Hump Day Sports Thoughts
No Harm, No Foul
To see the Bengals’ Adam “Pacman” Jones this past Sunday tackle Raiders’ prized rookie receiver Amari Cooper, jump on his chest, rip off his helmet, and then grab his head with both hands and slam it down on the helmet was….well….disturbing. But to hear the NFL will not suspend Jones for his actions is even more disturbing. But wait there’s more.
Part two of the new “lenient” league was on display after the Dolphins/Redskins game, where Miami’s bad-boy Ndamukong Suh tackled Washington RB Alfred Morris, stood up, took a couple of steps and then proceeded to kick Morris’ helmet off of his head. Again, no suspension for Suh. Now realize these two “antagonists” are anything but model citizens in the league, both being repeat offenders for various offenses. But still no games will be missed by either of them. So what’s up?
Where oh where has the iron hand of Roger Goodell gone? The NFL’s explanation of both incidents and the subsequent lack of suspensions are weak at best, and there’s no doubt in my mind that both “non-punishments” are tied directly to Federal Judge Richard Berman’s recent reversal of Tom Brady’s suspension. The admonishment of the league (and by extension the Commissioner) by Judge Berman has influenced the decision making process of the league in general and in Goodell in particular. The 800 pound gorilla that is the NFL is scared of being taken to court again – and losing again.
My hump day conclusion is the Brady case was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back (pun intended). Remember that in addition to the “deflate-gate” loss, the league and its Commissioner also endured the bitter taste of defeat when a former federal judge reduced Ray Rice’s suspension following his domestic abuse charges. Another federal judge overturned Adrian Peterson’s suspension following child abuse accusations. And let’s not forget an independent arbitrator also reduced Goodell’s ruling on Greg Hardy, cutting his suspension time from ten to four games.
Right now the Players’ Association may be loving the kinder, gentler league office. But I will say this – NFL players be careful what you ask for. If this new trend of “looking the other way” continues in the league office, the Wild, Wild West will have nothing on the NFL when it comes to lawlessness. And that’s not good for anybody – either on the field or off.
Look at Me Now
I know it’s now football season in Texas, and I’m as excited as anyone to see my Saturdays and Sundays filled with college and NFL games again. But let’s not forget about that other team playing in Arlington. In what I can only describe as one of the most improbable season turn-arounds I’ve ever witnessed, the Rangers are now….wait for it….in first place.
This was a team that lost 95 games just a year ago, started this season 7-15, were hit by an onslaught of injuries, and had lost their ace Yu Darvish before the season even started. The team was going nowhere fast, but then something strange happened. Prince Fielder started hitting. The call-ups started proving they belonged. Elvis Andrus and Mitch Moreland found their long missing bats. Adrian Beltre got healthy. Jon Daniels overhauled the dismal bullpen and added another ace to the starting rotation. And oh yeah, Jeff Banister showed us all he can manage in this league.
The division leading Astros came to town for a four game series with a scant 1.5 game lead on the Rangers Monday night – something that seemed unthinkable just weeks ago. The Rangers took the first game of the series thanks to a tie-breaking, 8th inning 2-run shot by Prince Fielder. Then last night a back-and-forth tilt ended with a 9th inning Mitch Moreland walk-off sacrifice fly to center (actually it was more of a line drive not that it matters) and just like that the Rangers are in first place. Who woulda thunk it?
Here’s hoping the excitement of first place gets some butts in the seats at Globe Life for the remaining two games of this series and the rest of the season. This team deserves it.