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Penn State & the 8th Deadly Sin

So much has been written about the evolving Penn State University scandal that I hesitate to tread. But, I continue to be amazed by the arrogance that continues to be displayed by some of the Nittany lion faithful.

Just as I begin to believe that they finally 'get it', a PSU-family member will make a very public statement about how Joe Paterno or even Jerry Sandusky is being mistreated.  They go on to speak about the 'Penn State Way', all of the good that Joe Pa has done over the last 50 years and all of the lives that he has touched.

Unfortunately, when the grandfather, father and man Joe Paterno had a chance to help young men being sexually abused by one of his own he fumbled mightily. 

His comment upon reflection- "I should have done more." Ya think??

I've got a question for coach, Mike McQueary- How does a 28 yo man view what he knows to be an improper act with a child in a locker room shower continue to walk by without immediately confronting the situation? 

Many students clearly understand the 'Penn State way' as the campus literally riots moments after the coach is fired. Did they even light a candle after the first reports of allegations that a child may have been harmed on their campus by one of their own?? 

Where was the outrage?

I could go on and on but this isn't about Joe Paterno's legacy or feelings.  This isn't primarily about the arrogant culture that PSU has clearly mastered and taught many of its' family members' over generations.

While people lament the fall of Joe Pa and the damage that is being done to the reputation of such a fine academic institution lest they forget one small fact:

WHAT ABOUT THE ABUSED CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES?

Who's rioting for them?

Pride comes before the fall...so does arrogance.

Clearly, for years many of the Nittany-faithful have believed that nothing was more important than Penn State, but many in the rest of the world value the safety of all children just a bit more.

Various topics and random thoughts

In today's media crazed world with 24-hour news cycles, streaming video from every smart phone and the internet it seems that we are inundated with random events.  Some are news worthy but most are just presented for shock value or in a feeble attempt to stave off boredom.

Here are a few recent topics that caught my attention ( in no particular order):

Smokin' Joe Frazier is dying of liver cancer

Damn...what a shame!  I initially met him when I was in my training in Philadelphia.  His gym was just down Broad Street from Temple Univ. Hospital.  He is a very friendly and misunderstood person.  Since history portrayed Ali as the hero that only left one role for Joe to inherit...truly a shame.

Tiger's ex-caddie shows his true colors

I know Stevie Williams was upset about the manner in which Tiger dismissed him but to now show his racist character...WOW!  Didn't he make millions of dollars for merely carrying a golf bag????  How much does that bag weigh?  Tiger I'm stronger than I look...call me...Please!

LSU vs Alabama 'Game of the Century'

9-6...seriously???

Kim Kardashian is national evening news worthy

When I hear Brian Williams speaking of the daily travails of Kim K: Kim's getting married, Kim's getting a pedicure, Kim's getting a divorce.  I'm left with one overriding conclusion- Kim's a pimp!! How she parlayed a big butt and a smile into a media empire should be mandatory case study at Harvard and Wharton business schools! Kim- much respect...keep getting your hustle on!!!

Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann

The question isn't where to start but rather... How to stop?

Conrad Murray's role In Michael Jackson's death

Conrad Murray's personal life (girlfriends and children) and Michael Jackson's personal life (clear signs of prescription drug addiction) have nothing to do with with simple questions- Did Conrad Murray cause Michael Jackson's death and were his actions reasonable and safe despite the outcome?


UFC on Fox

Velasquez vs. Dos Santos is a great fight for MMA enthusiasts but I don't think many casual fight fans or newbies have much of an idea who they are.  Even more important, how does a airing a single fight that is not likely to go the distance keep a mainstream audience's interest for 60 minutes? If the fight goes all five rounds that still leaves 35 minutes of t-a-l-k-i-ng... I LOVE MMA but even I don't want to hear all of that hype.

US wealth disparity

IF

  • the top 1% have more money than the bottom 90% of Americans
  • federal legislators continue to be more interested in keeping their jobs than helping unemployed citizens find a decent job w/ health care
  • major corporations (banks, wall street, oil, pharma etc...) continue to be allowed to rape the public 
  • public education is failing and even those with college degrees cannot find a job that will allow them to pay off their educational loans AND live reasonably
  • Tens of thousands of Iraq and Afghan war veterans return to the US and find unemployment lines and inadequate mental health options to help them cope

How long do you think it will be before the 99% just start taking what they want?  Ignore the Occupy Wall Street movement and let'em eat cake...right?

I warned you these were random thoughts.

NFL CBA: Remember Only the Athletes risk their health

Like many others, I am eager for the return of the NFL.  Since the owners have approved and the players are reviewing, it appears that ratification of a new CBA may be close.

I must admit that I am guilty of spending an obscene amount of time hanging on each and every word of the NFL Network or most any other person 'in the know' with an ESPN presence.

But one thing is curious to me.

Why is there a growing sentiment among the pundits and peception peddlers that the NFL owners are giving away the farm with respect to practice and safety related issues?

The regulation and reduction in OTA's and contact practices only serves to limit the wear and tear on the players bodies and brains.

How can anything that will potentially keep players healthy longer both during and after their careers possibly be a bad thing?

Studies clearly show that all contact (including routine practice) counts and is cumulative in nature when in comes to potential brain injury.

Both players and owners have a financial risk when it comes to splitting up the $10 billion per year NFL pie...man that's a big number.

But only the players have a physical and mental risk.

Remember.

Owners can only lose money...though none of them do.

Players can lose far more...and many of them do.


Note to next HBO Sports Prez: Embrace MMA

Ross Greenburg was a sports visionary at HBO.  He resigns with his legacy firmly intact...the accolades speak for themselves (51 Emmy and 8 Peabody awards).

He apparently is going in another direction because he's tired of the 'mean-spirited' 'grind' of the business of professional boxing.

Can't fault him there.

I think that Greenburg's days were numbered when he refused to honestly accept the changing times and landscape.

Over the last 10 years, an undeniable movement in combat sports has been underway.

Simply put- He wouldn't accept the fact that the younger, growing fan base had begun to move towards MMA in an ever increasing manner as its combat sport of choice.

That doesn't mean that professional boxing was not great but the market has been speaking with a loud and clear voice for quite some time.

The music industry and its' captains of industry met a similar fate when they failed to properly embrace digital music.  Young people didn't want CD's any more.  Apple's itunes got it and most everyone else didn't and we see how that has worked out...the dynamics of the fight game aren't much different. 

Young people still love combat sports but the preferred form isn't boxing.

Note to the next HBO Sports Prez- don't bet on CD's.



My Beef with Joe Rogan?

I wrote an article on mmajunkie.com clearing up some relatively minor medical misstatements that were uttered during UFC 131... which was a great card by the way.

Man, why did I do that???

The internet went crazy!!! 

Who was I to be taking petty cheap shots at Joe Rogan??

Huh???

I don't have anything against Joe.  I've never met the man.

I spoke of Joe in the highest terms but many of his fans felt the need to uphold his honor as if I had sullied it...a bit too much public display of 'man love' for my taste but hey... it's a new world out there. 

It got so heated that even the man himself, no other than Joe Rogan had to take to the keyboard and put me in my place.

For lil ol' me...Dude, I'm honored.

Fact
: Joe Rogan is a UFC legend destined for the Hall of Fame.

Fact: During the UFC 131 broadcast he made a few minor medical misstatements.

Fact: No big deal.

Fact: I took no direct or subtle cheap shots at him. 

FYI- sublty is not my style.  If I've got something on my mind I say it and sign my real name to it. 

Now will you please stop being mean to me on internet forums?

You're hurting my feelings!




NBA popularity is declining while MMA's is growing...Why?

I recently posted a controversial article on this blog (Is Racism the Elephant in the UFC room...scroll down 2 articles if you care to read it) which really got people talking (and hopefully thinking).  That's why I love writing these types of pieces- not to offend or create
controversy but because they initiate a discussion... an opportunity for people to question what they believe.

I don't attempt to provide the answers. My goal is to merely offer provocative and intelligent questions.

Buzz Bissinger (a real journalist), author of the popular book Friday Night Lights and a The Daily Beat columnist, approached the question from a different perspective and set of givens.

I wrote from the perspective of an ardent, inquisitive and observant MMA fan whom happens to be Black. 

In his Daily Beast piece, NBA Alll-Star Game: White Men Can't Root (link: http://bit.ly/gETUAT), Mr. Bissinger discusses what he calls 'white identification' (or the lack there of) as a potential factor in the NBA's declining popularity.

definition: white identification- the ability of a white fan base to identify with white competitors preferably stars.

Maybe, just maybe a similar phenomenon is fueling the meteoric rise of MMA, and the UFC in particular.

Strikeforce Tourney starts with a BANG!

I was looking forward to this SF tournament with great anticipation and a bit of concern.  I loved the multi-night format and the depth of the field but was worried that a tourney full of heavyweights could go horribly wrong and deteriorate into cage full of big boys wallowing and grinding on each other far too much for my liking.

Five fights with at least 2 having direct bearing on the tourney and 0 of them went to the judges.   That's a very good night in my book!

And did I say that it didn't cost me $54.95...sweet! 

Random thoughts:

  • Who knew Chad Griggs was this good?...except maybe Bobby Lashley.  Is he an elite fighter?...too soon to say.  A head buster with heart?..no doubt.
  • Delrosario...that dude can fight!
  • Andre Arlovski...Dude, please do the right thing.
  • Kharitonov...where the hell has this guy been hiding? Siberia?
  • Big foot Silva...You made American Top Team, all of Brasil and your family very, very proud. There's nothing more that I can add.
  • Fedor...regardless of your future vocational decisions you are an MMA immortal.
  • Please tell me that Scott Coker is not serious when he is trying to talk up a possible Fedor return as an alternate.  This is a perfect example of why fans hate promoters.  Fans see MMA as a sport but promoters see it as $$$.
  • Gina Carano meet Amanda Nunes...Amanda Nunes please meet Gina Carano.  If you don't know the young Brazilian striker just ask Julia Budd or imagine the skill set of a younger Cris Cyborg and then go to google or youtube.  That girl can crack!

Is Racism the Elephant in the UFC room?

I know race is a particularly unpopular and unpleasant topic in the United States.  Most honest people know that it is an unresolved issue but are hesitant to acknowledge or rationally discuss it. 
 
Any time that I discuss the topic I am vilified more than usual; I've grown accustomed to it.

Each and every time that I view a UFC presentation I have an uneasy feeling.  I'm always left with the impression that I just paid to watch a drunken frat party; images of beer bongs and guys passed out in the bushes with their pants pulled down creep into my mind.

The crowds are overwhelmingly raucous white males.  The few black males in attendance are commonly professional athletes and entertainers...which as we all know don't count.

The official faces of the octagon are Dana White, Goldberg, Rogan and Buffer.

Until recently, none of the ring card girls were black.  And I hope that the lovely Chandella doesn't frequent popular MMA forums and chat rooms because the things that were said about her being added to the line up by the MMA faithful were unusually harsh.

Besides Herb Dean the only black men that are routinely seen within the octagon are a few of the athletes themselves.  Let's talk about that for a moment.

Name me one top black UFC fighter that doesn't routinely get booed or chanted against during their fights: Silva, Evans, Rampage, Jones...I'm waiting.

Fans have their favorite fighters...for whatever reason.  I get it.  But being compelled to offer racial slurs speaks to something a bit deeper and darker.

The racial slurs that are hurled during the fighter walk-ins make me think of a European football stadium...complete with nazi-themed. bedazzled T-shirts 

Don't tell me different because I've been there and so have you.

I won't even begin to discuss the vitriol that is unleashed towards black fighters on internet discussion forums...truly sickening.  It is amazing how honest many people become when they can hide behind the anonymity of a screen name.

No one likes to see their favorite fighter get their ass handed to them but it quickly becomes racial when a black guy hands it to them. 

The anti-Anderson Silva pre-fight boo's and rhetoric was deafening at UFC 101 in Philadelphia just before the arena fell silent along with fan favorite Forrest Griffin.

At UFC 126, the chants of "BADER...BADER" didn't last long after Jon Jones left Ryan gasping for air.

The cheers for Franklin vs. Griffin shook the arena.  These are two all-time, fan favorite fighters that are both no longer relevant in the title mix. The crowd cheered Bader, Franklin and Griffin and booed the most talented relevant fighter, Jones.

Part of the popularity of the UFC seems to be related to the domination of the white male wrestler.  I think it may be seen as one of the last sporting bastions of white male superiority. 

Simply put.  The UFC/MMA ,in large part, appeals to a young, white male demographic because young, white males are very good at it.  They can cheer for their own, drink with their own and feel good about it when their guy wins.

Do I think that the UFC and/or Dana White are racists?

Nope...not at all.

Does Dana understand his fan base (for better or worse) and markets to them like any successful businessperson...even if it appeals a deep-seated human deficiency?

Yes sir!


Arizona Shootings: Words can Kill

America's love affair with divisive media pundits, television and radio talk show hosts, hate filled groups masquerading as grass roots political parties and marginally literate politicians that will say anything for a bump in the ratings has gone from vicious and poor spirited to murderous.

How long did we truly believe that the constant barrage of vitriol would continue before some twisted individual would act?

The thinly veiled references and metaphors have now spawned death, pain, physical destruction and tremendous loss.

How much longer will the silent but supposedly decent masses tolerate this rhetoric?

Will we continue to stand idly by, watch or listen and do nothing but claim innocence when tragedy strikes?

You can be guilty by commission or omission...but guilty none the less.

History will reveal that this social experiment called the United States of America is at a crossroads and everyone must pick a side.

With an Overstuffed UFC... Strikeforce is sitting pretty

It's a fact that the UFC is the big leagues when it comes to MMA.  They lead in both quality and quantity of athletes...  hands down.

But...

The UFC's merger with the WEC has created a very interesting windfall for the 'B' team.  The UFC only has a limited number of slots on a limited number of cards and hundreds of fighters to keep busy...therein lies the dilemma for UFC and potential bonanza for Strikeforce.

The UFC is dropping talented fighters that have hit a rough patch at an amazing rate. They no longer have the bandwindth to develop B+ fighters or stick with a guy who's currently not setting the world on fire.  Once upon a time, the UFC only banished fighters who's best days were behind them; now their roster is so huge they must jettison some good with the 'once was good' 

The UFC is doing for Strikeforce what Strikeforce had a very difficult time doing for itself...locating and developing marketable talent. 

The UFC's loss is potentially Strikeforce's gain.

And the upcoming Strikeforce multi-night heavyweight tournament...brilliant!!!

                     

My only suggestion is that Fedor and Overeem should have been placed on opposite sides of the brackets.  They clearly should have a chance to meet each other in the finals with the significant wild card being Werdum. 

The left side of the bracket is brutal.