Posts Tagged ‘soccer’


So I didn’t watch a ton of the Olympics on television – though was in London for a week and saw a couple of events, including Michael Phelps inch out the gold medal from Ryan Lochte in the 200m individual medley, but other than that I saw the U.S vs. Spain in Men’s basketball finals on tv yesterday, I thought it was great! I’m mostly though into team sports, I’d say I have relationships emotionally with team sports because it’s what I know, though not really into team handball – it is pretty weird when you turn it on and you kind of stare at it, but I don’t have a lot of relationships with the athletes in those running events. Usain Bolt is the one guy I like to watch in the 100 and 200-meters, but when I watch Usain Bolt – you know, I know the whole game, I understand it, I’m not naïve.

You have to give credit to Dan Bernstein who writes for cbschicago.com, he’s also a popular talk show host in Chicago – and he really nails it with Usain Bolt in my opinion. This is what happens – and I was telling this to a friend on Friday – that Americans fall in love with their gymnasts as they become America’s sweetheart, but they’ve traditionally never loved their sprinters, they never loved Carl Lewis as they often looked at him from a distance. These sprinters are kind of freaks, they are divas and have never been afraid to tell the world that and I’ve always thought that “fastest man in the world” is kind of just like…okay, so? “Richest guy in the bar” cool or “best looking guy at the bar” yeah, okay “fastest guy at the bar” umm Usain, could you go sprint over there and get me a Molson Canadian. “Fastest guy in the world “is a freak show! When you think about it, at best, Usain is still only running 19mph – heck, I can get on a slow train and beat you by 80mph.

So the point is, I’m not really into sprinters, Usain Bolt has got a cartoon ego but Dan Bernstein writes this (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/08/12/bernstein-usain-bolt-is-probably-doping-and-you-know-it/) and he goes “For many of us, years of drug tainted performances have deaden the senses” Bernstein continues “[your either]intellectually dishonest or willfully ignorant [neither is good] if you’ve got convenient blind spots and emotional neediness which causes otherwise intelligent people to create fairylands of childish naiveté” it’s the province of suckers! Now listen to these quotes, Carl Lewis said “When people ask me about Bolt, I say, he could be the greatest athlete of all-time. But for somebody to run a 10.03 in one year and a 9.69 the next – if you don’t question that, in a sport that has the reputation that it has now, you’re a fool”

Writes Bernstein “Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, who just won the silver in the 100 and 200, tested positive for PED’s at the 2009 world championships. Teammates Julian Dunkley and Steve Mullings have also been caught doping”  “What are the odds?” asks Bernstein “that a tiny, island country suddenly dominates global competition…just because?” further writes Bernstein “Bolt reportedly has been working with Angel Hernandez [who used to] be called Angel Heredia, back when he was a chemist for BALCO” you know him? He was “source A, who supplied the documents that helped convict Marion Jones, C.J. Hunter, Justin Gatlin and Tim Montgomery. Gatlin just took the bronze in the 100, behind Bolt and Blake”  Furthermore, “Before the games in Beijing, Heredia told [A German newspaper] regarding the 100-meter final “the winner will not be clean” there is no doubt about it, the difference between 10.0 and 9.7 is in the drugs . By the way, Usain Bolt won those Olympics with a 9.69 time”

Even former World Anti-Doping Agency chief Dick Pound told Reuters yesterday “Victor Conte, and his assertion that over 60% of London competitors were using PED’s. The truth is, he’s more likely [Victor Conte] to know more than I do because it’s a lot more than what we’re catching, I’ll tell you that!” So when you look at Usain Bolt and the numbers coming down, everybody is outraged by it, I’m sure I’m going to get a lot of hate mail for this. But I’m sorry, as Bernstein so rightly points out, when you’ve got a tiny island country, where guys left and right are getting caught, they’re working with a former BALCO guy – by the way, Usain is not winning the 100 and 200-meters, he’s winning it by JOGGING at the end. I’m sorry, but I am suspicious! Sorry, I am! You’ve lost the right as an Olympic sprinter – cutting times dramatically – and these times have been cut dramatically over the last 4 years, you’ve lost the right of innocence.  I have a right to be suspicious and I have the right to read or write a column like Dan Bernstein did – it’s like a “finally somebody is willing to say it” moment! I sure as heck hope he’s clean, but you’re really a sucker when the anti-doping former head acknowledges “yeah, there’s a lot more guys cheating than what we are catching” The cheaters have always, in the Olympics, have always been ahead of the clean guys trying to catch them! There has never been an exception to that; the cheaters are always ahead of them.

It reminds me of the baseball steroid scandals from the early 2000’s – Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds were always good players, but in Bonds’ case, you don’t go from 47 homers to 70!! You just don’t. In the case of Clemens “well he just worked out hard Andrew, he’s got this new workout regime” he always worked out hard!! He wasn’t taking cattle steroids, allegedly.  But in writing this, I’ll get nothing but emails, calls, texts, bbm’s and hate mail on my blog, Listen, Usain Bolt is making $9 million a year with Puma alone, these guys are being massively rewarded for what could very well be cheating. Usain Bolt is probably the most famous Olympian! “Well Andrew they passed the drug test…” again, that means nothing at the Olympic level. You have to remember, if I can make $9 million dollars with Puma – that’s just one sponsor, what am I willing to spend to be the world’s fastest guy? Anything slightly less than that if you do your cost-benefit analysis correctly. If I have to spend $8 million dollars to be the fastest human, knowing that I’m going to get $9 million on one endorsement? I’ll spend $8 million to keep it private! I’ll have a staff; I’ll do whatever I have to do.

But again, we don’t know this with Usain Bolt but all I’m saying is that there is a naiveté – come on! We gotta grow up on this stuff. I mean good Lord! Usain Bolt jogs at the end; it’s as if Lebron, blindfolded, were to score 28 points Here’s a crazy idea – what if Usain Bolt doesn’t finish his races as fast as he can as he knows that at his fastest, he’d lower the world record by THAT MUCH more thus sounding the “PED” alarms all over the sport? Then again, I don’t have any more than what Dan Bernstein has chosen to write about – all the stuff he wrote about, those are public quotes! But I guess the main point I’m really trying to drive is that we’ve got to stop being complete suckers on this Olympic thing. When Carl Lewis and the trainer is acknowledging “yeah, the winner at the Beijing Olympics will not be clean because the difference between a 10.0 and a 9.7, that’s in the drugs, that’s not in the work” Like I always laugh at the whole Roger Clemens thing “he started working out really hard” what? He didn’t work out hard in Boston? But then all of a sudden in Toronto he magically did more sit-ups? 8 more cliff bars? Listen, we’ve almost had to give these sports a decade to clean themselves and that’s with them cheating a decade before they began testing them! So they’ve for sure got a big lead on this stuff.

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So Troy Aikman was in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago and he was there talking at a large public forum  about the possible return of the NFL to Los Angeles – you do these public speaking engagements when you’re a public figure and they invite you out and throw some money at you to stand up in front of people and to talk, Troy Aikman is a very sharp guy, he’s a star, he’s one of the sharpest guys to play quarterback and he’s had a great broadcasting career because he’s a really really smart guy. Often a lot of the knuckle heads and the meat heads who play in the NFL, they don’t understand – mostly defensive guys, they don’t get the big picture of football and Troy Aikman does.

He was saying how he doesn’t think the NFL is going to be number 1 forever and how MLB use to be number 1 and it’s no longer number  1. So he talked about something that is very very smart, he said at one point that bottom line, he has a son. He wouldn’t tell his son that he can’t play football but he’s not sure if he’d encourage him to play it with all the violence. Nothing smarter and truer has ever been said about the NFL. Like we all want our kids to be active but the minute moms don’t want their kids to play football because of concussions, spinal surgeries and spinal issues, I’ve got news for you folks! 15 years later the quality of talent erodes. That is a very smart thing to say and that is why Roger Goodell is deeply concerned about concussions, spinal injuries and head shots whereas the typical meat head fan will be like “yeah!!! What?? Have you got a dress on?” Mr. Goodell sees that if you start having lawsuits and spinal injuries, moms don’t let their sons play football and 15 years from now, football is smaller and slower.

Now, I don’t think the NFL will lose its number 1 ranking, at least during my adult life, perhaps when I’m 90 and we invent something new because I believe that football has 3 main advantages over baseball. Firstly, the NFL is built for television because it fits perfectly into the small box. If you look at the rise of televisions in Canada and the U.S. it parallels the rise in the popularity of the NFL. When newspapers ran the American media, baseball was bigger.  All of a sudden, televisions are becoming a common product in the average household and you look at every decade, our love for football…it works perfectly inside that small box! The field is even rectangle to better accommodate it than the diamond like shape for baseball. Secondly, technology has increased the speed of life. The tempo of North American society is much faster than it was in the 60’s and 70’s. Once you introduce any technology to any marketplace, you just don’t go backwards. Even the Unabomber said that in his manifesto, it was the only thing that he said that made any sense. He said once you introduce technology to a marketplace – and you can capitalize on it and make money, nobody is getting rid of it. So be very careful with what you decide to introduce, technology wise, to the market because it doesn’t go backwards. Football fits the pace of our society while baseball is innately a sport of slow tempos and no clock.

Football is perfect with one game a week at 1pm EST Sundays, fit’s our temp, we’re sped up. By the way, you show the play, you got to 2 replays, by the time you get back to live action they break the huddle, next play!  13-15 minutes of pure football per afternoon.  But yet the television product is built for the play, 2 replays and then back to the play – no downtime anywhere. Thirdly, the thing that football has that baseball doesn’t is that we bet football, don’t kid yourself! Now, primarily in the U.S., they’ve always had betting, but they are now so much more of a gambling country. Schools in the U.S. are built by state lotteries, which some people have issues with; I don’t have anything against that. I am pro gambling, we do it, you do it, and I do it! I don’t know why anybody would be afraid of it. $10 billion was bet on the Superbowl, 1% of that was in Vegas. So get over it, we gamble, it’s our society, they do it in Europe, Asia, Latin America, they do it everywhere. But the other thing about this – in reference to Tory Aikman and I think he’s wrong, I love Troy Aikman but he doesn’t think that the NFL will be #1. One of the things about the NFL – and I’m just going to say something and your probably not going to believe it, but there is absolute proof. Is that baseball’s popularity was overstated in the 60’s and 70’s because newspapers ran the American media and they had a link to baseball. They had a built in back page, you had to go to a newspaper to get the boxscore. So you had to buy a newspaper in order to find out how your team was doing because all the games were not televised.

Once cable television, regional networks came into the picture, all of a sudden the games are on television and you don’t need a newspaper for your boxscores. Hall of fame baseball voters are all newspaper guys. Bob Costas doesn’t have a vote, some guy in Lowell, Mass at a tiny newspaper has got a vote. Baseball needed newspapers, newspapers needed baseball and the American newspaper overstated the popularity of baseball. Think I’m wrong? I take you to the Harris survey, which is a non-bias look at the history of politics and sports. In 1972, 63% of people said that they’re a football fan, 60% said they were baseball fans. The NFL was more popular in the 70’s. In 1969, football had 52%, baseball 47%. We overstated how big baseball was in the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s football had long surpassed MLB – by the mid 80’s,televisions had increased dramatically in both Canada and the U.S. and in the early 90’s, football blows baseball out of the water. Never forget this, if sports were the stock market – I’ll tell you something right now, the sport that is absolutely a $9 dollar stock right now and it will be an Apple type stock in 25 years is soccer. I’ve researched and found 38 metrics that tell me why. Did you know that in the 70’s, the sport of boating beat soccer, this year though, soccer is now more popular that college basketball – for about 9 reasons. Every major network in the U.S. and Canada is battling to get soccer. NBC Sports Network – the new network, they would die to get soccer! They’ve got Notre Dame Football…but they want soccer! They’ve got boating…but they want soccer! They’ve got rugby…but they want soccer! They’ve got the Bob Costas show…but they want soccer! Soccer is a growth stock!