Losing Faith Or Sports Is So Screwed

Apparently the Dallas Cowboys are so worried about a man named Lucky Whitehead supposedly getting arrested for misdemeanor shoplifting from Wawa in suburban Virginia that they cut him from the team. The same Cowboys team that has fielded players charged with domestic violence, gun charges, drug charges and DWI incidents. I'm guessing that as a Cowboy you are held to a higher standard- no shoplifting but plenty of beating, drinking, drugs and poor decisions.

I feel for Whitehead because the police now admit that it wasn't him who they arrested for shoplifting. All that drama from the Cowboys and it turns out he wasn't even there, imagine that. Jerry Jones is going to do what he's going to do. In fact Jerry's son, Stephen said that it was a "culmination of things over a period of time." You mean he missed a practice or skipped a meeting or claimed his dog got kidnapped? Sure, he's probably a knucklehead but he DIDN'T break the law.

The starting running back was questioned for domestic abuse charges. A linebacker was charged was assault for hitting someone with a truck. Another player was charged with DWI. In 2015 they fielded a player who was a repeat drug offender. Of course they signed Greg Hardy.

They are hardly the only team to put questionable people on the field. The NFL is full of players that are on the edge of falling off the cliff. The problem is that the league is all about money. When the only reason guys are on the field is because they can play a sport and normal people would be in jail it's because of power, money and influence.

I have a huge problem with the fact that a guy like Whitehead lost his gig over some arrest that never happened. He doesn't even have the ability to sue the Cowboys over wrongful termination because of the way NFL contracts are written.

I wonder what the arresting officers must feel today knowing they helped contribute to the man's loss of employment. Did they just say "hey he said his name was Lucky Whitehead and he had his information so we aren't going to look at his mugshot?" Isn't this a statement on its own? Lucky Whitehead's picture is easily found on the internet- is there no due diligence? If someone was arrested with my information would they verify that it truly was me? I'm scared for this world.

Uncle Mike Vick’s Cabin 

I recently saw a shirt that says : 

We march, y’all mad, We sit down, y’all mad, We speak up, y’all mad, We die, y’all silent.

Let those words sink in for a bit before you pass judgement on what they are saying.  

I’m not going to wade into the political world but this shirt reminded me of Colin Kaepernick and what he’s been going through with NFL free agency.  Whether you agree with him or not his actions have caused people to talk, something that is necessary in this country.

Unfortunately there are people like Mike Vick who went on FS1’s “Speak For Yourself,” and said that the reason why Kaepernick doesn’t have a job is because he is still sporting an afro.  Really Mike?  Vick went on to say it’s really not about his hair but about his last two years of play.  If he cuts his hair and goes back to the NFL with hat on hand and keeps on line, Vick thinks all will be forgiven.  Much like after he was forgiven for his dog fighting charges.  Vick reminded us all “it’s not about selling out.”

I’m not sure I buy that.  While it may not be that Kaepernick is getting black balled from getting a job in the NFL because of his beliefs, he’s causing questions to be asked of the culture and mentality of those that are in charge of signing players.  He’s reaffirmed my opinion that football is about money and the image of what is on the field.  Look at some of the white players who have long hair and long beards, why is that okay?  Is what Vick saying that Kaepernick’s hair cut reminds fans of the 70s and Black Power activists?  Mike Vick reminds me of a dog killer.  There are players in the NFL with weapons charges.  There are players in the NFL who have beat and abused domestic partners.  There have been players in the NFL that have killed others and still been able to come back.  You are going to tell me someone should cut their hair Mike?  Give me a break.  All Kaepernick did these past two years is express his right to protest.  He didn’t break a law and he didn’t break an NFL rule.  He can grow an afro and he can kneel for the anthem.  However you can’t kill or beat a human much less defenseless animals.

I have a real problems with the fact that it’s okay with guys like Rex Ryan to attend and even announce guys like Donald Trump at political rallies without their teams saying a word.  Meanwhile Kaepernick doesn’t say a word on the field but keeps to himself.  Each man expressed his right to protest or display his view only one of them has been chastised for it – I wonder why?

A League Full Of Losers

In the NFL, 31 teams go home at the end of the season as losers.  If you think about it that’s 97 percent of the league that doesn’t accomplish the ultimate goal every single year.  It doesn’t matter if your favorite team won their division if they didn’t win the Super Bowl, they still came up short.

As previously stated in earlier blogs, football is a business and owners do whatever it takes to make their product earn.  Unfortunately there are times when the monster eats itself or some teams just don’t have the structure in place internally.  Many times what’s seen on the field reflects that lack of planning by General Managers or Owners but at the end of the year when the results are in, the coach takes the fall.  

The coach may not be able to win with the lack of depth they were given or maybe the GM didn’t give them players that fit their system.  Too bad, the coach is the one to go.  Think about all the different parts of a football team and the number of players that have to do their job.  If one player doesn’t perform their assignment the whole chain will snap.  Many times the players don’t realize that the average career of an NFL player is less than 4 years.  Players see guys like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning that have longevity in a rough and tumble league.  However, because of the violent collisions injuries are common and career threatening.  

When these players drop their end of the rope, coaches have to scramble to find someone else to pick it up.  It’s what many refer to as a “next man up” mentality.  The problem is there are guys who aren’t able to deal with the pressure or the pace and they too fall.  Even though most players in the NFL are close to the same skill set in most areas, it’s the mental aspect that makes guys great.  It’s up to coaches to push men to find that.

But what happens when guys tune that out?  Or what happens when some guys don’t have the ability to push through that final wall?  Scouting players isn’t a science, as is evident by the many busts in the NFL draft.  These players can become what is known as “coach killers” contributing to the average length of a coaching career being less than 5 years.  Think about that player who was drafted and fizzled out within his first 4 years in the league even though the first year coach relied so heavy on him.  Now the coach might have one more year to prove himself, but more than likely that coach is already out the door.

When we watch football very few of us think of those guys that walk up and down the sidelines.  Not just the main guys like Bill Belichick or Mike Tomlin.  There are those men behind them, the ones that give their all to coach the wide receivers or the defensive backs that rarely have their names in the paper or the news.  When a defense plays lights out it’s normally the defensive coordinator who gets the credit even though that defensive backs coach gave up his free time and his life to be there researching and preparing too.  When the coach gets fired guess who is going to go too?  All those coaches.  Maybe some of them will never get another job in football even though they were great at what they did.  The problem is no one knew them except for that coach and now he can’t find another job.  But the players who let go of the rope, they might get another shot.  That General Manager who didn’t bring in enough players that were good enough to cover for injuries?  You can bet he’s still there.  

I understand that coaches watch film and prepare a game plan.  They call the plays and try to put the players in the right position to win however sometimes it isn’t the coach’s fault that a team loses.  Sometimes there truly are bad teams based upon the roster they’ve been given. Sure it’s up to them to make the best of hands they are dealt but I think many times fans, executives and the media expect way too much of coaches instead of realizing that players have to be held accountable too.  Coaches aren’t miracle workers, they are human and can only do so much- it’s time to stop blaming them for everything and start praising them.

Football Isn’t A Game

I refuse to say the word “gamechanger,” I hate when it is used in everyday context.  I’ve seen it used on car commercials or in ads for other products.  Those things aren’t games.  However, I don’t even like it when it is used in the football sense either – football isn’t a game.

A perfect example is the Los Angeles Rams.  In 2016, the Rams moved from St. Louis, Missouri to L.A. because the owner wasn’t making enough money and he wanted the city to help finance a new stadium.  No go on that, so he pulled the plug and decided to take his show to L.A. where the Rams came from and the place where he owned a large piece of land.  A perfect piece of property to put up a megalithic stadium that will make all the other NFL owner and fans jealous.   Why not right?

In the meantime, the Rams were coming off picking first overall in the NFL draft after going 7-9 the season before.  They had previously traded picks with Tennessee in order to allow the Titans to get Marcus Mariota in the 2015 draft.  All that being said, the Rams also traded their starting Quarterback from 2016 Sam Bradford to Philadelphia, leaving them with a lifetime backup in Case Keenum to open the year.  Let it be said that a good starting Quarterback in the NFL is hard to find.

For all the humor that was made of Jeff Fisher, I think he’s a good human being as is evident in the two video series produced about the 2016 Rams season.  Unfortunately, he was handed a young team with a less than stellar Quarterback in Keenum and then was forced to start the Rookie in the 10th game of the season after many failures.  Fisher was replaced after going 4-9 in 2016, a result of not being able to get the defense off the field or get the run game going.  Both of these things I believe come back to the decision to trade Bradford and start Keenum.

As is the case, the coach takes the axe when it comes to these decisions and it was Fisher whose head rolled.  It’s not about how he coached the game or how much he cared about the game it was about wins.  Plain and simple it was about how much money the owner could make, how good he could make the product look in order to keep the fans.  Football isn’t about the game or the people, it’s about the score and the result.  Owners don’t care about the coach or the players as long as they get the W.  The only “gamechanger” is money, it rules the world.

Time To Pay The Players

With the NHL playoffs upon us (and the Maple Leafs hopefully being in them), I’ve been playing NHL ’17 on Xbox One to deal with the fever.  As a gamer and sports fan, the greatest addition to games is the “Be A Player” mode where I created myself as a young center in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

My virtual self suits up for the Sherbrooke Phoenix, because my favorite hockey player of all-time, Jocelyn Thibault is the General Manager.

Anyway, as the season progresses your general game play is “graded” based upon certain categories and of course your skills develop based upon the grade.  The end goal being that you get a call that you’ve been drafted into the big show to play for the grand prize – the Stanley Cup.

Along the way you are given the chance to fight if you are challenged (or you will be pushed into fighting if you deliver a brutal hit on a defenseless opponent), the opportunity for more ice time if you are passing and scoring well, a disappointing paragraph on a menu from the coach if you don’t defend and other chances to make an impact.

Midway through your draft-able season, you may get the call to the CHL top prospects game as my player did.  I was assigned to the white team and I drew the top line against the red team.  Somewhere during the first period after a stoppage in play, I began to look at the “Be A Player” mode differently.

One of my linemates must have disliked someone on the other team and a fight broke out.  Hey – old hockey joke huh?  All I could think about was 17 year olds fighting in front of NHL scouts to show that they should be drafted.  I have never been or seen the real CHL top prospects game but I know that as a teenager you want to be in the NHL and you’ll do whatever it takes to get there.

But these aren’t just any teenagers.  These kids are being paid a stipend and they cannot accept a scholarship to an American school because of it.  Think about that for a moment.  This is a double edged blade.

It’s wonderful that they are getting paid for bringing in revenue for their club but at the same time it comes with a consequence.  They must now realize they can’t go to the States and play college hockey.  Most realize their options are better in the CHL, however should that not pan out, there has to be some consideration for the future too.

This past week I saw former Houston Texans running back Arian Foster talk about the NCAA and how he can’t even watch college football anymore.  The NCAA system is broken.  In March, billions in revenue are generated for the NCAA by advertisers in what is known as “March Madness.”  The basketball players for the schools do not see any of that money but some of the coaches at these schools are paid millions to do one thing: teach x’s and o’s.

Then there is college football.  The college bowl system is the same way and some coaches are the highest paid state employees.  They also get athletic gear contracts and some coaches even have radio shows.  Meanwhile, athletes on scholarship can’t participate in work study or accept the same things that normal students could.

In fact, Foster has spoken in the past about asking his former coach at the University of Tennessee Phillip Fulmer to bring him something to eat because the dining hall was closed and he had no money.  This was against the NCAA rules but Foster came from a family that was poor – if it wasn’t for the scholarship he wouldn’t have had the funds to go to college.

We hear the stories of athletes going from college or high school to the NFL or the NBA and blowing it all.  They end up being broke but why can’t they get a stipend in college to help them understand how to manage it?  Getting that money in the CHL helps the young players know that when it is gone, it is gone and no one is going to give you anything.

The NCAA is no longer an amateur league and it’s not going to go back to being one.  With advertisers involved and athletic companies sponsoring everything there’s no way to believe that money doesn’t run college sports.  It’s long past time to let the kids who help print the cash for the “amateur” system get their piece of the pie – or else we need to take the money out of the system.

Why Is Joe Mixon Any Different Than Ray Rice?

I’m not sure why these things continue to go on every day in the sports world but star athletes are getting away with as much as possible.

Case in point, University of Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon.  Mr. Mixon has been suspended for the game against Iowa State on November 3, 2016 because he ripped up his parking ticket in front of the public safety officer who had written it.

There are a multitude of problems around Mixon that extend from 2016 back to 2014.

Mixon’s attorney, Blake Johnson, is quoted in the The Oklahoman as saying “He tore the ticket up in front of the parking attendant, and threw it on the ground.”

Not only did he either park illegally but he littered by dropping pieces of the ticket on the ground.  Plus there is a witness to both offenses.

Mr. Johnson goes on to say, “We are very confident that Joe did nothing criminal.”

Well let’s back up a moment here partner.

In 2014, Mixon was suspended for punching a fellow student and breaking multiple bones in their face.  Mixon knocked Amelia Molitor off her feet with one punch shattering her jaw, cheek, sinus and orbital bone.  That’s right, the fellow student is female.

The incident was caught on a restaurant surveillance tape where the two had been with friends.  Mixon had been celebrating his 18th birthday when words were exchanged escalating into Molitor pushing Mixon away.  Mixon lunged at Molitor and she slaped his neck leading to the punch.

As soon as he landed it, her head hit the table she was sitting at and then she fell to the ground. Mixon made for the exit leaving Molitor struggling to come to.  Mixon is not seen on camera again and after a while she is able to sit up in a chair.

On top of all of this, the President, athletic director and football coach of the University all saw this footage in the District Attorney’s office just three weeks after the event occured. Their solution was to suspend the player from the team for the season rather than outright dismissal.

The DA decides that Mixon should be charged with acts resulting in gross injury, a misdemeanor.  A misdemeanor?

Mixon entered an Alford plea to the charge which meant he had to serve 100 hours of community service, a one-year deffered sentence, a year of probation and some counseling.

Mmkay.

Even though he was suspended he still attended team functions – hell that seems right.  I imagine she was doing every day normal activities with all those broken bones.

But what is interesting about the whole thing is that there was an Oklahoma law that prohibited reporters from obtaining copies of the video to broadcast on TV or post online. Mixon took the deal just days before a new law was set to come in affect changing this which would have meant his video would have gone mainsteam.

In fact, after the plea was reached with the defendant and the prosecutor the tape went back to the restaurant where the tape was destroyed.  No one but those who were there will ever see the violent act that Mixon committed.

My question is, what would he have had to do to get kicked out all together?  Kill her?

If you draw the comparisson to another football player’s domestic violence incident caught on camera (Ray Rice) – what is the difference?

My guess is that Rice brought so much toxic attention to the NFL that no team wanted to go near him and he could be replaced by many other running backs similar to him.  His video was on every website and television station.  You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing or hearing his name.

Mixon on the other hand is younger, a five-star recruit, Oklahoma kept this video contained and could keep him away for a year to minimize the damage to their program.

All that being said – domestic violence is domestic violence.  What Mixon did is no different than what Ray Rice did and neither individual should be on the field.  Mixon ripped up a parking ticket in a fit of rage so what will stop him from showing that anger in the future?  What will stop him from hurting someone when he does?  The fear of another misdemeanor?

 

 

 

The Day The Rex Ship Ran Aground

*Thanks to the New York Daily News for the image and for making it.

This whole Rex Ryan thing is completely out of hand.

I’m convinced that the Buffalo Bills have lost control.  They don’t even know what to do with him anymore.

Stay with me, I know, you’re rolling your eyes – it’s starting to get old. Rex Ryan is my go to whipping boy for days when I want someone to beat up on.  But this time my Buffalo Bills fan club card is truly at the bottom of the sea with Sebastian and Ariel.

Rex has decided that he is going to “introduce” Donald Trump at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo when the Presidential Candidate stumps for Republican voters in his visit to the Bills home city.  I’m not wading into the politics on this one, that’s not my point here.  I have different bones to pick.

I wanted to look at what Rex and the Bills have to say about it because this is after all the same Trump that tried to buy the Bills after Ralph Wilson’s death.  Thankfully Terry Pegula was able to buy the team and keep it from Trump – and Jon Bon Jovi who wanted to move it to Toronto for the sake of making money.  If I ever make a billion dollars I have ideas for you Jon!

But I digress and I move on to Rex.

“I’m not going to say who my endorsement is and all that stuff,” Rex is quoted as saying according to Syracuse.com. “I’ll say this, Chris Christie was my guy 100-percent because we were the lap-banded brothers. We both had that lap band and we really are pretty close.”

Great, so you aren’t endorsing him so to speak but by going out on stage you are playing your hand anyway.  That’s like me saying that I’m wearing this Bills stuff but I’m not going to tell you what team I cheer for.  Just because I’m wearing Bills stuff doesn’t mean I want anything to do with the Bills.  Well, that’s back when I was wearing the Bills stuff anyway.  Stay with me.

The Bills are all cool with it.  Not cool with me.  I don’t know what they think of me.  I know when I was in Buffalo and tried to get a tour of the Ralph they didn’t have one.  Who doesn’t have a stadium tour these days?  Lame!

“It is a personal decision by Rex to introduce Donald Trump at this evening’s rally,” the Bills explained in a statement released by Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. “The Bills organization does not endorse political candidates and so he is not representing the organization at tonight’s event.”

Who releases a statement like that?  I mean, sure they are going to distance themselves from the coach.  Okay I get that.  But they can’t come out and release a broad public statement?  There’s nothing on their website about it.  Do they not think that everything this man does gets traction?  “Nah, this won’t go anywhere we’ll just release it through a reporter.”  Come on, put it on your website.

I believe if I’m not mistaken this is the same Bills organization that Trump said he would buy in 2014 and make money on.  He wished current Bills owner Terry Pegula better luck with the Bills than with Sabres.

Meanwhile their head coach and “face” of the franchise is introducing the guy who talked trash and bad mouthed the current owner of the club.  But that’s okay?  Not in my book.  Not if I owned the club.  I’d be snipping that one down in a heartbeat.

Also in the same day, word came out that Rex admitted to is stealing slogans from college coaches.  Rex borrowed “All in” from Clemson’s Dabo Swinney as a means to promote unity among the players.  Can’t a guy come up with ideas on his own?

These two things on one day?  Isn’t that enough to get someone fired?

I know the Bills don’t want to get rid of him.  Why would they?  If they wanted to they would have gotten rid of him after he promised the playoffs and didn’t deliver.  Besides every Bills fan who could read the writing on the wall knew they weren’t going to make the playoffs.  Anyone who could see the team for who they were only knew he was going to make it worse.  Look at the Jets trajectory since he left, guess where it is headed?  Straight up.

Rex is the loud mouth that gets the Bills all this free publicity and he keeps the team in first segments of ESPN because there’s always a dumb comment that sportscasters make fun of.  Who cares if the team ever wins, when was the last time the guy won a Super Bowl? When was the last time he overcame his New England demons?

Now he’s just shoving all his insubordination in the boss’ face and calling it a “personal decision.”

A personal decision is choosing to wear a different tie to work.  A personal decision is choosing to wear a different color vest on Sundays.  A personal decision is choosing to donate your pay check to Relay for Life.  This is far from a personal decision.

This is another squirt of gasoline on what has become a massive dumpster fire burning out of control burning by Lake Ontario.  Until they get their “Rex Problem” under control the Bills can go ahead and take my fan card. Leadership, respect and the ability to teach humanity starts at the top and the Bills are showing that they are just letting Rex walk all over them. Tyrod or no Tyrod, it’s over for me.