Saturday, August 27, 2016

And the NFL is getting stupid again....

Trying to reduce kick returns is one thing that people who want to talk about the safety of football are trying to do to placate the bloodthirsty masses.

The NFL, this year, is attempting to cut down on kickoff returns by placing the ball at the 25 yard-line for touchbacks.

Well, that's nice...  Except for one thing... 

You forget that there are two teams on the field for a kickoff, right NFL?

So, Yardbarker reports today that the number of kickoff returns has increased, because of the fact that the kicking team coaches are now telling their kickers to do pop-up kicks to try to pin players back within the 25!

This has caused a 30% increase in kickoff returns between last year's regular season and the first two games of this year's preseason.

There's only one way to get rid of the most dangerous play in football and still have football:  GET RID OF KICKOFFS!

Basically, about the closest I can think of is this:  After a score, the team gets a choice:  You either give the ball to the other team at their 25, first and 10, or you take the ball at your 25, one play to get 15-25 yards.

College Football: Yeah, we've REALLY started!

Dateline:  Western Michigan University

Two Western Michigan football players are in custody today after holding up a female student with a semi-automatic gun and a knife Friday night.  Initial reports had the incident as an on-campus incident, but it is now believed it happened off the WMU campus.

When their car was searched, more money and weapons were found.

Ron George, a freshman linebacker, and Bryson White, a junior wide-receiver, are banned from the campus and thrown off the team indefinitely.

(WWMT, through Deadspin)

HS Football: Wow, we're already started....

Deadspin catches this Ejection of the Week:

Missouri high-school sports officials are going to have a major incident to look into near the end of the televised match last night between Blue Springs and Lee's Summit West.

On a fourth-down play with under two minutes to go and Blue Springs up by one point, Jaylen Ivey breaks a tackle and goes 23 yards down to the LSW 8, where he is tackled.

He then gets up and shoves the defender to the ground (one flag goes down here), then kicks the defender on the ground (it is unknown if additional yardage is assessed here, but he is ejected from the game at this point).

The KSMO footage, which accompanies this article at the link I give above, then shows Ivey setting the whole "football player as thug" debate back when he basically appears to act insulted by the mere act of the defender actually making the play to stop him, and, as he gets to his bench, appears to be goading members of the audience to fight him!

The game is stopped while, I would have to think, Ivey is taken from the field.  The game does continue and Blue Springs wins.

This will be worth following.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Could there be an ever bigger check to the NFL by Jerry Jones?

This could get a bit tricky, since the TMZ report indicates that the player did NOT purchase anything, but you can't have this happening at the rate things are going in Dallas!!

Ezekiel Elliott was spotted touring a marijuana dispensary in Seattle.  Three Cowboys are already suspended for the start of this season, triggering the Club Remittance Policy.

Could Elliott, even absent a purchase, be subject to the Player Conduct Policy here?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Aftermath, Day +3: Not Enough, US Soccer. NOT ENOUGH!

In a statement released today by US Soccer, for conduct detrimental to the US Women's National Team (you may read that as:  "You cost us the gold medal with your mouth, bitch!"), Hope Solo has been banned from the USWNT for six months.

According to the release, this includes the domestic violence stuff.  (Keith Olbermann's Twitter)

NOT LONG ENOUGH!  Sorry.

Hope Solo needs to be done with the USWNT -- but, like Clint Dempsey and another referee attack after him, she's too valuable to the franchise to let go.

The Aftermath, Day +3: Great Britain heads home to a very homogenous welcome...

  • The good news for Team Great Britain:  They're pulling out all the stops for the gold-medal runners-up on the table.  There's a national day of celebration planned Saturday.  British Airways gave them a special flight on the way home.
  • There was one piece of bad news, though, from the official team Twitter account through Deadspin, is what they had to deal with when they got back:

If you've ever been through a baggage check, you know this nightmare -- and that's BEFORE every bag in the place is the same damn bag and color.
  • The ruling is in from the CAS:  Russia is OUT of the Paralympics.  Makes the IOC decision to include them even more puzzling and probably political.
  • There are a lot of people who think golf might not survive in the Olympics after many of the professionals decided Zika was a little too much to deal with.  Zach Johnson doesn't want golf in the Games, it appears -- too relevant all the time rather than one shot every four years.  (Yardbarker)
  • The weightlifting sanctioning body has released 11 names of failed retests from the Beijing Games, which brings the number to fifteen, eight of them medalists, three of them gold medalists from China in the women's weightlifting.  The 48, 69, and 75kg women's winners all tested positive for a compound called GHRP-2.  (Basically, HGH replacement.)  Three medalists from Belarus, four weightlifters from Kazakhstan, and two medalists from Russia are also on the list.  (Inside the Games)
  • The symbolic move of the Summer Games to Tokyo has begun, as the Olympic flag exchanged in the Closing Ceremony has made it's way to the Japanese capital.  (Inside the Games)
  • To no one's surprise, the Ethiopian runner, Feyesa Lilesa, who made an "X" gesture at the finish line in support of his tribe after claiming silver in the men's marathon has not returned home.  Amnesty International reports 67 members of his tribe were, in fact, killed in Ethiopia over the weekend.  (Inside the Games)
  • Though Ethiopia saluted it's Olympic successes, it ignored Lilesa in mentioning so.  Word is, Lilesa may end up seeking asylum in the United States.
  • The Efimova-Phelps feud continued after her comments surrounding the American champion, with Efimova stating Phelps was "unpleasant" to her after her comments.  (Inside the Games)
  • There will be 680 hours of live Paralympic coverage -- you'll have to go to Dailymotion, though, to get it.  It is progress, though. (Inside the Games)

A number of non-Olympic stories...

Getting back to some other stories of manipulations for television's sake and somesuch:
  • La Liga in Spain is going to start punishing soccer teams if, in the interest of television, fans are not redistributed such that the "hard camera" shows that there appears to be more fans in the stadium than there actually are.  Doesn't help that, even with the good teams in Madrid, the average La Liga game is about 65% filled, according to figures obtained for a Wikipedia page on sports attendance through worldfootball.net.  
Source on this story:

  • The account published this report two days ago that Brian Tuohy also picked up on and retweeted.

  • The NFL is tightening the screws on both the networks and their talent.  As part of the new Thursday package which now splits the season between the NFL Network, NBC, and CBS.  For NBC, they must use their Sunday crew for the Thursday games, the NFL claiming that NBC actually stated Al Michaels and Cris Collingsworth would do double-duty -- something which some feel is news to the 71 year-old Michaels, and spurns NBC's signing of Mike Tirico.  (Deadspin)
  • Love the first comment on that article, at least when I pulled it up.  When someone posted a Twitter of how bad Phil Simms sucked, the first response was basically saying that if the NFL pulled Simms for being bad, it would be admitting CTE is real.
  • Something to keep in mind with UFC here, people:  Many experts felt that, for the future of UFC and having stars build the brand, that Conor McGregor had to win the rematch with Nate Diaz (which he won by a majority decision, meaning one judge had the fight a draw).  Some people have even told McGregor that he is effectively worth the $4 billion price tag the UFC was sold for.  So...  Hmmmmmmm....  (ABC News)
  • McGregor is banned from MMA for six months.  No, not drugs.  Often, sanctioning bodies, after fighters get beat up, will ban fighters from fights (and even practice contact) for certain periods of time.  McGregor's foot and ankle were injured in the fight.  Diaz was banned 30 days.  Dana White says there will be no trilogy fight, but both fighters and the world think otherwise.  (Sports Illustrated)
  • Brock Lesnar has been suspended for drugs, though by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for pissing hot at UFC 200.
  • That lawyer who was thinking of suing the NFL for the Hall of Fame Game (more specifically, that the game had been cancelled long before the fans were on-site, and that the NFL bilked them for pre-game parties and the like) did try to sue, but Deadspin reports the lawsuit was "voluntarily dismissed".  It sounds like it will be re-filed in Los Angeles, according to sports law attorney Daniel Wallach.
  • EDIT TO ADD ~12 noon 8/24:  And the reason it will be refiled is that the person who relayed the game had actually been cancelled long beforehand is...  The Colts' punter!!  Enjoy your last few moments in the NFL, Pat McAfee.  Oh, and take a drug test after that 67 yard punt you just did too -- one of three 60+ yard punts he had in the week one preseason game with Buffalo.  (CBS Sports)
  • McAfee actually said he'd have been offended had the NFL not sent him a note to be drug-tested after that game.
  • Deadspin also has videos of fan brawls in both of Los Angeles' home preseason games.  Only the first involved Rams fans.  The second involved Chiefs fans fighting among themselves.
  • You know, since the NFL actually wanted teams in LA so badly, they might well have wanted to tell the referees about it once it happened.  Two players were ejected in last week's Rams-Chiefs game (dammit, I almost did this too!), and the referee did not get the memo...

  • Two stories about how much Important Man can get away with.  First, the judge who sentenced swimmer Brock Turner to only six months in jail for rape has been forced to recuse himself from another sex crimes case -- and there are now several recall petitions up and running against him.  (Jezebel)
  • And this corker out of Massachusetts:  David Becker was charged with sexually assaulting two classmates while unconscious.  The judge made no finding in the case, and gave Becker probation.  Becker would've been banned from college otherwise, and his lawyer played all the cards as one might expect when the court finds sexual assaults by athletes a perfectly acceptable result.  (Deadspin)