There may actually be an easy way for the NFL and college football to reconcile its appalling and decades-old devotion to covering up crimes by employees and players as we go wading back into the Jameis Winston thicket, and here it is:
To just come out and say who and what they are rather than have us deduce it on our own.
“Yes, we protect players and employees from the consequences of some seriously heinous acts because, frankly, we just like the money. We’ve never really cared that much about the people, and yes, that includes you, because you make us money too. Hell, if we were honest about it, we’d have halftime tributes to Lucky Luciano across the country.
“So yeah, we’ll suspend Jameis Winston or get our media lackeys to scandalize him while letting us off the hook. Of course we will. We stand for us, and so many of you aren’t us that we don’t have a difficult time keeping track of the people we have to be nice to. We shave most of them, after all. We are amoral money-eaters who have figured out the new heroin, and we’re not giving up that trade for anything or anyone.
“Unless, of course, we find something better someday.”
Now that, I could get behind just for honesty’s sake.
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Of course, honesty isn’t one of the things we prize, as former Chicago Bears general manager found out when he said last week that the NFL covered up “hundreds” of domestic violence incidents during his tenure in the business. He backed off later, saying he’d exaggerated the number, though I’d be willing to bet he undercut it by a digit, not the other way around.
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And more on money, from CBS’ Gary Parrish:
“Whatever happened to athletes just taking money from boosters without strings attached?”
You know, that’s a hell of a question. What next, receipts?
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And because you were worried about Roger Goodell getting what he needs at Piggly Wiggly whenever he needs it, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank told Daniel Kaplan of Sports Business Journal that Goodell’s masterful handling of the Three Stooges’ remake of the Ray Rice scandal may reduce his take-home bank.
“All of those factors will come into play and be under discussion,” Blank said, reminding us that owners think that is a crushing punishment as opposed to, say, never allowing him in public again, which would be the preferred remedy.
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And now, a scandal you’ll care about even more because that’s the way you are: As the ozone layer shrinks, the strike zone expands. From Jon Roegele of Hardball Times, evidence that there are fewer called strikes than ever at a time when the games are now epochal in duration and fewer runs are scored.
“ . . . (T)he total number of called pitches in these regions (off the edges of the plate and the lower part of the zone entirely) declined by almost 2,500 between 2013 and 2014. The reason for the lower number of called pitches is two-fold. Pitchers have been throwing (fewer) pitches to the outside edge regions as these areas have been less likely to result in called strikes, and less total pitches has led to less called pitches. In the bottom of the zone, we’ve seen that pitch totals are getting higher, but so are batter swing rates. These swings climbed faster than the extra pitches thrown to the bottom of the zone in 2014, causing a slight reduction in called pitches in this region as well.
“Yet again, we see the number of expected runs decline, this time by 403 runs in a single year. As a frame of reference, if we subtract this number of runs from the league total in 2013, the average number of runs scored per team per game would have dropped from 4.17 to 4.08. Teams scored an average of 4.07 runs per game in 2014, the lowest total in not only the PITCHf/x era but since 1981.
“If you like low scoring pitching duels, you probably love this type of change to the strike zone. The sentiment that I get though is that most people would prefer more offense in the game. The simple way to do that would be to simply tighten the strike zone’s belt and pull its bottom back up toward where it was when the PITCHf/x era began just a few years ago.”
Not a chance, Science Boy. Baseball changes only at gunpoint, and with a new sheriff coming, his first, second, fourth, seventh and 12th priority will be to squeeze the union’s shoes on money. That’s how we got the steroid-a-thon – because money trumps, well, facts.
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And now, fun stuff. The Rams throwback jerseys worn Monday night against the 49ers are the Rams, not these mutated mustard-and-rusted-out-blue nightmares some consultant told them the kids would like. Their winning percentage is .362 with the new duds, and deservedly so.
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And more fun stuff-slash-happy-endings: Sonny Forriest, Jr., is now fully legged again.
He is the guy outside Lincoln Financial Field singing to passersby who got his prosthetic leg lifted by a well-sloshed woman in an Eagles jersey before Monday’s game against the Giants. Police recovered the leg on the subway around midnight and got it to Forriest was reunited with his appendage minutes later. He said he doesn’t want the woman to be charged, however, hoping her conscience preys on her awhile.
“One day she’s going to get old,” he said, “(and) I hope she doesn’t get into a position where she is disabled, but she’s going to have to look back on this thing.”
Being from Philadelphia, she’s probably looking for a fake arm now.
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And finally, a tribute to small sample size as given us by Grantland’s Jonah Keri in an analysis of why the Kansas City Royals are the Giants East:
“The Royals have played six games this postseason. It’s possible that the team that has cranked eight homers in five October games is the genuine article, and that the one that managed just nine bombs in 26 September games was the mirage.
“Then again … If baseball boiled down to crowning the team that had performed better than the rest, we’d end it with regular-season records and abolish the playoffs. Hell, we’d probably also make the regular season 1,000 games long, just to be sure. Of course, that’s not the case. Instead, we get the drama of the postseason, where the best teams often lose, and where deeply flawed players can suddenly perform like gods. We can dig into the Royals’ offensive onslaught and make some sense of it, but we still need to acknowledge the fickle nature of short playoff series. That’s what October do.”
Oh it do, do it?