RIP JUNIOR SEAU

Last week Junior Seau was found dead three hours after the NFL announced a brilliant initiative in player safety.  Seau, 43, was found in his home from what police are ruling a suicide.  In an effort to save its players from the punishing effects of concussions, the NFL banned 4 Saints (one now a former Saint) players for multiple games for their role in the bounty scandal, reminding everyone that player safety is their number one concern.

Ray Easterling, 62, shot himself on April 21st after suffering from post-concussion effects for years;  he was a key witness in the class action lawsuit against the NFL regarding post-concussion effects and retired player compensation.  Does the NFL now lessen the credibility of Easterling by saying he had “money problems” or other reasons to be depressed?  Is his death great for the lawsuit in that it attracts sympathy?  People dying is now PR fuel for each side.

I have no idea why Seau ended his life.  Some question whether his 2010 car accident was indeed a suicide attempt.  For all I know, the gun firing could have been an accident (it has officially been ruled a suicide).  But a relatively young, recently retired 43 year old with young kids and a Hall of Fame pedigree died, not some 85 year old man.

The Commissioner’s office really needs to start wondering what happens if / when high profile bodies start piling up.  What will the NFL’s reponse be if Brett Favre commits suicide?  Tom Brady?  Peyton Manning?  Are they famous enough for the public to turn on the league and pressure them?   It is a war of PR and public opinion and right now the NFL is winning by suspending players in the name of player safety for doing something in 2009 (!!!!) that many other teams admit to doing meanwhile they are in a lawsuit trying to avoid paying injured veterans suffering from post-concussion effects.  Do the players need someone like Peyton Manning, charismatic and funny, to be as brittle as Muhammed Ali by age 45?

I played sports.  Okay, I tried to.  And even in high school I had coaches repeatedly tell me to “kill someone” if he comes across the middle.  “Knock him the fuck out.”  It’s sports.  It’s our national “who’s got a bigger dick” competition.  If someone offered me ten grand to knock out someone I would take probably too long considering it.  Why?  BECAUSE I COULD REALLY USE TEN GRAND!  I don’t think the average NFL player, who only gets paid during the season, so he is flush with cash at the moment, thinks “hm… ten grand?  That’ll make me hit harder than my 250 body that runs 40 in 4.5 seconds already does.”

These guys are behemoths.  They always, always, always, hit hard.

Who is the most violent hitter in the NFL off the top of your head?  Me: Troy Polamalu.  That guy is a wrecking machine.

Know what?  He seems like the nicest man in the world.  I doubt the Steelers have a bounty on their sidelines, but Polamalu sure looks like he is crippling some people.  Should he be suspended? He is hurting people and getting paid for it… BY THE NFL (M. Night Shyamalan twist)!!

Gambling should be punished.  Players should be suspended for gambling in the locker room, etc.  It is a league, corporate facility and they should not be throwing cash around.  Furthermore, the extreme organization in the Saints’ bounty scandal is odd.  But we cannot assume if the Saints were not betting on the sidelines then 40 year Brett Favre would not get hurt.  Maybe he got hurt BECAUSE HE WAS 40 YEARS OLD.

It is a shame that billionaire owners making billions in the biggest money making machine in the United States (soon we’ll all have NFL faces on our money) cannot shell out more for veterans who bring people into their stadiums, pay $15 to park, eat $9 hot dogs and drink two or three $11 beers.  They don’t have to, the NFL is winning the PR war: most people I run into on the street really think the Saints players should be banned.  Is this because they thought about it?  Or because ESPN, the NFL’s PR network, says so? *

*A long, angry post about how ESPN is the sports-world’s FOX NEWS is coming one of these days. 

I’m watching Outside the Lines right now as they discuss the concussion “crisis.”  Know what?  It was ESPN that was outraged one weekend last season when numerous players were knocked out with big hits.  “Suspend guys!” ESPN writers and analysts screamed; NFL complied.  If ESPN wants to pressure the NFL to take care of these guys, they can.  But then the NFL might get mad at them and Monday Night Football would go to NFL Network.

A friend mentioned “these guys all waste their money too. They are forced to retire at 30, then piss away all their money, of course they are depressed.”  If this is true (not saying it is) shouldn’t the NFL help them?  Shouldn’t the NFL (and Player’s Union) aid players going through this, or at least make an active effort.

That is what makes this hard for me: so many people blame the players. “It’s a violent game.” “They wasted their money, know how much I make?” “Guys are thugs.”  Sure concussions and injuries are occupational hazards, but so is the generator we are using on our production set; if that explodes shattering half my face, is it a “violent job?” Did I “waste my money?” “Am I “a thug?”  No.  I was doing my job.  I got hurt.  Not my fault.

It is hard to sympathize with athletes; I rarely do.  They make lots of money doing things we loved doing as kids.  They are living the dream.  But how do you sympathize with billionaires?  I cannot stress this enough: billionaires who refuse to increase the post-career benefits to guys who struggle to remember their kids names; guys who gets migraines from sunlight; guys who constantly took one year contracts for the league minimum just to stick around; guys who said they were fine because the team needed a big stop; guys who said they were fine because if they got cut they’d lose their house.  It is almost cartoonish.

We refuse to vote for presidential nominees if they seem “too rich” but we side with NFL owners against the people who make them richer?  When a player ends his life we think “yeah it happens” rather than “was anyone helping him?”

Maybe the league thinks since retirees are no longer NFL players they are not worth their time.

Go Saints.

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NFL GETS DRUNK, SHOWS UP AT SAINTS’ TO “PARTY”

The NFL showed up in New Orleans extremely intoxicated late last night looking for a “fun time” with former flame the New Orleans Saints.  However, the Saints were not having it.  The two were formerly a hot item as recently as 2010 when the two had a steamy relationship starting the night of the Super Bowl.  Recently, the two have not been friendly.

Yeah, they totally banged.

Sources say ever since the bounty scandal the two have not spoken, even though the NFL has texted the Saints numerous times.  The NFL has recently asked LSU for some advice, but they sided with their close friend.

Still begging for the Saints love, the league got hammered in the city and showed up at the Superdome at 4:37 am, screaming for the Saints to come out.  The franchise reluctantly opened the door, only once the NFL broke down into tears begging for forgiveness.  Once inside, the Saints cracked open a bottle of wine and the two talked about Brees, bounties, Sean Payton and even a little bit about coach Bill Parcells.

The Saints, admittedly against better judgement, downed the drin and had one last go with the league; “one for the road” so to speak.

The NFL could be seen drunkenly stumbling out of the stadium early in the morning.  The Saints would not comment and said they are “fully committed to themselves right now.”

TERRELL SUGGS AND BOUNTY HITS, OCEAN’S 11 STYLE

Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs claims “all teams put bounties on guys, we put out hits, jobs…. a heist, if you will.”  The aggressive defender claims the Ravens go through extensive measures to make sure they get their target during the game.  Suggs adjusted his suit, tie, fedora and claimed he “might” just have another job sometime this week.

“Where you think you’re going?”  said an angry NFL official.

Suggs turned and smile: “Getting the band back together.”

THE HACKER

Ed Reed: The Hacker

Suggs arrived at safety Ed Reed’s house first.  Reed’s known by fans for his physicality, but on the field, he’s a calculating maniac.

Reed: “I thought you were out of the game? Going clean.”

Suggs: “Can’t stay out for too long, the job passes you by.”

They toast and Suggs proposed the mission: a full on hit and heist on Super Bowl winning quarterback Eli Manning.

Reed: “Must be true what they say, you have gone nuts.”

Suggs: “That mean you in?”

Reed: “I’ll get my helmet.”

THE BRUISER

Haloi Ngata: The Brusier

Suggs and Reed entered a crowded casino where Haloti Ngata sat in a Hawaiin t-shirt playing blackjack.

Suggs: “still counting cards I see.”

Ngata: “I don’t know what you’re… Hey! TS! When you get out of Goodell’s shit house?”

Suggs: “As far as he’s concerned I’m still there.”

Ngata: “did the ol’ James Harrison Mop Job, eh? Classic.”

Suggs: “We’re pulling a hit. We need a bruiser.”

Ngata: “A bruiser? Going old school, eh. Classic TS.”

Reed: “You in? Or you too busy with your cards?”

Ngata: “Who’s the kid?”

Suggs: “He’s with me.”

Ngata, holding a King, slips his card over: ACE.  Blackjack.

Ngata: “looks like I’m done here.”

THE VETERAN

Ray Lewis: The Veteran

Suggs, alone now, enters Ray Lewis‘ house.

Lewis: “I know what you’re gonna say.  Answer’s no.”

Suggs: “Come on Ray, we been through a lot.”

Lewis: “I’m too old for this shit!  My body.. it ain’t what it was.”

Suggs: “One last job. For me.”

Suggs hands Lewis a spit covered mouthguard.  Lewis puts it in.

Lewis: “whet’s schoo it.”

The four players all entered the stadium wearing suits, ties and fedoras.

Suggs: “let’s do it.”

PART 11 TOMORROW: THE HEIST!

Patriots Brass Confirms that Wes Welker was Disciplined after Superbowl Loss

Vince? Is that you? Vince...?

Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft took to the podium to confirm rumors about a locker room incident featuring several Patriots’ players ganging up on WR Wes Welker.  “The decision to discipline Wes was mine and mine alone.  I felt that this loss could have been avoided and that the course of action we took was in the best interest of the franchise for the long and short term.  The Patriot Way must and will be upheld as long as I am in control.”

According to earlier reports, Welker was walking out of the shower after the Patriots loss on Sunday when teammates Vince Wilfork and Rob Gronkowski grabbed him, pinned him to the ground, and had Wilfork sit on his stomach with a tennis racket.  After Wilfork got up, Gronkowski emptied an entire bottle of syrup on Welker’s chest.  All while this was happening, fellow teammates were chanting “Awful Waffle!“.  Paramedics were called to the scene by a locker room attendant, but they arrived too late to save Welker from being very sticky and embarrassed.  Welker has not been seen since Superbowl XLVI and calls placed to his management were not returned as of this morning.

Pretty much, yeah.

“Wes is a great friend and teammate.  I would do anything for the man,” said Patriots’ QB Tom Brady, “That being said, he deserved everything that was given to him.  He needs to catch the ball during that situation.  That was our best opportunity of the night…well, aside from me missing Deion Branch on that crossing route, or when I under-threw Gronkowski, or when Hernandez dropped that one at the end, or that safety I took on the first play of the game, or…Shit! Is that Vince?  Is he holding syrup!?”

“I am aware of the situation that occurred Sunday night and I am working with Patriots’ officials to gather all of the facts,” stated NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, “As far as any fines, we may go in a different direction for a punishment.  I’m working with Camp Anawanna Executive Director Dr. Kahn at this time.  He may have the current whereabouts of Zeke the Plumber.  We’ll then put the perpetrators out in the woods with Mr. the Plumber and have them spend the night.  Anyone who has their head plunged will receive a $50k fine.  That’s the idea at least; we’re still firming things up with the NFLPA at this time.”

PUPPY BOWL CONTROVERSY

The 2012 Puppy Bowl might forever be remembered for the late game heroics by Mr. Scuffers and yet another heartbreaking playoff failure by Dunston (is he a Hall of Famer or not!?) but controversy will not be far behind.

He's sad because his post-playing career benefits cannot cover all his medical bills. And because you don't wuv him.

The Puppy Bowl could face a lockout going into next season as the Players’ Association demands better treatment from the owners.  Many former players are bankrupt within 10 dog years of retiring, concussions have increased severely throughout the past two seasons with doctors seemingly forcing the puppies to play and the divorce rate among puppies is gets exponentially higher post-playing career (which last between 1-3 games as is!).

Once again the owners have it wrong: there can be no puppy bowl without cute, adorable puppies.  Just because they have opened academies in Latin America and Japan does not mean the same kind of talent is there for cheaper. Numerous puppies from the Dominican are changing their names and ages in order to seem more attractive in the draft.

But the owners do not see it that way: they see the players as borderline worthless commodities they can uselessly trade and neuter their market value (and their testicles).

The dark side of being in The Show

Finally the players are ready to take an adorable stand.  No more Mr. Nice Mr. Freckles, time for Mr. I Just Woke Up And Am Annoyed But Still Nice Mr. Freckles.

But seriously, they take their nuts we have to do something about this, Roger Goodell and David Stern are getting ideas.

JAGS OWNER: I’M NOT GENE SHALIT

I'm the real Khan!

At a press conference this morning, Jaguar’s owner Shahid Khan became enraged when a third member of the media asked him for his take on the new movie “Joyful Noise”.  “Stop asking me for movie reviews, God damn it!  For the last time, THAT’S Gene Shalit; I’M Shahid Khan.  I own the Jaguars; I don’t even like movies!” explained Khan, “I will be happy to answer anyone who has any questions regarding our upcoming off season or anything else NFL related.  Anyone with movie questions, please leave immediately!”  The press conference promptly ended after the statement.  “I find it extremely rude that ‘Mr. Kahn’ didn’t take my question seriously,”  said Brian Stenson, the media personnel that prompted the outburst, “I know he retired from The Today Show 2 years ago, but I don’t think it was out of line to ask his opinion.  The guy couldn’t have been a bigger jerk about it.”

Khan, who became majority owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars on January 4th, has had a rough start with the Jaguar’s fan base in his early tenure.  Last Thursday, Mr. Khan stated that a true fan of the team was “a Jaguar’s season ticket holder“.  The Jaguar’s were 24th in attendance for the 2011 NFL season, a statistic that is shocking considering that they were 5-11 and had Blaine Gabbert as their Quarterback.  This most recent episode brings another black eye to a franchise who is trying to rebuild and change it’s image.

Don't Listen to Him! FOR I AM THE REAL KHAN!!

“I’m not in the position to comment on Mr. Khan’s comments earlier this morning,” said Jaguar’s GM Gene Smith, “I can comment on ‘Joyful Noise’.  I thought it had great story-telling and was a lot of fun!  I went into it thinking ‘Now what on God’s green earth could Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton have in common?’ and came out realizing a lot about myself as a person.  It’s not about our race or culture; it’s about our community, family, and the magic of music bringing together people of all backgrounds!  If I were coach, game film gets replaced by this and every other Queen Latifah movie.”  Jaguar’s Head Coach Mike Mularkey could not be reached for comment.

“Mr. Khan is a great businessman and will be a great owner in this league,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, “We’ll probably fine him $50k for his comments and $200k for Mr. Smith’s action of actually going to see ‘Joyful Noise’.  I’m also going to try to fine everyone who acted or worked on that sad excuse of a movie.  I’m then going to take the money collected from all the individuals and produce ‘Marmaduke 2: Bark in the Saddle’.  James Harrison will play the voice of the villain, Professor Pussycat.  He will be fined for his role in trying to bring down Marmaduke‘s hilarious adventure to Sea World.  It will be a delightful romp.”

ATHLETE’S SHOCKING TWITTER ACCOUNT

I'm sorry yo must have me confused for the cast of Downton Abbey

Arizona Cardinals Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald’s shocking, offensive twitter account has come under the ire of the NFL.  Fitzgerald frequently tweets shocking truths about his goals, passions, dreams and uplifting song lyrics he finds inspirational.  Furthermore, he consistently shares shocking pictures; one featuring the receiver smiling in the park, is of particular note.

“We have spoken with representatives of Mr. Fitzgerald and the Cardinals,” said league commissioner and allfather Roger Goodell.  “Parading pictures of happiness and good behavior are not what the NFL is about.”

Some of the shocking messages include:

TODAY IS BETTER THAN YESTERDAY

PUT YOUR GOALS AND DREAMS IN THE SAME CAR, NO MATTER WHERE YOU GO YOU’LL ALWAYS HAVE THEM WITH YOU

GOOD MORNING MY FRIENDS!

Goodell is considering suspending the receiver but Fitzgerald defiantly will not shut down the account.  He responded to the controversy with:

LET’S ALL HAVE THE BEST DAY WE CAN.

F***ing monster.