Thursday, July 9, 2015

The eNdlessBA, Adam Schefter, Bill Cosby and Women's Soccer.

Wow, Adam Schefter.

Yesterday ESPN's Adam Schefter posted a medical report of NY Giants Defensive End Jason Pierre-Paul, which displayed the surgeries he both needed and received because of a mishap with some fireworks. A lot of people are upset with Schefter for doing this, and there are ethical questions regarding his role as a journalist.

When I saw the report plastered on ESPN I thought to myself, "Wow, what a dick." I can't imagine I'm alone in thinking that.

Could he not have gone on Twitter and said, "I have indisputable proof Pierre-Paul had his finger amputated." Would that not have been enough? Can't you just put your name on the line, guarantee something, and watch it play out accordingly? I guess not when you measure your self worth in Twitter "shares" and "follows."

Obviously, it's not a fireable offense, or anything close to it because surely someone signed off on it. If the rancor grew to a point where people then blamed Schefter and ESPN, they would suspend him, even if they signed off on it even if it was okay'd. That's kind of how they operate - deflect, deflect, deflect.

But at the end of the day, it seemed very odd to me Schefter was conducting an interview about this very topic from the comforts of his own home-office, laden with family photos on his bookshelves. The image of a clean cut, classy, educated man, doing yeoman's work for the starved NFL fan, contrasted brightly with the lowbrow, ethically questionable and borderline illegal journalism he was then currently engaged in.

No, it's not Schefter's job to care too much about how he received his information, especially if he can claim ignorance in getting it, but putting aside journalistic ethics, one should probably consider their own personal morals when it comes to something like this.

Jason Pierre-Paul is a public figure, so he's open to scrutiny for sure. But so is Schefter, and others who work for the company. For example, how would Schefter feel if someone posted his colleague Stuart Scott's medical report relating to his cancer? Or any number of personal things relating to his wife or kids? Because I think losing a body part is certainly equal to any of those things.

Find the line, buddy, and think about the value of crossing it. More twitter followers? Sure. More people think you're a jerk? Absolutely.

You a better person when you woke today than you were yesterday?

Probably a good standard.


NBA Free-for-All

The NBA Free Agency off season is bananas, capped off by the disingenuous behavior of DeAndre Jordan. If you want to read about the breakdown and future ramifications, click here.

The NBA changed their collective bargaining rules a few years ago during the strike, and what has resulted is a complete fluctuation of teams, players, salaries, and anything else you can think of.

I recall the launch of the "Larry Bird Rule", the purpose of which was to make sure teams could retain players they drafted even if they went over the salary cap in doing so. Now I'm no "capologist", and don't waste much time trying to figure out contracts. But it just seems to me the NBA has created a system where players are on shorter contracts and can end up any place, anytime. And they love it.

I guess the idea was to make every team competitive like the NFL, which is a good thing. But unlike the NFL, which is driven hard by fantasy football, the NBA needs to have certain heroic and villainous cities. As much as I don't care about the Lakers, Knicks and Celtics, you want them to be good. It makes the NBA more interesting. This idea that every team becomes even is not only unrealistic, but not necessarily that interesting.

BUT...Now the NBA becomes a year-round activity and gives fans SOMETHING to talk about.

This reminds me of that political moment when Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold pushed forward Campaign Finance Reform. That law lasted about 5 minutes, until the Supreme Court allowed endless amounts of money into campaigns through the "Citizens United" case. The NBA's "Larry Bird Rule" seems to carry as much weight now as "McCain-Feingold."

I'll admit there's definitely a lot of excitement surrounding it all, and that's the point. But I try not to get TOO EXCITED about the news of DeAndre Jordan going from Los Angeles to Dallas and back to Los Angeles. I mean, this is a guy who can't make a foul shot, who rides the pine during the last 5 minutes of close games.

How is he THAT interesting?

The answer: baseball season.

What should drive the NBA is good management. The ability to draft good players and maintain strong rosters. Not just finding cap space by making absurd trades. That's less interesting to me.

What the Warriors have done is interesting.

What Miami did, less so.


Women's Soccer.

Oh, women's soccer.

Before I say anything, I want to point out that I've played soccer my whole life (still), have a wife, a daughter, two sisters, I force my daughter to watch women's soccer (and men's), and I coach both boys and girls soccer on my own free time.

As big as you might think you are a women's soccer fan, believe me, I AM A BIGGER WOMEN'S SOCCER FAN!

Oh, and Heather O'Reilly of the US Women's Team went to my high school, so everyone from my town follows her...just like everyone else follows everyone famous from their town.

That said, and simply put, the women do not deserve to be paid more money, despite pleas otherwise.

The obvious answer to all of this is the Women's World Cup brought in $17 Million, whereas the Men's brought in close to $600 Million. Need we say more?

Apparently, yes, we do.

But rather than go over every other point rationale people have made the last few days, I will say this:

1) Had the final game been Sweden vs Nigeria, no one would have watched, nor cared. The whole idea of "equal work" would never have been brought up. An entire legion of women fighting for "equal pay" wouldn't even have realized there was a job. Why is it "equal work" simply because more people watched it? Isn't it the same work?

2) "Equal work for equal pay" makes sense when two people get the same job, and are paid differently. If the Women's National Team can defeat the German Men's Soccer team in the World Cup, by golly, give them all the money FIFA has. But until then, you're not doing "equal work."

3) Now I know a lot of people like to point out how much money FIFA has, and how corrupt it is, blah blah blah. That's neither here nor there. Lets not forget: FIFA gave the women money the men earned when they CREATED THE WOMEN'S WORLD CUP IN 1999! Before that there was no WOMEN'S WORLD CUP, and THEY HAD NO MONEY FOR IT! You didn't earn it, but you still got it!

So please, pick a better fight. If you want to make more money playing sports, be more entertaining. It's not my fault my high school boy's soccer team could win the Women's World Cup. And believe me, they could. I know this because Heather O'Reilly wouldn't have started on the team.

Equal work means you're doing the same thing. In this case, you're not. You're not playing the same people, nor are you bringing in the same amount of money. If you have a fight at all it is with the networks who didn't demand the advertisers pay more money. But why would they? They pay for the rights to the entire tournament, and I am assuming across the board the ratings were not very good, both here and abroad.

They received what they earned. In fact, I bet FIFA takes a loss on the Women's World Cup.

All told, Women's soccer worldwide is oppressive, sexist, and problematic in most countries. Brazil's Marta is the best player in the world, and no one in Brazil even cares to watch her play. The USWNT is better funded and supported than any other women's team anywhere, ever. It's why they win. And it's unfortunate women are treated second class in other parts of the world.

I'm just not sure giving more money to the US Women, who didn't earn it, solves those unfortunate problems.


Fresh Air from the Cow

Colin Cowherd did a masterful job on his show yesterday talking about Bill Cosby raping women. His entire argument discussed how too many adults act like "fanboys," whether it be for Bill Cosby, Lebron James or anyone else in the world. At some point you have to see the truth for what it is. So when 25 women who don't know each other all say the same thing, "That guy with the Pudding Pop, he raped me..." then he probably did it.

Cowherd went on to say that the "anti-vax" crowd is crazy because nearly every reputable scientist agrees. That the global warming deniers crowd is crazy because nearly every reputable scientist agrees. Now it is dangerous for Cowherd to get into these waters because a lot of times politics and sports talk don't mix, but he made sure to swing from the left and the right. As I view things, a common sense approach.

Yet what I liked most about his take on the topic(s) was it touched on pop culture while tying sports "fandom" into the discussion. And to me, that's what a good talk show host does, be it sports or current events. You have to find a way to take the major topics of the day and tie them into your show. Because even if people are tuned into the political talk, the Superbowl matters. Just ask Rush Limbaugh who sat in on ESPN (albeit, briefly). Or Keith Olbermann who has done shows in both mediums. Or someone on sports talk who manages to talk about problems in Ferguson by mentioning the St Louis Rams walking out of the tunnel with a message. There are ways to discuss all things through the lens of sports, and the great ones know how to do it. Not all the time, but when it matters most. Like Women's soccer.

It would be nice if we had some more of that higher end talk in the Bay Area as opposed to the same repetitive "fanboy" stuff we hear day in, day out on the self-appointed "America's #1 Talk Station."

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