Wild Weekend in Sports (and Monday Too)

Posted: December 12, 2011 in ALL II
Tags: , , , ,

The past 96 hours brought a wide range of stories from the world of sports.  Instead of dwelling on one, nothing seems better than picking several and dedicating a little attention to them all.

On the NBA…

I thought it could not get crazier after Commissioner Stern dropped the axe on the CP3 to Lakers deal, a move I supported, until the league continued to spin out of control.  While the Lakers dropped out the running, the Clippers stepped in offering the safe to the Hornets.  The deal on the table was Chris Paul for Chris Kaman, Al- Farouq Aminu and Eric Bledsoe.  Apparently the NBA also wanted the electrifying Eric Gordon and Minnesota’s 2012 first-round pick (formally known as a ticked to a top three pick in the draft).  Personally, I think the Clippers should throw in one or the other – preferably the pick – but not both.  Sources suggest that the asking price is too high but this deal looks even better than the Lakers deal.  Although the deal fell apart today, I would not be surprised to see the Hornets (NBA?) come back and lower its ask to make the move.  Still, give the Hornets (NBA?) credit on finding a better offer and negotiating hard for it.

Another story that struck me involved Chauncy Billups.  Saturday, Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported Billups’ made comments telling teams not to pick him up while on the waiver wire because he wants the freedom to pick a title contender.  I certainly sympathize with someone of his talents being tired of mentoring young players and balancing the books on cash strapped teams but teams may need that role to be filled and there is a system in place to do that.

All of this gets back to the reasons for the lockout. We saw small markets negatively react to stars moving towards the big markets and Billups making it clear that he only wants to play in specific places and is willing to sabotage a team to get his way. “I’ve been known as a leader, and I am a leader, but a leader can be as disruptive as he can be productive, especially when you carry a strong voice and people rally around you. This is about me now. This is about me, and teams should know that right now.”  Tensions still in the air about business and labor, no?

On College Boxing and College Basketball…

Xavier and Cincinnati got into a really bad brawl on Saturday featuring both benches being cleared, haymakers, blood, and really soft suspensions.  I actually watched the end of the game live and the first thing I thought about was how bad this looks for young, black athletes.  I never think about these things especially in collegiate basketball.  For some reason, probably more schools, basketball diversity is much greater in college than in the NBA.  To essentially see a group of young, black athletes with tattoos begin fighting just looks bad.  It brings out stereotyping, bigotry, and all sorts of racism that is under the surface of sports culture and society at large.  Myron Medcalf wrote a basketball commentary on this point featuring this point “I figured some ignorant folks would push the “that’s what young black men do” stereotypes. And I worried about words like “thugs” and “gangs” that the same sort of people threw out on the Internet after the brawl.”

What makes the entire situation worse was the Xavier player press conference after the incident.  Tu Holloway specified that Xavier has “a whole bunch of ganstas in the locker room, not thugs…”  To be fair, I would not want to be beat up by Yancy Gates either but the language of distance between where people are from, ganstas, and zippin people up does not help fight the worries of Mecalf.

On Major League Baseball…

After being blown off the map by basketball trades and football talk in general, baseball is back and its not good.  2011 National League MVP Ryan Braun tested positive for a banned substance, perhaps performance enhancing drugs, at the end of last season.  Braun will appeal but if this holds he will be suspended for the first 50 games of the 2012 season.  Anyway you spin it, this is not good.  It is why the NBA and NFL do not want extensive drug testing because stigma is damning beyond reality.  If there is anything that can be lauded it is that the testing policy seems to work but cheating is cheating and the only meaningful headlines that stick seem to be bad for baseball.

On The Axe Dropping in the NFL…

No Tebow in this section so be happy.  Tony Sparano fired today after losing to the somewhat full strength Eagles.  I do not like this firing because the players played hard and the team is talentless.  My bigger issue is with the firing of difficult to love Todd Haley of Kansas City Chiefs fame.  Haley, suffice it to say, is a Type A personality but the players there like his grit and toughness.  Players that did not like it left.

Haley struggled in his first year but won the AFC West in his second year (with a healthy team) and has overachieved this year without his pro-bowl quarterback, number one running back, best tight end, and best defensive back.  Those major pieces missing would have most teams struggling.  The Bears have not won without their running back and quarterback because those players are important.  Chiefs CEO Clark Hunter said “”Although there have been bright spots at different points this season, we have not made meaningful progress and we felt that it was necessary to make a change.” (Courtesy of NFL.com)  You know when you don’t have key players it is hard to make progress.  All this represents suits not getting their way and wanting yes men – Haley and GM Pioli at best had a rocky relationship – putting on the field production second to business relations.  It’s why Norv Turner is still employed and Haley is not.

It should be noted that Turner and many others will probably be unemployed after the season.  Possibly eight jobs will be up for grabs and that is the NFL…win now, kiss butt, or get out.




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