Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Show Must NOT Go On: Football Safety Concerns End High School Football Program

In an action that I believe will become more and more common as time goes on, this Deadspin report that a Washington, DC-area high school has dropped the sport of varsity football because of a lack of players and concerns over the safety of the game.

Centennial High School in Maryland (Howard County, to be more precise) is a school of 1,500 students.

Only 14 tried out for the football team, and, after some of the seniors reached out to people in other sports, it only got to 18.

It's too easy to just pin it on the fact that the team was 1-29 the last three seasons, but the fact is, with that few players, the risks are magnified.

It is apparently the second high school, at least, to drop the sport due to no one trying out:  Novato High School in northern California couldn't even get nine boys to show up for summer practices.

The number of students playing high-school 11-man football in the USA is still over one million, but is down at least 5% since 2008-2009.  This, during a time when participation across all sports is still on the rise...

Gee, I wonder how the "NFL!!! 9/11!!! MURKA!!!" crowd is going to react to THIS Kaepernick protest!!!

It's less than three weeks to the start of the National Head-Injury Jacking Off League.

A little more than three weeks til All My Honky Friends Are Coming Over Tonight.

So I have a feeling the MAGA Football League and their White Republican fans are not going to take kindly to the latest round of Colin Kaepernick protests...

... from current and former members of the New York Police Department!!!

About 75 mostly-Black (at least by the appearance of the picture in the Deadspin article posted today on the protest) were joined by famed whistle-blower Frank Serpico (yes, THAT Serpico, from the Al Pacino movie!) in protest of the blackballing of Colin Kaepernick by the NFL.

At the end of the protest, Serpico and the NYPD officers all took a knee and put a fist in the air, much similar to Kaepernick and a growing number of players using this preseason to attempt to further the cause.

The New York Daily News got these comments from Sgt. Edwin Raymond, taken from the Deadspin report:
“What Colin Kaepernick did is try to bring awareness that this nation unfortunately has ignored for far too long,” said NYPD Sgt. Edwin Raymond, who helped organize the Brooklyn event.  “And that’s the issue of racism in America and policing in America. We decided to gather here today because of the way he’s being railroaded for speaking the obvious truth.”
I can't think White Republican Football Nation America and the MURKA!!  9/11!!! types are going to take kindly to any and all of this!

Gee, you thought the MLB umps were bad before? It could get real stupid soon!

I was perusing my normal round of MLB ejection videos and came across one where I can't see the fault in the player.

Chase Utley of the Dodgers, in a recent series at home with the Padres, was tossed with two out and two on in the ninth -- for requesting the second-base umpire move out of Utley's way so he can see the ball hit from his position!!

A lot of people have always had the issues with Good Ol' "Blue".

It may be about to explode in Major League Baseball (up to and including rigging the playoffs - careful, Dodger and Astro Fan...), as the umpires have "had enough" of the "verbal abuse".

So much so that my anonymous friend and baseball aficianado came across this Deadspin piece today.

Major League Baseball umpires are wearing white wristbands protesting "escalating verbal abuse" their way.

They feel the league is not doing nearly enough to protect them from comments like Ian Kinsler's, in which he called out Angel Hernandez and only got fined for it.

They wanted a suspension, Kinsler expected one, and the wristbands will be on until Blinded By The Light takes it seriously.

Could we see a rogue situation in manipulating the playoffs simply by the umpires?

Could we see this as a cover for a manipulating by MLB directly?

Stay tuned.  I sense thumbs are going up, at the very least because they want to be the ones to start shit.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Blotter?: It's Friday in the NFL, and you know what that means...

Since this is technically the first Fine Friday in the NFL, even if there is no Blotter, might be a good time to review the policies.

If we are to take the 5% increase in fines and apply it over the course of the current CBA, the current fine thresholds would be as follows:
  • A team is penalized with respect to whatever it fines it accrues for on-the-field conduct or uniform violations (though various respects of both are being relaxed this year -- both the celebration rules and the uniform rules on cleats are being relaxed to certain extents), up to a maximum of $50,000 per fine.  Anything above that amount (which usually requires a supplemental review by the league) is ignored.
  • Once the total of all such fines reaches (if I have the math correct) $127,617, the team is then fined a $50,000 penalty.
  • Once the total of all such fines reaches $191,425, the team is then fined an additional $50,000, and then is additionally fined one dollar for all such fines for the remainder of the season.
  • Preseason, playoffs, and regular season all count.  Penalties for suspensions under the Club Remittance Policy are NOT.
  • As with the Club Remittance Policy, releasing a player does NOT diminish the responsiblity.
The NFL Operations Page as a fine schedule, but I still believe the current page has last year's totals, so I will update them myself and give the approximate fine schedule for this year (which, under the CBA, is 5% above last year's fines).  All multiple offenses are doubled.

The lowest level of fines include:
  • Throwing a football into the stands
  • Illegal personal messages on the uniform
  • Other uniform violations not classified into higher tiers
  • Unnecessarily entering and involving oneself in a fight
These fines, if I have the math right, will be $6,380.

Next level up:
  • Violations of chin strap rules
  • Illegal substances on the body
  • Taunting
  • Low Blocks
  • Chop Blocks
  • Late Hits
  • Face Masks
  • Strikes, Kicks, or Knees
These will be $9,571.

Next level up from that:
  • Generalized unsportsmanlike conduct not otherwise classified

  • Horse-collar tackling
  • Leg Whip
  • Roughing the Passer not otherwise classified above this level.

From there:
  • Defenseless Player Rule
  • Blindside Block
  • Illegal Use of the Helmet (defensive (Helmet to Helmet) or offensive (Battering Ram)) 
  • Spearing
  • Non-Contact Abuse of the Official

And the highest fines on the schedule:
  • Physical-Contact Abuse of the Official
  • Fighting

Checking Twitter, Spotrac, and -- does not appear any Week 1 Preseason fines are being publicized yet (though I have two candidates at the very least).

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Impending Civil War in the NFL? Race, Money, or Both!!!

Not been a very pleasant few days since the Elliot ruling and the Charlottesville, VA Trump Klux Klan rally.

And as we all wait for White America to hear Hank sing "All My Honky Friends Are Coming Over Tonight" on September 11th -- yes, the first Monday Night Football games of the season are THAT night!!! -- it is becoming clear that the Kaepernick protests are gaining traction in light of the Piece of the Ultimate Shit President Oompa-Loompa the GrabEmInThePussy and his White Nationalist movement (which also struck Seattle over the weekend and may be making an inroad on San Francisco in the near future).

Some updates on that and other possible Civil Wars in the NFL...
  • The NFL Player's Association and the NFL have been trading barbs on the Elliot decision.  It now appears that the August 29 appeal will be a victim-blaming session by the NFLPA, Jones, and Elliot.  The NFL, in a move that would appear antithetical to their hypocrisy and the absolute necessity of violence toward lessers on which football requires, has actually slammed the strategy in the media beforehand.
  • It now appears that Richard Sherman is no longer the only person who believes there will be a work stoppage at some point at or before the expiration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.  NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith told Sports Illustrated's MMQB blog in a video interview today that several issues, including the maximization of earning potential, will all but ensure a work stoppage after 2021.
  • National Anthem protests are cropping up across the NFL, with the latest, as we start Week 2 of the preseason, in Philadelphia as Malcolm Jenkins has probably ended his NFL career by raising his fist to the Anthem before tonight's game.
  • Other players pointed out during the preseason are Tennessee's DaQuan Jones (who already fears for his NFL future as a result!), Michael Bennett of the Seahawks (with Doug Baldwin about to join him), and Marshawn Lynch of Oakland.
  • One who won't be joining in, and may be trying to cop favor from the league, is San Francisco 49ers GM John Lynch, who is being a good little slavemaster and trying to whip his NFL charges into shape, calling the Anthem protests "divisive".

Has the EPL found their new Joey Barton in Jonjo Shelvey?

I have referred earlier, in this blog, to the claim by match-fixing observers "Football Is Fixed" that both of the English Premier League games played on Sunday August 13, 2017 were probably fixed.

This includes a 2-0 situation in which Tottenham Hotspur won at Newcastle United.

The match was marred by a deliberate stamp and sending-off by Jonjo Shelvey in the 48th minute, when he deliberately stamped the ankle of fouled Tottenham player Dele Alli.

Given the context that there is belief that metrics surrounding betting on the match, etc. indicate the match may well have been fixed or even pre-arranged (Football Is Fixed stated that the match was being "insider-traded" with the known result), it is impossible not to charge Shelvey with the concept that he may well have been in on the fix.

A cursory study on Shelvey indicates we may have another Joey Barton on our hands:  Another player with no discipline, nor loyalty to anyone but himself, leading to the possibility he could have been approached and signed to fix the match.
  • December 29, 2014:  Banned for four matches by the FA for violent conduct, uncalled by the referee, for a swinging arm clothesline while playing for Swansea City.  It was his second sending-off in two months.
  • January 10, 2016:  Shelvey is effectively fired from Swansea City after an incident in which a fan was challenged by Shelvey to fight him outside.
  • December 2016:  Banned five matches and fined 100,000 pounds by the FA for a racist incident in the Championship.  The match took place the previous September.
  • And now this incident, for which he is suspended, according to the FA's website, the standard three matches.
Anyone want to tell me this guy wouldn't have taken a few pounds to throw that match?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Soccer Conspiracy Theorist claims two major Sunday Premier League matches fixed.

I will say that he is publishing, in some form, a book on the concept of that "Football Is Fixed", and does occasionally pop up on my radar.

But this Tweet Brian Tuohy retweeted is explosive, to say the least.
That is both halves of the Sky Sports Super Sunday opening Sunday of the English Premier League season.

They are claiming, through metrics they call "Match Fixing Analytics", that both games were insider-traded and pre-determined for their results.

Tottenham Hotspur won 2-0 at Newcastle United.  Jonjo Shelvey of Newcastle United deliberately stamped the foot of a fouled and downed Hotspur player in the 48th minute and was sent off.  The game was scoreless at that point.

Manchester United won 4-0 at home over West Ham United.  There are still questions whether this means Manchester United are good or that West Ham has no place in the top level of English football.

Stay tuned.