Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition
by mike (in boston) – hatemailaccount *at* gmail [dot] com
Rather than having links spread around the various line-up threads, I’m hoping we can have regular mid-week and weekend posts where we talk about what we’re reading and hearing. Please post any interesting links in the comments. The mid-week thread can be found here:
I don’t “get” Cathal Kelly. Here’s his premise: the documentary fails because it’s not going to rattle the NFL’s cage. Here’s the problem: that’s not what the doc aims to do, so all it has failed to do is live up to some arbitrary standard Kelly has decided to set for it.
Mark Fainaru-Wada was on T&S on October 10th in the 3pm hour as well as PTS on October 15th. In both interviews he repeatedly stresses that he loves the NFL and isn’t trying to bring the league down etc. He’s just trying to get the science out there so that the issue can be studied more closely, and so that parents can make more educated decisions about letting their kids play high school football. He also raised some really interesting points about ESPN backing out of producing the project while still supporting his story.
Kelly seems to be trying too hard to make himself the story. I think he’s OK on TSN Drive, but I have never been able to enjoy his writing.
I don’t want to waste any words on Cherry. He’s a known quantity at this point in time — he’s known as a relic from a much more ignorant time in human history. But I’ll ask the question again: if you’re SN or TSN and you take over HNIC, do you keep Coach’s Corner? If you don’t, do you keep McLean in some capacity? If I’m McLean, I need to start thinking about my own legacy. Cherry is an embarrassment, and McLean comes across as his enabling side-kick.
… for raising awareness about mental illness. The reason this is interesting is that news broke this week that the NFL is giving away less than 10% of the profits that come from their pink merchandise. These are supposed to fund breast cancer research, but since most of the merch is sold via NFL.com, the league acts as the retailer and gets to keep most of the profits. Link I’d like to see the league be more diverse in the causes it supports. But I fear that the pink thing is here to stay given how profitable it is for the league.
Alan Yelsey, representing the American Indian Movement, was on PTS on October 16th. He made a pretty compelling case for why “redskin” should be on a par with other racist slurs that society (rightly) no longer tolerates. His group is trying to use state laws to fight against the name. Legal pressure via anti-discrimination statutes is an interesting way to fight back. Public employees/institutions are bound to higher standards than private companies, and so this is potentially fruitful.
One telling quote from the above link: “The Redskins name doesn’t stem from skin color, but from the blood running down their bodies after they were scalped by European settlers.” If that’s the origin of the term, then it’s no different from symbolism surrounding lynchings in the southern US. Neither should be tolerated.
If CBS sports is writing about it, then the NHL should be concerned. This is bad press from a sports outlet that rarely covers the NHL. The author does a nice job of laying out some possible ways of getting rid of cheap shots. I like the roster or cap hit approach – if you can’t bring a guy up to replace the suspended player, or your available cap space goes down as a result of his suspension, then this will hurt the team as a whole. As we saw with Brian Burke’s requiem for Colton Orr, some GMs are addicted to goons. People like Burke will always find ways to keep goons in the game. The league needs to intervene to stop them.
Grange was on with Tim (no Sid) on October 15th and they had a fantastic discussion about the dirty hit issue. Really great back and forth. Some notable points: 1) Tim can sound pretty intelligent when paired with someone like Grange. 2) It’s possible to discuss an issue without trying to force jokes in every 3rd sentence, without laughing hysterically at your interlocutor, without using the word hashtag, and without relying on morning-zoo sound effects. I like Tim&Sid but they have become a cartoon version of their former show. I still have hope that they can find the right balance though.
Grange and Tim also had a very interesting discussion of sports celebrations in baseball and hockey. Grange made a nice point that this issue seems to have a racial undertone since it’s mostly white players complaining about Latin players. This mirrors Don Cherry’s casual racism/xenophobia when he talk about certain players “not knowing any better.” It’s interesting that both MLB and the NHL are encumbered with this albatross of “playing the game the right way” or “respecting the game” or “the code” or “the unwritten rules.”
The NFL has done a great job of making the evolution of the game a priority. They are by far the most popular league.
Low Hanging Fruit
Every now and then I will try to pass along some feedback to the people who fill the airwaves or news pages on a daily basis. I don’t claim to speak for the audience as a whole. Opposing views are welcome.
PTS is trying out some new segment where the co-host takes the lead and asks questions and Bob gets to answer them. In a strange and unexpected twist, the real positive to come out of it is that we get way more Brunt. He’s very quiet on PTS – usually because he’s ignoring some dumb discussion about potholes or fishing, or because he’s choosing not to get baited into a useless argument about sports. The loss is to the audience, since PTS ends up wasting their best asset. But this new segment gives Brunt some free rein to frame an issue and lay out some thoughts about it. Great stuff. My one request is that this segment be limited to when Brunt is on.
until next time …
mike (in boston)