Soccer's in the news again. Do you know what I've noticed? It's never me personally that discovers soccer news it's always my friend Jessica or my ex-girlfriend who adores soccer. Me on the other hand cannot stand soccer and I think it's stupid and I've said it on many occasions. I have nothing against the people involved, usually, but the sport itself doesn't make a lot of sense to me. My niece and nephew play it all the time in the park, my niece isn't into it that much anymore but my nephew worries me, when he's 7 I may have to step in and give him a basketball or football. Miriam and Julien will be mad because I have to talk about their team but as the Fresh Prince would say...ahhh well...
After choking at last year's World Cup, France's former coach Raymond Domenech is finally talking about what happened. Domenech labeled his players "stupid brats" and said they made their country a "laughingstock". France certainly didn't play well at all in last year's World Cup when they failed to score a goal in their first two matches. Then again it's hard to win a team event when your team hates your guts and are going on strike against training which is what happened last year when Domenech sent Nicholas Anelka home for insulting him. In an interview published in L'Express magazine he says, "They knew perfectly well what they were doing. They even closed the bus curtains to hide from the cameras. Looking back, I see them above all as a bunch of irresponsible, stupid brats."
The day of the strike hundreds of people who had gathered at the practice facility in the town of Krysna cheered for the French players as they stepped off the team bus. After quickly shaking hands and signing autographs, all of the players returned to the bus. "At that point, I'm telling myself that they've gone mad and they don't realize what they are doing," Domenech said. "Now I know I was wrong."
Domenech then had to read a statement from the players that was written on a piece of paper to the press explaining why they weren't practicing. "We'd been there for more than an hour. Somebody had to take responsibility and stop this masquerade," Domenech said. "We were the laughingstock of the world, I said 'stop this I can't take anymore of it!" Domenech then said, "I'm not the moron that's been described. I still need to sweep away certain memories...It's like love: you need to forget a woman so that you can love another one. I've been offered things for the theater, for the cinema. Nothing on television. Honestly, can you imagine me in a reality TV show?"
I can't explain it, I am not a fan at all yet some of my best blogs in terms of response, have been written about soccer. I mean what other sport do things like this happen? In previous years I've written about the riots at the games, people throwing fire on the field, people throwing urine on the field, people throwing blood on the field. Dudes wielding machetes at the games, players from this very French team I'm writing about today that were caught up in an underage sex scandal last year with a French prostitute. Check my blogs from last year for that one, but this team is a mess. At least the coach moved on, well sort of. Dude's currently coaching a children's soccer team in Western Paris.
I've heard of a coach losing his team but not like this. Imagine the Lakers refusing to get off their bus to play Boston or whoever. Phil Jackson is too creative to put up with that, he'd throw on some Tibetan chime music and light some incense and have dudes coming out of the windows. The French players were just going by that old rule that dads all over the world teach to their kids, you know, when the going gets tough...quit. When times are hard...give up. When things seem impossible...stop trying. Of course I'm being sarcastic but that's what they did, nevermind that though...did Domenech try to drop some Love knowledge on us?
"You need to forget a woman so that you can love another one", What? lol I mean what does this have to do with your situation? And going by his analogy who is the woman? The France soccer team? and who is the other woman? A children's team in Western Paris? You know how ridiculous that sounds. That would be like the Superbowl champions the Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy leaving to coach a Pop Warner team in Wisconsin. Look on the bright side Dom, maybe you can land a job on another team before the 2014 World Cup that I won't watch.
Superbowl XLV isn't even a week old yet instead of hearing about the Green Bay Packers defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers, all I hear about on these various sports networks is talk about the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL owners and the Players Association that is set to expire March 3rd. The NFL said it would not comment on CBA meetings at this point. The league did confirm that Commissioner Roger Godell has cancelled an owners meeting scheduled for next Tuesday in Philadelphia.
The first negotiations between the Players Association and the owners took place on February 5th the Saturday before the Superbowl. The two sides then met again on Wednesday and Thursday's meeting was cancelled. Apparently, the two sides aren't even close to agreeing on several issues, one of them is rookie wage scale and length of contracts. The union wants a four year maximum contract for rookies drafted in the first three rounds and a three year max for rookies drafted in rounds after that. The union also included a limit on financial incentives and salary escalators included in rookie deals. However, the NFL wants a five year wage scale with base salary escalators basically eliminating individual negotiations of rookie contracts.
George Atallah, the Players Association spokesman said, "We wish we were negotiating today, that's all I can say." After the meetings were cancelled, the union brought in a beer vendor from Ford Field in Detroit as part of a news conference in Washington, D.C. aimed at demonstrating the effects a lockout would have on the economy. John Marler, who has worked at the stadium since 2007 said, "Football and other major sporting events are some of the only things that bring people to downtown Detroit after 5pm."
Kimberly Freeman Brown, executive director of American Rights at Work, said a lockout would have an impact on 150,000 jobs and cause more than $160 million in lost revenue to every city with an NFL team. When asked about a potential work stoppage she said its "something that could potentially have devastating consequences on our quality of life and our mental health." When asked about the news conference Players Association spokesman George Atallah said, "It is important for us to stand with the people who are here on this panel, not for any publicity issue or publicity stunt. This is real for us, this is a reality that these people face."
I am trying to be empathetic and see both sides well actually three sides. The owners of the teams who of course want more money and want to pay less and from what I understand, they were presented with a 50/50 proposal of advertising revenue and walked right out of the meeting. If that is true I completely understand, you can't go 50/50 with an owner because they can just replace you with someone who will accept less. The players who are already screwed because yeah they have million dollar contracts but those contracts can be rewritten and are full of so many incentives that are put further down the road that the actual contract isn't really what it is.
Like for instance Donovan McNabb's $78 million dollar contract extension with the Washington Redskins could reach $88 million if every single incentive is reached but Washington can also get away with paying him $4 million if they decide to severe ties with McNabb. $78 million down to $4 million? Yeah because that makes sense. My mother is a lawyer and she can't explain that one to me. I do side with the players on the amount of games played, the NFL wants to increase the current season from 16 games to 18 and they would do this by cutting the 4 preseason games down to 2. These guys already pay an incredible price with their bodies so I would hate to see what two more games would mean to an injury report but it's all about the benjamins...most things are.
Speaking of benjamins, the fans, what do they think of a potential lockout? they probably are aware of the situation but they're too busy making a living for their families to really speak their minds. Most fans are priced out of premium games and playoffs, I mean you'd have to mortgage your home if you had a family of four attending this year's superbowl. The average concession price was $89! Thats what happens when little Johnnie wants a $13 popcorn and a 20 oz pepsi for $9 bucks! $6 hotdogs and $6 peanuts. The fans are the little guy and the little guy always gets screwed. Don't say you care about the fans when face value tickets are going for $800 in the nose bleed section. This is between millionaires and billionaires and like it or not, we have no say...
Twelve years ago today former Boston Celtics point guard Kenny Anderson said something remarkable. He said that times were so tight that he might have to pare down his fleet of luxury cars. He owned eight cars including a Porsche, a Lexus, and a Range Rover. He was thinking of selling his Mercedes. Former Toronto Raptors player Jason Kapono said something even more remarkable. "I've seen an NBA player having two cars a day to drive. You know 14 cars, think about how absurd that is. You say 14 cars, all right, you may have some kids, a family of nine, but a single guy having 14 cars? It's one thing if Bill Gates wants to do that, but when you're 22 years old and you don't even have kids yet, it's not good."
A representative of the NBA Player's Association cited the statistic that 60% of retired NBA players go broke 5 years after their NBA paychecks stop arriving. "Sixty percent is a ballpark. But we've seen a lot of guys who've really come into hard times five years after they leave the league. The problems are, for a lot of guys, they have a lot of cars, they have multiple houses, they're taking care of their parents. They're taking care of a whole host of issues and the checks aren't coming in anymore", said Roy Hinson, the former NBA forward who's a representative for the Player's Association.
"You see how guys live", said Kapono. "A lot of players get in trouble because they want everyone around them to lead the same lifestyle. So you fall into a hole. You buy this big house now for those people, and they no longer want to drive the low-end car to go with the big house. So the big house leads to the big car, to the better clothes, to the better restaurants and stuff. It's a snowball effect. That's why that stat isn't shocking because I've witnessed it."
Back in October of 2007, Jason Caffey who made $29 million during his eight year career was in bankruptcy court seeking protection from his creditors, among them the seven women with whom he fathered 8 children. Also in 2007, Latrell Spreewell, who famously turned down a $21 million contract, had his $1 million yacht repossessed.
Look, I'm not purporting to have all the answers, I am just voicing my opinions and how I handle my own success personally. What I do know is that if you don't come from money, then it shouldn't be surprising that you will not know how to handle substantial amounts of money. Did my man Jason Kapono drop a Bill Gates blast? What Warren Buffet and Oprah didn't want any of that? He made a good point, these guys spend money like they're billionaires. If I were an NBA rookie I would: Get rid of the yes men, keep true friends that are honest. I would hire an accountant, a financial planner, and a lawyer to start. I would stay away from strippers errrr I mean young women with whom I may have a child out of wedlock. I take that back, but if you're going to "get down" as Michael Vick would say, I would mix in some condoms.
These guys kill me whenever I see 7 mothers and 8 children, think about how much grief a quick stop to Speedee Mart for some um... protection would save you. Like I said, I'm not perfect and I'm not rich, I have more than when I was in college though thank goodness. I know I'm a very fortunate guy and I can do a lot of things not a lot of people can. I also know what it's like to avoid family members who are constantly trying to borrow money they can't pay back and relationships get ruined. The hardest thing ever for me was telling the people I care about "No". A lot of these athletes haven't learned to say no, and they'd better learn before their careers are over.