Thomas Boswell wrote this in the Washington Post last week regarding the NHL lockout:
“Hiring Don Fehr, the Sun Tzu of jock labor, to face NHL owners in a lockout is like getting the Godfather to help you fix a parking ticket.”
The thrust of his column was that when the NHLPA hired Donald Fehr as their leader, the NHL owners were consigned to second-class status at the negotiating table and that they had better get themselves a deal soon or Fehr would destroy them in the new CBA. Clearly, Thomas Boswell thinks very highly of Donald Fehr. So, perhaps he might provide some answers to two simple questions:
If Fehr is the master of all this, why have his clients already lost almost 30% of the salaries that they were scheduled to make this year?
Moreover, how will Fehr via his protracted negotiations get that money back for his clients?
I think a more sensible and balanced view of what is going on in those negotiations is held by Steve Simmons as stated in his column in the Toronto Sun:
“According to Gary Bettman, the NHL is losing $18 million every day they’re not playing. The first nine weeks of the season have now been cancelled, so do the math: On how much the league is leaving behind, how much the players aren’t getting paid, and explain again what in the hell is going on, and why?”
I closed yesterday’s rant with a comment about Danica Patrick’s upcoming divorce. I do not mean to make light of divorce because I have too many friends who have gone through divorces and found them to be extremely difficult times in their lives. Nevertheless, Danica Patrick is and continues to seek to be a highly recognized public figure so I do not think that it is completely off base to note that once she is divorced, she will then have one more divorce to her name than she has NASCAR victories. For someone who is nominally a racecar driver, that is not a good thing… Yes, I do know that she did win an Indy car race once.
When Patrick signed on with NASCAR, there were lots of folks who thought that she was going to be the catalyst to get NASCAR’s flagging attendance figures headed in a positive direction. As of the last figures I saw, that is not the case – even though Patrick is one of the most popular drivers in NASCAR. If in fact, getting her “on the NASCAR team” was a strategically planned move by the NASCAR mavens to boost attendance, then I surely hope they have a Plan B in mind.
By the way, about a month ago, I also saw an announcement that Danica Patrick would be featured in two new Super Bowl ads for this year. I do not keep count of such things, but two new ones would have to give her a total of a half-dozen Super Bowl ads – and that is not bad for someone who does not succeed very well in her chosen field of athletic endeavor…
By now, you surely must have seen the completely botched call by the officials in the Lions/Texans game on Thanksgiving where a Texans’ runner was clearly down by contact but there was no whistle and he ran on to the end zone for a TD. When Lions’ coach, Jim Schwartz threw a challenge flag, he got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for throwing a flag in a non-reviewable situation thereby rendering any review moot. Here is Bob Molinaro’s commentary on that incident in the Hampton Roads Virginian -Pilot:
“Confusing: Does anyone understand the purpose of the rule that contributed to the Detroit Lions’ loss Thursday? Why would a coach throwing a challenge flag on a scoring play negate the video review of an obvious bad call, then be ruled an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty? The punishment doesn’t fit the crime. Why can’t the ref just tell the coach to pick up the flag and stick it back in his pocket? No harm, no foul.”
Here is another philosophical question with regard to the rule:
Why is it not unsportsmanlike conduct by the runner who is down to continue to run the ball as if he were not down when he knows what happened on the play?
The Pittsburgh Steelers QB situation is grim until Ben Roethlisberger is healthy and back under center. Byron Leftwich was mediocre in his start and when he went down, the Steelers turned to Charlie Batch last week. Let me just say that after watching that game, I now understand why he was the #3 QB on the Steelers depth chart. If Roethlisberger is going to be out for a few more weeks, the Steelers have to go and find someone else to play QB if they want to remain in the playoff picture. I recognize that bringing in a guy who has not played at all this year is something just short of a panic move – but the situation in Pittsburgh is right there on the panic line and someone needs to hit the panic button.
Both of the CBs on the Seahawks face a possible 4-game suspension for violations of the NFL policy on PEDs. According to reports, Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman both tested positive for Adderall – an amphetamine drug normally used to treat attention deficit disorder. Both have appealed the suspension and so they are scheduled to play this week against the Bears. However, if both of them have to miss 4 games, the Seahawks’ playoff aspirations will be done.
I wrote the Jets off here about a week or two ago. Now, even Fireman Ed is giving up on the team; he will no longer lead cheers in the stadium for the Jets – and in so doing remind Jets’ fans how to spell J-E-T-S. Ed says that he has had too many confrontations with other Jets’ fans this year who think that he is on the team payroll [He denies this categorically.] because he wore a Mark Sanchez jersey to a game and fans took that as an endorsement of Sanchez as the QB. Fireman Ed says he is not on the team payroll, but he was featured in some promos touting the benefits of purchasing PSLs for Jets tickets last year.
Let me be sure that I have this straight. Fireman Ed has been an attention whore at Jets games for at least 15 years now and probably closer to 20. Now he faces a situation where some fans do not like what he does and have confronted him with that. So now, he decides to take his firehat and go home. Somehow, that is not the behavior pattern I would associate with your typical first-responder.
Finally, here is a cogent observation from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:
“And in other news, the World Series of Posers ended. Oops, I meant World Series of Poker. Sorry, Freud.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………