Deep In the Heart Of Texas …

I am sure that Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon was covering some other singer when he recorded the song Deep In the Heart Of Texas.  However, that is the version that I recall as a teenager and so I will cite it here as a theme for today’s rant.  I will spend a lot of time talking about things going on in Texas.

Let me start with Mark Cuban.  For purposes of full disclosure, I am not a huge Mark Cuban fan in terms of his over-the-top actions as a team owner or as a publicity hound.  I do not think that I qualify as a “hater” for the simple reason that I do not care enough about what Mark Cuban says or does enough to hate him for it; in my gestalt, he is a buffoon – – albeit a very rich buffoon.

Mark Cuban was a “guest” on Dan Patrick’s radio program – – remember he is a publicity hound who is on record as saying there is no such thing as bad publicity – – and he told Dan Patrick and all of Patrick’s audience that once the Dallas Mavericks were no longer viable playoff contenders this year, the team tanked games.  The team set out to play the games in such a way as to maximize the possibility that they would lose instead of win those games.  Let me be clear:

  1. The Mavs did not tell players to give the games away or to play to less than their full effort.
  2. The Mavs did play certain players in various situations that were disadvantageous to the team if the objective had been to – you know – actually win those games.

Mark Cuban did not dance around this or try to obfuscate it with codewords and clichés’; he made it clear that is what the Dallas Mavericks did; and by offering the details that he did, it is clear that he knew about it and – at the very minimum – had no problem with that “strategy”.

Let me say this as clearly as I can so that the possibility for misunderstanding or misinterpretation is minimal:

  • Until and unless Adam Silver and the folks nominally in charge of the NBA come down on Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks like the rain in a typhoon, I do not EVER want to hear any self-righteous breast-beatings from the league about “the integrity of the game(s)”.
  • One of the teams – obviously with the knowledge and the assent of the owner – spent a portion of the 2016/17 NBA season trying to lose games to get more ping-pong balls in the lottery hopper.

I have no idea what Mark Cuban’s net worth might be and I do not care enough to look up the Forbes estimate.  Here is what I do care about; there is no fine that the league might even hope to enforce on him that would matter even a smidgen.  The penalty here must be something much more than that – like no first round draft picks for the next two or three years.

The NBA regular season is comprised of 1230 games.  We have evidence now that the top teams do not care about these games even to the point where they will cede playoff seeding in order to “rest” players because “the science” says they will play better rested than unrested.  We have known for more than 3 decades that teams will tank to get better draft picks; that is the whole reason behind the stupid draft lottery.  Now we know that teams other than the Sixers and their “process” are routinely tanking games.  So, Mr. Commissioner here is my direct question to you:

  • If teams in your league – good ones and bad ones – do not give a damn about the outcomes of regular season games, why the Hell should I?
  • Perhaps there are 25 games in the regular season I should continue to pay attention to because of matchups and/or storylines.  Mr. Commish, that is only 2% of your regular season inventory!

The other “Texas” story is yet another lawsuit brought against Baylor University alleging that there are videos of gang-rapes perpetrated by Baylor football players and some assertions that these were “organized events” meant to increase bonding among the players.  [For the record; I feel slimy just having typed the words in that last sentence.]

Just so there is no misunderstanding:

  1. Any and all men who participated in any activities that are even close to the description above should spend a LONG time in the Crossbars Hilton.  By LONG time, I am thinking in terms of 25 years or more such that they have NO opportunity to make a dime as a professional football player.
  2. If there is sufficient evidence to show that any coach knew about these activities and either “endorsed them” or “acted to conceal them”, then that coach should spend even longer in jail than the rapists.
  3. If there is sufficient evidence to show that any school administrator was knowledgeable and acted to cover any of this up, he should be boiled in oil.  [Sorry for going Medieval here…]

Now if you have been following these rants for the past several years or so, you should expect me to go off and dump a load of “equine fertilizer” on the NCAA.  Let me surprise you; I think the NCAA is in the right place on this one for the moment.

When the Penn State scandal broke, the NCAA got waaay out over its skis and jumped into a criminal matter – not an NCAA matter – well before the criminal matter had reached any resolution.  In this situation – as horrid as it would be if all the allegations are proven to be true -, I am not sure there have been any NCAA rules violations.  One of these days, the NCAA will punish Ole Miss for handing out cash to players who went to Ole Miss to play football; one of these days, the NCAA will find the backbone to punish UNC for its academic fraud over a 10-15-year period.  However, the heinous acts perpetrated (allegedly) by the Baylor football players did not violate any NCAA rules and so it is completely appropriate for the pooh-bahs in Indianapolis to keep their mouths shut and to ignore all of this until the justice system has had its turn in the barrel.

Finally, since I have been talking about “Texas” stuff today, here is a comment from Brad Dickson in the Omaha World-Herald about something that happened at Spring Practice for the University of Texas football team:

“Pro wrestler The Undertaker gave a motivational speech to the Texas Longhorns football team. Now Texas has a new plan. One player is going to distract the referees while the other hits an opponent from behind.”

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



2 thoughts on “Deep In the Heart Of Texas …”

  1. “…behind…with a folding chair”. One has to use the right tool for the job, y’know.

    On Baylor, one of the especially grotesque things about this is the fact they appointed themselves as a good extremely religious institution to be social arbiters for Texas society. Add to that the revoltingly unctuous and slime Ken Starr (another self-proclaimed arbiter of social mores during the Clinton years) presided over such a culture in his university means he was out of the loop (not his style) or complicit. At the very least Baylor is going to get lawsuits. After all, if they did nothing wrong, there is no reason to hide anything. I’ll agree about the punishment plans here, in the paraphrased words of Voltaire these might “serve as an example” to the others who turn a blind eye.

    I’ll also agree that the NCAA just might have learned a lesson from the PSU scandal, not only because a criminal inquiry does the discovery work for them. As long as it is a criminal matter the sidelines are where the mavens should stay, but once the criminal matter is concluded they should file the amicus briefs for getting the evidence to evaluate institutional control even if the records are otherwise sealed. IANAL so I do not know what timelines have to be followed but I am sure there are some.

    Tanking is always a problem in any sport. There’s a reason for FIFA World Cup qualifications and at the Cup itself that the final group games all start at the same time: it is to prevent the massaging of outcomes to get better matchups later. In the case of Dallas (and Brooklyn, and the LA Lakers) the question would be “intent” and how to prove that playing someone who is injured (say 80-90 %) or then gets injured is a better outcome for the franchise than resting them / holding them out to prevent other problems (i.e. Strasburg, Steven as a rookie although I’m not sure that worked completely; or, RG3 as a contrasting point). With few exceptions players aren’t keen on sitting (i.e. Wally Pipp) so this is a mahogany row decision. Outside of Cuban saying what he did the intent may not be fully proved, and if he’s doing it for his franchise, exactly how is harm to his franchise going to be proved? The CBA and as far as I know the owner’s agreements / bylaws do not address this with any clarity. Tanking has to be objectively defined to be enforceable, I would think. Cuban’s comments on publicity mirror PT Barnum’s.

    Speaking of more hoops, apparently some yahoos in San Antonio have filed a lawsuit seeking damages under $73,000 against the Warriors and Zaza Pachulia for denting Kawhi Leonard in Game 1. It’s about the “lost value” of the tickets and potential enjoyment of the games, etc. and was filed in Texas instead of Alameda County, CA where the alleged offenses occurred. Again, IANAL, but I would think standing, venue, and intent issues would mean this goes nowhere, but nothing surprises me where courts are involved. Leaving aside the legal defects, if this succeeds think of how much litigation would ensue over every game, or some “baseball dad” feels his “prodigy” was wronged whether by injury or a ref’s call.

    I was also amused to see “basketball dad” Ball up the ante on his kid’s sportswear line (now 3 B$, up from 1 B$), and as a bonus decide to discourage ladies from wearing it. Lonzo Ball might be the best PG since Magic or John Stockton, but really, he hasn’t done anything yet. I would be more impressed if he had led UCLA to dominate the Pac-12 last season (they were 3rd behind Arizona and Oregon), so whatever Ball pere is smoking….

    The Kap adventures could go on in the CFL. ESPN has this and I’m annoyed that I didn’t point out the possibility. Remember that is where Warren Moon bided his time, and the CFL field being larger and with more motion allowed does lend itself to more freelancing. The talent level is a step below the NFL but still respectable.

    1. rugger9:

      When I go on vacation, maybe you should write these rants for me …

      1. I am appalled at the revelations – even though they are merely allegations at this point – relative to the Baylor football program. And yes, the hypocrisy there is a bumper crop.

      2. Cuban’s admission removes any doubt about what the Mavs did – and it puts him squarely in the know about it. That is different from “resting players” or trying to prevent injuries or things of that nature. What Cuban admitted to is that the games were not nearly as pure as the NBA would have us all want to believe.

      3. Regarding the lawsuit against Pachulia, I sure hop the attorney representing the plaintiffs did not take the case on a contingency fee basis. Like you, I am not a lawyer but this suit is awfully silly to me. Good thing I cannot be selected to be on the jury …

      4. Lavar Ball is a publicity hound who will do or say anything to be in the public eye. It may be time to send him to Coventry …

      5. Kapernick, RG3, and Vince Young could all play in the CFL – – theoretically. Warren Moon and Doug Flutie parlayed time in the CFL into NFL success at the QB position.

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