It’s Not Wrong to Do the Right Thing

Hadiya will be laid to rest Saturday

The news that First Lady Michelle Obama will be attending the funeral this Saturday of slain teenager Hadiya Pendleton is welcome news.   It’s the right thing to do and frankly, I don’t understand why some are criticizing the decision.

Where was the President and The First Lady before this?  What makes Hadiya’s death so special?  Because she performed at the inauguration a week before she was shot down?   Every gun death is a tragedy say those questioning why the White House cares so much now when they were so stonily silent before.

I understand why this is controversial to some, but I disagree agree with them.  I don’t want The First Lady or The President attending funerals for murdered kids for the next four years. It would be like attending funerals for every fallen soldier. They would have no time for anything else.

The First Lady is described as “heartbroken” over Hadiya’s death

This is a special case with a great deal of symbolic importance. In her own way, the First Lady and the Obama Administration is acknowledging all the fallen from urban violence and Black-on-Black crime. Hadiya’s case is particularly heart-rendering coming so soon after her having  paid respect to Obama at his second inauguration.   No, Hadiya is not “special,” but the circumstances are different.   The presence of Michelle Obama is an acknowledgment of that and proves the president is not indifferent to the suffering going on in our cities.

it simply isn’t possible for them to attend every funeral of every young person’s whose life was prematurely and violently ended without it being a logistical nightmare, eventually making their attendance a trite affair.  Can you imagine how much of a strain on law enforcement it would be to handle the security details each time the president or his wife attended?  The media would be all over it and who wants photographers snapping pictures while you’re trying to bury your dead? Never mind how it would affect the Obamas personally to in effect become “professional mourners.”

How long would it be before every family that lost a loved one serving in Afghanistan or somewhere else start wondering aloud, “My son died for this country, yet the Commander-in-Chief didn’t attend his funeral. Why?” That would open a Pandora’s Box of misery that would never be closed again.

I can’t believe people are so obsessed with polishing their Obama Bashing Badge and pushing their b.s. political agendas to demean the First Lady showing up to pay her respects to a dead Black teenage girl.

No, actually I CAN believe it. There’s always someone sitting comfy in a chair that knows how they could do a job better than the person who actually has to do it. It’s just really disgusting when it comes over the dead body of Hadiya Pendleton.

The critics and cynics don’t care about a mother’s grief

I am not in any way trivializing the deaths of Black people across the nation when I cite the cases of Hadiya Pendleton, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell or Amadou Diallo and more for special notice as I have for years. I am never numb or indifferent to the unnatural deaths of my people, but there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to mourn each individually.

Not for me and certainly not for The President of the United States either.

The critics should STFU.  A young woman is dead.  The president’s family said they were praying for Hadiya and tomorrow the First Lady will be present to commemorate her life.   There’s nothing wrong with that and those who accuse the Obamas of a “publicity stunt” or not showing enough concern for other murdered Black children are out there where the buses  don’t  run.

They need to  stay there because they are miserable excuses for human beings.  Shame on them for their cynical exploitation of a dead girl to score their meaningless political points.

What Could and What Will Never Be

So close, but too far.

So close, but too far.

Well, that was an unpleasant way to spend four hours on a Sunday.

Here’s what you need to understand about me.  I’m not the best of winners or the worst of losers. I congratulate the Baltimore Ravens and all their fans for winning the Super Bowl.  Despite the horrid beginning, the game ended on an exciting note.   I love my Niners and while the loss still stings, I’m proud they used that 34-minute blackout to pull their heads out of their butts and give the Ravens a game.

Not making it to the Super Bowl is hard.  Losing a Super Bowl is harder.   Prior to Sunday, the 49ers had never lost one, so you’ll just have to try and understand why I’m bumming big time over this.  Even after 18 years away from the Super Bowl, I have no previous frame of reference with the Niners losing this game.

When it was over,  I didn’t watch any post-game analysis.  Why should I?  I saw what happened.  I know football.  I didn’t need some ex-jock or coach telling me what I already knew.  The 49ers played like ass for the first 30 minutes, gave up a backbreaker of a kickoff return to start the third quarter and with a score of 28-6 generally played like a bunch of sick nuns.

Then boom! boom!  Out went the lights.   When they finally came back on the Niners woke up from whatever stupor they were in and mounted a fast and furious rally that was undermined by the lackluster performance of the disappointing defense, some curious offensive play calling and finally having dug themselves into a hole too deep to climb all the way out of.

"Yes, I AM mad, bro."

“Yes, I AM mad, bro.”

Before the confetti fell from the rafters, before the trophy was presented and before Ray Lewis started giving praises to the Lord, I bailed.   I bailed on everything from ESPN.  I didn’t watch Sportscenter.    I didn’t listen to Chris “Boomer” Berman do the replays.   I didn’t want to see Herman Edwards shucking and jiving or any of the other “experts” telling me what I already knew.

The next day I didn’t turn on the television.  Didn’t listen to the radio.  Stayed away from the sports websites.   Didn’t want to check Facebook for updates or Twitter for the tweets.   I had a headache most of the day and all I wanted was to be alone with my dark, dark thoughts.  Fortunately, it was a dreary, sunless day so at least Mother Nature was doing me a small favor.

Call it an overreaction if you want to.   That’s fair.  I really don’t care.   When you wait nearly two decades to get back to the Super Bowl and the end result is you’re the second-best team in the NFL it sucks.

Because you  aren’t the second best team in the NFL.  You’re just the last one to lose.

There can only be one.  And it's not you, Jim.

There can only be one. And it’s not you, Jim.

Break Up the 49ers!  (But Why?)

I’m a hardcore fan, but I’m not a fanatical fan.   Last year the 49ers fell one game short of the Super Bowl.   This year they fell one touchdown short of winning it.   Which if getting closer means anything, next year the Niners are a lock to be the ones hoisting the trophy, right?

Not if some of the faithful that make me look like a non-believer have their way.   After the game these guys were feeling raw and they were ready to start handing out bus passes and shipping players and coaches out of town.
Get rid of Colin Kapernick.  Keep Alex Smith.  Fire the offensive coordinator and the defensive coordinator.   Patrick Willis didn’t make any plays.  Everyone on the defense stinks.  Jim Harbaugh got out coached by his big brother.  David Akers couldn’t kick a can down the street (okay I agree on that last one).

Let’s all calm down here.  Losing our heads because we lost the Super Bowl is understandable, but let’s not be rash and start applying drastic solutions to frustrating situations.

You don’t burn down your house because of a broken window. Release Willis and 31 teams will fight over the right to sign him.   Jim may be more emotional than John and you can push his buttons pretty easily, but what he’s done in two seasons, even the Genius himself, Bill Walsh, can’t match and he was a pretty good coach.

What you do is go out a get a pass rusher. Justin Smith and Ray McDonald are stout against the run, but ordinary against the pass. If you replace anyone in the linebacker corps, it’s Ahmad Brooks, not NaVorro Bowman, not Aldon Smith and DEFINITELY not Patrick Willis. I’d ship Brooks, Sopoaga, Culliver and probably Carlos Rogers out of town.

Kapernick needs a young speedster to pair with Crabtree. Moss can’t get it done anymore. Williams can’t stay healthy and Jenkins is clueless. Manningham can do what Moss does, but he’s no burner.   Find Colin a rocket on two feet and watch what happens when the Niners have a receiver who gives defensive coordinators a reason to stay up late nights.

If Cleveland or Kansas City are really the likely destinations for Alex Smith, then the Niners have to get either a good draft pick (and I don’t mean a fourth-rounder) or some young talent in return. Letting him walk for nothing should be out of the question. Ever since New England torched the secondary it should be apparent that is the weakness of the defense. That, and no consistent pass rush. Aldon Smith may be a star one day, but a star doesn’t disappear for four or five consecutive games.

Oh, and David Akers is history. Agreed?

The officials didn’t cost the Niners the game.  They contributed, but you can’t spot any NFL team 28 points before you score your first touchdown and not have contributed mightily to your own problems.  This was a loss they earned.

Now available.  In Zambia and Romania.

Now available. In Zambia and Romania.

Super Bowl Swag Giveaway

Ever wonder what happens to all those “Super Bowl champions” hats, t-shirts and other gear for the team that loses?  Well, if you’re in the market for some “San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl 47 Champs” swag, you’re going to have to travel to somewhere in the world where the NFL is unheard of according to ESPN.com.

Niners Super Bowl championship merchandise, mostly T-shirts and sweatshirts, that were made in advance and bought by retailers are in the process of being donated to Worldvision, a Christian humanitarian organization that has worked to aid impoverished nations.

Once the merchandise is received, Worldvision officials will sort the gear by size, gender and season and then determine which items will go to which countries.

Five countries that will definitely receive 49ers items are Zambia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Armenia and Romania, according to Jeff Fields, corporate relations director for Worldvision.

“The people really light up when they see that they have a chance to wear a new T-shirt,” Fields said.

Fields said that it’s not likely that anyone who gets the items will have any idea what is wrong with them.

“We’re going to some really remote parts of the world,” Fields said. “They don’t have the Internet. They don’t know about the 49ers or about American football.”

I know the feeling.  The day after the Super Bowl I didn’t want to know about the 49ers or about American football either.

The Biggest Loser

Real men wear pink, right Chris?

The Niners Nation is suffering, but not nearly as much as reserve cornerback and notorious homophobe Chris Culliver who got embarrassed by being undressed on national television by Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin and set defensive football back a decade by his atrocious non-tacking of Jacoby Jones on his touchdown catch.    Who had a worse day than that brother?

Chris, you may not believe this right about now, but trust me.   It gets better.    YOU, on the other hand,  need to get a LOT better before you step on a football field again.   First,  take a class or something on diversity and learning how to be sensitive toward gays.   I assure you, Mr. Culliver, at some point in your undistinguished football career;  whether it was in the NFL, college, high school or Pop Warner, you have played with a gay teammate.  You may have hung out,  told him anti-gay jokes and even passed him the soap in the shower.   You don’t know for certain, but on the off chance  that you have,  maybe you could stop running your mouth and stop proving every negative stereotype of the dumb jock, you bleeping idiot.

Anyway,  the 49ers football season  is over.   It was like The Dark Knight Rises: great beginning, lagged in the middle, picked up in spots and the ending was lousy.

"I am sorry I am stupid.'

“I am sorry I am stupid.’

A Gold Rush in the Big Easy

The Quest is nearly over.

When you’ve waited nearly two decades between Super Bowl appearances, my first instinct is just to be happy the San Francisco 49ers have the opportunity to play for the championship of professional football.

After happiness passes, what’s left is nervousness.   Fans get too worked up and involved in the fortunes of their favorite sports franchise.  It leads to alcoholism, needless anxiety, panic attacks and early baldness.

I think the 49ers will win, but I can’t say complete certainty.   That’s what an 18-year absence from the Super Bowl does for your confidence.  It makes you run scared.

Everybody’s got a guess.  The experts can go down a list of every player on both the 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens and tell you with total confidence this will be the contributing factor that tilts victory to one side or the other.  They’ve crunched the numbers.  They’ve watched the tape.  They’ve consulted with the wisest of wise men.

But all they’re doing is giving their best guess.   They know all the reasons why the Niners or the Ravens will win.   What they don’t know is who will.

My nature is to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.    The Niners have a great defense, playmakers on both sides of the ball and in Jim Harbaugh and Colin Kaepernick I trust.   But everything the 49ers have, the Ravens have too including a Harbaugh of their own.   It’s hard to have any swagger when each team has it own share of Unmovable Objects and Irresistible Forces.

Make way for a new Lord of the Rings?

There have been some signs of the Niners not handling the media attention well.   Reserve cornerback Chris Culliver’s anti-gay remarks made him look dumb and revealed how poorly the 49ers front office prepped the players to deal with the extra attention.   The former Howard Stern sidekick Artie Lange is no journalist and he baited Culliver with a leading question, but Culliver put his own feet in his mouth and swallowed.

There’s no undue pressure on either team.  This is the the second  Super Bowl appearance for the Ravens and the sixth for the Niners, but that doesn’t mean there’s no expectations for the 49ers.   They’re challenging the Pittsburgh Steelers for a sixth ring, but unlike the Steelers, the Niners have a perfect record:  They’ve won every Super Bowl they’ve been.

That’s where the heavy hand of history falls squarely on the shoulders of the 49ers.

In the big picture of the carnival that is Super Bowl week, the Culliver controversy isn’t all that big of a deal.  He isn’t going to be star of the game.   More likely it will be someone named Lewis, Willis, Flacco, Rice, Crabtree or Gore (and if you don’t know who those guys are, you’re better off watching The Puppy Bowl or the Lingerie Bowl).

I will tune in at 6:30 ready for three or four hours of hype, commercials, celebrities, and oh yeah, a football game.  I expect big hits, edge of the seat excitement, good company and hopefully—HOPEFULLY, a sixth ring for San Francisco.

And I’ll hope most of all it doesn’t come down to a last second field goal from David Akers because the only thing I’ve been able to depend on Akers’ kicking is that I can’t depend on it.

Since Super Bowl 47 is taking place in New Orleans:  Laissez les bons temps rouler, Geaux Niners.