Chris Kluwe is the former punter of the Minnesota Vikings. During his tenure with the team, from 2005 to 2012, Kluwe holds a number of records for the organization. Later in that tenure, Kluwe became quite vocal about supporting gay marriage – and in awesome fashion. Kluwe wrote an open letter on Deadspin where he told a state delegate from Maryland that married gay people “won’t magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster.” Unfortunately, his efforts got him release (fired) from the team.
Kluwe reveals in an open letter that he believes he was released from the Vikings for having an open and opinionated view of gay marriage, poking fun at state senators in the process. The Vikings on the other hand claim he was release because of his lack of performance compared to other punters. Kluwe goes on and claims his supervisors were either bigots (for hating on gay lifestyles) or cowards (for not having stuck up for him). I’ll wholeheartedly agree with him on the bigot statement; he claims his special teams coach Mike Priefer at one point during the 2012 season said, “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.” But I’m not so sure I can agree with him on the coward statement.
Kluwe works in a high profile type industry, where PR rules the land. The NFL has an “image” of itself that it will protect as best it can, and Kluwe’s opinions and methods for demonstrating those opinions strayed from this image. From the NFL’s perspective, I don’t believe it is a story about whether gay people have the right to marry one another; it’s about not talking about politically controversial things that stray from the game itself. Hell, the NFL does not even like talking about the game itself in some aspects, like the correlation between playing in the NFL and permanent brain injuries. Yet Chris Kluwe acts surprised that he was released, and never picked back up by another NFL team?
Kluwe may think he was blacklisted by the Minnesota Vikings, but I actually doubt that he was. Kluwe blacklisted himself for speaking out and compromising the NFL image. And the people Kluwe labeled as “cowards” were possibly looking out for him, but mostly looking out for themselves. His supervisors are just as (if not more) responsible for keeping the image of the NFL. It’s not a moral responsibility, rather, it is what the coaches are paid to do. It may be a sad reality, but that is the reality of business in America.
First and foremost lets get this out of the way; Alex Rodriguez is kind of a douchebag. Any by “kind of”, I really mean “is a huge”. But this aside, the man is getting a lousy deal.
Much like the NFL head office, the MPAA, and even our federal government, Major League Baseball is full of shit. For the uninformed, Alex Rodriguez has been suspended for 211 games for violating the leagues drug policy. Rodriguez was named, along with other players earlier this year, in attending a clinic in Florida known for giving professional athletes performance enhancing drugs. Among the other players was once American League MVP Ryan Braun, who besides Rodriguez, got the most severe penalty of 65 games. The typical punishment for first time performance enhancing drug offenders is 50 games, however Braun was subjected to a higher punishment because, well, he was a douche about the whole thing.
So then, why is Alex Rodriguez being given such a huge punishment, for basically being the same level of douche as Ryan Braun? Well just like everything else in the world, it’s purely financial. The New York Yankees were stupid enough to offer Rodriguez an unprecedented contract back in 2007 for almost $30 million a year. Since the signing of that contract, Rodriguez has mostly played like complete shit (which is partially why he is a a douche, see Figure 1 below). The Yankees will just about do everything in their power at this point to keep Rodriguez off the field to stop paying him. Rodriguez being injured was working out great for the team, because it’s well known professional athlete’s pay is covered by insurance when they are unable to play. However once he was better, the league conveniently handed down the sever punishment of 211 games, which would have been the remainder of the 2013 season and the following 2014 season. Rodriguez has appealed the punishment (the only player caught in the most recent scandal to do so), which is finally being ruled on now. Rodriguez reportedly stormed out of the procedure today because the MLB commissioner will not be questioned, which lead Rodriguez to call the process “fucking bullshit”.
Rodriguez’s analysis of the situation is fairly accurate. The commissioner was to be questioned by Rodriguez’s council as to why Rodriguez’s punishment is so much more severe than all the other players. Instead of defending the punishment to the arbitrator hearing the case, he has chosen to not show up at all. Even more suspicious is the fact that the arbitrator is not calling for him to be present either. How can a dispute be settled when one side does not even show up?
2012’s first election results are in and who really cares? The residents of Dixville Notch in Coos County, insert adolescent giggle, close their local polls ridiculously early every presidential election to get some face time in the national media. The results for this election are split 5 for the Brown Obomber, 5 Mittens, and nil for the Step Aside Show endorsed candidate and Super Bowl Hopeful Peyton Manning. Apparently the 10 register voters Dixheadville are not fans of the Step Aside show.
Interestingly, according to the census, there are 12 residents in Dixhole’s Cortch, so apparently two residents had something better to do at midnight than vote in the national election. In 2008 Obama stole this election with 15 votes to challenger John McCain’s 6. Some pundits are noting that Obama has lost half his supporters in this small town, but that really does not matter because apparently the town lost half its registered voters in the last 4 years as well. Prior to 2008 the results, this backwoods town leaned heavily to the right. I can speculate that the Ayn Ryan loving gun crazy Dickvillians hunted down the evil liberal invaders of their sleepy town; or it is possible that the economic pressures and socialist death squads lead to the demise of the Democratic base. Either way, I really don’t care what a bunch of rednecks did last night, this election is over, so is the Super Bowl: Go Broncos!
Alright, sports philosophy is not exactly a new study per se, but the term “jockosophy” is certainly new to me. The term (as coined by sports-writer/Boston-fanboy Bill Simmons) was used to describe an email exchange between Simmons and author Malcolm Gladwell, which was published last week on Grantland.com. In the lengthy exchange, the two writers discuss things ranging from sports to technology to the Kennedy assassination, with equal parts of thought and entertainment. For those with 20 minutes to burn, I certainly recommend reading it over.
Dick Sharpe and I have been battling it out all season in an NFL pick’em league, and are actually dead tied going into the Superbowl (fucking Chargers…) So in an effort to make the whole season worthwhile, we created a series of prop bets and will determine the Champion of the Universe based off the winner of these bets. Here is our bets and picks.
Joe Paterno, head football coach of Penn State for 45 years, is finally retiring from college football “at the end of the season” (his words, not the schools.) However, it’s not exactly a cheery retirement, as it turns out a member of his staff from years ago is being charged with 40 counts of sexual child abuse on 8 boys over a 15 year period. Paterno, found out about these incidents in 2002, brought them to his supervisors at the school and left it at that. The school did what it could to cover-up the incidents, all the while Paterno seems to have ignored the issues by not bringing it to the attention of the proper authorities. Many(most) are calling for Paterno’s resignation immediately, while few others would like to see him finish the season, as his decades of service owe him that.
While I find it hard to be mad at an 84 year old man who has been incredibly important to Penn State and to the NCAA football program in general, the crime committed far outweighs a tenure of any length. I can’t think of a more disappointing exit for a man with a track record such as his. I was starting to think that college football has seen the worst of it in the last decade; with agent-to-player payments, school-to-player payments, bribery, student felonies, and so much more. Unfortunately, this brings scandal in the NCAA to a whole new level. Luckily for the league, money talks and everything will always work out in the billion dollar market it capitalizes. Its moral standing (the little it has left) on the other hand still has a lot to answer for, and remains on a shakier ground than ever.
I predict/hope he has coached his final game.
UPDATE – Not 30 minutes after I post this, it becomes official: Paterno is out.
On November 2 2011, Seattle police detained 5 protestors of the Occupy Seattle movement. The protesters were demonstrating in opposition to a visit from Jamie Dimon the CEO of JP Morgan Chase who was being honored by the University Of Washington Business School. The protestors called for the arrest of Mr. Dimon claiming that he has commited “crimes against the people.” While I am all for the protestors right to demonstrate, I must offer a counter opinion that this is simply displaced anger on the part of the demonstrators. The theory that Mr. Dimon is a greedy over-paid Wall Street Gordon-Gecko like villain is not entirely warranted. One of the reasons that Mr. Dimon and other Wall Street Executives are villainized is that they are part of the wealthy elite, the upper 1% of income earners. The economic reason that Wall Street Executives are paid so much is that they are extremely productive people. JP Morgan Chase is a large and complicated organization the is involved in some of the most complex finical interactions the world has ever known, and there are an elite group of people that are capable of successfully managing such an institution.
If the protestors are correct that Mr. Dimon is over paid then they are also suggesting that anyone can replace him and match his productivity. I find it interesting that laypeople have a tendency to hate successful executives for their wealthy and exuberance, but at the same time laude Hollywood stars and professional athletes for their talents and charity work. So let us compare the two, take Peyton Manning a successful professional quarterback who earns about 20 million dollars a year (which is give or take a few million is on par with Jamie Dimon). This season Mr. Manning suffered a injury that keeps him from performing his role as quarter back; his team the Indianapolis Colts have unsuccessfully replaced him with three other quarterbacks. It seems that like Wall Street executives, successful NFL QB’s are not easy to come by, hence their high pay. With Manning as the Quarterback the Colts had 9 consecutive seasons with 12 or more wins, this season with Manning on the sidelines the Colts have not won any of the 8 games they have played thus far. The productivity and the utility of Peyton Manning is evident in his absents, and his high pay is reflected and justified by his abilities, this means that Peyton’s pay must be judged relative to his productivity and value as an asset. This is how we should think about executives like Dimon, who are on the frontline of the American Economy and lately have been in the weeds fighting to get the US back into gear.
There is also a misunderstanding that this is a zero-sum game, suggesting that because Dimon is paid so much that all his employees are thus under-paid. Again let’s go back to Peyton Manning, by this logic then Reggie Wayne, the Colt leading receiver, would be exploited and under-paid compared to Manning, but Wayne a receiver would not be as productive without Manning throwing the ball to him, case in point this current season is his statistical worst in 10 years. The arguement againts the zero-sum game image is the economic clique that a rising tide will raise all ships. If Dimon does well and is productive then all his employees will benefits as well as those industries and business that work and have accounts with JP Morgan Chase. The Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Seattle crowed tend to portray this as a zero-sum game where people like Dimon and Manning are winning big and everyone else is losing but this is not a factual accurate depiction. Such as when the Colts did well under Manning, attendance in the stadium improved, thus the local businesses around the stadium (such as bars and restaurants) benefited from this, sales of merchandise (Manning jerseys and hats) improved, as well as the boost the City receives from their Super bowl victory.
In sports, this all happens in the public space, but in the business world the benefits of Jamie Dimon’s work happens in the complex unseen, but much talked about, economy. Case in point, when Peyton Manning became injured and unable to play no protestors called for him to be arrested because now the economy surrounding the Colts stadium and merchandise sales will suffer. Give the guy a break and let him get back to work, we need him just like to Colts need Manning.
For those of you that thought that scantily clad women were doomed to sell coffee and dance on your laps for twenty dollars song, think again. Finial Hot women everywhere have an new outlet for their talents, tits, frustration, and firm-asses. The Lingerie Football League may sound like a premise that was thought up and rightfully should have died in cloudy dive-bar full of sceezy old men. “Hey, Billy, would it be great if women played football in their underwear?”. Lucky for you and me that dream is today a reality. At first the league started off with four teams a few years ago and has now grown to include twelve teams, an MTV2 sponsor with live coverage and a formidable fan base. Some my scoff at the quality of the athletes but in an interview the coach of the Seattle Mist claims that his Women are real players who hit and run hard. Further evidence suggest that the lingerie-clad ladies take the sport seriously, when 22 women resigned from the Toronto based team over a dispute involving player cuts.
Not only did our government waste precious taxpayer dollars and time looking into performance enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball problem, they can’t even land a conviction. I love baseball, it’s by far my favorite major league sport in the United States. However, the fact the Congress wasted so much money and time investigating it makes me sick. The amount of issues our elected officials could be focusing on and the issues they actually do vary so greatly, it’s truly amazing that anything worthwhile comes out of our democratic republic.