Boxing gets a one-two punch in national exposure this week with two big stories. First, Floyd Mayweather JR will take on Manny Pacquiao on May 2nd to decide who is the pound for pound best fighter of their generation. Then Premier Boxing Champions put together by Al Haymon has made deals with NBC, ABC/ESPN and CBS to put fight cards on free television. Boxing was a staple of network television going all the way back to the 1950’s and some of Muhammad Ali fights were showing on ABC plus some were on prime time. Some of the fighters like Adrien Broner will get the chance to show his skills in front of prime time audience. Also some of the fights will be shown on NBCSN and Spike and there will be cross promotion for Spike/CBS for their fights and the fights on Showtime. If the fights on free television are worth the ratings it could restart the fan base for boxing. As far the Mayweather VS Pacquiao fight the MGM Grand is already sold out and the hotel rooms has been booked ahead of time. The only problem I have with the fight is that it should have been done six years ago.
While Joey Logano made his mark with win the Daytona 500 another NASCAR driver made news for all of the wrong reasons. Kurt Busch was suspended indefinitely for his alleged assault on his former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll outside of his motor home during the fall race at Dover International Speedway. The Delaware family court had a public hearing for a protection from abuse order that prohibited Busch with any contact with Driscoll. Driscoll who runs a non-profit charity, the Armed Forces Foundation with a high-profile presence at NASCAR events. During the four court dates that lasted for three months Busch called her an assassin, but Driscoll called him an alcoholic with a temper problem. NASCAR waited for the investigation to be completed before any discipline would be considered. Last Friday, Four days after the protection order was awarded to Driscoll there was a ruling by Commissioner David W. Jones. Jones entered the court’s opinion that it finds that Busch would engage in future acts of domestic violence against Driscoll. Friday evening NASCAR announced that Busch was suspended indefinitely, and his sponsor Chevrolet did the same thing. I agreed with NASCAR’s decision, and they waiting for due process and unlike the NFL and NBA that have jumped to conclusions in the past year. He made an appeal on Saturday, but it was denied. Busch’s career in NASCAR could be over because of his behavior. NASCAR is driven by sponsors and no one would sponsor him right now. Busch’s off track behavior in the past with reporters, talking to his car owner over the radio has gotten him suspended and released from two different race teams. Now this suspension could last the 2015 season, and the rest of his racing career.
I remember Tony Dorsett has a Hall of Fame career as a running back for the Dallas Cowboys, but before that he won the Heisman Trophy and led the The Pitt to the 1976 College Football National title. In 2013, Dorsett went public that he has CTE and, during a recent interview with a Dallas radio station he didn’t know that the end was going to be like this. Dorsett is dealing with memory issues and depression, but is being pro active in handling this issue. Dorsett wants to fight this the same way he took on tacklers, and encourages people to be proactive in looking for the signs of head trauma. He is not looking for any money from the NFL, but want his case to stand on his own merits. Tony Dorsett is going to fight this with everything he has and maybe help some people be proactive with brain injuries.
The only thing that bothered me about the NBC Super Bowl pre game show was Roger Goodell didn’t talk to Bob Costas. Goodell talked about be accessible to the media, but he didn’t talk to anyone. Commissioner Goodell during his state of the NFL address was very rude to CNN’s Rachel Nichols who asked about a conflict of interest with Ted Wells who was investigating deflategate involving the New England Patriots. Late September, Nichols also questioned Goodell during the press conference talking about Ray Rice punishment for domestic violence. Goodell is not doing right being the NFL Commissioner.
1. He is not taking the concussion issue seriously, and even with the settlement with former players they are not researching the cause of concussions (CTE), the improvements in helmet equipment, and trying to make the game safer.
2. He should take the lead in domestic violence and other off the field issues such as DUI, drugs, and weapons charges try to have more symposiums on these issues not only for rookies but for veterans. More education on all off the field problems. Have heavy punishments for off the field problems, and send a message bad behavior will not be tolerated.
3. Be man of action and not reaction due the NFLPA filing grievances for any decision the Commissioner makes. NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith talked about waiting for due process from the courts. The Commissioner should not have to wait for the courts to dish out punishment.
Commissioner Goodell should hold NFL players and himself to high standards of behavior and try to do the right thing. The right thing to do is clean up the off the field problems and taking the concussion issue seriously. If he doesn’t he might be out of a job real soon.
Chicago has been a city that deal with corruption whether it is during the probation era of the 1920s to politics of Richard J. Daley in the 1960s when he was mayor. Jackie Robinson West was the first all African-American team to reach the Little World Series title game. They lost to South Korea in the title game, and was the best story coming out of the series. However, they were forced to vacate all of their wins, and give the U.S. title to a team from Las Vegas violating residency rules. Their investigation showed they used an inaccurate boundary map and used players from other districts in the state of Illinois to build a super team. Darold Butler, the team’s manager was suspended from Little League activity, and Illinois District 4 Administrator Michael Kelly was removed from his post. It is a shame that kids are getting punished for the actions of adults who put winning above what youth sports is supposed to be about and that is teamwork, sportsmanship, working together and fair play,
Jerry Tarkanian was winning basketball games at Long Beach State, UNLV, and Fresno State, but was fighting the NCAA about its rules. He believed in giving players second chances, and that got him in trouble with the schools and the NCAA. He won a suit against them and a National Title with the UNLV Running Rebels in 1990, plus led them to 4 Final Four appearances. He called them out for being hypocrites, and he was a lovable rogue who hate the establishment that is the NCAA. His teams won a lot and sold out the Thomas and Mack Center with celebrities in the front row. His fast pace offense was ahead of its time, and finally inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013. His tenure in Vegas in 1992 when some of his players where in a hot tube with a sports fixer, and the team was on probation at the time. Tarkanian even with all of his success fought against the NCAA to end of his career in 2002. Today, Tarkanian passed away at age 84 and will always have a place in college basketball history.
There was no doubt in my mind that Jerome Bettis was going into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was elected the Saturday night before the Super Bowl. His statistics were good enough to get, but he had to wait for Marshall Faulk and Curtis Martin to get in before him. Writers for years had advocating him to get in, but it was not until this year that it happened. I had the privilege of meeting him at Monroeville Mall when his book came out and he was nice individual. Later on this year I will go to Canton,Ohio and go the Hall of Fame, and look at his bust plus remembering all of his accomplishments.
On Sunday, Dean Smith died at 85 and he won 879 games and two National Championships as the head coach of North Carolina from 1961 to 1997. However, he was more than a basketball coach, but someone who spoke out against the death penalty, build up of nuclear weapons, the Vietnam war, and in his own way fought for civil rights. He went with a preacher to the restaurant where his team ate, and got them to serve blacks. He was an innovator using the four corners and the NCAA put in a shot clock. He was able to get great players like Sam Perkins, James Worthy, and Michael Jordan and got them to play the Carolina Way. He was in 11 Final Fours, graduated 90% of his players, and had no scandals. Dean Smith didn’t see any publicity for his accomplishments because he was doing what a good person is supposed to do. Near the end of his life he was suffering from dementia and the great memory that he once had been gone. However the memories of his career and life will never fade away.
Tonight’s finish to the Super Bowl was amazing in a game that was epic from start to finish. In the first quarter it was scoreless, and then both teams scored 14 points for a tie game at halftime. Seattle took control of the game going into the 4th quarter leading 24 to 14. Tom Brady showed why he is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time by leading the Patriots to 28 to 24 leading late in the 4th quarter. The Seahawks were driving down the field for the winning touchdown. Jermaine Kearse made an incredible catch down to the goal line. Then a call that will haunt fans in the Pacific Northwest for a long time. Instead of giving the ball to Marshawn Lynch they threw a pass that was intercepted by Malcolm Butler. That was one of the worse play calls in a long time, and that gave the New England Patriots their 4th Super Bowl title in the past 14 seasons. Tom Brady was named Super Bowl MVP for the 3rd time with a great performance throwing for 328 yards and 4 touchdowns. Bill Belichick is now tied with Chuck Noll with 4 Super Bowl titles, and no matter what happens with deflategate they are both Hall of Famers.