Corruption in FIFA – Seriously…

You may be certain that the FIFA bribery allegations and arrests were not big news in places like Cody Wyoming and/or Red Lodge Montana. Moreover, in some of the places we stayed, the “cable TV” available did not carry ESPN as one of the channels. [Aside: To be fair, one did have ESPNU on the menu but that channel did not have the “FIFA business” high on its list of featured events.] So, I have been trying to put together how all of this has unfolded since I got home. Some of this is from memory, so I do not pretend that I have every detail nearly correct.

This all starts with my clearly prejudicial assumption that FIFA is an organization that exists in the same level of shadiness and corruption as the IOC. I am certainly not alone in that thinking but if you would like to take 13 minutes out of your life to watch and listen to a blistering summary of FIFA’s venality, I recommend you follow this link and watch John Oliver skewer – and then barbecue – the organization in this monologue. I promise you will laugh while you are watching but then you will feel disgust in the aftermath.

I am still not clear why the FBI and the US Department of Justice are the entities involved in these indictments/allegations when the people were arrested in Switzerland and are foreign nationals. Nonetheless, it would be a wonderful situation if that were the only part of this mess that escaped my understanding. Now, with that confusion at the basis of these remarks, here is what I think has led us to where we are:

    A long time ago – not in a galaxy far away but here on Earth – FIFA awarded the World Cup Tournament in 2018 to Russia and the one in 2022 to Qatar. The Russia award was slightly controversial but Russia was already scheduled to host the 2014 Winter Games so most folks figured they could pull it off. Almost no rational thinker considered the Qatar selection within spitting distance of reasonable.

    Soon after those events – and amidst non-specific suggestions that payoffs influenced the Qatar selection process – a senior official of FIFA was caught with his hand in the till and banned from any involvement in football for life. It seems to me that this put some blood in the water…

    FIFA needed to do damage control and hired a US firm to do an investigation of bribery and corruption within FIFA. I remember that these folks were to report to the FIFA Ethics Committee which is something I consider to be an organic oxymoron. The investigators delivered their report to those upstanding folks and then got into a spitting contest with the Ethics Committee when their report was summarized and given to the media. The investigators claimed that the summary was not quite what they had found. My guess is that all of that background takes us up to about the Summer/Fall of 2013.

    Now we have these bribery and racketeering allegations against FIFA senior officials pending and the whole mess led to the resignation of the newly re-elected major domo of FIFA, Sepp Blatter. He was not one of those arrested but to borrow a phrase from about 40 years ago, it sure seems as if he is an “unindicted co-conspirator”. Lots of folks would love to find out what did he know and when did he know it. [Hat tips to the Watergate Grand Jury and to Senator Howard Baker, R- Tenn.]

The most visible high-ranking FIFA official these days is Jerome Valcke and he has said that the process of soliciting bids for the 2026 World Cup will cease while all these legal matters are floating around. That is probably not a bad idea – especially since one report tied Valcke himself to a $10M funds transfer involving a bank in NY. In what has to be something straight out of the theater of the absurd, Barrack Obama, Vladimir Putin and David Cameron actually took public stances on this entire matter.

    Memo to those three World Leaders: There are major problems in the world for you to work on. Don’t sweat the small stuff…

Now let me speculate for a moment and assume that the Qatar selection for 2022 comes up for “review” within whatever the new structure of FIFA becomes. A change of venue from Qatar could be a financial boon to FOX Sports. FOX has the US TV rights in 2022 and games played in Qatar do not map well into US viewing time slots. Imagine for a moment that FIFA changed the venue and put the games in Brazil again – as a way to use the new stadiums there for things other than bus parking lots. Brazil games are a lot more “time friendly” for FOX than Qatar games would be and “more time friendly” equates to “more ad revenue”.

I suspect that the major European soccer entities would also want to find a way to move the games from Qatar because the current FIFA thinking is to play those games in November/December due to the climate in Qatar in the summer. European leagues would have to interrupt their seasons in 2022 for a month creating a scheduling nightmare for many teams and leagues. My guess is that the European leagues would be happy to play the 2022 games on the moon if they were held in the summer months.

Why this is a DoJ matter and how we got to the point where the FBI convinced the Swiss authorities that FIFA execs needed to take a “perp walk” still eludes me. But it could be a fun ride from here on out…

Meanwhile, the Women’s World Cup Tournament has begun in Canada with an expanded field this year. Not surprisingly, some of the newcomers did not fare well against established teams in the opening round. Germany beat the Ivory Coast 10-0. That is not quite as bad as losing a college football game 222-0 (as once happened) but it is close.

Finally, a comment from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald from a while ago:

“Big week for rehabbing Marlins ace Jose Fernandez. He faced live batters in practice for the first time since his surgery, and also became a United States citizen. Fernandez is proof that in America anything is possible, particularly if you can throw 97 mph.”

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

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jog

After three and a half weeks on the road, I am back home once again. The reason I know I am home is contained in a comment I recall but not the author of the comment:

“Home is where you can say anything you like cause nobody listens to you anyway.”

One of the things I accomplished in my not-so-abundant free time on the road trip was to finish reading Dan Jenkins’ “semi-memoir” (his description) His Ownself. Anyone who has read these rants for any length of time now knows that I think Dan Jenkins is a brilliant writer and this book is as good as anything he has written before. If you want a fast read that is completely enjoyable, I cannot recommend His Ownself highly enough. Here is a link to where you can get it:

Speaking of Dan Jenkins, much of his writing career and his life has focused on golf. This year, a 15-year old from Dallas – just down the road from Fort Worth where Jenkins grew up and began his career – will play in the US Open. Cole Hammer shot two rounds to a total of 132 in final qualifiers to make it into the field. I have a hunch that Cole Hammer and Dan Jenkins will meet at the event…

There are a few surprises in the baseball standings at this point of the season; some of the surprises are positive and some are not:

    Positive: The Minnesota Twins are only 1 game behind in the AL Central race.

    Not Positive: The Seattle Mariners are 6 games under .500.

    Positive: The Houston Astros lead the AL West by 2 games.

    Positive: The Texas Rangers are in second place in the AL West.

    Not Positive: The “Moneyball” Oakland A’s are dead last in the AL West.

    Positive: The Mets lead the NL East by a half-game.

    Not Positive: The Reds are 5 games under .500.

Here are three more things to glean from the baseball standings as of this morning:

    The White Sox are 3 games under .500 despite having been outscored by 57 runs in their 57 games this season. By comparison, the Indians have the same record as the White Sox and the Indians have scored exactly as many runs as they have given up.

    The Phillies are in the midst of a dumpster-fire season. In 60 games, they have been outscored by 85 runs (worst differential in MLB by 27 runs) and they are a miserable 7-22 on the road.

    The Texas Rangers, on the other hand, are 20-12 on the road and only 11-15 at home.

The Milwaukee Brewers are stinking it up on the field this year (dead last in the NL Central with the emphasis on the word “dead”) but their fans can expect culinary delights when they venture out to Miller Park. Here are a couple of the options fans may contemplate:

    Inside The Park Nachos: This is taco-seasoned ground beef on a stick crusted with Doritos crumbs slathered with nacho cheese and sour cream and a dollop of dipping salsa.

    Pulled Pork Parfait: The name is alliterative – and a bit disgusting at the same time. The dish consists of alternating layers of mashed potatoes and pulled pork drenched in gravy and chives. I would need a highly trained sommelier to recommend the proper wine to have with that bad boy…

    The Beast: Just the name ought to make one check out other menu items for the sake of the well-being of one’s alimentary canal. This concoction is a sandwich served on a pretzel roll which is a good start. However, inside that pretzel roll, they put a bratwurst that has been stuffed with a hot dog and then wrapped in bacon. Just to complete the gastric disaster, they cover it all in sauerkraut and onions. Be sure to have industrial strength Maalox on hand for the 7th inning stretch if you eat this one.

Finally, a baseball note from Scott Ostler of the SF Chronicle:

“Angel Pagan says his back got out of whack from sleeping on a too-soft mattress. You’ve got a glass back, you make $9 mil a year and you can’t spring for a new mattress?”

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

Greetings From Red Lodge, MT

Greetings from Red Lodge, MT after spending the last 4 days in Yellowstone Park and visiting with an old colleague who has retired to Emigrant, MT. If you have never visited Yellowstone Park, you simply have to put it on your list of things to do soon; if you have been to Yellowstone Park, you know how wonderful our national parks are and you need to make a note to visit at least one of them very soon. My only “complaint” is that I did not see any wolves or a grizzly bear. Oh well, I saw both of those species on my last visit to Yellowstone so I should not be too put off…

Actually, I am glad that American Pharoah won the Triple Crown. Perhaps now we will not have to read as much nonsensical hype about that feat in the next few years. To those folks who have been claiming for years that what horseracing needed was a “superstar Triple Crown winner” to put the sport back near the top of the sporting pyramid in the US, you got what you wished for. Good luck with horseracing returning to the upper echelons any time soon…

I read a report that Raiders’ QB, Derek Carr missed some workouts because of numbness in his fingers. Given the pounding that he took last year behind an offensive line that was only offensive in the sense of its collective body odor, it ought to be a plus that he only had numbness in a couple of fingers.

I read another report that the Dolphins had signed Ryan Tannehill to a long term deal that could be worth $96M. I have nothing against Tannehill; he is a good young QB who has played well and continues to hone his craft. However, I do have two questions:

    If Ryan Tannehill is worth $96M, what are the Colts going to have to cough up when they have to sign Andrew Luck to his second contract?

    If Ryan Tannehill is worth $96M, what are the Seahawks going to have to cough up when they have to sign Russell Wilson to his second contract?

    Just asking…

I have to agree completely with Bob Molinaro on this comment he made in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot recently:

“The late show: I suppose this item could wait, but the World Series doesn’t begin until Oct. 27, with a possible Game 7 set for Nov. 7. Baseball’s disregard for the calendar makes me wish a game or two would be snowed out.”

Finally, Greg Cote got to the bottom line immediately with this comment in the Miami Herald about two weeks ago:

“The Redskins, Texans and Bills are finalists to appear on this year’s HBO Hard Knocks, which answers the question, ‘Is that show still on?’”

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

Greetings From Cody, WY

Greetings from Cody, WY; yes it is indeed named after Buffalo Bill Cody. My foreshadowing from last time will have to go down as an example of how the path to perdition is paved with good intentions. Let me explain…

My long-suffering wife is the travel planner in our family. This is not because I am too lazy to do it; she would not have it any other way. As she put this road trip together, there were a few anchor dates such as the dates our airplane tickets have been booked and the dates when we booked ourselves into lodges where we definitely wanted to stay. The rest of the dates were flexible. After a first cut at a schedule, she then went back and re-did the itinerary so that we would be in Cody on the evening of June 1. The reason is that the Cody Rodeo starts its season on June 1 and she wanted to go to the rodeo.

To be kind, I was unenthusiastic. This was going to be my first rodeo in the literal and figurative sense and you can get the idea that I am not a rodeo enthusiast by recognizing that I had made more than 71 journeys around the sun without ever finding a need to go to one. I said I would write a “gamer” on the rodeo; forget that. This rodeo was nothing but a disjointed series of events with some of the lamest attempts at “comedy” between the acts that one can imagine. The comic was about as funny as a jet propelled wheel chair.

I did make a few notes regarding the events of the evening:

    About 20 minutes before the festivities began, an official in a striped shirt came out to test the hinges and the latching mechanism on the gate to the chute where the broncos and the bulls would be herded after their events. She had to have spent 5 minutes swinging the gate and fixing the latch and releasing the latch and swinging the other gate and then repeating it all. As she went through all this here is what went through my mind:

      Would that the NFL officials had been so thorough and accurate in measuring the internal pressures of all the footballs in the AFC Championship Game at halftime…

    The opening act consisted of 12 cowgirls doing what is probably best described as a close order equine drill. Ominously, Mother Nature took that moment of inception to change the weather from a cool and breezy evening to a howling wind of about 25 mph with gusts to 50 mph blowing sand across the venue. This made the equine drill about as artistic as a lawn mower race.

    After these young ladies left the arena something happened that I had never experienced at a sporting event in all my days:

      The PA announcer offered a prayer asking for blessings from The Almighty for anything and everything to include the livestock that would participate that night.

      After the prayer, the audience applauded; then, they did the National Anthem.

    Clearly, I am not a rodeo aficionado but I do want to comment upon one result from the calf roping event for the evening:

      Calves 8 … Cowboys 1
      Winning time was 22.7 seconds.
      Turtle racing is more exciting…

The show is scheduled to last 2 hours. After 1 hour had passed and we had sat through two seemingly interminable “comedy segments” in a horizontal rain that had joined with the wind to make the evening miserable, even my wife figured it was time to go. I put up exactly no objection.

That was my first rodeo. It shall also be my last one. There are plenty of reasons to visit Cody, WY and I will detail some of them in my trip report once I get home. The Cody Rodeo is not one of those reasons.

Finally, here is an observation from Brad Dickson in the Omaha World-Herald regarding another equine event:

“The all-out attempts to achieve parity in sports continue. It was just announced that Charles Barkley will be riding American Pharoah in the Belmont Stakes.”

More post cards from the road as time and connectivity permit.

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

Greetings From Elk View Inn – Burgess Junction, WY

Greetings from the Elk View Inn near Burgess Junction, Wyoming. Do not go looking for this on your map because to say this is a remote location would be an understatement. It is the end of May and we woke up this morning to a dusting of snow.

In fine literature, what I am about to do would be called a foreshadowing. However, since these rants are hardly fine literature, let me just say that in one of the next two rants I will try to do something I have not done before here. In the sportswriting business, it is called a “gamer”. I will leave it at that for now.

I read a report where Mitch Kupchak – Lakers’ GM – told reporters that Kobe Bryant will call it a career after next season. Kobe Bryant is and has been a great player but I fervently hope that the NBA does not turn next season into a traveling “good bye party” for Kobe. Frankly, those sorts of things have been done to death and have a firm grasp on cliché status.

Bob Molinaro made a cogent point in a recent column in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:

“Numbers game: Thanks, or no thanks, to technological advances, MLB can gauge the height of a home run ball at its apex. Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton, for instance, hit a homer the other night that crested at 143 feet, the fifth-highest by anyone this season. Another relatively new measurement is the speed at which a ball leaves the bat. Do these revelations actually enhance our enjoyment of the game… or just serve as a reminder that some people sitting behind computers have too much time on their hands?”

Indeed, whatever happened to going to the ballpark and just marveling at how well a batter hit a home run…?

I know that it is very early in the 2015 baseball season, but is it just possible that Alex Rodriguez is the Comeback Player of the Year?

Another report recently said that according to Aaron Hernandez’ lawyer, the former tight end and convicted murderer is running out of money. Time out while we all say in unison:

    Awww… Too bad!

In the report, it also said that one of the complicating factors in his financial situation was that his mother was suing him for several million dollars. That is not something that happens in many families that I know.

Finally, a comment from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:

First openly gay NFL player Michael Sam has signed with CFL’s Montreal Alouettes. Are we going to follow this poor guy his whole life? Media report, 2041: ‘Michael Sam dines at Denny’s’.”

More when time and connectivity permit.

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

Greetings From Lead, South Dakota

Greetings from Lead, South Dakota home of the Homestake gold mine – the largest gold producing mine in the US. Too bad the former owners closed it down when gold was selling about $325 per ounce because there is still gold in there and it can be removed for far less than the current value of gold. However, the transfer of the property to the State of South Dakota came with several stipulations and one was that it would never again be used to mine gold.

The Phillies have been anything but a success on the field for the last year and a half but the team recently had a grand success off the field. The team held the Phantastic Auction as a fundraising event for Phillies Charities and the various items in the auction raised a bit over $105K for several local charities. Here are a few of the items in that auction and what they went for:

    A dinner party for eight in the Phillies’ executive dining room with Mike Schmidt in attendance: That drew $5,250. My long-suffering wife and I have auctioned off dinner parties for 8 folks as charity fundraisers for the last 5 or 6 years. We do not get bids anywhere near that level. Dinner with Mike Schmidt is a whole lot more of a draw than dinner served by The Sports Curmudgeon.

    A private hitting clinic with Ryan Howard: That drew $5,150. Perhaps the winner figures he might offer up a few tips for Howard to use in his plate appearances for the balance of the season.

    A round of golf for three with Steve Carlton: That drew $3,500. Given the history of non-communication between Carlton and sportswriters during his career, it would be ironic if the winning bidder brought along two sportswriters as his/her guest.

    A round of golf for three with Mike Schmidt: That drew $3,270. Obviously, Phillies’ fans would rather dine with Mike Schmidt than play golf with him.

    A kids sleepover (number not reported) in the Phillies’ clubhouse followed by breakfast with the Phillie Phanatic: That drew $4,065. It might be worth “four grand” to see how that creature can eat anything through that proboscis of his.

When the Niners released Ray McDonald last winter, they said that he had exhibited a “pattern of poor decision making”. Those “poor decisions” included two arrests – one for domestic abuse and the other for sexual abuse – in less than a year. He has not been convicted of anything related to those two incidents and the Bears signed him in the offseason. Well, the Bears released him yesterday after he was arrested again on charges of domestic abuse and child abuse. Notwithstanding the outcome of any trial(s) on all of these matters, I think it is fair to say that his “pattern of poor decision making” remains intact.

Finally, speaking of players being released, Greg Cote had this item recently in the Miami Herald:

“The Marlins released catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. He was a free agent bust, although he did lead the team last season in longest last name.”

More postcards from the road as time permits.

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

Greetings From Custer State Park, South Dakota

Greetings from State Game Lodge in Custer State Park in South Dakota. The road trip continues having already stopped at the National Minuteman Missile Historic Site, the Carhenge site in Alliance, NE, the Museum of the Fur Trade, the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs NE, the National Woodcarving Museum, and Mount Rushmore. Never let it be said that we just go someplace and laze around day and night…

We arrived at the State Game Lodge last night and finally ended our streak of plentiful; but mediocre food for dinner. This place has a chef on duty – not merely a cook. We will be here three nights so I can look forward to dinners for a couple more days. After that, I fear we will be back on hardtack rations until Yellowstone.

The NCAA finally got around to notifying UNC formally about allegations of “academic irregularities” and the school now has 90 days to respond to said allegations. Well, that took long enough. The head of the department that ran the courses that allegedly were “ghost courses” resigned about a year ago so the idea that some kind of “irregularities” where going on has been in the air for quite a while now. Some mean-spirited folks might call those “irregularities” something more like “fraud” while kinder and gentler critics might label them merely “shenanigans”. Whatever…

It will be very interesting to see how the university responds to the allegations. UNC has said that it will be as transparent as it can – consistent maintaining individuals’ privacies as required by law – with the allegations and with its response(s). Some have characterized this matter as the worst case of academic impropriety ever; I will wait to see more info before going that far.

The Women’s Sports Foundation has started a petition to block Isiah Thomas from becoming a part owner of the NY Liberty. To steal a phrase from soccer play-by-play guy, Ian Darke, this one is on the knife edge.

    When Thomas was the GM for the Knicks, a woman charged sexual harassment and improper discharge.

    She won a civil judgment of $11.5M for being improperly let go.

    However, the judgment specifically said that Thomas was not liable in the matter.

I agree completely that James Dolan – owner of the Knicks and Liberty and major domo for MSG was tone-deaf in getting Thomas involved in this matter in the first place. However, his tone-deafness may or may not be a reason to deny Thomas this “business venture”. I do not know for whom to root in this contretemps.

More postcards from the road as time permits.

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

Greetings From Badlands National Park

Greetings from Cedar Pass Lodge in Badlands National Park in South Dakota. We got here by flying to Rapid City, SD and renting a car there. A quick drive to Wall SD and a visit to the famous/infamous Wall Drug Store – where you can buy everything from toothpaste to horse saddles to Native American artwork – preceded our arrival here in the National Park. The Badlands got their name because they were indeed “bad lands” if you were a settler or trapper trying to cross these lands before the days of paved roads. There is interesting geology here and plenty of beautiful scenery in an amazingly isolated part of the country.

Yesterday we took a drive and passed through the town of Interior, SD with a population of 94; a bit more than 30 miles from there we hit the town of Scenic SD with a population of 58. Between those towns there were scattered ranches, cows, prairie dogs and not much else.

We are only a bit more than 48 hours into this journey but it is becoming clear to us already that this will not be a culinary trip that rates more than 1.5 stars on a 4-star scale. Peg was introduced to biscuits with white gravy for breakfast yesterday and the look on her face made it abundantly clear that she was not going to finish that biscuit. Whatever…

Speaking of food, the Akron RubberDucks of the Eastern League are offering something called “The Screamer” which is billed as a 5-pound ice cream sundae. It comes of course in a RubberDucks batting helmet and consists of a 1-pound brownie and 21 scoops of ice cream. One need not be lactose-intolerant to realize that no one needs to consume such a concoction.

You could make it worse if you wanted to. You could eat “The Screamer” as dessert after consuming a “Heart Attack Burger” offered up by the Kane County Cougars – the Single A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Here are the contents of the “Heart Attack Burger”…

    One half-pound beef patty with grilled onions, one fried egg, slices of melted cheddar cheese, chipotle bacon mayo, 2 pieces of bacon and it has a pair of grilled cheese sandwiches on either side serving as the burger bun.

Good luck digesting that bad boy.

More postcards from the road as time permits.

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

Administrative Note

My writing schedule will be sporadic for the next couple of weeks. My long-suffering wife and I are about to go on another “road trip” around the US.

As I did last year, I will post rants from the road as time and material permit. Please check in once in a while for those “road rants” until I get home and get back to the usual schedule.

Stay well, all…

Playing Perry Mason This Morning…

The Preakness will happen later today. Favorite American Pharoah drew the #1 post position; and at Pimlico, that is not an advantageous draw. In a short field, it will not necessarily be as bad as it would be in a full field, but the post draw does add a marginal level of interest to the race. Lest you think I am being too critical of the Preakness Stakes, consider this item from Bob Molinaro’s column yesterday in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:

“Horsing around: The Preakness is a day away. There’s still time to pretend you care.”

For the record, that comment comes from a native of Baltimore…

Now that Tom Brady has decided to appeal his 4-game suspension and Roger Goodell announced that he will personally hear that appeal, let me outline here what I would emphasize in the appeal if I were representing Tom Brady. The obvious disclaimer here is that I am not a lawyer and there is no way that Tom Brady or his representatives would seek my opinion here, but this is the broad outline of the points I would try to make.

    I would avoid any hint of an argument that would make it seem that I considered Ted Wells to be biased in his investigation on the basis that the NFL paid him. Ted Wells is by every report an experienced and highly regarded attorney; and unless there is video evidence of him doing something untoward and prejudicial in the matter, I would not go down that road even an inch.

    I would point out, however, that Ted Wells did not have subpoena power to command documents/records nor were any of the folks he spoke to subject to perjury or cross-examination. That does not nullify what he found but it does weaken the degree to which his findings can be taken as undeniable facts. Wells himself supports this argument because all he could bring himself to say over his signature and therefore with his reputation on the line were things like “more probably than not” and “generally aware of” in his findings.

    I would stress the amateurish – almost Keystone Kops – way that the league measured the pressure in the footballs at halftime. They used two gauges which did not agree with one another on even a single ball that was measured. Moreover, the difference in readings was as much as 0.4 psi – which happens to be 40% of the acceptable pressure range for footballs in a game (12.5 – 13.5 psi).

    I would apologize for Brady’s agent’s commentary that the NFL and the Colts engaged in a “sting operation” unless – once again – I could present video evidence to show same.

    I would argue that by all NFL precedents, this suspension is excessive. A comparison of the suspensions of other players relative to what they did – and the degree of certitude that they actually did what they did – is pretty easy to construct.

    I would point out that Ted Wells’ characterization that Brady did not aid in the investigation by making his phone records available to him is more a statement of pique than substance. First, that lack of subpoena power forces Wells to deal with that possibility from the start. Second, in a previous NFL disciplinary matter, another star QB, did not share his phone records with the investigation and did not suffer a 4-game suspension. (See Brett Favre and his “sexting incident” where his penalty for failure to cooperate was a fine of $50K.)

    Finally, I would hint that the punishment for Brady – and for the Pats by extension – is colored by the previous Spygate incident and that such a linkage is improper:

      a. Because Brady had no part in stealing the signals according to the findings at the time

      b. Even if he did have a part in stealing those signals, this is an unrelated matter and therefore added punishment would be the equivalent of “piling on” for the Spygate matter which the NFL did not put in Brady’s lap at the time.

I want to be clear here. I am not a New England Patriots’ fan; I have never lived anywhere in New England; I admire Tom Brady for his on-field accomplishments to the same degree that I admire Peyton Manning, Joe Montana, John Elway, Terry Bradshaw and John Unitas among others for their on-field accomplishments. If you want to interpret all of this through the prism that I am some kind of a fanboy, I cannot stop you from doing that. All I can tell you is that in the harsh light of reality, I am not a fanboy.

In the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson maters, I supported what the NFL – and Roger Goodell – did. Granted in the Ray Rice matter, it took some time for the league to try to impose a penalty stiffer than a 2-game suspension. Many others called for Roger Goodell’s head on a plate; back then, here is what I wrote about the evolving Ray Rice Episode.

My support then for the league and for Roger Goodell was based on the degree of certainty I had in the wrong-doing of Ray Rice; I had seen “conclusive video evidence”… There is nothing even remotely close to such a level of certainty in this entire matter. That is not Ted Wells’ fault, but it is the fault of the NFL for taking “more probably than not” and “generally aware” as a sufficient basis to “drop the hammer”.

Finally, just in case you were worried that hyperbole might be on the wane, CBS announced that Super Bowl 50 – to be telecast on CBS next February of course – will be “the most historic broadcast event of all time”. Really? Have the suits at CBS forgotten already about Katie Couric’s colonoscopy and that time Judge Judy had to interrupt and scold one or both of the “litigants” in her “court” and/or the final episode of My Mother the Car?

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