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Nnamdi Asomugha named a creative ambassador for the city of Philadelphia

Nnamdi Asomugha is already making good on his promise to embrace the city of Philadelphia.

As a proud graduate of Temple University, the city of Philadelphia will always be special to me. That’s why I was happy to see that CB Nnamdi Asomugha is making good on his promise to embrace the city of Philadelphia. Many players prefer to spend their off seasons at home and never really fully embrace the cities they play for.

Asomugha, on the other hand,  is set to spend the bulk of his his off season in Philly-in fact, he’s already back in the city after jaunts home to California and abroad. And, he’s already  planning to add Philly kids to his ACTs tour which takes inner city kids to colleges around the country. In April, he’ll take kids from his old playing town of Oakland and kids from Philly to Chicago to visit various schools.

He is quickly creeping into that category of people who are really hard to criticize.

Philly 360 has named Asomugha a creative ambassador for the city as part of their push to promote tourism, support the arts in the city, and grow Philly’s rep as a “hot spot.” They expect  creative ambassadors to help create buzz for the city.  For those who don’t know, Philadelphia has been quite the breeding ground for musicians and other creative types from Will Smith and Bill Cosby to Patti Labelle, Jill Scott and Hall and Oates.

Previous ambassadors have included the rap band The Roots and Jazzy Jeff. I think Asomugha is a great addition to this year’s crop.



Report: Peyton Manning actually had 4 procedures on his neck not 3 as previously thought

aww suki suki now!!

Just saw this in Sports Illustrated:

While it cannot be determined exactly when the unreported procedure on Manning’s neck took place, it was at some point after his May 23 surgery in Chicago to correct a bulging disk, and before his Sept. 9 one-level cervical neck fusion surgery in Marina Del Rey, Calif. The same doctor who operated on Manning’s bulging disk in May did a follow-up procedure last summer in Chicago, as a result of the original surgery. Both of those operations came while the NFL and its players were still engaged in their protracted labor fight, with clubs having very limited medical contact with injured players. At the time of Manning’s September neck operation, that surgery was reported to be his third neck procedure in 19 months. In reality, it was his fourth.

*insert judgment here*

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Roddy White thinks Roger Goodell makes too much money

Details about Roger Goodell’s new contract that makes him NFL commissioner through March of 2019 continue to emerge. Today media outlets like Pro Football Talk reporters that Goodell would be making around 20 million dollars by the end of the decade. In Atlanta Falcons’ WR Roddy White’s mind that is way too much. When he saw the salary report he tweeted:

“How in the hell can u pay a man this much money that cant run tackle or catch”

This is funny to me because it’s so rare for ANYONE, especially an athlete, to question how much executives make or to frame the conversation such that the players are more important than the executives. It almost never happens. I don’t think White is even aware of the fact that he said something extraordinary. I think White is more irreverent than he is smart. Were he not, he would have phrased his opinion differently. That doesn’t make his core point ‘wrong’ just unsupported.

Personally, I think we should question executive pay a lot more often. The entire lockout was a result of people who had a lot of money wanting even more. How much is too much was never fully discussed on the side of executives but talked about ad nauseam as it pertains to players. Executives always get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their salaries. There’s a presumption of genius there that is disturbing.

To speak to  Goodell, I do think his salary is a nod to how much he will have to contend with going forward as well as how much the league has grown under his tenure. Whether we like it or not, Goodell is going to maintain oversight of major changes to the game we all know and love. The dozens of lawsuits that have been filed thus far demand that he does. He is going to have a lot of work on his hands and his influence over the next phrase of the game will be much bigger than any players’.

Notice I decided not to make any jokees about White’s inability to run or catch during the Falcons’ wildcard game. My restraint is high today for some odd reason.






Randy Moss announces on ustream that he would like to return to the NFL

Today is Randy Moss’ 35th birthday and as a special treat he got on Ustream for a little over an hour and answered questions live. I would tell you to go to his channel and watch it; however, it appears that he didn’t record today’s session.

During the course of the live conversation he said that he definitely wants to return to the NFL, and that he’s praying that he finds a team. He cautioned everyone watching-all of whom he accused of not being real Moss fans and only watching to subsequently hype his return-that there’s no guarantee that he will find a team-particularly, the right team to play for.

He also touched on his relationship with late Patriots owner Myra Kraft and said that when he signed with the Patriots she welcomed him “with open arms” and told him that if they didn’t believe he could do great things they wouldn’t have brought him there to begin with. On growing out his hair he said he wouldn’t be rocking long hair again because he’s “35 and it’s time for a change.”

I think that’s mostly what I caught in between being mesmerized by the man’s accent which he said no one ever compliments him on. As an accent buff I’m surprised!

When Moss first retired I wrote this piece about him complimenting him on his authentic eccentricity. Speaking of which, Terrell Owens has a similar thing going and also would like to return to the NFL but is so far undesired. I couldn’t even begin to guess whether Moss will have better luck re-entering the NFL than Owens since-and I hate to say it-that eccentricity (to put it kindly) creates a valid concern about the likelihood they will interfere with team chemistry.

What do y’all think? Will he find a new team? What team?





Brandon Lloyd and Bryant McKinnie Among Players To Learn Business of Music At Clive Davis Institute

The NFL and NFLPA have lots of programs running to help NFL players develop their lives and interest outside of football. Their office of player engagement has partnered with the Clive Davis Institute which is part of NYU’s Tisch’s School of Music to boot on a bootcamp for 20 current and former NFL players including the Rams Brandon Lloyd and the Baltimore Ravens’ Bryant McKinnie. Also, Bryant Scott who I interviewed a few months ago when his single Dedicated was released on itunes.

I was vaguely aware of Lloyd’s interest in rapping back when he was a Redskin. You can check out his old myspace page here  and see him getting his freestyle on via this MTV2 Sucka Free clip. McKinnie owns his own record label and frequently tweets about the label and his artists. Here he is talking about why he started the label.



The complete list of players participating in the bootcamp:

Player Current team (Former teams)
Marvin Austin NYG
Antoine Bethea IND
Keary Colbert Former (CAR, DEN, SEA, DET, KC)
Justin Fargas Former (OAK)
Al Harris STL
Torry Holt Former (STL, JAX)
Darren Howard Former (NO, PHL)
Chris Kluwe MIN
James Lee TB
Brandon Lloyd STL
Dustin Lyman Former (CHI)
David Macklin Former (IND, ARZ, WASH, KC)
Bryant McKinnie BALT
Ryan McNeil Former (DET, STL, CLE)
Chukky Okobi Former (PIT, AZ)
Chris Pressley CIN
Bryan Scott BUF
L.J. Shelton Former (AZ, CLE, MIA, SD)
Craig Terrill Former (SEA)
Ashton Youboty JAX

Government crackdown makes it harder for people like you and Tom Brady to stream live sports

Even the fabulously wealthy Tom Brady gets his illegal stream on.

I’m not saying I would ever, ever, ever stream sports online. But I totally understand why people like Tom Brady do it. Whether you’re watching the Super bowl in Costa Rica like Brady did or  you’re a helpless victim of the NFL’s notorious blackout rules, or you just want to see the damn Sixers play the Heat and you don’t have Philadelphia CSN, live streaming sports can be key to the plugged-in sports lovers experience.

For bloggers like myself live streams can be key to being able to speak to the sport with authority. We don’t get free game film from the NFL or NBA etc. I personally rely on NFL game rewind to make sure I saw what I thought I saw, or to get caught up on a team before I write about them. In a perfect world I’d have satellite TV and could DVR games using NFL ticket. But guess what? I can’t get a satellite where I live, I have to have cable. And the NFL has an exclusive deal with DirectTV. My cable provider is Comcast.

Obviously SOPA and PIPA and ACTA and other legislation have really put “piracy” on the map again. So now the government has seized about 16 sites that stream live sports. More have popped up already but I can imagine the government is going to go all Whack-A-Mole here (at least for a little while). I can only hope for the sake of sports fans everywhere that this is like every other government crack down—they send a message for a while and then realize there’s no way they can possibly keep up with the internet’s steady-moving targets.

I wish that sports leagues (and record companies for that matter) would just get with the times. Nobody wants to pay $10 for a shitty cd with two good songs on it. And, nobody wants to pay 2389042038 to buy NFL ticket or 2389042038 to go to games + concessions + parking (not to mention traffic headaches in many areas of the country). Sometimes you just want to catch a good game without all the hassle and expense, and as long as ticket prices and cable prices are sky fucking high that’s not going to change.



On Athletes LIke Terrell Owens Going Broke

Terrell Owens has come clean about his financial problems in a masterfully written GQ piece.

It took a little while for the GQ profile on Terrell Owens to catch fire, but now it’s all over the blogosphere and everyone knows that Owens is broke, lonely, and without direction. But one thing you can’t say about Owens it that he spent all his money on houses, cars and shiny jewelry. That’s simply not the case.

I’ve started to answer reader questions on my vlog (which will soon be moving off You Tube and on to this site) and one of the questions I got was about whether I thought that the trend of athletes going broke would end and if white players were as guilty of overspending as black players.

You can see my video answer here:


To answer the question I chose to take the focus off of houses, cars, clothes and jewelry. Partly because we all (Americans, in general) overspend on things like that. We just can’t do it at the same scale as athletes. Plus if you buy houses, cars, clothes and jewelry you can often later get a percentage (albeit small) of that money back by selling those items. They’re dumb purchases but they’re not always total losses.

What is a total loss? Bad investments, loans to family members, child support and alimony/divorce settlements!



Electrifying Demaryius Thomas’ Had a Real Life “Weeds” Experience (yes the TV Show)

Damaryius Thomas. Oh heeeeey. Wait, he's how old? Oh, nevermind.

Just as we all learned the new overtime rules, Demaryius Thomas was off scoring in a breathtaking play that took approximately 11 seconds (about 25 seconds less than it took to explain the new rules).

As is often the case, Thomas didn’t have an easy way to the league. Unfortunately, both Thomas’ mom and grandmother are have been incarcerated since 2000 for trafficking cocaine. If you read Thomas’ story it sounds a lot like the Television Show “Weeds.”

From the Denver Post:

Minnie Pearl Thomas sold drugs — marijuana — for the first time in 1986, and was arrested for the first time that same year. Despite her first trip to jail, Minnie Thomas was hooked on the rush of selling drugs and was becoming accustomed to the extra money it provided her family. It wasn’t long before she was manufacturing and selling crack cocaine out of her home.

She was arrested again in 1991 but resumed her business after she was released at the conclusion of a 14-month sentence in a jail near Milledgeville, Ga.

“I mostly did it to make ends meet, to buy my kids what they wanted, so they could wear what the other kids were wearing, so I could keep my house nice on the inside,” Minnie Thomas said.

Demaryius, who was born in December 1987, was Minnie’s oldest grandchild, and old enough to know what was going on inside her house. He remembered seeing his grandmother making the crack and the stream of strangers coming and going, leaving behind their makeshift crack pipes.

“I knew my grandma was selling it and my mom was keeping some money,” Thomas said. “I told my mother one time that they needed to stop because I had a dream that they got in trouble. I started crying like every night after then. And then it finally happened.”


If you’ve never seen Weeds, newly widowed mother Nancy Botwin starts small time selling marijuana to makes ends meet and as the years go on, she gets more and more involved in the drug trade. What starts out as a campy suburban for-profit hobby turns into a dangerous illegal career that endangers everyone around her including her kids.

In the TV show, Botwin’s kids catch on to her activities just like Thomas did. But thankfully for Thomas, he warned his mom and grandmother rather than begging to be a part of the operation.

If you’ve been through this kind of real life drama, the drama of the country’s ridiculous obsession with the guy who throws the ball to Thomas is probably nothing. No wonder Thomas broke out for that TD like he’d never heard of being nervous.

I’m consistently amazed by the strength of so many athletes, in particular football players who seem, for some reason, particularly likely to have experienced great heartbreak or tragedy. I wrote a few weeks ago about Cardinals linebacker Darnell Dockett and his thoughtful comments about forgiving his mother’s murderer.

Whenever guys do things that raise my eyebrow I’m reminded that we’re shaped by our backgrounds and to hold off on some of the judgment. I’m excited to see what Thomas brings to the table next year. Oh wait…the Broncos beat the Steelers. So we get to see what Thomas does next week.

Check out the full article on the Denver Post’s web site and if you missed it check out that game winning TD.



How One Reporter Trolled the Baltimore Ravens By Suggesting Ray Lewis and Ed Reed Be Benched

I slightly criticized Ed Reed in this post but YOU BETTER NOT DARE.

In most parts of the country, a team in the midst of a playoff bye week and headed toward home field advantage wouldn’t be facing questions about whether two of its super star players should sit. But thanks to the often controversial Baltimore Sun reporter Mike Preston, the Ravens have been dealing with questions about ILB Ray Lewis and FS Ed Reed’s fitness to play. The question about the question is whether the question is even a valid one. My take: Congratulations Ravens,  you’ve been trolled.

I wrote myself a note to watch more of the Ravens during the off season on NFL game rewind so that I can form a more complete opinion on Lewis and Reed’s contributions (assuming both Lewis and Reed do not retire at the end of the season making such a project lose its value). But I have seen quite a few Ravens games this year and two things are apparent: Lewis lacks his previous balance of being valuable against both the pass and the run, and Reed is certainly playing more cautiously, something that he admitted when he submitted to an interview with ESPN during the lockout. It doesn’t take a football guru to make these two observations.

The issue for me is twofold: 1. Are we judging Lewis and Reed by comparing them to their former selves rather than comparing them to the rest of the talent in the league and on their team? 2. Are Lewis and Reed held to a higher standard even when injured than we hold other players to?

I think the answer is yes and yes. And that’s why I think Preston trolled the Ravens with this:

But here’s the problem: The team’s two potential Hall of Famers, middle linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed, haven’t played well, and the Ravens haven’t addressed the issue. It’s time.  You can’t hide them any longer. They’re still playing well enough for the Ravens to win most of their games, but are playing poorly enough where they might cost them deep into the postseason… Harbaugh knows it. He watches film. As the players say, “the eye in the sky doesn’t lie.”

…But on the sidelines Sunday, players privately questioned why Reed wasn’t pulled after whiffing on a tackle. The Ravens have safeties-in-waiting in Tom Zbikowski, but neither has the experience to call the plays on the back end like Reed, or can cover as much ground.

This is trolling for a number of reasons. Preston says that Lewis and Reed are playing well enough for the Ravens to win most of their games-which I believe is the goal of most players-but then goes on to say they’re playing bad enough to be a liability in the same games that they’ve helped their team get to. This sounds like a set up to blame Lewis and Reed if the Ravens don’t make or win the Super Bowl. A sad thing to do given the team’s up and down rollercoaster offense, and the fact that Football Outsiders has the Ravens defense ranked #1. Preston says Harbaugh should “talk” to Reed and Lewis but is his argument that they aren’t playing well cause they’re not trying or because they can’t cause they’re old and and in Reed’s case fragile? Finally, all players that don’t get to play question why the players that play get to play-so don’t try to play me with that playa.

For the record, there are teams with strong defenses that have 2 or 3 weak links that aren’t benched cause they’re still better than the options behind them. In those cases reporters covering those teams typically point out  and lament those players’ failings but leave the benching talk in their computer’s trash bin where it belongs.

That’s why these next two quotes are telling. Trolls typically:  1. negate their own point and 2. have a personal gripe. And Preston goes:

But it’s difficult watching Lewis play on Sundays. He is a victim of his own success, having set standards so high that even he can no longer reach them. He is still one of the better linebackers in the league, but not the Lewis that used to destroy running backs, and take away a team’s desire to play against him.

That covers 1…

I’ve had my share of fights with Reed, and at times he has gone over the line and made it personal. But I’ve never questioned his respect and love of the game, or his love for his fellow man.

And there’s 2…

And this article is why athletes have so many gripes with the press. It’s one thing to write an article on what you’d like to see Lewis and Reed do better and to point out where they’ve failed and question whether or not they could play better, it’s entirely different to suggest they be benched for having an age-altered style of play that at this particular point in time isn’t a real issue-or else their team would NOT be making a Super Bowl run. It’s not uncommon for smart teams to integrate aging players with younger ones which the Ravens appear to be doing successfully. The time to decrease Lewis and Reed’s play (or move them to 2nd string altogether) would be next year not right now. Preston knows this, points it out in his article, and then goes onto ignore the fact, yet another characteristic of trolling.

When I initially sat down to address this my headline was going to be “Criticism of Lewis and Reed’s play heats up in Baltimore” but upon further examination I realized that that would legitimize Preston’s column in a way that it didn’t deserve. And, in a way, that Lewis and Reed don’t deserve. For the record, as an Eagles and Falcons fan I’d welcome-with open bird wings-Lewis or Reed to play for either team TODAY. You haven’t seen whiffing on tackles until you’ve seen the Eagles defense play. Preston would bench the whole team.

Again, Lewis and Reed are not playing the way they used to. And in Reed’s case that might be a good thing.

Reed is my favorite safety of all time behind Darren Sharper. The reason I put Sharper over Reed is that Reed has traditionally, in my opinion, hung his corners out to dry a bit and negated the ability of OTHER guys on the team to make plays. Not a lot of sharing going on on Reed’s watch. It’s a perk of playing the ball like a mad man. It becomes your world. I remember safety Dawan Landry saying that when he was with the Ravens he just went wherever Reed told him to go. Ultimately Reed has been and should be rewarded for it all because he’s been right so much when he cheats up or baits the QB.

But now that he’s backed off the ball to lessen the frequency of contact a bit we get to see guys like Webb get 5 of those fancy interceptions Reed used to love so much (and that Preston keeps “waiting” for him to make). And to my mind it’s not a bad thing, especially with the new rules limiting the way that corners not named Darrelle Revis get to play. They need pass support from their free safety, and they need a little practice in learning when to hop a route. Something that, when Reed’s play was dramatically elevated, there was no opportunity to do because they were often the last line of defense against the pass especially with the Ravens often treating the strong safety like a disposable puzzle piece.

Just a reminder, these were the same kinds of arguments people made about Brian Dawkins that allowed the Eagles to get rid of him without much blowback. And now the Broncos have a strong defense that is headed to the playoffs in large part because of his play. Play that, like Lewis and Reed, is a step below the way he used to be but still heads and tails above many.

Oh yeah where was I?


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