The Evidence of Things Now Seen.

There is no reason for this. No justification. No excuse. No forgiving.

Regarding the NFL’s suspending (or more precisely extending) Baltimore Ravens star running back Ray Rice two-game suspension to an “indefinite” one I have two questions.

Is anyone so gullible to really believe the NFL never saw the video of Rice punching out his fiancée before TMZ released the video to the world?

If so, could I interest you in some oceanfront property in the desert?

This is a billion dollar business that suspends a player for the entire season for smoking marijuana while giving another TWO GAMES for knocking out and dragging an unconscious woman off of an elevator and dumping her on the floor like a sack of potatoes.

This is a league that misled, deceived and lied to the players of the damage concussions were doing to them and then tried to nickel-and-dime them in a lawsuit with a settlement so chintzy even a federal judge threw a penalty flag on it.

The NFL doesn’t give a damn about women. Why would they? There are active players in the league whom have killed people, who have been convicted of drunk driving, gang bangers, drug addicts and other law breakers and given them chance after chance to play in the league. If Aaron Hernandez wasn’t behind bars under suspicion of murdering at least two people, he’d probably still be catching passes from Tom Brady on Sunday afternoons.  Conduct a poll of the average fan and they’re probably less concerned about domestic abuse than what Rice’s suspension means to their fantasy football team.

Welp, I guess I got more time to work on being the new Mike Tyson…”

To be a fan of NFL football means you gotta take a lot of bad with the good and I should know. I’m a San Francisco 49ers fan.

What’s the lesson here? Beat a woman’s ass and you get a couple of weeks off. Fail a drug test and you’re done for the year. Some lesson.

Roger Goodell‘s much ballyhooed new policy cracking down on woman beating ballers only came to pass after the NFL caught hell from the public and press for the sloppy wet kiss Rice received. The league doesn’t care what the players do to their wives, girlfriends and significant others as long as it doesn’t blowback on their precious, carefully calculated image.

Goodell and the Baltimore Ravens are enablers of violence against women. Which is kind of funny when you consider how in Goodell’s NFL the big killshot hard hit has nearly been flagged, penalized, regulated and legislated out of existence.

The NFL hasn’t gotten around to Atlantic City elevators.  I knew this shoe was going to drop. If anyone can go to You Tube and watch video of Jay-Z and his sister-in-law duking it out on a lift, who’s gonna believe the most powerful and wealthiest professional sports league in America can’t get their hands on what happened to Janay Parker before Ray Rice dumped her on the floor of an Atlantic City hotel?

Commissioner Clueless.

Goodell, the Ravens and Rice all lied, all deceived,  until it all blew up in their faces.    Had this video not emerged, Rice would be two weeks away from practicing and playing against the Browns.    Now he’s got a lot of free time to kill and Janay  should be worried about what he’ll do with all that idle time on his hands.

When the shitstorm of criticism blew up in his face,  Goodell weakly admitted he “didn’t get it right” with Rice’s wrist slap.  Goodell is nothing but consistent:  He’s still not getting it right.

The NFL doesn’t advocate domestic abuse.   But it doesn’t take it seriously either.

 

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Is Michael Sam a Hero or a Hustler?

Michael Sam is in a spotlight he put on himself.

In the entire history of the NFL, there has never been a seventh round draft pick quite like Michael Sam.  His story is unique.  He inspires and he polarizes.   On his chiseled physique rests the hopes, dreams and aspirations of an untold number of LGBT Americans who may care nothing about pro football, but are pulling for the first openly gay player to make a team’s roster.

But the feel-good aspect of Sam’s story was sidetracked by the revelation that a reality TV program for the Oprah Winfrey Network was in the works.   NFL officials were aware of this before Sam was drafted in the last round by the St. Louis Rams, but none of the teams were told.   Would it have lessened Sam’s chances of being selected?   Without a doubt.

As a rookie, Sam stands to make a minimum salary of $420,000.  Excluded is a signing bonus and other contract bonuses negotiated between the player and club.   Sam’s contract can’t be renegotiated until after three years and he would not receive any salary until the regular season starts.  If Sam doesn’t make the Rams roster, he gets nothing but the bonus money.

If Sam were to play for the three years of the contract, his minimum salary would to $495,000 in the second year and $570,000 in the third.

Michael Sam (and friend) get the good news.

“Michael is focused on football and making the St. Louis Rams team,” said Howard Bragman, Sam’s publicist and one of the show’s producers. “We’re going to work with the Rams organization to make sure the show doesn’t interfere with his primary goal.”

Bragman didn’t say how much Sam stands to make from the show, but you can bet it’s more than his rookie salary.

The pay range from the No. 1 pick to the last at No. 256 is more than $22 million.   Compared to Sam,  Jadeveon Clowney, the top overall selection of the Houston Texans will sign a $22 million contract, including a guaranteed $14 million signing bonus.   That last part is crucial because unlike the NBA or MLB, contracts are not guaranteed in the NFL.  If Sam bombs out at the first practice, that’s it.

Certainly Oprah Winfrey, the NFL and to a lesser extent, the Rams, are hopeful that isn’t the case and the Michael Sam shows ends before it barely gets started.   But there are no guarantees Sam will be on the team’s opening day roster.   As a borderline player who was not highly coveted despite his SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors, Sam is unlikely to find many other teams to latch on if the Rams cut him loose.

It is understandable why Sam would agree to the making of a reality show on his journey to the NFL.   Unless he make it in the league, his star will never shine brighter and burn hotter than it does now.   The time to maximize the Michael Sam Brand is now when the interest is there as well as the cameras and commercial endorsements.

What this does is shoot a hole in Sam’s assertions he wants to be known as just a football player and not any sort of celebrity.   Let’s be honest here.  If Sam wasn’t a gay man, there would be no story here.  He’d be just another guy taken in the last round of the NFL Draft trying to impress his coaches by winning a roster spot.

Making money while you’re trying to make a football team isn’t a bad thing, but there’s no way Sam can honestly claim he only wants to be regarded as just another guy.  He’s not.  He’s a celebrity and whether he makes the team there will be books, talk shows, and a ton more deals coming his way.

Sam’s representatives are making all the typical sounds of how this won’t become a distraction, but it already is.   Nothing about Sam leads me to believe he is stupid or naive and he’d have to be both not to know how this would look to the casual football fan who doesn’t care if Sam is gay, doesn’t mind if he kisses his boyfriend on camera, and only expects him to make plays and be about the team, not himself.

There is a strong conservative streak in the NFL.   When a straight player like Chris Kluwe made too much noise about gay rights, it was suggested by the front office that he should pipe down and when he didn’t, Kluwe was out of a job and out of the league.   If Sam becomes the go-to guy for what the gay athletes position is, it’s not going to be well-received in the locker room in St. Louis or NFL headquarters in New York.

While Sam deserved a shot and thought he should have been drafted higher, he pretty much went where he was supposed to go. Sam is a classic “tweener.” Not big enough to play on the line and not fast or intuitive enough to play linebacker. Even if he hadn’t been drafted there are reports he would have received invitations as an undrafted free agent from no less than four teams.

What Sam has said he wanted most was exactly what he got. He wanted to be treated like just another football player and nothing special.   It seems that wasn’t true now and while he’s still worth pulling for, his status as an underdog has given way to that of a savvy hustler, and that’s a little disappointing.   The burden is on him to prove he’s not just hype, but a change agent on the football field, not reality TV.

Michael Sam could be another Jackie Robinson, but if he doesn’t watch it he could end up as the next Tim Tebow.

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Aldon Smith: Troubled Man

Smith is a young man blessed with considerable athletic ability and not a bit of good sense.

I don’t really want to talk about football in April though it was cold enough yesterday to play football. I don’t want to, but as a San Francisco 49ers fan it’s hard not to talk about football in April even though the team stopped playing in January. It’s what they’ve been doing off the field since then that has made for the worst off-season I can ever recall for the Niners.

Since the Seattle Seahawks sent the Niners in the NFC Championship for the right to slap the crap out of the hapless Denver Broncos, the 49ers have been headlines news in sports pages from California to Columbus and for all the wrong reasons.   The head coach was supposedly leaving to take over the Cleveland Browns.   Then the coach was staying to continue working with a general manager he barely spoke to.  Then the starting center was busted for drunk driving.  Then, Chris Culliver,  a cornerback who made an ass of himself during last year’s Super Bowl by making homophobic comments followed that up by getting injured and missing all of the 2013 season.   He started this year by getting involved in a hit-and-run and faces criminal charges.  Then Colin Kapernick, who was hoping for a reworked contract, was named in an investigation about a woman who says she was drugged and left naked in a hotel room and woke up to find herself in a hospital.   No charges have yet been filed against Kapernick and wide receiver Quiton Patton.

Then Aldon Smith, a dominant force on Sundays and a train wreck every other day tested the sense of humor of TSA agents at Los Angeles Airport when he claimed he had a bomb.   He didn’t, but those humorless TSA agents arrested him anyway as the 49ers Off-season from Hell continues.

Once is an Accident, Twice is a Coincidence, Three Times is a Pattern. Then there’s All-Pro linebacker’s Aldon Smith‘s crime spree where screwing up three times isn’t a pattern. It’s Friday.

The 49ers have to decide by May 3 whether to pick up the option year of Smith’s contract to avoid him walking away as a free agent in 2015. Or being driven away to prison. Smith would see his pay raised from $3 million to cashing checks worth $9.75 million if the team chooses to take the plunge. They shouldn’t. Smith is too volatile, too erratic, too undependable and too prone to trouble.

Check the record.

Four arrests including two for drunk driving. Gun possession charges including an assault weapon, bomb threats. These are not the acts of someone who is simply high-spirited.

“Man, thinkin’ is hard!”

Smith isn’t the most troubled player the 49ers have ever had. Besides Haley, there was Lawrence Phillips and of course, O.J. Simpson, though he hadn’t killed anybody when he was wearing the crimson and gold. At least nobody we know of.

The old NFL cliché about injuries is, “You can’t make plays from the locker room.” You can’t make plays from the courtroom either and that’s where Smith will be spending a lot of  time.   The legendary Bill Walsh was one of the least sentimental coaches in football history. Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Roger Craig, Tom Rathman, and Jerry Rice were all-stars for the 49ers and Walsh and his successor, George Seifert sent every one of them out-of-town. Walsh’s philosophy was cold, but pragmatic: “Better to get rid of ’em a year too soon than a year too late.”

Aldon Smith is an unquestionable talent and losing him would hurt the 49ers in the short run, but he is replaceable. Every player in the NFL is.

The Niners have been here before with a player who had All-Pro talent and an all-time head case. That was Charles Haley, another superfreaky talented pass rusher who was a terror on the field and just terrible off it.

He simply wore out his welcome in San Francisco with several well-publicized outbursts even though he was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1991.

In one notable episode, he got so upset after a 1991 loss to the Los Angeles Raiders that the 49ers called on his former teammate, Ronnie Lott, to come out of the Raiders locker room to calm him down.

Coach George Seifert of the 49ers has said that Haley’s departure “helped team chemistry.”

Hall of Famer Bill Walsh never coached Aldon Smith, but it’s hard to think he would have for very long.

“You never knew when he was going to go off,” 49ers running back Dexter Carter said. “Other guys would kid around and tease, but Charles was different. He was meaner. I didn’t like the guy, and I told him that to his face. And believe me, I’m not alone.”

Haley later learned he was bipolar. Maybe Smith should give him a call and chat?

I’ve heard on sports radio Smith needs help, not condemnation. If Indianapolis Colts Robert Irsay has alcohol issues, it’s already known Smith does after he voluntarily checking into a rehab center with 49ers owner Jeb York standing by his side in the locker room and the approval of Goodell. Neither man will be as accommodating to the troubled linebacker from here on out.

We’ve passed the point of diminishing returns on this dude. The 49ers have become the new Raiders of the NFL with all the criminality and stupidity and Smith is Public Enemy #1. Even if he somehow holds on to his place on this team (and by now it should be by the thinnest of threads), how long is the suspension going to be coming from Roger Goodell‘s office? The commissioner was probably already ticked off by the poor box office performance of Draft Day and when he heard what spectacularly stupid thing Smith had done this time he had to thinking, “Ge’ez, not THIS guy again?”

Giving Smith four games off without pay would be a gift, but Goodell could double the punishment and it still might not get through to Smith how tenuous his future employment in the NFL is. Maybe half or all of a season without football would get through to him. But nothing has before so why should believe it will now?

I hate the idea of Aldon Smith in a Seattle Seahawk uniform terrorizing the 49ers two or more times a season, but I’m beginning to hate the idea of Aldon Smith in a 49ers uniform at all.

Aldon_Smith

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Ganging Up On DeSean Jackson

 

DeSean_Jackson_gang

Wow. He’s holding his fingers in a way I never have. Well, that settles it. DeSean Jackson MUST be a thug!

 

The NFL is a criminal league.    Name your favorite teams and there are current or former drunk drivers, drug addicts, wife beaters, thieves, thugs, alcoholics, steroid gobblers, perverts and more than a few murderers.   But nothing scares a pro team’s general manager than the suggestion a player’s truest affiliation is a gang affiliation.

After the Aaron Hernandez scandal, the NFL is hypersensitive to even the most threadbare of connections between a baller and gang-bangers.    That paranoia that the NFL shield can be tainted by gangs leads to some strange actions and nothing was stranger than the Philadelphia Eagles decision to cut their All-Pro wide receiver, DeSean Jackson for what seemed to be his ties to the Crips.    After his release Jackson issued a denial of the rumors, but the Eagles loss will likely turn out to be a gain for another less easily intimidated team.

Jackson has been the best wide receiver on the Eagles since they took him in the draft six years ago. He’s also “high maintenance” as many wide receivers in the NFL. Call it “Terrell Owens Disease.” He pouts. He brags. He disrupts. He pisses people off. But he can do a lot of great things on the football field which is why the Eagles were paying him $10 million a season.

Jackson apparently knows someone in a gang who was accused, indicted, tried and acquitted for a murder. Okay, a lot of us know someone with a sketchy past. Jackson has tats and he’s thrown up his hand in a way some folks think might be a gang sign. Some say it’s not.

If throwing what someone thinks is a gang sign makes you a gang banger does sitting in a garage make you a car?

He wasn’t shooting anyone and he wasn’t breaking the law. All I see is a young Black man doing things I see a lot of young Black men doing and they aren’t shooting anyone or breaking any laws either.   Young Black men with tats and pants that hang low and surly attitudes are not America’s favorite sort of Colored People.

Either way Jackson has not been arrested or convicted for anything more serious than rolling in a car with the windows too darkly tinted. Last season someone jacked his crib while he was at a game and stole guns, cash and bling. Suspicious maybe, but nobody has proof it has anything gang-related to it. DeSean Jackson may be a diva, but there is NO proof as the LAPD themselves have stated that he is in a gang or has any association with any criminal acts by gangs.

But simply mentioning the word “gang” is enough for the predominantly White NFL coaches, general managers, owners and officials to clutch the pearls and crap their pants. That is what seems to have happened here and the Eagles dropped Jackson like he was radioactive, but not before strongly hinting it was his associations with dicey characters that led to his abrupt exit just days after the head coach said everything was cool.

English: Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeS...

English: Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson posing for a picture after the game against the Seattle Seahawks on November 2, 2008 at Qwest Field. The Eagles defeated the Seahawks 26-7. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nick Foles, who unseated Michael Vick as the starting QB, had a pretty good season because he had Jackson to draw fire from the secondary and slow the pass rush. Who’s gonna do that now? Not Riley “I’ll Fight Every Nigger Here” Cooper, that’s for sure.

But Cooper is a Kelly guy and Jackson is not.

From a Football Sense 101 perspective it defies logic. You don’t give away your best offensive weapon for nothing. You don’t keep one guy in Riley Cooper who done almost nothing in the pros and throw away another who will step into a starting role on nearly any of 31 other teams.

This was a spectacularly STUPID move by the Eagles that should tick off their fans and will likely come back to bite them in the butt.   Maybe the Eagles simply decided they didn’t want to deal with a petulant and moody malcontent who demands the ball and is unhappy when he doesn’t see it enough.   Maybe they didn’t want to pay him $10 million a season to shag overthrown long bombs from Foles.    Nobody knows exactly why Kelly and the Eagles brain trust thought they would be a better team without Jackson than they were with him.

What is obvious is the team tried to slime their best player and make Jackson radioactive to scare away potential suitors for his talents.   The whisper campaign by the Eagles and the sports media to slime Jackson was as gutless as it was transparent.    I never was a fan of Jackson though I admired his game without admiring him.   Now I’d love to see him stay in the NFC East and get two chances every season to make the Eagles look like fools

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Jonathan Martin’s Second Chance Comes in San Francisco

The next chapter in Jonathan Martin’s NFL career will take place in San Francisco after the 49ers traded a draft pick to the Miami Dolphins to reunite Martin with his college coach.

There are 32 teams in the NFL, but not every organization and certainly not every locker room are created equal. If Jonathan Martin can play (and making plays is how you get and keep a job in the NFL) then all this other crap will go away and he will be able to pick up the pieces of what was a once-promising career.

Will Martin hear his share of trash talk and possibly a few cheap shots when he’s on the field? You can bet on it because football is as much a mental as a physical game and if an opponent can bait the guy on the other side into making a mistake, they will do their best to get into Martin’s head. The meek will not inherit the earth or thrive in the brutally bottom-line world of pro football.

If Martin is mentally and emotionally weak, he won’t make it past the 49ers training camp and reasonably he shouldn’t. While he was the victim of a vicious hazing at the grubby hands of Richie Incognito and other Miami Dolphins players, Martin will still have to show he can take the punishment that will certainly be dished out at him.

There’s nowhere to hide on a football field and while landing in San Francisco with Jim Harbaugh, his old college coach, may be the optimum best-case scenario for Jonathan Martin, it’s still largely on him to show he belongs.   If Harbaugh can’t rekindle Martin’s diminished competitive fires, nobody can.

Coach Harbaugh in a calm and reflective moment. (photo credit: Getty Images)

Sorry if that seems harsh, but what’s harsh is often also true.  Martin seems like a thoughtful young man who simply happened to get caught up in a bully’s brutal hazing but found no support from an unconcerned Dolphin coaching staff and front office.

“Because of my relationship recruiting Jonathan, and coached Jonathan for three years at Stanford, I’m confident he will be committed to the mission and the organization, and very excited about it,” Harbaugh said. “I believe everybody deserves an Etch-A-Sketch opportunity and an opportunity to start a new chapter.”

As a 49ers fan, nobody wants Martin to succeed more than I do, but nobody’s going to hand him a spot on the roster. He’s going to have to go out and earn it.

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The Hypocrisy of the NFL’s N-Word Ban

“Don’t hurt me N-words.”

In yet another clumsily misguided attempt to exercise control over the players, the NFL is considering making the saying the slur, “nigger” on the field punishable by a 15-yard penalty.  Well, isn’t that sweet?   A league run by a pompous ass of a commissioner who cashed $44 million in checks last year given to him by 32 billionaires and millionaires and not a dark face among any of them are going to impose their morality upon the 70 percent Black young urban men who make up their teams.

The NFL is in full reactionary mode in the aftermath of the investigation into the sordid and ugly racial harassment suffered by Jonathan Martin by the crude Richie Incognito and other Miami Dolphins players.   Trying to impose a ban on a troublesome word won’t solve the problem of bullying in the locker room, but Roger Goodell isn’t one of the world’s most thoughtful CEO’s.   His approach is that of a hammer with nails all around him.

So if I’m a NFL player and I can’t say “nigger” but I can say “REDSKINS! REDSKINS! REDSKINS!”  that’s all good with Goodell?   Smells like a double standard to me.

“Wassup, my N-words?”

ESPN’s  Outside the Lines recently discussed the usage of “nigger” in popular sports and how the word is considered radically differently by generations with some seeing it as nothing but a vile and vicious insult while a younger generation that grew up dancing to it in rap music and hip-hop culture embrace it as a term of affection.

I didn’t get a lot out of the conversation except being disappointed in Michael Wilbon, a well-respected sports journalist,  shrugging off the slur as something he’s okay with because he uses the word when he’s kickin’ it  with the fellas.   The rationalization that it’s time to fight if a White guy asks, “Are you my nigga?”  but it’s all good when a Black guy does it is garbage.

There is no racial slur equal to being called a “nigger.” That is always the ultimate trump card a White person can throw on the table to insult a Black person. What’s the equivalent retort? White trash? Cracker? Republican?

Why someone thinks it is empowering to refer to themselves or others by a word that has always been to cast doubt on the very humanity of Blacks is a bafflement to me. I’m sure there’s an explanation of how this works, but I’ve never heard a good one.

I neither have nor want friends that feel comfortable in calling me a nigger and misspelling it as “nigga” is bullshit that doesn’t fly with me either.  Still, you can’t regulate and legislate “nigger” out of existence.   The NAACP staged a mock burial of the epithet several years ago, but that failed to kill it off.   How could it?  Only time, education and a greater sophistication of how unnecessary and stigmatizing it is to keep pumping life into what should be a dead word will drive the stake through its rancid heart.

Chris Murray, the Philadelphia-based sports journalist added his disdain for using “nigger” as a term among friends in his Facebook news feed with some in agreement and a few in vehement disagreement with one guy making a point of letting everyone know it too.

 Everybody in this thread is a nigger. I said it!!!

Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word

Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I made a common mistake.  I attempted to being reasonable with an unreasonable man.  I said, “Please brother, speak FOR yourself ABOUT yourself. If you want to wear that tag, wear if for yourself, but don’t try to hang it around my neck.”

“I don’t know any niggers, don’t hang with any niggers and don’t call anyone a nigger.”

Jeff Winbush oh yea…you a nigger too. And you know quite a few.

I’m a proud nigga. Gonna be one until I die. And Jeff Winbush do your homework before you try to insult me. Nigga!!!!

No hood talk, not tryin to be tuff. Just truth. Ya know, it ain’t bad bein a nigga. I’m just not a white mans nigger! Get the.point!

Nigga nigga nigga nigga.

Trying to insult someone you don’t know with an ignorant word is really kind of ignorant. It’s a strong indicator you have to resort to dumb words because you don’t know enough smart ones.  I’m a proud Black man and nobody’s nigger or “nigga” which is just a cowardly way of trying to remix a vile and foolish word.

You can’t polish a turd. Trying to reclaim “nigger” as a term of endearment is a fool’s errand and an epic FAIL.  You’re saying “we” never had a problem with the word when you mean “I” never had a problem with the word.

I DO have a problem with the word and the word has gone away from my vocabulary. I don’t associate myself with an ignorant word that has only been used to degrade and diminish the humanity of Black people.

For the sake of accuracy, there’s no such thing as a “nigga.”  That’s a hip bastardization of a troublesome word.   Either you believe in the slur or you don’t.  All in or all out.  I’m out.

The NFL should be too.  Out of trying to be the P.C. police imposing the ethical standards of White owners on Black players.   They should trust in the ability of the players themselves to police their own language and each other.   If the NFL really finds the N-word so offensive they should stop treating the players like that’s what they are.

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The Brave One

michael-sam-brandon wade_AP

Michael Sam (photo: Brandon Wade/AP)

So we’ve got an openly gay man that wants to play in the NFL?  And he’s good enough to deserve a shot?  What’s the problem?

Michael Sam came out publicly on Sunday, likely setting himself to become the first openly gay player in the National Football League. And then a group of league executives reminded everyone why such an announcement probably didn’t happen sooner.

Speaking anonymously to Sports Illustrated, the executives said that the All-American defensive end from Missouri probably hurt his draft stock with his announcement.

“I don’t think football is ready for [an openly gay player] just yet,” an NFL player personnel assistant told SI. “In the coming decade or two, it’s going to be acceptable, but at this point in time it’s still a man’s-man game. To call somebody a [gay slur] is still so commonplace. It’d chemically imbalance an NFL locker room and meeting room.”

One longtime NFL scout said there’s “no question” the announcement will make teams less apt to select Sam in April’s draft.

An assistant personnel director said it will take “one confident general manager or head coach” with firm job security to take Sam.

Or at least a general manager or coach confident enough to go on record and declare, “I don’t care if he’s gay.  I care if he can help us win!”

I can’t remember the name of the player but a few seasons ago there was a guy the Tennessee Titans drafted who was supposedly “too cerebral” for the NFL.   This is a league that drafts guys with criminal records, “off the field” issues, disciplinary problems and drug dependencies.  This is a league that has guys who have committed crimes including drug dealing, gang affiliations, DUI’s, and a couple of murder raps (Aaron Hernandez, Rae Carruth, Jovan Belcher, O.J. Simpson, Ray Lewis(?).

Open the door, NFL or I'll kick it in."

Open the door, NFL or I’ll kick it in.”

The NFL makes all the right noises about being diverse and inclusive, but in all the ways that counts it’s no different from the days when Reggie White was saying he never played with a gay teammate.  Which of course is a crock.  White always played with gay players.  He just didn’t know they were gay and for Sam there is still a lot of  White’s homophobic ignorance in the NFL.

But this is no longer White’s NFL and in this case that is a good thing.

Maybe because of his size, Sam will have to play as a linebacker instead of a defensive end, but he’s got the credentials that say he should be able to play on Sundays as well as he did on Saturdays.

Sam never hid his sexual orientation at Missouri and from what is being reported, he went public with it before someone else did.  Let’s be real here.  College and pro football is like ham and eggs.   There are coaches in college whom are friends with coaches in the pros and they talk.   Does anyone really think they don’t talk about the players on their teams who might be gay or are?

There will be proclamations of how wonderful this is for gay rights and how far we’ve come as a country and my, look how progressive and enlightened we are!  Which is why in 2014 an openly gay football player is the lead story on programs that don’t do football stories, right?   Let us not be naive.  Homophobia and gay-baiting/bashing won’t be ended in a NFL team’s locker room anymore than it has in Vladimir Putin’s Olympic games.

Sure Michael Sam will be called names and subject to gay-baiting.  So what?  What rookie isn’t given a hard time? What Sam will go through will be a bit different sort of hassle.  As long as he makes plays on the open field that will matter far more than what he does behind closed doors.

I don’t concern myself with the sex lives of grown-ups as long as its only with grown-ups in their sex lives.   If Joe Montana and Jerry Rice turned out to be secret lovers on the down-low creep it wouldn’t lessen one bit the joy I received from all those victories they racked up.

We will see who’s brave enough to get past the ignorance on Draft Day.  The NFL is on the clock.

It will be a great day when the NFL is troubled less by players who kiss men than players who have killed men.

Coming to sack a QB near you next season?

Coming to sack a QB near you next season?

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The Grammys, Pro Bowl and Super Bowl Week Are All Good Reasons to Read a Book.

Forget it kid. She’s WAY too old for you.

Sunday night.   It’s The Grammy Awards vs.the NFL Pro Bowl. Decisions, decisions…what should I not watch first?  It’s a movie night!  The Grammys vs. The Pro Bowl: Great Moments in Counter-Programming.

1.  I had more important things to do than to watch a show celebrating music I haven’t listened to made by “artists” I don’t care about.  Stuff like peeling a potato or clipping my toenails or something. I’m taking the Public Enemy stance on the Grammys: “Who gives a fuck about a goddamn Grammy?”

2.  Still trying to figure out why such an utterly ordinary song like “Royals” gets all this slobbery love for Lorde. Back in the day she would have been a one-hit wonder on Casey Kasem‘s America’s Top 40.

3.  For pure superficiality, pomp without circumstance and puerile insignificance, it’s hard to trump the Grammys, or as I prefer to call them, the awards show for the group sitting at the little kids table.

4.  But the NFL’s Pro Bowl (a.k.a. “Thanks for choosing me, but I’d rather stay home and watch The Grammy Awards than play in this bullshit game) comes close.   Roger Goodell has threatened to end this cluster fuck and the only questions are why not and who cares?   The worst part of the NFL is the pre-season where the fans are charged full-price tickets for games that don’t count and have no meaning beyond watching a starting player lost for the year with a blown-out MCL.    The Pro Bowl doesn’t count and what makes pro football great is every game counts.   This isn’t like the NBA or baseball where if you lose four or five games in a row it’s called a bad week.   Lose five games in a row in the NFL and your team will be looking for another coach soon.

5.  Media Day:  The biggest bag of bullshit in the whole bullshit week that is the run up to 6:25 pm on Super Bowl Sunday.  A herd of reporters sticking cameras and microphones in front of a bunch of guys who either have nothing to say or can only speak in jockspeak (It’s gonna be a tough game.  We respect those guys.  We have to play our game.  It’s gonna be a war, blah, blah and more blah).

Then you get someone like Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch who doesn’t want to play nice with others.

This is what I want to see repeated about a dozen times Sunday night.

The media-adverse Lynch only “spoke” to the press for six minutes on Media Day and dropped a “shit” on the NFL Network while speaking to Deion Sanders (well, that’s appropriate.  Neon Deion and the NFL Network is shit).   Oh golly, oh gee, oh gosh!  My Super Bowl viewing experience has been ruined by Marshawn blowing off the media.  Whatever shall I do?

Yawn.  Who cares a lot?  Breathes there a single, solitary soul that has ever found the Super Bowl’s Media Day to be anything but more hype of an already over-hyped game?   I’m sure there must be a reason I should care, but I can’t think of what that reason could be.

6.   On ESPN the big game is a possible NBA Finals preview between the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder.   Pass.  There are few things I care less about than the NBA until the playoffs when the players awake from their stupor and get interested.   CBS is striking back with the Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials.  Seriously?  An hour of 48 years worth of commercials? There must be a book somewhere I haven’t read.  Or need to re-read.

7.   Am I bitter that the 49ers aren’t in the Super Bowl?  Does their absence lessen my interest?  Would I be more into Super Bowl week if Jim Harbaugh was preparing for the game by practicing how he would meltdown on the sidelines at a perceived bad call?  Yes, yes, and yes.   Am I bad loser?  Yes, but I’m a worse winner.

8.   Oh, the President gave his State of the Union speech Tuesday night.   The State of the Union is there ain’t a damn thing getting done if the Republicans have their way and so far they’re having their way.

9.    I guess should make a Super Bowl prediction.   I predict a cold and boring game.  I predict Bruno Mars will be short.   I predict the fans of Bruno Mars will wonder who the hell The Red Hot Chili Peppers are.    I don’t even know why The Red Hot Chili Peppers are playing during the halftime show.  They’re old and when they were young, they still weren’t all that good.

10.   Broncos 31  Seawhores 20.   But I don’t give a damn if it happens the other way around.  It’s just another game.

Payton is pretty fast for a slow old White guy.

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