All posts by ronniethescoop

Sports lover, outdoorsman, avid reader, guitar player, and a teacher/administrator in the DFW Metroplex.

The NBA Free Agency Circus, Led by Ringmaster DeAndre

In case you have been on Mars, Pluto, or in a no-Internet zone, you have missed a WHALE of an early free agency period in the NBA.

LeBron is a free agent. Okay, not really. Dwayne Wade is a free agent. Speculation was that he would join LeBron in Cleveland. He did not. He stayed in Miami, the only home he’s ever known. There are countless others who are being courted, or who have already decided where they are going to play. To check out the full list, click here.

  • Kevin Love, off the market.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge, off the market.
  • Goren Dragic, off the market.
  • DeAndre Jordan, off the market. On the Market. Off the market. On? Off?

Jordan’s story is one of intrigue, indecision and reneging on his word.

According to the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement found hereThere is a specified time that teams can negotiate contracts BUT CANNOT SIGN them.

Each season, the NBA has a Moratorium Period in which teams may hold negotiations, but cannot sign contracts. Limited exceptions to this rule apply to Rookie Scale Contracts with first round draft picks, minimum contracts of one or two seasons (with draft picks and free agents) and acceptance of Qualifying Offers by Restricted Free Agents. The Moratorium Period for the remainder of the term of the CBA will be as follows:

  • 2015-16 July 1, 2015 through July 8, 2015
  • 2016-17 July 1, 2016 through July 11, 2016
  • 2017-18 July 1, 2017 through July 11, 2017
  • 2018-19 July 1, 2018 through July 10, 2018
  • 2019-20 July 1, 2019 through July 9, 2019
  • 2020-21 July 1, 2020 through July 8, 2020

The drama between DeAndre Jordan, the Dallas Mavericks, and the Los Angeles Clippers will surely change the landscape of this agreement. I would be surprised if this is still in effect next year.

In essence, the player holds all the cards. For example, Jordan agreed verbally with the Dallas Mavericks to join them as a free agent signing. He was courted by several Dallas sports icons, including: Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons, Dez Bryant, Tony Romo, Jerry Jones and others.

Ultimately, it was Jordan’s decision. In the NBA, verbal agreements mean nothing. In business matters, the only things that matter are signed contracts. Even then, they often aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on because of the “renegotiations” that occur.

Let’s say Player A signs a 4-year deal. After one year, he has a monster season and demands more money. He already has a signed contract, a legal, binding document. However, he is allowed to threaten to sit out games or a season if he does not get a new contract. This is where we are in sports. In real life, you would be sued in court for breach of contract.

deandre jordan dunk faceFor the purposes of this article, Jordan’s word was worth a $3 bill. It is within his right to do what he wants. It’s HIS life. His career. What he did to the Dallas Mavericks is both deplorable and juvenile, even for a 26-year-old.

How, you say?

  1. He held the Mavericks hostage, because once he agreed to terms with them, he locked up some $80 million dollars and change. Money they didn’t have to pursue others.
  2. By going back on his word, he hamstrung the Mavericks in every phase of the game. His indecision caused the Mavericks problems in going after other potential free agents. Granted, that was the Mavericks fault for not going after other big men once they thought they had landed their big fish. They let Tyson Chandler go. They let Monta Ellis go. They let Al-Farouq Aminu go. Thinking they got a good big man caused the Mavericks to pause and take a breather, and that will cost them dearly.
  3. His reported refusal to speak with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to let him know he decided to return to the Clippers was nothing short of childish. As a man, he owed that much to a man who was willing to pay him a LOT of money.
  4. Because of this decision, the Mavericks have not only lost out on Jordan, but the wheels are likely set in motion for Rick Carlisle‘s exit, as well. Carlisle is on record stating that he will not stick around for a rebuilding session.

This is a free country where we are free to choose what we will and will not do. Once upon a time, many moons ago, the Greatest Generation (baby boomers) did business with a handshake. To them, a man’s word was his bond. You did what you said, and said what you did. If you wanted to do something, no contracts were needed. Your word was as good as gold. Not anymore.

Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News
Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News

The days of true team players like Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan are coming to a close. These two men epitomize class and respect for the game. Both men have made a lot of money and left a lot of money on the table so that their respective franchises can compete for championships.

It will be a sight to see when the Clippers visit the American Airlines Center for the first time. It will probably be deafening inside, but not for the right reasons, if you are DeAndre Jordan. In fact, if you were to take a poll in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for most-hated  NBA villians, the following would probably be true:

  1. Los Angeles Clippers
  2. DeAndre Jordan
  3. James Harden
  4. Houston Rockets
  5. San Antonio Spurs

Take a step back for a moment and consider the most recent athlete to experience the ire of the entire DFW Metroplex. Bear in mind that this fan base really isn’t prone to boo. Only after exhausting their hopes and dreams will they resort to booing.

When Josh Hamilton played his last season for the Texas Rangers in 2012, he was by all estimations mailing it in. The strikeouts, jogging in the outfield, and lazy running to first base were all there for the fans to see, yet they did not boo. It wasn’t until he started making excuses for why he was not playing well that the tide started to turn, culminating in a remarkable moment in a game that would determine the 2012 AL West Champion. Hamilton dropped a fly ball in center field for a two-run error that gave the Oakland A’s a 7-5 lead in a six-run fourth inning. To make matters worse, he jogged after the dropped ball, with no concern or urgency. Fan anger began to bubble to a boil.

Then in the one-game Wild Card Playoff, after his awful at-bats where he swung at everything in the air or in the dirt, the fans finally had enough and let the boos loose.

Tim Heitman/USA Today Sports
Tim Heitman/USA Today Sports

As bad as that was, it didn’t compare to the booing he received when he came back to Texas with the Angels after he flippantly stated that Arlington was not a “baseball town.” The booing he received as an Angel was incredible. I was at a game and could not believe it. Not even Alex Rodriguez got that much hatred.

Josh Hamilton‘s experience will pale in terms of what DeAndre Jordan will get. I shudder to think of how that will sound in an enclosed stadium. Heaven forbid if he has to make free throws to win the game. It appears that he did NOT want to “be the man” in Dallas, but is perfectly happy being the “third option” behind CP3 and Blake Griffin.

Right now, I am sure Steve Ballmer, Doc Rivers, and CP3 are all removing their red noses and clown makeup. After all, this is the NBA circus.


Ronnie Garcia is the Voice of Reason at The Scoop. He is also an avid guitarist, educator, and all around smarmy guy. Ronnie co-hosts The Fanatics on Monday nights from 7-9pm on KTSR-db. You can follow him on twitter @TheRonMann.

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Casinos Are Bad, Mmmkay?

As you have heard by now, the NFL stepped in it AGAIN. This time they banned the first ever National Fantasy Football Convention, just weeks before its scheduled opening.

Star-Telegram/Rodger Mallison
Star-Telegram/Rodger Mallison
Tony Romo has been the public face of the event, the NFFC, for the past several months. However, in the proverbial eleventh hour, the NFL put the deep-6 on the convention on, get this, moral grounds. The League had concerns about the event being held at a Las Vegas casino, because, of course, gambling does not look good for pro sports (see Tim Donaghy, Pete Rose, and the 1919 Chicago Blacksox).

The NFFC would have provided a great opportunity for players and fans to meet, greet and mingle. Not that anyone would want to help GROW the NFL brand, or anything.

Tony Romo, who only recently joined Twitter, thanks in part to the investigative work of our Founder, Jamie Kelly, said in one of the few tweets from his account:

Cowboys teammate and fellow NFFC headliner Dez Bryant was quite agitated in his response:

Fantasy football is a $3 Billion industry that affects every facet of the NFL. It brings in more fans who love fantasy sports, and it increases viewership, which obviously helps the League.

The NFFC was to feature Cowboys Romo, Bryant, and Jason Witten, and many other NFL stars, including Jamaal Charles, Antonio Brown, DeMarco Murray, T.Y. Hilton, Emmanuel Sanders, Randall Cobb, Eddie Lacy, Julio Jones and DeMarcus Ware. It was to also feature around a dozen media personalities, including Michael Fabiano of the league-owned NFL Network and NFL.com. Fabiano‘s participation alone further proves that the NFL has nffc posterknown about this event for some time, and simply chose to wait until it was beyond the point of no return to pull the plug.

This three-day event was scheduled to be July 10-12 at the Venetian Resort Hotel in Las Vegas. The NFL confirmed via email a Fox Sports report about the league’s longstanding policy that, “Players and NFL personnel may not participate in promotional activities or other appearances in connection with events that are held at or sponsored by casinos.”

HUH? The NFL won’t allow that, but they allow NFL owners to own stock in racetracks in New Jersey, Baltimore and Florida.

CBS Las Vegas
CBS Las Vegas
The NFL‘s indignation about gambling is a glorious, joke. It is estimated, conservatively, that anywhere from $70-100 BILLION is wagered on NFL games each year, and only a small part of that is done legally. I’m sure that many of you have participated in office pools, bought squares for a big football game, or even bet someone a Coke on a game. Obviously gambling boosts attendance and TV revenue. When you have money invested in something, you’re typically going to watch.

I’ll give you an easy example of how the NFL‘s actions are counter to what they say about gambling. The League requires each team to state before games (usually on Thursday) which players may have to sit out due to injury, and which players are questionable. Why? The information benefits gamblers. Does the League care that newspapers run the points spread? Of course not.


Just when you think it can’t get any worse… No, on second thought, I think we all agree that it can, and will, get worse. There are, in fact, several documented cases of the NFL getting in bed with either organized crime or big time gamblers.

1. The Chicago Bears

largeIn the early 1920s, George Halas turned to a man who was a noted bootlegger, gambler, racetrack owner and known associate of Chicago’s Al “Scarface” Capone‘s mob to finance the Bears. His name was Charles Bidwell. Yes, THAT, Bidwell. Later on, Bidwell bought the Chicago Cardinals. Guess whose family owns the Arizona Cardinals? Yep. The Bidwell family.

2. The Cleveland Browns

Cleveland_Browns_63602_zpsb375f1adThe Cleveland Browns were owned by crime syndicate bookmaker Arthur “Mickey” McBride, the head of the Continental Racing Wire, the mob’s gambling news service. The U.S. Senate’s Kefauver Committee called that news service “Public Enemy Number One.” In 1961, the team was sold to Art Modell, who among many things, was a partner in a horse racing stable with Morris “Mushy” Wexler, whom the Kefauver Committee named one of the “leading hoodlums” in McBride’s wire service. In 1969, Modell was married in Las Vegas at the home of William “Billy” Weinberger, who just happened to be the president of Caesar’s Palace, whose hidden owners included: Tony “The Big Tuna” Accardo, Sam “Momo” Giancana, and Vincent “Jimmy Blue Eyes” Alo. When he finally died in 1996, The Las Vegas Sun called Weinberger the “dean of casino gambling.”

3. The San Francisco 49ers

159571aThe Youngstown DeBartolo family, long involved in casinos and racetracks, owns the Niners. In the late 1990s Edward DeBartolo Jr., then the head of the 49ers, paid the Louisiana Governor $400,000 to get a riverboat casino license. The Governor went to jail for that crime, and DeBartolo got a slap on the wrist. He did have to leave the 49ers, but his family still runs the team while DeBartolo Jr. runs the company that is based back in Youngstown.

joe namath bachelors iiiNow, here’s an oldie but a goodie. In 1969, a hypocrisy of all hypocrisies happens in the Big Apple. New York Jets quarterback, Joe Namath invested in a Manhattan bar. The National Football League told him to sell his shares because the joint had ties to big time gamblers and unsavory individuals.

WHAT?

The league said NOTHING about Modell‘s ties or the unsavory ties of numerous other team owners.  The late Carroll Rosenbloom, a high roller with major interest in a mob-run casino, owned the Baltimore Colts AND the Los Angeles Rams at different times.


I personally think that the NFL got its feelings hurt because this National Fantasy Football Convention did not include them, nor were they going to see a red cent of monies from it either.

And, lastly, the NFL showed it’s immaturity when the NFL tweeted this to Tony Romo:

Was the league trying to be funny, or were they trolling Tony Romo? In either case, the league looks bad, and guess who’s the head of the NFL? Good ol’ Roger Goodell.

America! You can gamble on our games, but please don’t ask our players to have a meet, greet, and mingle with you at a resort because well, we have our integrity to protect.

TOO LATE.


Ronnie Garcia is the Voice of Reason at The Scoop. He is also an avid guitarist, educator, and all around smarmy guy. Ronnie co-hosts The Fanatics on Monday nights from 7-9pm on KTSR-db. You can follow him on twitter @TheRonMann.

Where Have You Gone, Willie Mays?

AP Photo
AP Photo

No doubt, if you are a sports fan, you’ve noticed a couple of things. First, there is a vast disparity between the major sports in terms of color within that sport. Secondly, in some sports, there is virtually no diversity.

According to a report by Henry Johnson of the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective, for example, there are issues with diversity in basketball. The NBA, WNBA, and NFL are predominantly African-American, while MLB and MLS are predominantly Anglo.

Screen-Shot-2014-07-11-at-5.46.36-PM
Harvard Sports Analysis Collective

 

In a story written by Paul Hagen for MLB.com, fewer African-Americans are playing in Major League Baseball today than two decades ago; the percentage was 8.5 percent on this season’s Opening Day rosters. Some have estimated that number to be around 27% in the 1970s, but exhaustive research by Mark Armour, a member of the Society for American Baseball Research, shows that the actual number never exceeded 19 percent.

So, what is Major League Baseball doing about this? Commissioner Bud Selig announced in April the formation of a task force to tackle the issue of on-field diversity.

“To be fair, the numbers have dropped. I believe the numbers have dropped from 18-19 percent, which is what they were for about two decades. From the 1970s through the ’90s, the numbers were in the high teens. Now they’re half that,” said Armour, who writes software for the Environmental Protection Agency. “What I determined, and I analyzed data from 1947, when Jackie Robinson made his debut up to 1986, is that the number never got to 20 percent. The black-player number, counting all dark-skinned players, was in the high 20s for a period. But not the African-American number. All the press stuff that comes out every April compares the African-American numbers from today with the all-black-players number from the ’70s. And that’s where they make their mistake.”

Even with all his data, Armour can’t fully explain why fewer African-Americans are playing big league baseball beyond the fact that there are so many players of other ethnicities, primarily Latin American and Asian, now in the game.

Let me hazard a guess: MONEY.

First off, where is the allure for baseball? While it may be “America’s Pastime,” the money can be made elsewhere. The NBA has shoe endorsements and multi-million dollar contracts. In my job as an educator, I come in contact with many athletes. 98% tell me that they are going to play basketball in the NBA or play football in the NFL. The NFL has popularity and name recognition. If you play in the NFL, chances are good that you are well known, at least in your region. Same is said for basketball.

The NFL and NBA have a sexiness to them. Major League Baseball has a workman ethic. Not sexy, but more of a grind. While the NFL has a 16-game season, and the NBA has a 82-game season, Major League Baseball has a whopping 162 games. With football being played once a week, it captures more attention. An NBA team may play 2-3 games in a week’s time, but baseball plays almost every day. Perhaps it’s a case of oversaturation?

SLAM Magazine
SLAM Magazine

The NFL is at an all-time high in popularity and the NBA is very visible with stars like LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and James Harden. The NFL has superstars like Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, and Tom Brady, among others.  Major League Baseball has stars like Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre, and others. Notice a trend? The majority of superstar athletes that play in the NBA and NFL are African-American; the majority of superstars in MLB are Anglo or Hispanic.

Why? Again, I go back to the money issue. Who remembers the Peyton Manning commercials where he chants, “Cut that meat!”?

Who remembers the McDonald’s commercial where Larry Bird and Magic Johnson play HORSE for a meal?

Remember that baseball commercial where…uh…where…ah…well…you get my point. Major League Baseball doesn’t have that appeal to fans, although you will always have diehard fans who keep scorebooks at games. When’s the last time you went to a football game and kept a book for penalties called? When’s the last time you saw someone keeping a book at a basketball game?

Check out these numbers provided by the NCAA.

baseball_0

football_0 mbb_0

In these statistics from the NCAA, you can clearly see that NOT MANY athletes make the cut. Many boys and girls grow up dreaming of playing sports in college and the pro ranks. But of the nearly eight million students currently participating in high school athletics in the United States, only 460,000 of them will compete at NCAA schools. And of that group, only a fraction will realize their goal of becoming a professional athlete.

The sad part is, while some athletes are good enough to play in college, their grades will not get them into college. That frequently forces them go to Junior College where some, if not all, never make it out.

USATSI
USATSI

Baseball is the only sport now that allows players from high school to go straight to the pro’s. Noah Syndergaard, a pitcher from Mansfield Legacy High School in Texas, went from high school to the New York Mets farm club. He is currently on the major league roster.

The NBA has enforced the “one and done” rule, requesting high school basketball prospects to wait at least one year before declaring for the draft. Contrary to popular belief, the NBA does not require athletes to attend one year of college, but they must wait an entire year or be at least 19 years old to declare for the draft.

The NFL will not draft a player from HS. They prefer the player have at least 2 years in college. More underclassmen are declaring for the draft, and more and more are going UNDRAFTED.

Sexy vs. the Grind. Which would you choose?

Which brings me back to my first question: Where have you gone, Willie Mays?


Ronnie Garcia is the Voice of Reason at The Scoop. He is also an avid guitarist, educator, and all around smarmy guy. You can follow him on twitter @TheRonMann.

Deflategate: Where Do We Go From Here?

ABC News
ABC News

If you are an avid sports fan or just a casual fan, by now you have surely heard of “Deflategate.” The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots are in the spotlight for (GASP!) cheating, once again.

While this is not earth-shattering news in and of itself, it may show a pattern of rule-bending. I’m not accusing the Patriots of anything, but the facts do speak for themselves. Let’s take a look at where this saga is headed.


Fool Me Once…

spygate1The 2007 New England Patriots videotaping controversy, widely dubbed “Spygate,” refers to an incident during the National Football League’s 2007 season in which the New England Patriots were disciplined by the league for videotaping the New York Jets’ defensive coaches’ signals during a September 9, 2007 game. The Patriots were videotaping the Jets’ coaches from their own sideline, which is not allowed.

Videotaping opposing coaches is not illegal in the NFL, but there are designated areas allowed by the league to do such taping. The act was deemed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to be in violation of league rules. After an investigation, the NFL fined Patriots head coach Bill Belichick $500,000 (the maximum allowed by the league, and the largest fine ever imposed on a coach in the league’s 80+year history) for his role in the incident, fined the Patriots $250,000, and docked the team their original first-round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft, which would have been the 31st pick. The fine garnered significant media attention for being the “maximum amount” an individual could be fined.

When it came time to penalize the Patriots for their latest transgression, the 2007 incident gave the League the precedent they needed to establish a pattern of calculated and deliberate attempts to avoid long-standing rules designed to encourage fair play and promote honest competition on the playing field.


Glass Houses

Photo by Maddie Meyer
Photo by Maddie Meyer

Now we arrive at the current day. The New England Patriots were charged with deflating footballs used in a playoff game. “Deflategate” is a major controversy in the NFL, stemming from allegations that the New England Patriots used underinflated footballs in the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts on January 18th, 2015.

Depending on who you believe, many claim that the Patriots have been cheating for years and are just now getting caught.

Before you get all hot and bothered, you might be surprised as to who ELSE has been rumored to have doctored footballs before and during games. In a report published by NESN, the Indianapolis Colts may have done the EXACT same thing. The report stated:

The NFL was alerted to the Deflategate situation by the Indianapolis Colts, who lost to the New England Patriots 45-7 in last season’s AFC Championship Game. Turns out the Colts might not be choirboys themselves.

In the Patriots’ Thursday rebuttal to the Wells Report, the team said it supplied evidence about the Colts’ potential wrongdoings. The first came from a Colts-Jaguars game that took place sometime before the 2014 season. “Evidence was also provided that Indianapolis ball boys, in a prior season, had been seen by Jacksonville personnel with ball needles hidden under their long sleeves,” the Patriots wrote in “The Wells Report in Context.” Separately, the Patriots pointed out the Colts took a PSI reading of a football during the AFC title game, which is an NFL rules violation. “Once the game starts, neither team is allowed to gauge the footballs, pump them, or the like. That is solely the province of the referee, who is to be the ‘sole judge’ of whether footballs comply,” the Patriots wrote. “The Colts, with advance concerns about PSI, did not take the issue to the referee. They took the matter into their own hands and had an intern gauge the football. (pg. 63) This conduct was in violation of Rule 2. Nowhere does the Report identify this conduct as a violation of the Rule.”

What are we in, third grade? I got caught cheating, so I’m going to turn you in? What do you think? Is this sour grapes, or do the Colts have some “’splainin” to do?


Brady’s Day in Court

ABC News
ABC News

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell decided this past Thursday that he’ll be the one to preside over the appeal filed by Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady.

The NFL said in a released statement, “Commissioner Goodell will hear the appeal of Tom Brady’s suspension in accordance with the process agreed upon with the NFL Players Association in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement.”

The NFLPA did NOT want any part of Goodell, and had specifically requested that a neutral third party hear Brady’s appeal. The Commish decided otherwise.

“Given the NFL’s history of inconsistency and arbitrary decisions in disciplinary matters, it is only fair that a neutral arbitrator hear this appeal,” the NFLPA said in a statement when Brady’s appeal was filed on Thursday. “If Ted Wells and the NFL believe, as their public comments stated, that the evidence in their report is ‘direct’ and ‘inculpatory,’ then they should be confident enough to present their case before someone who is truly independent.”

Under terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Goodell has the option of hearing Brady’s appeal himself, or designating an officer to hear the appeal. The NFL commissioner also could have sent the case to a neutral arbitrator. Obviously, Goodell went with option A.

With Goodell presiding over the appeal, it’s likely going be tough for Brady to get his four-game suspension reduced, mainly because Goodell himself signed off on the punishment.

This can only mean one thing. Lawsuit.

USATSI
USATSI

You can bet that once Goodell upholds the 4-game suspension, the NFLPA/Brady/New England Patriots will file suit in Federal Court.  One has to wonder what Goodell is thinking. By taking over in hearing Brady’s appeal, Goodell has all but finalized the 4-game suspension, thus opening the door to a major lawsuit. One that he will have a hard time winning.

As numerous outlets have reported, there is no DIRECT EVIDENCE that Brady told anyone to deflate footballs. The Wells Report got as close as possible to pinning the rule-breaking on Brady.

“For the reasons described in this Report, and after a comprehensive investigation, we have concluded that, in connection with the AFC Championship Game, it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules.”

Is that the smoking gun?

This will most certainly land in civil litigation, and the League is going to be hard-pressed to win this one. Perhaps Commissioner Goodell should have sat this one out; that’s the only way he can save face over what is quickly becoming his Waterloo.


Ronnie Garcia is the Voice of Reason at The Scoop. He is also an avid guitarist, educator, and all around smarmy guy. You can follow him on twitter @TheRonMann.

Is Roger Goodell Good for the NFL?

The National Football League
The National Football League

It has certainly been an interesting 2014-2015 in the National Football League. With new arrests for domestic family violence, DWIs, and theft, some were calling it the National Felon League.

Here is a partial list of major allegations among the National Fel..err Football League:

  • Indianapolis Colts Josh McNary (rape), D’Qwell Jackson (assault) and Andrew Jackson (drunken driving)
  • Green BayPackers defensive tackleLetroy Guion (drugs)
  • New Orlean Saints pass rusherJunior Galette (assault)
  • New York Jets running back Chris Johnson (weapons)
  • Chicago Bears cornerbackTim Jennings (drunken driving)

All of these have happened since January 1st, 2015!

Then, you add the saga of Dallas Cowboys running back, Joseph Randle. No, I’m not talking about stealing cologne or underwear from the mall. I’m talking about police investigating a domestic abuse claim made by an ex-girlfriend a day after his arrest at a Kansas hotel on a drug charge that has since been dropped. The probe continues.

Adrian Peterson disciplining his child with a “switch” caused a suspension from the NFL beginning in November of last year. He has since been reinstated and still belongs to the Minnesota Vikings.

Then there are others, like Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon, who was suspended for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell received 15 months’ probation in a first-offender’s program following his August arrest on marijuana charges. Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, and was placed on probation in a case stemming from alleged assaults on his wife last year.

As you can see, Commissioner Goodell has been a busy guy.

Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner
Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner

I haven’t even touched on the Greg Hardy imbroglio. The NFL announced Wednesday that Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy has been suspended without pay for the team’s first 10 games of the 2015 regular season for conduct detrimental to the league.

Ray MacDonald is another name that comes up under the microscope. MacDonald was released by the San Francisco 49ers in December after law enforcement officials in San Jose, California, said he was under investigation on suspicion of sexual assault. McDonald hasn’t been charged in that case, which remains open.

All of these incidents are happening under the watch of Commissioner Roger Goodell. The staunch disciplinarian who decided to suspend Ray Rice for 2 games because of the incident in a hotel elevator, was stunned to see the video of said attack. After, and only AFTER, the video became public, did Goodell suspend Rice indefinitely.

That brings us back to Greg Hardy. Was Hardy wrong? Yes. Does he deserve to be punished? Most certainly. Is Goodell coming down hard on Hardy to make a point? You bet. While domestic violence is appalling, how this matter has been handled is just as bad.

If Ray Rice was only given 2 games for “punching” his girlfriend, how many would Hardy get? People guessed 4-6 games; no one saw 10 coming. He will surely appeal and will likely get that number reduced.

I heard someone grumbling about Ben Roethlisberger not being punished by the NFL after two women accused him of rape. Others were bemoaning how the New England Patriots escaped with nothing after it was determined they used deflated balls in a playoff game.

Inconsistency is the rule with the NFL. All I can say is this: If Goodell wants to improve the product on the field with ALL demographics, women included, he’d better get to work on his discipline issues.

In an article published by the Associated Press, Troy Vincent, NFL executive vice president for football operations, said: “Our young men are presented with the greatest platform in the world and how they carry that responsibility determines public perception. Our efforts are focused every day on raising the standard of excellence. We take the approach of shared responsibility and personal accountability in that we have resources and mentors in place to assist these young men where they are challenged. It is their responsibility to utilize them.”

As an educator, I have personally seen that even young children understand discipline. What they don’t understand is when a student gets punished for an action, and another student does the exact same thing and goes unpunished.

Discipline must be fair. It must be meted out, equally, to ALL parties, and it MUST be swift. Don’t take 3 months to punish. Do it immediately.

Goodell has literally dropped the ball. Either he works on handling things better, or maybe he’d better head for the door.


Ronnie Garcia is the Voice of Reason at The Scoop. He is also an avid guitarist, educator, and all around smarmy guy. You can follow him on twitter @TheRonMann

Professional Wrestling is (a) REAL (Money Maker)

imagesSince 1980, professional wrestling has been a staple in the American vernacular with the creation of the WWF, or the World Wrestling Federation. Prior to that, there were regional wrestling companies like NWA (National Wrestling Alliance); they were all over the country. There was the WCCW (World Class Championship Wrestling) based out of Dallas, featuring the famous wrestling family the Von Erich’s, and the most famous of all regionals, WCW (World Championship Wrestling), which was based out of Atlanta, Georgia, that was financed by TBS mogul, Ted Turner. In the future, wrestling would be shaped by the “Monday Night Wars” between WCW and the WWF. This created a new genre of wrestling, the so called “Attitude Era,” where sex, innuendo, and excess were touted. The same old story was told in both companies.

Ok, so you want to know the ONE, big question?

WHY DO MEN OBSESSIVELY WATCH PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING?

I mean, everyone knows, it’s fake, scripted, choreographed, and that it is NOT REAL. So why watch it? Women have their “reality shows”, so why can’t men?

wwe_default
WWE

Each week, men love to watch that soap opera known among the brethren as Monday Night Raw. The classic case of “good vs. evil,” or that truth and honesty overcome all the odds. With names like John Cena, Daniel Bryan, and newcomer Roman Reigns, the WWE has several men to carry that torch. They are called “baby faces,” or good guys. Generally, the crowd cheers for the good guys and boo the “bad guys.”

The “heels,” or bad guys, are plentiful in the WWESeth Rollins, Big Show, Kane, Rusev, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are the top “heels” in WWE. Seth Rollins is a hated man among the WWE Universe; he is the poster boy for bad guy. He “wins” matches by cheating, or by having his henchmen cheat for him by causing distractions and/or interfering. Of course the referee, ever oblivious, always misses the cheating. The “face” would never stoop down to cheating to win, so he plays by the rules, while the “heel” defies every rule in the book.

The way a match is “booked” determines who will win that particular match. Usually, the “heels” win during regular “free tv” events, and the “faces” win during PPV events. This is booked so that the viewer will want to see the “heel” get his/her comeuppance. Pay Per Views were, and still are, very expensive to purchase; most are around $40-60 depending on the event. What the WWE has done is genius. They have created the WWE Network for your mobile device. For only $9.99, the consumer can see any wrestling programming from WWE/WCE/WWF for that same flat rate. The clincher is, that ALL PPVs are included in this flat rate. So, whether you watch Hell In A Cell, or the Grandaddy of ’em all, Wrestlemania, it costs you nothing. If you were to purchase each PPV individually, and you bought 5 different PPVs, you would spend around $300. By purchasing the WWE Network for your mobile device, you will be out $120 for the entire YEAR’S worth of programming, AND all the PPVs.

As of Monday night, 3-9-15, the WWE App has been downloaded nearly 16 million times. 16 MILLION. If just half of those people purchase the WWE Network, that’s $79,920,000 in Vince McMahon’s large pockets.

Merchandise sales are another way to generate monies. In every sold out arena across the USA, you will see John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Sting, Roman Reigns and other stars’ t-shirts being worn. They are sold by the TON at WWE Live events.  If the average attendance at a live show is 15,000 people, at least half will want a t-shirt for themselves or for their kids in attendance. Most t-shirts fall in the $22-26 dollar range. So let’s try some math. If I sell 6,000 t-shirts, that’s $144,000 for ONE NIGHT’s work. I haven’t even started on the other items for sale: replica championship belts, caps, towels, commemorative cups, concessions…the WWE is a money-making machine.

Some of the more popular wrestler’s salaries are:

Wrestler Yearly Salary Bonus Contract
John Cena $2.75 Million 6.25% Merchandise Sales, Travel/Accommodations 10 years
Big Show  $1 Million Personal Tour Bus 10 years
Kane $905,000 First Class Travel/Accommodation 5 years
Randy Orton $1.6 Million Personal Travel Tour Bus 10 years
CM Punk $1.2 Million Personal Tour Bus & First Class Travel/Accommodations 7 year
Daniel Bryan  $620,470  3 years

The Divas’ salaries include:

Wrestler Yearly Salary Bonus Contract
Alicia Fox  $72,520 3 years
AJ Lee $104,300 3 years
Beth Phoenix $112,500 First Class Travel 3 years
Eve  $109,475 First Class Travel 5 years
Layla $86,450 3 years
Natalya  $74,410 3 years

Wrestling achieved its popularity in thanks to the Monday Night Wars between Ted Turner’s WCW and Vince McMahon’s WWF, as it was called back then.

Things were looking bleak for WWF in the mid-1990s. In 1996, Nitro began to draw better ratings than Raw based on the strength of the nWo storyline, an anarchist wrestling stable that wanted to take over WCW. Nitro continued to beat Raw for 84 consecutive weeks, forcing Vince McMahon to change the way he did business.

Thus, the “Attitude Era” was born. Filled with cursing, sex, innuendo and flat-out brutality, this is what finally turned the tide on WCW. WWF/E began beating WCW weekly, and attendance started slipping at some of the live events. Eventually, Ted Turner decided he did not want to invest any more money into a sinking ship.

Repetitive story lines, questionable booking issues, and corporate restrictions eventually led WCW to begin losing large amounts of money, leading to parent company AOL Time Warner selling the name copyright to the WWF for $2.5 million in 2001. Shortly after the purchase, Vince McMahon purchased the entire tape library for an additional $1.7 million, bringing the final tally of World Championship Wrestling‘s sale to $4.2 million.

And then there was one.

In 2002, a lawsuit initiated by the World Wildlife Fund over the trademark of WWF was settled in favor of the Wildlife Fund over the misuse of a previously agreed upon usage for the trademark. World Wrestling Federation was forced to rename/rebrand itself, and in May 2002, the company changed its business name to World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.

Their only “competition” at this date is TNA wrestling, which is small. In fact, small enough that the WWE does not even acknowledge their existence.

Why do men watch professional wrestling? Is it for the scantily clad Divas? Is it for the excitement? Or is it simply because it’s brainless entertainment? Watch it next Monday night for an hour before tuning into @TweetTheScoop Radio, and then tell me what you think.

It’s an athletic soap opera for men. How else can you explain how a 5’10”, 180lb. man can defeat a man who is 6’8”, 330lbs.? Very carefully.


Ronnie Garcia is the Voice of Reason at The Scoop. He is also an avid guitarist, educator, and all around smarmy guy. You can follow him on twitter @TheRonMann.

*Salary & compensation data via TSMPlug.com

 

 

 

Why Would We Change Baseball?

With a tip of the cap to the NHL, NBA, and NCAA, baseball season is right around the corner.

I thought it was time to check out the goings-on in MLB, courtesy of new Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred. It seems like Mr. Manfred wants to change things up a little.

1280x720_Manfred5_b3jp9tja_8b6x0xowFrom expanding the strike zone to quickening the pace of baseball games, he’s come up with something that might just hit the spot! Manfred would like to shorten the regular season by 8 games. Some of his ideas are pretty spot on.

In an online article from draysbay.com, Mr. Manfred makes some valid points:

“Injuries and fatigue take their toll after 150 games into any baseball season. The 2011 Red Sox and the 2014 Brewers are the latest examples of teams who seemed primed for greatness but couldn’t survive September. Baseball is a grind, an everyday sport designed to tax teams and players until October.

Changing the length of the season will fundamentally change the personnel requirement for teams to make the playoffs, possibly requiring less depth for any roster. Should baseball be a sport where you have to outlast as much as you outplay? That’s its current DNA, and you have to wonder how much eight games taken off the schedule would change that.”

While some valid points exist, are those extra 8 games supposed to allow for more rest?

What happens when we expand the playoffs? Imagine a scenario in which the Wild Card does not take two play-in games? Secondly, imagine a scenario where the Wild Card is actually an (elimination) tournament a few days before playoffs begin, like say a week?

Major League Baseball is a sport driven by money. Not just consumer money, but by television revenue. Quick question, just how much more valuable are those 8 games as added revenue?

In 2013, Major League Baseball made in excess of $8 Billion dollars. ($8,000,000,000.00) It is estimated that MLB made a little over $9 Billion this past year. Baseball is a money-making venture, so shortening it by 8 games may not seem like much to you or me, but to an owner? That’s money out of his/her pockets.

In 2014, the average ticket price went up by 2%, to an average of $27.93 per ticket. The total FCI (Fan Cost Index) rose 2.3%, to $212.46. (Understand some tickets are cheaper than this, and others are far more expensive.)

If you take the Texas Rangers, for example, and use this formula: average cost of ticket x total attendance = $$ in pocket of owners, you reach a total of nearly $76M ($27.93 x 2,718,733 = $75,934,212.69).

I think I’m in the wrong business. Really.

If you want to shorten the season, you’re going to have a fight on your hands from the baseball purists. They ALREADY hate the DH in the American League…can’t imagine they’d like a shortened season. It makes sense, and then it doesn’t.

If you can guarantee fresh players for the playoffs, then bring it on. Otherwise, LEAVE IT ALONE. I know a lot of folks gripe about the length of baseball games. According to a recent, well-researched and very entertaining Boston Globe story, major league game times are longer than they used to be, reversing a trend. They’re back up to an average of nearly 2 hours, 58 minutes.

In contrast, the average NFL game lasts 3 hours and 12 minutes, and NBA games are 2 hours 28 minutes long.

So baseball games aren’t as long as football games, nor are they as short as NBA games. So,why the griping about the pace of the game? 1.) The amount of standing around. 2.) The inordinate amount of time batters use to prepare to hit the ball. 3.) 27 Outs can take a long time, especially if the pitcher isn’t very good, or you play in a homerun park.

Would you want to make the game more exciting? What ideas do you have, if any, to change the pace of the game?

Give me your suggestions @TheRonMann

I am, the Voice of Reason.


Ronnie Garcia is the Voice of Reason at The Scoop. He is also an avid guitarist, educator, and all around smarmy guy. You can follow him on twitter @TheRonMann.