A Speech Denied

Junior Seau was inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame last night. Seau, a linebacker who spent 20 years in the NFL primarily for the San Diego Chargers, committed suicide and was found dead on May 2, 2012.  He wanted his daughter, Sydney Seau, to speak if he was ever elected into the hall. The Hall, citing a five-year old policy of not letting others speak for inductees, would not let Sydney speak for her father.

Sydney Seau accepted a framed remembrance of her father, Junior Seau, at the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Gold Jacket Ceremony in Canton, Ohio, on Thursday. Credit Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press
Sydney Seau accepted a framed remembrance of her father, Junior Seau, at the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Gold Jacket Ceremony in Canton, Ohio, on Thursday. Credit Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

The New York Times published the speech Sydney would have given in its August 8th issue. The speech itself, aside from date, does not fully address the medical issues surrounding Junior’s death.  Sydney would have delivered an emotional speech about her father, yet the Hall and NFL did not allow this. This should have been an exception to discuss the problems with the game.

“What keeps coming to mind when I think of him is the fact that he was basically superhuman. On the field he was relentless, hard-hitting, passionate and unstoppable. Off the field he was caring, gentle, hilarious and generous. On top of that he played within the league for 20 years, and that in itself is pretty exceptional.

But I think what we tend to forget about our favorite invincible, unstoppable, indestructible superhumans is the minor detail that they are also human. That is something that we all must endure today without his physical presence. We cannot celebrate his life and achievement without feeling the constant piece that’s missing.”

-Excerpt from Sydney Seau’s prepared speech

Junior Seau gave his life and body to the game and the game would not even let his daughter speak for him. Instead, a video tribute was shown and Sydney was presented with a plaque. Junior’s death, the result of brain damage, needed to be discussed last night. Sydney needed to speak. Her words showed that her father loved the game and that it consumed him at times. Her words could have been the beginning of a bigger discussion of the risks in America’s most popular game.

ZMP

Colin Cowherd Will No Longer Appear On ESPN

Colin Cowherd hosted The Herd with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio Simulcast on ESPNU
Colin Cowherd hosted The Herd with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio Simulcast on ESPNU

Radio host Colin Cowherd will no longer appear on ESPN according to a statement by the network on July 24 after comments Cowherd made about Dominican baseball players on his radio show.

“Colin Cowherd’s comments over the past two days do not reflect the values of ESPN or our employees.  Colin will no longer appear on ESPN.”

Cowherd issued his own apology on Twitter yesterday:

“I did not intend to offend anyone w my comments. I realize my choice of words was poor and not reflective of who I am. I am sorry.”

Cowherd is moving to Fox Sports and will most likely deal with action there. Cowherd has always been outspoken and has some strong opinions. His comments on the complexity of baseball are one thing, but he could have cited strategy and not have used one group of players. Cowherd should be cited as an example of how sports media can cross the line.

ZMP

Pedro Martinez: ‘Probably 60 Percent’ of MLB Players used PEDs

Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez speaks Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, at Fenway Park, in Boston, after being elected to baseball's Hall of Fame. Martinez, a three-time Cy Young winner, helped the Red Sox to their first World Series title in 86 years in 2004. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez speaks Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, at Fenway Park, in Boston, after being elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame. Martinez, a three-time Cy Young winner, helped the Red Sox to their first World Series title in 86 years in 2004. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Former Boston Red Sox great has been vocal on his disapproval of steroid and performance enhancing drug usage during his time in MLB. In recent comments, Martinez notes that PED users — most notably his former Boston teammate Manny Ramirez —  were numerous in baseball:

“It wasn’t just Manny,” Martinez said of the use of performance-enhancing drugs. “Probably 60 percent of baseball was doing that.”

Martinez, who has stated he was clean, enjoyed pitching during the high times of the steroid era.

“I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Martinez said. “There’s no crying.”

Baseball purists probably cringe at statements from players like this, but does this signify a change in baseball? Probably, many players will always want to get the advantage and if players like Martinez, presumably clean, can dominate, maybe baseball should look into better PED reform.

No matter what you think, PED usage probably will not stop, and certainly cannot be fully controlled. Baseball has been slow to change its ways and the PED issue is concerning, but probably will not go away, probably not at all. The road to reforms is upon us. We will see how baseball adapts to the times.

ZMP

Caitlyn Jenner at the ESPYS

Last night at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner accepted the Arthur Ashe Award at the ESPYs, ESPN’s annual award show.

Caitlyn Jenner accepts Arthur Ashe  award for courage at ESPY Awards on July 15, 2015
Caitlyn Jenner accepts Arthur Ashe award for courage at ESPY Awards on July 15, 2015

Jenner, a highly regarded olympian, was honored due to her identifying as transgender and her transition from male to female. Her speech  and acceptance of the award have received critical responses. Many believe that this award should honor someone who has made a courageous effort and has been recently relevant in sports.  Many believe Jenner’s transition is something that should not be rewarded, yet this is a courageous step. People who are different are often misunderstood. Maybe Jenner’s award for courage is the first step in accepting  and understanding transgender people openly and proudly.

ZMP

Randy Moss Defends Tom Brady

Randy Moss was a great receiver who greatly benefited from playing four season with Tom Brady in New England. The former Patriots’ receiver  defended the deflategate passer over the weekend,

Getty Images
Getty Images

“Over some air?” Moss said, via the Fayetteville Observer. “If he did it, so what? He hasn’t shown me anything but how he carries himself as a professional man, husband, father and athlete. Tom Brady is a pro’s pro. I love the man and everything he’s accomplished.”

Over Moss’ four seasons in New England, the team went to the Super Bowl once, a loss to the New York Football Giants in Super Bowl XLII, ending the Patriots’ attempt at a19-0 record. Moss’ defense of Brady over the deflategate scandal comes as no surprise due to his success in New England. Brady’s fate is in the hands of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Goodell seemingly will rule without much outside opinion regardless of opinions of Brady’s former teammates.

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Troy Polamalu to Retire

Troy Polamalu will now be a former great linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Polamalu told the Steelers he plans in retiring, according to the Herald-Standard (PA)

Polamalu played 12 years for the Steelers and was a dominant presence on one of the best defenses in the NFL. Polamalu also comes to notoriety for his long flowing hair. He leaves football as one of the best linebackers to play the position.

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Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Kicker suing team for $20 Million 

Former New York Giant and Tamp Bay Buccaneer is suing the Bucs for $20 million according to a news release from the Podhurst Orseck and Brad Sohn Law Firm the Tampa Tribune. Tynes claims the team created “unsanitary working conditions” which led to his contraction of the MRSAinfectipn that would end his career.

“The negligence and premises liability lawsuit, filed by Podhurst Orseck and The Brad Sohn Law Firm in Broward County Circuit Court, seeks compensatory damages for (Tynes’) lost salary and substantial pain and suffering,’’ a news release from the firm said.
As the lawsuit alleges, Tynes contracted a Methicillan-resistant Staphylococcus aureas (MRSA) infection from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Training Facility, which ended his career and cost him more than $20 million in expected future earnings.’’


Do Americans care about Soccer? 

The American sporting landscape is changing. Football, even though still highly popular, has come under fire for being to violent and to detrimental to players’ health. Baseball has been declining in popularity amongst young kids, most likely for being too slow. Basketball has maintained its popularity, but has not surpassed football. The question comes when I ll Americans start caring about soccer and the MLS , Major League Soccer, the American league of global football.

Frank Deford of NPR notes that American interest in the global game has peaked, but Americans cannot seem to watch MLS:

For just about every other nation, soccer is thesport—a far, far better thing than the American dollar, beer, Google or sex. Alas, in the United States, soccer has been more commonly identified with soccer moms than soccer players.

The American sports fan loves sports. A fan will watch almost anything — hello PBA bowling. As Deford mentions, the World Cup does get great ratings every four years. However, Americans are used to the best professional sports leagues in the world. This means more Americans are going to watch European leagues over MLS.

MLS has a chance to grow and has been steadily increasing in popularity. At 20 years old the leaugue has expanded, even adding teams in Canada. MLS success relies on keeping home grown talent and growing the game in schools. Maybe ones at MLS will be compared to La Liga, but if that day comes it will not be for a long time.

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Duke Wins, Wisconsin Coach doesn’t like ‘renting’ players, and the NCAA making money 

Duke won the 2015 NCAA men’s basketball tournament Tuesday night defeating Wisconsin 68-63. After the game, Bo Ryan, Wisconsin’s coach, basically blamed the referees and then went on to so he doesn’t want to ‘rent players’ to win a championship. After all that, the question still remains as to why does the NCAA not allow athletes to make money while playing in school?

The NCAA makes around 96 percent of it’s revenue from the men’s tournament each year. Coaches making millions complain about the officials. Something does not add up. College athletics is great, it allows athletes to come to schools and perform at a high level both academically and athleticaly… well at least athleticaly.

Men’s basketball and football players are not ‘student-athletes’ they are athlete-students. They play a game for a university and get subsidized in an education many of them will not use. 

The system needs to change. When a billion dollar event only financially benefits organizations and not the participants there is a problem. College sports are great, but are not financially sound at the moment.

ZMP