Some Of This … Some Of That …

Yesterday in discussing the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas and where they will play while the new stadium there is constructed, I said:

“The Raiders do have a short-term lease deal with Oakland to continue using the Coliseum there.  Having said that, I will not be surprised to read any time soon that someone will find a clause in that contract that purportedly voids the entire deal if the Raiders make a deal to leave the city.  That will go to court – and probably take at least 2 years to get anywhere near a trial – and in the end the team will likely settle with the city for a pittance because the stadium in Las Vegas is ready.”

Well, the first part of that seems to be in motion already.  Last evening, I found this report in the San Francisco Business Times and it says that “Oakland officials” have already begun to study their options regarding lawsuits against the Raiders.  Everything now is in the “posturing phase”; do not be shocked in the near future to hear that Raiders’ fans in Oakland are also studying their legal options.  Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey circuses may be going away very soon; this circus will go on for at least another year or two.

There is another NFL story that has been overshadowed by the hoopla surrounding the Raiders’ move.  On the assumption that Roger Goodell and league officials can make all of this happen effectively, the NFL is looking into ways to speed up the games and make them more “viewer-friendly”.  Here is a link to what the league is trying to do at

One suggested way to avoid long breaks in the action is to stop having the referee run to the sidelines to go “under the hood” to watch replays when a play is under review.  The proposal is to have the referee review the play on the field with a tablet computer and for the referee and NFL Central in New York to make the decision right there.  This is not going to save a lot of time but – assuming that it works properly – it will be better than the situation we have now.

Another change contemplated is to reduce the number of commercial breaks in the games and simultaneously to increase the length of those breaks to accommodate the same number of ads.  In terms of “pace of play” or “action content” with regard to NFL games, there is just about nothing less interesting than this sequence of events:

  1. Team A scores.
  2. Commercial break
  3. Team A kicks off (often a touchback)
  4. Commercial break
  5. Team B puts the ball in play at their own 25-yardline

That is between 4 and 5 minutes of tedium in a game and if the NFL can find ways to avoid that sort of thing – without having to give money back to their “broadcast partners” – fans should stand and applaud.

NBA Commish, Adam Silver told ESPN that he thinks there will be a female head coach in the NBA one of these days and he thinks it should be sooner not later.  He said that he felt a responsibility to make that happen.  He is correct in saying that there will be a woman in that role in the NBA in the future.  What I do not understand is why he thought he needed to inform the world of this matter.  There have been women head coaches in professional basketball in the D-League; Nancy Lieberman held that position for several years and is now on the coaching staff of the Sacramento Kings.  Becky Hammon is on the coaching staff of the San Antonio Spurs.  It is not as if no woman has ever been in that sort of a job in the history of the world.

From my point of view, the problem he creates by saying what he did is simple:

  • The NBA Commissioner should have exactly no role whatsoever in who gets hired or fired in a head coaching job in the league.

Yes, I know that the Commish might have to stop in if a team decided to hire Charles Manson as its coach or even Tim Donaghy as its coach.  But neither of those things is going to happen so Adam Silver’s insertion into this sort of hiring decision is not welcome nor is it helpful.

It is not as if the NBA Commissioner has nothing to do these days.  There are several things going on in the NBA that need fixing.  Here are a couple:

  • When star players decide they need a rest in a road game, the fans are cheated.  Do not sugar-coat what happens in these cases.  Fans pay a premium price to see stars on visiting teams play in the fans’ home arenas and then the stars show up in street clothes.  That would be called bait-and-switch if done by just about any other commercial enterprise.  It happens in the NBA; it is permitted by the NBA; it is not a positive thing for the NBA.
  • Just as bad – if not worse – is the entire issue of tanking.  I know it happens; you know it happens; the NBA knows it happens – – but the NBA will not admit it happens and the NBA continues to make tanking a viable strategy for its teams.

If Adam Silver thinks it is worth his time and energy to assure that there is a woman in a head coaching position in the NBA “sooner and not later”, then maybe he also needs to spend time and energy improving the nature of the NBA owners.  Getting rid of Donald Sterling did no harm to the NBA; I doubt that many fans would argue with that assertion.  However, there are still folks in ownership in the league whose behaviors do not reflect well on the league.  Seeing a qualified woman as a head coach in the NBA would be a good thing; seeing new ownership in a couple of places – – like NY and Sacramento and Brooklyn – – would also be a good thing.

Finally, here is a comment from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald from a week ago:

“NASCAR runs today in Phoenix. It will be loud. I won’t watch.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………