Those Whom Speak the Truth Will Suffer For It.

Eric Holder,  President Obama’s first attorney general,  had only been on the job for a month when he called out the whole damn U.S. of A. for its timid reluctance to talk about race in an open and honest way.   Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards. Though race related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race.”

Conservatives already didn’t like Holder before,  but they were really pissed at him for being rude enough to remind the nation this isn’t a post-racial paradise.   When Black people tell White people things like this they are going to get crushed for doing so.    This is where Colin Kaepernick finds himself in today.

If you’re a professional athlete and you’re actively supporting Black Lives Matter, you’re putting yourself in the frying pan.   If you refuse to stand for the Star-Spangled Banner, you’re cooked.   America loved Muhammad Ali  after he got sick and no longer dangerous, but they don’t want NFL players walking in his shoes.

As a longtime San Francisco 49ers fan, my interest was rekindled when Jim Harbaugh selected  Colin Kaepernick as the quarterback to lead the 49ers back to somewhere Alex Smith never could get to:  The Super Bowl.  They came up three points short to the Baltimore Ravens, but the future looked bright for the  Niners and Kaepernick looked like the guy to return the franchise to its Montana/Young glory days.

Only four players remain from that 2012 Super Bowl runner-up and after today’s final  roster cuts today while Kaepernick is  still one of them,  it’s only as the $11 million back-up to the wretched Blaine Gabbert.

The scourging of Colin Kaepernick takes several different lines of attack.

“Kaepernick is a rich, well-paid football player who should shut up because where else is he going to enjoy this level of success.”

Because only poor people have the right to protest?

“Kaepernick is a lousy football player who should be cut, traded or ride the bench in San Francisco. Who is he to say anything?”

It’s true Kapernick is not the hot property he once was, but he is an American citizens and American citizens are not required to stand and observe the National Anthem. This right extends even to professional football players. Incredible, yes I know.

“Kaepernick isn’t Black so what does he know about how Black men experience racism?”

That one came courtesy of NBC Sports’ Rodney Harrison. Harrison, who suffered at least 10 concussions in his playing days and was suspended four games in 2007 for using Human Growth Hormone, later “apologized” for questioning Kaepernick’s racial roots because he didn’t know Kaepernick was Black.

You may not believe it, Rodney Harrison, but this IS a Black guy. (Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports)

You may not believe it, Rodney Harrison, but this IS a Black guy.
(Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports)

I can’t even.

“I acknowledge Kaepernick’s right to protest, but since America is one of the least racist countries on the planet, he’s protesting about the wrong thing.”

Here’s the thing:  if you only agree someone has the right to protest when you agree with what they’re protesting about, you don’t really believe in the right.

Kaepernick is not the next MLK. He’s not the next Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Muhammad Ali or any other Black athlete who has stood up (or sat down) to protest the racial inequities of America. He’s the first Colin Kaepernick and he’s following the light all those before him cast upon the darkness of American racism.

Some guys don’t get it. Like Rodney Harrison. Some guys do like Bart Scott.

“I think the death of Muhammad Ali has stirred the pot. It has moved the needle to where athletes are becoming socially conscious. They’re not concerned about the bottom line. They’re not concerned with their dollars. They understand that they have a voice and [they’re] almost ashamed of how they used their voice in the last 20 years since Jim Brown, Lew Alcindor, Muhammad Ali stepped up for social change. Now, guys are ashamed and I think they’re going to try to do something about it.

“We just honored the same man that we persecuted back in the day. It’s always the right time to fight for justice, fight for what you believe in. It’s never a convenient time to talk about what you believe in. You’re supposed to wait til tomorrow? Until he’s not a player? Who’s going to listen? If he had tweeted, who would have cared?”

The way this supposedly washed-up, scrub QB is being vilified, scorned, mocked, and damned, you would think he came out of the huddle, ripped off his jersey revealing a “Black Lives Matter” T-shirt, and then pulled out an American flag and set it on fire on the 50-yard line. All he did was remaining seated on the bench instead of standing for an anthem that has lost its meaning for him.

Maybe Kaepernick eventually goes and maybe he stays.  Either way, the 49ers are going to suck.  This is a rotten team. and the bookmakers give them the least chance to make it to the Super Bowl.   I knew this before this drama jumped off so where Kap stands on the national anthem, Black Lives Matter or being able to check down to a receiver probably isn’t going to make much difference to the overall product on the field.

American history is soaked in the blood of Black people. It is the nation’s Original Sin and it didn’t end as much as it evolved. If it hasn’t why are we still having this discussion. Racism is a cancer, not a bruise. It goes dormant and then it blazes back to ferocious life.

White Americans have a remarkable talent to ignore the past, sugarcoat the future and hope the future never comes. This works for them until every so often someone like Colin Kaepernick comes along to remind them, that’s the America they created for themselves. It’s not the one Black Americans live in.

Thanks,  Colin for reminding the rest of America, but its gonna cost you.

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The Colin Kaepernick/49ers Soap Opera Will Never End.

Colin Kapernick left not just his heart but his game in San Francisco (Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

Colin Kapernick left not just his heart but his game in San Francisco
(Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

Stepping back on the sports beat for an  update of the San Francisco soap opera  of  “Will Colin Kaepernick Finally Find Happiness Somewhere in the NFL?”   After playing “should-he-stay-or-should-he-go” for most of the off-season,  the Niners neither cut nor traded Kaepernick and guaranteed his $11 million salary.   A few days later trade talks heated up again with the Denver Broncos.   The hold-up this time is the Broncos only want to pay $7 million of Kap’s salary  and want the Niners to pick up the rest.   The Niners don’t see why they should have to pay a player who wants to leave.

I don’t either, but I really don’t care anymore.  The Niners are going to stink either way, so whether Kap stays or goes, it’s not going to make a bad team good and the 49ers are very bad.   They’ve gone from a huge success under Jim Harbaugh to a NFL dead zone under GM Trent Balike and owner John-Boy York.

After last season’s 17-week shitshow, for the first time in eight years of blogging I said nothing about the 2015 edition of San Francisco 49ers, the NFL’s long-running soap opera. This off-season is no exception. There’s an excellent chance by this time tomorrow,  Kaepernick will be on his way out of the city by the bay to become Payton Manning’s replacement as the quarterback of the Broncos.

Whoopie-damn-do. Stay or go.  Does it even matter? The Niners would probably be better with Kap than without it, but nobody wants to keep an unhappy employee around and especially one who’s been angling for a ticket out-of-town for months now.

Even if he stays, there’s a good chance Kap could still be moved if the 49ers draft a qb in next month’s NFL draft.  Because he’s maintained a stony silence, nobody knows for certain what he wants to do. Personally, I believe there were two teams he was best suited for: the Browns with Hue Jackson and the Eagles, before Chip Kelly was fired and became the Niners coach.

Will be your quarterback for $11 million.

The 49ers set the price high on Kap based on his past performance, not how awful he’s been for the past two seasons. Nobody was going to give up a 2nd round pick for him, but the Broncos offering a 4th round pick they didn’t even have was a joke and then a 5th was a bad joke.

The Browns made a better offer, but they wanted Kap to take a big pay cut and he balked at that. There’s no upside going from one bad team to another bad team. The Browns are probably better off with RGIII. He’s another QB whose career was once brimming with potential, but he got injured and went to war with his coach and teammates and lost badly. How many fallen stars does any team really need on the roster? At least Griffin’s not coming off a lousy season and still recovering from surgery.

Kaepernick and his agents gambled their was a hot market out there for his services and could bluff the 49ers into dealing him away. Problem was the team had no incentive to give him away for nothing. The Niners started asking for a high price for damaged goods, negotiated it down to a lower price and walked away from the Browns and Broncos when they couldn’t get the deal they wanted. Donald Trump would approve. Stuck with nowhere to go, Kaepernick’s refusal to take less than the $11 million he had guaranteed was the only smart decision he’s made.

These days $11 million is a lot for a backup, not for a starter. Even now, I’m sure Kap can beat out Blaine Gabbert. Not that the team is any better since they did nothing in free agency. This is a last place team and will continue to be for some time.

It would be nice if Kaepernick realized the best place to revitalize his career is right where he’s at. It would be nice if Chip Kelly could take that rocket arm, that mobility, that athleticism and add some touch, some ability to read defenses, check down to available receivers and the other things Kaepernick should be proficient at by now.

He isn’t and I wonder if he ever will be.    If Kaepernick doesn’t want to try to resuscitate his career with the 49ers, it’s probably going to have to be in Denver or nowhere.   There’s just not a lot of other teams beating down the doors to trade for a guy who looks like he’s been badly rattled and lost all his confidence.

Hang 'em up and move on, Kap. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Hang ’em up and move on, Kap. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

 

Why Hate Cam Newton Because He Has More Fun On His Job Than You Do?

Cam is the Man for the Fans.

Cam is the Man for the Fans.

One of the smarter moves I made last year was calling up DirectTV and asking for a discount on the NFL Sunday Ticket (and I ended up getting it for free).  Last year was the first year I actively avoided Niners games.  It made zero sense to pay $300 to watch the 49ers stack up 5 wins against 11 losses.  That would have been an expenditure even my extremely tolerant wife would have given the side eye too.

I can’t say what any other Niner fans did to escape watching a deadly dull football team stumble through such a rotten season even the Cleveland Browns put a foot all up in that ass,  but my refuge was to follow the Carolina Panthers and their charismatic QB, Cam Newton, the likely NFL Most Valuable Player.

The Panthers went 15-1 in the regular season and crushed the Seahawks and Cardinals on their way to the NFL Championship and punched their ticket to Super Bowl 50 where they face the Denver Broncos, hoping to win what appears to be a last run for a ring for 39-year-old Payton Manning.   The Broncos feature a kick-ass defense and an aging, creaky QB who looked frail and fragile at times this season, but rebounded somewhat in the playoffs.

It should be an epic match-up between the old gunslinger trying for one last shot at glory and the new fast draw who is cocky and on top of his game.    As dreary and miserable as slogging through the 49ers’ Season in Hell was, the tonic was watching the Panthers’ wide-open offense and take no prisoners “D” plow through the NFL, and it was enjoyable to watch Newton play with a smile on his face  and making plays with his legs as well as his arm.

Newton had the sort of season where it wasn’t only fun to watch him, he was having fun doing it.   The trouble is if you have too much fun in the No Fun League you’re going to take some from the fans (not Carolina fans mind you).

15-yard penalty for Dabbing While Black.

Don’t Hate Me Cuz U Can’t Dab Like Me.

Here’s a sampling of the dogpile from Pro Football Talk:

Newton’s style is obnoxious, juvenile and bush league that’s why people don’t like him. Not because he’s black. Russell Wilson is black and NFL fans respect his style because it is professional and shows humility.

·         Cameron “the thief” Newton celebrates a first down when he is losing by 24 points. The guy is the definition of ME ME ME.

 ·         Newton has always been about trying to get as much attention as he can get. It doesn’t matter to me whether or not it can be backed up. I just can’t find it possible to actually like him.

 ·         I don’t think any fan has a problem with celebrating. But Newton celebrates every TD like he just won his 15th straight super bowl, cured cancer, and created an unlimited source clean, free energy for the planet.

 ·         Once Cam Newton starts acting like a Professional he will be elite like Peyton.

I always enjoy when someone says “it’s not because he’s Black” and then immediately follows up with an example of a Black person they find acceptable.  It’s even more hilarious to say when Newton starts acting professional like Peyton Manning that will make him elite.

Does that mean Newton has to start shilling lousy pizza for a right-wing millionaire and be investigated for using human growth hormone?

Football is both a kid’s game and a billion dollar business. Cam loves the kids and the kids love Cam, especially when after the Panthers score, Newton hands a ball to a kid who is usually so excited they’re probably going to sleep with that ball for the next five years.

Young, Incredibly Gifted, and Black. Rich, too!

No kid who gets a football from Newton thinks he’s a selfish showboat who only cares about himself.  Newton pisses off other players and purists, but he’s delighting the Panthers fans and developing a national following for the team.  That’s good for the business of the NFL which is far from being the most fan-friendly sport.

Cam Newton does not take games off because he’s getting drunk and lying to his employers or fighting in strip clubs or depositing babies across the NFL     If the worst thing anyone can say about Newton is they don’t like how he celebrates a touchdown, they should be mad at the other team’s defense for not stopping him.

I don’t know if Newton reads James Baldwin, but he explained it a long time ago when he said, “The power of the white world is threatened whenever a black man refuses to accept the white world’s definitions.”  All those small-minded types clutching their pearls and grumbling how Newton doesn’t act like that nice Russell Wilson or that elite Payton Manning are missing the point.  Cam Newton chooses to define himself and that threatens the White world that insists only they can do that.

They will never forgive Newton for that so he might as well keep on dancing and dabbing and having a good time all the way to a Lombardi Trophy on Sunday.

If Cam Newton scowled and frowned his critics would say he needs to smile more.   He can’t win with them and shouldn’t bother to try.

Thankyouforlettingmebemyselfagain.

 

Good Goes Bad, Bad Gets Worse.

"Oakland?  I gotta move to OAKLAND?"  (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

“Oakland? I gotta move to OAKLAND?” (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Tomorrow is the last day of the 2014 NFL season. An elite few will be still be ballin’ hard as they try to make the playoffs. Everybody else is just getting this last meaningless game the hell out of the way, try not to get hurt (though some guys may try to hurt somebody else if only to take out their frustrations) and then clean out their lockers.

“What will happen, will happen,” Harbaugh told reporters when asked about his future coaching plans, “What will not happen, won’t happen.”

What will not happen is another season with James Harbaugh freaking out on the sidelines as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

Four years ago, Harbaugh was The Man, the chosen One who would lead the 49ers out of the poverty of the Dennis Erickson/Mike Nolan/Mike Singletary years back to the Bill Walsh Super Bowl riches.  Didn’t turn out that way.   The history of how the good times turned bad have been detailed by reporter Tim Kawakami but suffice it to say, it’s not really a shock the 49ers and Harbaugh are about to break up badly.

To be a 49ers fan is to be shooting for the future while simultaneously shackled to the past. It’s not Jim Harbaugh’s fault he isn’t Bill Walsh (or even George Seifert). It’s not Colin Kapernick’s fault he isn’t Joe Montana or Steve Young (but he’s not Jeff Garcia or Alex Smith either).

When Harbaugh packs his bags to return to Michigan and a reported $8 million yearly check, he will be the highest paid coach in college football. This would be a nice pay raise from the $5 million the 49ers are paying him and would bump Harbaugh into the Sean Payton/Pete Carroll/Bill Belichick neighborhood without actually winning a Super Bowl like those guys. To put this in perspective the 32nd lowest paid NFL coach was the already whacked Dennis Allen of the Raiders.   Even a nobody like this was pulling down $3 million, so never feel sorry for a fired NFL coach. They’re all overpaid.

“Aw man! The singer forgot the lyrics of the National Anthem!”

 

 

In his wake the 49ers will either promote one of their defensive coaches, Jim Tomsula or Vic Fangio. If they decide to start fresh, look for the team to seek out an offensive coordinators such as Denver’s Adam Gase or New England’s Josh McDaniels in hopes someone can resurrect the 49ers DOA offense and if he isn’t traded, Kapernick’s career.

There are many reasons for Harbaugh and 49ers front office to part ways. A below .500 season after coming one completed pass from a second Super Bowl berth is an excellent one. Of all the disappointing underachievers in the NFL, nobody is as disappointing and underachieved more than the 2014 49ers.

Despite getting the Niners to the NFC Championship game three consecutive years, they only won it once and went on to lose a heartbreaker against brother John Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens. Winners know how to close and Harbaugh never could. He repeatedly came up short in the biggest games. Coupled with an inability to win the arms race with arch-rival Seattle Seahawks, despite the impressive win-loss record, Harbaugh leaves San Francisco better than he found it, but still frustratingly distant from the Gold Standard days of Walsh and Montana.

If owner Jed York and general managerTrent Baalkie wanted to make the fans happen they would order Harbaugh to fire offensive coordinator Greg Roman, make him play out the last year of his contract and put down in writing a promise to make Harbaugh the highest paid coach in the NFL if he could (a) beat the Seahawks and (b) get to and win another NFC championship.

Hello, I must be going.

What Harbaugh wants as much as money is control. He wants to pick his own players, draft his own rookies, sign his own free agents. He wants to pick his own G.M. who will do all those things the way he’s instructed to do them and hammer out the messy and boring contract details. What Harbaugh wants most the 49ers won’t give him which leaves teams like the Raiders and Jets that might happily go along with Coach Khakis can do the kind of renovation job he did with the Niners with these two perennial bottom-feeders.

The failure of the Niners was a team effort.   All-time rushing leader Frank Gore is a free agent who wants to stay put, but at 32 year old and a $6 million salary, he’s not coming back at that price. Anquan Bolden is 34 and Kapernick’s most reliable receiver and that’s a worrisome combination. Ray McDonald has already been whacked for his off the field problem and Aldon Smith is probably right behind him. Justin Smith is thinking retirement, Vernon Davis has vanished from the gameplan and former first rounder Michael Crabtree is too slow to stretch defenses and too unreliable to be a go-to receiver.

An offensive line full of highly-paid first rounders has become a sieve as Kapernick is the most sacked QB in the league.   Stud linebacker Navorro Bowman was injured in the NFC Championship loss to the Seahawks and never made it back to the field.   The talented troublemaker, Aldon Smith served an eight gamesuspension which sapped the defense’s pass rush capabilities and he may not be back.   Last year the Niners ended the season with one player on injured reserve.   This season the number jumped to 16.    “Next Man Up” is the ruling philosophy in the NFL and the 49ers are about to apply it to a winning, but difficult head coach.

“He’s my best coach. I didn’t enjoy here until we started winning. Since he’s been here, I’ve been winning.” That what Gore said about Harbaugh.  Crabtree added, “He’s one of my favorite coaches I’ve ever played for… He’s a player’s coach. He’s just a good dude. Everyone has their own opinion, but he’s been a good dude to me. And this team.”

Yet Harbaugh came up short on discipline as time and again a Niners player would show up on a police blotter.  Instead of cutting the bad actors loose, Harbaugh and Baaike would make excuses and extend second, third and fourth chances.  There isn’t space to list all the Niners who posed for mug shots during Harbaugh’s tenure,  but the handling of defensive end Ray McDonald is a signature moment of this whole shitty season.  McDonald was investigated by the police for striking his pregnant girlfriend but not charged.  Instead of suspending him the 49ers allowed McDonald to keep playing.   After sliding by for beating up a pregnant woman, McDonald rewarded the team’s trust by his name popping up in a sexual assault.  That was a bridge too far even for the lenient and lax 49ers brain trust and they cut McDonald the same day.

The blame for the team’s flame-out will fall primarily on Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman and both will be gone next season and veterans Gore, Crabtree, Mike Iupati, Justin Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Aldon Smith and Vernon Davis all possibly decamping as free agents, salary cuts or retirement.   This will be a drastically changed 49ers team in 2015 and no matter who takes over its hard to see similar success forthcoming.

“Who’s Got It Better Than Us?” was the war cry Harbaugh rallied his players with when the Niners were one of the league’s best teams.   Now they’re not.   The answer to the question has become,  “Lots of other teams not named the San Francisco 49ers.”

Don’t worry for Jim Harbaugh.   He’ll do just fine wherever he lands.   It’s less certain the 49ers will do likewise.

 

Those khakis will be worn somewhere else next season.

 

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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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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Straight-Up Thuggin’ With Justin “WTF” Bieber

“Hey, Richard Sherman! You couldn’t LIVE in my world!”

We interrupt our moratorium on mindless celebrity news, because hey, I could use a laugh.

Much ado about nothing was made after Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman went ham and scared a year off life out of sideline reporter Erin Andrews after making the play of the game that beat the San Francisco 49ers (sob) and sent his team to Super Bowl 48.

Sherman’s post-game rant ignited a Twitter firestorm where a lot of folks called him a “thug,” something he is far from being.

Sherman is a big, Black dude with dreads who looks like the Predator, but he’s not an idiot. He only sounded like one.

Now Justin BieberTHIS is a “thug,” playa.

A night after dropping $75,000 at a Miami strip club celebrating Martin Luther King Day, pop singer and wannabee thug Justin Bieber, 19 was busted for drag racing, driving with an expired license and resisting arrest. Bieber’s Lamborghini was doing 55-60 in a 30 mph zone.

The arrest report is the funniest read I’ve had this week.

I CAUGHT UP TO THE YELLOW LAMBORGINI AND INITIATED A TRAFFIC STOP AT THE 300 BLK OF 41ST. I APPROACHED THE VEHICLE ON THE DRIVER SIDE. I ASKED THE DRIVER TO PLACE THE VEHICLE IN PARK. AT THIS TIME, THE DRIVER. BEGAN TO STATE:“WHY DID YOU STOP ME”.

The cover photo for “Prison Sex,” the next Justin Bieber album.

I EXPLAINED TO THE DRIVER THAT HE WAS STOPPED BECAUSE HE WAS DRAG RACING WITH THE OTHER LAMBORGINI. I IMMEDIATELY SMELLED AN ODOR OF ALCOHOL EMINATING FROM THE DRIVERS BREATH AND BLOODSHOT EYES. THE DRIVER HAD SLOW DELIBERATE MOVEMENTS AND A STUPER LOOK ON HIS FACE. THESE ARE ALL INDICATORS OF AN IMPAIRED DRIVER. I ASKED THE DRIVER TO EXIT THE VEHICLE TO CONTINUE MY INVESTIGATION OF A POSSIBLE IMPAIRED DRIVER. THE DRIVER STATED:” WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING THIS”?

FINALLY, THE DRIVER EXITED THE VEHICLE AS HE KEPT GOING INTO HIS PANTS POCKETS. I ASKED THE DRIVER TO NOT GO INTO HIS POCKETS FOR MY SAFETY AND HIS. FEARING THAT THE DRIVER MIGHT HAVE A WEAPON OR CONTRABAND, I ASKED THE DRIVER TO PLACE HIS HANDS ON HIS VEHICLE IN ORDER TO FACILITATE A CURSORY PATDOWN FOR WEAPONS. THE DRIVER STATED:“WHAT THE FUCK DID I DO, WHY DID YOU STOP ME.”

AGAIN I ASKED THE DRIVER TO PLACE HIS HANDS ON HIS VEHICLE. THE DRIVER COMPLIED BUT TOOK HIS HANDS OFF THE VEHICLE SOON AFTER AND TURNED AROUND TO FACE ME. AGAIN I ASKED THE DRIVER TO NOT TAKE HIS HANDS OFF HIS CAR AND TO LOOK FORWARD BECAUSE I WAS GOING TO PERFORM A CURSORY PATDOWN. THE DRIVER STATED:“I AINT GOT NO FUCKING WEAPONS, WHY DO YOU HAVE TO SEARCH ME,WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS ABOUT?”

I ADVISED THE DRIVER THAT IF HE CONTINUED TO TAKE HIS HANDS OFF HIS VEHICLE, HE WOULD BE SUBJECT TO ARREST. THE DRIVER AGAIN TURNED AROUND TO FACE ME. AT THIS TIME, I GRABBED HIS RIGHT HAND AND STATED TO HIM THAT HE WAS UNDER ARREST. THE DRIVER BEGAN TO RESIST ME BY PULLING HIS RIGHT ARM AWAY AS HE STATED:“WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING”.

I ADVISED THE DRIVER NOT TO RESIST AND WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF OFC. MOLINA ID# 064 AND OFC. SOCARRAS#501 , WE PLACED HIM INTO CUSTODY WITH NO FURTHER INCIDENT. THE DEF.WAS TRANSPORTED TO THE MIAMI BEACH POLICE DEPARTMENT BY OFFICER DIONNE. WHILE EN ROUTE TO THE STATION, DEF INQUIRED AS TO WHY HE’D BEEN ARRESTED. OFFICER DIONNE ADVISED HIM THAT HE BELIEVED HE WAS IMPAIRED. DEF ADVISED THAT HE WAS NOT DRUNK, AND THAT HE WAS COMING BACK FROM RECORDING MUSIC AT A STUDIO.

ONCE AT THE MBPD HOLDING FACILITY, OFFICER DIONNE OBSERVED DEF TO HAVE A FLUSHED FACE, BLOODSHOT EYES, AND THE ODOR OF AN ALC. BEV. ON HIS BREATH. DEF WAS OFFERED SFSTs ON A FLAT, DRY, SMOOTH, AND WELL LIT SURFACE (SEE DUI TEST REPORT FOR RESULTS). DEF DID NOT PERFORM TO STANDARDS. DEF LATER AGREED TO A BREATH TEST AS WELL AS A DRUG EVALUATION. IT WAS ALSO LEARNED THAT THE DEF. HAS AN EXPIRED GEORGIA DRIVERS LICENSE (06/24/2013). CHARGE ADDED.

As a foreign national, (Bieber is from Canada) who is spreading terror, chaos and shitty music in America, I am calling my congressman to demand the Beeb be immediately kicked out of this country as an undesirable element.

Let’s expand the definition of “thug” beyond the stereotype of scary Black men yelling in cameras to include disrespectful, entitled, little punks like Bieber who think the world should be kissing his sorry ass because he’s rich, White and privileged far beyond his minimal talent and meager accomplishments.

"Bieber, don't you EVER talk trash about me."

“Bieber, don’t you EVER talk trash about me.”

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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.’