Tag:The Daily Shoutout
Posted on: May 23, 2011 7:59 am
Edited on: May 23, 2011 9:02 am

The Daily Shoutout

Ray Lewis: I know Ray Lewis. Interviewed him many times. There are instances when Lewis says extremely smart things. There are times when he's sharp, a great listen, and one of the wisest men in football. This is not one of those times.

Lewis believes, as you've no doubt heard by now, that no games means there will be a rise in crime. There's no need to deal with Ray-Ray's theory that no football equates peeps going all Bonnie and Clyde. I'm not certain if Lewis meant more crime among the players or more from general population but either way it's bunk. There's no proof.

I love football. I love to parrrteee. But if the NFL skips a season I'm not reaching for a 9 mil to start clipping banks. No-sir-re. And I doubt any of you will either. I could see the lack of football leading to an increased level of depression in men or cheerleaders. Or no football could lead to the public's increased knowledge of labor law. But until a sociologist -- and Lewis isn't one -- tells me there's credence behind what Lewis says, I'll have more faith in my fellow man.

Thank you very much.

There's a larger issue and it's something one player texted to me after Lewis made his comments. He used a phrase I can't say publicly. It roughly translates into The Empty Microphone Syndrome. No mini-camps or OTAs leaves a huge news vacuum and that vacuum will sometimes be filled with blithery blathery gobbledygook from players who don't know what the hell they're talking about. This syndrome is practically one of the laws of physics. Lewis is a perfect example.

Ray Lewis feels like he needs to say some ----. The media feels like it needs to report said ----. And here we are, empty microphoned, listening to Lewis tell us that without football the country will become one big Supermax.

Now that you know of The Empty Microphone Syndrome, you can fight back.

See you Tuesday.

Category: NFL
Posted on: May 20, 2011 8:25 am
Edited on: May 20, 2011 8:40 am

The Daily Shoutout

DROP-DEAD DATE: Roger Goodell explained in a conference call with Pittsburgh Steelers ticket holders that there is no drop-dead date set to cancel the season should the lockout extend, God forbid, long enough that the season would be affected. "First, our objective is to have a full season, we scheduled a full season, we are planning for a full season and that's our intent," Goodell said. "If we're not capable of doing that we will play as many games as possible and want to finish with the Super Bowl."

On some levels saying the league doesn't have a drop-dead date sounds plausible. On others, it doesn't ring true. Why would a league that prepares for every contigent, and I mean, every contingency, not think about a date when the season would be in jeopardy? That makes no sense. This is the same league that built bye weeks into its schedule just in case the lockout became lengthy. Of course the league has a drop-dead date. There's been talk privately about that date being the early part of September.

Deep within some vault in the league office or on an matrix-y encrypted file that has the password dropdeaddate is the day, or week, the league figures is the last possible day it can go to and still have a viable season. Basically, to me, the league has to have an agreement by the second week of September. Remember, there needs to be a training camp. The league can shorten training camp to two or three weeks. That would be extremely risky to the players but doable. So if I'm thinking of a drop-dead date, and fans are, and players are, you mean to say the league doesn't have one?

The reason Goodell says there is no such date is because of season ticket sales. The league wants to spread the idea that everything will be just fine so fans continue to buy tickets and merchandise. Plus, the NFL doesn't want a fan rebellion on its hands.

So the NFL continues to say: nothing to see here folks. Progress being made. No drop-dead date. Buy those tickets. Carry on.

When in reality this is one big mess, a mess that has a drop-dead date end to it.

ONE LAST THING: David Cornwell, who represents NFL players in legal matters, and is one of the smartest people around the sport, tweeted this: "8th circuit says it can rule in time to save season. Not sure who is football ops guy on the bench, but hope the court is right."

I hadn't seen anywhere where the 8th stated that. I hope that's true. If it is, we'd know the court ruling by possibly beginning of July. But that remains highly optimistic.

See you on Monday.

Category: NFL
Posted on: May 19, 2011 8:15 am
Edited on: May 19, 2011 8:32 am

The Daily Shoutout

GAYS AND THE NFL: In just a matter of days we've seen a great deal of news about gay athletes and sports executives. There was former Villanova basketball player Will Sheridan. And Phoenix Suns executive Rick Welts. This is all good news. Bigotry of any kind shouldn't be tolerated as Charles Barkley recently said when discussing gay players he knew from his playing days. Gays in sports are the last acceptable group to bash. We have a long way to go but these recent situatons are definitely a sign of progress.

Except...in the biggest sport of all, professional football, there's been little progress in this area. None, in fact. Esera Tuaolo announced he was gay after his playing days concluded. But could a player on an NFL team announce he was gay and still play? Um, hell no. Football remains the last bastion of homophobia. I wrote a book chapter on this subject almost a decade ago and little has changed within the NFL since then while other sports have become far more open minded. The machismo of football is like a force field to the possibility of a gay player coming out. It's unlikely we'll see an openly gay NFL player for a long, long time.

EARTH: If the world ends before the lockout is over, I'm gonna be pretty irritated.

LIGHT READING: The Chamber of Commerce brief supporting NFL owners.

SNITCH: Rex Grossman rats out Donovan McNabb.

Aaron Rodgers: Another reason why he's a good guy.

See you Friday.
Category: NFL
Posted on: May 18, 2011 7:41 am

The Daily Shoutout

JEFF FISHER: He crossed 13,000 feet and then took in the moment. Fisher was, for one of the few times in his life, totally speechless.

Around Fisher was the beauty of Mount Kilimanjaro and by his side were some new friends. Fisher is making the climb with former Patriot Tedy Bruschi, former Eagle tight end Chad Lewis and, perhaps most importantly, four injured military service members. The group is raising awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project. It's an amazing feat and in this day of lockouts, millionaires versus billionaires and abundance of pettiness across the sports world, this is actually a tale that inspires.

"The thing is words describe some of what we've seen," Fisher told me from the group's base camp. "The views are incredible but I think the biggest thing is doing it with four great soldiers who have served their country and continue to do so. The soldiers making this climb might be one of the most amazing things I've ever seen."

Fisher paused as he was clearly getting emotional. "The military members we're climbing with make you feel really humble," said Fisher. "They're incredible people."

There are four injured soldiers making the trip. Michael Wilson still suffers from traumatic brain injury following an explosion in Afghanistan. Nancy Schiliro lost her right eye following a mortar explosion in Iraq. Bryan Wagner had his right leg amputated below the knee due to an explosion and Ben Lunak tragically was forced to have his leg amputated as well, again, because of an explosion.

"What we do in the NFL is nothing compared to what our service members do for all of us," Fisher said.

I asked Fisher if he's had time to consider when he'd make a return to the NFL. "I haven't given that any consideration," he said. "I'm going to take the year off and do things I wouldn't otherwise be able to do."

Like climbing a mountain with four true heroes.

See you Thursday.

Category: NFL
Posted on: May 17, 2011 7:13 am

The Daily Shoutout

PRESIDENTIAL EDITION: There is just one way to end this ugly, messy drama that's been happening in the NFL for two long months. Just one--White House intervention.

I know, I know. This is what you're going to say. President Obama and his staff have bigger issues like, oh, I don't know, a still faltering economy. Football is a tiny morsel compared to what's on the plate of an American president. But I'd argue football is vital to the American psyche (and doesn't exactly hurt the economy when it's in full swing) and is worthy of a presidential sitdown.

Obama could get this solved in two days. Three tops. He'd pull these stubborn egos in the Oval Office, put on his Cutler jersey, get the Secret Service to bolt the doors, and keep them in place until a deal was struck. It'd be the easiest negotiation Obama ever did.

It would work, too. The ego-driven owners would love it. Imagine Jerry Jones strutting across the White House lawn. The owners and players would be on their best behavior because the lockout would leave the sports world and watched by many in the country who aren't football fans.

Again, it'd get solved in a matter of days. If a presidential meeting happened on a Monday we'd have football by Friday.

No judge or mediator is going to end this dispute. Both sides are entrenched, bitter and spiteful. If no one like Obama intervenes the players will hold on as long as possible and the owners won't budge, either. That means no football until August and possibly longer. We're starting to enter the games-missed zone. I don't want to hear the arrogant tripe that it's only May. The next hearing is early June and by the time the slow ass 8th circuit is done ruling we're into July and if the players lose again -- which looks likely -- the wait is on.

And on. And on.

Unless the White House quickly gets involved.
Category: NFL
Posted on: May 16, 2011 7:38 am

The Daily Shoutout

THE POLITICS OF WEALTH: Michael Strahan, the former New York Giant, recently raised an interesting point on Twitter. This is what he wrote:

"Why is it that athletes can be overpaid but owners aren't? Is there a basic logic behind that?"

I've always considered Strahan one of the smartest athletes I've ever covered and also mostly fearless. As happened several times during Strahan's career, something he said ignited a passionate debate. After re-tweeting Strahan, my own Twitter exploded, turning a sleepy and rainy Saturday afternoon in the east into a fiery one.

The 200-300 tweets sent to me seemed equally divided. Half said owners created their own wealth and deserved every penny while the other half said players were a rare resource who did things few on the planet can and deserved to be paid well for it. I think Strahan's overall point is a viable one. There does seem to be far more resentment over players making millions from football than owners making millions from football (if not a lot more). Perhaps the biggest reason is that we see and read about the players daily. They're closer to us. They're ubiquitous. Owners, with the exception of Jerry Jones, are mostly invisible.

Some fans also feel that they're just a heartbeat away from being a pro athlete which is, of course, laughable.

We also don't seem to have dislike for actors who make $15 million a movie but we have disdain for players who make a great deal of cash. Ben Stiller earned $53 million one year. Ben Stiller? Have you seen him act? Ben Stiller and myself have something in common. Neither of us will ever win an Academy Award for best actor.

Strahan's tweet was an interesting jumping off point in this lockout battle for hearts and minds and I don't expect this debate to end any time soon.


PLEASE. STOP IT: Donovan McNabb's career isn't over. Not yet.

See you Tuesday.

Category: NFL
Posted on: May 13, 2011 8:05 am

The Daily Shoutout

THE REPLACEMENTS: A question that is increasingly being asked begins with this scary scenario. It's September. The lockout has droned on for months and months. Fans have grown weary of the bickering and are now abandoning the sport. This is where the question comes in--what sport could replace the NFL as America's most popular?

I think the answer is pretty easy. It's college football. Here's why.

It's ready made to replace the NFL. It possesses the required amount of violence to suit our tastes (not too much, not too little). There is a ready made labor force. Sure, the players are indentured servants who don't get paid (legally at least) but most Americans don't care about that. There are rivalries, great athleticism and obviously it's ready made for television. It's also only a matter of time -- maybe sooner than later -- before a playoff system is incorporated. Everything's there.

Baseball might be too slow for many people despite it being an elegant sport. I'm also not sure fans still trust baseball after the numerous steroid scandals. The NBA is a solid candidate with a growing cache of popular young stars like Derrick Rose but I still wonder what many Americans truly think of the sport. Yeah, I link'd it. MMA is a candidate but many mainstream Americans see the violence as too intimate as opposed to football where behemoths protected by massive amounts of equipment knock the crap out of each other.

If the NFL cures this labor mess soon it can dominate sports for the next 50 years. It can have the kind of renaissance baseball once enjoyed in this country. If...if...if...the sport doesn't stab itself in the heart. But if it does, college football might be there to fill in the void.

NICE STORY, PART I: Great blog item on Chris Harris of the Chicago Bears. It not only shows the class of Harris it demonstrates why, again, Packers fans are the most dedicated, passionate yet reasonable fans in all of sports. Packers and Bears getting along. Wow. What's next? Red Sox and Yankees fans going to dinner?

NICE STORY, PART II: Been meaning to post this for a bit. On Green Bay's draft pick. How could you not root for this guy?

See you Monday.

Category: NFL
Posted on: May 12, 2011 7:22 am

The Daily Shoutout

Once again quarterback Donovan McNabb's blackness is under attack from a misguided fool.

The various jabs at McNabb remain some of the more puzzling things I've witnessed in several decades of covering sports. By all accounts, McNabb is a good family man. He's never been arrested. He isn't a jerk. There's no continent-sized ego. No Betty Ford visits. Nothing. Just a good football player and decent guy. McNabb has been a role model for any community but especially an African-American community in dire need of father figures. In dire need of fathers, period.

So what does McNabb receive in return? He's called a Tom by members of the NAACP and race baiters like Rush Limbaugh say the media protects him because he's black. In other words, McNabb can't win. The latest to bash McNabb is Bernard Hopkins who said McNabb isn't black enough.

Next up for Hopkins: these aren't black enough either.

Can't believe this type of discussion is still happening in the 21st century. Thought we were beyond the quarterblack days.

Hopkins is irrelevant. He's a horse and buggy in a Prius world and he's using McNabb to draw eyeballs to his meaningless fight. Unfortunately the tactic might succeed as people Google washed up boxer and Pro Bowl quarterback.

So enjoy your moment, Bernard. You climbed on the back of a solid guy by challenging his ethnicity. Nice work.


See all of you on Friday.

Category: NFL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com