Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My Beloved Eagles

If Donovan McNabb is released/traded from the Eagles after the season, I will officially end my fandom for my beloved hometown team.

There. I said it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

UM-FIU: Stop The Madness

Ah, the pomposity, the self-righteousness, the holier than thou.

The University of Miami (UM)-Florida International University (FIU) brawl was an absolute disgrace. It was definitely a true embarrassment for all parties involved. We all can see that. Stevie Wonder could see that.


The “analysis” that is being spewed forth from the talking heads, primarily on the “worldwide leader,” has now reached the peak of utter absurdity.

The only voice of reason on this whole topic is Bill Curry. His column on ESPN.com was so refreshing in the sturm and drang of the current drivel being written across the country. Unfortunately, this voice of clarity and restraint is overwhelmed by the din of the infallible, pure and perfect mass media that gloms on to quite possibly one of the easiest stories to have an opinion on and pass it off as journalism. It disgusts me.

How in the world can Head Coaches Larry Coker (UM) and Don Strock (FIU) have ANYTHING to do with one player body slamming another player after an extra point? How does Coker have any control of Anthony Reddick swinging his helmet with bad intentions? How does Strock have any control of one of his injured players doing the same with his crutches? (yes, I said crutches) How in any way does that show “control” or lack thereof? This is completely ludicrous.

Was Tennessee Titans' Head Coach Jeff Fisher excoriated for having “lost control” after Albert Haynesworth tried to kick-start the face of the Dallas Cowboys' Andre Gurode? I don’t recall that he was.

On Tuesday, October 17, 2006, Mike Golic of ESPN Radio commended FIU for dismissing 2 players and suspending the others indefinitely and condemned Miami for its response of suspending 12 players for one game and one indefinitely. Hmmm…let’s see…FIU is 0-6, their season is basically over, UM is 2-2 and still very much alive for a berth in the ACC Championship Game….Do you think if FIU was 4-2 and in the running for the Sun Belt Championship that the penalties would have been as harsh? I think not. If UM was 0-4 and had absolutely no shot at getting to Jacksonville in December would the penalties have been harsher? You tell me…

Why hasn’t the moral majority blasted the ACC on how “lenient” the suspensions were? The ACC agreed with the majority of the penalties handed out by UM and extended that of Anthony Reddick, who was clearly shown wielding his helmet as a weapon. Why is it that UM is being too lenient? The ACC saw the same tape as everyone. They clearly have a great deal of concern for the image of their conference. If they wanted to “send a message” (I hate that cliché), they had the opportunity and the ability to do so.

But wait, there’s more:

Later that Tuesday, Golic made the following incredulous, and certainly rhetorical, query on his radio show , “Would this have happened at Penn State?” Well, I think I might be able to answer that for him...

From the Penn State University Collegian, February 10, 2004:

University police are investigating the incident, which took place at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion at about 4 a.m., but no one has been charged.

The altercation resulted in two broken trophy cases, said Ice Pavilion manager Chris Whittemore.

"There were a lot of football players at the function, and not all of them were involved, but there were some involved," Alpha Phi Alpha President Chris Johnson said. "Also, some of their friends from Virginia that were up were involved. For a while, it was really uneven, and the football players were pounding on other guys; at times, it was even, and it was like a bar-style fight."

According to the Collegian, the letter claims the altercation involved at least 10 people and describes the results of the fight as "horrifying." The letter went on to say that the fraternity brought this to the paper's attention because it did not want the incident to be ignored, adding "anything involving athletes is always swept under the rug."

Also, this story was curiously underreported this past weekend:

College officials are also investigating this incident at the football game, following Dartmouth's 24-21 overtime loss to Holy Cross:

The Big Green players were gathered on the sideline after the game when Holy Cross began dancing on the Dartmouth "D" in the center of the field. This was perceived as an insult by many Big Green players. Punches, and even crutches flew as a brawl broke out in the middle of the field. After nearly 10 minutes, the conflict was broken up by police and intervening members of each team's staff.

“Punches and even crutches flew…” “After nearly 10 minutes…” Wow, that sounds really familiar…

Considering the level of hyper-morality of our pundits and "talking heads" in the sports media, I find it interesting that athletically-related violence among the "true student-athletes" went relatively unreported.

Let me be very clear. I am NOT excusing what happened in Miami last Saturday night. It was the worst that college athletics can offer. No question about it. Can we all, however, for a moment, gain a degree of perspective? Young men were playing a violent game in an emotionally-charged atmosphere. A fight broke out. All over this country, young men live violent lives in an emotionally desperate atmosphere. Homicides break out. Unfortunately, many of our young men walk in both worlds. Why are we so surprised, shocked, horrified, and crestfallen when these things happen? Maybe because behind all of the blame leveled at athletes, coaches, athletic directors, and even college presidents-we feel the shame for where much of the blame lies:

The society we ALL have created, celebrated, and promoted.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

My book

I've been getting lots of encouragement about writing a book. I've always been interested in it, but have absolutely NO idea of how to start. Plus, the type of book that I want to write: The athletic-industrial complex and the role that young black men play and the disproportionate amount of power that they lack. That story has been told. One of my co-workers, however, suggested to me that I would have a unique perspective since I've been a college athlete and a coach at the Division I level. She has a point. I just have no idea how to get started. Originally, this blog was started in 2004 to hopefully spur progress in that area...alas, I was unsuccessful in staying consistent.

Any thoughts?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Monday Night Football: Next Generation

Just wanted to jot down some notes about the new Monday Night Football crew. If you have just come out of a coma, MNF will be on ESPN and the announcing trio is Mike Tirico, Joe Theismann, and Tony Kornheiser.

My critique:

Mike Tirico: Solid and steady as always. Consummate play-by-play guy. I've always enjoyed his work on the college fb broadcasts and he is going to continue his excellence on MNF.

Tony Korhneiser: Surprisingly, GREAT! I've listened to his radio show and obviously enjoyed him on PTI like most of America. I have to say, however, when I found out that he would be the 3rd guy in the MNF booth, I really didn't see how that was going to work. Alas, so far is doing what he does best: being Tony. Smart, funny, trademark razor-sharp wit.

And that brings me to...

Joe Theismann: In a word: Yuck. In the first half, all Joe has done is basically undermine 90% of everything that has come out of Tony's mouth. Kinda like, "Shut up nerd. I played the game, you didn't." Plus, I'm not getting very much good "football analysis" from him. He is playing a great role as "Captain Obvious", though.

Some of my favorites from him tonight:
  • "Brad Johnson is not a downgrade from Daunte Culpepper"
  • "Offensive linemen must move their feet to make blocks"

Oh well, as some famous '70s rocker sang: "Two out of three ain't bad".

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Prodigal Son Falls From Grace

(I know I'm late with this, but I'll weigh in anyway)

Justin Gatlin. The face of USA Track and Field. The future of US sprinting.


Gatlin's recent positive test only further underscores the basic fact that MANY world-class sprinters are using some sort of performance enhancement. It's kind of comical to watch the outrage and shock of the media and even those who follow the sport closely.

I'm afraid that this type of "breaking news" isn't going to stop anytime soon for the following reasons:

  1. The testers will always be 1-2 steps behind the dopers.
  2. The compensation structure in Track & Field is basically "Perform for Pay". In other words, you need to run fast to get paid. Endorsement contracts for track athletes aren't very lucrative. You make your money at the meets.
As I alluded to in another post, the doping measures will soon be getting ugly. The days of pharmacological means are coming to an end, and genetic manipulation will be the new thing.

I can hear the testers banging their heads against the wall now...

What time is it? What YEAR is it?

"Its been a long time, I shouldn't have left you, without a strong rhyme to step to..."

Man, I can't believe I let the blog die like that...just when it was gettin ready to takeoff (yeah, right).

Well, recent events in my life have inspired me to begin writing again. Really more catharsis than anything. The nature of the posts to come may be more egocentric (for a short time) than the original ones, but please bear with me.

Thanks for coming back...

Sunday, December 12, 2004


Interesting quote from a book that I'm currently reading.

"Too many affluent black youths mistakenly associate black identity with admiration of what is most self-destructive about the behavior of blacks with lower income."

Friday, December 10, 2004


The echoes are all that is left of the mystique. Yes, Virginia, Notre Dame Football is irrelevant.

Over the 10 days, anyone with either a functioning auditory or visual cortex has been bombarded with the minute-by-minute sordid details of how ND has (mis)handled their search for a new Head Football Coach. Pundits and alums all have their theories on what needs to change: The Admissions Standards, The Offense, The Schedule. All of that is fine and dandy, but a comment from one of my dual-sport athletes (football/track) summed it up best. I asked him about what he thought about the Notre Dame program and he said, “Coach, no one any good that I know wants to go to Notre Dame!” This young man was a consensus Top 25 player coming out of high school that was recruited by every top program in the country. In other words, this young man’s unique insight to the rarefied air of elite college football recruiting confirmed what many others and I had suspected.

Notre Dame Football is played out.


Notre Dame hasn’t won a bowl game in 11 years.

Notre Dame has won 1 National Championship in the last 25 years.

Notre Dame has hasn’t had a first-round NFL draft pick at a “skill position” (QB, WR, RB) since Jerome Bettis in 1993. 1993!!!

Given the above information, why is it such a mystery that ND has slipped from its lofty perch at the top of the college football mountain? Do you really think a 6’4” 18-year old wide receiver that runs a 4.3 40 yd dash really cares about all of the championships that ND won in the '60s and '70s? Heck, I’m 5’7” and couldn’t catch a cold, let alone a football and I don’t care! And let’s not even get into the whole academic thing. As I alluded to in a previous post, it’s all about the NFL, not the GPA with so many of these kids (and coaches).

“But they have an EXCLUSIVE television deal with NBC! How can they be irrelevant?”

The growth of satellite TV and pay-per-view cable packages has made it possible for basically any major team to be seen every week. The NBC deal is quickly becoming a white elephant.

Notre Dame has become a place for largely second-tier skill position players. This decline began near the end of the Lou Holtz era and continued through Bob Davie and still exists today. Why is this happening? I'll compare it to the business world.

When an industry leader in a competitive market fails to anticipate a fundamental change in the marketplace and make the appropriate strategic adjustments, things can get ugly very quickly and that company will lose it's commanding share of the market.

In recruiting terms: Kids don't want to be ugly, they want to be with the industry leader.

Notre Dame is Betamax.
USC is a DVD. A DVD being watched on a 52-inch "High-Def" plasma screen.

Bottom Line: Elite athletes win championsips. Notre Dame hasn't had either for quite some time.

Wake up the echoes.