Tag Archive for Sports News

Does March Madness Matter

The New York Times Magazine had a cover story a few weeks ago that posed the question: Does college basketball matter? In answer to this rather existential question, I thought, well, it depends to which college basketball they are referring.
Are they talking about the game that’s “all about the Benjamins,” including exorbitant coaches’ salaries and shoe contracts (why, for heaven’s sake, should the coaches, not the schools, profit from these deals?), the sponsors of every item or space that could be sold, and the television contracts?
Are they talking about the shady recruiting practices that serve the coaches, the bottom-dwelling and predatory scouts, AAU coaches, summer camps, and boosters?
Are they talking about the fans who, in my view, care far too much about something that is really just a game?
Are they talking about the universities that seem to worry little about the graduation rates of its players (other than those enforced by NCAA rules and regulations), yet have tremendous concern for their piece of the conference and NCAA revenue pies?
Are they talking about college basketball that is about the one-year visit to a college campus by a wannabe NBA superstar because the NBA no longer allows players to turn pro out of high school, unlike every other sport, I might add (these players, who may have prodigious talent, but often lack the technical and tactical fundamentals of the game, are akin to the 40% of incoming college students who need remedial classes because they lack the basic skills to succeed in college)?
In other words, are they talking about a system that cares little about the student-athletes who actually play the game?
If that’s the college basketball that the article is referring to, then my answer is: Never has, never will. That game of college basketball doesn’t deserve my attention or interest, much less my fanatical absorption, even during March Madness. To devote my time and energy to such a corrupt game would be to legitimize and validate its worth in a world where my time and energy are needed elsewhere.
Or, are they talking about the game that allows young basketball players to pursue their dreams, whether a career in the NBA or a seat at the end of the bench on 68th team to make it to the Big Dance?
Are they talking about the mid-major conference teams, such as Butler and VCU, that have been crashing the party and sending the big-name, much-hyped teams home with their tails between their legs?
Are they talking about the unsung heroes, such as Matt Howard, who show that fundamentals and selflessness can trump solo ball and ESPN highlight slam dunks?
Are they talking about the heart-stopping misses (and makes), the come-from-behind victories, the overtime wins, the nail-biting finishes that keep college basketball fans on the edge of their seats?
Are they talking about the wonderful experiences, powerful challenges, and life lessons that college athletics can add to students’ university lives (I can speak first-hand about its tremendous value)?
Are they talking about college basketball that understands its place in the grand scheme of life as a sometimes-compelling, though ultimately unimportant, form of entertainment and vicarious involvement that can be appreciated and enjoyed by anyone who chooses.
If that’s the college basketball that the article is referring to, then my answer is: always has, always will Read more

England Beats Ireland in Rugby on Planet Nike VIDEO

Nike is hanging its swoosh in shame after jumping the gun — and the shark — by making a high-end TV commercial celebrating the English team’s anticipated Grand Slam win in rugby’s Six Nations Championship. On Planet Earth, however, Ireland would actually crush England 24-8 last Saturday to deny them the coveted Grand Slam.
The striking thirty-second clip would likely have been shown first on massive video displays at key London transit hubs the moment the final whistle blew in Dublin, with thousands of celebratory “Grand Slam Champions 2011″ T-shirts ready for sale at those spots as well.

read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com

Does David Beckham Have Another Comeback Left

When we last left David Beckham, he was training with Tottenham Hotspur in England. Trying to keep fit and so forth.
Beckham missed part of the Los Angeles Galaxy’s preseason but managed, unusually, to be on the field for the team’s opening games. Perhaps his time in America has taught him the meaning of the phrase “contract year” — the fully explicable rise in performance and effort in the last season of an athlete’s contract.
Yet Beckham is hardly the driving force with the Galaxy at the moment. Soccer America’s Paul Gardner, daring to risk angering Beckham loyalists once again, scoffed that Beckham hardly seems fit, which was supposedly the whole point of his winter in England.
Beckham’s effect on Major League Soccer is curious Read more

A Laymans Guide to NFLs brief in Brady v NFL

Now that the NFLPA and the NFL have had their annual meetings to vent about the other side and their tactics, we are at the same place we were when talks broke off on March 11th.
The NFL wants to negotiate/mediate more with the union. The NFLPA says they are no longer a union and the NFL can talk to their lawyers, which they won’t, since they don’t believe the NFLPA is not still a union. Confused?
Well, for some clarity, let’s go to the lawsuit (yes, I said that). In advance of the April 6th Preliminary Injunction (PI) hearing where the Players will attempt to enjoin (stop) the lockout, the NFL submitted their supporting brief on Monday.
Here’s a primer on the NFL’s argument to deny the Players the PI:
What are the NFL’s main arguments?
1 Read more

Iditarod Dogs on the Edge

ANVIK — In only the second Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race of his young career, one of mushing’s rising young stars learned that the nuances of dog care for long-distance marathons can take more than just being in tune with your team. By the time Mike Williams Jr. reached this checkpoint, his dogs were noticeably thin. Veterinarians worried they bordered on being too thin, an observation that intensified the scrutiny the 26-year-old experienced in each successive checkpoint along the Yukon River to Kaltag, and from there, overland to Unalakleet and then along the coast of Norton Sound.
The teams of two other mushers — rookies Brennan Norden from Kasilof and Mike Santos from Cantwell — also caught the attention of Iditarod veterinarians, teams of which occupy all the race checkpoints Read more

The Big Least Strikes Again

Maybe I’m bitter because I had Pitt winning it all. All year we’ve heard about how brutally tough the Big East is. All year we’ve heard about how a middling record in this conference means nothing because the competition is so much better. Big East squads were awarded a record 11 bids last Sunday Read more

Trust the Facts and the Science Contador Is Innocent

As much as it bothers me, I cannot blame people for rolling their eyes when current and three-time Le Tour de France champion Alberto Contador told the world that he tested positive for a supposedly performance-enhancing substance during last year’s Tour because he ate tainted meat. After all, many of the world’s leading athletes over the last decade have sworn that they never took steroids, only to be proven liars by the evidence.
But just because some athletes take steroids, it does not mean that all athletes take steroids. Even among elite athletes, there are differences of genetics, work ethic, teammates, training regimens and coaching which can determine winners and losers. I believe Alberto Contador has won three Tour de France races because of his hard work and because he is a gifted athlete Read more

Does Connecticut Have What it Takes to Go All the Way

This season has been pleasantly surprising for a UConn team that, going into the 2010-2011 season was young and unrecognized. UConn immediately established itself as a top 25 team by winning the Maui Invitational, where they upset Michigan State, a team that had a number of players back from last year’s Final Four team, and Kentucky, which was also regarded as one of the top teams in the country. Over the course of the rest of the regular season, UConn had convincing out-of-conference wins against Tennessee and Texas and strong in-conference wins against Georgetown, Villanova, West Virginia, Marquette and Cinncinati. The college basketball world was shocked when UConn won the Big East Tournament in historic fashion by winning 5 games in 5 days Read more

20 Questions From a Poet and a Profit

1. Laron Profit: As much as I loved the documentary on the Fab Five, was I the only person who thought it was incomplete because we never got to hear from Chris Webber on several different issues, including the timeout he called and Ed Martin?
2. Etan Thomas: I thought the documentary on the Fab Five was great and I thought Grant Hill’s response was wonderful. I can only pray that my kids talk about be with that much pride Read more

Following the Fun of the Fireballers

“Follow the fun.”
Several years ago, when I was writing a new novel, Alice McDermott gave me that advice. In essence, don’t be so concerned about explaining every plot point and character nuance. Go where the heat is. Follow the fun.
With baseball’s Opening Day upon us, perhaps that’s the best way to begin a new season Read more

Enjoy the Basketball While You Can

For reasons I do not totally understand, after four days of wall-to-wall college basketball my NCAA brackets place me in the 96th percentile. While this is not quite in President Obama’s league — he is at 99.9th percentile — it is a “personal best” – at least so far. The games, for the most part, have been awesome, and there are two great weeks of hoops ahead.
The delight of the annual college basketball festival has almost made me forget the NFL lockout, now in a two-week hiatus before the federal judge in Minneapolis holds a hearing on the request of former members of the Union for an injunction. The April 6th hearing obviously will be important for the NFL and the new trade association of football players, but also it will be vital for sports law in general.
The court will have to decide in the first instance whether, in fact, the Union decertification was valid Read more

The Scandal Surrounding the Defending Tour de France Champ Takes a Turn for the Absurd

Remember that Seinfeld episode where Elaine tested positive for opium because she had eaten a poppy seed muffin? Like most Seinfeld episodes, it was hilarious. But real life situations like that are anything but laughing matters, and one is happening now. It’s every bit as outrageous as the Seinfeld episode, except it’s not remotely funny. And those advancing the absurdity have sparked a war in the already wild world of professional cycling.
The Tour de France ranks among the world’s top sporting events Read more

Brady v NFL A Primer

Before we return to the “he said/she said” phase of the NFL labor dispute, I thought I would focus on what is actually in front of us as the reality of the NFL right now. Thus, here is a primer on the case of Brady v. NFL, a case whose eventual settlement will be the basis for the next Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in the NFL.
Why are the Players (Brady, etc.) able to sue?
Since the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) has decertified and relinquished their role as the collective bargaining representative of NFL Players, NFL players are now a non-unionized workforce. As such, they can now argue that certain conduct of the NFL that is blessed in labor law — through the presence of a union and collectively bargained agreements — is now illegal under antitrust law Read more

The Bad Marriage of the NFL and the NFL Players Association

As you all know, I always write blogs giving advice about dating, sex and relationships. I want, however, to take a slightly different spin on that in this blog.
Let’s talk about marriage… kind of Read more

The Madness of Not Paying College Athletes

With March Madness upon us, perhaps it’s time to think about what it means to be an American. We should also reconsider what it means to be a college student. As it stands, the 700-plus men and women signed on to play in the largest post-season extravaganza in professional sports (wait, did I say “professional”?) are treated neither as Americans nor as college students. Instead, they are expected to exist in a peculiar socio-economic purgatory created by March Madness that we might call pseudo-amateurism Read more

Boxer De La Hoya Home From Troop Visit Faces Turmoil at Work

Oscar De La Hoya arrived back in the United States yesterday after a seven-day visit to with our troops fighting in the Middle East. He was accompanied by up-and-coming fighters Adrien Broner, Danny Jacobs and Seth Mitchell. They toured Kuwait and Iraq locations, mixed it up with the soldiers and conducted boxing clinics.
De La Hoya is an Olympic gold medal winner and a former ten-time champion in six different weight classes. He knows something about fighting but he got his lessons in what it means to fight with weaponry other than boxing gloves.
Prior to the trip, Oscar couldn’t even reveal when he and his group would take off, never mind where he expected to be Read more

UFC 128 Something Old Something New and Maybe Something Else

So-called pioneers and innovators are often only relevant for as long as it takes the rest of the world to catch up. In a sport as impatient as mixed martial arts, it doesn’t take long for fresh-faced originators to become blurred images on a VHS tape. In the blink of an eye and flick of a punch, younger men update, improve and re-patent the very thing that once provided so many veterans with distinction.
It’s 2011 and mixed martial arts is no place for the static or nostalgic Read more

Paid College Athletes A Reasonable Compromise

Each year the debate of whether college athletes should be paid gains more steam. Furthermore, every year a student-athlete such as Cam Newton or Terrelle Pryor and his four teammates at Ohio State come under heavy scrutiny for receiving improper benefits.
As a member of the “Fab Five” at the University of Michigan, I have lived by the rules of the NCAA and also faced its consequences when those rules have been broken. With that said, I am strong advocate of college players being paid to play sports Read more

LeBron Could Learn a Thing or Two From Kobe

LeBron James and the Miami Heat snapped their five-game losing streak on Thursday with a well-deserved win against the Los Angeles Lakers. LeBron presented himself as a jack-of-all-trades on the court. He was focused less on scoring, and more focused on being a shut down defender and facilitating the rest of his team. To the naked eye LeBron got the better of Kobe on Thursday night, but what transpired after the game speaks volumes as to what makes Kobe the tireless competitor that LeBron should strive to be Read more

How One Play Made Jim Valvano a Coaching Legend and Guy Lewis a Forgotten Figure

March Madness is upon us, and it’s going to be totally awesome, baybee!
New stars will be born and more than one shining moment will occur. One bounce of the ball, one slip and fall, and one shot can make a legend or create a scapegoat.
No moment is more indicative as to how one play can create an image more than the Houston-North Carolina State NCAA Championship Game 28 years ago in Albuquerque, N.M.
The game’s last play is part of college basketball lore. As time ran down, an N.C. State pass was nearly stolen by Houston’s Benny Anders near midcourt Read more

NFL Teams Should Immediately Cease Soliciting Season Ticket Payments

The NFL would like you to believe there will be a 2011 season. Not only that, theyneed you to believe there will be a 2011 season. They don’t want you to stop spending your hard-earned money on NFL merchandise, NFL-endorse products, and of course, tickets and seat licenses for games next season.
Consider Monday’s letterto fans from Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank Read more

Defending Iditarod Champion Lance Mackey Concedes 2011 Race

KALTAG — The reigning king of the Iditarod Tral Sled Dog Race has conceded this year’s competition. Long live the king.
Lance Mackey from Fairbanks, who ran off an unprecedented string of four straight victories, said here late Saturday that he has no hope of catching race leaders John Baker from Kotzebue and Ramey Smyth from Wasilla.
“I’m out of it for a victory,” Mackey said, “and I know that. It’s a reality. I will be back with a vengenance.”
Mackey was the ninth musher into this, the last of the Yukon River checkpoint before the race turns overland on the portage to Unalakleet on the Bering Sea Read more

The Patter of Hooves

Zenyatta is having a baby. Fifteen days after her last trip to the breeding shed with her consort, Bernardini, racing icon and Eclipse Horse of the Year Zenyatta is in foal.
Zenyatta’s pregnancy was announced via her diary on her Zenyatta blog. Ascertained in foal through a transrectal uterine ultrasound, the fifteen day check-up showed a strong embryo. With her last reported date of cover (mating) as Febrary 23, 2010, she can be expected to foal on or around February 1, 2012 Read more

Not Where Amazing Happened But Better

So, I went to the Prudential Center in Newark to see the Nets play the Golden State Warriors last night. I think it was as nice of a live professional sports experience as I’ve been to in years. Please don’t stop reading.
I know. I was watching two teams with losing records; one with no shot and one with almost no shot of a postseason, as we head into the 66th game of a long 82 game season Read more