Posts Tagged ‘ESPN’

Go ahead, Ibaka. Step to him. I DARE you.

It was announced Tuesday that Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace would be suspended for 7 games for the elbow he threw that knocked Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden out of Sunday’s game. The incident has been all over the world of sports news since it happened, and has managed to overshadow an otherwise captivating game that saw the Lakers come from 18 down to win in double overtime. World Peace will miss Thursday’s season finale with the Sacramento Kings, and the next 6 games the Lakers play – presuming the Lakers advance past the 1st round of the playoffs, that could mean into the 2nd round.

People have been talking about this non-stop. Before we go further, let’s first take a look at said play:

Pretty bad, right? Yeah – I don’t think anyone can defend that play. I think you’re delusional if you think he didn’t deserve a suspension for that. That’s not even up for debate to me. But you know what is?

The reactions and words of certain talking heads and fans.

I had a number of people overreacting saying “He should be banned for life!” Or “He should be done for the year!” One friend swore he was done for good – I told him there was no chance in hell. First off, the NBAPA wouldn’t allow it. Secondly, NBA history – if you know it (which most fans seemingly don’t) – dictated exactly what type of punishment he should’ve gotten. Most elbows in games get between 1-3 games for an offender; being someone who has had controversial incidents in the past, I predicted 5 games was likely, with a max of 10. But the other stuff?

Please.

Look – I don’t care that so many of you reading this may be caught up in the spin that ESPN and other entities peddle out nightly. I watch ESPN too – and I know when they’re reporting a story, and when they’re FRAMING one. And they’ve done that all too often. Yes, he knocked Harden out, and thankfully, Harden seems to be okay. But stop acting like what happened was more than what it was – a cheap, in-game play that was excessive and deserved punishment. He got punished. I think 7 games is a lot, but given the history – I think commissioner David Stern was fair and didn’t bow to the public and media hyperbole. No one’s going to argue the punishment is too much. But spare me the “he got off light” sentiment.

World Peace’s rep is well-known, and I get it – people view him in a certain light. But since he’s come to the Lakers, he’s actually been thrown out of as many games as Kobe Bryant. In fact – the guys on the team with the most ejections in recent years would be Matt Barnes and Andrew Bynum. The so-called “Malice In The Palace” happened 8 years ago – and he’s been on his best behavior since then. Of course, ESPN couldn’t wait to play clips of it and say that this incident “immediately conjures up thoughts of the Indiana-Detroit brawl”. No it didn’t. But awesome job planting that in your viewers’ heads to further the storyline you hope to create to make this worse than it already was.

And let’s really take a look at that incident. No, seriously – watch that event again:

How many actual punches does (then) Ron Artest throw at anyone? I count 1 definite punch – after he had gone in the stands, a fan ran up on him back on the court, and he swung on him. I said it back then, I’ll say it now – if you’re stupid enough to swing at that man, no matter WHO you are – good luck. This is the same guy that Shaq had trouble backing down. I don’t excuse that incident, but the revisionist history on it is laughable – Artest/World Peace took the fall as a scapegoat when the actions of Ben Wallace, Jermaine O’Neal and Stephen Jackson were actually worse. Wallace started that whole fiasco. No one will ever convince me otherwise. But Artest did fan the flames, and he served his punishment.

My point is – get over it. The man did his best to reform, has pretty much kept himself out of trouble (with a few techs here and there over the years) on the court, and even got professional help. In all the slanted talk, has everyone forgotten that he won the NBA’s J.Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award – LAST YEAR?!?

Yup – LAST YEAR.

I’m not buying any of the “do away with him” garbage. I’m not buying into the “thug” crap. There’s racial undertones many times when bringing up him and other NBA “troublemakers” that seems to forget/excuse the history of players like Kevin McHale, Bill Laimbeer and Brad Miller. Not saying this case is a racial thing at all – just saying, there’s often an undertone when certain players are talked about.

And please – don’t come at me like someone did calling that the worst play of the season. Really? How about the wrap-up around clothesline Phoenix’s Robin Lopez gave to Blake Griffin just a week ago??

How about New Orleans’ Jason Smith hitting the “truck” button on Griffin a few weeks ago?

Don’t even GET me started on worse plays last year or in previous years that got lesser reactions and punishments. I find it hilarious watching Charles Barkely, Shaq and Bruce Bowen pursing their lips to say ANYTHING about World Peace.

World Peace got the appropriate punishment – 7 games, no pay. Miss me with the crying about him being some Legion Of Doom-esque super villain who must be stopped at all costs. My thought on all the overreaction? Get a grip. At least the man has legitimately tried to change his life and actions around.

In the heat of a game, he lost it. Hell, some would argue (myself included) that Harden was trying to set World Peace off by running up on him right as he was celebrating (oh, I know – we’re supposed to ignore that Harden doesn’t guard World Peace, and that World Peace didn’t have the ball- he was running to get back on defense – so there was no legitimate reason for him to run right up on him like that). Well, you (Harden) set him off. This is supposition, but Harden (if you watch as him regularly) likes to try to get under the skin of opponents. He wanted to, in my opinion, get under World Peaces’ skin by running up on him and make him do something stupid. Guess what? He did something stupid. Except Harden got hurt.

Doesn’t excuse it. Doesn’t remotely make it alright.

I’m just saying let’s keep this entire thing in perspective. The NBA, in my opinion, handled this correctly.

It’s been 8 years. Give World Peace a chance.

Interesting few days of sports…

  • So, Tim Tebow does it again. No need for me to recount what happened – turn on any Sports TV or radio show if you somehow missed it. AND, the Denver Broncos won becauseof his passing. Another chapter added to the great story that is the Broncos’ 2011-2012 season.I find it funny, though – Tebow haters still can’t give him any type of credit, regardless of what occurred in front of everyone’s eyes. I give props to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith for humbly admitting he was wrong – something a lot of blowhards on the network simply can never bring themselves to ever say (I’m looking at you Tedy Bruschi, Merril Hoge and Skip Bayless). The popular excuse that people want to latch on to…”Pittsburgh had injuries.”

    Um…SO?!?

    Let’s be clear – EVERY TEAM has injuries. I’ll remind people – the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl last year with tons of injuries. The NY Giants and Houston Texans won their divisions and 1st round playoff games with numerous injuries all year. One of the typical people I deal with who doesn’t necessarily think about these things – they just regurgitate whatever becomes a popular, repeated point – said to me “Pittsburgh didn’t have their defensive leader or their top running back.” I replied “Neither did Denver”. Yeah – he had forgotten Brian Dawkins and Knowshon Moreno were Denver’s injured starters who were out. Oops.

    Plain and simple – the better teams step up and get through injuries. Sure, there are major injuries some teams can’t recover from – the Indianapolis Colts can attest to this – but most good teams can and do. And seeing as coach Mike Tomlin isn’t using that as an excuse, and Pittsburgh was favored to win – I don’t find it any sort of coincidence that every human being I’ve heard who is using the injury excuse is also anti-Tebow.

    Get over it. As I tell people all the time – you not liking someone or something doesn’t change reality. Hell, I don’t like LeBron James particularly – you’ll never hear me discredit him if he’s had a phenomenal game or literally caused his team to win. Then again, I don’t get upset and have to change reality if someone I don’t cheer for wins or proves me wrong. ***kanyeshrug***

  • Everyone is talking about the Lakers, Thunder, Bulls, Heat, Knicks, etc. for different reasons in the NBA this season…anyone notice that the Portland Trailblazers might quite possibly be the best complete team in the league right now? Because I definitely have.
  • Eli Manning said at the beginning of the season he was just as elite of a QB as Tom Brady. People laughed…looking at his season, I don’t think the kid was lying. Is he better? No. But he’s in the elite class, no doubt.
  • Anyone notice that ratings and attendance are up in the NBA after the lockout? I honestly didn’t see that coming. But apparently, the NBA had the same result after it’s lockout that the NFL did – people complained and b***hed so much, when it returned, they were all eyes. Conspiracy theorists might even say both leagues knew this would be the result. I for one am a bit shocked that both leagues saw no negative effects to revenue and ratings…
  • Very quietly, a storm is brewing in the NHL. No one is noticing, because – quite frankly – Americans could care less about hockey in general. But when the NHL announced conference realignment, the NHLPAtook that as an opportunity to assert their power as a union again. The issue is currently in flux, because the players haven’t agreed. This isn’t about them having a problem with it – it’s about them (the NHLPA) trying to re-establish themselves after getting massacred by the owners during their collective bargaining battle and subsequent lockout in 2004-2005.I’m not as deeply knowledgeable about hockey as I am other sports – but this doesn’t look like a good sign for the next labor negotiations. The union will be looking to wrest back some power and control after their massacre (which was decidedly worse than the loss the NBA players just took).
  • Quick – name a good, current heavyweight boxer not named Klitschko. Yeah – I can’t either.
  • You think money doesn’t talk? It was announced last week Floyd “Money” Mayweather will not start his jail term until AFTER he participates in his next fight, presumably on May 5th. Wow – that’s a hell of a bribe.
  • Someone complained on former player and fellow Syracuse alum Derrick Coleman’s Facebook page that they felt the Syracuse Orange are being “disrespected” because they’ve been #1 for 5 weeks and haven’t been on national TV a lot. Silly argument – SU hasn’t played any team outside of Marquette (this past Saturday) that was even projected to be a decent game. Most channels and networks decided on what games they’ll air well ahead of time, and the Orange have been playing a weak part of their schedule for the past few weeks. But it’s not a bias thing – the people making that complaint probably never notice how many times they find out that #1 (at the time they were ranked that high) Ohio State, Duke, Kentucky, etc. have lost in a game that wasn’t on national TV.Syracuse will be on national TV a lot more when they get into the real meat of the Big East schedule…
  • Ricky Rubio is the real deal.
  • I still don’t care about the BCS National Championship tonight. I’ll check it out…but if it ain’t good by halftime, I’ll watch the highlights on “Sportscenter”.
  • Jorge Posada is going to retire after 17 years with the NY Yankees. With 5 World Series titles under his belt, I’m thinking he can leave with his head high. Props, Mr. Posada.

 

That’s all for now. Interested as always in your feedback. Make sure you spread the word on the blog – sign up for email updates to new posts, and have your friends add the page on Facebook.

Until next time…Shoot, Pass, Quibble!

Tim Tebow has been a divisive figure since he first rose to national prominence.

At this point in the course of the NFL season, I’m sure I don’t really have to rehash the tale of Tim Tebow. Hell – we’ve seen it all over ESPN, the internet, magazines – anything on the pulse of sports and pop culture has been on the Tebow hype train. And for as many people as there are who love him, there are just as many who can’t stand to hear his name, let alone see him. He has surpassed Mark Sanchez, Tony Romo and Michael Vick as the most divisive quarterback (and I’d argue overall player) in the NFL in terms of public opinion.

And when someone gets a lot of shine and hype, inevitably, there’s backlash. I get that – it’s the way Americans are. They love to build someone up, only to see them torn down. But truth is – in this case, when it comes to hating Tim Tebow, I’m going to flat-out say a lot of people are FULL of it. In fact, they’re being willingly mindless sheep and just jumping on the Tebow-hater bandwagon, because it’s the cool thing to do. And they’re making huge arses of themselves by doing so, because they’re blatantly being overt hypocrites.

Now, before I explain this, let me be clear who I’m NOT talking about. I’m not talking about people who have honest critiques of his passing abilities and skills. I’m not even talking about people sick of seeing him dominate headlines and large portions of ESPN and NFL Network shows. So then who am I referring to?

Those hypocrites who find it funny to mock and make fun of his faith and religion.

Because really – it makes no sense. Turn on almost any sporting event – you’ll see athletes expressing their faith. Praying. Pointing towards the sky, as if acknowledging a higher power. Giving thanks to God, Allah, Jehovah, etc. And you hear no one mocking Drew Brees, Derrick Rose, Phil Mickelson, or any number of sports stars. Yet it seems to be the “in” thing to do to clown Tebow, right? It’s funny, huh?

Reggie White was so entrenched in his faith, his nickname was "The Minister Of Defense".

Let’s be real here. I watch Tebow. Regularly. Have throughout his collegiate and pro careers. And he honestly doesn’t say or do anything more than I’ve seen done by others before. He acknowledges his creator. He owns that he’s very religious, and doesn’t downplay his faith. But really – it’s the media that harps on it more than he himself does. Kurt Warner, Muhammad Ali, Reggie White – all were actually more vocal and demonstrative regularly throughout their careers than Tebow has been. And none of them were mocked on their faith as much as I’ve seen Tebow (Ali was criticized and vilified for a lot, but he wasn’t getting national joking about him as the prophet Muhammad).

People make all types of jokes and criticism solely on his faith. “Jesus was too busy to help him this week”, some viewers, players and analysts have scoffed. “God hath forsaken The Chosen One.” “God isn’t a Broncos fan”. I mean…it’s been millions of variations, and it’s literally been going on since he was in college. But it’s gotten to the point of being extremely disrespectful and downright offensive – and more and more people are jumping on that bandwagon.

It even manifested itself on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live”:

The above skit was  water cooler talk the week after it aired, and many people thought it was great. I didn’t find it nearly as funny as many did. Why? Why do I not join in on the fun, and drop Jesus jokes and Tebow Our Savior lines??

Because there’s nothing wrong with Tebow being a devoted Christian.

Really – what’s wrong with it? What’s wrong with him acknowledging his faith, and giving praise to his creator in his personal life or after a game? The man doesn’t hold sermons, nor does he preach his faith every chance he gets in press conferences. It doesn’t dominate his interviews or post-game comments on his games and football-related questioning.  But the hypocrisy I’m referring to, is quite simply this – most of the people who want to clown Tebow in this fashion identify themselves as Christians.

Umm – excuse me??

Am I missing something? Wait – so you yourself are a Christian, and it’s funny to clown a man who proudly wears his Christian faith on his arm? Realistically, Tim Tebow should be the man every Christian sports fan in America should be telling their kids to be like. He’s achieved great things, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink, does charity and volunteer work to help people all the time without calling the media to document it, doesn’t have a single controversy attached to his name…but he’s reviled and made fun of by other Christians? Huh??

I’m a Kobe Bryant fan. Yet I would never tell a kid to be “just like Kobe”. I’d be very specific and tell someone to emulate his approach to being the best at his profession, and tell them to incorporate his drive, his will, his passion and his actions in terms of what he’s done to become one of the best in his sport. But I wouldn’t tell them to be just like him – because he’s been a womanizer, he’s put himself and his family in terrible, awkward public situations, he’s been called out as being sometimes too focused on basketball than family, etc. And don’t even get me to naming his basketball peers – Kobe’s actually one of the tamer ones. That goes for all sports – should kids be just like Brett Favre? Alex Rodriguez? Patrick Kane? Roger Federer? Phil Mickelson? Floyd Mayweather?

I’m sorry – Tebow may be the most shining example of an athletic role model we’ve had in a long time – regardless of your faith or religious beliefs. But too many people have it all twisted – let’s mock his beliefs and faith. How dare he vocally give praise to God before he starts a press conference! How dare he not shy away from it! How dare he be everything we say we want kids to be, but then we turn around and go buy them a T.O. jersey or LeBron James shirt!

If you’re Christian, I’m assuming you’ve been to church. You’ve prayed. You’ve done many of the things Tebow does and doesn’t hide or shy away from. True, many athletes pray after games – but Tebow takes it a step further by deciding to be an unashamed Christian at all instances. Again – he’s hardly the first athlete to wear his faith on his arm for everyone to see. But he’s never said or done anything more than I’ve seen others do to warrant the religious attacks and mockery he suffers. And, to his credit – he never speaks out against it or seemingly gets mad. He literally turns the other cheek – a Christian principle that’s often asked of people in this country.

If you want to criticize him for football reasons, I say have at it. Hell, if you want to clown him for those same reasons, go right ahead. But, if you identify yourself as a Christian, and you’ve joined in on the Tebow religious jokes at any point – you’re an overwhelming hypocrite. If you’ve ever complained about today’s athlete and how they act, but get on Tebow for being a “goody-goody” you are, again, a hypocrite. If you’ve complained about the type of role models some athletes are, but throw digs at Tebow, guess what you are?

See? I didn’t even have to spell that one out for you. You’re learning.

Great past few days in American sports. No big intro needed – let’s get in to it…

  • Tony Romo bit more than turf this past Sunday...

    Okay. I’ve never been one to be a Tony Romo basher; I think he’s a pretty good QB who is not worthy of the fawning some do over him – but definitely not worthy of the bashing others give him. But make no mistake about it – the Detroit Lions coming back from 24 points down to stun the Dallas Cowboys?? That rests solely on his shoulders. The guy threw 3 INTS – 2 of which were returned for touchdowns. He was hands down putrid as a QB in the 2nd half, and it resulted in the 4th-biggest regular season collapse in NFL history. Um – that’s bad. There’s no way you can look anywhere but Romo’s direction on this. Whatever you hear negative about Tony Romo this week? He MORE than deserves it.

  • And speaking of the Detroit Lions – wow. How about that comeback? This comes after being down 20 points to Minnesota last week! This team definitely has heart to go along with their tremendous talent. What stands out most to me in this game – WR Calvin Johnson, AKA Megatron,  BEASTING all over the hapless Cowboys defense, the way your pre-teen cousin would do whatever he wanted to you when you were 8 years-old playing in the back yard. It was embarrassing to see how easily he used them to go up and down the field and bring the Lions back for the win.And speaking of embarrassing – that’s how I feel about Cris Carter and Rob Ryan’s comments about Johnson. Make no mistake – Johnson is clearly one of the most unstoppable, dynamic WRs we’ve seen in the league in the past decade. His speed, size, pass-catching ability and vertical jump leave on-lookers breathless weekly. Yet, we’ve got these egomaniacs downing the guy. Rob Ryan, I kind of understand – he’s Dallas’ defensive coordinator, and if you know anything about Ryan, his brother Rex (Jets head coach) and their father Buddy (famed NFL defensive coordinator and head coach) – that’s what they do. They run their yaps, and tend to back it up more often than not. But saying the Cowboys’ defense played against 2 better WRs than Johnson each week in practice (Miles Austin & Dez Bryant)? Not smart, man. I get trying to fire your team up – but as the results prove, you might’ve fired HIM up a tad bit more. Ask your defense.

    What’s even better was Lions’ coach Jim Schwartz’s comments after the game: “I’m just glad that the third-best receiver on their team is on our team.” Ouch – BURRRRRRNNNNN!!!

    Even worse are Cris Carter’s comments at the beginning of the year. Carter is a Hall Of Fame WR, and there are few more qualified to talk about the WR position on TV than him. But when asked to name the top 6 WRs in the league, Carter made a point of excluding Johnson, and dismissed him as a “video game wide receiver”. As recently as last week, when Johnson had 2 TDs in each of the first 3 games of the season, Carter refused to give him props. This goes to the point I made earlier this season about today’s sports reporters, analysts and experts never being able to admit being wrong on a position they hold.

    The man they call "Megatron" has lept above criticism to become the most dynamic, exciting WR in the NFL this season.

    To his credit, after Sunday’s performance, Carter finally relented and gave him his props. “Right now, Calvin Johnson — there’s a king in every crowd, and he’s the king of the National Football League as far as wide receivers,” Carter said. It should be noted – Johnson tied Carter’s NFL record of 4 consecutive games with at least 2 TDs, set back in 1995. Even noted hater Merril Hoge had to give it up and name Johnson as his MVP of the league so far.

  • There was some REALLY TERRIBLE officiating going on Sunday. First off – the Buffalo Bills got hosed. Big time. It’s bad enough that inane “Tuck Rule” reared it’s ugly head in the 1st half, calling back a Bryan Scott fumble recovery for a touchdown (Scott would get an interception for a TD later). But towards the end of the game, with Buffalo driving for a score that could’ve put the game away, WR Stevie Johnson clearly made a catch for a 1st down (on 3rd down) – and it was ruled no catch. The replays clearly showed he made the catch – the call stood. Now, one could try to put it on the Bills defense for not stopping the Cincinnati Bengalson their final drive, but the Bills are a young team. You could definitely see the frustration and dismay on their faces, and it looked like they were deflated and distracted after that play. And the call was pure bull.The Arizona Cardinals got jobbed as well. Driving at the end of the game, NY Giants WR Victor Cruz makes a catch, and goes down to the ground with no one having touched him. He drops the ball, which was picked up by an Arizona player. Arizona could’ve run the clock out. Instead, the refs inexplicably declared Cruz down, saying he “gave himself up” by falling to the ground, and didn’t allow Cardinals’ coach Ken Wisenhunt to even challenge the ruling. NY scored one play later.

    I’d check these refs bank accounts. I’m sure they have more money in them than what’s declared on their income statements. Somebody got paid.

  • Madonna is set to perform at halftime of the Super Bowl. Um – why?? Seriously – I’m beyond sick of the NFL and it’s pre-games and halftimes selling out to Pop stars who have nothing to do with the game of football. Ugh.
  • Aaron Rodgers threw for 4 TDs, and ran for 2 more – while throwing for over 400 yards. You can’t even do that on a video game nowadays. Holy spit.
  • Speaking of video games – the follow-up to the greatest sports video game of all-time came out today. NBA 2K12 should tide NBA lovers over until we really get basketball back. I’m resisting my strong urge to buy it – for now.
  • I'm used to GOOD QBs at my alma mater Syracuse University - not average guys pretending to be D-1 caliber passers.

    I’m sick of debating with people about obvious crap in sports. My beloved Syracuse Orange lost to Rutgers in overtime this past weekend, in large part due to the unfettered crappiness of QB Ryan Nassib. This fool threw for 3 INTs – against Rutgers. I have a fellow alum who swears this bum is good because he’s put up some pretty good numbers until this game. Those numbers came against such garbage football teams such as Wake Forest, Rhode Island and Toledo. The one real program we played, USC, his numbers were inflated by late game throwing in a blowout – he was unable to move the team at any point against the Trojans when it counted.Nassib simply doesn’t look like a upper-level D-1 QB. He puts up good numbers against weak talent. Remember – this is the same guy who couldn’t beat out Greg Paulus for the starting nod a few years ago, and Paulus hadn’t played QB since high school. I grew up watching great SU QBs, and attended school in the Donovan McNabb era. This sort of garbage play that passes for “good” is not acceptable to me.

  • Speaking of McNabb – the boo birds are calling for him to be benched. But you know what? I’ve watched the Vikings past 3 games on “NFL Replay”. While no one can argue he’s playing at a Pro Bowl level, he is absolutely not the reason the Vikings are losing. His WRs can’t separate from anyone, and his defense is surprisingly bad. McNabb may take the fall, but if you watch the games and don’t listen to ESPN – he’s actually not the problem in Minnesota. Does he need to play better? No doubt. But how much better do you need to be when you’re giving your team 20-point leads and they’re still losing??
  • Well, it’s official – no deal in the NBA Lockout. This should shock no one if you pay attention; the owners’ endgame has always been to not bargain in good faith, and to try to force a crappy deal down the players throats after they miss game checks and begin to panic. Sorry, folks – we won’t see pro basketball for quite some time. Feel free to read up on things here, but just know – this is all on the owners. Even moreso than the NFL Lockout.  But what should shock the NBA – Kobe Bryant is actually going through with his pledge to play abroad.This is a huge shock, because it was always viewed as though the NBA

    Even though he's the most popular active basketball player in the world - Kobe Bryant playing in Italy is a HUGE shock.

    stars would use that as a threat, but not actually carry it out. My cousin pointed out how big it would be if one of the major stars did this, and opened it up for others to show they don’t need the NBA. It would hurt their image if a bunch of their players simply discarded them and were playing all over the world. Well, Kobe, who has quietly been doing a lot to help the players in the lockout (along with LeBron James, D.Wade, Kevin Durant and other star players), is going through with it – and at the same time actively raising his profile as the most popular sports figure in the world not named Michael Jordan.

    I don’t think people grasp how huge this actually is. I’ll save my prolonged commentary on it for now – but this could be a major game-changer. Props to my cousin Zeek and my man Marlon who called this possibility out back in the Spring. They apparently were on that Sword of Omens (“Thundercats”) type-stuff – they had “sight beyond sight”…

  • Wow – The Yankees are down 2-1 with an elimination game tonight? Smh. I know a lot of you will blame Joe Girardi for this state of affairs, and you may not be off in doing so. But you know who I blame??

    Those of you crabby fans who rejoiced in the Boston Red Sox not making the playoffs.

    I swear, it’s absolute truth – every single time I’ve seen people cheering for other teams to do crappy instead of worrying about their own team, their team never succeeds. And I saw too many Yankees fans acting like they had been given the World Series when Boston was eliminated from contention. That’s not how you do it, folks. Chuckle, razz Boston fans – and move on. Cats who rejoice in other teams losing or find an overwhelming amount of joy in the failings of rivals when they aren’t at the hands of your own team – wack, son. I also believe cats cheering for teams to lose in the playoffs so their team doesn’t have to play them subconsciously don’t have true faith in their team. I always want my teams to play the hardest, toughest teams en route to a championship and/or success – I want my team to be the best, not get lucky and slide into a title.

    So all you happy Yankees fans who acted like it was a holiday when Boston lost? This is your fault. If NY loses – it’s on you. Suck it up.

  • ESPN pulled their familiar “Are You Ready For Some Football??” intro from “Monday Night Football” last night, due to Hank Williams going on Faux News and making a bad comparison between president Barack Obama and Hitler. This guy has probably had one of the steadiest paychecks in music history, and yet he couldn’t keep his inner idiot redneck inside. I for one applaud ESPN for making the decision to pull him – the network isn’t exactly known for making wise decisions when it comes to controversies or controversial subject matter.

    Williams gave the obligatory “sorry if I offended anyone” backhanded apology. I’d love to see ESPN can him for good – I personally can do without the musical theatrics, and would much prefer a standard open like Fox Sports does on their Sunday broadcasts. But I’m thinking Williams appears back on the network in the near future.

    They day ESPN gets rid of this redneck's intro for good is the day I stop complaining about Jon Gruden's man-crushes when he's on the air.

  • Speaking of ESPN, their annual “Body Issue” of their magazine is coming out soon. This issue is famous for showing the naked, buff physiques of some of the best athletes in sports in an artful, interesting manner. You can check the list of who will appear in the buff here. I for one am looking forward to seeing soccer star Hope Solo and pro snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler, who has already appeared in the mens’ magazine “FHM”. Plenty of male stars for the ladies as well…
  • Yes, America – Brett Favre is still a douchebag.
  • The NFL injury bug is running rampant again – Texans’ WR Andre Johnson, Steelers LB James Harrison, Jets’ LB Bryan Thomas and 49ers’ DT Will Tukuafu are just some of the players who suffered injuries this Sunday and will miss anywhere from a few weeks to the rest of the season…
  • Everyone spent all last week talking about the Detroit Lions and the Buffalo Bills and their hot starts to the season. But has anyone outside of the Bay area noticed that the San Francisco 49ers are very quietly 3-1??
  • The Philadelphia Eagles are a mess.
  • Andy Roddick dropped his first-round match at the China Open to Kevin Anderson, 6-4, 7-5?? Wow. Andy hasn’t had a good year by his standards at all. It must be really hard for most athletes, I’ve always thought, to go out and talk to the press after a terrible loss. And then to maintain your cool as well with some of the stupid questions they can ask. Which sets up this video:

    Kudos, Andy. You have learned very well from The Coach Bill Parcells School Of Snarky Comebacks to Stupid Questions

I’m hoping you guys are all having a good week thus far. I’ll be back soon with my thoughts on the NBA Lockout, as a few have asked me specifically about it. Look for that in the next day or so. I look forward to all comments and feedback. And subscribe to the blog so you can get updates on when new articles are posted; as well as “like” SPQ on Facebook if you haven’t already done so. And more importantly – spread the word! The more people reading, the more I feel obligated to output.

As always – Shoot, Pass, Quibble!!!

The Miami Heat took all types of – well, heat – this season. Much of it was brought on themselves; when you start off your campaign attached to LeBron James’ woefully misguided “Decision” TV special, and then have your own televised free agent party where one of your superstars (James) then declares the team will win “Not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven (championship rings)…” – yeah, you’re going to be clowned. All season, Unmercifully. Especially when you keep saying and doing things that add to it.

That said, one could argue that outside of LeBron James (who constantly said and did things that I’d say were clown-worthy on an almost weekly basis during different points of the season), the Heat really took an unfair amount of criticism and hate. And, outside of coach Erik Spoestra (who I think actually did a decent job, contrary to what many think), no one took it worse of the supporting cast than Chris Bosh. Bosh’s manhood has constantly been in question, he’s been called soft, weak link – anything under the sun. And the worst critic of the entire team, but especially Bosh and James, was none other than professional crab ESPN analyst/opinionist Skip Bayless. I won’t list all that Skip said and did in relation to them all season, but trust me – he was the absolute WORST in terms of criticizing and clowning the team.

And he’s responsible for the unflattering moniker “Bosh Spice” that stuck like glue after he first uttered it.

Well, on Wednesday morning (9/14/11), Chris Bosh actually went on ESPN’s “First Take” and talked face-to-face with Bayless. Check the video below…

Now, for as many things as people have said about Bosh – myself included – I’ve gotta give him respect on this. While Bayless is highly enjoyable and funny to a large segment of the public, he’s borderline hate-filled in his words towards some athletes, and if I were Bosh – I might have been looking to knock this guy out. But not only was Bosh composed and soft-spoken, he actually introspectively criticized himself and told Bayless he would use his words as fuel for the next season.

I personally think Bosh came off a bit too weak for my taste – but I still commend him for having the confidence and composure to even face Bayless in-person without trying to kill him. By comparison, Troy Aikman, who was called gay by Bayless back in 1996, said just last week “I’ve not physically seen Skip Bayless since that time … And I still kind of wonder what I might do to him when I do see him.”

Not a huge Bosh fan – but I think the guy deserves credit where credit is due.

By now, everyone has seen the first week of NFL football, and had a chance to read all the headlines and see all the highlights. Most likely, if you’re a really big sports enthusiast like myself, you’ve seen the various shows that offer highlights, opinions and sports analysis. ESPN has a ton of them: “NFL Live”, “Mike & Mike In The Morning”, “Pardon The Interruption”, “ESPN’s First Take” – you name it, they’ve got it. The NFL Network only adds to the madness. And it makes for great entertainment week-to-week between game days.

But as entertaining as these shows and the people on them are, there’s actually a huge problem with this. See, the people on these shows are presented as “experts”, and often, the average fan will take what they say to be gospel – hook, line and sinker. Yes, that means most of you reading this. The absolute truth is – though most people like to think they’re independent thinkers, they really aren’t at all. Those who work in and/or around media know this – the public is easily swayed. A famous phrase in media circles for years: “The truth is what we tell them it is.”

Why does this matter? Because the people talking on these shows can create things that then somehow become reality just because they say it is. Case in point?

Cam Newton.

Ever since this kid came to national prominence, all I’ve heard from certain circles is what he couldn’t do, what he’s seemingly incapable of. Now, while I watch these shows and pick up insight on things at times, I am not like the average viewer. It’s a lot harder for these shows and the people on them to get me to take what they say as absolute truth if I don’t already see what they’re talking about. The most I’ll do is note what they said, and watch to see if their analysis holds merit. So hearing this garbage made little sense to me as I watched this kid stud it up all over the college football landscape last year. If he’s so bad, how come none of these top teams and coaches could stop him? How come he didn’t lose a game? What was up with that national championship, and all those awards – including the prestigious Heisman trophy??

In comparison, when Peyton Manning was in college tearing up the college landscape in similar fashion, he was universally loved and praised. Am I missing something here??

So yeah – I listened and read. All of it. And none of it made a lick of sense to me. All the questions on the best player in college, yet I listened to the same people praise such lesser guys as Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Andy Dalton. I watch tons of games – so I saw all of these guys play extensively. And I came away impressed by Cam way more than the others.

As for Cam’s alleged “character issues”?? Ryan Mallett had much more serious issues, including rage issues and alleged drug usage. But he got less scrutiny and criticism that I saw in media. Why is that??

For all that the "experts" had to say - all Cam Newton did was go out and and make history in his first start as an NFL quarterback.

Let’s be honest here. And I know there are those who don’t want me to point at that elephant in the room, but it’s hard for me to not notice there’s an elephant in the room – Cam is a young, Black superstar QB. And, as far as we’ve come in terms of Blacks playing the position and being accepted doing so, there is still a stigma that most people of color notice easily. The other QBs I named – none of them had their intelligence questioned, their ability to lead questioned, their character questioned and their ability to “adjust to the pros”. What are you saying – he can handle the simpler level of college, but not the harder responsibilities and challenges of the pros??

Do your history. All those questions have been asked of Blacks any time they’ve been rising in a profession or position held in high esteem and occupied by whites. It’s insulting for me to even hear these questions yearly with whatever top Black QB rises in college football.

So – we hear all this crap about why Cam won’t do well, why he’ll have a terrible year and it’ll take him years to get it, etc. And truth be told, all rookie QBs struggle, so it’s not hard to buy into this hype. So what does Cam do in his first NFL game, against a good NFL defense??

He promptly ties the NFL record for yards thrown in a game by a rookie – set by the great Peyton Manning. Not only that, he threw for 2 TDs and rushed for another. It actually was the most in an opening game for a QB ever.

What happened to Cam not being able to grasp a NFL game? Read defenses? Lead a team? Sure seemed like he did all of that fine.

Oh, the spin doctors – and the sheep who buy their spin – are already quick to say “it’s only one game”. Now use common sense for a second. Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tony Romo and Tom Brady all had great statistical games this week that were praised by these same gurus. Only Brady had a bigger and better performance than Cam. And to get his stats and do it efficiently against a good NFL defense isn’t remotely easy – feel free to look up rookie stats of QBs for the past 20 years NOT named Peyton Manning.

And if you try the argument that he’s a rookie, so he’s not comparable to the list I typed – feel free to listen very carefully to how these same people spoke of Andy Dalton’s first game for the Cincinnati Bengals. Because I did. On multiple shows, radio programs, and I read it on multiple sports sites.

This is a case of a sport myth gaining steam and becoming a reality – and most of you sipping the kool-aid. Those who know me know I’ve been saying for a full year that I don’t buy the Cam bashing, and can’t wait to see him show out to shut the naysayers up. But lest you think this is all about race or my pride as a Black man in defending another Black man…

Let’s look at the curious case of Tim Tebow.

See, I’m also on Team Tebow as well. Tebow’s issue isn’t race; Tebow has been targeted from the jump for being a vocal Christian. Which is funny, because so many people identify themselves as such, but somehow it’s a problem that he’s proud and vocal about it. And a lot of people have commented he’s too good to be true; that there HAS to be something wrong with him. We have a word for those people where I come from – we call them CRABS

In any event, Tebow gets the smear treatment too. And when he was benched this preseason, I heard every moron without a mind of his/her own regurgitating everything you hear the Tebow-detractors spewing. But you see, the Tebow thing is actually more nonsensical than the Cam Newton spin. At least Cam is a rookie; you can expect him to struggle as such. Tebow isn’t, and has played in the league. Somehow, those  games last year where he led the Broncos – and did so WELL – are easily forgotten. Oh, I don’t expect the average fan to remember. Neither do the talking heads on TV – in fact, they count on you not remembering that Tebow has a career QB rating of 82.1. Or that he threw for 654 and ran for 227 last year. Or that he was in ESPN’s “Top Ten Plays” almost every time he played.

Interestingly enough, in last night’s “Monday Night Football” opener, the Denver Broncos’ #1 QB Kyle Orton went out and stunk it up. His stats aren’t too bad in the end, but if you watched the game – he was pretty pathetic. Most of his stats were padded by the final Broncos drive that ended in a score, where he finished 7/11 and threw for a TD. But he was a completely marginal QB; so much so that the fans were calling for Tim Tebow midway through the 3rd quarter. In fact – one could argue the Broncos lost in large part due to the ineffectiveness of Orton. I watched the game and thought one thing:

“Tim Tebow can’t possibly be worse than what I’m seeing.”

No, the Tebow narrative has played out and people (outside of Denver) totally buy into that crap. It doesn’t help that the new coach is inexplicably jerking him around…the players preferred a veteran, so I understand why Orton is starting (the same Kyle Orton who played so shaky last night the crowd was screaming for Tebow halfway through the 3rd quarter of last night’s Denver-Oakland game). But putting him 3rd on the depth chart behind Brady Quinn?? Please. I don’t know what’s up in Denver, but the rumor is Elway is behind these shenanigans. Which is silly and petty to me.

Tim Tebow watched from the sidelines while Kyle Orton stunk it up for the Broncos Monday Night.

I go by what I see. I’ve seen Tebow play, and when he played in the NFL, against NFL teams and defenses, he looked pretty damned good to me. When Cam got his chance to play, he broke records and played better than all-pros did in the same weekend. But I’m supposed to buy the narrative created for each player? Neither one can play, regardless of definitive evidence??

Rubbish. Understand – we live in a time where the sports “experts” are all trying to make their mark by trying to outdo each other with their strong opinions and personalities. Merril Hoge’s tirades against Tebow got him national press and drew people to ESPN to see what he’d say next. Skip Bayless has made a career out of bashing Lebron James, and now is a professional sports rabble-rouser. Jim Rome gained national fame for deliberately aggravating Jim Everett, and getting beat up by Everett as a result live on TV.

Learn to cut through the hype, lies and myths. Until they go out and prove themselves to be good, bad, or ugly (Cam Newton, Jake Delhomme or Jimmy Clausen), stop allowing yourselves to be sucked into buying the myths shoveled out to the public that quickly become unproven realities.