Colin Kaepernick Is Suing The NFL For Collusion, Because The NFL Made It Entirely Too Easy For Him To Do So
Try - for just one second - to do the unthinkable and put aside your personal feelings toward Colin Kaepernick and the knee that, at least in part, is responsible for his current state of unemployment. I don't care if you think he got what he deserved for starting a polarizing conversation about equality (that was ever-so-adeptly wrapped in an American flag and converted into a nauseatingly circular conversation about Patriotism). I don't care if you think NFL owners simply exercised their rights by considering him too big of a "distraction" to peers who - by and large - supported his initial cause. I don't even care if you think he sucks and his play doesn't warrant a position in the league. You'd have to be without functioning eyesight, HD television, and/or a clean conscious to think so, but that's not the point I am trying to make.
You see, I'm not here to argue about whether or not the NFL owners colluded to keep Colin Kaepernick away from their precious cash cow. I'm here to argue that they did such a good job making it look like they did that Colin Kaepernick would have been stupid not to pursue legal action. He's remained completely silent as the summer came and went, while his former employer basically built his case against themselves.
Now, I don't think it's a case he stands to win. The justice system loves their semantics, and I can't imagine that "collusion" - by definition - can be proven. After all, I have a hard time believing that 32 old, wealthy white dudes lined up their schedules to meet at some upscale country club during the offseason. Something tells me they didn't put down their Johnnie Walker Blue and bring their wrinkly ass hands in like they were summoning 'Captain Planet' only to vow to never sign a capable quarterback who challenged them to leave their privileged comfort zone and think critically about the current state of race relations.
That said, look at the laughable amount of inferior players that have been signed at Colin Kaepernick's position. Go read off a list of the absurd justifications (Ex: He's "too good" to be our backup") for which teams have decided to go in a different direction. Most egregiously, consider the unprovoked involvement of a President whose suspiciously belated threat served as fuel on a dwindling fire and was soon hypocritically echoed by at least one of the handful of owners that he is financially linked to.
Painting Colin Kaepernick as a villain for engaging in the inherently American act of peaceful protest is one thing, but you must really hate the shit out of the country represented by that Star Spangled Banner if you're criticizing him for trying to exploit a large corporation for business tactics that - at the very, very least - appear questionable in every sense of the word. Frivolous lawsuits are just as engrained into the fabric of our society as the colors red, white, and blue. Collusion might be a bit excessive as far as terminology is concerned, but it's not nearly as much of a stretch as 99% of cases aimed at paying off "emotional distress".
I know everyone's first instinct is to bury Al Michaels for trivializing the long-belated unveiling of a serial sexual deviant's history of widespread sexual assault and harassment by putting it against the New York Giants' less than optimal week of football preparation, but you can consider me a little more hesitant to grab the shovel. I mean, just take a gander at the game clock. He made halfway through the broadcast before dropping a line that was clearly heavily weighing on the tip of his tongue. I know we expect more out of someone that's made perhaps the most illustrious of livings behind a microphone, but how long was a man whose filter is almost certainty malfunctioning with age supposed to hold on to that zinger? The fact that it wasn't in anyway prompted or provoked by the context of the conversation leads me to believe that he had that ill-humor burning a hole in his holster before they even went to a scenic overlook of the city of Denver. When you look at it that way, it's actually pretty impressive that he was able to silence it until the second half.
In all seriousness, it's slightly ironic that - in lieu of recent events - we would have thought Cam Newton would benefit from enrolling in 'The Al Michaels School Of Professional Public Speaking' only to learn that Al Michaels apparently just graduated from 'The Cam Newton School Of Forcibly Unfunny Comedy'.
What I am getting at is that - while it would be guaranteed to piss some people off - I don't think it's entirely impossible to craft a quality Harvey Weinstein joke. As I said when Cam Newton tried to convince me that a female's command of running in preconceived patterns is hilarious, you better make sure your audience's first instinct is to have laugh when being offensive. Busting a topical scandal out of the clear blue in a way that makes losing a football game sound worse than whatever punishment comes of decades of manipulating women? Yeaaaah, safe to say that one-liner needed some tinkering if it was going to tickle any funny bones. Probably not the avenue you want to navigate when you're someone whose foray into edginess pretty much begins and ends at subtly referring to the millions of dollars being waged on the game you're announcing.
Oh well, at least he offered a timely apology for making the damage done to Odell Beckham's ankle seem more catastrophic than a professional environment that enabled the long-standing use of an entire gender as work-for-hire prostitutes. In 2017, what more could we really ask for?
I'm Not One To Complain About A Win, But The Devils Looked Positively Dreadful In Their Victory Over The Rangers
How did I feel after watching the New Jersey Devils get back in the win column less than 24 hours after taking their first loss of the season? Well, somehow much, much better about a goaltending situation that I was already extremely confident in. That said, Keith Kinkaid must be feeling pretty damn lonely on that list of positives...
I mean, there's only one reason to be anything less than completely pessimistic about a performance in which 1/3 of the top six played their way onto the bench for 2/3's of the back end of a back-to-back. That reason is that the early season optimism that preceded it has afforded me the opportunity to not blindly praise the team after every win. In recent years, I may have given that piss poor display of passing aptly known as "the first period" some empty compliment simply because it ended in a tie. However, after seeing that this team is capable of better and - more importantly - smarter hockey, I can't wave my pom-pom's in good conscience knowing that Keith Kinkaid stole a victory from a team that had no business being as dominant for long stretches as they were. Every good team grabs a couple victories that they don't deserve, but - current record aside - the Devils damn sure aren't good enough to be relying on talent to make up for a disparity in effort. Especially when that disparity in effort is coming from some of those who have been gifted with the most talent.
Now, I don't expect the Devils to apologize for beating the Rangers in their own building, because I don't plan on apologizing for walking out of said building with a smirk on my face after they did. I just hope the fact that they did win doesn't take away from the impact of the lesson John Hynes tried to teach by turning Pavel Zacha, Marcus Johansson, and Jimmy Hayes into spectators. Luckily tired legs didn't cost them the game, but - even if they did - that would have more acceptable than losing due to careless offensive zone penalties and mind numbing defensive zone turnovers. It's disappointing that some of the most trusted players on the team required a benching so early into the season, but it's promising that this team finally has the depth to hold it's players accountable without it resulting in sure defeat.
Credit to the man who has been disproportionally criticized by fans despite not being given the horses (or as I call it, has received the 'Cory Schneider treatment') for realizing that he now has enough horsepower to leave those that aren't quite hoofing it in the stable. Being a scapegoat is in John Hynes job description, but he deserves a proverbial pat on his (hard) ass for flashing the same balls that he did in sitting Ben Lovejoy for the season opener.
Also of note:
- Will Butcher has actually looked pretty solid defensively in his sheltered minutes, but even if he brought nothing more to the table than the threat of this needlepoint pass that he made to Drew Stafford then he'd already have given this team something it hasn't had in a long, long time...
- I don't envy the position John Hynes will be put in when Brian Boyle (fingers crossed) makes his return to the lineup, because Blake Coleman has given the Devils everything they could possibly want out of a bottom six player. Whether it was calmly breaking the zone, laying out to block a shot in an odd-manned situation, or winning puck battles, he stood out as one of the better player on the ice without even getting on the scoresheet. That doesn't even take into account that he selflessly made the conscious choice to get his ass kicked by that scumbag Tom Wilson on behalf of his teammate just one night earlier. If all that isn't enough, then the fact that he's got an endearingly weird quirk - that is apparently now sponsored(?) - must be considered when decided his role going forward...
- This isn't exactly newsworthy, but John Moore's physical tools (mainly his skating) are far beyond his implementation of them. If we are going to be mean about it, he moves like a pro and thinks the game like a pre-teen. Look no further for proof of that than the goals that have put the Devils in a hole the last two games.
- Adam Henrique owns the New York Rangers. That shouldn't be something that you didn't already know, but - to be quite honest - it's fun to type out.
What an odd, odd game of football. That was basically the embodiment of the phrase "any given Sunday" if your Sunday's relied heavily on the use of hallucinogenics, because the storyline appeared to have been written by someone with a Tiger Woods-esque toxicology. If I had told you that the Saints gave up 35 points at home, turned the ball over three times, surrendered both a defensive and special teams touchdown, all while Drew Brees failed to eclipse the 200 yard marker then you'd likely have resigned yourself to the inevitable despair of another 7-9 season.
Instead, the actual result has them headed to Lambeau Field as an undeniable favorite (due to unforeseen circumstances, of course) with their first winning record in four years. The Saints needed a tipped ball turned touchdown from Cam Jordan to put an exclamation point on what was a certain win that ever-so-quickly started to have the look of an incomprehensibly devastating loss. Yet somehow, a game that highlighted some obvious flaws ultimately has them in the slightly above average position that they have seemingly been fighting for forever.
Perhaps that serves as nothing more than a proverbial nod to the unpredictability of NFL football, but it could also be an indication of how (finally) having the makeup of an opportunistic defense can cover up a lot of blemishes. It wouldn't be wise to depend on too many more 5 sack, 5 turnover, 3 touchdown performances from a unit who still showed their age on quite a few plays, but I'll be damned if it's not nice to see that they have it in them. The Saints weren't about to go an entire season without giving the ball away, but - for once - it appears they have defense in which doing so doesn't automatically signal defeat. Those mistakes were coming sooner rather than later (in the case of the "interception" of Michael Thomas' clear catch, with the help of piss poor officiating), so it can only be considered good news that they weren't unredeemable.
Now, it would have been nice if Sean Payton continued to rely on the rejuvenated legs of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara to run out the clock when up 35 points. Perfect world, the Saints win by 25+ on the backs of a ground game that was literally adding injury to insult at a pace that likely alarmed Detroit's medical staff. Unfortunately, the risk taking mentality that unnecessarily allowed the Lions back in the game is the same one they used to pull away in the first place, so - being a decade into his tenure - it's best to just accept the bad with the good. The type of guy who is willing to run a fullback end-around option on 4th down to set up a first down flea-flicker isn't the type of guy to take the air out of the ball halfway through the 3rd quarter, and - when it's put like that - we probably shouldn't expect him to be.
Long story short (and it was a very long story, because that game felt like it lasted about 6 hours), the Saints defense is - at the very worst - complimentary to an offense whose best days are probably still ahead of it. We aren't looking at the reincarnation of the '00 Baltimore Ravens, but we are looking at a group with a dominant pass rusher who bats passes better than most defensive backs, a shutdown corner who flipped his hips and transitioned right around the rookie wall, and an undeniable penchant for making a game changing play or two. In reality, that's all Drew Brees has ever needed on most days, and with how the first two games of the season played out it seems surreal that he actually has it.
Also of note: It's laughable that those who considered Adrian Peterson a 'has been' have taken to using his one day return to 'All Day' form as a way to criticize Sean Payton. It's almost as if they are only capable of reading box scores when they support their ever-changing argument. I said that I thought there was still some juice in those 32 year old legs when he was traded to the Cardinals, but that it wasn't worth the squeeze as the third option in a crowded backfield. Admittedly it's a small size, but both those things appear to be true. You can chastise signing him in the first place, but not sure how making a mutually beneficial move after being unable to fit 61 carries into one single offense is an indictment of it's head coach...
Especially when it was done to get someone who is capable of the following more involved...
The reincarnation of Adrian Peterson was impressive, but so was the performance of the player that made him replaceable...
Two days late and two points short, but the Devils finally learned a valuable lesson; It's really fucking hard to win hockey games against top heavy teams when you take unnecessary penalties. That was an easy flaw to brush off when literally thee most unlikely of shorthanded goals, a couple posts, and Cory Schneider's insane ability to remain conscious while standing on his head were able to help offset the gifting of EIGHT extra man opportunities to a team as spoiled with offensive riches as the Toronto Maple Leafs. Not so much when you give the most dangerous power player in the game 4 minutes to go to work in a closely contested third period.
I don't want to be too hard on Pavel Zacha because anyone that's played the game knows that sometimes your stick instinctually gets away from you, but that double minor served as the blood drawing dagger in the innocence of a team that's been a little too guilty of playing undisciplined.
Now, of course, the Devils were otherwise unquestionably outplayed by one of the best teams in the conference. Much more importantly, however, they weren't outclassed. Aside from the careless turnover (looking at you John Moore) that led to Oshie's first goal and the sloppy puck work that led to the back breaking insurance goal to end the second, the Devils were in last night's game up until the fateful high stick.
They could certainly benefit from playing a better brand of hockey tonight, but I don't think too many dramatic tweaks to be made to give them a pretty good chance to win a battle of the backups that - comparatively speaking - makes Keith Kinkaid look like the second coming of the man immortalized in bronze outside the Prudential Center. Let's hope they take advantage of that chance, because I think a struggling team like the Rangers is vulnerable to a fast, hungry team that should be eager to prove that their first three games were no fluke.
Also of note:
- I think getting his first goal out of the way would do wonders for the psyche of Nico Hischier. I don't exactly have an undeniable command of the body language of professional athletes. Luckily, the inherent inability of a teenager to hide his displeasure with himself through his facial expressions has made it clear - to me anyway - that he's mildly frustrated. He has by no means looked out of place, but he also hasn't been playing with the same creative fearlessness that had fans salivating after one game. Something tells me getting on the scoresheet will change that.
- You know that feeling when you're absolutely crushing a date before one awkward silence ruins the whole thing? Like, she's laughing at your jokes, there is obvious chemistry, things seem to be progressing, and then your mind goes blank, there's an awkward silence for a few seconds, and next thing you know you're overthinking everything that comes out of your mouth?
I feel like that situation is the career of Damon Severson in a nutshell. I don't feel comfortable continuing with that analogy and hoping that Damon Severson develops into hockey's Harvey Weinstein, but if I were to do so then the outlet pass he made to spring Kyle Palmieri on this breakaway would compare favorably to whipping his dick out and placing it on the dinner table....
Let's hope he continues to play with the confidence required to make that pass, because if he does then there's no reason the Devils shouldn't end up very happy in the 6 year (rape and harassment free) relationship they just committed to.
All I have to say is thank god the Nationals and the Cubs needed a fifth and decisive game. Not only because it added a hell of a lot of intrigue, controversy, and - most importantly - Washington centric humor to the NLDS. But also because that fifth game came late on a Thursday night and ultimately resulted in Jon Lester giving us a blueprint for how to best enjoy our weeknight to the fullest come Friday morning.
Let's be real, what we just witnessed is peak drunkiness. Jon Lester not so carefully tightroping the thin line between losing all inhibition and plunging into full-on inebriation. Having completely short-circuited any sort of active filter by completely submerging it in innumerable ounces of domestic beer, but being coherent enough to immediately apologize for it being out of commission. Kind of forgetting some things that just happened, but also being "with us" enough to discuss the gist. Still clever enough to invoke the use of an idiom, but not without completely idiocizing it. Being super observant, but not acting appropriately on those observations. Giving a relatively obvious answer...that was as genuine and fitting as it could have possibly been given his BAC.
When you go out tonight I want you to aspire to become as exactly as tuned up as Jon Lester was last night. You'll likely wake up a manageable hangover, some stories you half remember, and some friends that don't mind filling you in the details because they were able to laugh at at/with you instead of apologizing profusely for you. When you really think it, is there a better possible outcome for celebratory binge drinking?
Knock On Wood: The Saints Have A Chance To Be The First Team Since 1933 To Go 5 Games Without A Turnover
On one hand, there is nothing not to like about the New Orleans Saints consistently playing mistake-free football for the first time in a long time. I am not going to research the numbers, but I feel pretty damn confident in saying that Sean Payton and Drew Brees have proven over the years that they are insanely good when they win the turnover battle, and disastrously bad when they lose the turnover battle. Consider that your 'stat of the day', if you will. A perennial top 5 offense is at its most productive when it only completes passes to itself. Who knew?!?
Theoretically, the fact that they have managed to go four games without giving away a single possession can only bode well for a team that is only getting healthier on the offensive side of the ball. With the backfield roles more well defined and the return of trusted players like Terron Amstead and Willie Snead seemingly imminent, the Saints certainly don't stand to become more turnover prone, and that's been the one Achilles' heel of a unit that's put forth a decade of dominance.
On the other hand, these depressingly suspicious stats feel like the forewarning of a black cloud that's getting ready to piss on the preemptive parade that Saints' fans will be ready to throw if they climb over .500 for the first time in 4 years. There's so much to be optimistic about with the defense coming off two fantastic performances and a week of rest. However, the opportunity to make history plus the potential to take a step toward repeating a hauntingly similar history make for quite the sphincter clenching combo.
I'm not sure if I would rather Drew Brees take the first snap and immediately hand it to the closest defensive lineman just to put a quick end to the madness, or if doing so would all but guaranteed yet another 7-9 season. All I know is that a never before reached peak in ball security is the biggest mountain the Saints will have to climb if they hope to finally ascend above completely average, and failing to do so is likely to send them on an eerily subpar path to Lambeau Field. Blessed be the bounces because this team might have to enter the record books to keep the season trending upwards, and that scares the crap out of this Saints' fan.
Steve Smith Sr. Thinks He Was The Best Receiver On The Field Last Night, Which Is Not At All Surprising
I'd say about 99 out of the 100 proudest, most cocky athletes turned analysts would merely be facetious in claiming that they were better than the current athletes they are covering from the sidelines, but that's what makes Steve Smith such a national treasure.
Not only do I believe that he believes that he could walk straight out of retirement and into a legitimate #1 wideout role for either the Panthers or Eagles, but I'm bordering on believing that he's right. Alshon Jeffrey and/or Kelvin Benjamin could, should, and would vehemently disagree, but if you asked me to pick one person in the building last night to catch a single pass with a game on the line I'm taking the 5'9 commentator in the form fitting suit who would literally kill an opposing corner to come down with the ball.
Now that I think about it, the fact that I'd feel safest with my life in his hands probably makes him more of the best 3rd down threat on the field than the best complete wide receiver on the field. However, getting into semantics about the athletic prowess of a 38 year old who cashes checks for sitting behind a desk says everything you need to know about the timelessness of his competitive prowess. Never change Steve Smith...unless it's out of that shirt and tie and into a pair of shoulder pads.
This Question Asked Of Bryce Harper After His Season Ended Is Proof Of How Much We Love Meaningless Predictions
As Casey Stern ever-so-relevantly stated, asking an MLB player how he expects the team that just struck him out to end his (post) season to perform going forward is unquestionably a clown question, bro.
Shoutout to him for pointing it out, because the fact that I didn't think twice when I heard it live is proof positive that we've been enabling the Barnum's & Bailey's of sports reporting by being complicit in their endless deep dive into purposeless prognostication. It's as if we have become so beaten down with predictions of the completely unpredictable that we (well me, specifically) didn't even feel the painfulness of that awkward inquiry. It's absolute absurd to expect even the most professional of player to break down the nuances of the next series on the heels of him ending up on the wrong side of previous one, but the fact that it was casually slipped in as the next thing up on the notepad is a sign of how forced, repetitive, and - for lack of a better term - stupid sports talk tends to be. A member of the media had no qualms with asking Bryce Harper to grab Miss Cleo's crystal ball and do his best Tony Romo impression but I didn't even blink when he did, because what's the point in covering baseball if you're not giving yourself an opportunity to be right about the highly random result?!
WSJ- The Twitter account, under the name “Jones smith,” has no followers, no profile picture and has been virtually dormant for long periods since its creation in 2014.
But @forargument has roared to life in the past few months, rising up to vigorously defend Mr. Goodell against perceived attacks on his handling of issues such as the national anthem protests by players.
The most frequent sparring partner for @forargument is the nation’s sports media. On Sept. 26, @ProFootballTalk, the Twitter account for the popular NBC Sports blog, tweeted that it was “on the commissioner” to solve the anthem issues.
In response, @forargument tweeted: “Please do better reporting. He is already doing this. You are behind.”
Who is this valiant defender of a man who has so few defenders?
It is Roger Goodell’s wife, Jane Skinner Goodell, The Wall Street Journal confirmed after an examination of the account.
“It was a REALLY silly thing to do and done out of frustration—and love.” Mrs. Goodell said Thursday afternoon in a written statement. “As a former media member, I’m always bothered when the coverage doesn’t provide a complete and accurate picture of a story. I’m also a wife and a mom. I have always passionately defended the hard-working guy I love—and I always will. I just may not use Twitter to do so in the future!”
Obviously the significant other of the most hated Commissioner in professional sports (and that's saying something) would essentially be setting her mentions ablaze with the type of sexist death threats that are sadly expected from scorned NFL fans by taking public ownership of a twitter account. The entirety of Jane Skinner Goodell's character would be used to wipe the ass of thee shittiest people on the internet if she was constantly trying to defend her husband's ever-disagreeable actions online. So yeah, while it makes total sense that she would want to do so, it makes even more sense that she would want to do so under the most laughably obvious pseudonym of all time.
Still, there is something extremely fitting about the fact that even Roger Goodell's wife will only take his side while unidentified. Even the woman that swore to stand by him for better or worse throws on the proverbial fake nose, mustache, and eyeglasses disguise when it comes to showing support for his rulings on social media. She's serving a life sentence with one of the most despised figures in sports, but she'll be damned if she's not going to make it difficult to connect the links to decipher the proprietor of that ball and chain.
Again, it's not that I blame her. I'd be inclined to blindly accept a dramatically different definition of justice and staunchly support it by way of an alias if my spouse was the one carrying it out for over $40 million a year. I just find it funny that Goodell's wife takes after the NFL owners (the only other people in the world who tend to agree with him on a regular basis) by strictly defending him anonymously. With the Ezekiel Elliott suspension getting re-re-re-upheld today, I bet Jerry Jones wishes he were able to get out of her husband's pocket and in her shoes as the only person who can turn the tables on him as the judge, jury, and executioner.
P.S. Huge shoutout to Kevin Durant, whose preferred method of getting mad online has now been co-opted by the richest and whitest of housewives.
Michael Jordan Thinks 'Superteams' Are Ruining The NBA's Competitive Balance, And I See No Flaw In That Logic
Look, I know that former players tend to sound hypocritical and out of touch whenever they take a "back in MY day" stance on the current state of the league that ultimately gave them a platform, but let's hold off on the judgement and think critically about this for a second...
Wouldn't the NBA be better off if it reverted to the team building strategies of the...oh, let's say...early to mid 90's when literally every franchise had a chance to win big? Honestly, other than that one team - whose name I can't quite recall right now - winning three straight titles twice in an eight year span, the championship window was basically wide open for even the most flammable of dumpster fire. Imagine if that guy who used to jump really high and stick his tongue out all the time didn't take a sabbatical to try his hand at an entirely different sport. We'd probably be sitting here talking about an era that featured even more parity!
So, you can question Michael Jordan's thought process on dominance is you so choose, but I'm man enough to admit that he's (clearly) forgotten more about competitive imbalance than I will ever know. Superteams* are indisputably bad for basketball, according to the completely unbiased owner of one of the 28 garbage teams whose command of NBA history isn't at all blinded by his organization's hopeless situation.
* Not to be confused with historically great teams that just so happen to have an disproportional amount of talent as it compares to the rest of the league, right Mike?
Amari Cooper Isn't Worried About His Early Season Struggles, Because The Ball Is 'Going To Find Him' Eventually
LBS- Cooper, who has just 13 catches in five games, said Wednesday that he is not planning to change his approach.
“That’s how I look at it,” he said, per ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez. “Just keep being me, just keep doing me, stay true to who I am and the ball will find me.”
Cooper was targeted just twice in last week’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens, though that could have a lot to do with Derek Carr missing the game with a back injury. After watching film, Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said Cooper was open about five times. Cooper agreed.
“Yeah. I was open,” he said. “I like to play well so, hopefully, in this next game, I’ll have a few catches and kind of get back on [track].”
Carr is expected to start against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, and he knows his top receiver needs to be a bigger part of the offensive game plan.
“It’s one of them things,” Carr said. “He’s ran some really good routes, to be honest. He’s ran some good routes. He’s obviously put some on the ground that he’s wanted back. I’ve missed him a couple of times.”
My first inclination was to make fun of Amari Cooper for talking about a football as if it has a busted GPS that's spent the early portion of the season recalibrating to find his current location on the field. After all, it's a little disingenuous to blame something's sense of direction when you've been slapping into the dirt over...and over...and over again for the entirety of the last month. Unfortunately, I can't - in good conscience - criticize his delusional ability to deflect blame without being hypocritical, because the same type of casual dismissal is what governs my love life.
Seriously, Amari Cooper has literally been pushing his targets away from him, only to act surprised when don't immediately return for more. Just referring to missed pass catching opportunities as if they are a part of an endless supply of fish in the sea after shooting all the proverbial fish in his barrel with his two left hands. Repeatedly taking an "on to the next" attitude with something that could potentially alter his immediate future for the better.
But hey - of course Amari Cooper isn't concerned that he went from having back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons to averaging just over 2.5 catches a game. Not his fault. Nothing he could possibly do to fix that. Why would he worry about changing his approach when he is the onus of that which he is seeking? He doesn't need to get open or catch the damn ball when he is open. That ball will always need him more than he needs the ball...or at least that's the justification I use for solo love making after a long Saturday night.
SportsNet- It’s literally been decades since we’ve seen a player get selected in the sixth round of the entry draft one year and make his NHL debut the next – at least until the 19-year-old winger stormed on the scene with the New Jersey Devils these last few weeks.
While we might easily point to Bratt’s size (five foot 10, 175 pounds) or his circumstances (playing in Allsvenskan, Sweden’s second-tier league) as reasons for why he was previously overlooked, the teenager points at himself.
He readily admits that he struggled with focus and preparation in the past. He would get anxious and overthink things. There was very little consistency in his play.
“Last year was a pretty tough year for me,” Bratt said in an interview. “It was tough for me to be confident on the ice and I was always nervous before games. So I never performed at my highest level. I didn’t know how to make myself ready for the next day and that’s something that I worked on a lot this year to play on my highest level every night.”
Bratt credits the decision to start working with mental coach Andy Swärd as the moment where his potential was truly unlocked. Swärd’s client list includes athletes in various sports, including a handful of Swedish Hockey League goalies, and his message immediately resonated with a player who had scored just 14 goals in 94 games for AIK over two seasons.
“He makes me feel very comfortable,” said Bratt. “He’s a very well-known guy in Sweden. He’s a great guy and he’s one of the biggest reasons I’m standing here.”
Honestly, the only thing that makes less sense than a 6th round pick from a year ago making the roster and working his way up to the top half of it while amassing six points in the first three games of his career is that 6th round pick ever having dealt with a lack of confidence. It's straight from the workhorse's mouth so I guess I have no choice but to treat it as the truth, but before five minutes ago I would have been more likely to believe that Jesper Bratt had six nipples and a goddamn tail than a self esteem issue. The kid has been an absolute terror to each and every professional power play he has faced thus far, and he's one summer removed being unsure of himself?
Metaphorically speaking, going from being a role player in some random (bush) league in Sweden to taking the NHL by storm is the developmental equivalent of been a wallflower at homecoming to finger banging the hot chaperone in the middle of the dance floor at prom. Assuming puberty didn't just randomly hit him about 4 years too late, this unforeseen boost in big dick syndrome is radically uncharacteristic of any 175 pound Swede.
Now, all the credit goes to Jesper Bratt for having the endless potential that needed to be unlocked like throwback uniforms in a video game, but who is this goddamn gatekeeper and why is not already employed full-time by the Devils? Pretty sure the 18 year old first overall pick who - for the first time in his young career - looked mildly overwhelmed last night could benefit from the services of Andy Sward and his mental wizardry. Shit, Jesper Bratt basically became Henrik Zetterberg overnight so who is to say that this Swedish witch doctor couldn't tap into Nico Hischier's inner-Pavel Datsyuk after 5 minutes on a leather couch? I've been pushing for Damon Severson to start playing like his proverbial nuts dropped for years now, and we're just going to leave hockey's Mr. Miyagi coaching up players who are destined for SKA (KHL) when the S-K-Y is apparently the limit in New Jersey?! The guy who made the following play happen was apparently sitting in some 8 square foot locker room cringing at the idea of touching the puck a year ago. They better get his shrink to the states so this team can blow up, and I mean STAT(S)...
The Red Wings Are Threatening A Lifetime Ban On The Fan That Christened The Ice At Their New Building With An Octopus
LBS- Nick Horvarth told CBC News that he was ejected from last week’s home opener at Little Caesars Arena and told he is not welcome back after he threw an octopus onto the ice.
“The crowd was going nuts,” Horvath said. “As they were escorting me out people were booing them, ‘Let him go!’ People were high-fiving me, giving me spanks on the butt, slaps on the butt … everyone loved it.””
Unfortunately, arena security was not as receptive to the act, which became a tradition for Red Wings fans 65 years ago. Horvarth said he was told he can never return to a Red Wings home game.
“The two supervisors of security told me I’m done,” he said. “I think it’s very stiff. If they want to fine me I understand, if they wanted to ban me for a year … I can deal with that, but to get banned forever? That can’t happen.”
Why yes, because what better time to exile a loyal fan for eternity than after having moved a team that is predicted to be an abject disaster for the first time in two decades to a new building that is undoubtedly yet to feel like "home"? If there were ever an opening to put the clamps on a tradition that spans over half a century then it would be immediately upon the closing of one of the most decorated venues in the sport. Sure, someone was inevitably going to throw an octopus on the ice at Little Ceasar's Arena. Not only did the building need christening, but the people in it needed at least temporary distraction from the fact that went from having season tickets at The Joe to indirectly investing in the namesake of a Roman midget's atrocity of a "pizza" chain. Still, how can you strongly set the precedent that deceased marine life is no longer welcome without FOR-EV-ER shunning the type of life long supporter who is dedicated enough to smuggle animal carcasses past security?
In all seriousness, I understand why the Detroit Red Wings came to the conclusion that the custom of launching celebratory sea creatures on to the playing surface has run its course, but let's relax with the whole "lifetime ban" nonsense. For one, its an egregious way to treat a fan when your floundering (pun intended) franchise should be doing everything possible to keep each and every one of them in the building. More importantly, it's an impossible thing to institute. How many times have you walked around the concourse at a professional sporting event and seen a "If Spotted: Call 1-800-RentACop" poster featuring a drunken mugshot? You think the apathetic ushers or ticket takers are memorizing the face of every asshole that's been dragged out of the building smelling like an abandoned raw bar? That "lifetime ban" is somehow less effective than just about every policy Donald Trump has put in place to try America into an Aryan nation, so let's not pretend there's a proverbial wall blocking Nick Horvath from entering the 'Pizza! Pizza!' palace.
Can we just call this what it actually is? This dude has been issued a lifetime of probation that he's only realistically capable of violating if he decides that it's worth packing 8-armed squids in the name of tradition at the risk of spending the night in a Detroit holding cell. Personally I think that's a fair punishment, but let's not play with the semantics to make it sound like a worse sentence.
I know this seems like an odd place to start given the fact that last night's game finished with a score of 6-3, but to prioritize praising anyone else prior to Cory Schneider would simply be disingenuous with how good he's been early in this young season. I understand that the mind of the average, offensively depraved Devils' fan wants to immediately jump to the fact that they have somehow already doubled up their amount of 6 goal games from last season. However, without a 47 save effort from the top tier goaltender who became the scapegoat for the entirety of an (a)pathetic roster last year, we would be forced to talk about the team's defensive woes just as much as their apparent offensive enlightenment. Simply put, every single person that suggested trading Cory Schneider or implied that his admittedly porous numbers were this team's biggest problem can choke on their own foot, because the differential in the last three games has been a glimpse into just how easy he makes it look when he has goal support.
And what unbelievable goal support it has been. I didn't think it was possible to find myself more impressed with a Devils' team that's lit the lamp more often than a teen who has yet to have worried about an electricity bill, but then I realized that a grand total of ZERO goals have come from the stick of Taylor Hall, Kyle Palmieri, or Nico Hischier. I don't expect the Devils' to drop touchdowns on every team they play, but if they are going to continue to get substantial contributions in secondary scoring then I'm much more likely to believe that this early season offensive outburst is an undeniable sign of significant improvement up front. Non-facetiously speaking, this team would have considered themselves lucky if their bottom-6 tallied 4 goals in the longest month of last season, and they were able to casually hit that number last night alone.
Miles Wood didn't even crack the opening night lineup and he got on the board twice in a period. Blake Coleman might not even be in New Jersey if it weren't for Brian Boyle's unfortunate cancer diagnosis, and he ripped a bar-in laser that could only be described as a goal scorer's goal. There's literally not one single person outside the organization (or his immediate family) that thought Brian Gibbons was anything more than training camp roster fodder, and he potted a shorthanded goal while down two men to keep his PPG pace alive. Pavel Zacha was the most likely person to get on the scoresheet (twice), and he had all of 8 goals last year. The depth of the roster has been on full display, and top of it hasn't even fully gotten going yet.
Now, the Devils' aren't going to win games this consistently if they continue to give up 40+ shots while marching to the box 8 times per night. Still, the fact that they were able to overcome some pretty piss poor first period passing to win this particular game, on the road, over an extremely talented team should be enough to differentiate this '3-0' from the '3-0' that turned into the unceremonious, midseason dismissal of Peter DeBoer in comically quick fashion. I don't know that their superb special teams play (from multiple guys who weren't expected to be on the team a month ago) is sustainable, and they certainly aren't going to be able to lean on the luck of the iron as often they did last night, but there was nothing fluky about the amount of chances they were able to create with their collective speed and relentless forecheck.
This was the Devils' first true "test" and - while not exactly acing it - they somehow still managed to set the curve higher. I hope they are prepared to start living up to expectations as opposed to setting them, because since the drop of the puck in their first preseason game they've been making it insanely hard for their fans to continue managing them.
P.S. Absolutely loved watching Adam Henrique jump in to dry hump Matt Martin when he took a late game run at Jesper Bratt. I'm sure it had a lot to do with losing on a bi-weekly basis, but this team lacked that type of attitude last year. John Hynes wanted the Devils to become hard to play against and there is nothing more difficult then trying to pry a grown man who is desperate not to get punched in the face from a top you...
P.P.S. Someone check on Lou Lamoriello. I'm concerned as to whether or not his heart could handle watching a young, dynamic player wearing a recently altered Devils' uniform embroidered with the number 13. Hey Lou....BOO!
An Oklahoma Fan Got In Front Of A Class At Texas, Started Yelling About Sooner Football, And Got Exactly What He Had Coming
The conclusion to this clip was almost too awe inspiring for me not to question whether it was all a set up. Organically shot internet videos just don't typically provide the perfect cinematic climax like the productions you expect to see in theaters, but - boy, oh boy - did this one come though with an ending that could damn near bring a tear of laughter to the eye of even the most serious of sports' fan.
A loyal Longhorn - almost suspiciously wearing a jersey - sensing blood in the water of the 'Red River Rivalry' and executing a perfect form tackle on an insufferable Sooners fan that thought he was making some sort of statement (other than "I have no friends") by venturing behind enemy lines in obnoxiously conspicuous fashion? I was begging for that hit stick to come from the second I turned the volume up, and - somehow - the timing of that spear still made a predictable outcome so much more than simply satisfying. Not only a more than solid viewing experience, but real life proof that poetic justice does exist outside the big screen. Two thumbs up.
Yahoo- “Boston is going to be all love,” says Isaiah Thomas of his eventual return to the city that made him an NBA star —except for one thing.
In a new story with Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins, the Cavaliers guard discusses the trade that sent him to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving over the summer and his frustration with Celtics general manager Danny Ainge.
“I’ve been looking at this wall for five hours,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens texted Thomas after the trade, “trying to figure out what to say to you.” When Sacramento let Thomas walk in 2014, he left town telling himself, “F--- Sacramento. I’m about to kill those dudes.” When Phoenix exiled him the following winter, he pledged, “O.K., now they’re gonna get it.” But there will be no revenge tour this time. “Boston is going to be all love,” he vows, with one exception. “I might not ever talk to Danny again. That might not happen. I’ll talk to everybody else. But what he did, knowing everything I went through, you don’t do that, bro. That’s not right. I’m not saying eff you. But every team in this situation comes out a year or two later and says, ‘We made a mistake.’ That’s what they’ll say, too.”
Admittedly, Isaiah Thomas' declaration that he may never again speak to the General Manager that ultimately benefited from the surreal season that cost him the health of his hip before trading him seems a bit outlandish. After all, Danny Ainge simply did what any good executive would have done in striking while the iron was hot. It sucks that the deal came on the heels of a postseason that saw Isaiah Thomas battle through the tragic death of his sister to carry his beloved Boston Celtics through to the Conference Finals. However, an undersized point guard who has more than likely peaked wasn't about to get a max contract from a franchise with championship aspirations, no matter how imperative he was to the resurgence of said franchise. So, while I completely respect Isaiah Thomas' resentment, the idea that he's going to give his former employer the eternal silent treatment for doing his job well seems a bit excessive.
That is, until you consider that Isaiah Thomas and Danny Ainge probably didn't speak that frequently anyway. It's not really my place to make assumptions about the extent of their relationship, but I highly doubt that a 28 year old player is conceding their weekly wing night by giving the cold shoulder to his 58 year old former employer. When Isaiah Thomas saw Danny Ainge's name pop up across the screen of his cell phone in late August, I'm going to guess that he didn't have high hopes that he was looking to ask him if he wanted to accompany him to see the newest summer blockbuster. Statistically speaking, he was much more likely to be letting him know that he was actually a central figure in one. I know the NBA is far from the average work environment, but exactly how many of your former bosses do you keep in close, personal contact with? Point being, this doesn't resemble a Westbrook/Durant type split as much as it does the all-too-common complete disassociation with someone twice your age that no longer makes you scheduled payments.
I'm not denying that Isaiah Thomas is pissed off at how things ended in Boston, and - apparently more so - with the person that was responsible for the unceremonious conclusion to his tenure. Just saying, he wouldn't have to be "smoke billowing from the ears" enraged to avoid engaging a man twice his age in conversation for the rest of his career, especially when the only thing they would have in common is the organization that they no longer have in common.
Albright College's Backup QB Was Kicked Off The Team By His Teammates For Kneeling During The National Anthem
LBS- Gyree Durante, a backup quarterback at Division III Albright College in Reading, Pa., kneeled during the national anthem for the second straight game on Saturday to protest racism and social injustice. His teammates decided to kick him off the team after Durante went against a unified decision.
“I was just taught you fight for what you believe in and you don’t bow to anyone,” Durante said. “I believe heavily in this. So I decided to fight for it.”
A university spokeswoman told NBC10 that players came together before Albright’s Oct. 7 game and decided they would kneel during the coin toss and stand during the national anthem going forward. Durante apparently did not agree with the decision.
“This action, which was supported by the coaching staff, was created as an expression of team unity and out of the mutual respect team members have for one another and the value they place on their differences,” the spokeswoman said. “It was established as a way to find common ground in a world with many differing views.”
The spokeswoman explained that a leadership council of 24 student-athletes decided on the procedure the team would follow, and players knew there would be consequences for going against it.
Two other Albright players, freshmen Stephen Glynn and Josh Powell, told NBC10 that their sophomore teammate assured them he would stand with the rest of the team, but Durante broke the team’s trust.
But...but...but...how will a bench player at a DIII school in West Bumblefuck, Pennsyltucky ever get his point across if he's been kicked off a team whose games aren't televised or attended by more than a couple hundred disagreeable rednecks?!
Oh wait, how is it that I know Albright College has a football team, and why is it that it took learning the name of their (now former) backup quarterback to realize they exist?
As far as I and the vast majority of the people who caught wind of this story are concerned, the most notable thing to ever touch the football field in question was Gyree Durante's knee. I can understand his teammates feeling frustrated that their trust was betrayed by a kid who prioritized his dedication to the cause over his dedication to his team, but that locker room just furthered said cause by kicking him off said team.
Assuming a backup quarterback whose picture can't even be found on the goddamn internet isn't on scholarship, he ultimately just got his purpose more publicity while freeing up his Saturday afternoons. We aren't talking about a kid who compromised millions upon millions of dollars like Colin Kaepernick. We are talking about a kid who now has all the time in the world to talk to any number of news outlets about being denied a First Amendment right because he no longer has to waste his time sitting on a steel bench watching games that no one outside the county gives a shit about from the sidelines.
So congratulations to Albright College. They followed the lead of Donald Trump, Jerry Jones, and potentially Roger Goodell by turning a peaceful protest into a laughably bigger deal than it had to be by fruitlessly fighting tooth-and-nail against it. If their goal was to get everyone to stand for the National Anthem prior to one unwatched game this upcoming weekend then I guess they won. If their goal was to discourage similar protests while continuing to fly under the radar as some piss ant program in Podunk, Pennsylvania then they - in fact - are the big loser in the most intriguing "game" they have ever participated in.
LBS- According to two reports, the Warriors find reigning MVP Russell Westbrook easy to defend. ESPN’s Zach Lowe talked about that with Ryen Russillo on ESPN Radio “The Lowe Post Show.”
“Jack McCallum’s new book about the Warriors has a bunch of kind of anonymous Warriors talking about Russ and how they don’t fear Russ. How KD left partly cause of Russ. How Russ’s style of play is so easy for them to defend it’s like cake to them,” Lowe said.
“I’ve talked to the Warriors about his kind of stuff. What’s in Jack’s book is 100 percent what they say when you ask them about Russ.”
What's that you say? The surprisingly anonymous members of the team that directly benefited from the departure of the generational player that once made Russell Westbrook's job easier collectively thinks it's easy to guard Russell Westbrook? Oh, do they? Do they really think it's easy to defend a shoot first point guard who is surrounded by very little trustworthy shooting after subtracting his 7-foot physical anomaly of a sidekick and adding him to an already great defensive team? Shocking stuff.
It's funny though. I don't remember too many Golden State Warriors speaking up to a published author about the ease with which they could guard Russell Westbrook when he and Kevin Durant brought them to the brink of elimination just one season ago. They didn't seem so quick to quip when Russell Westbrook had Steph Curry sliding back onto his heels faster than an unsupervised kid wheeling his way through the mall for the entirety of seven, hard fought playoff games.
Eh, probably just coincidental timing. Surely they felt this way before Russell Westbrook's ungodly usage rate helped him attain an MVP award. They just didn't feel like confidently saying so out loud without their names attached until the efficiency of Russell Westbrook's skill set was hampered by the lack of talent around him.
Wouldn't you know it, Golden State is a great team that's only cocky enough to publicly talk about how great they are after they've already won!?! It will be interesting to see if their opinion of Russell Westbrook's offensive dominance/versatility changes once Paul George and Carmelo Anthony took over the wings that were previously manned by Victor Oladipo and Andre Roberson. Who wants to bet that we will only hear this contextual drivel about it being "cake" if the Warriors end up with another one to cut come next summer?
Finally! Jeez, it's about damn time the Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought some preemptive professional help to a placekicking situation that is only stable in it's mental and physical instability! Patrick Murray's admission that he already felt it necessary to seek a shrink before even being placed in the spotlight and being asked to boot one meaningful ball isn't the greatest omen considering the volatility of (and the contentiousness towards) the role that he's yet to begin filling, but it's not like clear headed kickers grow on trees.
In a perfect world the Buccaneers would bring in a confident guy who is of sound mind to quell the kicking woes that solely cost them a win against the World Champs, but let's look on the bright side here. At least this roster re-tread will have a trusted confidant (either literally or figuratively) in his ear when the rest of his team abandons him at the end of the bench after he inevitably hooks one left. If I learned anything from the recent ostracization of Nick Folk and the curious (basket) case of Robert Aguayo it's that loneliness leads to losing trust in your leg. Tampa Bay shouldn't take complete solace in the fact that each and everyone of their games could potentially rest on the foot of an over-thinker, but at least this particular over-thinker attempted to have his consciousness washed of self consciousness! That's should have their spirits feeling upright. Until, of course, they are looking like this after he fails to kick the ball through them...