Tarheeltalker

A Bone to pick with Michael Wilbon

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I am a regular viewer of the ESPN show, Pardon the Interruption or PTI as it is known.The program is co-hosted by Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser. The program consists of the aforementioned gentlemen good naturedly  arguing and/or discussing sports and sports related issues. I have long enjoyed the show and  in particular those times when their discussions meshed sports and non sports issues. Of course, there is an inherent risk in that approach.One could actually postulate on issues well beyond one’s expertise.

From my point of view that is exactly what took place on a segment that aired  on either Thursday or Friday of last week. The segment was set up with the question about what person one would like to see on a postage stamp. Mr Wilbon launched his answer with a boisterous comment that “stamps are irrelevant.”  At that point, I no longer  cared about the rest of their ” discussion” since Mr Wilbon had ( in my mind) cast aspersions on my profession.

As  a letter carrier, stamps are an integral part of what I do and I heard his statement as yet another example of  bashing the postal service and sort of dismissing us completely.  Dismissing the postal service dismisses its employees as well.

From my perspective, we are not  totally outmoded and outdated and ready for the scrap heap. Try this thought on for size. People often complain about so-called junk mail, particularly if it is unsolicited. There is an analogy in the internet world known as spam. Which of these two, if opened, can potentially ruin your computer and potentially compromise your identity? Hint, it isn’t a letter.

A more learned source puts it this way.  A recent study in the Journal of Marketing  discovered that mail  is the most effective means of direct advertising and is even considered less intrusive. Truly amazing, huh?

Just one last thought. This comes from  a recent Verizon commercial that actually  gave me  a warm feeling. A person dashes to their mailbox  at the end of the driveway and upon opening the door discovers a box from Verizon with their  eagerly  anticipated cellphone. It is hard to top the excitement of receiving that long-awaited or even expected letter or package in one’s mailbox. For me it sure beats that unexpected email.

September 9, 2011 Posted by | Media | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Building a Pedestal

There is a young man playing basketball for the University of Kentucky. This young man is John Wall, a freshman from Raleigh, NC. John is a freshman point guard who has played  in eight games as a collegian and  has scored the winning points in more than one of those. while  averaging a team leading 19 points per game.

Listen to some of the comments  made thus far. PTI’s Tony Kornheiser says hew  will probably be the first pick in the NBA draft if he turns  pro and probably would have been  last year had he been allowed in the draft. Sorry, Blake Griffin. Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated has Wall as his top  contender for player of the year.  Anything wrong with this, not really. Wall is  an extremely talented player and may very well earn all the accolades  being bestowed on him. But is it not a bit premature? He has played 8 games thus far. Couldn’t we wait just a bit with the comparisons and the greatest this  and that. if Wall is as good as he is projected to be right now, the NBA will know and some team will make him a very wealthy young man. For now, a T.O. baby and give things time.

December 11, 2009 Posted by | Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , | 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

Up. Up and Whoa!

First Flight, 12/17,1903 (wikipedia commons)

First Flight, 12/17,1903 (wikipedia commons)

My wife left me today- no, not what you might think. It’s only for a week. She flew to Atlanta today to spend a week with my son and his wife, as she will be having surgery tomorrow. For that we are very desirous of  your prayers, for her surgery and a smooth recuperation. The story really lies in  the air. As I mentioned, my wife flew, on a plane. So what, one might say.

Here goes. Airline travel and I have always had an interesting relationship. I am sort of like John Madden and Tony Kornheiser as far as flying is concerned. I’m not quite at that  level, but in the neighborhood. I flew for the first time at age 28 and was terrified. In contrast, my wife first flew before age 20, my daughter, 11 months of age and my son at 22 months of age. Odd man out as you see.

Contrast my first memory with his. I distinctly remember looking at the plane as I boarded, along with veteran flyers ready to tease me, and wondering how the pilots could possibly  see through that tiny windshield. He, on the other hand, made his initial flight at night and kept repeating, ” lights, lights.”

Fortunately, I guess, I have not flown all that much and I absolutely will not sit in a window seat. In fact, if memory serves correct, I once went over 10 years without flying. Now, don’t get me wrong, flying is great and I have never had a real problem while flying. Thank goodness! It is  rather hard to beat  the view from up there. I appreciate the Wright brothers coming down to Kitty Hawk, 105+ years ago and all the advances since  then. But……

One further story might help explain my ambivalence. When we were in college, my as yet to be wife flew to England with a  choral group. Prior to her departure, I was  terrified about all that my happen. As was her wont, she was quite calm. I said, but how can you enjoy flying over the ocean, what if something happens? Responding ever so sweetly, she said, why not enjoy it, there isn’t anything I could do if there were a problem. And so, for not the first time and definitely not the last, my wife silenced me with unassailable logic.

So, enjoy the friendly skies when you feel so inclined. I will still think about it twice or thrice.

July 19, 2009 Posted by | Family | , , , , , , | 3 Comments