Monthly Archives: November 2013

A Team Helping a Town Heal


There is a story that is not getting enough attention in sports right now: Newtown High School Football. Everyone knows of the tragedy that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary in that small Connecticut town nearly one year ago.

At the beginning of the season, the team decided to dedicate the year to the 26 people that lost their lives in that tragedy. Now the team is giving the town something to rally around. The team just ended the regular season at 12-0 and is now heading to the playoffs.

This team is helping the town heal from what has happened to them in the past. These young men are giving the town joy that they have not had in a long time.

Yet the one question could be asked is this: Why isn’t this getting more coverage? One could say that there are bigger stories that are happening right now that are more main stream and deserve the coverage. But I believe that this story is far from finished. There is still more to be written about this team and their story.

The team is ranked number one in the state, and if they make it to the title game the date will be very important: December 14. The one year anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy. I hope that this team is able to make it to that game. It will give the town something to celebrate on that particular day.

If they make it to the game that is when I see this story taking off nationally. We should not wait until then, we should celebrate their accomplishments that they have already achieved. I hope that I speak for everyone when I say this: We are all pulling for you and Good Luck!

Johnny Manziel Scheme


I disliked how the media reacted about the Johnny Manziel scheme. I feel that the media blew the whole situation out of proportion in trying to defend Manziel. They could have approached the Johnny Manziel situation in a more negative way to let the viewer’s know what Manziel did was not a good thing.

The media should have spoken more about how Manziel was wrong for signing autographs to make money and less about how he won the Heisman the previous football season.

The media was so focused on how Johnny Manziel was the best player in college football that it overshadowed him being punished for signing autographs for money.

If the media would have spoke more about Manziel being punished and that what he did was not acceptable, the viewers would be more interested in learning about the rules and regulations of college football. More people would realize that signing autographs to make extra money is illegal and if a player does commit some type of illegal action they should be punished.

People would finally understand that college athlete’s participation in illegal activities is a serious problem in college sports.

The media wanted to protect Manziel because he won the Heisman and since Texas A&M was one of the best teams in college football.

I feel that it is unfair that the media didn’t want to elaborate on why Manziel participated in the scheme and how he should be punished for what he did. This is a perfect example of how celebrities get preferential treatment.

ESPN puts the Heat on the King


LeBron James is the best player in the world right now. He is playing at a higher level than anyone in the league. According to Charles Barkley during a halftime show on TNT, he’s playing on another planet.

You would think that LeBron would get a little credit, but that’s not the case. ESPN always seems to throw LeBron under the bus. Even after reaching a milestone against the 76ers on Tuesday night (a milestone that only 4 players have reached in NBA History), ESPN grilled him.

LeBron reached a milestone of 500 games in a row scoring in double digits. After acknowledging that for about 10 seconds they spent a few minutes saying that he will never be able to break the record.

ESPN began to say that he’ll never get there and he doesn’t have the same drive as the leader in the category, Michael Jordan.

ESPN seems to do this all the time to LeBron. After he won his first and second championship, the first thing they do is compare him to Jordan and look at LeBron’s inadequacies. He [LeBron] doesn’t make a final jump shot in a game; ESPN makes a poll comparing him to Jordan, knowing where the percentage of the votes will go.

Instead of giving the best player in the world a little credit, ESPN looks at his faults and makes comparisons of him and Michael Jordan. Jordan was the greatest of an era. Now we’re in a different era and LeBron should get a little more acknowledgement then the media has been giving him, especially ESPN.

ESPN Jumps to Conclusions with Incognito


As we all know, the Miami Dolphins are having a very unique season. They started out 3-0 and then lost their next four games. However, the most intriguing story has been off the field.

After Miami Dolphins tackle, Jonathan Martin, left the team during a meeting it was discovered that teammate Richie Incognito has been bullying him since he’s been drafted. After the transcript of the voicemail of Incognito was released, everyone wanted Incognito suspended.

ESPN went back to all of Incognito’s past incidences and made it seem as though this should be no surprise. The worldwide leader in sports showed how he was suspended from Nebraska and Oregon. However, after his brief stint in St. Louis, he went to Miami looking for a new start.

Incognito insisted that it was not as it seemed and that it’s being blown out of proportion. After another week of waiting to hear what would happen next, new reports came out that the team asked Incognito to “toughen up” Martin. If this is true, ESPN should be punished for tarnishing Incognito’s reputation.

If this story is true, and the Miami Dolphins told Incognito to “toughen up” Martin, ESPN should face some type of penalty. Why is it fair that ESPN gets to write and say whatever they want about someone without repercussions? If a player were to make a statement like this they would be fined.

ESPN is picking on Incognito because of his past. Do people forget how people like Bobby Knight used to treat his players? Screaming at players on national television. It’s unfair for ESPN to treat Incognito this way before they even know the full story. If it’s true that the coaches told him to “toughen up” Martin then ESPN should be penalized in some way for tarnishing Incognito’s reputation and causing him to be suspended from the Miami Dolphins.

Fame Should Not Equal Freedom


Because so many high profile athletes are considered role models for young children, it is always a shock when we hear that they have done something wrong. Whether it is using performance enhancing drugs, or something as horrible as taking another person’s life, it is hard to continue idolizing these players… at least at first.

There is almost always going to be some sort of coverage when an athlete commits a crime. No matter if the allegations are true or not, there will be a story about it somewhere. And the more famous the athlete, the bigger the story will be.

A few weeks ago, Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov was arrested and charged for assault and kidnapping. There wasn’t much national coverage of the event, but two days later, he was allowed to travel with his team to Dallas, where he started the game in goal.

Although Varlamov isn’t necessarily a household name in the United States, he is one of the better goalies in the NHL this season. He is also one of many professional athletes who have gotten in trouble with the law during their playing careers. Ray Lewis, Ben Roethlisberger, and Kobe Bryant are just a few of the many other big name athletes who have been accused of some sort of illegal activity. Varlamov may still undergo a trial, but for now he is free to travel and play for the Avalanche. It seems as though that this is the outcome on too many occasions.

Other than what they have been doing in their sport, it has been while since we have heard anything about the three players mentioned above. Of course when their incidents first occurred, it was big news. But after the legal dust settled, they were able to go back to their teams and make millions of dollars doing what they love.

And it gets worse as athletes make more and more money. There are countless stories of star players getting pulled over for drunk driving or charged with possession of illegal substances. But all they get is a “small” fine of a few thousand dollars, the equivalent of a couple bucks for regular people like you and me, and then they return to their team where thousands of people cheer when they enter the game.

Apparently having millions of dollars and making a public apology on television is the magic combination to being forgiven. I’m not saying that everyone has forgotten about what some athletes have done. There are plenty of people who still think some stars should be punished, but we hardly ever hear from them.

It is almost the opposite of what happens in government. If a political figure does something wrong, that is often the thing people remember most. But when a top athlete is the one in question, their wrongdoings are often over shadowed by their trophies and rings.

I myself am an Avalanche fan, and I am glad that Varlamov has done well for them. But I also think that it is wrong for his actions to go unpunished. Even if it means him leaving the team, punishments should overrule paychecks.

Media over Reacts to Ellison Comments


After a 24-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday November 17, Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams made a claim that Roy Ellison, umpire on the officiating crew, made disrespectful remarks towards him during the game.

This story was featured all over the ESPN website, on SportsCenter, and various other sporting reports. All of these reports discussed whether or not Ellison should be punished or not for his actions.

My question is not if Ellison should be punished, but if this story is really news worthy.
It is no secret that this kind of behavior occurs on the field all of the time. You can go to any sporting event whether it’s at the high school, college, or professional level and hear the same kind of remarks that Ellison made.

This doesn’t make Ellison’s behavior acceptable, but the media is making him out to be a criminal for his actions as if he is the only person involved in sports to ever make comments like this on the field.

This type of behavior in sports, especially in the National Football League, has become the norm. It is unfortunate that coaches, players, and officials feel that they need to act this way, but we have to accept it and move on.

The media needs to spend less time criticizing people like Ellison for doing harmless things and focus on the more important stories in sports.

When I log onto ESPN or turn on SportsCenter to see the latest sports news, I want to see actual sports news, not grown men complaining about being called names.

Another Racial Exchange


The aftermath of a near fistfight between Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka last week, has fueled yet another race related debate in sports. After the near brawl in Los Angeles, a frustrated Barnes was fined $25,000 for his behavior and for writing a tweet that contained the N-word.

Following the fine and apology, many prominent analysts and former players sounded off on the topic. On ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption”, host Michael Wilbon supported Barnes by saying he uses the word “all day, every day” and that NBA commissioner David Stern and those like him had “no right to tell black people how to speak”.

It’s a bit surprising that there are people out there who found Barnes’s word choice to be shocking let alone worthy of a fine. Wilbon was right in saying that he wouldn’t have made those same remarks publicly, but the league has no place in telling players if they can or can’t use that word.

Unfortunately, racially charged disagreements still take place in 2013 and that there are some people who claim a word created as a slur should be allowed to be said by everyone. With that being said, Wilbon and other analysts were right to defend Barnes’ right to say it.

There is still plenty of racism in and out of the sports world and Wilbon and others were right to be able to reiterate that in a respectful, professional way. It just goes to show that while often times the sports world is an escape from what happens outside of it, it is still greatly affected by racial tension.

Dez Caught Almost Everything……Except a Break


On October 27th the Dallas Cowboys and the Detroit Lions battled in a game for the ages. Calvin Johnson had a nearly record breaking game with 329 receiving yards.

However, many of the analysts didn’t even focus on the amazing game that Johnson had.
Many analysts focused on Dez Bryant at the end of the third quarter and most of the fourth.

The analyst talked about the so-called “tantrum” that Bryant was throwing on the sideline. The cameras showed Bryant throwing his helmet down and apparently yelling at Tony Romo and Coaches.

Many analysts were irate and basically called Bryant selfish and a bad teammate. That would all change in the next few days.

The next day the audio of the “tantrum” came out. Many of the analysts were now changing their opinions of Bryant and now called him a passionate player instead of a selfish teammate because the audio showed him saying things such as “we’re the best in the league at this” and “nobody can stop us”.

Was he just being too passionate?

That is something that each individual would have to determine however, the media seemed to jump to the conclusion about what was happening on the sideline. Because of Bryant’s past they automatically assumed that he was being a bad teammate and a distraction.

The media should be prompt with their coverage, but they should also strive to deliver the most accurate information as possible. The media shows no mercy to players with a troubled past and can’t wait to throw a player under the bus when even the slightest incident happens.

The Return of Dwight Howard


Prior to the Houston Rockets game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night November 7, 2013, most of the media has been focusing on Dwight Howard’s return instead of the game at hand.

Dwight left the Lakers over the summer of 2013 when he became a free agent. He is now with the Houston Rockets. This game against the Lakers will be his first meeting since leaving for the Rockets.

This week the media has been directing questions to Dwight like how will it feel to play against his former teammates on Thursday. Dwight has dodged questions about his one year stint in Los Angeles last season. Other questions answered by analysts were about how Howard will respond playing against his former team.

In a video on ESPN called “Dwight downplays facing Lakers”, Bruce Bowen said Dwight should want to play like “it’s all there fault”. I think the meaning of this is when most players have disappointing seasons with a former team and leave to go to another team they have something to prove.

In regards to Dwight playing against the Lakers, Bowen said he should approach the game by playing as “I was able to do some things, and you all wouldn’t allow me to do it”. Basically this says the Lakers didn’t really implement him into the offense with Kobe Bryant and I think Bowen feels Dwight should show that his game fits better with the Houston Rockets. I believe the reason why the media pays a lot of attention to athletes playing against their former teams is because it’s an interesting topic and sometimes the media wants to know how that particular athlete feels about the situation.

It will be interesting to see if this happens every time Dwight plays his former team. Will this also happen when he plays the Magic or has that relationship association dissolved because of his time with the Lakers? Whether Dwight does have strong feelings about playing his former teams or not, the media will always gravitate towards the most dramatic theoretical situation.

Dick Vitale Continues to be a Polarizing Figure


College basketball season is upon us and that means Dick Vitale will be announcing games, just as he has been doing since ESPN’s inception in 1979.

His famous calls that all seem to include “Baby”, or “Unbelievable”, make some people smile and others cringe. It is likely that you even read those words in his voice. If you did not do so, then it is likely that you just did. His voice is so distinct, that it is impossible to forget. It is this type of reaction that makes “Dickie V” such an interesting case to look over.

Liking Vitale or not may depend on the personality of the person listening to him, as those who prefer a more peaceful game experience may not like all the yelling.

His style is something that makes him unique, and exclusive to ESPN broadcasts. Perhaps that is not how he would call every game, but ESPN forces him to do so. It is a possibility, or maybe that is his style. That seems like a trade secret that we will never know.

Even with some of the animosity towards him, Dickie V, it is tough to have no respect for him. His knowledge of the game and love for it can usually outweigh judging his character based on his antics. It is wrong to not give respect to an actual Hall of Famer, which Vitale is since 2008.

Dick Vitale is currently nearing the end of his on-air career, so no matter the opinion one has on him, it is important to cherish the time that we all have left with him on-air.

Those who love him will continue to do so until his final game, and those who do not should at least appreciate him while he is around, because it is unlikely that another on-air personality will come around who is associated with one sport as prominently as Dickie V is with college basketball.