200 Miles From the Citi

November 15, 2009 12:04 AM

SUNDAY PAPER (Year 1, Volume XII)

kc_chiefs.JPGRooting for a sports team can be a weird experience.

In politics you have the right to vote.  You can't always tell the elected official what you want, but you have the opportunity to put into office someone who you feel represents your views.

As a sports fan you have absolutely no say in the moves your team makes.

You have no say in the person who buys the team, the personnel that person then hires, or the players that make up the team.

And if you have any influence on the decisions that are made, chances are your team is not following a sound business strategy.

Unless you're the Kansas City Chiefs this week.

On Monday, the Chiefs cut Larry Johnson.  The running back had a number of run-ins with the team since he was drafted in 2003, including a suspension this year for publicly questioning his coach and using offensive language.  He also had a couple of run-ins with the law, resulting in other suspensions in years past.

Johnson had become an embarrassment to the organization, and some of the team's fans recognized that.  They started a petition to have Johnson cut before he broke the team's all-time rushing record (a record held by Priest Holmes, who if my memory serves me correctly, was a model citizen and team representative).  They didn't want Johnson's name at the top of the list.

Now, I don't know if the petition had any role in the team's decision to cut ties with Johnson (more likely it was the coach who was questioned saying, "Try these qualifications on for size...").  But I like to think it played some kind of role.

Because the one power sports fans hold is the power of the purse.  And if there is a figure as divisive as Larry Johnson on the team, I like to think teams take the fans' views into consideration - they're the ones contributing to such a player's salary.

The Chiefs made the right decision this week.  I hope, when they made that decision, that they thought about the benefit to the fans at least a little bit.

*I should add at this point that I'm surprised that no one has picked up Johnson yet.

*I think we can all agree I am doing nobody any favors with my weekly hunches.  So we'll take a break from that.  I will continue with my Jets picks, though.  I'm predicting a Jets standards.  Jets 27, Jaguars 20.

*All right, I'll give you one.  Weren't the oddsmakers listening this past week when I declared the Bengals for real?  They're getting 6-and-a-half from the Steelers in Pittsburgh - I think they might win outright.

*You're kidding me with this Tennessee guy who was the alleged victim of the armed robbery by University of Tennessee players, right?  I mean I love the Mets, but the minute David Wright pulls a gun on me, we're through.  Not just the player - the entire team.  I guess I'm just not that big a fan.

*If you have a free half-hour and can get your hands on this week's New York Magazine, the crossword theme is Baseball Hall of Fame Anagrams.  Pretty fun.  My favorites were EMILY T. MCKEAN and TILDA M. LEWIS.  (And obviously I was disappointed there was no TY RACE GARR.)

*Happy 29th birthday to my brother.  (I had this written even before I found out that he reads every day.  Imagine that.  I get a gift on his birthday.)

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