Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Mark Cuban Faces The Music... Or Does He?

This is a definite Your Mileage May Vary situation, but Mark Cuban has finally had the investigation completed into the sexual harassment culture of the Dallas Mavericks, as Sports Illustrated revealed back in February.
  • An agreed $10 million will be donated to various relevant charities by Cuban.
  • The NBA will allow Cuban to remain owner of the Mavericks with no further penalty for this.
  • Cuban has tried his best to officially apologize to all relevant parties.
Adam Silver and the NBA retained an outside investigative team which saw more than 200 people impacted by the allegations, many against former team CEO and President Terderma Ussery, as well as reviewed over 1.6 million documents in the investigation.

Very few, if any, people felt that Cuban himself was responsible in any way further than "The Buck Stops Here" -- and that was also the NBA's eventual conclusion.

Cuban has, according to reports, instituted reforms to ensure this doesn't happen again.

Cynthia Marshall was named CEO after the SI report, and spent the next 100 days cleaning house.  The head of human resources was also immediately fired after the report.

--

I'm of two minds.

First mind is that the league was correct:  Cuban did not take part (though there were some later reports that he might've done other things) in any of this.

Second mind, though, is that the culture was so repulsive to women working with the team that he still needed to be more responsible.

To give an idea: The CEO, head of ethics, vice-president of human resources, and other executive positions are now all headed by women.

A forced sale of the team was never discussed or considered.

Not saying this action solely would've resulted in one, but I'm still not sure he's out of the woods just yet.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Apparent Transient Kills Budding College Superstar Golf Player

(Deadspin)

And then this complete tragedy out of Iowa.

2018 Big XII women's golf individual champion Celia Barquin Arozamena was found deceased on her home golf course in Ames, Iowa on Monday.  (She attended Iowa State University.)

She had been taken from the course, assaulted, and murdered on Monday morning September 17th -- a call came in when her golf bag was found unattended at approximately 10:24 AM.

Won the recent European Ladies' Amateur Championship, participated in the most recent US Women's Open.  Was ranked #69 in the women's golf rankings in Golfweek, the Spaniard appeared to be on the fast-track to the LPGA Tour after completing her civil engineering degree this term at ISU...

Iowa State, last school year, named her their Female Athlete of the Year.

... until, it is alleged, she was assaulted and murdered by a man on the course.  Now charged for the murder is Collin Daniel Richards, who, like his alleged victim, is 22.  Ames police have no known address for Richards, meaning he probably was a transient!

One of the commenters has noted that Richards actually said he wanted to rape and kill a woman, showed up at a friend's house covered in sand and blood, and no one bothered to notify the police until after.

Ahem...  Accessory After The Fact, Iowa Code 703.3


Updates: Kyrgios Umpire Suspended, Winston Sued, Brown Doesn't Show Up

Gee, you can't go a day anymore without things going sideways:
  • The Uber driver whose sexual assault by Rapeis Winston led to his current three-game suspension (and perhaps benching or worse, as the league may be about to pull a Matt Ryan on his Michael Vick!!) has sued Winston.  Undisclosed damages.  (Deadspin)
  • The tennis umpire who counseled Nick Kyrgios during his match has been banned two tournaments without pay.  (Deadspin)
  • The situation in Pittsburgh is getting more dire.  After the Le'Veon Bell mess has led the Steelers to tie the lowly Browns and lose to the Chiefs, now Antonio Brown's "trade me let's find out" has led to him missing Monday film sessions.  Next expected report is Wednesday.  (Deadspin)
I'm just going to leave this out there:
  1. Khalil Mack never reports to the Raiders, traded to the Bears.
  2. Josh Gordon appears to injure himself off-duty and is in no condition to practice or rehab for the Browns, leading them to trade him to the Patriots (for whom he's always wanted to play).
  3. Le'Veon Bell has not reported.
  4. In response to comments about that Ben Roethlesberger is the only reason Antonio Brown has numbers, Brown says the Steelers should trade him to find out, then he no-shows the mandatory post-game media on Sunday and film session on Monday.
  5. And then, the capper on it all, Vontae Davis retires from the National Football League at halftime of a regular season game!
Now, no one will confuse the Steelers, at least before Week 1, with a team with no future.  But, in this American Sports Machine Era of the Superteam, are we beginning to see the rats fleeing sinking ships?  Definitely like Cleveland, Oakland (with the impending lawsuit), and Buffalo -- we'll see on Pittsburgh going forward.

Hall of Famers, your idea is right, the message is wrong...

(Deadspin, hat-tip to my anonymous ex-football-fan friend...)

A number of Pro Football Hall of Famers sent a letter to the Hall of Fame, Commissioner Goodell, and they are threatening to boycott future induction ceremonies unless certain demands are met -- including salaries and health insurance for the Hall of Fame.

Now, if you look at the headline, you're thinking "What elitist fucks!!  They want this just for themselves."

The letter (signed by a group including Jim Brown, Joe Namath, Lawrence Taylor, Bruce Smith, and spouses like Reggie White's widow) states that giving such benefit to the Hall of Famers would cost .03% of the operating revenue of the NFL, or 80% of a 30-second Super Bowl LII ad.

What is later noted by commenters, though, is statements by the likes of Eric Dickerson, stating this is Step One to eventually getting more guarantees and insurance for all NFL players, current and former.

That's all fine and good -- except for three problems:
  • You're dealing with Roger Goodell, who has no regard for the present players and little to none for former ones.
  • The odds of you even getting your demands met for yourselves, as a result, is, at best, remote!
  • And, as my anonymous friend notes, if, by some miracle, they surmount that chance, chances are that Goodell would respond to any expansion of demands about like the headmasters at Oliver Twist's school wondering why Oliver wants more....
Stay tuned.

Monday, September 17, 2018

2018 NFL Week Two Scoring Report: Defense is Outlawed

Or at least pretty close...  Offshooting from the ESPN article on the Packers openly wondering if they are allowed to play defense (Answer:  No.):
  • 46.3125 points per game Week 2.  (40.188 last year, 45.25 two years ago, 47.75 three years ago)
Two weeks in a row now.  A touchdown (well, a six-point touchdown in both cases) more scoring per game than last year.

Last week was 6.75, this week was 6.15.
  • Meaning that the two week average per-game of 47.0625 is 6 1/2 points more than the 40.613 last year.  2016 was a tick over 45, 2015 was 46.5.
Maybe not QUITE as much as might've been proposed, but it's clear the rules are having a negative impact on defenses, as scoring is heading back toward mid-decade records.
  • First six games of the week on the board, home teams were 2-4.  No home team lost again, the Packers drew the Vikings for 11-4-1 this week.  (Last year:  9-7,  Two years ago:  10-6)
  • Meaning we now have 19-11-2 (0.625) for the home teams this year so far.  (Last year:  16-15, two years ago:  17-15)
I do believe the NFL is still trying to find it's footing, so it's no surprise to me the home-cooking (sans the big 1 Eastern start in Green Bay) is flowing pretty good right now.  We'll see if it holds up.
  • Vegas has officially adjusted for the new rules:  The Over was 8-8 this week for 17-15 for the year.  Last year:  4-9-3 for 9-19-3.
  • Average total on the line for the Vegas number this week:  45.375  Last year:  44.9.  (Which is why the bettors took a beating the first two weeks of last year on the Over.)
  • Where they DID take a beating this year's Week 2:  Against the spread!!  5-11 against the number, 8-7 straight up.  Last year:  7-9 against the number, 11-5 straight up.
  • Two weeks total:  12-19-1 ATS, 18-12(-2) SU.  
Meaning the favorites are winning at less of a percentage than the home teams!!
  • The team with more penalties was 5-7 this week, 11-13 for the year.  (Last year:  6-9 and 15-13)
  • Only 206 accepted penalties this week, an average of less than 13.  Last year had 228, 14.5
  • Two week total:  461 in 32 games this year (14.4 per game)  Last year:  435 in 31 games (14.0)
The refs are still the main story.  We'll see how long that goes.
  • 4 Cliffhangers this week:  The 2nd tie (MIN-GB) also had a late score in the last two minutes for a double,  NO-CLE had a go-ahead CLE TD at 1:16 followed by a winning NO FG at :21 for a double, TEN beat HOU with a winning FG at 1:00, and DEN beat OAK with a winning FG at 6 seconds.
  • Total of 5 for the year.  Last year had 3 Cliffhangers in Week 2 after none in Week 1.
  • 11 of the 16 games finished within 8 points this week.  That's 21 of the 32 for the year.  Last year:  8 in Week 2 for a total of 12.
  • Non-competitive games:  3 this week, 7 for the two.  Last year:  8 in Week 2, 14 total.
Interesting statistic:  One of those four games was Jacksonville beating New England 31-20.  It was the first time New England had lost a non-competitive game (a game which, at no point in the fourth quarter, the margin was eight points or less!) since Week 4 of the 2016 season to Buffalo, 16-0.

But that was the final game of the Brady suspension.

The last time a Tom Brady-headed New England team went down in non-competitive fashion:  You have to go back to Week 4 of 2014 when Kansas City ran them over 41-14.
  • Plenty of Last Chance Misses:  The only Cliffhanger which didn't have at least one was Denver and Oakland.  Carolina had ball in the air at the gun to tie Atlanta.  Both the Sunday nighter and the Monday nighter had late onside kicks missed.
  • 6 total for the week, making 12 of the 32 games this year with an opportunity to tie or win the game in the last two minutes or overtime.
  • Last year had 4 in Week 2, 6 total.

More Monday Updates: Gordon goes where he always wanted, The Patriots

  • Should've known it, perusing Reddit and the like (maybe I saw it as a Facebook comment on Yardbarker), but Josh Gordon is a New England Patriot -- like he has said he has wanted to be.
Browns get a fifth-round pick next year -- have to give up a seventh-round pick next year if Gordon doesn't play 10 games.

When Gordon's Saturday firing was revealed, several fans noted that Gordon has said he's always wanted to play with Tom Brady.  Monday, he gets his wish.

Well, that's one way to move up in the draft.  I still don't understand how any of this happens with Gordon effectively being fired for showing up Saturday in a condition which indicated a probable relapse.
  • The problems in Pittsburgh apparently are going beyond La'Veon Bell.
Antonio Brown wants out.

A former Steelers PR guy had serious questions on Brown's contributions to the offense in Pittsburgh, to which Brown responded [sic]: "trade me let's find out".

Ryan Scarpino, who left the team after last season, said openly that he felt that Brown would not get the numbers he did outside of Ben Roethlesberger's offense.

Brown and Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fitchner had a verbal altercation on the sideline, and a second conversation later.  Brown then, against league rules, bolted on the media after the 42-37 loss to the Chiefs.

Apparently, Brown also threatened an ESPN beat writer for similar questioning after Jesse Washington wrote whether all Brown really was was an "Instagram All-Pro".

Brown then said to make sure Washington met him to see what Washington's jaw would end up like.

There are a number of teams where the situation is flying apart and really threatens to fuck up this league really hardcore.  The league needs a look.
  • The Minnesota rookie kicker is gone for forcing (*cough*being ordered to facilitate*cough*) the tie with the Vikings.  
To no one's abject surprise, Daniel Carlson was cut for (probably intentionally) shanking three field goals in Sunday's draw -- either of the last two would've won the game for the Vikings against the Packers.
  • One of the things which might say the Packers won't be The Team in the NFC this year is that they are the first team for which it becomes clear that the defense may not be able to stop water under the rule meant to protect their own quarterback!
And it's no real surprise when you understand that Clay Matthews has a SIGNIFICANT Player Safety history.

The Packers got three Roughing the Passer calls against them in the win over the Bears in Week 1.

They got Rodgers Rule'd to force the overtime on the last drive with Clay Matthews in Week 2.

In fact, FOUR Roughing incidents between the quarterbacks in the Week 1 Sunday Nighter -- none of them got fines.

The question is going to become, very quickly, whether Matthews (or someone else) is going to get suspended for one of these hits.

ESPN, who's brought up the Green Bay situation, talked about a larger problem with penalties like Roughing the Passer going up this season.  Through almost two weeks of this season, 21 calls for Roughing the Passer -- six this week so far, two in the Minnesota-Green Bay draw.

Last year had nine.

As of tonight's game, Week 2 this year is almost six points a game more than last year.

Week 1 this year was almost seven.

You figure it out.

Week 2 Notes: Ratings, Kickers, and the Washington Redskins Getting Told To Fuck Themselves

Ratings Overnights (from Sports Media Watch):
  • Week 2 National window fell to CBS this year, and it fell 12% over last year's Week 2 National Window on FOX.  Not good when 80% of the country got Patriots-Jaguars.  Pretty much even to last year's first CBS National window.
  • Sunday Night Football was up 10% over last year's Week 2 SNF, and that had the Cowboys.  However, vs. last year's SNF Cowboys-Giants, down 13%.  And, since 2010, only one of the 15 meetings between the two marquee sides is rated worse.
  • FOX Single Window (36% Packers-Vikings, 25% Cardinals-Rams) up 18% from last year's single window, but down 11% from two years ago.
  • Week 2 Regional Window for CBS:  Up 11% from last year, down double-digits from two years ago.
  • Thursday Night:  Down 14% in ratings, 13% in viewers.
Five of the seven primetime games have fallen in ratings, and one of the other two was one of the worst Cowboys-Giants ratings in years.

Other news:
  • Cleveland is releasing their kicker after basically hanging their loss on him.  Never mind the team is 4-45-1 in their last 50 games, no!!
  • The LeVeon Bell fiasco continues:  Chiefs over Steelers as the pall continues to hang.
  • No word yet on the Vikings, but one person has noted that the Vikings have had three punters and three kickers in just over two seasons.
  • And you can add Washington to Buffalo and Oakland as situations this league better get a look at if Deadspin's report of the supposed home opener with Indianapolis is any indication. 
The Redskins CLAIMED 57,000 showed up, but if there were 25,000 there at all to see that debacle...

One Twitter video scanned the stands during a Redskins drive, and if there were even 15,000 in that video, I'd be stunned.  But I guess that's what happens with six winning seasons (none better than 10-6) and two playoff wins since they won the Super Bowl...

in 1991-92...