Well, the Cleveland Cavaliers turned things around last night. They dominated the Warriors about as thoroughly as the Warriors had dominated them in the first two games. Perhaps an interesting final series is on the menu …
Until yesterday, I believed that everyone over the age of 12 realized the professional wrestling was a fantasy and not actual carnage and brutality. Then I read a report about a woman in Georgia who was arrested and charged with aggravated assault after she pulled a loaded gun and pointed it at the “bad guy” in a match. Yes, she did that…
This was a match put on by the American Wrestling Federation between Paul Lee (the bad guy) and Iron Mann (the good guy). At one point in the match Lee had managed to tie Iron Mann up and was hitting Iron Mann with a chair. The lady in the audience had exchanged words with the bad guy during the match but at that point she had had all she could take. She entered the ring with a knife and cut Iron Mann free and pointed the loaded gun at Lee. According to reports, there was a round in the chamber and the safety was off.
As things evolved – before the gendarmes arrived and restored a semblance of order – the woman also pointed the gun at the “commissioner” of the American Wrestling Federation in attendance. The fact that the commissioner was identified as “Robbie Rude” would lead me to suspect that he was part of plot for the evening that wound up with Iron Mann tied up and taking chair shots.
Lest you think I am making this up – or embellishing the story – you can check out the newspaper report of the incident here.
OK, that was outrageous enough and on a normal day, it would be the only outrageous item to report. However, there is another report that came out yesterday in the Seattle Times that scores highly on the Scurrilous Scale. As I go through the explanation of what happened here, please do not forget that this is a HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PROGRAM. This is not big time college football or professional football where revenue streams amounting to tens of millions of dollars are involved.
Bellevue High School is in a northern suburb of Seattle and the football team has been a powerhouse over recent years; it has been the state champion 11 times in the past 15 years. It now faces a 4-year ban on any postseason play on the basis of an investigation that uncovered “significant and long-standing violations”. Here are some of the issues:
Families provided false addresses to have players eligible to play for that school and that team.
Some players were “directed” to an alternative school where they took courses that guaranteed them good grades so they could stay eligible. One of the players told investigators that a teacher provided him with the answers to tests and that the alternative school was “day care” for the players.
The head coach gave cash – collected from team boosters – to the family of at least one player.
Remember, this is HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL…
The school has the right to an appeal; it is not clear to me at the moment if they will do that. Here is a link to the report in the Seattle Times about this matter and in that report you can find the full investigative report. It is more than 60 pages long; I did not read all of it but the part that I did read indicates that the investigators were competent and dedicated to their task. I suggest you read the summary report in the Seattle Times if you do not have the time or the stomach to read the full investigative report.
The fact of corruption and payoffs related to FIFA is not mysterious. While I was on hiatus in the UK, I read a report in the Sunday Telegraph that shows the level of concern that has been generated about that. We saw the defrocking of Sepp Blatter and then we had the name of his successor show up in the “Panama Papers”. FIFA has not cornered the market on sleaze but they do have a large inventory of it.
According to the Sunday Telegraph, England could be forbidden to host future World Cup Tournaments, European Championships and/or Champions League Finals if the English Football Association (FA) “continues to resist reform”. The way that would be enforced is that the government would refuse to sanction the FA hosting action. The English government has a position titled Her Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport; that is far too cumbersome for newspapers and so it is known there as the Culture Secretary. The current incumbent is a Member of Parliament, John Whittingdale, and he said that the FA would stop getting the £30M it receives from the government every 4 years if the FA did not reform its governance structure.
I mentioned that the English government was poised to block any move by the FA to host a major soccer event. The way they can do that is to refuse to allow various lucrative tax breaks that are important conditions that FIFA or UEFA demand as part of the deal to place those events in the selected countries. Evidently, the government has been pushing the FA for reforms for a while now. Back in 2005, the FA received a report that it commissioned from Lord Burns recommending wide-ranging reforms and changes to the FA structure and governance. In the intervening years, the members and the governors of the FA have resisted all attempts to implement any changes.
Finally, since I mentioned a serious report in the Seattle Times above, let me close with a not so serious observation from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:
Ex-Washington QB Robert Griffin III’s mansion in Aldie, Va., is up for sale, with an asking price of $2.75 million.
In keeping with the theme, it’s actually $3 million, but you get a quarter back.
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………