Bryant Gumbel is an uninformed gasbag, take 2
We got on Bryant Gumbel's case
six months ago for idiotic comments he made about how the Winter Olympics shouldn't be watched because it has so few black people that it looks like "a GOP convention." His creative alliteration aside, the man was letting race cloud a non-issue (the only thing black in Wisconsin or Alaska is the ice, Bryant).
Now he's at it again, and this time he has the NFL in his dainty crosshairs. You can take all the shots you want at ice dancers and curlers, but when you take on the nation's most popular league (who, by the way, also happens to be his new employer
), you get steamrolled. This is what he said, via NYTimes
“First of all,” Gumbel advised Goodell, “before he cleans out his office, have Paul Tagliabue show you where he keeps Gene Upshaw’s leash.” He said that by making Upshaw his “personal pet,” Tagliabue kept labor peace “without giving players the kind of guarantees other pros take for granted.”
“Try to make sure no one competent ever replaces Upshaw on your watch,” Gumbel said.
Boy, would that be searing. If he was accurate. As the article points out, he is wrong again.
There are a series of hypocrises about Gumbel already (never says a word about boxing, for one) but we are not going down that road again. We will let former NFL-er Robert Smith take Bryant apart since, quite frankly, none of us are black and Robby took it a place all of us wanted to go but could not in good taste:
"Bryant Gumbel has fallen in recent times,'' Smith (who knows something about far, precipitous falls from grace) told SI.com on Tuesday. "He's desperate to have a respected, national voice again, but the problem is a lot of people aren't listening anymore. So you've got to say something like that to get attention for yourself. But he's misinformed."
Then it gets good...
"He's someone who has been around for a while and has some credibility, but who wants to believe a certain perception. I believe part of it with Gumbel is that Gene is a much more powerful black man than he is. And he's jealous of Gene's power and position. I think Gumbel's even jealous of where his former co-host Katie Couric is, and how she's moved on to a more powerful position and he still hasn't.''
Ho, SNAP! First he called him a failure as a black man, and then he broke out the 'cant-even-keep-up-with-his-little-white-girl-former-co-host'!
Either way, this second gaffe by Gumbel provides us the opportunity to repeat the world's best Gumbel burn, courtest of Family Guy:
Peter: I want to have the kind of father and son relationship that the Gumbels have.
Lois: Peter, the Gumbels are brothers.
Peter: Oh nice Lois, just because they're black we can't learn anything from them?
This week in rhetorical questions...
Does the pope shit in the woods?
We never were very good with those quips. But you get the picture.
Weekly review Weahs are back, back again
As we said, if the leader of the free world can vacate, so can we
. But we return in full force, with the Weahs, as if we didn't miss a beat...Weah to go:
1) John Madden: Inducted into Hall of Fame, and about to be introduced to a whole new set of unsuspecting youngsters on the impending Maddenoliday.
2) Ned Lamont: Where's he stand on other issues? Who cares, he didn't make out with the Prez! (Sporlinote: We may be shocked by his stances if he makes it to Washington. No one that rich is that liberal)
3) Joe Schwarz: Yeah, he lost his primary to a rabid right-winger. But now he will no longer be slapped around by the DeLays of the world and can return to the relatively sane mainstream. Welcome back, Joe.
On the Weah down:
1) Maurice Clarett: His recruit-mate, Santonio Holmes, was a first round pick this spring. Yeah, he got arrested, too. But he still has a spot on the defending champs' squad. Oh, and millionsof dollars.
2) Lieberman/Bush/Cheney: Try to villify Lamont voters as crazy out of touch liberals. Then the 'liberals' go and show that they agree with 60% of Americans, and are against the war.
3) Fidel Castro/Cynthia McKinney: Their constituents are cheering their failures: Fidel's health, and Cynthia's right hook.
The "Take That, Darwin" Award of the Week:
We could give it to Clarett, but that'd be too easy. Ryan Freel takes this one. After making an amazing catch on Albert Pujols this week, he explained that not even his friend Farney could believe it. Oh, and who is Farney? "
He's a little guy who lives in my head who talks to me and I talk to him." He proceeded to describe the entire conversation. We'd transcribe it, but want to keep our collective head from imploding. Read it here
'Cause you never know when you could get tased
It's not that he was arrested (again). Or that he was caught with four weapons -- all loaded -- in his car, presumably in case President Bush immediately shipped him over to Fallujah. Or even that he led police on a car chase before hitting a cruiser. No, the meat was the following
...officers had to use Mace to subdue him.
More? You want MORE? Here is the clincher:
A stun gun was ineffective because the former Fiesta Bowl star was wearing a bullet-resistant vest, Sgt. Michael Woods said.
That's right. Mo Clarett was taken down with old lady spray because his bullet-proof vest shielded him from the taser. Contrary to popular opinion, this proves he is a thinking man.
At least when he's wasted (a half-empty bottle of vodka was found in the car).(photo courtesy of Deadspin)
"We may suck, but I'm telling you, they'll suck more"
The GOP is continuing their election year strategy, and from what we can decipher, it goes a little something like this:We may control the courts, Congress, and the White House. We may have completely botched Iraq, the war on terror, and pretty much anything to do with the economy.BUT: If you elect the other guys, you'll get blowed up.
The latest iteration came courtesy of Ken Mehlman, chairman of the RNC: (via WashPost
Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee, denounced Democratic Party leaders Friday, saying they would "surrender important tools" in the fight against terrorism...
...Mehlman said that if the Democrats win control of Congress in the Nov. 7 midterm elections, party leaders will stop the National Security Agency from eavesdropping on foreign terrorists and will pursue impeachment of the president.
"America faces a critical question," Mehlman said. "Will we elect leaders who recognize we're at war and want to use every tool to win it, or politicians who would surrender important tools we need to win?"
Or should America keep electing fear-mongers?
p.s. - We still say he looks like a donkey. Or Mark Warner.
Turn your head and Kofi
If Hizbollah's name was "al Qaeda," would anyone question Israel's response to their soldiers being captured?
Israel is the democratic pimple on the greater ass of the anti-west, anti-democracy Middle East. Let's not help Kofi and the UN pop it.
(we never were very good with analogies)
Son of a B-sample
Floyd Landis -- the mennonite, hip-fractured, Lance II, super-biker -- had more testosterone
in him during his miraculous stage 17
than a Jason Giambi-Gary Sheffield-Barry Bonds dinner party.
The Tour de France, in tpyical French fashion, showed resilience, grit, and resolve (SIKE) and kicked his ass out immediately. As did his team, Phonak (they're Swiss, so they just don't like trouble either way). As will USA cycling.
But how many people really care? Americans' attention span for the Tour passed two days after it ended, and was briefly revived when Landis' red flag was waved. Landis got his glory -- and well more than his 15 minutes -- weeks ago.
Not many people would have remembered him either way. Now, more will. Which would he rather have?
NCAA finally gets one right
mmm...how we love them sporlitickin' stories...
There has already been a limited ban on championship games in South Carolina because the State House flies the Conferederate flag -- not to mention all those trucks driven by the (game)cocks down there.
According to multiple reports, the NCAA is considering widening the ban
to more sports and more postseason activity. (via Chicago Trib):
The NCAA will consider expanding its ban of championship events in South Carolina, possibly disallowing baseball and football teams from playing host to postseason games, because the Confederate flag is displayed on Statehouse grounds.
Robert Vowels Jr., head of the NCAA's Minority Opportunities and Interest Committee, said his group received a request from the Black Coaches Association about widening the ban. Predetermined postseason events, such as basketball regionals and cross-country championships, are now barred from South Carolina sites.
They may be hypocrites, money-mongers, and a band of idiots. But it appears that even a blind squirrel can find a nut once in a while.
Back from vacation
Hey, if the President can take one each summer while the country's at war (a "short" 10 days
this year), we can, too.
Argentina's secret weapon
(following our recent lookalike theme)
Anyone else notice that Happy Madison was on the field for the 'Tinians yesterday?
Maxi Rodriguez (guess which one he is) ripped a volley into the top left corner to end Mexico's hopes
of moving on to the Elite 8.
He got that penguin and put him back in the zoo, where he belongs.
Watch the goal of the tourney here
It really encapsulates everything we've thought since seeing him for the first time a month or so ago. All this time we had thought his look was patently British. Turns out it's not. It's patently honking-wheelchair-bound-kid.
Funny how we can get the two confused.
Credit goes to these
Oh, Karl, we miss you so much
About a day.
That's how long it took after Karl Rove was not indicted (can we all just keep in mind that "not indicted" is not the same as "not guilty") before the media love-fest resumed
in full force
"Rove sets trap for Democrats"
"Elections are Rove's next test"
"Rove laughs last"
"Rove's plans for 2006"
It's like a precious child coming home from weeks in jail, and the loving mother welcoming him back with open arms (really, that's not much of a stretch).
Holy shit, they really missed him, didn't they?
Oh, and the guy that Cheney shot in the face gave Rove
a $2,000 shotgun. Glorious irony.
World Cup, Week in Review
We've survived the first week. There were beautiful goals (pick an Argentina finish), spectacular saves (T&T's geriatric keeper had a few), and mindboggling mistakes (hey Iran's goalie: next time kick it to your own team). We bring you the week's recap, and can't wait for more...Most surprising team
Ok, we're biased
. But how can you not pick the Soca Warriors
in this spot? First they tie their group's 1-seed, and then fight to the finish against England. T&T
have shown the most heart in the tourney thus far, and can even make the 2nd round still. If they beat Paraguay and England beat Sweden, the Socas are through to the elimination round. (Runners-up: Ecuador and Angola)Most disappointing team
Has to be the Americans
. They had something to prove after their great '02 Copa Mondial, but came out flat. The European fans were salivating to label the Americans as overrated, and the world's #2 team obliged. The Americans must make many corrections
for today's match vs. Italy, or the Azzuri will deliver the knockout blow. (Runners-up: Poland and France)Best Goal:
This one's a tie. The first is individual: Tomas Rosicky's absolute laser that left Kasey Keller -- and the Americans -- deflated and
on their backs. We may go the rest of the Cup without seeing another 35-yarder that pierces the side netting.
The other is team-oriented: In yesterday's steamrolling
by Argentina, Hernan Crespo trapped an entry pass and proceeded to execute the perfect
heel-flick to a streaking Esteban Cambiasso, who finished strongly. We will now take the opportunity to remind you that we picked the 'Tinians
to win it all. (Runners-up: See em all here
.)Best player not named Ronaldinho so far:
Arjen Robben, Netherlands.
He is probably playing even better than the Barca superstar. After completely dominating the Dutch's 1-0 opening win, he set up Ruud's goal that proved to be the game-winner in yesterday's 2-1 triumph over Cote D'Ivoire. No one has been able to corral him thus far, and if he continues like this, the Oranje are to be reckoned with later on.Most disappointing player not named DeMarcus Beasley:
It's a shame, but the Americans could really have 3 or 4 players here. Instead we will go down south and pick one of the world's most talented: Mr. Ronaldo
. The star of the '02 Cup looked fat, tired, out of shape, and disinterested (as Sporlinoted by Brazil's PRESIDENT
). And the Brazilian media let him know it
. Look for him to pick it up next game, or he will be watching the 22-year-old budding star Robinho from the bench.Best team not named Brazil:Argentina
. They put on an aboslute clinic
yesterday against a Serbian squad that looked like they longed for Eastern Europe. Most teams in this tournament will go all 3 games without scoring 6 goals, and the 'Tinians did it in one game. They looked absolutely dominant.
U.S. Soccer, the aftermath
There are many things to be said about the debacle that was today's game. The Czechs just ate the Americans for lunch, there's no other way to say it. We will start with the bad, then the good, and then the lingering questions that Bruce Lee Arena must answer.Bad:
Wow, where to begin...The Yanks came out totally flat. Nearly every publication had deemed them "confident" and other such synonyms, but they seemed to think the world's #2 would bow to them. Talk about a wake-up call. There were some things that are particularly disturbing:
1) Lack of technical play -- There were an inordinate number of miffed traps, poor first touches, and mistimed passes. It was something that is typical either of a) an unskilled team or b) a team with the jitters, neither of which are characterstic of this squad.
2) Total absence of passion -- It seemed that at times, no one was running hard. Claudio Reyna could have been the only player who ran hard the entire game, and even he played below his normal level. They looked lazy, and nowhere were they more punished than...
3) Midfield whitewash -- Pablo, Convey, Claudio, DmB, Donovan, all of them bear a brunt of the blame. They played two of the best midfielders in the world in Rosinky and Nedved, but were thoroughly outplayed and embarassed. Simply unacceptable. And B-Mac showed nothing up top.Positives:
1) First and foremost, those of us who have seen this team play over and over know this was not the real US team. Whether it was overconfidence or jitters or simply being stunned by the steamrolling they took in the opening 10 minutes, the team seemed to find a little confidence around the Reyna posting. This team is very capable of waking up and taking out some anger on Italia.
2) The tournament is not yet over. There is a huge hill to climb, but not impossible. Our destiny is still in our hands. If we win the next 2, we are in.
3) Brazil is the only team better than the one we played today. We came out flat; at least it was against a team we would have had a hard time against anyway. It would have been devastating had we lost to Ghana in the opener because we were flat.
4) Some players showed up, most notably Johnny O and Gooch (pictured). Johnny O will be starting -- or at least better be -- and Gooch played well enough, including most headers and some ground tackles as well.
5) We did not sleep our way to the #5 ranking in the world. We know we sound like Stuart Smiley, but we ARE good enough, gosh darnit.Lingering questions:
1) Most important: Who plays right midfield? DmB could not have been more out of place. But if you move him over, you take out someone (Convey) who has played much
better than DmB in 2006. DmB possesses more ability than Convey, but if he is going to mail it in, you may as well have Bobby on the left. So who plays right mid? Move up Cherundolo and play Boca in the back? Put Landon out there and have others (Johnny O?) in the middle?
2) Who plays striker? We all know that Bruce loves B-mac. But if the ball is not served to him, he has trouble creating. Eddie Johnson showed some flare in the last 20 minutes but is also maddeningly inconsistent. We do not envy Bruce right now, but this is why he is the coach. We would have Eddie and B-mac up top, with Convey (or DmB, not even we can take a stand), Claudio, Johnny O, and Landon in the midfield.
3) How do the Americans bounce back? Do they come out and blow the doors off the place on Saturday? Or does Italy put in a quick one, fall back into their famous defensive cocoon, and crush our dreams? Only time will tell...
All we know for sure is that we waited 4 years for this, sat through all weather to see our team, and now are supremely disappointed. It shows how truly difficult this tournament is. But it is NOT over. We have at least 2 games left, and cannot wait to lie to our workplaces to be able to watch the Ghana game live.
3 things are certain in life: death, taxes, and the GOP will raise more money than the Democrats. It's the way things always have been; Republicans are generally richer and more generous than Democrats.
But the lead story in the Sunday WashPost is -- make sure you're sitting down -- the following:
"Democrats Closing Fundraising Gap with Republicans"
Dr. Howie was roundly criticized (something he is getting quite used to
) for not hauling in enough cash in his first few months. Since then, however, the Dems are closing the enormous fundraising gap that has existed for years in politics: (via WashPost
A surge in small, individual contributions is lifting Democratic campaigns this year and is helping close a Republican fundraising advantage that has existed for years in national politics, according to Federal Election Commission data.
Democratic House and Senate candidates and their two major campaign committees are enjoying stronger grass-roots support than at any time since the GOP took over both chambers of Congress in the 1994 elections, according to strategists from both parties who have reviewed the most recent FEC data released this spring.
It's not particularly surprising that the GOP is suffering from a lack of donations. They have infuriated their base by increasing the size of government, unsuccessful nation-building, and a nightmarish increase in spending. The true surprise is that the Dems are raising more cash.
We've never been the type to credit the blogosphere for more than increasing awareness. But this "increase in small donations" has Howie and Joe Trippi's internet fingerprints all over it. Just another reason for the GOP to be scared heading into November.
Every year we hear harping about how weak
CONCACAF -- the group out of which we get the U.S., Mexico, and others -- is. Well Trinidad and Tobago, the last CONCACAF team in the tournament and the smallest country EVER to qualify, shocked the world yesterday.They tied
the 1-seed in their group, perennial power Sweden. The Soca Warriors (as T&T is known over here in the West) showed serious heart as they played with their backup, 37-year-old keeper AND were down a man for almost the entire second half.
The jubiliation at the end of the match, and from the few T&T fans in the crowd, reminded us what this tournament is all about. CONCACAF pride!
(Belated) World Cup Preview
Yeah, yeah. We know it's late. But the weather has just been too nice lately...
Everyone knows about Brazil, and nearly all have picked them to repeat as champions. However, after much pow-wowing, we have made an underdog pick to win it all. Which we will get to later. First, our 5 players to watch and our preview of the USA bracket (aka Group of Death):Five Players to Watch:
Peter Crouch, England: With the broken metatarsal of 20-year-old wunderkind Wayne Rooney healing gingerly, Crouch has stepped it up. He had a hat trick in the Empire's final tune-up and his imposing 6-7 frame creates a Twins-like team with diminutive Michael Owen (who looks nothing like Danny Devito, while Crouch does slightly resemble the governator).
Kasey Keller, U.S.A.: All questions have surrounded Claudio Reyna's hammy and who Bruce Arena will start at striker, and all seem to be content with calling Keller one of the best GKs in the world. Lest we forget, though, that had Brad Friedel not been a brick wall in 2002, the US would not have advanced. Keller needs to play up to the hype, or the Yanks could be heading home after 3.
Thierry Henry, France: Widely considered the world's best striker (yes, even better than Ronaldo) but scored bubkus in 2002 as the French -- defending champs -- were shut out and sent home early. His magical left foot must find the back of the net and, if it does, the field could be in trouble.
Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine: The boys from Kyev are not especially dangerous on their own, but this Chelsea sniper strikes fear in the hearts of all opponents. He is a young star in England and hit the penalty that won the Champions League in 2003. Andriy may surprise some and carry Ukraine on to the knockout round, but let's just hope the Ukraine does not have
the same "rules" that the Brazilians have about being with your wives in the Cup. His wife is smokin' hot American model Kristen Pazik (picture).Ronaldinho, Brazil
: Simply the best. This will be the Cup where he vaults himself into the ever so selective pantheon of Pele and Maradona. There are highlight videos all over the internet; catch some
if you can. He is the man that the world most enjoys watching and there is not one player who has more fun playing the game -- witness the enormous bucktoothed smile perpetually on his face. Take off work and watch the Brazilians play; he will embarass at least 2 players per game
.Group of Death:
OK, we'll say it now and get it out of the way. The U.S. will be hard-pressed to advance, and we are not sure that they can do it. You have to assume that the Czechs, the world's 2nd-ranked team, will advance (even with AC striker Milan Baros injured
The real fight will be for the second spot. The Italians
are weaker than in years past but once they get a lead, it's all over. They bring nearly everyone back into the box and shut it down. And Ghana
-- the youngest team in the whole tournament -- could be the dark horse. African nations have made some serious noise in years past, and Ghana is widely considered the best African nation this year.
Our prediction? Ghana will upset at least one of the three teams and throw the whole group into a tailspin. However, we think that the Czechs will emerge as the class of the division and Italy will survive (beat the Yanks and tie the Czechs). We certainly hope we are wrong. And hey, anything can happen: the whole world "knew" Portugal would walk all over the U.S. in 2002...The Champs:
We are going to go away from conventional wisdom. If the Brazilians coast through the tournament there will be little surprise. However, they are ripe for the picking. Their weakness remains their defense (or lack thereof) and it only takes one to beat them in the knockout round. That team will be...Argentina
. If one team is going to knock off Brazil, it is going to be someone that is familiar with them. This fellow South American nation (albeit with a disappointing 2-1 start against Cote D'Ivoire yesterday) could be the team. They play excellent defense and are led by the dangerous Hernan Crespo up top. If they make it to Brazil, watch out.
Eh, who are we kidding. The Brazilians will probably win. Just enjoy them embarassing all the other teams.
Weah Weeklies, 6.4 edition
Ah yes, it's everyone's favorite time again. The Weahs
(how appropriate, we honor a soccer superstar on a week the Copa Mondial gets underway)...Weah to go...
: Not "us" as in your loyal local Sporlifriends. "Us" as in "the world," because we are blessed with the World Cup
starting this Friday (our preview to come).
2) Anyone who thinks gay people should suffer the same fate as straight people
: Pres. Bush will lend his support to an anti-gay marriage
Senate bill that is already doomed to fail this week. His endorsement is like throwing an anchor through a sinking ship.
Franchises each make their first-ever appearances in the NBA Finals. Pro: we get to hear more of Avery "squeaky" Johnson. Con: We have to endure more Mark Cuban.On the Weah down...
: Congrats, Croats. Your reward for making the Cup is having the entire world watch your opener v. Brazil. Just don't let Ronaldinho fake you out of your shorts.
2) Steve Nash:
Reigning 2-time MVP has to watch his old mates stomp him on the way to the Finals. That has to hurt.
3) Dick Cheney: Lost a fight to a woman
. (more specifically: apparently lost out in the argument with Condi Rice, as Dubya chose the more diplomatic route with Iran...but it sounds better the way we said it)The "Take that, Darwin" award of the week:
The inimitable Bruce Arena, coach of the US Soccer Team. The man is brilliant and (often) disarmingly funny, but did he have to make his first quote in Germany:
"We'll just go ahead and be dumb Americans
In fairness, it was in response to criticism for letting his players sleep with their wives during the Cup. But still...
NHL Finals Preview
Maybe it's because of that whole lockout boondoggle. Maybe it's because the games are shown on the same network as "Babe Winkleman: Costa Rica Madness
." But it's probably because we just have better things to do.
Either way, no one watches the NHL anymore. We caught a few games here and there, but not nearly enough to make an educated procrastination on this week's series. Besides, there's something antithetical about hockey in June. So with that, we present our completely unscientific, unresearched, and otherwise uncredible "prediction" for the Finals: Carolina in 6.
Games 1 and 2: Carolina coasts in Game 1, aided by the Oilers distraction of a) the Hurricanes' cheerleaders and b)Rod Brind'Amour's schnozz. But the Oilers recover in Game 2 behind the power of Chris Pronger and the Barishnikov-ing of Sergei Samsonov.
Game 3: The Oilers take the momentum from Game 2 and blow out the Canes behind hat tricks from Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier -- they still play for the Oilers, right?
Games 4-6: The Canes have had enough. They invoke the power of the great Hartford Whalers and win going away. Besides, the Oilers' goalie's name is Dwayne. There's no way they can win.
I'm not proud of it, but it helped me out of many a jam!
Rest easy, America. The "Harry Caray Bandit" has been nabbed.
The man who has been terrorizing/tickling nostalgic/depressed Cubbies fans for months was caught in Indiana yesterday. He had been robbing bank tellers while wearing...well...we'll let the Tribune tell the rest:
Guillermo Rivera has been charged with making off with $2,000 on March 29 from the Palos Bank and Trust in Palos Heights.
At the time, police said the robber, decked out in oversized glasses, a baseball cap and perhaps a wig, resembled the late Cubs broadcaster.
The FBI later changed the moniker to the "10-Second Bandit" because he repeatedly demanded that tellers hand over cash "in 10 seconds."
There was no report on whether the bandit was found hallucinating that he was a hot dog.