Monthly Archives: July 2015

Domestic Violence

Unless you have been under a rock over the past 12 months you have noticed the rise in frequency of domestic violence issues in professional sports.

Like it or not professional athletes are “role models”. They may not have signed up for the title, but because they are seen on television, in magazines or any other social media site or app, they inherit this responsibility. People look up to them as heroes, right or wrong, they are seen as super human.

Ray Rice (knocking out his then fiancé now wife in an Atlantic City hotel), Greg Hardy (throwing his girlfriend on a couch full of loaded weapons) or Hope Solo (beating up her sister and nephew) have all been thrust into the bright spotlight, not for their athletic prowess, but because they decided to put there hands on their spouse, significant other or relative. This is nothing new, it is just reported differently now with the surge in social media, with everyone having a phone and recording at all time. There is no longer a 2-ton elephant lying dormant in the closets of locker rooms of professional sports. This is a problem that has affected thousands of families every year.

Why the spike in domestic violence in sports? How can professional sports play a leading role is addressing the issue?

Ray Rice

The first answer is simple, the boom in social media. Gone are the days of seeing your favorite athlete on the field, court, ice or pitch. Instead you see them in their homes, with their friends and family, on a trip to Turks and Cacaos. Fans now more than ever are a part of their lives. For the most part they welcome the social attention. It is only when a surveillance video is attained by TMZ that they want to run away from the limelight.

Fans are now privy to the underbelly of athletes; they are no longer just pictures on Wheaties boxes that people can idolize.

Pete Rose Wheaties Box

The second question is a little more tricky, but very manageable. The quick easy solution is to have a united stance on the issue. They cannot continue to pass the buck or as the commissioner of the NFL admitted, continue to be ignorant to the depth of the problem. He has spent the majority of his adult life around professional athletes and owners. I find it extremely hard to believe that he did not understand that this problem existed. If he wanted to be completely transparent he should have said that it has been swept under the rug for so long and now we must address it. I found his excuse extremely patronizing.

Mr. Goodell is not the only one that is guilty of sweeping this issue under the rug. Major League Baseball has long had a problem with domestic violence. Kirby Puckett, one of the games best centerfielders was in the middle of several domestic violence and sexual assault cases. In 2008 Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Brett Myers allegedly dragged his wife by the hair while continually hitting her. Myers went on to pitch the next day against the Boston Red Sox. Trust me those are not the only two examples

http://deadspin.com/5019197/smack-my-bitch-up-major-league-baseballs-continuing-domestic-abuse-problem

Roger Goodell

Athletic prowess should not trump domestic violence

It has long been stated that if you are a great player the rules are bent for you. That needs to change, especially when it comes to the issue of Domestic Violence. No longer can these leagues hid behind “He/She is a great asset to our team.” they are not an asset if they are beating on their spouses, or anyone for that matter. Am I an asset to society if I am beating on my wife? The police and court systems would not say so. My employer certainly would not have mercy on me. I would be fired the next day. Athletes on the other hand seem to play by a different set of rules. They are given every benefit of the doubt and held onto like a precious stone. Take the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears for example. The 49ers supported Ray McDonald throughout his entire year domestic violence issue. McDonald was initially arrested in August 2014, but played in 14 games the following year. In December he was named in a sexual assault case and subsequently released by the Niners. The Chicago Bears then decided to get into the mix and signed McDonald in the offseason. He was promptly arrested again for domestic violence and child endangerment. Just three days later he was arrested again for violating the restraining order filed against him. The Bears released him immediately after learning of the incident. This is a clear case of someone getting the benefit of the doubt because of his or her abilities on the field.

Ray McDonald Mugshot

Hope Solo competed in the Women’s World Cup this year while a domestic violence case loomed over her head. The only reason she played is because she is the best goal tender in the world right now.

Every professional sports organization needs to take a stern look in the mirror and ask if they are doing all they can to educate their “employees” Are they ignoring a societal issue in lieu of wins on the field.

Fans have voiced their displeasure with the current trend, and the teams need to tap into that. Here in Charlotte, it was common knowledge that the majority of fans were not happy with the Greg Hardy issue. Hardy played in only one game last season for the Panthers, all while continuing to be paid his 13 million dollar salary. He was not resigned by the Panthers and is now a member of the Dallas Cowboys. It remains to be seen how this will turn out for Hardy, but the statistics are not in his favor. This issue will continue to grow and grow if organizations are not diligent in addressing the problem immediately.

Hope Solo

Professional Organizations handling of Domestic Violence Issues:

Cleat (For Ratings)

Comments and thoughts are always welcome.

Marvel wins again!

Ant Man Poster

Marvel seems to have the formula.

First Marvel dazzled audiences with The Avengers, but that was expected. Then they took us to the cosmic Marvel Universe with the little known Guardians of the Galaxy and scored big. Now they have tested their secret formula with another lesser-known character, Ant-Man.

The shoot they score!

Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)

Director Peyton Reed, who has brought audiences such comedy hits as Yes Man and The Break Up, has thrown his hat into the comic book movie-fold. He not only threw his hat in, but he developed a strong origin story that will keep audiences laughing while immersing them into the story.

While it takes a little while to get going, Ant Man culminates with a strong story and delightful characters. Paul Rudd takes a page out of the Chris Pratt playbook and tackles a comic book character with both charisma and witty humor maybe not quite as strong as Pratt’s Peter Quill, but certainly in the same arena.

Chris Pratt

Ant-Man is a fun romp with the feel of Honey I Shrunk the Kids on steroids. The technical aspects were clean and exciting and made up for any storyline shortcomings.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is an unwitting hero recruited by an aging scientist (Michael Douglas) to curtail his mentee’s (Corey Stoll) villainous plan to take over the world. It is a simple and effective plot that keeps the audience engaged. Once the action gets started, it does not let up and is interspersed with humor from a rag tag group of friends portrayed by T.I., Michael Pena and David Dastmalchian.

Ant-Man is a clean, fun movie that is not overloaded with the convoluted plot twists and deep thinking that tend to leave audiences confused. If you are a fan of the Marvel Universe, then you should leave this film excited for this miniature insect’s inevitable sequel.

Ant-Man Rating:  

Why is the NBA Draft so boring?

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 25: Commissioner Adam Silver poses for a photo with top prospects before the start of the First Round of the 2015 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center on June 25, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

I have had three weeks to digest the latest charade that is the NBA Draft!!

Let me start by stating that this has zero to do with my feelings towards the “kids” that were drafted. I am clearly aware that this is a dream come true and something that will change their lives forever. When their name is called all of the hard work they have poured into their craft is realized.

I get it.

The problem is twofold, but I will use this post to discuss the issue that has driven me crazy for a number of years.

Why does the NBA continue to take chances on underdeveloped talent? And before you come at me with the “They have a right to earn a living,” let me tell you that I get that as well. I agree with you, they do deserve the right to earn a living. But what is happening, more often than not, is they are getting a paycheck then sitting on the bench for 3-4 years, then getting a shot once they have developed.

For the player I say, “Get your money!” If someone is stupid enough to give you millions of dollars on what you may be able to do at the highest level (even when you couldn’t do it with college kids), then more power to you. You have worked hard for years to get to the level that you have attained.

What is getting lost, however, is the saturated NBA talent. So, why would the NBA continue to reduce their product to mediocrity? For every Moses Malone, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and LeBron James story, there are ten Tyrus Thomas NBA obituaries!

Not to pick on Tyrus, but I am a Bulls fan so I will. Why on earth did you think you could hack it in the NBA? He was the 6th pick in the 2006 draft and released by the Charlotte Hornets in 2013 (I also live in Charlotte. Double whammy!).

Tyrus Thomas of the Charlotte Bobcats (NBA: Charlotte Bobcats 91 v San Antonio Spurs 95, Time Warner Arena, Charlotte NC, November 8, 2010)

Is the dream to play and succeed in the NBA, or is it to collect the paycheck and live the lifestyle. If the latter reigns true then there is no problem whatsoever in the process! My apologies, I digress.

What the NBA needs to do is protect itself from the Darko Miritics and Hasheem Thabeets of the world.

Hasheem Thabeet on the bench

In case you were wondering Thabeet is the guy in the full warm-up gear.

The NBA is supposed to be the best of the best in the world. At this moment is this something that can be said with confidence? I know I can’t say it. What I can say is that it is comprised of phenomenal talent, but it is also hindered by guys who should be working on their craft in practice and games (COLLEGE) not just taking up space at the end of the bench and collecting a paycheck while the real players do the extreme heavy lifting.

How can this change?

Simple, take a look at the MLB draft process (http://www.draftsite.com/mlb/rules/). They allow kids to be drafted right out of high school. The catch is that if you go to college you must remain there for three years. Of course with anything there are loopholes. Take Brandon Jennings for example. He spent a year after high school playing in Italy. This was the right move for Brandon because he felt he was NBA ready, but because of the new NBA rule, he had to go to college before entering the draft. In my opinion Brandon was very close to NBA ready, but the majority of kids coming out of high school are nowhere near ready to make that leap.

Brandon Jennings (Italy)

I often hear the argument that “These young players have the right to earn a living!” This is correct; they do have that right just like doctors, lawyers, scientists, golfers, hockey players, etc. The difference is that a hospital is not going to take a kid just out of high school that was in honors chemistry. Why? Because they do not have the knowledge and experience to conduct surgery on anyone! Would that same hospital take a chance on potential and let the young doctor learn on the fly? NO! And if they did that hospital would close immediately.

Let’s look at something a little closer to basketball.

Major League baseball has the formula down to a science. Where the two leagues currently differ as it relates to the draft is in the age discussion.

The reason that MLB can have this in place is that they have a farm system to specifically grow talent. They invest in these kids and then give them all of the tools to grow into a major-leaguer. They don’t put them on the bench and hope they can realize their potential. They actually work with them and not at the cost of losing and wasting money.

The NBA does have a farm system of sorts in the NBDL (http://dleague.nba.com/), but they do not put in the same focus and commitment that MLB does. How many kids have you heard about or seen go through the ranks of a major league farm system? I would guess thousands (IF you follow baseball on any level) and hundreds if you were a casual fan. Now, take the same question and change it to the NBA. How many guys have you heard of coming through the “D League”? Maybe a couple.

So, if the NBA wants to stop through away money and giving their fans (not all, but a lot) a mediocre product, they need to either get behind the “D League” or allow these prospects to hone their in college. The NBA and college basketball will be better for it in the long run.

I give this years NBA Draft      Basketball RatingBasketball Rating