Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ebola has NY Giants concerned about Dallas trip

Playing on the road is tough. It is a true test of just how good your team really is. You're leaving behind your family and friends and all that matters is your opponent. The NY Giants are getting ready for the Dallas Cowboys. Preparing for Tony Romo, preparing for that Cowboys defense which is firing on all cylinders. Preparing for Dez Bryant who usually commands double coverage, but most importantly, preparing for Ebola.

When the Ebola virus infected two Dallas area nurses the news raised the concerns of several Giants players. Giants center J.D. Walton said, "I'm not even sure if I'm going home next week during the bye." Walton is a native of Allen, Texas about 40 miles north of Dallas.

Cornerback Prince Amukamara said, "I think guys might think twice if they were planning to bring their wives or their families with them on a trip like this, because why take the chance? But I think the team is doing a good job making sure we have all of the information we need."

The team plans on leaving Saturday and returning late Sunday evening. Pat Hanlon, the Giants senior VP of communications said, "Our athletic trainers and team physicians have been briefed on the scope of the Ebola virus disease. We have distributed a fact sheet to our employees and distributed similar information to our players electronically this morning."

Quarterback Eli Manning added, "No, I don't worry about myself or the team. I think we're doing, where we're staying, I think we'll be OK."

According to Dallas head coach Jason Garrett the Cowboys are taking a different approach. "Really haven't addressed it with the team to be honest with you. I don't think it's directly affect us, so it has not been something we addressed directly with our players."

At first I was going to say the Giants were being overly protective and the Cowboys weren't protecting themselves at all, but the Giants have the right approach. For once the media isn't blowing something out of proportion. Ebola is real and it is dangerous and the second you don't take it seriously bad things happen.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Kansas City Royals are in the World Series

I am privileged to have seen some amazing sports feats in my life. I mean my grandfather never saw the Boston Red Sox win the World Series in his lifetime. I may never see the Chicago Cubs win a World Series in my lifetime, hell my son probably won't witness that. I'm kidding Cubs fans take it easy. My point is that Boston winning for the first time in almost a century and the White Sox winning and other such history making events is the reason I love sports. It is the ultimate reality show because you never know how the season will end and who will make the post season.

When the same teams are in the post season year after year its just not as exciting for the majority of baseball fans. When a team like the Royals who haven't won the World Series since 1985 makes the playoffs and then go undefeated in the American League Division Series and the American League Championship Series you can't help but root for them because you want to see history.

When the Royals defeated the Oakland A's in the AL Wildcard game 9 - 8 I thought that they would make the post season more fun to watch. Then the Royals went on to sweep the Los Angeles Angels and tonight they completed the sweep of the Baltimore Orioles 2 - 1.

Royals left fielder Alex Gordon said, "It's been an amazing run. This is great. We've been playing pretty good baseball. It's nothing better than when you win. Today, the same old story: good playing, good defense and scratch out a win."

Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer added, " Man, its incredible. These guys every day come to play. If they're not doing it offensively, they're doing it defensively with the glove, just playing complete games and we've got guys stepping up right now."

Kansas City will host the first two World Series games beginning Tuesday against the St. Louis vs San Francisco winner. Ironically, it was the St. Louis Cardinals who the Royals defeated in 1985 to win their only World Series title.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

NHL's Panthers are getting poor attendance at games

Are you ready for some pro hockey? Apparently not in Florida, home to the NHL's Panthers. Just minutes before game time in the home opener the fans were gearing up to buy tickets. All 11 of them were pumped up to grab the tickets to see their home team. No waiting in line here, literally tens of people were at the box office. To be fair, the announced crowd was 7,311 which shatters the all-time low of 10,063.

Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo said, "I don't pay attention to that stuff when I'm playing. I try to focus on my job. If we want to get some people in the stands, we're going to have to start winning some hockey games."

First of all, how can you ignore empty seats? It's like you're at a closed practice. As for focusing on his job, exactly where are the distractions coming from? At least if you're home watching on tv you get the benefit of the play by play announcers but what if you are in the arena? He is right about winning, winning cures everything.

Defenseman Brian Campbell said, "I don't even like talking about it because it's out of my control. I have to go work hard on the ice. If you let that effect you, it's just going to make you not play at the elite level. So I stay away from it. I don't talk about it."

Well you should talk about it Brian, to as many people as you can, get the word out there. I'm not a fan of the Panthers but ignoring the empty seats is the wrong way to go. See if you're a fan of a team no matter what sport it is, and they have a losing record year after year but they have those die hard fans that come no matter what then it's no big deal. Now if your team sucks year after year and the fans stop coming then rumors about the team moving to a more profitable city start circulating.

Of course the Florida Panthers vehemently deny this but the team has been losing money for years. Initially I thought it was a hockey in hot and sunny Florida thing but Floridians are fans of the beach and nothing else, especially Miami. During the NBA Finals games featuring the league's best I spotted empty seats. The Florida Marlins baseball team's attendance is always hovering at the bottom of all MLB teams.

The Panthers lost the home opener to the Ottawa Senators 1 - 0. Ottawa's Clarke MacArthur said, "You've got to create your own energy for sure. There was a lot of air and a lot of silence up in the stands."

Senators goalie Craig Anderson nailed it when he said, "This city seems to need wins, whether its football, baseball, basketball. You need to win games to get fans in the building. A couple of years ago they were in the playoffs and they had great crowds. It's a matter of them putting some wins together and getting the fan base to come back."


Dallas Cowboys RB arrested for shoplifting

When TIME magazine said 'welcome to the information age' several years back they weren't kidding. Average citizens have facebook, twitter, and instagram accounts. Even blogs like this one where you can vent your frustrations out to the world. Most of the time I am writing about sports and about athletes. Athletes are people too and no one is perfect so they're gonna screw up. That being said, when you make a stupid decision like shoplifting, the police are gonna get involved. If you're a pro athlete and you shoplift, the world is going to know about it.

I guess when Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle went shopping at the Stonebriar Centre Mall in Texas dude must have forgotten his wallet. According to police reports, the security officers observed Randle purchase an item at the perfume counter before walking to the underwear section and concealing merchandise in his bag from Dillard's. Then he left the store before being stopped in the parking lot by security.

The security officers say they recovered a two pack of black Polo underwear valued at $39.50 and an $84 bottle of Gucci Guilty Black cologne. Randle was charged with a misdemeanor Class B theft of $50 - $500 according to Frisco, Texas police.

So let me get this straight, a guy who's making about $500,000 a year playing for the Dallas Cowboys gets caught stealing $123.50 worth of merchandise? That is straight up stupid. You're making a half-a-million a year but you're stealing underwear and cologne? Come on! This is more insane then Jerry Jones posing with those young women in those instagram pics.

Oh and it's not like dude is feeling remorse. After being placed in the back of a police car Randle told an officer that he would've just kept walking to his car when confronted by a security officer if he had known he would be arrested according to the arrest report. On Sunday, Randle helped the Cowboys beat Seattle on the road and on Monday he tried to relieve Dillard's of some of their inventory. Again, why when you know your face is going to be plastered all over social media? Maybe he didn't think he was going to get caught. $123.50, hope that was worth it.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Enemy Of The States

"I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasm. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids - and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me." Ralph Ellison said those words in his book The Invisible Man which was written in 1952. This book along with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's books and Letters From Birmingham are some of the most important and inspirational works I have read.

In the wake of the Michael Brown shooting and the civil unrest it has caused to this day, I can't help but have a heavy heart. With the 24 hour news channels scrambling to fill air time we get updates on certain patterns of the same news on a daily basis. Cases like Treyvon Martin and Michael Brown are becoming daily news. Then, once the case reaches the judicial system its way too often that the true victims are victimized again with outrageous verdicts like Not Guilty in the case of George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Treyvon Martin.

That's like telling Martin's family that it was his fault he was shot for walking down the street while being black. Listen to the 9-1-1 tapes for yourself before you comment. The kid was targeted for being black. I have a feeling the officer in the Michael Brown case will be found not guilty which would just continue the pattern of police killing innocent people. Ok, some of the people may have been found guilty if they were arrested and had a chance at due process.

When I was growing up I was always taught that if I got pulled over to obey the officer even if I knew I was right, and to fight the ticket or charges in court. However, what can you do when you are being shot at when you're not armed? For not moving fast enough, or moving at all? I say keep these stories in the news, but change has to come from the courts. Plenty of useless laws are being passed everyday how about adding some meaningful ones. I call on congress and specifically, the Congressional Black Caucus to step up.

I watch everyday in disbelief. How many innocent people have to die based on their skin color? How many more parents have to bury their children? When is enough enough? When I see this kind of treatment it's hard not to take it personally, I fought for my country. I was in the United States Marine Corps and I don't talk about it much because it's none of anyone's business when or why I served. If you're a minority and a certain skin color do you automatically become an enemy of the state in some of these officers minds? If not then how do you explain this shoot first mentality?

What's strange is that I know some police officers where I am from and these are good guys and they're job is so much tougher now because a few bad cops with itchy trigger fingers and bad intentions give the entire force a bad name. So personally I have no problem with police, but I watch and I am guarded and I am aware of my rights even if my fellow citizens who become jurors and the justice department aren't. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, well I'm pursuing happiness everyday but I shouldn't have to give my life for my son's liberty...but this day and age sadly it will probably happen.

Mayweather wins $600,000 on Denver Broncos interception

When the Denver Broncos grabbed an interception against the NY Jets and returned it for a touchdown, that helped cover the point spread in the Broncos 31 - 17 victory. Floyd Mayweather Jr. bet $815,000 on the Broncos to beat the Jets by 7.5 points. Soon after he collected $1.4 million from the sports book at the M Resort in Las Vegas.

Jason Simbal, the vice president of race and sports at M Resorts said, "Floyd didn't watch the game here, but he certainly showed up shortly thereafter to cash."

For most people who bet on sports Sunday wipes them out and there's lots of complaining about bad beats and what could have been and what should have happened. Not this Sunday, this was the rare day for the bettors and two interceptions turned losing tickets into winning ones. The aforementioned Broncos victory over the Jets and a Cardinals interception against the Redskins.

When Arizona Cardinals defensive back Rashad Johnson intercepted the Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins for a touchdown, it helped the Cardinals cover the spread in their 30 - 20 win.

Jay Rood, the MGM Grand's vice president of race and sports said, "The place went absolutely beserk. I kicked a hole in the wall. I'll leave it as a reminder of my feelings toward Geno Smith. Those two interceptions cost us a half-a-million dollars."

It's kind of hard to feel sorry for the sports books when they are in the business of getting you to empty your pockets like the rest of the casino, and I know some people will say that no one is forcing these gamblers to bet but I'm just saying I like to see the little guy win once in a while, even if one of the little guys is Floyd Mayweather Jr.



Friday, October 10, 2014

Hundreds of Domestic Violence Cases Unreported by NFL Team

     In the wake of the Ray Rice video that shows him knocking out his then fiancee, a lot of important discussions have started about domestic violence. Since the video came out the NFL has received a lot of backlash for having a caveman mentality when it comes to the treatment of women by some NFL players. This has been the problem with domestic violence around the world in general. People see it as a problem that goes on behind closed doors and as a problem that is none of their business.

     Jerry Angelo, the former General Manager of the Chicago Bears admitted to thinking that way. He said he knew of "hundreds and hundreds" of domestic violence incidents during his 30 years in the league. "I made a mistake. I was human. I was part of it. I'm not proud of it."

     Angelo said his typical approach when learning of a player's involvement in a domestic violence case was to ask "Ok, is everybody ok? Yeah. How are they doing? Good. And then we'd just move on. We'd move on."

     Angelo said the reason he came forward after so many years is because the Ray Rice video made him feel remorse. "It was the pictures, it was the video. We had never seen that before. We knew it was wrong. For whatever reason, it just kind of got glossed over. I'm no psychiatrist so I can't really get into what that part of it is. I'm just telling you how I was. I've got to look at myself first. And I was part of that, but I didn't stand alone" Angelo said.

     On Thursday the Bears released a statement denying any knowledge of Angelo's comments. "We were suprised by Jerry's comments and do not know what he is referring to."

     If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times, there is nothing more gutless, nothing more pathetic than a man hitting a woman. It's just horrible whether its mental, verbal, or physical, abuse is abuse and in the past it was sugar coated or just swept under the rug. I commend Jerry Angelo for finally admitting he was wrong for looking the other way, how many of his colleagues still have their heads in the sand?

     As negative and as ugly as the Rice video was at least it got the conversation going. Today you see ads about domestic violence and women's shelters are becoming overcrowded because abused women are getting the message and doing something to get help and get out of dangerous situations. Fundraisers are being held to raise money for charities of domestic violence and October has been named Domestic Violence month all in an effort to get the word out there and keep it out that domestic violence should not and will not be accepted no matter who you are.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

NJ Football Team Forfeits Season Due To Hazing Scandal

     On October 2nd just hours before a game against their county rivals, Sayreville War Memorial High School officials cancel the varsity game. Head coach George Najjar said, "Yes its cancelled. No details can be given at this time." Soon after the district announced it had forfeited the game. Assistant coach Charles Garcia gets arrested and charged with possession of steroids.

     October 3rd: District Superintendent Richard Labbe says the cancellation of the game was not related to Garcia's arrest. Philip Nettl, Garcia's attorney says his client has resigned his position at the school. Labbe holds a press conference saying there was "inappropriate conduct at a significant and serious nature." Later on Labbe added, "I take responsibility for everything that happens in the school district. I'm responsible for the well being of all the students in this district."

     October 4th: The practice fields remain empty. Corey Williams a junior cornerback said the team was trying to stick together. "It's tough, but we're a family."

     October 5th: New Jersey State Senator Richard Codey says the Garcia arrest is proof the New Jersey State Athletic Association needs more steroid testing.

     The following allegations come from the victim's parents and it is graphic.

     Apparently, the following took place in the locker room. A senior football player would start making a howling noise. Then the lights in the locker room were shut off. In the darkness a freshman player would be pinned down to the locker room floor, his arms and feet held down by upperclassmen. The victim would then be lifted up to his feet while a finger was forced into his rectum. Sometimes the same finger was then shoved into the freshman player's mouth.

     On October 6th after a two hour meeting with parents, Labbe announces the 2014 Sayreville War Memorial high school football season has been cancelled on all levels. Labbe said, "There was enough evidence to substantiate there were incidents of harassment, intimidation and bullying that took place on a pervasive level, on a wide-scale level and at a level in which the players knew, tolerated and in general accepted."

     After the announced cancellation of the remainder of the season lots of Sayreville parents were upset.  Granted, some parents besides the parents of the victims were upset at the allegations but most parents and residents of Sayreville were angry at the cancellation of the football season. This was supposed to be Spirit week, culminating with Friday's Homecoming game against Monroe. Freshman Yasmine Gomez said, "How are we supposed to have spirit if we don't have a football team? Things have been blown out of proportion. We know the players, and hazing, to them, they didn't mean it in that way. It was more like being friends."

     Look, I played school sports and hazing for me was carrying some dirty uniforms and maybe cleaning up the locker room nothing like this, there's nothing friendly about sexual assault. William Simmons a 17 year old in the school band said, " Football runs this school. That's all everyone cares about. Football, football, football." It seems that way to me. Bon Jovi is a famous alum of this school and has donated large amounts of money in the past and most of it gets used by the football program according to reports.

     The District Superintendent Richard Labbe said that this was an opportunity to take a stand against bullying. He made an unpopular call but I believe it was the right one whether the citizens of Sayreville like it or not. Football and all sports in general are games, competitions and at the end of the day safety of all those players involved should come first.