Tarheeltalker

Two very different headlines

The nation of Japan has been struck by a  massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake, the largest on record in that country. The tsunami spawned by that quake has compounded the death and destruction that the Japanese will have to face. Estimates of those who lost their lives have already topped 1,000. Sadly, I expect that figure to rise considerably. Reports  from people in Japan speak of  tremendous destruction to roads, buildings, homes etc. A major nuclear power has also suffered damage adding yet another element to what must an almost surreal scene.

For a country already reeling economically, this natural disaster has presented the country with quite a difficult challenge to overcome. Our country is already providing help and people can take part through the American Red Cross and probably other agencies as well.

But what seems to be the biggest news story in our country today? Why, of course it is the ongoing struggle between the NFL owners and the NFLPA  which is basically the players labor union. Extended negotiations broke off  today as the union voted to decertify, thus tossing the ball into the legal system. Who will prevail and when is anyone’s guess. There will ultimately be a settlement and both the players and owners will  do well. Unfortunately, if there is a work stoppage, those most likely affected will be those who depend on the league for their livelihoods. I actualy have almost no sympathy for either side and the angst that many of  the pepople involved ( especially the players)  seem to be feeling and trying to gert us to feel.

On one side, there are themega rich owners and on the other are the  players;many of whom are make quite  a hefty income. Admittedly, the average career is relatively short but the average incomes are large. But they will never be large enough, I guess, since a 2009 study by Sports Illustrated estimated that 78% of NFL players will go bankrupt in their lifetimes. Guessing that is higher than in most other occupations. Chew on this additional piece of info. The NFLPA has distributed a booklet to each of its players  with advice on to cut costs if the lookout materializes. One of  those pieces of advice, cut the size of your entourage.

It is sort of hard for me to balance these labor issues with the stark reality facing the Japanee people. For them, we must pray.

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March 11, 2011 Posted by | Sports, Weather | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mikhail Prokhorov and Rush Limbaugh

What could our title subjects possibly have in common? Why, sports, of course. Prokhorov is the richest man in Russia, estimated worth is $9.5 billion and we all know who Limbaugh is, although not nearly that wealthy. Both are involved in efforts to buy professional sports franchises. Prokhorov is attempting to buy a controlling interest in the New Jersey Nets while Limbaugh is involved in efforts to buy the St Louis Rams.

Who cares, except maybe fans of those teams or of the NBA or NFL? Why, for starters, the Rev Al Sharpton and the head of the NFL Players Association,DeMaurice Smith. Both of these individuals are opposed to the Limbaugh bid as are a number of NFL players, seven so it is said, none of whom have been named.

First caveat is that Limbaugh’s group is not the only one interested in the Rams. There are  at least  six other groups,including one that has African-American members;Donald Watkins and Dave Steward. Mr Smith is careful not to use the word racist in describing Limbaugh. He also says that the union does not have a say in potential ownership choices. He is encouraging players to speak their minds about this issue and other facets of the league’s  business. No problem with that. But wonder how often, players have expressed their feelings-pro or con- about a potential team owner?

Mr Smith, a Washington attorney, had some other comments in his e-mail.

“Our men are strong and  proud sons, fathers, spouses and I am proud when they stand up,understand this is their profession and speak with candor and blunt honesty about how they feel.”

“…sport is  at its best when it unifies, gives all of us reason to cheer and  it transcends.Our sport does exactly that when it overcomes division and reject discrimination and hatred.”

Smith at no point makes any direct accusations against Limbaugh. Reading between the lines,to me at least, are strong inferences against him.

Now, stack up these quotes with comments by Stephen A Smith in  a  CNN    interview. This Smith is well familiar with sports fans for his ESPN work. The host, Christine Romans questions Smith about the  opposition to Limbaugh.

She asked him players allegedly taking a moral stand, implying they would not play a Limbaugh owned team because of comment she has made in the past that had racial overtones. Smith said, “They’re lying. Wasting my time….

If he has the dollars. he should be allowed to do it.It’s not like he’s ignorant to the game of football.The man knows football. He’s a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.Oh, you’re going to pass up money because …I’m offended by Rush Limbaugh being the owner? Who are you fooling? They’re liars.”

So, it is fine for a Russian billionaire to own a sports team, if he has the money? Sure, doesn’t  bother me. Not for Limbaugh, because he   is   allegedly racist and I mean allegedly?

Back to the head of the players union for a moment. He wants the players to speak their mind. What if several of them came  out publicly in favor of a Limbaugh bid? Would  he feel the same? Seems like  a fair question to me, a lot fairer than the rumor and speculation  about statements Limbaugh has never made.

One last comment which comes  a sports guy I really like. Michael Wilbon is the co-host with  Tony Kormheiser of ESPN’s PTI program and is  also a Washington Post columnist. He had this to say about Limbaugh after some of the initial reaction to his bid. “He is universally reviled by black people in this country and justifiably so.”  That is a comment from a guy who met Limbaugh at a Las Vegas golf tournament just as Limbaugh was beginning his  brief  ESPN tenure. One wonders if Wilbon had the same feelings then and if so, why did he not express them? Just a thought.

October 12, 2009 Posted by | Media, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments