Occasionally, I point out the intersection between sports and politics. Here is an example of where those worlds diverge:
- Politics: Someone proposes a Green New Deal and that leads to bickering and rhetorical jousting.
- Sports: The Golden State Warriors propose a Green new deal and that leads to Draymond signing a 4-year contract extension for $100M.
Sports is just a lot more fun than politics …
Last week, an event at a nexus of sports and the law happened in Louisiana. Of course, you recall that last year, the Rams beat the Saints in the NFL Playoffs and that was the game with the horrendous missed pass interference call in the final minute of the game. That missed call was so atrocious that it led to a rule change regarding challenges for pass interference that the NFL put in place for 2019. That missed call also led to several lawsuits in Federal court seeking to force the NFL to restart the game at the point of the missed call. All those suits were summarily dismissed, and it seemed as if there was a lid on this matter.
Not so… A Louisiana resident filed a suit in state court alleging fraud by the NFL officials; and last week, a state judge dismissed an NFL motion to dismiss the case and allowed the plaintiff to proceed to the point of taking depositions – including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The plaintiff has stated that he will donate any damages that he receives from the lawsuit to charity; he says he does not intend to enrich himself through this suit. He says the only objectives here are to reveal the truth and to expose the fraud.
Much as I would love to see Roger Goodell deposed, let me try to resolve this matter for the plaintiff:
- The truth is that the two officials on that side of the field on that play missed one of the most obvious penalty calls in football history. They blew it. We know they blew it and they know they blew it. Saints’ fans suffered from that botched call; Rams’ fans benefited from that botched call. It was human error and not something that was pre-ordained.
There is one other “optic” that arises from this lawsuit and its continued existence:
- I have never lived in Louisiana and I have no familiarity with the state laws that apply there. However, I can say from my position of ignorance that it would not surprise me if judges in Louisiana were elected as opposed to being appointed.
Moving on … If you are an Eagles’ fan and you are inclined to see things happening in accordance with some pre-ordained cosmic plan, consider this:
- In 2017, Carson Wentz was injured in an Eagles/Rams game on Dec 10 and missed the rest of the season.
- In 2019, Carson Wentz was injured in an Eagles/Cowboys game on Dec 9 and missed the rest of the season.
- In 2019, the Giants will visit Philly on Dec 9. If you believe that bad things happen in threes…
Conventional wisdom tells us that teams in the “big markets” provide players with such greater opportunity to earn money in addition to their lucrative sports contracts that most of the best players will gravitate to those “big market teams” and leave sports leagues with huge imbalances in competition. And indeed, in MLB with no salary cap to keep teams in those “big markets” from luring players with big salaries and in the NBA where the salary cap has more holes in it than a lace doily, there is competitive imbalance. As always, there is the counterexample to consider. That would be New York City – the largest city in the US and the biggest of the big markets.
There are six NYC teams in the “Big 3” of US sports and 4 of the 6 teams in NYC are clearly sub-standard now and some have been for a while now:
- NY Mets: The generally accepted view is that Mets’ ownership cannot or will not spend the money that it takes to be competitive on a recurring basis in MLB. The small market teams cry poor while the Mets’ act poor.
- NY Giants: The wheels came off this wagon when they decided to oust Tom Coughlin and replaced him with Ben McAdoo after the 2015 season. At the moment, the Giants simply stink.
- NY Jets: This team has floundered for a couple of decades; the last Jets coach to have a winning record there was Al Groh who coached the team for 1 year in 2000. Since then, the Jets are 132-156 and there has been no shortage of drama enveloping the team during that time.
- NY Knickerbockers: The list of malfeasances, misfeasances and non-feasances perpetrated by owner James Dolan and the executives that he has hired over the past 20 years is as long as the river Nile.
Or, maybe, there is some sort of pre-ordained fraud that has been – and continues to be – perpetrated on the fans of NYC teams…? Whom might we depose to get to the truth there?
Finally, since we are in August and that is the time of year when many folks take a vacation and find their way to a place on the water, let me provide a definition from The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm:
“Beach: A place where the majestic ocean and its miles of luxurious sand are transformed into a petri dish of potential staph infections by an unruly mob of overstressed people trying to get their folding chairs and beach umbrellas to stay put, many of whom did not get the memo about how having a prodigious pot belly and wearing a Speedo simply do not mix.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………