Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sam's Club

(In my best Roger Goodell voice)
With the 247th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders select Jonathan Dowling, Safety, Western Kentucky University.

I must admit, I’ve never heard of Jonathan Dowling.

And I’ve barely heard of Western Kentucky.

But when my Raiders selected Dowling last Saturday, I was bummed.

Really bummed.

Oh it had nothing to do with the guy we selected.

It had everything to do with the guy that we didn’t.

Michael Sam.


261 pounds.

Brown eyes.

Taken by the St. Louis Rams, two picks later, with the 249th overall pick.

I really wanted this guy on my team.

Even though he plays for the other team.

You see what makes Michael Sam so special is not the fact that he has two first names.

Plenty of guys have that, like JaDeveon Clowney.

What makes Michael Sam so special is that…
um… well.. …he’s the SEC co-defensive player of the year.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

You see since 2006, every SEC defensive player of the year – like C.J. Mosley, the guy who shared the award with Sam -- has been taken in the first round.

Until now.

Maybe Michael Sam is not so special after all.

You see, according to Sam’s player profile page at

He lacks burst and acceleration off the edge.

Has average hip flexibility and adequate anchor vs. the run.

Whatever that means.

And… oh yeah…  

He would be the first openly gay active player in NFL history.

Heavens to Murgatroyd.

A gay guy playing the NFL.

What’s next, gay marriage in Arkansas?

Now as if Sam getting drafted wasn’t shocking enough, Sam’s reaction to getting drafted nearly pushed the world off its axis.

Like the majority of the 248 heterosexuals taken ahead of him, Sam cried.

Like a baby.

Like Mike Evans, who was drafted 7th overall.

And like Stephon Tuitt, who was taken 46th overall.

Giant crocodile tears.

And like many of the others draftees, Sam shared the moment of his life.

With the love of his life.

Planting a big wet one on their lips.

But what made Sam’s club so different is that he is black.

And the man he was kissing is white.

Well, not the black/white part.

Thankfully that’s not shocking anymore.

But the guy/guy part sure was.

For some.

Like former Super Bowl champion Derrick Ward, who tweeted:

I'm sorry but that Michael Sam is no bueno for doing that on national tv.  Man U got little kids lookin at the draft. I can't believe ESPN even allowed that to happen.

You can’t believe ESPN “allowed that to happen”?

Was Chris Berman supposed to step in and throw a pink challenge flag?

Well not only did ESPN show it.

But they treated it like the Zapruder film.

Giving it more airtime than Mel Kiper’s hair.

17 straight minutes.

The NFL fan hadn’t seen something this gay since the old Tampa Bay Bucs logo.

But even with all this gay talk, somehow, someway, the world survived.

And the draft continued.

And amazingly, my television didn’t explode.

Now I’m ashamed to admit that like most of you, I’ve had moments where my sense of humor beat out my sense-a-tivity.

Like when my friend told me that a gay sports bar just opened in his neighborhood.

And I asked if the only thing the TVs show is figure skating and Denver Broncos football.

Maybe that’s funny.

But that’s not right.

Here’s the bottom line -- I have absolutely nothing in common with Michael Sam.

I’m not black.

I’m not gay.

I can’t bench press 225 pounds.

17 times.

And I can’t run a 40-yard dash.

And I certainly can’t run a 40-yard dash in under five seconds.

And I will never make an NFL team.

But I sure hope he does.

Some people think it’s sacrilegious to compare him to Jackie Robinson.

So I’ll leave that for another blog.

But I will say is that this is one courageous man.

And he can play on my team any day of the week.

Especially Sunday.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Sterling or Stainless?

Donald Sterling is a loser.

How do I know?

I grew up a Clippers fan in Los Angeles in the 1980s.

During the showiest of showtimes for the LA Lakers.

I guess that would make me a loser too.

While most of LA was enjoying Magic, Big Game James and the Captain.

We had Gary Grant, Loy Vaught and Benoit Benjamin.

You know Benoit Benjamin.

The guy who coined the phrase, “there's no use crying over spoiled milk.”

Well with all due respect to my Cubbie Counterparts in Chicago, there was nothing worse than being a Clippers fan.

An organization that had just two winning seasons in 32 years.

A stretch that took me from my freshman year in high school through my DAUGHTER’S freshman year in high school.

Everything this franchise did was wrong.

We couldn’t have made good news if we paid for it.

And there was no way Donald Sterling was going to pay for anything.

For three plus decades Sterling has been the owner of the Clippers – the losingest franchise in the history of losing franchises.

And if Chris Paul didn’t literally fall into our lap a few years ago, that losing would still be happening.

But even with all of my self-inflicted pain for this franchise – and its owner – I am not here to bury Donald Sterling.

I am here to defend him.

Now don’t get me wrong, pretty much everything the man has ever said is wrong.

And certainly indefensible.

Whether it was recorded or not.

But from the second I heard the words LIFETIME SUSPENSION come out of Adam Silver’s mouth, I cried foul.

You can call it a charge or a block or a flagrant 1, whatever that is, but Silver’s hammer was simply a case of premature ejecting.

Oh don’t get me wrong, I understood exactly where Silver was coming from.

Just like the rest of us, he wanted to hang out with the cool kids.

You remember, the guys who sat on the tables in the cafeteria and made fun of the fat kid.

I should know, I was the fat kid.

Well, that’s exactly what Silver did.

He took the easy way out, just to get in with the jocks.

LeBron James.

Magic Johnson.

Even the President praised Silver.

As if he had fixed the Obamacare website.

Now in case you missed any of this debacle, let me recap.

Last Saturday the world first hears an 80-year-old Sterling say some hugely offensive, if not insanely idiotic and what kind of world do you live in type things.

On a tape.

A tape that was recorded in Sterling’s house.

By a girlfriend.

A girlfriend young enough to be a granddaughter.

And through the magic of Memorex, four days later Sterling was banned.

Banned for life.

Pete Rose style.

But what took Baseball six months, took Silver six minutes.

Let me get this straight – in just four days Donald Sterling went from sitting courtside to being shoved outside because of something he said in his house.

With the doors closed.

Sure, the things he said were bad.


But worse than this?

"The blacks in this building, they smell, they're not clean. ... And all of the Mexicans that just sit around and smoke and drink all day."

That’s what Sterling was accused under oath of saying…  11 YEARS AGO.

But according to Silver, the lifetime suspension had nothing to do about the past past and everything to do with what the Commish had downloaded four days earlier.

“In meting out this punishment we did not take into account his past behavior.”


Am I really supposed to believe that this was all about what you have done for me lately and not a lifetime achievement award?

Oh that’s right, it’s the NAACP which was giving Sterling the lifetime achievement award.


That’s right, in 2009 Sterling was given the NAACP’s “highest honor”, right before he paid a nearly three million-dollar settlement in a lawsuit where he was accused of…

… wait for it…..

…a lawsuit where he was accused of being a racist.

Only in Hollywood.

But Silver’s chopping list for Sterling wasn’t done there.

In addition to the lifetime ban, he was fining Sterling 2.5 million-dollars AND he was going to figure out a way to force Sterling to sell his team.

Now the punishment sounds pretty harsh at first, but if you really break this down, this is more about the style than the substance.

Let’s start with the lifetime ban.

Sterling is 80.

And he has prostate cancer.

Lifetime ban?

The Clippers have had losing streaks longer than this ban.

How about the fine?

2.5 million-dollars.

Sterling has 1.9 billion.


Now here’s the fun part, trying to make him sell the team.

Good luck with that.

Silver said he needed 75% of the owners to make this happen.

I don’t care if Silver gets 175%, there is a ZERO chance of Sterling selling this team.

And neither would I.
If I were Donald Sterling…..

…well if I was Donald Sterling, I would never have traded Byron Scott to the Lakers in 1983.

…and I wouldn’t have drafted Bo Kimble in 1990.

…or Benoit Benjamin five years before that.

But if I was this week’s version of Donald Sterling, this is what I would do:

I would pull Johnnie Cochran’s body out of the grave, prop him up in the courtroom and sue the NBA for seven TRILLION dollars.

After all, who better to win a rush to judgment case.

Let me get this straight…

I, Donald Sterling, an 80-year old man with cancer (and probably some selective memory loss if you ask me under oath) am being accused of….

  •  saying some racisty things on a tape
  •  a tape that may have been recorded without me realizing it 
  •  in the privacy of my own mansion
  • to my 30-something girlfriend
  • while I’m still married to my wife

You should hear the stuff I’ve said that’s NOT on that tape.

Sure, the tape implies that I don’t like black people.

Even though I made sure that I said several times on the tape that I really do like black people.

Just in case it was being recorded.

And even though I employed a black general manager for 22 years.

Who sued me for claiming I fired him for being black.

And not for losing 65% of our games during those 22 years.

And even though last year I fired a white coach to make a black coach the highest paid coach in the NBA.

And even though I pay my black point guard more than any point guard in the NBA.

Black or white.

Or my favorite color.


Adam Silver said he was “distraught” by this entire situation.

I call it Tuesday.

Now that the entire world knows my name, it’s 
only a matter of time before I say some REALLY stupid things that will eventually finish me.

But until then….. I love this game.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Upon Further Review...

Hear ye, hear ye... the new baby has arrived.   
A seven-pound, 13-ounce beautiful baby boy.
Everyone is happy and healthy and VERY tired.   More on that in future blogs.
For now I have called on a friend to give his thoughts on a different type of labor situation.  Enjoy!
Sir Bacon

Last Wednesday the Cowboys and defending Super Bowl Champion Giants opened the NFL’s 93rd Season, kicking off week one which featured 32 teams, playing 16 games by nearly 1700 players.
Usually these 1,700 players would be accompanied by over 100 of the best officials in the game.  Not this year.

Because of a labor impasse, the normal NFL Officials were replaced by a hodgepodge of zebras who showed during the pre-season they aren’t quite yet ready for Prime Time. Or Game Time. Or any time other than a Time Out - and not to stop the clock but to stand in the corner after they messed up.

A few weeks ago the Buffalo Bills downed a punt at the opponent’s 4-yard line in a pre-season game. Or so they thought. For reasons no one can explain, the official on the play ruled the ball was downed in the end zone and it was a touchback and spotted the ball at the 20-yard line. The Bills challenged the play on replay and won, but what would have happened if they had no challenges left and this was a real game?

When it comes to officiating I am biased – I admit it. I have been officiating games of some sort for over 30 years. I started doing Little League games before I could drive and for the last 10 years I have done High School Basketball.

Before that I did Youth Leagues for a handful of years. I did over 1,000 Youth Games before I did one High School Game. I thought I was pretty good and I was – or so I thought.
Looking back 10+ years later – YIKES! I am a much better official now and my rating proves it as does the level of games I do. 

I worked my way “up the ladder” to the point where my assignor can trust me in big games because he has seen me handle stressful situations. I honed my craft and worked to get better. 

These replacement officials haven’t had that training.
The last time replacement officials were used the NFL was able to get officials from the top college football conference.

This time they are not. 

Now we are getting officials from lower level conferences and that is not good. The biggest difference in the college and pro game is speed. Lower level college games are played at 33 RPM (Kiddies – ask your parents about this one). BCS Conference games are played at 45 RPM. The NFL is played at 78 RPM and that is a huge difference. The difference in RPM from 33 to 78 might not seem like much but it is.

One of the replacement NFL Officials comes from the Lingerie Football League. Fans don’t pay admission to LFL games – they pay a cover charge, have a 2-drink minimum and must be 21 to enter and then face the wrath of their wife when they get home.

Yesterday this official was focused on the tight end of the nubile tight end wearing a G-string thong and fishnet stockings (perhaps hoping that he can get called for illegal use of the hands).

Today he is in the NFL, face-to-face with 300-pound players whose bodies resemble a vending machine with a neck and legs. 

Officiating is the only profession where those involved are expected to be perfect from Day One – and then improve from there. What we are seeing now is officials who hope to be right most of the time and realize “Big Brother” (Instant Replay) can bail them out if/when they mess up. Officials need two eyes to see a play and not one eye on a play and another eye focused upstairs to a replay official.

The NFL is a $9 BILLION a year entity. What the Officials are asking for monetarily is peanuts compared to what the NFL generates in a day, let alone a year. 

There is a saying in golf that you can’t win a tourney on the first 18 holes but you can lose one. Everyone seems to focus all their attention on the last few games of the NFL season as being most important, but the games played in September are every bit as important as those in December. The chances of a blown officials’ call changing the outcome of a game is very real and that one bad call might cost your team a playoff spot and the chance to win the Super Bowl.

The Golden Rule in life asks people to treat others as they would treat themselves. In business – The Golden Rule states “He who has the Gold makes the rules.” In the NFL the Owners have the Gold while the Officials interpret the rules. The Owners need to realize Gold is priceless – Fools Gold is worthless. Right now the Owners have “Fools Gold” for Officials and unless something is done to bring the “real” ones back ASAP the NFL might see their Gold be nothing more than Cubic Zirconium.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The False Alarm

Everyone in my house is on pins and needles.

It has nothing to do with who is going to win America’s Got Talent.

It has to do with when the newest member of our family is going to arrive.

You see my 43-year-old wife just reached her 38th week of pregnancy.

And to put it medically....
...she is ready to burst.


Oh she loves kids.

And she loveD being pregnant.

But the novelty has certainly worn off.

As it did at this same point with our three others.

Like Cliff Clavin, she is ready to deliver.

And I mean... NOW!

Saturday night we thought it was showtime.

Since she had spent the majority of the day curled up in a fetal position.


With contractions coming every 5-10 minutes.

The doctors told us when that happens.

It’s time to get your butt to a hospital.

And the rest of you too.

So we did.

My wife wasn’t so convinced that this would be the night.

And neither was I.

Sure she had all those contractions.

But these weren’t the double over in pain.

Tears rolling out of your eyes.


These were the little ones.

Easy for me to say.

Little, schmittle.

They still fell under the painful Jeopardy category of contractions for $200.

So we felt it was better to be safe than sorry.

And we headed to the local hospital.

But within a few minutes in the ER.

And a few more strapped into a hospital bed.

We knew that this was nothing more than a false alarm.

I think they call them Toni Braxton Taylor Hicks contractions.

I didn’t even know they were married.

According to wikipedia, Braxton Hicks contractions are “practice contractions”.

Or “false labor”.

Created by the insurance companies to force you into an extra hospital visit.

And an extra co-pay.

But it works.


And this wasn’t the first time for us.

(Cue the harps for the sappy flashback music)

The year was 1999.

One child into this magical mystery tour, my wife was nine months preggers with baby #2.

On the night of February 16, the pains in her belly were so strong, I took her to the hospital.

The same hospital where she delivered our baby girl 21 months earlier.

The same hospital where my Korean wife was wished a Happy Chinese New Year by a security guard.

But I digress.

After spending what felt like nine months in the ER that night.

We were informed that they didn’t have any available beds for my wife to suffer in.

Especially since they weren’t sure she was in “real” labor.

So instead of making us wait, for something that might not come.

They decided to give my wife some old fashioned treatment.


Big-time drugs.

To help her sleep.

They said when she woke up, she would either be in full blown labor.

Or just one of them CIGNA sponsored “false labor” situations.

And that’s when they loaded her up on...  Morphine.



Not Motrin.

Not Mylanta.

Or Maalox.

Or Milk of Magnesia.

They gave her... MORPHINE.

You know, the stuff they used on M*A*S*H* when somebody got their legs blown off.

Well this stuff hit the spot.

When we got home, she went right to sleep.

A deep sleep.

Just one problem.

Minutes into Snoozefest 1999, her water broke.

Broke everywhere.

All over the bed.

The carpet.

The walls.

For a moment, I thought she was just happy to see me.

Then I quickly realized we had a big problem on our hands.

Not only was she nine months pregnant.

With her water broken.

And hopped up on the Morphine.

But I had to somehow get her back to the hospital to try and deliver a baby.

Thirteen years later, I can still remember it as clear as day.

The site of her stumbling out of bed.

Wobbling to the car.

Looking like Molly Ringwold’s big sister walking down the aisle in Sixteen Candles.

I know that's a random 80s movie reference.

Not my first.

Certainly not my last.

But if you saw that classic movie, I guarantee you are cracking up right now.

But the bottom line is I got my wife back into the hospital.


And a bed in the hospital had opened up.


And within, what felt like minutes, she was pushing.

And within, what felt like seconds, our son had arrived.

No time for screaming.


Hell, there wasn’t even time for an epidural.

But thanks to some Morphine, a broken water pipe and John Hughes.

The birth of my son was anything but ordinary.

We can only hope the birth of this son goes just as smooth.

Whenever that is.

About 90 minutes after arriving at the hospital on Saturday night, they sent us home.

Home to watch some TV and wait for the next series of contractions.

The real ones.

I wonder if The Breakfast Club is on.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Name That Baby

You may find this hard to believe.

But Sir is not my real first name.

In fact, it doesn’t even begin with an S.

My real first name begins with a B.

It’s my middle name that starts with an S.




Hey it wasn’t my choice.

And neither was the bris.

But when you are new to this world, you don’t get choices.

You get what they give you.

And my parents gave me a middle name that I quickly changed to a middle initial.

But don’t be too hard on them.

This naming a kid business is not as easy as it looks.

As we prepare to do it for the fourth time, we are having some major problems coming up with our final answer.

A big part of the problem is the fact that my wife has been a first grade teacher.

Since 1994.

And no matter what name you throw at her, that name will represent some kid who had a runny nose.

Or who whined all day.

Or who was a constant pain in the....

Well you get the idea.

To be perfectly honest, it’s pretty amazing we were able to successfully name our first three kids.

And luckily those names are now locked in stone.

Set in stone.


The bottom line is it’s three down, one to go.

But it’s that one that is giving us some big-time trouble.

And because we are having such a hard time, everybody is chiming in.


My oldest daughter likes Dylan.

My friends Phil and Tony don’t like Dylan.

My youngest daughter likes Zachary.

My mom doesn’t like Zachary.

She likes Matthew.

My son likes Ethan.

I don’t mind Ethan.

But I like Dominic.

My wife hates Dominic.

But she doesn’t mind Nicholas.

So I threw out

I really don’t need to print her response, do I?

But come on... how great would Dominicholas look on the back of his soccer jersey.

Or what if he becomes the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

Ok, I’m getting off track.

The bottom line is my wife could give birth at any moment and in the name department, we’ve got nothin’.

Well nothin’ carved in stone.

Etched in stone.


A good friend of ours sent us a bunch of names that she loves.

Names like Thaddeus.

And Demetrius.

And Levi.

Her son’s name is ... William.

We’ve even tried letting a website name our baby.

And what better a place than:

Yep, that’s a real site.

They claim to be the “#1 site for babies and bumps”.

The only problem is near the top of their current homepage they have the top babynames for the year.... 2008.

But hey, a name is a timeless, right?

So we gave it a shot.

Did you know the #1 boy name in 2008 was..... William.

Now that’s funny.

They also have a category called “timeless names”.

Everything from Alexander to... yes, William.

Names like David.

I have two close friends named David.


My wife’s brother is Tom.


His son is named Michael.


Michael’s twin-brother is Steven.

Jane!  Stop this crazy thing!

Things got so desperate that my daughter had us all take a vote.

Ranking the final four names in order of our preference.

The candidates were Dylan, Ethan, Matthew and Zachary.

In alphabetical order.

Dominicholas didn’t make the cut.

So sad.

Anywhoo.... the five current members of this family voted.

The dogs didn’t count.

And the winner was.....

Well, there wasn’t a winner.

Or a final name.

The contest stopped before we got there.

My wife decided that when the baby arrives.

We will look that baby straight in the eyes and...

His name will just come to us.

Discussion over.

Regis, that’s our final answer.

Hey, how about Regis?