By updating RealClearSports I read hundreds of articles every week but sometimes there are particular passages that need highlighting. And to make these passages more palatable I'm doing them in award form! The awards are completely random and will change weekly.
The NFL is like a smoking-hot woman. A smoking-hot woman that knows she's smoking hot and knows she can treat people like crap and they'll still come back for more. Is there any group the NFL hasn't imposed its will on?
The league is the most dangerous sport and yet contracts aren't guaranteed.
The NFL makes money hand-over-fist and yet extorts cities into building new stadiums that are probably not financially beneficial to the city.
Despite taxpayers paying for these new stadiums they are still subjected to the blackout rules.
How could the NFL not have known that these vicious hits would cause permanent damage later on? And yet, until just recently, they did nothing to curb the problem.
And then there is the man behind it all right now - Roger Goodell. The Commissioner has put on quite a show by punishing the Saints organization and players for Bounty Gate. But let's take a look at the penalties. The Saints organization that fostered this whole mess was fined $500K and lost a couple second-round picks. Jonathan Vilma who just played into that culture is suspended for a season and thus will lose $1.6 million. Should I player be penalized over 3 times more than the organization that fostered this behavior? How big do you think half a million is to a billionaire owner?
The NFL has taken for granted fans' love for the game and it's giving nothing back. I hope the former players that are suing the league win and the NFL is taken down a few notches. I wouldn't even mind if the league was sued into bankruptcy. I just hope my Bills can win a Super Bowl before that happens...On to the awards!
Why So Much Hate?
Jelisa Castrodale of NBC Sports writes that Bryce Harper is already one of the most hated players in baseball. That's understandable because of some of his past actions including blowing a kiss to a pitcher after hitting a homer. But she has another more curious reason to hate him: And let's face it, his name is Bryce. BRYCE. That could only be more irritating if his parents had gone with EdHardyNickelbackCrocs.
Is Bryce such an awful name? It's not like he's named 'Pillow' or 'Apple' or some other inanimate object. I've never really heard anyone just despising the name Bryce.
Bill Plaschke was not happy with Andrew Bynum's performance during Game 5 against the Nuggets: After showing some first-quarter aggression, Bynum took one shot and scored one point in the second quarter, then made just one basket in the third quarter. He finished with just 16 points on just eight shots as he either didn't work for the ball or couldn't work around the defense to find it.
16 points on just 8 shots? Wouldn't you call that being efficient? He actually got plenty of touches but was double-teamed basically every time he touched the ball and despite that he only turned it over once. I wrote about this after Game 6 - it was the Lakers lack of a perimeter threat that stifled the productivity of Bynum and Gasol, not their lack of effort.
Best Quote of the Week
Mark Titus of Grantland interviewed his former teammate at Ohio State, Greg Oden. Oden almost never gives interviews so it was nice to hear his side of the story. It's definitely worth a read. My favorite part was when he talked about the naked picture of him that made it's rounds on the internet: "I wish it wouldn't have happened," he said. "But I'm not going to apologize for it. After all, I'm human and there are worse things that 21-year-olds could do. I just got caught up with women throwing themselves at me. When a girl sends me 100 pictures, I have to send something back every now and then. I'm not an asshole."
I just love it because whenever those pictures surface of athletes everyone thinks they are so narcissistic and so stupid for putting themselves in that type of situation. But Oden brings some rationality to it. He was just trying to be a good guy. What better way to show a girl you care and appreciate her than with a naked picture of yourself.
Geoff Calkins of the Memphis Commercial Appeal was not happy with some of the things LA Times columnist TJ Simers wrote about Memphis: The Los Angeles paper does have a gifted columnist on staff. He's been covering the Lakers, of course. So they sent this guy to cover the Clippers and he trashes the city of Memphis in every column instead.
It's the sort of thing Jim Murray used to write, only without any of the talent, humility or charm.
Memphis "smells." There's a "stench." It's that kind of clever stuff.
He rips the Memphis media as homers even as he writes a column from Game 3 beseeching people to "stop making fun of Clippers."
"I don't know about you but I'm having a blast," he writes.
Get that man a T-shirt! T.J. Simers is all in!
But Simers got the last laugh as the Clippers took down the Grizzlies in Game 7 in Memphis. I hear San Antonio isn't that great of a place either. Hopefully Simers can stir things up there as well. Maybe he can finally make the Spurs more interesting.
The Difference Between an Owner and a Columnist
Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram is upset about Mark Cuban's decisions over the past year: A year ago at this time, Mark was on his way to being the toast of the town. Currently, Cuban is simply toast.
Blowing up a world champion team has blown up, and the repercussions don't stop with the quick first-round playoff exit for the Mavericks. ...
Cuban's grand plan made no sense from the second he decided in December that deconstruction of a title team was the wise way to go. His defenders will say there's no way the Mavs could have been back in the title hunt this season even if Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea and DeShawn Stevenson had been retained.
I guess some of his defenders would say that. I think the majority would say he was taking a long-term view of the situation. Even with his current squad, the Mavs had a team salary of $75 million which was already about $5 million over the luxury tax level. Tyson Chandler signed a 4-year $58 million deal, Barea signed for 4 years and $19 million and Stevenson signed for $2.5 million this year. Not only would that have launched the Mavs' cap number into the stratosphere but it would've significantly tied the team up for years to come. He would've had to sign those players to similar long-term deals and that would only become more costly as the luxury tax become more severe. So Cuban made the smart move to let those players walk in order to have some flexibility to build for the future. That is why he is an owner and Galloway is a columnist.
Stupidest Quote of the Week
After the Bulls were eliminated, perennial underachiever Carlos Boozer had this to say: "We had the best record again in basketball, won our division again, had the top seed again, that's all that matters, yo."
What is this, European soccer? That's why we have playoffs - to crown a champion. This isn't even the NHL where they have the President's Trophy. I have no idea how many times Bill Russell's Celtics had the best record in the league but I know he won 11 titles. I also know Boozer will probably never win a title with that type of attitude.
Just Plain Wrong
Scoop Jackson of ESPN hopes Floyd Mayweather Jr. hangs up his gloves: Historically, boxers have had a harder time leaving their sport than all other professional athletes, so expecting Mayweather to be different would be wishful.
I don't know if it's that boxers have a harder time leaving. It's just that boxers are allowed to come back. Boxing is so much about name recognition that a boxer well-past his prime is still a big draw whereas in team sports they are beat out by younger guys and are forced to retire.
As great as Saturday's fight with Cotto was, no one wants to see anything similar again.
No one? The Mayweather-Cotto fight drew 1.5 million pay-per-view buys. That's a lot of nobodies. People would pay $50 to watch Mayweather Jr. fight a parking ticket.
Not So Selfless
Pat Forde argues that Mike Krzyzewski is in a no-win situation coaching Team USA: Right or wrong, that guy places himself in a position to reap little glory and a lot of grief. To many people, the only thing Krzyzewski could do is screw up. He sure isn't going to get the credit for coaching them up if the Americans win the gold medal.
I don't know what Coach K's motivations are for coaching the U.S. team but I do see a lot of benefits. You could basically make the same argument for the players but they do it to win a gold medal and the publicity. Krzyzewski also gets those medals and the publicity. But in addition to that I have to imagine it pays dividends in recruiting. He can go up to any recruit and tell him they remind him of (insert Team USA participant here). You think that wouldn't catch a recruit's attention? Also, if he evers wants to leave college and coach pro he already has experience coaching the best of the best and has shown he can handle all those egos. I wonder how many coaches would ever turn down the opportunity to coach the team.