Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category
If you don’t know by now, ESPN analysis Rob Parker was suspended this past week — and rightly so — because of the comments he made about Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. Here is a video of Parker’s odious remarks:
Now, watching this, several questions immediately surface. First, as one of the other announcers wondered: Why was Parker even asking the question about whether RG3 was a “brother” or a “cornball brother.” What difference does it make? Would Parker be less of a fan if it was, in fact, the case that Griffin was a “cornball brother” — I understand that to mean a black guy who is not authentically black, whatever that means.
Examples here would be Tiger Woods or TV‘s Carlton Banks from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Parker raised this particular concern based only on these two assumptions: that Griffin might be a Republican and that he has a white girlfriend. Parker also said that the braids in Griffin’s hair were a plus in his book toward authenticating his blackness. Braids. Really? Parker does realize that white guys are perfectly able to don braids themselves. Does this make white people who have braids black poseurs? What about Adam Duritz (pictured at right)? I’m pretty sure Duritz would scoff at being called a black poseur.
Second, what the hell is “the cause? And is it asking too much of a 22-year-old freshman quarterback to even have a “cause?” In any case, I agree with Stephen A. Smith, another black analyst on the show who, after Parker’s nonsensical and borderline racist comments, said he was uncomfortable with the direction of the conversation:
First of all, let me say this: I’m uncomfortable with where we just went. RG3, the ethnicity or the color of his fiancee is none of our business, it’s irrelevant, he can live his life in whatever way he chooses. The braids that he has in his hair, that’s his business, that’s his life, he can live his life. I don’t judge someone’s blackness based on those kinds of things. I just don’t do that. I’m not that kind of guy.
In fact, Griffin’s actual comments on race, to which Parker was referring, actually sound more intelligent and grown up than Parker’s. Here is Griffin:
For me, you don’t ever want to be defined by the color of your skin. You want to be defined by your work ethic, the person that you are, your character, your personality. That’s what I strive to go out and do. I am an African-American in America. That will never change. But I don’t have to be defined by that.
The University of Tennessee does not yet have a plan for how it will finance a multimillion-dollar buyout of former football coach Derek Dooley, who was fired Sunday, Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said Monday.
The university is “keeping every possibility on the table,” Cheek said, but declined to say whether university funds could be used to bolster a struggling athletics department budget.
… Firing Dooley, who coached three seasons to finish with a 15-21 record, will be expensive. Dooley’s contract stipulates UT will have to pay out roughly $5 million for the remainder of his contract, in monthly installments of about $102,000.
In the real world, failure means being shown the door, and if you’re lucky, getting one last paycheck from accrued vacation. Universities and professional sports teams could save a lot of money if they did away with guaranteed contracts and scaled pay based on performance, not just forking over egregious sums of money based on little more than on potential.
All hail Kim Jong-il, the deceased (but still somehow) supreme leader of North Korea:
And here is one of my favorite Hitch clips:
Makes perfect since to me. NFL fans, by and large, don’t care about this game. I know I don’t. The players care even less, and that is clear from the body language and the effort on the field. Here’s a story about potentially canceling the Pro Bowl and a portion of the article:
The league and union agreed that the quality of last year’s game, which saw the NFC claim a 55-41 win over the AFC, was unacceptable at a meeting between the sides earlier this month.
The sides, though, were understood to have discussed ways to improve the fixture rather than wipe it from the schedule.
The game still is listed on the NFL’s calendar the week before New Orleans hosts Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3, though the location remains unknown.
Of course, if NFL officials wanted to go ahead and destroy any lingering interest in the Pro Bowl, they all ready did so by scheduling the game before the Super Bowl. Some of the best players in the league aren’t even going to play because of the injury risk. That was the most boneheaded move officials could have made. I realize that interest in the NFL season wanes after the Super Bowl, but at least you will have the best players involved in the game, including those who actually played in the Super Bowl.
If officials are going to leave it hopelessly wedged between the final playoff game and the big dance, I say do us all a favor and just shoot the lame duck before it becomes more of a joke than it already is.
Time will tell if the notorious “Madden curse” will befall Johnson.
NFL.com writer Adam Rank makes the case that WWE’s John Cena and now-New York Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow are one in the same. I can’t think of a way to prove him wrong.
By the way, I never thought I would have Cena and Tebow showing up on the same website, much less in the same post!
I realize this is a dramatic change in topic from what I usually post, but I thought since the WWE Wrestlemania XXVIII card this year was rather stacked with at least three potentially explosive matches, I would chime in.
And yes, I’m a college graduate, progressive, non-believer who happens to like wrestling. It happens. Without further adieu:
Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos vs. Divas Champion Beth Phoenix & Eve
There was some kind of altercation on TV between Maria Menounos and Beth Phoenix on “Extra,” in which Beth claimed Maria Menounos didn’t respect the Divas champion. I wasn’t really paying attention. In any case, this is just a filler match to get some star power on the show and get the Divas on the card. One would have thought that since this is WWE’s grandest stage, that they would have booked a title match but not so. Just because the celeb is in Kelly’s corner, I’ll go with them.
Winner: Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos
Randy Orton vs. Kane
As Aaron Rift over at NoDQ.com has noted, the WWE just kind of threw this match together at the last minute, and the build up was less than stellar.
Last month, the WWE was giving Kane this big push as a possible contender against John Cena, but Cena pretty well destroyed Kane in an ambulance match, so that took the air out of any potential threat from Kane. Kane said that Cena would eventually “embrace the hate,” but Cena never did, and the storyline fizzled and went nowhere after Kane’s thrashing. Kind of a silly ordeal.
If the WWE wasn’t going to give Kane a win against John Cena, I don’t see any reason for Kane to defeat Randy Orton unless the WWE just wants to pull a swerve, which is possible, but I would bet against it.
Team Teddy vs. Team Johnny
This 12-man is for control of the general managership on both Smackdown and RAW. This match will be a zoo. Teddy Long’s team is the clear underdog, while Team Johnny’s team consists of four WWE or World champions. The late edition of Booker T to Team Teddy was a nice twist, but every time Booker has gotten into the ring as of late, it’s only ended with a pinfall and that signature confused look. I could smell a potential upset here too, for no other reason than to screw with fans who think Team Johnny is a shoe-in, but I don’t see it happening. That said, I hope that if Team Johnny wins, they continue to use Teddy in some capacity. He’s too entertaining to take off the air, and well, Johnny is the opposite of entertaining.
Winner: Team Johnny
Cody Rhodes vs. Big Show for the Intercontinental Championship
Not much to say here. WWE just wanted another big draw on the card, and that would be Big Show. These two were just kind of thrown together as well. The lead up to the match has been OK, and Cody’s presentation highlighting Big Show’s continual slip-ups at Wrestlemania were entertaining. Nonetheless, I don’t see what giving the Big Show the IC title would accomplish, since he’s already been a tag champ, world champ and WWE champ. I don’t believe he’s ever held the IC in the WWE, so that could just add to his accomplishments, I guess, but I’m not convinced that will happen.
Winner: Cody Rhodes
Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship
Sheamus is a rising star in WWE to say the least, and he has had a huge year. That said, Bryan’s character in recent months has been a hoot to watch with the “Yes! Yes! World Heavyweight Champ!” over and over. Still, I think this weekend might be Sheamus’ big Wrestlemania moment.
CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho for the WWE Championship
My hope is that this match will be the show stopper. Punk and Jericho have the potential to have the greatest match since Punk and Cena in Chicago from this past summer. By the way, in my opinion, WWE hasn’t had a better match since then. I have a hunch that, after Punk’s fairly long reign as champ (by WWE standards) that Jericho may win the belt, leading to more future matches between Punk and Jericho.
Winner: Chris Jericho
Undertaker vs. Triple H Hell in a Cell w/ special referee Shawn Michaels
I would be very surprised if HHH won this one. Triple H has lost to Undertaker in two previous Wrestlemanias, but Undertaker is nearing the end of his career, and barring some huge swerve from Vince McMahon, I see Undertaker winning this one again. Granted, I would like to see Triple H win just because I’ve really grown bored of the whole Undertaker shtick, but I don’t see an end to the streak. This also may be one of the few times in the modern WWE era that we may see blood in a match.
The Rock vs. John Cena
This, and the Triple H/Undertaker match, are damn near worth the price of the PPV itself. A year in the making, this match pits Rise Above Hate vs. Boots to Asses. You know, a couple years ago, I never really expected to see The Rock involved in the WWE to the capacity that he is right now. Sure, his primary focus is still on movies, etc., but he’s been on RAW for the past month building up to this match, and that has been unprecedented in about seven years. While I personally would like to see The Rock win (I have never cared much for Cena), my hunch is that Cena is going to win because if The Rock wins, it just makes Cena look like an afterthought or a blip in The Rock’s illustrious career. But if Cena wins, The Rock can always come back at some point and try to get his revenge.
Winner: John Cena
I am apparently not alone in the weariness over Tim Tebow’s Jesus talk in every single interview following a win on the football field. News flash: if Jesus existed, he probably doesn’t care about football or any person’s success in their careers.
Jake Plummer had this to say on XTRA Sports 910 on Monday in Phoenix:
Tebow, regardless of whether I wish he’d just shut up after a game and go hug his teammates, I think he’s a winner, and I respect that about him. …
I think that when he accepts the fact that we know that he loves Jesus Christ then I think I’ll like him a little better. …
I don’t hate him because of that. I just would rather not have to hear that every single time he takes a good snap or makes a good handoff.
Here is Tebow’s response:
If you’re married, and you have a wife, and you really love your wife, is it good enough to only say to your wife ‘I love her’ the day you get married? Or should you tell her every single day when you wake up and every opportunity?
And that’s how I feel about my relationship with Jesus Christ is that it is the most important thing in my life. So any time I get an opportunity to tell him that I love him or given an opportunity to shout him out on national TV, I’m gonna take that opportunity. And so I look at it as a relationship that I have with him that I want to give him the honor and glory anytime I have the opportunity. And then right after I give him the honor and glory, I always try to give my teammates the honor and glory.
And that’s how it works because Christ comes first in my life, and then my family, and then my teammates. I respect Jake’s opinion, and I really appreciate his compliment of calling me a winner. But I feel like anytime I get the opportunity to give the Lord some praise, he is due for it.
Yes, he’s married to Christ. We get it. But other athletes don’t tend to thank their wives and kids during postgame interviews. In fact, I have rarely, if ever, heard a player thank their wives for helping them win games. The other players on the team help a person win a game, not Christ or anyone else real or imagery who is not on the field. If it weren’t for the wins the Broncos have had recently (and as a Denver fan, I’m certainly pleased), I would be a little resentful as one of his teammates to hear him thanking Christ first and foremost, when the score would have been 75-0 (or worse) without his teammates. I dare say if the rest of his teammates sucked the whole game, Christ would have still been a no-show.
Now, I’m a Fitzgerald fan. He’s a beast on the field, entertaining to watch, and I think he’s a decent person as far as rich football players go. But $120 million?!? That is egregious to say the least, and it makes the recent lockout between the players union and the owners even more contemptible. This issue of professional sports salaries chaffs me about as much as the excessive bonuses banks paid out to executives during the recession and afterward. Hopefully, he’ll continue to put up at least some of that $50 million guaranteed money to help someone less fortunate than himself.
Here’s a link about some of his work off the field.
I happened upon an editorial piece this week by ESPN.com writer Rick Reilly, formerly a columnist with Sports Illustrated, in which Reilly criticizes Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler for his mostly aloof and flippant demeanor in press conferences and in other public appearances off the football field.
In the column, Reilly had this to say about the former Denver Broncos QB (Being a Broncos and, to a lesser degree, a Bears fan, piqued my interest in the piece):
Cutler could own Chicago if he wanted. In a city that has had as many good quarterbacks as Omaha has had good surfers, Cutler could have his name on half the billboards and all the jerseys. My God, the kid grew up a Bears fan! But he doesn’t even try. He has zero endorsements and doesn’t want any. If there is such a thing as a Jay Cutler Fan Club, Cutler is having a membership drive — to drive them out.
Example from Wednesday’s 15-minute news conference, the only time he speaks publicly the entire workweek:
Reporter #1: So, did you enjoy the week off?
Cutler: Yeah, it’s nice to kick back and watch the games.
Reporter #2: Wait. Last week, you said you never watch the games.
Cutler (disgusted): I said you could watch the games. I didn’t say I watched the games. You’ve got to listen.
Cutler also doesn’t make public announcements of his trips to hospitals visiting fellow Type I diabetes patients, nor does he publicize Christmas present donations he makes to sick kids.
According to ESPN.com’s Rick Reilly, quarterback Jay Cutler is some kind of creep because he didn’t idolize any NFL quarterbacks as a kid.
Maybe he had other, more worthy role models like his parents or a teacher.
Reilly rips Cutler because he doesn’t have any endorsements and doesn’t want any. Brilliant. Better he should be a money-grubbing shill, willing to endorse anything for a buck. What kind of a jerk focuses on doing his job at the expense of making easy money? How dare he?
Actually, I kind of admire a guy like Cutler. Rather than clamber for attention like some other NFL stars (Chad Ochocinco comes to mind) or put up a veneer of pretended cheerfulness, Cutler seems like more a real guy to me, and he seems to treat press conference like most people treat their jobs: they would rather be somewhere else, but they come to work anyway and aren’t always outwardly happy about it. Nor do I think it’s fair to judge Cutler on his performance before the press. As the field leader of an NFL football team, he’s obligated, contractually I’m sure, to face the media and answer questions, but that’s not his main job description. His main job description is to throw touchdowns and win football games. That he’s not forthcoming at press conferences or seems to openly hold reporters in contempt shouldn’t lead to character assassination.
Cutler strikes me as the type of fellow who gets the big picture. While most coaches and players have a treasure chest of media-isms to crack open the minute they are pulled aside by reporters, Cutler doesn’t. He plays the game on the field, but doesn’t play the hype game. And while that might drive certain media folks nuts (As it probably would me if I were a reporter for a Chicago newspaper), it’s laudable on some levels.
Reilly once more:
Cutler’s teammates will defend him, when asked. “It’s funny to me how people form an opinion of a guy who’ve never even met him,” says Bears tight end Greg Olsen, a close friend.
So what’s the truth?
“He is what he is,” Olsen says.
LeGere also got it right when speaking about Cutler’s refusing to make a big deal out of his various charitable endeavors.
As a side note, I once announced in a newspaper column that I wanted anyone who was planning to buy Christmas presents for me that year, to please just donate whatever money they might have spent to the Make-A-Wish foundation. I made that statement near the end of a column about American consumerism and poverty, indicating that we should strive to get less and give more. To drive my point home, then, I felt duty bound to put action behind my words. I wrote it purely out of obligation and with no thought of myself. I truly hope it came across that way, and I only regret having written it when I think that some might have taken it a different way, that I was publicly patting myself on the back for requesting a donation be made.
Still, I think the best kind of giver is an anonymous one. The worst kind of giver is the one who donates time or money or resources and then wants to be acknowledged for it (Thus, I chafe to think that the aforementioned column might have been misunderstood). Regardless, why should Cutler announce when he’s planning to make an appearance at a hospital or donate presents to kids. Why should he seek out endorsements? He doesn’t care what people think about him, and I don’t know why that fact bothers Reilly and this guy so much. At least Cutler’s a real guy and not some self-promoting, cliché-machine Manning clone.