Baseball, Basketball, DeMaurice Smith, Economics, Football, NBA, NFL, NFLPA, NPBA, Roger Goodell, Sports, Sports Economics, Sports & Social commentary, Sports Commentary, Sports Econmics, Uncategorized

Deadlines Are For Idiots ………………


Deadlines Are For Idiots

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I’m not so sure that I can really take much more of the idiocy now going on with regard to the impasse between the NBA and NBPA . Two sides that now seem on course for what could very well turn out to be a contentious divide between the two parties . David Stern and his union counterpart Executive Director Billy Hunter . At the same time union President Derek Fisher and the Executive Committee are intent on not cowering to the demands of the league hierarchy and team owners . In the midst of this all Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver have tried their utmost in trying allay the fears of the fans who are of the thought that there will be a lockout and labor stoppage .

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Coming off what has been one of the better NBA Finals in recent years between the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat . And as we know the Mavericks would prevail over the Heat winning that series 4-2 with Dirk Nowitzki being named Finals MVP . It’s interesting to see that Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban in spite of his team having won the series he has had little to say about what may well be the impending lockout . I’m not about to suggest that this lockout can’t be averted but given the mess created by the NFL and the labor dispute which has now entered its third month , in effect over 100 days, I’m beginning to think that even there also there has been even less common sense shown by all of the parties concerned . Roger Goodell has been outmaneuvered by a truly worthy nemesis in DeMaurice Smith a former patent and labor attorney with DC law firm Patton Boggs LLC .

Now with a great deal at stake for both sides it appears that the team owners and league hierarchy now feel where they’re at the point where they can now see light at the end of the tunnel . And as of now the light being shone can’t be seen because of the ineptitude having been shown by both parties during their ongoing deliberations.

If the NBA team owners such as Jerry Buss , Michael Jordan , Donald Sterling , Rich De Vos , James Dolan , Joe Maloof and Micky Arison have sat back looking for the league hierarchy to lead in the ongoing deliberations. It seems strange that it has been left to Stern to take the lead but in reality it shouldn’t be as a surprise to anyone given the autocratic rule by the commissioner . Slowly but surely the mess created by the league hierarchy as well as the owners and their general managers has me wondering what other forms have idiocy have now taken place under David Stern’s reign ! The NBA has a soft salary cap of $57 million but somehow more than 2/3 of the teams within the league have sought to exceed that figure . Now it’s quite obvious with a downturn in the economy the NBA has been affected adversely and much of that has come down to the very fact the league and union has simply chosen to run amok with regard to their excessive spending . Teams have simply sought to buy their way to success and in large part it has been an immense failure for the vast majority of the teams . With the league now on course to lose in excess of $450 million for the fiscal year 2011 and having lost a cumulative $750 million in the last two years it has to be said the owners and Stern have some pressing issues to resolve.

The revenues shared between the league and players is split on a 53/47 ratio deriving from approximately $3.77 billion . The league hierarchy would certainly like to see that figure lowered but with Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher steadfastly clinging to the belief that it would not be beneficial for their members to be giving concessions to the NBA . Much of what we’re being led to believe now happening between the union and league hierarchy is something akin to modern day comedy of errors . Things have yet to take a truly contentious fervor but it could well be heading that way with David Stern now taking the lead in the deliberations and wanting to come off looking like the hero . And for Stern any photo op that has him being front and center in the public eye makes him all the more appealing for the public’s perception of him .

If there ever has been a reason to simply have little faith in the Congress then the ongoing stupdity being shown by the House of Representatives , Senate and the President’s administration in trying to raise the debt ceiling of $14.3 trillion ($14,300,000,000,000) has me wondering how much longer the two sides can actually remain in denial . Sen Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) and Rep Paul Ryan (R-Wisc) have simply stuck by the fact that tax cuts will be the one thing to stimulate the economy , create jobs and the lessening of government regulations in all facets of commerce , government regulatory authority will go a long way in adding to the vibrancy of the economy . Pity that they chose to ignore the mere fact that tax loopholes will remain in place and also that the numerous committees within both legislative chambers have simply let lobbyists write and rewrite many of the regulations that have placed the economy in the shit-hole that it is now in ! I’ve no real faith in either party given the ongoing stupidity being shown by Democrats and Republicans ! China as the country’s greatest creditor holds in excess 17% of nation’s government bonds and considerable debt . But the herein lies the caveat a great deal of these bonds also held and other governmental financial instruments are in the hands of some of the nation’s largest financial institutions and insurance companies . Think New York Life , Bank of America , Morgan Stanley , Prudential Insurance , JP Morgan Chase and GE Capital .

Even amongst the Democrat cabal of idiots led by Sen Harry Reid (D-Nv) whose own knowledge of the economy can be best described as man whose idea of being firmly abreast of a situation, is try and persuade you that his aides have advised him thoroughly on the issues . Well that’s like saying I’ve just been told a bedtime story by my teacher because Reid like any of his peers within both legislative chambers were never that bright to begin with , especially where it concerns the US economy and its underlying problems !

Any maneuver now either way be it the raising of the debt level and austerity measures in cutting a number of programs will simply be like throwing shit up against a wall to see what will actually stick ! For far too long each successive Presidential administration has chosen to ignore to this acute problem simply thinking that its creditors would continue to buy its treasury bonds because of the added security that the US was a safe haven . Well that’s no longer the case, in spite of what Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner or Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke continues to say merely to calm the financial markets because the country is now completely bereft of ideas as to how to deal this problem . It’s simply using a Band Aid to cover a hemorrhaging stomach wound and as the exsanguination of the country is now in place , who’ll be left to mop up the blood ?

Should the debt ceiling be raised even with the proposed spending cuts sought by Republicans and a number of conservative Democrats certainly won’t stave off any great fears of a tailspin of US the economy. Speculation asides , all that needs to be done are for the top credit ratings agencies ( Moodys , Standard & Poors ) to downgrade the US government’s credit rating from AAA to AA + or AA- (minus ) and this would send precipitous seismic waves in the financial markets around the globe , as there would be a great deal of uncertainty about the government’s ability to pay down its debts much less make principal or even the interest payments due .

The ensuing mess we’ve seen created here with regard to the NFL , NFLPA , NBA , NBPA , the present US administration and both legislative chambers of Congress simply shows us that common sense no longer prevails within sports but also within the dizzying heights of politics . And no doubt there are those amongst us who are prepared to ask the question why should I care ? Well you ought to care one way or another as many decision about to be made will certainly affect us one way or another in our every day lives .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the ensuing negotiations said to be taking place between the NFL , NFLPA , NBA hierarchy and its union counterpart the NBPA how do you view each situation ? And what of the government’s own handling of the debt crisis where do you see things ending up there ? Do you really care at all or have you simply chosen to ignore it all ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……………. http://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) David Stern (right) and Billy Hunter seen here in June 2005 having just reached an accord on the NBA’s then existing CBA (collective bargaining ) agreement which is due to expire midnight June 30th 2011. AP Photo / Gene Kershaw ….

(2) NBA Commissioner David Stern (right) is seen alongside NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver speaking to the convened press . AP Photo / Mark Richmond ….

(3) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and National Football League Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, right, speak to the media outside of the Ritz-Carlton hotel after addressing players during the NFLPA rookie symposium on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 in Sarasota, Fla. AP Photo/Brian Blanco ……

(4) NBPA President Derek Fisher in line with his Executive Committee and player representatives have steadfastly stood by in their determination not to make any concessions to the league hierarchy and owners unless they are prepared to reciprocate in kind . AFP/ Photo / Marcus Pruett …….

(5) Michael Jordan , left, majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats and general manager Rod Higgins watch an NBA summer league basketball game between the Bobcats and the Orlando Magic in Orlando, Fla., Friday, July 9, 2010. AP Photo/John Raoux ….

(6) Los Angeles Lakers NBA basketball team’s new head coach Mike Brown (2nd L) poses with team owner Jerry Buss (2nd R), Vice President of Basketball Operations Jim Buss (L) and general manager Mitch Kupchak after a news conference in Los Angeles, California, May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson ….

(7) Sen Mitch McConnell seen here alongside fellow Republican members including Sen Jon Kyl (R-Az) [right] addressing the convened press on the nation’s debt ceiling issue as well as that of the President’s healthcare reform plan of which GOP is totally opposed to . AFP/Photo/ Richard Curtis ….

(8) Rep Paul Ryan (R-Wisc) is seen here addressing members of American Conservative Union Foundation a Conservative political Think Tank and lobbyist’s group. AP/Photo ……..

(9) Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke (foreground) listens briefly as Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner (right) speaks quietly in his ear . Courtesy of Financial Times of London / Keith Parsons …..

(10) Director of the National Economic Council Lawrence Summers (L), Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Dr. Christina Romer (2L), Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner (C) and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke (R) listen as President Barack Obama (2R) speaks after a daily economic briefing in the Roosevelt Room of the White House March 23, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama said the administration’s plan to purchase toxic assets from banks is a move in the “right direction” to unlock credit markets. Romer and Summers are no longer a part of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers having stepped down to pursue other outside interests . Getty Images /Pool Archives …….

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Albert Pujols, Baseball, Basketball, Billy Hunter (NBPA), David Stern, ESPN, Football, Gregg Popovich, Jim Tressel, Major League Baseball, MLB, NBA, NFL, NFL Lockout, NFLPA, Ohio State (Buckeyes), Sports, Sports & Social commentary, Sports Commentary, St Louis Cardinals, Terrelle Pryor, Uncategorized

Are You Up For That ?


Are You Up For That ?

Ah get a litany of lawyers in a room to try and draw up an agreement between two parties as part of the resolution process in a negotiation is like extracting several teeth without the use of a pain killer . Neither side will be truly happy at all even when you’ve been told that a compromise has been reached . Inasmuch as the NFL negotiations have been going on for what appears to be in an indeterminable period of time. It’s hard to believe that the owners , league hierarchy and players represented by their union NFLPA are actually any closer to a real compromise . Granted , ESPN has made it their sole purpose of keeping us abreast of each and every whiff any move that that has taken place . But for me, this whole episode has been one complete and utter bore ! So much so , that with the NFL having already alienated much of their fan-base I seriously doubt why it is that these arrogant and pompous assholes would actually create the perception that at any time they have actually cared what the fans think !

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If as is to be believed that the league and all parties concerned will have an agreement in place by the 15th July at the latest then what can the NFL offer the fans this season . A slew of preseason games as usual where in large part we will see the new draftees try to show us why it is that the teams went out and drafted them in the first place . At the same time we may well get to see none other than Terrelle Pryor try and make believers out of us that he has in fact changed and is ready for the rigors of the NFL and all that it brings . Fast cars , loose women and plenty of money . Oh I forgot, Pryor was already use to that with his days served under Jim Tressel at Ohio State . So what will be new for the player ? Well first out having signed with agent Drew Rosenhaus as a client you can be sure that the ubiquitous agent will be doing his utter best to hype up his client as if he were the second coming of Joe Montana . But then again when hasn’t Rosenhaus never not been known to do that for any of his clients ? In the right environment the agent could sell oil to the Arabs right from their very own wells at a reasonable price and they would still feel happy about the transaction .

With Pryor having left Ohio State and having declared himself eligible for the NFL’s Supplemental Draft it will be interesting to see if there are any teams out there interested in acquiring the player . I am sure that there will be but as to who they might be remains to be seen .

Well the NBA Draft is almost upon us and environment is rife with a great deal of speculation as to will be the top pick in the draft . With the Cleveland Cavaliers having the privilege of that pick along with another in the top ten it will be interesting to see how Cavaliers GM Chris Grant goes about rebuilding the roster in the aftermath of LeBron James’ departure and their rather lackluster season within the Eastern Conference . From my own standpoint I do believe that Bryon Scott as the team’s coach has a monumental task to undertake as the Cleveland Cavaliers appear to be a team without a sense of real purpose . The fans within the city may well have had the last laugh in seeing the player and his team the Miami Heat succumb to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals . But that asides it has to be said that the situation while on the face of it may well appear to bleak it could well be a number of years before we can actually view the franchise as a legitimate threat to win an NBA title .

Being an avid San Antonio Spurs’ fan I’ve read a number of blogs within this medium suggesting that GM R C Burford may well seek to trade Tony Parker or use the player as bait in moving up in the order of the NBA Draft. While on the face of it seems a reasonable thing to do . I would point to the fact that the player throughout much of the regular season was the team’s most productive player by far in terms of their offensive output . But what might be even more asinine would be for Burford to actually believe it feasible to acquire an aging Vince Carter to add to this team. The team doesn’t need to get older but simply more athletic with the younger players on this squad actually stepping up their game and actually contributing more . But given the sheer ineptitude shown by the Spurs this postseason I for one am not so sure that the fans won’t be in for more of the same should they make the playoffs this upcoming season . As great a coach as I know Gregg Popovich to be if these players aren’t motivated to get the job done then their ass ought to be kicked to the curb . And yes that includes veteran player Tim Duncan as well !

I don’t know if at this time of the season any team can really afford an injury to one of their most prominent players on their roster . In baseball this seems to be the anomaly that repeatedly tends to either add an incentive to the rest of the players or simply saps them of all of their confidence . This could very well be the case with the St Louis Cardinals and the loss of their All Star slugger and first baseman Albert Pujols for what we’re led to believe could be a minimum of six weeks due to a fractured right arm/wrist . Given the player’s productivity and what it means to the team over the course of the season any loss of this magnitude has to be profound for the organization

The St Louis Cardinals now appear to be in a tenuous dog fight in terms of seeking dominance within the NL Central . While trying to fend off the resurgent Milwaukee Brewers they also have to deal with a Cincinnati Reds team that would like to show the fans that their appearance in last season’s standings and their appearance in the postseason were by no means a fluke .

If the Cardinals are to have any chance of the team even winning the division much less obtaining the wildcard berth as the NL representative then the likes of Matt Holliday , Coby Rasmus , Ryan Theriot and Lance Berkman in particular will have to raise the level of their play over the ensuing weeks while Pujols remains on the DL . If the Cardinals can weather that storm and stay at least within two games of the division leaders then the loss of Albert Pujols mightn’t be as grave as one would have first thought . It will be however down to Tony La Russa to have his players believing that they’re still in with a fighting chance and that the loss of Pujols is not in vain .

And here was I thinking that the idiocy of the NFL labor negotiations had become a real farce ! Now I’m being proven wrong by the sheer ineptitude now being shown by the NBA team owners , league hierarchy and the NPBA (union) . Were it not for the asinine behavior continually being shown by the Obama administration of the government , the House and Senate I could have sworn that this wasn’t indeed the US but some third world country on the African continent ! Somewhere or should I say somehow , the NBA and the union seems to have found themselves in a total divergence when it comes to an according concerning their collective bargaining agreement that is due to expire at midnight on the 30th June. Suffice to say, that if an agreement of some kind is not reached then in all likelihood the fans of the NBA could see a lockout of the players . Bring on the dark days of Summer I say ! Can anything else go wrong that already hasn’t when it comes to the world of professional and collegiate sports ? I’ll leave that for you all to decide !

Courtesy of AP & Yahoo Sports

Union: Owners still demand too much in NBA talks

By Brian Mahoney , AP Basketball Writer

NEW YORK (AP )—Union officials said Wednesday that NBA players and owners are about $7 billion apart over a 10-year span in their most recent proposals, a significant gap to close to avoid a work stoppage.

So far apart in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement that union president Derek Fisher(notes) said when players are briefed on the state of the talks, they are in “total disbelief” and ask why they even bother having meetings.

“When we put our spreadsheets up, we put it on the board, we lay it out, everybody’s at a loss for how to even begin to close this gap,” the Lakers’ guard said.

They have only until June 30, when the current CBA expires, and they’ll take another crack at it during another session Friday.

But as they continue to disagree over issues relating to the salary cap as well as the enormous gap in economics, it becomes clear how difficult it will be to avoid a lockout.

“Their demand is gargantuan and we just can’t meet it,” executive director Billy Hunter said.

Hunter and Fisher decided to meet with reporters after being caught off guard Tuesday when NBA Commissioner David Stern revealed details of the league’s latest proposal during a press conference after a bargaining session. Both sides had largely kept specifics from the media during the negotiations.

Yet Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver laid out their proposal for what they called a “flex cap,” in which teams would be targeted to spend $62 million in salary, but could exceed that number through the use of exceptions to an unspecified level before the ceiling kicked in.

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Click on the link shown to read this article in its entirety .

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If what we’re being led to believe is that the two sides are so far apart , as in trying to alleviate this issue with both parties aren’t able to come to an agreement , wherein they can successfully reach an accord as to how best to equally split a projected revenue stream of $ 7 billion over the next decade then there’s something seriously wrong with the thinking of parties . Not unlike the idiocy we’re now seeing concerning Democrats , GOP and the President as they try to rein in the runaway spending and an ever deepening deficit and national debt . Can I get a what , what here ?

I’ve never really been enamored with David Stern as the commissioner of the NBA and I simply do not trust anything that has been set forth by NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter or anyone from the union’s executive committee led by union President Derek Fisher . Both sides at present would rather have a pissing contest , seeing who best can actually write their name in the sand . Can any of these bumbling oafs actually see the forest but for the trees ? Then one has to consider that should a labor stoppage now begin in earnest where does it leave the players now awaiting the commencement of tonight’s NBA Draft ?

Now as we head on into the dank dark days of summer no doubt hoping to enjoy a season of fun in terms of what sporting offers there are to be had . I’m not so sure that we are all expecting will actually be that satisfactory to begin with . I mean simply look across the collegiate landscape to see the machinations that have taken place there ? I’m sure that Jim Tressel if he had it to do all over again would have preferred to have had a tattoo on the end of his member, asking all those who view it, to pull ! But instead, it was left to Prior and several of his now former teammates to blow that bitch asunder for us to actually know that collegiate athletics has always been a complete joke to begin with ! Needless to say those devout fans of USC would like to tell us otherwise .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as you would deem fit and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……. http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, left, hugs his wife, Candice Romo at his annual football fundamentals camp at Burlington High School, Wednesday, June 22, 2011, in Burlington, Wis. They were married May 28. Romo graduated from the school. The two-day camp is for athletes entering grades 7-12. AP Photo/Journal Times, Mark Hertzberg …

(2) Woody Johnson, left, owner of the New York Jets, talks with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft at the NFL football owners meetings in Rosemont, Ill., Tuesday, June 21, 2011. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ……

(3) Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, second from right, and others grab a bite to eat during the NFL football owners meetings in Rosemont, Ill., Tuesday, June 21, 2011. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh …..

(4) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a news conference at the NFL football owners meetings in Rosemont, Ill., Tuesday, June 21, 2011. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ….

(5) Terrelle Pryor ended his silence Tuesday — for exactly 97 seconds. Pryor (right) is seen here with his agent Drew Rosenhaus and Rosenhaus associate Robert Bailey (left). AP Photo / Michael Croft ……

(6) FILE – This April 29, 2011 , file photo shows San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, right, talking with guard Tony Parker, of France, during the first half of Game 6 against the Memphis Grizzlies , in a first-round NBA basketball playoff game, in Memphis, Tenn. Parker is backing off earlier comments to French media that San Antonio realistically has no more chances to win another championship. The comments came a few weeks after the 61-win Spurs were upset in the first round by eighth-seeded Memphis. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey ……

(7) ST. LOUIS, MO – JUNE 22: Lance Berkman (12 ) of the St. Louis Cardinals double up Ryan Howard (6) of the Philadelphia Phillies at Busch Stadium on June 22, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Phillies would go on to defeat the Caridnals 4-0 . Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images …..

(8) Starter Cliff Lee(33) and Carlos Ruiz (51) both of the Philadelphia Phillies congratulate each other after beating the St. Louis Cardinals at Cardinals at Busch Stadium on June 22, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images ……

(9) St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols stands in the dugout with his left arm in a soft cast during the Cardinals’ baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies pm Tuesday, June 21, 2011, in St. Louis. Pujols will be out 4-6 weeks after being injured on a play during a game against the Kansas City Royals on Sunday. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …

(10) NBA Commissioner David Stern, left, gestures as he sits next to Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver , following a meeting between team owners and the NBA players’ union on Tuesday, June 21, 2011, in New York. Both sides made new proposals in a 3 1/2-hour meeting on what Stern said was an important day in the league’s labor talks. The collective bargaining agreement expires June 30. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews ……

(11) Los Angeles Lakers basketball player Derek Fisher holds a press briefing following a meeting between team owners and the NBA player’s union on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 in New York . AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews …..

(12) Billy Hunter, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, holds a press briefing following a meeting between team owners and the NBA player’s union on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 in New York. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews …..

(13) These recent handouts provided by their respective schools or overseas team, show 2011 NBA basketball draft prospects. Top from left are Nolan Smith, Duke; Malcolm Thomas, San Diego State; Trey Thompkins, Georgia; Klay Thompson, Washington State; Tristan Thompson, Texas, and Jeremy Tyler, Tokyo Apache. Bottom from left are Jonas Valanciunas, Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania); Jan Vesely, Partizan Belgrade (Serbia); Nikola Vicevic, Southern Cal; Kemba Walker, Connecticut, Derrick Williams, Arizona, and Jordan Williams, Maryland. AP Photo / File …….

(14) Toronto Raptors new head coach Dwane Casey , left, and general manager Bryan Colangelo pose following a basketball conference in Toronto on Tuesday, June 21, 2011. Casey was hired as coach of the Raptors on Tuesday, nine days after the Dallas assistant helped the Mavericks win an NBA title. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young ……

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Football, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, NFL, NFL Lockout, NFLPA, Sports, Sports Commentary, Stephen Ross, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Uncategorized

Running On Empty …………..


Running On Empty

I’m finally beginning to calm down given the situation concerning the NFL lockout as it pans out and the fact that over a prolonged period we have the team owners now saying that they are closer to a compromise. The season starts on the 3rd September and I fully believe that it will not start as the NFL believes as planned . The situation now stands where the players are having to plan their own workouts as there have been no preseason OTA’s and the new draftees aren’t able to be meet with the coaches and their respective trainers . To further emphasize the situation those very same draftees have yet to sign their contracts with their respective teams .

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With the owners , NFL hierarchy now meeting with their union counterparts led by NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , union President Kevin Mawae the grandstanding by both sides continues unabated and at the same time this only further exacerbates the whole situation . Now as many of you are aware I reside in the central Florida area where the three NFL teams within the state are the Jacksonville Jaguars , Miami Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . This past season all three teams in their own determinable way had what one might deem a modicum amount of success . The Tampa Bay Buccaneers missed the postseason having missed the playoffs having fell by the wayside in posting a 10-6 record within the NFC South and failing to dislodge the New Orleans Saints who finished ahead of them within the division. For coach Raheem Morris this was a splendid sophomore season as he and GM Mark Dominik were able to make great strides as this team made the type of improvements one wouldn’t associate with such a young team.

The foundations were laid in Buccaneers’ bright season because of the exhilirating play of quarterback Josh Freeman who simply showed that he’s now becoming one of the more dependable and young reliable players at the position within the league. And one only has to look at the strides made by Sam Bradford , Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan . Morris and his assistant coaches have simply gotten the players to buy into a simple system and that’s to play hard , enjoy the game but above all be held accountable for executing the play. Freeman for his part is seen as the leader on this team where he’s also ably abetted by a veterans such as Kellen Winslow Jr and Ronde Barber . On offense the play of running back LeGarrette Blount and wide receiver Mike Williams have made this Buccaneers so much more of a talented team to watch for their fans. If nothing else this upcoming season for the Tampa Bay Buccaners should be something special . And it bodes well for the organization as a whole as they look to become a contender within the conference and for the Superbowl . From a defensive standpoint the traits instilled into the Buccaneers still remain but simply with more aggression and finesse not seen before . Granted , there have been those inconsistent displays but the players have learned from that and it bodes well for their immediate future.

If anything I was somewhat surprised that Jaguars’ coach Jack del Rio simply was allowed to keep his job ! Given the mediocre season had by the team and the mere fact the coach and his staff simply did a lousy job . And simply put , I not so sure that the upcoming season we’re liable to see any type of improvement the team compared to last season .

In the AFC South where the Jacksonville Jaguars reside they have to contend with the Indianapolis Colts as well as the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans . I now firmly believe that if Del Rio cannot leaf this team into the playoffs this season then team owner Wayne Weaver in conjunction GM Gene Smith will have no other course but relieve the coach of his duties . Some may well feel that it is all too little , too late , and they would obviously be right but because of the NFL hierarchy enforced lockout I believe that a number of teams around the league seeking to make a managerial change sought not to because of the financial ramifications involved . Having to pay a coach that you have just fired when he still has a year or more left on his existing contract and then having hire and formulate a new multi year deal for a new coach can end up costing an organization countless millions. Simply ask the front office of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers about that ? They are still paying former coach Jon Gruden two years after his abrupt firing and Gruden is now being handsomely paid by ABC/ESPN to provide both networks with on air college , NFL analysis and commentary . Not bad eh ?

If there’s one thing I learned from last season within the NFL it is that there’s a tremendous falloff from the top tier of quarterbacks and those at bottom tier of the ladder ! And anyone who witnessed the play of the quarterbacks on the Dolphins’ roster will know exactly what I am talking about . Chad Henne and Tyler Thigpen at best are moderate backups within this league but somehow coach Tony Sparano believed that one if not both were reliable enough to lead this beleaguered team .Given the frailties of this team on both sides of the ball the Miami Dolphins simply did their utmost to disappoint their fans as well as their celebrity investors who are led by principal owner managing partner Stephen M. Ross . The owner in conjunction with GM Jeff Ireland have seen the promise first shown when Bill Parcells was brought in as a consultant , simply disappear as the team has struggled to find an identity . Parcells is no longer involved with the organization at all , having chosen to retire to a much calmer environment, where the rigors of the NFL would be the last thing on his mind. Now it is left to Sparano and his assistants to guide this team back into some semblance of competitiveness .

With the ongoing lockout showing no signs of dissipating a shortened season now may well become a reality . And in many respects it may well benefit a number of teams around the league . For the Miami Dolphins this may well prove to be fruitful but on the other hand given the fact that players aren’t allowed on team facilities for any sort of organized training activities because of the work stoppage , there’s no doubt in my mind that all of the NFL teams will be impeded and we may well have to endure some really bad football during what might be league induced shortened season. And for the Miami Dolphins their opening schedule for the 2011-12 season starts off with an divisional rival game against their AFC opponent the New England Patriots at Sun Life Stadium in Miami , Florida , on the 12th September 2011 .

Tony Sparano may well be in for a season where he and the coaching staff will come under a great deal of scrutiny. The Dolphins have essentially become a “one trick pony” with little to show other than their ” shot gun offense” . And even then, once they were found out by the opposing teams they were found wanting in showing any form of creativity on either side of the ball . That if anything out to be enough of an indicator as what one might expect from this team over the course of the season. There’s a great deal of expected of the team throughout this season and their task won’t be made any easier given the fact that within the division apart of from New England Patriots you also have a hungry New York Jets’ organization wanting to prove that they ought to viewed as perennial contenders within the NFL . The Buffalo Bills will simply want to hang tough while Chan Gailey and his staff will assess the strengths and weaknesses on the roster as he looks to make them a resurgent force within the division and league as a whole .

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Picture gallery for your perusal . By clicking on an individual frame you view that picture in its original formatted size .

Though the reverberations of this lockout has yet to be felt but we already know that a number of teams around the league are having some form of hardship though it hasn’t been well publicized . In a number of cases it has been noted that a number of teams have taken to actually cutting the salaries of their coaching staffs which has led to throng of opposition by the NFL Coaches Association as the coaches as such are caught in the midst of this saga. The idiocy of this lockout hasn’t been lost on the fans and the vast majority feel that that both owners , league hierarchy and the players are equally to blame . And now while NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his opposite number DeMaurice Smith seek some common ground and accord you simply get the feeling that this pissing contest is actually far from over . Both sides are actually out of gas , running on empty and simply looking for the other as such to cave in first .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, right, throws a football as teammates watch during an unofficial workout at Bergen Catholic High School, Friday, June 10, 2011 in Oradell, N.J. The workout gives the players an opportunity to practice together during the NFL labor lockout. AP Photo/Julio Cortez ……

(2) NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 28: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) greets Adrian Clayborn, 20 th overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images …..

(3) Buccaneers’ number one draft pick Adam Clayborn (center) is seen here alongside Bucs’ team coach Raheem Morris (left) and GM Mark Dominik (right) at the team’s headquarters at One Buc Place. Dominik and the coach have made sure to fill the Bucs’ roster with players they deem that will be able to add quality and productivity to the team . Courtesy of St Petersburg Times .

(4) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) poses for a photo with Blaine Gabbert ,, 11th overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars, holds up a jersey during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ….

(5) Head coach Jack Del Rio of the Jacksonville Jaguars watches his team play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a preseason game at Raymond James Stadium on August 28, 2010 in Tampa, Florida. J Meric / Getty Images North America …

(6) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poses for a photo with Mike Pouncey, 15th overall pick by the Miami Dolphins, on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images …….

(7) Miami Dolphins’ coach Tony Sparano (left) is seen here with the team’s owner billionaire real estate mogul Stephen M Ross at the team’s headquarters at Sun Life Stadium , Miami , Florida. Sparano will have a great deal to prove this season if he’s to retain his position with the Miami Dolphins . Miami Herald / Walter Michot ….

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Now For The Good News ………………..


Now For The Good News ………………………

Well perhaps the biggest story of the weekend had to be that the death of Osama Bin Laden had finally bitten the dust after a covert operation by the US military that took out the terrorist who was being harbored in Pakistan just outside the nation’s capital of Islamabad . What I find somewhat ironic is the mere fact that the attack took place so close to a military academy where many of Pakistan’s top military officers are trained in amongst other things military strategy and the use of intelligentsia in warfare . So much for that nation being a willing ally on the war on terror , the government of Pakistan and its military have been complicit and suborned Bin Laden’s safe refuge but in reality Barack Obama and his predecessor George W Bush were too damn afraid of saying …….. what in reality anyone who had one iota of common sense had known all along as ….. they simply didn’t want to alienate the Arab world in particular those countries who they state were their allies on the war on terror. Well now that the head of the snake has been chopped off the question remains where do we go from hear ? There there are likely to be retributory acts of violence in retaliation for Bin Laden’s death and you can be sure that any one of a number of organizations that were aligned with Al Qaeda will want to assume the mantra and doctrine of the terrorist group. And what does this now for Bin Laden’s most trusted follower Ayman Al-Zawahiri who is now likely to assume control of the terrorist group. Will he also be pursued hopefully with as much tenacity as Bin Laden was ?

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Having had several friends (with the US military) serving in both Afghanistan and Iraq as well as a younger sibling serving in Kabul with the British military I’ve got to say that this news was most welcomed. And having served myself on active duty as a member of the Royal Marines I have to say that warfare is nothing to shy away from even when you’re thrust into the midst of it at a young age. For those who are still serving and those about to serve the country in whatever undertaking being thrust upon them I’d just like to say thanks and remain safe !

Well on to things just as heart warming I hope , and that’s the sporting landscape as it now appears to be. After three utterly monotonous and boring days thankfully the NFL Draft is finally over ! Seven rounds and some 250 plus picks by the NFL’s teams and already questions are being raised as to who the winners and losers are ? Hell who the fuck knows who will be ultimately a winner and who’ll be a loser ? Until these players actually hit a field , play a first down in the NFL regular season it’s mere speculation and conjecture . Good , and although I watched none of the draft coverage by ESPN I can only surmise that the analysts and hosts on hand had a great deal to talk about . This much I do know there’s only so much one can take of Chris Berman , Mel Kiper and Todd McShay without wanting to blow a damn gasket !

It goes without saying that while everyone is said to be feeling all warm and fuzzy with the Draft , consider the stupidity of the situation of the NFL at present ? The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Judge Susan Nelson’s original verdict in favor of the players and in effect the NFL lockout remains in place . Judge Kermit Bye’s decision which has literally thrown a cog in the works and as of now although this apparently looked upon as a major problem . Anything that in essence prolongs this stoppage makes the whole issue of the 2011 season starting on time now seems even more remote. The NFL team owners for one thing are said to be happy that Judge Bye’s decision went in their favor as it now gives them the upper hand they will in this ongoing effort. If anything as this all plays itself out the fans are becoming even more disgruntled with the present situation as they’re being alienated by the stupidity that’s now being shown by both parties . The NFLPA through their own spokesman have stated that the decision was merely a partial victory for the league and they’ve vowed to fight on during in this ongoing episode. Any bets that there will actually be football by the opening week of September 3rd the opening weekend of the NFL season ? I wonder what odds are now being laid in Vegas at present ?

The NBA postseason continues with its usual bluster and the Miami Heat seem to be intent on making quick work of the Boston Celtics with Dwyane Wade showing why it is that the regular season 3-1 series loss and meetings between the two teams meant absolutely nothing. In game one of the Eastern Conference Semi Finals Wade and his team literally took the Celtics to task on their home court at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida , comfortably winning the game 99-90 . Dwyane Wade led all scorers with 38 points and who was also ably assisted with 25 points from teammate James Jones . And though it’s early days yet , expect this series to be a highly competitive and physical one . Would you expect it to be anything else ?

Ah, how the rich tend to look for sympathy when their plight can’t be seen in a happier light . Over the weekend Frank McCourt gave an interview as to his impending plight now that the league hierarchy has essentially taken away the reins from him as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner. Now as good as the team has been playing of late with both Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp at present having All Star caliber seasons. I can’t help but wonder what might happen should the team going into something of tailspin and start to lose consecutive games or for that matter series !

McCourt for his part when pressed by the journalist as whether or not he had in fact had contravened any league rules in the conduct of the Dodgers’ day to day business dealings was adamant he and no other executive had done anything that has contravened any league mandated rules . In the eyes of Frank McCourt it appears it is a matter of perception as to what those rules might be and whether or not any were actually broken. The Dodgers’ owner stated that Bud Selig’s appointed intermediary former US ambassador to Japan J Thomas Schieffer and he had a very cordial meeting and that Schieffer stated that it would not be his intention of interrupting the working environment of the ball club . Can’t say that if I were in Schieffer’s place I’d have said anything to the contrary , given the fact that the Dodgers are in a financial mess and anything coming from out of the beleaguered owner can’t be viewed as having a bearing on the truth as we know it to be at present. This episode appears to be heading for what one might view as a contentious situation as McCourt has vowed to fight any intention of the league hierarchy to force him to relinquish the reins in owning the team. Personally, from a fan’s standpoint whether or not Frank McCourt retains control of this team I couldn’t at all care , because I’ve always been of the opinion that MLB baseball and the team owners are a clueless bunch of individuals ! . Were they passengers on the Titanic I believe that they’d have been making comments on how wonderful the iceberg that they were about to hit is , rather than realizing the impending disaster that is within their midst . I’ve had one patron of my site state that baseball is lucky that it doesn’t have a labor issue to resolve but here’s the caveat to his thought. It is indeed true that the MLB doesn’t have a labor issue to deal with but what it does have is a financial quagmire that’s about engulf it like quicksand has ben known to entrap an animal and stifle it of its very life blood . At present the owners and league hierarchy are too dumb to admit that fact until they’re actually up to their necks in quicksand . And when that happens we could very well see them looking them looking for a life jacket with none to be found.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment and thanks as always for the continued support !

Alan aka tophatal ………………………….

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) Ayman Al-Zawahiri (left) and Osama Bin Laden (center) are seen here delivering one of those rather radical Islamic fervent anti West statements . Bin Laden’s death now leaves something of a vacuum within Al Qaeda but it appears Al-Zawhiri will assume the role as the organization’s leader . Now word as of yet officially as whether or not the US government will go after Al-Zawahiri with the same fervor . BBC.co.uk …….

(2) At least they had something that they had to agree on and that the death of Bin Laden was a necessity . President Barack Obama and his predecessor President George W Bush are seen at the White House on the day Obama succeeded Bush at President . AFP/Reuters/ Gil Hughes ……

(3) Denver Broncos vice president John Elway, center, talks about this year’s NFL Draft after it concluded his is flanked by head coach John Fox, right, and general manager Brian Xanders during a news conference at the football team’s headquarters in Englewood, Colo., on Saturday, April 30, 2011. AP Photo/Ed Andrieski ……

(4) James Hill standing with Kermit Bye (left), judge of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and North Dakota Chief Justice Gerald W. Vande Walle at the ABA 2010 Midyear Meeting in Orlando, Fla. West Law Publishing .

(5) MIAMI, FL – MAY 1: Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat shoots against Ray Allen (20) and Glen Davis (11) of the Boston Celtics in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 1, 2011 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(6) Mario Chalmers (15) of the Miami Heat hshoots over Kevin Garnett (5) of the Boston Celtics during Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2011 in Miami, Florida
Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images ……..

(7) Paul Pierce (34) , Jermaine O’neal (7) , Ray Allen (20) , and Kevin Garnett (5) of the Boston Celtics talk during game one of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images ………….

(8) Los Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier heads toward first after hitting a single during the seventh inning of their Major League Baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Sunday, May 1, 2011, at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, California . With that single, Ethier completed a 27-game hitting streak. The Dodgers would go on to lose to the Padres 7-0 . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …………

(9) Chad Qualls (50) of the San Diego Padres and catcher Nick Hundley celebrate a 7-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 1, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …….

(10) Will Venable (25) of the San Diego Padres skips away from the tag of Dioner Navarro (30) of the Los Angeles Dodgers to score a run for a 6-0 lead during the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium on May 1, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ……..

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It Ain’t What You Do It’s The Way That You Do It …….. That’s What It’s All About ….


It Ain’t What You Do It’s The Way That You Do It …….. That’s What It’s All About ….

Well it has come about and the NFL has now its first work stoppage in almost twenty five years. In not being able to reach an amicable agreement at the twelfth hour having twice extended the cba — ( collective bargaining agreement) for which its expiry date was midnight Thursday 10th March , on Friday at 5 pm NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in agreement with the NFL owners issued a public statement saying that there would indeed be a labor stoppage. In effect the 2011-12 season now becomes null and void pending any foreseeable changes in the future.

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Goodell’s counterpart NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith held his ground saying that unless the owners were prepared to accede to their wishes of opening up their books for further scrutiny then there could not be in clear conscience any reason to proceed with the deliberations and mediation that was being overseen by FMCS Director George Cohen . NFL Chief Legal Counsel Jeff Pash expressed his disappointment with the union’s position stating that the best place to conduct the proceedings is at the negotiation table and not the legal system. However for their part the NFL knew full well that all avenues would be sought by the union from the outset and that was the sole purpose of the union decertifying itself in order to take legal recourse against the NFL in the US Federal Court System challenging their antitrust status . With that process quite possibly taking some time before a trial date can be set three of the game’s most widely recognized players have lodged an injunction against the NFL seeking to stop the lockout now being instigated by the league.

Tom Brady , Peyton Manning and Drew Brees have filed a motion in the US Federal Court to overturn the NFL’s decision . But it remains to be seen whether or not they’ll be successful in their challenge pending a court decision by a Federal Court judge. . The two sides at this juncture remain so far apart that one cannot but question the fact that there was little else that one could have expected but for there to be some sort of inaction leading to the present situation. At the crux of it all was how much the NFLPA was willing to concede to the demands of the league without the NFL or owners actually giving that much up in return.

Many fans in and outside of the game have stated their wish to see some sort of settlement in place that would be of benefit to both sides while others simply wanted a lockout not realizing the harm that it would actually do within each of the markets where the NFL has a presence. Many have said it won’t actually do that much damage but bear this in mind a prolonged lockout not only harms the image of both the union and the NFL but it now creates widespread uncertainty and an economic collapse within NFL market place in terms of the local communities. For stadiums that are owned by the municipalities they now see another revenue source completely dry up and a further hindrance to their already tenuous existence in terms of the budgetary expenditure. Those communities with the economic impact of the NFL will lose in excess of $5-$7 billion . That sum doesn’t include direct revenues to the NFL itself but merely within the economic market place of those cities where the NFL is present. I’ve had one patron state that the NFL doesn’t add any presence to a community at large in terms of what it gives back . But the fact of the matter that statement comes from a person whose business acumen at best is probably marginal. With that now comes the fact that there are likely to be 100,000 jobs at risk through various sectors of the community , small by comparison when one thinks that labor force is of the nation is 145 million people and of which there are now approximately almost 14 million unemployed in the nation as a whole . Those jobs in question range from the parking attendants at the grounds to those within the hospitality , retail industry and numerous large and small business that rely on the NFL on game day in terms of business. But you’d be hard pressed to actually persuade an individual to believe that when their view of the situation is so myopic and in essence they merely don’t look at the overall big picture .

Stadiums that are municipally owned creat a deal of revenue for the cities in question during the regular NFL season with that comes a source of funds that in part can go towards improving services and the infrasttucture when spent prudently. The fact of the matter is given the dire straights of cities where the NFL has a presence any form of a financial hindrance in the present economic climate doesn’t help at all , in spite of claims being made to the contrary. One only has to look at the idiotic claims that were being made after the government bailout of the domestic automotive industry. Had both GM and Chrysler been allowed to fail the entire work force of both companies as well as another 2,500,000 jobs tied to the industry would have been at risk as well as the financial outlay that every taxpayer in the country would have to incur with the fact that both companies would then pass on their pension obligations to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation which would have to pay the pension benefits of current and former employees of both companies after their failure. That agency (PBGC) is a government ran concern that insures the pension benefits of employees of public companies that have dissolved into bankruptcy.

Even though the NFL is a private enterprise it doesn’t negate the fact that this stoppage will have still have an adverse effect on the economy. And when one considers that a government agency was asked to intercede in this situation it only adds to a situation that was very serious to begin with . Both sides have been culpable and the fact that the intransigence shown each side has bordered on being ridiculous and infantile only adds to the fact that there was such a gigantic impasse between the two .

To my mind, the real issue from the beginning was the NFL’s unwillingness to deal squarely with their own culpability in not reining in their expenses. There were so reliant on their corporate patrons tie in with the major broadcast networks in terms of television rights that they simply forgot that there always tends to be an economic downturn and that one ought to plan ahead rather than simply spending well beyond one’s means. And now that they’ve found themselves in the midst of a crisis which they as such help create through their own greed and then simply allowing the union to wield an axe over their head they’ve now resorted to an act that’s not liable to win them any friends at all. The union for its part also has to accept a great deal of responsibility for this mess and not solely lay the blame at upon the NFL hierarchy. NFLPA President Kevin Mawae and Executive Committe member Charlie Batch have gone on record as saying that they’re quite prepared to return to the negotiating table so long as the NFL is prepared to work judiciously towards a proposal that is equitable for all sides in this process. Somehow I ask myself how the hell can they simply not work this out given the fact that at stake here beyond a $ 9 billion a year industry you also have the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people who are reliant upon the NFL for a living . Never mind the cities who now may well have to look at other means of making up for the loss revenues that the NFL places in their coffers each regular season game.

Added into this mix we now have the broadcast and radio networks who also provide coverage of the NFL and how they now go about making up for the losses that they’re now liable to incur. ABC/ESPN , Fox , NBC , CBS and the NFL’s own NFL Network are able to charge advertisers premium ad rates during televised games and with there now in all likelihood being no regular televised season there now sits an empty void within their respective television schedules . Without those revenues we may well see some sort of curtailment as to the content in terms of programming provided up to a point. This now becomes another one of the ramifications of this proposed work stoppage and the ensuing fallout from it all.

For the team owners such as Jerry Jones , Robert Kraft , Al Davis , Art Rooney II , Pat Bowlen and Woody Johnson it remains to be seen whether or not they have the presence of mind to rethink their present stance and relay that to Roger Goodell , rather than the intransigence that’s now being shown by the league and owners . It certainly begs the question was Roger Goodell simply outwitted by his union counterpart DeMaurice Smith or was he merely that naive to think that the league and owners as such, had the upper hand ? Somehow I get the feeling that Goodell’s predecessor Paul Tagliabue would certainly not have taken this stance even at the wish of the owners . And therein lies the difference between the two , as Goodell is beholding to the owners even if they are as such , his employer , that he’s simply forgotten that even with their input he too has to provide some semblance of common sense in the midst of the dissension taking place. Instead I get the impression that the NFL Commissioner is way in over his head ! I’ve said this one of my patrons concerning Roger Goodell and how he conducts himself in public as the executive face of the NFL . To my mind while he gives of the air of someone who appears to self assured , I can’t help but wonder whether or not he’s actually capable of pleading a case on its merits ! Certainly any counsel that he’s been provided with over the course of these deliberations has been nowhere near good enough and the PR battle that the league waged , was a losing effort in the way they tried to effectively communicate with the press and public at large.

At times watching Roger Goodell take the dais to give a speech with regard to the NFL is akin to watching a politician give you the latest updates as it relates to a particular piece of legislation up for a vote within the Congress. More often than not they tend to use far y too many words when just a few will just do nicely.

The image of both the NFL and NFLPA has now sank to an all time low and in the advent of this being the first stoppage that the game has had since 1987 I get the impression that the inevitability about this action would have happened no matter what the issues were from the outset. At no time during the start of this process when the league first chose to opt out of the collective bargaining agreement did I for one really feel that either side wanted to actually reach an amicable settlement. There was a war of words from the start and in terms of attrition , well neither side was really up to the task of working out their differences as it related to the issues. If that were the case then surely they would have met far more frequently over the ensuing months after last September when the league issued its statement that they would indeed opt out of the collective bargaining agreement that was due to expire on the 3rd March 2011 , but then was extended to its last deadline of the 10th March. From November until the federally appointed mediator intervened the two sides had only met formally twice and the informal meetings between the two sides were usually conducted between subordinates of both Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith. And in reality those informal meetings were never productive or actually offered any real insight as to what was really happening between the two sides. Need I really say that there was in effect a pissing contest going on between these two leaders ?

Now we’ll have the tv pundits offering their insights with their own so called sources of information letting us know what the real impasse between the two sides was really about. But let’s be really blunt here …………….. for the two sides it was always going to be about money and who indeed was going to get a bigger slice of that $ 9 billion piece of the pie ! That in effect was the be all and end all of this whole negotiation process and none of the other so called side issues that we were led to believe making up this whole negotiation process. An eighteen game schedule was a none starter and the talk about union benefits and increase for current and retired players was simply a ploy all along. If either side were really concerned about issues such as players’ benefits as it relates to retired players then I can categorically tell you this that both sides would’ve done their damndest to get a deal done long ago before the cba had expired. The league has never cared about the well being of its players and neither too for that matter has the NFLPA ! Smith’s own predecessor Gene Upshaw all but said it himself in words that can be attributed directly to him ………. “I’m not here for the older guys I’m here for the young guys who’ve put the game on the map ” . If that’s not a sad indictment of the NFLPA and what it stood for under Upshaw then someone tell me what is ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the this NFL mandated stoppage and will it now affect the view that you have towards bot the NLFPA and the NFL ? Also do you believe that any legal action taken by the players singularly or the union will be successful within the legal system ? And will you as such miss not seeing NFL football for the 2011-12 season ? Simply offer up a comment as to your own thoughts on the matter .

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner, left, and Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys talk as they leave after negotiations with the NFL Players Association involving a federal mediator broke down without an agreement Friday, March 11, 2011 in Washington. AP Photo/Alex Brandon …….

(2) Former NFL player Don Davis departs after failing to reach an agreement in labor talks at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 11, 2011 in Washington, DC. The NFLPA has filed for decertification and will no longer be the exclusive collective bargaining representative for the players. Players will now be able to file antitrust lawsuits against the NFL. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images ………..

(3) NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith addresses reporters after the league and the NFL Players Association failed to reach an agreement in labor talks at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 11, 2011 in Washington, DC. Representatives from the National Football League (NFL) and National Football League Players’ Association (NFLPA) continue to negotiate a labor dispute as a deadline looms at the end of a 7 day extension of talks. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images ……

(4) WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 11: Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen departs after failing to reach an agreement in labor talks at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 11, 2011 in Washington, DC. The NFLPA has filed for decertification and will no longer be the exclusive collective bargaining representative for the players. Players will now be able to file antitrust lawsuits against the NFL. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images …..

(5) Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt (R) departs after failing to reach an agreement in labor talks at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 11, 2011 in Washington, DC. The NFLPA has filed for decertification and will no longer be the exclusive collective bargaining representative for the players. Players will now be able to file antitrust lawsuits against the NFL. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images ……….

(6) WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 11: NFL executive vice president Jeff Pash & Chief legal counsel addresses the media at a news conference outside the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 11, 2011 in Washington, DC. The NFLPA has filed for decertification and will no longer be the exclusive collective bargaining representative for the players. Players will now be able to file antitrust lawsuits against the NFL. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ……….

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Alan aka tophatal …………………

http://tophatal.wordpress.com/

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Take Me At My Word …… !


Take Me At My Word ………….

Well the idiocy of the NFL labor talks continue unabated and much like the stupidity of the Congress and Senate in trying to reach a compromise , here the two sides are so far apart that you could drive a Mack Truck through the chasm of their division. The NFLPA led by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith has asked that the NFL open up its books for public scrutiny of which I for one don’t believe that the NFL hierarchy ( team owners ) would be willing to do because then the public would find out the lies that have been told by them as it concerns their overall finances . Certainly NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hasn’t issued a public statement on the matter . But you’re continuing hear from various sources in and outside the NFL that the two sides are getting closer to a compromise . If only that were so because it seems that neither side at this juncture is truly willing to given an inch in order to elicit any type of real compromise !

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FMCS Director George Cohen the federally appointed mediator to oversee the mediation process can’t be pleased with either side at this juncture and with the intransigence being shown by both sides. And should he have to render a decision here you can be sure that it will be one that will be beneficial to one side while being a total detriment to the other even if on appearance it seems to be fair.

With the original collective bargaining agreement having passed as of 3rd March and then summarily extended by 24 hours momentarily before the two sides opted in taking this past weekend off and then extending that deadline by a further seven days . Well with that deadline now expiring at midnight tonight it remains to see whether or not the idiocy will still continue . This much I’m definitely sure of , if these two sides can’t agree how best to split a $ 9 billion ( $9,000,000,000 ) industry in terms of its revenues whereby both sides can feel happy , then the fallout from this debacle will rest squarely upon the shoulders of the NFL , NFLPA and the owners evenly. Any sympathy that either side may well have been looking for from the fans and general public alike will have completely disappeared .

It certainly never ceases to amaze me with the naivete shown by the fans and the college coaches within collegiate athletics . Within the ranks especially of college basketball and football where these coaches are well compensated not only by the salaries paid to them by their respective institutions but also by way of commercial endorsements that are to be had by when their programs become successful. Is anyone now really surprised by the allegations that have been leveled against Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel ? Long thought of as being above reproach who runs an exemplary program we now find out that Tressel much like many of his peers within collegiate basketball and football is nothing more than a conniving cheat and a complete imbecile ! What might make matters worse concerning the allegations against the coach is the very fact that he knew and kept them hidden from the athletics department and faculty of the school. His initial stance was that he hadn’t thought anything improper had gone on concerning the fact a number of players on the team had been receipt of gift monetary and otherwise from independent parties . However , what might be even more disturbing about these allegations is the very fact the coach had been receipt of an e-mail from an attorney , Christopher Cicero who’d also been a player for the Buckeyes when Tressel was then an assistant coach with the program. In that communique it informs Tressel that a number of players on the team had actually been selling memorabilia for financial gain. That is in of-itself is a major transgression of NCAA rules and for the coach to even keep that fact hidden from the AD and school is tantamount to condoning the acts of the players rather than instigating an internal investigation.

Courtesy of USA Today

Ohio State punishment of Jim Tressel called ‘a little light’

By Erick Smith of USA Today

The head of a law firm that helps schools deal with the NCAA said the Ohio State punishment of Jim Tressel appears lenient.

Michael Buckner spoke with The Columbus Dispatch and offered his analysis of the two-game suspension and $250,000 fine given to Tressel by the school for failing to reveal information about possible violation by two of his players.


“Just looking at it, it may seem a little light, especially in light of the fact Tressel didn’t report it to the university within a reasonable period of time,” Buckner said.

The Dispatch noted the NCAA has sanctioned 27 schools since 2006 for violating bylaw 10.1, which requires coaches and others to be truthful and forthcoming about possible NCAA violations. Of the 12 coaches involved, only one kept his job. The others either resigned or were fired by their schools.

“In those periods when he had an opportunity and a duty to disclose, he failed to do so,” Buckner said. “I think the NCAA could also come back and add failure to monitor or failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance. Those are program violations.

“With those three (including the bylaw 10.1 violation), you could look at the two-game suspension and the fine to be the minimum.”

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Clearly here these transgressions by the players of which it now seems the coach had been fully are of at the time were serious enough to warrant an investigation. But with the coach apparently thinking that it was beneath him to actually take this finding to the athletics department beneath him and furthermore being somewhat complicit in trying to hide it all makes one now wonder what else has Jim Tressel suborned to in the past with regard to the football team’s program which may well have broken NCAA rules ? If this were a simple mistake on his part then perhaps one might understand but the act the coach itself was calculated and premeditated and that in spite of his formal public statement on the matter .

With the university having suspended the coach for the first two games of the program’s upcoming 2011 season and a fine of $250,000 being imposed on Jim Tressel they feel that the punishment befits the crime . But I’m not so sure that the NCAA themselves will feel it at all adequate given the fact that coaches have actually been fired or suspended for even longer terms , having violated such rules . But therein lies the actions of the NCAA , as they seemingly pick and choose whom they wish to punish with impunity in order to make an example of a program. Is it any wonder that the governing body of collegiate athletics can’t be taken seriously in terms of its standing and the actions they at times deem fit concerning not only the coaches but the athletes themselves when they’ve broken the rules ? There’s never any consistency as the punishment meted out and not once ever has a coach been financially penalized for any wrong doing on their part by the collegiate body that governs college athletics. If the rules are meant to cover those involved in collegiate athletics then surely the coaches and their staffs fall under those rules apart from the athletes themselves !

NCAA President Mark Emmert who only assumed the position full time in November of last year having served as the interim president whilst his predecessor the late Dr Myles Brand underwent chemotherapy has got his hands full dealing with many of the issues now facing that body. Not only has he got to prove to the public that the NCAA actually stands for something but also that they can be trusted to act impartially and when necessary do what is morally right instead of appearing certain programs over others. Moreover if there was a environment of transparency as it relates to the NCAA’s business dealings rather than a great deal of it being so secretive and done behind closed doors then perhaps the public and college sport’s fan in general may well feel that they can be trusted . Instead they might just be as disliked as the present administration , the Congress and Senate jointly . At this moment the jury is still out with a verdict so it’s anybody’s guess as to what their thought might be on the NCAA .

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AFC West, Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL, NFLPA, San Diego Chargers, Sports

Autopsy Of A Season ……….. The San Diego Chargers


Autopsy Of A Season ……….. The San Diego Chargers

So much was expected of the San Diego Chargers for the 2010 season but given what we know about this team and their tendency to merely play each season by their halves it wasn’t a surprise that 2010 fell apart in the way that it did. And for the tv analysts , pundits and the fans of the Chargers this has become a case of history merely repeating itself again and again ! Qualcomm Stadium has simply become a graveyard for the aspirations of this Chargers’ team . They have a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback in Philip Rivers . And an offensive unit that ranked in the upper tier of the league’s teams last season.

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Norv Turner and his coaching staff have a team that was thought to be the equal of many within the AFC West if not better and most certainly viewed as one of the prohibitive favorites for Superbowl 45 (SBXLV). Certainly within the AFC as a whole the Chargers were viewed as one of the better teams . Nonetheless, Turner struggled to get this team to play with a level of consistency throughout much of the season. Even with the advent of injuries to players throughout much of the season you simply knew that this team just didn’t have what it would take to even mount a serious challenge to many of the opponents they’d face .

And while many viewed the Chargers as the team that’d go on to win the AFC West that privilege went to the Kansas City Chiefs under their sophomore coach Todd Haley . What might be even more unbelievable was the continued meltdown once again of the Oakland Raiders which ultimately led to a parting of the ways between incumbent coach Tom Cable and team owner Al Davis who would replace Cable with Hue Jackson . I won’t bother to repeat my thoughts as to the mindset of Al Davis as I believe that he’s way past his sell by date ! I’ll say this for the Raiders , they certainly have found ever increasing ways to implode their season without the help of anyone else . Not only that but they decided to cut their Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha merely because he simply didn’t meet the incentives in his contract.

Certainly this team of its own volition won’t be recapturing the form that many of their fans believe that they’re capable of. Especially given the fact that consistency has never been their strong point . And that was self evident throughout much of the Raiders’ season . They were able to win three consecutive games in a season for the first time in over two and a half years. That’s not the sort of record you’d come to expect a team with aspirations of winning a Superbowl . But then again these are the Oakland Raiders that we’re talking about ………. and where the sublime and the ridiculous seems to be representative of the continued madness within the organization .

Not to be outdone in all of this was the fate of the Denver Broncos and where their wunderkind coach Josh McDaniel’s tenure came and went in the blink of an eye. Team owner Pat Bowlen had all that he could withstand with his coach and that of Spygate II courtesy of McDaniels and the team’s videographer. With McDaniel’s firing after their Broncos’ disastrous season the team hired former Broncos’ great and two time Superbowl winner John Elway to be the Broncos’ Head of Operations . Elway’s first task in the postseason was to hire a successor to McDaniels and that would come courtesy of Jon Fox who left the Carolina Panthers in the offseason being one of a number NFL coaching casualties in 2010 .

The Chargers for their part will either have to do a number of things if they’re to remain credible as a contender within the NFL. First and foremost Turner and his staff need to be reminded that a season is one of 16 games and not eight or nine as the case maybe . First and foremost they need to strengthen their roster through the NFL Draft and simply reassessing the strengths and weaknesses on the current roster . Team GM A J Smith and owner Dean Spanos clearly know that this may well be their window of opportunity this upcoming season to finally prove the naysayers were wrong about the San Diego Chargers . If they’re not able to do that then I do firmly believe that Turner and his coaching staff ought to be relieved of their duties . They’ve taken this team as far as they possibly can and it’s my belief that Turner is still riding on the coat-tails of his mentor and friend Jimmy Johnson . How else can you explain the fact that he’s repeatedly been a retread around the NFL as a coach ? It’s certainly not been because of his abilities as a coach that’s for sure ! In reality Norv Turner is a very good offensive coordinator and a marginal head coach at best. His overall record may not actually bear that out but if you look closely, it’s not as impressive as some might have you believe.

This much I do know as prolific an offense as this team is , its Achilles’ heel has been its defense and the lack of a pass rush and run defense . And that most certainly will be something that Turner and his staff must look to improve for next season or whenever the NFL chooses to resume play. And bearing in mind the turmoil that this offseason appears to be bringing by way of the chasm and intransigence being shown between the NFL and NFLPA as it relates to their on or off again labor negotiation talks . It has to be said that a the labor stoppage would do irreparable damage to the San Diego Chargers and numerous other teams around the league. If economic estimates are anything to go by then the impact within each of the NFL’s team markets will cost the teams and businesses on average in excess of $10-$15 million each week of the regular season . Add that all up and you’re talking about a potential revenue setback of countless billions of dollars to the NFL and the encompassing businesses that count on the league’s regular season schedule as a way and means of surviving .

The San Diego Chargers themselves are by no means a financial behemoth when it comes to the NFL as a business concern. Dean Spanos in order to seek some cash infusion had sold a minority stake in the team to wealthy business entrepreneur and entertainment mogul Philip Anschutz a minority stake owner of the Los Angeles Lakers , the owner of the Staples Center , Nokia Theater and of course entertainment giant AEG Entertainment Inc. . And with the constant rumblings of the city of Los Angeles’ wish to have an NFL franchise within its midst , it’s widely been rumored that the Chargers would be a viable candidate to relocate within the greater Los Angeles area. This much we do know the city’s mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has made it one of prescient tasks of bringing a franchise to the city but at the same time I’d ask this of the mayor …… what about the city’s enormous budget deficit and the fact that’s he’s now said to be cutting many much needed services to the city’s residents as well as laying off city employees ? Never mind the fact that there’s still the uncertainty of the financing of either a new stadium complex and whether or not this will be a public and private partnership in the venture.

Villaraigosa and the proponents of such a deal haven’t exactly told the public how this all would be facilitated. And at the same time Commissioner Roger Goodell though steadfast in his belief that there’s a necessity to have a NFL franchise in the country’s second largest ad market, hasn’t at all said whether or not the NFL itself would in part finance the building of a new venue or in part fund any refurbishment of an existing stadium using the league’s funding specifically that of its account that covers the financial assistance given to teams around the NFL. What a great many of the teams within the NFL tend to do , is to seek out assistance from local municipalities where they in part foot the greater part of the financing with the owners putting little funding if any at all for such a proposal , at the same time this all adds and to the tax burden of the local residents directly and indirectly. But that’s simply another a dirty little secret that the local politicians and the NFL would rather not let the fans tend to know about right off the bat. Moreover , you tend to be told that this is something that will ultimately be of benefit to the local community by bringing jobs and adding the economic standing of that community by enlarge. That may well be the case but rarely does it work out the way that the NFL explains it, as can be seen by the overtures they’re now said to be making by seeking concessions from the NFLPA (union) in order to cover their excessive spending and not reining in costs in terms of expenditure.

Simply put the NFL not unlike the present administration , Congress and the Senate simply no longer can practice what it preaches and that’s prudent fiscal policy ! Certainly the conservatives within Congress and the Senate may well think of themselves as being that way, as being fiscally responsible but I’d dare say that the vast majority of them wouldn’t know the difference between a balance sheet and a baking sheet ! And that now encompasses the idiocy we’re seeing from the NFL hierarchy and that of the NFLPA led by DeMaurice Smith and its President Kevin Mawae .

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As to what the future now holds for the San Diego Chargers that remains to be seen but this much is certain, the team can ill afford to think that they can simply play half a season within the regular season schedule in thinking that they can still hit pay-dirt. It hasn’t helped them yet and it certainly won’t help them in the future . As bad as the AFC West is known to be , surely it cannot continue to remain that way ? Over time I expect the teams there to improve and that’s something that the Chargers’ fans and the staff there ought to expect rather than simply resting on their laurels and thinking that it’s business as usual . That’s the sort of complacency that has derailed the Chargers’ efforts in recent years and will continue to do so if they simply don’t change their mindset ! What thoughts if any do you have on the Chargers and their 2010 season ? And do you believe that they will ultimately improve and be a viable contender in the NFL in the coming years ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on this matter anything else as it pertains to the AFC West or for that matter the NFL as a whole .

Thanks as always for the continued supports as it’s greatly appreciated !

NB:


NFL news

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Quarterback Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos runs for a first down past linebacker Antwan Applewhite (90) of the San Diego Chargers as guard Zane Beadles (68) trails the play during the fourth quarter at INVESCO Field at Mile High on January 2, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images ……

(2) Quarterback Philip Rivers (17) of the San Diego Chargers takes the snap from center Nick Hardwick (61) of the San Diego Chargers during the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High on January 2, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images ……

(3) Cornerback Andre’ Goodman (21) of the Denver Broncos breaks up a pass in the end zone intended for wide receiver Malcom Floyd (80) of the San Diego Chargers during the third quarter at INVESCO Field at Mile High on January 2, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The San Diego Chargers defeated the Denver Broncos 33-28 . Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images ……

(4) Defensive tackle Antonio Garay (71) and linebacker Antwan Applewhite (90) of the San Diego Chargers talk to quarterback Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos following the Chargers 33-28 win at INVESCO Field at Mile High on January 2, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The San Diego Chargers defeated the Denver Broncos 33-28. Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images ……

(5) Head coach Norv Turner of the San Diego Chargers leads his team against the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High on January 2, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Chargers defeated the Broncos 33-28. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ……

(6) Head coach Norv Turner talks with quarterback Philip Rivers (17) of the San Diego Chargers as they face the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High on January 2, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Chargers defeated the Broncos 33-28 . Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ……..

(7) San Diego Chargers’ first-round draft pick Larry English , second from right, holds up his new jersey as, from left to right, general manager A.J. Smith, president-CEO Dean Spanos and head coach Norv Turner look on during a news conference Sunday, April 26, 2009, in San Diego. English, a linebacker, is from Northern Illinois. AP Photo/Jack Smith …….

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San Diego Chargers’ profile

Chargers’ news

Chargers’ 2010 schedule

Chargers’ team statistics 2010

Chargers’ schedule for 2009 season including results

Chargers’ schedule 2008 and 2008 postseason

Chargers’ roster

Chargers’ head coach Norv Turner

Assistant coaching staff

Chargers’ front office

😛
Alan aka tophatal ……………………..

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Eye candy ………… Denise Milani

Something to smile about with Denise and her bountiful chest of joy !

D 3

Denise’s lovely lady lumps !

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Outkast …………..“Elevator” (Me & You)

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Basketball, David Stern, DeMaurice Smith, Football, NBA, NFL, NFLPA, Sports

Can’t We All Just Get Along …. ?


Can’t We All Just Get Along ………..

March 4th and the deadline for the current NFL collective bargaining agreement expires and one would’ve thought that the NFL hierarchy led by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would by now be closer to negotiating an agreement with Executive Committee of the NFLPA led by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and union President Kevin Mawae . Instead the two sides are said to be so far apart that the divide makes the partisanship between Democrats and Republicans within both federal legislative houses seem like a house party.

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Goodell has insisted that he and the owners who feel that the players’ revenues derived of income received from the marketing and broadcasting contracts are overly excessive. Smith by his own account feels that the concessions that his union have already acceded to is enough. The economy has played its part in the situation that has been created but it simply doesn’t account for the fact that the league hierarchy has been totally complacent when addressing their expenditure. While we’ve the league negotiate with the broadcast networks ABC/ESPN , CBS , Fox and NBC multi billion dollar broadcast contracts in doing so they’ve simply not seen fit to try and rein in their expenses. The 2010 season was a year when the league operated without salary cap and when one bears in mind that the 2009 season the cap in place was one of approximately $110 million it’s easy to understand why Goodell and the owners simply saw fit to allay the process. They were under the impression that simply allowing the process to drag on and then take the stance that they would choose to opt out of the existing agreement would nullify the union.

Goodell would also have us believe that should there be a lockout this upcoming season then he’s quite prepared to forgo his annual salary and simply be paid a nominal sum of $1. Considering that he earned in excess of $12 million for the 2010 season I’m wondering how on the face of this gesture would appear to appease the NFL fans in general ?

Courtesy of USA Today

Roger Goodell to reduce salary to $1 if NFL enters work stoppage

By Sean Leahy of USA Today

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell intends to reduce his salary to $1 per year if the league’s labor skirmish erupts into a work stoppage this year.

Goodell announced the move in a letter to owners obtained by NFL.com in which he unveiled a series of rollbacks in compensation for NFL officials.

Chief NFL negotiator Jeff Pash also will slash his compensation to $1, and Goodell will hold back bonuses for league officials until April.

At that time, portions of bonuses will be held in reserve (10% for VPs, 25% for senior VPs, and 35% for executive VPs), and those balances won’t be paid until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.

The current CBA ends in early March, and the league may enter a work stoppage if no new deal is reached. Goodell has said he doesn’t want that to happen.

But with the time dwindling on the current deal and progress between the NFL and NFLPA slow to develop, the prospect of a work stoppage is increasing.

Goodell and NFLPA leader DeMaurice Smith met last week.

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DeMaurice Smith has countered in stating the league itself in collusion with the owners sought to bring the situation to an impasse by their actions. Players’ representatives from around the league have stated their opinions and they’re siding with their union chief and committee members. However there now seems to be some dissension from within as a number of players have stepped up to make their feelings known. And nowhere has this been more expressive than with the most recent statement from New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie who suggested that the commissioner and his union counterpart should lock themselves in a room and not come out until an agreement has been hammered out. What’s at stake here is nothing more than one side not wanting to look weak on appearance in the eyes of the NFL fans and the public at large. While this all is happening certain members of Congress have been observing this all rather closely. The House Oversight Committe as well as the House Judiciary Committe have sought to intervene in some way but in reality it’d seen as overly intrusive were they to do so at this juncture.

Any type of labor stoppage would do irreparable damage to the league and its image and it certainly doesn’t help in the current economic climate. A number of teams this past season financially suffered greatly having seen a number of their scheduled home games blacked out due to league regulations. It certainly affected the home schedule of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers which saw all eight of their home games at Raymond James Stadium Tampa entirely blacked out. And for the local fans in the area’s television markets this couldn’t have happened at a worse time. In an area where the unemployment rate is said to be approaching the national average of 9.8% these are indeed some very hard times for the Buccaneers’ fans and fans in general across the league. For the San Diego Chargers it was very much the same thing for the team’s hierarchy led by Dean Spanos and GM A J Smith as the team saw them having three games blacked out from their home schedule at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California . In total some 26 games were blacked out over the 2010 season costing the league and economies in those markets tens of millions of dollars in its economic impact over the course of the year.

For the Chargers this was a season which saw the Spanos family sell a small minority stake to multi-billionaire entrepreneur Philip Anschutz the co-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers and the owner Anschutz Entertainment Group Inc (AEG Inc). Now one could allude to the fact that this might be a maneuver in the offing which could see Chargers move from San Diego to the greater Los Angeles area . But if anything that would for now take a back seat until whatever transpires between the NFL and NFLPA .

Neither Goodell or Smith have done themselves any favors at this juncture with their public statements , as it appears that with each comment becoming more venal than the previous statement uttered. For the fans in general who are now observing this they can but only ask to themselves what the hell is going on when multi-millionaire players and in some cases billionaire owners can’t even be civil towards one another ?. Never mind the fact that the idiocy that’s being continually shown by both parties if this were a peace treaty being negotiated then I can guarantee you this , both sides would now be preparing for war !

With Superbowl 45 now in the offing between the two conference representatives the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers this will be the last competitive game being played in the NFL. Granted this weekend we’ll also have the privilege of seeing the NFL Pro Bowl being played in Honolulu , Hawaii but who in reality thinks of the Pro Bowl as ever having been a competitive game to begin with ? The only incentive has been for the players participating who get to pad their already burgeoning salaries with additional incentives based on season performances for their respective teams .

Should there be a labor stoppage forcing a lockout then the alternative for the NFL fans out there will be rather meager. OK at that point of the season baseball (MLB ) will already be in full swing . That being said the NBA itself is by no means out the woods as of yet as NBA Commissioner David Stern still faces his own demons having not yet reached an agreement with NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter and the league hierarchy’s unresolved issues regarding their own ongoing collective bargaining agreement. What I’d like to know is when did the earth actually fall off its axis ? Because the idiocy that’s now said to be taking place is beyond believable .

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It remains without saying that both the NBA and NFL for all of their image conscious proclivities in trying to make their brand more accessible for their fans have as such let the fans down. And while one can apportion blame on the respective hierarchies I do believe also that the players and the respective unions aren’t without blame in all of this. But you’d be hard pressed to believe that either of these parties would be prepared to accept the fact that they’re at fault in any way. Simply look at the actions of the parties concerned for what is now transpiring ? In doing so , you can clearly see why it is we’re at the point where it seems that there might be a point of no return ! An NBA or NFL lockout will most certainly lead to irreparable harm to the image of both sports. Why can’t we all just get along ?

What thoughts if any do you now have concerning the NFL and that of the NFLPA ? And how do you view the present situation also concerning that of the NBA and the fact that there also David Stern has still not been able reach an agreement with the Players’ Union ?
Chime in with your thoughts on both topics raised within this piece and anything else that you may well feel that’s pertinent to both issues.

NB: ____ Picture and slide show details

(1) NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter (foreground) and NBA Commissioner David Stern just can’t seem to get along or agree upon the financial health of the NBA . AP / Dave Caravetta ………..

(2) Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers is seen her giving a postgame interview after the game against the the Boston Celtics in Game Three of the 2010 NBA Finals on June 8, 2010 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Fisher is also the President of the NPBA (Players’ Union) and it appears that the player and his members are prepared for a lockout should they and the league’s hierarchy not be able to resolve the issues concerning the collective bargaining agreement. Getty Images/ Chris Halpern ……

(3) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, shakes hands with National Football League Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2009, prior to testifying before the House Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection subcommittee hearing on “The NFL StarCaps Case: Are Sports’ Anti-Doping Programs at a Legal Crossroads?”. Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball’s executive vice president of labor relations is at center. Both Goodell and Smith recently met at the NFL’s headquarters in New York city privately to further discuss their ongoing impasse as it relates to the collective bargaining agreement. It has now gotten so vehemently acrimonious between the two sides that several players are now calling for both officials to settle this issue as quickly as possible rather than it all leading to a possible labor stoppage and the alienation of the fans who’ve long supported the game. AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari ……….

(4)NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , right, speaks as Tennessee Titans and NFL Players Association President Kevin Mawae , left, listens during a news conference Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. AP Photo/David J. Phillip ……

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DeMaurice Smith, Football, Kevin Mawae, NFL, NFLPA, NIH -NIDA (National Institue of Health), Roger Goodell, Sports, Sports & Social commentary, Sports Commentary

The NFL Cares Because… It’s Because We’re Told So …. Not Because It Is So ….. !


The NFL Cares Because… It’s Because We’re Told So …. Not Because It Is So ….. !

The NFLPA , NFL and team owners have been complicit in fostering an illicit drug habit amongst their players. And nowhere is it more prevalent than now with current and retired players using at an alarming rate higher than that amongst habitual drug users. And here I’m merely talking about prescription pain medication used by the players . ESPN’s Outside The Lines’ segment this past Sunday will make you aware as to how this has become a rampant epidemic.

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The league now won’t even broach the subject when question once again leading us to believe that as usual they have something to hide. Now we have at least 73% retired of the retired players suffering debilitating pain and who are now taking prescription medication but in doing so they’re obtaining these drugs illegally . What’s even more startling is the very fact that many of these players are endangering their live in taking these drugs at above the medically advised prescription levels.

Do you get the impression that this simply is another episode that the NFL would want swept under the carpet ? I’ve read and heard many out there saying that this is a brutal sport and those who play it know what the dangers are . But this has become ridiculous to see this come to the fore and the league and its representatives hide behind the idiocy that the inherent dangers are what makes the sport so exciting and rewarding . However at no time do they ever consider the dangers that tend to be the aftermath from the injuries suffered by the players. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell more image conscious as to what he believes the league represents and the money made but his insistence that the league watches over its own with a great degree of conscientious objectivity has become a complete charade. One simply has to look at the way that they had to be dragged kicking and screaming merely to address the fact that there are related problems concerning head traumas , concussions and the early stages of Alzheimer’ disease and in some cases ALS .

Consider this also players now are more liable to be addicted to pain killing medication such as Percoset and Vicodin than they are to be hooked on cocaine or marijuana . Albeit that the league has their league mandated drug testing policy. NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and union President Kevin Mawae won’t address this matter publicly but it appears that the collective bargaining agreement takes precedence and the money that they seek to retain is of the highest order in the ongoing labor negotiations. Brett Favre the former poster child for pain killer addiction was a major cause for concern in the early to mid stages of his career as he was openly abusing pain prescription medication. So pray do tell how is it that the league suborns this sort of behavior when the players are able to get the team’s doctors to prescribe them these medications and then they can also obtain these drugs illegally through members of the team’s coaching staff , family friends and even in some cases drug dealers . Is this now the the image the league wants portrayed to the fans and its numerous corporate sponsors ?

The NFL has now become more so about the image of its superstars and how best to promote them at any expense . The league loves this as do the fans but I doubt that they’d really care to see such former players as John Elway , Franco Harris , Gale Sayers and Kyle Turley merely struggle to stand or even take a step across a room without suffering from an ailment that was caused by a career injury. Current players now playing with reoccurring injuries , ailments such as chronic neuro encephalitis (swelling of the brain) , rheumatoid arthritis from never mind the abuses in their prevalent misuse of prescription but yet at the same time they’re told by team doctors or choosing to play of their own volition merely so that they can maintain their status and get paid. Is it a sacrifice worth taking given the aftermath as we now know it to be ?

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We fans tend to only choose to invariably see one side of the sport and that’s the blood, guts, glory of it all and the acclaim to be had. The NIDA (National Institute for Drug Abuse & Institute of Health– NIH ) for its part has conducted a well respected research in on this issue and should the NFL hierarchy choose to question this research and its findings then it goes to show how our of touch they really are not only on this issue but on others concerning the game as a whole !

Has there ever been any other time when the actions of the NFL to your mind has been so asinine and out of touch with reality ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on this matter and where you see the NFL , Players’ Union now going and how best they can address this most acute of issues .

Picture and slide show details below.

(1) National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell , Rob Manfred, executive vice president of labor and human resources in the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, Major League Baseball, NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , Michael Weiner, general counsel for the Major League Baseball Players Association, Travis Tygart, CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, Gabriel Feldman, associate professor of law and director of the Sports Law Program at Tulane University Law School, and Jeffrey Standen, professor of law at the Willamette University College of Law (L-R), testify on Capitol Hill on November 3, 2009 in Washington, DC. The hearing focused on doping in professional sports. Getty Images/ Brendan Hoffman ……….

(2) Commissioner Roger Goodell (left) with DeMaurice Smith, head of the players union. The two and their respective bodies seem to be at an impasse as to how best resolve the league’s collective bargaining agreement. AFP/Reuters ………

(3) Denver Broncos vice president of football operations John Elway (left), owner Pat Bowlen (center) and new head coach John Fox share a laugh before Fox addressed the media at Dove Valley on January 14, 2011 in Englewood, Colorado. Fox was named the 14th head coach in Broncos history yesterday after spending the last nine seasons as head coach of the Carolina Panthers. Dustin Edmonds/ Getty Images North America ……….

Alan aka tophatal ………………..

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The Game ….. feat’g ……. 50 Cent ……” Hate It Or Love It “

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Eye candy ………… Elke ‘The Stallion’

Who wouldn’t want to be in the saddle with this ?
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Baseball, Basketball, FIBA World Championships (2010), Major League Baseball, NBA, NFL, NFLPA, Sports

Did It Work For You ?


Did It Work For You ?

Well the NFL __ preseason has now started and a number of teams are looking to find a rhythm and sense of where they’re at before the regular season begins. Though I’ve never put much store in the preseason the way that some fans do. I do however believe that the rationale behind the league and owners wanting a four game preaseason schedule is merely being done out of greed and not much else . It’s bad enough that we have the coaches and GM’s tying their season to the fans exhibiting their wish to viiew their teams in the preseason and having to pay full price for those exhibition games and viewing somewhat of a watered down product . Now the fans may well have to put up with the fact that neither side can reach an amicable agreement in terms of an ongoing negotiation process of the league’s collective bargaining agreement . The NFLPA and Roger Goodell seem to be at loggerheads insofar as showing sound judgement .

With the talk being amped up that for the 2011-12 season there’s talk of a labor dispute and possible lockout . I’m now beginning to wonder whether or not this season could be the last of what we could see as in terms of professional football being played. Never mind that the now fledgling organization UFL enters its second year looking to make some inroads. But no one could ever view the UFL’s brand as being comparative in terms of the talent or competitiveness on display. That’s akin to comparing caviar and a meal bought from a roach mobile . Suffice to say that while the NFL is on display the earnest fans of the game will be on hand to witness the brand and cheer on their teams.

OK so the baseball season has not only heated up but there are now some teams now fighting for their very survival as the divisional races are now really on the line. Other than the AL West where the Texas Rangers now possess an 8 1/2 game lead over their nearest rival within the division the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim one can surmise that the Rangers are pretty much on their way to postseason play. As to who they’ll fare and whom they will meet is now open to a great deal of conjecture and debate. The one thing we can be sure of however is that the Rangrs under the new ownership of Charles “Chuck” Greenberg and Nolan Ryan are looking to make the team a complete success and bring some sense of respectability to the organization.

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Of the remaining divisional races I for one am not about to make any prognostications as to how things will fare for the teams said to be in the midst of those particular races. It’s one thing to see how error prone or inconsistent some of those teams have become without them being further handicapped by my own thoughts on their play. The one thing I do know however and think will have to happen and that is that the New York Mets will have to gut their team and completely start afresh. But what might be even more worthwhile is for Mets’ owner Fred Wilpon to fire not only GM Omar Minaya but also team manager Jerry Manuel and the coaching staff . If the two men in question can’t assess talent much less place a worthwhile product on the field of play. Then what use are they given the vast financial resources at their disposal ? And given the fact that the Mets have a payroll that exceeds $132 million , that ranks fifth amongst the teams in baseball . One has to ask the question where’s the so called “talent “ that the front office seems to have squandered this money on ? Depth alone and the entire roster seems to be made up of players that are either vastly overpaid or who are well past their prime.

Well having won the Olympic gold medal in Beijing and now back at the summit of men’s basketball . The stars of the NBA have assembled to represent team USA for the upcoming World Basketball Championships to be held Istanbul , Turkey , from the 28th August to 12 th September 2010. As the reigning Olympic champions the team is highly favored to win the competition outright. But this time around even with the team being coached by Mike Krzyzewski and his assistants Jim Boeheim , __ Mike D’Antoni and Nate McMillan in tow. I’m not so sure that this time around that team USA will have it as easy some might first think. Especially when in light of the fact that upon reviewing the roster the most experienced players on the team with international experience are Chauncey Billups and Lamar Odom . That being said with the coaching pedigree that’s on hand there should be no reason to believe why the team shouldn’t prove to be successful at these championships. The one thing that we don’t want to see is the sort of complacency that was seen in 2006 and and then in the two most recent Olympic games prior to 2008.

Playing in Group B and based in Istanbul the team is grouped alongside Brazil , Croatia , Iran , Tunisia and Slovenia . The team’s sturdiest opponents in the first round of group play will most likely come from Slovenia and Croatia and perhaps Brazil. But in no way should one overlook any opponent at this stage given the fact that these teams all qualified for what is the most prestigious international team event outside of the Olympic basketball competition , itself.

As the tournament progress beyond the opening stages it’s hoped that the team will be able to show its guile and skills under the coaching philosophy of Krzyzewski and his staff. The play of the NBA being what its is , it becomes a completely new ballgame at the international level literally. And instead of playing four quarters as we’re accustomed to seeing within the NBA , at the international level the game is played in two halves of 20 minutes apiece and where the NBA rules do not apply. But given what we know has been the preparation of the squad we should expect the players to adjust and acclimatize themselves to the rigors of the competition. One would coach Krzyzewski and the team can home victorious at the culmination of the event with another dominating performance and with the trophy in hand as well the applause of his peers and the other participants there in Turkey. Over the next three weeks we shall see if this all comes to fruition .

The fallout from the LeBron James’ fiasco notwithstanding it appears the player’s skin isn’t as tough as was first deemed. God knows based on his play within the NBA and the demise of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals this past season against the Boston Celtics . I’m now beginning to wonder who’s tougher ? LeBron James or the now “out of the closet” homosexual Ricky Martin ?

James is now said to be somewhat aggrieved to what he feels is the unjust criticism that he’s said to be receiving from such former NBA stars as Charles Barkley , Larry Bird to and to a a lesser extent Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen . Now as we know “Sir Charles” tends not to hold anything back when he has an opinion to offer be it on game of basketball or any other topic for that matter. But it appears that the now Miami Heat player feels that the criticism being leveled at him by Barkley is completely out of line. From where I sit I feel that James has placed himself in this predicament with the less genuine stance taken by him in granting that rather asinine interview with ESPN in announcing his decision to leave Cleveland to ply his trade in Miami alongside Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade . In two rather overly boring two hours he spent being fawned over by Jim Gray , James did more to harm his image and came of looking like a narcissistic idiot . Nevermind the fact that he had the audacity to accept $250,000 from the sports programming outlet for granting the interview. As to credibility , neither James or the outlet can lay claim that they now possess any !

And while no one doubts James’ ability as a player it would appear that in terms of maturity he still has a great deal of growing up to do. His vanity and no dobt the belief that he should be fawned over by his predecessors and fans like does give credence that he fully believes that he’s done enough where the asinine proclamations anointing him as King James ought to be believed and that he too believes it to be fact. What we now know to be a fact is that James while being a prodigious talent is nothing more than the usual self absorbed athlete we’ve now become use to . Soft demeanor and with his own personality flaws simply looking to avail himself of all the wealth and power possible but who’s yet to prove himself as an athlete and a leader within the NBA . Unfortunately this tends to come about when members of the press tend to feed the voracious appetites and egos of athletes such as this without wanting to hold them accountable .

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What thoughts if any do have on the topics mentioned within this piece ? By all means do chime in with a comment .

Alan aka tophatal ……….. 🙂