NFL coaches and executives project a significant drop in Sam’s draft stock, a publicity circus and an NFL locker room culture not prepared to deal with an openly gay player.
“I don’t think football is ready for [an openly gay player] just yet,” said an NFL player personnel assistant. “In the coming decade or two, it’s going to be acceptable, but at this point in time it’s still a man’s-man game. To call somebody a [gay slur] is still so commonplace. It’d chemically imbalance an NFL locker room and meeting room.“
All the NFL personnel members interviewed believed that Sam’s announcement will cause him to drop in the draft. He was projected between the third and seventh rounds prior to the announcement. The question is: How far will he fall?
“I just know with this going on this is going to drop him down,” said a veteran NFL scout. “There’s no question about it. It’s human nature. Do you want to be the team to quote-unquote ‘break that barrier?’”
You’ll note The Tim Tebow Traveling Circus was given no fewer than 3 opportunities at employment with an NFL team. Hopefully, SI’s sources are not fully representative of Sam’s possible employers or teammates.
LandlordsNY, sadly not a Gotham tribute to wonderful members of the Happy Flowers family tree, but instead a property owners/managers organization, has been forced to ditch plans for a symposium at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. The venue pulled the plug after learning public protests were planned over the event’s chosen keynote speaker…who just happens to be the guy who built the building. From The Real Deal’s Katherine Clarke :
“Barclays Center has called to let us know they can no longer host our event due to threats by one or two tenant related groups protesting Mr. Bruce Ratner, whom was slated to be our keynote speaker,” said J’Nell Simmons, executive director of LandlordsNY, in the note. “They are concerned of the negative press it will bring them and Mr. Ratner, and thus feel they can no longer host the property management symposium.”
Tenant groups including the Fifth Avenue Committee, Make the Road and Met Council on Housing were slated to protest outside the Barclay’s Center on the day of the event, Fifth Avenue Committee director of organizing and advocacy Jackie Del Valle told The Real Deal.
“The building of [Atlantic Yards] has caused extreme displacement and rising rents in the neighborhoods around it,” Del Valle said. “There’s been a ton of public money given to this but no government oversight and the promised affordable housing has not been built.”
“He’s going to be teaching best practices when it seems like the best practices have been going into communities, pushing out long-term tenants and building luxury condos? New York City has become like the homeless capital of the world in the last few years and we needed to get out the word that tenants aren’t happy. We needed to school landlords on these facts of displacement.”
He’s a perfectly normal Red Raider who happens to really, really love his basketball team. His response to the “crazy” question: “I agree with them, I guess. This is my hobby. I don’t hunt, fish, golf or any other normal guy activities. I just sort of follow the team around.”
“Jeff is unbelievable,” said Head Coach Pat Knight. “He means a lot to us and we try to take care of him. He’s always there for us, win or lose. It’s great to know that when we arrive at an away game, he’ll be there to meet us. We can always count on Jeff.”
At this season’s home game against Texas, he sat in his regular seat under the north basket dressed in a referee’s striped shirt.
“I always wear the referee’s shirt to the UT game, I’ve done it since I was a Court Jester,” Orr said. “I don’t know where I got the idea, but I’d wear the striped shirt under my jacket and when the refs mad a bad call, I’d rip my jacket off and start helping the refs.”
(SUNDAY AM ADDENDUM : as this item from Deadspin illustrates, while it’s widely believed/rumored that Orr baited Smart with a racial slur of some sort or another, that’s hardly been proven)
37-year-old Graham Fahey of Brooklyn waited too long to buy tickets for a pair of sold-out New York concerts scheduled for April. He thought he had a trick up his sleeve to get in: a rocket tattoo on his left forearm. Alas, when he reached the band’s management to ask, he learned he would need a ticket—tattooed or not.
John Reis, Rocket from the Crypt’s lead singer and songwriter, says the band, which combines blaring horns with densely layered guitars, is both befuddled and flattered by the number of fans who have its tattoo. Though the band wasn’t pushing fans to get tattoos just to get into shows, “we kinda created this thing where we don’t want to renege on what people think the deal is,” he says.
“It got a little out of hand,” says Mike Stobbe, a San Diego tattoo artist who inked the band members. Mr. Stobbe estimates he has tattooed “a couple hundred” fans, and still fields the occasional request. “It’s hard to have a guest list of that magnitude,” he says.
As it prepared last year for its first shows in eight years, the band was preoccupied with other matters. Its saxophone player needed a saxophone, for instance. “We really didn’t think about it,” says Mr. Reis, 44. “We were more surprised that we were playing again.”
We the undersigned humbly, and with all due respect, ask the MLB Network to air the June 12, 1970 game between the San Diego Padres and the Pittsburgh Pirates. On that day the Pirates’ pitcher Dock Phillip Ellis threw what was at the time the 3rd no-hitter in Pirates history and it was a seminal moment in baseball history. The fans would like to relive this moment and want to see it rerun on the MLB Network.
(above : as recently seen on MSG, live action painting dynamo Randy Leo Frenchette)
With no less an authority than head coach Mike Woodson calling the 2013-14 New York Knicks, “a disaster”, it it any wonder that Madison Square Garden TV would seek to distract from the diabolical on-court product? As the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman explains, MSG is going to unusual — and perhaps ineffective — lengths to make recent Knicks telecasts seem entertaining.
On Wednesday (vs Portland) when reporter Tina Cervasio introduced “Frenchy,” an artist, stationed not far from courtside, who started drawing a portrait of Carmelo Anthony during the game and finished before Mike Woodson stormed off the court, ripping referee Danny Crawford, following a 94-90 loss to Portland.
During the game, Spero Dedes, Walt (Clyde) Frazier (now the first NBA voices to double as art critics) would periodically check on Frenchy with an update on how his artistic tribute to Melo was progressing. This mostly amounted to Dedes giving his take and Clyde agreeing or just saying “yep.” Got the feeling Frazier kinda wanted Frenchy to be drawing him in one of his many colorful zoot suits.
Better still if Frenchy would have drawn the many moods of Dolan, rumply slumped in his usual baseline seat. Or an oil painting of the phalanx of security personnel who are never far from Dolan. Or an impressionistic take on boss scribes being followed by Dolan’s PR police.
MSG presented its own tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman who, according to said tribute, was a big Knicks fan. There was also a verbal interlude provided by a couple of Rockettes, the usual shots of celebrities including the ubiquitous Steve Schirripa, who was up on the Bridge, and A-lister Manny Pacquiao, in the front row courtside.
This now became a game within an NBA game. What celebrity did the camera linger on the longest? The winner, comedian J.B. Smoove. It wasn’t even close. Then again Smoove has his own show on MSGulag. So this was a combination celebrity sighting/commercial.
‘Twas an eventful return to the Beijing Ducks lineup for former NBA vet Stephon Marbury Wednesday, what with getting T’d up twice, ejected, locked out of the arena, and somewhere in the middle of all that, watching his trainer make postgame arrangements with Shangdong’s Donnell Harvey. From Beijng Cream (link swiped from Ball Don’t Lie) :
As officials sort things out, Wu receives a rousing chant of “shabi! shabi!” from the crowd (literally, “stupid cunt,” though a better translation within this context would be “asshole”), along with a few plastic bottles hurled his direction. I was right there under the basket, and it was madness. From my vantage point, it threatened at times to get out of control.
While officials were sorting out free throws, Shandong forward Donnell Harvey engaged Marbury’s trainer in a bit of trash talk, with the two apparently agreeing to meet after the game to throw down.
Afterwards, players and personnel from both teams began shoving while heading down to their respective dressing rooms. I saw a Chinese player from Shandong punch Marbury’s interpreter in the face during the post-game scuffle.
Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, whose playing career was marked by 369 career home runs (54 in 1957) plus a legendary comeback from a miserly Branch Rickey (“we finished last with you, we can finish last without you), and later a Mets broadcaster from their inaugural season until 2006, passed away Thursday at the age of 91.
It would not be an exaggeration to say while Gary Cohen is doing excellent work in a modern variation of Kiner’s old role, the latter provided wonderful narration for most of the Mets’ happier moments (and no shortage of embarrassing moments, too). Even in recent years, slightly hampered by Bell’s Palsy, Kiner’s occasional visits to the SNY booth made for compelling TV ; though his delivery was surely affected, Kiner’s mind remained fertile. To call him a fountain of insight is to pay too high a compliment to fountains.
My memories of Mets history are inextricably linked with Kiner’s descriptions, analysis, and his fantastic interplay with pre-pariah Tim McCarver. Much like Cohen in contemporary times, Kiner often made an otherwise unwatchable baseball team the only thing I wanted on my television. He’ll be missed, sure, but I am beyond grateful for everything he brought to Mets fans and the high standards he established.
Sorry to rip off almost an entire post from Newsday’s Neil Best, but I think you have to file this under “too good to be true”. To wit, it contains the following elements of blogging gold : Kiner’s Korner, the dude-riffic Lenny Dykstra, and the all-important MILF factor. No mention of Ralph’s date with Liz Taylor, sadly.
I asked Rich and John Philips for their responses to a post about Len Dykstra’s post-career business success.
Wrote Rich: “I seem to remember he was on Kiner’s Korner with his mother (for some reason) and it seemed Ralph was trying to hit on her. Anyone else remember something like that or is it an urban myth or macabre nightmare?”
Wrote John: “Rich, I have that edition of Kiner’s Korner on videotape and you are correct. I was at the game that day, taped it, watched it, and decided it was a keeper. Ralph was being Mr. Smooth. He ended the interview by saying something like, ‘Well, congratulations on a great game Lenny, and for having a great-looking mom.”
Earlier today, Sirius/XM’s Chris Russo loudly opined that National Signing Day was of zero interest to his listeners, a position he stuck with even after a succession of callers argued that yeah, they were pretty interested and found the topic of greater relevance than some of the subject matter (tennis, anyone?) that takes up much of “Mad Dog Unleashed”. As such, Russo’s unfortunate audience might’ve missed the story of Haines City (FL) Dacorious Law (above), who loves learning so much, he’s committed to no fewer than 2 institutions of higher learning (3, if you count East Mississippi Community College, his insurance policy). While one TV outlet showed Law donning a Utah cap with theatrical flourish, it seems he’d previously signed a letter of commitment to Ole Miss.
Since cloning and franchising are out of the question, Law will have a tough decision to make, and perhaps that’s at the root of Russo’s unease. “Who cares about a 17 year old no one’s ever heard of?” is the gist of Russo’s logic why N.S.D. is a non-story, putting aside of course, that in places other New Cannen, CT and Midtown Manhattan, the travails of these 17 year-olds aren’t nearly so irrelevent. Incredible, that someone actually follows the new talent pool for a sport business that’s nothing short of a national obsession.
Perhaps that’s why if Paul Finebaum magically found himself a free agent tomorrow, he’d have no shortage of suitors. The same cannot be said of the host of “Mad Dog Unleashed”.
How dare DMX (above) and George Zimmerman conspire to minimize the tragedy that was the latter’s slaying of Trayvon Martin — after all, that’s Geraldo Rivera’s job! But with the pair getting ready to hook up in what’s optimistically being called a “celebrity” boxing match, The Nation’s Mychal Denzel Smith calls the proposed spectacle, “one of the most disgusting things ever”, but to be perfectly fair, Smith might not be following Dino Costa on instagram.
It’s not enough that Zimmerman killed Trayvon in cold blood, not enough that he walked away from it without being arrested immediately, not enough that it took thousands of people across the country marching and protesting to bring charges against him, not enough that he was acquitted and not enough that he remains free to accumulate more domestic violence charges. No, he has to also become a celebrity, built on his “career” of killing black children and abusing women.
Shame on the organizers and promoters. Shame on the thousands who e-mailed wanting to fight him and legitimize this. Shame on anyone who pays money to see it. Shame on all of us for allowing Trayvon’s life and death to turned into a spectacle.
And fuck George Zimmerman. Fuck him and everything he represents. Fuck the culture that supports his existence. But a sincere “thank you” for reminding us what black life is worth in this country. As if we didn’t already know.
Joe Kinnear. Just say it and try not to smile. Or else just call him JFK. Or JK Bawling, the creator of the famous press conference character, Harry Pottymouth. Ah but none of those names are the reason that ‘Ere resigned seven and a half months after being drafted into Newcastle to reinforce the squad by drawing liberally on his vast knowledge of football and other words beginning with f. Instead, we must consider names such as Bafétimbi Gomis, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Darren Bent, Florian Thauvin, Rémy Cabella and Clément Grenier, all players whom Newcastle tried and failed to lure during ‘Ere’s signing-shy tenure, which ends just a week after the club lost its best player, Yohan Kebab, to PVC.
Jokin’ ‘Ere has so far resisted the temptation to explain his decision to the media, even by way of explicit gesture, so the Fiver can only surmise that the frustration at missing out on so many targets has forced ‘Ere’s hand. Being derided by supporters is unlikely to have bothered him – after all, he has “got far more intelligence than them, that’s for sure” – so his decision may also have been motivated by the impression that he seemed to be making Alan Pardew squirm, and even Mike Ashley may have been uncomfortable. Still, given the esteem with which ‘Ere claims he is held by even the biggest names in football, it surely won’t be long before the former Luton Town and Nepal manager is offered another high-profile job.
The University of Michigan student paper was mysteriously uninvited to a Monday press conference in which head football coach Brady Hoke discussed the December expulsion of K Brendan Gibbons — a story broken by said publication last week. The Detroit Free Press’ Mark Snyder recaps Hoke’s stonewalling of those who were admitted to the Q&A, during which Hoke insisted, “for people to attack the character and integrity that we have as a program, as Michigan and me personally, I think is something that’s something that not true.”
Hoke said he couldn’t talk about himself. Or when he found out about Gibbons’ expulsion. Or why he told reporters Dec. 23 that Gibbons would miss the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl on Dec. 28 because of a “family matter” in Florida.
When asked whether Gibbons was actually injured for the Nov. 30 Ohio State game as Hoke said at the time — which was 10 days after the misconduct case closed, the Daily reported — the coach was cut off by a sports information staffer who reminded reporters about the released statement and said Hoke wasn’t discussing it.
Hoke said he hasn’t addressed the matter on the recruiting trail. “Haven’t had to,” he said. “It hasn’t been a hiccup.” And he wouldn’t admit to being frustrated by the restriction to defend himself.
“It is what it is, it’s federal laws and all that stuff, university policy,” he said. “And to be honest with you, it’s not fair to anybody involved.”
That Ezra Levant is an unabashed shill for the Canadian oil industry is well established ; the lawyer/lobbyist turned TV pundit authored 2010′s “Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada’s Oil Sands”, essentially a 260 page love letter to, uh, the Canadian oil industry. So with that history in mind, it should come as little surprise Levant spends nearly 17 minutes on an extensive character obliteration of oil sands development opponent Neil Young.
ESPN NY afternoon host Michael Kay is apparently under the misconception his program is now being simulcast on the YES Network because the cable network prefers his brand of sports chatter to that of WFAN’s Mike Francesa. Either that, or he chose his YES simulcast debut as an opportunity to prove that when it comes to mocking Francesa, he’s not nearly as funny as shit you can find on YouTube. From Newsday’s Neil Best :
Shortly after going on the air at 3 p.m., Kay dumped a plastic bottle of Diet Coke – Francesa’s longtime beverage of choice – into a garbage can held by his partner, Don LaGreca.
The gag was executed wordlessly, but the reference to Francesa was clear.
When asked later by Newsday what he thought of the gesture, Francesa called it, a “classless, loser move from two guys I have been burying in the ratings for over a decade.”
Shortly after Kay’s simulcast began at 3 p.m., Francesa said on the air, “We’re no longer on YES. That’s YES’ problem, not mine.”
We’ve just emerged from a profoundly shitty weekend for lovers of the arts, what with the passing of rocker/filmmaker/raconteur numero uno Ricky Luanda of Chain Gang and yesterday’s death of Academy Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman. Both were certainly tops in their respective fields, but neither have a particularly strong connection to the sporting sphere represented in this space, though I did see Ricky in the Shea Stadium parking lot once, distributing free copies of the New York Daily News to persons leaving the ballpark. How many of these depressed/drunk Mets fans realized they were being greeted by the most unique chronicler of NYC underground culture this side of the late Bill Landis, I cannot say for sure, but it was a pretty thrilling moment for me. Keep in mind, however, this was the Jeff Torborg era, so thrills were hard to come by.
Q: What was it like to be portrayed on screen and how did you feel you were portrayed?
A: First of all, Philip Seymour Hoffman physically didn’t resemble me in any way. He was a little on the heavy side. And just the way he portrayed me was very disappointing and probably 180 degrees from what I really am, so that was disappointing too.
Q: Do you feel that this (movie and book) affects your name in baseball circles?
A: It certainly doesn’t help it the way I was portrayed. I think the book hurt me and now the movie. I want people who don’t know Art Howe – that’s the problem with the movie – I’ve spent my whole career trying to build a good reputation and be a good baseball man and someone who people like to play for and all of the above. Then in two hours, people who don’t know me – and Brad Pitt’s a big name, people are going to see his movies – and all these people across the country are going to go in and get this perception of me that’s totally unfair and untruthful. So I’m very upset.
The National Congress of American Indians has unveiled a two-minute anti-Redskins advertisement and is encouraging activists and fans alike to push the team to change its name.
“This week’s celebration of football is exactly why we need to keep talking about the D.C. mascot,” the NCAI tells Indian Country Today Media Network. “Cheering for a football team should never include the casual use of a racial slur. It is important for all teams and all of their fans that the name of the D.C. team is changed.”
The video caught the attention of current city councilmember, and former mayor, Marion Barry who publicly called on team owner Daniel Snyder to change the franchise name in a series of tweets Friday morning.
“Dan, just as I hate the N word, & you hate the K word, they do NOT want 2 be slurred either. U can afford 2 do this. It will be your legacy,” a tweet from Barry read.
Earlier this year, WEEI’s Kirk Minihane all but demanded Red Sox rightsholder NESN remove sideline reporter Jenny Dell from Boston telecasts due to her relationship with 3B Will Middlebrooks. On Friday, NESN acquiesced, with the Boston Herald’s Gayle Fee reporting, “the uber-popular Dell for the past two seasons had been reassigned to desk duty and that the station was holding ‘an active search for a Red Sox sideline reporter.’”
“Jenny Dell, a multi-talented on-air personality, is anchoring ‘NESN Sports Today’ and handling other assignments for NESN,” station spokesman Gary Roy said in response to an inquiry from the Track.
The move — first reported by the Track on ?bostonherald.com yesterday — came after NESN faced increased criticism for letting Dell continue in her role as a Sox reporter while she and Middlebrooks came out publicly as a couple. We’re told the decision to reassign Dell was mutual and that Jenny had been seeking a way to separate her private life from her TV duties, even if it meant leaving NESN.
Sports Illustrated media writer Richard Deitsch polled other women in the biz asking whether it was ever proper for a reporter to cover a team while in a relationship with a member of that team. USA Today’s Lindsay Jones’ response summed up the unanimous verdict: “Never, never, never. Did I mention never?”
Even Abby Chin, the new Celtics sideline reporter for rival Comcast SportsNet, weighed in. Without naming names she said it won’t fly adding, “Women in this business don’t get three strikes, they get one.”
(YouTube link courtesy Joe Gross).
The Dissolve’s Noel Murray considers the ficticious Ramjack Toy Co. a neat bit of film criticism, albeit decades late, accusing “Cruising” director William Friedkin of “trivializing a gay subculture,” and “(making) gayness itself into a cartoonish villain.”
He’s not entirely out to lunch, but you might also say that any film featuring a roomful of people (of any gender) dancing wildly to Willy DeVille has no claims to believability.
The services of former Blazer F Luke Babbit are coveted by the New Orleans Pelicans. Trouble is, he signed in the offseason with Russian club Nizhny Novgorod, and they’re not impressed with attempts thus far to buy Babbitt out of the deal. From Eurohoops’Lefteris Moutis :
In a brief interview of Sergei Panov, former Russian national team player and general manager of Nizhny, which was reproduced in the official site of the team, it’s clear that Nizhny at this point will not let Babbitt return to the NBA. As Panov said: “They made us an offer, which didn’t satisfied us. Now we will negotiate through agents, attorneys and lawyers. I learned some new English words after this incident like ‘spit in the face’ and ‘shit on your soul’”.
At this point, if Nizhny and the Russian basketball federation refuse to send the letter of clearance of Babbitt to the States, he will not be able to sign anywhere else until the end of the season according to the FIBA-NBA agreement.
Houston Rockets general manager Darryl Morey submitted to a question and answer session with season ticket holders last Friday, and touched on a number of subjects including but not limited to the fate of C Omar Asik, the Rockets’ playoff chances and his decision to select F Royce White (above) with the 16th overall pick in the 2012 draft. On the matter of White, Clutch Fans.net provides this excerpt from Morey’s comments :
“I take some sort of pride that you could argue that Royce White is the worst first-round pick ever. He’s the only one that never played a minute in the NBA that wasn’t just a foreign guy staying in Europe. It just shows we swing for the fence.”
Though it’s hard to argue that Morey shouldn’t have opted for White, this might be ultimate diss to Kwame Brown (if not LaRue Martin).