You have probably read stories about how Redskins’ fans bought up all the items that Robert Griffin III and his fiancée had on their wedding registry list at Bed Bath and Beyond and sent those gifts to him. Some folks spring-loaded to be pissed off at just about anything have stirred up a minor kerfuffle over the fact that a guy making millions of dollars should not take gifts from people who make so much less than he does. What nonsense… Gifts are given by folks who choose to give them. Absent coercion, if you have a problem with the act of gift giving, you are at best a pusillanimous prig.
When I read about this, I pictured a UPS truck backing into RG III’s driveway with a driver spending a half hour shuttling boxes from the truck to the front door. It would be like Christmas morning in May as RG III and his fiancée opened all those boxes to find out that their wedding registry had already been satisfied. How nice. And then, I looked at that situation through the other end of the telescope…
Imagine if a box showed up at the home of JaMarcus Russell and the shipping label said that it came from “Lifelong Raiders Fan”. Here is the question:
Should JaMarcus call the Hazmat Squad or the Bomb Disposal Unit?
Speaking obliquely of the Raiders, I noticed that they signed free-agent punter, Chris Kluwe – late of the Minnesota Vikings. The Raiders lost Shane Lechler to free agency about a month ago; they need a punter to replace him; and for Kluwe, that is going to be a problem. Replacing Shane Lechler is not going to be an easy task.
Allow me an interlude here… Far too many folks in the sports radio business – and even some writers – use the terms “Pro Bowl player” and “All Pro” as synonyms. They are not synonyms; in fact, sometimes they are not even close.
A “Pro Bowl player” is one who is invited to play in the Pro Bowl. That means two squads of 46 players – or 92 individuals – at a minimum will have that label. Actually, there are always more than 92 players in any given year because lots of folks invited to play in the game opt not to for a variety of reasons so someone else gets tapped and both of those players carry the “Pro Bowl ” label.
In any year, there are exactly 24 “All Pro” players. There is one at each position on the field; that player is regarded as the best in the league at his position for that year.
With that distinction in mind, consider this thumbnail sketch of the career of Shane Lechler:
Having entered the NFL in 2000, he just finished his 13th season.
Shane Lechler has been the All Pro punter 9 times in 13 seasons.
Sticking with pro football for a moment, the Chicago Sun-Times ran a transcript of a Q&A session with Mike Ditka. I think the most interesting part of that session was the part that had nothing to do with how the Bears might do in 2013 or about pro football in general; the reporter asked Mike Ditka if people would ever see Mike Ditka on Twitter. Here is what Iron Mike had to say about that:
“You will never see me [on Twitter]. Somebody else might do some things, but not me. I text, though. I got to the point where I can text, I can call and do those things. So I’m getting pretty good. I really don’t want anyone to know what I’m doing. I really don’t think what I’m doing is that important. People don’t have to know what I’m doing. It’s no one’s business but mine.”
For the record, Mike Ditka is ahead of me. I am not on Twitter and I do not text. I have a phone; and if I want to contact you, I will place a call to you and we will discuss whatever it is that we need to communicate on. How twentieth century is that?
However, Mike Ditka and I are absolutely on the same page when it comes to the idea of constantly telling other people what we are doing. I never do that; I cannot imagine how boring anyone’s life might be that they would care about what I am doing. It is not a privacy issue with me; it is a fundamental inability to comprehend why anyone other than I would care to know.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida must be a focal point for swimming and diving competitions in the country. Anyone who had read these rants for a while knows that I do not follow swimming as a sport and that I do not consider diving even to be a sport since its winners are determined by judges and not by an objective set of measures. So how did I conclude that Fort Lauderdale was a focal point for these sports? Consider these two items from Greg Cote of the Miami Herald:
“A USA Grand Prix diving meet happened in Fort Lauderdale. Olympic divers, don’t take it personally, but you have our attention for two weeks once every four years, and barely then. Don’t push it.”
“The International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale is threatening to relocate unless the city upgrades its facilities. Lauderdale residents who regularly visit the Hall are upset. Both of them.”
Finally, after OJ Simpson appeared on TV last week testifying in a hearing where he seeks a new trial on the charges that sent him to a Nevada State Prison, Jimmy Kimmel had this to say about OJ:
“The most notable thing to come out of the trial is that O.J. has put on a lot of weight in prison. I think he found the real killers and ate them.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………