Archive for the ‘NFL’ category

Missouri Post Ferguson

November 10, 2015

The past few days have witnessed a surprising drama on the campus of the University of Missouri. Briefly, a large portion of the student body lead by the men’s football team demanded the resignation of the University President (or else the football team would not play in its next game). Game cancelation would come with a $1 million penalty for Missouri. Yesterday the President resigned along with the Chancellor. Hmmm.

News reports indicate the protests were about discrimination and the apparent lack of concern exhibited by the University to combat the alleged discriminatory or racist incidents. Like Ferguson, African American students claimed the otherwise “white” institution did not care about “blackness”. Hmmm.

In the upcoming days and weeks more information will come forward and a more coherent picture should emerge. Discrimination and racism are denounced in all major universities including Missouri. One question about Missouri will be what de facto policies (or lack of policies) existed to cause the student body to rise up and demand the President’s resignation.

While that story develops there are three big yellow (which may later turn red) flags to consider.

Student leaders cited several recent incidents where the President did not personally address the concerns and complaints of “some” African American students. For these students lack of a President’s statement translated into a lack of interest or concern. It is not hard to see the perceived connection between no concern and unacceptability as President.

Most university President’s are hired and retained by how well they do in “growing the university” and even more importantly, how much outside funding the University and its endowment funds attract. In other words, the President’s job is tied to money.

Sports reputation, academic recognition, and a growing student population are all marked as signs of a successful President but normally at Universities the size of Missouri, the operations of these programs are overseen by others.

Does this incident mark a change in university President’s remit?

The NCAA and all other Division 1 “big time” football and basketball programs do not need to drink any coffee today. The Missouri incident has gotten their attention. Student athletes can unite, refuse to play unless certain demands are met, and bring Universities to their knees.

The current money making juggernaut called the NCAA could be out of business in weeks if the “student athletes” on Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State, and Baylor said “pay us or we won’t play”. Hmmm.

Lastly and the most difficult is the quandary over what have the University of Missouri African American students just won? Will they be free of further discrimination or racist motivated slights? Will these students be more prepared to enter the greater work place and win in the work place with superior problem solving, steadier emotional IQ, and harder work than their competition? Will the resignation in someway set these protester on a path to success in life?

Every road has forks where one can take one path at the expense of not talking the other. The University of Missouri, like all other schools of higher learning is standing at a fork.  Will they recognize that universities should be about learning? Sports are nice, beautiful campuses are a plus, and charismatic university Presidents are well received. Without preparing the student to survive, thrive, and succeed in real life, the University has failed. Let’s hope the University of Missouri makes the most of this situation and that other universities and organizations adjust before they meet their “protestors”.

Political Chuckles

September 4, 2015

Today is a slow news day. It is early September just before the Labor Day Weekend. Here’s vignettes to put a smile on your face.

President Obama has just secured enough Senate votes to ensure the GOP cannot override his veto of a promised Congressional resolution aimed at negating the Iran nuclear deal. Kim Davis, the born again christian and County Clerk in Kentucky who refused to obey court orders to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples is behind bars. Tom Brady has prevailed in a court case against the NFL. And there is maybe some light in the possibility of closing Guantanamo. Each of these stories carries some humor that might light up these slow news times.  Hmmm.

The Iran nuclear deal is a reasonably important matter which holds the potential for another Middle East war up to and including the use of nuclear weapons. One would think Congress would be highly motivated to avoid war.  Clearly, Iran, might cheat on the deal’s terms and proceed secretly to develop nuclear weapons. Such a consequence will likely lead to military action. So, wouldn’t a prudent person object to the deal?

Here’s the humor. Iran is just as free today to develop nuclear weapons, do it secretly, and claim profusely it is not. Once the West were to establish Iran had nuclear weapons, guess what, military action could follow. So, how can 100% of Republican Congress members all vote against the deal. Are they unable to see a difference or are they more interested in a political statement against President Obama?

Kim Davis is sadly in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. She has claimed the “laws of God” have provided her the authority to ignore a Federal Court order. While this is both sad and unfortunate for Ms Davis, her custody is offering a wonderful opportunity for panderers like Mike Huckabee. He has endorse her “good” fight and is now planning to visit Davis while she in jail. Huckabee, who is a Presidential candidate and if elected would need to swear he would defend the Constitution and the laws of the land seems to see this one differently. I wonder whether he is trying “Trump” this issue to get his name out, or whether he does not see the connection with Sharia law advocates?

Tom Brady, the NFL New England Patriots’ quarterback, who got the book thrown at him over allegations that he knew about the activities leading to the use of under inflated footballs in a playoff game. NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodall, chose to play the role of arbitrator in a NFL versus NFL players union dispute over Brady’s four game suspension. The Court ruled, in essence, that Goodall violated the terms of the NFL Players Agreement and vacated the penalties Goodall had levied and then ruled as arbitrator as ok. The humor lies in the big Goodall picture. Until the public began hinting they would not buy advertisers’ products, Goodall paid little attention to off-field player behavior. Since getting “religion”, the morality rudderless Goodall has issued one penalty after another that made no consistent sense. The court’s verdict was not a statement of Brady’s innocence, but instead was a slap down for the Commissioner.

Today’s last piece of humor is a variant of the Iran nuclear deal. The GOP has nearly unanimously opposed Guantanamo Detention Center’s closing. The basis, they claim, is they don’t want the remaining “dangerous” detainees moved onto US soil. These detainees were simply too dangerous, the GOP claimed. Once again humor can be seen in (1) seemingly lack of knowledge that US Federal “supermax” prisons hold and have held far more dangerous prisoners, and (2) the “don’t close Guantanamo” seem to lack the very basic awareness that due process is the backbone of American jurisprudence. These Congress members are our lawmakers. Don’t you see the humor?

Admittedly humor might be a stretch in these cases. Hypocrisy might better apply. I see the humor, however, when the subjects come forward, stand tall, and profess to hold certain opinions which are clearly inappropriate if not outrightly incorrect.

No Moral Compass

May 12, 2015

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots just got whacked by the NFL as a result of what pundits have dubbed “deflate-gate”. The NFL appears to have waited until it had assessed the public response to a variety of sanctions and then announced its punishment. Brady was suspended for 4 games and the team was fined one million dollars and the loss of two draft picks. End of story?

The story began in January in a playoff game between the Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts. The game was played on a cold day at the Patriots home filed in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Following an arcane NFL rule, the Patriots and the Colts presented game officials 8 footballs each team proposed to use during the game. That’s right, the Pats use their balls and the Colts use their own. The balls are checked for air pressure and then given back to each team for safe keeping until game time. Hmmm.

Again why aren’t the balls checked at kick off time?  And more basically, why don’t the players use the same balls?

Deflat-gate went as follows. At half time with the Pats slightly ahead, someone alerted the referees to check the Patriot’s footballs. And low and behold, the balls were found to be under inflated. The referees then supervised the adjustment of each ball to regulation pressure and the second half began.

And the Patriots now playing with a “legal” ball, kicked the crap out of the Colts winning easily.

Nobody associated with the Patriots could explain the under inflation. Visibly the owner, head coach, and Tom Brady seemed to think it was a big deal. But others did.

The NFL initiated an independent investigation and after four months issued a finding. “More probable than not” Tom Brady knew about the deflation. Hmmm.

Where has proof based upon evidence gone?

The NFL has recently sent mixed messages concerning domestic violence. The League seemed to be balancing attendance economics with public perception. At first the league appeared to look the other way and then when there was an outcry (which could have adversely impacted sponsors), the League got on its high horse and metered out draconian punishments.

Now along comes deflate-gate and the League has no idea what to do.  The under inflation clearly had not affected the games outcome.

So, the League goes ahead and hands out a severe punishment with no proof that Brady initiated the air pressure reductions. The NFL said it was about the integrity of the game. Hmmm.

If one assumes the finding of “more probable than not” should read Brady instigated the deflation, than a suspension of some sort seems reasonable. One can argue how many games should be involved but at least one would withstand the smell test.

The fact that it took almost four months to investigate the “integrity” of the games tells me the NFL simply does not have a moral compass. The only compass the NFL possesses is a money compass which cause to the League to look one way if the compass says more money, and the other way if the compass reads less money.

Sports Hypocrisy In Plain Sight

February 22, 2015

Kurt Busch has joined the list of professional athletes who have been penalized for the good of the whole. Similarly to Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson and Baltimore’s Ray Rice, Busch was suspended on the basis of abuse charges by his former girl friend. The Nascar organization stepped forward and said Busch’s behavior was out of bounds and an indefinite suspension was in order. Hmmm.

This is the same Nascar that weekly features 200 mile per hour racing where kissing the leading cars rear bumper (and spinning it out of control) seems almost manufactured for fan entertainment. So whose behavior is more dangerous?

The answer most likely is “who cares”. The Nascar organization’s response is motivated to prevent the world of “PC speak” from disparaging the racing organization’s image and in some way hurting TV revenues.

It’s all about money. What say Adrian and Ray?

The NCAA has just as huge an hypocrisy coming towards center stage right now. In the world of “student athletes”, the University of Kentucky’s mens basketball team is a scandal waiting to happen. Kentucky has figured out a way to recruit a freshman championship quality team year after year.  Kentucky is forced to recruit a new squad each year because their champion players all elect to go to the NBA following one year at Kentucky.

So what’s the pending scandal?

Does anyone think that these student athletes attend any meaningful classes? How many of these students even complete their freshman year? And who cares?

The real scandal of pro-football, pro-racing, and the top level of amateur level NCAA is that they have found ways to generate huge earnings by providing the spectator a riveting and exciting sport products, and sometimes those ways are incompatible with either the world around them.

Spousal abuse is adherent to be sure, but there are laws and a criminal process to prosecute abusers. The NCAA is quick to punish even the slightest benefit that may go to an athlete, even those who come from the poorest of homes. While the NCAA is raking in dollars, it seems to have no problem looking the other way when Kentucky fields an entirely new crop of outstanding athletes each year.

Kentucky appears to makes no effort to guide these students on an academic path.

Sooner or later, the PC police will pounce upon this academically inconsistent behavior and make the University and its coach, John Caliper the villains. Unlike Rice, Peterson, and Busch, there is no criminal process to make judgement on Kentucky. There is only the court of business profits to weigh in on Kentucky’s propriety.

A Ship With A Broken Compass

September 18, 2014

The recent weeks beginning with the release of the second Ray Rice video has revealed a National Football League which is operating on the high seas of national sports with a broken compass.

The NFL ship at times seems rudderless, but in truth its rudder works fine, it is just that NFL bosses can’t set a sensible course. Hmmm.

Ray Rice (wife beating) and Adrian Peterson (child abuse) have been en ensnared in a conflicted NFL justice system. The league and the individual teams were surprised when the media reported the incidents initially. The league and the teams went into “damage control”. How could they minimize any public affairs damage (which might translate into economic damage)?

These incidents have been a boon to supporter dedicated to end domestic violence. With a national stage, these groups have damned Rice and Peterson without necessarily any knowledge of them or the entire situation surrounding each incident.

For example, Rice married the woman he had struck and together they have given money and time to charities in the Baltimore poorer areas. Peterson was being present with his son, and as such stands in sharp contrast to too many African American fathers who are absent in the lives of their children.

The US has laws and courts to assess whether specific charges are transgressions of the law, and to meter out appropriate punishment. It certainly could be that both Rice and Peterson violated laws which should carry with it jail time. That verdict belongs in the courts, not on the playing field.

The NFL never the less has found it necessary to run a parallel “court system”. Standing before cameras, the NFL professes its abhorrence of these acts and sanctimoniously says that behavior has no place in the NFL. These players cannot be part of the NFL until they have spent some time in the penalty box (suspension, behavior treatment). Hmmm.

I wonder why the NFL trains cameras on pass receivers and line men who are poised to sack the quarterback and then replays the biggest and harshest take downs until the next week’s killer plays are ready.

American law has long held that someone is innocent until proven guilty. The NFL apparently feels it can act when the tide of public opinion might reduce the barrels of money flowing in.  Proof: a comment from a advertiser. Hmmm.

Domestic violence, unfortunately, is just the tip of the ice berg. The NFL is populated with real people, many who find it difficult to leave violence to the playing field. There is also a long history of celebrity entrapment where someone seeking fame or money (or both) entraps a player in some compromising situation.

Sorting out “he said, she said” is simply not straight forward. Again, however, there are courts to settle these cases. The NFL is not needed.

At this point, it would appear

  • The NFL has no internal moral compass and its apparent loss of clear cut rules on socially unacceptable or criminal behavior is no accident.
  • Players are just tools of labor and expendable on a whim.
  • The NFL has a low opinion of the public and demonstrates this each time it reacts to some interest group or large sponsor.

The NFL will get through this controversy and adopt a set of conduct standards which will spell out acceptable behavior. If, however, the NFL continues to adjust its conduct standards given the next politically correct group’s preferences, the NFL will lose its way and decline from the number one entertainment spot.

Whether Roger Goodell will continue as the commissioner is irrelevant. The Owners, who are a big portion of the problem, will most likely fire Goodell if there team value decreases, and not whether Goodell leads them successfully through this transition phase.

Hmmm, not much of a compass.