We are at 12 months and counting down to the goat rodeo that will be the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. As is always the case when the IOC puts the games in a place where lots of construction and infrastructure needs to be built in a country not accustomed to doing things on a grand scale – see Greece in 2004 as a prime example – it is going to be a race to the finish. I have written before, and it has been confirmed recently, that the promise to clean up the water in the venues for watersports will not be honored. In fact, the Brazilians and the IOC are not going to test that water for viruses – only for bacteria – even though the AP took samples for testing and found the virus levels 1.7 million times higher than levels that “would cause alarm on southern California beaches”. I do not want to make California out to be a perfect model for the world, but a factor of 1.7 million is not something to ignore.
Remember the tradition after the rowing events are over is that the winning coxswain gets thrown into the drink. Given the virus content there and the thousands of gallons of raw sewage that pour into the bay every minute, that is probably not such a great idea this time around.
Back in 2010 when Brazil won the IOC blessing to hold these games, the Brazilian economy was humming along. Today, that is hardly the case. Inflation in Brazil is running amok; unemployment is high, the economy is in tatters (one report said that Brazil contracted almost 400,000 jobs in the last 12 months) and there is a huge corruption probe ongoing with regard to the government owned/controlled oil company there. When Brazil hosted the World Cup in 2014, there were street protests that came perilously close to riot status because the government was spending lavishly on glitzy soccer stadiums and not on basics that people need such as food and transportation. Now the economy is even worse than in 2014, so prepare for more protests and demonstrations.
[Aside: How can the Greek economy be in such bad shape today? After all, it was only 11 years ago that they hosted the Summer Olympics and reaped all the economic benefits from those Games. You would think they would be in the land of milk and honey still…]
The Games will happen and NBC will be there to telecast them back to the US. And last week, NBC announced that Ryan Seacrest will be the host for the “late night coverage” of the 2016 Games. This is the guy who brings us American Idol and Rockin’ New Year’s Eve. I think anyone interested in the actual sports and competitions associated with these games can read the tea leaves here and look elsewhere for coverage and results. An NBC exec said:
“The late night atmosphere will be electric and we’re thrilled to have Ryan Seacrest in the middle of it all capturing Rio’s unique flavor, talking to Olympic athletes, and telling the stories of the day.”
I will lay odds that he will not talk about the sewage problems in the watersports venue and/or the eviction of people from slum housing in Rio to make way for many of the venues needed for other sports. Neither of those “stories of the day” would be sufficiently “feelgood”…
Let me change the subject partially and speak for a moment about media coverage of the NFL. In addition to the obvious – that the coverage is unending – there are two things that need to be considered at the moment:
1. The NFL is reported to be “thinking about” moving Super Bowl Media Day to primetime. Media Day is the nonsensical event where reporters from all over the world – most of whom would not know a football from butt hole – ask inane questions and/or dress up in outrageous costumes. It ought to be an abomination in the sight of the Lord. And now they want to put it on TV in primetime to add another revenue stream. Which of the Ten Plagues visited upon Egypt in the Bible should the NFL incur for this awful idea?
I am torn between swarms of flies, death of their firstborn and festering boils.
2. Media coverage on all platforms from TV to newspapers to Twitter of the NFL training camps/exhibition games is overblown by at least a factor of 10. Just as with Spring Training in baseball, many of the reports are formulaic and contain little substance. Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald commented on this issue recently:
“At Indianapolis Colts training camp, T.Y. Hilton showed up with a backpack that looks like a cheeseburger. This is when you know there’s not a lot to write about during training camp.”
There are two NBA reports that merit commentary.
There will be 5 – that is FIVE – NBA games on television on Christmas Day. Forget any religious significance or any traditional family gatherings on that day; treat it as any ordinary day on the calendar and ask yourself this:
Do I care sufficiently about 10 NBA teams such that I might find a 5-game TV schedule even marginally enticing? You may stop chortling about now… Oh well, at least it will be a change from the bazillionth re-running of Miracle on 34th Street come December.
Josh Smith of the LA Clippers has earned $90M during his 11-year NBA career. Last week, he signed a contract with the team at the “veteran minimum” and said that he has a family and things would be a little harder for him this coming year. Forget about the career earnings, as a player with more than 10-years in the league his “veteran minimum salary” will be $1,499,187. Somehow, I do not think he and/or his family will need to be standing in soup kitchen lines in the next 12 months or staying home and eating canned cat food twice a week.
[Aside: I wonder if Josh Smith ever heard of Latrell Spreewell whose family would not have been able to survive on an absurdly low contract offer presented to Spreewell. As I recall, the offer was something like $7M per year over 3 years.]
Greg Cote had this comment in the Miami Herald recently and it probably will not endear him to Adam Silver:
“Increasingly popular in America, the English Premier League kicked off this weekend. Don’t expect many surprises, though. The league is top-heavy with only four or five teams considered to be realistic championship contenders. We have a phrase in the U.S. for that kind of predictability and lack of parity: ‘the NBA.’”
Finally, here is an item from Dwight Perry’s column, Sideline Chatter, in the Seattle Times:
“Comedian Argus Hamilton, on the FBI probe into the Astros’ online player database getting hacked: ‘When the Cardinals sent scouts to China, everyone thought they were looking for players, not attending a seminar.’”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………