Monthly Archives: June, 2011

A Great Study on the True Level of Corruption in the NCAA

Without a lot of undue fluff, a writer named named Andrew Henke has an interesting take on the NCAA. This guy really has the economic tilt of the NCAA nailed.

If you pay attention to collegiate sports these days, one glaringly obvious shift has begun to occur: The NCAA has become the Wall Street of the sporting world. It is not a claim that is made lightly, not after the irreparable harm that Wall Street has caused our economy, our country and its citizens over the last several years. As a former NCAA Div. I basketball player, I got to see the way NCAA compliance really works. Ever since then, I have watched closely as the inconsistencies and hypocrisy grew with every infraction the NCAA ruled upon. The parallels to Wall Street are becoming eerily familiar… here is how.

Administrations and coaches are putting their self-interests (money and power) above their student-athletes interests almost every day at every program. It’s a classic example of how the actions of a governing body (the NCAA) has set an example for its institutions to follow that is unethical and often times illegal. Only in the NCAA’s case, they are the “be all, end all”. The NCAA has the resources and power to act in any way they seem fit. They are constantly sweeping corrupt and unethical behavior under the rug (ultimately encouraging it by turning a blind eye) without any controls in place to stop them from doing so. How are they able to do this? The NCAA is run and regulated by the same people who are allowing the unethical behavior to exist in the first place. The people who make the rules, are the people who are breaking the rules (or are allowing rules to be broken underneath them).

Think of the list of coaches and university officials you can drop on this list. Calipari, Tressel, Kiffin, Pete Carroll…hit the comments section with your own nominees.

While you are thinking of that, here’s where Henke foreshadows that he intends to go medieval.

The similarities between the NCAA and Wall Street are staggering. Wall Street was able to run free for years and years because the people who were supposed to be regulating and enforcing compliance were the same people who previously had been a part of Wall Street. The SEC and the U.S. Government, meanwhile, encouraged the behavior to happen by deregulating and turning a blind eye (mostly because their own pockets were getting fatter as they did so). It’s no different with the NCAA. The President’s of the institutions are the ones who run it and make the rules. The compliance committee is made up of people who inherently are going to be self-serving when it comes to punishing the same institutions that they run. There are simply no checks and balances to the system, and it skews the compliance efforts to protect institutions and punish (unfairly) the student-athletes in which they are supposed to be looking out for.

In other words, the fox guards the henhouse.

The NCAA Infractions Committee is made up of 7 Institution member, and 3 from the general public. According to the NCAA, this is meant to keep the committee balanced and fair. Shouldn’t it be a 50/50 split then? Doesn’t the 7-3 majority strongly favor the institutions? Of course it does. Even more so, the committee is skewed towards the larger institutions in the larger conferences. The only smaller conference represented is the MEAC (Dennis E. Thomas, Conference Commissioner). The point is, there is no one looking out for the interests of the players, and there won’t be as long the NCAA regulates itself.

Write this down for future reference: The NCAA pretends to care about lots of things; it only cares about money. Just keep reading, the point isn’t arguable even if you don’t see it yet.

When it comes to players and their rights in the system that the NCAA has set up, the players have almost no standing, and they certainly do not have any advocates. All the rules, which are supposed to define and defend amateurism, are really just oppressive measures to keep the power in the hands of the institutions which use the players for generating revenue. I don’t know any exact statistics, but I would guarantee the average amount of money that a player in Division I basketball brings in to its programs institution (I’m talking all revenue, not just ticket sales) far outpaces the amount it costs the NCAA to operate and provide scholarships to those players. The basic argument is that the NCAA uses its student-athletes to generate profit, stacks the deck against them purposefully (in terms of compliance, governance, and fair opportunity), and then continuously abuses the system that they created and control in order to keep the upper hand against the student-athletes at all times.

Meanwhile, coaches and the administrations that hire them are not held to the same standard. There are no penalties against coaches when they take another job (transfer), there are no limits to the amount of money they can make, and there are very few controls on their actions. Why is a player not allowed to transfer without sitting out a year? (Or two years if they transfer within their conference.) Coaches leave their jobs every season to take better positions and more money. Moreover, when coaches are found to be in violation of the rules, they may get punished, but their punishment falls hardest on the players within their programs. Why should the players get punished and banned from postseason play because of a coach’s actions? Why does Jim Calhoun get a free pass for making 1400 illegal phone calls and 1100 illegal texts, when Perry Jones gets suspended for the NCAA tournament because his mother (unknowingly to Jones) took and paid back lawfully a couple loans when he was a 16 year old? Its absurd to even calculate the hypocrisy.

Another exercise in naming…I’ll start the bidding with Pete Carroll and Jim Tressel. Shift this discussion over to basketball, and the question here becomes John Calipari. How is it this guy leaves a snail-trail of corruption where he goes, and yet, he keeps getting jobs? The article mentions Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun, who has routinely side-stepped penalties for infractions. Granted, the NCAA finally imposed a suspension on him, but it takes place months after the fact.

The same thing goes for institutions that are allowed to switch conferences, make TV deals worth millions, build stadiums with public money, and reap all the benefits from ticket sales, jersey and apparel sales, NCAA tournament appearances, etc. It puts in perspective the anger felt by Enes Kanter, who at age 14 was given a place to live and food to eat in exchange for playing club basketball in Istanbul. What did the NCAA do? They found this to be an infraction and wouldn’t allow him to play basketball this season.

Now Enes Kanter is an NBA draft pick, who after the lockout issues, is going to sign a contract worth millions of dollars, no thanks to the NBA.  Meanwhile many of those “student-athletes” who the NCAA supposedly helps will never see even the income a college education provides.

When it comes to student-athlete rights within the NCAA, the only right they really have is to choose the program they want to go to, and once they are a part of that program all rights are waived. Even the most basic of player protections, like limits on off-season training and in-season hourly constraints, are pretty much up to the institution (who remember IS the NCAA and regulates itself) to enforce.

These protections, by the way, as any student-athlete will attest to, are broken nearly every single week, by every single program. The 20-hour rule? Yeah, right. Its broken by the 3rd or 4th day of the week (optional work-outs are not optional if you want to play). Ask the University of Iowa football players who nearly died how they feel about this rule? Ask them if they were protected by their institution and if the rules were enforced? Has anyone in the Iowa football program been actually punished properly? No. Will they? No. I’m sure Kirk Ferentz sleeps well at night when he sees his paycheck ($3.65 million if your wondering). I bet anything his former players who now have severe organ damage are, indeed, having trouble sleeping; their careers could be over.

The “undocumented workers” who clean university office buildings get more protection. But remember, the NCAA is all about the “student-athlete.” Cue that Whitney Houston song about “the children are the future” here. Of course, in short order she ended up a crack-addicted mess, but the NCAA has yet to to take step one of twelve to deal with its dysfunction.

In now way am I saying that every program is unethical or immoral. There are plenty of great examples of well run programs, but if you look across the landscape of NCAA sports, especially revenue generating sports, you can pretty easily find the misgivings and maltreatment. The bottom line is that student-athletes are facing an increasingly tough battle against the NCAA. Something needs to be done, but it won’t come from the student-athletes. They know how tough their battle is, the NCAA makes that pretty evident to them (unless they put THEIR careers at stake and refuse to play, that will get the NCAA’s attention). It needs to come from within the institutions that govern the NCAA. Its hard to make that happen when it will undoubtedly hurt institutions where it hurts the most, their wallets.

Wall Street had its day in the sun, until the giant shadow which was the 2008 economic collapse cast its presence upon their operations. Still, it has taken nearly 3 years to convict someone of insider trading, and not a single institution has been properly punished for their hand in the economic meltdown (pretty unimaginable all in itself). Goldman Sachs continues to thrive, as does Citi and AIG. The Obama administration has tried tirelessly to regulate the industry, to protect consumers and our fragile economy, yet is still coming up short. It doesn’t look good for student-athletes in this respect, if the President of the United States can’t regulate an industry within his grasp, its hard to imagine anything stopping the NCAA and its broken system of governance. I just hope that collegiate athletics and the student-athletes that make them possible don’t suffer the same consequences that the American people have because of the NCAA and its money-hungry Wall Street attitude.

Welcome to the real world…solutions don’t come through regulation; if they did the NCAA wouldn’t be a problem and the IRS would be hailed as an organization that allows the American economic engine to run. Instead, these two regulatory agencies are universally reviled.

The real solution lies in an honest approach to the problem. It is time to dump the illusion of the “student-athlete” and grasp the concept that college football and basketball are multi-billion dollar per year industries. This means we are decades past the time where we need to look at a new model for the distribution of the proceeds of such an industry.

According to the NCAA, Everybody’s Dirty – Even Arch-Criminal Joe Paterno

First there was Pete Carroll and USC. Then, there was Cheatypants McSweatervest and Ohio State. Lord knows what will come out of the whole Auburn/Cam Newton fiasco. Now, the web of trechery and deceit has ensnared the dean of college football, Joe Paterno.

You read that right, the esteemed elder statesman, who’s literally been coaching since the leather helmet era, has run afoul of the NCAA.

The 84-year-old coach acknowledged Monday that he inadvertently broke an NCAA rule while walking through his own campus at Penn State. He said he stopped to watch several football players during their voluntary workout — he didn’t speak to anyone — and then reported back to his other coaches that one player in particular looked good. One of the assistant coaches then told Paterno that he had committed an NCAA violation. Of course, it’s a minor violation, but one that Penn State has already acknowledged it’s reporting to the NCAA.

Of course, upon notification, Paterno was immediately arrested, charged with the violation, which according to NCAA by-laws allowed him to be named as a co-conspirator in the Lindbergh kidnapping, indicted in the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal, and the Warren Commission was re-convened at which point they edited the Zapruder film to clearly show Coach Paterno on the grassy knoll with a Mannlicher-Carcona 6.5mm bolt-action rifle.

Paterno being transferred to Guantanamo.

“Our compliance office is aware and will relay the circumstances to determine if there was a secondary violation,” Penn State spokesman Jeff Nelson told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Let’s be clear here…I get why the NCAA has some of the rules that it does, but we are talking about an old man taking a walk as a violation. What’s next, outlawing feeding the ducks in the park?

Paterno actually spilled the beans during a taping of “Difference Makers: Life Lessons with Paterno and Krzyzewski,” which chronicles the careers of the Penn State coach and Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Paterno was responding to a question about the current state of NCAA athletics and both he and Krzyzewski said the rules needed to be updated to keep up with modern times.

Paterno, just moments before he was taken into federal custody.

For once, I agree with Krzyzewski; largely because he agrees with Paterno. The NCAA is like a labor union; an organization that started with a noble purpose, then became corrupt while outliving its usefulness. There are people who have blatantly exploited the system for great personal profit (Cam Newton, Jim Tressel, etc…), meanwhile the NCAA has people reporting themselves for taking a walk.

This is just another example of how ridiculous the NCAA has become. Don’t get me wrong, there does need to be some sort of governance to keep college football becoming the “Wild West.” The trouble is now it doesn’t have one; instead it has a dysfunctional group of hypocrites who exist solely to make college sports a big business, protect anybody who helps make it so, and pretend to be a guardian of virtue by enforcing a bunch of ridiculous rules that don’t make a damn bit of difference.

I’d have a better ending for this rant, except the story is breaking that a Denny’s in State College allowed Joe Paterno to order the “EarlyBird Special,” despite the fact that it was 3:54 P.M., when the menu clearly states it is only available after 4. As a repeat offender, this may cost Penn State some scholarships…

News as it develops on Joe Paterno, the Arch-Criminal of the Millenium.

Frank McCourt Death Watch: Chapter 11

Frank McCourt Death Watch: Day 6

Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an effort to prevent a takeover by Major League Baseball, Fox News reported Monday.

Color me shocked.

The guy’s been hemorrhaging money for years, he’s in the middle of the ugliest divorce in the history of divorces, and even an idiot like Bud Selig has turned on him.  One would think this might mean McCourt has had a moment of clarity; that he realizes the gig is up. Nothing could be further from the truth.  Look at the quotes in the following piece and you see the delusion level in McCourt’s head is still off the charts.

The Los Angeles Dodgers filed for bankruptcy protection in a Delaware court Monday, blaming the refusal of Major League Baseball to approve a multibillion-dollar TV deal that owner Frank McCourt was counting on to keep the troubled team afloat.

The Chapter 11 financing permits the Dodgers to use $150 million for daily operations and buys time for the team to seek a media deal, the team said in a news release.

“There will be no disruption to the Dodgers day-to-day business, the baseball team, or to the Dodger fans,” the statement said.

Uhh, Frank, did you notice that a guy who doesn’t get his paychecks from the Dodgers is now running the team, and has been for close to three months? Did you notice that the coverage of your franchise revolves more around legal briefs than box scores? Did you  notice three of the worst human beings ever to walk the face of the earth are in the following photo?

Stalin and Bud Selig were out getting a Dodger Dog.

See, the working theory here is that bankruptcy protection will provide the Dodgers with a process to address its immediate financing requirements by giving the team a chance to obtain the capital necessary to ensure it’s long-term financial stability.

Uh huh…and right after that happens, we can all go visit the Fairy Princess together.

McCourt said the Dodgers have tried for almost a year to get Selig to approve the Fox transaction. The deal would have provided him with $385 million up front and was vital to a binding settlement reached between him and his ex-wife and former Dodger CEO Jamie McCourt last week. McCourt now faces the potential of missing a June 30 team payroll without the TV funds and that could lead to a MLB takeover.

The McCourts have been embroiled in a contentious divorce where their lavish spending habits were detailed in court documents. The former couple took out more than $100 million in loans from Dodger-related businesses, records show.

In April, MLB took the extraordinary step of assuming control of the troubled franchise. Former Texas Rangers President Tom Schieffer was appointed to monitor the team on behalf of Selig, who said he took the action because he was concerned about the team’s finances and how the Dodgers are being run.

McCourt has maintained he met the criteria set forth by baseball officials in order for the TV contract to be approved and would amend the conditions if need be. The Dodgers’ current TV deal with Fox expires in 2013.

You see Frank, somehow for once Bud Selig has managed to not be an idiot. Everybody in the world can tell if you were to get that cash infusion from Fox, you would simply blow it on something not related to baseball…that’s what you’ve been doing all along.

Not to mention, there’s the whole problem of the deal that was rejected to pave the way for you to join the ownership ranks.  The McCourt’s paid $430 million, of which $9 million was in cash; the rest being assorted bits of string and magic beans.  Meanwhile, Eli Broad’s nearly all-cash bid for the same amount was rejected.

Then there’s the matter of your divorce…

The divorce settlement, now voided because of Selig’s decision, called for a one-day “characterization” trial Aug. 4 to determine if title to the Dodgers is in Frank McCourt’s name or if the team should be considered community property and sold. Sacks said the trial may be shelved and Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon could decide how to handle the former couple’s assets at a later date.

Gordon ruled in December that a postnuptial marital agreement that gave Frank McCourt sole ownership of the Dodgers was invalid. That cleared the way for Jamie McCourt, who served as the team’s CEO and was fired by her ex-husband two years ago, to seek half the team under California’s community property law.

Let’s be honest…you’ve fucked this up so badly you’re not even paying Vin Scully.  It is time for you to go away; even Hitler had a more gracious exit.

Welcome to Hate Week – SoCal Baseball Style And The Vin Scully Drinking Game

Fuck the Dodgers.

There’s all kinds of reasons to hate the Dodgers, Lord knows I’ve written about them time and time again.  Just find “Los Angeles Dodgers” in the Tag Cloud on this page and you will see what I mean.

But one thing I’ve never mentioned is the Dodger Dog. If you’ve never had one, save yourself some time and anguish. Buy one, and rather than eating it, grind it into a fine paste and rub it into the back of your underwear; that’s where it’s going to end up anyway. Let’s be honest, anybody that can fuck up pork sausage deserves all the scorn and derision that can be heaped upon them.

It's actually safer to eat this stuffed toy.

As far as the baseball is concerned, the fun part is that the Angels began their time in Southern California paying rent to the Dodgers. In fact, that where the name “Chavez Ravine” comes from, as that’s what Angel announcers called it so they didn’t have to say “Dodger Stadium” during Angels games. But now the Angels own the Dodgers, holding a 46-34 all-time record against the Blue Bastards, including being 16-8 against the Dodgers since 2007, and including winning five of their last six at CHAVEZ RAVINE.

But, this is all about the enjoyment of baseball, so I encourage all of you in SoCal to tune into the Dodgers coverage of these games and play the Vin Scully Drinking Game.

Take One Drink:

  • For each Dodger left in scoring position (double if Matt Kemp is on the field during the death of the rally)
  • Vin Scully does an ad during the action – example: “Let’s take time out from that triple play to talk about Farmer John’s Pure Pork Sausage.”
  • Don Mattingly is shown sitting on the bench (double if he is leaning on the dugout rail)
  • Matt Kemp whiffs at a high pitch
  • Vin Scully refers to something that happened more than 20 years ago
  • James Loney strikes out (double if he Ks looking)
  • A Dodger hits into a double play (double if it’s Andre Ethier, triple if James Loney is on the field, and quadruple if Matt Kemp is on the field)
  • Vin Scully injects a fact about a player – example: “There’s a fastball for strike two…Matt Kemp, born in Oklahoma.”
  • For each Dodger base-running gaffe
  • Vin Scully refers to Matt Kemp as “Kent”

Leave it to an Angel to let some Dodgers meet their maker.

So, drink up and enjoy watching a Angel sweep. Oh, and fuck the Dodgers.

When The Affair Is Over – Jim Riggleman and The Washington Nationals

I know that title sounds a bit flip, but in all honestly, this relationship was an affair, not a marriage.

It all started a few years back when the Nationals fired the best manager they could hope to get at the time.  On the rebound from Manny Acta, Mike Rizzo hired Jim Riggleman. From all appearances, the relationship was working; the Nationals as of this writing are arguably the hottest team in all of baseball. This franchise is playing .500 baseball for the first time in Washington.

However, it seems there was a problem that we all didn’t become aware of until yesterday afternoon. Don’t think for a minute this wasn’t brewing for a while; 50-something year old guys don’t just have blow-ups and walk out on six-figure salaries and contractual obligations.

I have to admit, I don’t like that Riggleman has been getting piled on for quitting; in fact I understand the position he’s in. Don’t get me wrong, I think he handled it badly, but let’s not forget it takes two to tango.

Let’s go back to the marriage/affair analogy. Rizzo and Riggleman are in a relationship where they are responsible for the development of a team of young players. A “marriage” would have given Riggleman a long-term deal, rather than the series of one-year deals he had been working under, which makes Riggleman feel he was a permanent “interim manager.”  Let’s be honest, that’s exactly what he was.

This is the part where you ask yourself why is Rizzo willing to get into bed, but not willing to walk down the aisle with Riggleman? I’d be willing to bet you Rizzo’s cause for pause is Riggleman’s managerial record.

  • Overall record of 662-824 (.445) in 12 seasons as manager
  • He’s only ever finished a season over .500 twice (one was the strike-shortened 1995 season)
  • Has only won more than 80 games once
  • Never managed a division-winner

That’s not exactly a sparkling record, but it also ignores a couple of key facts.

Riggleman has been lucky enough to manage some bad franchises; ones that really didn’t have a commitment to winning when he was there; San Diego, Chicago Cubs, Seattle, and now Washington. If that weren’t enough, look at the managers he’s replaced.

  • Greg Riddoch – 200-194 (.508) in three seasons with San Diego; never managed in the major leagues again
  • Tom Trebelhorn – 49-64 (.434) in 1994 with the Cubs; never managed in the major leagues again
  • John McLaren – 68-88 (.436) in 156 games with Seattle; never managed in the major leagues again
  • Manny Acta – 158-252 (.385) in three seasons with Washington; now managing the Cleveland Indians

Boil it all down, and it tells you Riggleman is a “clean-up” guy; he’s the type of manager that digs teams out of holes created by another manager, and leaves those teams in a position to be better than when he came. Look at the records of teams in the season after he left, and compare it to what Riggleman inherited.

  • San Diego – 1994: 47-70  1995: 70-74
  • Chicago Cubs – 1999: 67-95  2000: 65-97
  • Seattle – 2008: 36-54  2009: 85-77

Here’s the problem; the clean-up guy is like the rebound girlfriend, the one you date after a bad break-up; the one who convinces you that you don’t hate all women, just the one you caught screwing your best friend. The sad reality is that nobody marries the rebound girl, her job is to pave the way for the one who is going to get the ring.

In other words, Riggleman is not the manager who is going to get a ring. There’s three kinds of major league managers: there’s the “dig you into a hole” guy, there’s the “clean-up” guy, and there’s the “ring” guy.  Nobody ever hires the “hole” guy on purpose, because they don’t come with warning signs. But general manager certainly know the “clean-up” and “ring” guys; and they hire according to their needs. Mike Rizzo is no exception.

So, Rizzo knows something Riggleman doesn’t. Riggleman’s not knowing his role meant he overplayed his hand when he confronted Rizzo with the “marry me or I’m outta here” ultimatum.

What Riggleman needs to realize is that “ring” guys can’t exist without “clean-up” guys; for every Joe Torre, there’s a Buck Showalter. It is also the “clean-up” guys who get the jobs. The trick to success in any line of management, be it baseball or in business is to know your strengths and weakness and own them.  Be who you are, not who you think you are.

However, having said that, Rizzo plays a role in getting us all to this point as well. Rizzo had to know this was an issue, and Rizzo chose to not deal with it. Riggleman asked to meet with him behind closed doors and settle this matter, but he chose to decline the meeting. That means there is no way Rizzo can claim he didn’t know there was a problem, and there’s no way he can say he did all he could to avoid this catastrophe.

It begs the question why he turned down the meeting in the first place. Anybody in management can tell you that people who want to meet with their boss does so because they are frustrated about something. In my real job, I’ve had people who worked for me come to me with various complaints, and in 99% of those cases, as a manager you don’t even have to do anything, just hear them out.  That’s a pretty low level of effort, but saying “no” to that meeting is the best way to tell an employee you couldn’t give a rat’s ass less about them or their problem. Funny how that tends to result in people telling you to take your job and shove it.

Riggleman felt he deserved better, and that caused him to make a bad decision. It bodes badly for a man in a leadership role to walk away from a commitment to his team over over what is essentially a disagreement with his boss.  Not to mention, giving your boss an ultimatum is never a good idea.  Riggleman deserves criticism for that, but for every word aimed at him, one should be aimed at Rizzo.  After all, an ultimatum tends to be an act of last resort and Rizzo didn’t even have the stones to tell him “you’re not our guy” to his face.  Sending a message to your people that you don’t care about them is far worse than anything Riggleman did.

The Ten Types of Bloggers Who Can Burn In Hell

Editor’s Note: This article is a collaborative effort between Dubsism and Ryan Meehan from First Order Historians. Ryan also has his own blog, East End Philadelphia, which is featured in our BlogRoll and it is well worth the read.

Well, we’re at it again. You need not bother pointing out the pseudo-irony of pointing out what is wrong with the world of blogs on a blog. Don’t get me wrong, in a vast majority of cases, blogs are a tremendous thing, but some of you are seriously fucking things up for the rest of us. Having said that, there are ten types of such blogs which need to go away…Now.

1) “The Crusader”

This is the pontificating asshole who a) thinks they can save the whole world by using a keyboard and b) ironically thinks removing words from the language somehow solves the problem those words represent. I have news for you, “Mr. I’m going to save the world from the comfort of my laptop:” If you want to help the environment, spending a Saturday picking up trash along the highway will do a fuck of a lot more than putting a “Save the Polar Bears” bumper sticker on your Prius.

And as far as being the “language police” is concerned, doing things like stigmatizing the word “retard” for the sake of the self-esteem of those afflicted is ridiculous; as if the fact they can’t count their balls and get the same number twice has no effect on them. Words are just words. If you’re hurt by words, you’re going to be fucked should anybody ever throw a knife at you.  The way the world seems to be headed, there’s going to be quite a few knives flying around in the very near future.

So consider yourselves warned, all you crusading retards…To prepare you for the upcoming “knife-throwing” era, we may just hide a few “offensive” terms in the following text. Don’t read further if you pussies can’t handle it.

2) Hip Hop Music Review Sites That Type How Urban People Are Supposed to Talk

“Yo, dawg!! Like, we’s be bloggin’ up in this heezy!!!” Eat a giant bag of rotting shit or anything else that will shut you the fuck up.

If you’re so “hood,” from where did you get a computer and internet access? You can call it stimulus generalization, but it’s highly unlikely that any of the people who would be able to give you a respectable opinion on hip-hop would have a computer in their apartment.  Even if they did have one, it’s also highly unlikely that it hasn’t been stolen. Computers don’t have feelings of their own, but if they did, the spell check would probably want to commit suicide halfway through one of these assholes’ first posts. It would probably be so tired of having so many words that end in “a” added to its dictionary that it would just keep generating the phrase “Please kill me.”

J-Dub’s Bonus Note: As a black guy, nothing infuriates me more than dipshits who think it is cool to pretend to be black. It’s bad enough that too many black guys think it is perfectly acceptable to walk around looking like an outlet mall vomited on Homey D. Clown, the last thing sI need some scrawny little Asian kid strolling up to me with his sideways hat, complete with tags hanging off of it, to blurt out “Whazzzup, G?” in that “no testicle,” high-pitched Chinese accent.

If you are a Chinese guy pretending to be black, you are a “Chigger.” If you are a white guy preteneding to be black, you are a “Wigger.” If you are a Mexican guy pretending to be black, you are the first, because I have yet to see one.

3) “The Cuddle Bunnies Fuzzy Duck Hour”

This is usually written by fat, suburban girls named Megan or Cindy who have led really sheltered, yet dysfunctional lives. It is all about happiness, sunshine, and other things which most people know are complete bullshit. We all know you write all this flowery crap because it is your coping mechanism from that time when you were fourteen and one of your uncles had some “boundary issues,” and your resultant love of Haagen-Dasz means no other white guy is willing to cross that border. Do us all a favor, take a night off from the keyboard, go down to a club in the city and get a hefty dose of black dick. It’ll do you a world of good. In fact, it’s the only reason they still produce Rohypnol.

I was going to address this in the poetry section below, but it fits here so I’d like to once again point out how fucking exhausted I am with hearing about people’s feelings. Here’s an analogy for you: “Life is like a shitty metaphor…it makes those of us who don’t have our heads crammed up our assholes want to kill the person who wrote it.”

4) “Look at how clever I am”

Yeah, so you think you are funny. I’ve got news for you, even though you have a degree in English Literature, any blog tagged with “humor” automatically sucks runny, grass-filled dogshit shit through a crazy straw. Even we’re willing to admit that we aren’t nearly as clever as we’d like to be. If we were, then we wouldn’t have to work for a living and we’d be able to write this shit in our underwear. Again, if we were that funny, do you think this would be on some 4th-rung blog that would have trouble getting readers if you printed it on Jessica Alba’s ass?

We could even screw that up, and not in the good way.

Instead, we write this shit while at our “real jobs,” as all that keyboard-pounding creates the illusion we a) are hard at work doing whatever it is we are supposed to do and b) give a frog’s watertight ass about whatever it is we are supposed to be doing.

So before you sit down in front of your keyboard to write another one of your bullshit “Dave Barry” ripoff pieces, stop to consider this: As I’ve stated before, the great thing about the internet is that it aloows anyone from anywhere to get famous. Conversely, the horrible part of the internet is that anyone from anywhere can get famous (such as that parasitic dick-smoker Perez Hilton).  The bottom line: As much as we’d like to say we support anybody who wants to become a writer, the truth most people who fancy themselves as writers really are just producing so much printed syphillis.

5) Any Blog About Poetry

Poetry sucks. I used to be a musician (thank God those days are over) and people love to throw that shit back in my face and say “Well you used to write music and lyrics are poetry…” and then I explain to them what it feels like to be wrong.

J-Dub was a bass player and a drummer who grew up to be an engineer, and he would be the first one to agree with my point that music is mathematics, pure and simple. There’s thirteen notes, there was thirteen notes yesterday, and there will more than likely be thirteen notes tomorrow. It’s all a basic mathematical equation.

Whether or not all of those indie rock douchebags would like to admit it or not, the same applies to lyrics. If the lyrics don’t have some kind of mathematical structure, then the music probably falls under the category of “avant garde” or “experimental”, which are just euphemisms for “shit” unless you’re in Mogwai or Sonic Youth. If all of my years in statistics and probability courses have taught me anything, it’s that 99.999956% of musicians have never been in either of those two bands.

What were we even talking about again? Oh, poetry, that’s right. I had almost forgotten. That might be because poetry is FUCKING POINTLESS. It’s not exciting, it’s not edgy, it’s not anything. The same people who get stoked about poetry are the same people who die from icicles falling on their head, and both sets of those people deserve it.

I was actually thinking about starting a website where anybody could submit their poetry and I would post it, only on one condition: That they start every poem with the phrase “As I am surrounded by my shitty poetry…” This would serve a dual purpose as either they would have to come up with something really creative to follow that, or they would realize they are throwing their lives away writing inane garbage.

6) Any Blog About Photography

If your blog is full of your pictures, and a picture is worth a thousand words, then why the fuck are you writing anything? Oh, because you want us all to you are the next coming of Ansel Adams. If you pictures weren’t shitty, you wouldn’t need to do that. Put your crap on Flickr and leave us alone.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing photographers out there. But photography is art, it’s open to interpretation. There’s no need to describe in detail what you’re trying to get me to feel. “I wanted the observer to see the delicate surface of the water to remind them of the fragility of life.” Hey dickbag, how about I look at the picture and decide what it means to ME? I mean, I’m the one looking at it right? Quit acting life such a self righteous dumpster muff and get back out there and take more pretty pictures for me to look at on the off chance that I might actually bookmark your website.

Meehan’s Bonus Note: There’s not even a need for Flickr. All of those other social networking sites allow you to post pictures, so delete the app from your phone, it’s only taking up space.) This is another one of those fields where there’s no need to advertise your blog, because if your work is good enough, you won’t need to promote it. Everyone will see that your pictures are great and you’ll make a lot of money. It’s called capitalism, get some.

7) “The Box Score Guy”

As a sports blogger, there is nothing I hate more than guys who write like they work for ESPN. Want to know where I can go read that kind of shit? ESPN! The world is dripping with “box score” websites…try offering an opinion or anything not being done by 90 billion other people.

I understand the sabermetrics stuff because it requires a lot of computing, but some of these assholes are just copying and pasting the basic stats so what’s the point? Just because you’re forming an opinion based on statistics doesn’t mean it’s right.  Over the past twenty years there are hundreds of examples of situations in competitive sports where statistics end up not having any effect on the outcome.  Even the Royals beat the Yankees every once in a while, and the law of probability says someday the Washington Generals will beat the Harlem Globetrotters.

8 ) “My Life is So Much More Interesting Than Yours”

Wow, so you were an Eagle Scout, you graduated from college at age 18, and last summer you climbed Mount Everest. And yet, after all that accomplishment, you spend your evenings the same way I do, writing shit on the internet no one will ever read.

If your life is so fucking awesome, why isn’t your blog dripping with pictures of you getting blown by strippers two at a time at a time on your private jet? Oh, that’s right, because that shit doesn’t happen to you. The last time anything hot got near your crotch was when one of your microwave pizza rolls blew its load on you.

You live vicariously through the internet, the exact opposite of doing so in the real world which is why you claim to be such a badass in the first place. However the good news is not all is lost, that Eagle Scout badge is going to help after all. When you finally realize your life sucks as much as the rest of ours, that knowledge of noose-tying will at last be useful.

9) Role-Playing/Fantasy Game Opinion Blogs

Speaking of vagina repellent, this whole World of Warcraft thing has actually gone so out of control there are now individuals who have started blogs based on the ethics of how these games are played.

You’ve GOT to be fucking kidding me.

Sadly, this is not a joke. Look, if you want to play those games, that’s your business. Not to mention, your zeal for your chosen hobby should be admired. At least you aren’t being half-assed about it.

There’s just one small problem. YOUR HOBBY IS THE FUCKING STUPIDEST THING EVER! It’s even dumber that shoving your dick into an electric pencil sharpener. The only thing dumber than sharpening your dick is writing about sharpening your dick, unless it is writing about World of Warcraft while sharpening your dick.

In fact, perhaps you should write about this shit WITH your sharpened dick; at least that way you would be getting some use out of it other than when it ends up playing a game of “grease and grunt” with your role-playing buddy’s asshole. Of course, since you are used to a fantasy world, you can pretend that your secret gay sex isn’t gay as long as a) you don’t tongue-kiss and b) you both understand you are ONLY doing this because nothing with a vagina will come within 500 yards of you.

But I digress…don’t just trust my word on this, take a look for yourself. Forget about how stupid fantasy gaming is. Forget about the exceptional silliness of the concept of “ethics and etiquette” in a completely made-up world. Forget about the ear-raping music you will hear if you follow that link.  To speak in this loser’s language: “…As webmaster of this cyberspace domain”, I grant you full authorization to go to this guy’s website and ruin his fucking day.

While you’re at it…check out the graphics!!! Not only is the resolution of the screenshots amazing, you can feel a little bit of yourself dying inside knowing that slowly but surely, content-specific material is disappearing everyday like so many dying brain cells.

10) One-Sided Political Blogs

You know that old adage: The two things you don’t discuss at a bar are politics and religion. The same rule applies to the internet.  The reason these blogs tend not to work is because whoever administers it decides arbitrarilywhich posts he’s going to leave up and which he’s going to take down, thus defeating the purpose of an open forum.

In other words, if some guy makes a great point that the administrator can’t argue with, he simply doesn’t approve the comment and we never see it.  Fuck that; what’s the point of having a blog if you are simply going to act like North Korea by simply censoring that which you don’t like?

However, if you think about it, that’s not any less fair than our current political system and may in fact be indicative of where we are as a society. However, you have to wonder how much these people worry about getting called out in front of their weekly traffic, which usually isn’t more than twenty people. Let’s be honest, how can you value the opinion of somebody who is such a complete pussy they can’t “man up” if somebody makes a point contrary to what they would like to believe?

Honorable Mention: Either of Our Blogs

Really, this is "best case scenario" for us.

Let’s be honest, who the hell are either of us to be bitching about any of this? We suck just as much as you; the difference is we have the self-awareness to see that, and the balls to admit it. Meehan is just another educated white guy who is pissed off at the fact he bought the great lie that a college education guarantees you a bright future and copes with that by running up Olympic-level bar tabs, and J-Dub is just another broke-ass black guy who married a white girl with a “big backyard” who pays all his bills while he pretends he’s running his own business.

If you’ve read this far, obviously you have nothing better to do, but you are also not easily offended. Now stop reading shit like this, go find more people like you, organize, and fix the shit that has gone so totally over the edge in this country.

More importantly, Thanks again for visiting Dubsism and East End Philadelphia for more of the internet’s finest in advice on how to be undeniably fucking awesome.

-J-Dub and Meehan

NFL Lockout Over By July 15th – In Other News, I’m Opening A Unicorn Ranch

According to the eternal optimists over at Yahoo Sports, there is a belief the NFL lockout is nearing an end. I will believe that when I see it.

Despite all the fuzzy cuddle-bunny, fell good crap in their article, the problem is neither the article nor the warring sides ever touch the “turd in the punch bowl.” Comb their copy, you won’t see it.  But you will see a lot of “wishful thinking.”

Now that NFL owners appear to have cleared a significant hurdle on the way to labor peace with the players, the question for the league is simple: How fast can they get the league year started? The short answer is sometime on or just before July 15. By that point, the league may be reopen for business on a permanent basis, meaning free agents could get signed and draft picks could start to meet with coaches for the first time in hopes of catching up as much as possible by the start of training camp.

“That kind of timeline is altogether possible,” a source on the owners’ side said Tuesday after the owners spent a little less than six hours hearing from Commissioner Roger Goodell about the state of the collective bargaining agreement talks with the players. Just as important, the owners were given a chance to object to the basic concepts put before them. The league went so far as to give the owners an extra day to discuss the negotiations. In the end, the meeting became a day trip.

Those two opeing paragraphs tell you where this is really headed; it’s all “may be, could be, possibly…”

While Goodell cautioned reporters not to read too much into that, it was taken as a good sign by most. Furthermore, the wide grin on New York Giants owner John Mara’s face was a pretty good tell about the state of the talks. In recent months, Mara’s face has been etched with a dour look, such as in March when talks between the owners and the players broke down, and the CBA expired.

Mara repeatedly refused to comment on the mediations and the meeting of the owners, saying that he and the rest of the owners were under court order not to say anything. Goodell was nearly as hard to pin down, but part of that was based on the fact that the players have to go through the same process. If the owners start to present too strong a front, it could be taken as presumptuous by players. At this point, any sense of overconfidence could throw the process in reverse.

“We have a very strong view of the priorities … ownership is unified,” Goodell said.

That’s a whole lot of nothing to be interpreted as a “good sign.” A smile on the face of some guy? Ownership is unified? I would certainly hope they are unified; they’ve had four months to get on the same page.  But wait, the “crapola” gradient rises exponentially from here.

Overall, the two sides have a preliminary agreement that all money will be split by a simple division, the players getting 48 percent and the owners getting 52 percent. While the players have technically taken a cut in their overall share of the revenue, the owners have agreed to guarantees that will essentially assure that teams will spend a higher minimum amount of money (90 percent of the salary cap) each year.

If you’ve ever been involved in high-level negotiations, you see the problem here. It’s all in this phrase – “the owners have agreed to guarantees that will essentially assure that teams will spend a higher minimum amount of money.” That’s a whole lot of gray for something that needs to end up in black and white in order for any deal to get finalized. In other words, this story is wanting you to believe as much as the author does the money part of this impasse had been solved, except that it hasn’t been. “Preliminary” agreements are worth as much as half a cup of cold coffee with cigarette butt floating in it.

Now for the next deal-killer… 

Additionally, retired NFL player Carl Eller met with four owners Tuesday morning to get assurances that the group of retirees he represents will get better health and disability benefits. Although Eller’s suit was grouped with the Brady et al v. NFL case, Eller’s group still has a say over the settlement and, ultimately, the eventual new collective bargaining agreement.

“The purpose of the meeting on Tuesday was to make clear that the bicycle has to turn into a tricycle,” said attorney Michael Hausfeld, who is representing Eller in his case. “The retirees are going to have a say in the process once this is over.”

While that could throw a wrench in the process, the source on the owners’ side and two others indicated that getting past the owners on Tuesday was the major obstacle. On Wednesday, the players will hold their own meeting in Boston and then are expected to meet with owners later in the day and again Thursday to continue hammering out the deal.

“Could throw a wrench in the process?” Now that the retired players have a stake in this collective bargaining agreement, get ready for the same style of discussion you get whenever the government talks about messing with social security. If you think you blue-haired granny gets irate when Uncle Sam screws with her check, what do you think a group of old offensive linemen are going to do? Somebody is going to get their skull cracked with a walker.

“At this point, you could probably have the terms drawn up by Friday if you wanted to really hurry the process, but two weeks is probably more realistic,” said the source on the owners’ side. “Two weeks for the paperwork is pretty reasonable.”

I don’t care what anybody says, unnamed sources are worthless. Come out of the shadows of the parking garage and speak up. Either the word can’t be all that true if you aren’t willing to back it, or you are afraid of repercussions for spilling the news. Of course, if that were the case, you wouldn’t be in the parking garage in the first place, or you would have found a way to blow the whistle without your fingerprints on it.

Now for deal-killer number#2…

There are other steps along the way. For instance, all of the parties involved will have to meet with Minnesota District Judge Susan Richard Nelson to seek preliminary settlement of the class-action lawsuits brought by current players such as Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Peyton Manning, and former players such as Eller. After that, the league will have the NFL Players Association recertify as a union and the owners will have to reconvene to give the agreement final approval. Given all those steps, the July 15 date starts to look more and more realistic.

“You’d like it to be as early as possible,” one team executive said. “Like I said before, I’d like to get started this week, but we know that’s not happening. The way everybody seems to be talking, mid-July is what we’re all hoping for.”

Even if all the sides agree, join hands and sing songs about unicorns, fuzzy little ducks, and rainbows, there’s still the matter of the federal judge, and there’s still the matter of yet another unnamed source who is still using verbs like “hope.” You don’t “hope” your way into collective bargaining agreements; hope is not a strategy.

Now for the distraction to get you away from the piece missing in all of this…

What that means is free agency figures to be fast and furious. The basic rules of free agency aren’t expected to change, meaning that players with at least four years of experience who are not currently under contract will become unrestricted free agents.

That means players such as Nnamdi Asomugha, Antonio Cromartie, Santonio Holmes, and DeAngelo Williams will head one of the deepest classes of free agents in NFL history. The depth of free agency is primarily because so many players from 2010 weren’t allowed to hit the market when the rules changed, requiring players to have at least six years of service before becoming unrestricted free agents.

While the depth of this free-agent class is subject to debate, the important part is that free agency may soon start, replacing the boring details of a labor dispute.

See that? By getting your hopes up over “this deep free-agent class,” you likely didn’t even notice one of the most contentious points in this whole lockout wasn’t even mentioned. Did the whole matter of the proposed 18-game schedule just vanish into thin air? Did we somehow sprinkle some magic fairy dust on the item that seemed to be the “absolute line in the sand” issue just a few short months ago?

Here’s the deal…anybody that has even been in a negotiation situation can tell you that 90-95% of it is easy; it’s that last 5% that will rip your guts out.  You media folks need to stop peddling false hopes and unicorn ranches made of the easy stuff to a public eager to buy anything if it means they get football.

Dubsism: Your Home For The Frank McCourt Death Watch

Frank McCourt Death Watch: Day One

It is time to start the countdown until Frank McCourt no longer owns the Los Angeles Dodgers. Everything seems to be closing in on him; there’s the divorce settlement which hinged on the TV deal, which Commissioner Bud Selig just rejected, which means we are headed for a one-day trial in August which will likely result in an immediate sale when the Dodgers are declared to be community property.

McCourt pondering if this is the suit he wants to be buried in.

Here is MLB’s “official story” on the matter.

“This decision was reached after a full and careful consideration of the terms of the proposed transaction and the club’s current circumstances,” commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. “It is my conclusion that this proposed transaction with FOX would not be in the best interests of the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise, the game of Baseball and the millions of loyal fans of this historic club.”

The translation:

“We know killing this TV deal should drive the last nail in this asshole’s coffin, and the sooner we get rid of this guy, the better because once McCourt is gone, no one will ask questions as to why Selig approved this turd-loaf as an owner in the first place.”

Then, there is the matter of McCourt’s repsonse.

“We are extremely disappointed with the Commissioner’s rejection of the proposed FOX transaction which would inject $235 million into the Los Angeles Dodgers,” the statement read. “As Commissioner Selig well knows, this transaction would make the Dodgers financially secure for the long term and one of the best capitalized teams in Major League Baseball.

“Commissioner Selig’s letter of rejection is not only a disappointment, but worse, is potentially destructive to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Major League Baseball. Accordingly, we plan to explore vigorously our options and remedies with respect to Commissioner Selig’s rejection of the proposed FOX transaction and our commitment to protect the long-term best interests of the Los Angeles Dodgers.”

Of course, it has a translation all of its own.

“Oh man, I’m soooo fucked. If it isn’t that bitch wife, it’s that cocksucker Selig. Why does everybody have to make being a lying, cheating scumbag so hard?”

Frank McCourt has already struggled to make payroll, and now that his last means of revenue has been strangled, there is a very real possibility that once he fails to meet his obligations on June 30, MLB could seize the team and force a sale.

Even if McCourt somehow manages to survive into August, the terms of the McCourt’s divorce settlement had set a one-day trial for Aug. 4 to decide if the Dodgers are solely the property of Frank McCourt or if the team is a marital asset to be split.

No matter how long McCourt survives, the minute the plug gets pulled, it seems McCourt is girding his loins for a protracted legal battle over MLB’s right to take over the team and/or to force Selig to approve the FOX deal.

As he runs out of options to stave off a complete MLB seizure, McCourt also digs in his heels for a protracted confrontation on baseball’s authority to exercise control on anything beyond the team itself.

Sources familiar with McCourt’s strategy indicated Monday that significant sources of Dodgers revenue would not be available to Major League Baseball or another owner without McCourt’s consent. These are said to include a $21 million annual lease obligation owed from the team to a McCourt entity for the club’s use of the parking lots surrounding Dodger Stadium and any ticket revenue in excess of the $6-7 million per year of service on certain McCourt debt, according to the sources. This year’s figures were not available, but the surplus cash after debt service exceeded $60 million in 2005. Both of these revenue streams are slated to stay with McCourt for at least 20 more years.

The lease payments and ticket sales revenue could act together as a poison pill discouraging what would be called in the corporate world a hostile takeover. Baseball’s recourse would most likely be legal action seeking a determination that such revenue cannot be diverted from team operations. McCourt’s counter could be that baseball has always had knowledge of these practices and, indeed, approved the separate sale of the team and surrounding land when McCourt purchased the Dodgers before the 2004 season.

The takeaway for fans is that McCourt likely will make a complete MLB takeover as painful as possible. After all, any money baseball spends running the Dodgers until a new owner is identified ultimately comes from the league’s other 29 team owners. Furthermore, the team is likely much less marketable to potential ownership groups if such significant revenue streams do not flow back to the team, but to McCourt entities.

While McCourt struggles to retain control of the foundering franchise, the contractual disposition of Dodgers revenue may indeed be a negotiating position aimed at extracting as much blood from baseball as he can while he still has some leverage. His camp is concerned that baseball will not get sufficient value in a sale of the club, and it is by far the most significant asset he has left.

Rejection of the deal signals both baseball’s desire to force Frank out of the game and its willingness to take high risks in doing so. Running the Dodgers without tens of millions of dollars of revenue and subjecting the sport to a potentially damaging lawsuit on the eve of a renegotiation of its labor deal are great costs, but ones Selig is evidently willing to bear.

The next step in this developing saga may be the commencement of that very litigation. McCourt may seek an emergency order barring Major League Baseball from denying the Fox deal and ultimately seizing the Dodgers. Such a lawsuit has likely been on the desks of McCourt’s attorneys for weeks, ready for just this sort of occasion.

At the end of the day, ultimately McCourt will soon not own this team for one simple, honest reason that no lawyers can change. The guy simply is out of money.

Signs We Are Near The End Of Civilization: The PGA Goes All “Super Bowl Shuffle” On Us

If you don’t remember (I’m not sure how anybody over the age of 35 would forget), back in 1985 the soon-to-be Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears produced what I consider to be the vanguard in ultra-cheestastic sports/music videos when the foist the “Super Bowl Shuffle” on the world.  Sure the Dodgers had the decidedly more homoerotic “Baseball Boogie,” but the Bears clearly set the bar…until now.

The PGA, an organization known for its whimsy and playful sense of humor (read that as “the Catholic Church of sports”) seems to have taken a step toward actual humanity with its new video featuring four of the rising young stars on the tour in a “boy band” style video. “Golf Boys” features Ricky Fowler, Bubba Watson, Ben Crane, and Hunter Mahan getting their spoof on.

Can you imagine what an old-timer like Arnold Palmer thinks of this? He may just have spit his “Arnold Palmer” across the room.

Open Letter To LeBron James: The “Mike” We Should Be Comparing You To Is Mike Tyson

Dear LeBron,

Do yourself a huge favor; just stop talking. Everytime you open your mouth, you say something that needs later “clarification.”  Just stop talking until you learn how to talk to the media without shooting yourself in the foot.

Sports fans love to make comparisons, and right now they love to compare you to Michael Jordan. They want you to “Be Like Mike;” there’s a host of reasons why that is not a good comparison. In many ways, the “Mike” you are most like is Mike Tyson.

Stop and think about it.

Just shy of a year ago, you made your “Decision.”  Since then, your public persona has swirled down the drain. In that year, you went from a loved and respected sports figure to one that has his character questioned and is now arguably the most hated figure in all of sports.  In other words,  it is clear you have no idea how you are perceived by others.

You obviously care about your image. You admitted “The Decision” special was an ill-conceived idea, but only after you blamed racism as the cause for the hate-laced response from your former fans in Cleveland. You don’t want to be hated and you don’t understand why you are hated largely because you have absolutely no self-awareness.

Unlike Mike Tyson, I don’t think you are the sort of guy who is going to end up in prison, nor do I think you will encounter the same type of problems that befell him. But you both have factors in common that caused you to take a precipitous fall in the public relations arena.

You both were on the tops of your respective sporting world until one lynch-pin event changed the entire dynamic. With Tyson, it was Buster Douglas; and with you it was “The Decision.”

The reason why I’m saying this is it is clear to most of us people who have “our same lives with the same problems” clearly see you don’t understand the impact “The Decision” had.  See, many of us aren’t as dumb as you believe we may be.  Like any other rich person, we know you have a cast of cronies and sycophants who largely dictate your off-the-court actions. You are deluding yourself if you believe we can’t see that.

While Tyson had a similar cast of characters telling him there was no reason he needed to take Buster Douglas seriously, he did so at his own peril. If you don’t fix the problem “The Decision” created, you run the risk of suffering the same decline.

After the Douglas fight, Tyson was never the same. While he did regain the heavyweight belt in 1996, it was after that night in Tokyo when Tyson’s legal problems began, when his financial problem began, and let’s not forget about the “Ear Incident.”

Tyson and LeBron go together like cereal and milk.

Forget about “The Decision” for a minute.

Even more seriously than “The Decision” is the fact that twice now you’ve been called a “quitter.” Nothing will destroy your reputation faster than getting tagged as a guy who quits on his team.  First there was Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals last year. Then there was what happened with CBS columnist Gregg Doyel during this year’s NBA Finals.

American sports fans hate two things – excessively dirty cheaters and quitters. Tyson spent a long time as a pariah after the “Ear” incident, and by letting the “quitter” tag get hung on you, the risk exists that you end up on the same  level of derision.  Last season, you let Bill Simmons accuse you of quitting against Boston, then you cried in the floor after beating the Celtics this year.

Worse yet, Doyel accused you of fading against the Mavericks.  Granted, you didn’t let him get away with calling you out by asking you point blank if you were a choke-artist in big moments; you backed him down decisively. After that,  I thought for sure you were going to single-handedly sodomize the entire Mavericks’ team and make their wives hold your headband while you did it.

You barely managed 8 points.  By the cry-job and doing virtually nothing on the floor to disprove Doyel’s assertion, you are making these two guys look right because you’ve done nothing to prove him wrong.

You can’t be the greatest player in the game if you can’t stand up for yourself by taking your game to the next level when it matters. Forget about the fact you have to prove a couple of reporters wrong, you have to show a sporting fan public you are worthy of their granting you the “Greatest” label.

Make no mistake; those same people for whom you showed such disdain with that stupid comment you made after Game 6 are the ones who who make such determinations because they are the fans. Granted, you may have had a legitimate point, perhaps we all  do need to go back to our own daily problems. Of course, we could all just do that by deciding not to buy the jerseys, hats, keychains, posters and tickets that pay your salary. Maybe we could just all decide that our everyday problems include not spending our collective dime to listen to you hide behind your big-ticket lifestyle as a reason why you seem to fold faster than Superman on laundry day when the heat is on (pun quasi-intended).

Let me guess, you meant the haters, right? For purposes of full disclosure, I will admit I’m one of them. I openly cheered against you all season long because I thought it was a complete slap in the face to sports fans everywhere the way you, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh raised yourself on a hoist, complete with pyrotechnic display into an arena of screaming fans, all of whom were decked out in their new Heat jerseys and willing to swallow your promises of a perpetual stream of NBA titles between now and the end of time.

But so far, all you’ve delivered on is a bunch excuses. Failing to deliver on such promises to a fan base eager to see your supposed dominance…well, you might as well have bitten off their collective ear.

If you want to fix this, you need to make a couple of distinct changes.As I mentioned before, they all revolve around how you deal with people.

First of all, stop being a crybaby when you lose. This is a country whose biggest movie icon ever is John Wayne…this is a country where “crybaby” plays about as well threatening to eat people’s children does.

Secondly, forget about what your “posse” tells you. Look in the mirror every morning and say to yourself  “today, I’m going to do something to make people like me.” The best way to do that is to DO (not say, but DO) something which makes the aforementioned people “who need to go back to their lives” believe that you understand they are the ones who pay for your current lifestyle. Stop charging $500,000 for people to meet you at a South Beach birthday party and go build a “Habitat for Humanity” house.  I don’t mean write a check for one…go pound some nails.

More importantly, play basketball like it is the most important thing in the world to you. America wants heroes who not only are the tops at what they do, but who give a damn about what they do.  Play basketball in the same way John Wayne made movies…be the biggest badass imaginable, and back it up with the talent you have to get away with it.

The loss to Buster Douglas was when all of Tyson’s problems started. “The Decision” is your equivalent. You have the chance to use that lynch-pin moment as a learning opportunity or you can let it define you.


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