Archive - July 2013
- Column: NFL CBAJuly 29, 2013
On the eve of the opening of NFL training camps, a number of so-called experts took the opportunity to comment on the CBA that was approved in August 2011. Their almost unanimous conclusion was the league took the players to the woodshed. Whether that’s true or false depends on the prism through which you view labor negotiations. There is little doubt that teams are making more money today than they did prior to 2011. The publicly owned Green Bay Packers, the only NFL team that is required to divulge financial information, had net income of $23.3 million in the two years prior to the current CBA and $85.8 million in the two years since. All teams are more profitable today than they were prior to 2011, due in part to increased revenues.
- Column: No More Druggies in MLB than in Other SportsJuly 15, 2013
A reader recently asked, “Is PED use more rampant in MLB than it is in other sports?” At first, the question surprised me as I know, instinctively, what the answer is. But the question made me wonder why anyone would raise the issue in the first place. The most obvious reason, given by the reader, was all the media coverage of PEDs in baseball. Certainly, more is written and said about the use of PEDs in MLB than in any other sport, save perhaps cycling which isn’t one of the major professional sports in this country. First, a little history concerning PEDs in baseball.
- Column: Sports Teams' Goal is to WinJuly 15, 2013
A mere two weeks after New England Patriots’ tight end Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder, cornerback Alfonso Dennard was arrested for DWI. The irony gave the media a perfect opportunity to deride the “Patriot Way,” a myth perpetuated by the team and owner Robert Kraft to suggest the Patriots were somehow better than other NFL teams. Exactly what is the Patriot Way? It’s the same “way” as any other NFL team, eloquently summed up by former Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis’ motto: “Just win, baby!” And oh by the way, do it at the lowest possible cost to the team. That’s why the Patriots drafted Hernandez in the fourth round after he slipped due to questions about his character coming out of the University of Florida. A first round talent at fourth round money was just too tempting to resist, the risks be damned.
- Column: Sports and Patriotism Do MixJuly 7, 2013
Americans celebrated Independence Day last week with a myriad of festivities including parades, barbeques, fireworks and sporting events intertwined with patriotism and salutes to heroes. But ESPN columnist Howard Bryant lamented the merger of sports and patriotism, railing against “military flyovers, the pre-game inclusion of the armed forces, and the addition of ‘God Bless America’ to ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’" at our sporting events. Bryant claims that the confluence of sports and patriotism – which in his view equates with politics - is a recent phenomenon, one that began after 9/11. History suggests otherwise. Military flyovers date back to at least 1955 when beach races were held in Daytona. Every president since William Howard Taft in 1910 has thrown at least one ceremonial first pitch for Opening Day, an All Star Game or a World Series Game. As a sign of patriotism, MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis volunteered to suspend MLB games during World War II, but President Franklin Roosevelt declined the offer, insisting that “…it would be best for the country to keep baseball going.”