For sports fans only

For as long as I’ve had a deep interest in sports beginning in 2005, I’ve been of the opinion that people who don’t watch or follow sports should remain out of the majority of discussions in that area. For instance, after news came out of Joe Paterno’s failure to act at Penn State, people were calling for the school to be stripped of a significant number of wins. That eventually happened, though once everything quieted down, it was reversed. Why? Because the huge number of non-sports fans demanded it. They applied pressure and got a result that made them feel good, but which held zero consideration for all the players, coaches, and staff that had nothing to do with the incident. Non-sports fans wanted to punish an entire school and every individual associated with a huge sports program because of the acts of a few. That was utter horseshit. Plenty of non-sports fans may think that sports are ‘just a game’, but that’s pure ignorance; just because something isn’t important to your life doesn’t mean it therefore isn’t important at all. Fortunately, those who are actually involved in college football saw fit to correct the mistake.16508166_626391204214106_2020830949610527241_n

All that brings me to this recent garbage meme I’ve been seeing about Tom Brady.Β  On the right side of this post, it includes a quote from media day prior to the Super Bowl. He was asked a couple of questions about Trump and he dodged them. After a third question, he said that he wasn’t going to talk about politics. Somehow this has become an instance of white privilege rather than an example of avoiding irrelevant questions.

There are multiple failings surrounding this meme, but I’ll start off by pointing out the one that’s unique to the ignorant non-sports fan. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are known throughout the league for avoiding distractions as best as they can. This comes from the top of the staff in Belichick. He sets the tone year-in-year-out by giving gruff press conferences where he dismisses shitty, irrelevant questions. We saw it this year when Jimmy Garoppolo did well after his first game and reporters attempted to manufacture a quarterback controversy. After making it clear that Brady was their guy come game 5, Belichick was still asked if Garoppolo would be considered for that start. Belichick simply grumbled “Jesus Christ” and moved on to the next question.

For people who have any idea of what they’re talking about, it’s pretty obvious that Brady’s comment isn’t an example of whatever political or social narrative someone is looking to push. It’s an example of ‘the Patriots way’ (a phrase I’m positive non-sports fans aren’t even remotely familiar with). This is one factor in why this organization has been so successful over the years. Focusing on football creates team cohesion that matters.

Another failing of this embarrassing meme is that it assumes Tom Brady is somehow required to talk about politics. He isn’t. If you tried to force your colleagues into talking politics or religion or sports or whatever topic you cared about despite them telling you they weren’t interested, you’d be hearing from HR pretty soon. You might even get fired. And if you complained that Bob in the next cubicle was a big jerk for not talking immigration with you, you’d get lambasted. Bob deserves to have his wishes to keep his views to himself respected. Why we think non-political celebrities don’t deserve the same respect is beyond me.

And, finally, if Tom Brady focusing on the Super Bowl (that jerk!) wasn’t enough, and if Tom Brady making sure he doesn’t distract the team (what an asshole, amirite?) wasn’t enough, then the fact that he has already made his views clear should be enough. He has said that he has a friendship with Trump that goes back a decade and a half, long before Trump had even significantly waded into politics. He has also pointed out that knowing someone doesn’t mean you agree or disagree with everything they say or do.

So, no, this isn’t an example of white privilege. You don’t know what you’re talking about if you think that; you’re intentionally ignoring context. This is an example of a non-politician staking out a non-political position in an effort to deflect irrelevant and, frankly, inappropriate questions.

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Tonight

Even though hockey is easily the greatest sport in the world, tonight belongs to football. (Okay, and probably some flipping to the Bruins during commercials and between quarters.)

Thought of the day

I am rooting for Green Bay to have a perfect season on one condition and for one reason. The condition: They aren’t competing against the Patriots. The reason: So Mercury Morris will forever have to shut the hell up.

Female football player has to sit out game

Or her team wouldn’t even get to play:

Why? It wasn’t due to injury. Rather, [Mina] Johnson decided not to play in the [junior high] game after the opposition threatened to forfeit if Johnson was allowed to play. Apparently, Northeast had a problem with its boys playing football against a girl.

I fail to see a good reason for this. Is it because Johnson is at more risk of injury than the boys? I would say she can handle herself:

As the Tidewater News reported, Johnson recorded four sacks in a recent game against Rocky Mount, and was gaining a reputation in the league as a standout junior varsity player.

Or maybe Northeast knows she’s good, so they wanted an edge in the game? I don’t see how that would matter:

So instead of making a fuss about the whole situation, Johnson sat on the sidelines for her team’s 60-0 victory.

There is no good reason for the school to forfeit simply because a girl is playing. If she can compete at the level of the boys, she should be allowed to do so.

I’ve written in the past about my thoughts on women and sports. I’m not about to sit and watch the WNBA, a league where it’s a big deal if someone dunks the ball – I want to watch the best of the best, and when it comes to sports, even the most stubborn feminist knows men dominate there – but that doesn’t mean women should be denied basic opportunities.

Now compounding the issue, another school may threaten to forfeit:

Northeast isn’t the only upcoming opponent considering a forfeit if Johnson doesn’t sit out. Raleigh (N.C.) Word of God Christian Academy is also reportedly considering a forfeit as well; the two schools are scheduled to play a game on Oct. 27.

The official reason for Word of God as well as Northeast is that they have the same athletic association which forbids girls and boys crossing into each others sports. Of course, each school could do the right thing and ignore the rule, or if they want to play by the book, they could seek an exception or review to the rule. But neither has bothered. I’m willing to bet the religious school is more happy about the division than anyone, but it’s horseshit no matter who does it. Let Mina Johnson play.

I hate Roger Goodell

The No Fun League is a pretty terribly run organization. It’s certainly an excellent business, but it’s pretty crap as far as quality sporting goes. From the tinker bell Roughing the Passer rule to the 6 required flags per play, the games are sometimes difficult to watch. I still enjoy football, but the rules don’t make it easy.

The worst rule, perhaps, is for OT. The team that wins the coin toss gets to win the game. Not literally, but it may as well be that way. It’s sudden death, so it’s a matter of moving down the field to within 45 yards of a field goal and then making that. Often, teams get much closer. If they make it, the game is over. It’s inane. I mean, hell, a game of beer pong even allows for rebuttal (depending on house rules; check with your local party animal for details).

What the NFL needs to do is play a full 15 minutes in OT. They won’t be that sensible, but a new rule has been proposed.

The competition committee recommended Monday to the 32 owners that a team losing the coin toss and then surrendering a field goal on the first possession should have a series of its own in OT. Such a rules change would need 24 votes for ratification.

This is still fundamentally unfair. The first team to get the ball still has a huge advantage because if it scores a touchdown, the other team has no offensive reply. This is effectively half a football game: one offense, one defense. Goodell et al are making progress, but they’re being jackasses about it. Just play a full 15.

Playoff strengths and weaknesses by sport

Hockey:

Strength – Best or better teams almost always win due to lengthy series.

Weakness – Lasts about 4 months.

Baseball:

Strength – Best or better teams almost always win due to lengthy series. Notable exception, 2006 Cardinals who actually didn’t win anything – the Tigers simply lost.

Weakness – Every game starts at, like, midnight, so it’s impossible to watch them to the end.

Football:

Strength – Very compact, short.

Weakness – Single game elimination offers okay (as opposed to great) teams chance to win. See 2007 Giants.

Basketball:

Strength – Best or better teams almost always win due to lengthy series.

Weakness – Unending commercials, takes attention from the superior sport of hockey, sub-.500 teams regularly make it, they play basketball.