Posts Tagged ‘football’

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By @anarchyroll

Why does it matter that the NFL is offering bribes, pulling money for concussion research, and having their actions investigated by Congress?

The body cannot exist without the mind.

In America there is a growing concern, over the growing number of people who are being diagnosed with brain trauma and mental injury related to sports participation. Specifically there is a growing concern that football is too dangerous to be acceptable to be played.

The concern was initially limited to the participation of youths in pee wee football.

But the concern has morphed into concern that even adults should not be playing.
Why the concern for grown ass men who can make their own decisions? Because traumatic brain injuries seem to be less of RISK of playing football and more of an UNAVOIDABLE CONSEQUENCE with every passing research study.

The NFL knows this. The writing has been on the wall for decades but so many money is up for grabs that it is only natural that they would do what was in the financial interest of their $9 billion business to suppress as much of the science/information on brain injury research as possible.

Protecting financial interest seems to be the number one excuse for doing despicable things in America. The NFL’s actions in regard to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is despicable. So despicable Congress has publically called them out.

Something so bad it made Congress come together and actually do something? Eek.

 

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by @anarchyroll
10/16/2014

Have you noticed how there are now four major 24 hour sports networks? ESPN, FOX Sports 1, NBC Sports Network, CBS Sports Network.

There are more than four total. Each of the above listed networks have at least one secondary sports network, in the case of ESPN there’s at least three or four more as poked fun at in the movie Dodgeball.

America sure likes its sports. I know I do. I was raised to be a sports fan, and played competitive sports for ten years of my life. I watch/listen to PTI on ESPN every morning while I am making/eating my breakfast. Watching Chicago professional team sports has been the vast majority of bonding time with  my father for most of my life.

Professional sports these days, are used as a tremendous escape and distraction from the issues of our individual lives and the world at large. I watch pro wrestling for the same reason most people watch football. The main difference, less concussions and drugs, hahaha just kidding the brains of the athletes in both sports have been turned to jelly and dust for our amusement and money.

The latter, the money, is why there are now four major 24 hour sports “news” networks. Obviously nothing that happens in sports is actually news. We might lie to ourselves and each other that it is, but it’s not. The only news that comes out of sports is when taxpayer money is used to build stadiums instead of schools, bridges, or fund education programs. Or when an athlete gets arrested or dies. Those stories often only get reported if violence/blood are involved. If it bleeds it leads after all. Sports are often the lead topic in local newscasts these days. They’re upbeat and entertaining. Sports are meant to entertain. Just like pro wrestling, “real” sports have no dignity or integrity to them, it is all about making money through entertainment.

24 hour sports networks play up smack talk, rivalries, and personal feuds between athletes the same way that pro wrestling promoters, announcers, and managers do. ESPN and FSN are farmed out hype machines, WWE just does all their hyping in-house. The major professional sports leagues provide the content, the networks provide the hype. Highlighting the highlights, spotlighting the star players, dissecting referee decisions, and most importantly promoting upcoming contests.

The biggest job of these networks; is to make children’s games played by men seem more important than politics, environment issues, or economic policy.

The major sports leagues in recent years have all starting broadcasting their own 24 hour networks for their individual league and minor league(s). The NFL Network said it best when they launched; “where football season never ends.” That is the exact purpose AND the exact problem with 24 hour sports networks. The distraction and escapism never ends.

Hard working people deserve a break and an escape via entertainment. They earn it by giving their bodies and/or minds for the bulk of their adult lives, often in the service of other people’s dreams. From movies to concerts to soap operas to hiking to video games to traveling to television; there are many ways to escape reality for a little while to rest and recover one’s body, mind, and spirit.

The problem with professional sports and professional sports networks in America; is the astonishing rate at which time, attention, and money are being siphoned from communities, cultures, and societies in the name of never-ending, passive, spectator based escapism. Playing sports after work is one thing. It is physical exercise and creates real bonds between real people. Watching sports all weekend, every weekend while eating unhealthy foods and consuming large quantities of alcohol while sitting down…Noticed how the leagues and networks are sponsored by fast food companies, soda makers, and liquor distillers? How much advertising for those products are consumers exposed to each game/highlight show?

What would American society and culture look like if the time, attention, resources, and money that are spent on professional sports spectating went to economic inequality, environment concerns, infrastructure development, and/or civics? Everyone who works for a living deserves a break. Part of being an adult is that at some point, playtime is over and it’s time to do the unpleasant work of bettering not just our life but the world we live in. I am as guilty as anyone of trying to stretch my childhood into adulthood. Judging by the ratings and profits of the professional sports leagues, I can see that I’m not the only one.

 

 

 

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by @anarchyroll
6/10/2014

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by @anarchyroll
3/28/2014

Whether you know it or not, college athletics changed forever this week.

Northwestern University’s football players were found to be employees of the school, not merely student athletes, by the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago. This means the players now have collective bargaining rights with the school. That means the players now have a say in terms of monetary compensation for their time and effort on the football field beyond an athletic scholarship. Why is this a big deal?

The student athlete paradigm has been crumbling over the past decade. EA Sports no longer puts out it’s NCAA Football or Basketball video game franchises. Why? Because former student athletes filed multiple class action lawsuits and won (one) because they were not being royalties (residual checks) for the use of their likenesses. EA settled but the NCAA is vowing to take the case(s) to the Supreme Court. The NCAA is also saying they will take the NU case to the highest possible court/governing body. Why? Money.

The NCAA is exposing itself for what it is, a money laundering operation. They exist solely to make money off the time, energy, effort, blood, sweat, and tears of 18-21 year old men and women at Division I universities in the United States of America. They care nothing about graduation rates of the players. They care nothing about their health and medical costs. They only care about how much money they can make off of television contracts for the Bowl Championship Series and March Madness.

By exposing themselves as money hungry pigs, the NCAA is losing it’s battle in the court of public opinion. Rather than evolving and paying the students who are making NCAA and the universities billions of dollars (with a B) each year, they are trying to keep them as scholarship slaves. Scholarships are fine for athletes and universities that aren’t on national television on a daily and/or weekly basis. Scholarships are fine for academics. But NCAA Division I athletics is about money, nothing more, nothing less. If it wasn’t then ESPN and CBS wouldn’t be allowed to make anything more than enough money to cover operational costs to broadcast the sporting events.

But that’s not the way it is. It’s not 1960 anymore. Sports equals business in America. So pay the employees what they earn by destroying their bodies in the primes of their lives for the glory and admiration of their parents and peers. The times they are a changin’. You don’t want to pay students who are on national TV every week? Then;

  • Take the games off national TV.
  • Revoke all contracts outside of local public access.
  • Force all coaches to make the same as the professors.
  • Don’t allow schools to travel out of state to play away games.
  • Disperse all funding equally between all sports played at each school.

Don’t want to do any of those? That list is unrealistic and naive? Yeah, no shit. So pay the players. Don’t give them straight cash homey. Pay them in gift cards so they can buy;

  • food
  • clothes
  • tutors
  • laptops
  • plane tickets to go back home during breaks

If the students can afford these things themselves they won’t be dependent on their parents, boosters, or shady gamblers who get them into point shaving schemes. No one is saying pay the quarterback of Notre Dame $1 million a year. But how about you give the kids some money to have fun on the weekends so you can stop putting schools on probation, stripping wins, taking down banners, and expunging winning records?

Why is NU winning union rights important? It changes the face of college athletics forever. How? Because students will be looked as employees. The tide has turned on this issue. Much like gay rights and marijuana legalization, there is no going back, only forward. It is only a matter of time before all major universities are affected by this. That will affect scheduling, coaches contracts, television contracts, merchandise rights, and tuition costs. The college experience as a whole can and will be changed by this going forward. We have just witnessed the tip of the iceberg.

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by @anarchyroll
2/9/2014

It’s the first Sunday with no football in almost seven months and I’m frightened. What am I supposed to do, interact with the outside world? Yikes. Next thing you know, you’ll be saying I should read a book and exercise instead of binge watching stuff I’ve already seen on Netflix and YouTube. HA! Good luck with that, now pass the deep fried Twinkies, pessimism, and self loathing. I gots some imagining to do.

With that spirit in mind, someone on Reddit came up with a way for the NFL to realign its divisions to be more, logical and efficient.  For a league always looking to increase revenues, this would be a way to do so by reducing costs. Think of how much time, money, and resources would be saved by not having the teams in the NFC East travel to and from Dallas, Texas.

Think of how much more intense rivalries would become with all three teams in the states of California, Florida, and New York playing each other twice a year. Attendance, ratings, and local bar revenues would surely go up.

I’m from Chicago, my division (NFC North) wouldn’t change at all because it’s the only one laid out logically in the present alignment. Though I may have added the Colts to the North and moved the Lions to the East in the same vein of what the NHL did to the Red Wings.

If only the NFL hadn’t redistricted in the last ten years, this well laid out plan by someone with too much free time and not enough priorities on their hands might be plausible to be enacted. I fully endorse this redistricting and so should trade organizations and lobbyists for bars, restaurants, memorabilia makers, and local television providers. Because the NFL is all about dollars and cents. There is plenty more of both to be made with the divisions laid out above and action should be taken accordingly for the good of the fans, and of course the pocket books of those in power.

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by @anarchyroll
2/4/2014

Did you know the NFL makes $9 billion in net profits each year and pays ZERO dollars in taxes?  How? They are classified as a 501(c)(6) trade organization, which enables tax exempt status.  When did they get this sweet hart deal? Back in the 60s. Were the politicians who enabled this high on dope like the hippies? No, just corrupt as hell.  The NFL spends $1.5 billion each year lobbying to maintain their tax exempt status.

Why was this allowed? The NFL was allowed to act as a monopoly in terms of their trade organization status, television contract negotiations, and stadium funding negotiations in exchange for not running games against high school and college games.

What is being done about this? The Properly Reducing Overexemptions For Sports Act has been introduced to the United States Congress. Who? Republican Senator Thomas Coburn of Oklahoma and Independent Senator Angus King are cosponsoring the bill. The bill is presently sitting in the Senate Finance Committee, where it has been since September of last year (2013).

The concept of the NFL not paying any taxes is of course, bullshit. The bill that gave them this status was given no name in order to keep it secret. Individual teams already get tax breaks to build their stadiums and get sweetheart deals to avoid property taxes on them as well as their practice facilities.  The only exemption that may allowed to remain would be the Green Bay Packers, who are publically owned by the town/city.

$9 billion a year annually means they can afford to pay a nominal tax rate. No need to go crazy socialist on the league.  1-5% per individual team in addition to off the top of the league as a whole will be more than sufficient to start. Now, should a back taxes penalty be paid? Considering all the charitable contributions of the league makes each year, that might not be necessary.

But when a Republican United States Senator is proposing a bill that raises taxes, I think we can all agree that the time has come for the NFL to pay their fair share of revenue and help state and federal governments build roads, schools, firehouses, police stations, and libraries.

Click here to sign online petition to revoke the NFL’s tax exempt status.

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by @anarchyroll
1/17/2014

I’m a Chicago resident and the Bears are always in the news, mostly because the two baseball teams (Cubs, White Sox) are perpetually in the shitter due to both bad management and even worse scouting.  The basketball team (Bulls) had a historic run for a decade over a decade and a half ago. The hockey team (Blackhawks) finally started acting like a major market franchise when the cheapskate geriatric owner died and his son took over and ipso facto, they’ve won two titles in four years.

The Chicago Bears are the Chicago team. They crammed a century’s worth of success into one season (1985) and that white hot fire has evolved into a searing hot coal of football passion ever since. How else does Ditka still have a job at ESPN after falling asleep on air?  How is Dan Hampton allowed to be an analyst when he clearly has never even taken a community college public speaking class? Why did Walter Payton get a SI cover story in 2011 when he died in 1999? Because the Bears have that aura. They are the original NFL franchise, and are treated as such both locally and nationally.

The items keeping the Bears in the current news cycle is the contract extension of Jay Cutler and the defensive coaching shuffle.  In my opinion, both actions the Bears took are indicators of poor management decisions, that of an organization running on gravitas and reputation rather than intellectual talent and experienced decision makers.

There is NO reason Jay Cutler needed a contract extension for $50 million in guaranteed money.  Not with one playoff win anyway.  Firing defensive coaches after their first season in which four starting defensive players went down with season ending injuries does nothing to make a team better.  Jay Cutler needed to be rented with the franchise tag for one more season, and the defensive position coaches needed to be given a chance to coach all of their players for one full season before being given their walking papers.

The franchise tag is not a cheap option, I’m aware. In fact, it is an expensive option, that is why the concept was agreed to in collective bargaining back in the day.  But Cutler DID NOT and HAS NOT earned $50 million in guaranteed money, yet. He can, I believe he can, he has shown flashes of being able to prove he can, but he is a poster of inconsistency and being injury prone.  Those are not characteristics of someone you give a huge contract extension to, when you have the ability to franchise tag them and make them earn it for another year.

The Bears fans don’t want to rebuild, no Chicago fan ever wants to hear that word.  But if the Bears gave Cutler a year to prove himself of the contract he has just been given, that would have been the last year for a bunch of defensive veterans to know whether they are going to contend for a title in Chicago, or latch on to a contender elsewhere.  The Bears could have drafted a QB this year, made Cutler perform under the franchise tag next year, and by this time in 2015 we would know if he’s our guy or if it is rebuilding time.  Instead we get more high priced instability, let’s hope this gamble pays off.

As for the coaches that got fired. Lance Briggs, Henry Melton, Charles Tillman, Kelvin Hayden, Shea McClellin, and Patrick Mannelly all were injured for part or the bulk of the season. How can you fire coaches based on that? I know the Bears finished the season as one of the worst defensive teams, but that happens when the injury bug bites.  The winning franchises are pictures of stability and the Bears look unstable everywhere except at wide receiver as a team on Soldier Field and an organization at Halas Hall.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, we finished one win short of the playoffs two years in a row. A bummer yes, a sign to blow it all up and start over? No, not yet. Another year, with another coaching staff however means it’s time for the wrecking ball.

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by @anarchyroll
10/10/13

I’m very happy that I picked the Bears with my heart before the season started as opposed to with my head. My head didn’t do me much better since I picked the Atlanta Falcons to go all the way, please if you have a heart, light a candle for Tony Gonzalez, he deserves better.

The Bears are having a good season so far, regardless of what talk radio in Chicago would have you believe. They are tied for first place in their division, and have been since the season started.  Their offense has entered the modern era, and the defense hasn’t skipped a beat after the departures of Lovie Smith and Brian Urlacher.  Devin Hester and the special teams unit have been producing their now expected high quality results.

However there is a sense of doom and gloom beyond the perennially toxic talk radio scene in the Chicagoland area.  The Bears have lost their two starting defensive tackles and their offensive line appears to be regressing enabling Jay Cutler to follow suit. At least Cutler nailed his performance in The League on FXX, and by him, I mean his wife.

But in all seriousness, or as serious as talking about sports in an age of record high poverty and infrastructure crumbling, if the lines on both sides of the ball crumble, the rest of the team will fall like a house of cards.  If that happens, much like Kevin Spacey’s stream show of the same name, the Bears won’t be receiving any awards for their work no matter how hard they try.  Much like the Best Drama Series category, the Bears play in a stacked division which makes the situation worse.

Offense wins games, defense wins championships, and franchises are built from the inside out. Inside out means from the offensive and defensive lines out to the skill positions. The Bears are legit stacked at all of their skill positions. They have a franchise quarterback, two running backs, a tight end setting the league on fire, three reliable wide receivers, an all time great return game, franchise best kicker, pro bowl linebackers, and corners that create turnovers in mass.  All of those are players and franchise qualities the fans of Jacksonville would sacrifice Tim Tebow to the sun god for; but if you’re team is getting dominated in the trenches you don’t have a chance to win the in the NFL.

Steroids can give the appearance of strength, and can satisfy the ego’s thirst of vanity.  But the muscles are just for show and put the test are prone to break and tear. A high powered offense and a defense that scored looks great, fantasy owners can’t snatch up Bears skill players fast enough. But without strength at the line all the Bears will be able to do is score points in the regular season while watching the playoffs from their homes in Florida and Arizona.