Gordie Howe passed away last Friday at the age of 88. He is known as “Mr. Hockey” and his career spanned 1946 – 1980. In his final NHL season, he was 52 years old and in that season he scored 15 goals and had 26 assists in 80 games. Gordie Howe was also a tough guy; over his career he spent a total of 2084 minutes in the penalty box. His toughness led to the creation of something that came to be known as the “Gordie Howe Hat Trick”:
A goal and an assist and a fight in the same game.
Rest in peace, Gordie Howe.
Believe it or not; I want to talk about Deflatgate once again. The thing I want to say about the matter is that Roger Goodell and the NFL ought to find a way to settle this matter in a face-saving way for everyone and they need to do that now. The reason I say they need to do that now can be summed up in two words:
Recall that Casey Martin was a golfer who had a congenital problem with his leg such that while he could still play PGA quality golf, he could only do so if he rode in a cart; his legs could not take the walking of the course. Here is a summary of his dispute with the PGA:
PGA rules say no carts; players have to walk.
Martin asked for a waiver. The PGA said, “No.”
Martin sued the PGA citing the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The PGA won at the US Court of Appeals level. The PGA could have settled for that and granted a one-time exemption to Martin at that point and secured legal precedent for themselves but did not.
Martin took the case to the Supreme Court where the Justices ruled decisively – and properly in my mind – that Federal Law supersedes the rules of golf and the rules of the PGA.
The PGA not only had to allow Martin to use a cart; it also now has a significant legal precedent hanging over its head with regard to the sacred “Rules of Golf”.
The NFL is where the PGA was with a win at the US Court of Appeals level. It has legal precedent to support the idea that the NFL Commissioner can indeed discipline players in the NFL as he chooses. If that stature is nearly as important to Roger Goodell as he says it is, then the last thing he ought to do is to risk losing it.
The worst thing that might happen to Tom Brady and the Patriots is that Brady will sit out 4 NFL games at some point in his career – assuming that he does not simply retire before that suspension can take effect. The likelihood that Goodell can add to the penalty is infinitesimal so the Commish is now sitting at the peak of victory in this matter. His powers have been sanctioned by Federal Courts and he can now bask in that glory. There is nothing more for him to gain here.
And that is exactly why he ought to find a way to make this whole matter go away. Suspending Tom Brady and/or punishing the Patriots ought not be nearly as important to Roger Goodell than the affirmation of his power of discipline. So, unless this has morphed into an ego-stroking situation for him, he should be the one leading a charge to settle the matter and to move on to whatever the next issue is to face the league.
Is this going to happen? Probably not. However, it would happen in a flash if I were the Commissioner…
Now I have 2 things to say about the NBA Finals:
1. Draymond Green needs counseling. He got himself suspended from a Finals game. Ostensibly, the suspension is for a flagrant foul involving him punching LeBron James in the “man-zone”. However, that is NOT the reason he is suspended for this game. He is suspended for this game because he has accumulated a boatload of technical fouls and flagrant fouls – other times where one of his limbs found itself in contact with an opponent’s “man-zone”. The issue is one of simple self-control.
2. Cavs’ coach Ty Lue said after Game 4 that LeBron James does not “get a fair whistle” and that the officials are not giving him the calls he deserves. If true, that would be precedent-setting for the NBA; star players have gotten nothing but deference from officials going back to the days when I began to watch the NBA. Moreover, I will say as a former basketball official and a neutral observer here that if officials called Lebron James for every offensive foul he commits by pushing off, James would never make it to the second quarter of an NBA game.
If you watch NBA games on network TV, you have certainly heard Mike Breen doing the play-by-play. I like Breen’s easy going way of doing a game; he gets excited when excitement is called for but he does not dominate the program. Katie Baker wrote a very interesting biographical piece on Breen for TheRinger.com. I commend it to your reading.
Bob Molinaro had this observation in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot last week. I can find no way to dispute his point:
“TV timeout: Saw a headline this week that read, ‘NBC Sports Network to present 330 hours of Rio programming this August.’ To most people, this may look like a simple promo. To me, it’s a mental health warning.”
Finally, consider carefully this point made by Brad Rock in the Deseret News:
Last month, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake released a list of wasteful and distasteful government expenditures.
Among the revelations was a $1 million grant, part or all of which went to learning what music monkeys like. Another $1 million helped study why yawning is contagious. If you want to know whether cheerleaders are more attractive as a group, $1.1 million should help the cause. And a $3.9 million grant funded research on what makes goldfish feel sexy.
All of which pale in comparison to the Houston Rockets spending $87 million to find out whether Dwight Howard can play.
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………