Curiously, GM Mike Tannenbaum retains his title, despite his role (along with that of Mangini) in bringing Brett Favre to the Swamp (and conversely, giving Chad Pennington —- the ’08 Comeback Player Of The Year? — a new lease on life with an AFC East rival). Favre lead the NFL with 22 INT’s and the former Packer icon’s poor performances were as big a factor as any in in the Jets’ failure to make the postseason. That Johnson and Tanenbaum profess to wanting Favre’s return in 2009 is nothing short of baffling.
In a column obviously written before Portland’s Greg Oden scored 16 points and collected 10 rebounds against the Raptors Saturday night, The Oregonian’s John Canzano refused to mince words regarding the Blazers’ Center, insisting “a team aiming to make the playoffs for the first time in 5 seasons is starting a player who hasn’t earned it.”
Paul Allen’s customized jet has a bedroom at the back. The bedroom is for Allen’s personal use, and while the Trail Blazers utilize the 757 aircraft “Blazer One” for travel during the NBA season, Allen’s room has been off limits to players.
All, except one.
Greg Oden used the bedroom last year so he could stretch his injured leg out on flights. And even this season, team insiders tell you the now-healthy Oden will sometimes disappear to the back of the plane, and close the door, and spend the flight by himself while his teammates socialize up front.
I bring this up today because the franchise has one set of standards, rules and expectations for the majority of players — and apparently another for Oden.
I know Joel Przybilla deserves to start at center. You know he does. Your spouse knows. Your children know. Your dog knows. Even Oden knows.
You can talk about defensive issues. And offensive issues. But if we can’t talk about the elephant standing in the Blazers locker room we’re all in trouble. And that issue is the one revolving around the franchise’s decision to baby its No. 1 pick, wrap him in protective bubble-wrap, pamper his psyche and hand him a starting position that should belong to Przybilla today.
3 Cy Young Award Winners in one starting rotation sounds pretty hot on paper, but when you consider that two of’em are Surfin’ Barry and the aging Randy Johnson, it’s hard to put much stock in the Unit’s pledge the ’09 SF Giants can contend in the NL West. There’s also the matter of last year’s team narrowly losing to San Diego for the title of the NL’s crappiest run producer, but perhaps Brian Sabean will find Adam Dunn’s phone number sometime between now and the start of Spring Training. Until then, however, the Giants GM calls Johnson, “as intimidating a pitcher as there is in the league and in baseball.” Cameramen surely concur, though perhaps opponents do as well. Not quite blown away by SF’s acquisition is the Journal News’ Peter Abraham who scoffs, “I love the part about how the Giants are looking forward to him helping their young pitchers. Johnson barely acknowledged his teammates when he was with the Yankees.” But we can’t really blame Sabean for resorting to hyperbole — how many season tickets can you sell with a slogan like, “Not Nearly As (Clubhouse) Cancerous As The Sultan Of Surly”?
How else then, to describe the mind blowing stupidity of Tennessee GOP fixture Chip Saltsman, a candidate for RNC chairman and the doofus responsible for distributing copies of Paul Shanklin’s “Barack The Magic Negro”, a tune heard widely this week on hate fuck radio and featuring the couplet, “Barack made guilty whites feel good/They™ll vote for him and not for me/Cause he™s not from the ™hood. From the New York Times’ Jason De Parle :
Speaking to The Hill newspaper on Friday, Mr. Saltsman, described it as a œlight-hearted gift that would be received in œgood humor by members of the Republican National Committee.
œI am shocked and appalled, Mike Duncan, the current party chairman, said in a statement released Saturday. Mr. Duncan is competing for a second term against Mr. Saltsman and four others.
œThis is so inappropriate that it should disqualify any Republican National Committee candidate who would use it, Newt Gingrich, a Republican former House speaker, said in an e-mail message. Referring to Mr. Obama, Mr. Gingrich said, œThere are no grounds for demeaning him or for using racist descriptions.
There are two black candidates for the post, J. Kenneth Blackwell, a former Ohio secretary of state, and Michael Steele, a former lieutenant governor of Maryland. On Saturday, Mr. Blackwell dismissed the fuss as œhypersensitivity.
œAll competitors for this leadership position are fine people, he said in an e-mail message.
The dispute illustrates a larger Republican challenge in the months ahead: how to oppose the first black president without seeming antiblack. There are no black Republicans in Congress, and a party spokesman could name only 2 blacks among the 168 members of the national committee. Katon Dawson, the chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, resigned from an all-white country club in preparing for his campaign to be party chairman.
The parody is sung to the tune of œPuff the Magic Dragon by a character meant to be the Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights advocate and sometime political candidate. The character laments that white liberals vote for Mr. Obama while shunning his brand of more confrontational racial politics.
Along with remind us that Bud Selig had little to say regarding Brett Myers’ sparring session on a Boston sidewalk, the Sporting News’ Richard Justice muses, “San Diego’s Brian Giles certainly isn’t the first professional athlete to be accused of slapping a woman. What makes his case unique is that the alleged incident in 2006 was captured on video. And it’s chilling.”
The incident with a former girlfriend, Cheri Olvera, was settled in 2006 when Giles was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence. He completed anger-management counseling, and the charges were dropped.
But the incident is back in the news, as the video was recently released when Olvera filed suit about financial support she said was promised her.
It’s impossible to watch the video without getting chills. Thanks to a security camera, we see Giles walk into a bar and approach Olvera. In a stunning few seconds, he appears to pull her hair and slap or shove her.
Giles should thank his lucky stars he’s not an NFL player. He would have had a Roger Goodell-imposed suspension coming and could have counted on his union to support that suspension.
Players are suspended for testing positive for steroids. Players are suspended for testing positive for recreational drugs. Players can be suspended for corking a bat, scuffing a ball or refusing a manager’s orders.
So why not suspend a player for an act everyone agrees is despicable?
I’d like to imagine the Padres will have a hard time finding a taker for Giles, and surveillance video of his manhandling a pregnant girlfriend won’t help matters. On the other hand, such incidents were mere speed bumps in the careers of Myers, Wil Cordero or Bobby Cox
On the bright side, if Roethlisberger suffered a serious concussion, there’s no chance he’s been watching the 2nd half of today’s Chiefs/Bengals game, nor did he have to witness Vince Young’s first start since Week One aka National Jim Sorgi Day.
Writes Charles Star of the above competition, “this came up in my Google news feed and I couldn’t think of anyone who would appreciate it more.” I think he’s referring to me, personally, though I really have an eye on the competition’s 2nd prize, a hardbound copy of “How To Play Defense”, autographed by Mike D’Antoni and Nate Robinson.
(Chiefs K Jan Stenerud, waxing his skis for a downhill run ready to lay someone out)
While the Giants’ Jeff Feagles is credited with a mere 11 tackles in 15 NFL seasons, the New York Times’ Judy Battista suggests the NY punter may soon be considered an anachronism, claiming “the most recent generation of kickers and punters seems to have made a philosophical choice to reject its reputation and dive into the pile.”
In November, Jacksonville punter Adam Podlesh proved the folly of having a kicker channel his inner Ray Lewis when he sustained a season-ending knee injury in his money leg while trying to make a tackle. Podlesh said he had since experienced fleeting thoughts that maybe he should avoid tackling to keep himself healthy. Then again, he doubts he will shy away next season.
œIt™s kind of cool getting down there and living the glory days of high school, said Podlesh, who was a starting linebacker in high school and has been relatively prolific with five tackles the past two seasons. œAt the same time, it™s also a job. In my mind, I might as well try. One thing I don™t like is people questioning my effort.
Pride seems to drive all of those kickers and punters in their quests to stop returners, who are usually the best athletes on the field. After all, nobody wants to flail at a returner. Kickers note that the sideline erupts when they make a tackle; a routine field goal means a pat on the back, at most.
Kickers and punters were once tough guys, like Lou Groza and Jerry Kramer, who also played on the offensive line. But the arrival in the 1960s and ™70s of foreign-born soccer-style kickers, few of whom had ever played American football, was soon accompanied by plenty of laughs.
Before a preseason game against the Chiefs in the 1970s, the returner George Atkinson of the Raiders joked with Kansas City kicker Jan Stenerud, who did not play football until his senior year of college, that he was not a real player because he never tackled anybody. Stenerud tackled Atkinson twice during that game.
Stenerud said an angry John Madden, the Raiders™ coach at the time, was said to have asked this about Atkinson, œHow could you get tackled twice by a Norwegian skier?
Lots of good stuff in Thayer Evans’ long-haul New York Times piece on the recruitment of Lufkin, TX lineman Jamarkus McFarland. There’s talk of nudity, interest-free loans, excessive alcohol consumption, too-flirty recruiting hostesses and Hummer limos – hardly shocking. And since the story is about a player who committed to, and was seemingly recruited with more care by, the University of Oklahoma, you might say that it has a slant. But what stands out most is how the University of Texas comes off as both arrogant and socially inept about a player who was seemingly the Horns’ to lose.
Before the visit, [McFarland's mother, Kashemeyia] Adams called Texas and asked to speak with Brown. The associate head coach, Mac McWhorter, told her that she could talk only to him.
That bothered her because she had wanted to talk to Brown and commend him for the Longhorns™ dismissal of a player who had posted a racial slur on his Facebook page about President-elect Barack Obama.
During the trip, Adams said, she asked Brown about the Obama slur, and was told that the player had to be dismissed because the F.B.I. had become involved.
After Texas beat Baylor that weekend, McFarland and his mother ate dinner at Brown™s home. Flat-screen televisions were in every room, and there were two outside.
œWhose house do you like better, Bob Stoops™s, Les Miles™s or mine? Adams recalled Brown saying…
Now, I’m guessing Mack Brown meant to be more humorous than pompous in that instance. But why not tell her what she wanted to hear regarding Buck Burnette?
Bob Stoops, by contrast, later came to Lufkin and watched Beauty Shop with mom and Grandma.
Texas made another visit to McFarland™s school, but again, they did not see Adams.
After the visit, Adams received an e-mail message from Brown. œIt is obvious that the recruiting has put a strain on your relationship, the message said. œJaMac wants Texas, and Mom wants OU. We want you to still come to Texas, but we are going to slow our process down because you two need some time to get on the same page. We do not want players at Texas if everyone isn™t on the same page.
In the same message, Brown wrote that Texas would not visit again unless requested.
McFarland™s mother and grandmother were offended.
œThat™s tacky to me, Adams said. œYou™re basically telling my kid to just go against his parents.
Actually it sounds like UT may have actively decided that the parents were no longer worth the trouble (or four years of trouble), though they continued to recruit McFarland. And they could well do so up until the 4th of February, but I’d say the very existence of this article makes that rather unlikely.