Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Mr. Simpson is apparently going to give a series of interviews for Fox entitled, “If I Did It, Here’s How,” or something like that. I don’t really care. I may or may not watch it. My interest in OJ Simpson begins with “The Naked Gun” movies and ends with “Not guilty.” Oh, yeah…and his fine ass daughter.
OJ, we know you’re broke. We know the Goldman family has taken you for everything you have. We know that you’re making about $3.5 million for this and probably stand to make a lot more, if America takes interest in these interviews. (and they probably will). Your trial was a racial flashpoint back in 1996. Things aren’t exactly sunshine and roses in 2006. Why do you want to bring all that back up now?
Okay, so you can’t get tried for the same crime again. Okay, you already lost the civil trial. Most of America already believes that you did it. So you want to feed into that just to get paid now? You’re going to go on TV and give a confession that’s not really a confession? I just don’t see the point. You can’t be hurting that badly financially, because you still don’t have a job, yet all you do is play golf all day and yell at people that you hit with your car. Where is all this going? Really, unless you’re going to admit to doing it or name the person who did (because if you didn’t do it, you know you did), there’s no sense in even going there.
Then again, $3.5 million is hard to say no to. I can be bought for way less than that.
Bobby Knight has sent the world into an uproar again.
This time, in a game against Gardner-Webb (yet another no name school that gets more airtime than Jackson State), he forcefully nudged guard Michael Pierce’s chin upward, so he’d make eye contact with Knight. The first time you see it, it looks like he stole on Pierce. After the shock (or eye-rolling) passes, you can clearly see that he was just nudging his face up. He just did it really hard. He didn’t punch him. He didn’t slap him. No one who’s actually involved (or matters) with the situation didn’t have a problem with what happened, including this boy’s parents. But that’s not good enough for the sportswriters’ community.
“Oh, you should never put your hands on a player! Oh, he should be suspended! Oh, he punched this boy in the face! I knew something like this would happen! He’s such a bully! When will he learn?” I swear, sportswriters need to pull their heads out of their asses.
Let me state here that I am no fan of Bobby Knight. I think the man is a walking disaster and I’ve always believed that one day, he was going to openly beat up a player. He carries way too much anger inside of him. There have been times in the past where I’ve felt that he was clearly wrong and that he should have been fired for things that would have landed him in jail out in the real world. This time wasn’t one of them.
I think the only reason why the sportswriters have taken this position that Knight did something wrong is because they thought America would go along with it. Usually, that’s why they take the moral high ground, I believe. But when the ESPN SportsNation poll came back, 72% of America didn’t see anything wrong with what happened. But the sportswriters were out there already, so they had to stick with their position, even though they knew they weren’t right.
All Knight was trying to do was get the boy to make eye contact and encourage him to play his game, by all accounts. Yet, if another coach had done the same thing, it wouldn’t have been a big deal at all. For example, in last year’s NCAA Tournament, UNC coach Roy Williams grabbed one of his players and forced him into a chair so he could yell at him. Didn’t even make a blip on the radar. I am a huge North Carolina fan and watch all their games and I didn’t even remember this. That’s how minor it was. But had it been Bobby Knight doing the same thing, the world would have been in an uproar again. Just like if Roy Williams had done what Knight did on Monday, you would have never heard about it.
This story has been news all week, but what story was glossed over a few weeks back? The one where Knight suspended his star player for not reaching HIS academic standards. The player wasn’t on academic probation and his wasn’t in violation of NCAA or Texas Tech standards. Bobby Knight holds his players to a higher standard academically than the NCAA does. And when the player didn’t reach that standard, he was gone until his grades came back up. Why wasn’t that one being discussed until people rolled their eyes at the mere mention of the topic?
I guess reading about the outrage of Knight’s anger outburst sells more papers than reading about something good that he did. I’d buy that if it wasn’t for the fact that no one buys a newspaper based on anything a sportswriters says or thinks. I hate sportswriters.
Randy Moss has stated this week that he can’t play well unless he’s happy. Of course, everyone’s up in arms about his one. ESPN’s football analysts are pissed. Everyone is saying that his comments are a slap in the face to football players everywhere and that a leader wouldn’t do this. They feel that no matter what, he should still go try his best, no matter how much the team sucks. And they’re right.
The thing is, none of this is a surprise to me. You all should have been ready for this. But most importantly, you all were the fools for buying the crap he was flinging in the offseason about being a leader on that Raiders team. Had you done like I did, and brushed off all that “leader” talk, this comment wouldn’t have even fazed you.
I don’t care how good Randy Moss is/was. I would have never looked him to become a leader. He would have never become a captain on any team that I was coaching. Actually, it’s a telling sign that Oakland is in serious trouble, if they’re forced to look to Randy Moss for leadership. Let’s face it, Randy Moss walking off the field during a game or fake-mooning the crowd wasn’t that long ago. It’s either the captaincy of Randy Moss or the captaincy of Jerry Porter. Neither option really screams, “good situation.”
Personally, I commend his honesty. He could have just let us go on thinking that something was wrong with him or maybe that he had lost a step. In a way, it’s similar to Vince Carter admitting that he didn’t give his all for Toronto in those last years. I didn’t hold that against Carter because he had watched management destroy a team that was two points away from going to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2001. They hadn’t made any effort to make that team better, yet he’s expected to carry a subpar team year after year? The difference is, Randy Moss has only been in Oakland for two years and all he does is the equivalent of running wind sprints for two hours.
If that’s all he’s doing (because that’s all most receivers do), maybe he should just shut up and play.
The Boston Red Sox have paid a Japanese baseball team $51.1 million for the right to talk to a pitcher that they have on their roster. They have 30 days to sign this player to a contract. Let that sink in for a second. They didn’t pay $51.1 million to the player – they paid $51.1 million for TEMPORARY RIGHTS to NEGOTIATE with a player. So they have to pay the player on top of paying the team for permission to talk to him. It’s the most expensive peep show of all time. Chances are, you think that’s as stupid as it sounds. For that kind of money, he better not give up a single hit all season, on the way to a 100 home run season that sees the Red Sox win two World Series at the same time. What’s that, you say? That sounds ridiculous? So does paying $51.1 million for permission to essentially talk to a guy’s interpreter and agent.
I guess losing to Detroit wasn’t bad enough. They had to lose to Cleveland, right here in the Georgia Dome. What made it worse is that I was at the game. I couldn’t even change the channel to watch someone else.
I think we walked around the perimeter of the Dome at least three times, just trying to get to our seats. That’s not counting the steep mile that we walked, trying to get to our nosebleed seats. Three rows back from the wall. At least there are no bad seats in the Georgia Dome. But we were so far up that we were actually above the rafters. I think there was a homeless person sleeping in the row in front of us. It’s not like security ever checks that high up.
Of course, when you’re in a section like that, there’s a good chance that your section is loaded with drunks. Ours was no different. One guy, who we named “Doug” (after the guy on King of Queens) was screaming until he was red in the face. He harassed every Browns fan that he saw. He was a good natured fan, who undoubtedly got drunk before he even got to the game. I think that’s why his face was so red. I was hoping to see him fall over the railing, actually.
Something that’s surprising, yet not surprising at all: There were a ton of Browns fans in the Dome. It’s not surprising because no one in Atlanta is actually from here. It is surprising because it seems like no matter who the Falcons play, there are enough fans from other cities to make up sizeable cheering section. There was one Browns fan a few rows down from us that I just wanted to push down the stairs, for no real reason, other than being a Browns fan and they had dropped two quick touchdowns on us already. Those Cleveland fans looked so smug, what with their decent receivers and hope for the future. Anyway, he was pretty big and the stairs are very steep, so he would have gotten some good momentum going before hitting Doug down at the bottom.
Speaking of Doug, at halftime, we ran into him while we were talking to some fans in the hot dog line. I was suggesting to them that they take off their Vick jerseys now, when Doug lumbered through, trying to talk trash about the Browns and how the Falcons were going to come back and win. You’ve gotta love an alcohol induced fantasy. He stood there and yelled at the top of his lungs for a few minutes before moving on to the next hot dog stand to start the whole thing all over again. I don’t know where he was going, but I don’t think he ever got there.
There’s a reason why I’m wasting time and space talking about Doug and the homeless guy: I really don’t want to talk about the game. By now, you have a pretty good idea of where I’m going with that stuff. And while I’ve grown to love the Falcons, it felt good to be around others who are also tired of the BS that’s been going on here. I’m tired of seeing them screw up and so is the rest of Section 332.
The Falcons fans started booing Vick after awhile. Started booing their three-and-outs, started booing the playcalling, just started booing everything. Except the defense, which is the only thing on the field worth cheering, at times. At the end of the half, backup quarterback Matt Schaub replaced Vick and the crowd lit up. You’d think that young Joe Montana just stepped out of the timestream and ran out on the field. Finally, we collectively thought. The offense will run properly. We might have a chance. After all, Schaub gave New England all they could handle last year.
He threw one pass. Incomplete. Vick came back on the field. The crowd booed.
There was a group of guys behind us that we started talking with after one of them brought up how Greg Knapp is a terrible coach. It’s wonderful how pure hatred can bring people together. Another one of those guys was the biggest (and only) Roddy White fan that I’d ever met. He went on and on about how good Roddy White is, but he just needs time. I countered with my man-crush on Ashley Lelie, which has got to be the gayest football name since Dick Butkus.
At the end of the game, when the Falcons were blowing yet another drive, out of nowhere, that guy started screaming at the top of his lungs for Roddy White to get the ball. We all laughed at him, until Roddy White actually caught the long bomb that Michael Vick threw his way. The catch put the Falcons in scoring position. He might have caught two passes all day. Meanwhile, my boy, Lelie dropped two big passes back in the first half. I would say that it just wasn’t my day, but we were both cheering for the same team.
Getting back to the Roddy White catch…Michael Vick wound up fumbling the ball a couple of plays later. Game over. A fitting end to the comedy of errors that was taking place on the field. So funny that I wanted to meet the coaching staff in the parking area around back.
We filed out of the Dome, having to deal with all those happy fans from Cleveland. I just covered my face whenever I could, because I was embarrassed with how the Falcons played, like I always am. It’s just a little different when you’re watching in your house, because you don’t have to look at the happy fans from the opposing team. They called me out when I put my hood on. Damn. This never happens when I’m sitting on the couch in the basement.
It would have if my brother in law was here, though. He’s from Cleveland. If it wasn’t for our retard President, he would have, no doubt, been on the phone with us after the game, talking trash. Maybe ill-advised wars aren’t such a bad thing after all.
Renn, I’m kidding. Come back safe.
In what seems to have become a recurring theme, my dad went to the store after the game and bumped into a guy who was also there. All he said to my dad was something about how Greg Knapp needs to be fired. Like I said, it feels good to know that others see what you’re seeing. The bad thing is, the right people aren’t seeing it, because Greg Knapp is still getting paid.
My dad brought up an excellent point about Greg Knapp: He’s keeping his job because he knows this supposed “West Coast Offense” so well, but just because he knows the offense doesn’t mean he knows how to call plays in game situations. Nothing epitomizes this more than his willingness to run on 3rd and long situations, yet today, when faced with a 3rd and 1, he called a pass play.
So screw it all. The Falcons must not want to win. That’s fine. I’m tired of watching. My blood pressure can’t take it. There’s plenty of good going on right now, anyway. The Hawks are 4-2 and leading their division. Desperate Housewives is coming on in a little while. Julie’s supposed to get caught making out with Edie’s nephew. Should be good one. Jay-Z has a new CD coming out. Scrubs will be back on Nov. 30. I like coleslaw. I’m going to let the Falcons screw up the good thing that’s sitting in their lap. I don’t care. Nope. No sir.
At least, until next week.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Okay, so we're about two weeks into the NBA season and we've had plenty of time to see the effects of some of the changes that David Stern has made. I personally think that he's bored with having such a well-run league, so he's resorting to just randomly moving things around, so it looks like he's being decisive. If things turn out well, it's a credit to his strong leadership. If things turn out bad, it's the players' fault. No matter what, it's a win-win for him. It's a method that comes from the "Dilbert School of Management."
First, there's the new ball. I wasn't aware that there was a dire need to change it. However, since it's gone, I guess we all have to get used to it. The really entertaining part about this is going to be how many times players randomly blame the ball for poor shooting performances. "The Living Commercial" LeBron James did this on Tuesday, after losing to the Atlanta Hawks.
Now, it would be one thing if he had been having trouble with the ball and had been complaining the whole time. No, this guy blames his poor free throw shooting and shot selection on the ball after four or five games (not including preseason, and the entire summer he's had to get used to the ball). It couldn't have possibly been that the Hawks have actually gotten better and you didn't take them seriously, could it? Nah, that's crazy talk.
Secondly, owners have to comport themselves in a way befitting...I dunno, rich people, I suppose. This is known as the "Mark Cuban" rule, a man who is a constant thorn in the side of David Stern and a constant source of entertainment for people like me. Really, you'd think outspoken owners like Cuban would be welcome in the league, because if all owners had a passion for their teams like he did, the Clippers wouldn't have been a guaranteed win for so many teams over the years. I really fail to see what the problem with Cuban is. He's only been a successful owner, turning around one of the worst franchises in about 4 years. He's good to his players and he gets out of the way of his management. People want to work for him and play for him. Do you think James Dolan or Jerry Reinsdorf have gotten such glowing reviews?
Thirdly, players are limited by what they can wear on the court and how they can wear it. The thinking here is that players will eventually become walking billboards for the products they shill. Because, of course, that's much better than, say...a certain shoe company buying all of the advertising space for a certain "center" where sports are discussed and playing the same four commercials featuring a certain ball playing huckster for two straight hours. Because of that episode of SportsCenter, I now HATE The LeBrons. I actually turned the channel during his commercials, because I was missing the variety of the other commercials.
Lastly, there's the "no whining" rule, also known as the "Sheed Rule." I really fail to see the point behind this one. There is the occasional player who does argue too much with the referees...like, 'Sheed, for example. But, if the threat of being ejected didn't stop him from running his mouth before, what is ejecting him faster, alongside four other players going to do?
So far we've seen players get technicals for just asking where the foul call was, showing frustration with themselves for fouling a player, and showing mere hints of emotion in the general direction of the official. The only thing that this rule has done is made sure that all players know what it feels like to get a technical. All calls are filed under the folder of "showing up the official," but anyone who watches basketball can tell you that over the years, the officials themselves have baited the players into getting technicals just by ignoring the players and brushing them off, even when the call was clearly blown.
This rule change is just the latest in a slippery slope that has managed to eliminate any and all forms of passion from a passionate game. First, they took away trash talking, forgetting the fact that all the greats over the years have done it, including Michael Jordan and Larry Bird. Then, they took away "taunting," which apparently includes looking in your opponent's general direction after dunking on him. Last year, they made the rule that you couldn't speak to any player at the free throw line, after "Constantly Advertising" LeBron James whispered something to Gilbert Arenas that made him miss both free throws and lose the game. It was a mindgame in the tradition of Charles Barkley, and Arenas lost. Simple as that.
Now, you can't express emotion where the ref can see it. I guess next year, you won't be allowed to smile or give hi-fives to your teammates. After that, butt-slapping will be eliminated, because it makes you gay. For God's sake, kids are watching.
These are rules that are based on judgment calls coming from people who oftentimes didn't see what actually happened and can't even be challenged by people who saw what happened. When was the last time you saw a referee reverse his call in the NBA? That's right...it's the same number as the amount of people who think that Isiah Thomas will be coaching the Knicks next year.
With rule changes like that, it's clear that David Stern has never competed in anything before. Talking to your opponent and getting into his head is part of the game, no matter what you're competing in. Taunting is the icing on the cake, although I admit, sometimes it did go too far. But these players are human and they express themselves as human beings do: By showing emotion. I can't be the only person who misses seeing Dikembe Mutombo wave his finger in someone's face when he got a block, or watching Michael Jordan stare down the center who just became his latest victim. Or even better, watching Michael Jordan wave HIS finger in Dikembe Mutombo's face after Mutombo got dunked on by Jordan.
Personally, I miss the trash talking. It was the only reason I would pay any attention to Gary Payton. Or the intensity generated by two players who really don't like each other, going back and forth, constantly reminding each other of what they just did. It was how rivalries were generated and it helps make basketball great. Do you really think that Magic Johnson and Larry Bird would have taken their games to the heights they did if they didn't dislike each other so much?
Now, we're at the point where you can't argue with someone who's deciding the game. This is a man who has more power than any other type of game official in sports, a man who can call the game pretty much however he wants, and cannot be questioned or criticized in any way, shape or form, without reprisal. This must be what it's like to be a member of the Catholic Church.
It's looking like David Stern won't be happy until he has emotion-controlling chips in all the players' heads, with everyone calmly running up and down the floor, doing the same things and reacting in the same way. And that's only until the basketball-playing robots are invented.
It seems the "Robopacalypse" will soon be upon us.