Tag Archive | "Roger Goodell"

Mutiny On The Bounty-Gate

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Mutiny On The Bounty-Gate

Posted on 06 November 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

If  you think that you’re having a tough 2012, look no further than to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for some perspective. Goodell’s 2012 has been terrible, and from the looks of things 2013 isn’t set to begin much better for the embattled commish.

After dealing with a labor lockout, and officials lockout, a rash of concussion related lawsuits and an over the top level of professional disdain from nearly every player with whom Goodell has had to deal, the commissioner is still entrenched in the midst of the controversy that won’t go away as the league continues to try and find their way through bounty gate.

 

While the suspended players’ plights are still tied up in the appeals process, thereby continuing to add life to this story we are bombarded with reminders of one of the league’s uglier scandals; a scandal that most would have imagined would be well in the league’s rear view by now. There’s still no real assurance that anyone, aside from Saints former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, current assistant (and interim head coach) Joe Vitt, and GM Mickey Loomis will ever actually be punished for their roles in the scandal.

 

One would have to imagine that there’s a very real possibility that at some point soon if notorious whistle blower Anthony Hargrove doesn’t find employment in the NFL he’ll be looking to raise his complaint to defamation and attempt to prove a conspiracy that has blackballed from the league as a result of his role in the investigation. And now, as a result of a voided contract by the commissioner’s office, it appears that Saints head coach Sean Payton might come out of his “punishment” in better shape than ever.

 

Like Peyton Manning last year, Sean Payton’s absence in 2012 is serving as little more than an illustration of just how important he was to the Saints organization, and a reinforcement of his value. Now like Manning too, Payton will find himself a free agent at the end of his suspension, able to sell his services to the highest bidder. Unlike Manning, there are no health issues related to Payton that might have teams reluctant to take a chance on signing him.

 

So now, as punishment for standing by their man, the Saints will be likely forced to pay a king’s ransom just to match the efforts of other clubs anxious to attract the hottest commodity in coaching once the bidding process can officially begin.

 

It hardly seems fair that the Saints and their fans have been punished for the wayward culture that Payton and his minions presided over while Payton himself will likely come out on the other side of things better than ever. It’s tough to imagine this was the commissioner’s ‘intent, but it continues to be his mess.

 

 

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Here’s an idea:  Don’t enter the stadium until after kick-off on Thursday night

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Here’s an idea: Don’t enter the stadium until after kick-off on Thursday night

Posted on 25 September 2012 by Drew Forrester

As fate would have it, the next game on the NFL schedule takes place in Baltimore this Thursday night.

That means, of course, the national spotlight will center on M&T Bank Stadium when the Ravens take on the Cleveland Browns.

In the aftermath of Monday night’s thievery in Seattle, where the Seahawks (now 2-1*) were gifted a game by the replacement officials, I’m suggesting that Baltimore stand up and make a statement this Thursday night.

This will never happen, of course, because people by nature are afraid to be daring, but I think the ultimate kick-to-the-family jewels for the NFL would be to have their own TV network be forced to show the opening kick-off with NO ONE in the stadium.

That’s right — I’m suggesting all 70,000 fans do not enter the seating section of the stadium until after the ball has been kicked-off.

I’ll hear all of your silly complaints about “not hurting the Ravens” and all that other malarkey, but none of that stuff is as important as the real meat of the issue:  the NFL is not a legitimate sporting league right now.

If you’re attending Thursday’s game, you have the chance to be part of a peaceful demonstration of sorts.  You can file in quietly and safely after the kick-off.  No need to rush to your seats.  No running.  No pushing, no shoving (don’t worry, that stuff wouldn’t be called by the refs anyway.)  Just hang around in the concourse, drink a beer, have a burger, and when the ball gets kicked-off, make your way to your seat.

I would absolutely love to see the NFL Network be forced to show — even by accident — an empty stadium to start Thursday night’s game.

And please, please, please don’t tell me how this could “hurt” the Ravens.  They’re playing the freakin’ Browns.  They could spot them a 16-point lead and beat them by 10 if they want.

Stand up and be counted.

Don’t be a pansy.

If you have a ticket to the game on Thursday night, don’t enter the seating area until the game has started.

And for the 3rd time, I completely understand how some of you will throw the “this hurts the Ravens” comment at me.  Save your breath and your typing energy.  If the Ravens can’t beat the Browns simply because the fans didn’t enter the stadium until three minutes elapsed in the game, something is really wrong with the Ravens, not with the fans.

Stand up for the Packers, who were completely cheated out of a win on Monday night.

Stand up for yourself, the people buying tickets and jerseys and supporting the sponsors of NFL programming on television.

Stand up, frankly, for the Ravens, who might be the next team to get jobbed out of a game in a couple of weeks when some goof calls a touchdown in Kansas City on the final play when Ed Reed clearly had the ball before Dwayne Bowe.

Or you can just continue to let the league punch you in the face and head to the stadium early and get to your seat in plenty of time for kick-off, which is precisely what the NFL expects you will do on Thursday night.

They know you all too well.  They know you don’t have the balls to do something about the referee fiasco.  If you did, you’d help make the place empty at kick-off on Thursday night.

Send a message.

Make it peaceful.

Just walk in late and say to Roger Goodell and the rest of the people around the country watching the game on the NFL Network, “Baltimore will stand up and be counted.”

 

 

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Guilty as Sin

Posted on 30 March 2012 by Brandon Eyring

Unless you have been living under a metaphorical rock, you should be familiar with the Saints “Bounty-gate” scandal.

In case you were offended with the opening line because you do not understand much of the Saints current predicament, accept this apology of summarizing the essence of the situation.

The New Orleans Saints have been found guilty of initiating a pay-for-pain bounty system that targeted key opposing players from the seasons of 2009 to 2011 under the supervision of former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. From league reports, “knockouts” were worth $1,500 and “cart-offs” $1,000, with payments doubled or tripled for the playoffs.  The pool for the bounty program may have surpassed $50,000 at its height during the 2009 playoffs, the magical season New Orleans won the Super Bowl. To cite specific examples of wrongdoing, Saints defensive captain Jonathan Vilma offered $10,000 to any player who knocked then-Vikings quarterback Brett Favre out of the 2010 NFC championship game which the Saints ended up winning.

News of the bounty system directed by the Saints did not sit attractively with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. The punishments handed out by the head honcho include Saints head coach Sean Payton suspended without pay for the 2012 season, which includes no contact with the team in any aspect. With his suspension, Payton will likely be forfeiting at least 6 million dollars in salary.

Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, the bounty system’s ringleader, has been banned indefinitely from the league. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will review William’s case at the conclusion to the upcoming season to inquire if he is able to return to coach in the NFL. Among the rest of the suspensions to this point, Saints GM Mickey Loomis has been banned for the first eight games of the 2012 season, while assistant coach Joe Vitt received a six game suspension from the league for his role in the bounty system.

It is believed Payton and Loomis are the first head coach and general manager, respectively, to be suspended by the NFL for any reason. Payton’s suspension goes into effect on April 1, unless he appeals his punishment, in which case he will be able to keep his job for the length of the appeal. Goodell has made comments that he would expedite the hearing as well as his decision on the appeal.

Other punishments dished out by Roger Goodell include the New Orleans organization fined $500,000 and loss of 2012 and 2013 second round draft picks. Players that were actively involved in the pay-for-pain bounties will more than likely be receiving punishment after the NFLPA is through reviewing the case.

“While I will not address player conduct at this time, I am profoundly troubled by the fact that players — including leaders among the defensive players — embraced this program so enthusiastically and participated with what appears to have been a deliberate lack of concern for the well-being of their fellow players,” Goodell said. This quote illustrates Goodell’s desire to dish out punishment to players.

Evidenced by his stiff penalties, Roger Goodell has taken a strong stand against the Saint’s bounty program, and anything that may resemble it. He has called bounties in football “particularly unusual and egregious” and “totally unacceptable.”

“We are all accountable and responsible for player health and safety and the integrity of the game. We will not tolerate conduct or a culture that undermines those priorities,” said Goodell, whose league faces more than 20 concussion-related lawsuits brought by hundreds of former players. “No one is above the game or the rules that govern it.”

A major factor to the severe punishments to the Saints at this point includes Goodell being lied to. Sean Payton tried to keep the situation under wraps by denying the existence of any wrongdoing.

“When this first was raised over two years ago, there were denials. They frankly were not forthright with what was happening,” said Goodell, speaking at the NFL owners meetings in Florida. “And that continued. It continued even through our investigation into the past several weeks. “So it is a serious violation of our policy. It has zero tolerance in the NFL. And it is not acceptable to hide from the issue, continue to violate NFL policy and put players at risk. That is going to be dealt with very harshly.”

Reaction around the league has been similarly disappointed. Coaches have joined Goodell’s outstanding disapproval of the bounties and the need for the situation to be discussed.

“The commissioner wants the entire league to make sure it’s discussed — to go forward using it as an example, to stress there is no place for that in our league.” – Tom Coughlin, head coach of the world champion New York Giants.

“The precedent has been set by the commissioner and they need to understand that and it is not to be broached again. Going forward, we won’t have to go over these things again.” –Ron Rivera, head coach of the Carolina Panthers who play the Saints twice per year.

The impact of the penalties will have an immediate effect on the upcoming season. Without Payton, the Saints front office will need to not only find a replacement for their ousted head coach, but figure out who will be making personnel decision while GM Mickey Loomis is serving his suspension also. Prospects for the head coaching position could be within the organization. Current Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has NFL head coaching experience so he will be looked at strenuously. Another big name being thrown around is Bill Parcells, Sean Payton’s mentor and former boss.

NFL experts say that Parcells to the Saints makes a lot of sense considering his close friendship and Payton’s job security. Payton has already claimed he is 100% certain he will be coaching the Saints in 2013. With that said, Parcells may be an excellent option for a one year interim coach. At 71 years young, he is still a Hall Of Fame coach and more than likely still has the drive to prove that he can win football games.

The outcome of the Saint’s bounty program remains a developing story. Keep close attention to updates in the news about developments because this situation is one of the most controversial in league history. Compared to the other  major controversial scandal of this NFL era, the discipline for the Saints’ involvement in the bounty scheme is more far-reaching and unforgiving than what Goodell came up with in 2007, when the New England Patriots cheated by videotaping an opponent. Goodell fined the Patriots $250,000, stripped a first-round draft pick, and docked their coach, Bill Belichick, $500,000 for what was known as “Spygate.”

The verdict is out on the Saints: Guilty as Sin.

 

 

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Ravens C Birk Wins Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award

Posted on 04 February 2012 by WNST Staff

BALTIMORE RAVENS CENTER MATT BIRK NAMED WALTER PAYTON NFL MAN OF THE YEAR

MATT BIRK of the Baltimore Ravens was named the 2011 WALTER PAYTON NFL MAN OF THE YEAR, it was announced today.  The award recognizes a player’s off-the-field community service as well as his playing excellence.

The announcement was made during NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special airing nationally on NBC Saturday night.

NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL and JARRETT AND BRITTNEY PAYTON, the late Walter Payton’s children, will honor Birk on-field tomorrow before kickoff of Super Bowl XLVI.

“I am honored and truly humbled to be named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year,” said Birk. “This award is not about the recipient, but rather a celebration of the decades-long tradition of NFL players using their unique platform to touch lives and make a positive and lasting impact in the communities in which they work and live. Walter Payton left a legacy that went beyond the playing field. He continues to be an inspiration and example of what a complete NFL player should aspire to become. I am grateful to have played for two organizations, the Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens, which encourage and support their players’ community efforts. I have always considered it a privilege to play in the NFL and serve the communities that support our game.”

Birk, who just completed his in 14th NFL season, is the anchor of the Ravens offensive line and an undisputed leader on and off the field. The perennial Pro Bowl center has started 96 consecutive games, the NFL’s second-longest active streak among centers. In 2011, Birk helped pave the way for Ravens running back Ray Rice to score a franchise-record 15 total touchdowns and rush for a career-high 1,364 yards, also leading the league with 2,068 yards from scrimmage.

A family man and father of six with a passion for emphasizing the importance of education, Birk has focused a great deal of his energy on promoting literacy among the youth around him. The Harvard graduate’s “Ready, Set, Read!” program, an initiative of his H.I.K.E. Foundation (hope, inspiration, knowledge and education), reaches close to 100,000 children in the Baltimore area and motivates students to read at home through an incentive-based system. Birk’s work carries well past the many initiatives and successes of his own foundation. He is committed to bettering himself, his team, his community and the world. Birk has agreed to donate his brain and spinal cord tissue to the Center for Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University’s School of Medicine to help assist in researching the effects of repeated head traumas. Birk is an eight-time Man of the Year (seven with the Vikings, one with the Ravens), and was a finalist for the national award in 2008.

Birk joins an esteemed list of winners of the annual award, including 17 Pro Football Hall of Famers.  Recent winners of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award include MADIEU WILLIAMS, then of the Minnesota Vikings (2010), BRIAN WATERS, then of the Kansas City Chiefs (2009), and former Arizona Cardinals quarterback KURT WARNER (2008).

All 32 team nominees for the award receive a $1,000 donation from NFL Charities to the charity of their choice.  The three Man of the Year finalists received an additional $5,000 donation in their name. The selection panel is comprised of NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL, former NFL Commissioner PAUL TAGLIABUE, CONNIE PAYTON, Pro Football Hall of Fame members FRANK GIFFORD and ANTHONY MUÑOZ, Giants great and Executive Director of the NFL Alumni Association GEORGE MARTIN, 2010 winner MADIEU WILLIAMS, and Sports Illustrated football writer PETER KING.

The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award will receive the Gladiator statue, an original art creation by the noted sculptor, DANIEL SCHWARTZ.  In addition, the player’s favorite charity will receive a $20,000 donation in his name.

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The Ledge: Boise State, Redskins, Broncos, City of Dallas & the Commish

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The Ledge: Boise State, Redskins, Broncos, City of Dallas & the Commish

Posted on 31 October 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

When great expectations collide with poor performances fans tend to find themselves at the ledge. It’s that fan purgatory where blood pressure always seems to be rising and the sky always seems to be falling. Let’s take a look outside to see who’s on the ledge this week:

 

 

 

Boise State: It was supposed to somehow be their year. What’s more, this should have been a good weekend for the Boise Sate Broncos, instead it was just another in a series of tough late season blows for the “Little Engine That Could” of college football as the Stanford Cardinal not only survived a triple OT scare against USC, but catapulted the Broncos for the fourth spot in the BCS this week as a result.

 

The losses by Kansas State and Clemson had to be encouraging for the Broncos, and if the probability of USC upending Stanford as it was happening appeared too good to be true, it ultimately was. After starting the season with little #’s 5 & 7 in the two major polls next to their name, the Broncos appeared to be in line for their first legitimate shot at getting into the BCS title game if a few things broke their way. Lately it became apparent that they were the contingency plan for Oklahoma State at best. Now looking up at Stanford too, it seems that QB Kellen Moore and company will need lots of help in earning their “lifetime achievement award”.

 

Last but not least, it seems that in the era of conference landscape shake-up the Broncos, apparently Big East bound will still be looking at a future where the strength of schedule still serves to indict their record no matter how impressive.

 

Outlook: Stay positive, the weekend wasn’t a total loss. Clemson lost, K-State lost, and Stanford at least proved that they could be beaten. The Cardinal still have a showdown with Oregon and the PAC-12 title game to get through and Oklahoma State’s road may be even tougher than that. Boise’s BCS outlook may still be more realistic and closer than ever.

 

 

Washington Redskins: You started 3-1 and Rex Grossman’s misplaced confidence in declaring the Redskins contenders seemed to be both founded and contagious. Three straight losses and two quarterbacks later the Skins are fresh off of a 23-0 oak-sticking at the hands of the Bills and the once vulnerable looking NFC East is beginning to round more into the form that most expected to begin the season. The Eagles look to be clicking right now, the Giants and Cowboys both look talented but inconsistent and the Redskins look to be pulling up the rear.

 

Outlook: You knew it would eventually come to this, didn’t you? Even at 3-1 the Redskins were tough to buy into, now we’re being reminded of why. 

 

 

City of Dallas: The year began so well. The Cowboys played host to the Super Bowl and even though they expected to be in it and weren’t and even though the weather was an ongoing storyline throughout Super Bowl week, it’s tough to count that experience as a negative. In fact on the heels of the Super Bowl and tons of giant events at the new “Jerry-World” the Mavericks won the NBA Finals and the Rangers dominated most of the summer.

 

Now however, the Rangers arguably choked away their first world title twice in game 6 of the World Series then lost it in game 7, the reeling Cowboys are 3-4 and fresh off of an embarrassing Sunday Night performance on national television, and the Mavericks chance to defend their NBA title is on hold indefinitely as the NBA lockout drags on.

 

Outlook: Everything is bigger in Big D, I suppose panic is no different.

 

 

Denver Broncos: Okay, Tim Tebow stinks. It’s easy to tolerate when he’s winning and inspiring people along the way, but a win over a bad Dolphins team was just that no matter how exciting, and the reeling Detroit Lions exacted 2 weeks of frustrations on the Broncos on Sunday with ease. Tebow was a winner in college, but so were lots of NFL players, and even more who never made it or simply stunk in the NFL. Winning at this level is different, and Tebow has a long way to go before he can think about doing it consistently, and the current coaching staff may have no legitimate designs on waiting for him to be ready.

 

The Broncos are paying 3 quarterbacks good money, yet still have no real answer at quarterback. Additionally their win against the Dolphins while inspirational has them looking “up” at 4 teams in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes and on even ground (in the loss column) with 4 more.

 

Outlook: A team with 2 quarterbacks really has none; a team with 3 might have no idea what they’re looking for. Be afraid Bronco’s fans yours is a tough road ahead.

 

 

Roger Goodell: Mr. Ndamukong Suh would like to see you sir.

 

Outlook: Be afraid be very afraid.

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Ehrmann: NFL Players Should Honor Mackey With “88″ Patch This Season

Posted on 11 August 2011 by WNST Staff

From the official Baltimore Colts alumni release…

I will be officiating the Memorial Service of NFL Hall of Fame player John Mackey this Saturday, along with his brother, Rev. Elijah Mackey. Having been in pastoral ministry over twenty-five years, I have learned that when someone has led a relationally successful and meaningful life, it is an easy and celebratory service to lead and participate in. None should be easier than John Mackey’s – but it is not.

As a player, John is arguably the greatest to ever play his position. As a man, he is one of the most respected teammates, opponents, and men to ever play the game. He was the first President of the NFL Players Association and organized the NFL’s first player strike that led to increased player health and pension benefits. He helped lead and win a court challenge to end the “Rozelle Rule” which set the precedent for true free agency and the salaries enjoyed by current players. And for all he accomplished, his greatest legacy will be as a husband, father, family member and friend – and as a role model of authentic masculinity.

Yet, John Mackey will also be remembered as the most visible face of sports’ growing epidemic of traumatic brain injuries. In 2000 John was diagnosed with frontal temporal dementia that eventually led to his spending the last five years of his life in a full -time assisted living facility, unable to communicate, to recognize loved ones or to care for himself. With a push from John’s heroic wife Sylvia, his Baltimore Colt teammates and their advocacy group Fourth & Goal, the NFL and the NFLPA started the “88 Plan” named after John’s jersey number. The 88 Plan provides $88,000-a-year for nursing home care and $50,000 annually for adult day care for players suffering from various forms of degenerative brain damage.

I find it providential that after more than a decade of suffering, John Mackey’s life would end during the NFL’s longest work stoppage as the players and owners reworked their Collective Bargaining Agreement with new guidelines for health, safety and post-career benefits. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, upon learning of John’s passing said, “He worked closely [with] our office on many issues through the years, including serving as the first president of the NFL Youth Football Fund. He never stopped fighting the good fight.” NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, expressed similar sincere and heartfelt thoughts, “John Mackey has inspired me and will continue to inspire our players and define our institution. He will be missed but never forgotten.” I hope so.

John Mackey’s last sacrificial gift to the NFL and its players is the opportunity to lead the world of sports in educating athletes, parents and coaches of all ages and all sports on how to prevent, diagnose and treat concussions. While football is the most visible of concussive related sports, every game must address and work through the avalanche of evidence pointing to long term mental health issues related to head traumas. Yet, when Commissioner Goodell began changing the rules on hits to the head and imposing fines and suspensions, it was the players who pushed back. All-Pro linebacker Brian Urlacher represented the opinion of many players and fans when he said the NFL should rename itself “the NFFL – The National Flag Football League.” Kevin Mawae, the President of the NFLPA who represented current players at the recent negotiations, ridiculed Goodell’s crackdown stating, “The skirts need to be taken off in the NFL offices.” They represent the decades of players coached to make and celebrate the head-rattling hits that too many fans cheer and applaud.

While I do not know what conversations took place at the negotiating table upon hearing of John Mackey’s death, I’d like to think participants took a long pause and reflected on the life, legacy and tragedy of John’s death. I hope current players rethought the rule changes needed to protect players and the responsibility to model how the game can and should be played. John Mackey will be celebrated at the Memorial, I am sure. But more than words of gratitude and plaudits should be spoken to carry on the legacy of a man who “never stopped fighting the good fight.” To truly honor our fallen teammate and leader, I hope the NFL players will demand — and the league and union will agree to — at least one game this season where every player wears a “88” patch on their jersey and each team airs appropriate public service announcements aimed at educating coaches, parents and young athletes on the prevention of head traumas. Then John Mackey’s life will continue to inspire NFL players, address the moral responsibility of the NFL and NFLPA to current, past and future players and honor the game. That would make for a truly celebrative Memorial Service for a man who will be missed — but should never be forgotten.

Joe Ehrmann
Baltimore Colts 1973 -1980
Author of InSideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives

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Bumpy road ahead to new NFL CBA agreement

Posted on 22 July 2011 by Chris Pika

ATLANTA—As word leaked out that the NFL owners had voted 31-0 on their proposal for a settlement of legal issues and the terms of a new CBA last night, rumors that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith had been on the phone during a prolonged (and unplanned) dinner break by the owners seemed to suggest that there was an agreement in principle in place.

As we found out not more than 15 minutes after the NFL’s press conference at the Atlanta Gateway Marriott announcing their vote and going over the particulars of the league’s proposal, the howls of protest via social media by players and leaking of two NFLPA emails from Smith and NFLPA general counsel Richard Berthelsen seemed to suggest that the players were blindsided by the owners.

It should have been clear (but wasn’t at the time) that the men lined up behind Goodell during the press conference — NFL Executive VP of Labor/League Counsel Jeff Pash, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, New York Giants owner John Mara, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II and Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt — never once smiled, even wearily, as the months of negotiations were at an end.

They knew what we were finding out. The road to ratification is filled with bumps that could still derail the process. It’s easy (in some respects) to get 32 people to agree to a proposal (the supplemental revenue sharing deal brokered during the day between the owners was a bigger story that got lost in the later events). It’s harder to get 1,900 people to share one vision, especially when there are competing personal interests inside the group.

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It’s time to name the GENIUS and JACKASS of the week …..

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It’s time to name the GENIUS and JACKASS of the week …..

Posted on 15 July 2011 by Rex Snider

Each Friday, Ryan Chell and I ponder the rosters of sports personalities that have made a GOOD or BAD impression throughout the week. We consider athletes, coaches, owners, media and just about anyone else with a connection to sports.

Fittingly, we call the segment GENIUS & JACKASS OF THE WEEK …..

Given the sparingly thin amount of sports action over the past seven days, I really had to dig deep for my current list of nominees. And, in keeping things fresh or ever changing, I have decided to list my potential recipients for your consideration:

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GENIUS OF THE WEEK

1)  Roger Goodell: by simply taking the high road and keeping his mouth shut regarding the James Harrison/Men’s Journal article, he merits support and a more positive image in the immediate future. And, God knows he needs it.
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2)  Vince McMahon: the dude has absolutely no shame and he’ll gladly be the butt of a joke or the proverbial “slapdick” when he walks into the rasslin’ ring in front of a national audience. This past Monday night, he emerged after months of seclusion to counter a good exchange with noted heel, but audience favorite, CM Punk. Do you think Vince knew he had some competition with the All Star Homerun Derby? Yep …..
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3)  Mark Reynolds: yeah, yeah, I know this incident actually took place last week, but we didn’t learn about it … OR the photo … OR the photoshopped images that would create such a buzz on the web, until just a few days ago. Say what you want, MILLIONS of people now know Reynolds wears #12 … and that he LOVES sunflower seeds.
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JACKASS OF THE WEEK

1) PacMan Jones: uh oh … you know what this means, right? Correct, PacMan ended up behind bars AGAIN. And, I know the world was shocked to learn he got arrested in a nightclub. After that, the story gets sketchy. Police say Pac’ resisted arrest. However, the Bengals misfit claims the cops are lying. Sure they are … and they probably fabricated the facts in the other 1,384, 277 incidents, as well.
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2) Steve Durham: I realize you probably don’t recognize the name, but he’s the federal prosecutor who entered prohibited evidence in the Roger Clemens trial. That’s correct, the long awaited perjury case ended in a mistrial during its FIRST WEEK. Hey, what’s a few million dollars of taxpayer money? We’ll see ya again, in September.
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3) Derek Jeter: the dude racks up his 3,000th hit while garnering adoration and accolades from an entire sports lovin’ nation, and what does he do to show his gratitude? He skips the freakin’ All Star Game !!!! Yeah, he’s nursing an injury. But, he looked fine, last weekend. I don’t care if he’s sore … he owed it to the FANS to show up in Arizona.
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Well, who would your choices be? You can find out my selections during today’s Afternoon Drive, which kicks off at 2pm …..

(NOTE: JAMES HARRISON IS BEYOND BEING A JACKASS; THUS, HE IS NOT ELIGIBLE FOR THIS AWARD)

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Former Teammates, Others Remember Greatness of John Mackey

Posted on 07 July 2011 by WNST Staff

A number of former teammates and NFL personalities have chimed in with reactions to the passing of former Baltimore Colts TE John Mackey, via AM1570 WNST or press releases. Here are a few of the reactions:

Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti:
“We are tremendously saddened to hear about the passing of John Mackey, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Sylvia and the entire Mackey family. I was fortunate to get to know John and Sylvia personally, and I was struck by her love and loyalty throughout the difficult times of his illness. John set the standard by which tight ends are measured on the field, and he will be sorely missed not only by his family, but also by the entire Baltimore community.”

Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome:
“I am mourning the loss of John Mackey, and my deepest condolences go out to his wife Sylvia and the Mackey family. John revolutionized the tight end position during his Hall of Fame career, and he laid the foundation on and off the field for modern NFL players.”

DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA):
“John Mackey is still our leader. As the President of the NFL Players Association, he led the fight for fairness with a brilliance and ferocious drive. His passion continues to define our organization and inspire our players. His unwavering loyalty to our mission and his exemplary courage will never be forgotten.”

Indianapolis Colts Owner/CEO Jim Irsay:
“I am deeply sorry to learn of the passing of John Mackey. John was as identified at his position as any player who has played in the National Football League.  John combined size, speed and power in being only the second tight end ever voted into the Hall of Fame and earning a spot on the NFL’s 50th Anniversary Team.
His statistical numbers have been eclipsed as the game has evolved, but those in football recognize to this day how John impacted the game.  He authored big moments with his on-field ability, such as his memorable 75-yard scoring reception in Super Bowl V. John’s passion for the game extended beyond his playing years, and he is one of the most notable figures in league history. We extend our deepest sympathies and prayers to John’s wife, Sylvia, and the entire Mackey family.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell:
“John Mackey was one of the great leaders in NFL history, on and off the field.  He was a Hall of Fame player who redefined the tight end position.  He was a courageous advocate for his fellow NFL players as head of the NFL Players Association.  He worked closely with our office on many issues through the years, including serving as the first president of the NFL Youth Football Fund.  He never stopped fighting the good fight.  Our thoughts are with Sylvia and the Mackey family on the loss of our good friend.”

Former Colts WR Raymond Berry:
“He was a combination of a lot things, very intelligent, great personality and one of the most well liked players on the team. He was very unselfish, and had a great sense of humor, so he was a delight to be around.  He was the whole package. I’m thinking his playing days far outshadow, anything he did after his playing days. He was such a performer for so many years for the Colts, to me that’s his legacy.”

Former Colts RB Tom Matte:
“It’s a sad day for Baltimore, but I think overall the quality of life that John had in the end was tough. I don’t think there is any question about it that he should have been in the Hall of Fame a lot earlier than he got in. But John, in my estimation was the first big, fast tight end that could catch the ball, block, and make the big plays.  John Mackey was at the forefront of the leadership. There is a lot of respect out there for John Mackey, and what he did as a player, and what he did off the field in negotiations. He’s a great guy, he will be missed, but he is in a better place than he was.”

Former Colts LB Ted Hendricks:
“I was a rookie coming into the league and there was none any better then him at tight end.  To practice against him I’ve learned a lot of things from him.  To me it made the games easier because there was nobody that I played that had more talent than he did. He was definitely a consummate tight end.  Everything, each attribute that he had.  His blocking ability, his pass catching, and not only that but running with the ball after he caught it.  And you couldn’t ask for anything better in a tight end than that.”

Former Colts DE Ordell Braase:
“The thing (I most remember) was the first time I saw John Mackey, how impressed I was with him. Do you realize that he did not get into the Hall of Fame until the last vote? He should have been just an out and out slam dunk on being into the Hall of Fame.”

Former Colts QB Earl Morrall:
“It’s a very somber day, John Mackey was one of my favorites, he is one that really produced for you, and one of the best during his time playing.  John was a great blocker, good solid, opened up the running game for us. He’d release and then go up the field and catch the ball. Defenses would shiver when he got the ball because he would go through them. He could play any day.  He gave you every bit he could on the field.”

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley:
“Today, we reflect on the life of John Mackey, a great Baltimore Colt and one of football’s legendary players.  His remarkable talents on the football field revolutionized the tight end position and earned him a place in history in the Hall of Fame, while his loyalty, determination and integrity off the field have earned him a place in our hearts.  We are saddened by his passing and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time.”

Baltimore Ravens RB Willis McGahee:
“He’s a great guy. Meant a lot not just to our time, but with our time. He set the pace. It’s our job to continue his legacy.”

Detroit Lions Hall of Fame TE Charlie Sanders:
“His loss is a tremendous loss, not only for the NFL and what he stood for, but it’s also a reminder of what this game is all about. I didn’t have a hero or idolize anybody growing up, so he was the one player that I idolized and tried to copy more than anyone else throughout my career. I took pride in trying to get to the top where he was. He’s going to be sorely missed.”

Former Colts C Bill Curry

“I loved John like a brother and he was a great mentor to me, in addition to being a great player.  When you are with great human beings you usually make the mistake of not appreciating them until you don’t have them anymore.  And I am going through a lot of that right now.  What I remember is his rookie year.  Watching number 88 returning kickoffs and when he came exploding out of the end zone it was terrifying.  I said I have never seen anything like that in my life.”

Former Ravens TE Dan Wilcox

“Rest in piece to John Mackey out there.  I definitely send my condolences to his family as well.  Coming to a town like Baltimore and playing in a city like that, you would love to get a piece of what John Mackey had while he played in the NFL. To be around someone like a John Mackey and all the other Colts that are around Baltimore was an amazing experience. John Mackey was definitely one of the best, one of the all time greatest.  And you hate to lose a guy like that.”

Former Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick

“I was so fortunate that when I first came to Baltimore to have a chance to meet so many of the great former Colts and John was one of them.  …That smile of his, that energy, that orb that he had, his love for the game, his love for the Colts.  To watch Shannon and Ozzie communicate and talk with John and the reverence they had for him and what he represented, it’s a loss for all of us.”

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Westminster, Maryland …. a true victim of NFL selfishness

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Westminster, Maryland …. a true victim of NFL selfishness

Posted on 24 June 2011 by Rex Snider

In the wake of the Ravens announcement regarding the cancellation of training camp at McDaniel College, I have been carrying out an impassioned plea for the business community in the Westminster surroundings.

I have no direct stake in the race; no business interests or immediate family residing in the Carroll County area.

But, I do have a heart and sense of fellowship …..

At the core of this frustrating situation, from my perspective, is the reality of witnessing the very first casuaties of the National Football League’s battle among its division of owners and players.

I suppose that’s a given of “war” huh? The innocent always seem to get caught up in the crossfire – or they pay for simply being in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

I could probably spew a couple dozen analogies and clever quotes aimed at sensationalizing the plight of the Westminster business community as we’re now a couple days removed from the training camp cancellation.

But, I’ll just be blunt …..

The NFL owes Westminster.

Will Roger Goodell, along with 32 ownership groups and thousands of players see it at that way? Of course, NOT. After all, the self-serving audacity and nearsightedness of both factions have caused such a resulting problem.

Amid reports of renewed optimism and the possible immediacy of a resolution to the lockout, it appears owners and players might be championing a “deal struck” within the next week or so …..
.

They’ll be certain to iron out differences regarding shared revenue, free agency, length of seasons and wage caps for rookies. But, will either side pull their head from the sand (or somewhere darker) to notice the carnage and financial loss suffered by a specific community supporting the NFL product?

Once again, no.

They’re too busy looking out for themselves.

As I said on Wednesday, this is not specifically the fault of the Baltimore Ravens organization. From the outside peripheree, we have monitored Steve Bisciotti living up to his word on how his organization would handle the crisis.

There has been no mudslinging, nor hardline public stances by ANYONE in Owings Mills. And, most Ravens players have been rather muzzled on issues, as well.

The Ravens have delivered championship-caliber football to Baltimore and its loyal surrounding of purple lovin’ communities. And, more importantly, the Ravens organization has been top notch stewards of good public relations.

The problems and associated fallout from Carroll County’s economic loss is at the hands of a bigger behemoth than the Ravens. That’s just the direct truth.

Make no mistake about it, the NFL owes Westminster’s business community some gesture or commitment of amending the upcoming loss of business.

The very businesses on and around that Route 140 corridor are symbolic and very authentic victims of the NFL’s stubborn manipulations.

As they come to an agreement, will either side step up and say, “before we nail this down, what are we going to do in helping the communities directly affected by this lockout?”

Yeah, right …. you’ll have a better chance seeing Joe Flacco, Lamar Woodley and Dhani Jones vacationing together at Disney World.

I don’t have the answers on how to help Westminster. But, I do know the NFL has an obligation to do it. Then again, they’ve probably missed living up to a number of such obligations over the last few months.

Once again, its not the direct fault, nor the direct responsibility of the Ravens to aid Caroll County’s businesses. But, saying “we’ll see ya in 2012″ is not a remedy, either.

I know fans haven’t reacted much, at all. That’s typical fandom, though. Wait ’til the end of July rolls around and thousands settle for a day or two of reassembled training camp observations at M&T Bank Stadium.

Kids will get over it. Adults will get over it. But, will all the businesses that depend on a stream of revenue flowing into the Westminster business community survive it? Maybe …. maybe not.

My hearty congratulations to every member of the National Football League, in anticipation of your upcoming labor deal. It’s certainly about time. Meanwhile, it’s a shame you had to sacrifice some “small guys” in the process.

But, that’s business in America, huh?

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