Jill R. Dorson - November 19, 2014

Adrian Peterson hit his son with a switch.

Do I think this is right? No.

But after the NFL banned Peterson for the rest of this season on Tuesday, my issue is no longer with Peterson. I don’t agree with him, but I have some amount of respect him. At least he owns his actions and has a clear vision of what he believes is right.

The NFL? Not so much.

From Ray Rice to Greg Hardy to Peterson, the NFL has proven only one thing: It has no moral compass.

Exhibit A: Player cold-cocks his then-fiancée and drags her out of an elevator like a hunter dragging its kill. Hmmm. How about a two-game suspension? Oh, no, the incident is caught on videotape and widely distributed. The public doesn’t like this. Ok, make that an indefinite suspension.

Exhibit B: Player assaults and threatens to kill his girlfriend. He is found guilty by a court of law. And the NFL does … nothing. The Carolina Panthers place the player on the “commissioner’s exempt list,” which means he gets paid not to play. The NFL continues to do nothing, again proving it doesn’t know right from wrong.

Exhibit C: Player hits his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch. News of this becomes public and his team gives him a day off. A grand jury chooses not to indict the player for child abuse, but later does indict him for “reckless or negligent injury to a child.” The Vikings deactivate the player for a single game. The NFL does, wait for it … nothing. The Vikings then reinstate the player AND a previous... read more »

Eric Dezenhall - November 12, 2014

The 2014 World Series recently ended and this, in and of itself, represents a success story in crisis management. Major League Baseball is, in fact, thriving, and given the steroid-abuse scandals that have rocked the sport in recent years – against the backdrop of the domestic violence controversy that has sent the National Football League reeling – it merits a look into what went right.

Since the steroids crisis hit in the late 1990s in the wake of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s home run slugfest, MLB has been deliberately renovating its product on and off the field. You would never know it, however, to read news reports that declared commissioner Bud Selig’s crisis management a failure, including the inevitable calls for Selig’s resignation. 

This is a concept I call the “Fiasco Vortex” in my book GLASS JAW, which is a public relations virus where immediately upon any action on the part of the principal in crisis, a spontaneous industry of “crisis creators” emerges to declare the crisis handling to have been botched, thereby deepening the core crisis across multiple media.

MLB’s crisis creators included the sports media (which largely ignored the burgeoning steroids crisis in the 1990s); Congress (which jumped in front of cameras and held high-profile but meaningless hearings); and those who benefitted from leaking the names of players in the Mitchell Report (agents and the publicists of "clean" players).

Selig, however, avoided playing whack-a-mole with a media and... read more »

Tom Carkeek - October 29, 2014

Welcome, boys and girls (wait - is that sexist?), to the latest edition of Stupid Human Football Tricks.

We refer, of course, to Sunday's abjectly brainless clown moves by Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins and Bears defensive end Lamarr Houston.

Neither of the foolish maneuvers directly affected the outcomes, as the Bills rolled over the hapless Jets 43-23 while the Bears extended their descent into irrelevance with a 51-23 surrender to the Patriots. But both:

* Were eerily reminiscent of similar dopey plays by other knuckleheads.

* Were met with only mild disdain by the coaching staff.

* Reeked of the toxic, look-at-me narcissism that increasingly defines sports at all levels.

Watkins' self-absorption brought to mind one of the most famous plays in Super Bowl history, when Don Beebe of the Bills hustled down the field to knock the ball from hot-dogging Leon Lett and prevent the Cowboys from scoring a record-setting touchdown.

On his first reception of the game, Watkins caught a pass and broke free of the coverage but decided that a breathtaking 89-yard touchdown wouldn't garner quite enough individual attention. So, at about the 20-yard line, he slowed his pace, thrust his right arm toward the stands in a notice-me-right-now pose and, predictably, was tripped up at the 5. He got just what he deserved.

Houston's self-indictment called up an incident from Week 3 of this season, when Lions... read more »

Sheldon Hirsch - October 28, 2014

The NBA instituted the 3-point shot for the 1979-1980 season, following the lead of the defunct ABA. At first, the shot gained traction slowly. NBA teams still averaged only 2.4 3-point attempts per game by the 1983-1984 season. However, after recognizing that 3-pointers as a whole yielded more points per shot than most 2- pointers, 3-point shooting increased and recently accelerated to a record 21.9 shots per team per game last season. 

Unfortunately, some people view the preference for 3-point shooting as a mandate.

Several commentators recently lambasted new Lakers coach Byron Scott because the Lakers took few 3-pointers in preseason games. In an SB Nation piece, the writers implied that Scott stupidly ignores modern offensive strategy to the detriment of his team. 

I suspect that Scott simply knows better than to apply the 3-point dogma to his poor 3-point shooting team. At the time in the preseason of the Scott critiques, the Lakers ranked last in the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage with a pathetic 26.9 percent average. Shooting more 3’s would have resulted mainly in more missed shots.

More importantly, Scott might have figured out a broader truth, that data do not favor the 3-point dogma even as a general strategy.

It may seem counterintuitive, but the higher efficiency of the 3-point shot does not necessarily mean that teams will routinely benefit from shooting more of them. A concerted effort to take more... read more »