Tone Deafness…

One of the major stories from last week involved the cheerleaders for the Washington Skins.  According to several former cheerleaders as reported in the New York Times, there was a trip to Costa Rica in 2012 where the team invited some of its big-spending suite purchasers and other sponsors to come along as the cheerleaders were there to do a photoshoot for a calendar.  At least some of the posed shots were topless; at least one allegedly involved only body paint for clothing; the assertion is that the big-spenders and the sponsors – – all males – – were invited to look on and watch those proceedings.  Then there were social events in the evenings and the cheerleaders were asked to accompany/escort the men to those events although all agree that there was no sexual angle to any of this.

Obviously, there are counter-stories from others on this trip – – including the cheerleaders’ leader back then.  However, the official statement(s) from the team were unabashedly tone deaf – as if one could expect anything else from the folks who run that team.

  • They started out on the right foot.  Team President, Bruce Allen, said that they were doing a full investigation.  However, he could not stop there; he had to add that, “We’ve heard very different first-hand accounts that directly contradict many of the details of the May 2 article [in the New York Times.”   Even if you have heard such things, why not keep your mouth shut until you are finished with your full investigation that you said was ongoing?
  • The momentum today is clearly in favor of women speaking out about prior incidences where they were harassed – or worse – in the workplace.  How could the Skins’ communication folks not recognize that this was not the time to cast aspersions on the credibility of these team employees without an investigation?
  • For the record, Bruce Allen is the president of an NFL franchise only because he is the son of a former great coach in the NFL.  Basically, he won the sperm lottery
  • Given the “difficulties” that the NFL has had with cheerleaders for various other teams, the league needed this pimple to burst like New Orleans needs a return visit from Katrina.

I await the results of the “full investigation” that Bruce Allen asserted was ongoing.  I will be interested to see how “thorough” it is made to appear to be.  I will withhold comments until then.  However, you should read the column written by Jerry Brewer in the Washington Post last week as this story broke.  Here is the link; you should read it in its entirety.

I have said for years that the NFL Combine is the most over-hyped part of the NFL year.  I still cannot understand why anyone would watch this on TV as a bunch of players go though close-to-meaningless drills that are timed and measured.  Even worse, there are people who pay good money to sit and watch this stuff; it is less interesting than a track meet because at a track meet all the events actually involve real competition with winners and losers.

The point about over-hype was driven home to me when I read a report over the weekend saying that the NFL invited 334 players to participate in this year’s Combine.  There are 7 rounds and 32 teams, so there are only 224 picks to be made in the draft; when you throw in some compensatory picks and you wind up with 256 selections in this year’s draft.  So, even if every player taken this year had been one of the Combine invitees, there would have been 78 players on the outside looking in.  However, there were 117 Combine attendees who never “got the call” from an NFL team over the 3 days of the Draft.

That means that 35% of the guys that the league thought highly enough of to offer an invitation were of no interest to any of the teams in the league.  Even the so called “insiders” and “professionals” are not in the know on this kind of stuff.  Keep this in mind next year when you are tempted to tune in to see how high an offensive lineman can jump…

Finally, here is a comment from Bob Molinaro in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot about the TV coverage of the Kentucky Derby:

“TV Timeout:  Because it is unavoidable, NBC’s five hours of Kentucky Derby coverage will again include fawning tableaus of the horsey set’s one-percenters.  That and also stupid hats.  You know, the stuff with which the masses can easily identify.”

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