Category Archives: SPORTS

Thoughts on ‘The Paterno Report’

We are all familiar with the pedophile’s playground that was Penn State. We gazed on in horror and disgust at the structural and institutional abuse that was allowed to go on. We downloaded the Freeh Report, an independent review that looked into the abuse of Jerry Sandusky, and read in shock as the details unfolded on how this was permitted to continue for so long. The report was the basis and rationale for the NCAA dropping an incredibly harsh penalty that was designed to severely punish the football program for creating a culture that, at a bare minimum, allowed this to occur and not be reported.

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In the roughly seven months since the release of the Freeh report, Penn State and the rest of us have been able to succeed on closing this chapter and begin healing some of the wounds. I will not speak to the damage done to the victims, because that is their own and no one can begin to understand what this all means to them. The Nittany Lions had a great football season (by B1G standards anyway) and the university took some steps to move forward.

Today the scab over that wound was picked off by the Paterno family (I bet they ate it) with the release of their privately commissioned report, “A Rush to Injustice”. While I understand the desire to protect the image of the disgraced and deceased football coach, there really is no good that can come of it. It comes off like a child trying to rationalize their bad behavior.

leave joepa aloneThe main claims of the Paterno Family report is that the investigation was done inappropriately and that JoePa never attempted to hide any information or hamper any investigation. First, the Freeh Report was by no means perfect, but attacking it for any deficiencies is like the pot calling the kettle black; the Paterno Report suffers from the same short comings such as lack of subpoena power and access to information. Secondly, nobody gives two craps that Joe did not hide information; it is that he did not scream it out while leading the charge to serve Sandusky up to the authorities.

Finally, saying he did not hamper any investigation is like claiming he did not pet any unicorns or that he did not visit Camelot. Those things do not exist and neither did any meaningful investigation.

The self-serving report does nothing to help or heal. It is stupid and simply serves to flame the fires that had died down. What the Paterno family should have spent their time, fame and fortune on was helping victims of abuse. They should have acknowledged the mistakes and flaws of JoePa, and then taken every penny they had and supported one of the national charities that helps victims of child abuse. That is the way they could have begun the process of rebuilding the Paterno name, not this attempt at blame shifting.

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It’s NFL Black Monday 2012 – Is Your Coach Having a Bad Day?

The 2012 NFL regular season has come to an end. For those that advance to the playoffs, congratulations, you get to continue on your march towards the grand prize: The Lombardi Trophy and the legendary status of being a Super Bowl winner. However, for the others, some of you get to pack your bags because the NFL sometimes stands for Not For Long.

Today is Black Monday, the first Monday after the end of the regular season and the day where the pink slips are handed out to coaches and general managers for failing to achieve the only goal in the NFL and of Charlie Sheen: Winning. Today was especially bloody as we saw long-term coaches get canned, as well as some of the newer ones that probably did not get the chance they deserved to see the improvement through.

Regardless, let’s recap to who is looking for new jobs this winter.

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Andy Reid is probably the biggest, and yet least surprising name on the list. The Philadelphia Eagles dismissed the 14-year head coach today after a massively disappointing 4-12 season. Despite six division titles, five NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl appearance, the record that stands out is his last two years where he was 8-8 in 2011 after collecting superstars such as Jason Babin, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Dominque Rodgers- Cromartie. The defense was horrid and took even more of a hit after changing coordinators mid-season this year. He also was 1-4 in NFC Championship games and the Philly faithful won’t forget that. He knew this was coming and I’m sure he will welcome the change. It has been a rough few years as he had a myriad of family issues in Philadelphia that came to a head when his son was found dead at the Eagles training camp. He already is trying to inquire about coaching openings and building a staff so he should get right on his feet. I do think Philadelphia will miss him because his teams always makes runs at the division or the playoffs but after the last two years, it was time to move on.

black monday 2On the somewhat surprising front, Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears was also let go just as his team was eliminated after the Minnesota Vikings victory over the Green Bay Packers Sunday night. After nine years with the Bears, he made the Super Bowl once in 2006 losing to Peyton Manning’s Colts. Again, a solid coach with a good record (81-63 with the Bears) but the collapses of recent years and the offensive struggles did him in. Last year, the Bears started out 7-3 before going 1-5 the rest of the way and this year started 7-1 before going 3-5 the down the stretch and missing the playoffs again. The end of the year consistency has not been there and despite having Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, and Matt Forte the offense has ranked 2nd to last in yards per game since being hired as head coach. Something had to change, especially with the NFC North offenses being powered by Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Adrian Peterson. They needed people to keep up with the vaunted defenses he fielded during his tenure. Again, he’ll definitely find work again, if anything as a D-Coordinator because he always employs great defenses dating back to his times with Tampa Bay and St. Louis.

Cleveland Browns new head coach Romeo Crennel answers questions at a news-conference, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2005, in Berea, Ohio. Fresh from winning a third Super Bowl title as New England's defensive coordinator, Crennel was introduced Tuesday as coach of the  Browns.  (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)In Kansas City, after locking up the 1st pick yesterday after getting thrashed by Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, Romeo Crennel was let go by the Chiefs. Again, no shock, but surprisingly GM Scott Pioli remains employed and most definitely, it’s the personnel that did in the Chiefs, not just the coaching. The reverse actually happened in New York when the Jets let go of GM Mike Tannenbaum and kept coach Rex Ryan. Again, personnel depth and the Tim Tebow trade probably destroyed Tannenbaum’s chances to redeem himself for 2013.

In San Diego, Norv Turner and GM A.J. Smith finally got canned after constant disappointment in their organization. Watching Philip Rivers regress and the drafting of LT replacements go south made the decision easy for the Chargers brass. I still think A.J. Smith should’ve been fired years ago after the way he handled LaDainian Tomlinson’s exit from the Chargers, and getting rid of Drew Brees. Plus getting rid of Marty Schottenheimer after a 14-2 season was pretty stupid, especially since the reason was because they had a ‘dysfunctional relationship’.

In other news, the Cleveland Browns got rid of coach Pat Shurmur and GM Tom Heckert. New ownership took over so they just wanted their own people to take over and start fresh considering the ridicule the franchise gets nowadays. Shurmur has a great offensive mind so it will interesting where he ends up because of the job he did to help Sam Bradford (before he regressed). The Buffalo Bills also got rid of Chan Gailey after three losing seasons so that comes as no shock. With the Bills not making the playoffs since 1999, they carry the longest playoff drought in the league. The $100 million dollar signing of Mario Williams signing didn’t help the expectations as well so he had to go.

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For now, the Arizona Cardinals end the red slip list with the firing of their coach Ken Whisenhunt and GM Rod Graves. Despite making the Super Bowl in 2009, the team could not recover from the Kurt Warner retirement and have been languishing in the bottom ever since despite having Larry Fitzgerald. The GM Graves didn’t help things by trading to get Kevin Kolb and handing him a $63 million dollar contract. Also getting destroyed 58-0 by the division rival Seattle Seahawks didn’t help keep the spotlight off their ineptitude.

So that’s the list so far, I guess we’ll see if we add more names to the list. Jacksonville Jaguars, Dallas Cowboys, Carolina Panthers are probably on the clock as we speak…

WWE’s Daniel Bryan Is a Good Dude

I’m not the type of person to normally gush over feel good stories, nor do I particularly like children, but occasionally some story comes along that will make my heart swell and remind me to stop being a hate filled shrew of a man, and remember that sometimes people can be pretty damn great. Case in point, WWE Tag Team Champion Daniel Bryan visited Connor, a 7 year old boy with cancer, whose wish was for Bryan to visit him and let him put Bryan into the No-Lock submission hold. After making a YouTube video asking Daniel Bryan to visit him, people on Facebook and other social media used their powers for good to bring attention to 7 year old Connor Michalek’s wish, and sure enough Daniel Bryan visited the kid. Daniel Bryan then met him, and dutifully let Connor put him into the No-Lock, and tapped out for him. Video here.

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I like stories like this. It makes me feel good that one of my favorite wrestlers is a damned good human being as well. I can imagine myself as a kid, and if I had gotten sick there would have been nothing I would have liked more than to meet Mick Foley and give him the Mandible Claw. Seeing Daniel Bryan showing up and being there for the kid is a good reminder that not everything and everyone in the world is a jaded, pompous jerk. On top of that, how cool is that kid that what he wanted to do was not just meet him, but make Daniel Bryan tap out? That fact alone makes me wish the kid can pull through his battle with his terrible disease. Cancer is the absolute worst, and along with the bevy of treatment and care people need to overcome or manage it, a healthy attitude and positive thinking certainly helps a lot along the way. The fact that this kid got to make Daniel Bryan tap out gives me hope that he’ll make it, and fills me with so much respect for Daniel Bryan.

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The other that makes this story even better than it already is, is that Connor calls himself “Stonecrusher”, and his brother Jackson calls himself “Jack The Ripper” when they play wrestling video games. How cool is this kid that he’s already got a wrestling name and persona at 7? Hopefully he’ll overcome his disease, and he and his brother can grow up, join wrestling school, where Connor is still Stonecrusher and his brother is still Jack The Ripper, but together they’re The New Demolition.

Altogether though, what a great story, and what a great wish to make. All jokes about tag teams and wrestling aside, I really do hope Connor overcomes his cancer. Any kid that cool deserves to.

Why Manny Pacquiao Should Call it a Career

(Featured Photo Credit: Eric Jamison/AP)

I am very well aware of the words that I am typing will garner attention amongst my countrymen and family as being blasphemous and outrageous but I think we cannot ignore the signs. He is a hero in the Philippines, the fighting Congressman of the Sarangani Province. He is the cultural icon that has wonderfully represented the motherland and he is the poster boy of graciousness and humility. But as a fan and admirer of the Pac-Man, I think it’s time to face the facts that are in front of us: Manny Pacquiao should retire and begin the next phase of his life as congressman and full-time ambassador.

AP Photo Credit to Julie Jacobson

The above image is only one of the reasons why I think Manny needs to reassess his boxing career. Despite being only 33 years old, Manny Pacquiao has already fought in 61 professional bouts. He has been fighting constantly for the better part of two decades and the last few years, the results are starting to show his age. He has become more showman and entertainer than boxer. His last few fights never really challenged him like Marquez always does. Joshua Clottey was buried in his defensive shell, Mosley never bothered to engage Manny, Bradley gave up on the fight halfway through (and won despite the sheer absurdity of the result), and Margarito’s face was rearranged by Pacquiao’s swift justice. All of them were carried in their fights by Manny because he wanted to deliver a “good fight”. I think Manny had gotten obsessed with the idea of entertainment and people getting their moneys worth. He could’ve easily taken them down earlier, like the Hatton bout, but felt compelled to give a good fight for the audience and the several million viewers watching pay-per-view. With Bradley, he had shown his complacency and whether you believe the outside vices or influences had taken its toll on him, I think he became more entertainer than boxer at the moment and let up in the final few rounds. After that controversial loss, he wanted to prove to the world that he was still the great Manny Pacquiao and preached his rededication to knock the snot out of Marquez to settle the argument on who was the better fighter in their rivalry. However, all it took was the overconfidence and his idea of just flipping a switch for him to walk into the right hand of Marquez.

Don’t get me wrong, Marquez won the fight fair and square with his intelligence and new found power and strategy. He knew Pacquiao was going to try for the kill after his face collected blood and welts from the vicious lefts Manny was dealing and used that aggressiveness to his advantage to put down Manny twice Saturday evening. Marquez is a brilliant counter-puncher and deserves every bit of recognition for his game plan to win this fight. I also feel that Manny does not have that same focus required to score wins in his boxing matches. Manny’s aggressiveness is both his biggest weapon and his biggest weakness. He’ll win the first half the bout as he racks up punches but he seems to get bored and obsessed with keeping the fight going and rests on his earlier body of work than finishing the job in the end. Maybe it’s just more than fighting style at this point. Yes, you can count on punches landing and hitting but age takes its toll on a man’s speed and power and they have been lacking recently for the pound-for-pound king. While he can still dish it out with some of the best in boxing, I doubt that he can keep this up any longer because let’s face it, he has nothing really to prove at this point. He did admit to his overconfidence after the fight but that does little to quell the critics in their assessment of his eroding skills and seemingly apathetic approach in the ring. Plus, forget about the super-fight with Floyd Mayweather. Floyd has ZERO reason to fight him and probably never will. Floyd would have nothing to gain from defeating someone on the downturn of their career. Yes, three years ago it would’ve been the fight of the century but now its only mention reeks of greed, ego and missed opportunities.

We also can’t forgot about the other job he carries: Congressman of the people of his province in the Philippines. He wants to do what is best for his fellow countrymen and knowing how deep the poverty runs in the Philippines and how corruption has dominated the Philippine political system, he has made his true passion his political career. It has taken over his boxing career and it’s good that he still goes back to the well on what he does best in the boxing ring but everyone around him knows that he does not want to be just a boxer anymore. His goals as Congressman include getting free education and healthcare to his constituents and he wants back up his words. That involves taking time away from the ring training and working towards his goals as a man of the people. Everyone knows that his heart is more into his country than boxing at the moment. Maybe this is the sign he needs to pursue his new passion in life and redefine why he is the champion to his fellow Filipinos.

Photo credit: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

Manny Pacquiao has done wonders for the world of boxing and he will go down as the top pound-for-pound champion of the world. No one should deny him the glory of his legacy as he departs into the next phase of his life. Despite his recent losses, there is no reason to hang his head nor should he deliver any excuses because father time has caught up to him. I think a Manny Pacquiao that chases his dream of serving his agenda of a better Philippines will have more impact on himself and everyone that follows him than a fading sports star brimming with overconfidence and too much ego to walk away from the sport that made him who he was. Too many times we have seen boxers struggle and fail to walk away because it becomes their obsession to recapture their dominance in the past. That goes for any sports star for that matter because their biggest competition is always themselves. They fight their own physical and mental deterioration to where they just embarrass themselves because they could not let go of past glory and hang around too long. I want the Manny Pacquiao legacy to live on without any more blemishes because his heart is just not fully in it anymore and he needs to move on.

Do I want Manny to go away? Absolutely not. I enjoy watching him as a fighter and entertainer. I feel proud as a fellow Filipino to see him fight and watching him conquer the boxing world over the last decade added so much to my pride in my second home of the Philippines. However, you can tell his life has changed for a new purpose. He has rededicated himself to God and his faith and eliminated his old vices and bad habits of his life. His wife and family suffered during his career with him letting fame and his meteoric rise guide his way to bad decisions. He has moved past that and reconnected and found his new calling. When Manny Pacquiao does wave goodbye to the world of boxing, the world he has bled and gave all his energy to for the majority of his life, it will be a celebration and everyone won’t think less of him for it for walking away. When he takes off the gloves for the final time and steps into Congress and out into the streets of his province to work towards his new goal and affect change, he will know that boxing will not be the only label to his legacy. What defines him will be the love for his people and the new redefinition and evolution of his role: the true people’s champion.

An Overview of the CM Punk Panel at Wizard World

This weekend I had the honor of spending a great deal of time at the Austin, Texas stop of the Wizard World Comic Con tour. The comic con covered a wide range of media including: comic books, horror movies, pro wrestling, manga, and Star Trek. The convention also presented a slew of celebrity guests and comic artists/writers that kept the crowds coming all weekend long.

One of the guests there, and undoubtedly the one I was most excited for, was WWE champion CM Punk. Punk was at the convention on Saturday to take pictures with fans, sign autographs, and give a Q&A panel, which went 40 minutes past the allotted time because Punk was unwilling to leave before all fan questions were answered. His down to earth persona was captivating to everybody in the intimate atmosphere, and fans were able to hear one of their favorite WWE superstars respond to their personal questions. With a great sense of humor, and a great deal of patience with a couple idiotic questions, Punk covered a wide range of topics including: his input for others on getting into the wrestling business, his favorite comic books (because he is actually quite the comic fan), his feelings on Brock Lesnar, and much more.

One of the most surprising aspects of his Q&A was that he name dropped Shawn Michaels multiple times as somebody he would like to compete with in a one on one match. Fans have been beating a dead horse with begging for a Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. CM Punk match at Wrestlemania. So seeing Punk have an obviously greater interest in a match with Michaels was quite surprising.

When asked about Brock Lesnar, Punk said that he would be more than willing to have a partnership with Brock. This was another moment that I found interesting because a bit earlier in the panel Punk said he was done with groups and cliques. He stated that he feels like too much of a “control freak,” to be a part of them anymore. This most certainly left any fan in the room putting the final nail in the coffin of hope for Punk to bring back the NWO. At the same time however, I think everybody is now wondering what type of relationship Punk and Heyman will have with Lesnar once Brock returns.

When asked if Punk has past injuries that still haunt him in the ring, he openly admitted to having a few.  While answering this question, he seemingly hinted a couple different times that he may not be wrestling for much longer. This would align with a recent interview that he did where he stated that he thought that he would be done wrestling by 2015.

Outside of the WWE, CM Punk has recently been working on another project, this one in the comic book world. Punk was asked to write the intro for the Avengers vs.  X-Men hardcover, which is due out this November. As a lifelong comic book fan, this offer was a no-brainer. During his Q&A, Punk was asked to name his all-time favorite comic series, to which he quickly replied with the Garth Ennis series, Preacher. Punk also stated that if he were to watch a dream wrestling match between two superheroes that he would of course choose Superman vs. Batman.

The panel gave fans a great opportunity to hang out in a room with their favorite WWE wrestler and hit him with their own personal questions. Punk, who celebrated his birthday just the day before, was treated to everybody singing him Happy Birthday. He also passed out cupcakes to those who he deemed had asked ‘intelligent’ questions.  As a huge wrestling fan, I have to say, the experience was about as good as being at a live show.

I’m the dude down front in the Blue Tigers cap…