Time for some brutal honesty, Boiler Nation. Nobody (and I mean NOBODY) looks at their football schedule and circles the Purdue date; knees knocking with fear. Why is that? After all, Purdue is an original member of the Big Ten and does have a rich football tradition. Hell, you can’t watch a Purdue game without hearing about their whole “Cradle of Quarterbacks” thing.
So, why does Purdue get no respect? It could be because most of that football tradition was built at least 40 years ago. I’m a middle-aged guy, and Purdue never won a Rose Bowl in my lifetime. Northwestern won the Roses more recently than Purdue; florists in West Lafayette don’t even know what a rose is. My wife is a Purdue alum and you couldn’t have found a rose within five miles of our wedding.
Believe it or not, there was a time when the sports section had headlines like “#1 Purdue Upset By Ohio State.” This was right about the same time a Purdue graduate became the first man to walk on the moon. That was then; now, Purdue fans (all 600 of them) would go to the moon just to escape the horrors of Ross-Ade Stadium…if they bother to show up at all.
The best illustration of how far into the BCS basement Purdue has fallen comes in the from of their own billboards standing throughout Boiler Nation.
In passing, that billboard doesn’t look so bad until you realize that Carson Wiggs is the placekicker. Let that sink in for a moment. A Big Ten university has a football team so weak that the weapon they are showcasing; the weapon that is supposed to make you lose control of your bladder is a freakin’ KICKER? Kickers don’t scare anybody; the average kicker is the sort of guy who pisses his pants every time the furnace kicks on. Not to mention, does anybody think fans will pay to see a bunch of field goals?
Frankly, this is just sad. I don’t know who in the Boiler football world has the power to fix this, but something has to be done. It’s one thing to have a bad season; it’s quite another to have a bad half-century. Stop screwing around and do whatever it takes to build a winning culture. Succesful athletic deaprtment can do wonders for a university; the Big Ten is full of land-grant schools which elevated themselves into top-flight universities partially by having sports which generated revenue. Stop hiding behind that “academic standards” crap; Purdue isn’t Harvard, it’s a state school which has to accept ANY Indiana resident. Besides, the argument that you can’t have winning teams and academic standards is a complete dodge; go peddle that hogwash to Stanford football or Duke basketball.
Here’s the bottom line: nobody is afraid of a kicker, and nobody pays to watch kickers either. If Purdue doesn’t want to invest in football, then they need to stop expecting anybody to care. Purdue’s’ opponents already have an apathetic attitude toward Boiler football, if nothing changes, the fans will as well.
1) Minnesota might be the worst BCS Conference team I’ve seen since…well, Minnesota
The good news is the Golden Gophers found the end zone this week, and they didn’t need a Sherpa guide to do it. The bad news is both of their trips to paydirt came after they were already down by six touchdowns, and once again they didn’t even look competitive in a game against Big Ten competition. In two Big Ten games so far this season, the Gophers have been outscored by a total margin of 103-17.
2) I take that back, I forgot about Kansas
After six minutes, the Jayhawks led, 7-0. At the half, Oklahoma State was in charge 56-7. By the time it was over, Kansas gave up up 10 touchdowns and 600 yards in total offense.
3) Why The NFL Drives Me Crazy – Part 6,452
Seriously, this league gets more exasperating every year. First of all, There’s no clear cut great and complete teams anymore. I’ve spoke to this at length before, but honestly it’s getting worse.
Now, people keep trying to tell me that some teams are so great far too early in the season simply based on their won-loss record. I understand Detroit Lion fans are excited that their team is 5-0 for the first time since the Bobby Layne era, but let’s be honest…what happens in October doesn’t matter at all compared to what happens in January. Seriously, does anybody out there think the Lions are as good as the Packers? Does anybody think the Lions are better than the Patriots?
To illustrate my point, I’m going to use a phrase that makes my colon twist up like an over-used phone cord: “If the play-offs were to start today…” So, here’s what the post-season would look like (based on current play-off tie-breaking criteria)
- San Diego (bye)
- Buffalo (bye)
- New England (wild-card #1)
- Oakland (wild-card #2)
- Green Bay (bye)
- San Francisco (bye)
- New Orleans
- Detroit (wild-card #1)
- Tampa Bay (wild-card #2)
It is so plainly obvious this is NOT what the playoffs will look like come January. Yet, people get all whipped up saying ridiculous things based on what is happening a scant five games into the season. Again, I ask, does anybody really think Buffalo is the second-best team in the AFC? In fact, how many of the teams that I listed here won’t get a sniff of the playoffs?
4) What the Oklahoma Sooners have in common with the Detroit Lions
Primarily, this is a cautionary tale for both teams…both sides have a lot of positives, but those upsides are also obscuring some flaws that may haunt both of these teams later on down the road.
While both are 5-0 and have their fans at full-throat, neither team has played a “good” team yet. The Sooners have fatted up on the likes of a faded Texas rose and a fraudelent Florida State squad while the Lions won’t face a “good” team until the host the Packers on Thanksgiving Day.
The Hidden Weaknesses:
Both teams have at least one, and nobody seems to want to pay attention to them.
Oklahoma has a serious special teams issue. This came into play twice last Saturday against Texas, who gashed the Sooners’ kick coverage for two touchdown returns. If not for a penalty on the second return, Oklahoma would have surrendered more points to the Texas kick return team than the Longhorn offense could manage.
Both the Sooners and the Detroit Lions have fraudulent running games. Oklahoma did not generate much of a rushing game against the Texas defensive front, and the Lions had the same issue against the Bears. The problem is this is largely hidden by a few big runs by the Sooners’ Dominique Whaley and the Lions’ Jahvid Best. If you subtract any runs of 25 or more yards from the Sooners’ or Lions’ rushing totals, the lack of a real running game becomes apparent.
Any offensive coach worth his weight in Spam will tell you that while the “home runs” make for sweet fantasy football numbers (spoken as Jahvid Best owner), they do not make an effective running game. Teams that truly can run the ball can routinely get first downs on the ground.
5) The Philadelphia Eagles are finished
Not just this season, either. This team has a ton of talent, but it has a serious lack of leadership. At some point, Andy Reid lost control in Philadelphia, and unless he regains it soon, it may be time for the longest-tenured coach in the NFL to get a new mailing address…end of story.
6) The time to hit the “Panic Button” in Columbus is now
If you are an Ohio State fan, it’s time to get worried…very worried. You just watched your team blow a three-touchdown lead to a team that got smoked like a cheap cigar the previous week by Wisconsin. Not only does that mean you are arguably a third-rung team in the Big Tweleveten, but the Tattoo-gate story still just won’t go away.
When this first broke, I thought this wasn’t going to be a big story. Now, Jim “Cheatypants McSweatervest” Tressel is gone, as is Terelle Pryor. Devier Posey’s suspension has been lengthened, and the digging isn’t over yet.
7) Today marks the beginning of the end of the Tebow era
This isn’t about hating on Tebow, this is about why Tebow is now the starting quarterback in Denver. The perception is that John Fox and the Broncos’ organization caved to fan pressure. Nothing could be further from the truth.
This is actually a calculated move on the part of Fox and the Bronco front office which inherited Tebow from the previous regime. Think about it this way…
Fact #1: Tim Tebow isn’t an NFL quarterback…not yet, at least.
Fact #2: The Bronco fan base is desperate.
Fact #3: John Fox and John Elway aren’t “Tebow” guys, otherwise this move would have been made a while ago.
Fact #4: The Broncos spent a first-round pick on Tebow.
Fact #5: Tebow has a well-spring of unreasonable supporters who have been clamoring for his day under center.
So, what we have is a back-up quarterback so popular he once led the league in jersey sales before he ever having took a single snap; popular with everyone except his coach and general manager. We have an unpopular starting quarterback, but he a proven winner in the NFL. Its’ apparent that the fans won’t shut-up about their wanting Tebow, and Kyle Orton is a free-agent after this season anyway.
So, Fox and Elway took the opportunity Orton presented them this week. When he had the off day everybody has at some point, the Bronco leadership decided to launch “Operation Timmy Fail.” That’s right, the plan is to throw Tebow to the NFL wolves and wait for the impending disaster.
The only way to get the Tebow era over is to get it started. He isn’t going to get any more prepared in the remainder of this season before Orton blows town, so why not get the ball rolling now? Frankly, the Broncos have nothing to lose.
First of all, the Broncos are already terrible, so Tebow can’t do any harm to a team which isn’t going to see a playoff run anytime soon. If Timmy is in fact terrible, it gives Fox and Elway want they really want; to be free and clear of the Tebow phenomenon. If he succeeds, they get to be heroes for pulling the plug on Orton.
The trouble is it is pretty clear they are gambling on the former. Tebow is one of the most unprepared quarterbacks for this moment I’ve ever seen and the Broncos have made sure that is the case. The Broncos in turn are doing him a great disservice because they want him gone; they can’t cut him otherwise the Teb-o-philes will come after them with torches and pitchforks.
Frankly, I hope Tebow shoves this little scheme up Fox and Elway’s collective asses. He’s off to a nice start by managing to bring the Broncos back to a “puncher’s chance” to win against the Chargers. He has guts and the team clearly responded to him. I want him to succeed, but I think it is a long shot simply because he doesn’t have the tools to play the position…someday he may, but he doesn’t now.
8 ) #OccupyGameDay
This hashtag is the Twitter home of the movement launched by fans of the Dan Patrick Show against “The Mothership.” It’s all about sneaking references to the Dan Patrick Show into the background of ESPN’s College GameDay.
KEZI in Oregon ran a story on “Occupy GameDay” this week. Here is the text:
EUGENE, Ore. — Security at ESPN’s College GameDay in Eugene on Saturday will be on the lookout for more than the usual safety threats and foul language on signs. Now, they have references to radio host Dan Patrick’s broadcast to watch out for.
Last Saturday when GameDay was in Dallas, Texas for the Red River Rivalry between Oklahoma and Texas one sign in particular snuck through the crowd without oversight. The sign read: “Chris in Syracuse.”
For those unfamiliar with Mr. Patrick and the meaning of the term, the sign seems relatively harmless. For regular listeners of the show — and ESPN — the sign goes against what Patrick claims has been previously allowed in the crowd. On his show Patrick said that fans at the Oklahoma vs. Texas games were being turned away if they had signs or cutouts with obvious references to him or his show.
Patrick was an anchor at ESPN from 1989 to 2006 and his show was part of the ESPN family until 2007. He helped coin the nickname for ESPN’s flagship program SportsCenter with fellow anchor Keith Olbermann, calling it “The Big Show”. Patrick has stated several times that ESPN often does not allow current employees to appear as guests on his current radio show.
So what does “Chris in Syracuse” mean? The sign references a listener of Patrick’s show who calls in to offer his opinion on a daily basis. The caller — Chris, from Syracuse, New York — is part of the Dan Patrick Show canon of running gags and bits.
Patrick has made reference this week to the sign being held up on last Saturday’s show and seems to be encouraging his listeners to take part in trying to sneak past the College GameDay defenses repeating a simple message on today’s show, “Occupy GameDay. Eugene, Oregon.”
What signs and running gags can Eugene residents expect to see that may be related to Patrick’s followers? Here’s a list from the show’s WikiPedia page:
-Height and weight of a given person or player, a bit on the show.
-References to “Passion Bucket”, a running gag involving a quote from UCLA Bruins head football coach Rick Neuheisel.
-The quote “Against the Grain” a popular segment on the show.
-The phrase “What did we learn today?” another segment from the show.
-The “Best and Worst of the weekend” a segment from the show.
-References to “a well-listened-to radio show” a running gag based on a reporter reference to the Dan Patrick Show.
-References to “The Danettes” by group or by name (Patrick’s producers and employees): Paulie Pabst, Seton O’Connor, Andrew Perloff and Todd Fritz (Fritzy).
-References to nicknames on the show including: McLovin (Perloff), Sequin/The White Swan/Soft O’Connor (Seton O’Connor) Danny Jawface (Patrick).
-”ROAR!” the result of a lost bet on the part of O’Connor wherein he must shout “ROAR!” before speaking on microphone during the show.
As Dan himself says, we don’t condone this activity, but we do celebrate it. Considering this whole “What We Learned” bit is
completely ripped off from a respectful tribute to the Dan Patrick Show, what else could I say?
P.S. Jarrett Lee does eat boogers.
There will never be another NFL figure like Al Davis.
I would be lying if I said that I never criticized Davis. Just a few months ago, I included him on my list of the 15 Worst Owners in Sports. However, as I said in that piece, that criticism was reserved for the Al Davis of the past 20 years or so.
For those of you under 30, you may not believe there was a time when Al Davis wasn’t a batshit crazy Cryptkeeper look-alike and the Raiders were not the laughing stock of the NFL. In an 18-year span during the 70′s and 80′s, the Raiders won 13 division championships, made 15 playoff appearances, and took home three Lombardi trophies. This is the era when the Raiders were the winningest team in all of professional sports, and love him or hate him, Davis was a respected and visionary leader who helped build the AFL into a league so successful the NFL couldn’t beat it so they joined with it.
That paragraph only scratches the surface as to what Al Davis meant to the world of professional football. Davis literally climbed the football ladder, going from college assistant coach to an NFL assistant coach, to head coach, to owner to AFL commissioner, to Super Bowl champion, and ultimately to the Hall of Fame.
Perhaps his single greatest honor is having made a record nine presentations of inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Al Davis made presentation speeches for Lance Alworth, Jim Otto, George Blanda, Willie Brown, Gene Upshaw, Fred Biletnikoff, Art Shell, Ted Hendricks, and John Madden. Davis himself was enshrined in Canton in 1992.
Davis changed the game of football through sheer personality; a personality which was a collection of contradictions. At once, he was was loyal and rebellious; cantankerous and vindictive, yet sentimental. Yet through all that, Davis’ name must be included amongst the founding fathers of the NFL; a name that must be mentioned with same reverence in NFL circles as that of George Halas.
Davis was a trailblazer in a number of ways. Davis first arrived in Oakland in January 1963, At only 33 years old, Davis was the youngest head coach and general manager in all of professional football. The Raiders were picked to finish in last place but logged a 10-4 record, garnering Pro Football Coach of the Year honors for Davis.
In 1966, Davis became Commissioner of the American Football League. This was a post he accepted reluctantly. But AFL owners, in their battle with the rival National Football League, prevailed on Davis to accept the position.
Just eight weeks later, when pro football’s two major leagues put an end to their six-year war, Davis was credited as the man who brought the leagues to merge. He was also a major force behind the 1969 realignment of the newly-combined National Football League into two conferences — the AFC and NFC.
His contributions to the league as a whole notwithstanding, there the matter of his success with the Raiders. His trademark slogan weren’t just some words on a banner, it was a philosophy that propelled the three-time World Champion Raiders to the very top of the professional sports world. In the 48 year marriage between Davis and the Raiders, they had 28 winning seasons, including 16 in a row from 1965 through the 1980 World Championship season.
Part of the reason Davis and the Raiders enjoyed such success was the fact he would give opportunities to anyone. He hired the first Latino NFL head coach (Tom Flores). He hired the first black NFL head coach (Art Shell) since the 1920′s. He hired the first woman as chief executive, (Amy Trask).
Al Davis made professional football what it is today. When Davis became part of the pro football world, it was a sporting after-thought languishing for fans behind baseball, college football, horse racing, and boxing. Davis leaves the NFL as the pre-eminent sports league in North America; one with a growing global profile as well.
The days of Al Davis’ greatness may be in the past, preserved in NFL Films documentaries and so many printed pages. However, it age doesn’t diminish it’s existence. You can’t argue with three Super Bowl trophies in seven years.
Naturally, Davis didn’t go through this mortal coil without collecting his fair share of detractors…show me a man who has enemies, and I will show you a man who stood up for something. I certainly don’t agree with some of the decisions he made, or some of the things he did, but like time, they do not detract from his amazing list of accomplishments.
The “big picture” on Al Davis is despite his faults, there is no disputing the impact he had on the NFL, and the continued growth and success of the league will be his legacy.
No, this isn’t another tale of a Brett Favre-like textual assault. Rather, this is a story of a cylindrical meat attack in of all places, a golf course.
A strange year for Tiger Woods took another bizarre twist Sunday when a fan was arrested for running toward the seventh green at CordeValle and tossing a hot dog in Woods’ direction. The bun barely reached the green. The hot dog landed on the putting surface.
Frankly, I’m glad this happened. First of all, we finally get a Tiger Woods story which doesn’t revolve around his allegedly imminent demise. In all honesty, I have about as much tolerance for the “Tiger is finished” story as I do for root canals with no anesthetic. Having said that, I’m also not willing to portray a guy as a victim who basically caused his own problems by tripping over his own hard-on. So, who is the real victim in this story?
The chucklehead who threw the hot dog is clearly not a victim. The guy who is making blogger hay out of this quasi-hilarious incident isn’t. However, we cannot overlook this incident as another clear example of bias against cylindrical meat. Face it, that poor hot dog had no choice it its fate; it simply was going through its happy, little hot dog life when suddenly it was suddenly into the forefront. I’m pretty sure it didn’t come out of the Oscar Mayer factory singing a little ditty about “My first name is ‘I-hope-some-lunatic-chucks-me-at-a-golfer.'”
Moreover, in a country in which we are all collectively being told we are a bunch of super-sizing tubs of goo, cylindrical meat has taken an undue share of the blame for our fatitiude. Hot dogs, bratwurst, and all the various sausages out there are a veritable supermarket symbol of America’s bloated waistlines. If you doubt that, just look back at sports most famous Wiener-Hate incident; the Milwaukee Brat-Bash of 2007.
During the Brewers’ traditional “Sausage Race,” Pirates first-baseman Randall Simon took out his frustration with his own weight issues by taking a Louisville Slugger to the head of Guido, the Italian Sausage. It’s time to stop the hate America. It isn’t Guido or any of his delicious pals’ fault you’ve needed to add three extra holes to your belt; Guido didn’t stick a gun in your face demanding that you eat him.
Beyond that, I hope the real irony in this story isn’t lost in all the cylindrical-meat-hating. Now, people are throwing their wieners at Tiger Woods; two years ago, he was throwing his at IHOP waitresses.
1) It’s time to change the Yankees’ name
Given the performance of the the heart of the Bronx Bomber lineup, it may be time to rename them the New York Houdinis. Nobody has ever pulled a better disappearing act than Alex Rodriguez and Mark Texieira.
2) Ryan Howard would be a perfect fit for the New York Houdinis
If New York didn’t already have a big-time disappearing first-baseman, and now what seems to be a next-season-threatening Achilles tendon injury not withstanding, it is hard to overlook Howard’s paltry production against the Cardinals.
3) Money Can’t Buy It All
Can we now officially dismiss the idea that it is money alone which spells success in baseball? The following table should tell the story:
Not only are the four teams remaining in the playoffs in the middle of the pack in terms of payroll, and not only are there a number of high-payroll team that didn’t even get a sniff of October, but look at how many big spenders were honestly terrible:
When six of the top ten in payroll don’t make the playoffs, and when four of those can’t even crack .500, and one of those damn near loses 100 games, stop trying to tell me that money is the only reason teams are successful.
4) How long before the Philadelphia Phillies become the Red Mets?
Don’t laugh yet, city of Brotherly Love…It didn’t take the Red Sox long to become the Red Yankees, and if you aren’t careful, you could easily become a “cheesesteak and water ice” version of the Mets. Don’t forget that both you and the Red Sox have won a World Series in the last four years, then added payroll to improve a Championship-caliber team with a negative result.
Now all that has to happen is the infusion of New York/Boston-style drama, a key injury or two (Ryan Howard, anybody?) and bada-bing, the Phils are a 75-win team with a $175 million payroll.
5) The New “Love ‘em or Hate ‘em” Squad
Now that the Yankees are off to winter of tee-times in Tampa, baseball fans are in desperate need of another polarizing squad which we can either cheer or curse. Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce your 2011 Milwaukee Brewers.
The Brewers – a team which embodies the same sort of brash, youthful exuberance which the majority of catheter-bound baseball fans will absolutely freaking hate – might just be exactly what baseball needs to attract the attention of anybody under 30.
The last night of the regular season and the drama of three elimination games in the past two days exemplify the heart-exploding drama baseball can provide, but the trouble is it can take weeks to build to those moments. In the mean time, baseball could use a bit of brash to liven up its image.
Frankly, I’ve grown exceptionally weary of these stodgy old farts who think they get to rule the baseball landscape with all their 19th-century “unwritten rules” and general disdain of anything which happened after 1960. My wife is going to keel over in hysterics if she reads this, because she thinks I am the face of the term “stodgy old fart.” The truth is she’s right, but I’m parting ways with my stodgy, old brethren because I am tired of watching baseball sink further into irrelevancy because of a bunch of geezers who don’t give a damn about the future.
Time to face facts, my fellow gray hairs…we ain’t the future. Those long-haired little whipper-snappers with their rock ‘n’ roll 8-track tapes are. If it takes a bit of brash to keep them interested, then so be it. I, for one, refuse to watch baseball become as irrelevant as the WNBA because you are so uptight your ass rips dime-size holes in your adult diaper.
In other words, make all the crazy gestures and drop all the F-bombs you want, Nyjer Morgan. Somebody has to be the straw that stirs the Metamucil for all of baseball’s grumpy old fans.
For today’s “Purdue Joke of the Day” (although this is equally a shot at the equally putrid Minnesota Gophers), thank the good people over at SB Nation.
Comcast guide screens for football games can be an endless source of entertainment, usually for reasons that are purely accidental — typos, incorrect stats or whatever else. Not so sure this wasn’t completely intentional. In fact, this had to have been intentional: The program information for Minnesota-Purdue isn’t so much an advertisement for the game as it is a giant warning to stay away at all costs.
Comcast aren’t the only people warning you to stay away from this punt-fest. Even the folks at the Purdue athletic department are trying to hide this game. What other major universities do you know that schedule home games during fall break? The ones that do are admitting they have dates on their schedule for which they couldn’t give away tickets if they printed them on Christina Hendricks’ ample cleavage.
Actually, it might me somewhat responsible on the part of the Purdue athletic department. By ensuring the student section at Ross-Ade will be virtually empty, there’s less of a chance that Purdue’s performance will induce a wave of Purdue Puke down Northwestern Avenue.
Morgan Burke, the citizens of West Lafayette thank you.
Sure, I know it’s all about baseball, and I know I just wrote a rant asking this guy to kill himself, which is why after you see this picture, you simply cannot want to see success by the Brewers.
That’s right, today brings us a “Hate Brett Favre” double-feature. The worst part is after we saw this picture, we weren’t sure if that was Favre or longtime REAL brewer Geoff Jenkins.
If you go back to the very first post on this blog posted over two years ago, you will see it was a rant about the ridiculousness that was the end of the Favre’s career. We all know how much fruit that garden has produced; just glance at the tag cloud in the right-hand column of this very page.
Brett, your problem is that you are like the NFL’s version of a rash that simply won’t go away. Our latest example are the comments you recently made regarding his successor with the Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers.
I’m not even going to get into what you said, Brett. Don’t think I didn’t notice you pulled that old trick where you say something complimentary (you did admit that Aaron Rodgers was in fact a talented quarterback), but then you tainted that with a back-handed insult by pondering why “it took so long for a quarterback with Aaron’s skills and surrounding talent to achieve a Super Bowl victory.”
The beef I have is that you said anything. After the way you proved at the end of you career what a self-centered little twat you are, the million-dollar question is why does anybody care what a moron like you thinks?
Even throughout your playing days in Green Bay, even in the MVP era, I always suspected you were a douche-nozzle. I was also suspicious that the reason we never heard this was that the small-town Green Bay reporters may have covered up some of your escapades in order to maintain their access to the local star quarterback.
Of course, this ended after the Packers tired of your “I’m retired/I’m not retired” game and pawned you off on the Jets. Once in New York, somehow you managed to keep the whole ‘Wiener Text-Gate” issue quiet until after you got out of town, but by then, all sorts of other things were raining on you.
We all know that story, so there’s no need to dredge it all up again. The trouble is that whenever you shoot off your mouth, it all comes back for us. That’s why for the good of the NFL, its fans, and the human race as a whole, I must ask to you do the honorable thing – kill yourself.
Sure, that may sound rough, but let’s be honest. It’s not like you don’t have some self-destructive qualities. I mean, there was that whole Vicodin addiction, then there’s your suicidal insistence on maintaining that consecutive-games-started streak. It’s obvious you don’t mind self-destruction; why not show us such an act that’s good for somebody other than you for a change?
You really leave me no choice but to offer this suggestion. As rough as it may sound, it’s obvious you won’t ever shut the hell up as long as you are alive, so it’s clear that is the piece of the puzzle that needs to change.
I don’t really care how you do it; only that you do it before some other media outlet puts a microphone in front of you. After all the self-indulgent crap you’ve put us through, Brett, it is high time you did something for football fans everywhere.
I cringe writing this, but I can’t hold my tongue on this completely ridiculous Hank Williams, Jr. situation any longer.
The six regular readers of this blog know that while I avoid politics, I am not afraid of strong or even controversial opinions. The “About Dubsism” page on this very blog outlines that. However, unfortunately there are times when politics strays into the sporting world, and nothing pisses me off more when that happens.
Just on the off chance you’ve been living under a rock for the past three days, Williams, Jr. made some comments during an appearance on Fox News which ultimately led to the end of his relationship with ESPN. Williams had been the provider of the opening musical montage to ESPN’s Monday Night For about the last 20 years, and it seems that ESPN felt his comments concerning President Obama were of sufficient enough nature to pull the plug on their relationship.
It would be very easy to simply dismiss this as a rambling from a drunken redneck country singer about a President with whom he disagrees politically. But there’s a lot more to this, and those are the parts that are really putting a burr under my saddle blanket.
First of all, Williams didn’t compare President Obama to Adolf Hitler. Even ESPN tacitly admits this in their press release today concerning this mess.
In the wake of Williams using an analogy involving Adolf Hitler and President Barack Obama to make a political point on the Fox News Channel, Williams’ “All My Rowdy Friends” will no longer be part of the MNF opening.
“We have decided to part ways with Hank Williams, Jr,” ESPN said in a statement. “We appreciate his contributions over the past years. The success of Monday Night Football has always been about the games and that will continue.”
The actual quote which supposedly got Williams into hot water was his comparison of Obama’s golf outing with House Speaker John Boehner: “It’d be like Hitler playing golf with (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu.” Williams didn’t call Obama “Hitler,” rather he making an analogy about fraternizing with ones’ enemy. This is an important distinction for a host of reason, not the least of which is it leads to the comment which really got Williams into trouble.
Asked to clarify, Williams said, “They’re the enemy,” adding that by “they” he meant Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
It’s not the H-word which ended his ESPN days, it was the E-word; “enemy.” But it was the H-word that ESPN used to make a move I suspect they’ve been thinking about for a while. Let’s be honest, ESPN has been skewing toward a younger and demographically different audience for quite some time, but Williams remained popular in the all-important 18-49 white male group. This popularity is not reflected in the groups ESPN is targeting, but you simply just cannot get rid of a guy who fetches a significant number in the most important demographic in the sports broadcasting world.
This marks the point where three crucial things which are horribly wrong in this country intersect.
This problem is rampant in this discussion. First, there’s the broadcasters who illicit these sorts of controversial comments, ESPN included. Remember when the World Wide Leader sent Sal Paolantonio to sandbag a 75-year old dimwit into saying essentially that “Hitler made the trains run on time.” It is important to note that Paolantonio’s question which got Schott to say the remarks which got her in trouble has been omitted from the transcript. The original question was along the lines of “But Hitler did some good things, right?”
This is important because it means ESPN has no problem illiciting a controversial comment, then acting horrified when it happens. The entire Rush Limbaugh incident is another prime example.
Remember the short-lived tenure of Rush Limbaugh as an ESPN football analyst? Regardless of your opinion of Limbaugh, anyone who has ever listened to him would agree that he is controversial. This, of course, is exactly why ESPN hired him. Of course, the minute he says something controversial, ESPN sprints into hand-wringing mode and essentially forces him to resign for doing exactly that for which he was hired. Not to mention that the comments he made about Donovan McNabb and the NFL are as true today as they were when Limbaugh said them in 2003.
Ever since the Marge Schott incident, simply uttering the word “Hitler” is grounds to get clipped in the media in this country. Calling Obama an “enemy” is what made Williams an enemy to the leadership and politics of ESPN; had he never used the word “Hitler” they wouldn’t have been able to sensationalize his comments.
But that’s not the only hypocrisy going around this issue. For all you folks that are waving the Williams flag right now, you are the same people who wanted the Dixie Chicks heads on a platter when they bad-mouthed George W. Bush. For all of you who are so piously screaming about how calling somebody “Hitler” is completely unnacceptable, you spent eight years lobbing that verbal grenade at Bush as well.
Time for a hard-core dose of reality…whether its the Dixie Chicks or Hank Williams, Jr., who gives a frog’s watertight ass about what some dipshit singer thinks? Have we become so thin-skinned as a nation that we take personal offense to somebody who simply has a different opinion? And then we wonder why most of the world thinks the average American is a complete pussy.
In all seriousness, the road to enlightenment is not through stifling speech, rather by encouraging it. That was the spirit of the 1st Amendment as now gutted by the “politically correct” police. After all, the 1st Amendment was written to protect that which was unpopular; you don’t need it to safeguard “my what lovely weather we’re having.”
Forget that lofty load of Civics-class crap about “freedoms,” there’s a practical purpose which is far more important. The intelligentsia would tell you the free exchange of ideas requires freedom of speech, yet they are the same class who have made college campuses hotbeds of “political correctness.” The real reason is nothing but pure exposure; when you let everybody speak their peace, the idiots and the lunatics will expose themselves, thus eliminating the guesswork.
Think of it this way…what would happen if the censors at ESPN bought the site on which you are reading this blog? You probably wouldn’t be reading this blog.
This is yet another example where somebody misinterprets the 1st Amendment. In this case, Williams show us he is an idiot whose opinion simply isn’t credible, with the sole exception of the subject of being a country singer.
Williams released a statement on his won website saying it was he who left the relationship with ESPN.
“After reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made MY decision,” he wrote. “By pulling my opening Oct 3rd, You (ESPN) stepped on the Toes of The First Amendment Freedom of Speech, so therefore Me, My Song, and All My Rowdy Friends are OUT OF HERE. It’s been a great run.”
That’s a nice bit of posturing, but it misses two key points. First, the 1st Amendment; the entire Constitution for that matter, exists between you and the government, not you and an employer. “Freedom of speech” means the government can’t throw your ass in prison for something you said.
Since the Constitution has no bearing between two non-governmental entities, it is important to note “freedom of speech” does not include “freedom from repercussion.” You can say whatever you want, but so can I. If I also happen to be your employer, I am well within my rights to say “you’re fired.”
Here’s what it all boils down to. Having freedom of speech means having the balls to live with the consequences of what you said. Nobody feels sorry for the guy who got punched in the mouth for calling somebody’s mother a whore. It also means that nobody has a right to not be offended; if you hear something you don’t like, that’s your problem. There’s no such thing as freedom of speech ONLY for what you like.