Friday, October 30, 2009

Now time for something different.

Well, in addition to my usual picks that will be coming tomorrow, I have a bonus post for you today, consider it my apology for missing posts while I was away in Europe (but I couldn't talk about game I didn't see, could I?) This is something I wrote after reading "The Hoops Whisperer" article in the Oct. 26th issue of Sports Illustrated.

I have never really been a proponent of the idea that “reverse racism” is getting out of hand. I always figured with everything that African Americans have gone through in this nation (Slavery, Jim Crow Laws, etc.) gave them some right to be handled differently than white people who have for the most part, been given every opportunity to succeed. But now that idea is being challenged in my mind, and its mostly thanks to the sport world.
About two years ago Sports Illustrated ran an article about the lack of African Americans playing baseball. They called it a “crisis” and they had a point, there are very few African Americans in a sport that is now dominated by Whites, Japanese and Hispanics. What bothered me was the double standard of the whole thing. They asked some African Americans how they felt about playing on teams where they were the only blacks , they asked if they felt like they couldn't relate to anyone else simply because of their race. The article completely ignored the lack of whites in other sports, the author wasn't asking why there are so few whites in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and no one asked Steve Nash or Jason Kidd if they felt like there was no one they could relate to, because they were the only whites on a team (although now, Jason Kidd is paired up with Drik Nowitzki). Nor did they ask why this happened, or what could be done to bring more whites into the NBA as they did with blacks and the MLB.
Flash forward to today and Sports Illustrated's October 26th issue. One of the largest articles “The Hoops Whisperer” is about a man, Idan Ravin (ee-DON rah-VEEN) who, with basically no basketball experience has been training some of the sport's biggest superstars such as LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Elton Brand and Chris Paul, to name a few, to great success. The article in question is about how his unorthodox training methods have worked to great effect but that some coaches don't like him because he hasn't “paid his dues” like most trainers and coaches need to. The article was good and had nothing to do with race, however it contained one quote from Carmelo Anthony that I found very disturbing: “. . .and calls him Crouton because '[Idan] rhymes with crouton, but he's a lot cooler then a regular cracker'” This quote was off handed and wasn't meant to be controversial, I suspect that Idan knows that Carmelo calls him Crouton for this reason, and to them its a joke among friends. This does not change the racial element to the joke. If it was a white player, and a black coach, this would be the equivalent to the white player saying something to the effect of “Hes a good one, not like the other niggers.” Now granted, “cracker” doesn't have the same history as the N-word does in this nation, but that doesn't change the fact that it is a derogatory word meant to insult an entire race of people. Yet there is no outrage, most people have likely forgotten about the quote before they finished the article, but there it is, printed in the largest circulated Sports magazine in the nation, and no one bats an eye.
At a time when Kansas City Chiefs runningback Larry Johnson (who is an African American) has been told to stay away from the team, and is being investigated by the NFL for using a derogatory word towards homosexuals during a post game interview and again on his Twitter page, it seems like the only group of people its okay to make fun of is white, straight, males. It is rumored, and some say likely, that Larry Johnson who is only 17 yards from becoming the Chiefs' all time leading rusher, and is a future hall of famer, has likely played his last down for Kansas City. Sports Illustrated and ESPN have so far avoided printing the word again, even in the context of explaining what the word is. And yet Carmelo can say “cracker” and it is printed as an amusing anecdote within an article and then is largely forgotten. Why the extreme double standard? Why should it be okay to use a derogatory word towards one group of people but not another? Coaches and commentators have been fired for less than what Carmelo Anthony said, only they said it about Black people. Someone somewhere should be ripping this guy for what he said, and it shouldn't be limited to this writer.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Week Seven

NFL Week Seven Preview:

Back from Europe and here to provide you with some insight into Sunday's games.


Eric Mangini has not looked any better as the Cleveland head coach than Romeo Crennel did. Expect him to start Derek Anderson for the rest of the year, with an outside possibility of Bret Ratliff getting a start late in the year. Ratliff came over from the Jets in the trade that landed them Mark Sanchez, Ratliff, who looked good in preseason was a fan favorite in New York, I would expect, once it becomes obvious that Anderson isn't the Quarterback of the future in Cleveland, to see Ratliff get a look. Unfortunantely I don't expect him to fare much better and I expect Cleveland to draft a Quarterback after this season. Anyway, Green Bay wins this game.


Should be an interesting game, both teams are improved from last year, Houston is coming off a big win against Cincinnati. I think this game will be close and could go either way, Frank Gore is coming back from injury and the 49ers are coming off a bye. I expect them to win a close on on the road.


San Diego is coming off a tough loss against Denver and should be ready to get better against a weak Kansas City team. Kansas City has looked better as of late, taking Dallas to OT and beating the Redskins, but San Diego is a much more disciplined and talented team than both of them, and should handle Kansas City without issue.


I shouldn't have to tell you who is going to win this game, seriously. Take Indy, take them and give whatever points your bookie wants. This is going to be ugly.


Its not that I don't think Minnesota is a bad team, its just that, they are due for a loss. Last week they, by all rights, should have lost that game, and would have if it were not for a missed field goal in the final seconds. Pittsburgh and Ben Roethlisberger are on a tear, and I expect them to win a close on at home, but I wouldn't be surprised if Farve pulled out that magic one more time.


As bad as Buffalo has been at times, they have proven they can beat bad teams. Even with QB Trent Edwards out, I expect Ryan Fitzpatrick to lead them to a win. It'll be close, but I can't imagine Carolina winning three in a row.


Mark Sanchez had his worse start of his young career, and now there is some concern that he may not be able to play in cold, bad weather. A legitimate concern if he plans on playing in the Meadowlands. This week however, he returns to the heat of California where he should have a bounce back game. He is once again without Cotchery and Smith in his WR core, so the Jets will have to depend once again on Dustin Keller and Braylon Edwards to keep the passing game going and lean heavily on the running game, if they plan on winning this game. Oakland looked impressive beating the Eagles last week and the Jets will have to get the running game going and not put to much pressure on their Rookie Quarterback if they plan on winning this game.


This should be an interesting game to watch. Benson is playing his old team, and has been talking in the media about them. Both teams are surprise teams this year, and both are coming off of hard losses last week. Expect this to be an offensive game with a lot of lead changes, I give Cincinnati the edge though, simply because they are playing at home.


Wade Phillips is calling this a “Must win game” but he might want to rethink that, and likely will backtrack from it once Atlanta delivers the beat down I am expecting. Dallas hasn't beaten a good team all year, and barely eeked out a win in OT against Kansas City two weeks ago. They had their bye week to prepare for this game but it won't be enough to overcome an Atlanta team that just got done beating down the Bears.


While Miami has had a habit of beating undefeated teams in the recent past, I don't expect it to happen here. New Orleans is for real, and they proved it last week with their beat down of the Giants. Look for them to beat down Miami in similar fashion.


The Giants are angry at how the Saints embarrassed them last week, so look for Eli Manning to take it out on an Arizona pass defense that is ranked 31st in the league. Arizona should keep up with them for the first half or so, but eventually the Giants' pass rush will get to Kurt Warner and win the game for the Giants.


The Redskins are a mess, and even though the Eagles were embarrassed last week when they lost to the Raiders, their problems do not compare to the problems of the 'Skins. I think this will be closer then people expect, divisional games usually are, but I think in the end Philadelphia pulls it out on Monday Night.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I'm off to Europe

I'm off to Europe for a week. If there is anyone even reading this, I won't have an update for next week.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Last second week 4 picks.

TB @Was Washington must be angry about what happened last week. I don't like either team but I am going with Washington based purely on talent level.

Bal @NE This one I fought over, but so long as Wes Welker is still out I think Tom Brady will have issues with the pressure Baltimore looks to bring, just as they did Week 2 against the Jets.

Det@Chi Detroit got their first win in a while last week, but it'll be a while before they can string two in a row.

Ten@Jac Tennessee is desperate for their first win, I think they finally get it here.

Oak@Hou I had Oakland pegged as my sleeper pick of the season, but thats looking pretty doubtful at this point. How many Top Ten picks do you need to have a good football team? Apparently a lot when Al Davis is picking them.

Cin@Cle The Bengals have looked stronger then expected all year, is it too late to change my sleeper pick? (yes, far to late)

Sea@Ind Seattle has the injury bug again this year, Indy will plow right over them.

NYG@KC Kansas City won't be able to hold off the Giants pass rush.

BUF@MIA Pennington out, Henne in, Miami season is over.

NYJ@NO This one I almost feel crazy picking, but Rex Ryan's Defense has given Brees trouble in the past. If they force a few turnovers they have a real shot at winning this game.

STL@SF St. Louis will likely win a game this year, but I can't foresee who. Too bad they don't play the Redskins again.

DAL@DEN Orton has looked extremely good so far. Their defense is stout, and they are playing at home, so I have to pick them. I am worried though, that Denver's previous best opponent was Cincinnati, whom they only beat with a last second, fluke play.

SD@PIT I know they are the super bowl champs, but they haven't shown me anything all season. I expect Rivers to pick apart a surprisingly weak defense.

GB@MN Now this is the one everyone wants to watch, right? Its a tough and emotional game, for obvious reasons. I don't really know who to pick, but because its at home, and its Bret Farve who tends to play well in these kind of games, I pick Minnesota. I do think, that Green Bay wins when Farve returns to Lambeau Field in November. (Its a shame they didn't schedule that game for December. Oh well, we can hope for a playoff match up.)