The Conversation No One Wants to Have


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This past Friday evening, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, said that professional football players who don’t stand during the national anthem prior to a game should be suspended or fired. He used the phrase “sons of bitches,” while referring to these athletes.

Yes, the sitting President of the free world referred to prominent American citizens as “sons of bitches” after they elected to exercise one of their constitutional rights to engage in a peaceful protest of racial injustice and oppression of minorities in the United States.

Now before I go any futher, I want to go ahead and provide a disclaimer to you who decided to click on the link and read my blog.

I am not writing this to make a political statement. I am not writing this to try and persuade you to feel a certain way or make you “pick a side.” I am writing this because the message has been lost as to why NFL players are protesting.

The President’s remarks ignited a firestorm of opinions and debates that have evolved to the point where the original message has been lost and doesn’t appear to have a chance of finding it’s way back into conversations.

There are certainly a lot of people out there in the media along with many athletes who are trying to keep the important topic afloat but it continues to get diluted and dragged down to the point where you are seeing constant headlines that include the phrase “protesting anthem.”

That is not what these athletes are doing and that is not the goal that Colin Kaepernick had a year ago when he began his peaceful protest of racial inequality in the United States. Who the hell protests a song anyways? Aside from anything Miley Cyrus puts out. You can protest that. I might even join you.

The President doubled down on his stance that these “sons of bitches” should be fired Sunday morning pleading with NFL fans to stop attending NFL games until all players are standing during the anthem. He continued this even into Tuesday morning after the Monday Night Football game between the Cowboys and Cardinals where the Cowboys organization as a whole knelt in unison prior to the national anthem and then stood during the actual performance of it.

He tweeted, “If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!”

(Imagine telling someone twenty years ago that the President of the United States would amplify a discussion about social issues via a website that allows you to publish your thoughts 140 characters at a time. I’m not sure whether they would laugh or cry.)

His statement Friday night upset everyone in the sports world. Lesean McCoy called him an asshole in a tweet. Lebron James referred to him as a bum in another tweet in defense of Stephen Curry after the President disinvited Curry and the Golden State Warriors from visiting the White House to celebrate their most recent championship even though Curry had already stated he wasn’t going.

(Remember the time you were invited to someone’s party that you really didn’t feel like going to but your best friend was close with the person hosting and convinced the host to invite you and then when the host found out you didn’t even want to be there, they just told you not to come and made your decision to not attend really easy?)

There were countless other athletes, coaches and team owners who spoke out regarding the President’s remarks via Twitter or other means. His statement challenged professional athletes courage and integrity, and quite frankly, their manhood.

Oh you want us fired for exercising our constitutional rights? Ok, now all of us are going to kneel. Go ahead and fire us.

Now everyone knew no one was getting fired and every NFL franchise and even some NBA franchises came out over the weekend and said they support their players and didn’t agree with the President’s remarks. Some statements were extremely poignant and profound, like what Gregg Popovich and Shannon Sharpe said (links at the bottom of the post). Others not so much. (Cough Cough…Roger Goodell)

But what the President said is a problem. You can’t have the leader of the FREE world saying things like that. He condemned U.S. citizens right to a peaceful protest.

Now I’d be the first person to say I would much rather have a discussion about who to start in a fantasy football match up or who’s going to be able to dethrone the Golden State Warriors in the western conference this year, but the President’s comments have injected politics into the sports world in a way that we’ve never seen before and people don’t know how to handle it.

My hope in writing this is to remind people of why the protest began in the first place. It was never meant to disrespect the flag, or the soldiers who protect our freedom, and certainly not the anthem (which if you were to Google the actual lyrics to the Star-Spangled Banner, you’d be quite surprised as to what lies in the third stanza but I’ll let you do your own research on that one).

You may think it is disrespectful to kneel during the anthem and you have every right to feel that way. You’re missing the point and I don’t understand your logic but again, who am I to judge?

But if Colin Kaepernick had originally kneeled in protest to the fact that our soldiers don’t receive the support, education and healthcare that they need when they come back from serving overseas, would you still be this upset?

You need to ask yourself, what are you mad about? Are you mad about the vehicle they are using to protest or are you mad about the reason they are protesting?

If someone goes on a hunger strike, are they protesting food?

If a group of people march through a city, are they protesting traffic?

Of course not. Don’t let the vehicle of the protest distract you from why the protest is happening in the first place.

The barrage of posts and tweets and articles and opinions that are running rampant on not only social media but on mainstream news cycles seems to have already hijacked and twisted what this protest was really about. It’s now become about unity and coming together as one at least in the NFL.

The whole “kneeling together before the anthem and then standing during the actual performance,” was a diversion created by none other than Jerry Jones to misrepresent what the protest was for.

And now since that has gone down, you’ve now put the NFL players who still want to protest and who still feel it is necessary to protest (BECAUSE IT IS) into a box where if they kneel during the anthem, they will be viewed as pariah and not being a part of this “unity,” movement the NFL has picked up and ran with.


Michael Reaves/GETTY IMAGES

The kneeling before the anthem and then standing during it is nice for the optics for the NFL however it’s not going to solve the issue of racial injustice and minorities being oppressed in our country. It’s not going to stop unarmed African-Americans from being shot in the back by police. It’s not going to stop our President from trying to prevent minorities from other countries from entering the United States in hopes of a better life.

Like I said at the beginning, I’m not trying to convince you of anything. I’m just trying to remind you of how we got here and why I felt it necessary for me to blog for the first time in probably close to two years.

The amount of ignorance and misguided opinions I have seen over the past week has been infuriating. People are completely missing the point whether it’s willfully or without even noticing that they are.

Just recently I saw a letter that Taya Kyle wrote, the widow of the late Chris Kyle — one of the greatest American heroes our country has ever seen — telling athletes that they “should get off their knees” and actually do something to affect change.

I’m sorry, but didn’t JJ Watt just raise $37 million for hurricane relief efforts? Didn’t Colin Kaepernick pledge $1 million to different organizations to try and better his and other communities around the country?

What else do these “spoiled millionaire athletes” have to do aside from perfectly align with your personal politics?

I’m guessing they need to just stay in their place and play football and stay out of political and social and economic issues, right?

Here’s one more just in case I didn’t drive the point home two paragraphs ago. Lebron James, who has been extremely outspoken about our current President and his recent comments, has donated more than $41 million to students hoping to go to college. He put 1,100 kids in college due to his charity work. That still not enough?

Should I keep going?

I don’t want to make it sound like I’m being disrespectful to Taya Kyle as I will be the first to admit that she has sacrificed way more for this country than I ever have, and without a doubt ever will, but that letter was ridiculous and beyond misguided and the perfect example of how this protest has been hijacked from its original purpose.

These athletes probably do more charity work in a year than most people may do in a lifetime, it just doesn’t get reported or acknowledged the majority of the time.

Colin Kaepernick was protesting the injustice in this country in regards to how minorities are treated and ultimately oppressed based on their skin color, beliefs, and/or religion.

While you may not agree with how he protested, he did it because he knew it was going to draw attention and create a conversation. While it has done that, it’s also being derailed by people who don’t want to have the uncomfortable conversation that has to deal with racism or who don’t want to look in the mirror and realize that they might be wrong.

Eric Reid, who was the first NFL player to join Kaepernick in kneeling during the anthem, wrote an opinion that appeared in the New York Times (link below) earlier this week.

In it he wrote, “It is paramount that we take control of the story behind our movement, which is that we seek equality for all Americans, no matter their race or gender.”

Keep in mind that Kaepernick had originally sat on the bench during the national anthem starting in preseason games prior to the 2016 NFL regular season. When Reid wanted to join him, they both met with Nate Boyer, a former green beret and NFL player and came to conclusion it would be more respectful to kneel during anthem as opposed to sitting on the bench. This demonstration was decided upon to draw attention to their desire to initiate the conversation about trying to find, “equality for all Americans.”

Equality for all Americans. That’s it. That’s what this whole damn thing is about.

It’s not about disrespecting police. It’s not about disrespecting the troops. It’s not about disrespecting the American flag. It’s about trying to find equality among Americans.

If you have seen tweets or articles or Facebook posts suggesting that what these players are doing by kneeling during the national anthem, is to disrespect the American flag or disrespect the troops, you need to remind yourself that is not the case. Colin Kaepernick expressed that exact sentiment when he first spoke publicly about his decision to kneel during the anthem:

“I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country. I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. And they fight for freedom, they fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. That’s not happening. People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody…”

What I want you to take away from reading this is that change is something humans are innately afraid of. Whether you believe that or not, we are all creatures of habit. For this to ever get better and for all of you who are pining for politics to be taken out of football, we need to change as a society and start embracing and appreciating and respecting people from all backgrounds and ethnicities and religions.

We need to find equality. We need to remember how to treat people with respect. We need to accept and initiate change within ourselves first and foremost. I applaud Colin Kaepernick for everything he has sacrificed and I can only hope that one day we can look back on this time in history and say that what he did was not done in vein.

Thank you for reading this. I hope I have at least made you stop and think for a couple seconds and I’ll do my best to try and come up with more entertaining or light-hearted blog posts in the future.



Poppovich Comments :

Shannon Sharpe Comments:

Taya Kyle Letter to NFL Players:

Eric Reid New York Times Opinion:






















Look at mahh dab!

15-1. 15 wins and one loss. If you polled Panthers fans before the season started, after Kelvin Benjamin had already torn his ACL, how many of them would have predicted a 15-win season? Five percent might be a high estimate.

Looking at the schedule before the season started, you looked at those first four games against Jacksonville, Houston, New Orleans and Tampa Bay and said, “Alright, we can win at least three of those if not all four going into the bye week.” After the bye week though, you were going on the road to Seattle — the reigning two time NFC Champions — and then three straight home games against the Eagles, Colts and Packers, all of whom were playoff teams last year, and all were expected to make the playoffs again this year. Looking at that stretch was more along the lines of, “Alright, if we split those four games and go 2-2, we’re still in good shape for the playoffs.”

Fast forward five months until three days after Santa made his annual appearance and the Panthers finally lost to the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome. The Panthers then finished the season at home with a beat down of Tampa Bay and cemented a 15-1 record with the number one seed in the NFC for the playoffs. When Cam Newton was asked to look back at the season after the Tampa game and pick one thing that he’d remember, he replied, “We shouldn’t have lost.”

The Panthers won 18 straight regular season games going back to the 2014 season when they ran the table in December to win the NFC South. Cam Newton accounted for 45 touchdowns this season with 35 in the passing game and 10 rushing while leading the number one scoring offense in the NFL. Yes, the same team that trotted out Ted Ginn Jr., Devin Funchess, Corey “Philly” Brown and Jerricho Cotchery at wide receiver led the NFL in scoring. That is not a slight to any of those receivers but let’s be honest that no one was expecting this to be very strong unit without the aforementioned Benjamin this year. It just goes to show how good not only Cam Newton was this year but how good the offensive coaches were at developing schemes and strategies to benefit each receivers skill set and then obviously the receivers as well for making the plays when they were needed.

The Panthers led the NFL in turnover differential with 20 more takeaways than giveaways this year, which was six more than any other team in the NFL. They have in all likelihood, the MVP this year in Cam Newton. They have an emerging – if not, already emerged — shutdown corner in Josh Norman as well as a now dominant defensive tackle in Kawann Short who finished this season with 11 sacks tying for the lead with Geno Atkins (Cincinnati Bengals) and Aaron Donald (St. Louis or should I say, Los Angeles Rams) for the most sacks by a defensive tackle this season. Less we forget that they still have Luke Kuechly, who was graded as the best pass coverage player in the league this year by Pro Football Focus, the ever present leader of the defense and team in Thomas Davis, and another emerging wide receiver in Devin Funchess who has only gotten better as this year has gone. He and Benjamin should be fun to watch in the coming years.

Speaking of Kuechly…just to put in perspective how good Luke Kuechly was this year, the league average of quarterback passer rating against linebackers was 102.5 this year according to PFF. Passer ratings against Kuechly plummeted to 57.8 in his coverage area. Normally when offenses get their wide receivers matched up with a linebacker, it’s an advantage for the offense. Against Kuechly, it’s the complete opposite as it actually turns into an advantage for the defense (cc: Romo, Tony). And Kuechly wasn’t just the number one graded linebacker in coverage this year…he was graded as the number one defensive player in coverage this year. The man is not human, ladies and gentlemen.


Tell me you didn’t laugh though…

So how do you put a season like this in perspective? How do you put into context a season that was a couple plays away from being defined as perfect? First and foremost, the season is not over yet. The regular season dominance is awesome but at the end of the day, it goes for nothing unless you are raising the Lombardi trophy on February 7th in Santa Clara. Every player and coach in that locker room, I have to assume, would echo the same sentiment. And it all starts this coming Sunday at home against Seattle.

Now this is a familiar place for Carolina. Just two years ago when the Panthers went 12-4 while winning eight straight games at one point, they had a first round bye and then met a different NFC West contender, the San Francisco 49ers, and lost at home 23-10. I still contend that there was some questionable officiating. Shocking right? Questionable officiating? In the NFL? It can’t be! Anyways, this year, yet again we’re coming off a first round bye to play an NFC West opponent at home with hopes of making just the fourth Conference Championship game in team history. Heard this before? Don’t worry, the ending is looking like it’s going to finish differently this time.


The inaccurate reception

Looking back at the most recent meeting with the Seahawks in Week 6, the Panthers had four different 80 yard scoring drives with the last one ending with a wide open Greg Olson catching a perfect strike from Newton in the end zone to lead the Panthers to a 27-23 win. In the fourth quarter, the only way to describe Cam Newton’s performance was phenomenal. He had one those blackouts like Will Ferrell in Old School where he was figuratively unconscious picking the “vaunted” Seahawks secondary apart. Now it is fair to mention that the Seahawks did not have their middle linebacker Bobby Wagner for that game and he is arguably the best defensive player on that team. The “Legion of Boom” was out there though and they couldn’t stop Olson. He finished with seven catches for 131 yards. Olson, along with Ginn, Funchess and Cotchery all had enormous catches throughout the game and then Cam and Jonathan Stewart really took advantage of the read-option plays as they averaged almost double the amount of yards per carry that they did when they ran just a straight run play with Stewart.

Another interesting note about this game is that Seattle will be without Jimmy Graham who seems to always show up on the Panthers schedule no matter what team he is playing for. Jimmy Graham had eight catches in that last meeting for 140 yards and was just un-guardable at points taking advantage of his size in certain situations. Graham is out for the season with a right leg injury so that should bode well for the Panthers matchups on defense, especially with an even more depleted secondary than before with Charles Tillman and Bene Benwikere both falling victim to season ending injuries.  We still have Josh Norman though and from what I remember of the previous matchup, I’m not sure Russell Wilson ever even attempted to throw at Norman, which is a decision I can’t argue against as he’s been outstanding this year in pass coverage shutting down number one receivers week in and week out.

Looking back at that game though, the Panthers had two turnovers while the Seahawks didn’t have any and one of the Seahawks two touchdowns came on a trick play where they handed off to Marshawn Lynch who carried the ball for a couple yards, turned and threw the ball back to Wilson, who then threw a bomb to Ricardo Lockette. Lockette somehow managed to outjump an extended Kurt Coleman and was able to bring the ball in right over Coleman’s head. It was an incredible play by Lockette, but a play that I’m sure Coleman would like to have back.

It’s time to be confident in the Panthers though. They know the Seahawks very well and matchup with them as well as anybody else in the NFL. They are both very similar teams. But Jonathan Stewart is going to have fresh legs for this one having pretty much sat out the month of December, Ted Ginn Jr., according to all reports, has his knee in good shape and is ready to go and the Panthers have had an extra week to get ready for this game and rest while Seattle has flown to Minnesota, played an entire game in conditions you can only describe as “Like the South Pole”, flew back to Seattle and now has to fly back across the country to play a 1 p.m. EST game, basically mid-morning in Seattle. People will still be eating breakfast at kickoff on the west coast. The Panthers need to play the same game they played back in Week 6 minus the two turnovers, they have to convert on third down, receivers cannot let the ball hit the ground when it’s thrown to them and the defense needs to get Russell Wilson on the ground or keep him in the pocket.


To try and answer my previous question of how we should put this season in perspective though, for the regular season, I think it could be the only time we’ll ever see 15-1. It’s just that difficult to win in the NFL but hopefully I’m wrong. Cam Newton is absolutely deserving of the MVP this year for proving just how valuable he is to this teams success. There is not another quarterback on this planet that could have done what Cam Newton did this season with the level of talent he had around him.

Then you have Ron Rivera who without a doubt deserves Coach of the Year. You can tell that he is beyond respected in that organization from top to bottom and has earned every bit of praise that he has received. To think of how the loud rumblings were at points that he was close to losing his job gets more amusing each day. Ron Rivera, Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly are here to stay through, in all likelihood, at least the next decade. They have already won three straight NFC South titles after there had never been a repeat winner in the previous 12 years since the division’s inception. The future is bright in the Carolinas and a win this weekend will catapult the legend of this season to unforeseen heights.

To all Panthers fans that will be in attendance on Sunday afternoon, I hope that you bring the noise and the passion that you’ve become known for. I wish I could be there as it will only be the third home playoff game that I have missed in the Panthers existence. I will be rooting from St. Petersburg by screaming at my TV and nervously pacing around my apartment while my girlfriend watches me in awe of how insane I look. Get that stadium rocking though and in the words of Thomas Davis, “DEFEND OUR DIRT!”






Here’s how you fix college basketball

As the greatest weekend in sports is upon us, it’s time for me to reveal the secret on how to fix college basketball. And when I say fix, I mean help these teams score more than 50 points in a game. Georgia State and Georgia Southern had a conference championship a week ago that ended at 38-32. After 40 minutes of basketball. Klay Thompson, of the Golden State Warriors, scored 37 points in a quarter of an NBA game that only lasts 12 minutes. Just let that marinate for a second. Don’t get me wrong, it’s as competitive as it’s ever been but the quality and skill of college basketball is severely lacking.

It’s ok though for I have come up with a solution. It didn’t take me very long to come up with this and it’s actually pretty simple. Are you ready? It’s going to blow your mind that you didn’t come up with it sooner. One of those moments where you sit back, take a deep breath and go “Wow…that’s genius!”

Alright, maybe you don’t go as far as the last scenario but here we go:


So right now you’re either shaking your head trying to figure out why you’re reading this in the first place or you’re still trying to pick your jaw up off the floor. Hopefully it’s the ladder. But I am dead serious. Just pay the athletes already. Who are we kidding? What is wrong with a college athlete earning an income and earning money off of their namesake? Just pay them already. It’s that simple.

Don’t give me the whole, “They get a free education!” argument. How many schools have recently gotten sanctioned by the NCAA for allowing their “student athletes” to slide through classes so that they can stay eligible and continue winning games on the football field or basketball court? And outside of the schools that have gotten caught, you can guarantee every other school in the country is trying the same tactics. It’s an education that’s meaningless. It’s not preparing these kids for life after their professional career runs it course. It’s gotten to the point where we had Andrew Wiggins — last year’s number one pick in the NBA draft — literally say out loud in an interview that he was just trying to enjoy school while he was there. He was already pegged as the number one pick and school wasn’t even on the radar while he was at Kansas last year.

This has not only made college basketball almost unwatchable but it’s also diluting the NBA game to a certain degree. Imagine if the NCAA mandated the same rule for the NFL about having to wait to be three years removed from high school before you can declare to become a professional athlete. Think about what that would do to the college game. First of all, the talent pool would start to spread out instead of heading straight for the Kentucky’s and Carolina’s and Duke’s of the game. These kids that come out of high school want to be playing immediately, mostly because they think they can compete and because they want that exposure to start as soon as possible for when they try to turn professional. If Kentucky and Duke and Carolina are already loaded and running lineups that go eight or nine deep down the bench then players are going to look elsewhere when they decide what school to attend. If they want to play immediately, they may decide to go to some of the smaller, but still elite programs like a Purdue or NC State or St. Johns. Those teams that can field competitive teams but never have those standout superstars that always end up at the same schools year after year like they do now.

Now imagine what some of those elite teams today look like if players were required to stay in school for at least three years. If Anthony Davis stayed at Kentucky through his senior year, that would be this year! That Kentucky team would be unbelievable. Not to mention Nerlins Noel would still be required to be there. You literally would not be able to get into the paint on that team. Duke would still have Jabari Parker, Arizona would have Aaron Gordon, Kansas would have Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid. The level of skill in college basketball, the continuity on these teams, and the competitiveness would be off the charts. It would actually be enjoyable to watch as opposed to Virginia (who lost three games this year) struggle to score 45 points in 40 minutes of basketball. As I’m typing this, Dayton and Boise State are in a barn burner with seven and a half minutes left to play and neither team has reached 50 points yet. One of the teams hadn’t cracked 30 by the time we were halfway through the second half. For those that aren’t counting, that’s 30 minutes of basketball having been played already.

Anyways, in order for these players to have the motivation to stick around and play college basketball in the U.S. for three years rather than just hop across the Atlantic Ocean and go play in Europe is that they have to be getting paid. So many basketball players come from backgrounds where wealth is not common, that their sole motivation for playing the game is getting those paychecks. The players that are ready to play NBA basketball by the time they are 18 years old don’t want to be in college wasting their time or offering themselves an opportunity to get hurt because there are millions of dollars waiting on them in the NBA, whether it’s through their NBA contract or through endorsements. How to determine how much these guys actually get paid is a different discussion and one that I’m not qualified to write about because I’m not an economist or financial planner and I don’t pretend to be one. But there has to be a way to fairly compensate these players.

But college basketball has to do something about the current state of the game. It is just so difficult to sit down and watch college basketball games these days when teams can’t play offense. There isn’t any continuity on these teams and the gameplay reflects it. Meanwhile, the NCAA is determined to never allow college athletes to make money during their career and they are just using these “student athletes” as unpaid interns. Get as much work and value out of them without having to forfeit any of the profit that they make off these interns work before they head for greener pastures aka the NBA. It took the face of the National Champion UConn Huskies last year, Shabazz Napier, to make a public statement about how he used to go sleep at night hungry after not being able to afford a meal before the NCAA allowed scholarship athletes to eat for free. Meanwhile the NCAA has a multi-billion dollar TV contract with CBS for the rights to broadcast the NCAA tournament. Yes, multi-BILLION.

Obviously, starting to pay the players isn’t going to solve all of college basketball’s problems. It would be a start though. To be honest, as I’m typing this I feel like I’m just using this as an excuse to petition for college athletes to get paid. I’ve felt strongly about this stance for a while now. If you think about it, college athletics is the only billion dollar industry in the world where the employees (the athletes) are not compensated for their work. College athletes work for free. They spend their entire day, every day, around whatever sport they play. 5 a.m. workouts, classes, afternoon practices, study halls, you name it. Their entire day revolves around their sport. And they receive no compensation for it. The majority of them live below the poverty line. Well, most university students do that but they also have the time and energy to get a part time job to have expendable income.

So, yea maybe I’m just writing this to vent some more about how much of an injustice it is that college athletes don’t get paid, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m wrong. Let the college athletes get paid and it’s bound to improve the college game as athletes won’t be fleeing for the pro’s as soon as they can. They can also work on that, you know, college degree that will also really help them in the long run. Pay the athletes NCAA. The time has come.

Back to Blogging


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So as you may have noticed, I took some time off from blogging. I apologize for the disappearance. I have been busy trying to get a career started elsewhere working for Transamerica Retirement Solutions in their customer call center. Yes, a graduated journalism major just over 14 months ago is now advising people on their retirement plans and helping them take withdrawals or loans or helping them update how much money they are contributing into their account or how it’s invested. It’s funny what pitches life can throw at you. In my case, it was a mix of Randy Johnson’s slider with Tim Wakefield’s knuckleball. So why I am blogging again? What made me dust off the keys from my laptop and start writing? Well I need somewhere to vent my thoughts. The participants I talk to at work could care less what Roger Goodell’s latest mishap was (Not sure if there has been one recently, but at this point, would it really be surprising if there was?) or what the NFL offseason will bring for my beloved Carolina Panthers. I’m going to try to cover more topics than just the NFL and the Panthers though. We’ll touch on college football (Yes, the playoff needs to go to eight teams), college basketball (Spoiler Alert: Kentucky is really good), some NBA (Mainly how to get Golden State games to start before 11 p.m. on the east coast) and maybe even some Nascar (Don’t get your hopes up).

But let’s start with some NFL talk. Did anyone watch the Super Bowl? It was a pretty good game. Normally I’d give a lengthy breakdown of what I thought were the key plays of the game, but I think I’ll pass. (Ahem) Anyways, the Super Bowl was quite a night. We had Katy Perry ride a robotic lion into the stadium that I’m sure the valet company had a blast trying to fit into the compact parking spot in Lot 2, the word “balls,” became a talking point for two weeks leading up to the game, we had an abundance of depressing commercials (Nationwide couldn’t just stick with Peyton Manning singing about Chicken Parm?), we had Roger Goodell say during his own “State of the Union” address that he makes himself available to the media ‘almost every day,’ and then promptly turn down an interview by the network broadcasting the Super Bowl, and last but not least the Patriots won the game. Malcolm Butler — who was born 28 days after I was — an undrafted rookie out of West Alabama, made one heck of an interception on a slant pass from Russell Wilson to Ricardo Lockette with 20 seconds left in the game and the Seahawks three feet away from the end zone and back to back world championships. The Patriots got their fourth championship and then were promptly buried under snow in the following weeks in Boston. You can’t win ’em all right?

The controversial play call that Pete Carroll will never live down is one that could be debated until the end of time. It’s hilarious because if the Seahawks convert that pass and score a touchdown, people are throwing Pete Carroll in the conversation as one of the best to ever coach having built a dynasty at USC in his time there and then going up to Seattle and taking out Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in back-to-back years in the Super Bowl. At the end of the day, Tom Brady was unconscious during the second half of that game. He lit up the vaunted Seahawks secondary. For the people who argue that Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor all played injured and were at a disadvantage, I say find them competent back ups who aren’t injured. It’s the NFL and those guys had been playing since the first weekend in September. Everyone was injured. That’s not an argument. The Patriots were just a better team that day. The Seahawks couldn’t cover Julian Edelman and they tried putting KJ Wright on Gronk which had to have had Tom Brady literally laughing out loud when he got to the line of scrimmage and saw that matchup. But it was one of the best Super Bowls we have seen in a long time and while I personally wish both teams could have lost the game, I was glad to see the Seahawks lose. Their whole, “Everyone is against us and we deserve respect because we’re the best,” routine has become so stale and predictable. Just play the game and show some respect for your opponents whether you win or lose.

Speaking of respect, “Hey look, it’s Roger Goodell!” Does anyone have any faith in this guy anymore? Anyone? Anyone at all? Bueller? So as I am writing this, I came across an article that an NFL “official” — meaning someone in Roger’s office — was fired today for selling one of the “DeflateGate” footballs. During a pending investigation someone in Roger’s office sold a piece of evidence for money! I’m not making this up. And lets be honest, the DeflateGate investigation really doesn’t matter anymore. The Patriots won a Super Bowl with properly inflated footballs and the game where controversy happened, they won by 38 points. But how do things like that happen? It’s become pure comedy at this point. Let’s not forget that the NFL is now investigating Greg Hardy’s incident which was dismissed in a court of law after the plaintiff was unable to be found to testify after she and Hardy settled in civil court. Now the NFL is tasked with trying to get to the bottom of an investigation that the law was unable to get to the bottom of. That should end well. We can only hope they learned from the Ray Rice fiasco back in September but even then the private investigation that Goodell initiated was overlooked by two of his strongest supporters over the years in John Mara, the owner of the New York Giants, and Dan Rooney, the Chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I’m not trying to insinuate or accuse anyone of wrong doing in regards to the NFL’s investigation into Ray Rice, I just find it a little peculiar to say the least.

It gets tiring trying to chronicle Goodell’s reign as commissioner of the most powerful and polarizing sports league ever. And I will admit that he is partly responsible for it being such a prominent league with how he has boosted the economics and business side of the NFL but other areas of the game have gone by the wayside at the expense of money. For instance, fining a player $50,000 for not speaking to the media is flat-out ridiculous. Let’s think about this for a minute. An organization fined one of their employees $50,000 for not speaking. In other words, a guy was fined $50,000 for exercising his 1st amendment rights. I know there are lot more extenuating circumstances regarding that such as the NFLPA negotiating that media policy in the collective bargaining and how he signed a contract stipulating said media policy but it’s just amazing what that league can mandate.

One thing I would wish they would bring back is the freedom of expression in the game. The NFL flag’s guys for spinning the ball on the ground after a big play now. They fine players who throw footballs into the stands after scoring a touchdown. The NFL makes more than $10 billion annually. You really need to fine the guys who sacrifice their bodies for 17 weeks — if not more — out of the year for the sake of your profits for handing a kid a football after they score a touchdown? Why can’t guys choreograph a 10 second end zone celebration? It was so much fun watching Chad Johnson and Steve Smith compete for the most creative end zone celebration back in 2005. I’ll admit though that Joe Horn pulling the cell phone out of the field goal post cushion and Terrell Owens grabbing the sharpie out of his sock was a little much but everyone misses the celebrations. It showed the creativity and passion that these guys have. And have we ever thought about how hard it is to actually score a touchdown in the NFL? Shouldn’t the guys who are capable of achieving that feat be given a little latitude to celebrate their accomplishment? The NFL has become the “No Fun League.”

Bring back the fun. Bring back the reality that guys can get hit hard without it being an illegal hit. If a player in the NFL takes a big hit where you can audibly hear the crowd go “OOOOOOHHHHH” you can bet the house that a yellow flag is hitting the ground. And then you can bet the pink slip on your car that the player who made the big hit is going to be fined for the hit whether it was a legal tackle or not. We miss Monday Night Countdown’s “Jacked Up!” even though “C’mon Man!” is a viable replacement. The NFL players wear pads right? Let them play ref, just let them play.

It’s been fun to get a blog going again. Make sure to stay tuned as I want to make this a regular thing. Feel free to follow the blog and you can even sign up for email alerts as to when a new blog is posted. I appreciate anyone who takes the time to sit down and read my posts. If you have suggestions for topics, comments, criticism, feel free to pass them along.