First team All American, SEC defensive player of the year, team MVP, team leader. Now, Missouri defensive end has another title to his name; openly gay athlete. None of the four professional sports currently has an openly gay player amidst the ranks. Come April, after the NFL draft they will have one – Michael Sam. Projected as a linebacker in the NFL, Sam was viewed as a high draft pick. After he came out to the media on Sunday, his future is in doubt. One NFL executive has already stated that the NFL is not ready for an openly gay player. I think it is. The opinion of most NFL players is that a team mate’s orientation is not an issue, it’s what kind of player and team mate he is that counts. His peers at Missouri certainly didn’t seem to care; he came out to them last year, and was clearly a leader on an outstanding team with a ferocious defense. Michael Sam deserves to be drafted at the level that his talent and play indicate. He’s a tremendous player with football savvy, as well as a tough as nails demeanor. He’s going to be a hell of a player, and one of the 32 teams willing take a chance on him is going to be very grateful that they did. More importantly, he deserves a medal – a freaking medal of valor. He’s not only opening the closet door for himself; he’s kicking it down for other players who share his orientation. He’s a pioneer, he’s a hero. I will be following his career closely, and you can bet that I will become a fan of the team who drafts him.
Much love to you Michael Sam. You’re brave, as well as a true hero and role model. I wish you good luck and great success on this path that you’re your so valiantly embarking on.
You have to love Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe: He has no qualms about speaking his mind on any subject, and this letter is in response to Maryland delegate Emmett Burns. If you hadn’t heard yet, Burns wrote a letter to Raven’s owner Steve Bisciotti asking him to “inhibit such expressions from your employee”, after the Raven’s Brendon Ayanbadejo publicly expressed his support the the Maryland ballot initiative to legalize same sex marriage.
Without further adieu, I share with you Chris Kluwe’s open letter to Emmett Burns:
Dear Emmett C. Burns, Jr.,
I find it inconceivable that you are an elected official of the United States government. Your vitriolic hatred and bigotry make me ashamed and disgusted to think that you are in any way responsible for shaping policy at any level. The views you espouse neglect to consider several fundamental key points, which I will outline in great detail:
1. As I suspect you have not read the Constitution, I would like to remind you that the very first amendment in this founding document deals with the freedom of speech, particularly the abridgment of said freedom. By using your position as an elected official (when referring to your constituents in order to implicitly threaten the Ravens organization) to argue that the Ravens should silence Brendon Ayanbadejo from voicing his support for same-sex marriage, not only are you clearly violating the First Amendment, but you come across as a narcissistic fromunda stain. What on Earth would possess you to say something so mind-boggingly stupid? It baffles me that a man such as yourself, a man who relies on that same First Amendment to pursue your own religious studies without fear of persecution from the state, could somehow justify stifling another person’s right to free speech. To call that “hypocritical” would be to do a disservice to the word. “Mindfuckingly, obscenely hypocritical” starts to approach it a little bit.
2. You wrote, “Many of your fans are opposed to such a view and feel it has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment and excitement.” Holy fucking shitballs. Did you seriously just say that, as someone who is, according to your Wikipedia page, “deeply involved in government task forces on the legacy of slavery in Maryland”? Have you not heard of Kenny Washington? Jackie Robinson? As recently as 1962 the NFL still had segregation, which was only done away with by brave athletes and coaches daring to speak their mind and do the right thing, and you’re going to say that political views have “no place in a sport”? I can’t even begin to fathom the cognitive dissonance that must be coursing through your rapidly addled mind right now; the mental gymnastics your brain has to tortuously contort itself through to make such a preposterous statement are surely worthy of an Olympic gold medal (the Russian judge gives you a 10 for “beautiful oppressionism”).
3. This is more a personal quibble of mine, but why do you hate freedom? Why do you hate the fact that other people want a chance to live their lives and be happy, even though they may believe in something different from what you believe, or act differently from you? How does gay marriage affect your life in any way, shape, or form? Are you worried that if gay marriage became legal, all of a sudden you’d start thinking about penis? (“Oh shit. Gay marriage just passed. Gotta get me some of that hot dong action!”) Will all your friends suddenly turn gay and refuse to come to your Sunday Ticket grill-outs? (Unlikely. Gay people enjoy watching football, too.)
I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won’t come into your house and steal your children. They won’t magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster. They won’t even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90 percent of our population, rights like Social Security benefits, childcare tax credits, family and medical leave to take care of loved ones, and COBRA health care for spouses and children. You know what having these rights will make gay Americans? Full-fledged citizens, just like everyone else, with the freedom to pursue happiness and all that that entails. Do the civil-rights struggles of the past 200 years mean absolutely nothing to you?
In closing, I would like to say that I hope this letter in some small way causes you to reflect upon the magnitude of the colossal foot-in-mouth clusterfuck you so brazenly unleashed on a man whose only crime was speaking out for something he believed in. Best of luck in the next election; I’m fairly certain you might need it.
P.S. I’ve also been vocal as hell about the issue of gay marriage, so you can take your “I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing” and shove it in your closed-minded, totally-lacking-in-empathy pie hole.
Charles P. Pierce on the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos divisional playoff game – Grantland
I hate Bill Belichick and the Patriots. However this is one of the funniest game recaps that I’ve ever read. I really love this quote: ” I don’t know if this means anything, but, long about half-past 35-7 the other night in Foxboro, I could’ve sworn I saw a couple of New England Patriots rolling dice for Tim Tebow’s jersey.” Genius. Pure. Genius.
A tip of the tinfoil hat to Charles P. Pierce.
My thanks to Don in Mass for his winning topic suggestion of why the Cincinnati police blotter is so full of Cincinnati Bengals. If you haven’t checked out Don’s blog yet please do. Like me, Don has a very liberal view of life, and is not afraid to speak out for what he believes in. Don also has an uncanny knack for finding political cartoons that are hysterical!
Without Further Adieu, I give you
Bengals Behind Bars
With the arrests of Pac Man Jones, Cedric Benson, and Marvin White last week, the collar count for the team since 2000 has climbed to 34. While the Bengals way of conducting their business as a franchise is old, stale, and not conducive to winning consistently (meaning they suck), Bengals players manage to find creative ways to acquire chained bracelets from police across the country. Ranging from simple arrests for DUI or drunk and disorderly, to scratch your head type incarceration for drunken boating, and providing alcohol to underage girls, Bengals players have displayed a level of imagination for breaking the law that is only rivaled by the creativity displayed in how they lose games.
So why has there been so many Bengals arrested in the last ten years? Frankly, there is no one predominant reason. However, there are 3 reasons that when explored and combined, give a fairly clear insight on what’s going on here in the Queen City.
The Bengals are a microcosm of character issues in the NFL. Since 2000, nearly 350 players in the NFL have been arrested. The Bengals numbers of arrests represent 10% of the league’s problem children. Until Commissioner Roger Goodell took measures to clean up the league a couple of years ago, talent has always taken priority over character in pro football. The NFL is a pressure packed, win now sport, and if Charles Manson could throw a football 80 yards with pin point accuracy, you can bet your ass a desperate GM of some team would take a chance on him. The Bengals are no different, particularly since owner-
Mike Brown loves the bad boys. Throughout the league, owner Mike Brown is known as “the redeemer.” He is notorious for signing talented players with huge character issues at discount rates. He is a penny pincher extraordinaire, who thinks he is running a half way house for wayward players, which is not a good thing in Cincinnati since-
The police in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky aren’t exactly color blind. Of the 34 arrests, 22 two were in the Cincinnati metropolitan area. Of those 22 arrests, 2 of the players were white. Cincinnati is a city of fairly harmonious integration and diversity, yet the police have been rightfully accused of prejudicial racial profiling for years. In the 90’s that institutional bigotry nearly tore the city apart; a young African American male was shot in the back and killed while running from the police. Why was he running? Because he was scared shitless! The policemen involved were subsequently acquitted. As a result, justifiably infuriated African Americans erupted in a series of riots that would take years to recover from. In 2006, defensive tackle Matthias Askew was tazed and arrested for resisting arrest for parking violations. Yes, 2 parking violations. Askew was acquitted, and later sued the police department, who settled out of court with a $500,000 payment to Askew. Even Chris Henry, the poster child for badness in Cincinnati, was many times a victim himself of law enforcement bigotry. Of the many charges filed against him, he was either acquitted or convicted of minor offenses, resulting in slaps on the wrist.
The Cincinnati Bengals have been subjected to ridicule for 20 years, which also happens to be how long Mike Brown has owned the team. They are a train wreck of a franchise, and have earned every criticism that comes their way, including to some extent that they are the league’s version of the island of misfit toys. Their number of arrests when compared to the rest of the league is some what higher, but not by much. Mike Brown does acquire character issue players on the cheap, but so does everyone else. Of all the players arrested, none resulted in jail time, and a lot of the charges were dropped. When you look at the big picture, the willingness of every NFL team to sign players with character issues, and the history of institutional prejudice in local law enforcement, it’s no wonder that the Bengals arrest rate is slightly higher, resulting in constant to generalizations and ridicule, particularly when you combine their amount of arrests with their history of suckitude.
However, they don’t have an accused accessory to murder starting at their middle linebacker spot, or a convicted dog killer starting at quarterback. Hell, they don’t even have a wide receiver who was convicted of possessing and discharging a firearm in a public place, nor a wide receiver that killed a man while driving drunk. At least they have that going for them.
- Bengals won’t comment on recent spate of arrests (profootballtalk.nbcsports.com)
- Cedric Benson Becomes the Third Jail Bird Bungal to Be Arrested (bleacherreport.com)
- NFL Picks: Bengals RB Benson Charged With Assault on Family Member (sportsfreepicks4u.wordpress.com)
- NFL Picks: Bengals’ Marvin White Arrested For Assault In Louisiana (freenflpick.wordpress.com)
Ohio State starting QB Terrelle Pryor announced yesterday that he would not be returning this fall. I don’t think that many of us are surprised by this. Pryor is the centerpiece of the current NCAA investigation into several violations committed by both past and present players. Violations that former coach Jim Tressel tried to cover up last fall, which lead to his resignation on Memorial Day.
Ohio State has now officially lost the two faces of it’s football program; so where does this leave them? Actually, they’re not in that bad of shape. Pending the outcome of the NCAA investigation, the program can now move on, and move on they will.
The program Tressel left behind is a damned good one. They were always, and are still, in a position to reload rather than rebuild. Coach Luke Fickell was a well respected assistant, both by coaches and players. I have every confidence in the world that he’ll keep Ohio State Football at a high level. As for the QB position, they are set for another four years. Freshman Braxton Miller is regarded as the best high school QB in the country. I’m betting he starts in game one, and stays there until it’s time for him to go pro. The kid is special, and he’s a winner.
As for Pryor, I think his future is a little cloudy. He will turn pro, but he is not ready. He still needed that last year of college to develop. Furthermore, with the NFL lockout still unsettled, it may be a year before he can get his foot in the door. He may not even be highly sought after by NFL teams.
Although Pryor is a big game player with three wins over Michigan, and two BCS wins under his belt, Pryor’s talent has often taken a back seat to his behavior. He is a character risk to many NFL general managers. His skill set at the next level is also in question; many talent evaluators in the NFL feel that he is more suited to play wide receiver because he’s tall, and runs like a deer. He’s already being compared to wide outs such as Calvin Johnson or Plaxico Burress. Personally, I don’t think his ego will let him play anything other than quarterback. Unless he grows up in a hurry, he’s not going to get that chance.
I loved watching Pryor play as a Buckeye, but I’m glad he’s moving on. As much as I love the players, I love the program more. Pryor has become a distraction, as well as a cancer to the team. It’s time to move on to the new faces of the team: Coach Fickell and Braxton Miller.
Oh, and one more thing: Out of the top 25 football programs in the country, THE Ohio State was ranked #1 in Academic Progress Rate. Call them what you will, but the fact of the matter is that the Buckeyes kick ass in the class room as well as on the field.
Suck on that Michigan ;)
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- Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor Leaving School After NCAA Investigation (tipdrillzonline.wordpress.com)
- Terrelle Pryor Quits on OSU as Scandal Fallout Continues (blippitt.com)
- Can Terrelle Pryor Help the Pittsburgh Steelers? (football.rawsignal.com)
- Requiem For a Heavyweight: Jim Tressel Resigns. (tinfoilhatman45.wordpress.com)
- Terrelle Pryor’s OSU Career Comes to an End (elevenwarriors.com)