Archive for November, 2013


As I look to kick start my blog again, I ‘m reminded about my audience out West – it’s 7am on the West Coast  (10 am EST when I started writing this piece), friends who would often drop me a line be it from Seattle, Portland,  though most in Los Angeles especially when I talk USC Trojan football. So they may not know what transpired last night as oppose to the folks in the Midwest and the East Coast do and what they’re all fired up about.  If you did not hear about what happened at the end of last night’s Monday Night Football game, Carolina beat New England on the last play of the game, virtually the last play. Brady goes back to throw it into the endzone and you see Gronk involved in a bear hug with a Carolina player and there is a penalty flag thrown and then the ref picks it up and says “ahh, no pass interference”.

Was it pass interference? We’ll yeah, it was pass interference. In fact two minutes earlier, Greg Olson of the Carolina Panthers – really good tight end, Cam Newton throws the ball about 6 feet over his head. That really wasn’t catchable either but they ruled it pass interference. The rule has always been that not necessarily does it have to be catchable but rather, is it in the vicinity of the receiving player? We’ve seen through the year’s balls sail over receivers’ heads by goal post heights and they still get the flag, last night you didn’t get the flag. Here’s the call from the guys at ESPN ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn615_qWjdk) was it a bad call? Absolutely!

Listen, I got a couple of hardcore football guys emailing me today saying “listen, I ref’ed in high school, I ref’ed in Peewee, I ref’ed in college…I’d like to deconstruct the play for you so you can rant about it today…” Guys, it was a pass interference! Just like the pass interference two minutes earlier against Devin McCourty on Greg Olson, that ball sailed over his head by 6 feet! It shouldn’t have been pass interference but it was called pass interference. But here is the thing, I didn’t like the call but don’t blame the last play of the game on your loss. New England fumbled in the red zone, therefore giving away a minimum of three points and probably seven!

We love to blame defeat on last plays. People blame the IRS or the CRA for not getting a big refund. “Man I hate the IRS” really? Why not save more instead! Manage your money better, cut back on your 15th man toy you bought this year, take more out of your cheque! Stop blaming the IRS or CRA for what happens at the end of the year, it’s your finances…control them! I tell the high school students I mentor “don’t blame the teacher for the B- because you had 8 weeks to make it an A+” be accountable for your position in life.

For the record, sitting around for 6 days doesn’t help you beat Denver so stop whining about it and go prepare for Peyton Manning! But we love to blame losses – financial losses, business losses, life, personal, sports… on a moment! But it’s not a moment because New England had all sorts of chances. Cam Newton, 2 of his 3 touchdown passes, were on 3rd downs. Cam Newton ran 4 times – 3 of them on scrambles also on 3rd downs and he picked up 1st downs. New England fumbled in the red zone and also couldn’t stop Cam Newton on 3rd down!  Carolina was 8 for 11 on 3rd downs, that New England is a “you” problem. Make more plays!!

Again, I didn’t like the call but even Tom Brady admitted after the game “what? you’re just going to point at the bear hug in the end zone and that’s the entire game?” He said “I don’t make the calls or the rules! Like I said, I didn’t see it, I wish it hadn’t come down to that but I think there’s plenty of plays that we could’ve made but it came down to that and sometimes they’re going to make the calls and sometimes they’re not but we certainly can play better than that!” New England had 2 turnovers…. Carolina? Had none! You’re telling me that that didn’t play a part in the fumble in the red zone? But I’m guilty too, if we don’t get a job or don’t get a job promotion or we don’t get a gig or if we lost a game, we blame the moment and not the preparation; we blame the moment and not the preamble. We still have mirrors in society folks, we just don’t like to use them anymore….look in them!

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So something happened last night –it’s bigger than just the moment and I’m referring to the Clippers/Thunder game last night. There was a fight between Matt Barnes and Serge Ibaka, they’ve got a history together with Matt Barnes sort of being a tough guy though not a great player. Serge Ibaka is probably the elite shot blocker in the NBA right now, here’s the play by play (http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=400488995 ) By the way, avid NBA fans know that this happens half a dozen times throughout the NBA season. The story that made bigger news afterwards was Matt Barnes tweeting the N-word! Riley Cooper, Richie Incognito and now Matt Barnes; he tweeted “I love my teammates like family, but I’m DONE standing up for these n—as! All this s— does is cost me money. …” the tweet was later deleted.

Here’s what Clippers coach Doc Rivers had to say, reacting to that tweet “I think he was very emotional by the fact that he been thrown out of the game, so I get that part. The choice of words obviously…that’s a word I’m not a fan off in all venues” For the record, Matt Barnes has a history of racial tension, his life was threaten in high school by skinheads, so he’s had a racial chip on his shoulder. So I’m not here to attack Matt Barnes, he’s lived a different life than I have. Riley Cooper, Richie Incognito, Matt Barnes, the most disgusting and vile word in our vernacular and lexicon is back folks! Of course, it’s back in an adjusted form. You know, if you just put an “a” on the end of slurs it’s not as slurry! Hmm, okay so that’s the new rule. Just put an “a” at the end of vile words and it’s no longer a slur! But you know what? Major corporations and hip hop stars, if you start selling the word to the masses, don’t be shocked if people start using the word more regularly.  Black hip hop stars sell the word to the free market, guess what? Non-African Americans buy the CD’s, they love the songs, they’re catchy, they’re formidable, and think its okay to start using the word now.

So the N-word is center stage again in the world of sports! Oh but it was off the market for a while – understandably and appropriately so. But major corporations, the media – whom lean left as I do, are outraged by the word “Redskin” but when it comes to the N-word “hey, it’s less slurry now” terrific! Jay Z uses it eight times in his song Holy Grail that he only co-sings with Justin Timberlake. If you sell a word to the masses, you better know that not only those who think they have a right to use it will use it! It’s funny; we pick and choose don’t we? Gronkowski says something… we’re cool with it, but that another guy says something…we’re not cool with it. “Redskin?” outrageous!!  The N-word? “Well, I mean they’re artists…you know, they are adding an “a” at the end, it’s not the intent but rather…” So the new rule is: just add an “a” to slurs so I guess if I say “Redskins(a)” we’re okay with it right? My opinions on slurs are: once a slur, it’s off the market and that goes for everybody because it’s outright demeaning. But I guess I’m clearly in the minority on this one. Riley Cooper, Matt Barnes, Richie Incognito…people now defend the word! Once outraged, people now defend it. “Hey, it’s just like saying dude!” Oh okay, alright then…so I guess now the next move for me is to just not be outraged by it right? Or it depends  on who says it or if I use an “a” at the end….I guess I just have to keep up with the new stuff on slurs, it’s part of our lexicon again so I just have to keep up with slurs because you obviously want to know what you can say and can’t say…awesome!

Onto a story that I read this week, so the largest youth program in the U.S, Pop Warner, saw participation rates drop by 9.5% over the last three years “A sign that the concussion crisis that began in the NFL is now having a dramatic impact” According to data provided to ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” Pop Warner lost about 24,000 players, the largest two year decline ever. The downward trend in youth football coincides with a series of reports released from prestigious academic institutions and medical journals about football and brain damage. Colin Cowherd, host of the “The Herd” on ESPN radio recently came out with his book “You Herd Me!: I’ll Say It If Nobody Else Will” it’s a great book, almost done reading it. He dedicates an entire column and argues brilliantly on why soccer, over the next 10 years, is here to stay in North America. The reason is simple, baseball has lost the urban/city kid and football is now losing the suburban kid. When Green Bay Packers TE Jermichael Finley, a couple of weeks ago, was taken off the field on a stretcher on national TV – delayed the game for twelve minutes. Mom’s across the U.S and Canada saw that, looked at their sons and said to themselves “Nope…Done!” Why do TV ads target moms? 85% of household income decisions, according to a recent study, 85% of the time mom’s make the decision. When it comes to kids’ decisions? They make about 99% of them!

Notice recently how Rob Lowe and Dr. Oz, very popular TV personalities among woman, are now doing “I love football” commercials? You notice how the NFL now has a new line with Victoria Secret targeting young woman…why? They will become future mom’s! 98% of guys think they make the decisions when in fact 98% of women actually do. Every time I see a football player taken off the field on a stretcher, you know what I think? I think Roger Goodell – commissioner of the NFL, is sitting there watching and if he hasn’t made the call, he’s certainly thought about it “call the networks, tell them to go to a commercial, a producer piece, back to Joe Buck and Troy Aikman in the booth, show something else” Every time there are one of these moments, where Jermichael Finely is taken off the field, and for those of you who saw it, you were certainly thinking the exact same thing I was thinking…you know you were, you were sitting there thinking “man, this is a bad look for the NFL”

The NFL has shown and used leverage on the networks “Hey, don’t show idiots who run onto the field” next time you see a stretcher and a player hurt, I want you all to pay attention to what that network shows, and the NFL is now on every network. Don’t be surprised if you see increased production packages, they go back to the booth, they go to crowd shots…don’t’ be surprised! If the NFL hasn’t made that call, they’re certainly thinking about it. But when you have Jermichael Finley sitting there for twelve minutes, you were thinking the exact same thing I was “that is a bad look for the league” now Pop Warner stats are out! Next time you see a major injury, watch carefully on what is shown, don’t be surprised if there’s production packages “let’s go to another commercial” or “let’s go up to the guys at the booth” or “crowd shots” it’s all coming slowly but surely!