Thursday, February 26, 2009

Can we classify Vince Young and Matt Leinart as "bust"

Matt Leinart and Vince Young were both highly regarded coming out of high school. Both led their teams to national championships squaring off against each other in an epic battle that decided the 2005 season's king of the hill. Vince was the first Quarterback taken in the 06 draft while Leinart was the third.

These young guys have had their share of scrutiny. Vince's wonderlinc score questioned his "intelligence" and opened the door for some "experts" to further dissect his throwing motion and accuracy. Some foolishly wanted to peg him as only a "running quarterback" not smart enough to read NFL defenses.

Leinart was dogged for being a "celebrity" quarterback that spurned the NFL to play college football another year. His academic progress was questioned when we got wind of him taking ballroom dancing as an elective.

Both guys got an early opportunity to play after the veterans in front of them struggled. Vince lost his job after an "injury" and Leinart lost his job after being mildly inconsistent. In the case of Leinart, I believe Whisenhunt was under pressure to prove that he should've been the guy in Pittsburgh.

Leinart's personal life off of the field became tabloid headlines after his "baby's mama" went public about the birth of their first child. Then came the infamous party at his crib that made people question his "maturity". Shortly thereafter came the benching. Sure he had some tough spots but he set the rookie passing record in a game throwing for 405 yards.

In 11 starts in his rookie season he passed for nearly 2500 yards and 11 touchdown passes. He was only 4-7 as a starter but the Cardinals troubles weren't necessarily on the offensive side of the ball. Young took over for a struggling Collins who had just been claimed off waivers from his debacle down in the big easy.

Young took over for the titans after they lost the first 5 games of the 2006 season. Young got his first victory against the Washington Redskins in 25-22 victory. Young's breakout game was before the home crowd in Nashville where he out dueled Eli Manning in a 24-21 come from behind win. He went 24 for 35 and passing for 249 yards, throwing two touchdown passes.

The titans ended the season at 8-8 narrowly missing the playoffs with a home loss to the Patriots. Young and Leinart were penciled in as the starters for the next season. Leinart only survived the first 5 games after a poor start. Young led his team to the playoffs but he didn't show the same promise of his rookie season.

Young's season ending numbers were 2459 passing yards, 9 touchdown passes, 17 interceptions, and 349 rushing yards. Local and national media felt that this stat line vindicated Merrill Hodge and other "analyst" who pegged Young as not being "an NFL Quarterback". This was despite leading his team to the playoffs.

Out of the 2006 Quarterback class he is one of the few to lead their teams to a playoff appearance. Though Jay Cutler has thrown for a gang of yards and touchdowns, they haven't reached the playoffs. In fact long time coach Mike Shanahan got fired for their season ending losing streak that caused them to miss the playoffs.

Some analyst foolishly believe that both these guys are a bust. I believe the jury is still out. Sure we can warm up our "bust o' meters" if we want but their individual performance on the field has been overshadowed by certain things that doesn't necessarily translate to wins and losses.

Young's benching was the right decision because his "injury" wasn't the real problem. Young's attitude and mental approach to the game can be questioned considering his brush with wanting to retire which he later recanted. Jeff Fisher hasn't survived the NFL coaching rat race by becoming an idiot over night. I'm sure he knows after coaching the likes of Steve Mcnair, Chris Chandler and Neil O'Donnell that the mental approach to the quarterback position trumps physical ability and talent.

One comparison that isn't accurate is that the titans and cardinals situations are identical to each other. In certain respects there are similarities but Warner's revival can be attributed to the Cardinals improvement in the running game and on the defensive side of the ball. Warner's performance has been head and shoulders over any Quarterback that the titans have on their roster.

Leinart didn't have the same support during his starting tenure. Both players must get playing time to prove whether or not they can play in this league. I don't believe either of these guys are in the class of Akili Smith, David Klingler, Gino Torretta or Heath Shuler. Former first round picks like David Carr, Joey Harrington and Alex Smith have been unfairly judged by some analyst. These guys are shining examples of how much this league is a team sport. Bone headed decision by the suits can wreck a Quarterbacks career. I'm sure Harrington sends Matt Millen a christmas card every year...

The success of Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco further puts pressure on young guys to hit the ground running in their starting jobs. Vince Young has the most to prove considering he has made certain analyst look like prophets in regards to his mental approach to the game. He has shown the physical ability to play in this league but when will the toughness that he displayed at Texas and in certain instances as a rookie return?

Jeff Fisher issued the right challenge to a guy whose been worshipped since his prep days at Madison High. Kurt Warner has basically dropped hints of maybe wanting to start over since he knows that his age is more of a challenge than Leinart breathing down his neck. Bottom line both have to get reps on the field to prove themselves.

Mannerisms on the side lines doesn't win football games. Hard work in the gym, solid coaching from the staff and an equal chance to prove that you can play in this league is what produces championships. Time will tell whether these guys will join the exclusive fraternity of first round busts. Read it and weep... Let the debate began!!!!

Drew Patton

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Everybody loves Lebron James. Well, probably everybody except diehard Kobe Bryant fans. For the most part, what’s not to love? He is a once-in-a-lifetime athletic specimen. He has the body of a tank with the speed of a corvette. He’s like some rare genetic combination of Karl Malone and Allen Iverson. Simply put, athletically speaking, he’s ridiculous. His outside shot is improving right before our eyes and it seems he can do everything except one thing: sign the contract extension with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Why is this Lebron? A couple of years ago when James, along with the Miami Heat’s Dwayne Wade, signed an extension for fewer years than what is allowed under the collective bargaining agreement, it seemed like a great move. At that point, the Cleveland Cavaliers were a middle of the pack Eastern Conference team, and they seemed either unable or unwilling to put the pieces around James that would bring a championship to Cleveland.

Fast forward to 2009. The Cleveland Cavaliers are one of the three teams, along with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics, that are considered favorites to win the NBA championship. The front office have stepped their game up by resigning Anderson Varejao and trading for Mo Williams, who blossomed into an All-Star along side Lebron.

So what’s the problem now Lebron? There seem to be four major factors that an athlete considers when deciding which team to play for: salary, the ability to contend for a championship, location, and endorsement money. The NBA salary structure already guarantees that no team can offer Lebron a contract that is close to what the Cavaliers can as far as salary and the amount of years are concerned. As stated earlier, the Cleveland Cavaliers are one of the best teams in the league and a favorite to win the NBA Championship. As far as location goes: the man is playing in his home state, mere miles away from where he grew up. Conventional wisdom used to tell us that Lebron should be in a major market to maximize his endorsement potential. Because L.A. doesn’t seem likely because of Kobe Bryant, it is assumed that New York would be his destination. However, it has been proven that with the emergence of the world wide web, and an overall shrinking of the global community, Lebron can command just as many endorsements if he plays in Cleveland and simply handles his business in New York.

So why is Lebron refusing to sign an extension at this point? Hip-hop icon Nas has a song on his 2001 album, Stillmatic, entitled “2nd Childhood,” where he breaks down the lives of various people in their twenties and early thirties who still want to re-live their days as a teenager, and refuse to grow up. Why do I bring this up? Maybe Lebron James is in his second childhood. Maybe he doesn’t want to leave Cleveland at all. Maybe he’s not even considering it. Maybe he just wants that old high school feeling of being recruited. Remember the game in New York against the Knicks where the fans openly displayed signs, chanted, and virtually begged him to come to New York. Well, that’s ten times better than some college coaches begging you to come to their school and put off going pro. Maybe he wants to show up at the start of free agency on July 1, 2010, flash a big smile, hold up a #23 Cleveland Cavaliers jersey and say, “I’m re-signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers!”

The question is do we really need that? Better yet, Lebron, do you really need that? Lebron James wants to be a legend in the same way that the greats that came before him are legends. Not only in the sense of amazing athletic achievements, but also doing it with the class. Well Lebron, you are well on your way and here’s how you can continue: don’t make the people wait another year. After the 2009 season is complete, whether you win the championship or not, do yourself and every basketball fan in the world (outside of New York) a favor. Sign the damn contract.

Bohannon Deshannon

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


What is up Sports Fans? On February 1, 2009 the entire world watched as the Pittsburgh Steelers captured an unprecedented 6th Lombardi Trophy by winning Super Bowl XLIII. On paper the Steelers were truly not the most talented team, there Offense was anything less than boring the only bright spot for the Steelers was the dominant defense that was consistent game by game.

The Defense alone didn’t win it for the Steelers; it was a combination of leaders that kept the team in tact whenever adversities seem to hit. To start you have a Quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger who may not be the flashiest Quarterback in the league, but with two minutes to go in a tight game, I would take this guy to lead my team over almost any Quarterback in the league.

On the Defensive side take the NFL Defensive player of the Year in Line Backer James Harrison coupled with Safety Troy Polamalu and of course you have two of the toughest guys in the league to lead the most dominant defense in the league. The Leadership doesn’t stop there; the biggest and most influential leader was head Coach Mike Tomlin.

Tomlin defied the odds and became the first African American Coach of an organization who has the richest tradition in Football. Even with the odds stacked against him, while trying to follow in the footsteps of legendary Steelers’s Coaches Chuck Knoll and Bill Cowher, Tomlin has reached the same faith that his predecessors have by bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to the Steele City. With all of that said, you have to give a huge thumbs up to the Rooney family by building an organization and surrounding it by leaders on and off the field. The Steelers have the perfect blueprint for building a Super Bowl winner.

You can be the most talented team in the league and still come up short in the big games if you don’t have a few vocal leaders in the Locker Room. Now it’s time to get into the meat of my article and focus on a team who many felt was the clear cut favorites to win Super Bowl XLIII at the start of the season. Yes you have guessed it Sports Fans it is time to talk about the Soap Opera that is the Dallas Cowboys.

Let’s look at the Cowboys on paper starting with the Offense, Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Marion Barber, Flozell Adams, Leonard Davis, Felix Jones, Tashard Choice, Roy Williams, Terrell Owens and I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. On the defensive Side there is DeMarcus Ware, Jay Ratliff, Terrance Newman, Greg Ellis, Ken Hamlin, Adam “don’t call me Pac Man” Jones, and once again I could go on and on about the talent pool that surrounds this once proud Franchise.

Talk about a perfect ingredient for a Super Bowl contender, there is just one thing wrong. Out of everyone that I have listed and as talented as they are, no one has proven to be a leader on this dramatic team. Throughout the season it simply became a weekly show on ESPN and other networks surrounding all of the negativity and distractions that were going on at Valley Ranch. It got to the point where the networks would spend less time discussing how the Cowboys were preparing for their upcoming opponents, and more time focusing on Pac Man fighting with his Bodyguard, or Tony Romo’s relationship with Jessica Simpson, Wade Phillip’s inability to gain respect from his players, and of course the biggest star of the Soap Opera, the new J.R. Ewing of Dallas in Wide Receiver Terrell Owens.

Out of the group Owens has been labeled the biggest distraction of them all and the main reason why the Cowboys can’t and will not ever get over the hump. Is T.O. really the blame for the Cowboys recent failures? I know I will probably get blasted for this, so I will put on my Armored Suit, what I see in Terrell Owens (The Dallas Cowboy) is a player who simply wants to win. He is a proven playmaker and one of the most gifted and physically fit athletes in the league. True enough he complains about not being involved enough in the Offense, and he can be found pouting while negatively nodding on the sidelines whenever the Cowboys are on the verge of a lost, is there anything wrong with those actions? A Cowboy fan should worry less about T.O’s actions and more about other guys who have not step forward to lead this team.

What hunts T.O. is the run ins that he had in San Francisco with Jeff Garcia and the even bigger blowup that went on in Philadelphia with Donavan McNabb, Andy Reid, Hugh Douglass and the entire Eagles Organization. In both those situation Owens was truly in the wrong, but during in tenure in Big D, I think that he wants to be the vocal leader of this franchise but because of his negative past many people in the Cowboy’s Organization and the Media takes his every action and immediately turns it into more than it actually is. So at this point no one really understands if he is trying to lead or add more fuel to a fire that has been burning for the last few years. The one thing about it, despite T.O.’s demeanor he still has the most important Cowboy on his side, in owner Jerry Jones.

If no one will accept T.O. as the leader of this Franchise then at what point do guys like DeMarcus Ware, or Terrance Newman, and even Tony Romo step up to the plate. The Cowboys have the nucleus in place, the only advice that I would give them is to take a page from your rivals in the Steele City and understand that you win Championships as a well bonded team, and not as selfish individuals. It is rumored that Ray Lewis could be headed to Dallas if he can’t work out an agreement with the Ravens, the one thing about Ray Lewis, whether you like him or not, if he lands in Big D, there will be no need to ponder over who the vocal leader will be. Agree or disagree Fam, but do it tastefully.

By: William Terrell

Friday, February 20, 2009

"The King of College Hoop"

What's up Sports Fans? It's right around the corner, anxious fans are waiting to see if their favorite school can bully their way to a National Championship, Cinderella is silently lurking to steal the National Spotlight from some of the more prestigious schools. Rocket Scientist, there is no need for your help on this one, because any avid sport fan understands that it is time for MARCH MADNESS!

The Madness officially begins during the heart racing Conference Tournaments, for some teams it's do or die and winning the Conference Tournament is the only way that many of them will even have a chance of competing for the National Championship. Thinking about March Madness gives me goose bumps which is why I will simply focus on who I think are the top 5 players in College Basketball who are also candidates for the Player Of The Year Award.

Another good thing about March Madness is the chance for many young men to showcase their talents to a National Audience, not to mention several NBA scouts, but the 5 players that I will list really don't need much exposure, their resumes for the upcoming NBA Draft are pretty much complete. Here are my top five: Stephon Curry - Davidson, Blake Griffin - Oklahoma, Hasheem Thabeet - UCONN, Tyler Hansbrough - North Carolina, and closing out the list is Jodie Meeks of Kentucky.

Standing at 6-3 in a 185 pound frame is my first candidate in Davidson's Junior Guard Stephon Curry. We hear the phrase "Shooting Lights Out" often, and with Curry the phrase is a definite fit. Shooting wise he is almost a mirror image of his father, former Virginia Tech great and NBA vet Dell Curry who made a name for himself by blistering the nets on both the College and Pro level.

Stephon currently leads the nation in scoring at 29pts per game, eclipsing the 40 point plateau 3 times, scoring 30 or more 9 times with a season high of 44 twice. His first 44 point performance was on the National Scene during a ESPN Broadcast against the Oklahoma Sooners. Though Curry's Davidson Team would go down in defeat, there was little doubt whether or not Curry could explode against the big boys, in reality this is the same guy who lead his team to the Elite 8 during the NCAA Tournament on last year where a felled last second shot was the only thing that stood in the way of their faith to the Final Four and an upset victory over the eventually National Champions Kansas Jayhawks.

Playing in the Southern Conference is the only knock on Curry, but I think many will agree that he is a strong Candidate for the P.O.Y.

Let's now shift gears a little and talk about a complete monster on the hardwood. If you have yet to see Oklahoma's Blake Griffin play then you my friend have missed out on a treat. Griffin brings and intimidating 6-10 251 pound frame to the court, and often serves as a defensive nightmare for anyone who has to guard him. For the season Griffin averages 22 points and 14 rebounds alone with several rim rocking highlights. Griffin's best perfomance came during Valentine's day where he showed no love in breaking the hearts of everyone on the Texas Tech Staff, dominating the game with 40 pts. and 23 rebounds. Griffin's NBA stock continues to rise as the season progresses, and in case you have forgotten he is still a part of that outstanding Freshman Class of 07 that produced the likes of: Derrick Rose, O.J. Mayo, Kevin Love, and Michael Beasley.

For my next candidate we will take a stroll over to the Big East where the play of UConn's Junior Center Hasheem Thabeet makes the Huskies one of the favorites to win it all in the Motor City come April. At 7-3, 263 pounds Thabeet follows in the footsteps of other big men who have dominated the Big East Conference in the Past....Patrick Ewing, Derrick Coleman, Charles Smith, Alonzo Mourning, Deikembe Mutumbo; more recent memory Emeka Okafor and Roy Hibbert. Thabeet's presence on the defensive end is a big reason why the Huskies are one of the top defensive teams in the Nation, his 13.2 points and 10.6 rebounds are not to shabby either. The most impressive stat to me is the 4.3 blocks that he averages per game, Thabeet not to be outdone by Blake Griffin offered up a small Valentine's day gift for the Seton Hall Pirates when he scored 25 points 20 rebounds and block an amazing 9 shots! What's more impressive about Thabeet is that he is still adjusting to a game that he hasn't played very long, talk about the potential for growth. Thabeet will definitely make a great impact on the NBA!

The fourth player on my radar is a guy who never, and I repeat never takes a possession off. He is the current Player Of The Year in North Carolina's Center Tyler Hansbrough. Hansbrough's stats are down a bit from last year, but there is not a Player in the country who would pout about averaging 21.4 points and 7.5 rebounds. What's really commendable is that he has played most of the season hurt, but hurt or not you would never know because Hansbrough toughness and determination are consistent game by game. I wont spend alot of time gloating on the magnificent career that Hansbrough has had because there is not a College Basketball Fan in the world who is unfamiliar with Tyler Hansbrough.

Last on my list and certainly not least is a guy that even Adolph Rupp would be proud of. You have probably guessed that I am about to pub Kentucky's dynamite Shooting Guard Jodie Meeks. Meeks is a guy that only averaged 8pts during his first two years in the Blue Grass State, this season he has stepped his game up tremendously averaging almost 26 points per game. Meeks has crack 40 plus twice, 30 plus 4 times, and who can ever forget the 54 point one man show that he put on at Thompson Bowling arena against the Tennessee Volunteers on January 13th. Meeks already posses a strong NBA build at 6-4 and 208 pounds, there is not an NBA G.M. anywhere that would disagree that Meeks is poised for stardum. Meeks is definitely a sleeper to walk away with the award and if he can go on a tear during the SEC and NCAA Tournaments, he could very well bring the Player of The Year hardware to a school that is very rich in College Basketball tradition!

In the process of closing out this article, I guess it wouldn't be fair if I didn't give my consensus pick for the Player of The Year. While every player on my list is surely deserving, I will have to go with Blake Griffin. His play alone is the big reason why the Sooners only have 1 lost and are geared to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Griffin is simply a Freak of Nature who can score, block shots, and rebound. Blake Griffin is a sure NBA Lottery pick, that's if he decides to leave. Agree or disagree Fam, but do it tastefully.

by William Terrell

Thursday, February 19, 2009


The elephant in the room for college football has been minority coaching. Courageous journalist like Gene Wojciechowski, Pat Forde, Jason Whitlock and Jemelle Hill(some of my favorites I might add) have wrote eloquent articles dissecting the finer points of why college administrators are like catbirds in their approach to hiring minority candidates.

Charlie Strong has proven himself at the college level for over twenty years. The proverbial rite of passage for a head coaching job has been a coordinator's position. Strong has been the defensive coordinator at Florida for several seasons. He also had a stint in the same role at South Carolina. So what's the problem?. Is it all entirely Race? Yes and No.

Any successful coordinator on any side of the ball may find themselves asking certain questions when they have a desire to go to the next level in their career. There are hundreds of coaches of multiple backgrounds that probably fly under the radar. Every minority coach may not want to be a head coach but does that mean so few of them are uniquely unqualified? NO!!!! Does it mean that most minority candidates don't want to pay their dues? Of course not.

Most minority coaches break into coaching as graduate assistants just like their white peers. I guess the fair question to ask is where do guys like Strong go wrong? Reportedly he interviews well. He is known as closer on the recruiting trail. His players play hard for him and they respect him immensely. One of the issues is that not very many minority candidates become graduate assistants.

RACE is definitely a factor but we must look a little deeper than the obvious. Eric Holder, the newly appointed Attorney General called the American people "cowardly" for our actions in dealing with issues of race.

His words are timely considering the socioeconomic climate in America today. Couldn't the same term apply to the college presidents, administrators and boosters who repeatedly "ignore" the vast talent pool of minority coaches? You betcha...

Cowardice isn't always necessarily rooted in hate. Fear is the true catalyst that impedes social change. It's true that America has progressed to the point where we can have a woman secretary of state, a black president (sorry Bill Clinton) and a black attorney general but these examples of progress doesn't always translate perfectly into all aspects of American life. College football is one of those gray areas that has so much room for improvement.

Strong was asked during a press conference whether or not his "interracial" marriage was a factor in his hiring. His answer was a resounding yes. If that's true (which it probably is) then it speaks to some deeply rooted fears that have long plagued some white men for two centuries in American History.

It's always been cool for the Strom Thurmond's and the Thomas Jefferson's of "white society" to have a black mistress but never cool for Mandingo (Sorry Ken Norton) to have "massa's" wife or daughter as a sexual play thing. It's always been an unspoken experiment for a black athlete to have to prove to white society that blacks could thrive in a climate where they weren't particularly welcomed.

If Jackie Robinson fails then it proves that the theory of racial separation and superiority are valid means of conducting a society. If Paul Roberson, Jerry Levias (first black to integrate the old southwest conference) and Perry Wallace (first black to intergrate the SEC) fail then the next generation of black athletes that followed would've never set foot on many of America's college campuses.

Can the same assessment be made for college football coaches? Sure it can. Ron Prince , Dr. Fitz Hill (formally of San Jose State he's completely out of coaching) Sly Croom, Ty Willingham and Karl Dorrell have all recently failed at their most recent stops. Dorrell and Willingham both had some success but not to the degree that really breaks barriers. What kind of pressure should we assume that Randy Shannon of the University of Miami is under?

If Lane Kiffin fails at Tennessee it will be regarded as a failure by him. When a Sly Croom fails its more of a see I told you that "they" couldn't do it. Programs will still buy into the young, brash, and "hot" young coach. Unfortunately the Charlie Strong's or Turner Gill's of the world will get passed up for the likes of Kiffin, Chizik and Dan Mullen.(Strong has more experience than the three of them combined)

The college powers that be seem to borrow from the behavior of the New York Post. They masterfully use misdirection as a means of hiding their true feelings while portraying to the public that guys like Charlie Strong aren't really that qualified. "Gradual Progress" has always been the mod us operandi of American society.

The NFL has become somewhat of an underground railroad for minority coaches. Tony Dungy, Jim Caldwell, Mike Tomlin, and Dennis Green all got on that train that Curtis Mayfield sang about. The glass ceiling in college proved to much for them to handle. All of them found a measure of success in the NFL.

Would Mike Tomlin get the job at any college program coming off a losing campaign in the NFL? Could we apply the same question to Herm Edwards? It was a "no brainer" for Nebraska to hire Bill Callahan right? People who view the Rooney Rule or Affirmative Action as a "quotas" can never give concrete answers on how to fix such a complex issue.

Mike Tomlin's success may have made it easier for Tampa Bay to Hire Raheem Morris. Spare me with the idea that they hired the best candidate. Dungy success paved the way for the likes of Tomlin, Marvin Lewis, Herm Edwards and Denny Green.

Some fans don't see this as an issue at all. "The best candidate" will always get the job they say. Not entirely guys. The Charlie Strong's of the world survive the coaching rat race due to their perseverance, love for the kids they coach and most importantly because they love the game. Football imitates that game of life in so many ways. Sadly it hasn't caught up to the coaching ranks of college football. Someday it will...

Drew Patton

Monday, February 16, 2009

Michael Vicktim

Save your bullets, this isn't an article defending the crimes that Mike Vick committed. I'm sure even the most fair minded or irrational fan maybe wondering why America should look at the plight of Mike Vick through the lens of "victim hood". I can see the knee jerk reaction of political ideology rearing its ugly head. The "conservative" movement in America loves a good story of someone pulling themselves up from their own bootstraps.

Mike Vick's story is a combination of that type of philosophy coupled with an array of double standards. Real sports with Bryant Gumbel did a piece about the slaughter of horses after they are no longer useful. Bernard Goldberg was able to capture the horrible death of these horses behind the scenes as he got a tour of the facilities.

Now you maybe asking what does this have to do with Vick's situation? As much as I love ESPN and other national networks, I found a huge disparity in the reporting of Mike Vick and the little known facts of what happens to horses after their racing days are over. Sure horse racing isn't even in the same hemisphere in regards to popularity but the venom of Peta and most "dog loving Americans was to much for a guy like me to bear.

When Eight Bells lost his bid for the triple crown the media pounced on this as a feel good story. A near miss of such a elusive feat is enough to draw national headlines but its fascinating that neither of the big wigs in media or sports talk radio wouldn't dare draw the comparison of the animal cruelty of dogs to the plight of race horses.

The world of horse racing often makes the steroid era in baseball look like patron saints. This sport is dominated by rich power brokers who often have these animals so doped up that many break their legs from the access weight gain. We've all heard the running jokes of the glue farm but Real Sports uncovered the ugly reality of what really happens to these horses. (Some of these animals end up as steak in many European restaurants.)

Still don't see vicktim hood eh? Consider this... Leonard Little committed vehicular homicide and was allowed to play in the NFL again. Brett Favre admitted to abusing painkillers and alcohol but no journalist has ever raised the concern that Favre's streak of playing 291 games probably were enhanced by his abuse of painkillers. Didn't we at one time defend Mark Mcguire and Sammy Sosa's historic home run chase? Did you still listen to Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Riley and Jesse Jackson after their scandals?

It is no secret that regular Joe convicted felons have a hard time reentering society. There are very little social services that reach out to them which contributes to many of them succumbing to the trap of being a "career criminal". The social stigma is devastating. Mike Vick isn't entirely a victim of the system. He is an accessory to celebrity, a hypocritical society and a news media that plays to the hierarchy of characters designed to control the critical thinking of the general public.

Before TMZ guys like Mickey Mantle could party hardy all night without his personal business ever being reported. Lawrence Taylor could go on all night coke binges before the big game. Today's sports world is miles apart from objective and fair analysis in regards to hot button issues.

Many fans and many sports "analyst" would like to see Vick further punished by Roger the terrible. Some are advocating that he get a fair shot at redemption. Those who would like to see the latter are few and far in between. Mike Vick would be the first to admit that his lust for having a good time and walking on the wild side contributed to his demise but should it cost him a shot at earning a living? Especially when he has paid his debt to society for his crimes.

Has Peta ever set up shop at the Kentucky Derby knowing full well that some of these horses are going to meet a violent death? Peta can't plead ignorance on this one. Those who are "animal lovers" probably have never seen the Real Sports story. Please spare me with the argument that horse racing is "legal". Legalities and morality sometimes don't add up. Alchohol used to be illegal and Marijuana was once legal. Go figure...

The slaughter of horses should carry the same angry response from "fair minded" sports fans. Will the sports fan demand that the elite of the Horse racing world be punished for skirting the law? Does the media have us on their puppet strings further skewing our judgment by telling us who we should love or hate. (or who the real "bad guys"are) Mike Vick's crimes can't be defended but his right to reenter society can be. Are we that obsessed with celebrity that we can't see ourselves in this dicey situation. Honestly, wouldn't you want a second chance?

Does Josh Hamilton deserve a second chance? Did Ray Lewis deserve a second chance? Does Pete Rose deserve to get in the hall of fame? These are questions that the hypocritical sports world will never be honest about. We live in a country that says it believes in justice for all. WE love to promote the notion of America being a place of promise and second chances.

America is full of "christian" people who would beg for a second chance for themselves but scorn someone else when they ask for one. The court of public opinion has always been a kangaroo court. Why should this zebra change its stripes now.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

"Madison Square Magic"

What is up Sports Fanatics? Let me start off by throwing three numbers at you...55, 61, and 52....If you are confused and don't know where I am taking this, then I will make it easier and give you three names to go with those numbers, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James. You see those are the most points that each individual has scored as members of the opposing team at Madison Square Garden the Home of The New York Knicks.

You may now be asking why I am pin pointing these three future NBA Hall of Famers, well it is simple. Since the end of the Jordan era, an era where Michael took the NBA to a whole new level in the mid 80's well into the late 90's many players of today are often compared and some even try to pattern their games after the "Great One". Let's face it, the name Michael Jordan alone would sell out any NBA arena in a matter of minutes during his playing days.

Since the retirement of "His Airness" several young and gifted players have dawned the steps of the NBA but there have been a certain few that were unfairley labled the next Michael Jordan. Let me put that to rest right now, "there will never be another Michael Jordan" with that said here are the names of a few who were labled by the Media as the next big thing. I will go as far back as Harold Miner the talented Shooting Guard out of USC who because of his amazing atheleticism was deemed "Baby Jordan". Well Baby Jordan's success at USC to me was average at best, and his short lived NBA career was even worse. Other guys who would draw comparison were J.R. Rider from UNLV, Vince Carter and Jerry Stackhouse both from Jordan's Alma Mater North Carolina. Rider like Miner's NBA Career could never really get going, Carter and Stackhouse have both had pretty good NBA Careers, but could never live up to expectation of their Tarheel Predecessor which in all fairness was not the fault of any of these guys, the Media pretty much set the standards. By the way Vince is having a pretty good season with the Nets, while Stackhouse's career my be slowly dwindling down.

Two guys are who are now NBA Supserstars and are constantly drawing the Jordan comparison are Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. It seems as though everything that these guys do on the court is often being compared to M.J......many think that both Bryant and James could possibly be better than Jordan.....Ebonically speaking "Imma have to disagree with that", which brings me back to my original topic "Madison Square Magic".

Why Madison Square Garden? I'll tell you why, any Sports fan knows that when you talk about the NBA, that the Mecca of Basketball, The World's Most Famous Arena is Madison Square Garden. It's the one arena where visiting players want to really shine and have fun with Spike Lee in the process. The Big Three (Michael, Kobe, LeBron) have all had really big nights at the Garden, for Kobe and LeBron their biggest Garden success have both come within the last week, and the questions are now being asked "Are their Garden perfomances greater than Michael's?

Let's go back to almost 14 years ago, March 28, 1995 the night in Garden History where Michael Jordan light up the Knicks for 55 points 4 rebounds, and 2 assist. Fast forwarding to February 2, 2009 another night in Garden History where Kobe Bryant set a record by scoring the most points as a member of the opposing team when he put up 61 points, with 2 rebounds, and 3 assist. Hold the fast forward button slightly because we don't want to go to far, we will stop at February 4, 2009, the night where LeBron James recorded a triple double and set a record for having the third highest point total as a visitor with 52 points, but was most impressive is the fact that he also recorded 10 rebounds, while dishing 11 assist. Now the argument becomes, who's night was most impressive? Well let's see.

Kobe of course scored 61 points while shooting 19-31 from the field, LeBron exploded for 52 by going 17-33 from the field while M.J. lit up the score board for 55 while shooting 21-37 from the field. From a statistical standpoint, Kobe only missed 12 of his 31 shots, while both LeBron and Michael missed 16 attempts each. Not taking anything away from Kobe or LeBron, I still say that Michael's perfomances should go down as the greatest, and I will offer a few reasons.

Michael did it against a New York Knicks Squad that was far more superior than the current one. This is a team that featured Patrick Ewing, John Starks, Anthony Mason, Charles Oakley, Charles Smith, Derrick Harper, and Hubert Davis. That New York Knicks team was also very physical and one of the best Defensive Teams in the league and a true Championship Contender. After all they were the defending Eastern Conference Champions. The next reason and the most important reason was that Michael Jordan was just returning from a 17 month retirement and was only in his fifth game. The NBA Season was nearing the end, and plus he did it wearing the number 45 Jersey (not that this mattered) :). Even with the layoff Jordan was still in pretty good physical shape, but was no where near in properbasketball form.

I am not discrediting what Kobe and LeBron did, but let's face it, this current Knicks Franchise should not even be mentioned in the same sentence as the 94-95 Squad. I have mad respect for Chris Duhon, Quentin Richardson, Jared Jeffries, David Lee, and Al Harrington, but if Michael had been playing against this group he probably would have scored 70 on that night. There are several who will disagree with me, and that is cool I am only giving my opinion, but the facts speak for themselves and Micheal did it at a point in his career when many people said that he didnt have it anymore. Agree or Disagree Fam but do it tastefully.
By: William Terrell

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Miseducation of the Sports Fan

Pat Forde wrote a great column on today highlighting the recent controversy of Micheal Phelps being caught smoking weed. My beef isn't with what Forde wrote. In fact I tend to agree with most of what he said in the article. I have observed him pulling very few punches on a diverse group of public figures. Especially the ones we as a sports public have grown accustomed to chastising.

We've seen the likes of Chris Webber get in trouble for having "roaches" in his car. We've seen Damon Stoudimire beat the rap on some of his "brushes" with drugs. As a matter of fact we've all read at least one article that talked about the sub culture of drugs in professional sports. As I hinted earlier, my quarrel isn't with sports the columnist. We all somewhat had our "beliefs" validated when Nat Newton was convicted for selling Marijuana.

My ire is strictly reserved for people who read the columns. Yes you (us) the sports fan. The comment sections on the various websites confirms the intense drug culture that exist among John Q sports fan. Some of these people have a thimble's worth of intelligence. Sorry to be so condescending but its the truth. These are the same people who can defend some of the worst behavior of their favorite athletes but expect the guillotine for others they don't like or can't "relate" to.

These same guys that went out of their way to call columnists stupid are the same ones who agrees with them when other superstar athletes have similar transgressions. Don't believe me? Here's exhibit A. Mark Chmura gets accused of raping his 17 year old babysitter. We were all shocked considering Mark's "good guy" persona.

Now exhibit B, Rueben Patterson was a different story. He had quite the rap sheet before his "dilemma". Rueben was once known as the self proclaimed "Kobe stopper". Apparently he never could stop Kobe or his affinity for committing crimes. Patterson's crimes against society were no doubt damaging to his public persona but his rape case was against a 24 year old woman and not a 17 year old girl.

Should our perceptions of someone influence the facts of a criminal case or their right to reenter society once their legal matter is over? (If you like this you'll love my upcoming article on Mike Vick) Of course not but in some respects it does. I guess Andre Agassi's 90's commercial was prophetic, Image is everything.

Of course Chmura beat the rap but were we that outraged? Sure he wasn't a "big star" but he was a big enough star for us to be consistent with our "anger" toward out of control criminal athletes.

When Patterson apologized for his behavior, I'm willing to bet that John Q sports fan was very unforgiving. In fact when we read the sports columns and the comment sections it was most likely filled with pompous, self righteous blabber further berating Patterson for his behavior. Rightfully so in the case of Patterson but most sports fans wholeheartedly concurred with the negative sentiment of the article and took Patterson's apology with a grain of salt.

Did we feel the same way about Chmura? This guy showed the kind of contrition that rivaled any scene from a Hollywood A lister. Did we forgive him? You bet we did. That's even after he admitted to inapporiately fondling the young lady. Hand that man a belated Oscar. The same tears shown by Kobe still didn't win him any fans for admitting adultery instead of rape. Even after he was acquitted most people in visiting arenas still "offered their support" for the woman simply known as the accuser.

There are certain public figure bad boys that we've forgiven. Charles Barkley comes to mind.(The spitting incident) John Daly, Brett Myers, Marvin Harrison, Ray Lewis, Josh Hamilton and Rick Ankiel all were welcomed back with open arms. Some had tougher roads than others. Kobe eventually regained his endorsements but he never has quite gotten the love from the sports world.

So the moral of this article is to show the hypocrisy of public opinion. WE reserve our outrage for those who either we "identify" with or those we believe genuinely are "victims". This bias is very complex but simple when one gets a birds eye view of the sub culture of the "water cooler" talk that exist in 21st century America.

Apparently most sports fans and Madison Ave are going to "forgive" Mike Phelps yet again. (Did we remember the underage DUI from 2004?) I'm not mad at Phelps but it seems mighty "strange" that Pac-Man Jones' biggest detractors didn't want to hear about him being a young kid with sudden fame and fortune. Sure some national columnist are consistent but us sports fans are in another zip code as usual.

Charles Barkley told us the truth in 1993 about who our real role models should be. Why didn't we listen then and why don't we listen now?