Monday, December 31, 2007


The site turns two today, and I wanted to give them some credit. Darren Heitner had the goal of wanting to be a sports agent, and he fiercely pursued increasing his knowledge of that career via his blog. Now, he's attracted quite a following and become an authority on the topic. That's the type of independent blogging I like to see, so I recommend you go check out his site.

While I'm naming names, don't forget about some of my favorites this year as you set your blog-reading habits of 2008: (now with Who Shot Mamba trailers!)
There are many more I could link to (look on the right at my links), but that's a good start! I have accumulated some new blogs I want to link to as well in the future: for now, check out, featuring lots of West Coast sports and entertainment pictures and video.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

MCBiasInterviews: The 2 Michelles

For a while now, I've admired the work of The 2 Michelles , two ladies named Michelle and Michelle who are enthusiastic fans of the Miami Dolphins. They had the idea to attend EVERY Dolphins' road game this year, and posted videos from each game on the Miami Dolphins web-site! Sadly, they picked a year where the Dolphins team has struggled to win games. But the ladies still cheer vigorously for their team, and it's fun to watch.

Anyway, I thought it was great that some bloggers were actually (1) producing quality sports videos and (2) getting those videos posted to an NFL team's site--impressive! I asked these superfans for an interview, and got 30 minutes of video-tastic goodness for my interview questions. I decided to just post a shortened 7 minute version for now, and post the full version at a later date. See below for the video and a guide for what's on the video!

Video Guide
0-1:56 How the 2 Michelles got the idea to go to all the Miami Dolphins’ road games.
1:56-3:32 How do the 2 Michelles stay excited about the Dolphins even while the team is 1-14? Plus their favorite traditions and cheers.
3:33-4:32 Which NFL team’s fans treat visitors the worst? Sadly, my suspicions were confirmed on this one.
4:33-6:38 Do other fans hit on the 2 Michelles? This answer surprised me; let me know what you think in the comment section.
6:39-7:17 Ending

Thanks 2 Michelles!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Class Bias: Derek Anderson Gets Coal for Christmas

I am annoyed by how yesterday's Browns loss is being spun by several writers to suggest that Brady Quinn should be starting instead of Derek Anderson, or that Brady Quinn is the QB of the future. Derek came from Oregon State as a low draft pick. Brady came from Notre Dame as a high draft pick. Thus, it seems to me that writers will always support Brady first. It's class bias; the blue-collar guy will always come up short compared to the big name from a big school.

The article that most annoyed me is the normally very well-informedMichael David Smith from the Fanhouse. He starts the article by stating
In the Browns' first nine games, quarterback Derek Anderson had 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions. In the last six games, Anderson has eight touchdowns and nine interceptions.

There's no question that Derek Anderson, like many first-year starters, has gotten a little less effective as the league got used to him. But the numbers that MDS presents are biased. Before the Bengals' game, if you took Derek Anderson's numbers from the last 6 games, Derek had 9 TD's and 5 interceptions. Those are not the numbers of a struggling QB! But toss in Derek's awful game from yesterday, and now MDS can write a post about how Derek is struggling and how the Browns should look at Brady Quinn. This is only possible because of MDS's cherry-picking statistics.

And what about that terrible loss to the Bengals' yesterday? Lost in all the boo-hoo-ing about Derek Anderson was the performance of Carson Palmer. Buried deep in the recap, here's what Carson Palmer had to say:

Like Anderson, Carson Palmer also struggled with the gusting wind, going 11-of-21 for 115 yards with two interceptions and one touchdown.

"I never really got a good sense of which way it was blowing," Palmer said. "It was really swirling. It was an ugly game, and a tough one to play in if you're trying to throw the football."

Where was that quote in stories about DA's poor performance? How about mentioning that the conditions were so bad that a Pro Bowler like Carson Palmer, playing with a lead the whole game, couldn't complete 50% of his passes on the same field? (For the record, Derek Anderson completed 60% of his passes on Sunday). How about mentioning that Carson Palmer turned in a QB rating of 44.8, the second-worst of his career according to And that he put up these poor numbers against a suspect Browns defense? No, that shouldn't be mentioned in stories about Derek Anderson; that might give the stories context! That would take away opportunities to post pictures of Brady Quinn!

All right, I know it's Christmas Eve, and I should go easy on my blogger brethren. MDS is usually an excellent blogger, and he certainly isn't the only one to take the "Derek sucks" approach to the story. took a similar angle, as did the ESPN write-up and Mary Cabot Lodge of the PD in a radio interview. And yes, Derek did have a terrible game. But I hate the implications that the last 14 weeks, in which Derek played well, are worthless just because of one bad game. Here's the stat that matters to me about Derek Anderson. In the second half of games this year, he has thrown for 13 TD's and 4 INT's. And that includes yesterday's game! Think about that, Browns fans and sports writers, before you start calling for Brady Quinn.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bill Simmons Week: Who's the Next Bill Simmons?

Wait, let me first gargle with Draino for the similarity of that title to AJ Daulerio's work on Deadspin. It's not like I needed my taste buds anyway. I was wondering the other day, are there any sports bloggers who, like Simmons, could come off the Internet bench and immediately gain a large following at ESPN? I put together a top 3 list.
1. The Cavalier from ESPN loves cartoons and multimedia in general, and The Cavalier's humor is PG, so it would be a great fit. Plus, The Cavalier's essays are pretty funny, too. I could see this working, as long as they didn't force The Cavalier to hit a certain word count.
2. Matt Ufford from The Prelude. Yes, I picked that particular site on purpose. Although some of the humor on WL and KSK would be banned at ESPN, I've been quite impressed with the football column he has on AOL's Fanhouse. I think he could balance the funny and serious nicely.
3. NOIS Sports Blog. Oh, I know, you're already telling me he'd be too controversial because of the race issue. But why should he just limit his gifts to race topics? I'd love to see a serious-sounding editorial about whether Romo's dating of hot women makes him less able to properly throw a football, or claiming that George Mitchell's report is biased against baseball players.
What's your list? By the way, Bill Simmons Week dies a terrible death today; let's not talk about my sense of timing in programming this against Christmas, ok? Check back tomorrow for a video interview.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bill Simmons Week: Yup, this is our Bill Simmons!

For years, I wondered why Bill Simmons' writing can switch from bad to good and back again so quickly. Then I realized that the same trend repeats itself year after year. Here's your Bill Simmons Popularity Scale; does it look right to you? Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Non-Sports Babble: Performance Enhancers and Me

So Jack Cobra recently wrote an article on his experience in taking Performance Enhancers (aka PED's) as a baseball player in college. It was well-done and deserves your perusal. Anyway, I had an phone interview for a jarb (pronounced in Coach Z fashion), and decided to try my own version of performance enhancers, just for fun. I guzzled a pint of energy drink before the interview. The verdict? During the interview I babbled like a 3rd grader describing his first visit to Disneyland. Don't drink energy drinks and interview, kids. What's worse is now I have all this excess energy, so I'm wasting your time with inane blog posts. By the way, that post below is my 200th post on this site. Woo-hoo for that.

Videocasting: Girls Talking Sports

I know it's nearly Christmas, and so maybe people haven't gotten a chance to read Extra P.'s column. But it is really well-done; please do comment and tell him so.

Anyway, one of my readers sent me an e-mail about my Sports Gal post yesterday. We debated for a moment whether a Sports Gal was really a great pick for a girlfriend/wife or not. So I decided to dump a few videos of other Sports Gals on here; make up your own mind in the comments, if you wish. (Yes, I know, this is a completely lazy post, but I wanted to fill some space).

The first is a Fanhouse Minute from ThisSuitIsNotBlack. If you're not watching Fanhouse TV, you're missing out; David's drinking of a raw egg, Miss Gossip graphics, etc. make for fun viewing.

The second is quick thoughts on the Mitchell Report by BGirl5. The fun part is the first 10 seconds.

The third is Fantasy Football Analysis by foryourhealth. The funniest part, for me, is she named her Fantasy Football team "Sunshine Puppy Bear" team. Can you imagine the burn of losing to a girl who calls her team that? Ha, I love it!

Bill Simmons Week: I Come Not to Bury Bill Simmons

As part of Bill Simmons Week, I decided to solicit posts on Bill Simmons from some of my favorite bloggers. Extra P. writes at the Extrapolater, CAAZone, and Storming the Floor, among other sites. His post is below, and it is fantastic. If you would also like to contribute to Bill Simmons Week, let me know via e-mail, and if it's good I'll put it up.

I come not to bury Bill Simmons, nor to praise him, but more to stand over his lifeless body with a puzzled expression on my face. To me, pissing and moaning about Simmons is pointless. He’s become the ultimate cautionary tale to those of us who might hope to derive some monetary success from blogging – he has collapsed under his own weight.
Hear me out. The reason we all feel so angry and irritated with Bill is because we loved him so much when he first rose to prominence. For one thing, did you see how I called him “Bill”? That’s because for a long time, he really seemed like one of those guys you knew personally. And if you didn’t know him, you knew a guy just like him, so he had that everyman appeal. When he told a story about being at a poker table in Vegas and seeing Michael Jordan and Charles Oakley walk in, it felt like he was thrilled, just as any one of us would be.
But somewhere in there, Bill started to get invited to actually sit at the table with his idols, and that’s when the trouble started (for us – I’m sure he’s having a wonderful time). The stories turned from “Can you believe Bill actually met Mike Tyson?” to “So here I was, sitting in the VIP section, and the President of Nike invited me to play Madden with Tiger Woods.” See what we lost there? We can no longer imagine what it would be like to be in Bill’s shoes – he’s part of the in-crowd and we’re not.
The second thing that went wrong is so ironic I can barely stand it. Bill, who snarks endlessly about the way his beloved Saturday Night Live has gone downhill, began repeating bits for cheap laughs. Live-blogs and lists and such were very entertaining when they were few and far-between, but once readers started clamoring for those bits, they started showing up so often that they became stale. The whole time Bill’s fan club was calling for him to write more often, I was shouting (to myself) that he should write less – the anticipation was sweeter than the delivery, and it gave him time to come up with something truly worth spurting out 3,234 words about.
The final thing that made Bill (and a whole raft of other people) completely unbearable was the resurgence of the Boston sports scene. It was interesting to read about a guy who was wishing and begging for his favorite teams to win just one championship between them. But since I started reading Simmons, the Patriots have won three super bowls, the formerly woebegone Red Sox have won two World Series, and the Celtics have assembled an all-star team in hopes of adding to the dynasty. Thank goodness the Bruins still suck, because if I had to read a self-congratulatory hockey column, I think I’d throw up in my own mouth. Basically, Bill Simmons has become an insufferable bass-bowl since everything started going his way.
The last piece of Bill’s that I really enjoyed was his pilgrimage to the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field. That was the last time I felt that awe of athletics seep into the florid prose of Sports Guy’s World. And that’s what I miss. For a few years there, Bill represented my generation – we quoted the same movies, remembered the same sporting moments, and were willing to root for our lousy teams even if they never won a championship. Bill’s first book was the beginning of the end, because he started to take himself seriously.
I don’t think it had to be that way. I don’t think everything is ruined by success, and I don’t put much stock in the term “sellout”. But Bill Simmons has turned away from what made him unique because the greater part of society wants him to function as a pop-culture jukebox, spitting out those old familiar hits. He’s willing to do that, and it’s made him famous and presumably wealthy. And in the end, who am I to complain about that? I have simply done what others who value originality (and some form of editorial coherence) have done – I’ve stopped reading his columns. I imagine somewhere, Bill is laughing at all of us, and doesn’t really care that he’s “jumped the shark.”

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bill Simmons Week: The Sports Gal

Although you didn't know it, it's Bill Simmons Week on Moderately Cerebral Bias. Read Bill's ESPN stuff here and his Wiki is quite detailed as well. I first started reading about sports on the 'Net due to a USA Today article about Page 2 being launched on So I've been reading Bill Simmons from the beginning of his ESPN tenure. I thought him an interesting topic just because he's still the favorite sports writer of many a teen and 20-something guy. So how does he do it? Is he still any good? Or is it just the competition is so bad? We'll explore those questions and others at some point in the week.

Before diving into the good stuff, I wanted to start by defending the Sports Gal, Bill Simmons' wife. A few weeks ago, Bill Simmons had a column in which he wrote a letter to his 13-year-old self. Among the lines in that letter was "Don't get married until you're 45." For some reason, that line angered me. I'm sure The Sports Gal was a world-class grouch while carrying around those extra pounds during her pregnancy, but really, not get married until you're 45? Harsh, isn't it? Perhaps all you male models who read my blog are nodding your heads in agreement because you have your pick of the opposite gender, but I personally don't agree with that line at all.

Anyway, the Sports Gal's only bad trait that I've noticed from her writing is her whining, especially about various celebrities that make her feel less attractive or about Bill's sports addiction. But really, how hard is this to handle? So you goes to a party with lots of attractive women there, and your date starts feeling inadequate. All a man has to do is be a little more affectionate and complementary toward his companion. A hand squeeze here, a "You look so good tonight" there, and everything is fine. (Not so good idea; pretending that you didn't notice that bimbo or that you didn't really think she was hot. She's not stupid.) And come on, Bill whines a lot too. The two are perfectly matched in their whiningness; it's like the Napa Valley for whine, heh.

The good parts? She's a runner, she's really funny (according to her ESPN columns, love the acerbic sarcasm), and she's better at picking sports winners than Bill. Not a bad start. Also, I looked up some pics, and she looks exactly like what I'd expect. I probably shouldn't be posting this, and you all better be nice in the comment section, but if you scroll down, you can see a picture of her with Bill:

Kind of plain, but...HA! Just messing, that's actually Will Leitch of with Bill Simmons. But honestly, she's an attractive woman in her 30's who will still be reasonably attractive in another decade. In other words, exactly what you'd expect Simmons would go for if he were signing a long-term deal. Come on, Bill, from your whining one would think you had married Tara Reid and it had all been downhill since. You had your chance to be Mr. Single ESPN Guy before you married her. If that life was so good, you'd still be Mr. Single ESPN Guy. Buck up and admit that you have it pretty good for a married man, ok?

Oh, and by the way, while searching for Sports Gal, I came across Let's Go to Smokes, which also expressed his affection for the Sports Gal. It's a decent blog from what I read, go check it out. I also came across a guide for male sports fans on how to get their own sports gal that's worth a look.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Non-Sports Babble: Actress Ellen Page

Hey all. FYI, I decided while on break to occasionally do some non-sports blogs on here too. Won't happen too often, but on occasion, you'll see some. So needing to pad my hit count after a month off, heh, I'll do a post on an entertainer. Why, this could mean I could double my usual readership, to, um,...2 readers per day!

I first encountered the work of 20-year-old actress Ellen Page when I was in a hotel room a month ago. I was clicking around late at night and came across the movie "Hard Candy." Let me just say, if your girlfriend or date EVER says in a sweet tone, "Hey, honey, let's rent 'Hard Candy' and watch it together", RUN! Do not pass go, do not collect $200, just run, especially if she's smiling and holding a pair of scissors. Your balls are on the line, um, literally. Google for yourself why I say this, and why I could only take about 5 minutes of the movie before switching channels.

But anyway, Ellen was an impressive actress in portraying a middle-school vigilante. I have a personal theory that the age at which women can be the meanest is middle school girls. Middle school is just at the end of the phase where the boys haven't quite caught up to the girls in maturity or social skills, and the girls know that and use their power freely. There's a great horror movie waiting to be written about packs of backpack-wearing middle school girls attacking a small town and torturing the inhabitants with protractors and compasses. Um, wait, where was I going with this, besides reliving middle-school traumas?

Oh yes, Ellen Page is a Canadian actress, and you should know about her. She's in the movie Juno, out now, was in an X-men movie. Here's an excerpt from the X-men movie:

She's not beautiful in a model sense, but since when was that necessary for all actresses? More importantly, she combines an everyday-girl look with being smart and talented, and will be more famous soon. I'll even quietly whisper "Meryl Streep comparison alert" under my breath, in fact. Watch the youtube video below for her Internet thoughts, which I COMPLETELY agree with. Yes, it is interesting how the Internet both unites us and isolates us.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Hear that Crunching Sound? It's Eric Gagne's Goggles under the Red Sox Team Bus

This section of the Mitchell Report made me laugh. For the record, I think this is decent proof that Mitchell put some work into getting info from the Red Sox as well. Mitchell asked for computers from several MLB teams, and this e-mail probably came from Epstein's computer. But forget reality and logic! It's much more fun to think of this as Eric Gagne being thrown under the Red Sox bus for being a fat lazy ex-steroid user.

"When the Boston Red Sox were considering acquiring Gagné, a Red Sox official made specific inquiries about Gagné’s possible use of steroids. In a November 1, 2006 email to a Red Sox scout, general manager Theo Epstein asked, “Have you done any digging on Gagne? I know the Dodgers think he was a steroid guy. Maybe so. What do you hear on his medical?”

The scout, Mark Delpiano, responded,
Some digging on Gagne and steroids IS the issue. Has had a checkered medical past throughout career including minor leagues. Lacks the poise and commitment to stay healthy, maintain body and re invent self. What made him a tenacious closer was the max effort plus stuff . . . Mentality without the plus weapons and without steroid help probably creates a large risk in bounce back durability and ability to throw average while allowing the changeup to play as it once did . . . Personally, durability (or lack of) will follow Gagne . . ."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Video: Cool Guys by Lev

Hi all. Sorry for not giving you a detailed post. It's been really busy this week, and the wireless Internet I have now loves to cut out at random intervals (already slaughtered a post that way). This video isn't even about sports, but it's fun in its own way--I like the progressive art type videos on Youtube. All right, enough apologies. Have a good weekend.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Stephen Jackson for MVP

Warriors with Stephen Jackson: 9-2
Warriors without Stephen Jackson: 1-6.

He's putting up 22 points a game, and if the Warriors get home floor advantage in the West, I believe he deserves MVP consideration. Yet you wouldn't know it from the media coverage. Take this ESPN column by JA Adande, for example.

The article's second paragraph reads, in part, "In the mixed-up Warrior World, one-on-four pull-up jump shots are encouraged, not punished; a player who has been suspended six times is a source of inspiration and stability; and guys called Mully and Nellie are considered the masterminds of the operation."

That player who was suspended 6 times is Stephen Jackson. Adande further piles on by stating that "He was the biggest question mark on the San Antonio Spurs' championship squad in 2003. You never knew if you would get a 3-pointer or a turnover from him." Well, maybe that was because Stephen Jackson was a near-rookie with only 100 games of experience before that season! Of course he looked like the question-mark, compared to Duncan and Robinson; it's an unfair comparison. How about instead noting that he was the starter on a championship team? Eventually, at the very end of the article, after talking about the fans and courtside entertainment, Adande grudgingly gives Stephen Jackson credit. Adande, I'm no Sherlock Holmes, but, you know, 1-6 without Stephen Jackson and 9-2 with may mean that Stephen Jackson is the clue to the Warrior's success.

But no, instead its Mully and Nellie, masterminds. Masterminds?! Don Nelson's coaching record for this year, is 10-8. He's barely above .500 in coaching the Warriors. Nelson's run-and-gun schemes are utterly worthless without the big man that plays like a shorter player. That was true whether it was Nowitski in Dallas (where Nelson would have been fired if Dirk's emergence did not occur), or Stephen Jackson today. Chris Mullins was a terrible GM for the last few years, signing guys like Derek Fisher to mega-deals and not finding a veteran coach early on. And now, they're getting all the credit?

Rarely do I take on a mainstream journalism article, because I don't think it's fair to attack guys for one bad day's work. But this is easy, and don't think I'm just picking on Adande. I have yet to see one article in any publication giving Stephen Jackson the credit he deserves. Why not?

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Betrayal of Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant has been seen as an indecisive spoiled brat for his trade demands this summer and his changing that message. But an untold story, at least in my eyes, has been how the Lakers management baited him into signing and then switched their style. When Kobe Bryant became a free agent in the summer of 2004, he had the Lakers and the Clippers bidding for him. Up to that point, in his near-decade with the Lakers, the Lakers had always focused on getting top talent or at least experienced players. Kobe's teammates included Shaq, Nick Van Exel, Eddie Jones, Glen Rice, Mitch Richmond, Karl Malone, Gary Payton, and Ron Harper. Kobe had every reason to believe that once Shaq's salary came off the books, the Lakers would go shopping for a veteran superstar to pair with him. Instead, what has happened? The Lakers got cheap on him, saving dollars or spending it on projects like Kwame Brown (9 million this year!). Their overall salary, for the team that has the most expensive seats on average in the NBA? 13th! Such big cities as Denver, Cleveland, Portland, and San Antonio all have higher team salaries according to hoopshype.

It's not just about total salary, either. The Clippers, despite only having the 19th highest salary among teams, have made a splash since the 2004 season by acquiring veterans like Cuttino Mobley and Sam Cassell. Sure, the Clippers record is poor right now, but they made the moves that the Lakers traditionally made during Kobe's career there. And don't even get me started on the illogic of trading away Caron Butler when Phil Jackson is the incoming coach. You're telling me Phil couldn't get results with a 2-3-4 of Butler, Bryant, and Odom using the triangle offense?!

Now, I willingly admit that Kobe's own mammoth salary makes it hard to sign top-level veteran star talent. But come on, sign a couple veteran players with play-off experience. It's LA! Since when has it been hard to get players to come to the land of sun, sand, and silicone? No, I think that although Kobe's method of complaining was poor, he has valid reasons to complain. By any reasonable estimation, the Lakers' promises in the summer of 2004 to surround him with top-level talent to replace Shaq, Karl, and Gary have been broken.

Side note: Who put the "Use me" sign on Kobe's back? Whether it was Shaq, Phil, Vanessa, or Lakers management, dude gets used more than Shawn Bradley trying to block a dunk and blamed more often than GWB. Come on Kobe, go to PR 101 or something!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ultimate Candy Bar Tournament Video

I decided during hiatus to mix in the occasional non-sports post too, so here's a Ultimate Candy Bar Tournament Video. Warning; don't watch this when you're hungry.

I definitely vote for Three Musketeers; light-tasting, doesn't stick to your teeth, and larger than most candy bars. What's your vote?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Meddle Management: Don't Knock Out the Champ!

With the Meddle Management series, I'll analyze what a coach should or could do, while trying to avoid the "hindsight is 20/20" flaw of such columns. You'll see this feature Monday/Tuesday during the week. I decided to give my Posterized series a break for now.

By now, you've read many a story about how Brian Billick's Ravens came so agonizingly close to knocking out New England. I wanted to analyze how an underdog can defeat a strong, championship-level team based on my own experience as an athlete and coach.

To begin, a coach needs to have enough skilled pieces on your team to still be "dangerous." The best type of skilled pieces are veteran players with years of play-off experience, who won't be intimidated by a strong team like the Patriots. The Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens, despite having rather poor W/L records, still have plenty of play-off veterans.

As for gameplan, a coach must use an unconventional strategy to jar the champion team immediately, even if it puts your own team at risk. Philadelphia was not afraid to let AJ Feeley throw the ball. Baltimore came out with a very aggressive defense, that was flagged early and often. Yet that was key, because in a nationally televised game, officials don't like to make a lot of calls. Billick had every reason to believe that by the fourth quarter, referees would let those Baltimore holds in the secondary go; Baltimore was playing at home. The Patriots used those same techniques themselves for years against the Colts.

Finally, a coach must let the players finish the game without excessive interference. Too often, an underdog coach thinks "You have to knock-out the champ!" as if the sport were boxing. Such a coach selects a new, risky strategy or calls many late time-outs. However, this is a mistake. The players are already tired and nervous about hanging on to the lead. Instead, stick with basic strategies for the team. This has the added advantage of being the opposite of the unconvential strategy with which you started the game.

The Ravens coaching staff did well, I thought, to resist dialing up exotic blitzes in the last few minutes. However, the time-out on 4th and 1 was a mistake, and the players themselves started to fall for the Patriot mystique. Too often, a Ravens player held a Patriots WR when the pass was out of reach. Once the Patriots were forced to play from behind, the Ravens should have been able to finish them off. But at the worst possible time, the Ravens started trying to do too much as coaches and players. Similarly, AJ Feeley should have been given a conservative game plan to finish the Patriots game; no passes over 15 yards. I think the Ravens had nothing to be ashamed of, and executing 90% of the blueprints for upsets is impressive. But that last 10%, that ability to coolly finish off a staggering champion without wildly swinging for a knockout, is where the Ravens fell short.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Jesus Plays Sports: Death of Sean Taylor Coverage

I label posts "Jesus Plays Sports" when some of my analysis is from a Christian perspective. That way if you don't like that, you know and can skip the post.

By now every blogger has written their “It was wrong for Shapiro, Wilbon, etc. to judge Sean Taylor” column, and all I have to add is AGREED. (I apologize that I'm not linking to all of the excellent columns: Modi, fast becoming a personal blog fav, has a list at , and D-Wil is keeping the updates coming as well. Check Redskins fan blogger sites as well.) I have new details on it below, but let me quickly touch on something regarding the bad coverage. It was not bad coverage just because some people passed judgment on Sean. I do NOT think judging people is wrong. “Do not judge, lest you be judged” is a Bible passage quoted out of its context. If we never carefully considered a person’s actions and made decisions on them, nothing would ever get done in this world. We’d be in a paralysis of analysis, too fearful of offending to ever do anything.

No, I much prefer to quote Jesus’s other, lesser-quoted statement on judging: “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” Judgment should be done, but only after a sincere, time-consuming attempt to get at the truth and go deeper than the surface. Sean Taylor, although extremely violent on the football field (as are, say, John Lynch, Warren Sapp, etc.), was never tied to instigating violence without cause off the football field. For that and other reasons below, Shapiro, Wilbon, etc., were wrong to judge him. But the very act of judging, itself, is not incorrect.

A few things that haven’t been noted yet in the coverage I read:
The kitchen knife left on the bed a week before the shooting has been seen as some sort of revenge warning. Wrong. If that were true, the assailants would have gunned down Sean’s family as well, so there would be no witnesses, and put an insurance bullet in his brain. What I am about to say is pure speculation, but I think it fits the facts fairly well and does not slander the dead or living. I suspect that the knife was there because the robbers found a safe in the bedroom, and tried to pry it open with the knife. Failing, they decided to return the next week with safe-opening tools to that very bedroom. However, what they didn’t bargain on was that the bed would not be empty, but instead have Sean Taylor in it.

Sean Taylor had a poor relationship with the media in DC, and that might be why his own hometown columnists were so hard on him. How poor? Let’s turn to Dan Steinberg’s past blogs (I use Dan because he hasn't been accused of being too hard or soft on Sean) on Sean Taylor:

Sean Taylor cancelled 4 scheduled press conferences in 6 days at training camp, and said he’d “never” speak to the media.

Sean Taylor made a habit of being unresponsive to the media or being rude. As Dan says when trying to get a quote from him, "Anyhow, I asked another scribe why no one was approaching Taylor, and he explained that people have pretty much given up. Sometimes you'll get a grunt in reply to a question, sometimes he'll merely walk past you and not speak."

Thus, the media tended to define him by the gun incident (scroll down, and yes Dan Steinberg is being light-hearted, just making a point about how little there was to say about Sean outside his hard hits and gun incident).

I hope the DC media didn't let this affect their coverage of his death, but I wonder.

Shot in your own home, in the middle of the night, surrounded by family, has to be a top 5 nightmare for many of us men. That's why so many of us took note of the death of a human being we had never met before. I understand Lozo's point that many people die daily and tragically (scroll down to Tuesday, November 27th). He made good points about celebrity worship. EDIT: I removed a part here if you came here earlier. END EDIT. In addition, it's of little consolation to the dead person exactly how they died; dead is dead. But for me personally, any sympathy is not about Taylor the football player. This is about Taylor, the man in his 20's, supposedly in the prime of life as many of us are, treated like a shooting target in his own home in front of his family. I don't live in Baghdad, trim trees, deliver pizza, or do any of the other things Lozo's death examples were doing, so I can't empathize as much. But I do go to my bed every night, pull the covers over my head, and hope that I wake up in the morning...and that's what Sean Taylor did last Sunday.