Wednesday, May 30, 2007

"Creative" Solutions for Certain People

A couple of things...

Denver Broncos wide receiver David Kirkus was allowed to remain with the team after he passed a lie detector test, even though he was charged with assault after allegedly getting in a fight with a man outside a club. The young man, who happens to be White, simply had to give his word to the coach that he was only guilty of poor judgment and take a polygraph test that wouldn't be admissible in any legitimate judicial setting.

"Well, my bad judgment was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I didn't break any laws by going where I was. I was out at a time at night that I shouldn't be out at that time. That's obvious. And as I'm growing up and I'm becoming an adult -- it's a slow process for some people -- it's just one of those things you learn from."

I certainly hope Michael Vick, Elijah Dukes, Chris Henry and AJ Nicholson will get similar treatment. Oh, my bad. Too late for that.

The members of the Duke University lacrosse team were granted an extra year of athletic eligibility.

"These individuals were involved in an unusual circumstance that we believe warrants providing them the opportunity to complete their four years of competition," said Jennifer Strawley, NCAA director of student-athlete reinstatement and membership services."

Fine. I don't begrudge anybody from playing all the years of lacrosse they wish. And I certainly have nothing against common sense solutions.

But I wonder why the Duke lacrosse team is the sudden beneficiary of unprecedented and swift common sense action by the usually bumbling NCAA. No other student athletes deserve common sense treatment? Common sense is on hand for a lacrosse player, but maybe not a basketball player who has to sit out a year for transferring even after a coach leaves or a school is penalized? Or a football player who is exploited by the big money system, but is not even guaranteed a degree?

I'm sure neither of these situations have anything to do with race.

Kobe and Crazy Go Hand in Hand

Kobe has gone from snitching on Shaq to snitching on Jerry Buss. Please don't ever do your dirt in front of Kobe. This mofo has a penchant for remembering details!

"He met with me at the Four Seasons Hotel here across from Fashion Island, which is now the Island Hotel. I went up to his penthouse suite. [Buss] looks me dead in the face and says: 'Kobe, I am not going to re-sign Shaq. I am not about to pay him $30 million a year or $80 million over three years. No way in hell. I feel like he's getting older. His body is breaking down, and I don't want to pay that money to him when I can get value for him right now rather than wait. This is my decision. It's independent of you. My mind is made up. It doesn't matter to me what you do in free agency because I do not want to pay [Shaq], period.' "

"Dr. Buss said that. And I haven't said anything for years because I've always felt like folks were just looking to create controversy. Now I know. I realize what extent [the Lakers] will go to, to cover themselves."

No love for Jerry Buss, Kobe? Dr. Buss once had an alleged rapist's back. Remember that, Kobe?

Shaquille O'Neal claims he believes Kobe's account of what Dr. Buss said one hundred percent. But Shaq has beef with the Laker organization. I don't doubt he would "support" Kobe to avenge his vendetta.

Actually, I believe Kobe's account of what Dr. Buss said one hundred percent. But did anyone ever believe Kobe's signature was on the trade papers or anything? No matter what Jerry Buss did or didn't say or whatever Kobe is saying years after the fact, I will always believe that Kobe was complicit in the trading of Shaquille O'Neal. Kobe is no victim. He's merely gotten what he wished for. I don't care how much mumbling and using words like "truf" Bryant did all over ESPN today, Kobe is presently suffering through the turmoil he sowed the seeds for.

And, by the way, score one for diverse journalists. It's interesting that Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski slams Kobe, while Stephen A. Smith has bent over backwards all day to convey an empathetic picture of Kobe.

I'm amused that Kobe has promoted himself to owner (by imagining the firing of current GM Mitch Kupchak) from general manger (by effectuating the trade of Shaquille O'Neal). I'm annoyed by Kobe's latest hissy fit when things don't go his way.

Still, Kobe's concerns about ownership are not totally misfounded. Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss was arrested on suspicion of DUI (and with a 23 year old woman in tow). And Mitch Kupchak is no GM Savant.

Kobe is absolutely right on the substance of his argument. But in a predictable Kobe brand of crazy, Kobe keeps changing his mind about exactly what he wants to happen. First, he wants Jerry West to come back. Then he wants a trade. Then he didn't say either of those things. Then he demands a trade. Then he talks to Coach Phil and hopes to remain a Laker for life. Maybe Kobe will share his medication with the rest of us.

Sad. The Lakers couldn't help themselves now if they wanted to. At the beginning of the soap opera, I thought it was pretty magnanimous for Kobe to "suggest" a solution that would allow him to remain a Laker. Obviously, the Lakers couldn't be instant contenders now even if they gave up Bynum and Odom. Kobe craves some long term confidence in the direction in the team. It's reasonable to assume Jerry West would provide that. But, now Kobe is disgruntled and whole world knows it. His value is instantly diminished in the market place. Too bad crazy Kobe didn't think this through.

And lest we forget the real victims in this drama. Vanessa Bryant needs her shopping and red carpet appearances. Kobe might have punched their ticket out of town today. Wherever the Bryants end up, they better sell Blahniks for Vanessa's sake.

BTW, Kobe. Michael Vick thanks you today (Shhhhh! A grand jury may be assembling in relation to the dog fighting thingie). Alex Rodriquez thanks you today. Lebron James hates you though.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

No New Evidence, But Focus on Vick Continues

And I say no new evidence knowing full well an informant appeared on ESPN Outside the Lines claiming to have seen Michael Vick at dog fights way back in the day during 2000. What that guy said is absolutely meaningless. Not only did Vick's alleged attendance at the dog fight occur before he was even in the league, it is not even specifically relevant to the present circumstances.

Can somebody just fine Vick and get this over with? Just to put this sorry story out of its misery. Otherwise, we might have to continue to suffer through even more daily "developments." It's unlikely that Vick will be charged with anything, but he deserves a slap on the hand for being a bad boy. He is the face of the Falcons franchise and the highest paid player in the league.

This story is just leading to general lunacy all around.

The AJC did a feature on back up quarterback Joey Harrington. I'm sure that isn't a coincidence. The article is entitled "QB Harrington...Awaits Chance". Wishful thinking for a newspaper staffed by card carrying Vick haters. Joey is drinking the Kool Aid too.

"I would be lying to say I don't think about it. As a backup quarterback I have to be ready. Whether it's here in minicamp with what's going on off the field or whether it's during a game where, in just one play, you could be in the game. As a backup quarterback, you have to be ready at all times."

The AJC also praised the feds for getting involved in the case - "feds" meaning a Department of Agriculture official. At least a notch or two above the dogcatcher, I'm guess. Still, not enough to make me think this is a dire legal matter as it relates to Michael Vick.

Stephen A. Smith has felt inclined to be loud and wrong when speaking on the situation. When discussing the Vick situation, he offered up such treasures like, "Atlanta is one of the worst sports towns in the country" (We are a shaky sports town, but not the worst by any stretch of the imagination. Falcon support is very strong actually.) and the "majority of patrons are White" (Wrong again, Stephen. I haven't done a headcount, but you can't make statements like that without proof. Even if going by ticketholders, Stephen might try watching a game, where he will notice a significant number of patrons are Black.)

Even John Clayton has been reduced to repeatedly saying that Vick doesn't fall under the new player conduct policy because he hasn't been convicted of anything. Pacman Jones must have been tuning in to ESPN only during John's segments.

Roger Goodell is incensed that he has not been getting his phone calls returned by Surry County authorities. For some reason, he feels entitled to a status update on a case he is not party to. Funny. So, Goodell beat his chest and sent down some NFL security officers to assist in the investigation - unsolicited. I guess the whole country is subject to Goodell justice, not just the league.

And most have missed the point that the reason dog fighting is a felony in most states is because of the gambling, not the dogs. If Vick is running a kennel to furnish dogs for dog fighting, that would mean he is heavily involved in illegal gambling. Indeed, it doesn't seem like many people have noticed that, according to a kennel owner and the ESPN informant, Vick was purchasing dogs and gambling thousands of dollars at a time when he was in college. How did he have access to such funds in college? Should somebody be investigating Virginia Tech?

All in all, a ridiculous situation.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Priorities, People

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement about Clinton Portis' lack of outrage over dogfighting. The commish didn't hesitate to proclaim that he was "extremely disappointed and embarrassed" over Portis' statements.


But am I to infer that the commissioner less disappointed and/or embarrassed over domestic violence?

While Portis was cracking jokes, (former) Cincinnati Bengals linebacker AJ Nicholson and New York Jets cornerback Justin Miller were allegedly committing assault towards women during this whole dog saga. Women, not dogs.

I not aware of Goodells' urgent statement condemning assaults against human beings. And the media continues to harp on dogfighting and villainizing Michael Vick. Card carrying PETA member or not, can't we all agree that there are bigger villains in the NFL than those who may or may not fight dogs?

Bitches over women? That ain't right.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

He'll Always Be a Hoya

Jeff Green is staying in the draft. Roy Hibbert is staying in school (yay!).

Good luck to you, Jeff Green. I hope the Hawks don't draft you. I know you said things weren't "set in stone." But it's clearly more likely than not that you're gone. Remember, if the Hawks try to draft you, go back to class.

Roy Hibbert, congratulations on being a member of the class of 2008. You too can be a Georgetown graduate! With any luck, you'll be celebrating a championship and a graduation next spring.

"I said to myself, ’Do I really want to go in the draft and sit on the bench?’ My heart was here.”

Yes, Roy. You'll still be 7'2" next year.

Jeff Green will be a question mark for any NBA team he goes to. He has tons of upside, but is unpolished. He is inconsistent in the big games. Hopefully, he will go to a team that will commit to developing him. No matter what, he will bring a good work ethic and certain productivity to the team that drafts him. That is the mark of a Georgetown pro.

Roy Hibbert will certainly lead the Hoyas to another successful season. If Jeff had stayed, we would have been a certain number 1 or 2 preseason pick. But we'll still be in the mix. We've got Roy, Patrick Jr. and two All-Americans coming in. Other squads (cough, UNC) should be wary.

Go Hoyas!

Come Back, Michael Irvin

I know you need to express yourself.

I know you're sitting at home staring at a closet full of clothes you've never worn. I know. I've been there.

This is Playmaker style inspiration if I've ever seen it. I couldn't help but think of you, Mike, when I saw this satin tie. Sniff... I think of you everytime I see an outrageous tie. And look. Shawl collar. Fancy double breast. And glitter in a suit. Glitter in a suit! You could rock that Playmaker. I know you could. I need you to.

Anyhoo, congratulations to Apolo Anton Ohno (not pictured) for winning Dancing With the Stars. I was kind of pulling for Joey Fatone (pictured), but Apolo had been consistently good the whole time. So, I am able to sleep at night. I wasn't pulling for Laila at all. She's pretty and she tried hard, but she's not a natural. I feel a little bit bad for feeling that way given that she was dancing while hurt. But so is life. Victory is for the speed skaters.

Nice Guys To Get You Over the Hump (Day)

Oakland A's center fielder Nick Swisher cut his shoulder length hair and donated it to the Women's Cancer Research Fund as part of the Pantene Beautiful Lengths non-profit campaign, which creates free wigs for women dealing with hair loss from cancer treatment.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Braylon Edwards endowed a million dollar fund for eighth graders in the Cleveland area. If the kids maintain a 2.5 average during high school, have no unexcused absences and do 15 hours of community service, they will receive $10,000. They can use the money for college (even Ohio State) if they choose, but don't have to. Braylon's foundation will offer tutoring and mentoring to help the kids meet their goals.

Houston Texans wide receiver Ahman Green needed to purchase his number 30 jersey from Jason Simmons in order to sport the jersey for his new team. Simmons told him that all Green had to do for the number was put a down payment on a house for a single parent. Ahman agreed. Not only do two teammates bond, a needy family benefits. Jason Simmons said he was inspired by Atlanta Falcons RB, Warrick Dunn.

New Orleans Saints running back Deuce McAllister helped Nike donate 13,000 pairs of tennis shoes, worth over a million dollars, to New Orleans kids as part of a national campaign to encourage physical fitness and fight obesity.

Amare Stoudemire is going back to college. The NOIS is all over it.

Penn State head coach Joe Paterno instills discipline in the kids and gives the janitor a day off as he plans to force the football team to clean the football stadium after games. Actually it's not the janitor. Members of the club sports typically clean the stadium to raise money. Joe Pa said they'll still be getting their checks.

So, too bad you've been distracted by errant Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos (what?! didn't hear about the Broncos player in trouble? Shocking! The NOIS is all over that too. Do yourself a favor and enjoy the comments for a hearty laugh.) and Michael Vick. I pray you forgive Vick for his latest display of "remorse". We are under siege by wildfire smoke here in the A. Not only is there a distracting barbecue smell, but I'm sure the toxins affected his thought process. Thanks to Awful Announcing for the video.

The Hawks Got the 3rd Pick?! ! So What.

Can you detect my excitement?

Ehhh, I'm so excited.

The joke on sports talk today was that the Hawks should've sent Shelden Williams to represent the Hawks at the draft because, obviously, that one is the luckiest motherfucker alive.

The Hawks got the #3 and the #11 pick in the NBA draft. Don't worry. They'll waste both of them. Don't worry your pretty little heads over who they will pick. If the Hawks accidentally pick good players, said talent will only reveal themselves after they are traded to other teams (see Jason Terry and Boris Diaw for reference).

Meanwhile, potential Hawks draftee, you probably won't learn much from Coach Woodson, but enjoy the strip clubs, the malls and the good restaurants. The liquor stores are closed on Sunday. That's something you'll need to know as you will want to make sure you are never unable to drown your sorrows. And, yes, there will be sorrows.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Still a Hater!

Hammerin' Hank has not been swayed by my pleas for him to publicly support Barry Bonds. In fact, I think he's been angered.

“I will never reconsider my decision."

Never? Never ever? So harsh. Think about it, please?

“No, I won’t be there.”

Any well wishes or advise for the next home run king?

“I don’t have any advice whatsoever, no advice to anybody.”


Monday, May 21, 2007

Friends. How Many of Us Have Them?

Michael Vick is not alone in the world. He has some friends in the world willing to stand up for him on this whole dog fighting mess. No, not friends like those "friends" who snitched him out to Sports Illustrated. Not even "friends" like former teammate Ray Buchanan who backtracked on statements that Vick has long been involved in dog fighting.

No, finally, Michael Vick has enlisted some real friends in support of him. Because Arthur Blank was getting lonely.

Clinton Portis says:

"I don't know if he was fighting dogs or not, but it's his property, it's his dog. If that's what he wants to do, do it. I think people should mind their business.

I know a lot of back roads that got a dog fight if you want to go see it. But they're not bothering those people because those people are not big names. I'm sure there's some police got some dogs that are fighting them, some judges got dogs and everything else."

Tommy Reamon, Michael Vick's high school coach, says:

"He is hurting and hoping that this process will take care of itself as soon as possible.

If I can quote one thing that is so powerful about Michael Vick today, is that he is making those immediate changes in his life and his environment. He is doing it at this present time, as we speak.

He is doing those things that we all know need to be done. However, the fascination of the media continues and nobody sees him making these changes. He's doing what he has to do and God bless him.

But he's hurting.

He will be cleared on this mess. There's no question."

Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer says:

"The thing about Michael is that he is a good person with a good heart. I think he understands he needs to make good decisions and be concerned with who is around him, because who's around him gets connected to him. I think he understands that now."

So, eff you Congressman Tom Lantos and your witch hunt against Vick. Do you know how much gas is? Aren't there some missing soldiers you need to find? Michael Vick should not be a congressional priority. That said, I'm sorry he ruined your fantasy football team and that he's generally disappointed you in becoming the "next best thing."

(I must confess that I write in fear of the Pacifist Viking. He appears sometimes to chide me with his cute bunny avatar to make me feel bad about not being as devoted of an animal lover as he is. I assure you, PV, my pet is in no danger!)

It's Hard Enough Being a Blogger

There was forum on the Black athlete held at Morehouse College a couple of weeks ago. Spike Lee hosted it. Athletes like Jim Brown and Alonzo Mourning attended. So did writers like Gene Wojciechowski and Stephen A. Smith. Jason Whitlock, who was in attendance and self aware enough to notice that the forum focused too much on him, but then wrote a column covering the forum that was all about himself.

But the point of the forum has been largely missed in the post event coverage.

The purpose of the forum was to inaugurate the new sports journalism program at Morehouse College. Spike Lee raised a $1 million to endow a program of study at his alma mater that would hopefully encourage more Black students to pursue careers in sports journalism. The idea being that sports coverage would be more balanced if there was a more diverse group covering the people that play it.

I’m not going to make excuses for the Pacmans of the world, Tank Johnson and those guys.

I just think, historically, the black athlete has been demonized. If we can get our graduates into these positions with newspapers, magazines and television stations ... hopefully we’ll get a more balanced view.”

Amen to that, Spike. I've said it before and I'll say it again - hence the title of this blog.

Blacks hold only 6.2 percent of the sports writing jobs. Out of more than 300 newspapers, just five have a black sports editor. By contrast, nine out of 10 sports editors were white males, as were 84 percent of sports columnists. Still, those dire statistics don't tell the whole story about the pipeline. For example, no insight on attrition, what types of publications Black sportswriters work at, what sports they cover and whether said writers are on track for columnist, editor or management positions.

I have to wonder what the legacy of Spike's endowment will be. No matter how much support is provided, how many of the intended beneficiaries of the program will choose to potentially sacrifice a paid position for an internship just to hopefully advance to some low paying job and then proceed to work their way up in a presumably good 'ol boy environment. It might take more than a few encouraging professors to make anyone, Black, White or whatever, to look forward to that fate.

One only has to look to the sports blogosphere to understand that Lee's goals might be easier said than effectuated. To my knowledge, there are remarkably few Black people who choose to blog primarily about sports. Let's see, there's me, ms. suns gossip, the starting five, nation of islam sportsblog, bench renaldo, jones on the nba, the commission... That list is based completely on my limited knowledge and I'm sure there are a few more I'm missing and some bloggers who haven't "outted" their race, but you get the point. That's not a lot of blogs, especially given that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of sports blogs with an audience beyond their immediate family.

This is a point of interest because blogging is completely voluntarily. No education required. No interview. No hook up. No internship. No undesirable assignments. Open up a blogger, wordpress or typepad account and you're a writer. It's just that simple. You don't even need a computer. You can post from your cell phone. You can blog as little or much as you want. You can write any way you want. The blogs I listed are all very diverse in subject matter and style. It seems to me that if you wanted your voice to be heard, whether as a personal or professional pursuit, the blogosphere would be an ideal place to get started. Still, that many Black people don't seem to be participating.

The blogosphere, arguably the most free of all journalistic venues, remains primarily the domain of 18-35 White males. Hey, I love White males as much as the next person, but I wonder why the sports blogosphere as not become as diverse as the people who are fans of sports. That goes for Blacks, women, Hispanics, Asians and all the rest.

I wonder if Morehouse's new program will be holding courses about coping with alienation. You can turn to the best of the blogosphere and will inevitably find too much one sided complaining about Pacman Jones and Scoop Jackson. What am I supposed to do when I can't even leave a dissenting comment on some posts? Not because I'm not free to do so. Just some days I just don't have the energy to be the lone voice of dissent. What am I supposed to do when people complain that I write about race too much (Lol, on my blog!). The blog is challenging enough. I can only what it must be like in the press box.

What Spike Lee is trying to do is important. Some may question why this is such a big deal, but in large part, stereotypes and misinformation are perpetuated through the mainstream media. All media. So it's important that the producers are equipped to provide balanced coverage. Diverse staffing can play a big part in that.

So, I hope they teach good writing, career prep skills, and definitely how to counter the frequent sense of alienation. Somedays I have to remind myself, my voice does matter. Even in the blogosphere. I'm a all for a few brothers getting a chance to shout from the press box.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Ron Mexico Doesn't Have Much...

...but he still has his herpes.

You may think it sad to look back on one's offseason and come away most grateful for your herpes. But herpes is always there for you. You can depend on it.

Every cloud has a silver lining. And, indeed, so does herpes. Science may have proven that herpes will protect Ron Mexico from the bubonic plague and other bacterial infections.

So far, studies have only established the link in mice, but number 7 should be hopeful. Maybe one day they will prove herpes protects humans against infection. Maybe one day science will figure out what has happened to Michael Vick's good common sense. Until then, he has his herpes.

Because He Learned From the Best

Former Atlanta Falcons backup quarterback Matt Schaub is enthusiastically establishing himself as the leader of the Houston Texans.

Surely, he learned everything about leadership from Michael Vick. After three years as his backup, Matt Schaub has certainly learned everything NOT to do if you want to be seen as leader.

Fresh from number 7's tutelage, Schaub asserted himself by calling key Texans' players on the very same day he was released from the Falcons. For one, WR Andre Johnson was impressed. "That was big. A lot of people don't do that when it's their first day with the team. I think just by him doing that he caught a lot of guys' attention." No dog fighting or airport issues for Schaub this offseason. Instead he undertook dozens of workouts with his new receiver.

Although Schaub was the backup in Atlanta, I'm disappointed to learn that he wasn't sharing his leadership textbook with Vick. Apparently, he's a natural. Texans head coach Gary Kubiak reflects, "That's his personality. That's something I think is his strength and we kind of knew that. People gravitate to the young man. He has a lot of confidence in what everybody's doing, not just what he's doing and you can see that on the field."

Better late than never, Schaub offers a tidbit of leadersip advice.

"Everybody leads in different ways, whether it's by example or vocally. You've got to find a happy medium, being a new guy. You've got to take the reins, but you want to show guys that you're out here to work and get better and do it by example, not just be the voice."

Speak up, Matt. I don't think Michael can hear you over the white noise of denials, blame and "no comments".

BTW, I'm still an ardent supporter of the Falcons and our fearless "leader". Irony amuses me though.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Conspiracy Against Vick

Get over it already.

Common sense says that Michael Vick fights dogs and lied about it.

The media seems determined to prove it though. Why? Who cares? I don't find this story to be actually interesting anymore. Training camps have started. It would interest me to hear how Vick is handling Coach Petrino's new offense. What is this campaign against Vick about? Dogfighting? Veracity? Undermining Michael Vick just for the sport of it?

The media is just doctoring up controversy. The latest headline is that an "investigator" claims there are witnesses and even video evidence that Michael Vick attended dog fights. Even if I cared, I wonder why the media felt the need to trump up the source of this latest "development" in the story. The so-called "investigator" is an animal control officer. A goddamn dogcatcher. And a dogcatcher who belongs to animal welfare groups. Not only is the source not neutral, the source has little to no power to do anything to Michael Vick.

Sure I appreciate the efforts of animal control officers, but the only person with the power to pursue criminal charges against Michael Vick is the Surry County attorney Gerald Poindexter and he says:

"I'm not going to be a party to a witch hunt. "This [process] will not be driven by people who hate Michael Vick, love Michael Vick or people who love animals."

Amen to that. Like a mere dogcatcher could bring down Ron Mexico anyway.

Bonus coverage! Pacifist Viking breaks down the mainstream media outlook on the Vick Story.

Whether He Likes It Or Not

Hank Aaron has recently said that he'll be somewhere playing golf when Barry Bonds breaks the home run record. But Hank Aaron will be present for the milestone whether he likes it or not - when the jumbotron announces the breaking of the record, on the chyron when they show the highlights on TV, and on the minds of some people who will be distressed if Hank Aaron doesn't show up in person to witness the milestone.

Via The Feed, Paul Finebaum, a columnist in Aaron's hometown newspaper The Press-Resiter, opines that Hank Aaron ironically is demonstrating the kind of surliness that Barry Bonds is pilloried for.

However, from this standpoint, as vile as he may appear at times, Bonds is showing no less class than Hammerin' Hank, who just can't let bygones be bygones. He continues to wear his bitterness on his sleeve after all these years and will likely sulk all the way to the grave.

I feel sorry for Hank Aaron. Really.

He could actually do something constructive here instead of continuing to shake the dust and cobwebs off the hate mail he has saved from 33 years ago. But no, Aaron continues to play the same grumpy and surly role now as he did during his prime. Some things never change.

I'm not old enough to have observed first hand how Hank Aaron carried himself during his playing days. But right now, he does come off as a little bit of a hater. I agree with Finebaum that Aaron has the opportunity to do something constructive with the moment. Personally, I would settle for anything. He could use the moment to advance his own fame. He could use it as a platform to dissuade kids coming up from using PEDs. He could show solidarity with the players bemoaning the decline of Black Americans in the major leagues by remind America that it has Black baseball hereoes. He could simply be present just to bring more attention to the milestone and enhance the marketability of the game, as he has and continues to earn millions from his baseball legacy.

There are certainly those who believe Hank Aaron walks on water. But he is just a human being, just like Barry Bonds. And while Barry may never completely rehabilitate his image no matter what he does or doesn't do, Hank's image is currently pristine. But his refusal to participate in the home run milestone will undermine his legacy for a certain group of people. He will become just a mortal, not a hero on a pedastal. Still a baseball great, buy maybe also just another grumpy old man.

Paul Finebaum also did a radio interview on Atlanta's 790 the Zone. What was notable about the interview was the confrontational tone of it. The Atlanta hosts were absolutely incensed that Finebaum declared Hank Aaron to be less than perfect. Well, Finebaum is only saying what some people are going to realize on their hown. Some people are going to think that Hank is bitter, jealous and/or surly for not publicly recognizing the new home run king. Ignoring the issue is not being the bigger man. It just makes him passive. Aaron wouldn't cease to be seen as a "big" person for supporting Bonds. He just doesn't want to.

As the moment grows closer, Hank Aaron's name and his refusal to witness the breaking of the record will increasingly be interjected into media conversation. Whenever a living person's record is broken, it's always a big deal. By not getting in front of it, Aaron is basically giving the media license to stir the pot. The media thrives off controversy and they will create it, whether it exists or not.

The conversation about Aaron's "snub" of Bonds will get louder. Barry Bond's brother, Bobby, Jr., has already increased the volume by publicly expressed his disappointment in Hank Aaron. Bobby Bonds, Jr. is disappointed in Bud Selig for not committing to be present for the breaking of the record, but is also saddened by Hank Aaron.

"Especially Hank Aaron," Bonds Jr., whose late father played in the same era as Aaron, told the newspaper. "Hank Aaron does not even want to support Barry. Being a black man going through what he went through in the past and not supporting my brother, it kind of makes me look at him like, 'Are you serious, brother? Are you serious?' "

"Cut the steroids out, just look at my brother as a human being. He stole bases, he ran, he caught the ball," Bonds Jr. told the Star-Ledger. "It's so hard to justify what's going on with baseball and how they're treating him."

Like Barry or not, Hank can relate to being the villain. He's been there, done that. It's not fair that Hank Aaron should have to take a position on Barry, but it's still disappointing that he won't. But as long as Hank doesn't mind coming a notch down off that pedastal, it's his choice.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Different Strokes for Different Folks

Like a moth to the flame, Terrell Owens finally gave the media an audience on the last day of training camp. When asked what he got out of one year of Bill Parcells' tutelage, Owens answered, "Nothing." That one word got Terrell all the headlines. There are no less than three current articles about Owens on the with hundreds of comments after each. The hometown paper has already started hating, imploring us not to hand out a merit badge to Owens just because he showed up to training camp and impressed everyone. Fair enough. Owens is a star. Anything he says is going to get a lot of attention.

But what about Julius Jones' comments? Now those were actually provocative. When asked about Parcells, Jones said:

"I was being told a little bit where to run and not really being able to use my instincts," Jones said Sunday. "Maybe I listened to coach (Bill) Parcells a little too much and was kind of running like a robot. ... I was being coached and just listening to my coach."

To me, that's a much more substantial critique of future HOF coach Bill Parcells than what Owens said. We could dissect the merits of a "great" coach reducing his star talent to robots all day long on sports talk. But, eh, Owens is the bigger star, so all the focus on him.

And I fear Michael Vick is entering Terrell Owens territory. And I don't mean being world class at his position (fingers crossed, though). The also has a few current articles about the Falcons. And I'm sure the recent spotlight on the Falcons has nothing to do with Michael Vick and dogfighting. Nothing at all.

But if there was truly outrage over the dog fighting issue and/or consequences, why nary of mention of Jonathan Babineaux of the Falcons. He is not accused of merely fighting dogs, but of killing one with his bare hands. He barely gets attention, even from the hometown newspaper. Babineaux is not a star, so I guess the substance doesn't matter.

The outrage and attention is over the person, not the actual issue.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Good Guys Do Charity?

Paul Attner of The Sporting News has proposed an interesting concept. That the so-called "good" guys of the of NFL take on the extra burden of mentoring the so-called "bad" guys of the NFL. Surprise. Attner identifies the good guys as guys like Tiki Barber and Marshall Faulk. The bad guys are Pacman Jones, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and the other usual suspects. Attner proposes that the good guys shepherd the bad guys. He specifically proposes that the good guys educate the bad guys on the benefit of charitable activities. Because that will make everything better.

What the league needs, though, is for more of these good people to become even better guys. That means they need to figure out how they can influence their communities in a more positive way. These men have an extraordinary ability to bring happiness to those less fortunate; it's a power of giving that not enough of them are willing to exercise. They either don't understand the level of beneficent effect they can produce or they are unwilling to commit to helping make their world a brighter place.

Attner has a interesting idea. But there is a critical flaw in his argument. Charity can not be the miracle cure for the bad guys given that many of the bad guys already do charity. I'm not sure if Attner considered the possibility that people can be good and bad at the same time. Presumably, you can only be one way or the other. There is no "gray." Tiki Barber is good, no matter that he does lose his temper sometimes. Terrell Owens is bad, no matter that he does run a foundation dedicated to Alzheimer's research. Like many others in the media, Attner is limited to narrowly categorizing people.

And possibly, Attner is just ignorant about the people the media chooses to regularly pillory. That circumstance wouldn't make him unique among the media either.

There is no proof that Kurt Warner does more hospital visits than Randy Moss. Nor does it matter, because there is not an absolute correlation between the amount of charity an athlete actually does and the public perception of whether he is "good" or "bad."

If writers like Attner are tired of "bad" guys, then experiment picturing those villains as good guys - or even better, regular guys. Even Pacman Jones and Tank Johnson have good qualities. Limiting athletes to narrow labels such as "good" and "bad" don't do much to advance discourse, analysis or the obsession with athletes as role models. I bet it wouldn't be hard to find people whose life has been positively impacted by the scourge of the NFL.

Yes, certain athletes, in fact, do bad things. That doesn't necessarily make them all bad people. But, if for you, it turns solely on how much charity they do (or how many press releases emerge tauting said charity), you may never be convinced of that. If you are more comfortable with boxes and labels, so be it. But actual understanding may elude you.

Battle of the Malcontents

I have predicted a battle for attention between Randy Moss and Terrell Owens during the upcoming season. The Fro has already won round 1. Can The Smile recover in the latest episode of "Battle of the Malcontents?" (And I mean "malcontent" in the most loving way possible.) Presently, Roger Clemens is not in the competition. Certainly, he is one of the great attention whores of our times. However, according to the media, it is my understanding that he merely "grandstands" and/or does things "in dramatic fashion." He is not on par with the flashy, showboaters scourges in this competition. Also, he has no reason to be a malcontent. Owners are falling over themselves to over pay him for a few days work and hold him above his teammates. Some people have to pout to get that kind of treatment.

On to the latest installment...

The Fro gets a locker right next to Tom the Dreamiest and the OG, orginal golden boy Brett Favre, threw a hissy fit when he found out the Packers wouldn't trade for the Fro. The Fro is clearly adored. And the fate of two teams are intertwined with Randy's. Nice. The Fro will be obssessed over for days.
The Smile had surgery on his finger in the offseason, rehabbed by catching tennis balls and surprised everyone by participating in the first Cowboys training camp. Maybe he just couldn't resist the attention of 60+ reporters at the Dallas training camp or maybe he just to wanted to look after his $3 million roster bonus coming due on June 1. Everybody was watching The Smile for sure, but he had to run and catch and beat cornerbacks and sweat. Too much work for one SportsCenter segment, I say. I mean, he played the "leave 'em wanting more" card well by refusing to talk to the media, but still... Or maybe he wants to beat The Fro where it counts - on the field. Hmmm....

Round 2 Winner:
The Fro. Has anybody even seen Randy? All this fuss and the Fro is barely lifting a finger. The Smile will have to learn how to work smarter not harder in this attention game.

The Fro. 2-0

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Arthur Blank Goes All "Stern" On Vick

Falcons owner Arthur Blank, concerned that quarterback Michael Vick could be suspended by the NFL, has had another meeting with his embattled star where "I could not have been more stern."

Blank spoke to Vick in person about a series of recent off-the-field incidents, most recently an ongoing investigation of illegal dog fighting at a property he owns in Virginia.

Blank said he did not know if Vick has any involvement but, "from the facts we have so far, it's not a pretty picture. It's clearly an issue and we'll wait and see what revolves around it. I'm not a prosecutor or an attorney so I'm not going to sit in judgment of Michael."

Arthur Blank isn't a snitch, but he gave his boy up for his own good. I turns out it was Blank himself who sent Michael Vick to NFL commissioner Roger Gooddell to speak to Michael Vick about his misconduct.

Stating the obvious, Arthur Blank is smarter than Michael Vick. It was very, very clever of Blank to be proactive in dealing with the league commissioner. In the future, the commissioner may be lenient with Vick, if that becomes necessary. And it makes the Falcons organization look cooperative in the commissioners' eyes. It's always a good idea to get in good with the big boss. Good thing somebody is thinking ahead in the Falcons organization. Can't have Mike doing all the intellectual heavy lifting.

I typically frown on business people who make personal decisions concerning the company and normally look sideways at paternalistic White people, but I have no reason to suspect Arthur Blank is doing either right now. Blank has consistently demonstrated a genuine loyalty to Vick, whether he's pushing his wheelchair or signing off on his hundred something million dollar salary. Arthur has consistently stood by Vick despite Mike's constant missteps. It may indicate that Blank is too close to his employee, but I don't doubt that Blank has the franchise's best interests at heart. Blank is doing it his way - the warm and fuzzy way apparently - and I can accept that. Arthur Blank warned Michael about endangering his endorsements and said he told Vick, "You represent us as a franchise, you represent yourself as a person and you represent the NFL. It's not one single thing, it's a series of things." There's no flaw in that approach.

When people start doing random, WTF stuff, it's usually a sign of trouble at home - a person who lacks a parent or a significant other or even a good friend. If Arthur Blank insists on being Michael's friend, that's a good thing. According to unnamed sources in Vick's camp, Michael listens to the last person who speaks to him. If the last person Vick heard is Arthur Blank, then maybe fans can be hopeful that Mike can put his Ron Mexico days behind him. Good news. Michael Vick is selling the house (and the dog pens) in Virginia. It's probably too early to tell if he will rebuild trouble elsewhere.


I Need to Believe

So this is the straw? Dog fighting? Dog fighting is what is going to make Sports Illustrated dispatch damning statements like this about Michael Vick:

"In recent days, talked to multiple sources who have known Vick well for years, and they say his troubling pattern of recent behavior belies a penchant for questionable judgment, an unwillingness to distance himself from the wrong crowd, and a long-standing belief that the rules don't apply to him.'

...Vick is not a 'bad guy,' the sources say, but he refuses to take direction from anyone, often fails to recognize good advice when it's offered, and is unwilling to separate himself from bad influences, who are largely friends and members of his ever-present 'posse.'

...Blank is in complete denial, in part because he spent $130 million on the guy,' one source said. 'Vick is his investment. When Vick does something wrong, he has Blank to run to. Blank and his wife, Stephanie, really coddle the guy. They baby him. I think they've enabled the situation to the highest degree. They've not held Vick accountable for his actions."

So Vick gives a girl herpes (allegedly), flips off a fan, gets caught up in airport security, but dog fighting has finally set off this media intervention? Ironically, dog fighting may be the thing that bonds Vick with some of his redneck constituents in Georgia. North Georgia is a national hotbed for dogfighting.

I just find it astounding that Vick is now suddenly considered to be of questionable character. Fighting dogs is not a nice thing to do, but is not necessarily anymore reprehensible than any of Vick's other missteps. Michael Vick is the same ol' Michael Vick. He has just arbitrarily become the media's latest whipping boy. And I'm not taking the bait. I need to believe. He is the quarterback. He is going to be the quarterback. So Atlanta Falcons fans like me are just going to have to coexist with Michael. Sports Illustrated can do whatever they want.

And head coach Bobby Petrino is with me.

"I need to believe in Michael. Since I've been here, a couple of situations have come up. We've sat down and talked about them, and certainly his track record with me has been that he's told me the truth, so I'm going to believe in what Michael tells me."

It seems more appropriate that Sports Illustrated focus on Michael Vick as it relates to sports, not character. And it seems Coach Petrino wasn't one of their sources, because the head coach of the team seems satisfied with Vick's commitment to football.

"Petrino said when it comes to football, Vick's focus has not waned.

'Since the incident's happened, he's here in the building more,' Petrino said. "He's spent more time watching video, throwing the football, working out. He's taken it upon himself as, 'I'm going to learn this offense. I'm going to run this offense.' Maybe it has motivated him just the opposite as far as being a distraction."

I, for one, do not care much about Vick's canine pursuits. Vick has had a lot of offseason issues, regrettably. However, I have heard no complaints about his on the field commitment. When Sports Illustrated does the expose on that, lemme know.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Irony is Not Lost on Barry

Barry Bonds hit 745 last night. It's clear there's no guaranteed reward for being the "nice guy." But Barry is trying his best anyway. Have you noticed?

It's all quite ironic, actually.

The demonization of Bonds has a life of its own. It doesn't matter what Barry Bonds says or doesn't say or what he does or doesn't do. The writers will still be praying to God that he doesn't break the record. The commissioner will still be snubbing him. The man whose record he is going to break will still have his golf clubs at the ready and a first class ticket to any town where Bonds won't be.

The media waits with baited breath until Bonds hits 756, but, in the interim, doesn't feel compelled to label Roger Clemens as a scourge of the sport. He, whose build and amazing ability to remain an ace power pitcher as he approaches his 50's, clearly demonstrates the miracle of conditioning and conditioning alone (wink). Clemens' grandstanding at Yankee Stadium the other day was attention whoring at its most egregious. Bonds only broke down on a simple sidewalk in front of a couple reporters. He was wearing sweats, I believe. He didn't bother to get all gussied up like Roger to put on his show in front of tens of thousands of adoring fans. Nor does Barry charge his team a pro-rated $28 million for the privilege, even though he takes off days to avoid injury, not play in golf tournaments. Aren't cheating, self promotion and greed the holy trinity of the modern day evil athlete? Is Clemens more like Barry than Barry is? But it doesn't matter, because the demonization of Bonds has a life of its own.

Bonds' critics inside the game also have Barry like qualities. Curt Schilling said, "I mean, there's no gray area. He admitted to cheating on his wife, cheating on his taxes, and cheating on the game, so I think the reaction around the league, the game, being what it is, in the case of what people think." Well, if Barry is a liar, turns out Schilling is a liar too. And just for the sake of attention! Barry, in fact, never admitted any of those things. But who expects Curt to keep the facts straight when he is so busy posting to his blog and accommodating all his radio appearances. His lies, even his alleged lies enshrined in the hall of fame, and shameless self promotion make him nothing like Barry, of course.

A likely replacement for the home run king (yeah, get used to Bonds' new title) is already lined up. No matter if Alex Rodriguez is not known for leading his team toward anything but elimination and whining about his unrequited man crush on his teammates. I guess he is still a superior hero to the devil called Barry.

Finally, Barry has shut up and played. And that's what we wanted, right? The entire season, Barry has been dignified. He has been quiet. He has brought in the fans. He has helped his team win. And when he breaks the record, he will bring mainstream attention to America's pastime that it is not really America's pastime anymore. I think he's trying to show us he's not so much of a demon. Too bad nobody's noticed.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Fashion Round Up - Weekend O' Sports

You were too busy gambling to catch all of the details of the Kentucky Derby/De La Hoya Fight weekend extravaganza. So let's review the outfits you missed.

Michael Jordan looks dapper in light stripes at the derby. Like the shoes. But John Salley looks better. The fedora is tilted just right and he's even carrying a little pocket camera to capture all his fashion memories. Cute!

But I am not mad at Michael Jordan. He went to the Derby and the fight! Must be nice... That is some hard core partying. A rumor has it he went from chatting up Gabrielle Union in Kentucky to Eva Longoria in Vegas. And he went from day to night with his outfit, dumping the shirt and tie for a more casual turtleneck.

So do you think it was Vince Young or Eddie George that spotted Michael Strahan on this trip? The guys look nice, but they are not ballers like Michael Jordan, although Vince tries to rock the lavender and gray version of Mike's suit. They could only afford to attend the derby

And who has the hottest accessory?

Alonzo Mourning and his lovely wife Tracy at the fight...

Or Julius Erving and his daughter wife, Dorys, at the derby?

(Not bad, old man. Not bad at all.)

And OJ keeps a low profile at the derby by dressing like a bum.

Floyd was laughing with you, Mexicans, not at you. He wasn't mocking Speedy Gonzalez Oscar De la Hoya, right?

I do not know exactly what is going on with Floyd Mayweather, Sr.'s hair, but we may have, in fact, spotted a nappy headed ho.

NBA Future First Lady, Eva Longoria, looks nice in her little black dress and bangles, but seems be praying that 50 doesn't ask her what she thinks about that Vitamin Water badminton commercial with Brian Urlacher and David Ortiz. Vitamin Water is 50's company and I have no doubt that the commercial was his brainchild. Shuttlecocks as deadly weapons? That's gangsta.

Have we determined which athletes are and are not allowed to wear Yankees fitteds? And are we still wearing white tees and doo rags? Really, Allen?

Vladamir Klitschko goes for the casual no tie look, while Jerome Bettis wears a t-shirt to his ringside seats at the biggest fight in years. I'm sure it was his best one though.

If Jay-Z was really an owner of the Nets, would he skip the playoffs to ham it up with Jeezy and Diddy? And ex-Cavaliers owner Usher is in the fray too. Those wearing suits in this picture look good. And let this pic serve as a reminder that you need to get your stunna shades in order. Apparently, we are rocking those again.

A couple of bonus images:

David Beckham is platinum blonde now. Okay, you can exhale now.

And doesn't Serena look nice? Classic bob with little Black dress. Maybe her best look ever. Sorry, no backshots.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Tracy McGrady Drunk Dialed Me Last Night


"Hey, Tracy."

"Did you see the game?"

"Yes, Tracy."

"Did you see the press conference?"

"Yeah, Tracy."

"Well, the tears were for you. I want you to love me so bad. We were talking about getting back together..."

"Tracy, it's done. You used to be my favorite player. But then you went soft. And you didn't act right once you got hopped up on that back pain medication. You've had chance after chance after chance. I don't like saying it, but it's not going to get any better."

"But, baby, my back is better now. I've got a supporting cast. We're getting a new coach. I can be better. I just want to get back to how it used to be between us. Can't I come over? I can do those slam dunks you like."

"Whatever, Tracy. It's over. Maybe you can be my sixth man, but I'll have to commit to a new superstar now. He's emotionally distant, but maybe Gilbert can fit me in between Halo sessions. And then maybe I'll give you a call."


"Tracy, I've got to go. Chris Webber is on the other line. I've got to give this speech again. I'm not getting caught up over that sonofabitch either."

Random Gossip

The New Jersey Nets almost lost their owner! On Friday, there were rumors spreading that Jay-Z had gone down in a plane crash. Fortunately, Jay-Z is okay. He was able to skip the Nets advancing to the playoffs to attend the fight in Vegas. Thank goodness!

Larry Johnson is not going allow Reggie Bush to be the only NFLer rotating on 106 and Park. He is the love interest in Fantasia's video, "When I See You." He didn't get a thorough lap dance, but he does get a kiss at the end. I didn't see any tongue or anything though.

The Strahans are still beefing. Jean Strahan wants to delay the auction of their furniture until the sale of their mansion. Jean is also claiming she can't keep up with the mortgage and the lease payments on her Escalade because Michael Strahan hasn't given her enough money.

And way to bury the lead. Crunk and Disorderly provides pictures of Michael Jordan and Nicole Murphy. Who cares what Michael was doing faux humping on some random coeds. WTF was he doing in Mexico with Eddie Murphy's ex wife?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Livin' Just Enough For the City

I never thought I would see the day when the Golden State Warriors were the hottest team in California. Over the Lakers. Over the Clippers. Over the Kings. The Warriors are what's poppin' now.

The Warriors defeated the Mavericks in the most humiliating fashion. 111-86. The eight seed beat a 67 game winner in six games. Baron Davis was on one leg. Dallas bareley showed up. Stephen Jackson was a team cancer. Now he's a baller. Now he's part of history. Stephen and The Beard are about to make a run, baby.

And Dirk. Oh, Dirk. Two for Thirteen. Eight points. Horrific, indeed. I called it awhile back. The German has no heart. He was an MVP candidate this year. Maybe he can get himself together and be somebody's sixth man contender next year.

Some notes:

Kobe fans should be worried. If the Warriors have the movie stars, what's the notoriety of playing in Los Angeles? Maybe he'll want to move on. Maybe he'll want to keep playing with Smush and Kwame. Or maybe he'll want to move on.

Maybe Mark Cuban is not so smart. Cuban and the Mavericks are going down in NBA infamy and not for any of the right reasons. Mark ran his mouth last year and badmouthed Nelly this season. Can Cuban recover? Does the goatee have too much influence?

Imus Sues. Good for Him!

As offended as I was by Don Imus' "nappy headed ho" comment, I never thought he should be fired. Imus is suing CBS for the $40 million remaining on his contract when he was terminated.

So I'm actually pleased that Imus is asserting his right to say what he wants to say. After all, everybody else had their say. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Vivian Stringer, Snoop Dogg, Jason Whitlock, Russell Simmons, Stuart Scott, Oprah, etc., etc.... They all had their say. And fair is fair. If 50 Cent can say " got feminine ways, you look like you got four lips and bleed for seven days" in his latest single already in heavy rotation on the public airwaves, Imus deserves a fair forum to determine how relatively vulgar his speech was. I respect CBS' right to fire Imus as a right of FCC compliance, corporate prudence or even social responsibility, but Imus has the right to say what he wants as a matter of free speech.

Imus' lawyer, Martin Garbus, claims that Imus' contract contains a clause where CBS acknowledged that Imus' services were "unique, extraordinary, irreverent, intellectual, topical, controversial." The clause said Imus's programming was "desired by company and ... consistent with company rules and policy."

This is certainly some selective quoting by the lawyer. If the language in Imus' contract was so clear, he wouldn't have needed to hire one of the most preeminent First Amendment lawyers in the country. A plain 'ol contract lawyer would've been fine.

But in Imus' case, his contractual right to be "controversial" is surely balanced with a contractual obligation to perform in compliance with FCC regulations, given that Imus performed on public airwaves. And it is clearly up for interpretation what is considered appropriate content. The FCC, on its Web site, defines profanity, for example, as "including language so grossly offensive to members of the public who actually hear it as to amount to a nuisance." That is a very murky definition. It is definitely impossible to predict the likely winner in the prospective battle of interpretation between Imus and CBS.

And, if Imus prevails, he better send a thank you note to Snoop Dogg and the like, or more appropriately Clear Channel and the like. There are a lot of deep pockets who have a vested interest in keeping the public airwaves amenable for the "hos." And if Imus prevails in his dispute with CBS as a matter of free speech, he better thank all the hos, tricks and bitches who made it possible. And I'm talking media conglomerates, not rappers.

He Throws, He Runs, He Lies

I was relaxing about Michael Vick's seemingly perpetual state of Ron Mexico-ness. I read this hilarious recount of Vick's meeting with the commissioner and was reminded that Mike's an okay guy, just a little simple. Just worry about his on the field issues, I told myself.

I mean, I knew he was lying all along. I just didn't think it would be so easy to prove. Most people can't get away with having dozens of dog pens on their property and feigning innocence of any canine related operations going on at the property. But it turns out with just a little googleing, Michael Vick is in fact the operator of a dog breeding outfit. One that breeds pit bulls and presa canarios. Coincidentally, I'm sure, these breeds make good fighting dogs.

Last week, Vick said:

"I'm never there. I'm never at the house. I left the house with my family members and my cousin. They just haven't been doing the right thing. The issue will get resolved."

Today he has no comment. But I'm sure he'll find away to blame or somebody for that website soon enough.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I'm Not Here Today

On Wednesday, May 2, I'm guest blogging at The Big Lead. Thus, I'm not going to pretend like I'm going to do any work on my own blog. So check me out over there. I'll be back to my typical hijinks soon enough.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Has Terrell Been Out-T.O.-ed?!

Oh, snap! When I heard about the Randy Moss trade to the Patriots, I thought of the most obvious affected party. Not Randy. Not the Patriots. Not the AFC. Not even the rest of the NFL, who might consider just packing it in early before they are left in the dust by the ridiculously stacked Tom Bradyettes. Naturally, I could only think of one person - Terrell Owens.

Sooner than ESPN could dust off their tapes of a sobbing, straight cash homey Randy Moss, I wondered what is going to happen to T.O.'s TV time! And Terrell needs his TV time. We all know what happens when Terrell doesn't get the attention he feels he deserves. Hopefully, Randy will be a dutiful and quiet Patriot soldier. If he dares battle Owens for the crazy spotlight, it could get ugly. We should all be wary.

And, furthermore, Owens was the reigning champion of the pout to get my way career track. Owens pouted himself out of San Francisco to Philly, then pouted himself to America's team. To counter, Moss pouted himself out of Minnesota to Oakland and now has pouted himself to the Patriots. The Patriots are automatic Superbowl favorites. And Randy took two years off in Oakland! Meanwhile, Terrell has been doing crunches in his driveway and generally busting his ass. Touche, Randy. This time, afro trumps smile.

There's no telling who's going to triumph next year in the battle of the malcontents.