NFL facing major test of credibility, ethics

Mike Webster of the Pittsburgh Steelers

Mike Webster of the Pittsburgh Steelers

In 1970, when the U.S. Air Force transferred my Dad and our family to the Pittsburgh area, it didn’t take me long at all to become a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fan. I’ve remained a stalwart lover of the black and gold ever since.

It wasn’t easy at first, because back then the Steelers were terrible. They went 1-13 in 1969 and 5-9 in 1970. But eventually, with a brutal defense led by men such as “Mean Joe” Greene and my personal favorite, a hard-bitten linebacker by the name of Jack Lambert, they turned it around. By the end of the ’70s, the Steelers had won four Super Bowls in a six-year period, becoming in my mind the greatest football team of the modern era. And they did it by being tough.

The center of that team, literally and in some ways figuratively, was a man named Mike Webster, now in the NFL Hall of Fame. Webster was as tough as they come, playing in 150 consecutive games at one of the most physically draining positions in the game. But what none of us knew for a long time was that “Iron Mike” was paying a very stiff price for our entertainment.

Once he left the game, he suffered from serious dementia and other symptoms of brain damage. He found he could no longer function socially. He went into isolation, refusing help or even contact with his former teammates. After his death in 2002 at the age of 50, an autopsy determined that Webster suffered chronic traumatic encephalopathy — in plain talk, serious brain damage caused by repeated multiple blows to the head.

And it was far from an isolated case. Webster was one of the first on what has become a dismayingly long list of players — a list of hundreds, perhaps thousands — to be suspected of suffering such damage.

For years, though, the National Football League and even its players union refused to admit the problem existed. It fought claims by Webster’s heirs that he had been disabled by his years in the trenches, a battle that the league eventually lost in court. Even after that loss, the NFL continued to turn a stoically blind eye to conclusive medical evidence of serious, trauma-induced brain damage in player after player. When it grudgingly changed its rules to protect its quarterbacks, it did so less to protect their health than to keep its most marketable, expensive commodities on the field.

But the quiet carnage continued.

Just last year Dave Duerson, a one-time defensive star for the Chicago Bears who was suffering from mental-health issues, committed suicide by putting a bullet through his chest. In a text message to his family, he told them that he did so to preserve his brain as evidence of what a career in the NFL had done to him.

An autopsy confirmed Duerson’s self-diagnosis: chronic traumatic encephalopathy, same as Webster and others.

“The pathology was severe in areas of the brain that influence impulse control, inhibition, emotion and memory,” Dr. Ann McKee, a Boston neurologist said after studying Duerson’s brain tissue.

That echoed the sad path of Shane Dronett, who helped lead the Atlanta Falcons defense to Super Bowl XXXIII, the highlight of the Falcons’ franchise to date. After struggling with mental-health problems, Dronett committed suicide in 2009 at the age of 38. He too was diagnosed post-mortem with chronic traumatic encephalopathy. (While symptoms of the condition are well-known, its presence can be confirmed only by autopsy.)

As a result, as many as several hundred former NFL players are now listed as having filed suit, charging negligence among other things and seeking damages from the hugely profitable league. Dronett’s estate is among those listed as suing, as are Tommy Nobis, the Falcons’ first-ever draft choice and star, and longtime Falcons Fulton Kuykendall and Lester Archambeau.

Under immense legal, political and medical pressure, the NFL has belatedly responded. In recent seasons it has begun to change its rules to better protect its players, fining players who violate those rules and most importantly treating concussions much more seriously. On the surface, at least, things seemed to be changing a bit.

Then came the New Orleans Saints scandal. Just last month, we learned that Saints coaches had long run an unofficial bounty system, paying defensive players to target, disable and maim particular players on the opposing team. The NFL responded to the discovery appropriately, suspending the Saints’ head coach for a year and the defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, indefinitely.

Last weekend, however, things got worse when a tape recording was released of a locker-room “pep talk” by Williams prior to the NFC championship game between the Saints and the San Francisco 49ers in January 2012. (The profanity-filled tape is available in its entirety here.)

In the tape, Williams pointed out to his defensive players that a particular 49ers receiver had recently suffered a concussion and “we need to (expletive) put a lick on him right now.”

He directed them to attack another player’s knee ligament, and told his players to concentrate on hitting the opponents’ heads at every opportunity.

“We’re gonna dominate the line of scrimmage and we’re gonna kill the (expletive) head,” he told his team. “Every single one of you, before you get off the pile, affect the head. Early. Affect the head. Continue, touch and hit the head.”

“Kill the head and the body will die. Kill the head and the body will die,” he reminds them again. “We’ve got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill (running back) Frank Gore’s head.”

The reaction to the tape has been interesting. Some players, former and current, have claimed to be shocked by it. Others, however, shrug and wonder what the fuss is all about. As former 49ers lineman and NFL analyst Randy Cross tweeted:

“NFL Media Nanny State up in arms about FB coach espousing violent behavior. U people r clueless about the game.”

Yeah, maybe so. Maybe we are, or used to be, clueless and willfully naive, just as the league itself had been willfully clueless and naive for so long. But that’s no longer the case for those of us willing to see.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has taken the Saints controversy seriously, handing down appropriately severe punishments. But it’s also important that the Saints franchise, Williams and suspended head coach Sean Payton aren’t made the scapegoats for a problem that clearly runs much deeper.

The real scandal isn’t that one team took things too far, because the overwhelming medical and scientific evidence tells us that the entire sport has taken things too far and has done so for decades. The scandal is that even when played by the rules, the game destroys those who play it, those whom fans like me celebrate and cheer on. And that has to be changed if the sport is to continue to thrive. It has become much more difficult to watch and root knowing what a high human price is being paid for mere entertainment.

This is a far more serious issue than the steroid era in baseball, because it goes to the core of how football is played and taught and refereed. And it says a lot about human nature that some people who were justifiably horrified by the Michael Vick dogfighting scandal — “how could he do that just for sport!?” — are willing to tolerate permanent, debilitating, life-ruining head injuries among fellow human beings for the sake of a different sport.

– Jay Bookman

299 comments Add your comment

Oscar

April 10th, 2012
12:48 pm

Soccer cant be more boring than watching three yards and a cloud of dust all aftenoon with nothing but a couple of field goals. Final score 3-0. or 6-3/ Or 9-6. Wow.

Beverly Fraud

April 10th, 2012
12:48 pm

But here’s the thing Jay? Can the NFL be “serious” about player safety and at the SAME time, push forward, in search of maximizing profits at the expense of players’ long term health, for an 18 game season?

middle of the road

April 10th, 2012
12:49 pm

They have new rules in boxing now that prohibit hitting the opponent. They just swing at each other now.

Joe Hussein Mama

April 10th, 2012
12:49 pm

Oscar — “When Bob Horner played in Japan, they never threw him a ball over the plate, and the umpires always called whatever the pitcher threw him a stike. Didn’t want some hot shot American boy hitting a lot of home runs. He only played one year there and said it almost drove him crazy.”

Everything I’ve ever read about Japanese pro baseball (and the games I’ve watched on satellite) seem to indicate that Japanese players have a *completely* different philosophy and mindset from American players. And the players I’ve seen/heard speak of their experience over there support that impression.

I’m sure the Japanese fans like it, but I go for American-style ball.

stands for decibels

April 10th, 2012
12:50 pm

the woeful Mets

that’s “the 4-0 undefeated Mets” to you, buddy.

(you can throw in something about Bernie Maddoff in there if’ you like, of course.)

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
12:50 pm

And don’t listen to that four-months-salary bulldada from the diamond industry; get what looks good and what she likes, not what some commission-seeking salesman is pushing on you.

These days I think they’re pushing the 2 carat diamonds as being “standard”. I’m a fan of the oval shape, which PB likes as well. Of course, I could easily see us dumping the diamond in favor of a month-long round-the-globe trip. Experiences mean more to me than objects.

Thulsa Doom

April 10th, 2012
12:52 pm

godless heathen, jm,

I can’t watch everyday soccer or even English premier league. Too boring for me. But when the good national teams play I can’t get enough of that. Argentina vs Brazil, England v Germany, Spain vs Portugal. Come on man. That’s good stuff and its never 0-0 with those caliber teams playing. And the excitement of entire nations watching in anticipation. Give it a try when the next world cup comes around again.

JamVet

April 10th, 2012
12:52 pm

One of the great baseball movies was Mr. Baseball.

“I don’t believe this. What’s next? Somebody is going to tell me how to take a cr*p?”

JamVet

April 10th, 2012
12:53 pm

stands, you’re a Mets fan?!

Oh noes…

Brosephus™

April 10th, 2012
12:54 pm

that’s “the 4-0 undefeated Mets” to you, buddy.

Being that, they still S-U-C-K!! As does any other sports franchise from New York, except the Islanders. :)

Finn McCool (Class Warfare === Stopping Rich People from TAKING MORE of OUR MONEY)

April 10th, 2012
12:54 pm

Just wow….

PIPA’s study of misinformation in the 2010 election didn’t just show that Fox News viewers were more misinformed than viewers of other channels. It also showed that watching more Fox made believing in nine separate political misperceptions more likely. And that was a unique effect, unlike any observed with the other news channels that were studied. “With all of the other media outlets, the more exposed you were, the less likely you were to have misinformation,” explains PIPA’s director, political psychologist Steven Kull. “While with Fox, the more exposure you had, in most cases, the more misinformation you had. And that is really, in a way, the most powerful factor, because it strongly suggests they were actually getting the information from Fox.”

getalife

April 10th, 2012
12:55 pm

And the Giants.

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
12:55 pm

Some more 3DG for all of the twisted minds on this blog:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lL2ZwXj1tXM&ob=av3e

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
12:56 pm

One of the great baseball movies was Mr. Baseball.

Gotta throw in a nod toward Mr. 3000. Bernie Mac rocked that role.

Oscar

April 10th, 2012
12:56 pm

In 1996, I saw the soccer game for the bronze cup in Athens. Very exicting game. The players had size and speed. Nothing boring about it.

Thulsa Doom

April 10th, 2012
12:56 pm

Bruno,

Get a cheaper diamond, frugal wedding, and spend the real dough on that month long trip that you will remember forever. And then get a bigger, nicer diamond later on.

I just went to a wedding last month where both were on their 2nd marriage. This was about as cheap a wedding as you’ve ever seen. Pretty low end. But they were happy, they didn’t care, and they went to Hawaii for almost 2 weeks in lieu of spending a pile of dough on plants, a bar, and a band for a wedding, invitations, professional photographer, and all that other stuff. They just got back last week and damn if they weren’t happy to have been in Hawaii then to have a little fancier wedding for one day.

Oscar

April 10th, 2012
12:57 pm

Momms, don’t let your babies grow up to play football.
Lettem play soccer, and baseball and such.

Mary Elizabeth

April 10th, 2012
12:59 pm

Here is part of that “more in depth reflection” regarding competition and cooperation:

“It has taken my entering into the last third of my life for me finally to understand how, as you say, everything is interconnected, and not only all people, but everything. I have believed that all people are interconnected for as far back as I can remember in my life, but as I have aged, I am coming to understand that that interconnectedness involves everything in existence. When we finally ‘get’ that reality, competition does seem rather absurd, and cooperation seems to be more in tune with the spiritual order of the universe. Since we now know that matter and energy are actually one and the same in essence, then all we embrace, both living and nonliving, must be one with us. With that understanding, then, competition appears to go against nature, in its core element. Just as the hand and the foot are different parts of the same body but are not in competition with each another, so also, they both cooperate with one another, in their differences, to enhance the overall quality and effectiveness of the same body.”
============================================

Thulsa, I hear what you are saying and I concur, in part, with what you write regarding the need for individual liberty, but I believe that there must be a balance between individual liberty and the common good for all, just as there must be a balance between “fair trial” and “free press.” (Not to encourage debate on this, but just to clarify my thinking for you and others.)

And Doggone, I agree with you that not only competition and cooperation, but few things, exist that are all or nothing. Do read my link if you have time. I think you might enjoy it.

getalife

April 10th, 2012
1:00 pm

When is the bachelor party Bruno?

Cheetah III still open?

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
1:02 pm

I’m not going to rest until we get the Bookman wedding song up here. I still think if we get Jay drunk enough one night, he’ll spill the beans.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAopfbrEs1Y

stands for decibels

April 10th, 2012
1:02 pm

Being that, they still S-U-C-K!!

oh, for sure. On so many levels. But I’m still dancin’ with the one I brung, so to speak.

Thulsa Doom

April 10th, 2012
1:04 pm

“Final score 3-0. or 6-3/ Or 9-6. Wow.’

Oscar,

To be fair how often do you see that? The only lowscoring game under 10 pts that I can think of was the 9-6 game bama and LSU played in the regular season. And even then the game had huge plays that were very exciting- a goal line stand, an interception on the goal line, etc. The same number of actual scores as a 3-2 baseball game or a 3-2 soccer game. People who appreciate great defense appreciate that kind of a game as opposed to an offensive game like 42-38 where it usually just comes down to who has the ball last. Now that to me is boring.

stands for decibels

April 10th, 2012
1:04 pm

I’m not going to rest until we get the Bookman wedding song up here

Did anyone ask him if it was that Chicago crime against humanity I’d linked to earlier?

Brosephus™

April 10th, 2012
1:05 pm

dB

Can’t help it. That’s just my knee jerk response to all sports teams from the NY area. In reality, they may not suck, but from my perspective, that’s all they do. :)

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
1:07 pm

as I have aged, I am coming to understand that that interconnectedness involves everything in existence. When we finally ‘get’ that reality, competition does seem rather absurd, and cooperation seems to be more in tune with the spiritual order of the universe.

ME–Please try to explain that to the chicken or cow that you ate last night for dinner.

As for me, I am now “interconnected” with a nice lobster.

Thulsa Doom

April 10th, 2012
1:12 pm

Mary E.,

I hear ya and that was quite an eloquent statement on the difference between cooperation and competition. And I liked it a lot. Its just that its more flowery and idealistic this concept of cooperation than it is realistic. Here on Earth competition is what will rule the day and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Healthy competition is a good thing and its what enables us to enjoy substantial material comfort and wealth and the leisure time that allows us to reflect on things such as this. I suspect that in Heaven that cooperation and love as opposed to competition will be the order of things. We’re just not there yet.

Union

April 10th, 2012
1:13 pm

soccer.. not so much fun.. the hooligans after the game.. are nuts..

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
1:13 pm

When is the bachelor party Bruno?

I thought we might bring the party to you down in the Big Easy, getalife.

Cheetah III still open?

The last time I went to a strip bar, my house got robbed. Karma can be a B sometimes.

Did anyone ask him if it was that Chicago crime against humanity I’d linked to earlier?

Hey, I like that song!! Anyway, Jay indicated that it was something truly embarassing, ala Barry Manilow.

kayaker 71

April 10th, 2012
1:15 pm

Roger Staubach, while playing for Dallas early on, threw a pass in the second quarter and was hit and knocked to the ground. He took awhile getting up but insisted on continuing. The team went to the locker room at the half then played two more quarters with Staubach at QB. They won the game. He took a shower and his wife drove him home from the game. At an intersection, while waiting for a red light, he looked at his wife and asked her where they were. He didn’t remember anything after the hit until waiting at that stop sign. This was one of three concussions that he suffered. He retired shortly after. I wonder how many other players suffer similar experiences.

JamVet

April 10th, 2012
1:15 pm

If you guys are gonna go cheesy, at least make it good cheese…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMaojBogT34&feature=related

Finn McCool (Class Warfare === Stopping Rich People from TAKING MORE of OUR MONEY)

April 10th, 2012
1:16 pm

That is why I have parental controls turned on for Fox News.

“Watch all the violence you want, son…but don’t let me catch you on channel 43″

Oscar

April 10th, 2012
1:18 pm

Thulsa Doom

To be fair

________

To be fair? what’s fair in football. We are talking about a game where the object if to knock the other player out of the game, break some of his bones, give him a concussion so that he can’t play.. Don’t see fair as part of the equasion.

stands for decibels

April 10th, 2012
1:21 pm

Jay indicated that it was something truly embarassing

Different strokes and all that, but IMHO the first six or seven bars of “Colour My World” should send any red-blooded American into this kind of rage.

Mary Elizabeth

April 10th, 2012
1:23 pm

Mick, before I must leave, I wanted to mention to you that your football coach, though giving sound advice for the playing of football, was nevertheless dividing people into only two categories – winners and losers. But that was his role and what he is supposed to be about. That is why I believe we are better served by formulating our life’s philosophy in ways other than from stark dichotomies or stereotypes.

For instance, in life – not necessarily in football – might it not be better to “make things happen” at times and at other times to “let things happen.” Moreover, it is in the knowing of when to exercise each that is wisdom.

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
1:26 pm

Jefferson

April 10th, 2012
1:27 pm

Mary E, rather that winners and losers you could call them bowling balls and bowling pins….

stands for decibels

April 10th, 2012
1:28 pm

He didn’t remember anything after the hit until waiting at that stop sign.

reminds me…

http://www.npr.org/2012/04/06/150059218/behind-the-plate-a-baseball-catcher-tells-all?ft=1&f=13

really good interview with Brad Ausmus about catching in the bigs. He shares a story about a collision at the plate, wherein he’d actually lost consciousness for 5-10 seconds. He still was credited with a putout since he didn’t drop the ball, and oh yeah, the pitcher who was covering home, had to take the ball from him, since there was still a runner at first to hold at bay.

Or so he was told.

Oscar

April 10th, 2012
1:28 pm

Thulsa Doom

April 10th, 2012
1:04 pm
“Final score 3-0. or 6-3/ Or 9-6. Wow.’

Oscar,

To be fair how often do you see that? The only lowscoring game under 10 pts that I can think of was the 9-6 game bama and LSU played in the regular season. And even then the game had huge plays that were very exciting- a goal line stand, an interception on the goal line, etc. The same number of actual scores as a 3-2 baseball game or a 3-2 soccer game. People who appreciate great defense appreciate that kind of a game as opposed to an offensive game like 42-38 where it usually just comes down to who has the ball last. Now that to me is boring.

______

True, and I agree with you. And the same thing is true for soccer. It’s not always just about the scoring for those that appreciate the playing of the game.

Reminds me of the story of two ladies who came to a baseball game late in the fouth inning. They saw the score was 0-0 and one said, good at least we did not miss anything.

Kamchak ~ Thug from the Steppes

April 10th, 2012
1:30 pm

In 1996, I saw the soccer game for the bronze cup in Athens.

I was at that game also. And the gold medal game. The only two events I went to during the ‘96 Olympics.

JamVet

April 10th, 2012
1:34 pm

Reminds me of the story of two ladies who came to a baseball game late in the fouth inning. They saw the score was 0-0 and one said, good at least we did not miss anything.

Now thass funny.

Unlike B’s 1:26. (grin)

Raise the mound, move and raise those fences back to man-sized dimensions, get rid of the DH abomination and waterboard umpires who wanna make the strike zone their own pet project.

Oh, and no garbage indoor stadiums with fake grass like Tropicana Field.

There, I just fixed baseball.

Mary Elizabeth

April 10th, 2012
1:34 pm

For Bruno:

You write: “ME–Please try to explain that to the chicken or cow that you ate last night for dinner.

As for me, I am now ‘interconnected’ with a nice lobster.”

=============================================

From: “Mary Elizabeth Sings,” October 31, 2011:

“We should not be expected to stop the ‘killing’ of animals or plants, at this point in our evolution, for food for our own survival. The food chain process contributes to the continuing cycle of life, but it is important for us to recognize that HOW we ‘kill’ other life for our own survival affects us spiritually. Are we grateful to the plant or the animal for its gift of self-sacrifice for our survival? Do we treat the animal with respect and care until the point of its slaughter? Do we conduct the slaughter with some reverence for the gift of nourishment, knowing that we have handled the slaughter as humanely as possible? Some slaughter houses are totally inhumane, with no reverence at all for animal life. The owners are aware of the cruelty they inflict, for profit, upon the animals well before the animals’ slaughter. The awareness of what they are doing for their own self-interest and greed, without care or respect for the animals, reflects the darkness and evil in their souls, more than the slaughter itself. Do those who are in management within corporations respect and value even the lowest of their employees? If they do not perceive that all employees are valuable to the corporation’s survival, and if they do not treat all employees with respect and equality simply because all are human beings, they may effect the psychological and physical decline of many of those employees. Inhumane treatment to other human beings often contributes to their decline, and in some cases to their premature deaths. We should, at least, recognize this fact to be true and give voice to its happening.”

http://maryelizabethsings.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/the-intertwining-of-good-and-evil-within-each-soul/

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
1:34 pm

That is why I believe we are better served by formulating our life’s philosophy in ways other than from stark dichotomies or stereotypes.

Any bets on whether ME will ever develop the self-honesty or even self-awareness to realize that she does the same thing, only using different terms?? “Enlightened” vs “Unenlightened” seems to be her dichotomy. But kind of like Buddhists who become “attached” to “non-attachment”, we can never fully escape our human nature. IMO, it’s not even worth tying.

Mick

April 10th, 2012
1:35 pm

Mary

Yes, I think you are correct in that clarification – I agree.

Speaking of sports, seems like our new marlins manager has really stepped in it with his comments on castro. There is no doubt that fidel is an evil genius. He has outlasted close to ten US presidents and the exiles that are in miami have influenced the results of state and national politics. To whit; there would have been no w. bush presidency without them, there would be no rick “the disaster” scott as our governor without them. A baseball coach says a few words that they don’t like about castro and it’s off with his head, forget about that free speech thingy that they all came here for. Most ungrateful group of immigrants ever, they expect us to fight their battles. They left, were welcomed and are still subsidized to this day. What about all that constant blathering about the nanny state the cons are always alluding to?

Oscar

April 10th, 2012
1:36 pm

Kamchak ~ Thug from the Steppes

April 10th, 2012
1:30 pm
In 1996, I saw the soccer game for the bronze cup in Athens.

I was at that game also. And the gold medal game. The only two events I went to during the ‘96 Olympics.

_______

And Sanford Stadium looked good. They had taken those weeds down that they grow arount the field when they play football there.

(Sorry, couldn’t pass that up)

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
1:39 pm

ME @ 1:34–You printed the same piece in the past, and it still comes across as self-delusional to me. As much as you have come to peace with the fact that you have to eat to live, my guess is that the chicken you ate last night most likely felt differently about the whole affair.

Obviously cooperation is a wise modus operandi when possible, but in many, if not most situations in life, there are competing interests in play, as illustrated by my chicken example above. Seems rather presumptuous for you to decide how the chicken should feel.

Thulsa Doom

April 10th, 2012
1:41 pm

“We are talking about a game where the object if to knock the other player out of the game, break some of his bones, give him a concussion so that he can’t play..”

That’s not the objective of the game despite what we hear from the Saints head coach. The objective as in all sports contests is to have more points than the other team. That you may get your ass kicked, your brains scrambled, and your leg pinned back behind your ears are just by products of a very physical game- but they are not the objective.

Kamchak ~ Thug from the Steppes

April 10th, 2012
1:42 pm

They had taken those weeds down that they grow arount the field when they play football there.

(Sorry, couldn’t pass that up)

A cheap shot, but that is basically what this thread is about.

JamVet

April 10th, 2012
1:45 pm

Brother Kam, welcome back! Where ya been?

You been scarce around here lately…

Joe Hussein Mama

April 10th, 2012
1:46 pm

K’Chak — “I was at that game also. And the gold medal game. The only two events I went to during the ‘96 Olympics.”

We saw the men’s gymnastics medal round and later saw almost all of Modern Pentathlon in 1996. We missed most of the pistol marksmanship portion, but we caught all of the remaining four events, plus the dramatic trip-and-fall at the finish line.

For those of you who don’t know, Pentathlon is a total points event, so the event organizers *staggered* the start times for the final event, the 4K run (there’s no prescribed order to the events, and the run came last in ‘96) so that the first person to come across the finish line would take Gold. It made the end of the event — where the leading competitor tripped and fell just short of the finish line — VERY exciting for the fans.

“After alternating between a four-day and five-day schedule over the years, modern pentathlon became a one-day event for the Atlanta Games. Leading the run in the final stretch, Russia’s Eduard Zenovka tripped and fell while trying to steal a look back at the rest of the field. He was passed and finished second to Aleksandr Parygin of Kazakhstan.”

http://www.2008.nbcolympics.com/modernpentathlon/insidethissport/history/newsid=115148.html

We found out later that Parygin’s medal was Kazakhstan’s first-ever Gold at their first-ever Summer Games.

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
1:50 pm

We saw the men’s gymnastics medal round and later saw almost all of Modern Pentathlon in 1996.

I went to 5 events, I think, including the Track and Field Finals. We were at the end of the field with the women high jumpers. ;-) Also saw the Women’s Basketball Finals. The funnest event I saw may have been Badminton, the dullest Judo. The Team Handball Finals rounded out my tickets.

Thulsa Doom

April 10th, 2012
1:51 pm

“A baseball coach says a few words that they don’t like about castro and it’s off with his head, forget about that free speech thingy that they all came here for.”

Its a little more complicated than that Mick. Saying that you love a man who has tortured thousands of people- some of whom were relatives of exiles, who has ordered the execution of many including relatives of exiles, and who has ruled over his people with an iron fist is just plain stupid. This is a guy who has imprisoned priests for being priests.

And stating that he admires Castro simply for staying in power so long? How stupid is that? To admire someone because they have been able to brutalize their people for an extended period of time? Perhaps he needs a geography lesson. Relative to other dictators. its been easier for Castro to stay in power unopposed because Cuba is an island. Lot harder to foment a guerilla rebel army from another country when there is no other country from which to operate- just ocean.

Just more of a liberal and they love of the cult of personality thing going on here.

Kamchak ~ Thug from the Steppes

April 10th, 2012
1:52 pm

Greetings and salutations, Brother AmVet.

Getting ready for the growing season here in this small hamlet in the N.C. Mtns. We’re under a freeze warning for the next couple of nights, so the adage ’round here is don’t plant til May 1st, but I did put down about 2000 sq. ft. of grass seed.

Joe Hussein Mama

April 10th, 2012
1:52 pm

Bruno — “The funnest event I saw may have been Badminton, the dullest Judo.”

I would have thought exactly the opposite.

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
1:54 pm

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
1:56 pm

I would have thought exactly the opposite.

Which is why I drew attention to that characteristic. I was expecting some dramatic throws at the Judo event, but at the highest levels it happens rarely because the competitors are so evenly matched. Badminton was great due to the dramatic volleys. Much faster than tennis, much longer volleys.

They BOTH suck

April 10th, 2012
1:57 pm

“Just more of a liberal and they love of the cult of personality thing going on here.”

I’m with you on the idiocy of the statements made by Ozzie. Being in Miami, I figured he would be fired.

Now with that said, it isn’t all about “liberals” Go look up Batista. There is a reason Castro was able to hood wink the people into following him. There was NOTHING good about Batista. Yes did basically kiss the US government and business ass, but he was not a nice man.

Pinochet in Chilie…….. Liberal? Not hardly

Jack

April 10th, 2012
1:57 pm

Gladiators are paid well to get hurt. And fans pay to watch them get hurt. No different than NASCAR.

Oscar

April 10th, 2012
1:57 pm

Thulsa Doom

April 10th, 2012
1:41 pm
“We are talking about a game where the object if to knock the other player out of the game, break some of his bones, give him a concussion so that he can’t play..”

That’s not the objective of the game despite what we hear from the Saints head coach. The objective as in all sports contests is to have more points than the other team. That you may get your ass kicked, your brains scrambled, and your leg pinned back behind your ears are just by products of a very physical game- but they are not the objective.

______

Yeah, I know I took another cheap shot and got called out. It’s not the object of the game. I did leave that out. But it is the oject of some plays in certain siturations. I give myself a one-half cheap shot.

Thulsa Doom

April 10th, 2012
1:58 pm

I musta had the only boring Olympics. Saw several volleyball contests, archery, and that was about it. One thing about volleyball is that I watched the Brazilians play and I swear I think I saw the same chunky guy wearing their flag that I see everytime Brazil plays soccer. For some reason this guy just sticks out like a sore thumb at every major Brazilian sports event. Must be the president’s son or something cause I can’t figure out how he is at the center best seat every time.

They BOTH suck

April 10th, 2012
1:59 pm

Chile…….

my bad

The Samosas in Nicaragua…… Noriega in Panama………. Liberals? Not hardly

Thulsa Doom

April 10th, 2012
1:59 pm

Oscar,

Cheap shot? Well at least you won’t get suspended for a year and get docked a years salary like the saints coach. What an idiot.

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
2:00 pm

Gotta run, but here’s a repeat from last Friday. For my one and only:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YorTXXMKiuc

They BOTH suck

April 10th, 2012
2:01 pm

TD

When I say he kissed the US ass he did eventually give them the finger……….. Noreiga the same thing

Thulsa Doom

April 10th, 2012
2:05 pm

They BOTH suck,

I don’t think anyone here really admired Somoza or his son or Noriega. And Noriega didn’t last 5 decades either. I’ve read in depth on Somoza. Just another banana dictator and brutal and greedy but no worse than many other dictators. His family at one time owned I think 1/3rd of all Nicaragua. As did the church at one time in Nicaragua. Makes ya wonder what the hell the peasants owned if anything.

Joe Hussein Mama

April 10th, 2012
2:05 pm

Bruno — “Which is why I drew attention to that characteristic. I was expecting some dramatic throws at the Judo event, but at the highest levels it happens rarely because the competitors are so evenly matched.”

I have found sumo to be like this, except that the senior-division matches are often over in 3-5 seconds. The lower-division (maegashira) matches are generally MUCH more exciting IMO.

I saw one match in Japan (on TV, not in person) between two muscled but not overweight competitors in which the winner *vaulted* over his opponent. He won because his opponent’s charge carried him right out of the ring, while the vaulter simply landed on his feet.

Thulsa Doom

April 10th, 2012
2:07 pm

“When I say he kissed the US ass he did eventually give them the finger”

You talking about Anastozio Somoza? We pretty much owned him. Or at least our companies like United Fruit did anyway.

They BOTH suck

April 10th, 2012
2:07 pm

TD

My point is that it isn’t just a “liberal” thing……….

Again, I thought Ozzie should have been fired. There is very little redeeming qualities in one Castro.

They BOTH suck

April 10th, 2012
2:08 pm

TD

The US government directly or indirectly via US corporations have owned many Latin American dictators and most were SORRY and treated their people like shyte……..

They BOTH suck

April 10th, 2012
2:12 pm

TD

My mom went to Nicaragua on a mission trip several years ago. She said the people for the most part were a very humble and grateful people, but the poverty there was so rampant even compared to other impoverished areas in Latin America.

The US backed dictators treated the people like crap, Ortega and his group did no better………

Sad story

JohnnyReb

April 10th, 2012
2:13 pm

“Gladiators are paid well to get hurt. And fans pay to watch them get hurt. No different than NASCAR”

I beg to differ.

Dale Earnhardt’s death shook NASCAR to the core and they set about quickly to see that type injury not again occur if possible. The end result is the driver’s head is restrained so it cannot whip to break the neck. Other safety improvements have been made to the car and track. We now regularly see horrific looking crashes where the driver walks away unharmed or only slightly injured.

A NASCAR similar fix may not be possible in the NFL. They can make helmet and other improvements, but the jury is out on whether it will work or not.

The NFL has ethics problems, as does the NBA and perhaps the other professional sports teams. When the NFL allowed Vick to return, they revealed their soul and character. It’s not pretty and what you see closely ties to what Jay explains. There are some things a man does that should result in permanent isolation and Vick is one. The NBA is full of thugs who get away with everything short of murder.

I’m not a goody two shoes and don’t claim to be. But at 65 I have lost my enthusiasm for professional sports except NASCAR and occasionally a play off game; never basketball, for reasons in Jay’s piece and this post.

Thulsa Doom

April 10th, 2012
2:14 pm

They BOTH suck,

I disagree. I never see cons speak glowingly or reverentially of rightist dictators as if they were a celebrity or something. Seen lots of Hollywood and other leftist types speak fondly of Castro and other leftist dictators. For Pete’s sake look at Sean Penn the useful idiot of Chavez in Venezuela. I don’t know why but Americans on the left and particularly our Hollywood types are drawn to these pigs in a weird cult of personality type of way. If this is true then even Jack Nicholson has no problem letting himself be used as a useful idiot. http://www.cubanet.org/CNews/y98/jun98/25e7.htm

USMC

April 10th, 2012
2:15 pm

Santorum is OUT! Bam!

Mick

April 10th, 2012
2:16 pm

doom

I’m sorry if I don’t have much empathy for cubans and their most favored status of immigration. They are a whiny group, fled their island, want us to do the dirty work of getting rid of fidel. In the end, what was the difference between getting bad guy saddam and not bad guy fidel? I guess we just respect castro’s sovereignty…

Mick

April 10th, 2012
2:17 pm

usmc

I guess he knew that he couldn’t carry his own home state…

Oscar

April 10th, 2012
2:17 pm

Thulsa Doom

April 10th, 2012
1:58 pm
I musta had the only boring Olympics. Saw several volleyball contests, archery, and that was about it. One thing about volleyball is that I watched the Brazilians play and I swear I think I saw the same chunky guy wearing their flag that I see everytime Brazil plays soccer. For some reason this guy just sticks out like a sore thumb at every major Brazilian sports event. Must be the president’s son or something cause I can’t figure out how he is at the center best seat every time.

________

I had a good Olympics. Saw the bronze soccer game, saw Japan play somebody in baseball. Japen had a great pitcher. Think it was a shutout. Reminded me of Tom Glaving on the mound. Went to Columbus and saw a women’s softball game.
Abd spent some time in the park downtown people watching. Fountain was fun.

Finn McCool (Class Warfare === Stopping Rich People from TAKING MORE of OUR MONEY)

April 10th, 2012
2:21 pm

but, but, but, Santorum, God doesn’t believe in pulling out…

They BOTH suck

April 10th, 2012
2:21 pm

TD

My point was about the dictator themselves not who praises them or doesn’t praise them. As I mentioned to Bruno yesterday, I could careless what Sean Penn or Ted Nugent have to say about politics, one way or another.

I’m just saying that the US government has no problem with a dictator as long as they are on the US payroll. When the dictator has socialist leanings then the government wants to tell us how bad they are. In most cases they are bad and the ones we back are bad as well. Pinochet was a NASTY man. Chavez is a NASTY man…….. Castro is a NASTY man. Noriega was a NASTY man. My point: they are or were dictators who can or did make people disappear.

I probably misinterpreted your original post. Guess you were saying that the coach is a liberal. I thought you meant the whole dictator thing was liberal……..

Thulsa Doom

April 10th, 2012
2:21 pm

They BOTH suck,

Yep. Some of the saddest poverty you will ever see is in Central America. I remember like yesterday when I was on my friend Adolfo’s hacienda. We went out to pay one of his tenants- this big ole beer bellied fat guy with his wife and 3 small boys living in a one room lean to. The guy was drunk as hell, the 3 little boys had bloated bellies due to malnutrition. and the woman had the look of a woman who was not only physically beaten down but just beaten down by life. It was sadly shocking to me.

Adolfo gave the salary to the wife and chastised the man for being drunk and we drove away. Later on upon reflection I was peeved at Adolfo for not having the common sense to realize the man was just going to take the money from the woman. And it was disgusting to me that Adolfo and his wealthy family would let their employees live in such filthy and malnourished conditions. He was good to me but I don’t see how he could let his employees live like little more than animals. Sad.

Finn McCool (Class Warfare === Stopping Rich People from TAKING MORE of OUR MONEY)

April 10th, 2012
2:22 pm

I kinda wanted to see Santorum utterly embarrassed in his home state. That was Romney’s last opportunity to “school” anything before he gets schooled in November.

godless heathen©

April 10th, 2012
2:23 pm

96 Olympics – Saw that version of “The Dream Team” play some 3rd world country of short people in the Dome. But after spending all afternoon in the Bud World tent it didn’t much matter.

They BOTH suck

April 10th, 2012
2:24 pm

USMC

I guess he woke up and wouldn’t doubt that he will get some “assistance” in paying off any campaign debt.

That assistance doesn’t always work, but regardless of party, there are those who will take the bait

Lyman Hall

April 10th, 2012
2:26 pm

Santorum is out?
.
Golly gee…………….who will the blood thirsty state-worshiping Warvangelicals support now?
.
My guess…………Obama.
.
The peace-loving Ron Paul just doesn’t excite the born-agains…………not without the blood of the lamb or……….moooooslims.

They BOTH suck

April 10th, 2012
2:33 pm

TD

When I used to work for one of the larger companies just south of the city (you can guess which one), I had to do some work in a city in Mexico. Had to travel there for a few days every few weeks for several months.

One day we were at a meeting at a customs broker and the head guy wanted to take us to eat at his uncle’s restaurant. We finished up the meeting and went for dinner and drinks.
Close the restaurant there was a market. We were walking around and there were several people basically begging for money. It was evident that the guy and the people from his office were embarrassed that beggars had approached. I’m not fluent in Spanish but it didn’t take a scholar to know that the 3rd or 4th time we were approached that the head guy from the custom’s broker cussed the beggars out…..

It was crazy…….. It wasn’t like any of us hadn’t encountered a beggar before. that guy was upper middle to upper class and was not to keen on the lower class at all

Jm

April 10th, 2012
2:34 pm

Woohoo. Mitt’s got it wrapped up.

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
2:35 pm

Santorum is OUT! Bam!

Cool. That should clear the way for my man Newt to pull it out at the last minute. ;-)

PB and I never made this our “official” song, but I think the tempo matches our own:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWmFI4S-sQw

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
2:37 pm

I seen some of the songs the Doomster puts up. His natural tempo is kind of scary. Ditto for getalife.

Bruno

April 10th, 2012
2:41 pm

My prediction: Jay’s working on another slam piece against the Republicans as we speak, most likely to ridicule Santorum for even putting his hat in the ring. What was that religious crackpot thinking in the first place??

And, as Romney’s numbers rise due to the reduction in internal bickering among the Repubs, he’s going to have to put all of his creative writing skills to work to spin it the other way. I may be lukewarm toward Romney, but I’m ice cold toward Obama. I’m betting I have a lot of company.

They BOTH suck

April 10th, 2012
2:42 pm

Bruno

Sade fn ROCKS

Saw her last year when her tour came through

Phenomenal show…

Not a huge John Legend fan. He opened up and was smokin………

great, great show

They BOTH suck

April 10th, 2012
2:42 pm

Bruno

upstairs……

Rick

April 10th, 2012
2:44 pm

Gregg Williams needs to be barred from ever having anything to do with NFL teams. He is a disgrace and his calling for his players to in effect cripple or kill players from opposing teams is obscene. Willaims is washed up. Good riddance!

Thulsa Doom

April 10th, 2012
2:45 pm

Mick,

I’ve mixed feelings about the Cubans. I had a Cuban girlfriend and in my big intro to the family when we were seriously dating I met the whole family and neighbors and family friends at a cookout. Next thing I know the N word is just flying left and right and I’m sitting there in a state of shock. Finally a family friend notices this and calls me out in front of everyone and asks “So doomy do you like N__rs or something?” I just told em I had nothing against blacks. From there going forward they did not treat me the same and kinda looked at me warily.

Anyway if you are familiar with Hispanic culture then you know to what disdain many Cubans hold Colombians, Mexicans, other Hispanic groups that they perceive as being less than them, and especially Puerto Ricans because they date interracially.

Had a black friend that we used to chase women together and he hated Cubans as much as how he perceived that they hated him. He jokingly told me one day “They think they’re better than white people”. And when I was down there a Cuban security guard shot a black man during the day in a parking dispute in a lot. The same thing had happened years earlier and had caused a riot. When my girlfriend was talking on the phone to her friend and I overheard her whining about her “gringa” boss I realized just how clannish some of them are. They don’t like whitey either sometimes.

Long story short there are some distasteful and race based things about the Cuban community that from my own perspective I found to be disagreeable. But I still don’t think that’s reason to admire a thug like Castro is all.

They BOTH suck

April 10th, 2012
2:51 pm

TD

My mom is from Panama…….. What you are saying doesn’t just hold true for Cubans it is prevalent in Latin America: could be skin color, economic status, politics is BIG However to your point Cubans, especially some of the lighter skinned ones, can be very “elitist”……..

Thulsa Doom

April 10th, 2012
2:53 pm

“I seen some of the songs the Doomster puts up. His natural tempo is kind of scary.”

Give me metal or give me death- Patrick Henry

Thulsa Doom

April 10th, 2012
2:57 pm

They BOTH suck,

I don’t pretend to know all Cubans. But to all of the ones that I knew this held very true. And from the experiences of 2 black friends this seemed to hold true that there was a good deal of racial tension between Cubans and blacks. Now things may have liberalized in the last decade or so but that’s how it was when I was down there in the 90s.

They BOTH suck

April 10th, 2012
3:02 pm

TD

I’m with you

I’m sure some of the younger folks don’t see it that way, but you can bet some of the older folks from Latin America still have those same prejudices

Mick

April 10th, 2012
3:15 pm

doom

Pretty cool standing your ground!!! When I was in high school down here the cubans did one thing positive – brought the blacks and whites together in our mutual disdain. Plus, there were many cubans who didn’t like some of the b.s. the old guard is always and forever whining about…

Steve - USA (I support "None Of The Above")

April 10th, 2012
3:19 pm

A long, long time ago I played football in high school. We were told at a meeting that the opposing QB had missed the rest of the prior season after we played them because he had blood in his urine. We were told to hit him in the kidneys and that would break his spirit.

At the time I didn’t fully appreciate how horrible that was. The culture of severe violence in Footbal runs deep.

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April 10th, 2012
4:26 pm

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Beverly Fraud

April 10th, 2012
4:31 pm

If you’re trying to push for an 18 game schedule, as Goodell is doing, doesn’t your talk of player safety ring hollow?