December 13, 2012
Rob Parker Does It Again

I don’t usually watch “ESPN First Take.” However, I’ve never had a real problem with what they do every morning. Sure, Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith spend 2 hours every day making stupid points about sports stories that don’t carry a lot of weight. I don’t watch it, therefore, I have never really cared about what those two do to make a dollar.

However, the wonderful Rob Parker said something that I just simply could not avoid getting angry about (surprise surprise).

First, a little reminder of who we’re dealing with here:

This is the guy who once called Hank Aaron a coward for attending the game in which Barry Bonds broke his home run record.

This is the guy who reported (falsely) that then Michigan State Quarterback Kirk Cousins was in a fight with some hockey players while at church with his parents. He was suspended for that.

This is the guy who questioned then Lions Head Coach Rob Marinelli about Lions Defensive Coordinator, Joe Barry, Marinelli’s son-in-law, inquiring weather Marinelli wished his daughter had, “married a better defensive coordinator.”

So, while I’m floored by the comments that came out of this man’s mouth, I can’t necessarily say I’m surprised.

RGIII is currently dealing with a pretty significant knee injury as his team needs to win the rest of their games to have a chance at the playoffs. He’s also in a dead tie, or so people say, with Andrew Luck when it comes to winning the Rookie of the Year Award.

In a smart person’s head, there is more than enough to talk about, regarding RGIII, that doesn’t involve pointless, erroneous, controversial comments that have nothing to do with the football season that is in its most exciting chapter.

Anyways, to what Parker actually said.

He questioned whether RGIII was a “brother” or a “cornball brother” because 1. He has a white fiancée and 2. He could be a republican. He then went on to say that RGIII’s braids certainly contribute to his “blackness authenticity.” He said that when trying to decide if RGIII was black or not.

To be perfectly honest, I would’ve been fine listening to Parker, Skip and Stephen A. scream at each other about how much RGIII’s knee injury is going to affect Washington’s playoff chances. Does RGIII have the tools at WR, HB and OL to score enough points to push his team past their upcoming opponents. Hell, I would’ve rather listened to a RGIII-Andrew Luck Rookie of the Year debate.

Look, I thought it was 2012. RGIII can do whatever the hell he wants off the field. If he’s in love with a white woman, why wouldn’t he marry her? If he thinks Mitt Romney would be the best leader for the United States, why wouldn’t he vote for him? That is stuff that doesn’t need to be discussed on a sports show. Those topics have nothing to do with what RGIII does on the field.

I mean come on, even Stephen A. Smith voiced the fact that he was uncomfortable with what Parker was saying. That’s when you know.

I continue to be one of the few who truly enjoys what ESPN does on a daily basis, however, this isn’t the first outburst they’ve had from one of the their employees on national television and, sadly, I doubt it will be the last. However, I can’t really hate on ESPN for continuing to supply people like Parker with air time to say the things they do. ESPN’s job is to get people talking about what’s going on on their airwaves.

For better or for worse, I guess they accomplished their goal.

November 15, 2012
Trout v. Cabrera: A Debate That Shouldn’t Be

We’ve come to that time of the year.

Baseball is done until the spring, and we baseball fans are now left to fend for ourselves. Without actual baseball to watch, we have to find a way to keep ourselves immersed in the sport.

From the last out in Game 4 of the World Series until now, baseball fans near and far have been yelling at each other regarding who should win what postseason award.

And the debate has been the most intense for AL MVP.

First, some context.

Mike Trout’s Amazing Rookie Year

Mike Trout, 21, just finished up his first season as a major league baseball player, and what a season it was. He batted .326 with 30 home runs and 83 runs batted in.

Those numbers are stellar for anybody in the MLB. A rookie? C’mon.

Not to mention, the guy won AL Rookie of the Year (unanimously), the Silver Slugger Award, the Fielding Bible Award, and be joined the 30-30 Club. Trout led the American League in runs scored and stolen bases.

Again I say: those accomplishments would be stellar for anyone in the MLB. A rookie? C’mon.

The only scratch on his Trout’s rookie record is that his team didn’t make the postseason. Other than that, Trout had arguably the greatest rookie season ever.

The crazy thing though? He wasn’t the best player in the American League.

Miguel Cabrera’s More Valuable Triple Crown

Miguel Cabrera, 29, is as old school as they come. He lives his life on the baseball field, and when he’s not there, he’s drinking it up (or at least used to be). People forget that baseball used to be ruled with players of that sort.

Anyways, after reading through Trout’s accolades and statistics, thinking that there was someone who actually out-did him is crazy.

This season, his 9th in the majors, Cabrera batted .330 with 44 home runs and 139 runs batted in. He won the Silver Slugger Award, the Hank Aaron Award, and The Sporting News Player of the Year Award.

Oh, he also won a little something called the Triple Crown.

Personally, Cabrera’s stats being all around better than Trout’s is enough for me to hand him the MVP. Throw the Triple Crown in there, and Cabrera wins by a landslide.

I honestly cannot come up with a legitimate reason why people would think Mike Trout should beat out Miggy, other than they just want to argue with someone about something.

For those of you that may be hopelessly confused, look at it like this:

  • Cabrera performed better than Trout in every major category.
  • Cabrera led his team to the World Series, whereas Trout’s failed to make the playoffs.
  • Cabrera is arguably the best player in the league, whereas Trout isn’t even the best player on his team.
  • Cabrera is a veteran, meaning he’s proven himself as one of the league’s elite. Trout just finished up his rookie season. What if he drops off?

Going back to the Triple Crown, how can you even debate that someone could win that and not be given the MVP Award?

The Triple Crown has been achieved 13 times. Ever.

Eleven of those winners are currently hanging out with each other in Cooperstown. You’re going to tell me a potential Hall of Famer should lose this AL MVP to a rookie?

People could talk about how difficult it is to achieve the Triple Crown all day forever, and I’m still not sure anyone would fully understand how hard it is to do.

Performing better than anyone else, in three different aspects of the game, for the entirety of a 162-game season? There’s a reason it’s only been done 13 times.

You want to vote for a rookie over someone who did that? Please.

November 9, 2012
Chuck Pagano, The Surprising Indianapolis Colts, and a Different Kind of Motivation

After a 23-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins this past Sunday in Indianapolis, Chuck Pagano stood before his team and delivered a message that moved everyone.

His trademark goatee is gone, he is hanging on to his last strands of hair, and he is noticeably thinner. However, the passion, the drive, and the love that he has for his life have not been touched by his illness.

We saw that on Sunday.

The Indianapolis Colts have a new quarterback, a new head coach, a new running back, several new wide receivers, and a defense that is still trying to find its identity.

Teams like that aren’t supposed to do anything.

They’re not supposed to be anything other than last place in their respective divisions.

They’re not supposed to be discussed on local news stations let alone on national television.

They’re not supposed to do anything other than anger and displease their fan base.

To that, this team answers, “Says who?”

This team of doesn’ts and don’ts is currently sitting at 5-3 and is hanging onto a wild card spot in the AFC. Oh, I forgot to mention, their head coach is fighting Leukemia as well.

It would be easy to say, look, it’s okay. The team is already rebuilding. Just concentrate on helping Coach Pagano get better and putting this team in the best position for the future.

So you’ll lose this season, but this squad is poised for 15 years of success. It is fine.

That doesn’t work if you’re Coach Chuck Pagano.

How do you survive insurmountable circumstance? You refuse to live by those circumstances. You “live in a vision.”

For Coach Pagano, this is a matter of life and death. That’s how serious cancer is, and we all know that. However, as he said in his address to his team this past Sunday, “It’s already beat.”

Death just isn’t happening. It can’t. He’s supposed to dance with his daughters at their weddings, and he’s supposed to hoist multiple Lombardi Trophies. Sorry, Grim, we’ve got other things on the agenda. It, truly, is as simple as that.

Circumstance? This team should be 6-10 with Pagano. Without Pagano? Let’s go ahead and slide them down to around 4-12.

Vision? They have too much potential, and too much to play for to not make a run at a championship. Yes, I said a championship. This whole rebuilding stage? It’s already beat. The team is winning.

And what does this whole situation say about the city of Indianapolis?

For Colts fans, Coach Pagano is still an incredibly new face. A good number of Colts fans are still getting over Peyton Manning and Jim Caldwell. Hell, some are still getting over Tony Dungy.

These fans don’t know Coach Pagano personally. These fans don’t even know Coach Pagano at the level a fan usually knows the coach of the team they love.

Yet, there has been nothing but love and well wishes for the man taking over the new-look Colts. There has been nothing but love for Bruce Arians, the man who has had Coach’s back as he’s recovering from this disease and a man Colts fan know even less than Coach Pagano.

After a 2-14 season, this is exactly what the team and the city needed to regain its balance.

Indianapolis’ sense of unity was gone, and Colts fans were abandoned wondering what happened to ’06 and ’09. Moves were made, personnel were replaced, and we drafted a 22-year old athlete. Colts fans still felt as though this wasn’t the Colts team they grew to love over the last twenty or so years.

Finally, something happened.

Pagano showed the love he has for football, the love he has for his new team, and the love he has for his new city.

While at first this seemed like an emotional speech to motivate his team to continue winning games, it was so much more. This is the unity this city has been waiting for. This is the click that this team has been yearning for. This is the acceptance of Indy’s new football coach.

He has a vision of coaching the Colts for many years to come, and the city is 100% behind him.

Pagano’s message, though it had sports as the focus, transcends just that.

When you want something desperately enough, there is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t have it. Drive outweighs circumstance 100% of the time.

Both Coach Pagano and the Indianapolis Colts were crippled at one point or another. The “crippled” Colts are two games above .500, and show no signs of slowing down.

Coach Pagano? It has been announced that his Leukemia is in remission.

Living in the vision.

October 3, 2012
Week 5 NFL Power Rankings

The real referees restored order to what was a pretty insane start to the NFL season. Sure, there were some missed calls, but that’s the way it’s supposed to be. A lot of teams affirmed thoughts we had about them, while others jumped out of the wood work and surprised everyone. Here are my week 5 NFL power rankings.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-4) — They’ve lost nine straight road games. Things don’t get any easier, either, as they take on the Giants at The Meadowlands this coming week.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) -down 3- The Bengals were down 4 CB’s, and the Jacksonville receivers still could not get open. That taught us a lot about how much work the Jaguars need to do.

30. New Orleans Saints (0-4) -up 1- In their 0-4 start, the Saints are giving up 463 yards and 33 points per game. Yikes.

29. Indianapolis Colts (1-2) — All thoughts and prayers are with Coach Pagano, as he begins treatment for Leukemia.

28. Kansas City Chiefs (1-3) -down 3- What’s going on with Matt Cassel? Brady Quinn is starting to become relevant, if you know what I mean.

27. Oakland Raiders (1-3) -down 3- There isn’t a better time for their bye week. Time for this team to reform and regroup.

26. Tennessee Titans (1-3) -down 3- If CJ2K can perform like he did this past week, there’s hope for this struggling AFC South team.

25. New York Jets (2-2) -down 6- The loss of Revis crippled the defense. Now, the loss of Santonio will cripple the offense. That coupled with the Tebow nonsense brings nothing but trouble.

24. Miami Dolphins (1-3) -up 6- Sure, they lost. However, Tannehill’s performance was other-worldly, and Hartline’s performance was even better. Hopefully, a glimpse into the future of this team.

23. Carolina Panthers (1-3) -up 3- Cam Newton needs weapons. It’s that simple. This team is being outscored 70-31 in the first and fourth quarters. However, they showed promise coming one defensive collapse from beating Atlanta.

22. Buffalo Bills (2-2) -down 5- This team has given up 100 points in its first two AFC East games. That’s not good.

21. St. Louis Rams (2-2) -up 5- From 2007-2011, they’ve gone 4-26 in NFC West match-ups. They’re 1-0 so far this season.

20. Detroit Lions (1-3) -down 2- Last year, penalties were their downfall. This year, it’s special teams. It’s always something.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3) -up 3- It’s been a rough start. However, in their next two weeks, they have the Chiefs and the Saints at home. They could easily be at 3-3 very soon.

18. Dallas Cowboys (2-2) -down 5- Last week, I said Tony Romo’s bad game was a fluke. 5 interceptions later…

17. Seattle Seahawks (2-2) -down 5- Their passing game is dismal, but their defense has done a stand-up job of winning this team a game. Remember, they should be 1-3.

16. Washington Redskins (2-2) -up 4- After last weeks game winning drive, there’s no doubt RGIII is the real deal. Time for the defense to become the real deal, as well.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2) -up 1- Under Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh is 4-1 and has won 4 straight times coming off bye weeks. If there was ever a time they needed to win a fifth straight, it’s now.

14. San Diego Chargers (3-1) -down 5- Sure, this team looks good. They were 3-1 last year too, though.

13. New York Giants (2-2) -down 7- They’re relying too heavily on Eli to lead game winning drives. The Kenny Phillips injury doesn’t help, either.

12. Minnesota Vikings (3-1) -up 9- This is the biggest surprise of the year. Oh, and Christian Ponder is really coming into his own.

11. Denver Broncos (2-2) -up 4- There’s no question Peyton can still sling the rock. We’ll see how he does against Tom Brady.

10. Cincinnati Bengals (3-1) -up 4- They’re 3-1, and four of their next five games are at home. Things are looking good.

9. Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) -up 2- After some serious trouble in the first three games, Michael Vick didn’t turn the ball over against the Giants. Lesean McCoy looked like Lesean McCoy, as well. Always a good sign.

8. Chicago Bears (3-1) -up 2- Absolutely everything clicked for the Bears this past week. However, Cutler’s attitude issues are not something to be overlooked.

7. Green Bay Packers (2-2) -up 1- They should be 3-1, but they’re now having to dig themselves out of a whole. Aaron Rodgers looked fantastic on Sunday, but the defense had trouble with a dilapidated Saints offense.

6. New England Patriots (2-2) — Their game against the Broncos will tell us a lot. Oh, and who said Welker was being phased out? He’s on pace for another 100-reception season.

5. San Francisco 49ers (3-1) -down 2- They rushed for 245 yards this past week. However, it was against a porous Jets team.

4. Arizona Cardinals (4-0) -up 2- They’re 4-0, yes. However, they have yet to reach 300 yards in a game this season. Things are clicking, but there’s definitely room for improvement.

3. Baltimore Ravens (3-1) -up 1- They’ve had their struggles stopping the pass attack, giving up 300-yards in their last 3 games. However, they face the Chiefs next. Should be very good for them.

2. Atlanta Falcons (4-0) -down 1- After a close win against Carolina, they’re sitting pretty at the quarter pole. However, the NFC South is arguable the worst division in football.

1. Houston Texans (4-0) -up 1- This team has won every game so far by almost 20 points. Have they won the AFC South yet?

Biggest jump: Minnesota Vikings (9)

Biggest drop: New York Giants (7)

September 25, 2012
Week 4 NFL Power Rankings

This week in the NFL needs a welp face. I’m gonna be on the lookout for Bomani Jones or Jemele Hill to come up with one. It’s needed big time. Among the craziness surrounding these rent-a-refs, actual football was played! This week taught us a lot about these teams, among other things. Let’s do this:

32. Cleveland Browns (0-3) - They are 4-15 since Pat Shurmur took over. Yeesh.

31. New Orleans Saints (0-3) - They have to play Green Bay next. Helloooooo 0-4.

30. Miami Dolphins (1-2) - Their next two games are on the road. In their last 10 road games, they’re 2-8.

29. Indianapolis Colts (1-2) - Andrew Luck really is something else. Too bad we can’t say the same about the defense.

28. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2) - Let’s not get too excited about Maurice Jones-Drew. He ran well last week, but it was against Indy.

27. Saint Louis Rams (1-2) - It’s not really their fault they lose a lot. They play in arguably the toughest division in football.

26. Carolina Panthers (1-2) - Cam needs weapons. Simple as that.

25. Kansas City Chiefs (1-2) - If Matt Cassel can start playing like Jamaal Charles, watch out.

24. Oakland Raiders (1-2) - Dennis Allen gets his first win as a head coach. Their upcoming game against Denver will tell us a lot.

23. Tennessee Titans (1-2) - After Houston, they’re the best team in the AFC South. They’re two games back.

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2) - This team ranks last in 3rd down conversion rate, yards per game and yards per play.

21. Minnesota Vikings (2-1) - Christian Ponder had a freak game on Sunday. It won’t happen again.

20. Washington Redskins (1-2) - Is it possible? Could RGIII be mortal? This team ranks first in points for, but 4th to last in points against.

19. New York Jets (2-1) - Should they be higher? Yes. However, Revis being gone for the year is nothing short of detrimental.

18. Detriot Lions (1-2) - Too many penalties, and Calvin Johnson can’t do everything.

17. Buffalo Bills (2-1) - The team is resting in the hands of C.J. Spiller. That and how well Fred Jackson does coming back from injury.

16. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2) - The normally indestructible defense of this team has collapsed on the final drive two weeks in a row now.

15. Denver Broncos (1-2) - Peyton Manning can still throw. That’s a fact. Defense has got to step up. You can’t expect Peyton to bail you out of 20-point deficits every week.

14. Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) - Andy Dalton is terrific. Two weeks in a row now that this team has scored 30 points in a win.

13. Dallas Cowboys (2-1) - I’m giving Tony Romo the benefit of the doubt here. He had a bad week.

12. Seattle Seahawks (2-1) - *sigh*

11. Philadelphia Eagles (2-1) - Enough with the Michael Vick-hot seat talk. They’re not starting Nick Foles, people. However, Vick needs to quit turning the ball over.

10. Chicago Bears (2-1) - I thought Cutler-Marshall was going to be the top QB-WR tandem in football?

9. San Diego Chargers (2-1) - They’re coming off a tough home loss to a great Atlanta team. We’ll have to see how they deal with Kansas City.

8. Green Bay Packers (1-2) - *sigh*

7. New England Patriots (1-2) - For the first time in 145 games, this team is under .500.

6. Arizona Cardinals (3-0) - They’re 3-0 for the first time since 1974. I’m not completely sold yet, though.

5. New York Giants (2-1) - If they continue playing how they played against Carolina, we can start talking repeat.

4. Baltimore Ravens (2-1) - They’re riding a 12-game home win streak. Longest in the NFL currently.

3. San Francisco 49ers (2-1) - They lost to Christian Ponder? What? I call fluke.

2. Houston Texans (3-0) - With the way things are going, they could clinch the AFC South by week 6.

1. Atlanta Falcons (3-0) - Can we call them a legit contender yet? I say yes.

July 29, 2012
NBA Post-Draft Power Rankings

I did one of these after the NFL Draft, so I figured I should do the same for the NBA. Why not? Excluding Cleveland, everyone fell into the lottery where most people expected them to. That being said, there were a good number of high profile college athletes waiting to hear David Stern call their name.

Now that their names have been called, how will they contribute to their teams’ success? How much? How little? Let’s take a look:

#30 Charlotte Bobcats: No one should be surprised by this. The only player who could turn that franchise around is Anthony Davis, and, well, we all know what happened there.

#29 Sacramento Kings: With their stadium deal pending, who knows if they’ll even be in Sacramento much longer. They have Cousins as their cornerstone, and good young talent. However, no one’s proven anything.

#28 Golden State Warriors: At the end of this year, the Warriors reminded me of a summer league team. A slew of no name players and a bunch of injuries. Harrison Barnes will help them immensely.

#27 Washington Wizards: Poor Washington. They have a very ill-informed front office, apparently. That’s the only way to explain them picking Bradley Beal over Thomas Robinson.

#26 Brooklyn Nets: A huge part of this falls on how the Dwight Howard drama pans out. They have pieces, but they’re not put together.

#25 Cleveland Cavaliers: Dion who? This may be the phrase that haunts them for years to come. I was floored when they called his name.

#24 Toronto Raptors: Though they snagged many good players, they were in need of a big man. Someone who can defend night in and night out. Royce White isn’t that person.

#23 Detroit Pistons: The pieces are starting to come together. Marshall, Prince, Stuckey, Drummond. I was hoping for Sullinger or Melo, though. However, Drummond is not a disappointment.

#22 Milwaukee Bucks: The acquisition of Monta Ellis was HUGE. Once he and Brandon Jennings being to jail, they will be extremely dangerous.

#21 Portland Trail Blazers: They selected Damian Lillard, as expected. They always seem to address their needs, but it never seems to do anything. We’ll just have to wait and see, I guess.

#20 Houston Rockets: Scola isn’t cutting it. They need a big man. The pieces are coming together, but they need the most important one. That should be priority #1.

#19 Minnesota Timberwolves: If Love continues playing like a superstar, and Rubio comes back heathly…man. I could easily see this team going deep into the playoffs. However, they haven’t done anything yet, so they’re 19th.

#18 Orlando Magic: Dwight. Do I really need to say anything else? They need to figure that out. Soon.

#17 Phoenix Suns: It’s bye bye Steve Nash, hello rebuilding period. It was very classy of Phoenix to part with Nash, and in the long run, it will prove to be the right move.

#16 New Orleans Hornets: Easily the winners of the Draft. If they can find a way to keep Gordon, this is also a team I could see going deep into the playoffs. Very excited to see what these guys do.

#15 Utah Jazz: They’re first pick was the 47th. But hey, at least they picked a player whose name we could pronounce.

#14 New York Knicks: They should be glad they already have a few big names, because the draft did nothing for them. Also, with Lin gone, they can concentrate.

#13 Dallas Mavericks: They’re getting old. They needed to keep Zeller. They do continue to win, though.

#12 Philadelphia 76ers: They impressed us in the playoffs. They’re young, restless and ready to start kicking ass and taking names.

#11 Atlanta Hawks: They have all the talent they need to succeed in the playoffs, yet, they never do. Maybe, with Lebron winning a ring, we need to start picking on them.

#10 Denver Nuggets: Ty Lawson was extremely impressive in the playoffs. With the big man issue addressed, they’re poised to strike.

#9 Memphis Grizzlies: They lost Mayo. That is a lot bigger than people are making it. However, they still have Gasol, Randolph and Co..

#8 Los Angeles Lakers: A lot of this depends on the Howard situation, as well. However, with Nash, they’re in championship contention. Not that they weren’t before.

#7 Los Angeles Clippers: They’re every bit as good as their sister team. They’re a lot younger, as well.

#6 Boston Celtics: A lot of this depends on what they continue to do in the offseason. However, you cannot ignore Sullinger/Melo. Great young talent for a team getting old.

#5 Indiana Pacers: They’re getting close. They are the one of the best collective teams in the NBA. It’s all about execution, at this point.

#4 Chicago Bulls: This is 100% dependent on Derrick Rose being healthy, obviously. Expectation are high, and this team has the assets needed to execute fully.

#3 Oklahoma City Thunder: I really though this team was going to go all the way. They will, soon. Many times.

#2 San Antonio Spurs: This team seems to get better with age. I can’t explain it, so I just sit back and enjoy. They also have the best coach in basketball.

#1 Miami Heat: Do I really need to explain this one?

So, there you have it. A short look into what we can expect come October. A full-season, finally.

July 23, 2012
What Goes Around Comes Around

I started my last piece the same way as I’m about to start this one. It was necessary then, and I think it is even more necessary now.

This scandal should be all about the children. I use the word “should” because it hasn’t been. It’s been all about wondering what the NCAA is going to do, and it’s been all about wondering how Penn State is going to respond. While that information in important, it shouldn’t be the priority.

Okay, so, the sanctions:

While many people, including myself, were expecting the death penalty, that’s not what we got.

The NCAA dealt Penn State a $60M sanction, a four year football postseason ban and a vacation of all wins dating back to 1998. Penn State must reduce 10 initial and 20 total scholarships each year over the next four years, as well.

The sanctions were brought to the public Monday morning by NCAA President, Mark Emmert, at the NCAA Headquarters in Indianapolis.

Alright, my reaction:

Let’s start with the $60M sanction. The positive part to take from this particular sanction, is the fact that every cent of that $60M is going to various organizations that help prevent child abuse. Many people think that this sanction was unnecessary, however, it doesn’t matter whether it is or isn’t. The most important part of this is the fact that organizations are gaining large funds to continue their prevention of child abuse and neglect.

As far as Penn State and the NCAA are concerned, the NCAA should’ve hit ‘em harder monetarily.

Just think about it. Penn State is a 4-time national champion, and they have been a regular in the top 25 since Joe Paterno took over. They make well over $100M annually from their football program alone.

They were also given, by the NCAA, a 5-year payment plan for that $60M sanction. Do you really think that’s going to make a dent? Uhhhh, no. While we should be happy with where the money is going, there is no amount of money that can possibly come close to sufficing for the crimes committed. It would be much better if this sanction was tripled, or quadrupled, or quintuple. You get the point.

Moving on, the four year postseason ban.

This ban includes any bowl games as well as the Big Ten Championship. The only area this is hurting Penn State is their wallets. And as we’ve already discussed, Penn State’s wallet is rather large.

How much was USC hurt by their two year postseason ban? Many are picking them to win the National Championship this year.

Many people say that this sanction was uncalled for, seeing as it directly affects the Penn State players who had nothing to do with this scandal. However, the NCAA saw this and fixed it. Yes, they 100% fixed it.

Usually, if a football player wants to transfer schools, they must sit out the year following their transfer. However, the NCAA has made the option of transferring available to players without them having to sit out a year. So, Nittany Lions, if you want postseason minutes, get up and get out.

Third, we’ve got the scholarships.

Again, this is something that won’t really hurt Penn State. They still have over 60 scholarships to work with, which is a fair amount. The only way this could possibly hurt someone, is those athletes who were being looked at by Penn State for a potential scholarship. However, if an athlete is being looked at seriously by Penn State, it’s doubtful that they only have one offer. They can and will sign elsewhere. Virtually no harm done.

Lastly, the vacation of wins.

Hearing that Penn State is being vacated of all wins from 1998-2011 is jaw-dropping. That’s 112 wins that are being taken away from Penn State. This moves Joe Paterno from first on the college football wins list, to twelfth.

People must refrain from looking at this with tunnel-vision.

This doesn’t only affect Joe Paterno. It affects any player who played for Paterno from 1998-2011. That’s a lot of people.

This sanction also served a different purpose than the others.

The other sanctions were put forth as punishment for the actions of the Penn State Football Program as well as the administration of Penn State University.

This particular sanction was put forth as a warning to other universities. If you are caught doing something of this magnitude, you will be punished. Hard. Also, the NCAA needed to do something to punish Paterno directly.

Sure, Graham Spanier was the president of the university, but he was no where near the most powerful. That position belonged to beloved football coach, Joe Paterno. With him being the most powerful, he is the one who is deserving of a direct punishment.

How do you punish a dead football coach? Take away what he spent his life working towards. That seems harsh, but for someone who covered up the things he covered up, it is just.

We all thought we were going to see the NCAA kill Penn State Football today. Instead, we saw the NCAA cut off its arms and legs. Which is worse? It doesn’t matter, and it shouldn’t.

How is Penn State Football going to react to all of this? Who cares.That’s not a question we should be asking. How do the victims feel about all of this? They’re in their 20’s and 30’s now, believe it or not. Trust that they have their opinions on this. It is those opinions, that should matter most.

July 16, 2012
Legacies v. Morals: Penn State University

Let’s begin with something we can all agree on. What Jerry Sandusky did to those children was sick. It was disgusting. It was wrong. It was something that words can not accurately describe or demean.

Sports should never take precedent over the lives of innocent people. Ever. Sports may be something we are all passionate about, but at the end of the day, we must remember that it is just a game. When it comes to the life of an innocent person, the rest doesn’t matter.

While we debate what should happen with the statue and what the NCAA should do in light of the Freeh Report, let us please remember that this is all about the victims. Our thoughts and our prayers need to be with them and their families as they recover from this horrible tragedy.

Okay, I’m gonna begin with the statue.

There are two Joe Paterno’s to think about here. There’s the Joe Paterno who coached the Penn State Nittany Lions for 61 years, raised millions of dollars for the school and turned it into an academic/athletic powerhouse. Then, there’s the Joe Paterno who let a pedophile victimize of group of young boys multiple times over 15 years.

The Board of Trustees can leave the statue up. However, they must be ready to deal with the vandalism that may or may not be committed. They must be ready to deal with the boo’s that may or may not chorus the stadium when the statue is shown on the big screen. They must be ready to think of this scandal every time they walk past that statue.

The Board of Trustees can take the statue down. The only people I see getting upset over that, is the Paterno Family, who, at this point doesn’t really have any room to say or do anything.

What do I think? Joe Paterno did a lot of wonderful things with his time at Penn State. Reference the above paragraphs for just a few of the many good deeds he performed in State College. Did he deserve that statue? Sure. However, people get things they once deserved taken away from them if they do something wrong.

Sure, Joe Paterno brought in millions of dollars to the school. However, if that scandal had come to light in ‘98, when it should have come to light, those millions of dollars would not have been given to Penn State, and those players that were so positively influenced by Paterno would’ve played elsewhere. There is no doubt in my mind.

Ultimately, it needs to come down. I know what I’m going to think every time I see that statue. I’ll first think, “this man condoned rape.” Then, maybe I’ll think about the 1,000+ games he won. Maybe. Probably not. If Penn State leaves that statue up, they are saying that all of the good he did outweighs the livelihood of his victims. They are saying the game of football is more important than the livelihood of children. I doubt that’s a message they want to send out to the world.

Now, for the punishment.

When we are wronged, we, as people, want something done to the people who wronged us. It’s simply human nature.

There are a few ways to look at this.

The men directly involved with this crime are gone. Sandusky is in prison, Paterno is dead and Spanier and his cronies are out of Penn State. You could say that this is good enough. The men who committed the crime are gone.

However, I’m not looking at it like this.

For his entire career, Joe Paterno WAS Penn State. He WAS State College, Pennsylvania. He was God. However, if the NCAA doesn’t punish the Penn State Football Program, they are saying that what Paterno did was okay. You can’t say Joe Paterno represents Penn State Football when he’s bringing in millions of dollars, but not when he’s condoning rape. It just doesn’t work like that. Once again, if the NCAA doesn’t act, they are saying football is more important that the livelihood of innocent children. Once again, I don’t think that’s a message the NCAA wants to send out to the world.

Not too long ago, USC was dealt a two-year bowl ban because Reggie Bush had his apartment paid for when he was attending. What happened to Reggie Bush in that time? He won a Super Bowl. What happened to Pete Carroll in that time? He received an NFL head coaching job. What happened to Matt Barkley? Lane Kiffin? They didn’t get to play in any bowl games for two years. Did they get their apartments paid for? No. Did they pay for Reggie Bush’s apartment? No.

The NCAA cannot let Penn State off the hook after giving USC that severe a punishment for a violation much less severe.

What to I think needs to happen? The Death Penalty. A 5-year ban. Something to insure that this NEVER happens again. Something that will show other schools what will happen if they get caught.

What about the Penn State players? Look, that’s life. Let’s reference USC again. Kiffin? He’s still getting paid. Barkley? He’s probably going to be the #1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. This is not going to damage anyone’s career. NFL Scouts are still going to watch those players play. They will be fine.

From here on out? Penn State needs to rebuild. They have been torn down completely. A new coaching staff, a new president, a new look. Just like child molestation will always loom over Michael Jackson and murder will always loom over Casey Anthony, Jerry Sandusky will always loom over Penn State University. The best thing Penn State can to is live and let live. Take the punishments for the crimes and move on.

July 6, 2012
Comparing Careers: Do Rings Matter?

I was scanning my Twitter Feed yesterday, and I saw a tweet from ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh, asking who has had the better career so far, Jason Kidd or Steve Nash. Of course, I responded saying, “Kidd. He’s got a ring. If he didn’t? Nash.”

Shortly after posting that reply, I received a flurry of responses stating that I was very wrong in my judgements, I didn’t know what I was talking about, etc..

However, I believe I know exactly what I’m talking about, and I believe this is a topic that people need to be educated on. Correctly educated on, I should add.

For years, experts and fans alike have engaged in numerous debates comparing the careers of athletes. Now, to be effective, every argument must have substance and facts to back it up. Apparently, people have different criterion for ranking the careers of athletes. This shouldn’t be so. There is only one way to rank the career of an athlete.

Rings.

Herm Edwards once said, “You play to win the game.” That’s why athletes play these games, right? That’s why they sacrifice their time and their health every time they step out there to play. For the chance at winning a championship.

Now, a counterargument that gets thrown out there a lot is the whole “individual achievement v. team achievement” debate. A ring isn’t won by an individual player, which for the most part, is true. However, there isn’t a known player out there who has won a ring without somehow contributing. Also, there are many teams who would not have a certain number of championships, if it wasn’t for one player.

Let’s take the Chicago Bulls, for example. If Jordan had never played in the NBA, Chicago would not have those 6 ‘ships. Maybe one 1 or 2, but not 6.

Rings are the only way to effectively evaluate someone’s career. Athletes themselves will tell you that, and all of the experts will tell you that as well.

Here are some examples:

P. Manning v. Brady; we’ve been having this debate for years now, and Brady always comes out on top. Why? Because he has more rings.

Lebron James; arguably the most skilled player ever. Will he ever be on the same plane as MJ? Not unless he wins 5 more.

Charles Barkley; one of the greatest power forwards to ever play. Do we ever hear that? No. Why? Ringless.

Patrick Ewing; arguably the greatest player to every play for the Knicks. Do we ever hear that? No. Why? Ringless.

Reggie Miller; arguably the greatest 3-pt shooter ever. Do we ever hear that? No. Why? Ringless.

Kobe Bryant; the player who has been most compared to MJ. However, if he wants to truly be better, he’s got 2 more rings to win.

We talk about the legacy of different players every day, and what is the most important criterion when having that discussing? The number of rings amassed. Would Phil Jackson arguably be the greatest coach of all-time without those eleven rings? Absolutely not. Not to mention he won 2 as a player, as well.

Lebron James was not going to be taken seriously until he won a ring. We, as sports experts and fans, cannot contradict ourselves like that. Sure, there are other ways to compare the careers of our favorite athletes. There are millions. But the most important is and always will be; rings.

June 29, 2012
2012 NBA Draft: Reaction and Analysis

Short and too the point, I really enjoyed watching the 2012 NBA Draft. I tried my best to accurately depict and predict how these picks will work out for the teams that picked ‘em. Truthfully, time is the only thing that will tell us which teams won and lost this draft.

That being said, here is may reaction and analysis to the 2012 NBA Draft Picks.

Round 1:

1. Hornets select Anthony Davis-PF, Kentucky.

Davis has the chance to be a superstar. He’s already being called a Kevin Garnett/Tim Duncan hybrid. A combination that could win him multiple Defensive Player of the Year Award’s. He is great offensively, as well. The Hornets needed a centerpiece to build a roster around, and they got one.

2. Bobcats select Michael Kidd-Gilchrist-SF, Kentucky.

You can’t go wrong picking a player like MKG. While he wasn’t the perfect fit for Charlotte, he will be the second best player to come out of this draft (Davis). He’s got a lot to work on, but he’s the hardest worker coming out of the draft as well. Again, can’t go wrong with MKG.

3. Wizards select Bradley Beal-SG, Florida.

I was ecstatic to see Washington to something significant in this draft. Since Arenas left, they’ve been longing for a shooter, and Bradley Beal has the ability to be one of the best shooters in the NBA. That pick alone will make the Wizards much more competitive next year.

4. Cavaliers select Dion Waiters-SG, Syracuse.

Dion who? What? Waiters? He didn’t start a single game last year for Syracuse, and he went 4th?! We can tank Phoenix for that one. He works out with them, and the Suns make him a promise of being picked. This propels Waiters skyward. He most assuredly isn’t the shooter the Cavs are craving, but he can be dominant driving to the basket.

5. Kings select Thomas Robinson - PF, Kansas.

Yes. Lots of it. This was a dream pick for the Kings. They need toughness, and you don’t get much tougher than a front court made up of Demarcus Cousins and Thomas Robinson. I cannot wait to see them play together.

6. Trail Blazers select Damian Lillard-PG, Weber State.

Good. Portland has needed a point guard, and Lillard has the ability to be very good in the NBA. He has things he needs to improve on, but he’s a hard worker. He’ll be a guy to look out for.

7. Warriors select Harrison Barnes-SF, North Carolina.

They wanted Waiter, but I think Barnes is the better pick. They need a 3-pt threat, and that’s everything Barnes is. Shooting from deep, they have Curry, Klay Thompson, and now Barnes. Opponents: y’all better be ready to play some defense.

8. Raptors select Terrence Ross-SG, Washington.

This pick confused me, to say the least. Toronto wanted a shooter to compliment DeRozan, and Ross is a good shooter. I just think they could’ve found someone better.

9. Pistons select Andre Drummond-C, Connecticut.

I love it. This pick is all about reward > risk. He is the absolute perfect fit for Detroit. The Pistons needed another rebounding shot blocker to compliment Monroe, and they got him. I just pray that he reaches his full potential. One of the most NBA ready.

10. Hornets select Austin Rivers-SG, Duke.

Another interesting pick. Monty Williams is great friends with Doc Rivers, and Austin Rivers is great friends with Anthony Davis. Austin Rivers has a lot of work to do, however Williams is a terrific coach, and will get the best from him. Now, we just have to see how this Eric Gordon situation pans out.

11. Trail Blazers select Meyers Leonard-C, Illinois.

The Blazers needed size. So, they snagged the biggest player in the draft. He’s a great athlete, but needs a ton of work. If the work gets done, he’ll be a good big man for a long time.

12. Rockets select Jeremy Lamb-SG, Connecticut.

The Rockets failed at getting into the Top 10, however they ended up with a Top 10 caliber guy. He’s a good athlete with a lot of great features, and at 12? A great pick.

13. Suns select Kendall Marshall-PG, North Carolina.

This pick had Steve Nash written all over it. Kendall Marshall is the best passer in the draft, and with Nash likely leaving, Phoenix had to be thinking replacement. He’s got many things to work on, but he’s an exception leader. If Nash leaves, no need to worry.

14. Bucks select John Henson-PF, North Carolina.

They needed a shot-blocker, and they got a great one. I’m not sure how he’s going to fit in on the roster, but regardless, he’s a special player with a lot of talent.

15. Sixers select Maurice Harkless-SF, Saint John’s.

Sigh. This pick had me so incredibly confused. I couldn’t stop asking, “why?”. He reminds a lot of people of Trevor Ariza. Philly needed a shooter, though.

16. Rockets select Royce White-SF, Iowa State.

White has a very valuable trait that only one other player in the NBA, LeBron James, has. He’s a power forward to can distribute the ball like a point guard. He has great hands and is extremely strong. A steal at 16.

17. Mavericks select Tyler Zeller-C, North Carolina.

He ended up in Cleveland, though, through a trade. Since Ilgauskas, Cleveland has needed size. The 7-footer runs the floor extremely well for his size, and that’ll work great with Cleveland’s up-tempo style of play.

18. Rockets select Terrance Jones-PF, Kentucky.

A very interesting pick, here. Jones does a little bit of everything, and has the size to do whatever he wants. It’ll be interesting to see how Houston uses him.

19. Magic select Andrew Nicholson-PF, St. Bonaventure.

A very underrated player. He’s a great shooter for his size, and can move well. However, he isn’t very good at anything else. A David West type player.

20. Nuggets select Evan Fournier-SG, France.

He put up great numbers in France this year. He’s got great potential, but needs to build some muscle. We’ll see.

21. Celtics select Jared Sullinger-PF, Ohio State.

Another case of reward > risk. An absolute 100% steal for the Celtics. Sullinger’s back cannot be overlooked, but if he stays healthy, watch out.

22. Celtics select Fab Melo-C, Syracuse.

Big. Block shots. Rebounds. However, he has a lot of maturity issues that need to be dealt with, however, there isn’t a man who could do that better than Doc Rivers. He’ll be a terrific defensive asset.

23. Hawks select John Jenkins-SG, Vanderbilt.

A fantastic shooter. However, he’s undersized and very often one-dimensional. The Hawks needed a shooter, though, and they got one.

24. Cavaliers (for Dallas) select Jared Cunningham-SG, Oregon State.

He reminds me a lot of Russell Westbrook. Lacks a jumps shot, so he drives to the basket and finishes at the rim. As long has he doesn’t consistently shoot horribly, a great player for Dallas.

25. Grizzlies select Tony Wroten Jr.-PG, Washington.

An extremely exciting player to watch. Much like Cunningham, he can get to the basket, but his jump shot needs some help. Risk > reward, in this case. We’ll see.

26. Pacers select Miles Plumlee-PF, Duke.

This was just a downright stupid pick by the Pacers. He’s strong and he can hop. Everything else? Practice, brotha. He reminds the Pacers of a young Jeff Foster. Yeah, we’ll see about that.

27. Heat select Arnett Moultrie-PF, Mississippi State.

He’ll go to the 76’ers for some future picks. Moultrie was a guy the Sixers had their eyes on initially. He does a little bit of everything, except shoot 3’s. He can drop off at times, but when he’s on, he’s on.

28. Thunder select Perry Jones-PF, Baylor.

A knee issue had him plummeting down the draft board. However, at 28, he’s a no-brainer and a great pick for the Thunder. He’s gonna be great in OKC.

29. Bulls select Marquis Teague-PG, Kentucky.

This is an interesting pick by Chicago. He’s worthy of being a starter in the NBA, but we all know that job belongs to Rose. However, with the injury woes Rose has been having, Teague is a very great and very important pick. Two Calipari bred point guards on the same team? I’m not complaining.

30. Warriors select Festus Ezeli-C, Vanderbilt.

Built like a tank. A great rebounder and defender. However, I would’ve gone with Draymond Green.

Round 2:

31. Bobcats select Jeff Taylor-SF, Vanderbilt.

An elite athlete and defender. However, he’s the exact same player as MKG. Not sure what the purpose of that was.

32. Wizards select Tomas Satoransky-SG, Czech Republic.

He’ll remain in Europe for a few years, I’m guessing. Once he improves his stroke, he’ll move to the NBA. He’s got a very high basketball IQ.

33. Cavs (for Dallas) select Bernard James-C, Florida State.

27-years old and he’s been to Iraq three times. I’m not sure how much potential he as, but he’s ready to play now. That’s a great attribute.

34. Cavs (for Dallas) select Jae Crowder-SF, Marquette.

He’s scrappy, plays hard, and is strong. I’m not sure how Dallas will use him, but he will be useful wherever he ends up.

35. Warriors select Draymond Green-SF, Michigan State.

I thought he was going to go in the middle of the first round. A steal for Golden State at this point in the draft. He’s big, strong, versatile and knows the game like the back of his hand. He’ll be in the league for a long time.

36. Magic (For Indiana) select Orlando Johnson-SG, UC Santa Barbara.

He’s a great shooter and that’s exactly what the Pacers need. He’s a four-year senior coming out of UCSB, and he’ll be able to help Indy right off the bat.

37. Raptors select Quincy Acy-SF, Baylor.

A great rebounder. At 37, he’s a steal for Toronto. He’s a tad undersized, but his toughness and energy make up for it. I always love watching this cat play.

38. Nuggets select Quincy Miller-SF, Baylor.

If he had been healthy, he would have gone much sooner. If he gets healthy, he will be one of the steals of the draft. He was one of the top high school players in the country last season. Due to his knee injury, his freshman year was one to forget. However, I believe he’ll thrive in the NBA.

39. Pistons select Khris Middleton-SF, Texas A&M.

At first, I hated this pick. Now that I have had time to think about it, though, I like it. As long has he stays healthy, that it.

40. Trail Blazers select Will Barton-SG, Memphis.

An elite high schooler. He is very up-and-go, and is a terrific midrange player. He’s a great shooter coming out of the second round and will be a positive in influence in Portland.

41. Trail Blazers (for Broolyn) select Tyshawn Taylor-PG, Kansas.

An extremely fast and agile point guard. If he can limit his bonehead mistakes, he’ll be a very effective player. This cat has a ton of potential.

42. Bucks select Doron Lamb-SG, Kentucky.

I thought Lamb was going to go a lot sooner. One of the best shooter in the draft, and will thrive at the next level. He’s an absolute steal at 42.

43. Hawks select Mike Scott-PF, Virginia.

A very consistent scorer, and a lot of teams thought he was gonna go in the first round. He’s very versatile and can be effective from anywhere on the floor. Great pick for Atlanta.

44. Pistons select Kim English-SG, Missouri.

Detroit traded away Ben Gordon, and needed a shooter to replace him. English was lights out from deep and efficient everywhere else. He’s a little small, but he’ll fit in great with the Pistons.

45. Sixers (for Miami) select Justin Hamilton-C, LSU.

Not a very notable college player, however he gained a following through workouts and draft camps. The Heat are always looking for big guys, and he’ll play in Europe for a while, until they need him in Miami.

46. Hornets select Darius Miller-SF, Kentucky.

A great mover, 3-pt shooter, and defender. He can be a great 6th man, and provides New Orleans with some much needed depth.

47. Jazz select Kevin Murphy-SF, Tennessee Tech.

One of the better shooter in the NCAA last season. He’s a nice sleeper pick for Utah, and he’ll compliment Gordon Hayward.

48. Knicks select Kostas Papanikolaou-SF, Greece.

Now, Knick fans may have hated this pick, but it’s a good one. He completely shut own Andrei Kirilenko in the Euroleague Finals. He’ll remain in Greece for a few years, but he could eventually be a good NBA player.

49. Magic select Kyle O’Quinn-C, Norfolk State.

O’Quinn made a name for himself beating Mizzou. He isn’t a very good athlete, but he’s long and competes hard. He will help Orlando in the paint.

50. Nuggets select Izzet Turkyilmaz-PF, Turkey.

A perimeter big man who can both shoot and attack the basket. He needs to bulk up and lacks experience. I think he’ll stay in Europe.

51. Celtics select Kris Joseph-SF, Syracuse.

He is extremely athletic. I don’t believe we’ve seen him play at his full potential. We’ll just have to wait and see.

52. Warriors select Ognjen Kuzmic-C, Bosnia.

He’s a harder worker, but needs to bulk-up. He’s going to need a lot of work, but he could prove to be an asset down the road.

53. Clippers select Furkan Aldemir-PF, Turkey.

One of the better rebounders in the draft. He not elite and is a bit undersized, but he’s got a lot of potential.

54. Sixers (for Brooklyn) select Tornike Shengelia-SF, Georgia.

One of the better international players in this draft. He’s long, athletic, and can really attack the basket well. If he can make something of his jump shot, it’ll be very interesting to see how good he gets.

55. Mavs (for L.A.L.) select Darius Johnson-Odom-SF, Marquette.

A tough and physical player. He’s short for his position, but can shoot and plays great defense. He’ll fit in well with the Lakers.

56. Raptors select Tomislav Zubcic-SF, Croatia.

He can shoot the 3 and move the ball very effectively. He needs to build some muscle and hasn’t really proved himself at a high level, yet. He’s got a lot of potential, though.

57. Nets select Ilkan Karaman-PF, Turkey.

Athletic and big. Attacks the board with some serious ferocity as well. He has a good jump shot and could be a good prospect down the road, if he works hard and improves.

58. Timberwolves select Robbie Hummel-SF, Purdue.

Hummel doesn’t have great potential, but he’s incredibly smart and can shoot lights out. The T’Wolves need as many shooters as possible, and Hummel is ready to play.

59. Spurs select Marcus Denmon-SG, Missouri.

He doesn’t have a distinct position, but he was very productive for Missouri. A very smart player, tough, and can shoot like crazy. He’ll be great in San Antonio.

60. Lakers select Robert Sacre-C, Gonzaga.

The only thing he has going for him is his size.

So, there you have it. A lot of great talent, potential talent, and some question marks. I really enjoyed the draft this year, and can’t wait to see these cats get on the floor for their first NBA minutes.

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