D.C. delegate to Congress is upset that Capitol Police have been shooing sledders away from Capitol Hill during the recent snow dumps.
“Sledding on U.S. Capitol Grounds is one of the oldest traditions in the nation’s capital,” Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) wrote yesterday to Senate Sergeant at Arms Frank J. Larkin. “Although I understand that sledding has been banned for years, what I do not understand is why the U.S. Capitol Police have recently decided to enforce this Scrooge-like ban.”
“Because the Capitol Police Board issues the regulations, I am reaching out directly to the Board to request that sledding be permitted on U.S. Capitol Grounds,” she said.
“The District of Columbia received enough snowfall to bring out sledding children and their parents last week. Left to enforce the ban for no good reason, some U.S. Capitol Police turned away families invoking security. Because of high-residential density, there are few places to sled in the city, and the grounds of the U.S. Capitol – the Hill – provide a perfect sledding venue. The sledding ban appears to be arbitrary.”
Norton pointed out that “there is so little snow here that there will not be frequent sledding and, therefore, no significant damage to Capitol Grounds.”
“Moreover, the public is not barred from walking or playing games on the grounds. I understand that there may be reasonable limits placed on sledding, but an absolute ban on sledding in the little snow the District has on the grounds of the People’s House and the Senate is unseemly and unnecessary,” she added.
“Americans should be able to sled on ‘America’s front lawn.’ I am asking that the Capitol Police Board remove the ban on sledding from Capitol Police Regulations.”
Norton asked for a response within 30 days.
— Jaimee C (@jmee16) February 17, 2015
One guess… right! Keith Olbermann, everybody’s favorite nasty Lefty. Did you know he was back at ESPN? Me, neither:
Keith Olbermann has been taken off his ESPN show for the rest of the week after making insulting comments about Penn State students on Twitter. On Monday, a Penn State alum tweeted to Olbermann the phrase “We Are!” and a link to an article about students raising more than $13 million to fight pediatric cancer. Olbermann replied “…Pitiful.”
Olbermann, who often spars with commenters on Twitter, then refused to back down, saying he was referring to Penn State students in general and not the fundraising. On Tuesday, ESPN said in a statement that “it was completely inappropriate and does not reflect the views of ESPN. We have discussed it with Keith, who recognizes he was wrong.”
Olbermann also apologized on Twitter, saying, “I was stupid and childish and way less mature than the students there who did such a great fundraising job.”
Talk about a guy who’s long past his sell-by date. He hasn’t been either funny or entertaining since the Dan Patrick days.
It was one of the most memorable Super Bowls of all time but, in terms of the commercials, it was more like a blowout that was over by halftime. “There were some of the worst Super Bowl ads I’ve ever seen – that really missed badly,” said David Steinberg, CEO of Zeta Interactive, a New York-based digital marketing firm.
“It was a somber, very emotional year. There were no epic standouts,” said David Shoffner, senior public relations strategist of Pavone, a Pennsylvania ad agency. An ad that was a particular downer to many people was a Nationwide Insurance spot advising parents to protect their children – or they’ll die. “There’s a time and place for those kind of ads, but the Super Bowl isn’t one of them,” Shoffner explained.
As a hardcore football fan, I’ve long loathed the focus on commercials and half time shows surrounding the Super Bowl, so I’m glad that the people who tend to “only watch for the commercials” had an awful night.
Sports are supposed to be escapist entertainment. We don’t need to be taught life lessons during a football game. The notion that some kind of depth can be conveyed via television advertising during a sporting event is rather pathetic, actually.
The Nationwide ad was extraordinarily awful and was met with almost universal derision. Instead of admitting that it whiffed with its attempt, the company doubled down and issued a statement saying that it was attempting to start a dialogue about home accidents and child deaths.
Um, no, you were trying to scare people into buying insurance.
It did inspire a new slogan for the company which spread throughout social media: “Nationwide Your Kid Has Died”.
Nationwide also started a Twitter hashtag game that I’m sure isn’t the kind of publicity it wanted. If you have a minute, check out #NationwideAMovie.
So as the number of comments and some of my twitter replies revealed, it seems that even when I warn right up front that I’m trolling, some people will still take me seriously. (See my Super Bowl piece yesterday, which some had a hard time grasping.) I suppose a significant chunk of people just can’t understand how to read something other than in an earnest, straight-forward, literalist way. So from now on, when I’m trolling, I’ll be sure to have an overt picture indicating as such. How about the one above as a default? Or do you like the one below more, a Wario variation of the infamous meme?
But somebody who did take me a little too literally did share an interesting article in response:
— Shakespeareana (@Macbeth870) February 2, 2015
It’s an entertaining list. By my count, only 8 of the jobs are defensible as worth dedicating one’s life to in the 21st century. Some of the deadly jobs may have been respectable as careers in 19th century America (making steel, chopping down trees, mining coal, etc.) but they really aren’t at all anymore, unless you plan on doing it with a robot instead of risking your own body. (And I’m skeptical of a few of the list’s claims — the microchip manufacturer entry seems to rely on facts from the 1980s.)
But these jobs from the list where one risks life and limb for a higher purpose are still worthy of respect in my estimation:
25. Smokejumper [firefighter who leaps out of planes in forests]
21. Bounty Hunter
20. War Correspondent
18. Maximum Security Prison Guard
16. U. S. President
14. Urban Cop
10. Urban Firefighter
5. Soldier In Battle
There are a number of other occupations more honorable and moral than a professional athlete sacrificing their body for sport. Which others do you think were neglected from the list?
(And have I made my point obvious enough yet for all the slow people? That “real men” don’t dedicate their lives to playing and obsessing over sports. They put their lives on the line to fight evil barbarians, bring down slave states, and crush criminal death cults.)
Jim Messina, President Obama’s 2012 campaign manager and former White House deputy chief of staff, is going to his first Super Bowl today. And he found new friends…
Dems are everywhere at the Super Bowl pic.twitter.com/v4vUb581h5
— Jim Messina (@Messina2012) February 1, 2015
He needed something to cheer him up:
Damn! Friday ruined now that Romney is not running. I knew God didn’t love me enough for that gift.
— Jim Messina (@Messina2012) January 30, 2015
UPDATE: Former Obama adviser David Axelrod gets into the game with ball joke that’s about a week old…
Both these quarterbacks clearly have fully-inflated balls!
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) February 2, 2015
Buzz Killington reporting for duty on Super Bowl Sunday. Here’s your high-level, unapologetic trolling for the day:
The Super Bowl is a neo-pagan celebration of sex and death. In the future our children and grandchildren will look back on our nation’s annual secular holiday with the same incredulity as they will the recent bi-partisan celebration of the new “king” of the Sharia slave state we dignify with the name “Saudi Arabia.” It’ll be just one more sign of our age’s cultural confusion and primitivism.
One of my last memories of my maternal grandfather before he died was a visit where we sat around the table as he recounted various adventures from his cock-fighting days. Grandpa did all kinds of jobs to hustle money and using the roosters from the family hen house for gambling was one of them. Of course we regard such a practice today as barbaric, and cruel — I remember seeing it portrayed in one of my favorite childhood books on medieval castles.
But isn’t that kind of bloodsport less cruel than what we celebrate as a culture today? Grandpa wasn’t doing much worse than KFC — and he wasn’t teaching teenagers how to smash their skulls together and dedicate their lives to a silly sport. Yet what he was doing is now illegal and the NFL today is a billion dollar industry.
And what’s the deal with the annual discussions about whether football players should miss the Super Bowl for their children’s births?
How much more obvious does it need to be that football appreciation in its extreme forms has become an idol in America today? How much life is worth being sacrificed and risked for a game where a pigskin ball is thrown around a field?
And I’m sorry, but I’ll go a step further: can someone explain to me why it’s moral to ever encourage a child to dedicate their lives to playing sports full-time? Isn’t encouraging a boy to aspire to be a professional football player akin to pushing a little girl to be a pole dancer? That they are essentially told to sacrifice themselves as individuals and dedicate their lives to creating and maintaining some body at the supposed pinnacle of masculine or feminine perfection?
I don’t dispute that sports can be fun to play with others and can foster an understanding of teamwork, etc. Games are good — but we don’t make the country’s top dart-throwing, bowling, or even baseball or basketball games the kind of cultural secular holiday we do with the Super Bowl. What’s the difference?
Does it have to be a bloodsport like football where life is actually on the line to really reach into people’s soul and get them to find something that feels meaningful?
Isn’t there something better to do with one’s life? Aren’t there individuals in our culture more worthy of being celebrated than a bunch of millionaires who play sports on TV?
As if another were needed to despise the biggest waste of time in America:
Two of our favorite Seahawks have made an ad for HealthCare.gov, the health insurance exchange website set up for Obamacare. HealthCare.gov released the ad featuring Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and cornerback Richard Sherman on Friday.
“Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson want you to know that now’s the time to shop for an affordable health insurance plan that fits your budget and health needs at www.HealthCare.gov,” the ad says. The two are not dressed in official Seahawks gear, but are wearing Seahawks blue and allude to the game.
I rest my case.
It’s either super adorable or terribly awkward, depending on whether you love or hate Chris Christie. The New Jersey governor was caught on camera moving in for a celebratory hug when Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones failed to return his high fives after the team’s come-from-behind win on Sunday. Gov. Christie watched from the Cowboys owner’s box as his favorite team defeated the Detroit Lions to advance to the NFC Divisional playoffs.
Whatever you think about Christie cavorting with the Dallas Cowboys, the missed high fives, and his potential presidential run, you have to admit he’s looking rather svelte nearly two years after his Lap-Band weight loss surgery. Christie has reportedly lost 85 lbs. since the February, 2013 surgery.
After a Hawaii vacation packed with golf — including inviting the Malaysian prime minister off the course and kicking a wedding of two Army captains off the 16th hole at Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course — President Obama finally invited the press pool onto the course for a photo op.
“After a long hold in the clubhouse during POTUS’ round at Mid-Pacific Country Club, pool was brought out for a photo op at the 18th green,” read the White House pool report. “Pool positioned behind a fence separating course from Kaelepulu Drive, a public street that runs adjacent to its eastern end.”
White House photographer Pete Souza was out on the course snapping photos, as well.
The action, per the White House pool report:
Just after 6pm POTUS and his party arrived near the green. POTUS was in a black polo, blue shorts and beige cap. We first heard him with some encouraging small talk with his partners. “That’s a great shot, Greg.” Later: “Great shot, Mike.”
POTUS lined up for a short chip shot for birdie just in front of the green. It looked pretty good, inspiring a tournament-like yell of “Get in the hole” from one of the onlookers, but ended just maybe a foot or so to the right.
POTUS walked up nearer to the pool and the crowd, but rather than make the easy put he picked up the ball. “They actually gave that to me!” he exclaimed, apparently having been offered a gimme by his partners and spared an easy put in front of the cameras. “That’s how you want to end, with a par.”
Pool was quickly wrangled back to the van even as POTUS began to approach crowd. “How’s it going guys?” he asked. “Merry Christmas, Happy New Year.”
Obama’s golfing partners for most of his trip have been longtime friend Bobby Titcomb (arrested in a Honolulu prostitution sting operation a few years ago), old classmate Greg Orme (who was part of the “Choom Gang“), and Mike Ramos, another childhood friend and Obama bundler.
But Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razzak is catching flack back home for his golf outing with Obama — as his country suffers the worst flooding in decades, killing several people and causing some 100,000 to flee their homes.
From the Straits Times:
Mr Najib himself came under fire, however, when photos emerged of the Premier playing golf with Mr Obama in Hawaii, with Malaysians questioning why he was not at home to deal with the crisis in posts on his official Facebook page.
Critics have also charged his government with failing to respond quickly enough, with some lambasting the authorities for not declaring a state of emergency in the worst-hit regions.
“The PM needs time to take a break,” Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was quoted as saying by The New Straits Times.
“He has been working very hard so let’s be fair to him as a human being. Don’t worry, I’m in charge.”
— The Straits Times (@STcom) December 28, 2014
There, I said it. What a stupendous waste of time, watching eight hours or so of pro football back to back on Sunday, plus whatever other nights of the week this useless sport takes up. It’s slow, boring, pointless. It’s filled with criminals. It injures young men who think they are immortal and leaves them shambling husks in later life. It takes up an inordinate amount of Rush Limbaugh’s air time to no purpose. And now, fittingly, its ratings are cratering in the wake of the Seahawks-Cardinals game Sunday night:
Undoubtedly, because of the blowout, the night was not so great for NBC and the NFL. In fact, in fast nationals, it was a season low among adults 18-49 for SNF, and one it’ll be hard pressed to make up when the final numbers come in. In a season that has seen SNF tackled by a series of big margin games, last night’s match-up was down 32% from the fast nationals of last week’s SNF. It was also down 39% from the 8.6/25 that the Dallas Cowboys victory over the Philadelphia Eagles game of December 14 rose to in final nationals.
Yes, the overall ratings remain high among boob tube watchers, but as Barnum said, there’s a sucker born every minute. What’s ominous, though, is that the audiences are skewing older:
Just as countless parties are tackling it over its handling of the recent Ray Rice controversy, its recent disclosure that its players are more likely than the general population to sustain severe brain injuries, and the news that Minnesota Vikings player Adrian Peterson has been indicted on charges of child abuse, the NFL may have to contend with something potentially even more devastating.
Younger viewers are walking away from broadcasts of its games.
The average audience between 18 and 49 for NFL broadcasts across CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN and the NFL Network has declined by about 10.6% over the last four seasons, according to Nielsen data prepared by Horizon Media, to about 7.7 million in 2013 from about 8.62 million in 2010. Meantime, male viewers between 18 and 24 watching the sport have also fallen off, tumbling about 5.3% in the same time period, to approximately 847,000 in 2013 from 894,000 in 2010.
“This segment is not passionate about the NFL like older age groups,” says Kirk Wakefield, executive director of sports and entertainment marketing at Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business. “The social status of NFL teams and players may be deteriorating compared to other pastimes or interests that are more personally engaging.”An NFL spokesman did not respond to a query about the ratings declines.
Good. Get a life, get a job, or just read a book. You’ll thank me for it.
More at PJ Media on football:
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:
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.
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.
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.”
Pre-Christmas pro-tip: Don’t forget to talk to your kids — and parents — about responsible social media usage.
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:
— Sports Mogul, Inc. (@sportsmogul) December 9, 2014
Design Matters. Details Matter. For example, comic sans probably not the appropriate typeface. pic.twitter.com/bqSVJWWMUy
— Eric S. Kuhn (@eskuhn) December 9, 2014
— Eric S. Kuhn (@eskuhn) December 9, 2014
C'mon Lebron, Comic Sans? Did Dan Gilbert design this too? pic.twitter.com/VlW4YD59JI
— Andrew Santoro (@andrew_santoro_) December 9, 2014
the 'I can't breathe' shirt lebron was wearing has zero credibility because it's in Comic Sans #cmonman
— victoria (@vDelGato) December 10, 2014
Comic sans was definitely the worst choice for LeBron's "I Can't Breathe" shirt. Nothing funny about that.
— Bailey Aldrich (@baileyaldrich) December 10, 2014
I love that LeBron is using his stature in this way to protest Eric Garner's murder. But Comic Sans? WTF?… http://t.co/dXyOi9Tr21
— Rick Dickinson (@coyotebum) December 10, 2014
Is that comic sans on Lebron's 'I can't breathe' T-shirt? Do you want to be taken seriously or what?
— Josh Hastings (@Josh_Hastings) December 10, 2014
Proud of Lebron using his fame this way. However, friends don’t let friends use Comic Sans. pic.twitter.com/GYHTLRwUL4
— Jamie Golden (@JamiesRabbits) December 10, 2014
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?
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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?
“Aaron Lewis Screws Up National Anthem At World Series Game,” the Huffington Post headline read.
Mediaite said that Lewis “bollocksed 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.
aaron Lewis pleaseeee for your own good take a seat.
— Grace Gronberg (@Gee_Race_Gee) October 26, 2014
Eric Burke, a reporter at Fox 4 in Kansas City tweeted:
— Eric Burke (@Fox4eb) October 26, 2014
MLB Yahoo! sports columnist Jeff Passan also brought up the prominent tattoo on Lewis’ neck.
For someone who has DON'T TREAD ON ME tattooed on his neck, Aaron Lewis might want to learn his national anthem before he tries it again.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 27, 2014
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.”
— Rachael Starke (@rachaelstarke) October 27, 2014
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.
Obama came on the scoreboard and unanimous "boo" went through the stadium #spartyon
— Jake Wasko (@jake_wasko) October 5, 2014
Most interesting MSU student section cheer today? booed loudly when Obama was shown on video board.
— Kelly Weber (@StateLady) October 5, 2014
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.
Never been more proud to be a Spartan when the Student Section boo'd Obama.
— Sam Willis (@CarmelChewy) October 5, 2014
Obama just came on the screen and the whole stadium booed.. Lol
— Hope (@HopeAutumn10) October 5, 2014
Everyone booing Obama at spartan stadium was one of the best things that has ever happened
— Shannon Lizotte (@shannon_lizotte) October 5, 2014
See the video Michigan State fans booed on the next page:
“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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.