Monday, August 29, 2016

Hey Colin, What Up?

So, Colin Kaepernick does not want to stand for the national anthem.

Actually, that's fine. I don't begrudge his protest nor his reasons therefor.

But Colin, what are going to do on Sept. 11?  No, wait, you lucked out. You don't play til the 12th, on Monday night.

But the NFL will still be honoring the memories of those lost that horrible day 15 years ago, the memories of the children, the memories of people of various faiths and races, the memories of athletes and scouts and coaches who died on those planes or in those buildings.

Will you?

You're not the first to use the flag in a protest or make a statement. Michael Jordan and other Nike athletes used it in the 1992 Olympics to conceal a competitor's logo on the warm-up suits they were mandated to wear for their medal ceremonies.

They draped the flag over their shoulders in a show of solidarity for their sponsor while still embracing the gold medal they won in the Olympics.

And there was Kid Rock. He entertained at the Super Bowl. He wore the American Flag in a Superman-like outfit in what he said was a show of support for America and its great game, not a protest of any sort from the sometimes sideways rocker. He wasn't the first rocker/entertainer to do it and he certainly has not been the last.

And hey, remember Rick Monday? As a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, he scooped up an American Flag that protestors were about to burn in the Dodger Stadium outfield, preventing their act of vandalism.

I support you, Colin. I support your privilege to speak out on an issue you believe to be unfair and discriminatory. I support your right to protest.

In fact, I'm a journalist. I'd be happy to give up my blog space to you any given day or week, this one or the one I write for, entitled "Juice This," in which I often skewer the NFL and some of its stars and most-visible athletes and administrators for unethical and sometimes unspeakable actions.

So where were you when I went off on Greg Hardy? On Ray McDonald? On Ray Rice? Did you sit during the National Anthem, especially before the Rice video went public? Where were you on violence against women? Why were you online in a Miami Dolphins' cap, by the way (just thought I'd throw that in)?

What will you do on Sept 11, OK Sept. 12, when they play the National Anthem before your game, and there's a flyover and a moment of silence for the lives of 3,000-plus people who sacrificed their lives that day so radical protestors could make a statement?

What will you do? Hundreds of thousands of people in NFL stadiums that weekend will stand and salute the flag, sing the anthem and honor America and those victims. Some of those people, many of those people, agree with the position that you've chosen. And that's fine. Race issues need to be resolved in this country, no question.

Last time I looked, we were all Americans, not just All-Americans, Like you.

All Americans support America. Hopefully, so do All-Americans.

Like you.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Busy Is As Busy Does

I've been so busy being busy that I was too busy to blog here for a while.

It's tough to make time when you're making doctors' appointments, scheduling Social Security interviews to secure retirement benefits and just watching the Olympics while porking out.

And listening to Donald Trump make his daily fool-of-himself quote.

The Olympics have been compelling though. I've enjoyed American athletes wagging a no-no finger at previously doping-convicted Russian competitors. I really like hearing about IABA (boxing) judges suspended for just being bad judges.

It's amazing finding out about the open-water athletes exposed to the filth in Rio's bay, making them vulnerable to who-knows-what health issues.

And of course, now Brazilian authorities want to chat with Ryan Lochte and other American swimmers who say they were robbed in Rio at gunpoint by criminals alleging to be police officers themselves.

Otherwise, what else could go wrong? I don't know. I've been too busy to find out. There must be some actual competition worth following and watching too.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Few Points

Watching the Olympics...

U.S. Men's basketball team cannot and clearly does not want to play defense. Thank God they can shoot. Coach K has gotta' be dying. They beat Australia, Serbia and France by a combined 16 points, and surrendered a total of 376 points. The women's team probably won't give up that many the whole tourney.

Hank Iba is rolling over, somewhere.

Gymnastics is OK to watch and not just for women. The U.S. competitors are compelling and overtly talented.

Handball, that combination of waterpolo, indoor soccer and rugby on a basketball court, is ridiculously fun to watch. We need a U.S. league.

The golf was compelling to watch. The guys really competed, even without Rory, Dustin and Jordan. Ryder Cup should be fun this year.

So how come every event I watch has so many empty seats? Lousy ticket-sales promotion? Too high ticket prices? Zika scares? Pros in the Olympics, who we see all the time on TV and in person anyway?

Yes, yes, yes and yes.

Finally, a Trump moment: my friend posted an article that conservative/Republican policy would have reversed the plight of blacks in this country, going as far back as 1950.

No, Republican attempts to stifle them has. Republicans help their rich friends and corporate sponsors. Democrats help people. My mother never let me forget that. R.I.P., mom, I won't.

Friday, August 12, 2016

How Stupid Are We?

Just how stupid are we?

We allow ourselves, or at least so many of us have, to be duped by Donald Trump. The number of his critically dumb remarks continues to multiply in the meantime.

He has inferred that the Democratic presidential nominee be assassinated by a Second Amendment rights' supporter out there somewhere.

He has termed the president of the United States the founder of the terrorist group ISIS. The president of the United States!

Days after each dumb remark, he backpeddles, saying it was sarcasm and how dumb are we to think it was anything other, or that it was a call to political arms and not real armaments. We're the dumb ones for thinking he was serious. You mean he wasn't? The Secret Service thought so.

Trump has never apologized, never withdrawn the remarks and always comes back and makes the next stupid remark.

But his remarks aren't stupid. We are, if we believe them. Please don't vote for him. His own party faithful are abandoning him, from those in Congress to some of the finest and sharpest national-security minds who have ever served this country.

Don't let Donald serve. Or else, as "everyone says " (Trump's favorite phrase), well, just, or else...

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Pretty Simple Praise For A Hero Or Two

Pretty simple today. Noted today are two guys in hero status, as far as I'm concerned.

Former NFL'er Steve Gleason's column in S.I. on July 25 reminded me that life is about spirit and attitude. Gleason has ALS, a devastating, life-taking disease for which there is no cure. Yet, despite the motor- and motion-robbing deterrents it has on the lives of those inflicted with it, he still managed to author an inspirational column, father a child and do so much more, without feeling sorry a bit for himself. He is a hero.

In S.I.'s Olympic and Para-Olympic preview issue, there are sketches of some expected star U.S. athletes. One of them, Lex Gillette, is blind. Yet, he long jumps 22 feet.

For those of you, of us, who think we have problems, Gleason and Gillette are reasons, by contrast, we don't, at least none we can't overcome. I will always remember that, remind people of that and tell my students in my college classrooms about them.


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Blogging Away Again, Finally

Here in beautiful Minneapolis, where I'm attending a successful AEJMC convention (more in a moment), my attention is focused way south, to the Olympics in Brazil, which begin anything but athletically.

Taiwan has to compete as Chinese Taipei because the Peoples Republic of China says so. Russia has more athletes sent home than competing because of overt PED usage. American rowers are competing in special microbiotic-sealing suits because of the open-water health concerns.

The Brazilian president is facing an impeachment trial, in good part for redirecting resources into Olympic and, two years ago, World Cup soccer facility infrastructure instead of - oh, say - the needs of  Brazilian people ravaged by the economic strife there.

And even Brazil's best-known athlete ever, Pele, was too ill to attend opening ceremonies and light the cauldron. Hopefully, it wasn't the zika virus, that had so many athletes cancel.

Meanwhile, back in Minnesota, had a terrific conference. Discussant duties, important networking and a chance to reunite with a Columbia alum went well. Very very well. Was even asked to contribute to next year's conference in Chicago, even though I'll officially be retired.

Doesn't get any better, except when the storm knocked out the hotel TV. While I was watching an Olympic soccer game. Damn Direct TV.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Trump Card

Donald Trump is the gift that keeps on giving for Democrats, with his virtually daily miscues, insults and lack-of-knowledge statements.

He keeps insulting a Gold Star Family and the memory of their late veteran son. He tossed a crying baby out of one of his rallies.

It's bad enough that his Muslim-ban and Mexican-wall proposals still stand and now he refuses to endorse Republican stalwarts like Paul Ryan and John McCain, who have said they'll vote for him. It's gotten so bad, so extreme that Republican fundraiser and H-P chief Meg Whitman is now endorsing Hillary Clinton.

Trump is not mentally stable enough to be president, to be commander-in-chief.

He is not stable enough, period.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Phony baloney

A lot of phony-ism going around.

According to NBC, the Purple Heart given to Donald Trump by a vet at a rally in Virginia was a copy of the actual award. Virginia is where the Khan family is from, the one Trump keeps dissing over their heartbreak of losing their son in the Iraq War.

Like Trump himself, the donated award was phony-ism at its finest.

Then there's the predictions of the fallout of what will happen to the New England Patriots in the 4-game absence of Tom Brady. Woe upon them.


They will be just fine with Jimmy G at QB (that's Garoppolo, for those outside of his native Illinois).

He's got weapons galore, a great defense and the best coaching mind of our generation on his side. At worst, he'll go 2-2. At worst. Turn off the false punditry of their fall from grace. They'll be fine.

They were fine after Spygate. They were fine after having their perfect season spoiled by the Giants in the Super Bowl. And they'll be fine now.

Cheating shows. And it works. Sometimes.

But watch out for phony-ism. It is everywhere. Had phony-ism tried on me recently. Got one of those phone calls saying I owed the IRS $6,800 and it had to be paid now or I'd be arrested that very day.

I kept the supposed IRS agent on the line for almost a half-hour, playing along in my best panic acting, making him think I was buying this.

Then I told him I was an FBI agent and we had stayed on the phone long enough to trace the call and were on our way to get 'em.

I could hear the cursing under his breathe as he hung up, realizing he was the one who'd been scammed.

OK, so some phony-ism can be fun. Can it ever.