Category Archives: Sports

Are Tiger and Gate Crashers the Only News?

Forgive me, I was out of town the past few days, so I don’t know if there was a breakthrough on healthcare reform, or whether the House, Senate, or White House has come up with a magic bullet for the unacceptably high unemployment rate.

I do know retailers were cautiously optimistic about “Black Friday”. I went to a shopping mall out of town not to buy anything, but to see a movie with my daughter. There were plenty of people there, but checkout lines didn’t seem long, and lots of folks were leaving without being weighted down with packages.

What I did hear and see a lot about were two stories. Tiger Woods, Emperor of  All Golf , crached his SUV early Friday morning just outside his house. Apparently, it was early enough to cause all manner of speculation about the state of his marriage, the state of his mind (he was reportedly unconscious), and whether a tabloid report about his fooling around is true. Yawn!

Tiger’s right. He’s boring, and so is the frenzy that’s surrounding this incident. He ought to know better than to turn away state troopers trying to investigate the crash more than once. All that does is feed the media speculation. You and the missus ought to talk to them, release a statement, and be done with it already.

The other story that won’t go away is the one about the couple that crashed the White House state dinner Tuesday night. If  Michaele and  Tareq Salahi werre looking for 15 minutes of fame, they got five days. This one is amazing on several levels. Why would two people think they had the smarts and the guts to get past what most folks think is tough security at the White House?

What would they have done if they’d been turned away, just head to a fancy Georgetown restaurant? Of course, just like that “Balloon Boy” family, reports say the wife wanted to be on a reality television show. Was this supposed to be her audition?

The Salahis are reportedly talking to the Secret Service, maybe trying to avoid a possible criminal rap for their night on the town. Government security in general ought to be hanging their heads in shame, because it means security checkpoints literally mean nothing. All that stuff they make you do at the airport? Theater! Building security, where they make you show a couple of forms of ID? Meaningless!

And Sunday, here were two US Senators discussing the incident, and saying (with appropriate seriousness), that criminal charges are in order. Do I smell an investigation in the Upper House?

But hey, you tell me. Did anything else go on over this past weekend? (I do know about the awful murders of four cops in Washington state. Here’s hoping they nail the guy).
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Is Apology Enough for Larry Johnson’s Gay Slur?

Larry Johnson is a running back for the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s 30 years old, which for an NFL running back is when your career is on the downside. All the more reason for him not to do what he did not once, but twice, starting Sunday night.

On his Twitter account, he questioned the credentials of his coach. Then, in an exchange with one of his Twitter followers, he used an anti gay slur. He did it again Monday, brushing off reporters when asked to comment.

A 30-year-old athlete ought to know better. Hell, a 15-year-old athlete ought to know better. He’s apologized as follows: “I regret my actions. The words were used by me in frustration, and they were not appropriate,” he said through a spokesman. “I did not intend to offend anyone, but that is no excuse for what I said.”

Larry Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs
Larry Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs

Notice he didn’t apologize to the gay community.

The sporting press has noticed this mea culpa sounds a lot like the one he issued last year when he pled guilty to two counts of disturbing the peace.

Two separate and distinct memories crossed my mind when I read this story.

The first involved a guy I worked with in the post office in Manhattan. It seemed that every other word out of his mouth was an anti gay slur. “Sissy, homo, f@#&t” he would spit out, and often acted like it was funny. Not that my co-workers were particularly enlightened, but they avoided this guy at every turn. One night (I worked the night shift) I asked one of my co-workers what was wrong with this guy, why he seemed so casually homophobic.

He looked at me like I had three heads. “You don’t know?”, he asked. I shook my head. He said the homophobe was gay himself. I was dumbfounded.

Ever since then, I’ve questioned the agenda of people who use hate slurs.

The other incident involved a friend of mine who lived openly gay. His name was Donzell, and he’s since passed away. He was an ex-Marine drill sergeant, but not everyone we hung out with knew this of his career history. One guy in particular used to constantly ride him about his sexual preference.

We were on a long bus ride, and finally, Donzell snapped. He called the guy out, told him if he thought he was such a f@#^%t, how about they settle it with their hands.

The bully hadn’t counted on that. He tried to back down telling Donzell he had only been kidding, but for Donzell it was too little too late. He humiliated this guy with a string of expletives I won’t use here, to the point that he cowered to his seat, sat down meekly, and we didn’t hear another word from him on that bus trip. Afterwords, Donzell said “watch who you’re calling a f@#^%T, ’cause that f%^&#t may kick your a%$”.

Back to Larry Johnson. He’s been told to stay away from the Kansas City Chiefs while this whole thing is being investigated.

Do you buy his apology? If not, what should be his punishment?
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Did Michael Vick on 60 Minutes Convince You?

The first word I thought of after watching Michael Vick’s interview on 60 Minutes Sunday night was stoic.

The young man was stoic, unemotional, yet at the same time straight to the point, and quite direct in taking personal responsibility for the actions that led him to a prison cell.

The second thing I thought about was the fact that I didn’t think the conversation with James Brown (CBS Sports) would change many minds, one way or the other.

Michael Vick has his supporters, and for them his was a stellar performance. For his detractors, performance is the operative word. They won’t be convinced by what they saw Sunday that Michael Vick has transformed himself from the guy who oversaw the dogfighting ugliness now so closely associated with his name.

Not knowing Michael Vick personally, I take him at his word that he understands the depravity of dogfighting, and his responsibility to steer young people away from it, as he says the elders in his community didn’t do with him. Yet from the beginning, the most powerful ally Vick has is former NFL coach Tony Dungy. When he speaks of working with young people in prison, his words have a ring of truth no matter what you think of Michael Vick. It’s Tony Dungy, after all, who lost his own son to suicide.

So for Michael Vick, there are second chances. His signing by the Philadelphia Eagles was as much about commerce as altruism , but that’s the nature of professional sports. Animal lovers in Philly may hate what team ownership has done, but if Michael Vick can help his team get to the Super Bowl, it will have been worth the risk.

The risks for Michael Vick, however, are different. Nobody in their right mind thinks he’ll ever get near dogfighting again, but his judgment will be tested in other, more subtle ways. Like when his teammates decide to hang out at that most dangerous place for professional athletes, the strip club. There were reports, since vehemently denied, that he spent his first night out of prison ay a Virginia Beach strip club with NBA star Allen Iverson. Iverson’s agent  said he hadn’t seen Vick since his release, but what happens down the road?

Will he take up with the same group of hangers-on he consorted with when he was with the Atlanta Falcons? The Michael Vick on 60 Minutes Sunday seemed smart enough to avoid such pitfalls, but you never know. Plaxico Burress didn’t seem dumb enough to carry a loaded weapon into a Manhattan club and shoot himself with it, either.

What do you think?

Did Michael Vick convince you he’s sincere?
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