Don’t Call an Audible

Who else gets thoroughly annoyed and, frankly, disgusted listening to professional athletes’ post-game interviews when they can’t even speak clearly or correctly? These are allegedly college graduates who had to have taken a few English classes and likely a public speaking course to graduate. Now, I’m not expecting perfect enunciation and pronunciation, but I do expect to be able to understand what the athlete is saying.

I’m going to focus on the NFL because I hate basketball and rarely have issues like this with MLB and NHL. In fact, the NHL has the best commentators and speaking athletes around. Even with those cute Canadian accents, eh?

Back to football. Perhaps if these individuals majored in, oh, anything other than communications (what a huge twist of irony, don’tcha think?!), then, perhaps, we might understand them without closed captioning or a translator. In my opinion, Shannon Sharpe should be the poster child for “What the fuck did he say!?”

Now this isn’t to say that all NFL players are stup, er, communications majors who sound like they have a mouthful of marshmallows. (Oh, speaking of marshmallows, when my kids were little, I would keep a bag of large marshmallows by the phone so when they interrupted me, which was often, I would stuff a marshmallow into their mouths and be able to finish my phone call. But I digress.)

In fact, many current and former NFL players are well spoken and highly educated. Here’s a small sampling in list form because I like lists:

  1. Ryan Fitzpatrick graduated from Harvard with a degree in economics.
  2. Drew Brees earned his degree in industrial management from Purdue and was named Sports Illustrated’s 2010 2nd smartest NFL player (behind Ryan Fitzpatrick).
  3. Andrew Luck graduated from Stanford with a degree in architectural design.
  4. Richard Sherman (yeah, I was surprised too) attended Stanford on an academic scholarship after graduating high school with a 4.2 GPA and #2 in his entire class.
  5. Benjamin Watson attended both Duke and Georgia, majored in finance, and is a twice-published author.
  6. Jacob Tamme graduated from Kentucky with a 3.82 GPA and earned a master’s degree in business administration.
  7. Alex Smith graduated from Utah in only two years with a degree in economics. He also attended graduate school.
  8. Steve Young graduated from BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School with a J.D..
  9. Cris Collinsworth also earned a J.D. from the University of Cincinnati Law School.
  10. Carson Wentz attended North Dakota State where he carried a 4.0 GPA.

On a side note, athletes who have retired and who are color commentators during live games should be forced to go through the concussion protocol before being hired (ahem Troy Aikman, anyone?) Just like the actual announcer, these commentator sidekicks should be interesting. There’s nothing worse than being forced to watch a game with boring commentary (ahem, yawn, Dan Fouts, anyone?) I was surprised at how eloquent and interesting Tony Romo is as an announcer because I didn’t care for him as a player.

The same should be said for sideline reporters. Now, as female, I appreciate the increase in female commentators and interviewers in professional sports but not if they’re just there to be the “token” female. I am thoroughly sick and tired of stupid questions like, “Hey coach, what do your players need to do during the break?” Um, play better, you moron?! “

Anyway, folks, there’s my $.02. For now.

The Tarnished Knights

OK, I admit that we hockey fans in Las Vegas couldn’t have even imagined that in the Golden Knights’ inaugural year they would make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Such success is unheard of in any professional league.

But they did, setting new records along the way. Led by the decorated veteran goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury who won three Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins (before they decided to let him go in the expansion draft), our guys could do no wrong. This rag-tag band of other teams’ castaways gelled immediately and became one of the best expansion teams in the history of sports.

Even last year, after a somewhat tumultuous start to the season, the Knights bounced back and made the post season again. The outcome was not as spectacular as the previous season; however, they did manage to get into the playoffs. Sadly, they were eliminated in the first round by the San Jose Sharks (who they beat in last year’s playoffs) despite leading the series 3-1 early on. The Knights would then go on to blow leads and lose the next three, ensuring their season ended right then and there.

Now, we are into year 3, and even after making some fantastic roster acquisitions (Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Cody Glass, Paul Stastny, Nick Holden, Valentin Zykov, and Nicholas Roy, to name a few), extending contracts of other valuable players like William Karlsson, and trading away other lesser-performing or overly expensive players, the Knights find themselves in 5th place in their division having lost the past five games in a row at the time of the writing of this article.

This begs the question, “Where are our Knights, and who are these imposters?” Frankly, it’s getting old listening to Head Coach Gerard Gallant and each player saying after every loss that “We played well but need to work on a few minor details.” I would hardly call too many penalties, poor puck control, and horrible defense “minor details.” If something isn’t working, then change it. Mix up the lines a bit, send some non-performers to the minors and call up others who may be hot at the moment. At this point, maintaining the status quo won’t give the players the kick in the butt they need to improve.

It’s time to win already.

Am I going to abandon them? Of course not, I am very faithful to my teams even in their perpetual mediocrity (ahem San Diego, er Los Angeles Chargers.) It would take a lot for me to abandon a team for whom I’ve been rooting and supporting for 30 years. It would take something truly horrible and catastrophic like, oh, I don’t know, a team’s crappy owner failing to extend the new stadium vote to county residents and not just city ones to enable the team to remain in the city in which it’s played for 50 years, or something like that.

But I digress.

My point is that I am Golden Knights fan. I support them wholeheartedly. I just wish the players and coaches would remember what winning felt like and endeavor to regain their former supremacy on the ice.

How Colin Kaepernick Ruined the NFL (for me, anyway)

I used to be a huge NFL fan. Seriously huge. I was the type of person who watched every single game every week courtesy of my DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket. I watched the eight-game game mix, red zone channel, pre- and postgame shows, you name it. I used to write NFL articles for a now-defunct sporting site, and, in addition to playing fantasy football, I also wrote fantasy analysis for a few sites.

With football playing such a huge role in my life, when Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel for the national anthem and presentation of flag to protest police brutality back in 2016, I was livid. Kaepernick said that he was kneeling for people who are oppressed.

First of all, what the hell does Kaepernick know about oppressed people? He is half-black and half-white and was adopted into a very well-off white family where, to be honest, he never had to go without anything.

Secondly, what does police brutality have to do with the national anthem and the flag? Granted, some people think the anthem is racist, but, frankly, what isn’t racist today?

Third, yes everyone has the right to peaceably assemble and protest issues against their beliefs. The First Amendment of the US Constitution provides for freedom of speech, but what most people fail to understand is that this protection is from government infringement (save for certain, specific exceptions.) You don’t have freedom of speech at work if you work for a private employer. Seriously, does you boss let you protest anything while on the clock on company property?

Because Kaepernick was employed by the National Football League (NFL), he didn’t have absolute First Amendment (or any First Amendment) freedom of speech while at work. Yes, these so-called celebrities do have a forum where they can reach thousands of people, but protesting anything that is inherently American (anthem, flag, etc.) is inappropriate in that situation.

And, of course, Kaepernick’s poor behavior rubbed of on other players, and “boss” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell failed to put his foot down and tell them to knock it off while on the clock. Isn’t it funny how none of these kneeling protestors bothered to get their message out anywhere during the offseason?

Fourth, what, exactly, does police brutality have to do with the American flag and national anthem? In fact, police shoot and kill white offenders far more than black or Hispanic ones, yet those with the loudest mouths don’t believe facts matter and don’t want anyone else to know the truth.

Anyway, back to my main point. Because of this blatant disrespect for the US and her flag, and the failure of Goodell to harness this crap before it overtook the league, left such a bad taste in my mouth and, consequently, I boycotted the NFL for a few years.

I have only recently started watching games again, but the passion, interest, and excitement is gone.