13 February 2014
I. Captain’s Last Voyage
Although some may have seen it coming, there was still a level of surprise for many people when, almost as if taking his cue from Mariano Rivera in 2013, Derek Jeter announced that the forthcoming 2014 season will be his last. We all know no one plays forever, but if anyone would, you would have almost expected it to be Jeter.
Like Rivera – and, for that matter, Kobe Bryant, now signed for two more seasons – I am certain Jeter did not want to have his career end on the disabled list. Like Rivera’s, his final season/farewell tour will be filled with heartfelt tributes from friends and foes – as well as uncertainty as to whether there will be one last Yankee postseason appearance to close out his career. And like Rivera again, the question in 2018 and 2019 will be whether the Hall of Fame voters will elect one of these two men with the highest first ballot percentage of all time.
Or, on the other hand, it may be illuminating to see which of those clowns won’t vote for them.
II. Welcome In??
I hope the little incident with the “fan” last week at Texas Tech does not hurt Marcus Smart’s chances of enjoying an NBA career. When you make a mistake, and a very public mistake at that, you are in jeopardy of losing your chances of a promotion – especially if the promotion is to the world of professional sports and you are a young African-American man. And naturally comparisons were made to the Palace incident with Metta World Peace, then known by his government name of Ron Artest.
Mistakes notwithstanding, what is true with Metta, Marcus, and any other such case is that fans who feel their admission price enables them to do and say anything to the players on the court/field as if they are animals in the zoo are the ones who are the most at fault. Unfortunately, as that video clip was continually played, this fact seemed to get lost.
III. No Room At The Inn?
Time will tell whether Michael Sam’s revelation last week will hurt his chances of stepping onto an NFL field. And this week, after having watched “42” again, I’m thinking that whether he does or not may be for reasons similar to those of 60-some years ago.
Don’t get me wrong; I am by no means comparing Sam to Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby, and the other pioneers. In fact, the comparison is more with the MLB owners of the ’40s and ’50s. Crusaders for justice most were not, to say the least, but when they realized that these Negro League players would be responsible for wins on the board, fans in the seats, and bucks in their pockets, they found a way to sign them. Conversely, if the present-day NFL owners and GMs don’t feel Sam is a real difference-maker on the field, many may shy away from him.
IV. What’s My Name?
Judging by their 2013 record, the football team in Washington might be a candidate for Michael Sam’s services…but if they choose to usher in a new era, so to speak, by picking Sam, hopefully they will do so with a new name.
Memo to some in the No Figuring-it-out League: it doesn’t matter what you think about “Redskins” not being offensive! If Native Americans have an issue with it, then it’s offensive.
V. Offensive Foul
I wonder what would have happened had I called, at a public forum in the presence of my congressman, for the execution of President George W. Bush? I don’t think it out of the question that I may have been visited for a little conversation by the FBI or Secret Service. Interestingly enough, that type of thing just occurred; a citizen at a recent event attended by Oklahoma congressman Jim Bridenstine called for the execution of President Obama as an “enemy combatant.”
For future reference for any Tea Party or Republican officeholders, the correct response would be to show the person the error of their ways – not to put forth “facts” that seemed to agree with the person, as Rep. Bridenstine did. Only after a video surfaced on YouTube did he ineffectively try to walk it back. To Sen. John McCain’s credit, he immediately shot down some crazy lady talking nonsense at his rally, interrupting her by saying that Obama was a good man with whom he had disagreements with on policy.
VI. Wrestlemania Instead
To anyone seeking to promote a George Zimmerman match, I would venture to say that I speak for millions of people in saying that we don’t want to see Zimmerman box, fight, or wrestle anyone, profiting therefore from the killing of Trayvon Martin. The justice he deserves is in the court, not the ring.
VII. What Time Is It?
I really hate mid-season coach firings. That said, after a loss to the Kings, will Mike Woodson be the next coaching casualty by the time you read this?