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"Sports Journalism" Archive


Filed Under “Who Are They?” Chris Kluwe And Nate Jackson Eviscerate Each Other

Darren Sharper has nothing to do with this post. But I see no reason to put up a picture of Nate Jackson or Chris Kluwe. Do you?

As the lockout negotiations appear to be ending today (*makes it rain on the Eagles and Falcons*), it’s only appropriate that we wrap up with another post about what happens when real feelings come out. This edition features former Denver Broncos Tight End Nate Jackson and current Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe.

In a nutshell, Kluwe took to his twitter page two weeks ago to insult a few of the plaintiffs and player reps for the NFLPA. He said they (Peyton Manning, Vincent Jackson and Logan Mankins) were douchebags, presumably because they were rumored to be delaying agreement because they wanted their own side deals.

Nate Jackson duly noted Kluwe’s comments and posted a response to Gawker’s sports site Deadspin. In a post titled “Dear Chris Kluwe, When We Want A Punter’s Opinion We’ll Ask for It (We Won’t),  Jackson essentially mocked the role of punters in the NFL and chastised Kluwe for breaking pecking order and daring to speak on behalf of players who really matter.

Earlier this week, Kluwe, the Minnesota Vikings punter, called Peyton Manning and Drew Brees greedy douchebags on his Twitter feed — validating, from a source who wears an NFL uniform, the media’s assertion that the lockout is all about greedy players. But by relying on gossipy football media outlets for facts about CBA negotiations, then taking to Twitter to blast some of the league’s most respected names, Chris Kluwe made a mistake that ensures he’ll be respected even less than he already is, if that’s possible.

Punters are at the absolute bottom of the totem pole on an NFL roster, the very last man. If the team plane crashed on a deserted island, he’d be dinner as soon as the food ran out. Most of them know this and understand that it’s in their best interest to keep quiet

From there, Jackson spends about 6 or 7 HILARIOUS paragraphs explaining exactly why punters named Chris Kluwe should shut the fuck up. He ends with this:

But perhaps the moment most indicative of the separation between punter and football player is when one of his punts is returned for a touchdown. The punter, the nominal last line of defense, appears to be an invertebrate on a sheet of ice as he squirms into a position to make the tackle. His eyes widen and he splays his arms out to the side as if to embrace a giant teddy bear. The returner, with a quick head nod, sends the punter blindly lurching to the wrong side, into a Jell-O-like pile of his own shortcomings. That taken care of, he scoots off down the sideline for a touchdown.

When the team watches the film together the next day, it will not surprise them at all to see how feeble the punter looks. This will only sink him deeper into his locker and into his crime novels, searching harder for a way to convince himself that he is one of the guys, that when he speaks up, he is speaking for his peers. But he isn’t. And he shouldn’t.

Echoing the media’s trite narrative — those selfish players! — is a fool’s errand, and couldn’t be any stupider for someone who must keep the company of real NFL players, who know what it means to sacrifice. Kluwe’s satirical white board drawings and CBA negotiation parodies were harmless enough, I suppose, but even those echoed the sentiment of conventional media wisdom. Player wisdom is beyond him. It is true that greed is the operative byword, but it is not the greed of Manning or Brees or Mankins. It’s Kluwe’s greedy use of his roster spot as a platform from which to shit into cyberspace, knowing that people will pay attention. Well, now they are.

Chris Kluwe, quite the writer himself, responded to Jackson’s post, also via Deadspin. He takes issue with Jackson’s contention (I’m paraphrasing) that punters should be seen and not heard.

It was with some dismay that I read your piece in Deadspin and immediately tried to wrap my head around why a player with a reasonable grasp of the English language who made no measurable impact upon the game (i.e. you) would stoop so low as to berate a National Football League player who has actually completed a full 16-game season (multiple times!), has broken every team record at his position, and above all has contributed to his team winning games (and occasionally losing them [i.e. myself (I love parenthetical asides)]).

Raise your hand if you got lost at the end of that last sentence.

Let’s be honest here. Yes, I am a punter. Yes, I don’t run routes, or zone block, or cover receivers. Apparently, though, neither did you, which is the only explanation for your total lack of statistics. You, more than anyone else, should know what goes on during special teams, and yet your description of a special teams practice, while venomously hilarious, is quite inaccurate (or maybe you guys had a really crappy punter and you’re spot on, in which case, my condolences).

You talk about me like I’m some kind of disease, like punters are some kind of infection that should be excised for the good of the game and how dare we raise our voices when our betters are talking. According to you, punters should be happy to sit in the corner and be treated like shit because we do something different, something that the other 54 members of the team can’t do.

Kluwe goes on to explain that he passionately values his freedom of speech:

I don’t really care what you or anyone else thinks about what I say or when I say it. If I see something greedy, hypocritical, or just plain stupid, I’m going to call out whoever the offending party happens to be. I’ve done it to the owners; I’ve done it to the NFL front office; and I’ll certainly do it if I see it happen with the players. And make no mistake: trying to hold up the settlement of a CBA affecting almost 1,900 players just so four can get special treatment is pretty much the definition of greed. Whether it was instigated by their attorneys, agents, or whoever, it’s still a douchebag move to make.

And he ends his post with some polite parting words.

So, Nate Jackson, while I respect your right to free speech (as apparently you don’t respect mine), I also respect my right to tell you to go jam a tackling dummy up your ass sideways for being a snake-tongued, shit-talking Internet tough guy asshole who is so far out of touch with reality that you have no idea just how privileged we are to play this game for ridiculous amounts of money.

if you have time, I’d say read both posts. My thoughts? They’re both right-except I think I respect kickers a little bit more than Jackson does. Though I admit that I didn’t even bother to add “Chris Kluwe” to my blog categories cause I’m almost certain I will never mention him again on this blog. Even though he has some sort of groundswell of support since breaking ranks. SB Nation has dubbed him the coolest punter ever. Cause, you know, that title is so elusive. Almost like the Superbowl of superlatives, if you will.

Everyone knows where I stand on the players vs. owners. I won’t rehash. But from an objective standpoint, I thought Jackson wrote a slightly better piece though both were hilarious and surprisingly well-written. Hey, who says football players can’t read. Not me!





Dear Media: Lay Off The Minute-by-Minute Lockout Updates!

Congrats to ESPN's Adam Schefter. He has by far the most annoying lockout updates. KUDOS!!

I think this is the first post I’ve written where the entire post is really contained in the headline. But fuck it, we’re here anyway.

I’m tired of the minute by minute updates to the lockout. Every news outlet is posting and tweeting about how close a deal is to getting done. Then, they are updating about how it’s close but not as close as we think. Well how do you know how close I thought a deal was? Then, the media goes on to update us letting us know a deal will be done this week. Well, basically a deal IS done but not ratified. There’s been no vote. Then they let us know a vote “might” happen on Thursday and that NFL players are very busy reading the lengthy Collective Bargaining Agreement that has been drafted.

You got all that? No?

Good thing it doesn’t matter. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been slightly comforting to know that “major” issues have been worked out. And it’s certainly been amusing to see the media treat Peyton Manning, Vincent Jackson, and Logan Mankins as though they are the source of all the lockouts problems because they might want some side deals in return for their services. Somebody remind me to remind the media that there’s a lawsuit going on and NFL players who have been working just as hard as owners on this deal aren’t performing a charity here. It’s also been great to see those in “the know” guess lockout ending dates and be totally wrong and unapologetic as they guess the next date.

But after almost 4 months of this, I’m putting my foot down.

I know we live in a 24 hour news cycle where everything is news from what Z list celeb caught a DUI to what marginally talented NBA player parked in a damn handicapped spot. But it’d be great if the media saved the updates for when something actually takes place. Eventually updates that say close, close, closer, not as close, almost close, Tuesday, Wednesday, no seriously, Thursday just make you look really, really insane.


A Retrospective on Why NFL Players Named “Harrison” Ain’t Nothin’ to F-ck With (Allegedly)

Consider the fact that someone let this man have not one gun, but two!

This week the NFL world was overtaken by talk about Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker James Harrison. In this upcoming Men’s Journal article, Harrison gives his unfiltered thoughts on everyone from his teammates Running Back Rashard Mendenhall (fumble machine) and Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (no Peyton Manning) to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (crook, devil, stupid).

I’ve said a million times that James is one of my favorite players and people. And even if he wasn’t, I’d still say he was. Why? Because he frightens me! And let me tell you, I don’t scare easily. From the time I was little, my dad has told me not to be afraid of anyone. And that attitude remained with me right up until James Harrison knocked Kyle Orton, Josh Cribbs, and Mohammed Massaquoi into the middle of the following week all in one season.

Since then it’s been clear that like the Wu Tang Clan, players named Harrision ain’t nothing to fuck with. Something about the name Harrison when connected to football breeds a tolerance for bullshit that is very low. Low Low. Scrub the grouuuuund low. King of Diamonds stripper ass low. Gas tank on E low. Souped up Chevy on hydraulics low. Shawty Lo.

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah. Scary Harrisons…scARRISONS…

If I wasn’t afraid, I’ll tell you all about James Harrison’s allegedly volatile relationship with his wife or about the time he body slammed a fan who ran onto the field.



But since I don’t want no parts of that conversation, I’ll simply move on to Marvin Harrison.

Yes Marvin Harrison, former Indianapolis Colts Wide Receiver and ALLEGED close friend of the streets.

Marvin Harrison Serves Up A Side Eye So Mean the Grim Reaper Would Drop His Scythe!

Marvin was a great wide receiver and actually might hold more NFL records than any other receiver in history. He garnered respect for his ability to elude defenders. These skills probably came in handy when he had to do the same thing to the police ALLEGEDLY. Off the field, Marvin was under investigation by both Philadelphia police and the FBI as they tried to determine if he was connected to the shooting death of a man he’d previously had an altercation with. This is all alleged!!

While I’m positive that Marvin is and was COMPLETELY innocent, since the 8 time Pro Bowler’s last name IS Harrison I can’t help but allegedly wonder!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention Rodney Harrison.

Rodney Harrison Tries to Make a Point to Tony Dungy Without Leaving His Seat


Admittedly Rodney only scares me half as much as Marvin and James but still enough that I wouldn’t mess with him to his face. The former New England Patriots Safety is known for admitting to federal agents that he received human growth hormones (ALLEGEDLY), being voted “dirtiest player” in the league by his peers, and hitting the $200,000 mark in fines by the NFL including a vicious helmet to helmet hit on the great Wide Receiver Jerry Rice that got him suspended.

THOUGH HE’S VERY HANDSOME AND WELL SPOKEN (just in case he’s reading this), Rodney gives me all kinds of crazy vibes especially when his broadcast partner former Colts Coach Tony Dungy makes one of his many goody two-shoes comments. Such comments usually prompt Rodney to visibly consider whether he should waste perfectly good breath making a counterpoint or handle the situation like a real Harrison would.

Side note: Judging by the number of times Rodney’s eyes have twitched and he’s flashed his “I-ain’t-no-killer-but-don’t-push-me” grin listening to Dungy talk, we are approximately 1.5 NFL seasons from Rodney putting Dungy in a Boston Crab or a rear naked chokehold depending on which suit he’s wearing that night. This is of course assuming he hasn’t already-ALLEGEDLY.

No surprise that the Hazardous Harrisons James and Rodney aren’t fans of each others. James says that Rodney is a jerk. Rodney’s response? Jerk is one of the nicer things anyone has ever said about him, and that James needs to just shut up.

James is right.

Rodney is right.

But take heart, we still have Nolan Harrison. Nolan is a senior executive for the NFL Players Association and formerly played defensive lineman for the Raiders and Steelers. He seems like a very nice guy. He actually took some time and explained to me what the NFLPA was doing with a couple of its player-driven sites.

What a sweet smile! His last name can't possibly be Harrison.

But…after that conversation, I took a peek at his bio and it says “you know whose side I’m on, tread lightly…” OMG IS THAT AN ALLEGED THREAT? Or have other Harrisons made me so nervous I don’t know the difference between helpful information and a potential ass kicking? this the same Nolan Harrison?

From this day forward,  any time someone is testing my gangsta, the name “Harrison” will serve as a warning. Either we can handle this politely, or I can get real Harrison on that ass!!!



Deadspin Does Double Duty As Grantland’s Comment Section

If you’re the sort that is constantly tardy to the party, you may not have heard that star sports-writer Bill Simmons of ESPN now has his own web venture (financed by ESPN). The site is and in a matter of months, it’s climbed to 605 in Alexa’s page ranking. Just so all the non bloggeeks know, 605 really fucking good.

I checked out the site and there’s some good stuff on there, but nothing that would make me visit repeatedly. My biggest pet peeve is that I don’t know what the intended voice and tone of the site is supposed to be. It’s not particularly serious, but it’s not really cheeky either. There is some reporting but it’s coated with commentary. The subject of sports is a consistent theme but doesn’t really guide the content. I can’t really think of a reason I’d visit the site without being directed via a link. It’s sort of a hodge-podge.

That’s why I hereby anoint Grantland as…*drum roll please* GAWKER-LITE.

From Molly Lambert’s Jezebel’ish commentary on women in raunchy films to the stark bold font that mimics Gawker’s main page, Grantland is Gawker without all the edgy fun stuff.  I’m interested to see where Grantland will go next and how long it can sustain its traffic level.Sports business God Darren Rovell at CNBC said last week that Grantland has already pulled in 10 million in advertising. I suppose the site will continue to do well as long as ESPN continues to provide good old fashioned link love (not to mention the gazillions they have to back it).

Now onto my main point…while I was perusing the site I didn’t even notice that there was no place to leave comments. Well Grantland’s drunk Uncle Deadspin has officially arrived at their Christmas party and is knocking over the tree by capitalizing on the missing comments section.

If you have a comment that you would have shared on Grantland but didn’t, cause, you know, you couldn’t, you can send an email to [email protected] with the subject line “Dear Grantland.”

So far the comments have ranged from nitpicky stuff to legitimate gripes with the site’s reporting and editing.  I checked Grantland’s site and so far there’s no mention of Deadspin’s dig. See, Gawker without the fun stuff.




MIchael Vick Names Upcoming Autobiography “Finally Free”- Will You Read It?

I decided to focus my headline on the title of Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Michael Vick’s autobiography rather than say something off color about how I have no intentions of reading it.

*brace yourself for negativity*

Okay, I love Michael Vick. I, too, grew up in Hampton Roads Virginia. I was lucky enough to see Vick play many times in high school. And I, just like other people from the Tidewater area, kept my eye on Vick from high school to college at Virginia Tech to the Atlanta Falcons to his stint in jail to his speaking turns on animal rights to his signing with the Eagles.

So it’s not that I don’t care…it’s just that at 30 years old and having not won any championships at the collegiate level or in the National Football League (he doesn’t even have a Heisman!), releasing a story that chronicles your life seems a bit premature to me. We’ve heard all about Vick’s trials with his friends, with dogfighting, arrogance and redemption. It’s hard for me to imagine this autobiography being highly engaging given Vick’s mild mannered personality. And with Vick still being in full out apology mode, I can’t see him doing much criticism of others-that kind of honesty sells!

From USA Today.

Vick, 30, hopes he can impart the lessons he learned confined inside a lonely prison cell to young people who might now be damaging their own lives. They are lessons that Vick regrets that he, at age 26, was too naive to absorb.

“My propensity for trying to lie my way out of trouble only made my consequences more severe,” he wrote.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz *snores*

The title “Finally Free” is certainly appropriate, I can see him discussing how hard it was to let go of past negative influences his life in addition to what it felt like to regain his freedom after being incarcerated. But all in all, if I had to predict…I don’t get the impression that Vick’s autobiography will be candid or contextualized, I think it will be image-driven and a summary of things we already know.

If his story reads as I think it will, it probably would have been much BETTER for him to write a handbook for young men. I think a lot of boys would rather get a pep talk from Michael Vick than Hill Harper. And Harper’s book “Letters To a Young Brother” sold pretty well. Young boys might actually read Vick’s book rather than using the pages as toilet paper after their moms and aunties force it on them.

From my view, I’d rather read Vick’s autobiography when he’s not longer walking on egg shells and can come clean about the herpes/Ron Mexico rumors, the woman who sued him, his relationship with Dan Reeves and Jim Mora Jr., his thoughts on being betrayed by his friends and family and that kind of thing.

Is it rude to speculate that Vick’s financial problems are the reason he is releasing an autobiography at 30 years old? What do you all think, will you read Vick’s story?




Toronto’s Mayor Thinks NFL and CFL Can Coexist — Say What Now?

The talks about our sister North American country Canada getting an NFL team in Toronto have been going on for a while but now they’re heating up. Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford has been touting Toronto as the next big NFL destination and claiming that the NFL and CFL can coexist in the same market.

“I like both. I think both leagues are great,” said the mayor, disagreeing that a Toronto NFL team could hurt fan support for the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts. “There are a lot of football fans here. I’m here today to support the CFL.”

The mayor spoke of his excitement for Toronto’s 100th Grey Cup Festival and the financial boom that will result from the game in 2012 and the nine-day festival that will celebrate it.

But the Ford brothers have often made headlines by saying the are chasing an NFL team and trying to host a Super Bowl. The city councillor said earlier this month Toronto may acquire the Saints from New Orleans, which prompted the Saints to issue a press release calling the notion “completely false.”

To begin, I don’t think the Saints are moving. I have no insider information or reason to state this other than that the Saints survived a very economically depressed period after Hurricane Katrina. Despite many New Orleans residents being displaced, attendance was still competitive with the rest of the league. In fact, the Saints reported that their waiting list was 50K names strong back in 2010.

Saints owner Tom Benson is pretty well invested into the city of New Orleans and the Saints remain one of the teams that are less in debted than others. Besides a slight stadium controversy (and really what city doesn’t have or hasn’t had one) the Saints seem on pretty sure footing. With the economy being what it is, it just seems unlikey for the NFL to move a team on solid ground.

That being said, I wouldn’t rule out Toronto getting a team; but I would, however, rule out the NFL and CFL being able to co-exist. The Toronto Sun explicitly said that Mayor Ford HAS to choose between the NFL and CFL and I think they’re right.


They make the case that a Toronto NFL team would actually make the CFL stronger because the sport of football would become more popular north of the border. Both leagues would prosper. And yes, if you believe that, you are buying that the Argos are solid at QB going into the 2011 season.

I often get the feeling that Toronto’s NFL supporters (at least the ones who have a soft spot for the CFL) say this because it makes them feel better. No CFL blood on their hands. Others, it’s for political calculation.

Picture the sight of Tom Brady or a Peyton Manning coming to town, or even a Monday Night Football game in Toronto: the comings and goings of the Double Blue will become a mere speck on the Toronto sports scene-a hyper-competitive market where they have struggled for the past 30 years.

It is easy to predict media coverage would drastically diminish for the Argos. Ticket revenue and corporate sponsorship would shrink. The highway to Double Blue irrelevancy would be paved in red ink. (Yes, way more red ink than they have now.)

If you’re interested in this topic I think this is a good article to read. For a city/country that doesn’t have an NFL team I think they covered the potential issues the NFL would have with the mayor/city (rogue behavior) and the issues Canada might have with the NFL (wasting tax payer dollars that have been invested in the CFL).

But the bottom line is just like Canada wanted “in” on the NBA, they will want in on the NFL and the best professional football talent and probably soon. The question is how much they’re willing to sacrifice to get it and can they invest tax payer dollars into TWO leagues. NFL teams come at high costs to the host cities and aren’t typically the economic boon they purport to be. Not to mention the tightly controlled ownership and advertising issues that come along with the NFL that will surely squeeze the CFL out of contention.

I can guess that the NFL would come up with some crazy rule to keep the CFL from showing games on Sundays and Mondays? That alone would gravely impact the CFL schedule and viewership in the most crucial part of football seasons-the halfway marker and beyond.




Iverson, Hardaway and Wade Discuss Who Has The Better Cross


But! The video below, posted by the NY Times, brought me back to a time when I did. They cover one of the most dynamic moves in basketball-the crossover. And they include some great clips.

Watching former Philadelphia 76er Allen Iverson cross the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, despite excellent defense was one of those magical moments in basketball I’ll never forget. Saw it live and feel blessed to be able to say that.

The highlights from the video for me:

  • Can’t believe they got Iverson on camera for this. That alone made me happy.

Iverson’s old Georgetown teammate Dean Perry talked about how he perfected his cross taking elements from players like Tim Hardaway and Kenny Anderson. Never really thought about how effectively Kenny Anderson used his body to create space for a shot until watching that video.

Also regarding Iverson and Perry, there’s a key moment where Iverson talks about refusing to let Perry best him in practice. Now everyone knows that Iverson went on an epic rant about what he felt was the media’s over emphasis on his refusal to attend practice consistently or take it seriously while with the Sixers. When Iverson made the comment about he and Perry’s friendly competition, it occurred to me that maybe Iverson didn’t like to practice in Philadelphia because his teammates weren’t good enough to challenge him or teach him anything. That squad wasn’t exactly stacked with premiere talent.

Back to the video, one thing that always impressed me about Hardaway’s cross is how low he could get his ass to the ground. They talk about that  in the video. But, the video also revealed something I never noticed-how high Hardaway would sometimes bounce the ball from one hand to another taking the ball from a low and harder-to-steal dribble to a high bounce complementing his body’s momentum.

The level of ball control it takes to accomplish a successful cross is a little mind boggling for someone like me who would double dribble playing horse.

In the video, Dwyane Wade says explicitly that Hardaway had the best and most difficult cross to master. And he mentions the speed at which Hardaway could take the defender off the dribble. I agree with Wade’s observation.

From memory, I would also say Iverson’s crosses typically ended in mid-range jump shots -generalizing here-whereas Hardaway’s crosses ended up in jumpers, three pointers, and some of the most spectacular lay-ups and reverse lay-ups I’ve ever seen in my INTAH LAHF! #phonetics Agree or Disagree?

While I’m thinking back, I remember watching Hardaway as his knees deteriorated into nothing (by the time he retired he had NO cartilage left) and it was really hard for me because he was one of those handful of players who seemed consistently hyper aware of his individual strengths. And talk about body conscious and a great defender.

Nice to walk down memory lane a bit.

Oh and I never need to hear Wade talk about watching Iverson “while growing up.” Damn I’m old. And so is Iverson, though he still looks about 25.




Tink Tink McNabb’s Silence Could Cost Him His Legacy

There’s no job tougher than explaining why McNabb is an awesome quarterback. Not because he doesn’t have the stats to prove it, but because the perception of McNabb is just…terrible, horrible, no good and very bad. It’s almost as if people can’t see past the controversies and personality weaknesses to even begin to absorb the list of this man’s accomplishments.

I wrote an “In defense of” post about McNabb months ago where I talk about what he did for the Eagles. But this ain’t about that. This is about the importance of campaigning for McNabb and any other player who wants a favorable place in history. That ability to campaign, to sell, to show charisma is why people remember Brett Favre as a hero and not a chronic bad decision maker the way that McNabb, despite his success, is perceived as a choke artist.

Background note: I thought about this after the object of my football affection Darren Sharper mentioned never winning Defensive Player of the Year. I was appalled. HOW COULD HE NOT. HE’S THE BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER EVER. (in my head) Then I thought about it…hmm…I love him…but there’s a few years there where I forgot he played. I go look at the stats and I’m impressed. Sharper has had some great seasons. HOWEVER, why so quiet? If you look at the defensive player of the year list there’s a bunch of Chatty Cathys. SPEAK UP!!!!

There’s no reason McNabb shouldn’t be highly regarded if we’re talking about talent alone-what that man was able to achieve without top receivers is nothing less than amazing. But on some level, subconsciously, we expect people who deserve accolades to project the type of confidence to match and McNabb simply does not. It’s not just his relative silence, it’s the Eeyore-inspired press conferences and the withdrawn body language that all combine to make McNabb a big old ball of do-you-love-yourself-at-all?

Last week, when Bernard Hopkins and his CTE announced that McNabb wasn’t black enough, it was the first time I’d ever seen masses of football fans take up for Tink Tink McNabb. But the reality is, the backlash against Hopkins had nothing to do with McNabb it was about the PERCEPTION of black people. Naturally, blacks, caring about the impact negative perceptions have on them decided to express how ridiculous and stereotypical Hopkins’ comments were. If only McNabb had that same mentality.

In that sense, Hopkins’ point is well taken (by me). Throughout everything that has happened to blacks in this country we retain a sense of pride in what we do and when necessary we are pretty damn vocal about it. No surprise that Hopkins finds McNabb’s silence off-putting. That and the fact that he’s crazy.

Regardless, McNabb is right smack in the middle of not even being considered for inclusions in the National Football League Hall of Fame’s sports journalist popularity contest competition and show. It’s hard to imagine this generation of sports writers regarding McNabb with the type of respect that would get him into the Hall non-posthumously. It worries me. I want this for McNabb as a fan of his and as a sympathetic looker-on.

For years, McNabb and the few who defend his flaccid approach to his image have said McNabb should avoid going tit for tat. But I think had he spoken up early on there’d be a lot less tats and way more tits. And that’s always a good thing right?


America-Lover Champion Fires Pittsburgh’s Mendenhall For Being Too Free Speechy

I blogged about how embarrassing the whole media response to Rashard Mendenhall’s tweeting was over at Media Strut. To sum up that post, I think that Mendenhall was a victim of sports media TROLLs and search engine optimization:

The media’s, and subsequently the public’s, reaction to Mendenhall’s tweets is an embarrassing display of how “outrage-driven” today’s media is as well as how aggressively it seeks search engine optimization. Web content managers know that the NFL is in the midst of the a lockout, twitter is a popular social media network, and Osama Bin Laden was the most searched term of the week. NFL + Twitter + Osama Bin Laden = high search engine results for articles on Mendenhall’s tweets.

Plus a slow news day can produce any number of asinine stories that on a heavier day wouldn’t be a blip on the radar. And now that sports media has become just as 24/7 as the rest of the media, athletes are subject to much of the same “trolling” for comments by the journalists that other celebrities have long submitted to. Yes, sports reporters are TROLLS now, and although I’m sure some reporters love it, if sports journalism is reporting on Brett Favre’s penis and who tweeted what I’ll pass indefinitely.

One of the things I’m most proud of with this blog is that is not based on dicks and tweets. I hate to describe it so crudely but unfortunately that’s what sports media and blogging has come to. And if someone tweets their dick that’s pretty much like hitting a gold mind. This really ain’t that kind of blog though.

Obviously, there’s something to be said for catering to the public’s overwhelming interest in gossip, but must every site behave as sophomorically  as TMZ and Mediatakeout?

Moving on to Mendenhall specifically, his comments really were not that serious to put it bluntly. I’d bet he’s pretty shell-shocked by the public’s reaction. I’m sure going forward he will know that it’s probably much safer to tweet his penis than his opinions. And honestly, the public is probably more interested in his penis than his thoughts. I mean Wrangler didn’t have an issue with Brett Favre attaching a picture of his penis to all outgoing Jets emails. I kid! I kid!

You can read Champion’s statement on firing Mendenhall here. If you don’t want to click, here’s my translation: “We’re Champion. Our colors are red white and blue. America is perfect and you better be too!” That wasn’t going to rhyme initially but it fit. Champion basically appears to have fired Mendenhall for being involved in controversy NOT because he actually said something wrong. Or at least not something so wrong they could be specific about what was so wrong.

That’s another thing I address over at Media Strut-the inability to tell what will become a firestorm and what won’t anymore. No wonder PR was named one of the most stressful jobs. I think it’s fine to hold athletes accountable for what they say. But I also think it’s even better to take a look a the mirror and ask yourself if you’re really offended by what was said before you start bashing a person.

Darren Rovell over at CNBC surmises that Champion will still have to pay Mendenhall, and I hope that is the case. I think it would have been more advisable for Champion to say that they disagreed with Mendenhall’s comments (which ones?) but as an American company they respect the right for everyone to have a conversation about current events. In the current reactionary media environment, that kind of mature response by a company might have been refreshing.

On a final note, I hope this whole Osama Bin Laden is dead thing doesn’t return us to the time in this country post-9/11 when no one could say shit without their being a shitstorm. Honestly, things are too tough for too many people in this country to return to that level of fear and retaliation.

I’m proud to say I don’t own any Champion products, and I won’t be buying any. Even when they’re $3 at Ross. Well, maybe if they’re $3 at Ross.



Media’s Frustration With NFL Owners Comes to A Head-Took Too Damn Long

The media’s coverage of the lockout has taken a while to catch up with reality. I can name any number of reasons for this, but the biggest one is that the threat of no football has given media outlets a lot of time to think about CBA minutia and to realize how reliant they are on football for clicks, views, and ratings. In particular, the biggest guy in town-ESPN.

My point about CBA minutia is important. This debate has transitioned from a dismissive and uninformed narrative about millionaires vs. billionaires, to a wholesale understanding that the more we know about player health and finances, playing in the NFL involves a lot of short and long term sacrifice.

Finally, the gloves are off. ESPN’s Rick Reilly had this to say:

Their estimated combined net worth is well over $40 billion, which is more than the GNP of 150 nations. Paul Allen, owner of the Seattle Seahawks, has a 414-foot yacht called “The Octopus” with two helicopters, two submarines, a swimming pool, a music studio and a basketball court. He also has two backup emergency yachts.

You’re really worried about his wallet?

Yes, many of the players are diamond-coated knuckleheads. But have you ever met Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder? He’s worth $1.1 billion and yet, two years ago, the Redskins sued a 73-year-old grandmother for not keeping up on her season-ticket package payments.

This man also got caught buying stale peanuts from a defunct airline and reselling them at games.

For the owners to lock out the players at this time in American history is unconscionable. You don’t like the players? Fine. There are still nearly 9 percent of Americans out of work. Think of the people who’ve lost their homes, lost their cars and can barely pay the rent. Watching an NFL game on a Sunday — and getting ready for it all week — is sometimes literally the only thing keeping them going.

Do you realize what having no NFL season would do to the economy? According to the NFLPA, it’s estimated it would cost each NFL city $160 million and 3,000 jobs. That’s 93,000 jobs nationwide. For what? Another Aspen chalet?

Question: In 10 years, do you think you’re going to find New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft wandering the streets because of the 200-plus concussions he didn’t know he had from his time in the NFL? You figure Detroit Lions owner William Clay Ford will end up with ringing in the ears and depression the way former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson did? Within the past year alone, two former players killed themselves.

And over at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

We have billionaires sounding like struggling shrimp boat captains on the Mississippi Gulf coast after the oil spill. We have commissioner Roger Goodell claiming the financial structure of the league is broken. We have Jeff Pash, the NFL’s general counsel, proclaiming that teams are being “squeezed.”


Television contracts alone pay out $3.085 billion per year, which basically means each team takes in over $96 million annually before it has sold a ticket, a T-shirt or a peanut. Half of the league’s 32 teams are valued at over $1 billion and the relative pauper of the group, the Jacksonville Jaguars, are valued at $725 million.

Don’t be surprised if you can’t access this article, AJC  had to close comments and the page won’t even load.

At the Washington Post, Sally Jenkins came around to the right side of this earlier than a lot of others, and I think her column on this subject is worth reading.

The average NFL player lasts just 3.3 seasons, and most of his salary, no matter how high on paper, isn’t guaranteed. The league minimum for a rookie is $310,000, and the median league salary is just less than $800,000. That’s wildly extravagant - isn’t it? Let’s see.

Sixty-three percent of all NFL players suffered at least one injury last year. The suicide rate among ex-NFL players is six times the national average, according to, a Web site dedicated to helping former players adjust to retirement. A recent clinical survey found they are three times more likely than other men their age to abuse prescription medication.

Say a guy gets drafted and meets the average, plays for three and a half years. Let’s be generous and award him the median salary. He should walk away with at least a cool $2.4 million.


Hold on. Three percent off the top goes to his agent. Slice off another 40 percent because he’s in the highest tax bracket. So there goes 43 cents on the dollar.

He also has to pay a financial adviser, and he’s got legal fees.

He needs a specialized personal trainer, too, because his body is his living, plus training equipment, nutritional supplements, and a good computer to study game tape on, all at peril of being judged overpaid.

Some of this he can write off, if he remembers to keep the receipts, but the IRS tends to be strict and audits about 20 percent of all NFL players - perhaps because they’re reportedly so overpaid.

A job in the NFL is not a Hallmark card, and it’s not nearly as secure as most union jobs. It’s a grinding, dangerous, painful, short-lived pursuit, so abbreviated that it hardly qualifies as a profession in the way the rest of us define the word, and it comes at a heavy, heavy cost.

Whenever you’re tempted to yell at a player to try working for living, or to go dig a ditch, remember that by age 50 he may not be able to.

While at Deadspin, Drew Magary took the gloves completely off.

Regardless of how this shit plays out, starting tonight, this is all 100 percent the owners’ fault. Maybe you’ll grow tempted to start blaming the players equally as this thing drags out, but you shouldn’t. This isn’t like 1994, when baseball shut down because it had both asshole owners and a players union that didn’t even want drug testing and initiated the labor conflict by putting down their bats and striking in the middle of the season. This is different. This was premeditated and instigated by the NFL owners. And while Goodell may continually try and spin it otherwise as we go on (no doubt with help from his accordion monkey Peter King), and while some people might start buying into joint blame, I won’t. And neither should you. The players are cool. The owners are worthless titblisters. There’s no need for even-handedness here.

Now, I don’t believe in grassroots movements, like staging a mass walkout or any of that supposed fan empowerment shit. “Let’s all gather outside the stadium wearing red!” That never works. There’s nothing we can do to stop these 31 fuckheads from being complete and utter fuckheads. But, by chance, if you do spot one walking down the street, by all means shout at him to go fuck himself. Say it very loud, so that he’ll hear you. Make it quite clear to him that you blame HIM for this impasse, and that he deserves to die inside a dead horse’s asshole. Because he does. NFL owners, YOU are the villains in this little saga. You are miserable, shitsucking little fuckwits, and I hope David Doty presides over every goddamn lawsuit you ever sit through in your lifetime.

However late, it’s nice to see the media treat the NFL owners with the scorn and scrutiny they deserve. There’s no reason any company that isn’t even losing money should seek to drastically cut what it offers its employees-especially when we continue to be inundated with more information about what happens after these guys are no longer employed. But that seems to be the American way, it’s no wonder labor issues in this country are at the forefront of political debate.

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