Tag: Sports

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Forgive me if this sounds sexist, for that is not my intention. I just tuned in to the National League Wild Card Playoff game between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees on ESPN. I heard a female voice commenting about the game and I assumed she was the sideline/dugout reporter. Quickly, I realized that […]

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The Hollow Men of the NLRB


NLRBlogoT.S. Eliot’s remarkable 1925 poem, “The Hollow Men,” ends with these oft-quoted lines: “This is the way the world ends—Not with a bang, but a whimper.“ Those words capture, in a far less grand context, this week’s decision by the National Labor Relations Board involving the efforts of some Northwestern University varsity football players to organize athletes on scholarship as “statutory employees” protected by the National Labor Relations Act.

Last year, a regional NLRB ruling took the side of the players, a decision that, as I wrote here at the time, was on the shakiest of grounds. There is no reason to rehash those legal arguments, because no one wanted a decision on the merits this week. The key task now is to explore the political forces behind the decision.

NLRB rulings are normally split sharply along party lines. In this case, however, the Board issued a unanimous decision that “it would not effectuate the policies of the Act to assert jurisdiction in this case … even if we assume, without deciding, that the grant-in-aid scholarship players are employees within the meaning of Section 2(3)” of the Act. Their reasoning: because it is clear that the definition of an “employer” under Section 2(2) excludes any state (including any state-run university), any ensuing regulations would apply to teams like Northwestern but not to their public university counterparts, upsetting the competitive balance in college sports. And so it is that a widely heralded decision that gave rise to both great hopes and fears has ended with a jurisdictional whimper.

‘Comply’ is the New ‘Coexist’


Comply Logo

Several days have passed since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, but the kulturkampf marches on. Nearly every media outlet unveiled rainbow flag versions of their logos, rainbow-filtered avatars filled social media, and the President lit up the White House itself in the colors of the pride banner.

Since then, news outlets have published calls to abolish the tax exemption for churches, legalize polygamy, and shame those too slow in celebrating the new order. In The Atlantic, Matt Schiavenza complained that sports teams aren’t bowing to the new idol fast enough:

Are You Ready for Some Canadian Football?


CFLlogoOnce again, football season is finally here. No, not the NCAA or the NFL, whose seasons do not begin until late August and early September, but rather the Canadian Football League, the first game of the 2015 season being a showdown tonight between the Ottawa RedBlacks and the Montréal Alouettes on ESPN2 at 6:30pm CDT. As for how I became interested in Canadian football, here is the story…

It was July of 2012 and I had just returned to Lubbock after having spent nearly two months in the United Kingdom doing historical research. The beginning of the NCAA and NFL football seasons was still several weeks away, but I noticed that there were a number of Canadian football games showing on ESPN3, so I decided to check them out. Almost instantly, I was hooked.

In contrast with American football, Canadian football uses a field that is 110 yards long and 65 yards wide, with each team fielding 12 players. As each team has only three downs (as opposed to the American four) to advance the ball, Canadian football features more passing, scoring, and more frequent lead changes. It is quite an interesting and exciting game in its own right. As for the scheduling, most games are played on Friday night and Saturday, with some Sunday games and certain special exceptions such as the first game of the season and games played on Canadian Thanksgiving in October. The playoffs conclude in late November with the Canadian Football League championship game, known as the Grey Cup.

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I’ve seen several spot-on, anti-FIFA commentaries in recent weeks, but this one has nothing to do with corruption. Rather than focus on the scandal that has rocked FIFA, Kate Fagan’s ESPNw piece took soccer’s governing body to task over “gender verification” testing: Specifically, the screening tests used to determine the level of testosterone in female athletes.  The […]

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When Wildcats Attack


KentuckyOn Saturday night, I was going through the Periscope app, finding unique and interesting live feeds to watch from around the world.  When I opened one feed that piqued my interest, I was instantly watching a mob of angry people burning things in the street. A group of police in riot gear swooped in to remove two people setting fires, probably for their own safety, as they were obviously drunk and too close to the flames.

Ferguson? No. Oakland? Guess again. The entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge? Sorry, you’re out of guesses. The location was Lexington, Kentucky, and the assembled students were furious that their basketball team had just lost to Wisconsin in the Final Four, ending their championship run as well as their shot at a perfect season.

I woke up and looked online for stories about the riot, and apparently, this awful and dangerous behavior is not new for Kentucky fans. According to The New York Post:

The Sweet Science


Ali-Frazier I

What if ,after winning the NFC championship, the then-reigning world champion Seattle Seahawks decided, “You know, that Tom Brady guy is pretty good, so instead of playing the Patriots we are going to play against the New York Jets in the Super Bowl.” The fans wouldn’t like it and the league wouldn’t allow it. That, however, is exactly how the sport of boxing works.

Confessions of a Sports Illiterate


shutterstock_209172865I am writing this in curiosity, not in mockery or condescension of sports fans. I think was born sports-impaired, and by that I mean that not only have I never been any good at any sports — save swimming — but I have never really been able to derive much enjoyment from watching others play, no matter how well. This proved rather awkward for me in school and at home, as my father is quite the devotee of football. I tried stoking an interest in baseball for a few years, but lost interest in the great 1990s walkout.

I am asking this in all earnestness and curiosity: why do you watch sporting events? How is it enjoyable for you when the entire experience is essentially vicarious? You are watching someone else perform, so why invest so much of your emotions into the outcome? Some points I can understand, such as having a knowledge of the game from prior personal experience, or having a friend or relative competing. The rest, however, is rather alien to me.

Secondly, why do you favor one team over another, aside from mere geographical favoritism?  This one especially puzzles me, as most players on any given team come from all over the US — indeed all over the world — regardless of the sport. I can readily understand hating a team, given how some teams or their owners can be insufferable, or just win so often that you tire of them (the Atlanta Braves of the 1990s come to mind, with Ted Turner as their owner). I just do not understand why you might pick one team over another for loyalty, especially given the pecuniary costs of acquiring merchandise.

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So remember when winning was a good thing? Okay, some of you younger members might not remember that, but for people over forty like me, we grew up knowing that in almost any sport in any game with two teams, one team would win and one would lose unless you were playing hockey or soccer […]

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review appears Sunday. When it appears, I post the previous week’s review on Ricochet. Seawriter Book review More than sports Posted: Sunday, October 5, 2014 1:45 am By […]

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Sports Scandals Are Ruining My Favorite Time of Year


GoodellWhen I picked up my kids from school today, I turned to a Phoenix sports radio station for the half-hour update.

First story: Police arrested Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer on suspicion of aggravated assault.

Second story: The Carolina Panthers put defensive end Greg Hardy on the NFL commissioner’s “exempt list” due to his recent domestic violence conviction.

Hello, My Name Is Doug, and I’m an Addict


NDIt has been said that as a person grows older the approach of autumn can be depressing. From green to brilliant reds, orange, and yellow the leaves go and barren trees under lead grey skies shortly follow as a reminder of our own mortality. I look forward to autumn because I’m addicted to Notre Dame football. The words of Grantland Rice best describes how I feel about the mortality of the season.

“Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as Famine, Pestilence, Destruction and Death. These are only aliases. Their real names are Stuhldreher, Miller, Crowley and Layden. They formed the crest of the South Bend cyclone before which another fighting Army football team was swept over the precipice at the Polo Grounds yesterday afternoon as 55,000 spectators peered down on the bewildering panorama spread on the green plain below.”

I’ll confess that I am a Notre Doter. This glorious addiction started in third or fourth grade and I have no desire to seek a cure. One Friday afternoon as class was ending one of the nuns reminded us to pray for Notre Dame. We always were given three to four hours of homework a day and this was one assignment that was not going to be a burden.

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I will be coaching my son’s 10/11-year-old soccer team again this year.  The league is co-ed, which drives me nuts and pushes a lot of my buttons, so to speak.  I do not think boys should play competitive sports with girls.  Last year, we had one girl the team; she was terrible, and cried all […]

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Is Soccer a Great Sport?


shutterstock_187488458Here’s my number one rule of soccer. If you were born and raised in America, soccer cannot be your only sport. It’s fine to like it, and it’s fine to play it, but you must also follow at least one bona fide American sport or else you’re just a pitiful Euro-wannabe. (I might grant exceptions to particular sub-cultures on a case-by-case basis.)

Soccer isn’t an American sport. I’m not saying it’s un-American; it’s just not one of our great traditions. Baseball, basketball and football are all important parts of our culture. All in their own way provide insight into the American experience. NASCAR does that too; it’s absolutely an American sport. Hockey is less central, but living in the north I appreciate how hockey becomes bound up in a certain kind of Northern-American pride which is cultural important.

Soccer, on the other hand, is a sport that we’re famous for not playing. I think it’s interesting that Americans and Australians (who I would name as the most athletic nations in the world) are both noteworthy for their lack of interest in soccer. Like us, the Aussies don’t really need to obsess over soccer, because they have their own sports.

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Donald Sterling’s racist rant has been front page news on practically every American sporting magazine for the last week.  Everyone has their own take on the lessons to be learned from this episode – from the “ironic” fact that Sterling is a Democrat to the legality of using a taped recording in court of someone […]

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Did Donald Sterling Tape Himself?


Reported in the LA Times yesterday, but not really noted in our earlier discussion on the taping of Donald Sterling.

The site is also reporting that sources who have heard the entire hourlong recording say Sterling absolutely knew he was being recorded. TMZ Sports has reported Stiviano has said she has more than 100 hours of recorded conversations with the 80-year-old Sterling, who is said to have used the tapes to refresh his memory because he frequently forgot what he said.

How to Get Rid of an NBA Owner


“I want to make it clear that I’m not going to punish [Rodman] for what he does off the court.  I’m going to let the media crucify him for that… This is still America, and my jurisdiction is still the basketball court.”  — David Stern, 1997

In case you missed the meat of what the NBA decided to do to Donald Sterling yesterday, this is Commissioner Adam Silver from the transcript:

Tarnished Sterling — EJHill


The NBA acted faster than any league in history in banishing one of their own.

It took the better part of six years from the time that Major League Baseball began investigating the controversial utterings of Marge Schott until they finally succeeded in ousting her from the game. It took six months to ban her manager, Pete Rose, for gambling. The Black Sox Scandal, the case that created the modern sports commissioner, dragged on for two years.