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Happy Ending: Vin Scully, the Ribs, and THE Ring

Friday, December 19th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

Jesus, Mary and Joseph and all the saints: for the greatest baseball announcer in the history of the planet, a recent trip to Costco in Westlake Village, Calif., might have been a disaster, but it wasn’t:

Vin Scully can find his way into our hearts even during the gloomiest winter afternoons, as he proved again Thursday when he unwittingly starred in his own holiday movie. The Ribs That Saved Christmas.

“I feel like such a dummy,” Scully said with a laugh. “Only Scully could lose a ring while putting meat in a bag.”

Seems that the legendary Dodgers announcer, 87, enjoys his outings to Costco, but on a recent trip he lost his 1988 World Series ring while piling some packaged ribs onto his cart. You remember the 1988 World Series:

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One of the most memorable calls in baseball history, especially noteworthy for the more than one minute of announcer silence that precedes Scully’s great line, “In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened!”

Meanwhile, back in Costco:

“I went into a panic, I assured him we’d do everything to help find the ring, Vin is like family to us,” said Rahhal, who printed out Scully’s receipt and began a painstaking retracing of Scully’s steps through the tower stacks and free food samples. Meanwhile, Vin called the Dodgers publicity sage Steve Brener, who immediately sent out a tweet informing the nation that Scully had lost the ring and asking anybody with information to call the Dodger Stadium switchboard. Then Vin and Sandi drove home while Vin continued to remind himself it was only jewelry and paled in comparison to the large and loving family that awaited his 88th holiday celebration.

“You know, maybe God heard me say that,” he said. Sure enough, while Vin was unloading the stacks of items, he heard a cry from inside the house. While emptying the ribs, Sandi found the ring at the bottom of the bag.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

 

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FCC: Hail to the Redskins

Thursday, December 18th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

Washington Redskins fans can relax for now: the word “Redskins” is okay:

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday ruled the name “Redskins” is not profane or obscene. In a formal ruling, the commission rejected calls to yank the broadcast license of a radio station owned by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder for excessively using the team’s name, which some find offensive.

George Washington University professor John Banzhaf filed a petition in September opposing the license renewal of the D.C. station, WWXX-FM.

In case you’re wondering who John Banzhaf is, take a look at his website:

Prof. John Banzhaf has been called the “Ralph Nader of the Tobacco Industry,” “One of America’s Premier Legal Activists,” “An Unsung American Hero.” “The Man Behind the Ban on Cigarette Commercials,” “the Ralph Nader of Junk Food,” “The Man Who Is Taking Fat to Court” [for using legal action to fight OBESITY], “Mr. Anti-Smoking,” “One of the Most Vocal and Effective Anti-Tobacco Attorneys,” a “Radical Feminist,” a “Man Who Lives by his Writs,” the “Father of Potty Parity,” “the Area’s Best-Known ‘Radical’ Law Professor,” ” Legal Academia’s Instigator in Chief,” One of the World’s Top “Game Theorists,” and an “Entrepreneur of Litigation, [and] a Trial Lawyer’s Trial Lawyer.”

He’s also been called — by his enemies — a “Legal Terrorist”,” the “Osama bin Laden of Torts,” a “Legal Bomb-Thrower,” and a “Legal Flamethrower,” and he has frequently been attacked on web sites (which are often inaccurate) [see, e.g., BanzhafWatch.com] by those who opposed his activities; clear indications, he says, that his many targets fear him and his legal actions.

The FCC bounced Banzhaf’s complaint on First Amendment grounds:

The commission cited the First Amendment, saying it does not withhold licenses based on a subjective view of what is appropriate programming. It noted that some racial or religious slurs are offensive to many, but it has previously declined “extending the bounds of profanity to reach such language given constitutional considerations.”

“Indeed, the Commission has held that ‘if there is to be free speech, it must be free for speech that we abhor and hate as well as for speech that we find tolerable and congenial,’” according to the commission. The commission rejected a number of complaints lodged by Banzhaf and noted that his petition was issued nearly three years too late to be considered.

But don’t worry: there are plenty of other folks, including the Senate Democratic Caucus, who will keep up the pressure until they get their way. Such is life in a “fundamentally transformed” America.

 

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Jon Stewart Thinks Geraldo Shouldn’t Be So Quick to Give LeBron Fashion Advice

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

 

Jon Stewart reacted to Geraldo Rivera’s criticism of Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, who wore a a t-shirt emblazoned with “I Can’t Breathe” to a recent game. Stewart said on Wednesday, “This should be a perfectly acceptable way to express one’s feelings about political issues.”

“Last time I checked, t-shirts don’t block traffic. They don’t prevent you from shopping at Macy’s,” Stewart said.

Geraldo Rivera said he wondered if LeBron should instead wear a shirt that said, “Be a better father to your son. Raise your children.”

Stewart said that LeBron (the father of three) actually lives that message. But added, “If he wants advice on shirts, I’m sure he’ll ask someone who wears one.”

Ooh. Ouch.

Pre-Christmas pro-tip: Don’t forget to talk to your kids — and parents — about responsible social media usage.

o-GERALDO-RIVERA-facebook

 

 

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This One Minor Detail of LeBron’s ‘I Can’t Breathe Shirt’ Outraged Fans

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard
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Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James appeared during warm-ups before Monday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets wearing a shirt that said “I CAN’T BREATHE,” in support of the family of Eric Garner, who died in New York after a confrontation with police. Several players on both teams joined LeBron in wearing the shirts including Kevin Garnett, Kyrie Irving, and Deron Williams. They followed the lead of Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, who wore the same shirt before a game on Saturday night.

After the game, James explained to reporters why he wore the shirt.

“It was a message to the family that I’m sorry for their loss. Sorry to his wife. And that’s what it’s about. I think everybody else get caught up in everything else besides who’s really feelin’ it, and that’s the family. That’s what it’s about,” he said.

“Obviously we know our society needs to do better, but like I said before, violence is not the answer and retaliation isn’t the solution. As a society we know we have to get better but it’s not going to be done in one day. Rome wasn’t built in a day and we know that, but we all have to do better,” James continued.

While a lot of fans agreed with LeBron’s message in principle, many were disturbed by — of all things — the font choice.

We are now at a point in the culture where civil discourse has blown past anything resembling meaningful debate, past memes and soundbites, even past short t-shirt slogans. Now it’s devolved into whether or not the message carries the right font:

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Does Maury Wills Belong in the Hall of Fame?

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

Minnie Minoso? Jim “Kitty” Kaat? Dick Allen? Luis Tiant? Rolling Stone’s Dan Epstein thinks at least some of them do, and is pretty cheesed at baseball’s Golden Era Committee for not voting any of them in:

What the hell, guys?

You, the 16 members of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Golden Era Committee, were given a ballot with 10 candidates on it. All of them – nine players and one executive – have made significant contributions to the game and its history, and all of them had decent (at least) cases for enshrinement in Cooperstown. And yet, thanks to your dithering, none of them will be getting a plaque in 2015…

The Golden Era Committee’s decision ensures that these players will have to wait another three years for their cases to be heard again. Meanwhile, the backlog of worthy candidates grows longer; some of these guys who are still alive will probably die before they do get inducted and Cooperstown loses out on the additional injection of excitement and fan interest that most of these potential inductees could have provided.

Um, I dunno. I’m old enough to have seen all these players in their primes,on television , and I can’t say there’s a one whose omission from Cooperstown would be an outrage. Yes, they were all good ballplayers — but is “good” what admission to the Hall is all about? What do you think?

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NFL Reveals Double Standard in Treatment of RG3, Rams ‘Hands Up’ Player Protest

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

On Sunday, a handful of St. Louis Rams players entered the game mimicking the Ferguson “hands up, don’t shoot” protest.

The gesture is clearly a political statement intended to signal solidarity with the Ferguson protesters, who continue to insist that Michael Brown had his hands up to surrender when police Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot him on August 9. Witness testimony plus forensic evidence say that Brown started an altercation with Wilson and tried to grab the officer’s gun. Brown was shot when he charged at the officer.

The NFL says that the Rams players will not face any disciplinary action for making a political statement while they were in uniform.

But the NFL isn’t always so tolerant of players making personal statements. Earlier this season, now benched Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III was wearing a T-shirt that said “Know Jesus, Know Peace” just ahead of a post-game press conference. RG3 is a graduate of Baylor University and an outspoken Christian.

Griffin flipped his T-shirt inside-out moments before the presser, and there were claims at the time that the NFL had forced him to make the change. An NFL spokesman denied forcing Griffin to change his shirt, but did point out that players can face a fine for wearing clothing that makes a personal statement on game days. So the threat of discipline was in the air, and RG3 responded to it.

The Rams players made a personal statement on network TV while in uniform, as they emerged to play their game versus the Oakland Raiders. But the NFL says that they will face no fines or any other disciplinary action.

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NO Saints Benjamin Watson: Government Can Only Do So Much Against Racism

Monday, December 1st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson wrote a Facebook post on Nov. 25 about Ferguson. It went viral, for a whole lot of reasons, but mainly how he chose to end it:

I’M HOPELESS, because I’ve lived long enough to expect things like this to continue to happen. I’m not surprised and at some point my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails.

I’M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it’s a beautiful thing.

I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.

Watson appeared on MSNBC today and elaborated on the post. Host Ronan Farrow asked him about government response to racial issues, and the three meetings about Ferguson that President Obama will have at the White House today. Watson said that government cannot solve the problem.

“I think there is only so much that a government can do, when it comes to race issues,” Watson said. “There are questions of law that the government can enact and put things in place. As I mentioned in my post, it’s a hard issue.

“I think that when it comes down to it, we have this thing called sin in our heart that makes us prejudiced and lash out at people and treat people wrong. No matter if you are are white or black, we have this basic issue that can only be fixed by the blood of Christ. That’s my view on it. We can do as much as we want from a government standpoint and change laws and put people through training and all those things are well and good, but the issue of sin still remains, until we deal with it.”

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Interior Secretary Calls Redskins’ Name a ‘Relic of the Past’ That ‘Should Be Changed’

Friday, November 28th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The secretary of the Interior Department says she believes the Washington Redskins’ name must be changed, but stresses it’s still not a high priority agenda among tribes that face bigger problems.

In September, Secretary Sally Jewell told ABC News that “personally” she found it “surprising that in this day and age, the name is not different.”

“I think we would never consider naming a team the ‘Blackskins’ or the ‘Brownskins’ or the ‘Whiteskins,’” Jewell said, adding “my personal views are not necessarily reflected in the tribes that I talk to. It isn’t high on their agenda.”

Today on MSNBC, Jewell called the Redskins’ name ”a relic of the past” that “should be changed, in my opinion.”

“There are many things that tribal leaders face, and when they talk to me, they’re talking about those things that I have control over or things that I have influence over, like their budgets, like Indian education, like coordinating the federal family to work together,” she added.

“I don’t control the name of a football team, but I think it’s very clear that it’s a name that is a relic of the past, and I think it’s time that the owners take a hard look at it.”

As Interior secretary, Jewell oversees the Bureau on Indian Affairs. On Wednesday, she’ll deliver remarks at the annual White House Tribal Nations Conference.

Panel discussions at the White House event will focus on topics such as climate change, education reform, economic developments and treaty obligations, the Interior Department said.

Jewell said she looking to put government in more of a supporting role in tribal affairs and “turn control of the things that tribes know they need most over to the tribes.”

“For hundreds of years, we’ve had trust and treaty obligations to our — our country’s first people, and yet, we have not fulfilled the obligations that we are supposed to under those trust and treaty obligations,” Jewell told MSNBC.

“One of the things this administration has really pushed, at the encouragement of tribal leaders, is self-governance and self-determination. It’s been a movement now for a few decades toward this, and we’re accelerating it forward through the work of the White House Council on Native American Affairs.”

This would include reforming Bureau of Indian Education schools that teach about 44,000 children. “Their academic performance is substantially below just about any other group of students,” Jewell said. “So we are not serving Indian children in the way that we’re really committed to do, and what we’re doing isn’t working.”

“So we are in the process of some very significant reforms, which actually involve turning control of those schools over to the tribes and then providing them with the kind of support that they need to do a much better job than we’ve been able to do.”

She’s pushing Congress for an additional $3 billion in funding in 2015 to bring these schools up to par. “I have been to a number of schools across the country, I’ve been to 20 different reservations, and pretty consistently, I see facilities that have gone without repairs for many years.”

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DEA Launches Surprise Raids on NFL Teams

Monday, November 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Drug Enforcement Agency added to the NFL’s problems over the weekend. On a day that saw the Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots each take key wins to stand atop the league, the DEA launched surprise raids on several traveling teams, according to the Washington Post. The raids were triggered by the class-action lawsuit that was filed against the league by more than 1,300 former players.

Federal drug agents conducted surprise inspections of National Football League team medical staffs on Sunday as part of an ongoing investigation into prescription drug abuse in the league. The inspections, which entailed bag searches and questioning of team doctors by Drug Enforcement Administration agents, were based on the suspicion that NFL teams dispense drugs illegally to keep players on the field in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, according to a senior law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation.

The medical staffs were part of travel parties whose teams were playing at stadiums across the country. The law enforcement official said DEA agents, working in cooperation with the Transportation Security Administration, inspected multiple teams but would not specify which ones were inspected or where.

Inspected teams include the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, all of which played on the road Sunday. That’s key, because the DEA’s investigation centers on whether team doctors are registering the drugs that they may administer to football players in the states where they play when they’re traveling.

Federal law prohibits anyone but a physician or nurse practitioner from distributing prescription drugs, and they must meet myriad regulations for acquiring, storing, labeling and transporting them. It is also illegal for a physician to distribute prescription drugs outside of his geographic area of practice. And it is illegal for trainers to dispense or even handle controlled substances in any way.

At first blush, then, this looks like a hunt for technicalities as well as possible actual violations. Some players allege that team doctors have given them unlabeled medications during games, and filling out prescriptions in players’ names without their knowledge. They also allege that trainers have been known to pass out pills in team hotels and locker rooms and team planes after games.

Team doctors and trainers are presumably certified to practice in the states where the teams they serve are located (if they’re not, the DEA isn’t the only legal authority that would like to have words with them). Is the DEA saying that team docs have to get certified in every state where their team might possibly play a game, or they’re in violation of the law, even if everything else they do is otherwise legal?

Going after the football league is a curious choice, for an administration that has released thousands of known violent illegal aliens back into the wild — and misled the public about that.

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Redskins War Continues as Bill Introduced to Revoke Team’s Tax-Exempt Status

Thursday, November 13th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Congress coming back into session after the long campaign break means quick legislative action — against the Washington Redskins.

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) introduced on Wednesday a bill to amend section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code to “prohibit tax-exempt status for professional sports leagues that promote or allow a member club or franchise connected to that league to benefit from the Washington football team name, a derogatory term that has officially been found offensive.”

It’s companion legislation to a bill filed in the upper chamber by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).

The lawmakers are encouraged by Federal Communication Commission consideration of a petition to ban the use of “Redskins” on the air.

Over the summer, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the Redskins’ trademark; the team has appealed. Norton says the ruling has “the potential to affect the profits received from the sale of the team’s merchandise.”

“Over 300 tribes and two million Native Americans, as well as religious and human rights organizations, have called on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Daniel Snyder, the Washington football team owner, to change the name of the Washington football team because the name and mascot insult native people. In addition, several media outlets around the country no longer print or use the term ‘Redskins’ when referring to the Washington football team because the term is offensive,” Norton said on the House floor Wednesday when introducing her bill.

“American taxpayers have been subsidizing a multibillion dollar league that promotes what has now been officially found to be a racial slur for profitable gain,” she continued. “Relief from taxes should no longer be given to a league that profits from the continued use of a racial slur, which degrades some Americans.”

“As an organization that enjoys tax-exempt benefits, the NFL also has a duty to American taxpayers to ensure that its teams are not promoting or benefiting from a racial slur. This bill would revoke the tax-exempt status of professional sports leagues that choose to continue to use the offensive and derogatory term ‘Redskins.’”

The bill only revokes the tax-exempt status of leagues that use the term Redskins, Norton, added, and would not affect other leagues that fall under the same 501(c)(6) tax exemption.

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Cowboys Return to Bad Old Habits in Loss to Redskins

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo didn’t thrown the decisive, game-losing interception last night. He did come back into the game in the fourth quarter, after suffering a back injury midway through the third, with the game on the line. Owner Jerry Jones, Romo and the coaches wanted a fairy-tale ending more than they just wanted to grind out a win.

While he was out, backup Brandon Weeden came in, the Cowboys kept things simple, and they stayed in the game. While Weeden was in, and with Colt McCoy leading the Redskins from the start, there were two former Browns QBs in the game.

That’s not generally a sign of quality, but both players played well enough. Weeden produced 10 points in two drives including an 80-yarder capped by a touchdown pass to TE Jason Witten. He was efficient. McCoy started to melt down as the pressure built, making little mistakes at the line that stalled Redskins drives. But when it mattered most, he looked like the player who became famous in Austin and came within an injury of winning the NCAA national title. And when it mattered most, the Cowboys forgot what has given them their best season start in ages.

Upon his return, late in the fourth, with the score tied at 17 apiece, Romo succumbed to the Redskins pressure and fumbled on his own five. The Cowboys recovered that fumble. A play or two later Romo almost threw that decisive interception, but the pass fell incomplete.

The Dallas Cowboys of 2014 have not looked or played like the Cowboys of recent seasons. The pass-happy Cowboys of the Romo era had been replaced by a more bullish offensive line that’s capable of providing the foundation for a productive running game. RB DeMarco Murray has started off this season making history, as the first ball carrier in NFL history to start a season off with seven consecutive 100-yard games. He had well over 100 yards on the ground last night, as well as another good night receiving. The Redskins could not stop him. Murray made roadkill of their defensive backs.

When Romo went out, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones went in — almost literally. The Palpatine-esque owner had given a live interview to ESPN earlier in the game, during which he noted that the Cowboys had finally figured out how to protect Romo from opposing defenses.

Within a few plays of that, Romo was sacked for the fourth or fifth time of the game, took a knee to the kidney, and went down. As Tony Romo lay on the turf in Arlington and ESPN went to commercial, Cowboys fans saw the team’s strong start to the season for the fragile thing that it truly is. The Cowboys may have been 6-1 going into the Monday Night Football showdown with their arch rivals, but they are a suspect 6-1, with a defense that can still be too generous and no serious backups to several key starters. If Murray or Romo or Witten go down…?

Jones first went to the locker room to check on Romo, and told ESPN’s Lisa Salters that his QB was lobbying to get back into the game. Then Jones went to the sideline to play cheerleader.

The Cowboys already have cheerleaders. World famous cheerleaders.

Jones’ decision to go to the sidelines is one that Head Coach Jason Garrett and everyone else associated with, connected to, or supporting the Cowboys wishes he had made differently. As in, stay in your box. Keep out of the way. No coach should have to deal with the spectacle of the team owner prancing about on the sidelines and making faces for the cameras — and looking like he is telling the coach whether their injured veteran quarterback, who has had back surgery, is going to come back into the game.

At any rate, with Jones on the sidelines, he also earns a share of the blame. Not that he will accept that.

Regulation ends with the score tied at 17. The Redskins win the toss, take the ball, and march right down over the Cowboys’ suspect defense and kick a field goal — 20-17 to the visitors. Colt McCoy looked like the Longhorns Colt McCoy during that drive, using his legs, using his arm, making crisp, accurate throws to his receivers to keep the ball moving. The Cowboys’ unrebuilt defense was exposed by a man who had not started a game in nearly three years.

The Cowboys now must score or the game is over. A field goal keeps the game going, while a touchdown wins it.

The Cowboys get the ball, run to Murray on first down and he drives forward. Other than one really bad play earlier, when Murray capped off a brilliant catch and run with a fumble in the red zone, Murray had had a lights out game.

Murray picks up 8 yards on first down. Second and two, Murray is unstoppable on the ground, roadkill on the Redskins defense, the Cowboys run again, right?

No, they forget how to run. They set up for a pass across the middle to tight end Jason Witten, but he’s covered, so Romo checks down to Murray on the screen right. The Redskins read that and stuff it. He loses two yards. The Cowboys lost the game on that play, they just didn’t know it yet.

Romo had been unable to read the Redskins blitz on third downs all night. The Dallas defensive coaches had been similarly baffled, even though everyone else in the stadium and watching on TV could see the Skins blitzes coming every single time. Third and four or more, they’re going to blitz. They had done it all night. The Cowboys have been great on third downs all season but they never picked it up Monday night.

The sacks on Romo had taken their toll, especially the one that sent him out for a quarter. When he returned, it was clear that Romo’s head was a little foggy and was not as mobile as he usually is. He was, essentially, a fixed target in the backfield. Everyone in the stadium could see that, too, and the Redskins knew that while Romo’s arm still might be a threat, his receivers are always a threat, his feet no longer were, and he could not wriggle out of pressure the way he has successfully done all of his career. They also know his history. Tony Romo either leads the Cowboys on a brilliant, last-minute game-winning drive, or he throws the interception or drops the fumble that costs them the game. He either beats you or he implodes. With that back injury, as long as the ball is in Romo’s hands, which is more likely to happen?

As it turned out, Romo didn’t lead a game-winning drive, but he wasn’t to blame this time.

Third and about four in overtime, so it’s four-down territory all the way. Romo is a stationary tackling dummy but he has the best running back in the NFL and an offensive line that has been great for the ground game all night.

The Cowboys run Murray again to grind out a few yards or get the first down and keep the game alive, right?

Nope, they pass, incomplete.

Fourth down, blitz, pass, incomplete.

And that’s the game, ending with a whimper this time. The 9-point underdog Washington Redskins, without several key starters and down to their third string quarterback — a man who had not started a game since December 8, 2011 — had just ended the Cowboys’ six-game winning streak.

They had also gotten the Cowboys to abandon their NFL-best running game with the game on the line, and put the ball into the head and hands of an injured Tony Romo.

The Dallas Cowboys have already won more game this season than I expected them to win all year, so anything beyond this point is still gravy. But at 6-1, fans had a right to expect that the Cowboys coaches and owner had learned from previous failures. Stay balanced between the pass and run and you win. Get pass happy and you lose. Keep Jones from making questionable decisions like, say, drafting Johnny Manziel when you need offensive linemen, and you build a team that just might even win a playoff game.

It doesn’t look like that’s the case. Jerry Jones barged down to the sidelines and all but demanded that the coaches suit him up and give him the ball. Whether he or Garrett made the decision to put Romo back in we don’t know yet, but the visuals suggested that it was Jones making that call. With Romo back in, the Cowboys never scored again. The Cowboys abandoned the running game when it mattered most, and when Murray could well have broken off another long run to win the game.

The Cowboys lost to the Redskins at home last night because they reverted to thinking and playing like the same old mediocre Dallas Cowboys who make terrible decisions in key moments, and cannot get out of their own way.

They’re still 6-2, that’s the good news. The bad news is their quarterback is now a doubt and will carry that back injury for a while, and they’re still three wins away from actually having a winning season. Will they get those three wins?

 

 

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Aaron Lewis Messes Up the National Anthem at the World Series and the Internet Freaks Out

Monday, October 27th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard
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“Aaron Lewis Screws Up National Anthem At World Series Game,” the Huffington Post headline read.

Mediaite said that Lewisbollocksed up the National Anthem before Sunday evening’s World Series game. Lewis has DON’T TREAD ON ME tattooed on his neck, in case you were in the market for a handy political metaphor.”

Twitter was also abuzz with criticism of the lead singer of the rock group, Staind.

 

 

Eric Burke, a reporter at Fox 4 in Kansas City tweeted:

 

 

MLB Yahoo! sports columnist Jeff Passan also brought up the prominent tattoo on Lewis’ neck.

 

 

Deadspin was a little less tactful: “World Series National Anthem Botched By That A**hole From Staind, said their headline. ”This is Aaron Lewis of the shi**y noise band Staind, and don’t ask us why he’s singing in San Francisco tonight because Staind is from Massachusetts,” Deadspin complained. “Huey Lewis is still available, jerks, and he knows the words.”

After singing the opening line, “O say can you see by the dawn’s early light, what so proudly we hailed,” Lewis flubbed the next line. Instead of “at the twilight’s last gleaming” he sang ” were so gallantly streaming.” He handled it professionally, not missing a beat and continuing the song without any further problems. The crowd didn’t seem to mind, cheering as he finished with “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

 

So did Lewis deserve the scorn of the Internet for desecrating our National Anthem on Sunday night?

 

It’s not as if he disrespectfully shouted the lyrics and grabbed his crotch like Roseann Barr did at a 1990 San Diego Padres game. And he didn’t screech out the tune like Steven Tyler did at the 2001 Indianapolis 500.  Nor did he sing a soul version, a la R. Kelly, at a boxing match, asking the crowd to clap along.

 

Nothing quite so dramatic. He just messed up a line.

 

Not that anyone would ever judge Deadspin’s motives because surely, they’re motives are purely patriotic and no doubt the writers there feel great anguish at hearing someone flub a line of the National Anthem, but I suspect the writers there have heard that Lewis describes himself as a “Constitutionalist.” The gun-loving singer told MassLive in 2011, shortly after the release of his solo country CD,” I believe in the Constitution, the powers that it sets forth, I believe in the limited powers that it sets forth. I believe that the government – on both sides – is just as responsible and just as out of control.” Lewis added, “The fact of the matter is that the federal government is supposed to be doing 18 things efficiently and properly. Most of these things don’t even get looked at because they’re so busy doing stuff that they’re not even supposed to be doing. Everything is supposed to be on the state and local level.”

 

Lewis’ hit single from that CD, “Country Boy” features guns, hunting, and the American and Gadsden flags. “I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, cuz’ I’ve never needed government to hold my hand,” Lewis sings. At the end of the song country singer George Jones, who is featured along with Charlie Daniels says, “I love my guns. I love my family. I love the way it is now. And anybody that tries to change it has to come through me. That should be all of our attitudes.”

 

After the game, Lewis posted a heartfelt apology on his Facebook page:

 

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College Football Success in Mississippi Naturally Prompts HuffPo to Write About Race

Friday, October 17th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Painfully unoriginal.

It is beyond serious argument that the current success of this state’s football teams is directly attributable to the triumph of the Civil Rights Movement, which the vast majority of white Mississippians fiercely opposed. The same point applies to the other teams in the Southeastern Conference, which have won seven of the last eight national championships. (The other was won by Florida State, another formerly segregated university.) Can anyone imagine that happening if the teams were still all-white?

It is high time for people in this state and across the region to give thanks to the Civil Rights Movement for the changes it achieved–in realms far more important than football–to which the state and region’s majority population was only brought kicking and screaming.

First, it is high time for white male liberal media types to stop presuming to tell black people in Mississippi and the rest of America what they should, and should not, be thankful for.

This is progressive “whitesplaining” at its worst. A truly momentous occasion (for sports fans, anyway) that is a cause for celebration for the people in one state is seen as an opportunity for posturing by a lily white academic.

We’re all aware of the history of race in America, and specifically the American South, and the fact that sports at the professional, collegiate and high school levels were slow to integrate. It is taught in schools, they make movies about it and, while utterly shameful, it’s not exactly a family secret that’s kept locked in the attic.

What Professor Special Snowflake is doing here is using a dull knife (and wit) to reopen a wound that already has enough scar tissue to still be a painful reminder in daily life.

The sports fans of Mississippi deserve to celebrate progress without progressives wagging fingers and saying, “Oh yeah well but you used to suck!”

The supposedly forward-thinking progressives in this country are determined to make sure we never truly move beyond the racial politics of early 1960s America because it is the cornerstone of their philosophy of perpetual “The Republicans are going to take you back to (insert appropriate year)!” fear mongering.

Let the people of Mississippi celebrate.

Let sports be sports and stop killing the much-needed escapism of it with your political regurgitation.

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Obama Booed During PSA at Michigan State Football Game

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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According to reports on Twitter and from several individuals who called into the Rush Limbaugh Show on Monday, President Obama was enthusiastically booed when he appeared in a public service announcement shown on the scoreboard video screen at Michigan State University during Saturday’s football game against Nebraska.

The “It’s On Us” PSA, which features a parade of celebrities in addition to the president and Vice President Biden, was designed “to fundamentally shift the way we think about sexual assault, by inspiring everyone to see it as their responsibility to do something, big or small, to prevent it,” according to a White House press release. The campaign was launched in partnership with the Center for American Progress’ Generation Progress and students from nearly 200 colleges and universities across the country. The NCAA has agreed to assist the White House through ”resources on NCAA.org; coverage of the campaign in its award-winning quarterly magazine, Champion; activities during the National Week of Action in November; and a half-day session on sexual assault and violence prevention at the Association’s annual convention in January.” The NCAA also agreed to show the PSAs at NCAA championship events and on social media.

The student section started the booing when President Obama’s face appeared on the screen at the end of the video. They were joined by others in the stadium.

See the video Michigan State fans booed on the next page:

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Herd Mentality: Why Colin Cowherd is So Wrong About the US Military

Friday, October 3rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

On Tuesday, sports talker Colin Cowherd said that the US military is made up of people who have “no choices” and who join for the money, “to pay bills.”

“My sympathy goes to the military members in this country,” Cowherd said toward the end of Tuesday’s show. “Socio-economically, no choices, paid almost nothing, lose a limb, lose a life. That, I feel sympathy for.”

“We know most people that go into the military in this country — they need the military often to pay bills. That is is almost a federal safety net financially, and by the way you’ll take shots. You’ll be sent two or three times to a raging inferno in the Middle East. That stuff scares me. That stuff I’m worried about. There’s loss of life there.”

Cowherd is using a liberal stererotype to describe Americans who volunteer to serve in the armed forces.

The fact is, Cowherd doesn’t know the facts at all.

George Washington University conducted a study of education in the military in 2013. Based on 2010 data, GWU found that military members are significantly more likely to have high school diplomas and at least some college experience than the general population.

According to GWU, while 59.5% of the US general population have a high school diploma or some college, 93.6% of US enlisted military personnel had the same. And while just 29.9% of the US general population have a bachelor’s degree or more, 82.8% of US military officers have at least one college degree. That’s because it’s very difficult to even become a US military officer without a degree. It can be done, by enlisted personnel making the jump to the officer corps, but it’s difficult. The vast majority of US military officer enter the military with a degree, and often from either ROTC programs or the military academies.

Cowherd also said that US military personnel get “paid nothing.” He is wrong about that too. While it is true that there remain some compensation issues at the lower end of the military pay scale, that covers a tiny percentage of the military force, and the US military officer corps is very well compensated. GWU finds that compensation is 88% higher than their civilian counterparts with a bachelor’s degree. Pay for military officers with advanced degrees is 47% higher on average than civilians with advanced degrees.

The Heritage Foundation also studied military enlistees, their socio-economic origins, education levels, and demographics. Cowherd is wrong on every single count.

  1. U.S. military service disproportionately attracts enlisted personnel and officers who do not come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Previous Heritage Foundation research demonstrated that the quality of enlisted troops has increased since the start of the Iraq war. This report demonstrates that the same is true of the officer corps.
  2. Members of the all-volunteer military are significantly more likely to come from high-income neighborhoods than from low-income neighborhoods. Only 11 percent of enlisted recruits in 2007 came from the poorest one-fifth (quintile) of neighborhoods, while 25 percent came from the wealthiest quintile. These trends are even more pronounced in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, in which 40 percent of enrollees come from the wealthiest neighborhoods-a number that has increased substantially over the past four years.
  3. American soldiers are more educated than their peers. A little more than 1 percent of enlisted personnel lack a high school degree, compared to 21 percent of men 18-24 years old, and 95 percent of officer accessions have at least a bachelor’s degree.
  4. Contrary to conventional wisdom, minorities are not overrepresented in military service. Enlisted troops are somewhat more likely to be white or black than their non-military peers. Whites are proportionately represented in the officer corps, and blacks are overrepresented, but their rate of overrepresentation has declined each year from 2004 to 2007. New recruits are also disproportionately likely to come from the South, which is in line with the history of Southern military tradition.

The fact is, the present US military is the most educated fighting force in human history. Our all-volunteer force comes more from the middle and upper income brackets than from the lower income brackets. The global war on terrorism has been underway for a little over 13 years now, so a majority of the US military have volunteered not just for a “federal safety net” program, as Cowherd believes, but to defend America from the threat of terrorism. They have joined knowing that we are engaged in war overseas, and they are serving with unprecedented professionalism, skill and bravery. Rather than cluelessly insulting them, Cowherd should be honoring and thanking them.

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FCC Considering Petition to Ban Use of ‘Redskins’ on Air, a Move Backed by Some Lawmakers

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Washington’s delegate to Congress has asked the Federal Communication Commission to ban the use of the Washington Redskins’ name on the air.

Upon a petition from a George Washington University professor to strip a local radio station of its license because it says the Redskins’ team name, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler told reporters that the commission “will be dealing with that issue on the merits and we’ll be responding accordingly.”

“There are a lot of names and descriptions that were used over time that are inappropriate today,” Wheeler said this week. “And I think the name that is attributed to the Washington football club is one of those.”

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said she hopes the FCC does become the language police in regulating football team names.

“Prohibiting the use of the team name on TV and radio would help significantly to prevent the widespread use of a term that has been adjudicated and found to be a racial slur that offends Native Americans and many others of all backgrounds,” Norton said.  “The FCC petition is a potent tool to add to the others stimulated by Native people.”

Norton plans to introduce a House companion bill to Sen. Maria Cantwell’s (D-Wash.) effort to strip the National Football League of its tax-exempt status if it continues to use the name “Redskins.”

Cantwell’s bill, co-sponsored by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and retiring Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), would just affect 501(c)(6) nonprofit sports leagues who “promote” use of the word Redskins.

“American taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize a $9 billion league that promotes a dictionary-defined racial slur,” said Cantwell, a member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, when introducing the legislation in mid-September. “It’s time to end the special tax breaks for the National Football League.”

“It is not right that the National Football League continues to denigrate an entire population,” Reid said. “This is personal for me. As senator from Nevada, I represent 27 tribes and have worked to protect their homelands and their sovereignty. I wish Roger Goodell and the NFL’s leadership team would take a stand.”

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the Redskins’ trademark registration in June.

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Nancy Pelosi Talks Baseball: ‘My next door neighbor owns the Nationals’

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

America is abuzz with Major League Baseball playoff fever today. Beltway reporters had a chummy little chat about the national pastime with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) today.

The Democrats including Pelosi cast themselves as fighters for the little guy — just folks. And Pelosi’s a big baseball fan. Evidence? Her father brought the Orioles to Baltimore, dontcha know, and her neighbor owns the Washington Nationals.

But really, Nancy is just one of the little folks.

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CAIR Calls on NFL to ‘Clarify Policy on Prayer’ After Abdullah’s Penalty

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

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The Council on American-Islamic Relations said the National Football League needs to “clarify” its prayer policy after Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah was penalized Monday night for kneeling in the end zone — “sajdah.”

Abdullah, an observant Muslim, had just received completed a 39-yard interception return versus the New England Patriots.

He was penalized for 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct under the NFL’s Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 (d), “Players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground.”

“However, the officiating mechanic in this situation is not to flag a player who goes to the ground as part of religious expression, and as a result, there should have been no penalty on the play,” NFL spokesman Michael Signora said today, according to ESPN.

Abdullah told the Kansas City Star that he thought he was penalized for sliding on his knees. “I just got a little too excited,” he said. The safety added that his coach agreed and chided him for sliding.

This morning, Abdullah tweeted an Instagram of himself prostrated in prayer with the words, ”‘Subhana Rabbial-’Ala’ (Glory be to my Lord The Most High).”

CAIR noted the NFL rule, but said singled out the exception for religious expressions, “such as Tim Tebow’s prayer while kneeling.”

After Tebow, as a college player, wrote Bible scriptures on his eye black, the NCAA banned players from writing anything under their eyes. In the NFL, “Tebowing” became a verb for when the quarterback took a knee in prayer on the field.

“To prevent the appearance of a double standard, we urge league officials to clarify the policy on prayer and recognize that the official made a mistake in this case,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper urged the NFL in a statement.

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FCC Sacks Sports Blackout Rules, But NFL Could Still Have Sway

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The Federal Communications Commission ordered the elimination today of sports blackout rules that blocked cable and satellite broadcasts of games blacked out on local stations.
a local broadcast station.

“The action removes Commission protection of the NFL’s current private blackout policy, which requires local broadcast stations to black out a game if a team does not sell a certain percentage of tickets to the game at least 72 hours prior to the game,” the FCC said in a statement.

The FCC’s order found the blackout rules are “no longer justified in light of the significant changes in the sports industry since these rules were first adopted nearly forty years ago.”

“At that time, ticket sales were the primary source of revenue for the NFL and most NFL games failed to sell out. Today, television revenues have replaced ticket sales as the NFL’s main source of revenue, and blackouts of NFL games are increasingly rare.”

Only two games were blacked out last season, the FCC said.

“Today’s action may not eliminate all sports blackouts, because the NFL may choose to continue its private blackout policy. However, the NFL will no longer be entitled to the protection of the Commission’s sports blackout rules. Instead, the NFL must rely on the same avenues available to other entities that wish to protect their distribution rights in the private marketplace.”

The league, which objected to lifting the rules, said in a statement that teams “have made significant efforts in recent years to minimize blackouts.”

“The NFL is the only sports league that televises every one of its games on free, over-the-air television.  The FCC’s decision will not change that commitment for the foreseeable future.”

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) asked the FCC in June to lift the blackout rule, arguing in a letter to the commission that it “unfairly harms consumers by insulating the NFL from market realities and punishing fans in cities with large stadiums and declining populations.”

Today, Blumenthal declared the FCC “officially threw a flag on the NFL’s anti-fan blackout policy.”

“The sports blackout rule unfairly harms consumers by punishing fans in cities with large stadiums and declining populations,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “The FCC did the right thing today by removing this antiquated rule, which is no longer justified by facts or simple logic.”

“Even as the NFL made millions upon millions of dollars off of broadcasting rights, they continued as recently as this season to threaten fans with unnecessary blackout restrictions.”

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Clinton: Country is ‘Less Racist, Less Sexist, Less Homophobic,’ But People are Isolationist

Thursday, September 25th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

In a wide-ranging townhall-style interview, former President Bill Clinton told CNN that he doesn’t think racism has gotten worse in the country and that President Obama’s Syria strategy has a “chance” of being successful.

Clinton said the ISIS threat is “quite significant and it certainly threatens to change the whole landscape in the Middle East, redrawn national boundaries, crash national governments and we know they’re killing a lot of innocent people who don’t agree with them.”

“They ran the Christians out of Iraq who’ve been there since the dawn of Christendom and they butchered those Syrian soldiers and, you know, we don’t agree with the Syrian government but their soldiers, their uniformed personnel and thought with rules of war, and of course they like to decapitate people on the Internet,” he said. “So I think that strategy that the president has adopted has a chance of succeeding. I support him on what they’re doing.”

Clinton added that arming rebels in Syria is “worth the gamble.” His wife advocated this to President Obama three years ago but was overruled.

“One thing we know will happen, if we don’t help people who are trying to create an open inclusive secular society, they will lose. If we do help them and they lose anyway, somebody will get their weapons but I don’t think that will massively change the balance of power. Anytime you do anything, it might not work. We don’t have 100 percent in control,” he said. ”You just make a judgment over whether it’s more likely than not to work.”

On the recent unrest in Ferguson, Mo., Clinton said he doesn’t think there’s been a rush to judgment in the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson.

“What do we know? We know that the young man was unarmed. We know there was some kind of altercation with the police officer. We know when he was trying to get away he was shot. We know he had two bullets in the head. We know somebody made some sort of mistake. We don’t know what that was,” he said.

“…The most interesting thing to me about Ferguson was when the governor put the African-American state trooper who was from that area in charge of overseeing the situation and communicating with the folks in the community, things got better.”

Racism hasn’t gotten worse in the country, Clinton said, “but I think that we’re playing with it, with its darker possibilities with things like the stand your ground laws.”

“I actually think we are less racist, less sexist, less homophobic than we used to be. I think our big problem today is we don’t want to be around anybody who disagrees with us,” he added. “And I think that in some ways, it can be the worst silo of all, be holed up in.”

Clinton said he’s a “huge” football fan and hopes the NFL is “trying to get it right now” with the Ray Rice domestic violence scandal.

“I grew up at home with domestic violence. And — God, I hope that it works out all right for — I hope he really is OK and he never does it again. Sometimes, people don’t, but it’s rare. And I think what bothers everybody is that that, that seems that the NFL diminished the importance of it early on,” he said.

“I think that people who are rich and popular because of athletics, or entertainment, or any other thing like that, they shouldn’t be held for an impossible standard, they shouldn’t be exempted from the general rule that we can’t get away with abusing people because of our position.”

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Defense Secretary Hagel to Review Pentagon-NFL Ties

Saturday, September 20th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has asked for a Pentagon review of the military’s involvement in the National Football League. The review comes in the wake of several domestic violence complaints against NFL players.

The connection between the NFL and the military goes back decades, and the connections are considerable.

CNN reports:

The Army alone spends some $10 million a year buying advertising from television networks broadcasting NFL games. Games are also broadcast by the Armed Forces Network to troops deployed overseas.

Military support for the NFL games includes: providing ceremonial units at games for colors ceremonies; military personnel singing the national anthem, and other units providing drill teams or flyovers. Military personnel, including wounded warriors, often appear at NFL events honoring those who serve.

The Army and the NFL also have a agreement to share information and resources to better understand traumatic brain injury, which is a major medical issue both for wounded troops and football players. They are working together on awareness of TBI as well as research into treatment. The military has been sharing some of the lessons learned on TBI from the last 13 years of war, specifically.

Another program, NFL Play 60, has seen players visit military bases to encourage children to be more active as least 60 minutes a day to help prevent childhood obesity.

It is clear the White House is also closely monitoring the NFL controversy, with one senior administration official calling recent abuse allegations “deeply troubling” and stressing the league’s obligation to “(get) control of the situation.”

“Many of these professional athletes are marketed as role models to young people,” the official said. “So their behavior does have the potential to influence these young people. So that’s one of the many reasons it’s important the league gets a handle on this and have zero tolerance.”

Just how is the NFL supposed to “get control” of the domestic violence committed by their players? There are more than 1300 NFL players on 30 rosters across the league. Six players have been accused of domestic violence in recent months. While that is six too many, the question has to be asked: is domestic violence in the NFL so serious and so widespresd that it must become a federal issue?

No doubt women’s advocates would love to make it one. Already several big money advertisers like Anheuser-Busch and Nike are looking closely at their relationship with the NFL. A pullout by those two giants would hit the league where it hurts the most: advertising dollars.

There are legitimate questions about how the league has handled specific cases — most notably, the Ray Rice clocking of his girlfriend in an elevator. But how can you blame anyone, especially Commissioner Roger Goodell, for the actions of players off the football field? The only way this campaign against the NFL makes sense is if you consider the enormous amount of money at stake, and the high-profile nature of the crimes, which aids women’s groups in fundraising and marketing.

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Roger Goodell Promises to Right the Ship

Friday, September 19th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

This still needs Condi.

During a news conference on Friday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell promised that the league “will get our house in order.”

Goodell announced that former FBI Director Robert Mueller will lead an investigation of the way the league handled the Ray Rice case, and he said that at the end of the process the league will implement new conduct policies.

“I promise you that any shortcomings he finds will lead to swift action,” Goodell said. “The same mistakes will never be repeated.”

Goodell has faced intense criticism over the league’s handling of off-field violent behavior from some of its players. The issue came to a very public head when a video surfaced showing Rice, a star for the Baltimore Ravens, punching his then-fiancee.

As long as Goodell has the support of owners, he should have some breathing room to be more proactive. In a radio interview this morning, I mentioned that Goodell can’t get a complete grip on this until the surprises stop. He thought the Rice situation was handled, then the second video surfaced. Just when damage control was settling in there, the Peterson incident became public. Before almost anything could be done about that, a second allegation was made known. Then the Dwyer story happened. Goodell and the league have been reeling and on their heels in a purely reactive mode because of all of this.

They need the surprises to stop before anything substantive can be done. The PR department needs to be paid more too.

In other not-so-good news for the league, the Dept. of Defense is looking into its connections with the NFL.

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Another Day, Another Domestic Abuse Arrest In The NFL

Thursday, September 18th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Time to punt?

Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer head-butted his wife and broke her nose after she bit his lip to stop his sexual advances, and he punched her in the face the next day, according to a police report made public Thursday.

Dwyer later threatened to kill himself in front of their 17-month-old son if the wife alerted the police, according to the report, which detailed the latest domestic violence allegations against an NFL player. Dwyer was arrested Wednesday and benched by the team.

The police report describes two altercations between Dwyer and his wife, on July 21 and 22. In the first, Dwyer tried to kiss her and take off her clothes, according to the report. She told him to stop and bit his lip when he wouldn’t, the report said. Dwyer then head-butted her, it said. Police were called to the home by someone who heard arguing.

“Publicist for the National Football League” would now be a candidate for the old “Dirty Jobs” show if it were still on the air.

While it isn’t statistically an epidemic yet, it is now a problem that seems to be spiraling away from the previously cool, collected, and always in charge Roger Goodell. He is now in a difficult position where he has to be extremely proactive all the while avoiding turning the league into one that operates on a “guilty until proven innocent” policy.

Very often in large organizations, the best way to regain control of a situation is for some management heads to roll, even if management isn’t directly responsible. Goodell, however, isn’t removed from these actions anymore. His awful handling of the Ray Rice situation carries over to each new case now, despite his admission that he was wrong.

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After Sponsor Steps Back, Vikings Re-Suspend Adrian Peterson

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Money talks.

Running back Adrian Peterson will not play for the Minnesota Vikings until his legal issues are resolved, the team said early Wednesday.

It’s a reversal of course for the Vikings. The team had earlier said that Peterson, who is facing a child abuse charge, would practice this week and could play in Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints

In a statement early Wednesday, the team said Peterson has been placed on the NFL’s Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list, which will require him to “remain away from all team activities.”

Vikings: Peterson won’t play on Sunday Should fans stop watching NFL games? Lemon: I don’t condone what Peterson did

“While we were trying to make a balanced decision (Monday), after further reflection we have concluded that this resolution is best for the Vikings and for Adrian,” said a statement from owners Zygi and Mark Wilf. “We want to be clear: we have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right.”

The “balanced decision” on Monday came before the Vikings’ main sponsor, Radisson, backed off from its financial involvement with the team.

This is just another response from the NFL’s upper echelon that shows how remarkably out of touch they are with the people who spend money on their product. Roger Goodell shouldn’t have had to see the second Ray Rice video to know what Rice did was heinous, and the first allegation against Peterson should have been enough for the Vikings to keep Peterson suspended for a while. It seems as if they’re all trying to gauge the public’s tolerance for off the field violent behavior.

Or they’re just kind of dumb.

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NOW the NFL Has a Problem: Top Beer Sponsor Is Upset

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Downward spiral.

The top beer sponsor is weighing on the NFL for its handling of a string of highly-publicized abuse scandals involving star players.

On Tuesday, Anheuser-Busch — a big spender in Super Bowl advertising whose Bud Light brand is the official beer of the league — issued a highly critical statement of the NFL.

“We are disappointed and increasingly concerned by the recent incidents that have overshadowed this NFL season,” said the beverage maker in a statement released by a spokesperson. “We are not yet satisfied with the league’s handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code. We have shared our concerns and expectations with the league.”

Those “expectations” were not disclosed in the statement. However, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has been widely criticized over his handling of the domestic abuse scandal involving Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice and child abuse allegations leveled at Minnesota Vikings player Adrian Peterson.

The company’s brand, Bud Light, has been the official beer of the NFL since 2010, when it replaced MillerCoors as the premier sponsor. Anheuser-Bush has been a top spending brand with the league from 2009 to 2013, spending $149 million during five Super Bowls, according to Nielsen statistics released in January.

This is where the calls for Goodell’s job will really heat up. His job is to manage the league’s image so the sponsor money keeps rolling in without interruption. If one of its biggest sponsors expresses concern, the problem has become unmanageable.

On a somewhat smaller scale, Radisson “suspended” its sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings after they reinstated Adrian Peterson and another allegation of child abuse surfaced.

If more sponsors begin grumbling soon, all of Roger Goodell’s damage control to save himself will probably be for naught.

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Democrat Launches New Attack on Redskins, NFL

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

As a former Dallas Cowboys fan, I half want the Washington Redskins to win the Super Bowl this year — just so the media will have to twist themselves into knots avoiding using the name.

That will be fun to watch.

Demagoguing Democrats aren’t fun to watch. Sen. Maria Cantwell has figured out a new way to attack the issue. She is threatening to pull the NFL’s non-profit status, according to AP.

In a news conference that featured Native American, civil rights and religious leaders, Sen. Maria Cantwell took aim at the NFL’s pocketbook by announcing she will introduce a bill to strip the league’s tax-exempt status because it has not taken action over the Redskins name. While prospects for such a bill becoming law would be tenuous, the inevitable hearings before lawmakers would enhance the spotlight on a movement that has gained substantial momentum over the last two years.

I’d bet that most Americans don’t know that the NFL is a non-taxpaying non-profit. Should it be? The League, which by law is a “trade association” among the teams, rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars — apart from the teams’ earnings — every year. The NFL commissioner makes nearly $30 million per year. Now the NFL is embroiled in a whole bunch of scandals in addition to the Redskins’ name controversy. It’s the perfect time for politicians to threaten them.

Cantwell may have stumbled into something here.

h/t Grabien

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House Dem: Oversight Committee Agrees to Delve Into NFL’s Domestic Violence Scandal

Monday, September 15th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Famous for its investigations under chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) ranging from Benghazi to the IRS scandal, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will next probe domestic violence in the National Football League, according to one of its members.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said she asked Issa and ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings (Md.) to hold a hearing after revelations that heightened concern about how the NFL handles domestic violence cases, including the recent Ray Rice revelations.

“The NFL’s failure to appropriately respond to crimes and misconduct has harmed the prestige of the game and the millions of Americans who look up to these players as role models,” Speier said in a statement. “The NFL’s gross mishandling of the deplorable actions of Ray Rice is the latest example of how this insulated institution has incompetently dealt with serious issues.”

Speier said the investigation should go beyond domestic violence in the league, as well.

“This committee must also investigate the League’s tolerance of performance enhancing drugs, the impact of traumatic brain injury on players later in life, and the tax-exempt status the NFL enjoys thanks to a loophole congress created in the ‘60s,” she said.

“I look forward to working with Chairman Issa and Ranking Member Cummings to shed light on the NFL’s internal policies and processes, which have been largely inconsistent and opaque, and identifying areas where reform is needed.”

The committee has already been delving into human growth hormone testing, with Issa and Cummings meeting with the NFL Players Association and league officials over the past year.

Last week, the players approved an NFL proposal that tests for HGH.

“I applaud the Players Association and NFL for taking a major step in the right direction towards implementing HGH testing for the first time,” Cummings said in a statement Saturday. “Testing for HGH will help prevent injuries on the field and send a clear message to young athletes that HGH will not be tolerated at the game’s highest levels. I encourage the Players Association and the NFL to iron out the remaining details so that HGH testing can begin immediately.”

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Adrian Peterson and the ‘Whooping’ Culture

Saturday, September 13th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

When I was growing up in the 1950s, corporal punishment was not only commonplace, it was an accepted adjunct to raising good, obedient children.

“Spare the rod and spoil the child” may have been a euphemism for “child beating” even back then. But spanking was considered an important part of child rearing, and few parents would have thought that it was abuse, much less unnecessary.

Taking a rod to a child’s backside — or a razor strop, or a paddle — might be stretching the point. But it was considered to be a parent’s absolute right to discipline his child any way he saw fit — even if that meant leaving marks on the child’s body.

Times have changed and striking a child anywhere for any reason can get you in trouble with state child service authorities. Some may think we’ve gone too far in protecting children while interfering with the right of parents to raise their child by their own lights.

If you believe that, allow me to introduce you to Adrian Peterson.

Peterson is not only star running back for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. He is the best back of his generation, a marvel of speed, power, and shiftiness. Yesterday, authorities in Texas handed down an indictment of Peterson for child abuse.

His unsettling and sometimes shocking explanations for beating his son with a tree branch because he misbehaved remind us that socioeconomic and cultural differences in parental attitudes toward child rearing are still with us, despite efforts to eradicate child beating disguised as “discipline.”

CBS Houston reports:

The “whooping” – as Peterson put it when interviewed by police – occurred in Spring, Texas, in May. Peterson’s son had pushed another one of Peterson’s children off of a motorbike video game. As punishment, Peterson grabbed a tree branch – which he consistently referred to as a “switch” – removed the leaves and struck the child repeatedly.

The beating allegedly resulted in numerous injuries to the child, including cuts and bruises to the child’s back, buttocks, ankles, legs and scrotum, along with defensive wounds to the child’s hands. Peterson then texted the boy’s mother, saying that one wound in particular would make her “mad at me about his leg. I got kinda good wit the tail end of the switch.”

Peterson also allegedly said via text message to the child’s mother that he “felt bad after the fact when I notice the switch was wrapping around hitting I (sic) thigh” and also acknowledged the injury to the child’s scrotum in a text message, saying, “Got him in nuts once I noticed. But I felt so bad, n I’m all tearing that butt up when needed! I start putting them in timeout. N save the whooping for needed memories!”

In further text messages, Peterson allegedly said, “Never do I go overboard! But all my kids will know, hey daddy has the biggie heart but don’t play no games when it comes to acting right.”

According to police reports, the child, however, had a slightly different story, telling authorities that “Daddy Peterson hit me on my face.” The child also expressed worry that Peterson would punch him in the face if the child reported the incident to authorities. He also said that he had been hit by a belt and that “there are a lot of belts in Daddy’s closet.” He added that Peterson put leaves in his mouth when he was being hit with the switch while his pants were down. The child told his mother that Peterson “likes belts and switches” and “has a whooping room.”

It seems apparent that Adrian Peterson experienced similar beatings as a child and was only “whooping” his son as he had been “whooped” as a boy. This becomes clear with Peterson’s bewilderment at thinking that anyone thought his intentions and motivations were anything but legal and proper.

Peterson, when contacted by police, admitted that he had “whooped” his son on the backside with a switch as a form of punishment, and then, in fact, produced a switch similar to the one with which he hit the child. Peterson also admitted that he administered two different “whoopings” to his son during the visit to Texas, the other being a punishment for the 4-year-old scratching the face of a 5-year-old.

In an interview with Houston police, Peterson was very matter-of-fact and calm about the incident, appearing to believe he had done nothing wrong and reiterating how much he cared about his son and only used “whoopings” or “spankings” as a last resort. He offered up information that the police didn’t have and was incredulous when asked if some of the numerous wounds and marks on the child were from an extension cord, saying, “Oh, no, I’d never hit my child with an extension cord. I remember how it feels to get whooped with an extension cord. I’d never do that.”

Peterson also said, “Anytime I spank my kids, I talk to them before, let them know what they did, and of course after.” Peterson also expressed regret that his son did not cry – because then, Peterson said, he would have known that the switch was doing more damage than intended. He didn’t realize the “tip of the switch and the ridges of the switch were wrapping around [the child’s] legs.” Peterson also acknowledged that this was administered directly to the child’s skin and with the child’s pants pulled down.

It would be a mistake to ascribe this attitude to black America only. It is more a product of one’s socioeconomic strata and tradition than a condition based on race. From what I can discover, Peterson grew up in a lower middle class home with loving parents. While his parents divorced when Adrian was seven and his father was convicted and given an eight-year sentence for money laundering when he was thirteen, Peterson maintained close contact with his father, even speaking to him before every game in high school despite him being in prison.

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Did the NFL Really Not See the Ray Rice Punch Video Until This Week? (Update: NFL Denies)

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The AP reports that the NFL had this week’s “new” video of Ray Rice punching his then girlfriend five months ago.

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A law enforcement official says he sent a video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee to an NFL executive five months ago, while league executives have insisted they didn’t see the violent images until this week.

The person played The Associated Press a 12-second voicemail from an NFL office number on April 9 confirming the video arrived. A female voice expresses thanks and says: “You’re right. It’s terrible.”

The law enforcement official, speaking to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation, says he had no further communication with any NFL employee and can’t confirm anyone watched the video. The person said he was unauthorized to release the video but shared it unsolicited, because he wanted the NFL to have it before deciding on Rice’s punishment.

The NFL has repeatedly said it asked for but could not obtain the video of Rice hitting Janay Palmer — who is now his wife — at an Atlantic City casino in February.

Did the NFL not take the Rice situation seriously at the beginning, or did the league engage in a cover-up?

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has even more questions to answer now. This will end up defining his time at the NFL helm.

Update: The NFL denies:

 

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What Did Dr. Ben Carson Say About Ray Rice?

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

This won’t do.

The Baltimore Ravens fired running back Ray Rice after a second video surfaced — this one showing him punching his then fiancee, Janay. The NFL also suspended Rice indefinitely so that no other team could sign him.

Carson, a former professor and director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, said that he hoped the league would get some help for Rice. Then he added:

“Let’s not all jump on the bandwagon of demonizing this guy. He obviously has some real problems. And his wife obviously knows that because she subsequently married him. So they both need some help.”

Mediaite has more, but it doesn’t help Carson’s case.

Rice obviously does have some problems. But it’s not “demonizing” to recognize that the horrific videos of him punching a woman out are in fact horrific. He punches her out cold and drags her out of the elevator. That’s domestic abuse. Yes, he needs help, and so may she. He also does not need to be representing the Ravens or the NFL while he gets help.

While we’re in the demonizing business, it’s worth taking a look at the Ravens and the NFL too. There are reports out — that the NFL deny — that the league already had the second video before it was made public yesterday.

If the team and the NFL already had the second video, and still only gave Rice that initial two-game suspension, then, what? They only fired Rice because he became an even bigger public relations problem for them?

The Ravens had Janay come out and apologize alongside Ray Rice, after the first video surfaced. If they had the full video at that time, or any other time between then and this week…

The “demonization” is only getting started.

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BREAKING: Baltimore Ravens Terminate Contract with Ray Rice (NFL Acts)

Monday, September 8th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Baltimore Ravens have severed ties with running back Ray Rice today, after new video surfaced that shows him punching his then fiancee in an elevator.

The NFL had suspended Rice for two games, the first of which was Sunday’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

At the time the first domestic violence video surfaced, back in May, the Ravens struck a note that struck many as far off-key.

 

The Ravens have scheduled an announcement for later today. Word is that Rice is finished.

 

 

Terminating him now does raise more questions about the NFL’s lenient treatment of him in the first place. In the first video, it was clear that he had been hitting his fiancee.

 

Rice has married Janay, the woman he is seen punching in the video.

Update: The NFL has suspended Rice indefinitely, so no other NFL team can sign him.

Update: ESPN’s Adam Schefter goes weapons free, blasts the NFL for claiming that today is the first time the league has seen the new tape.

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Obama on Golfing After Foley Murder: ‘I Should Have Anticipated the Optics’

Sunday, September 7th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

On this morning’s Meet the Press, Chuck Todd asked President Obama about golfing directly after addressing last month’s beheading of journalist James Foley:

TODD: I’ve got to ask, like, so during that vacation, made the statement on Foley, you went and golfed. Do you want that back?

OBAMA: You know, it is always a challenge when you’re supposed to be on vacation, because you’re followed everywhere. And part of what I would love is a vacation from–

TODD: You want us to stop following you.

OBAMA: — the press, because–

TODD: I promise you in two and a half years I think that happens.

OBAMA: Because the possibility of a jarring contrast given the world’s news, there’s always going to be some tough news somewhere, it’s going to be there.

But there’s no doubt that after having talked to the families, where it was hard for me to hold back tears listening to the pain they were going through, after the statement that I made, that I should have anticipated the optics. That’s part of the job.

And you know, I think everybody who knows me, including, I suspect, the press, understands that you take this stuff in. And it’s serious business. And you care about it deeply. But part of this job is also the theater of it. Part of it is how are you–

TODD: You hate the theater.

OBAMA: Well, it’s not something that always comes naturally to me, but it matters. I’m mindful of that. So the important thing is in addition to that, is am I getting the policies right, am I protecting the American people, am I doing what’s necessary?

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Homophobic NFL Called Up Several NFL Teams to See About Signing Michael Sam

Friday, September 5th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Nice catch by JWF.

According to NBC’s Peter King, NFL officials called teams around the league to gauge their interest in signing former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, the NFL’s first openly gay player, to their practice squads.

The Cowboys signed Sam to their practice squad Wednesday. Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams but didn’t make the Rams’ 53-man roster.

King reported the news about Sam during the pre-game show before NBC’s coverage of  the NFL regular-season opener between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks.

“The Rams waived Michael Sam, the first openly gay player trying to make an NFL roster, he was unemployed for two days,” King said. “During that time a league official contacted multiple teams asking if they had evaluated Sam as a probable practice squad player.”

“Now Sam and the NFL avoided a nightmare situation when he signed with the practice squad of the Dallas Cowboys.”

What’s this “nightmare situation”? Every team cut a whole lot of players during pre-season. They do that every pre-season. Cutting players who aren’t good enough is one of the purposes of pre-season. After the Cowboys signed him, owner Jerry Jones admitted that Sam “is not ready to go at all.” Yet the NFL called around, and the Cowboys signed him.

Is it standard practice for the National Football League’s office to call up teams to get one player who hadn’t made the grade picked up by another team? The fact that King reported it suggests that it’s unusual.

Now why would the homophobic NFL make such an effort for one player and not the hundreds of other players who were cut during pre-season?

Update: Exit question — did the NFL shop around to find a home for Tim Tebow?

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Maybe Soccer Really is a Communist Plot to Soften Up America

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Lifelong soccer fan here. My team, Arsenal, was established by brawny men who crafted weapons for the British military at a time when the sun never set on their empire. They have a cannon in the frickin’ logo. They have another frickin’ cannon parked outside their stadium in London.

They’re called, even in our politically-correct age, the Gunners. The NBA team formerly known as the Washington Bullets envies their aggressive branding.

arsenal-fc-logo

 

 

Back when I was kid soccer player and fan, football coaches would smear the sport as a “Communist plot.” That smear would continue right up until the coach needed a kicker. Then, whaddya know, he’d go for a soccer player, because they know how to kick a ball with power and control. Soccer goal keepers also make good punters and tight ends.

But there’s a story out today that has me re-thinking the whole commie plot angle.

A letter is circulating on behalf of the NESCAC Men’s soccer coaches to parents of student-athletes, saying the conference will only allow ‘positive’ cheering from fans, furthering the wussification of sports in America.

The NESCAC (New England Small Colleges Athletic Conference) is comprised of schools such as Williams, Amherst, Tufts and Middlebury.

According to the email, NESCAC coaches ask that fans refrain from any ‘action that could potentially be construed as negative or confrontational,’ including booing and holding up signs that ‘could be interpreted as offensive in nature.’

Oh please.

Because I pay way too much attention to soccer, I get where this is coming from. It’s coming from Europe. Some fans in some countries (mostly Russia, but also Italy and Spain) engage in racist chants and hold up racist signs against non-white players on their rival teams (but not, of course, on the team they support). Some players, like World Cup vampire Luis Suarez, get a little racist on the field once in a while.

Those selectively racist fans get banned from stadiums for life when they’re caught, and the teams usually have to pay a price too. That tends to come in the form of having to play games with sections of their stadium seating left unsold, which costs the club money.

But in the US we don’t have that problem. We’re not as backward as Europe is on race relations.

Europe’s soccer fans do lead the world in hurling negative but non-racist, sometimes obscene, abusive chants at the enemy on the field. Many of those chants are hilarious and add to the atmosphere of the game.

But that also doesn’t really happen in US soccer. It’s not a part of our game here. We lag in the atmosphere indicator. The best US fans are probably the ones who support Portland and Seattle in MLS. They pack the stands and the Timbers have a logger guy who cuts a log with a big chainsaw when they score. That’s not politically-correct (a tree had to die!), and therefore it’s pretty cool. But I guess it qualifies as “positive.”

timber joey

Yet some Yankee soccer people are writing emails warning everyone not to get all negative when cheering for soccer? I bet they vote leftwing Democrat and think Barack Obama is just grand, too.

 

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Are You Ready for a Wendy Davis Flip-Flop on Football?

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Has Democrat governor candidate Wendy Davis flip-flopped on football? In Texas?

The Greg Abbott campaign has sent around a press release that makes a good case that the state senator who is originally from Rhode Island, and who pronounces Texas “Tak-sas,” has a convenient memory when it comes to Texas’ second religion.

SHOT: Today Sen. Davis Said She Has Been “Cheering For The Cowboys” Since She Was Young And Hasn’t Stopped Since. SEN. DAVIS: “And we wish our Cowboys the best. I grew up cheering for the Cowboys and I haven’t stopped ever since and I’ll be cheering for them again this year.” (KTCK-AM, 9/3/14)

Here’s the clip. It’s from earlier today.

YouTube Preview Image

Davis says clearly that she grew up cheering for the Cowboys, never stopped, and will be cheering for them again this year. So the Abbott campaign has rendered the quote accurately.

But, there are chasers to follow the shot above.

CHASER: In August Sen. Davis’ Daughter Said Her And Her Mother Were Both “Big Fans” Of The New England Patriots. “The two propose a tour of the family’s Spanish-style town house—starting with the media room, where Super Bowl parties are held (‘Mom’s best friend is Patti Kraft, whose father-in-law owns the Patriots, so we’re big fans,’ Amber tells me).” (Heidi Mitchell, “Stand And Deliver: After Her 12-Hour Filibuster, How Far Will Texas Senator Wendy Davis Run?,” Vogue, 8/15/13)

BuzzFeed: “[Sen. Davis] … Loves The New England Patriots.” “[Sen. Davis] hosts Super Bowl parties and loves the New England Patriots, which her BFF’s family owns.” (Jessica Testa, “6 Times Wendy Davis Was A ‘Cool Mom’ In Her Vogue Profile,” BuzzFeed, 8/15/13)Sen. Davis: “Go Pats!!!” (Facebook.com, 1/20/14)

This was posted on that now locked Facebook page. This year. Not at some distant point in the past. 2014.

WDGoPatriots

I might be the wrong person to write about the Cowboys right now. They make me angry. I grew up in the era of Tom Landry, Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett…a Cowboys era in which they won things. They won things early in the Jerry Jones era too — three Super Bowls in four years with Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith. But they have been mediocre since, and not just mediocre, but mediocre because Jerry Jones is not a football guy yet he has appointed himself general manager for life. They show no signs of getting above mediocrity, because Jerry Jones shows no signs of obtaining a clue.

All signs point to the Cowboys being terrible this year. They lost all of their pre-season games for the first time in 14 years. Their defense, the worst around last season, does not appear to have improved. The injury bug has hit them very hard. Tony Romo and the play callers can be expected to throw away at least two games in the crucial playoff run-up. Football is one of my two big sports (soccer the other), but I don’t even intend to pay them much attention this year. So, disclosure is out of the way.

It’s no crime to change one’s football allegiance. Families are often split, brother against brother, over gridiron allegiances.

But Wendy Davis has clearly flip-flopped here, unless her excuse is that she supports both teams. Who does she support when the Cowboys and the Patriots face each other? Texans have a right to know.

Houston is a major Texas city. Like Dallas, they have a team that pretends to be in the NFL. What is Wendy Davis’ opinion of the Texans? Or “Tak-sans”, as she pronounces the word?

Texans are big hearted and can forgive lots of things, but lying about football? That crosses a bright chalk line.

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