Posted on: November 27, 2008 10:36 am
Edited on: November 27, 2008 10:40 am

Give Thanks

Today is Thanksgiving Day. Giving thanks is what today is all about. Big things and small. And as it relates to sports.
So many times, we envy professional athletes, especially the money they make. But, those lives come with a heavy price. And, I give thanks that I've never had to pay that price.
I am thankful that, when I am Earl Campbell's age, I won't be in near tears because of how much pain I will be in just trying to get out of bed to go to the bathroom at 2 in the morning.
I am thankful that I have never been shot multiple times and then had to have my leg amputated. Richard Collier is only 27 years old and is now missing a leg.
I am thankful I have never woken up and had burglars in my house who were armed. Sean Taylor wasn't that fortunate.
I am thankful I can go to a restaurant and sit down and eat a meal without having my picture taken and being mobbed by total strangers.
I am thankful that my body never hurt so bad due to the job I do that I became addicted to painkillers or that I was forced to use other drugs just to have the ability to be competitive with the other athletes doing the same thing.
I am thankful that I have never been in an incident at my work that has left my paralyzed, like Kevin Everett was, or with an eye injury or needing my knee scoped or needing any type of surgery.
I am thankful that these athletes have paid that price to provide me with entertainment and escape from the real world.
And I am thankful that I have another year of pro sports to look forwards to.
Category: General
Tags: Thanksgiving
Posted on: November 26, 2008 7:03 am

A Real Christmas Present

“A lot of people [in Galveston] just pretty much lost everything, and to help them have a Thanksgiving, I think it’s very great. They can have a smile on their face on Thanksgiving." - Andre Johnson

Now's the time when we start thinking about the holidays. Some of us would think about what we want for Christmas. Some of us will think about how will we be able to afford what kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, husbands, wives etc want for Christmas. Tomorrow we will sit around with relatives (some we might not really care for) and eat food and watch football and think about how nice it will be not to see some of these people for another year.

Will we think about the fact that some people will not have a Thanksgiving or a Christmas?

Thanks to Hurricane Ike, many people lost everything. Their homes. Their security. Their hope. Last week, three Houston Texans tried to give some of that back. Johnson teamed with DeMeco Ryans and Dunta Robinson in donating 750 Thanksgiving meals to families in need. During their “Giving Thanks With Andre, DeMeco & Dunta” event across the street from Reliant Stadium, the players packaged and distributed turkeys along with soft drinks, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls and browniesThey were joined by a few teammates, the Texans cheerleaders and TORO (the Texans mascot) as well as volunteers from H-E-B and Texas State University. Frenchy’s Chicken provided refreshments for the workers during the three-hour-long event.

Johnson and Ryans hosted a similar event last year, donating groceries to 200 families prior to Thanksgiving. They approached Robinson about joining their efforts, and he was happy to join them and help provide Thanksgiving meals for more than triple the amount of families this year.

“We’ve become a part of Houston and a part of this community,” Robinson said. “Houston has been through a lot with the storm coming through a couple of months ago, so we know for this time of the year, a lot of people are in need. And we’re happy to be able to come out here and do our part.”

“We can definitely relate to this,” Ryans said. “[As kids], we were in families that didn’t have much. But when people came around to help, we were appreciative of the help we got from other people. It just shows how people working together can do a lot of things and can help each other.”

The Lady Texans, a group comprised of Houston Texans spouses and female front office members, teamed with HEB to help raise money to feed families for the Thanksgiving holiday. The Lady Texans presented a check for $5,697.00 after their first-ever Lady Texans Turkey Drive. All proceeds from the event will go to purchase turkeys for area families in need through Target Hunger, an affiliate of the United Way. The funds will help to feed more than 350 Houston families that otherwise would not have had a meal this holiday season.

That brings me to a 7-year old boy from Bolivia named Fernando Veizaga. Fernando lives on the plains of Minero, home to approximately 13,000 residents. Typical houses are constructed of cement with corrugated iron roofs. The regional diet consists of bananas, bread, cassava, beef, plantains and rice. Common health problems in this are include malnutrition, parasites and colds. Most adults in Minero work on plantations or as taxi drivers and earn the equivalent of $87 per month. Fernando's parents are separated and he lives with his mother who sometimes is employed. There are so many interesting things about Bolivia. January is their heat wave month and July is their cold weather month. Many Bolivians who attend school only go for six years. It is considered a privilege to have an educated person in the family.

But the most important thing about Fernando Veizaga is that he is now my own personal Christmas present. Through an organization called Compassion, I am now sponsoring Fernando.

Many times we applaud stories about pro athletes who take the time to give to charity or do other things for the community. Other times we criticize them for wasting money "making it rain" in a night club when that money could be used for better things. But then what do we do ourselves? The truth of the matter is that the poorest poor person in the United States has it better than the families of those like Fernando Veizaga. And I am far from being that bad off.

It's easy to sit back and complain about anything. Whether it be the economy or the play calling, the president or the head coach, the weather or the trunovers, but so many things we complain about we really have such little impact on. But there are so many things we do have an impact on that we can do to better ourselves and the world around us. Whether it be a sick neighbor in need of some yard work or a fund raiser to help students improve their educational opportunities, we can do something.

Kudos to all the professional athletes who are doing something positive this week and the next month to encourage the spirit of the holidays. But you don't have to be Andre Johnson to feed someone who won't eat tomorrow otherwise. Even a Toxic Blogger can pitch in and help.

(sources: , )



Category: General
Tags: Charity, Holidays
Posted on: November 16, 2008 8:31 am
Edited on: November 16, 2008 3:49 pm

Hating To Love To Hate

There is this 20-something year old female I chat with who lives in Detroit. Like most people in Detroit, she has become ambivalent towards the Lions, frustrated with the Tigers and on the Red Wings bandwagon. But her team is the Pistons! Sometimes, just get a rise out of her, I'll smack talk the Pistons. It usually works. I swear sometimes I can look into my computer and see smoke coming from her ears.

Now, it's more than just smoke. There are some serious flames coming out of her red hair.

You see, Chauncey Billups was her favorite Piston. To make matters worse, she detests Allen Iverson. And, not only have the Pistons traded Billups for Iverson, they gave Iverson Billups' jersey number!

This woman is fit to be tied! She has already told me that she's rooting for the Nuggets this year.

She's not the only fan to have this type of reaction. I'm sure we've all read the stories of sports bars in Wisconsin where patrons will enter wearing #4 Jets' jerseys and demand the tv be changed to the Jets game, even though the Packers are playing. There is major discontent in Cheesehead Country now that Brett is a Jet.

I'm going to turn the forum over to you, the reader. Has there ever been an instance where your team did something that angered you so badly that you rooted for them to lose?

I'll give you a personal example that happened to me years ago. When I was in junior high, I was Luv Ya Blue true to the Houston Oilers. Then, after a third straight trip to the playoffs ended with a loss to the eventual Super Bowl Champions, the Oilers fired Bum Phillips. I was so angry, I wanted them to go 0-16 the next year. They didn't. I think they went 7-9. Shortly thereafter, Bum was hired by the Saints and I started rooting for them. They are, to this day, my second favorite team behind the Texans.

Has a favorite player ever been traded away or favorite coach ever been fired that made you so mad you wanted your team to be lousy as a form of retribution? Or have you ever become a fan of another team because your favorite player or coach went there? Or maybe your team hired a coach or signed a player you detest so much that it turned your stomach trying to root for him? As a backup Saints fan, I still cringe at trying to cheer for Jeremy Shockey.

The Toxic One would like to hear from you.

Posted on: October 21, 2008 5:06 pm

Pick Your Poison: Sports Traitors

With the news of Brett Favre allegedly giving away secrets to the Lions and of Jose Canseco regretting naming names in his book, I decided to try something different with my blog today.

I'm going to open up my blog to your voice. Here is a chance for you to rant on someone whom you feel has betrayed a team, a fan or a sport. For example, Tim Donaghy betrayed the entire trust of the NBA, its teams and its fans by betting on games he was officiating.

Who is your Toxic Traitor of sports? Bobby Petrino, maybe? Art Modell? Someone else? Have at it and tell me what sports figure you feel has betrayed you the most.
Category: General
Posted on: October 17, 2008 10:13 am

More Nuttahisms

1. Normally, I'd jump on the Cinderella bandwagon. Normally I'd root for the Rays to beat the Red Sox and go to the World series. Normally, I'd want the low-payroll team to smack down the high-payroll team. At least I had that opinion until last night. No, it wasn't the great Red Sox rally that won me over. It was reading the game thread and watching all these non-Ray fans come on and make asses of themselves while bashing the Red Sox. It's one thing to cheer one team or another. But some of these posters started getting personal with their attacks on some of the Red Sox fans who were doing nothing more than posting about the game. I wonder how many of them would have been that brave and say that stuff had they been say in a Boston sports bar. But give them a keyboard and an anonymous nickname and suddenly they get brave. Pathetic really. And, thanks to those of you whom did that, all I have to say back to you is this: Go Red Sox!

2. It appears that of the two NFL head coach firings, one may have made the team better and the other made the team worse. The Rams came out and played with heart and looked like they were enjoying football and pulled a stunning win on the road over the Redskins. On the other side of the coin, the Raiders looked like they were sending a message to Al Davis. I won't bash them so much for giving up 34 to the Saints (even though Colston and Shockey were both out) but how do you only score THREE against a defense that has not stopped anyone all season? Maybe they would not have won had Kiffin still been there but they sure as hell wouldn't have lost 34-3! But it's not they head coach itself but the damn drama that Al Davis has put this group through that has done the most damage.  Make a head coaching change but do it in such a way that allows the organization to retain some shred of dignity. Al Davis' drama queen press conference that ended Lane Kiffin's tenure with the Raiders was more than just a hatchet vendetta designed to humiliate the ex-coach. It was also a demoralizing blow to an already fragile team psyche. Remember, John Madden once said that 90% of the game is half mental. And what Al Davis did to the mental health of his players could be seen clearly on the field against the Saints. I would not be surprised if the Raiders end the season 1-15. I've seen many times where teams have met such a demoralizing event and responded by losing the rest of their games. Remember when Jim Mora went off on his "playoffs?" rant? The Colts lost the rest of their games that season. Remember the Ravens meltdown against the Patriots last season? They didn't win another game under Brian Billick. Don't be surprised to see this happen to the Raiders.

3. So, I hear Jerry Jones will make a decision on whether or not Tony Romo will play. Why is Jerry making this decision? Isn't that why he hired a medical staff and a head coach? How can you Cowboy fans stomach this is what I will never understand. Don't you want to grab Jerry by his neck, squeeze it and scream in his face "Quit meddling!" Yes, I know. He's the owner. It's his team. He can do what he wants. But it's just like in any other business. You may be the owner, but you hire people to do specific things based on their skills! And Jerry has skills to run a business but he is not skilled at being a football coach. And he sure as hell isn't qualified in the medical profession! So, for the betterment of the Cowboys, Jerry should back off and let the medical staff and coaches determine Romo's playing status.

4. I was surprised to see Texas leapfrog Alabama to get to #1. But, if I were a Texas fan, I wouldn't be too thrilled about it. And, if I were an Alabama fan, I wouldn't be too upset. If we've learned anything over the past year and a half in college football, we have learned that being ranked #1 only means that you are about to lose a game.

5. Aren't you proud of me? I've gone this deep into my rants and have yet to criticize T.O. one time.

6. So Shaq is running his mouth again about cowards this time. You know who was really a coward? Shaq! Hey, Fat Aristotle. What a coincidence that you magically healed from your injury as soon as Miami traded you to Phoenix. Who do you think you are? Manny Ramirez? If anyone should be rapping, it should be the Miami Heat rapping about getting a refund for the money they paid Shaq last season before the trade. Because he damn sure didn't earn a dime of it!

7. Here's hoping the coming week in the NFL isn't as nuts as last week. I only went 7-7 on my picks. Inexcusable! As a Texan fan, I am obligated to blame David Carr for that too. Or maybe T-Mac. "It's my fault. Everything's my fault." Yep, T-Mac, It sure is!

The Toxic One is out!
Posted on: September 27, 2008 9:25 am

We're Not On Life Support

When I first began to watch sports, the NBA was a couple years away from obtaining Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. And the league was on life support. I can clearly remember the NBA Finals Game 6, which would be the deciding game, between the Lakers with Magic Johnson and the 76ers with Dr J being telecast on tape delay. We knew who had won before the game ever began on television.

But things changed. The NBA grew as fans piled upon the Bird and Magic bandwagons. But Bird and Magic did not last forever and neither the Lakers nor Celtics won the Finals in the 90s. But the NBA did not collapse. No. In fact, it got even more popular as everyone piled upon the Michael Jordan bandwagon and off to the races they went.

But Jordan didn't last forever either. And the NBA had to deal with the Jerry and Jerry dissection of the Bulls and a lockout at the same time. If anything could have killed the NBA, that would have been it. But, the NBA just hitched its wagons to Shaq and Kobe and kept on rolling. Shag and Kobe had a nasty divorce that had such backstage drama that it could have made pro wrestling proud but the NBA has marched on as the Lakers and Celtics met in the last finals and the whole thing went full circle.

Now, you ask yourself, why the history lesson in the NBA? Because we have these people whom believe that if the current bandwagon isn't at the top of the world in sports, the sport would die. People like Colin Cowherd from ESPN Radio. He thinks that MLB needs the Yankees in the playoffs. Or the NBA needs the Lakers in the Finals. The NFL needs the Cowboys and Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Guess what folks. Baseball is going to survive just fine with the Yankees sitting at home and watcging on television. The NFL? Oh please. There have been so many bandwagons come and go in my lifetime and the NFL is still the most popular sport in America. From the Steelers and Cowboys in the 70s, to the 49ers in the 80s, to the Cowboys in the early 90s, then to Brett Favre, then to John Elway, then even the Rams got into the act with the Greatest Show on Turf. And, when the Patriots eventually tumble back to the bottom...and they will. All teams in the NFL eventually hit the skids and dive back to the bottom. When that happens, the NFL will be just fine because someone else will hop up and take their place.

That even goes for college football. College football isn't on life support just because USC lost to Oregon State Thursday. Even golf is surviving without Tiger Woods.

So, don't worry about the health of your sport just because the current bandwagon team has suddenly fallen on hard times. There will be plenty of other bandwagons for people like the Colin Cowherd's of this world to climb upon and then claim that their sport has to have that team on top forever and ever for it to survive.

Posted on: September 20, 2008 12:21 am
Edited on: September 20, 2008 10:10 am

Sports Nuttahisms

My friend calls me a "sports nuttah". And I take it as a compliment. I love my sports. And I love my own opinions on sports. Which have now been named, in her honor, Sports Nuttahisms. And here are just some of my sports nuttahisms that you need to read...and agree with.

1. Ed Hochuli owned it. He didn't have to. The NFL and NBA have been very adamant about not wanting their officials to be questioned by fans, media, players or coaches. I remember a couple of years ago a similar play happened where a player was called down and was still running with the ball. It was the Ravens against the Titans and the Ravens back (I think it was Jamal Lewis) fumbled and the Titans recovered. The ref had blown the play dead. Instant replay showed the fumble did occur but the change of possession was declared null because the whistle had already blown. Jeff Fisher criticized the referees and was fined. For telling the truth. Ed Hochuli did not have to apologize to the Chargers or their fans. He could have hid behind the league protection. But he owned an honest mistake. Much respect to Ed for doing so. Too bad more players and coaches can't be as forthright with blatant and deliberate acts as he was with this honest and unintentional mistake.

2. Did you know that the Cowboys have never won a game at Lambeau Field? Or that they have only played there 5 times in history? I didn't either until it was mentioned on the radio today. I bet they played a few times in Milwaukee then because, surely, in almost 50 years of existence, the Cowboys have made more than 5 trips to Wisconsin.

3. With the way the BCS continues to always seem flawed, I really wonder if all these BCS Conferences are worth it. Destroyed the SWC, made the Cotton Bowl a meaningless game between also-rans. For this? No wonder the Rose Bowl wants to pull out.

4. Speaking of the BCS, they kind of remind me of Democrats and Republicans. They sure want to be the one to win. But they'd rather the other win than an outsider. A mid-major has about as much chance at winning the BCS Title as a third party has at winning the presidential election.

5. So the Milwaukee Brewers fired Ned Yost with 12 games to go in the season and the team tied for the Wild Card. They haven't won a game since and are now in danger of completely missing the playoffs. Had they kept Yost and missed the playoffs, then they could have used him as the scapegoat. But if they end up missing the playoffs now, someone else is going to have to fall on the sword.

6. I'm going to make a vow right here and now. I am not going to spend time on this blog talking about players who break the law, go to jail and then somehow are allowed back in the sport. It's not that hard to stay out of jail. All you have to do is not break the law. If I discuss any matters of an athlete that is off-the-field related, it'll be because he did a T.O. or a Tony Romo and helped someone in trouble. Enough of the DWI arrests and the domestic disturbances and the dogfighting and gambling and shooting and stabbing. Enough! Enough! ENOUGH! Those athletes aren't worth the time I spend hunting and pecking for the keys to type a sentence about them. Tell me something positive to society you have contributed and then I might spend a few seconds typing about you.

7. I have a bad feeling that lots of my fellow Texan fans were unrealistically optimistic about this season. And we are going to find out that getting rid of David Carr at the end of the '06 season wasn't the cure-all for our team's woes that we tried to kid ourselves into believing. I thought we might pass the Titans this season but that's because I thought the Titans were declining. I hate to say it but the Titans are going to drop us another smack of reality.

8. Houston media and fans still have some big infatuation with Vince Young. A caller on the radio today spoke about Vince Young and that he was a dominant high school athlete. People, it is time to understand that being a dominant high school athlete and being a quarterback in the NFL are two different things. It's just like this kid at Ohio State that all the Buckeye fans are giddy about. He is a true freshman but you wanted him to start at quarterback against USC? So, he was the best high school player in the country? Fine. But there are two key words in that sentence. High school. It's one thing to dominate in high school. It's quite another to face USC. And then it's even quite a different problem to face an NFL team. High school football is not college football. And college football is not the NFL. If the transition were that easy, every Heisman Trophy winner would automatically be Canton bound. They are all different animals and success at one does not guarantee victory at the next level.

Okay, that's all I have for tonight. It's after 11:00 pm and I have no idea where my players are. They better be serving food at the soup kitchen or they will be running laps til I get tired!

Goodnight now!
Category: General
Posted on: September 9, 2008 4:57 pm

We All Got One

We all have an opinion.

We have an opinion on who the best quarterback in history is. We have an opinion on who the most overrated player in baseball is. We have an opinion on the salary cap, NBA referees and whether or not a player "deserves" to be injured. We have an opinion on Jerry Jones, Shaq's "Kobe Rap" and the steroid era. Should Brett Favre have stayed retired? Should Al Davis let someone else run the Raiders? Should we let Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame?

And then we have opinions on other people's opinions. Manning fans believe Brady backers are idiots and Cowboy haters think that T.O. supporters are fools. Some people have the opinion that Raider fans are thugs or that New York fans are classless or Patriot fans are arrogant.

And good old CBS gives all of us the opportunity to have a forum where we can spout out our opinions. The wise ones of us actually temper our use of this forum. Cause a wise man once said, "tis better to keep your mouth shut and have people question your ignorance than to open it and remove all doubt."

But what fun would that be?

So I am going to open my e-mouth and give out my opinions. These are just my opinions. Some of you may agree. Some of you may disagree. Some of you may vehemently disagree and call me every name in the book for my opinion. That's fine. I can dig it.

The one thing I will tell you is this: These will be my opinions....on SPORTS! I am not going to fill my blog with election opinions, religious opinions, oil price opinions (we all have the same opinion on the price of gas anyways so what would be the point there). I will share my opinions on the NFL, MLB, NBA etc. I will share my opinions on fan behavior, media responsibility and code of conducts for players to follow.

I'm a sports fan. This is a sports site. And, it is my opinion, that most of you come here to discuss sports. It's why I come here. It's what i have a passion for discussing. And it is what I have an opinion on.

Everyone has an opinion. And there are two kinds of opinions. There is the wrong opinion. And then there is my opinion.


Category: General
Tags: Trash Talk
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or