Good Thing He Kept His Kidney…

Yesterday, I told you about the Preston football club fan in South Africa who offered to sell a kidney if it would get him a ticket to the Preston/Manchester United game in the English FA Cup. I assume he did not find a way to the game but that he did find a way to watch – or at least follow – the game. If so, the Preston fan probably had a few moments of euphoria early in the second half when Preston took a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately for him, that lead did not hold up and Manchester United won the game 3-1 to advance to the quarterfinals of the FA Cup tournament.

Of the 8 teams in the quarterfinals, 5 are in the Premier League. Two of the “underdog teams” play each other in the next round meaning that it is a certainty that there will be at least one “underdog team” in the semi-finals at Wembley Stadium. Preston North End shall not be one of them…

I also mentioned recently that players and owners in MLS were at loggerheads over a new CBA. Here is some data I ran across that relates to the contract dispute.

    MLS is about to start a new TV deal that will bring the league $720M in TV revenue over the next 8 years.

I knew that MLS had gotten itself a new TV deal but I did not know any of the parameters. Looking at an average of $90M per year coming into the league coffers starting with this season, it is not surprising that the players want to have a way to share in bounty. The rub seems to be that the players believe that a path to free agency is the only way for them to get a share of the bounty while the owners do not share that belief. A little more than 2 weeks remain until the MLS season is scheduled to open.

If you are a student at the University of British Columbia – Okanagan and you are also a soccer fan, you have an interesting course offering available to you. You can take a course – and get credit for it too – in Cristiano Ronaldo Studies. The course examines:

“…Ronaldo’s rise to global iconography and the social and personal repercussions emanating from his rise.”

I could not even come close to making that up…

Staying with soccer for one more item a team in the top Italian league – the Serie A – has been sold for 1 euro. As of this morning, that comes to $1.13. To make this situation even stranger, the sellers of the team also paid 1 euro to purchase the squad about 3 months ago. The club, Parma, is not doing well on the pitch this year. In 23 games, their record is 3-18-2; that puts them squarely in last place in the Serie A table. According to one report I read, the players have not been paid since last July.

Now, news reports say that debt collectors have shown up at the team facilities to repossess assets because of the outstanding debts including unpaid taxes and wages. The repo guys seized two vans and a car which seem unlikely to take care of the unpaid taxes – forget the unpaid wages – amounting to $100K euros. The new owner, Giampietro Manenti says that he has arranged for bank transfers to pay the players their back wages. Notwithstanding that assurance, it would surely appear as if Parma is destined for relegation this year given that it stands 11 points short of the relegation line as of today and it has only earned a total of 11 points in the 23 games played to date.

Remember Maurice Clarett? After the tumultuous times surrounding his attempt to become an NFL player, Clarett spent time in jail and was released in 2010 and given 5 years’ probation. A few weeks ago, he was released early from his probation and the judge doing that said that Clarett’s probation had been a “truly, truly wonderful success story.” Since getting out of jail, Clarett has sought to become a role model for youth and has done a lot of community work with and motivational speaking to that audience. Whatever he is doing must be having positive social outcomes for a judge to make those sorts of remarks at the occasion where he released Clarett from probation earlier than scheduled.

Congratulations to Maurice Clarett. There was a time about 10 years ago where he seemed to be an irredeemable meathead. Obviously, he has altered his life vector into a far more positive and productive area.

Scott Ostler of the SF Chronicle had a column recently tallying up the various “challenges” facing the folks in Rio who need to host the Summer Olympic Games about 18 months from now. Here is the link to that article; it is not lengthy and I suggest you read it in its entirety,

There are plenty of problems but the one facing the athletes who will compete in those events that will be staged in Guanabara Bay seem to be the most daunting. Rio dumps raw sewage into that bay and even though the organizers promised to remedy that situation back when bidding for the games, that is not going to happen. As disgusting as that may be, it does get worse; scientists have recently found a drug-resistant strain of a “super bacteria” residing in Guanabara Bay. Oh swell…

Just in case you were thinking of going to Rio to attend some of the events next summer, consider this paragraph from Professor Ostler:

“If you hate gun control, you’ll love Rio. In an average year that city, population 6.5 million, has one-third the number of homicides of the entire United States, population 320 million. Rio’s violent crime is on the rise as police paving the way for a safe Olympics crack down on drug gangs, which crack right back with increased ganginess.”

Finally, a comment from Mike Bianchi in the Orlando Sentinel:

“How ironic that two coaching giants — Dean Smith and Jerry Tarkanian — died within a week of each other. Smith helped innovate NCAA basketball; Tark helped innovate NCAA compliance.”

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