Monthly Archives: January 2015

From Goalie to Front Office: Always a St. Louis Blue

By Ellen Chlumecky

January 29, 2015

Playing as a goalie for the New Jersey Devils and the St. Louis Blues for almost 24 years, Martin Brodeur has decided to retire. While he has only played about seven games with the St. Louis Blues, his time with the New Jersey Devils was anything but short or ordinary. In his career with the New Jersey Devils he lifted three Stanley Cups, has won two Olympic gold medals, and several other medals with Team Canada in other international competitions. He is currently the NHL’s all-time leader in regular season wins. He is also the only goalie in NHL history with eight 40-win seasons.

Martin Brodeur will be hanging up his skates and his goalie pads and will be stepping into a suit as he becomes the assistant general manager for the St. Louis Blues. Brodeur has developed a positive relationship with the Blues since his started as their replacement goalie. It seemed only reasonable to take a front office job with them, right?

While it may have seemed to be a smart move, most Devils fan are left scratching their heads. Brodeur spent about 21 years with the Devils. He still stays in contact with their general manager, Lou Lamoriello. He left on great terms with them, as well. Why wouldn’t he take a job with the front office of the Devils?

Lou Lamoriello made a public statement saying that Brodeur has a position with the company, whenever he decides that he wants the job. Lamoriello said, “he’ll be back here, in my opinion, as long as he wants.” Lamoriello sounds pretty confident that he knows where Brodeur’s loyalty lies. He believes that Brodeur is only taking the job because he doesn’t want to leave having bad blood with the Blues.

Doug Armstrong, general manager of the St. Louis Blues, confirms this suspicion. He had spoken to Lamoriello because he didn’t want to appear to be “stealing” the star goalie away. He will continue the job for the rest of the year and see where he stands after that. Lamoriello stated he’d be very surprised if he stayed there longer than that.

Brodeur has always been a dedicated player and I believe that he applies that to his business personality as well. He won’t leave without finishing out the season and I believe that’s what he’s doing with the Blues. Brodeur has been named one of the best goalies of all time, can you blame the Blues for wanting him to stay? Maybe getting him at the end of his career was the smartest move they could’ve made.

Medical Marijuana Receives Endorsement From Former NFL Players

By Nick Muhl

January 29, 2015

What was once a somewhat taboo conversation topic, is now a hot debate among american citizens – Marijuana Legalization. Whether it’s local news talk radio, Nancy Grace on HLNtv, or at the family dinner table, the issue of marijuana legalization, recreational and medical, is now being discussed by practically every type of media, corporation, and american household.

The National Football league is no exception.

Earlier this week, three former NFL Players – Marvin Washington, Scott Fujita, and Brandon Ayanbadejo, published a joint article in the Huffington Post titled, “The NFL Needs to Rethink Marijuana”. In the article, the players call for Roger Goodell to begin supporting and allowing players to be prescribed and use medical marijuana. All three players are former Super Bowl Champions and published their joint statement just days before Super Bowl XLIX takes place in Arizona – a state where medical marijuana is legalized.

As mentioned in the article, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a brief statement last year, that he was willing to consider the medical use of marijuana by its players where it is legal. The players call to action for Goodell comes at a time when the league continues to search for solutions to the deteriorating health of players after their careers end.

The league is also facing additional pressure from many players and fans regarding the same issue after the suspension of such players like Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon and New England Patriots running back Legarrette Blount who have been suspended for “simply smoking a joint”. Last February, while live on ESPN, former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark claimed many of his former Pittsburgh Steelers teammates and many other players he knows, smoke pot both during and after the NFL season for multiple different reasons, health being the number one. Click here to see Ryan Clark’s Interview last February on Numbers Never Lie

Fujita, Jackson and Ayanbadejo cite the compound in marijuana known as Cannabidiol (CBD), which has the “scientific potential to create a neuroprotectant for the brain.” With the NFL and its players frantically searching for solutions to the head trauma players receive throughout their careers, many scientists agree that marijuana is the perfect solution to the NFL’s problems.

According to Dr. Barth Wilsey of the University of California San Diego Center for Medical Cannabis Research in a 2014 article with Men’s journal, “There are five studies that were congruent in finding smoking cannabis alleviated neuropathic pain, or pain due to nerve injury.” Wilsey believes that the compound known as THC found in marijuana, in addition to CBD, can relieve the neuropathic pain NFL players continue to have during and after their playing careers.

Almost half of the states have now legalized medical marijuana, and according tot the Drug Policy Alliance about 70 percent of Americans support the reform. HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel”, which was cited in the player’s article, reports that between 50-60% of players currently use marijuana legally, most of them for the therapeutic effect.

Recently, President Obama has suspended much of the federal enforcement of marijuana policies in states that have legalized. The Commander-in-Chief also predicts many more states will pass legalization of medical marijuana within the next few years, “The position of my administration has been that we still have federal laws that classify marijuana as an illegal substance, but we’re not going to spend a lot of resources trying to turn back decisions that have been made at the state level on this issue. My suspicion is that you’re gonna see other states start looking at this.”

It will be interesting in the next few months and years to see if the NFL will adjust its marijuana policy as more and more states continue to pass legalization. While the issue is still in hot debate across the country, there remains the strong possibility that the NFL will become the first professional sports organization at its level to allow players to use medical marijuana. With commissioner Roger Goodell not shying away from the topic thus far, continued media coverage and pressure on the NFL’s stance could push them to make a final decision on the topic, sooner than later. In the eyes of Fujita, Washington, and Ayanbadejo and many other players and fans, the NFL shouldn’t squander it’s opportunity to become a leading activist and take a stance in supporting and improving the medical treatment of its current and former players and others who can medically benefit from its legalization.

Lance Armstrong Drops Bold Statement

By Kaleb Page

January 29, 2015

Back in January 2013 a confession was made that not only rattled the cycling community, but also rattled fans around the world for this mega-star cyclist. That athlete being none other than U.S. cycling legend and seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. A man who so many gravitated to, even if they didn’t know anything about cycling, now sat on Oprah confessing he had been using performance-enhancing drugs.

In his first interview on television since that time in 2013, Armstrong had an interesting sit down with BBC Sport.

Now at age 43 and no longer the holder of a record seven Tour de France titles; Lance had this to say:

“If I was racing in 2015, no I wouldn’t do it again because I don’t think you have to,” Armstrong said, “If you take me back to 1995, when doping was completely pervasive, I would probably do it again.”

Quite the answer to hear from Armstrong after so many years out of the spotlight and having such the fall from grace that he did. This part of the video interview below shows Armstrong shedding light on the past. From what I could see, this was a man being honest as well as someone who looked to be serving the time to reflect on what they did.

I think this was good reporting by BBC Sport and a great piece in the works as the full documentary set to come out this Thursday on BBC News. This allowed for an update on what is happening since the last time we saw Armstrong in 2013 and how his demeanor has changed since then as well.

Another thing that struck me about this interview was something Armstrong said. He mentioned that even though what he did was wrong, at the same time the things associated to him saw growth that they had never seen prior. Whether it was his bike supplier, charity foundation or even the sport itself; Armstrong knew he made a big and helpful impact. Posing this question about all the good he did pretty well:

“Do we want to take it away (the growth/charity awareness)? I don’t think anybody says ‘yes’.” -Lance Armstrong

Is Armstrong going to be another one of those second chance stories we see all the time here in America? It still is too early to tell especially with a lot more legal battles to go between Armstrong and numerous other parties. I do see it happening where as time passes and the wounds heal Armstrong is placed back in the public eye.

For now it looks like he must wait for his chance at redemption. A chance I think he desperately wants and needs.

Deflategate: Another Patriots Scandal

By Kia Tyus

January 29, 2015

By now everyone in the sports world is aware of the current scandal with the Patriots. Just in case you don’t know, the NFL launched an official investigation on the New England Patriots to determine if the Patriots were using deflated footballs. The NFL concluded that indeed, 11 out of 12 footballs used on the Patriots side of the field during the AFC championship game were deflated.

You may be wondering why is that such a big deal? In fact, it has been said on ESPN that if the ball is deflated it makes it easier for players to grasp and catch the ball.

The Patriots are denying their claims to have had any knowledge of deflating footballs. Finally, Patriots owner Robert Kraft is sticking up for Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the Patriots organization.

Originally, people felt that the Patriots would not be punished because of Kraft’s relationship with Roger Goodell. But, after Kraft addressed the media, it is clear that his relationship with Goodell is not intact.

Dan Wetzel wrote an in-depth article about how Kraft felt about how the NFL is handling the matter. Apparently, Kraft feels like the professionalism in the NFL is lacking majorly. Kraft feels that there are too many leaks within the NFL and that leaves for major assumption with the public.

Kraft is tired of people trying to make a big deal out of something that he feels the Patriots have nothing to do with. And Kraft wants a formal public apology from the NFL when the Patriots are cleared of all allegations.

Kraft also feels that the public is assuming that the Patriots deflated the scandal because of the Spygate case of 2007.

I personally feel that someone within the Patriots organization deflated the football. Someone with power instructed someone who works with equipment to deflate footballs. I just don’t believe that the Patriots had nothing to do with the scandal; that is just hard to believe. Obviously, the Spygate case will play a factor when it comes to the public’s opinion of this current scandal. Many such as myself believe that if you cheat on such a big scale you can surely do it again.

I enjoyed reading this article because Wetzel goes in-depth about how Kraft flat out feels disrespected by people who he thought were his friends.

What are the Issues with “Deflate-Gate?”

This piece is another in our ongoing series of posts written by those in academia. This piece comes from Dr. Nancy E. Spencer, a Professor of Sport Management at Bowling Green State University and the faculty advisor for The Maxwell Media Watch. 

By Dr. Nancy E. Spencer

January 25, 2015

Since there is just a week leading up to the Super Bowl, many issues have been raised related to Super Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks. It doesn’t take much imagination to guess that “Deflate-Gate” will be one of the main discussions. So what are the issues related to Deflate-gate? Since last week’s playoff games, both Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have held (multiple) press conferences in which they were asked to comment on what happened.

Bill Belichick held the first press conference, in which many felt that he threw Tom Brady under the bus. In Tom Brady’s press conference he was “peppered with questions for 45 minutes” (Kim, 2015), as seen in this clip. Brady surprised many by saying that he had not yet been questioned by the NFL. He was asked directly if he was a cheater, to which he replied, “I don’t think so,” adding that this wasn’t about ISIS. What do you think? Were Tom Brady and/or Bill Belichick telling the truth? Whether or not they were telling the truth, someone must have known about the footballs being deflated. So who bears responsibility? And what should be the consequences? And why didn’t someone (like D’Qwell Jackson) say something during the game?

Earlier reports suggested that D’ Qwell Jackson noticed that the football that he intercepted seemed to have less pressure than usual, so why didn’t he (or someone else) report it? Jeff Darlington spoke to Jackson, who said that since that was his first interception in a playoff game, and the pass was thrown by Tom Brady, he wanted to keep the football as a souvenir. Time will tell whether Jackson eventually receives the football as a keepsake. For now, the NFL has confiscated all the footballs in order to examine whether they were purposely deflated.

On Saturday, Bill Belichick held another press conference, saying at the outset that in the past few days, he had dedicated himself to learning more about “bladders, air gauges, stitching, pressure, game day ball preparations,” and so forth (Stone, 2015). He provided this explanation to account for the difference in air pressure: “We all know that air pressure is a function of the atmospheric conditions. It’s a function of that. So if there’s activity in the ball relative to the rubbing process, I think that explains why when we gave it to the officials and the officials put it at say [12.5 psi], if that’s in fact what they did, that once the ball reached its equilibrium state it probably was closer to [11.5] psi” (Stone, 2015, para. 5). Since I am not schooled in how ‘rubbing a football’ might affect the air pressure, I turned to the “Science Guy” (Bill Nye), who basically said that Belichick “didn’t make any sense” (Schwartz, 2015). I must say that I am more inclined to believe Bill Nye’s assessment than the other Bill guy.

Given that the science of air pressure may not fully explain what happened to produce under-inflated footballs, how do you think this issue should be settled? Should players, teams, and/or coaches be punished? If so, what should be the penalties? Should penalties be applied before the Super Bowl? Will this controversy ultimately put a damper on the Super Bowl? And/or will it affect the outcome?

 

Chris Sutter is Running the Show: NHL All Star Game

By Ellen Chlumecky

January 27, 2015

The 2015 NHL All Star Game in Columbus was once again a huge hit for all hockey fans. Players from Toews to Stamkos to Ovechkin to Foligno battled it out in competitions and the final game to see who was the best of the best. While the game was fast paced and entertaining, I couldn’t help notice something even better on the bench of Team Foligno. Darryl Sutter who was coaching Team Foligno brought his son, Chris, to help him coach.

Chris Sutter was born in 1993 with a type of Down Syndrome called Trisomy 21. Trisomy 21 is a genetic disorder that impacts a child’s physical and mental development.  While most people tend to keep personal details about their life under wraps, Darryl Sutter is very open about discussing his son’s long battle. Darryl Sutter spoke to the LA Kings’s writer about the trials and tribulations that his son has gone through during his life. He even discusses how when Chris was born, how the doctors didn’t believe that he would live for very long. The doctors said that if he did manage to live long, he would spend the majority of his life in an institution.

http://kings.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=624631

Chris has certainly defied the odds. When the LA Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2014, he was one of the proud few that were able to lift the Stanley Cup over his head. I’m sure the doctors that delivered him never could have predicted that. I’m sure they also could have never predicted him sitting next to his proud father at the NHL All Star game.

Chris was giving a pep talk to Patrick Kane after Team Foligno was losing in the third period to Team Toews. He was congratulating his players and giving Bobby Ryan a fist bump when he scored a goal. He helped coach with his dad throughout the whole game and the players listened intently to his instruction.

I am so proud of the NHL in how far they have come in terms of acceptance. Darryl Sutter said that he would not be a coach for the ALL Star game if his son couldn’t sit on the bench with him. The NHL had no hesitation to let him to do it and all for Chris being the assistant coach to his father. I am proud to be a fan of such an amazing organization that wants everyone’s dreams to come true.

 

 

 

From Spy-Gate to Deflate-Gate: Patriots Conspiracy Continues

By Kaleb Page

January 26, 2015

This past weekend saw the NFL postseason action hit its final stride on the way to the big game to end the year. The first game of the day between the Packers and Seahawks was a great game that saw the Packers jump all over the defending champs to only squander it down the stretch; losing in overtime as Seattle scored a touchdown on its first drive. The second game of the day between the Patriots and Colts has still been getting extended coverage even though the blow out that ensued was nowhere near the game that took place earlier in the day.

Would you like to know how this is possible?

Well first why don’t we all go back to the year of 2007 in order to get background and see how this new mishap has everyone’s attention. A game between the Patriots and New York Jets created a huge controversy that is still talked about to this day. After the game the coach of the Jets at the time (Eric Mangini), told NFL security that he believed the Patriots were videotaping the signals of the Jets defensive coaches in order to know what was coming. After investigating the claims, the NFL did find the Patriots guilty of doing just that. With that being such a blatant act to get the upper-hand on a team, another report surfaced that same year that in the 2002 Super Bowl that the Patriots won, they had videotaped St. Louis Rams practices.

These were huge allegations for the time and got the name of “Spy-Gate” to even add more allure to this controversy. Since that time the Patriots seemed to clean things up, but still had those out there that thought the Patriots were always stepping over the line. Well for those conspiracy theorists the day they have been waiting for has arrived.

After the blow-out that was the AFC Championship game (Patriots won 45-7), the rumors started flying that there was just something off with the footballs used in the game. Typically for a game the air pressure in a ball is supposed to be anywhere between 12.5-13.5 psi. However, for this game reports are saying that 11 of the 12 game balls used by the Patriots were under-inflated up to 11% less than the regulation states.

Now you may be asking yourself, why would you want to deflate the ball? In the game between the Colts and Patriots the weather was a typical outdoor playoff game in New England: cold, windy and off/on precipitation. When the ball is deflated it provides more give on the ball which is helpful in cold conditions where grip is an issue. Thus a possible advantage to grip the ball could lend itself to throwing accuracy improving, being able to throw the ball further and allowing receivers to have an easier time catching.

No matter where you look you can find coverage on this issue. Whether it is ESPN, Fox Sports or even MSNBC (yes, they were even going in-depth on this too) there was discussion on what this all will mean. As it stands now there are just the preliminary results of 11 of the 12 balls being under-inflated, but as the NFL does its full investigation possibly the reason why and who did it will come out.

Am I in the camp of people saying that this advantage was what caused the Patriots to blow-out the Colts on Sunday? No, and I am not even remotely close to being on that side of the argument. I believe that the Patriots are the better team and they could play today with regulation footballs and I think the score would be the same. Yes, I know that the deflated footballs are cheating and the Patriots do deserve to be punished but there is no way you can honestly say that was what would cause the Colts to lose by that huge of a margin.

For those conspiracy theorists out there saying the Patriots are always doing this; here is your day. From Spy-Gate to now Deflate-Gate it sure looks like the Patriots haven’t learned their lesson. While this is just the tip of the iceberg, it is important to wait until everything comes out.

Sit back and enjoy the show, this story is far from being deflated.