Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin Are Right, But We Don’t Care

If you haven’t seen the stunt pulled by Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin during a press conference yesterday, go ahead and watch it now.

 

Funny stuff, and like most comedy, it’s funny because there is a portion of truth in it.

The NFL is absolutely all about making money, from sponsors, from ticket and merchandising sales, from media rights, etc. and ANYTHING that gets in the way of making that money is going to get the hammer dropped on it, quickly. The owners and the league office will, occasionally, come out and say some thing for their own public image, but all of that is just window dressing to making money. Most of it is hypocritical too. Player safety is, supposedly, a big concern, and then they just keep throwing these Thursday night games at the players and making them play what is an extremely violent and physically demanding game twice in 5 days.

Or worse, for the Cowboys and Bears, thanks to back-to-back Thursday games, they get to play 3 in 12 days. Sure, that’s got to be perfectly safe.

Also, the NFL is loathe for any of it’s players to drink in public, or be intoxicated in any way, yet it’s biggest sponsor sells alcohol. Money talks….

If you read the comments on the video and other blogs, there’s a common refrain that I think is the crux of the problem. Simply put, we don’t care as long as we get our football! We want the players to shut the eff up and feel lucky that they get paid millions of dollars to play a game. While there’s a morsel of truth in that as well, we also have to remember the flip side of that argument. They play a game that has proven, time and again, to create long term health issues and early deaths among it’s former players. You might view them as the “lucky” ones because they get to play football, but I can guarantee you that if your job had the death rate that former professional football players had, there would be a government agency setting all sorts of rules about how to make it safer. There wouldn’t be all this talk about how you should “just go do something else if you don’t like it”. We have labor laws for a reason, to protect workers from abusive management. Your boss doesn’t get to require you to work 20 hour days, 7 days a week without compensation, in an unhealthy, unsafe environment because it’s dangerous and there are ways in which it can be made safer, and management is required to take those steps. If playing an NFL game twice in five days is proven to be dangerous, why shouldn’t the players be protected the same way you or I are? Why shouldn’t they have the right to speak out against what they consider to be a dangerous practice?

Because in the end, they aren’t real people to us, and we want our damn football, all the time. If a handful of over-sized, steroid using, painkiller addicted, jocks have to die every year, so be it. They were done playing anyway so we ceased to even care about them any more.

 

Let the Braxton Miller Rumors Begin!

The Ramp

I assumed it was only a matter of time before the rumor mill started churning for Braxton Miller. With the meteoric rise of redshirt Freshman QB J.T. Barrett this season, I think it’s fair to question whether he or Miller would be the starter next season for the Buckeyes, and if it’s fair to question that, then it’s fair for Braxton to at least consider the possibility of leaving for a place that will give him the opportunity to prove he can stay healthy and set himself up nicely for the NFL draft.

So, I probably shouldn’t have been surprised to see this:

Report: Braxton Miller to Transfer to Oregon Next Year

What do you think will happen next season?

This Week’s Sports Links (weekly)

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Todd Gurley Falls Victim to Random NFL Rule

9898602293_c42e30e1ce_bLast season, Todd Gurley of Georgia was probably the best running back in college football. But, he was only a sophomore.

According to the NFL, in cooperation with the NCAA, he wasn’t eligible to declare for the draft, he had to return to Georgia and continue playing, for no money beyond tuition, room and board.

He decided to try and make a little money off of his fame, taking $3,000 in exchange for autographing a bunch of memorabilia. For this, he was suspended by the NCAA for 4 games. (Never mind how much the university was making off of him and his jersey.)

In his first game back from suspension, he continued to show why many thought he was the best running back in the college football, until the 4th quarter, when he tore his ACL.

Now, he will probably still get drafted if he decided to come out of college this season, but probably not as highly as he would have last year, costing him a few million, I’m sure. Money he could have had, if the NFL and NCAA didn’t block players who aren’t 3 years removed from High School from declaring for the draft. It’s mind-boggling that the league is allowed to have a rule that, in effect, blocks adults from making money in their chosen profession, and blocks individual teams from paying them for it.

If a kid wants to come out, and a team wants to draft him, why does the league get to interfere with that commerce?

The Inexplicable SEC

SEC logo photo

We’ve been told that the SEC West is the most amazing collection of great football teams ever. I’ve been skeptical of this claim for a while now, and this week provided more fodder. Here’s why:

 

  • Missouri beat Texas A&M to maintain their lead in the division.
    • Victories by other SEC West teams over A&M have been considered quality wins, but they currently stand 7-4 and do not seem like a good team
    • Missouri is 8-2, with a blowout lass to Georgia, and a home loss to Indiana. (INDIANA?????)
  • Georgia blows out Auburn
    • Yes, the same Georgia team that has inexplicable losses to South Carolina and Florida beat one of the “quality” West teams, badly.
  • LSU gets shut out by Arkansas
    • LSU, also one of those “quality” West teams, gets shutout by a team that had lost 17 straight SEC games and whose signature win this year is against 3-7 Texas Tech.

What to make of this? Perhaps, this is more evidence that Auburn, A&M and LSU really aren’t very good football teams.

Is that’s true, what does that say about Alabama, Mississippi State and Ole Miss?

State gained their #1 ranking in large part by beating LSU, A&M and Auburn is consecutive weeks. They got a lot of credit for a stretch against teams with a combined 21-11 record before finally losing at Alabama.

Ole Miss beat Alabama, which they deserve credit for, but losing to LSU and Auburn? Ugh.

Alabama seems to be the best team of the bunch, but it’s a fairly mediocre bunch, in my mind.

To be fair, however, every other conference in America is just as mediocre, and is being led by teams that don’t seem very good. This includes Florida State, who somehow has won a bunch of games they had no business winning. So I’m willing to admit the SEC is maybe the better collection of teams when compared to other conferences right now, but I think college football, in general, is pretty mediocre right now, full of wildly inconsistent teams. Maybe that’s the reality of kids leaving early and having to play at a younger age, or perhaps their all just point-shaving? ;-)

 

Photo by Roger Smith

This Week’s Sports Links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

NCAA Can’t Help But Corrupt Everything

I often wonder if the NCAA can do anything without some sort of corruption, and now we learn that it couldn’t even let the “independent” investigator looking into the Penn State – Jerry Sandusky case be, you know, independent.

 

Court documents filed in Pennsylvania show that the NCAA and investigators from a firm hired by Penn State University to conduct a wholly independent investigation of the university’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal worked closely in the investigation.

So, apparently, the answer to my question remains no.

 

 

This Week’s Sports Links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

The Costs of NCAA Football

south carolina football stadium photo

Grantland today did a great job of documenting the sad tale of Marcus Lattimore. More importantly, Michael Baumann does a good job of documenting everything that Lattimore meant to South Carolina, all the money and prestige he brought to the program, and how after a couple of devastating knee injuries, he never played a down for the 49ers before retiring this week.

It reminded me of a conversation I had at Reser Stadium on Saturday night about Sean Mannion. Here’s a kid who had a pretty good shot at getting drafted relatively high last year, but decided to come back for his Senior year on the hopes that he could improve his stock a bit, set a few records and really dominate. In the mean time, Oregon State has his face on everything. They are using his pursuit of the Pac-12 career passing yardage record to sell tickets, jerseys, t-shirt and everything else they can.

By all accounts, here we have a good kid coming back to complete his education, leave the football program in a better place than he left it, and trying to really improve his game. Sean didn’t get injured, but poor offensive line play and injuries up and down the depth chart at receiver have led to a fairly poor season so far. It’s probably done more damage to his draft stock than anything else.

When we see stories like Lattimore, Mannion, David Ash at Texas, who quit football after getting concussions, and many others, you have to wonder, what’s the risk worth? How much money could Lattimore had made after his freshman year? Instead, he had to go back to South Carolina, got hurt and wound up making pennies on the dollar of what his value was before the injuries. South Carolina made mint off of Lattimore, but he saw none of it. Playing for the Gamecocks cost him his knee, and any NFL future, and he has nothing to show for it other than being a fan favorite in Columbia.

Somehow we’re supposed to believe that’s fair, because his tuition was paid for.

I don’t think so.

Photo by kmoliver