Category Archives: Sports

He Said That? 1/14/18

From Julian Assange:

One of the best ways to achieve justice is to expose injustice.

Advertisements

Have We Reached Peak NFL? by Charles Hugh Smith

SLL’s response to the title question is: let’s hope so. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

How will the owners and managers of the multi-billion-dollar NFL empire handle the league’s decline phase?
OK, I get it: pro football is so popular because it’s one of the last refuges of modern life that hasn’t been ruined by politics. Oops, scratch that. But we shouldn’t pin the decline of pro football’s popularity (as measured by viewership) solely on player protests, as the decline predates the recent politicization.
As this chart shows, viewership has been sliding for years across the entire demographic spectrum:
Even more troubling for the multi-billion-dollar NFL empire, the youth demographic is evaporating like mist in a scorching summer day in Death Valley. The problem for the NFL is two-fold: the number of young people who are dedicated NFL viewers is modest, and even worse, it’s declining at a fast clip.
I am sure there are plenty of 25-year old fans, but anecdotally, I don’t know a single Millennial who has any interest in sitting through a 2-hour pro football game at home, or ponying up the big bucks and huge chunk of time required to attend a game.
Again, anecdotally, young people seem more likely to watch a short clip of the game’s highlights on Youtube than devote 2+ hours to sitting through endless annoying TV adverts for a few moments of action.
Or they’re investing their sports-related time and money in college or local sports; if they’re parents, their time may be devoted to their kids’ sports activities.
In other words, pro football is an interest of the older generations that isn’t shared by the younger generations. We can chart this progression with an S-curve, which in the case of the NFL, is marked by the “boost phase” of viewership in the 1970s and 1980s as Monday Night Football expanded the TV audience and the league added franchises.
To continue reading: Have We Reached Peak NFL?

Humor is Where You Find It, by Robert Gore

Looking for a good laugh? Consider the United States.

Football is a tedious game that fills three-and-a-half hours of airtime with 30 minutes of action, commercials, commentary, instant replays, more instant replays, closeups of pretty cheerleaders, and halftime pageantry. The players are paid great gobs of money but run the risk of rendering themselves concussive basket cases. The super rich owners hold up municipalities for taxpayer-funded stadiums while keeping the TV, ticket, merchandising, and concessions revenues. They’ve also climbed into bed with the federal government, accepting taxpayer money for promoting patriotism. Among other things, this requires players, who until 2009 could stay in the locker room while the National Anthem was played, to be on the field, presumably standing at respectful attention.

Presumably—aye, there’s the rub. Last season, quarterback Colin Kaepernick expressed his disagreement with certain governmental policies and practices by kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner. Since then, other players have done the same, to the consternation of many fans, including President Trump. Ratings and attendance are tanking and the crony socialist owners are caught between the rock of their payrolls’ politics and the hard place of their fans’ disgust. To borrow from Oscar Wilde, one must have a heart of stone to ponder their plight without laughing. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer group of guys and gals.

Last year’s losing presidential candidate has written a book blaming virtually everyone for her loss…except the one person who was responsible. A cottage industry has sprung up to feed this self-exculpatory fantasy, affixing on Russia as the author of Hillary’s woes. Russia “hacked” DNC computers, except technically they couldn’t have been hacked, they were downloaded, an inside job. The materials Russia couldn’t have hacked were given by someone, presumably whoever downloaded them, to WikiLeaks, which disclosed them. Doing so, it committed the cardinal sin in contemporary American governance: disclosing the truth. In classic Clinton fashion, Hillary and team never contested the authenticity or veracity of the disclosures, instead concocting the Russian story.

Efforts to keep this fabrication going are a source of endless amusement. There have been evidence-free “assessments” from the intelligence agencies, a special counsel probing the tax returns of a Trump campaign manager who served all of two months, and now there are stories that “Russian-aligned” groups and RT bought a drop-in-the-bucket worth of ads on Facebook and Twitter during a campaign in which billions of dollars were spent on advertising, not counting the unpaid “donations” to Hillary from the mainstream media, pollsters, Google, and Facebook.

The purveyors of the Russian concoction are those desperately lonely schmucks who take the ugliest girls in the bar home at closing time because they’re the only ones left. The concoction is all they have. Let’s hope they have the decency to hate themselves in the morning.

America is like that high school all-everything—sports star, class president, valedictorian—who can’t accept that at the university, she’s just another student. For a brief shining moment after World War II it had an uncontested empire, but empires are notoriously hard to hang on to. Seventy years later the US has a string of “inconclusive” (never “losing”) wars, a lot of promises to its own citizens that aren’t going to be kept, and an empire that’s slipping away. Its chief adversaries—Russia, China, and Iran—are going about their business, consolidating economic and political power in the Eurasian center of the world.

They’ve been helped immeasurably by the comedy of errors that has been US policy in Syria. The same people who championed disastrous regime changes in Iraq and Libya set their sights on Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s duly elected leader. That this entailed crawling into bed with ISIS, an offshoot of al Qaeda, the outfit that reportedly attacked the twin towers and the Pentagon, seemed not to bother anyone. Neither did the fact that while we were supporting ISIS’s rebellion in Syria, we were also supporting the Iraqi government’s effort to quell ISIS’s rebellion in Iraq. Why is it that the butt of all the jokes often ends up picking up the tab? The US wasted tons of blood and treasury, accomplished none of its stated goals, and was humiliated when, at the request of Assad, Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah came in and routed ISIS. You can’t make this stuff up.

Even the US’s supposed friends can’t stifle their schadenfreude, having been under its domination for so long. Derisive joy is tempered by justified concern: in its arrogance and desperation to maintain its untenable position, those zany Americans might blow up the world. The president recently stood before the United Nations, an organization ostensibly devoted to peace, and said he’d destroy North Korea. Maybe it was all just posturing and hyperbole in good fun, but the North Koreans, and their next-door neighbors China and Russia, weren’t laughing.

The US has become an infantile nation. Not playing well with others, it demands the world conform to its dictates…or else. That or else is basically holding its breath until it turns blue, as it self-destructively plunges further into debt and wreaks havoc globally, instilling fear and hate, prompting vengeance. Fealty to a failing government and its symbols has become the sine qua non of a ritual, insecure patriotism. Real patriotism, loyalty to America’s founding ideals, demands opposing at every turn the government’s mindless, unprincipled, and voracious quest for power, treasure, and empire. If the flag and the National Anthem mean anything at all, they stand for the proposition that liberty must be defended and fought for, particularly against that which has always been its chief nemesis—government. Now, they only serve as sad markers of how much has been lost.

AMERICA AT ITS GREATEST


AMAZON

KINDLE

NOOK

Stop Wrapping the Flag Around Pro Sports, by Ryan McMaken

Take the government’s money to promote “patriotism,” and pay the price when players decide not to buy into it. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

Desperate to fill hours and hours of air time on 24-hour news channels, media corporations have made sure the discussion of the correct posture of National Football League players has been front and center.

Apparently, before grown men can chase a little toy around a grassy field for a few hours, it’s absolutely essential that they take part in a variety of pro-government rituals. This was not always the case, though, and prior to the twentieth century, it was hardly expected that a ballgame be preceded by a recitation of the national anthem or any other song of national allegiance.

Some assert that current rituals are of especially recent origin, with  Tom Curran claiming on Comcast Sportsnet that prior to 2009, football players “weren’t on the field for the national anthem and instead generally remained in the locker room.”

There is little doubt that at least some players, prior to 2009, elected to be on the field during the anthem, but there is no known current regulation mandating such behavior. 

The fact that participation in these rituals have become mandatory —  in the minds of many Americans, at least — would likely strike nineteenth-century Americans as rather odd.

Before the First World War, playing the national anthem or sporting events was quite rare. No one expected it to be done, and hiring a band was expensive.

As is often the case with jingoist displays, however, matters were accelerated and exaggerated by wartime.

According to mlb.com, the most conspicuous early use of the national anthem was at game 1 of the 1918 World Series during World War I. Unexpectedly, during the seventh-inning stretch, a military band played the national anthem in an effort to liven up a reportedly surly and war-wearied group of spectators.

To continue reading: Stop Wrapping the Flag Around Pro Sports

Thoughts on Trump, Fake Patriotism and ‘Taking a Knee’, by Michael Krieger

Here is another take on taking a knee and the National Anthem. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

Americans do not and should not worship idols. We do not and should not worship the flag. As a nation we stand in respect for the national anthem and stand in respect for the flag not simply because we were born here or because it’s our flag. We stand in respect because the flag represents a specific set of values and principles.

– From the recently published piece: I Understand Why They Knelt

I almost always disagree with mainstream critiques of Trump, which is why I tend to stay away from commenting on the endless battles between the destructive and dangerous status quo and the dangerous and destructive Donald Trump. Critiques of Trump from status quo types and their supporters are almost always hysterical and superficial, based upon the false premise that everything was going just fine until Trump was elected.

I believe that sort of myth making is as dangerous as Trump himself, and I’ll never support a preposterous “resistance” strategy which elevates Wall Street CEOs, the CIA, neo-cons, neo-liberals and all sorts of other destructive elements of our society into saviors. These shallow resistance types focus on the symptom of the disease versus the disease itself, and therefore can never offer a constructive path to a batter future. That said, in this instance I completely agree with the view that Trump’s authoritarian tweets with regard to NFL player protests in recent days are extremely dangerous and encourage his supporters to rally around a debased and superficial fake patriotism based on symbolism as opposed to ideals and values.

First, let’s start with a little history. Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started his protest in August 2016 when Barack Obama was still President and the mainstream narrative assumed Hillary Clinton would defeat Donald Trump handily later that year. He was clear about the intentions behind his protest from the beginning, which related to his disgust with unaccountable police brutality against people of color. Here’s some of what he had to say when asked about his actions a year ago:

To continue reading: Thoughts on Trump, Fake Patriotism and ‘Taking a Knee’

#Take the Knee, by James Howard Kunstler

How much is non-black America keeping black America down, and how much is black America keeping black America down? From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

There’s a lot to complain about in this deranged republic — if it even still is one — but the burdens of being a multimillionaire football player would not be at the top of my list. Personally, I find it a little peculiar that we have to play the national anthem before any sporting event. All it really shows is how insecure we are as a nation that we have to display our love of country in this obsessive manner. Same with congressmen and their stupid flag lapel pins, or the flag in front of Denny’s chain restaurants. Are eaters of the “lumberjack slam” so disoriented when they leave the place that they need to be reminded what country they’re in? “Oh, look hon, were in the USA after all….”

What burns my ass is seeing baseball players in camo uniforms, as if they were an extension of the US military. What’s up with that? Is San Diego suddenly a theater of war? And why do US soldiers need to wear camo uniforms when shopping for eyeglasses? There used to be a distinction between battle dress and what you wore the rest of the time, even during a world war. And why on earth is it necessary to fly Air Force fighter jets over the stadium before the Super Bowl? Who authorizes the spend for that? Who are we trying to scare?

Of course, this new gale of ill-feeling stirred up by our intemperate president, the Golden Golem of Greatness, is driven by the oceanic currents of racial animus that are drowning the country more ruinously than the recent spate of hurricanes. The #Take the Knee campaign was already there, and getting hotter, even before Mr. Trump chimed in. At least he didn’t issue the usual sort of vapid nostrum about “diversity” and all of us getting along. In his blunt, blundering way, he may force the nation to clarify exactly what the beef is.

Surely it’s not about the woes of professional athletes. They are representing the grievances of a different realm in black America, perhaps the places they came from, the city ghettos or the rural backwaters of Dixieland, or maybe even boring black suburbs like Prince George County, Maryland. And the lingering question, to be equally blunt, is: how much is non-black America keeping black America down?

To continue reading: #Take the Knee

ESPN Pulls Asian Announcer Named Robert Lee To Avoid A Mass Triggering Event, by Tyler Durden

SLL rarely watches ESPN, but for this idiocy SLL readers might want to rediscover their families or good books and not watch the sports network. As always, it’s our readers’ decision, but this kind of  insanity should not go unpunished. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

We’ve been saying this a lot lately, but just when you thought the political climate in this country couldn’t get any more wacky ESPN has to go and pull an Asian-American announcer, who just happens to be named Robert Lee, off the William and Mary vs. University of Virginia college football game because of concerns they might create a mass-triggering of America’s snowflakes. 

Is this even real life anymore?  So the fragile millennial culture now demands that you should be thrown in jail if you call them by the wrong pronoun but it’s totally fine if their insecurities literally derail a person’s career because they refuse to be ‘assaulted’ by the name his parents happened to give him?

Outkick the Coverage broke the story last night with this summary:

In a story that seems made for The Onion, but is actually true, according to multiple Outkick fans inside ESPN MSESPN decided to pull an Asian college football announcer named Robert Lee off the William and Mary at University of Virginia college football game because they were concerned that having an ASIAN FOOTBALL ANNOUNCER NAMED ROBERT LEE would be offensive to some viewers.

Did I mention that Robert Lee is Asian?

Is this even real life anymore? This might even be worse than MSESPN apologizing for the fantasy football slave draft a couple of weeks ago.

To avoid offending left wing idiots Robert Lee, the Asian college football announcer, not the Confederate General who died in 1870 and shares a name with him, was switched to the Youngstown State at Pittsburgh game and Dave Weekley will now call the William and Mary at University of Virginia game.

To continue reading: ESPN Pulls Asian Announcer Named Robert Lee To Avoid A Mass Triggering Event