Monday, September 12, 2016

The Weekend that Was

For those of you who don't want your athletes getting involved in social issues, I'm about to end that debate.


We start with Allen Iverson and his Hall of Fame induction speech. If you didn't see it, you should. Even if you don't care about the guy, watch it. But not before you finish reading this.

It literally brought me to tears.

For those not in the know, "A.I." was both a transcendent and polarizing figure in the NBA. Misunderstood by many, especially the media and many older folks who couldn't deal with his "style", Iverson became a lightning rod for criticism with regard to nearly everything he did. In many ways he shined a light on a lot of issues mainstream America wanted ignored. Whether it was his tattoos, hairdo, relationships with coaches, or style of dress, we were often led to believe Iverson was doing something wrong.

Truth be told, Iverson was doing everything right: he was being himself.

Except "himself" wasn't tolerable for a lot of dated white people. Whether many people were able to understand him wasn't his fault, but their own. Slowly, but surely, more and more people are starting to understand him now, which gets to the most important aspect of Iverson, and a legacy not yet discussed fully.

When you consider all that is transpiring today when it comes to race relations, "Black Lives Matter", Colin Kaepernick, and the rest, Iverson was way out in front on all of it, albeit indirectly, and without specific intention.

Just to give you an idea of things, growing up in Hampton, Virginia, Iverson once lived in an a home where raw sewage leaked for a month. His parents had him when they were 15 years old, and like a number of kids in his neighborhood, his father wasn't much involved in his life. The two most important male influences who were in his life both disappeared before high school ended. One killed, the other imprisoned. Not unusual in his community.

Like many youths in urban areas, sports became the escape for Iverson. He was not only a phenomenal basketball player, but was considered by many to be the best football player in the South, arguably the entire country. Every single big time college wanted Iverson to wear their uniform(s). Except all of them would rescind their offers soon after learning of his involvement in a brawl at a bowling alley, which involved black teenagers fighting white ones.

Despite having no criminal record, and there being no real proof of outstanding violence on his part, Iverson was sentenced to 5 years in prison by a white judge who attended the Virginia Military Institute and later University of Virginia law school. Needless to say, the judge wasn't considered to be sympathetic toward Iverson. And worth noting, none of the whites involved were charged.

In December of 1993, Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder pardoned Iverson. Even though he had a very light complexion (which probably helped get him elected), Wilder was the state's first and only black Governor. Which begs the question: what would Iverson's life have been like had George Allen been in office?

A month after the pardon, Gov. Allen would follow Wilder. Much later on in Gov. Allen's career he would go on to use the word "macaca" in describing an employee of his political rival. Macaca means "monkey" in Portuguese.

Do you think Iverson would have been pardoned by Governor Allen? Do you think Iverson gets an opportunity to attend Georgetown 5 years after prison? What do you think happens to Iverson if Governor Allen had been in office; not Governor Wilder?

When you think about these things, maybe then you'll recognize a bit more what the "black experience" is like for many people living in America. Maybe then you'll start to understand a little bit more what "Black Lives Matter" is all about. Because without certain, very specific circumstances, there's a very good chance you never find out who Allen Iverson is. Then most of America never witnesses Iverson. And then many people are never made to feel a little uncomfortable about what he represents, looks like, or the way he acts.

Allen Iverson is a survivor of his experience, and by the skin of his teeth. Iverson's mere existence pushed many staid people out of their comfort zones.

And although Iverson doesn't kneel during the Star Spangled Banner, or wear a "BLM" t-shirt during a sporting event, he has always been one of the most important representations of the modern American black male struggle.

Allen Iverson is Black Lives Matter.

Now go listen to his speech.


For the first time in my life I decided to "pick games" against the spread, since I've noticed a lot of sports personalities and gambling "experts" take pride in doing this.

Well, so far it has been somewhat successful. I don't know how accurate some of these other "experts" are, but as it stands, going into tonight, I went 9-3-1 against the spread. I picked the Jets, Chargers and Lions to outright win their games, and was oh so close in all 3. Either way, they call covered.

Three of the 4 games I got wrong are the ones I had a vested interest in: Eagles & Raiders, and a push on the Giants. Which just goes to show when I let emotion enter my judgement, I don't do very well. It's why I don't gamble. That said, I might be good at picking games, and I'll continue to do so throughout the season on twitter and on-air.

You can listen to my takes from Friday's show here.

Again, I don't know if 11-3-1 is good, which I plan on being after tonight, since I don't gamble or follow "experts." But feel free to let me know what good is when it comes to picking games against the spread.


I preface this by saying I really do LOVE high level Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) as much as anyone. But I've always felt the WWE component of it was lame. I still do. Whether it was Brock Lesnar, who was clearly a talent and a success story, or the latest effort by CM Punk, who got his ass handed to him by a guy from New Brunswick, it always just seemed lame to me. Lame in the way that Tim Tebow getting a baseball contract is lame.

When MMA is at it's best it really is amazing. But when it's at it's worst, which these days seems to be most it, you start to understand why it will never truly capture an audience the way boxing once did.

The circus act component has got to go.


...obviously the greatest football player of all time. And without question he's the best quarterback to wear #11 in Philadelphia since this guy did it.

Jokes aside, Wentz did a really nice job yesterday in light of how little he has played in the NFL, which includes little pre-season play. If you're an Eagles fan, today is a day to be excited.

It's worth mentioning that it was the Browns, but that being said, prior to yesterday Wentz was playing against opponents of North Dakota State. Yesterday he saw Joe Haden and Danny Shelton. Big difference!

Expect a regression to the mean very quickly for Wentz as defensive coordinators start to figure out his flaws. In the short term, they may make him struggle, but in the long run he will figure them out. Not to say he's winning Superbowls any time soon because even studs like Matt Stafford aren't close, but at the very least it seems the quarterback problem in Philadelphia is solved for the moment.


And speaking of "solving" the quarterback problem, the Cowboys haven't. As I've been saying on the air for a few weeks: Dak Prescott is at best an average quarterback in the NFL. Yesterday his flaws were exposed.

Playing behind the best offensive line in football, and getting at least an extra second to throw the ball, Prescott was merely fair. If you watched the game it was apparent early that Prescott can throw the ball accurately from the pocket, or on the run, within 20 yards. But when the field shrinks near the red-zone, or he has to go up top to make a play, he doesn't do it very well. No different from when he was lofting balls to De'Runnya Wilson.

It's why he was a 4th round draft pick.

Don't expect too much from Prescott, and don't be surprised when Mark Sanchez is taking snaps.

Please follow me on Twitter. Need some love there since I cancelled my old account :-/

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