I shall begin today by sharing a text message I received from #2 son recently as his commentary on a bit of local sports news:
“The Washington football team announced today that they would be playing all of their home games to an empty stadium with no fans in it. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a statement of policy, rather just a heads up as to the situation of their team.”
It used to be that tickets to games around here were hard to come by and all the games were real sellouts – not sellouts where the team “papers the house” with free or heavily discounted tickets. Those days are way back in time; for the last decade or so, the team has been removing seats from the stadium and still you can look on game day and see that the place is not nearly at capacity. Moreover, for more than a few games in the past several seasons, fans from visiting teams have bought up tickets on the secondary markets in such numbers that they have come close to outnumbering the home team supporters. It used to be prestigious to have tickets to those games – – but no longer.
Speaking obliquely about a sporting situation that demonstrates a significant decline from the past, I noticed a comment by Tiger Woods in the aftermath of the PGA Championship where he finished tied for 37th place, 12 shots behind the tournament winner.”
“I think what I got out of this week is that I felt competitive. If I would have made a few more putts on Friday early on, and the same thing with Saturday, I felt like I would have been right there with a chance come today. It didn’t happen, but I fought hard, and today was more indicative of how I could have played on Friday and Saturday if I would have made a few putts early.”
Can you imagine the “old Tiger Woods” saying that what he took away from a major tournament was that he “felt competitive”? When I read that comment, the only thought that came to mind was, “How the mighty have fallen.”
Returning now to an item related to the Washington WTFs, there are reports that the team’s owner, Danny Boy Snyder has filed a lawsuit against an online media company for defamation. I do not know what was written/said by this company that generated the lawsuit; I have not gone looking for the material. I have read in many places that the standard for defamation of a public figure is higher than the standard for defaming Joe Flabeetz and I assume that information is correct. In that case, I would have to imagine that whatever was written/said had to be pretty outrageous because there is a significant body of commentary out there about Snyder and some of his actions and much of that commentary is less than flattering. It will be interesting to see how and if this lawsuit proceeds.
In more mainstream reporting, CBSSports.com had a report yesterday saying that the three minority owners of the team are not only trying to sell their interests in the team, but they are trying to pressure Snyder to sell the franchise itself. The report indicates that the minority owners believe they could get a significantly higher price if the entire team were up for sale instead of just their pieces of the team which would leave any new buyer to deal with Daniel Snyder. Here is a link to that report.
There are going to be lots of changes/accommodations made by NFL teams when it comes to “the stadium experience” this year. Many stadiums will be empty; others will be populated with small crowds that are “appropriately separated”. I did read one report that will be a plus in my mind.
- The NFL will not have the National Anthem sung on the field before games this season. The Anthem will be played but there will be no live vocalists on the field.
Supposedly, the impetus behind that decision is to minimize the number of people who will be on the field in a position where they might infect players, coaches and/or officials. The league is also considering limiting the numbers of people who might present the colors prior to the playing of the anthem. I have to say that I will not miss that part of the pre-game experience. Far too many of the folks invited to sing the anthem turn the performance into something almost as long as a TV mini-series – and that might have been an interesting interpretation of the song 25 years ago when it was not routine. From my perspective, this is addition by subtraction…
The time has passed for NFL players to opt-out for the 2020 season.
- The Chargers, Falcons, Rams and Steelers had zero players opt out.
- The Patriots had 8 players opt out – – the most in the league.
- Make of those numbers what you will…
And then, there are some items that write themselves. According to this report in the Toledo Blade, the athletic director at Woodward High School in the Toledo area stands accused of “improperly touching students” and will be tried on charges related to those alleged actions later this month. According to the police, the defendant is accused of:
“… hugging a female student and tapping her on the buttocks. He is also accused of sliding his hand down low on students’ backs while hugging them, and of becoming visibly aroused.”
The name of the athletic director, who is on unpaid administrative leave pending the outcome of his trial, is Richard Hug. You cannot make that up…
Finally, here is an observation by Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:
“Michael Jordan, after becoming president of the Wizards, traded Laron Profit in retaliation for Profit trash-talking Jordan in practice during their days as Washington teammates.
“In a related story, rumor has it that Jordan’s TV set still has rabbit ears.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………