A fistful of comments, asides and quick hits on the state of sports.
Just wondering, why is now necessary to have an airsickness bag handy every time I check my 401K?
A big week for Falcons Inc.
Initial reaction to the announcement that a Rex Grossman was coming: Have to get to Fernbank to check out the new dinosaur in town.
Of course, it was the Falcons who brought in Grossman. When the big news on the field is that you’ve signed a long-inactive 35-year-old to compete for your backup quarterback job, then it’s time to look elsewhere for the headlines.
There were plenty on the business side.
First came the announcement of the naming-rights winner for the team’s new stadium. Shockingly neither Dollar General nor Piccadilly Cafeteria finished in the money.
A ritzy new playpen needed a name to match, hence Mercedes-Benz Stadium. There went any hope of finding an economy class ticket.
Now we wonder in the age of disposable arenas, which has the longer life span, Mercedes-Benz Stadium or an actual Mercedes-Benz?
Then there was the news that Arthur Blank was going to hire a CEO to oversee his various for-profit enterprises.
Put away any thought that this means he will be distancing himself from the Falcons operation.
Why, if anything, with someone else looking out for his other, boring business interests, he’ll have more time than ever to indulge his NFL jones. If you had the ultimate fantasy league at your fingertips, would you back away?
He might just build himself a cabana on the sideline and camp out for entire games.
Cris Carter needs a fall guy
NFL Hall of Famer and ESPN pontificator Cris Carter has had an interesting week, fending off outrage over comments he made at a 2014 league rookie symposium that just went public.
Some found his advice troubling. You rookies, Carter said, need to let all the sycophants around you know that one of them needs to take the fall for any of the bad stuff you’re going to do. Personal responsibility was not a theme for that day.
Meanwhile, his backup singer at the time was Warren Sapp, a thoroughly bad guy who belonged at a symposium of impressionable rookies about as much as Kevin Rathbun belongs at vegan workshop.
Anyway, part of Carter’s spiel went like this: "I know none of y'all going to never drink late; I know none of y'all going to never use no drugs or anything; all of y'all going to go to bible study. I realize that - but still get you a fall guy. If you're going to have a crew, make sure they understand, can't nothing happen to you. Your name can't be in lights, under no circumstances. You all understand that?"
This will pass, and Carter will go on to have a long and happy career as a broadcaster.
But in the meantime, here’s some other advice for all you young pros out there, spinning off the Carter doctrine.
Have your bail bondsman on speed dial.
Deny, deny, deny.
Memorize the phrase: “The concussion made me do it.”
In a pinch, give Tom Brady a call, he'll know what to do.
And, for heaven sakes, don’t just live a reasonable, uncomplicated life.
Nerds have a league of their own
More than 11,000 souls filled up Madison Square Garden a few days ago to watch other people play a video game. Safe to assume that all the tickets sold were singles, given how highly improbable that any of them had a date.
Apparently group gaming has greatly outgrown your best friend’s mother’s basement.
The event was the League of Legends North American Championship, and it created quite a ruckus. Plus the locals were just delirious over the fact that the Knicks were off season.
There was a huge upset, reportedly, when Counter Logic Gaming beat Team SoloMid. Those two go way back. As one dispatch put it: “Owners of both teams used to play on the same team together, until ideological differences set them on two different paths.”
Ideological differences? What, one preferred the Cool Ranch Doritos and the other was in the Nacho Cheese camp?
The big blow came when CLG sprung a “pentakill” on its hated rival, taking out all five of TSM’s players.
Another analyst credited the victory to, “smart picks, good game play, and a better coaching staff.”
All game stories of the future will read like that. Gladly, at this moment I am one day closer to retirement.
Bruce Levenson’s going to be really mad now
Before last season, the Hawks were the team with the owner who thought his customers were too black and the general manager who could not filter an insensitive scouting report.
Here, three months after that same season ended, they stand nominated for an award celebrating their commitment to diversity.
That award, specifically, is the – deep breath now – Technology Association of Georgia’s Business Champion of Diversity Excellence Award. Of all the diversity awards, this has to be the longest one.
What an arc this franchise has traveled in a relatively short time. From a disgrace/embarrassment to a model for inclusion in a year.
No punchline here, just a nod to one of the great image make-overs we have ever witnessed.
Another government hand-out
During a Las Vegas fund-raiser – normally that’s also known as any day at the $25 blackjack table – the President told a story about getting hustled in that same town a few months earlier.
Seems there was a little golf outing that included a Barack Obama vs. Derek Jeter side bet. Obama had noticed Jeter hitting the ball to all fields on the practice range. He should have known something was up when Jeter informed him he had just taken up the game. Jeter was both a baseball player and a retiree – so, obviously, he was well familiar with golf.
So, after agreeing to give Jeter strokes, the President was fleeced like a sheep at shearing time.
"And then on the first tee suddenly the ball just went straight and down the middle of the fairway," Obama confessed to the Monday gathering. “We had to take a picture of me handing Derek Jeter money at the end of it."
Kind of late in the game to be learning this valuable lesson: Never trust a Yankee.