enough to win the tournament outright. None of their achievements in qualifying and then their play in the opening two games of the tournament justified the faith that was being shown in the team. And furthermore, the odds makers were simply looking for a way to get the bettors to part with their monies in offering such favorable odds concerning the team. Suffice to say that they’re going to be ultimately the winners.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What if anything for you has made the sporting weekend all the more interesting ? If as such there was an event that seemingly caught your attention in the world of sports ? Chime on in with a comment by all means .

Alan Parkins …………….. aka tophatal ………………..

TI …………….. “I’m Back”

Sex Shouldn’t Be Less Important Than Sports …………. Confessions of A Sports Junkie And Couch Potato


Sex Shouldn’t Be Less Important Than Sports …………. Confessions of A Sports Junkie And Couch Potato


Well the NBA Finals for this season has reached its last hurdle and at the end of tonight’s game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. We will either be crowning a new NBA champion or the the Los Angeles Lakers will have successfully defended their title in defeating Boston Celtics . Momentum is with the Lakers and in all likelihood should they prevail then Kobe Bryant will have won his second successive finals’ MVP award . This much we do know however, as good as these finals have been in terms of the Nielsens’ ratings . The series itself, can’t exactly be described as having been exciting and especially not in the mould of the old Celtics , Lakers finals’ series of old that you watching Bird and Magic go at each other with it all on the line .

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The series is now tied at (3-3) three games apiece and both coaches Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers will be looking to add to their own legacies as well as that of their respective teams . And the feeling now being purveyed around the league is that this just might be the last hurrah for Jackson after an astonishing coaching career. Rivers has widely expressed the fact that he’d like to take a year’s Sabbatical away from the game to be with his family , given the undue pressures of the game . And in many respects that is more than understandable.



What we do know concerning both of these coaches each different in so many ways . It is that they both have a healthy respect for the game and that their players have a healthy respect and an unbounded loyalty to both Jackson and Rivers. Both men are also respected by their peers around the league and no doubt by the vast majority of NBA fans.


At this juncture I’m sure that it’s safe to say that there’s bound to be a bi-coastal bias as well as that “East Coast” “West Coast” supremacy thing in terms of who we’d like to see win this series. Well thankfully , this isn’t wrapped around the inane stupidity shown between the rival coasts when it comes to rap music. But then again I’m sure that there are a few Celtics and Lakers’ fans who’d like to bust “a cap” in each others’ ass ! And given the degree of animosity that there’s said to be between the two sets of fans. I’m wondering why it is that we’ve never seen any violence between the two groups ?


If tonight’s game is expected to go as I deem it might , then I do feel that the Celtics will come gunning right out of the gates expecting to take the Lakers off-guard ! If they are able to do that solidly throughout four thoroughly competitive quarters. Then I would expect the Celtics to prevail ! If not then look for Kobe Bryant to put on an offensive display like only he can in the game today. Don’t get me wrong I do feel that Bryant is the best all-round player in the game today ! And though LeBron James has been anointed by the NBA writers as the league’s MVP . It’s not even close between the two when it comes to showing leadership qualities and that zeal to win. LeBron plays to his public whereas, Bryant is a cold blooded assassin ! His mantra is , fu_k you get out of my way or I’ll run your ass over. LeBron hasn’t even learned how to spell those words as of yet. Plus he’s still probably psychologically damaged from knowing that his mother has been having sex with one of his teammates.


At the culmination of tonight’s series a lot questions will be answered about both of these teams and the ultimate directions that they’re said to be going in. A triumph for the Lakers and another storied chapter will have been written concerning one of the teams most beloved franchises. A triumph for the Celtics and in all probability comparisons will have begun to be made about Kevin Garnett , Ray Allen and Paul Pierce to Bird , McHale and Parish . The latter triumvirate who had unparalleled in winning multiple championships for the Boston Celtics.


It’s the height of summer and thankfully the chatter concerning Brett Favre continues to be light. However, the NSA in conjunction ESPN have been monitoring the player’s every move. If he so much as takes a sh_t outside his abode then you can expect the cable outlet to report it. What would the life of Mark Schlereth and Chris Mortensen be like without them regaling us with the latest snippet there is on the player , bowel movements included ? Chris Mortensen reports that Brett Favre was seen leaving an I-Hop where he was seen having the lunch special before leaving for the men’s room and then returning to finish his meal. Upon inspection of the cubicle used Mortensen was able to ascertain that his fecal matter stank and that his urine was indeed yellow. These things and more will be brought to you courtesy of ESPN and Mortensen. They go after these type of stories with a real zeal and fervor. After all that is what good journalism is meant to be about isn’t it ? Well in the eyes of ESPN this is purportedly good journalism. Only marginally better than that of the other noted news gathering agencies CNN and Fox News . But that’s a story for another day .


And that same zeal is now being used to report Tiger Woods’ every move this week, as he embarks upon trying to win his fourth US Open (17th_20th June) which this week is being held at Pebble Golf & CC in Pebble Beach , California. Woods’ sternest and staunchest test will come in the guise of his closest competitor in the world rankings ,__ Phil Mickelson . And having won The Masters at Augusta National , Mickelson will be looking to win his second major of the season . In doing so he’d edge closer if not supplant Woods at the top of the world rankings. And given Woods’ poor play this season there’s every reason to believe that the player will struggle to recapture the form that vaulted him the top of world golf rankings. Woods’ off the course problems have provided more news for the sports pages and news in general than anything that he’s strived to achieve on a golf course this season. And when you know that something like that is happening to a player Woods’ stature then you can be sure that there is indeed something seriously wrong.



As to whether Woods can pull himself out of this rut, wherein not only are the fans now questioning his abilities as to his return to form. But some are even wondering whether or not we’ll ever see him win another major tournament not only for this year but also as a way to ease the stress and burden which he now finds himself. Many of you are already aware as to what brought about Tiger Woods’ amazing fall from grace. Now the player is trying to reinvent himself and repair that tattered image. One way of actually getting many of the fans back on his side would be to have a very good showing at Pebble Beach and quite possibly winning the tournament. But his struggles mirror that of his unwillingness to be held accountable for his actions and speak openly as to his underlying issues. And until he’s that open then his struggles will continue manifest itself with continually poor play on the course and in the tournaments entered. Sunday’s culmination of the event shoul be enough to tell us a great deal about what’s now still happening with Tiger Woods.


As an expat Brit now residing here in Central Florida , I’ve got to admit that I’ve looked forward to and relished the start of the World Cup in South Africa. As an avid fan of the sport and a staunch supporter of England . I was expecting a great deal more than I’ve now witnessed from the team in their opening game in Group C against the USA . Suffice to say that this may well be the poorest team ever sent to represent the nation at the World Cup. Coach Fabio Capello looks as if he’d assembled the team by using a pin and merely sticking the said instrument down a list of names offered to him by a blind man !


About the only thing that one can say about the team’s performance in eking out a 1-1 tie against the USA , was that the performance was about an inept a showing as one would expect from a team that played without any pride or passion. A loss or another poor showing and this team might as well pack their bags and take the first flight home back to the UK. And it certainly hasn’t helped their situation in knowing that Slovenia the sole winners within the group were able to defeat Algeria in their first opening match 1-0 . Goals, a victory , productivity and team cohesion are certainly things that the England team is finding it hard to come by. And most certainly a lack of leadership from an authoritative figure on the team.


And where we to ask Capello who in fact is meant to be the leader on this team I seriously doubt that he could point to one player and unequivocally say that this player was in fact the the leader on the team. One would be hard pressed to believe him and anything he’d be saying. He knows that the press and fans alike are extremely unhappy with the team’s play. And it hasn’t helped that he’s stuck steadfastly by the poor performance of goalkeeper Robert Green after his inexplicable “gaffe” in the game against the USA. What’s even more asinine is to read the explanation of bloggers who are supporters of England writing within this forum , explain this all away as an unfortunate mistake by the keeper in letting Clint Dempsey’s shot completely evade him. Let’s put it this way, the velocity of the shot from Dempsey was so innocuous that a child on a tricycle could’ve sped past it !


Now with the impending Group C games set to resume as of the 18th June with England meeting Algeria and the USA meeting Slovenia . The outcome of both games could have a bearing as to which of the two teams could quite possibly face elimination in the first round of the World Cup. So high have the stakes now become for both England and the USA that it simply doesn’t bear thinking about should either team be eliminated at such an an early juncture when so much more had been expected.

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Well these were the mere scribblings of an avid sport’s fan who loves his sports passionately but most certainly loves sex a great deal more. Couch potato or not when duty call this one hombre` who drops the remote and answers the call of the carnal pleasures most avidly and passionately. So what’s your excuse then ? Chime on in with a comment as usual . And as of now I’m chiming out . Boom shack-a-lacka homies !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………………………..


Dre Dre ….. feat’g Snoop Dogg …………….Ain’t Nuthin’ But G Thang

It’s How One Plays The Game And Its Principles

It’s How One Plays The Game And Its Principles

Perhaps I was under the mistaken impression that the game of soccer was being ran by FIFA to be a game about fairness ? But with the recent news that French international soccer star Thierry Henry won’t be punished in any way for his blatant hand ball in the World Cup qualifying game played against Ireland , smacks of complete idiocy and contempt of what the game purports itself to be all about. In not acting to act even suspend Henry at all , it merely suggests that they condone cheating in whatever form it now takes.

As reported by Britain’s Sky Sports and ITV News .

Courtesy of FIFA.com

Statement on Thierry Henry

On 2 December 2009, the FIFA Executive Committee asked the FIFA Disciplinary Committee to analyse the handling offence committed by Thierry Henry during the France v. Republic of Ireland match on 18 November 2009, and to consider the possible disciplinary consequences.

At its meeting on 18 January 2010, the Disciplinary Committee reached the conclusion that there was no legal foundation for the committee to consider the case because handling the ball cannot be regarded as a serious infringement as stipulated in article 77a) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.

There is no other legal text that would allow the committee to impose sanctions for any incidents missed by match officials.

The  French  national  soccer  team   seen  here   prior  to  a  World Cup  qualifying   game.  Bottom  left  corner  is  Thierry  Henry (12) ,  who  was  the  center  of  the   controversy   concerning  his   actions  in  the  World   Cup  qualifying   game  against  Ireland.     photo  appears   courtesy  of  Getty  Images/   Pascal   Bouzonne  ....................
The French national soccer team seen here prior to a World Cup qualifying game. Bottom left corner is Thierry Henry (12) , who was the center of the controversy concerning his actions in the World Cup qualifying game against Ireland. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Pascal Bouzonne ....................

The French international clearly states in his postgame interview that he intentionally handled the ball that led to France scoring a goal, that in essence garnered the team a berth in the upcoming World Cup. Thereby denying Ireland a chance of a place in the upcoming tournament to held in South Africa. The game’s hierarchy itself have been somewhat suspect in dealing with a number of issues. It has been very proactive in dealing with the racial bigotry that has been going on at league games throughout the continent of Europe that has been directed at a number of players of various ethnic origins.

Though there seems to be a marked improvement in the behavior of the fans at the league and international games . It still hasn’t entirely stamped or dampened this vile behavior of the fans. And as acute as this situation appears to be . I believe this particular faux pas by FIFA clearly sends the wrong message to the fans of the game in general. If they can condone a clear act of cheating then what else are they prepared to condone ? I can understand the referees who officiated the game may well have missed the blatant act during the game. However , what I cannot understand and fathom is why FIFA would choose not to act and send a clear message to players that cheating will not be tolerated. What will it take for FIFA to be proactive when it comes to cheating and stamping it out of the game ?

What’s even more remarkable about this incident is the indifference shown by FIFA President Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter and his continued obliviousness as to what took place. And even now I have to consider this decision merely another idiotic stance taken by the federation altogether. If they want the organization’s credibility to remain in tact, then clearly Blatter and the game’s hierarchy have to look at acts such as this and clearly make a point that this cannot be condoned in any shape or form. It gives the impression that ‘cheating ‘ will become an acceptable part of the game. And this is meant to be ‘the beautiful game’ and the world’s most popular sport ? . What are the young fans of the game to think of this , as of now ? And are players such as Thierry Henry still to be looked upon as role models after an incident such as this ? Especially given Henry’s statement to the press that his act was blatant and he felt he would get away with it because the officials didn’t see it . However, the cameras caught it all and it was there for the whole world to see.

FIFA President Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatters shows how much a real ass he is as the game’s most powerful individual, as he apologizes for an ‘off the cuff’ remark made about the Irish Soccer Federation (FAI).

Not wanting to be a conspiracy theorist or anything of that nature pertaining to the ‘Thierry Henry Incident’ but I do believe that FIFA has made ‘an enormous blunder’ with regard to this lone decision. Because should ever another situation like this arise again, with them having taken a totally different response. Then what will that suggest to the fans of the game of soccer on a worldwide basis ? Make of it what you will but this is just merely my thoughts on the matter ! When a sport has been brought into disrepute by the lone and deliberate act of a player, then there ought to be a price to pay. And not something where game’s hierarchy simply doesn’t admonish or make a clear statement on the incident that took place to begin with.

There Are No Do Overs In Sports ………

You know how it is the broadcast networks are now so devoid of creativity that their idea of entertainment is gorge us on a glut of reality television or re-do’s of old television series. To prove my point, ABC gives us a revamped version of ‘V’ . And then there’s, ‘Melrose Place’ , ‘90210’ and said to be soon coming down the pike, are ‘Charlies’ Angels’ and god forbid, ‘The A Team’. Tell me that they won’t try and recast ‘Mr T’ (Laurence Tero) to reprise his role as B A Baracus ? Can we stop the insanity please ? Isn’t it bad enough that Jay Leno has to squirm his way through an hour of his show, just to hide his embarrassment ? Hey Jay,you should’ve retired as you said you would. Because now you’re beginning to look like a blithering idiot,in an earlier night slot on NBC. And you’re far better than that !

Kristen Bell , Sarah Michelle  Gellar and  Jessica  Simpson ,  presumably  amongst  the   front  runners to  reprise the roles made  famous  by  Jaclyn Smith ,  Farrah  Fawcett-Majors  and  Kate  Jackson .   picture  appears courtesy of  abctv/getty images  ..............
Kristen Bell , Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jessica Simpson , presumably amongst the front runners to resprise the roles made famous by Jaclyn Smith , Farrah Fawcett-Majors and Kate Jackson . picture appears courtesy of abctv/getty images ..............

And it’d be remiss to not interject with the banal makeover shows , such as ‘The Biggest Loser’, ‘Extreme Makeover’ and the unrepentantly bad ‘Dance Your Ass Off’. The last of which, would suggest that’s literally what one has to do in order to keep or regain one’s self esteem. LOL,LOL, LOL !!!

Courtesy of ABC Television

Casting the New ‘Charlie’s Angels’: 3 Options for Each of 8 Characters

Sarah Michelle Gellar, Megan Fox, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian: Some of the Celebs Who Could Star in the ‘Charlie’s Angels’ Reboot
By SHEILA MARIKAR
Nov. 19, 2009

It takes a certain crop of ladies to pull off a proper, “Hellooooo, Charlie!”

The question is, as a reincarnation of the iconic 1970s TV series “Charlie’s Angels” looms, who’s fit to fill the shoes of Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith and the rest of the crew?

Whoever gets the call, ABC is close to ordering a pilot of the new “Charlie’s Angels,” sources confirm to ABCNews.com. Drew Barrymore, who starred in the film versions of the franchise, will develop the show along with Leonard Goldberg, who produced the original series with the late Aaron Spelling, according to Entertainment Weekly.

So it’s a stretch to say the project’s in the can. But that can’t kill the curiosity about which stars might be cast in the reboot.

What follows are three potential options for each of the eight classic “Charlie’s Angels” characters, based on the suggestions that you — ABCNews.com readers — sent to us.

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At present, one can’t help but wonder what went wrong this year with
Michigan (Wolverines) (5-6, 1-6 conference) of the Big 10. Seemingly, the problems for coach, Rich Rodriguez, just seem to be manifesting themselves in so many guises. And there’ll be no divine intervention here, just in case you think that there’s some hope in the offing for the team and its football program. A lot was expected of the team this year and they’ve once again failed to live up to expectations. Much of the blame has to be apportioned upon the shoulders of Rodriguez and his coaching staff. It is not as if the Wolverines are bereft of talent on either side of the ball. But the mere fact that they’ve to apply themselves properly to the task at hand. And that is no doubt to play football.

Embattled Michigan  (Wolverines') coach, Rich  Rodriguez, seen here  addressing  allegations that the  school and in  particular the  football program  hasn't  been  following  NCAA  policy showing the amount  of time dedicated by a player  with  the  time  spent  training  and  also with  regard  to  their   academics .   Rodriguez has  stated  that  the  oversight  will  be  rectified  by him an  the  Wolverines'  Athletics  Department .    picture appears   courtesy of  getty images /   Michael  Franklin  .......
Embattled Michigan (Wolverines') coach, Rich Rodriguez, seen here addressing allegations that the school and in particular the football program hasn't been following NCAA policy showing the amount of time dedicated by a player with the time spent training and also with regard to their academics . Rodriguez has stated that the oversight will be rectified by him and the Wolverines' Athletics Department . picture appears courtesy of getty images / Michael Franklin .......

The cloud of suspicion under which Rodriguez left West Virginia to take the position still leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of Mountaineers’ alumni and that of their bitter fans. Rodriguez is thought of a pariah there , on the campus. And he’s now become persona-non-grata in the entire state. As tough as the situation now appears to be for Rodriguez. It is only going to become much tougher, as this weekend the Wolverines take on the 10th ranked Ohio State (Buckeyes),9-2.And with the rejuvenated Jim Tressel, Buckeyes’ team chomping at the bit and thoughts of a major BCS Bowl appearance. Let’s just say that for Rodriguez, he’s more likely to wish he were elsewhere. Rather than being engulfed in continuous controversy ,the underachievement of the team and the program as a whole. Rich Rodriguez’ position with the school is now coming under even more scrutiny than even he would care to admit.

Courtesy of Associated Press and The Washington Post

Michigan’s Rodriguez says process has been fixed

By LARRY LAGE
The Associated Press
Wednesday, November 18, 2009; 4:51 PM

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez says the process of filing forms that log hours players devote to football was corrected as soon as he learned it wasn’t happening.

Rodriguez declined further comment Wednesday because of an ongoing NCAA investigation.

An internal audit released Monday discovered the football program failed to file the school’s forms that track how much players workout and practice as a tool to comply with NCAA rules.

The office of university audits sent Rodriguez a memo on July 24, stating that forms from the 2008 regular season had not been submitted.

The Detroit Free Press, citing anonymous players, reported a month later that Michigan exceeded NCAA limits regarding practices and workouts.

Admittedly none of us like to grow old and we know in the end we have to call it a day. I’ve always been of the opinion that I would rather go out on top at the height of my professional career and personal life. Rather than being forced out because my faculties or productivity just wasn’t there. And as much admiration that I have for those who seek to work late into their professional and elderly life. I can’t but ask what they might be missing out on at that stage of their lives ?

Coach Bowden,  seen  here on the  right  along with  his  offensive coordinator and  assistant  coach, Jimbo Fisher  working  the  sidelines  of a  game  against ACC rivals  North Carolina, in Chapel Hill ,  North Carolina.   A  game  the  Seminoles would  narrowly win  30-27 .      picture   appears   courtesy  getty images/  Ralph   Peterson  ....................
Coach Bowden, seen here on the right along with his offensive coordinator and assistant coach, Jimbo Fisher working the sidelines of a game against ACC rivals, North Carolina, in Chapel Hill , North Carolina. A game the Seminoles would narrowly win 30-27 . picture appears courtesy getty images/ Ralph Peterson ....................

Much has been made concerning the situation now fomenting in Tallahassee, as it relates to embattled football coach, Bobby Bowden. Granted, he took a non-descript Florida State football program and turned it into a powerhouse of consistency that is to be admired. But as of late , consistency and the fact that winning is no longer the norm for the Seminoles’ football program. That it is beginning to make it very hard to understand why it is, that the faculty would want to retain the services of the octogenerian, Bobby Bowden. To make matters worse , Bowden ,himself, has chosen his own hand picked successor, in, Jimbo Fisher. Pardon me for saying his, but shouldn’t that decision be left to the Athletics Director and not Bowden, himself ? I was under the impression that Bowden worked for the university and not the other way around ?

Courtesy of Associated Press

Fla. governor wants Bowden back as Seminole coach

(AP) – 20 hours ago

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Embattled Florida State coach Bobby Bowden has a high-profile alumnus on his side — Gov. Charlie Crist.

The Republican governor said Wednesday the Seminoles coach has been great for the school and the 80-year-old Bowden deserves respect. Some of Bowden’s critics have called on him to retire at the end of the season.

Florida State is currently 5-5 and needs to win at least one more game to qualify for a bowl.

Bowden’s 387 wins are second to Penn State’s Joe Paterno among major college coaches.

Crist and Bowden appeared together at a news conference promoting the National Child Identification Program created by the American Football Coaches Association.

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This season for Florida State (5-5,3-4 conf),has been one filled with missed opportunities, uneven play, humiliating losses and abundance of excuses from Bowden and others within the organization. And needless to say, the optimism being shown by Bowden,while it is to be admired. It tells you, that there’s no real sense of urgency concerning the malaise that the program now finds itself in. Bowden for his part, acts if it’s all water under the bridge as to the predicament of the program. What he doesn’t seem to genuinely understand , is that while the program is in the predicament that it is in, it makes the recruiting process all the more difficult. Especially with regards to the luring of a can’t miss blue chip recruit. And when was the last time you heard of someone of that caliber entering the noles’ program ?

And while no one can deny what Bowden has brought to Tallahassee.
The question one must and needs to ask, is when will it be time for Bowden to bow out gracefully ? Rather than being forced out embarrassingly. It’s not as if we’ve seen a steady progression in the direction of the program over the last few years. Furthermore, a dark cloud looms over the athletics’ program with regards to the cheating scandal involving several players on the football program as well as others on the swim team, the track teams, the basketball teams of both the men’s and women’s team. Something that is hard to believe would be happening under a football program overseen by coach Bowden. It’s my belief that Bobby Bowden has in some ways become all too detached from the football program. Merely just trotting out to parade himself and bask in the acclaim, that in reality he no longer deserves !

With him having named his assistant , Jimbo Fisher , as his successor in waiting. It only exacerbates and creates a situation of uncertainty. Were Fisher to be lured away by another program guaranteeing far better prospects than he’s now being given at FSU. I wonder what the thought process there would be within the program but chiefly with University President T. K. Wetherall and that of Athletics Director, Randy Spetman. These two individual, as well as the boosters and alumni will have a difficult decision ahead o make. Accordingly, the actions now of Bowden and the interjection of Florida’s Governor, Charlie Grist ,into the midst of this all. Well, it hasn’t exactly made the situation all the more bearable ?

And while I understand that the Governor has every right to voice his opinion on the subject, given the fact that he’s a graduate of that esteemed university. I would’ve thought that his time would be better spent tackling the grave situations and crisis that the state now has. Rather than using a non-political function to voice an opinion that in all honesty not that many people are interested in ! Crist’s political career and ambitions much like the noles’ football program has been of late, is all,more about appearance, rather than substance !

For those of you who just happen to either have a passing or perhaps fading interest in the game of soccer. Then it may well have escaped your notice that the World Cup qualifying stages are present taking place. A number of teams were in a make or break ,do or die situation. Wherein, a victory would lead to a qualifying berth for the finals to be held next year in South Africa.

Courtesy of AP Sports in conjunction with Yahoo Sports

Hand of Shame sparks debate on cheating, replays

By ROB HARRIS, AP Sports Writer

LONDON (AP)—Irish football officials accused Thierry Henry on Thursday of damaging the integrity of the game when he blatantly handled the ball to set up the goal that booked France’s place at next year’s World Cup finals in South Africa.

Letters were dispatched to Paris and FIFA headquarters in Zurich, while Ireland’s justice minister took to the airwaves and echoed its football association’s call for the contentious second-leg to be replayed.

But the response from FIFA and the French matched that of Swedish referee Martin Hansson at the Stade de France on Wednesday night when Irish protests against William Gallas’ winner, set up by Henry’s handball, fell on deaf ears.
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FIFA simply directed journalists to its rulebook which states that results cannot be overturned after a match.

But the Irish did get the backing of the French sports teachers’ union, which said it set a poor example to children to qualify as a result of “indisputable cheating” and was “linked to a ‘very modern’ philosophy stipulating that in all areas, including sports, the end justifies the means.”

Football Association of Ireland chief executive John Delaney demanded that the game be replayed.

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In Europe which has the largest number of berths guaranteed for the finals. There were a number of games that took place and perhaps none was more controversial than by way of the end result of the game between France and Ireland. A win for Ireland and they were in. A draw or win for France and they were in. So what transpired between the two teams and the admittance afterwards by French player, Thierry Henry, left a great deal to be desired. Unsportsmanlike conduct or not the player’s admittance that he handled the ball that led to the ensuing play and a goal for his team again shows what a thin line there is between cheating and fair play.

French teammates  celebrate  their  gaining  a  berth  in  next year's  World  Cup  having  just  entered  2-1 on  aggregate with their resultant  tie  with  Ireland.    picture  appears  courtesy  agence-provencale s.a/paris/   Paul   Hebert ...................
French teammates celebrate their gaining a berth in next year's World Cup having just entered 2-1 on aggregate with their resultant tie with Ireland. picture appears courtesy agence-provencale s.a/paris/ Paul Hebert ...................

The game not decided until it went into overtime , resulted in a 1-1 tie between the two teams. But because the series was decided upon the aggregate scores after two legs, that were played. It resulted in France gaining a berth in next year’s World Cup. Amidst all of this , now the controversy begins. As there is complete outrage in the actions of Henry and his admittance of what he’d done.

Thierry  Henry  of  France seen  here  with  the  intentional  hand ball  act  that   would   lead  to  the  game tying  goal  scored  by  teammate,  William  Gallas.   picture  appears  courtesy  of  afp/   Paul  Wilkinson   ...............
Thierry Henry of France seen here with the intentional hand ball act that would lead to the game tying goal scored by teammate, William Gallas. picture appears courtesy of afp/ Paul Wilkinson ...............

Henry in his post-game interview admitted that he’d deliberately handled the ball that allowed the ensuing goal to be scored by his teammate, William Gallas in the 104th minute of play ,in overtime. And while no one is in absolute denial as to what took place. The question is to be asked is what action will be taken by FIFA, if any ? Do they punish the player for his admittance or do they reorder a replay of the game ? It would set a precedent but then again, FIFA has initiated a case of ordering a replay after violence took place between rival sets of fans during an international game. Far be it for me to say what course of action that ought to be taken. But if the international governing body of the sport fails to act proactively . It will send a clear message that it condones cheating at the highest echelons of the game.

What is now becoming abundantly clear to me is that, the perception of what we know to be right. And the actions that are to be taken don’t always truly manifest themselves as we deem fit. In the case the Wolverines’, Rich Rodriguez. Here’s an individual who came blowing into the state of Michigan, high on promises and even less by way acting appropriately. Over the course of his tenure of the program ,he has accordingly flouted and transgressed NCAA rules and acted as if he was unaware as to what he was doing. Only with his job on the line, he’s seeking empathy from those who oppose his continued presence coaching the football team and overseeing the program. For Rich there oughtn’t to be a do-over.

Coach Bowden , the continual optimist , not only has he seen the game pass him by. But I doubt he’s fully cognitive of how far he’s let the Seminoles’ program slide under his reign over the past decade. Unfortunately, the likes of T K Wetherall and Randy Spetman still pay him homage , rather than doing what’s right for the program. And that is to let Bobby Bowden go ! Again there can’t be a do-over for coach Bowden ! Not now, or at any time in the future!

In the case of the Irish national squad, their grievance while justified may well fall upon deaf ears. It’s as Henry stated if the officials at the time failed to act, knowing his actions were blatant. Then there’s not much that really can be done. And even though a formal complaint has been lodged by FAI to FIFA . One sincerely doubts that it will be dealt with any sympathy at all . Again no do-over for the Irish national soccer squad.