Bad Meat…

Earlier this week, the NFL and the NFLPA sent a warning note to all NFL players with the logo of both organizations at the top. Here is the text of that warning note:

“There is evidence that some meat produced in China and Mexico may be contaminated with clenbuterol, an anabolic agent which is banned by the NFL Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances. Consuming large quantities of meat while visiting those particular countries may result in a positive test for clenbuterol in violation of the Policy.

“Players are warned to be aware of this issue when traveling to Mexico and China. Please take caution if you decide to consume meat and understand that you do so at your own risk.

“Please remember that as stated in the NFL Policy for Performance-enhancing Substances: ‘Players are responsible for what is in their bodies.’”

I am not about to go off on a tangent here wondering why the FDA is not issuing such a general notice and/or why meat imports from either country do not have a warning sticker on them when they are in our supermarkets. These are not politically-oriented rants; these are sports rants. So, I would prefer to point out two things here:

    According to the official NFL schedule recently released, on Monday, 21 November 2016, the Oakland Raiders and the Houston Texans will tee it up for MNF in Mexico City. I suspect that neither team will be flying into Mexico City the morning of the game; the NFL has other rules on the books that require visiting teams to be in the game city at least a day ahead of time; in this case where neither team is playing in its home venue, I presume that rule applies to both teams. Therefore:

      Are all the players supposed to “go vegetarian” for the time they are on site preparing for the MNF game? Or …

      Are both teams supposed to pack in their own meat products for team consumption? Or …

      Are players on those two teams going to “get a pass” in case they test for clenbuterol two weeks after that game?

    Oh, here is another one … The NFL maven in charge of expanding the brand internationally also said that he wants teams to figure out how to stage NFL exhibitions in China. About a month ago, he suggested that the NFL was committed to playing a regular season game in China in 2018. I think the same three questions would obtain in that situation.

Well, it happened. Leicester City clinched the title in the English Premier League for this season. The team that was 5,000 to 1 to win the league when play began last Fall is indeed the league champ. You will hear and read loads of things about how they accomplished this and how improbable it was and what a great feel-good story it is. I want to focus on the money… reports that Leicester City could earn $218M by winning this championship. Here is the link to that report and the number cited is an estimate from a sports marketing entity in Europe. However, it is important to note that Leicester City only graduated to the EPL in 2014 after spending ten years in the Champions League in England – the highest of the “minor leagues” there. Only once in the club’s 132-year history have they finished as high as 2nd in the Premier League and that was back in 1929.

Last year – their first season in the EPL after promotion – was a rocky one. They were mired deep in the relegation zone with 9 games to play but the team won 7 of their final 9 games to finish comfortably in 14th place in the EPL Table. [Aside: The teams that finish 18th, 19th and 20th are the ones that are relegated to the Champions League each year.] Oddsmakers were unimpressed by those final 9 games last year and set the odds on Leicester City at 5000 to 1 to win the EPL this year – and now bookmakers are paying out huge sums.

According to this report from, bookmakers in England alone will lose $11.4M on these payouts. Some of the books in England mitigated some of their losses by paying off bettors before the end of the season at reduced odds; other bettors chose to hang on and will collect the full amount of their wagers. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the total damage done to sportsbooks in England and in Nevada will be $15M and this report indicates some of the early wagers placed in Las Vegas on Leicester City.

Leicester City’s win here reinforces a fundamental belief deep in the psyche of every gambler:

    Low probability events happen every day…

Finally, I said above that these are sports rants and not political rants. Nonetheless, sometimes sports and politics intersect as with this comment from Brad Rock in the Deseret News:

“Meanwhile, Bobby Knight introduced Donald Trump at an Indiana rally.

“At first, everyone thought Knight was just another protester when he threw a chair and kicked the Gatorade cooler.”

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