Friday, July 27, 2007

If You Hurry You Can Catch The Worst Three Hours Of Sports Talk Radio The World Has Even Heard

Berman - "What? No, I didn't fart. Linda Cohn just opened her mouth."

Dead silence. That's what's going on at my desk right now. And on a flippin Friday no less. The reason: ESPN radio has decided to let Linda Cohn fill in for Dan Patrick and the result is perhaps the most unlistenable three hours of radio since the Thong Song was popular.

I'm a sports radio junkie. I listen to the ESPN lineup from Mike & Mike to Michael Kay (but change over to 1530am out of Austin, TX at 10am - 2pm so I don't have to listen to that shitbag Max Kellerman for two hours or Stephen A's two hours of high volume vitriol) all day. I don't necessarily love the radio personalities out there but The Herd, Dan Patrick and Michael Kay keep me entertained throughout the day and the variety of opinions and angles is usually pretty interesting, if not groundbreaking. But ever since Dan announced that he's retiring, the 1pm-4pm slot has been filled by a variety of SportsCenter personalities from Radio vets like Bob Valvano and the insufferably holier than thou John Kincaid (literally "holier." Listening to Kincaid is like listening to Billy Graham at times) to radio novices like Wingo & Schlereth and the likable and listenable Scott Van Pelt. Other than Trey, Stink and Van Pelt, it's been a pretty brutal stretch (and I didn't even mention the Doug Gottlieb experience). I'd listen to Mike & The Mad Dog but for some reason I don't get great reception for 660am at work. Plus I can only listen to so many calls from Vinny, Vince and Vin from Staten Island talking about how the Yanks need a guy like Paul O'Neil or how Cashman should trade for Johan Santana ("uh, yeah, I don't get why they don't just package some guys and go after that lefty from the Twins, John Santana. The late 90's Yanks teams did stuff like that all the time." Yes, very true.). But since the content for radio has been so stellar over the last week or two, I can't tear myself away from the radio no matter what asshole is dishing me the information. That was until today. Linda Cohn is out and out AWFUL. She makes nails on a chalkboard sound like Mel Torme. But it's not really her voice that gets me, it's that she doesn't really get the radio medium. She can't rid herself of her SportsCenter "personality." She's a little too bubbly and her contrived subdued excitement about issues doesn't really play here. She's talking about dogfighting with the same tenor she uses when talking about the little league world series. She doesn't sound concerned, upset or even inquisitive when talking to guests about the issues. Her manner is just fluff on top of fluff. I can't stand it. So I turned her off. On a day when the Pats open their training camp, the Vick situation is at its apex, new Donaghy revelations are coming out by the minute, the AL East race is heating up with a couple huge series going on this weekend, the trade deadline coming up and college football just around the corner, I sit here in silence. I'd say that it's peaceful but it's not. It's painful. I can only hope that this pain is temporary and the Linda Cohn era is brief. The silence around here is deafening.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Apropos Of Friday....

Anticipating that I won't be able to add anything tomorrow (or over the weekend), I leave you with my favorite scene from the underrated show "Tom Goes To The Mayor."

Isn't Marc Bulger Too Big A Dork To Holdout?*

I'm having a hard time picturing Marc Bulger as the disgruntled NFL prima donna I normally associate with training camp holdout dudes.

When I hear the word "holdout" I tend to think of giant pricks like Orlando Pace and Walter Jones who do it so they won't have to go to camp or prima donnas who have too many guys around them telling them how great they are like TO and Asante Samuel. What I don't picture is some cornbred dork who over his 7 years in the league has nary a word been uttered (positive or negative). Marc Bulger is just one of those underappreciated guys who always gets the job done. He's not great but he's very good and apparently now he wants to get paid. I guess I can understand this given that he's heading into the last year of his contract and a guy like Chad Pennington makes almost 3 times as much as he does, but what I really can't picture is Bulger acting like a true NFL holdout guy. I can't see him yapping to the media about being disrespected or making threats about sitting out the first 10 games or whatever. He's "Marc with a 'c'" Bulger for cripe's sake. Normal holdouts are a lot of posturing and back and forth venom. I don't picture the negotiations going like that with Bulger:
FO: Now Marc, we really appreciate what you've done here and we certainly want to pay you commensurate with your performance but we need to make it cap friendly. We don't want to mortgage our entire future...

Bulger: DARN IT! I deserve to be compensated like a normal starting QB in this league. I'm sorry for the coarse language.

FO: What language?

Bulger: The bad language I used earlier. I was upset and I apologize.

FO: Marc, I'm not sure what you're talking about but regardless, you have to know that we have to be able to sign you and remain flexible to sign some of our other guys and some free agents in the coming offseasons, and for that reason we may have to frontload your deal and we may not be able to guarantee you as much money or as many years as...

Bulger: Poppycock Bull Honky! Bull Bull Bull Honky! I deserve to know that I'm going to end my career here and want a long-term deal with guaranteed money throughout! Dang it guys! You're mucking up this whole process and I'll, well I'll skip the mandatory meeting on Thursday if we don't get this done and don't think I won't do it!

FO: Ok, ok... let's stay reasonable here.

Bulger: I'm sorry. I rarely lost my temper like this.

FO: It's ok Marc.
And so on.

So come on back to camp Marc and leave this holdout business to the pros. This scene just isn't your style.

*UPDATE: Bulger signed this afternoon for an absurd 6 years / $65 million. Putting him in the top 5 or 6 paid QBs in the league.

Primetime! Primetime!.... Whoa, Primetime?

The follow-up to this book will be "My Big Mouth. How talking out of my ass finally ruined my career."

It was only a matter of time before the NFL's resident verbal diarrhea laureate gave us something to chew on regarding the Vick situation.* Neon Deion Sanders weighed in on the Mike Vick situation this week and as you could probably imagine, his eloquence was only outdone by his logic:
This is all the result of perspective.

What a dog means to Vick might be a lot different than what he means to you or I. Hold on, don’t start shaking your head just yet. Listen to me.

Some people kiss their dogs on the mouth. Some people let their dogs eat from their plate. Some people dress their dogs in suits more expensive than mine, if you can believe that.

And some people enjoy proving they have the biggest, toughest dog on the street. You’re probably not going to believe this, but I bet Vick loves the dogs that were the biggest and the baddest.
You're right, Deion. He loves them to death.
Still, I must ask the question: Where is all of this going?
(Edit: a lengthy bit about Deion's own German Shephards and how you don't want to mess with them. You can read the whole article by clicking the above link.) Now back to Primetime:
Why are we indicting him? Was he the ringleader? Is he the big fish? Or is there someone else? The fights allegedly occurred at a property that he purchased for a family member. They apparently found carcasses on the property, but I must ask you again, is he the ringleader?
(Edit: Deion referenced New Jack City. The reference had no relevance to the Vick situation.)
Are we using Vick to get to the ringleader? Are we using him to bring an end to dogfighting in the United States?

The only thing I can gather from this situation is that we’re using Vick.

Was he wrong? Absolutely. Was he stupid? Can’t argue with that. Was he immature? No doubt. But is he the ringleader? I just can’t see it.
O....K....? And your point is? If he is not the ringleader, do we let him go? Should we feel better about Vick if he simply financed the operation but let others run it? Or should we feel better about Vick if he was the person who killed all the dogs himself but he didn't have anything to do with running the operation? Can't we just indict him because there's enough evidence to take him to trial? Or does the Feds motivation matter? It seems as though you're suggesting that we shouldn't condemn Vick not because he didn't kill dogs, but because he may not have been the person running the day-to-day operations of the dog killing enterprise. I'm not picking up what you're putting down here, Neon. More Deion:
I believe Vick had a passion for dogfighting. I know many athletes who share his passion. The allure is the intensity and the challenge of a dog fighting to the death. It’s like ultimate fighting, but the dog doesn’t tap out when he knows he can’t win.

It reminds me of when I wore a lot of jewelry back in the day because I always wanted to have the biggest chain or the biggest, baddest car. It gives you status.
Whoa! Am I the only person who had kind of a "holy shit!" type moment while reading that last part? Not just the "I know many athletes who share (Vick's) passion for dogfighting" part--though I think that comment may earn Primetime a phone call and meeting with the Feds--but the manner in which he glorifies dogfighting is a bit unsettling. Comparing the allure of dogfighting to ultimate fighting (a sport in which people rarely die) and his own passion for jewelry (a passion for which rarely results in death) is a little sick. I mean, how far does this go? Is it ok to do anything in order to achieve this "status" that Neon speaks of? I'd probably gain status amongst thieves if I stole a Picasso from the Guggenheim, but that desire for acceptance doesn't make me less guilty of thievery. Oh, but there's more Deion:
Can I pause for a moment to ask you a question?
(I love this feature of Deion's writing style. The conversationesque interjections that make it seem as if you are sitting across from Deion and having a heart-to-heart.)
Who shot Darrant Williams? Remember the Denver Bronco cornerback? I’m just more concerned about bringing to justice someone who killed a human. Or finding out who broke into Miami Heat forward Antoine Walker’s home, tied him up and robbed him at gunpoint.

We’re attacking this dogfighting ring the same way a teenager attacks his MySpace page after school (by the way parents, make sure you monitor your kids). We should have the same passion for man that we have for man’s best friend.
I love when people do this. If they see a crime story that they feel is blown out of proportion, they cite another crime of greater moral significance (or heinousness) as evidence that we don't have our priorities straight for not paying more attention to the other crimes, as if we should only focus on one thing at a time. Well, once we get that Williams situation solved, then we can start worrying about Vick. No one's going to argue that Darrent Williams murder is a lesser crime than Vick's, but you Deion should know better than almost anyone that who you are makes a HUGE difference in the level of attention paid to what you do. There are few bigger NFL stars than Mike Vick. We pay more attention to him because of this fact. But let's get off of those particulars for a moment and continue with what else he said up there. I especially enjoyed his parenthetical PSA about "web monitoring." That was classic. I don't particularly get the MySpace - Attack analogy (for one, dogfighting is illegal while MySpace is not. Nor do I agree that the purpose of all of this Vick-bashing is that "we" are attacking dogfighting as an institution, though there certainly has been a ton of that. And lastly, the veracity and manner with which Vick is being attacked seems completely dissimilar from that of a teenager and his/her webpage no matter how tenacious his/her typing skillz may be. But I guess that's just me...), and as for the comment about our passion for "man over dog," if Mike Vick was electrocuting people to death and there were 30 human carcasses on his property, this would be a little bigger deal than it already is. But it is the "man over dog" comment that for me highlights what a lot of Vick supporters don't seem to get about this whole deal. That we are somehow elevating a dog's existence to that of a human's. While I personally have a genuine love for dogs and have more respect for some dogs than I do some humans, that's not exactly the greater issue. Treating a dog like shit and killing dogs indiscriminately (btw, the verb is not "murder" here. You can't "murder" a dog, only a human) isn't bad because it's a dog and dog's are important to us, it's bad because when you treat animals that way it suggests that you have no concept of how to function humanely in society. If the story was instead that someone of note tortured mice or birds or fucking penguins by burning them to death or hanging them or whatever, even if it weren't illegal you would condemn that person because they are completely fucked up. If Vick were a serial bird igniter, the Feds may not be involved but I guarantee you his sponsorships would be pulled and his career would be killed. It's the nature of the depraved indifference that gets me about it. It'd be naive to say that because "man's best friend" is involved that the story doesn't pull on your heartstrings a little stronger, but when you train animals to kill for sport and then fucking hang them or drown them if they aren't good enough or they get injured, that's fucked and you deserve whatever comes to you. But I digress. Deion ain't done:
The reason this is turning into a three-ring circus is that baseball is boring, basketball is months away, football is around the corner and we in the media don’t have a thing interesting to write about.
Yes, baseball is boring so we're just searching for that catchy story like a famous athlete killing dogs to add some excitement to our summer. If this happened during the Winter Olympics, no one would say boo about it. That makes sense. Stories about the most famous player in the NFL getting indicted for a federal crime would never beat out the coverage of the Bucs v. Seahawks score or Brad Miller putting up 20 and 12 against the f'n Grizzlies. It's just a slow news month (what with the whole Donaghy story and Bonds and whatnot), that's why we're talking so much about it. And also, "we in the media?" Since when is Sanders a media member? Just because you wear a fedora that looks like the ones the 1920's boxing beat writers wore doesn't make you a media member. And lastly, more Deion:
How will this end up? I have no idea. All I know is Falcons fans better pray because Vick’s backup is Joey Harrington. Enough said.
I may be mistaken but it seems as though you are suggesting that because YOU don't have confidence that Vick's backup is any good that WE should maybe not protest so loudly about Vick or else we'll be stuck with this backup. That makes sense. I often times change my mind about criminal acts because of the way it affects my fantasy team (actually, depending on the act, I do). Well, at least you have your priorities straight, Primetime.

*I would be remiss if I did not note that this story is covered by almost every blog on the planet and I learned of it via Deadspin through the fellas at Fanhouse. A little "T O' The H" to those guys.

Fox Sports Is Going A Little Overboard With This Censorship Thing

Fox Sports says no to Gay(s)... Rudy Gay...s.

Bored to tears and mildly hungover this morning, I spent my first few hours of today perusing anything on the interwebs that would distract me from my unquenchable thirst and the clock on my computer that I swear is counting time backwards. During this quest to find the end of the internet, I stopped at the MSN / FoxSports website and found myself reading a piece by Jordan Schultz about the studs and not-so studs of the summer NBA Bball camp ("cleverly" entitled "Musts and Busts." Must what? Must see? Must play better? Must have? If so, "must have" what? Just because it rhymes doesn't mean it works.). Despite the fact that I really don't give half a shit about the NBA, things were going pretty well and I found it all mildly interesting. But then I got a little distracted by this:
The lightning quick Conley possesses a great understanding of the game and will fit in perfectly with running mates Hakim Warrick and Rudy BLEEP, as well as be a very formidable pick and roll combo with Pau Gasol. Conley will be an All-Star point guard for years to come.
Rudy BLEEP? And the word "BLEEP" was hyperlinked (does anyone really use this word anymore? Has "hyperlinked" jumped the proverbial internet vernacular shark?) to this: encourages our users to express themselves on their blogs, story comments, or message boards. We don't want to slow down your game when you're dishing on your favorite teams and players.

At the same time, we recognize that not everyone out there loves a potty mouth. So if there's an obvious bad word on a blog, story comment, or message board post, we'll try to censor it.

Feeling brave, mature, and adult-ish? Or just want to get in touch with your inner sailor? You can choose to have FOX Sports do nothing, and leave all those R-rated words alone. If you do, you may see some coarse language from time to time in the community. Don't say we didn't warn you!
This was the following questions:
Would you like to automatically censor content you view?
And then you choose whether or not you wish your content to be censored or not (you choose "No, Don't Censor" if you wish to summon your "inner sailor"). So because Rudy BLEEP's last name is "Gay," Fox censored it. Apparently the word "gay" is "an obvious bad word." Now aside from the fact that this site is run by Fox and to the editors the word "gay" is likely as "obviously bad" as say "fuckstick," I can sort of see why they've chosen to censor the word gay as it can be used in a derogatory name-calling connotation (i.e. Johnny Damon throws like a gay; or Peyton Manning and Kenny Chesney get gay together). But do you think maybe you've gone too far when you can't print a person's proper name? Hasn't Rudy Gay suffered enough with his alopecia and the fact that he was likely teased his entire childhood because of his name? And now he is forced to endure the fact that adults have concluded that his name is offensive enough to require censorship. That seems a little unnecessary. In Fox Sports land, Chien-Ming Wang's name comes up as Chien-Ming BLEEP for F's sake! I mean, it's not fair that when I am searching for an article about Randall Gay it comes up Randall BLEEP. Or if I'd like to see what people are saying about Dick Jauron you find yourself reading about BLEEP Jauron. It's just so stupid and seems so easy to fix. I'm hoping they address this soon because I the next time I read an article about BLEEP BLEEP when clearly I was looking for some information about Lucious Pusey, I am going to f'n lose it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

And You Thought Vick Supporters were Morons....

Apparently Michael Vick is accused of serial dog neutering.

I don't want to get too heavily into semantics or the definition of "clever" here, but are you kidding me with the "neuter Vick" line (there are countless others that utilize the same phrase. Some even rhyme "Vick" with "Sick.")? This doesn't even make sense. Shouldn't the purpose of this kind of shirt be to cleverly suggest that you do the same thing to the person that the person did to the dog? The line makes about as much sense as some tree hugger showing up in the Pacific Northwest to prevent deforestation in an effort to protect the Spotted Owl with a shirt that says, "Eat Loggers, Not Owls!" In Vick's case, he didn't neuter anything. He actually bred dogs. He had a friggin dog rape apparatus for cripe's sake. The only way that this shirt is in anyway clever is if the "neuter" is meant to symbolize what would happen to Vick were he to lose his sponsorhips, career in the NFL and therefore his primary sources of income (his secondary source of income is what got him into trouble in the first place). This lack of funds would effectively "neuter" Mike Vick's livelihood and... well, you probably get it. But that's probably not what they meant. Instead they probably found it clever that they were able to utilize a term generally associated with canine medical procedure and spun it right on its head to apply to Vick. They probably thought it was clever because the verb has something to do with dogs and because Vick wouldn't want to be neutered in the same way the dogs probably didn't want to be electrocuted. Well I'm here to say it's not clever. It's not clever at all. It's only clever if Vick's acts had anything to do with neutering or if the greater problem was neutering dogs against their will. If you think that neutering animals is a crisis that needs to be addressed and that those that advocate neutering (or neuter animals themselves) should be subject to human neutering, shouldn't you focus on this guy?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Do You Ever Get The Sense That Brady Quinn Masturbates To His Own Image In The Mirror? I do.

Why do I sometimes get the feeling that Brady Quinn keeps a copy of this picture under his pillow? And why do I also feel like it's likely covered in seed?

Does anyone else get the feeling that Brady Quinn thinks a lot of himself? I mean from the various photo spreads, the shirtless photos, the pictures of him in a strange leather outfit, the holdout for more dough because he feels he should be paid where Mel Kiper slotted him... it just leaves me feeling as though Brady likes himself some Brady. And this latest escapade didn't exactly change my mind about him. This weekend, Brady appeared at a mall to meet with some teeny boppers and charge them $140 a pop to sign shit for them:
There are some unhappy campers after a weekend autograph session involving Browns rookie quarterback Brady Quinn.

Hundreds of people waited in line on Saturday to grab an autograph from Quinn at Great Northern Mall.

Many of them didn't mind paying anywhere from $75 to $139 to get the quarterback's signature on pictures, footballs, jerseys and helmets.

But some fans who went to the event complained to about Quinn and the price for his autograph.

One woman wrote in an e-mail, "He agreed to rip off hundreds of fans, young and old alike. He hasn't even signed with the team yet. That sure ruined his image."
Apparently there is some dispute as to whether the advertisement listed the cost of the autograph session. Sympathetic to the fans plight, the memorabilia company responded to these accusations expressing the utmost concern for the fans:
"If we could do this for free, we would and we can't. Unfortunately, there is cost and pricing associated with it, so we try to do what we can to make the athlete as accessible to the public as we can," said Robinson (memorabilia rep).

Robinson said Quinn did shake hands and take pictures with many fans at no charge, and for some a snapshot with the potential superstar is priceless.
What a guy. He didn't even charge some fans who touched him. Word to the wise Brady, this shit may play in South Bend where you were a God (despite never winning a big game), but it's not gonna fly in Cleveland. They like lunch pail guys and if you continue to do things like force people to pay to be in your presence, the only friend you'll have left in Cleveland will be that crusty picture of yourself with your shirt off. And to be honest, I'm guessing that if that happens, you wouldn't be at all lonely.

Potential Questions For The El Guapo Chat Wednesday

"Guapo, assume there is a room with three light bulbs in it. Outside the room is a light switch with 3 switches on it labeled A, B, and C. Once you enter the room, you will no longer be able to access the switches. How can you, upon entering the room, tell me which of the three switches controls each of the light bulbs? And no, you are not allowed to eat the lightbulbs."

El Guapo will be doing an online chat with fans this Wednesday at noon in advance of the "EL Guapo Experience" contest. Guapo, whose team will actually be playing during the chat, will be seated in the bullpen with a laptop for the chat and could potentially be called away to pitch at any moment. I'm not sure if this sudden exposure for Rich Garces is intended as a marketing ploy to test his appeal for potential as a reality star or something, but regardless this chat has potential for fantastic comedy. In advance of the chat, I've come up with a few questions I'd like to ask him:

"Guapo, have you ever confused the baseball with an apple puff pastry that was drizzled in powdered sugar?"

"Guapo, when you toss the rosen bag on the mound, does it make you hungry?"

"Guapo, were you upset that you weren't on the 2004 Red Sox team because it didn't allow you the opportunity to eat that little midget that Pedro used to hang out with?"

"Guapo, is this chat making you hungry?"

"Guapo, why is it that fat people find other fat people attractive? Is it out of necessity or do you feel there's some kind of change in brain chemistry that causes some weird endorphine rush anytime a fat person sees another fatty? For instance, does a picture of Kirstie Alley circa 2003 make you hard?"

"Guapo, are you one of those "funny fat guys" or those angry "I have a glandular problem" fat guys who deny responsibility for being fat?"

This could go on forever but needless to say the potential is there for a chat for the ages. I can only imagine what the Guapster has to say for himself. As I recall, he was not exactly a wizard with the english language. I don't really care how clear his answers are or how the language barrier obscures what it is I want to tell him, I'm just glad that his question will finally be answered:

"Guapo, when squeezed, do you respond with a high-pitched giggle?"

Sen. Byrd Is No Fan Of Mike Vick

I had the honor of meeting the distinguished Senator from West Virginia, Mr. Robert Byrd back in 2000. I was hanging with a Congressional staffer (I used to be a pretty big deal) when he ran into a buddy of his who worked for Byrd. He brought us in to talk to the elder statesmen (he was old as hell back then!) and he gave us a LENGTHY dissertatoin about the history of the Capitol building and the underground rail system as well as some highlights of some crazy events that have occurred during his tenure. That day me and about 6 other kids my age sat around and listened to Byrd wax historical for about 2 hours NON-STOP. He had a very similar oratory style to the above style even then. I remember getting out of that room and breathing a sigh of relief as it's hard to continue to remain attentive and respectful in the presence of someone whose oratory manner includes 10-15 second pauses that can be (and are) confused as a termination of the conversation. He was very generous with his time and it remains one of my most distinct memories from my brief stay on "the Hill" (the other being the time I rode the underground Congressional rails with Jesse Helms. Helms was seated on a Rascal and I and two friends had to assist he and his motorized scooter into the "subway car." About 2/3rds of the way through the ride, Helms broke the deafening silence by looking up and saying, "Christian?" We stammered a bit and I muttered a "ummm, no" (I'm not Jewish or anything, I'm just not, well, anything. But that's another story for another day...). Helms smiled at us and began whistling what I can only assume was a hymn. It was a bizarre encounter. But I digress...). It's because of my personal encounter that I was hesitant to post this video as it is not the most flattering depiction of the now 90 year-old statesman from WV. In Byrd's defense, he's a dyed-in-the-wool animal lover (he's probably owned 50 dogs in his 90 years) and his passion is genuine even if his presentation is a little uncomfortable. Still, the video is worth seeing if you haven't seen it and it is actually just a one minute snippet of a 30 minute dissertation on the subject in which Byrd exhudes this type of passion throughout (those videos can be found on with any combination of "Byrd," "Vick" and/or "barbaric"). It's actually kind of remarkable that he's able to remain this lucid and upright for so long considering his age. So while I admire your passion, Senator Byrd, your time may be better served drafting legislation rather than getting caught on the TV doing this.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Groups Like PETA Make Me Want To Support Guys Like Mike Vick

This woman is the domesticated chicken of the social food chain.

When it was announced tonight that Goodell has asked Vick to stay away from training camp until the NFL has completed its review of the situation, I didn't feel the least bit bad for Vick. I generally agree with the policy though I do believe it sets a dangerous precedent for future "non-offenders." It's just that this case in particular is so disgusting that taking the time to get it right is probably a good call for Goodell. Plus, no one (save for Stephen A. & Emmitt Smith) will shed a tear for Vick considering the charges pending. But there is one problem I have with the decision and that is the timing in the wake of the recent protests by PETA. These groups bother me so much I only gain sympathy for those these gorilla organizations rally against.

No matter what effect the PETA protests had on the decision (which was likely zero), the folks at PETA will claim they had an effect and will thus become more emboldened. It is the perceived effectiveness of the Gorilla tactics by these groups with their mob rule mentality that makes my fucking skin crawl. And you know what they just don't get, had they not gone to the extremes in this situation and tried to time their protest to coincide with Goodell's announcement so as to make it look as though they somehow swayed Goodell's decision, they and their cause would gain credibility as opposed to losing it.

The problem with these interest groups generally is overinvolvement. A group like PETA protests the opening of every worm farm and Chucky Cheese (the pepperoni on the pizza was once some sort of animal) from Tulsa to Taipei, yet they wear cotton clothes picked from cotton plants, which happens to be the food source for the common boll weevil leaving the weevil to starve to death. They also wear synthetic blends and dyes created from oils of creatures that died millions of years ago (lousy hypocrites). If there's a fucking rat crushed on the subway or someone posts a sign that says "don't feed the pigeons," inevitably PETA will show up flapping their malnourished gums about the inequality in treatment of all living things. Similarly, groups like the Rainbow Coalition and Al Sharpton Inc. show up anytime race is brought up and only fan the flames of racial tension in order to bolster their own image(s). But it's because of this ubiquity that these groups are losing credibility. If they were more selective with their vocal support, they would gain credibility and maybe even sympathy (though in Sharpton's case, that ship has LONG since sailed). Imagine if there was no Tawana Bradley or if Jesse hadn't promised to pay the tuition of the Duke rape accuser. Imagine if PETA didn't protest at fishing competitions or supermarkets and instead focused their efforts on treating pets and zoo animals properly or causes like the humane importation of animals. Imagine if PETA's more public face was that of developing wildlife refuges for animals as opposed to fighting for the rights of lab rats who are responsible for saving the lives of millions and WILL BE the reason we are able to cure cancer some day. That cause would be something I could get behind. Instead, because of how extreme and fringe these groups have become, their mere involvement causes eyes to roll and credibility in the greater cause to diminish. They have cried wolf too many fucking times and I for one am sick of people getting out of bed every fucking time they continue to cry no matter how real the wolf threat is (really what I'd like is a new "wolf crier" without a hair trigger on their cryin voice).

And it's because of all this bullshit that anytime a group shows up to rally behind one of their pet causes (pun intended), I don't want to be associated with them or their cause. In fact, I would much rather be pitted on the other side no matter how much I agree with the greater cause they are rallying behind. And I don't think I'm alone. The general public hates these groups. They represent something extreme and pointed and angry, so it turns off the the support of the mainstream-middle-of-the-road public (of which I am a member). In the Vick case in particular, PETA's involvement was completely unnecessary. Did they think we didn't know where they stood on this? Goodell could give a fuck what PETA thinks (no offense, ladies). He cares what the football watching public thinks and we were pissed. Imagine the shot in the ass of the greater PETA cause (that of treating animals well) created if without their assistance the football community had risen up and not let Vick's actions stand. Imagine if the football fans caused Vick's suspension without any goading or nudity from the ugly, visible rib cages of the PETA army. Now that would have been a statement for the ethical treatment of animals. The momentum from such a dis-interested public outcry might have been strong enough to open the door to tougher laws against dogfighting. These are things that a large group of sane individuals with no agenda can accomplish. Concerned citizens can get the attention of their local Congressman. PETA members are led out of the Capitol by security. But PETA blew it. They showed up and whined and chanted and created unclever signs to make this issue a PETA cause, not a public cause. And once PETA got involved and raised all bloody hell, anyone with a breath of sanity in their bones distanced themselves from the issue so as not to be associated with such a radical and loony group. It was an opportunity lost despite the fact that they'll view it as a battle won.

So sleep in tomorrow Mike Vick and know that while the world is completely against you, if PETA keeps this up, you'll likely earn a little sympathy from this guy. That is until Revs. Al and JJ come down there and make an even bigger mess of it.

Scott Olsen Picked A Good Week To Lose His Mind

Drunk-driving, assaulting a police officer and getting tasered... just another Saturday night for Scotty Olsen.

Scott Olsen should send a thank you card to Mike Vick and Tom Donaghy. Had this been a normal July week where we're talking about the Wild Card hunt or strumming up any storyline we can imagine about the start of NFL camps, Scott Olsen's behavior Saturday would have been a pretty big deal. Apparently, at around 4am on Saturday morning, Scott was driving home (followed closely by Dontrelle Willis, who was not involved in any police activity to follow) from a night out when a cop clocked him going 48mph in a 35. The cop tried to pull him over but Scott kept on driving, blowing a stop sign in the process before finally pulling up to his house. Upon reaching his home, this happened:
The pitcher got out of his car and sat down on a plastic chair in front of his home. When backup officers arrived and tried to arrest him, Bentolila (a cop on the scene) said Olsen kicked at the officers, who used a stun gun on the 6-foot-5 pitcher.

Olsen then failed a field sobriety test and refused an alcohol breath test, Bentolila said. A booking photo showed Olsen had two scrapes on his forehead over his right eye.
It's pretty unreal that Olsen is getting a pass for this, especially in light of his EXTENSIVE history of confrontation. He has on more than one occasion intentionally thrown at (and admitted to doing it) players on opposing teams, he got in a shoving match with Miguel Cabrera last year and had to be physically restrained by his manager, he got in a fistfight with teammate Randy Messenger last year and received a helluva a shiner from the altercation and you can't count on your fingers and toes the amount of times he's gotten into public shouting matches with umpires, players and coaches from other teams. He is a fricking mess. If someone like say Brandon Meriweather had performed this stunt, Jay Mariotti would have a 10,000 word, 5 day Expose' on the troubled young star penned and ready for print in less than 3 hours. Olsen's just lucky that he plays in a place where no one gives a shit and he decided to lose control in a week where his story hardly made a dent.

Suns v. Spurs Fixed Game 3 Video

Some of these fouls could go either way. Others are absolutely ridiculous.

To Bill Simmons credit, he has been ALL OVER this officiating situation WELL before it even came out that the refs were actually on the payroll of the mob (as he points out in nauseating detail). He killed the refs during the playoffs in more excrutiating detail than anyone covering them and is now REVELING in the fact that his insights and suspicions were confirmed. He never takes credit for knowing that the refs were under the Mob's thumb. He instead seemed to feel that the refs just had this air of invincibility and power due to the backing of Stern and his "no public comments about the referees" policy. It was more "unfair" than it was "corrupt." The refs could do whatever they wanted because ultimately there was no accountability other than to whiny NBA scribes like Simmons and the like. NOW, the tables have turned. The players have a renewed sense of entitlement to further their complaints. They have a whole new line of criticism angles from which to draw and the craftier ones (as well as the craftier fans) will have a whole new line comments that the refs will be powerless to combat. If a player or coach makes some comment about the game being fixed or asking what Italian restaurant the ref is dining at that night, what's the ref gonna say? Is he gonna "T" him up? Wouldn't that reinforce the already tarnished image. What's most scary about this scenario is that the players were angry about bad calls when they assumed the refs were calling games objectively; before the Joey Crawford - Tim Duncan situation and the Mob / Ref / Fixed Games scandal. Now that they have reason to believe that any bad call was influenced by outside sources, can you imagine the level of anger and utter contempt from the already hot-headed guys like Stephen Jackson and Rasheed Wallace? If you watch the above video, D'Antoni, Stoudemire and the usually mild-mannered Nash seem as though they are a hair away from blowing their top and punching a ref right in the face. The smugness with which some of these calls are made has always driven coaches and players crazy because it seemed as the the mere suggestion that the calls are going the wrong way was enough to receive a technical and wry smile from the men in stripes. Now what do they do? The anger level will be ratcheted up a notch from the fans, coaches and especially players. With the refs integrity now called into question, how do you intend to keep the already tense relationship between players and refs under control? What are the odds that Rasheed Wallace or Nate Robinson flies off the handle and physically assaults a ref after the third bad call in a row no matter how innocuous it was? These guys had to be held back in the past. This just reinforces their perception of the refs. It's almost a fait accompli that something really bad is going to happen ("almost a fait accompli..." a paradox, I know). It just leaves me wondering one thing: Where can I sign up to bet on this action?