Ray Lewis spent 33 minutes at Hall of Fame thanking Ray Lewis

The Football Hall of Fame inducted Former Baltimore Ravens Ray Lewis yesterday. Lewis spent 33 minutes speaking and dancing on stage with one of those wireless headsets. If anyone needed a heavy microphone bolted to the floor so they could not wander the stage, it is Lewis.

Why can’t all players inducted into the Football Hall of Fame do what Terrell Owens did and chose not to attend the induction ceremony? Owens refused to attend the festivities in Canton, Ohio. He elected to celebrate his induction at his alma mater, the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.

Ray Lewis should not have attended the Hall of Fame ceremony

Instead of appearing at his alma mater, the University of Miami, Ray Lewis should have celebrated his induction at the site of the murders of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar. Lewis is the only one convicted in relation to the slayings. He accepted a plea deal before the trial. Lewis agreed to testify against his co-defendants Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting in exchange for pleading guilty to obstruction of justice. Oakley and Sweeting were then found not guilty in a criminal trial.

Orenthal James Simpson

The Football Hall of Fame has never taken murder very seriously. OJ Simpson is still enshrined in the Hall of Fame. He was found not guilty in a criminal trial for the murders of his ex-wife Nichole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.  He was then found responsible for the murders in a later civil trial.

It would have been simple for the Hall of Fame to remove Simpson’s bust from Canton. Very simple. It would have also sent a message that killers of women were not welcome within their hallowed halls.

Ray Lewis is a terrible human being. How a person can spend so much time pontificating about subjects that do not matter, yet not talk about the one thing that is important, the murders of two men. His co-defendants were found not guilty, but Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar are still dead. As the lone person convicted in relation to their murders, he owes everyone an explanation that includes the truth about his involvement in their slayings.

LeBron James signs four year deal with the Lakers

LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers as a free agent for the second time in his career and signed a four year, $154 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Will fans in Cleveland burn his jerseys for the second time? I hope not. The fumes from a burning polyester jersey can’t be good for the respiratory system. Who knows what carcinogens are released into the atmosphere when flame takes to an NBA jersey.

Let’s hope Cleaveland fans aren’t as mad at LeBron this time as they were last time. He did come back and took the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals for the last four years, winning a championship in 2016. Burning a jersey is silly, Nike will only make more.

Speaking of Nike, can you imagine how many JeBron James Los Angeles Lakers jerseys they will be selling over the next few months? Personally, I want a purple one.

LeBron James signs four year deal with the Lakers - Bent Corner
The Lakers official store is already selling LeBron jerseys.

Once in a generation

LeBron James is the greatest basketball player of his generation. It’s not even close. He brings a lot to the Lakers. This includes:

  • 7th scoring: 3,1038
  • 11th in assists: 8,208
  • 59th in rebounds: 8,415
  • 16th in steals: 1,865
  • 14-time All-Star
  • 4-time MVP
  •  3-time NBA Champ

To me, the most remarkable thing about LeBron James is that he’s been to eight straight NBA Finals. The last time LeBron was not at the NBA Finals? In 2010 when the Lakers beat the Boston Celtics. No other player in NBA history has been to eight straight NBA Finals. Can he make it nine in a row?

That’s what Lakers fan want to find out.

I feel sorry for Los Angeles Clippers fans who live in Los Angeles. All six of them. It must suck to see the greatest player in the NBA sign with the team everyone else in Los Angeles roots for but you.

I would say I feel sorry for Cleveland fans, but that wouldn’t be true. Cleveland fans are used to disappointment and despair. Then again, they did win the NBA Championship in 2016. The Cleveland Browns also won two Super Bowls, the first in 2001 and then again in 2013. They did have to move to Baltimore and change the name from the Browns to the Ravens to make that happen. A small price to pay to be a champion.

 

‘Sunday Night Football’ is taking a giant hit in the ratings

From CNN:

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” match up between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers brought in 17.2 million viewers on Sunday night. That number was down 35% from last year’s Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants game, which was the most-watched prime time regular season since Thanksgiving 2015.

Yes. NFL viewership is down. That should be no big surprise.

For one thing, NFL football, like all sports is boring. For every second of excitement, there are minutes of complete boredom. There are too many commercials in between the boredom. I used to think the commercials were needed because of what was going on to get the field ready for play. That’s not so. I’ve gone to a few NFL games and during the times where commercials are being shown on TV, the players are just standing around with their hands on their hips waiting to play.

People are tired of being bored when they watch TV.

Another problem with the NFL is the perception that its players are criminals and thugs. I believe this perception is due mostly to the fact that many of the players are criminals and thugs. After a while of hearing about player legal problems, fans and casual viewers begin to form an opinion that’s hard to shake, not that it even deserves to be shaken. A long time ago, the NFL decided that it was okay to field players who had a not-so-normal propensity of running afoul of the law. Nobody is forcing the NFL to draft players out of college who seem like they will be bad citizens.

The thing that’s killing the NFL now is its stance on the National Anthem protests. It bothers people, casual viewers of the NFL, that so many of its players are refusing to stand up and show their respect during the National Anthem. What’s even worse are players, American players, who sit during our National Anthem, but stand for the Mexican Anthem. The NFL’s reaction to all this?

Nothing.

This shirt runs $39.99 on the ShopNFL.com website. Am I supposed to believe they aren’t wetting their beak on any of it? Sure.

Nothing unless you count the league’s stupid Salute to Service gimmick. It’s where they make officially licensed clothing styled with military coloring. The NFL claims they do not profit from the sale of Salute to Service products. I do not believe them.

If the NFL really wanted to salute the service of people who have served in the military, they would make their players stand for the National Anthem. They would also offer a discount to military veterans on their overpriced crap. The National Anthem is a big deal to the military and its veterans. Perhaps if anyone in a leadership position within the NFL had served in the military, they would know that.

If the NFL wants to increase viewership, make the games less boring. Eliminate all the commercials breaks. If networks need to tell viewers what products and services they should be buying, put something at the top of the screen. Stop fielding players who if it wasn’t for the NFL, would be selling drugs or serving time in prison for selling drugs. Stop allowing players to disrespect the National Anthem.

Ravens release tight end Dennis Pitta

The Baltimore Ravens released veteran tight end Dennis Pitta today. Five days ago Pitta re-injured his right hip in practice. Because he broke his hip in 2013 and in 2014, Pitta signed a waiver after that allowing the Ravens to release him if he injured his hip again.

Normally an NFL team would not be allowed to cut an injured player without paying them.

Pitta made 86 catches last year.

The NFL is a nasty business. The guy gets hurt on the job, a non-contact practice, and is cut without financial compensation. He signed a waiver so it’s legal. It just doesn’t seem all that moral. It’s not the right thing, waiver or not. The man gave his hips in service to the Baltimore Ravens and this is what he has to show for it.

I’m sure Pitta has enough money squirreled away so that he never has to work again a day in his life. If he shows up working as a commentator on MASN, I guess we know that’s not true.

Hopefully he can call it a career and concentrate on not breaking his hips, something he normally wouldn’t have to worry for another 40 years.

I think what bothers me the most is that it’s not like the Ravens can’t afford to pay him his salary. They have the money. What this does is free up $2.5 million in salary cap money for this season. The salary cap is an artificial number protecting billionaires from spending too much money. It’s from the money men like Dennis Pitta generate by willingly breaking their bodies for our entertainment.

 

If you have a problem with the Ray Rice story, blame Diane Ruberton

It seems the entire sports world has been wringing its collective hands over the Ray Rice elevator video. Some have been calling for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to be fired over his handling of the entire situation.

It’s hard to watch the video and understand how Goodell could suspend Rice for only two games. What I have an even harder time understanding is how Diane Ruberton, the First Assistant Prosecutor of Atlantic County, New Jersey, could look at that video and then allow Rice to avoid a trial or even admitting guilt. Unlike Goodell, Ruberton is paid a salary to make sure people like Rice pay for their crimes.

That didn’t happen in this case.

Ray Rice punched a woman, not because he was defending himself, but because he was angry. He’s not allowed to do that. This is the United States of America, not Iran or Saudi Arabia.

If Ruberton did her job, the job the people of Atlantic County paid her to do, Rice would have gone through a criminal trial. He would have had to answer in a court of law for what he did, what he can be seen doing on the security video. The fact that he did not have to do that was because of a failure of the criminal justice system, not because of the National Football League or its idiot commissioner.

Everyone has a function in our society. Roger Goodell’s function is to oversee a silly, yet very popular sports league. Diane Ruberton’s function is to make sure bad people pay for the crimes they commit in the legal jurisdiction of Atlantic County. It’s Ruberton who ultimately failed to do their job, not Goodell.

The NFL now has a strict policy on violence

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has established severe new rules for off-the-field violence, not just domestic violence. It applies to all NFL employees, not just players. It was approved by all 32 team owners and will not need to be approved by the NFL Players Association.

From ESPN:

Violations of the Personal Conduct Policy regarding assault, battery, domestic violence and sexual assault that involve physical force will be subject to enhanced discipline. A first offense will be subject to a suspension of six weeks without pay. Mitigating circumstances will be considered, and more severe discipline will be imposed if there are aggravating circumstances such as the presence or use of a weapon, choking, repeated striking, or when the act is committed against a pregnant woman or in the presence of a child. A second offense will result in banishment from the league; an offender may petition for reinstatement after one year, but there is no assurance that the petition will be granted. These disciplinary consequences apply to all NFL personnel.

How does someone commit sexual assault without it involving physical force?

So if I understand this new policy correctly, a six-week suspension is what you receive if you assault anyone, man or woman, a significant other or a complete stranger. Throw in a bit of choking or use a weapon of any kind, and the suspension will be longer. If the other party is a pregnant woman, you strike them more than once, or if a child witnesses the act of violence, the suspension will also be longer.

What triggers this new policy?

Also from ESPN:

A league source told ESPN’s Andrew Brandt that discipline would be triggered by adjudication of a player’s case, such as a conviction or plea agreement.

This policy is in reaction to the incident involving Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. He punched his then girlfriend, now wife, in an Atlantic City casino elevator. Rice was able to avoid trial by agreeing to a diversionary program, that once completed, will allow him to clear his record. In other words, he was never convicted of a crime. He reached a plea agreement with prosecutors that didn’t involve admitting guilt. Goodell suspended Rice for only two games, even though TMZ showed surveillance video of Rice dragging his unconscious victim, the mother of his child, from the casino elevator.

Goodell was criticized by nearly everyone for the lenient punishment.

This new policy won’t apply to Rice because it’s being enacted after his incident of domestic violence, but I’m guessing if it had, he never would have reached a pre-trial agreement with prosecutors.

He would have gone to trial. Anything less than an a full acquittal would have left him exposed to this new NFL policy.

If I were a player in the NFL, I’m be wondering right about now why I was paying dues to the NFL Players Association. If Roger Goodell can enact a policy like this without it being subject to collective bargaining, why even have a union?

Roger Goodell is the worst commissioner ever, and that’s including the lazy idiot who ran a fantasy basketball league I was a part of in the late 1990’s.