Friday, February 13, 2009

Teams and Their Towns

Do Sports Teams Reflect Their Towns – HELL YES

Why do we love or hate sports so much? Easy, sports teams for their own part are a reflection of our geographical politics, our lifestyles, and our culture. Although some athletes may hide in anonymity because they wear visors on their masks (football/hockey); or some athletes come from entirely different backgrounds than the people that pay $3,000.00 for courtside seats (basketball); or come from entirely different countries altogether (baseball); the jerseys worn by the athletes still embody the communities they represent. Starting with the East Coast (Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and D.C.), this series of posts follows the list of teams and athletes that have come to emblemize the cities they represent.


Boston: aka Baaasten, Beantown; Home of the Celtics, Bruins, Redsox (aka Sou-ax); and Patriots (aka Paaatz). This is the city that combines its Blue-Blooded Mayflower Anglophiles with Bootleggin’ Irish Kennedy new money and working class. They are upper-crust Harvard, Irish Catholic Boston College, and center of the universe MIT. Where else can you have a kid from French Lick, IN on top of the sports world alongside the NFL’s most popular Playboy who has babies out of wedlock and dates Victoria Secret Supermodels. Notwithstanding these contradictions, Boston is for all intents and purposes, HARDCORE. Its fans, mostly working class, appreciate the toughness of a Cam Neely, the teamwork and “drivin’ miss daisy” humility of Bill Russell, and the grit of the Splendid Splinter. Speaking of the Sox, Boston is also a city in love with its own depravity. In a spat of irony, Bostonites curse the “Big Dig” as they would the decision to trade Babe Routh, both events causing decades of painful regret. But with the recent success of the Pats, Celts, and Soax, Basten is definitely the City of the Decade when it comes to sports, thus giving hope to cities who the Sports Gods haven forsaken.

New York/ New Jersey: aka Nyark, Gotham, Metropolis, New Amsterdam, The City that Never Sleeps, and the Great White Way; Home of the Yankees, Giants, Knicks, Nets, Jets, Islanders, Rangers, and Mets and Devils. The NYC is the center of the universe, financially, politically, and culturally – at least to 18 Million New Yorkers. So the view of their teams is also myopic. In the mind of the Jankess fan, a year without a ring is failure. On the other hand, the Knicks, Mets and Jets are just failures. The Giants have the oldest and most conservative ownership group in the NFL, and they win or lose being the oldest and most conservative team in the NFL. And the reason why I won’t run a list of athletes that represent New York is because half of the Baseball hall of fame is enshrined in Yankee Stadium. But despite the glamour and glitz that is NYC, the teams and their athletes are most appreciated for their desire to win. Jersey’s own Al Davis sums it up the best, “Just Win Baby.” So even if you have great numbers, losers are decapitated by the Nyark media (i.e. A-Fraud); But even one glorious championship can place you in the pantheon of NY sports (i.e. Joe Namath, Willis Reed, LT, Eli Manning, Keith Hernendez).

Philadelphia: aka Phili; or the City of Brotherly Shove. Phili is the Red-Headed step child of the East Coast, with bad acne and worse teeth. Phili combines its penis envy hatred of New York with a loathing for everything south of the Mason Dixon line. The Founding Fathers re-nigged on making Phili the Nation’s Capital of the Country and Wallstreet eventually became the world’s financial center. For this reason, Phili fans have the worst Napoleonic complex of all cities in any of the major sports. Unfortunately for the Phili fan, the images of the Broad Street Bullies pummeling the Ruskies in Hockey during the 70’s and Dr. J gorilla dunking on the Lakers in the early 80’s is rapidly fading into distant memory. Why, because Phili is and has always been an EAGLES town. Rocky depicted the underdog of inner-city Phili. Black, Irish, Italian, Czech, German, Greek, Pats or Genos…it didn’t matter. They were all Rocky because they were all Grilled Meat Cheese and Onion. But just as Sly was always the underdog to Apollo/Clubber/Drago/Dixon, Frazier takes a second seat to Ali, and the Eagles will always be in the back of bus compared to the Giants and Cowboys. Even the recent success of the Phillies cannot assuage the pain of Eagles failures in the playoffs. What other city would fire its Hall of fame Coach and Hall of Fame QB in the prime of their careers because they haven’t won a Superbowl? Maybe next year Eagle fan, maybe next year.

Washington D.C.: aka Chocolate City, The Beltway, and the District of Crime. D.C. is the home to the Wizards (fka Bullets), the Capitals, and the Nationals. But really folks, there’s only one team everyone cares about. Hale To the Redskins. Slinging Sammy, The Smurfs, The Over-the Hill Gang, The Hogs, The Diesel, Joe T, Art Monk, Darrell Green, Dexter Manley, Joe Gibbs. These are the names you remember when you think D.C. Sports. And like their athletes, D.C. is an amalgamation of many characteristics. Because D.C. embodies the power of its political elite, the swagger of an active nightlife, and youthful vibrancy of its prestigious academic community, a percentage of D.C. fans are comprised of the socio-economically elite. Then, there are the true fans, the people that call themselves citizens of D.C. – These are folks residing “Outside the Beltway” where the wealthy suburbanites dot the rural townships along Chesapeake Bay; and the people “Inside the Beltway” consist of D.C.’s poor African-American community, usually ranking low in education and high in crime rates. D.C. loves its Skins, hates the Cowboy and Eagle fan, and loves its town.

Tune in next week for a view of the Mid-West.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Jordan Shipley aka White Lightning

Jordan Shipley
Burnet (TX) Burnet
Call him White Lightning. Shipley is deceptively fast and has amazing hands to boot.
We love the college game around here because of the ample and hilarious examples of the sports cliche.  Take UT's star wide-out Jordan Shipley, for example.  

In high school, Shipley, the all time Texas High School receiver, ran a 10.41 100 meter and a 4.37 40.  For comparison, on a home fast track, IN COLLEGE, Reggie Bush ran a 4.33.  Devin Hester ran a 4.45 at the NFL combine.

As fast as Reggie Bush, faster than Devin Hester, yet chooses to tell us he's "deceptively fast" and "has amazing hands". gushes about his "good route running", "excellent concentration" (WTF: New Cliche Alert!!),  and that he's a "tough blocker down the field".

Did we mention that he's a "coach's son"?   We are howling!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Roger Goddell Violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

The NFL is in violation of Title VII Section of the Civil Rights Act. That's right, Roger Goddell's suspension of Adam "Pacman" Jones, an African-American, has clearly violated Mr. Jones' federally protected rights of employment when compared to the treatment of Matt Jones [no relation to Pacman], a Caucasion Wide Receiver for Jacksonville.

Let's Compare...
Pacman's violation - Drinking at a bar and fighting with his own bodyguard. No charges filed with the police, no complaints from any other bar patrons, and no suspension from his own boss, Jerry Jones. Matt Jones violation - CHARGED by the police in Arkansas with possession of FOUR POUNDS of cocaine with intent to distribute [case is still pending in Arkansas state court]. No suspension from the league at this point.

Title VII employment discrimination claims are reviewed under the burden-shifting framework outlined in McDonnell Douglas v. Green. 411 U.S. 792 at 802 (1973). Under this framework, the plaintiff, Pacman, must first establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, a prima facie case of discrimination. Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Products, Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 142 (2000). The burden is one of production and not one of persuasion. Id. If the Plaintiff develops such proof, then the Defendant, Roger Goddell/NFL, must come forward and articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the challenged employment action. McDonnell Douglas, 411 U.S. 792 at 802 (1973). Once the NFL provides sufficient evidence to meet this burden, Pacman must show that he was the victim of intentional discrimination by showing the NFL's proffered explanation of the employment decision is unworthy of credence. Reeves, 530 U.S. 133, at 143 (2000). Pacman can meet this evidentiary burden by either providing evidence of discrimination or evidence establishing the falsity of the NFL's explanation. Id. at 147; See Kanida v. Gulf Coast Med. Pers. LP, 363 F.3d. 568, 574-75 (5th Cir. 2004).

Pacman meets the element of his prima facie case because: (1) he is of a protected class (he's Black); (2) he's qualified for the position of Cornerback in the NFL (Round 1 Draft Choice, two fumble recoveries, and two almost picks...yes he's qualified); and (3) he suffered an adverse employment decision by the hands of the NFL when suspended for at least 5 weeks at $41,000.00 per week while comparably, Matt Jones has not been suspended for selling 4 pounds of White Pony.
To refute this prima facie case of discrimination, Mr. Goddell must articulate a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for his adverse employment decision. McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973). In this context, evidence is substantial if it is such as to allow a rational fact finder to make a reasonable inference that a protected factor was a determinative reason for the employment decision.” LaPierre v. Benson Nissan, Inc., 86 F.3d 444, 449 (5th Cir. 1996) (internal citations omitted). According to Mr. Goddell, Pacman's violations have had a "...deleterious affect on the league, his team, and his teammates."

Mr. Goddell cannot explain why providing a living for female employees of breast establishments nationwide, by "Makin' It Rain," hurt a league starving for media attention. Nor can Mr. Goddell justify that a tustle in a bar with one's own body guard warrants financial hardship upon a Brother just trying to earn a spot on an NFL roster. But most importantly, Mr. Goddell truly fails to articulate why selling FOUR POUNDS of Nose Candy does NOT have a deleterious affect on the league or his team.

For the foregoing reasons, Roger Goddell has failed to purport a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason why Pacman gets suspended while Matt Jones, continues to spare us to death. Hence, clear disparate treatment, actionable discrimination, and damages should be cited against the NFL.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Top 50 Revisited for Athletes of Color

Well, it's here. The reverb. Top 50 Quotes for the Athlete of Color

50. Possesses raw athleticism - Of course.
49. A complete talent - as opposed to incomplete?
48. Brings that dimension of speed to the team - Speed kills
47. Makes the team more athletic - But less of a team
46. Runs with instinct - Fear of dying is definitely instinctual
45. "Look at that boy loaf to the ball, makes the game look easy doesn’t he" - actual quote after a Willy Mays catch in the outfield
44. Not the coach’s favorite, but he can add some punch - Speed kills
43. You wouldn’t want him living next door, but he helps your team - Foreclosures are bad enough on those property values, if you let one in, they'll all come
42. Bred to play the sport - See Jimmy the Greek
41. Flashy - Probably from the gold grill
40. This guys knows how to celebrate -I've got rythm
39. Unlike most days, this will be a mental challenge for him today - A little commentary on the intellect?
38. He’s a more focused athlete when he’s challenged - With child support dues
37. Skilled shooter - Born with a basketball
36. Loves the spotlight - Hubris....that's really Greek isn't it? See no. 42
35. Natural swing - Born with a Bat...or in the case of Tiger...a golf club
34. Gifted rebounder - No need to practice, you're gifted
33. What he lacks in humility, he makes up for in talent - Seeing a cultural pattern here
32. Part of the new style of player - Reference to Circa BBA (Before the Black Athlete)
31. The kids tend to love his type of playmaking ability - Adults just hate his attitude
30. He seems to be really motivated to play today - Must be in between contract years
29. Coaches like him, but progress in the position will depend changing his study habits -
28. I don’t know if this type of thinking offense suits him - Really, too stupid to throw the ball to the open guy five yards in front of him?
27. He tends to play better when he can rely on his instincts - Might as well give him the Playbook for Dummies
26. He will learn not to show so much youthful exuberance -I don't want my kids learning how to spike the ball
25. He’s a credit to the kids from his neighborhood - Now if he can just get rid of that gang tatoo
24. Not so media friendly
23. A type that challenges his teammates and coaches - Attitude problem
22. Play maker on and off the field - Got the child support bills to show it
21. Uses that God given world class speed to his advantage
20. Thanks his proud mom, she had to be both a mother and a father to him
19. Can be an all-star if he puts his mind to it - Laziness
18. Lives a life-style we regular guys only dream about -
17. Ridiculously talented - Gotta be for a complete athlete
16. Will definitely have cute kids - Unfortunately with your sister
15. Has a knack for saying what’s on his mind - Attitude problem
14. One of the most stylish guys in the league -
13. Quick feet for a big man - The Black version of deceptive speed
12. Articulate - Sounds White
11. Well-Spoken - Is White
10. A legend in his own mind - Goes along with the self-promoter
9. A great self-promoter -Backhanded compliment much
8. Not the most intelligent of moves for him there -
7. Non chalant - opposite of gamer
6. With the exception of quarterback, can play any position on the field - Probably because of hte thinking man's offense
5. Must have a touch of something, the eyes look a little glazed today
4. Well groomed - a good guard dog
3. A proud poppa, again and again and again - With your sister and her friends
2. Definitely loves him some him - Needs no explanation
1. "Look at that little monkey run" - Thanks Howard for that classic

Monday, February 18, 2008

Are You Kidd-ing Me?

What I don't understand is what is so great about a guy we had 10 years ago except his back was in better shape back then?

The fact is, Jason Kidd put a NJ team on his back over half a decade ago and beat an eastern conference without boston, NYN, or Chicago even in the top 10. Sure, they did punk an eventual champion in the (rash-weed Wallace free!) Pistons to get punked in return by the Timmer and Shaq/Kobe but my take on the eastern conference of the last ten years is: if you can't beat an eastern conference team it's only cuz you are/play like a bunch of pussies.

Five years ago, gentle readers, we had Dirk, Fin-Dog, Raja Bell and Nash and we could not score a point in the fourth quarter to beat los Spurs. We did not have Jason Kidd, then, and we wouldn't have done any better if we had.

I defy anyone to say that, five years later, with no Nash, no Finley, no Bell plus the geriatric twins, Jason Kidd and Jerry Stackhouse, that we are any better. Sure, Kidd's cocaine-fueled baby-momma bashing sessions of his youth are long behind him (allegedly) but he's played 13 seasons at a 37 MPG clip and he's a career 40% shooter (currently in his worst shooting season as pro) with his worst assist to turnover ratio in six years (and in his bottom 3 of the last decade).

Anybody who says this is "Great for Dallas" has gained unlimited access to Rasheed Wallace's personal stash and is exhibiting the optimism so aptly phrased as "The Triumph of Hope over Experience."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

First Draft - Jerry Jones Letter to Goodell

Mr. Roger Goodell
Komishner of the Most High
National Football League
Dere Suh:
Caint but hep bit notize that u, Mr. Hervard Law Scool Big Stuff Shirt Wit 3 Peece Soot n BoTie Komishner, has certin tiems that u peers to be biazed towurd. Kuld be cuze dose tiems liv n ur neck o de wuuds, ur just fan uh ders because ur alwys attindas dere games? Ur dey kizz up to u( and u kizz up to dem) at meetins uh de onwers? I.E., urruh, dat eetsy beetsy fyne ginst Bellycheck fur $500,000 fur takin movin picturs of da fence signzs.
Now compare that to the time u directly tole me n Beary to git rid of his kollection of the same type of movie pictures ur face millions in fines and suspended players with good speedquickness. Cause of u I had to get rid of Beary and he had to send all of his movies to de Anita Hill Memorial librrary at Zero U. Frankly, I think ur a little biased cause wer just not as poplar down here with the Jew York Medgia.
Further, whin I considur haw u treated Pac-Man n his boyes, ur specially biased. Look, I cain't hep it if u doesnt know whut a "rain danze" is. U shoulda wint to wun of dem facny east coast bidness scool, not Hervard law scool. Dat's where I sint Jerri, Jr., til he cum home talkin all proper n what not bout de "frunt yahd" and "pie r squre" not roun like even my ignorunt maid Bessie know better (unles it be a cobbler). Atter all, de bidness scool and law scools dey wuz both cross de street frum ech n otter. Culdn't u seen that Hervard bidness scool car lot had dem fancy eyetalion cars and the law scool had all dem bikes?
Den, New Englande wint n uppded Bellycheck's paychik de week aster ur so callyed "fiyne", and left u you lookin like the idiut u trooly is. I did my bess to cova fur u down here with the local Texas medgia, but u left me lookin like an idiut 2 wich atter dat Pizza commerzial, I was awreddy in deep doo-doo nnyhow with my snutie High Land Purkk nabors for doing my hip hop danze. Joan n me kaint even gitta invite to Humneka, let lone Kristhmus purdies dis yr.
Then whut bout Tank and his suspense? N whut bout that Lanta boy? No
soule in Texas unnerstans atter I trys n trys splainin. Hell you woulda had to lock up de haf de state of Texas if you put peeples in de pin who drove drunk, fought dogs, and kep guns n East Texas, let lone Arkinsaw. Meenwhile, nuttins done about all dem NASTYCAR fans in Carlina. Whin dey aint racin for money dey is doin nuttin but racin jist for the hell of it, drinkin, huntin, and dog fightin. Ole Abe Lincoln (whoo I unnerstan is ur heroo) once said hisself Caralina was "too small for a state, too big for an insane asylum".

Well , Mr. Big Hervard law scool Stuff Shirt Wit 3 Peece Soot Komishner and BoTie, dere is curtain tiems out dere like Dallus Cawboyes that are watchin U. U coulda put a staytement in dere more den a cuple of lines bout "How Bout Dem Cawboyes kickin the pants off dem Gints" (in dere houze, where dere chilrens play with dere toyes).
Dat simply meens dis: DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS!
I red that sumwher n I likes it! Cept how else wuz I gwine to git tha big ass stadjum n all dem rodes up to it bilt? Meanwhile, Texas is spendin $2 billion grinbacks on my stadjum and my rodes ( Hell, I is spendin $10 million myonself after tax bakes cordin to dem fancy pant liars I hired from Dallas whew screem evrytyme dey getsa paperkut) rightcher in Arlen,Texas, and you wana sind my tiem to Angland wher dey use goats and sheeps to kut de grasss n dem folkes caint even spk r spll Anglish and wurst confus the pernt after kicke as de tuchdwn!
Enuff is Enuff. Wer puttin you own notice--dere be a new Sheriff in dis her towne, and his name is Jerri Jones. And dat is spelled with a "y",and don't you furget it! [I jist forgets wher to put that Y, so why donctha use that fancy Hervard law scool dyploma for sumpin youseful and stick it where it goes!
/s/ "X"
CEO and Prezyidint
Dallas Cawboys aka "Americuz's Tiem" (also natl sponsor of fightin pit bulls of Americuh)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Why Deceptive Speed

Two Words - Ethnic Narcissism. And what pray tell is "ethnic narcissim?" Simply, it's the desire to see a representative of our particular ethnicity succeed in their respective endeavors. So, when it comes to sports, ethnic narcissism occurs with the unconventional, if not unusual, occurence of an athlete who looks like us, succeeds or has some modicum of success, which allows us to root for ourselves.

Those who know, know what I'm talking about. But for those who don't, prime examples of this phenomenon are exhibited in film: i.e. Rocky's I-III, Glory Road, Raging Bull, Bingo-Long's Travelling All-Stars, and The Great White Hope, just to name a few.

In reality, ethnic narcissism is the reason why you rooted for either the celtics or the lakers during the 80's, why you wanted BOTH Indy and Chicago in last year's superbowl, or why you HATE the Allen Iversons, Michael Irvins, the T.O.'s and all their progeny while simultaneously wonder why they cant' be more like Wes Welker, Brett Farvre, Cal Ripken, Jr. or every NHL player that ever lived.

In short, the media, dominated by the anglo male 45-65, loves the unconventional white athlete. And, for these reasons, the media has forever placed in our subconcious reverence for the white athlete with the following catch phrases. Please read along, enjoy the commentary, and listen to the announcer who loves to place a special plug for the regular guy making $2Million a year is a pro athlete.

50. The obvious - He's got "deceptive speed."
49. "Motor never stops runnin" - Superior effort making up for lack of talent.
48. "Coaches describe him as extremely coachable" - Not only redundant...but just plain stupid.
47. "He's smart with the ball" - Now...superior intellect making up for lack of talent.
46. "He's a gym rat" - Once again, 'e' for effort.
45. "He's elusively quick" - Just another way of saying deceptively fast
44. "Heady" - HHMMM...more Intellect
43. "Leader off and on the field" - Meaning, this is why he gets paid
42. "Contributes in immeasurable ways" - Meaning we're looking for a stat to justify his pay
41. "You can't coach his desire" - Which is interesting for an athlete that's extremely coachable
40. "Model athlete and citizen" - Doesn't drink, do strip clubs, tote AK-47's, etc.
39. "Locker room guy" - see no. 43.
38. "Great hands and feet" - As opposed to club hands and feet for those other professional athletes
37. "Business-like" - For the regular guy who amazingly confuses his own life and employment status with that of a professional athlete
36. "Workman-like" - Interchangeable with business-like...depending on whether you're blue collar or white collar...speaking of...
35. "Blue Collar Guy"
34. "Brings his lunch pale" - Right after he gets out of his $150,000.00 Bentley
33. "Unselfish with the ball" - Probably because he's 5'11'' and can't shoot
32. "Student of the game" - What's that mean?
31. "Historian of the game" - No, really, what the hell does that mean?
30. "Brings it on every play" - Define 'it'
29. "Excercises good judgment" -
28. "Sacrifices mind and body on every play" - I guess that's what 'it' is but is that really excercising good judgment?
27. "Never seems to tire" - Sure when your focusing on him 5 out of 48 minutes
26. "Never says quit" - Nice
25. "Never takes plays off"
24. "Never flashy"
23. "Never calls attention to himself" - And Never gets that $1Million Nike Contract because you don't know him
22. "Seems to get underestimated" - Because he doesn't have shoe deal
21. "Seems to get overlooked" - Only when the media mentions it 100 times during the game
20. "Definitely underpaid" - After Billion Dollar Deals with NBC, ABC, Fox, and CBS, aren't they all underpaid?
19. "Has plenty of want to" -
18. "One of the sharpest guys in the leauge" - Back to the intellect
17. "Strong for his size" - Media loves the underdog
16. "Makes up for his size by playmaking ability" - Meaning your fat butt can run with these pros as well....Not
15. "Is always in the right position to make plays" - Guess all I need to do is watch film to be at the right position to make plays.
14. "Pillar of the community" - Meaning his posse wouldn't show up in my neighborhood if they lived here
13. "Understands his place on the team" - Look, it's the 5'11" mascot again
12. "He's always team" - Commentary for the anti-Kobi people (honestly...Kobi ranks 7th on the plus/minus list for basketball players...who's No.1? - Steve Nash????) who would you rather have?
11. "He's all about W's" - And $$$
10. "Respects the game" - Right after studying the history of the I get it.
9. "Respects his teammates"
8. "You can't measure the heart of this guy"
7. "Lives for the game"
6. "Lives for his teammates"
5. "Breathes _________ (insert sport)" - and enhales steroids
4. "Burns the midnight oil preparing for the next opponent" - Guess that 's why he's coachable
3. "Plays to his strengths"
2. "Let's the game come to him" - and finally
1. He's OLD SCHOOL - When that school was pre-Brown v. Board