Given that you’re not nearly as wordly as afternoon deity Mike Francesa, consider the following a brief, albeit necessary tutorial for those wishing to waste Mike’s valuable airtime :
Bernard Madoff and Fred Wilpon are two entirely different people. One of them managed to crush the hopes and dreams of others thru acts of greed and dishonesty. And the other is serving an 150 year year prison term.
How many young, aspiring QB’s saw the above 1987 advertisement and thought to themselves, “man, if I ever make it to the National Football League, I’m placating the burly dudes on the offensive line with cheap-ass Isotoner gloves for Christmas.” Hopefully not many more besides former Detroit starter Scott Mitchell, who last week was shocked to learn OT Lomas Brown once intentionally blew a blocking assignment in the hopes of his own teammate being knocked out of a game. PFT’s Mike Florio quizzed Mitchell about the incident (“for someone to just lay down like that, it’s unacceptable”) on Dan Patrick’s NBC Sports radio program earlier today :
“It just really hurt,” Mitchell said. “It was extremely disappointing. I’m really shocked by it, to be honest. Here’s a guy I’ve had in my house, I had a big dinner for the offensive linemen every year, he came to my house and ate dinner, I gave my offensive linemen gifts every year. For him to do that is just reprehensible, beyond words. It’s really disappointing, it really is painful. When you mess with my family, mess with my livelihood, mess with my health, it’s unacceptable. It’s B.S. I just wouldn’t do it to a teammate. I wouldn’t do it. If Lomas has a problem with me, come talk to me. To try to get someone hurt, it’s just mind-boggling.”
Mitchell suffered a broken finger on his passing hand when Brown allowed Packers defensive end Sean Jones to get a free shot at him in a 1994 game. That injury ended Mitchell’s season, and Mitchell noted that it could have been a lot worse than a broken finger.
The team took the captain’s armband from the popular Yu Tao – who had been with Shenhua for over a decade – and gave it to their new star player instead. Once the season got underway it soon became apparent that things were not going to go well. Within four games, Shenhua’s newest captain had led a dressing room coup that ousted Jean Tigana from the dugout. Appointed player-manager for the subsequent game against Tianjin Teda, Anelka’s tactics were so bad that Shenhua got booed off the pitch at full-time as the visitors won in Shanghai for the first time in their history.
Prone to voicing his displeasure with the club during press conferences and occasionally threatening to retire, Anelka also missed several games due to “‘injuries” as a shareholder dispute resulted in unpaid wages and training ground strikes. Increasingly marginalised following the mid-season arrival of Didier Drogba in Shanghai, a disinterested Anelka would regularly drift out of position during games, much to the fury of local supporters. As the season went on Shenhua fans threw coins at him during a cup game while Chinese newspapers ran cartoons of Drogba carrying Anelka on his back.
All of this has been hard to take for the Shenhua fans, who saw 150 per cent increases in season tickets this year following promises that the team was going to win the league. Instead the Shanghai club, one of the oldest in China, is in freefall with a would-be saviour whose stubbornness weighed the team down for most of the season. Anelka has certainly left behind a legacy in Shanghai but not a lot of it is positive.
These days, it has become a sport within the sport to pillory Stern when he locks out players to cut their revenue or stands up for the legitimacy of the league’s TV contracts, which put luxury cars in their driveways. Can critics really have it both ways?
However clichéd or unfounded it was to degrade a man with Stern’s excellent credentials on many social causes of inclusiveness, no one should minimize the opinions of those who believe that Christmas is not a day for unencumbered commercialism, even if every day leading to it is.
But people do interpret and observe religion differently, and as Celtics Coach Doc Rivers noted, a fair number of folks “do work on Christmas.” Restaurants open. People go to the movies. In the long history of N.B.A. Christmas games, no one has been forced to attend or watch on television.
Other than Araton and his media colleagues. And the hot dog vendors. And ushers. I could go on, but I won’t. As Araton alludes, the movie theatre owners of America have faced no barbs from Bruce Jenkins or his cinematic equivalents (presumably a few of those owners aren’t Jews).
I hope this current stretch doesn’t cost Avery Johnson his job. And it would be a shame if anyone concluded D-Will is some sort of coach-killer. But most of all, I sincerely hope the former New Jersey Nets can somehow manage to fashion a team the Borough of Brooklyn Brett Yormark can be proud of.
OK, well the latter tradition is on hold for a bit. But Jon Solomon‘s 24 hour Xmas Marathon is in progress on WPRB. Along with the usual plethora of seasonal tunes, you’ll hear holiday tales from persons including but not limited to Jennifer O’Connor & Amy Bezunartea, Chris Brokaw, Joel RL Phelps and Mac McCaughan.
Jack Klugman, veteran actor and star of the TV-adaptation-of Neil Simon’s, “The Odd Couple”, and subsequently, “Quincy M.E.”, has passed away at the age of 90. Though his role as sportswriter Oscar Madison remains Klugman’s signature part, he unwittingly made major contributions to punk rock really-getting-it-wrong history through the landmark “Quincy” episode, “Next Stop Nowhere”.
The Kings should consider anything and everything: rehiring his former high school coach, Otis Hughley, who was added to the coaching staff as a baby sitter/personal handler during Cousins’ rookie season; taking a tip from Phil Jackson and having one of their mental health consultants maintain a more consistent and high-profile presence. And while neither teams nor the league can compel players to undergo counseling, the Kings successfully pressured Ron Artest (now Metta World Peace) into anger management therapy during his days in Sacramento.
The Kings still don’t want to trade Cousins – and they shouldn’t – but something has to change. He has to change. Being tall and talented and wealthy doesn’t entitle him to be demeaning and unprofessional and at times downright combative. He needs answers, and clearly, he needs help.
Asked why he appeared so morose after his impressive performance in the Kings’ victory last week against the Warriors, Cousins shook his head. “I’m just dealing with a lot of things in my life right now,” he replied quietly.
Now he gets to sit and think about things for a while, and with an assist from the Kings, maybe he can find some answers.
While avowed labor union opponent Dino Costa has repeatedly praised NHL commissioner Gary Bettman for his inflexibility during the league’s current suicide mission, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks is slightly more in touch with life on Planet Earth, declaring the game’s “Canceler-In-Chief” to be “the Igor Ulanov of pro sports commissioners.”
Bettman is willing to take the monumental risk of canceling yet another season as opposed to the meager rewards of limiting players to seven-year contracts and refusing transition rules that might cost NHL owners comparative pennies weighed against the cost of the second canceled season in the last eight years of his regime.
I would defy any owner to explain why the season should be canceled over the difference of one or three years in maximum contract lengths in the current proposals of the NHL and the NHLPA.
The league’s proposed contract term limits are meant to devalue free agency. The league acts as if players spent the seven seasons under the expired collective bargaining agreement fleeing small markets for big markets even as all available evidence contradicts the theory.
There is also the NHL’s take-it-or-leave-it refusal to accept transition rules regarding amnesty buyouts and the 2013-14 cap that would present clubs mechanisms with which to comply to the new CBA. Rather, the league seems intent on punishing teams that obeyed every rule in the book while spending money in attempting to build champions.