Speaking Of

by on March 7th, 2015
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The Penn State University football team played Nebraska in a home game this past Saturday. In light of the recent revelations describing the possible criminal way Penn State neglected to stop accused child molester Jerry Sandusky, many wondered if the game should’ve been played at all. But somehow Penn State interim president Dr. Rodney Erickson spun things around to say that the game would be “a chance to recognize and bring national focus to the problem of sexual abuse.”

Really?

Why not donate the entire season’s football related profits toward causes that help prevent the sexual abuse of children. That kind of action would do more good than a few hollow words following another lucrative Penn State football game. Penn State University is still dancing around actual responsibility and by doing so they continue to fail the victims.

And why isn’t the Big Ten reconsidering Penn State’s membership in its prestigious conference? Penn State is a recent addition to the Big Ten, and its behavior doesn’t reflect the integrity associated with the conference. The entire Big Ten shouldn’t have to share this shame. Penn State should be jettisoned and made to stand alone.

This isn’t a sport violation or an academic one, this is much worse, this is a violation of the standards of humanity.

Speaking of violations, Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos, was kidnapped and then thankfully rescued in his native Venezuela. For the athletes from Latin America who make it to the professional ranks of American sports, the risk of kidnapping is extremely high, not only for the athlete but also for their families.

The athletes probably don’t want to appear uppity when they return home, but it seems as though an around the clock security team would be a prudent investment when one considers the alternative.

Speaking of prudent investments, there’s talk in Indy about whether the Colts should draft Andrew Luck if they end up with the first pick in next year’s draft. This seems like a no brainer, especially when one looks at how the Packers have fared since drafting Aaron Rogers to eventually replace Brett Farve. At that time Farve probably thought he was untouchable, and Peyton Manning may feel the same way, but no one is untouchable.

Rogers has already made many Packer fans forget about Farve, and it’s possible that Luck could eventually take over the reins from Manning without a significant drop in talent.

Manning is an all-time great, and he is missed by the Colts who are having a horrendous year without him. Now look at this current season and imagine how bad the Colts will be in the future without either Manning or Luck.

Speaking of Luck, it appears that it will take that and more to save the NBA season. Once close, the two sides have now moved far apart. As a fan we don’t get a side, but I wonder if anyone is addressing the lack of competitive equality.

Look at the NFL, at the beginning of every season, each fan base believes their team has a chance to make the playoffs.

Not so with the NBA.

Many NBA fans believe that league officials will help ensure the playoff success of the big market teams. The fans remember former NBA referee Tim Donaghy’s allegations. They believe the NBA “influences” the outcome of games with its referee assignments. That’s also why many conspiracy theorists believed that last year’s NBA draft was rigged so that the Lebron scorned Cleveland Cavaliers would get the number one pick.

Until every NBA team competes on a level field, and the fans can believe in the legitimate chances of their team, the league will continue to lose money.

Speaking of losing money, the soon to be former Mr. Kris Humphries “Kardashian” alleges he was swindled in a Hedge Fund Scam by a guest at his “wedding.”

Really?

He’s supposedly so in love with his reality star wife that he’s conducting business as his wedding. Besides Tony Soprano, who does business at their own wedding? Perhaps Humphries thought he’d need the extra money to keep his reality star wife happy, either way he goes down as another cautionary tale, in more ways than one.

Speaking of cautionary tales, Tiger Woods, once one of the most successful athletes in the world, faltered again over the weekend at the Australian Open. Tiger blames his stroke and other reasons for his recent lack of success, but his real problem is between the ears, and until he publicly addresses his past issues in a meaningful way, he’ll always carry the weight of that scandal on the golf course.

Speaking of scandals, many Red Sox fans are beginning to wonder if the beer and chicken scandal that was attached to this year’s team, was really a public relations maneuver orchestrated by team ownership as they prepared for a money saving overhaul. The Sox entered the off-season by shooing two-time world series winning manager Terry Francona out the door. Out with him went GM Theo Epstein and now pitching phenom, Jonathan Papelbon. Unlike the Yankees who always reload, the Sox simply seem to be unloading and many are wondering who’ll be next.

The 2011 Red Sox were one arm away from the playoffs, I wonder how many arms, bats and minds the 2012 Sox will be away from the postseason.

Speaking of the postseason, NASCAR’s current postseason format leaves much to be desired. In the current format, 12 drivers compete for the title in the “Cup Chase,” while the rest of the field apparently competes for pride. The problem as witnessed Sunday in Phoenix, is that a driver who is not in the chase can take out a title contender on a whim.

Matt Kenseth, a chase cup contender, was wrecked, allegedly on purpose, by non-chase driver Brian Vickers. Not much has been made of this incident, but imagine if Dale Earnhardt Jr. or Jimmy Johnson were taken out by an overzealous foe. This type of postseason setup where title contenders compete against those who’ve been officially eliminated, puts the chase contenders in the precarious position of relying on the good nature of their fellow competitors.

Speaking of the good nature of ones fellow competitors, Joe Frazier passed away last week. By most accounts the boxing legend died with a bitter taste in his mouth, as he still felt hatred toward fellow boxing great Muhammad Ali. Most who knew them say these competitors were good natured men, except when it came to each other.

The story told is that Frazier helped a down and out Ali during his banishment from boxing. But when Ali’s boxing license was restored and a fight between the two was arranged, Ali began to mock Frazier by calling him “ugly” and other unflattering names. Joe responded by calling Ali, “Clay,” referring to Ali’s given name of Cassius Clay.

Ali had legally changed his name from Clay as he called that a slave name. In response to Friazier’s counterpunch, Ali began to calling him an Uncle Tom. From there the taunts only escalated, and after three wars in the ring, the war simmered outside of the ring.

Frazier never forgave Ali and never saw the error of his own counter-jabs. Ali who suffers with Parkinson’s Disease, apologized to Frazier’s family but never to Frazier himself. There’s never been a mention of how Ali felt about Frazier’s remarks over the years, but his refusal to apologize speaks volumes.

These two incredible athletes are forever linked by, The Fight of the Century, the single greatest sporting event in American history. For these two memorable icons to spend most of their adult lives at odds is a tragedy.

It seems that one of these men of stature could have been the bigger man and offered his hand in peace. Just imagine the sight of these two figures hugging while we remembered their epic ring battles.

But now Smokin’ Joe is gone, and with him went the chance for redemption.

The two will forever be linked together, and will always be considered great, just not as great as they could’ve been.

And that’s sad.


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