I want to pick up today where I left off last Friday. The NFL announced that it would not be conducting an investigation of its own into the allegations of sexual harassment and a “toxic culture” in the Washington team ‘s front office. The NFL said that it would rely on the investigation done by Wilkinson Walsh – the outside law firm hired by the team and Danny Boy – to conduct a thorough review of what happened. That seems more than a bit out of character for the NFL:
- When someone alleged that the Patriots had deflated footballs, the league did not rely on an investigation done by the Patriots.
- During the days of “Bountygate”, the league did not rely on an investigation done by the Saints.
- Often when players have “interactions” with the law, the league reviews what law enforcement comes up with and then does an investigation of its own in addition.
So, why is this situation different? In addition to the “optic” that Wilkinson Walsh was retained by the team and Danny Boy and not the NFL, there will necessarily be some skepticism about the thoroughness of the report unless several situations obtain:
- Ms. Wilkinson must be able to speak with the 14 women who chose not to speak with the Washington Post reporters for the story that set all this in motion. Those women feared being sued by the team/Danny Boy if they spoke up because they had signed non-disclosure agreements. So, the situation here is pretty simple; if this report is to be “thorough”, then the team and Danny Boy have to release those women from those non-disclosure agreements for the purposes of this investigation or the words “bogus” and “sham” will never go away.
- Ms. Wilkinson must be able to speak to the two people who were fired by the team days before this story broke and to Larry Michael who “retired” the day before the report hit the streets. Absent that information, the only way to portray the investigation as “thorough” would be to attribute mind-reading skills to Ms. Wilkinson.
- Since the allegations made in the Post report go back as far as 2006, what information might be gleaned from “folks in charge” back then who are no longer with the team – to include Vinnie Cerrato, Bruce Allen and all the head coaches the team has had since then?
Since there are such obvious criteria for the “thoroughness” of this investigation and its subsequent report of findings, I am surprised that the NFL would declare that it would take the team report as the basis for any action by the league. If one “follows the money” in this case, the money flows from the team to Wilkinson Walsh and not from the NFL to Wilkinson Walsh.
Last week, I also wrote about Jason Whitlock and his new “home” at Outkick.com. Here is a link to his column on the revelations in the Washington Post article. I do not agree with everything here, but it is an interesting and different view of the situation.
I am a regular reader of The Guardian online although usually not for sports or much of anything that I would comment on here. Last week, however, The Guardian published a report with the following headline and sub-headline:
- Competitive hotdog eaters nearing limit of human performance
- A maximum of 84 hotdogs in 10 minutes is possible, says sports science study
Here is the link to that report in The Guardian. On July 4th, Joey Chestnut set the world record for eating hot-dogs at 75 franks in 10 minutes. If the study reported here is correct, Joey Chestnut is performing at 90% of the human limitation for scarfing down hot dogs in 10 minutes.
I had to check out this report to try to understand the sports science involved. I expected to find a treatise on muscular strength in the jaw along with the size of the human pharynx and the expansion coefficient of the human stomach analyzed considering the frictional forces between hot dogs and the esophagus. There was no such thing…
The conclusion here is based on a mathematical model of human sports performance(s) over history. According to the author of the study, James Smoliga, sports performance varies with time in a sigmoidal curve. Fitting that sort of curve to the records in the July 4th hot dog eating contests over the past 39 years yields a theoretical upper limit of 84 hot dogs in 10 minutes. The final paragraph of the story in The Guardian put this annual celebration of gluttony into a biological perspective:
“According to the research, published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, the achievements of human speed eaters are impressive even by comparison with other species. ‘Humans are able to eat faster than bears or coyotes,’ said Smoliga. Wolves, which devour prey at incredible speed, could outdo even elite human eaters, however.”
Finally, here are two comments from around the country pertinent to the annual hot dog eating contest:
“Whenever I eat 75 hot dogs in 10 minutes, I always insist on a private location.” [Tweet from “wannabe raconteur” Brad Dickson]
“Just wondering: If Joey Chestnut doesn’t need four preseason tuneups, why does the NFL?” [Dwight Perry, Seattle Times]
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………