Back And Forth And…

I had an e-mail exchange over the weekend with a former colleague and a long-time reader of these rants. In one of his notes, he said that he has been waiting to read my opinion(s) on the latest “revelations” about Peyton Manning as reported in the NY Daily News. Let me take this moment to explain to him – and anyone else – why I think this matter is not particularly worthy of comment.

First of all, the report that I read in the NY Daily News contained nothing much new; virtually everything there had been reported more than 10 years ago and it seemed as if the only “new” event was an interview with the attorney representing the woman who accuses Manning of some disgusting behavior back when he was at Tennessee. After I read the report, my thinking was along the lines of “Hi! Ho!”

However, since the story seems to have gained some traction – to the point where an old friend asked about it specifically – let me be more specific in my commentary.

    1. This is a 20-year old “he said/she said” situation. I was not present when the alleged disgusting behavior happened or did not happen. No new evidence surfaced to trigger the latest “reporting”. This is not akin to the Ray Rice affair where subsequently we came to see “indisputable video evidence” of what went down in that elevator. Since I have no idea what happened or did not happen about 20 years ago, I really have nothing to add to the matter. And, if I may be so bold, neither does the NY Daily News

    2. I understand that this is the “Era of the Hot Take”. A fundamental axiom of this ERA seems to be that expression of moral outrage is perfectly appropriate even in situations where there is no rational/objective basis for said outrage. I prefer a much more robust “wait-and-see” approach…

    3. Absent new information, all I could add here would be to “take sides” and vent my spleen against whichever side I had chosen against. At best, I would be spinning the facts presented in the most recent reporting without knowing if indeed they are facts or fancy. Boiled down to that, my conclusion is that you all have better things to do with your time than to read more conjecture on the matter. And so, until there are more facts available about what did or did not happen 20-years ago, I shall revert to my previous stance. “Hi! Ho!”

Regardless of whether any new information surfaces to does not surface here, this is a matter for the court of public opinion and not a prosecutor; unless I missed some major reporting in the past, there were never any charges brought in the matter. As I have said many time in the past, the court of public opinion does not need incontrovertible evidence to reach its conclusions and there are consequences for people who find themselves squarely on the wrong side of the court of public opinion. The latest case in point to demonstrate that would be Manny Pacquiao. Nike terminated its contract/relationship with Pacquaio after Pacquiao made comments about gay marriages saying that people who participated in such rituals were “worse than animals”.

I am not going to do a “Hot Take” here on the subject of gay marriage nor am I about to try to conflate this matter into a First Amendment Issue. What happened here is that Manny Pacquiao expressed his opinion; Nike determined that his statements would be harmful to their business interests and terminated their relationship with him. That is all there is to the matter; any attempt to make it into something more substantial is not much more than trying to pump sunshine up someone’s butt. There is no real reason to do that, and as soon as you turn off the “pump” there is no lasting effect.

I think it was last Friday that I read a note that the NY Knicks signed Jimmer Fredette to a 10-day contract. It had been quite a while since I had thought about Jimmer Fredette; I did not know he was still playing professional basketball until that story which told me he had been playing in the D-League this year. On Saturday, I tuned in to watch the Oklahoma/West Virginia game and my “Jimmer Fredette synapses” fired off…

Buddy Hield was clearly the star player on the court in the Oklahoma/West Virginia game; he scored 29 points and the Sooners won in a walk. Hield has done this sort of thing before during this season and he will deservedly get a lot of support as the Player of the Year – or whatever they are calling that award these days. Nevertheless, in the second half of that game, I began to wonder if Buddy Hield is the latter-day Jimmer Fredette – who was also the Player of the Year when he was in his final year of college. I am talking here about Hield from the perspective of an NBA team and an NBA career. Nothing I say here intends to detract one iota from his value and his accomplishments as a college player:

    He scored 29 points on Saturday. At least 8 and perhaps 10 of those points came on breakaway layups.

    He scored 29 points on Saturday. About 12 and perhaps 15 of those points came on wide open “catch-and-shoot” jump shots.

Hield is fast and given an open shot he can/will drain it. The question is how often he will be able to use those assets in the NBA to score. He is faster than anyone on the West Virginia team; is he faster than the majority of NBA guards? I don’t know… He will not get nearly as many open/uncontested jump shots in the NBA. Defenders there are bigger and faster than anyone West Virginia could put on the floor.

What I did not see was his ability to take the ball and create his own scoring opportunities against tight defensive coverage. Now, if he can do that too, he will be a very productive NBA player. If he cannot, he just might be the 2016 version of Jimmer Fredette because everything I said about Hield in the past couple of paragraphs is true of Fredette too. It will be interesting to see what the NBA scouts and GMs think here…

Finally, the Daytona 500 happened; it ended in a photo finish; however, since two drivers did not get into a fight after the race to set up a blood-feud for the rest of the season, I wonder if the NASCAR mavens are happy with the outcome. Just as pro-‘rassling lives and dies with the energy created by their “blood-feuds”, so too does NASCAR interest ascend when such things exist – either in reality or in perception. And that brings to mind a comment from humorist Dave Barry many years ago about auto racing in general:

“Auto racing is boring except when a car is going at least 172 miles per hour upside down.”

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

6 thoughts on “Back And Forth And…”

  1. I appreciate your nuanced comment on the Peyton Manning at UT flap. Maybe I missed it, but have you commented on the potentially far more serious (and recent) allegation that Manning through his wife was trying to reclaim his battered body with illicit drugs? Is there a credible investigation underway by anyone on that issue?

    1. Jim:

      The NFL is conducting an investigation into the alleged HGH use/misuse/abuse. Given their recent “successes” in terms of investigating things, I am not sure if you would call any NFL investigation a “credible investigation”.

      Two MLB players – Ryan Howard and Ryan Zimmerman – are suing Al Jazeera over the report. As their cases progress and discovery/depositions happen, that might shed light on Manning’s situation regardless of whether or not he sues Al Jazeera. Obviously, if he sues Al Jazeera for defamation or something of that ilk, lots more info will come into the public domain. For the moment, the Al Jazeera report on this HGH matter is a lot closer to being “Discredited” than it is to being “Credible”.

      1. If the NFL investigators ran the JFK inquiry, not only would they not have decided if there was a conspiracy, they could not have decisively decided JFK had been shot.

  2. It seems a bit hypocritical for the NFL, et al., to harrumph about the use of HGH or steroids when these drugs are also used to get players back on the field faster than would be otherwise possible with non-steroidal treatments (such as Peyton Manning). Since I am quite certain that the Broncos were pushing to get their investment back this year, there does seem to be a conflict of interest for the NFL to pontificate when the into-the-sunset storyline would be such good box office.

    I’m not supporting the ones who did the PEDs solely to get ahead (Ryan, Mark, Barry, etc.), but at some point the practice of actual medicine cannot be made into the PC exercise inflicted upon Manning. The question as I see it would be how to manage the transition from “officially recovering” to “illegal advantage” uses for these items in a way that can be put into a CBA, as well as the “actual medicine” part of the issue.

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