Archive for the ‘sports’ category

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.

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The Beauty of Athletes

July 14, 2014

This past week the residents of Cleveland rejoiced on the news that Labron James would return to play basketball for the Cleveland Cavaliers. James is considered a great athlete and maybe the best playing basketball today. Basketball players are all tall men (or women), some just taller than others. Their ability to almost float in air as they drive for the hoop is magical.

College and Professional football teams are busily preparing for their 2014-15 season. Each team has picked their best athletes and are filling their heads full of new plays. While the goal of each team remains making gobs of money, the speed and agility of these player, cutting left or right and then accelerating to top speed is breathtaking.

Baseball has reached its mid-summer break. Time for the annual “all-star” game. In a hard to imagine the picking process, fans select the starting “all-star team” by voting as many times as they wish for the player of their choice. All Stars? The second half of the 2014 Baseball season will begin later this week. Winning teams for sure make more money. They almost always possess the best players too. Hitting a baseball traveling at close to 100 mph is an amazing accomplishment.

Not to be overlooked, ice hockey professional teams are also screening junior league players for future stars. Come the winter, winning hockey teams can thrill the audience and crowd out basketball as a fan favorite with their full rink dashes and powerful slap shots. For those fortunate franchises, hockey means money.

Stepping back, it appears we have a deal with organized sports. We pay for tickets, television rights, and merchandize. In return we expect to see great athletes, performing great athletic feats, and of course, winning. Fair deal?

Yesterday made one wonder.   The FIFA World Cup Soccer championship took place in Brazil. Germany beat Argentine 1-0 after 120 minutes of full out effort by both teams. Watching these athletes run, cut, and jump to head the ball and then racing back on defense was awe inspiring. Looking at each athlete, there was no sign of fat. Each player was fit and gave no hint of wanting to pause. (I cannot think of now popular American sports athlete who look this fit.) While most of these athletes play for club teams and earn a good living, playing for a national team is an honor. Lots of money was made by FIFA but for the players, it was about winning for their country.

What could be more demanding and athletic than world class soccer? Hmmm.

How about bicycle racing and the Tour d’France?