Tag Archives: NFL

Why I Write

I’ve written more than 100 blogs since acquiring my lifewithtruthandcommonsense.com blog site two and a half years ago. That’s well over 100,000 words I’ve put from pen to paper – then paper to laptop – typing one letter at a time – with only one finger…my right index finger to be exact. I’ve written on many subjects including the two no no’s: politics and religion. I’ve been an open book in regards to my thoughts on controversial issues, hot topics, and life in general. It hasn’t always been that easy either.

Someone once said, “writing is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.” I watched an interview last year with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Don Henley, and he was discussing the art of writing with Charlie Rose, the show’s host. The famed musician and Eagles co-founder said, in essence, that having an epiphany or a great idea is easy, but translating them into written form is difficult. I can attest to that. Everything I’ve posted on my blog site has been a challenging labor of love. So then…why do I write?

I mainly write to prevent my head from exploding. I have difficulty ridding my mind of my multiple thoughts until they’re written down. I just can’t seem to completely move forward with my life knowing I’ve left some unwritten thoughts behind. I feel as though I’m incapable of retaining any new material unless I let some of the old stuff go. I guess I’m one of those who needs closure. I’ve heard that humans use only about 10% of their brains, so I’m sure there’s plenty more space available in my noggin, but I’m not willing to take a chance.

I also write to leave behind evidence that I once existed (in case anyone in the future is interested). I certainly wish I knew more about my heritage…more about my great grandparents…more about my grandparents…and even more about my still living parents. Some people are just more aloof than others and unwilling to share much of themselves, even with their family, and that’s okay. However, I don’t mind at all if people want to get to know the core of my being. In fact, I prefer my relatives know who I was and what I was about. I at least want future generations to have the option of knowing.

I write to remember, reflect, and reminisce about the good old days. So many memories are precious, and sometimes that’s all we’ve got. I put pen to paper because I enjoy the process. There’s nothing like penning my thoughts at 4:45am while sipping on a Starbucks coffee. To me, writing is akin to taking a seedling of a thought or an idea and nurturing it until it blossoms into a bouquet of words worth reading. I write because of the satisfaction I get when seeing the end result of my toil emanating from the computer screen.

I also write so my voice can be heard (even if I’m the only one listening). In case you’re unaware, I tend to have an opinion about everything. I read the Sunday newspaper and watch the local newscasts, and I’ve noticed journalists and reporters alike (whether intentionally or not) usually miss the real story. I write what I think, no holds barred, and what I think others really need to hear. I write because of my desire to be part of the discussion.

I write publically to examine, to explore, and to even sometimes entertain someone’s unorthodox behavior that has already been made public. For example, by now everyone and their mother knows about Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the playing of our National Anthem. The reason given by the San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback, for his defiance, was that he wanted to call attention to what he perceives as failed race relations in this country. The disgruntled Kaepernick said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” I expect more patriotism and less oppression drivel from a biracial (raised by White parents) millionaire football player.

The primary discussion seems to be whether or not the mediocre quarterback has the right to turn his back on the American flag (and this nation). Unfortunately, he does. In this country – the land of the free – a person even has the right, if so inclined, to set fire to the Stars and Stripes for crying out loud. I think an American athlete not standing with his teammates (and everyone else in the stadium) while “The Star-Spangled Banner” is being played is like not brushing your teeth before going to the dentist: It might not be the law, but it’s certainly expected.

The National Football League’s response to this matter was to immediately issue a statement which said, “Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the National Anthem.” I highly recommend the NFL adjust its laissez-faire attitude concerning the time-honored pregame ritual. The League OWNS its players. That may sound a bit harsh, but it’s absolutely true. Every NFL player must conform to a strictly imposed way of life, both on and off the field, or risk being fined, suspended, or even terminated from the League.

Players are not allowed to promote any charities (unless sanctioned by the League) while inside a National Football League stadium. They cannot alter their uniforms in any fashion whatsoever, and their conduct is heavily monitored throughout the entire game. The players don’t even have a say as to what brand of cleats are attached to their feet. Therefore, I would think adopting a new, more respectful policy, regarding what’s acceptable during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” isn’t too much to ask of the mighty NFL.

And there you have it. My mind has been cleared of the whole Colin Kaepernick situation. I now have some space in my noggin for another seedling of a thought.


A Dream Come True

I was beginning to think it was never going to happen for me. The desire I held for one day obtaining my dream job had been in place for several years, but it wasn’t until more recently when my yearning morphed into a full-fledged craving. I did not need a college education or any special schooling. I did not have to fill out an application, send out a résumé, or take part in a grueling interview. I did not have to struggle, scrimp, or save either. In fact, I practically had given up hope when the offer seemingly came out of nowhere. Sometimes it simply is a matter of who you know in order to get ahead in this world. Out of the blue my one and only son called and asked me if I would be interested in owning a football team, and it wouldn’t cost me one red cent. I accepted his offer, after the initial shock wore off, and am now the proud Owner of Mac’s Motley Crue of the NFL Fantasy Football League.

It may not be the most opportune time to be associated with the National Football League, but I knew I was definitely up for the challenge. The first step as a new owner would be to assemble a competitive team which would occur all over the world on “draft day.” The draft is conducted through a website, so the team owners do not have to be in the same room, or even the same state, during the drafting process. That was indeed the case with my particular league’s “drafting party.” I have heard of men (and I suppose women) having spectacular parties on “draft day” and treating their extravaganzas as though they were a once in a lifetime event. I would compare those “drafting parties” to when normal folks wear fancy hats during the Kentucky Derby, get all dolled up for the Oscar Awards’ ceremony, or feast on tea and crumpets during a Royal Wedding. I was with my son on “draft day,” but I have no idea where the other four owners in our league were or even who they are.

I do know all of the team names in our modest league. They are the aforementioned Mac’s Motley Crue, Big Macs (my son’s team), the Arizona Ruff Riders, R3D B1RD PR1DE, 12th Man Frenzy, and Show me ur Tds (isn’t that one cute?). Think about it. My son gave me an overview of how fantasy football works and offered me a few tips. I’m sure he didn’t want me to embarrass him, but I’m pretty sure we all know that ship has already sailed. Every team in our fantasy league consists of a starting quarterback, 2 running backs, 2 wide receivers, a tight end, a kicker, a defense, and a flex position. The flex position is determined by the owner by inserting either an additional running back or a wide receiver into the starting lineup each week. Every team is also allowed to have a few backup players at their disposal. An owner can then determine to use a substitute when a starting player has been struggling, or they may wisely decide to add them to the lineup whenever a starter has a bye week. The objective is to accumulate as many points as possible each week, with your starting lineup, and to beat whichever team from your league you happen to be playing against.

It was about an hour before the draft, and I could not believe how nervous I was when realizing the impending ordeal was like a good first impression: you only get one chance. I started second guessing myself and the limited research I had done on all of the key positions and available players. I also began wondering if playing the part of an NFL Owner was beyond my realm of expertise. My son joined me in the “draft room” (my living room) acting as though the approaching event was no big deal. He then began laughing at my obvious apprehension and looming doubt of the situation. I asked the young but veteran owner a few questions about the draft, and he did a fine job of explaining how he thought the drafting process would work even though he wasn’t positive because he had participated in numerous fantasy leagues in the past, and they weren’t all alike. The lack of any specifics at that point only added to my discomfort. I continued interrogating my son with every question I could think of, so I would be as prepared as any rookie owner possibly could be, and he continued laughing at me.

It was now less than 5 minutes away from my first draft ever and from me making some of the most important decisions of my life. Do I draft a running back with my first pick, as suggested by my son, or do I go with my gut instincts and choose a quarterback? As a new NFL Owner I had already decided I would not be at all concerned if my team included domestic abusers, drunk drivers, drug users, rapists, or even murderers as long as my players were able to earn me some points. Calm down people. I am just the Owner of an NFL Fantasy Team. We turned on our computers, and I fumbled around for a piece of paper I had hurriedly jotted down a list of my preferred players on (that resembled chicken scratch) a day earlier. My son then yanked out two pages of notes from somewhere, neatly typed and organized, and applied his game face. We apparently were no longer father and son. We were NFL Owners thinking only of ourselves and aspiring to acquire the best possible team in the League.

With sweaty palms and my mind racing the highly anticipated draft finally began. I was given the 5th and 8th overall picks in the draft (by the luck of the draw) to begin with. My son had previously informed me he thought each owner would be allocated 3 minutes to make their selection or else they would lose their turn for that round. The whole drafting process really didn’t seem too difficult. That is until almost immediately I noticed Mac’s Motley Crue had appeared on my computer screen, and the large clock in the corner was counting down. The four owners choosing ahead of me evidently were seasoned veterans since each of them only needed about 5 seconds to complete their first transaction. Making matters much worse was discerning I had 2 minutes, instead of the assumed 3 minutes, for making my all-important initial pick. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw my desired first choice, Quarterback Peyton Manning, still available. With the touch of a finger I now owned him.

The next thing I knew I was “on the board” again, and I could hardly believe my second choice, Wide Receiver Dez Bryant, had not yet been chosen as well. With another touch of a finger I now owned him too. My son advised me, before the draft, he had learned over the years that drafting the best running backs in the NFL was the key to having a successful fantasy team. I had said to myself, “whatever,” because everybody knows the quarterback is the leader of the team and the most important position. Besides, the League is laden with running backs, so I was content in drafting them after the QB and WR positions I had identified as being much more important. Ultimately when the time did come, for me to enlist a couple of running backs, I must admit the players left were pretty slim pickings. However, I certainly couldn’t complain about my team’s roster after landing arguably the best quarterback and wide receiver in the NFL.

Being an NFL Owner and selecting players for Mac’s Motley Crue on “draft day” was both exhilarating and exhausting. As I was admiring my finalized starting line-up on the computer screen and comparing it to the sheet of chicken scratch, I was barely even able to glance at during the draft, I became alarmed and nearly freaked out after noticing I had forgotten to draft a kicker for my team. I guess the lowly kicker receives about as much respect in the fantasy league as he does in real life. My son assured me, between his intermittent chuckling, I could rectify the near catastrophe before my first game. I merely had to submit a request, to the Fantasy Football gods (whoever they are), for dropping one of my players from the squad and adding one of the remaining undrafted kickers in his place. The gods granted me permission the very next day, so I was back in business.

My inaugural season as the Owner of Mac’s Motley Crue in the NFL Fantasy Football League is only a quarter of the way finished, and apparently I am just an average owner (my current record is 2-2). I’m still reeling from this past weekend’s loss to my son. The League’s leader, and only undefeated team, humiliated me by accumulating a whopping 162.32 points to my dismal score of 78.18 points. Ouch! I am painfully now aware that father does not always know best, and my dream job as an NFL Owner is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Consistent Consistency

Consistent consistency, among other things, is what I long for but many times seems out of reach in today’s society. My wife enjoys a breakfast sandwich from McDonald’s every now and then, but she doesn’t care much for the hash brown that comes with the meal deal offered on the breakfast menu. Therefore, my loveliness attempts to be at the establishment precisely at 10:30am, during the switch from breakfast to lunch, in hopes of getting french-fries with her meal instead of the dreaded hash brown. Some McDonald’s shift managers will allow her to do this, but others say it is against company policy and will not. That is not an example of consistent consistency.

Inconsistency is commonly found in the world of politics as well. It’s confusing to me when a certain political party is so adamant that their president is not responsible when gas prices are high, under their party’s leadership, claiming our nation’s Commander In Chief doesn’t have any control over the situation. That claim is probably correct. However, those same individuals will gladly blame the president for high gas prices if our nation’s leader happens to be from a different political affiliation than their own. They cannot have it both ways, yet time and time again they use that baseless argument to their party’s advantage come election time.

I can’t help but think of the most recent inconsistent fiasco, that is the National Football League, when pondering consistent consistency or the lack thereof. The Carolina Panthers’ defensive end, Greg Hardy, was convicted in July for assaulting a female and threatening to kill her. There is no video, that I am aware of, but it was an assault nonetheless. Mr. Hardy has filed an appeal and is awaiting trial but continues to suit up, on game day each week, meanwhile Ray Rice is out of a job. Breaking news! Since I began writing this blog…The Panthers’ organization has discharged Greg Hardy from the team’s active roster. He will not be allowed to practice until his domestic violence case is resolved; however, he will continue to receive his weekly salary.

San Francisco 49ers’ defensive end, Ray McDonald, was recently arrested also on domestic violence charges. He is accused of hitting his pregnant fiancée, but the player remains a full-fledged member of the team. NBC sports analyst and former pro, Cris Collinsworth, stated the other night during a 49ers game that regardless of what one thinks about McDonald’s situation he is still a very good football player. The ex-Bengals’ wide receiver then went on to say McDonald should be allowed to continue playing, while the whole process is being played out, since he hasn’t been indicted yet. I was astonished to hear those words coming from Mr. Collinsworth, but I of course agree with his assertion. The overwhelming majority of sportscasters and the media are acting as both judge and jury, in the infinite number of abuse cases now being exposed in the NFL, and denying the accused due process. I guess their justice system denotes that people are “guilty until proven innocent.”

Another case lacking consistent consistency transpired this past week and once again came out of the NFL. The Minnesota Vikings’ hometown favorite and great running back, Adrian Petersen, was charged with felony child-abuse. He purportedly used a switch to discipline his four-year-old son. This adds a brand new twist to the viral discussion on domestic abuse, but it appears to be just as confusing to deal with. The Vikings’ organization quickly dismissed their star player, for one game, immediately after being informed of the allegation. They then brought Mr. Petersen back, for about a minute, before again releasing him from the team’s active roster pending the outcome of his scheduled October court appearance. He is currently on paid leave similar to that of Greg Hardy’s punishment. For those of you now anxiously awaiting my thoughts on corporal punishment you will be extremely disappointed to know I am not going to address that controversial topic in this blog.

I feel I can no longer go on without again mentioning everyone’s favorite subject, Ray Rice, since he deserves most of the credit for starting this entire mess. The ex-Raven has certainly provided me with some material to write about. Mr. Rice was sentenced by the NFL, for his bad behavior, and served half of his two game suspension before ultimately being suspended indefinitely by the League. The Baltimore Ravens’ organization supported Ray, until they no longer supported Ray, before eventually dismissing him from the team altogether. That scenario sort of reminds me of Hilary Clinton’s flip-flopping stance on the 2003 Iraq War. She was for the war, before she was against it, and now has recently criticized President Obama for not wanting to go back into Iraq and fight a winless war. But I digress. The NFL Player’s Association has filed an appeal on Ray Rice’s behalf, and Mr. Rice along with his wife (aka the victim) is considering taking legal action against the League citing “double jeopardy.” That term means being punished twice for the same offense, so I hope he wins. I am not an advocate of most lawsuits, but I am in favor of equal justice for all.

Seemingly lost in the continuing NFL saga were the racist remarks, conveyed via e-mail, by the National Basketball Association’s Atlanta Hawks co-owner, Bruce Levenson. The e-mail was sent two years ago, and Mr. Levenson freely admitted his ill-advised actions to the NBA back in July, but it was not made public until two weeks ago. The contents of the e-mail was arguably worse than the words spoken by former Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, just a few months ago. Mr. Levenson apologized, before stepping down, and has agreed to sell his share of ownership in the team. He had no choice! Not that he necessarily should have lost his ownership rights because of his offensive language, but he absolutely needed to step down just to be fair to Mr. Sterling. Bruce Levenson, strangely enough, was one of the most outspoken critics of Donald Sterling after Mr. Sterling’s scandal broke. What ever happened to judge not lest ye be judged?

Many of you may presume, based on my blogs, that I have a somewhat blasé attitude when it comes to racism, domestic abuse, and probably now child-abuse, but I assure you I do not. I’m simply for exhausting all evidence, circumstances, and scenarios of an investigation before sentencing someone and changing their lives forever. You may also be surprised to know I strongly believe in severe consequences for an individual’s proven unacceptable actions. I assure you that you would not want me to be the presiding judge handing down a sentence in your case if you were found guilty.

Last night Arizona Cardinals’ backup running back, Jonathan Dwyer, was arrested on you guessed it…aggravated assault charges. He is accused of head-butting his wife (breaking her nose) and then punching her in the face the very next day. The incidents happened in July. The Cardinals’ organization dismissed Mr. Dwyer from all team activities for now. Hold onto your hats folks. I think we’re just getting started separating the thugs in the NFL from the respectable players in the League. The National Football League has been a safe haven for abusers, drunk drivers, drug users, and numerous other criminal activities, for quite some time now, regardless of what the NFL Commissioner may claim to the contrary. It appears the NFL opened up a can of worms when they decided to publicly take an active role in denouncing domestic abuse. A good cause, no doubt, but pretty soon there won’t be enough professional players left to fill every team roster in the League.

There is probably only 1 Kurt Warner type for every 50 Ray Rice types, employed by the NFL, and that’s disheartening. Warner’s caliber of character is second to none and something the fans could always count on. The future Hall Of Famer’s gentle nature was the same before, during, and now after his time on the football field, and he is a fine example of consistent consistency. That is exactly what I am longing for whether it’s discipline in the NFL, a politician’s stance, or even the McDonald’s french-fry policy. Consistent consistency.

Michael Sam

My previous blog was so much fun, so why don’t we dive right in and discuss homosexuality once more. Former University of Missouri athlete, Michael Sam, recently announced to the world that he is a homosexual. Supposedly, the highly touted football player told his teammates a year prior about his sexual preference, and there also have been reports that he and his ex-boyfriend used to walk around campus hand in hand. Mr. Sam said he decided to make his declaration at this time because he was concerned that the information would be leaked out before this year’s National Football League draft. I guess he didn’t think his Mizzou teammates, or the whole state of Missouri for that matter, could keep his “secret” any longer.

When an announcement like this is made there’s typically an argument about whether a person should be applauded for “coming out of the closet” or if their sexuality should be kept private. Some even say a person like Michael Sam, conceivably the future’s first openly gay NFL player, is a brave pioneer while others contend trailblazing can only damage a person’s career. I think the intriguing question actually is in regards to the locker room arrangement – more specifically the shower situation. Should straight players be forced into full exposure with Mr. Sam when knowing they are his sexual preference? There probably already are gay men earning a paycheck in the NFL, but unless that information is made public one would most-likely presume otherwise, and men showering together in a team environment would be a non-issue. I believe Michael Sam has forever changed that.

The truth as I know it is there’s no difference between gay and straight men sharing a locker room to that of straight men sharing a facility with straight women. Although the previous statement may sound a bit strange at first the fact is there would be unnecessary sexual tension created in both of those situations. In the same manner, should all the girls around the country who choose to play football or wrestle with the guys in high school and college athletics be forced, or simply even allowed, to shower with their male counterparts? Of course not. However, some might contend there is a difference between adults and underage high school students, but I would say age is not the issue. If one decides to make their sexual orientation public then that is the precise moment when many things change, including the locker room situation, not only for the individual but for everyone associated with that person. The segregation of all sexual identities, in the locker room, seems to be the only common sense solution. Maybe sometimes it’s just better to remain silent.