Thursday, September 27, 2007

Jesus Christ Should Be Controversial

See also:
Jordi on Dan Snyder Should Be Controversial
The Pacifist Viking on NFL Coaches being Controversial
Leave the Man Alone on Who is Controversial

This week's situation with Jon Kitna claiming to be healed of a concussion nearly ruined my pick, but I'm sticking with Jesus as the controversial NFL figure no one's talking about. Christianity (or any faith, really) isn't controversial to many NFL fans or media members most of the time, and I wonder...why not?! Shouldn't it bother you that your favorite player cares more about the Good Book than his playbook?

See, here in America, we have made a deal with religion. You can believe whatever you want, and do whatever you want in your mosque, synagogue, temple, or church. That freedom comes at a price, however. You must not say that your religion is better than anyone else's. And you must not say that your religion is powerful in the real world. You can't upset the American status quo. Those are the rules in a free America, and most people are more than willing to play by them in return for complete freedom of religion.

Kitna broke a rule last week. By saying Jesus healed him of a concussion, he's admitting that he believes his faith has power in the real world, at his job. That statement provoked strong reaction. LZ Granderson had an interesting argument here. But I think in some ways LZ was being nice. Does what happened to Kitna, if it really happened, mean that if you're in competition with a job with a Christian, she could pray to God and get the position over you? Yes, it does. No wonder so many columnists reacted negatively. Who wants to compete against someone with God on their side if it really does make a difference?

But what if all NFL personalities, not just Kitna, decided to be truly radical in their Christian outlook? Let's take a look, based on what I know of the Bible. Now mind you, I'm not saying all of these actions would be accepted by all Christians. For example, many Christians would argue drinking is ok, just don't get drunk. I'm just saying, you could get to these decisions by reading the Bible.

Christian Players
What if an NFL player quit the league because he didn't want to play on the Christian worship day of Sunday?
What if a defensive player decided to quit because he didn't want to be responsible for causing lifelong injury to his fellow man, shortening their life and clouding their thoughts?
What if a player asked his coach to stop swearing around him because he didn't want to hear God's name taken in vain?
What if a player refuses to do commercials for a company because he thinks their product harms people's bodies or causes people to sin?
What if he dedicated himself to using his fame for preaching the gospel, and wouldn't give interviews unless he could preach during the interview?

Christian Owners
What if an owner turned down public money for his stadium and insisted it go to programs to help the poor, widowed, sick, and mentally/physically challenged?
What if he told fans to stay home sometimes from the games to make sure to spend time with their families?
What if he cut off the sale of beer at his stadium because too many fans get drunk and misbehave?
What if he got rid of his cheerleaders because he felt that they made women feel ugly and men feel horny and want to cheat on their wives?
What if she gave the team's RB a better contract than he deserved, just to make up for the years when his contract underpaid him?
What if he fired a successful coach because he was treating players badly or was cheating?

Christian Broadcasters and Media
What if a media member refused to go public with a spicy story about the QB's infidelity, but instead went to him and begged him to get pastoral/counseling help with his marriage?
What if the media would remind fans not to judge until the true facts were known, and to have more patience with their teams?
What if talk radio guys worked on discussing the truth about a team, instead of exaggerating points and mocking fans to make themselves look more manly?

Christian Fans
What if fans put their family and work before the NFL?
What if they did their best to behave appropriately, because they want to love their neighbor and not hinder their enjoyment of the game?
What if fans stopped questioning a referee's decisions because he is the authority over the game, and deserves respect?

Christian Coaches
What if a coach cared about his players not only for what they could do on the field, but for what they could do off?
What if the coach refused to cut marginal players because of injury, knowing they need the money even more when they can't work?
What if the coach admitted his faults freely when he messed up a game, instead of letting his players take the heat?

Now tell me Jesus Christ isn't the most underrated controversial figure in the NFL! (with apologies to Jordi, PV, and Leave the Man Alone's entries, of course, ha). True faith in anything is not passive. It is active, and it causes changes not only in you, but in the world around you. And that SHOULD create controversy.

Telepathy: AOL Fanhouse and Me

UPDATE: "I've received confirmation from multiple sources that AOL Fanhouse has been working on this idea for months. So I feel much better now that I can cheer for the project without any reservations. I encourage you to check it out as well."

I appreciate the linkage for the Erin Buescher interview; thanks to True Hoop, Signal to Noise, the Extrapolater, and Jack Cobra. I recently found out that I got an idea link, from AOL Fanhouse. Let me explain.

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post about how there should be more women videocasting sports shows. I wrote it out in detail how it should go down. Top sports stories of the day. Two minutes. Witty. The female should be attractive, but more important is that she have an above average voice worth listening to. No bimbos, either. I pointed out examples of this online in other fields and made a big deal over the fact that it's not being done in sports.

And then, this week, guess what AOL Fanhouse rolled out? The Fan House Minute Featuring every detail I mentioned. Except it's one minute, not two, and it's not witty quite yet. At first, I have to admit, I got a little upset. I was hoping that a minor-league blogger would come up with the idea and use it to go big-time, rather than the sprawling AOL Fanhouse.

Then I realized, hey, not only did I tell you what should happen next, but I also told you I would know what would happen next and not profit by it (second paragraph). And, I also realized that I consider one of those ladies a blogging friend, and I specifically said in my post that I wanted one of my friends to take this idea and profit from it. In addition, I can't pretend that my idea is particularly original. I said in the original post that such videos have already come out for news and finance. And there's no way that AOL Fanhouse could read my idea on the 14th and then turn around and line up 5 ladies to make videos by the 24th.

It's fascinating how ideas work. In the month of September 2007, several bloggers finally thought the time was right for women to videocast sports. This type of coincidence is actually not that unusual. If you look back in history, you'll see that several inventions were done nearly people living in different countries, who were ignorant of each other's work. I believe the invention of calculus and the Hale-Bopp Comet are two examples. Essentially, ideas are not so much created by man as much as discovered as opportunities, in my opinion.

Still, you can guess that I had a fun first hour of paranoia first, wondering if AOL Fanhouse was reading my blog. I'm not sure if I can cope with a world where big-time bloggers read my blog, my ideas actually make sense, and people implement them. Oh, who am I kidding? I can DEFINITELY cope. On second thought, I could get used to this. My next idea is ESPN should sign up more bloggers to Bill Simmons-level contracts, and start with me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

MCBias Interviews: Erin Buescher, Part 2

Part 2 of my interview with Erin Buescher. Erin talks about why the women of the WNBA really are beautiful, what she would write about if she had a blog, and her Christian faith. Read Part 1 for what you missed.

Photo courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images.

Suppose you could win a game for the Silver Stars by either scoring a basket, rebounding, passing an assist, blocking a shot, or stealing the ball. Which way to win the game would be your favorite?
No doubt, by a steal.........just so fun and dramatic!!! lol

There seem to be a lot of WNBA player stereotypes. Which ones are definitely not fair or true?
That these women are not take ANY girl off the streets, in the club, out of the magazines, put them in HUGE baggy shorts past their knees, UNflattering jerseys, no make up, sweating, hair pulled back (similar to first thing in the morning styles) and very few women would be feminine and attractive. But if people could see these women off the court they would be SHOCKED. AND, the guys I've dated have loved having a girlfriend that they can go to the gym with, play sports with, and compete with. It's so much more fun!! I think a lot of guys truly are intimidated by a girl who is strong, and confident.....AND can beat them at most Strong, competitive, fierce, athletic, fast, tough on the court....feminine, beautiful, sweet, loving and caring off the court....IS there a better combination?

If you ever had a blog like Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi( on, what would you write about? What don't people know about Erin Buescher that might be fun to tell them?
OH my goodness, to be honest....probably not too much about basketball. There's just so much to life, when I'm out of the gym, I don't spend TOO much time talking about basketball. I love outdoor sports, I love God, I love traveling, different cultures, countries, food, cooking (although I have no idea how), adventures, nature, relationships, fitness, health, HUMOR....any and everything I suppose.

I know you enjoy surfing; what is your favorite surfing memory or day?
I think one morning I woke up before sunrise, and a good friend of mine paddled out in the most beautiful, magical place in Costa Rica. Just my friend, myself and all the morning sea life...watching the sunrise over the rainforest mountains and surfing small, but fun waves.....oooohhhh I think I'm salivating.

I noticed this year that the Silver Stars have a higher than normal number of Christian players on the team; at least 4 by my count. Being a Christian yourself, how (if at all) has it changed your WNBA experience?
It's pretty incredible the San Antonio team this year. It's more than 4, I can tell you that much. We became each others biggest support group....sharing and encouraging each other with our reading the word, with our struggles, our victories...everything. We had a weekly bible study that was intense but also had a LOT of laughs. I think it helped our on court chemistry to be honest. There is NOTHING more important in this life than a real, passionate, growing relationship with Jesus Christ....and we were all able to share the most important thing in our lives with each other. Truly a summer I will never forget.

Finally, what question does the media not ask you that you wish they would? Ask it to yourself and give me your answer.
Reporters just don't ask these kind of questions enough. Hope this is good enough!!

It was, Erin, and thanks to you and Leigh Anne as well for the pictures to accompany the interview. Just a few thoughts from me: I loved the reply about WNBA players and beauty. I agree that men can be intimidated at times; the Ladies... blog also brought this up once (sorry, can't recall the link to post). Also, the part about off-court beliefs and attitudes affecting on-court chemistry also fascinates me. If you like your teammates as people and share beliefs with them off the court, it seems logical that it might translate into better game performance. That's why I'm paying attention to these stories out of Boston that Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are becoming friends; yes, it does matter, and it will make the team better.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

MCBias Interviews: Erin Buescher

Previously on this blog, I mentioned my admiration for the competitive and charming Erin Buescher of the WNBA San Antonio Silver Stars . This WNBA season, she was a big part of the surprising Silver Stars playoff push. However, Erin was injured soon after she took Player of the Week honors on 23ppg (on 50% from 3-pt land, 93% from the line), 6.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. I caught up with her soon after the WNBA finals to ask her how the rehab was going and to better understand what it's like being a WNBA player. Thanks to Leigh Anne for helping coordinate this.

Read on to learn what it is like to play in Greece and whether WNBA players ever interact with their NBA counterparts. As you always do, dear reader, play nice in the comment box. Part Two, in which Erin discusses WNBA stereotypes, her faith, and what she would blog about, should be up tomorrow.

How is your rehab going; what are you doing each day as you recover?
Rehab is going well I guess, it's the first time I've been injured, so I'm not sure if I'm ahead or behind....but either way, it's a long, slow process getting the knee back healthy again. I have a ton of exercises I'm doing each day, trying to get the muscles strong again. They disappeared literally overnight!

Paul Shirley, a professional basketball player, recently came out with a book documenting his travels around the world to play basketball called "Can I Keep My Jersey?" I was wondering if you had happened to read the book and if so, what you thought of it. Is the life of a professional female basketball player similar?
I haven't read the book! But actually, it sounds like a great idea, I wish I would have thought of it before Paul did...I bet it's interesting. Playing overseas is quite the ride!

How do WNBA players decide what country they will play in during the offseason? I have an amusing mental picture of players trying to make their decision surrounded by tourbooks with titles like "South Korea on $30 a day" and potential contracts written in foreign languages. That's how it works,right? ha. Seriously, what is the process of decision-making?
I think most WNBA players decide where they will be playing by whoever offers the most money, that's where they are headed. For me, I was a bit different, not your conventional bball player. I felt, if you are going to get a free apartment, and job over in europe for seven's going to be a place I want to see, and enjoy the experience rather than just accept the paycheck. Now, I can understand, some of these girls are making quite the pretty penny in some places like Russia, Korea etc... but they also are paying the price. Basically giving their lives over for seven months, russia is so cold, I just could NOT do it.

Instead I chose to live right on the mediterranean, in one of the most traveled to destinations, island hopping during the day, practice by night. I thoroughly enjoyed my three seasons in greece. I can say a small part of me is actuallygreek now, I didn't hang with all the americans at the r&b hip hop clubs. I was going to the local hotspots that all the greeks enjoyed, ie...BAZOOKIA!! lol but seriously, I ate like a greek, (went to coffee for hours like a greek), listened to the music from there, and tried to enjoy the unique opportunity that it really was. Money gets spent, but experiences are for life.

Photo courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images.

You have ended up playing in Greece the last few WNBA off-seasons.What was life and basketball like there?
Well, I sort of just ran into the answer the question before, but I loved it. I would wake up, go to the beach, go for, go to friends' houses for lunch. Lunch in Greece isn't like here, the whole family comes home from work, mom/wife usually has cooked some sort of yummy meat, salads, side dishes, bread, wine, FETA, and we sit down to a thanksgiving type meal (everyday) after which the family will all get into their pajamas, and crawl into bed for mid afternoon 'siesta'. Most of the shops will close between 3-6 p.m. while everyone naps. People love to sit and for 3,4,5 hours is not uncommon...relationships are valued on a higher level than here I think.

Just a slower paced life, Greek people like to enjoy themselves, they love family, they keep it simple, they love food and wine, and they don't worry too much. My teammates were like sisters to me, I learned the language enough to say whatever I want (usually in a round about way and VERY grammatically incorrect). Just a fun place to be, if that country had waves to surf on....i may just had found my next home.

One of the reasons I like the WNBA is its family feel. It's not such a large league that it seems impersonal. Are there particular fans that stand out as most memorable from your career in the WNBA?
I think that the fans in Sacramento and in San Antonio are really amazing. I like that as well about the look into the stands and you see so many children. The players also interact with the fans enough that there is definitely a relationship between the fans and the players.

What's your favorite free-time activity on the road during the WNBA season? I love to read, but also just take a walk through the different cities that we play in. It's fun to go exploring, find new fun restaurants, or go to a movie. But mostly you are just resting, since we are in and out so fast.

I doubt Tim Duncan comes to practices to help you all practice post-up moves, ha. But I was wondering if WNBA players ever interact with any NBA players, and if so, which player that you met is your favorite? And which WNBA players do you consider your best friends?
In San Antonio, we don't see the Spurs because we have different practice facilities. It's kept pretty separate. But in Sacramento, it was really pretty special, we shared the facilities with the Kings, and we would lift weights together, or be in the training room at the same time. They were really supportive of our team, cheering for us, going to games, putting up signs for us (the year we won the championship)....kind of like we were all one big team. I think that's a great environment for both sides, it's a shame it's not the same in San Antonio. I could never pick just a few close friends in the WNBA...I've been so fortunate to have been on four different teams with such unique, amazing, fun and funny girls. People are DEFINITELY missing out by not taking the opportunity to get involved and be apart of what these amazing women are doing....both on and off the court.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Posterized: Colorful Edition

Mainly positive stories this week, so the posters are also more complimentary than disparaging. Click on the poster to get a larger picture.

Donovan McNabb had a great performance in Sunday's Eagles victory. My two cents on the story: $.01, I did not realize until days later that McNabb only made a few comments about being a black QB in the course of a lengthy interview. The way many media outlets presented the story, that was all he talked about. Shame on them. $.02, I wanted to disagree with Donovan because his timing (in light of his job being in jeopardy) seemed suspicious. However, the shrill "Shut up and play" voices from several media commenters made me hesitate. There still seem to be a significant number of people in this country who (to paraphrase and mangle Henry Ford's Model T comment) will allow their QB to have any skin color he long as it's white. Read three well-thought-out essays about McNabb at TSF, .The Starting Five followup, and Cobra Brigade. There is some real writing talent starting to make itself known in blogland, and I am enjoying every minute of it.

Sadly, the formerly Rainbow Warriors of Hawaii are just Warriors now, but the joke was too good to pass up.

I resisted making a crack about Hope Solo being Hans Solo's sister, but just barely.

Come back and read tomorrow for my interview with Erin Buescher of the WNBA Silver Stars.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

MC Bias Blog Reflection

The news this week that Mottram is going to Yahoo! both disturbed and excited me. It is my personal belief that sports blogs are going to go through an exciting time of change and competition now. Some of the big boys (Yahoo! Sports, ESPN, etc.) are going to enter the blog world in a big way, and it'll be interesting to see which blogs can successfully compete and which blogs get hammered. Also, bloggers are slowly embracing technology (although for most of us, "technology" = successful Youtube embed) and improving their styles and topics.

However, I'm realizing as time goes on that although I think I have a good handle on where blogs are going and how they will get there (more multimedia content, emphasis on community among readers, live events, blog networks by topic and interest rather than cluttered masses of unrelated posts, commenting will be replaced by a more interactive method for reader feedback, etc.), I am probably not going to get to profit by it. By "profit" I mean make money, or make more blogging friends, or feed my ego. This is the disturbing part. Fact is, as just one blogger, I don't have that much influence and time to make sure that my blog is the first to adopt to these technological changes. And I've realized that the way I've spent my summer blogging (lots of video for content, rather than written posts; too much commenting/visiting of other bloggers web-site) has set me back from achieving these goals. Also, um, there's this thing called "job" and "real life" that I've not been giving enough effort to.

Anyway, you may ask, "Is this post going somewhere?" No. Err, wait, ok,sure. First, dear reader, tell me, what parts of this blog you most enjoy? Is it the athlete pictorials/video? The more serious Jesus Plays Sports and other perspective columns? My attempts at humor in Open Letters and the like? Or something else? This isn't me saying "Pat my back"; please tell me what you don't like as much, as well. Second, this is my open invitation to you, dear blogger, to ally with me and help be part of Sports Blogging 3.0. I'd call Sports Blogging 1.0 what Bill Simmons and other Internet pioneers did; 2.0 is Deadspin/AOL Fanhouse; but I believe 3.0 is soon coming. And this time, I want to be one of the people causing change and innovating instead of saying "Oh, I had that idea too, but I never did anything with it." If you're interested, shoot me an e-mail (see right column for gmail address, which is talktomc). Third, sorry, dear blogger, but I won't be commenting so much on your sites anymore. It was fun developing a presence on some blogs, but it lacks the difference-making potential I had hoped for. I'll try to up the linkage instead.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Pure Sports: Team Juggling, Part 2

Hi all. I was going to either write the next installment in the "Controversy" series or post my interview with a WNBA player. However, both are not quite ready for posting. So please check back next week for the good stuff. Also, I wanted to introduce you to Brad's blog on pickup basketball. He wrote an article about 10 classic fouls in pick-up basketball that you should read. Don't forget the other blog that features significant pick-up basketball content, basketbawful. Also, check out Dan's video of a crazy Red Sox fan (are there any other kinds? ha) at his site.

Last juggling video of the summer series, promise. To update you on the last series, Vova and Olga do not juggle as a team together anymore. Thus, Vova was considering juggling with Kristina instead, seen in the videos below. In the end that too fell through. But these videos exist, and it's too bad it didn't work out. Kristina does some throws that I hadn't seen Olga do in the videos. I think it helps that Vova and Kristina are of similar height.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Youtube Sports: Revenge for Football Widows Everywhere!

You've no doubt heard of the "football widow", those poor women married to husbands who might as well be dead when football season rolls around. I'm sure many of them wish they could make their husbands see how silly they look, sitting on that couch week after week. Well, thie girl in this video is not a football widow, but yes, she does make hardcore fans feel a little dumb when she imitates them. Warning; will instantly make you feel 25% more lame for being a sports fan.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Westhead to institute running game with Sonics, Kevin Durant?

I rarely do the "breaking news" type of story, but I found this interesting. The Phoenix Mercury have won the WNBA championship. In her blog, Diana Taurasi notes that head coach Paul Westhead apparently now has some sort of offer on the table from Seattle:
And I know the Sonics have a lot of money, but I think Paul Westhead should stick around and be the highest paid WNBA coach in the history of the league. He deserves it.

If Westhead goes to Seattle as an assistant coach and develops a run-and-gun offense with Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, the NBA just got a lot more exciting for the upcoming year. It's a great fit for Seattle's young team, if Ridnour can run the point correctly. And don't think I'm not envious that the Cavs aren't going out and doing a similar deal with Westhead. We need an offensive coach badly.

Posterized: Oden, Ankiel, and Belichick

I miss my posters; haven't done any since the summer. Click any poster for a larger version. This may be a weekly thing; let me know what you think.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Filling the Gaps: Women Videocasting Sports

A while back, yours truly had the idea of putting together a sports video show of his own. I figured that although my looks and voice were fairly average, this show might be a success because there would not be much competition. However, after looking on Youtube and studying this issue, I realized that sports shows done by men are not viewed by many people. I didn't get that excited about them myself, after scouting the competition. (I respect them, don't get me wrong, just not that excited about their shows). The inevitable comparison occurs to ESPN, FOX Sports, or other TV shows, and none of them can compare. The other issue is, videos made by females appear to be more highly viewed than videos made by males, unless the males are really funny (and I am not consistently funny).

So I started looking around to see what women are doing sports shows on YouTube. I still think that we have yet to see the true winner; a show where a knowledgeable female does a witty two-minute video on the top sports stories of the day. And no, I'm not talking about a "Sports Bimbo" show, ugh; look at Rocketboom (where a woman presents the news) and WallStrip (where a woman does company financial profiles) for examples of how it should work. It just has to be a woman with way above-average verbal skills who doesn't look bad on camera. You can be sure that if I had a sister or close female friend who fit the description, I'd be pushing them to do this ASAP. But I don't. So maybe one of you can be that female videocaster instead and enjoy the fame and success? :-)

There are some females who are fans of a specific team out there, though, and I wanted to give you a quick run-down of them so they can get more views.
#1: Braves Girl 5.

Why do you want to watch her videos? She doesn't do as many Braves videos as she used to, unfortunately, and apparently took some down. But I enjoy the enthusiasm, and she has that "friendly girl next door" vibe down pat. Weak points are that she usually just does videos on the Atlanta Braves, and that it's much more fan-based rather than news-based.

#2: Yankees Chick

Why do you want to watch her videos? I really like Maureen's voice; there's a depth to it, and yet not monotone either. She keeps the videos short, and she has a sense of humor too. The only thing I dislike is that it's just about baseball and that it's all "sit down at home and talk to the camera." It would be fun to mix it up a little bit by, say, taping a show outside, or with Yankees Stadium as a backdrop, or something. But that's a small point; like I said, the voice is great.

#3: The Two Michelles

Why do you want to watch their videos?
* The Two Michelles actually venture OUTSIDE of their house! And interview other people! It's almost like real media! ha. Seriously, much respect; it makes their show way more interesting.
* For the moments where Tall Michelle interviews short guys at sports bars, and they are intimidated, are confused as to how she got in to what they think is "men's world", or think about asking for her number.
* For the moments where Short Michelle changes over from "serious, businesslike Michelle" at the start of the videos to "frothing at the mouth, so excited about the Dolphins" Michelle by the end.
* For the moments where Tall Michelle clearly thinks "Oh, I look stupid, don't I", shrugs her shoulders, and goes through with it anyway. I like it when a person is smart enough to "know better" and doesn't care.
* For the moments where Short Michelle speaks earnestly to the camera, as if it is her closest friend and listens to every word. I like the intensity.

My only complaint is, sometimes the interviews with other fans drag a little bit. The other fans can be kind of boring and long-winded. But I really did like their interview with the fan in full Dolphins regalia (including mask) at the sports bar.

Do you know of any other females doing videocasting? Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Linked Bias: Best Sportsblog Day Ever

I was so busy today I didn't even notice it, but here's what happened in the last 24 hours:
Linked to from The Big Lead for submitting a video.
Linked to from Yaysports for my restored faith in everyone's favorite reptile.
Linked to from Deadspin in the Blogdome, for my Tiki Barber post.
Finally, I talked to some media people, and one of my favorite female athletes ever is 90% in for an interview. I can't mention the name yet, and you all may have never heard of her, but I am VERY excited. why should I ever blog again? ha. Seriously. Nothing's going to top today for a while. Thanks to all the people I've learned from in blogland, you readers who faithfully read this site, and to the sites for thinking I had something worthwhile to share. I'll stop this because I don't want to gloat too much, but it feels good right now.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Who Shot Mamba? Drama Continues...

Tiki Barber is NOT controversial

I'm starting a new series called Controversial or Not to better identify which players in which leagues are wrongly identified as controversial or not controversial. Jordi graciously agreed to also join in for this post: here are the NFL players deemed NOT controversial:
The Serious Tip on why Randy Moss is NOT controversial.
MCBias on why Tiki Barber is NOT controversial

For my non-controversial NFL player, I chose Monsieur Barber, formerly of the New York football Giants. I do not think Tiki is controversial in his statements from his book. The complaints against Tiki are threefold:
(1) He is backtalking against his coach, and did so even when he was a member of the team:
(2) He is attacking the leadership abilities of his young QB teammate, Eli: and
(3) He is wrong to complain about not getting paid enough during his career.

Let's look at each one of those complaints. First, why are people so furious that Tiki is insulting Tom Coughlin? Look, I'm not too old to remember a distant day when you could blow up at your old boss, after you left your job, and not have to worry that your next workplace would hold it against you or that it would be read in a blog. Worker relations have become such a mess in this country over the last 20 years. You not only can be fired and mistreated, but now you have to pretend that you like it, too. Tiki didn't like his boss, and he's in the enviable 10% that can now say that without repercussions. Do you know what it's like when your boss makes you hate your job, that you used to love? And when you play football, your job is pretty much who you are. No, I think Tiki was more than justified to complain, and is NOT controversial.

Next, let's talk about Eli. If Eli was a rookie QB, yes, Tiki should give him a little bit of a break. But look, Tiki was in his last few years as a football player, on a team that had reached the Super Bowl a few years ago. And now, these veterans have to play big brother to a QB who apparently wasn't catching on very fast. I don't think it was the classiest thing in the world for him to take on Eli, but look, that's how veterans are when young players mess up. They get resentful, because they know they have few chances to ever be on a good team again. Not news.

Finally, the money thing. Here again, I see too many sports bloggers telling Tiki to shut up without paying attention to details. He got a six-year contract in 2000, before he was a real star at the RB position. He did sign an extension in 2005, but by then it was rather late. So he's right to say he was underpaid by 10 million dollars; once he started running for 1200 yards + a season, he did deserve a higher salary. Now, it's true that usually contract re-writes tend to be more for QB's than for other positions. But I still think Tiki is right when he says he was underpaid. Not controversial either.

What IS controversial is how poor Tiki Barber is in the booth. I did not see all of his debut, admittedly, but it looked like Costas and Co. had to carry him and ask him specific questions for him to add details. It's controversial to me how the networks fall all over each other to sign these ex-football players to be commentators, and these players are terrible. If they didn't play football, they wouldn't be hired. There's a sort of reverse discrimination going on here. If you play football and can put two sentences together you are SO intelligent and well-rounded and cultured! No, it's not true. Look at Terry Bradshaw, heh. Seriously, let's not pretend that our athletes would all be Rhodes scholars if they weren't pros.

Time to debut a new feature: the O. Henry quote of the post! I am perhaps the only person who really likes O. Henry in sports blog land, so I'm going to randomly insert quotes from his stories into my posts. This quote comes courtesy of "The Adventures of Shamrock Jolnes", a knock-off of Sherlock Holmes:

"I give you every credit; but how do you know he was leaving for the South tonight?"
"In his breast pocket" said the great detective, "something large and oval made a protuberance. Good Liquor is scarce on trains, and it is a long journey from New York to Fairfax County."

Monday, September 10, 2007

Piecemeal Bias: Ernie Davis and Justine Henin

EDIT Read this excellent article by Bruce Paine, Colts fan, on how he feels about the news that the Patriots might be cheating. Perhaps the best thing I've read yet on Cobra Brigade.

Although I enjoy sports history, usually I leave such posts to esteemed blogging colleagues like the Pacifist Viking. For once, though, here's a quick post to tell you to look at this story on Ernie Davis. One of the sad stories of professional sports that you probably have never heard of. Can you imagine Jim Brown paired with a Heismann trophy winner in the Browns backfield?

Also, Justine Henin fascinated me during her trophy win at the US Open. To be so successful and yet so short is proof that she has an excellent mind for tennis. I thought it was rather sweet that she moved into the crowd to hug her coach. Finally, I was very pleased she beat Serena Williams (who really annoys me, unlike her sister Venus).

On the other hand, Justine's stare gives me the impression that she is so driven as to be annoying in person, and is probably a perfectionist with little tolerance for failure. There are glimpses of softness here and there in older pictures of Justine, but in the present, I don't see any of that. And what was with that "I'm older" comment when presented the trophy? Justine, you're 25, what do you mean "older"?! You're not allowed to make "older" and "younger" comments in your middle 20's, ok? Thanks for making me feel old.

It's been a while since I've had such ambivalent feelings about an athlete. What do you think? Cheers or Boos for Justine?

Friday, September 7, 2007

Pure Sports: Team Jugglers, Part 1

Ok, you all are going to laugh, but yes, I found so many good team juggling videos that I had to split this in half.

Leapfrogging to continue juggling (very short video):

Vova and Olga Galchenko do a promo in army gear with overdone Russian accents:

Vova and Olga Galchenko on the Today Show, juggling clubs over Al Roker (last minute):

Watch the foot passes to start this video, stay for the through-the-legs and behind- the-back passes.

Monday, September 3, 2007

SuperStar Be: Sue Bird

Sue Bird deserves her own post at some point, and since her WNBA season is over, what better time than now to confer such a MARVELOUS privilege as an MCBias post? First, a few thoughts and analysis from me, and then pictures of Sue with fans.

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Sue Bird Be...not the WNBA savior. When Sue was coming into the league, I couldn't believe the hype she was getting. Here was the girl who would single-handedly bring basketball skills, cuteness, and millions of male viewers into the WNBA! I felt bad for her, that so much pressure was being put on her. She's a point guard, not a scorer, and was just out of college. The expectations were not fair. But...

Sue Bird Be...funny. Check out the Bird and Di Blog. I get a kick out of how the two alternatively mock and encourage each other; the camaraderie is fun to read.

Sue Bird Be...resigned to the WNBA's fate. When she came into the league, she worked hard to do all the things the PR people wanted from her. I particularly laugh as I remember a picture of her scowling for Slam magazine. However, I think that she and many other WNBA players have realized that the WNBA will never be quite big time, and yes, they will make more money overseas. Sure, they take pride in the WNBA as a symbol of women's achivement. But at the end of the day, I believe they want to get paid and be seen by as many people as possible even more. Symbolism doesn't put food on the table (insert Latrell Sprewell joke here).

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No, those aren't her kids, ha.

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There's a slight awkwardness or tension to this photo that intrigues me.

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"Lauren, you know that we're trapped here right? Lauren? Hello?"

Ah, so that's how Sue broke her nose the first time, letting go of the band. (Kidding)

ME and SUE BIRD!!! :) omg i diedddd
The "I'm a good citizen" smile in full effect for Sue.

Me and SUE BIRD!
Nice smiles in this one.

Me & Sue Bird
Yes, this picture was taken in New Orleans. No, I won't say anything else, ha.

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Which WNBA superstar is WAY better at a fake smile? ha. Lauren Jackson definitely comes across as the shy one, which is a shame because she's such a talented basketball player. I'm trying to think when I've ever seen a picture of LJ that she looked truly happy...hmm, nope, can't think of any. Too bad.

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amber n me n sue bird
More small folk with Sue

us with sue bird
Sue's just another face in the crowd in this one.

T, SUE BIRD, & me
Another shot of young females with Sue

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And just to switch it up, here's an older black male with Sue