Category Archives: Sports

WERE THE U.S SOCCER WOMEN CHEATED?

What to do about the World Cup pay gap?

There was quite an outcry from feminists in and out of the media when it was learned that the U.S. Women’s Soccer team took home $2 million in prize money last month, while the German men’s team won $35 million in last year’s World Cup and the American team that didn’t make it out of the round of 16 made $8 million.

Of course, there was a politician ready to show his ignorance on the subject and pander to his voters.

Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont passed a resolution urging soccer’s corrupt organizing body, FIFA, to immediately end the pay inequities.

Anybody with a brain should know that the only way to get equal pay for the women would be to pass an international law requiring people to watch the Women’s World Cup.

The ratings for the U.S Women’s games in the USA were through the roof – the highest metered record ever for a soccer game on a single network, but, world-wide, they were 1/10 of what the Men’s games drew.

The Men’s World Cup in 2010 produced $3.7 billion in revenue. The 2011 Women’s World Cup generated $73 million.

Is this complicated?

It’s not sexism or the grass ceiling.

It’s economics.

Shane Ferro of Business Insider’s not buying it: “Most of us have been socialized to accept men’s sports as dominate and somehow more interesting.”

“The problem is that once society has internalized this falsehood – and let’s face it, it’s a falsehood that’s millennia in the making – it’s not so easy to correct.”

She’s right. It has been millennia in the making.

You know why?

Because men invented sports.

Golf was invented over in Scotland, where the Women’s Open Championship is taking place this weekend.

About 600 years ago, a bunch of guys, on the spot where the Men’s Open Championship was played two weeks ago – Old Course at St. Andrews in Fife Scotland – started it all.

They were bored shepherds in the field, who thought it would be fun try to hit round stones into rabbit holes using their wooden staffs.

For hundreds of years, women, who have always had more common sense than men, couldn’t imagine doing anything so stupid.

What are the chances that a woman came up with the idea that feeding Christians to the lions would be a nice way to spend a Summer evening?

I’m not an anthropologist but there must be a good explanation for why every sport was invented by a man and, despite the fact that both genders have been on the planet for the same amount of time, women only became really interested in playing them pretty recently.

Where have you been, ladies?

Six hundred years ago, the shepherds’ wives thought their husbands were idiots for spending their time knocking rocks into rabbit holes and, you know what? They were right.

Who knew it would evolve into an activity that would be played, not mention watched, by millions of people?

Most sports, when reduced to their essence are pretty stupid.

What about two men standing toe-to-toe trying to punch each other unconscious?

How about 22 men running into each other trying to prevent someone from advancing a pig’s bladder across a line drawn in the dirt?

These sports were invented by men, not because they’re superior to women, quite the opposite.

Women had better, more important things to do.

Now, more and more women are demanding that men be as interested in watching women play the ridiculous games that they invented as they are in watching other men.
With all due respect to Ms. Ferro, we haven’t been socialized to believe men’s sports are more interesting. They just are. Not always. But most of the time. Especially to men.

And instead of being offended by the long history of male dominance in sports, maybe women should take pride in the fact that, throughout the millennia, they have found better things to do with their time.

And rememeber, it was a man, Genghis Kahn, who thought that polo would be more fun if they used human heads instead of a ball.

TOMLIN DESERVED THE EXTENSION BUT….

Based on the way the Steelers do business, Mike Tomlin deserved the two year extension. Bottom line, he went 11-6 last year and won a division championship.

But…………..

The Steelers haven’t won a playoff game in four years. You’d have to go back to the dark ages before Chuck Noll to find a stretch of five years without a post season win.

Before Noll, the Steelers went 40 years without one.

Tomlin inhrited a team with a lot of talent and he did whatr a good coach would/should do. He won a lot.

Went to two Super Bowls.

BUt……………..

He inherited a team with a franchise/future HOF quarterback, a HOF safety, a probable HOF wide receiver, an all-pro RB, a HOF caliber TE and a genius for a defensive coordinator.

As the players he inherited have begun to disappear, so have the playoff wins.

Tomlin has to prove that he can draft (and he has a lot to say about who gets drafted) and develop players on his own and win with them.

The Steelers have their toughest (on paper) schedule in a long time.

I don’t think the Steelers are better now than they were last January.

Let’s see how that extension looks at this time next year.

NO TEARS FOR TIGER

Tiger Woods is a middle of the pack hack.

That’s what ESPN golf analyst Paul Azinger called him during coverage of the first round of the British Open. The actual quote was, “It’s hard to watch the greatest player of this generation be a middle of the pack hack.”

Azinger may have been trying to be nice by saying that it’s hard to watch, but he probably wasn’t speaking for most of the people who play, cover and follow professional golf.

As I write this, Woods was trying to finish his second round and on the way to missing the cut. He was 21 over par for his last 45 holes in a major tournament.

It’s dangerous to write off a once in a generation player in any sport because their otherworldliness could very well mean that they have the ability to overcome the odds and be great again.

But Tiger’s game needs drastic improvement to reach mediocrity. He’s really been bad for a while. Going into the British Open he was ranked 241st in the world and was averaging 73 strokes per round.

That’ll get you a 1 or 2 handicap at your local country club, but it won’t get you enough prize money on the PGA tour to pay your expenses.

Talk to guys who have covered Tiger Woods over the years and you will find that many, if not most, don’t find it hard at all to see him becoming a hack.

Woods was never a very popular guy on tour. Not with his fellow golfers or the media who covered him.

A Hall of Fame golf writer, who has been covering the PGA since the early days of Arnold Palmer, told me two years ago that most of the players on the tour felt that Woods’ decline couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy.

And, regardless of what the golf media say publicly, as much as they appreciate what Woods has done and could still do for the sport, it’s safe to assume that they don’t find Woods’ fall hard to watch at all.

Woods was always fun to watch even it never looked like he was having fun playing. Jordan Speith, who’s trying to win his third straight major tournament this weekend, has already smiled more in post-round interviews than Tiger has smiled in his entire career.

Woods will always be mentioned in the same breath as Nicklaus, Palmer, Player, Watson and Hogan, but he stands alone as the guy who, while he was the face of golf, would throw his clubs and drop F-bombs on the course.

Tom Watson played his last 18 holes at the British Open on Friday and got the proper sendoff from the crowd as he crossed the famed Swilican Bridge at St. Andrews.

With the way Woods’ career is going now and with his lack of friends in the golf world, it’s hard to imagine him having a moment like that 25 years from now.

Jack Nicklaus, who is back to being the indisputable best player in history, is also universally regarded as one of the nicest, classiest, most gracious players ever.

In any sport.

At his age, he probably appreciates that more than his accomplishments on the course.

There are, no doubt, still millions of golf fans out there who would like to see Tiger Woods become Tiger Woods again for no other reason than their appreciation for greatness.

Woods has sunk so low that even the media, who were turned off long ago by his lack of cooperation and surliness, would be fine with a miraculous return to his old self because it would be a great story to cover.

But you know who would really like to see Tiger come roaring back to the top of the golf world?\

Nike.

How would you like to have $50 or $60 million in endorsements riding on him for the next several years?

NO TEARS FOR TIGER

N
Tiger Woods is a middle of the pack hack.

That’s what ESPN golf analyst Paul Azinger called him during ESPN’s coverage of the first round of the British Open.

The actual quote was, “It’s hard to watch the greatest player of this generation be a middle of the pack hack.”

Azinger may have been trying to be nice by saying that it’s hard to watch, but he probably wasn’t speaking for most of the people who play, cover and follow professional golf.

As I write this, Woods is waiting to finish his second round and on his way to missing the cut. He was 21 over par in his last 45 holes at a major tournament.

It’s dangerous to write off a once in a generation player in any sport because their otherworldliness could very well mean that they have the ability to overcome the odds and be great again.

But Tiger’s game needs drastic improvement to reach mediocrity. He’s really been bad for a while. Going into the British Open he was ranked 241st in the world and was averaging 73 strokes per round.

That’ll get you a 1 or 2 handicap at your local country club, but it won’t get you enough prize money on the PGA tour to pay your expenses.

Talk to guys who have covered Tiger Woods over the years and you will find that many, if not most, don’t find it hard at all to see him becoming a hack.

Woods was never a very popular guy on tour. Not with his fellow golfers or the media who covered him.

A Hall of Fame golf writer, who has been covering the PGA since the early days of Arnold Palmer, told me two years ago that most of the players on the tour felt that Woods’ decline couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy.

And, regardless of what the golf media say publicly, as much as they appreciate what Woods has done and could still do for the sport, it’s safe to assume that they don’t find Woods’ fall hard to watch at all.

Woods was always fun to watch even it never looked like he was having fun playing. Jordan Speith, who’s trying to win his third straight major tournament this weekend, has already smiled more in post-round interviews than Tiger has smiled in his entire career.

Woods will always be mentioned in the same breath as Nicklaus, Palmer, Player, Watson and Hogan, but he stands alone as the guy who, while he was the face of golf, would throw his clubs and drop F-bombs on the course.

Tom Watson played his last 18 holes at the British Open on Friday and got the proper sendoff from the crowd as he crossed the famed Swilican Bridge at St. Andrews.

With the way Woods’ career is going now and with his lack of friends in the golf world, it’s hard to imagine him having a moment like that 25 years from now.

Jack Nicklaus, who is back to being the indisputable best player in history, is also universally regarded as one of the nicest, classiest, most gracious players ever.

In any sport.

At his age, he probably appreciates that more than his accomplishments on the course.

There are, no doubt, still millions of golf fans out there who would like to see Tiger Woods become Tiger Woods again for no other reason than their appreciation for greatness.

Woods has sunk so low that even the media, who were turned off long ago by his lack of cooperation and surliness, would be fine with a miraculous return to his old self because it would be a great story to cover.

But you know who would really like to see Tiger come roaring back to the top of the golf world?

Nike.

How would you like to have $50 or $60 million in endorsements riding on him for the next several years?

THESE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT (FOR NOW)

Luke Adelman is on to something.

Luke is the commissioner of the SDHL, that’s the Sidney Deck Hockey League. He’s 13.

Sidney stands either for his dog or the person his dog may or may not have been named after, Sidney Crosby. Luke can’t remember. I’ve encouraged him to change the name of the league to the No Parents Hockey League and he assures me that he’s taken it under advisement.

I have been on a personal crusade to un-organize kids sports for more than 30 years and have used every possible medium to promote the cause. Luke proved once and for all that it can be done.

It’s gotten to the point where a kid can’t throw a ball up in the air without several adults there to supervise it and his parents and grandparents feeling obligated to watch it.

Three years ago, when he was in the fourth grade, Luke organized two deck hockey teams to play each other on the playground basketball court near his house.

Now there are six teams.

The township turned the court into a rink by putting up dasher boards.

The first SDHL Draft was held earlier this week. Ten rounds. Six kid general managers, two of whom showed up in coats and ties, made their selections for the 2015 season.
Players found out which team they were on via Instagram.

The rosters are set, the 2015 schedule has been made and the first round of games have been played and there has not been one minute of parental input.

There are no referees.
No snacks.
No snack moms.
No insurance.
No paramedics.
No (gasp) helmets.

There have been fights and somehow they were broken up without an adult stepping in and everybody survived.

Players are traded all the time. One brother has been known to be traded by another. The kid gets the message by text or Instagram.

Highlights are shown on Instagram and stats are kept by the commissioner.

I’ve advised the commissioner to put a banner on the league Instagram page (@SDHLleague) that says, “We Respectfully Request That Parents Do Not Attend Our Games.”

I’ve also suggested a rule that would require a kid to immediately come out of the game if one of his parents showed up to watch.
I know this is actually an attempt at adult supervision on my part, but I have the interests of the league at heart.

Imagine kids playing a sport without somebody’s mother whining about playing time. No parents embarrassing their kids by yelling at the refs.

Last season a mom -possibly a general in the Army to Feminize American Boys – came to the rink with her young son. She told the boys who were playing that her son would like to play.

The kids tried to explain to her that they had a league and that her son was too young and would ruin their game.

She, of course, didn’t want to hear it and reminded the kids that they were playing in a public park and her son had a right to play in their game.

The SDHLers, to their credit, let him play for a couple of minutes and walked off. Mrs. Busybody requested that they text her with the schedule for future games and they wisely ignored her.

There was also a case of a father trying to talk the kids into making sure everybody got equal playing time, but, according to the commissioner, he was ignored.

You play when the captain says you can play and how much you play is determined by how good you are. What kind of lesson is that to send to the kiddies?

I’m afraid it’s only a matter of time before the adults try to “help” out the poor, misguided renegades of the SDHL and ruin everything, but here’s hoping they hold out as long as they can.

And here’s hoping Luke Adelman realizes his dream of becoming an NHL general manager.

He’s off to a good start.

TIME FOR THREE HEADED MONSTER

7.04/05.15

How about a three-headed monster?

There will be plenty of analysis and discussion between now and October about which Penguins superstar will get new teammate Phil Kessel on his line. Both Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby need a finisher and Kessel should score 40 with either one.

He’s that good.

So, maybe it really doesn’t make much difference where Penguins’ coach Mike Johnston decides to put him. After watching Kessel’s highlights on Youtube, I tried to imagine what it would be like trying to stop a line made up of all three.

I know. That’s not going to happen, at least not on a regular basis. NHL teams just don’t make a habit of putting all their offense in one basket, but, if I were Johnston, I would spend a lot of time in training camp working the three of them together.

I’d like to see them get more than a little time together in exhibition games.

How would you like to be a defenseman trying to pick which of the three to focus on if they came into your zone with speed?

There are all kinds of suggestions out there for increasing scoring in the NHL. Enlarge the nets. Shrink the equipment, outlaw blocking shots, enforce the rules, none of which will happen any time soon.

So, how about thinking outside the box and making a habit out of playing the Big 3 on the same line?
It doesn’t have to be permanent, but it doesn’t have to be rare, either.

Forget all the legitimate, time-tested reasons for not doing it.

Find out how the opponent reacts to starting the game with the prospect of containing Crosby, Malkin and Kessel.

Everybody complains about the NHL becoming a defense first, system oriented game. When a team wins 6-5, you can count on the players spending more time apologizing for the five they gave up than celebrating the six they scored.

“Scoring six tonight was great, but we can’t count on doing that every game.”

There haven’t been five teams in NHL history who have had three offensive talents as explosive as the three the Penguins have now.

You know what Crosby and Malkin can do one-on-one. Kessel is quick with great hands and a shot that may be better than both.

The Penguins have tried the two-headed monster of Malkin and Crosby with limited success, but that has usually been when the Penguins were behind and looking for a spark.

And two world class offensive weapons are much easier to deal with than three.

How about a spark on the opening face-off?

Make opponents prove early on that they can keep the Big 3 from scoring. Especially at home when the last line change creates major mismatches.

Instead of focusing on the problems that playing them together on the same line might create for their other line combinations, the Penguins should focus on the problems it would create for their opponents.

The Penguins have the ability to present a combination of speed, skill and scoring ability that no other team has.

They should make their opponents prove that they can stop it.

I’ll bet they can’t.

A STEAL AT $25 MILLION

Is it possible to be making $1.9 million a year and still be underpaid?

It is if you are an NFL player.

The money being thrown at NBA free agents this week got the attention of Washington Redskins safety Duke Ihenacho and he tweeted, “All this guaranteed money the NBA throwing. Meanwhile the NFL, which generates the most money won’t even make the league minimum $1M.”

Right now the NFL minimum for a rookie is $435,000. NBA rookies will make at least $526,000.

NFL players have themselves to blame. They allowed their union to negotiate a labor agreement that only gets them 48% of league revenues. They also were dumb enough to allow the league to set maximum salaries for incoming rookies.

They should have known that a rookie signing for an obscene amount of money only increases a veteran star’s value and bargaining power.

The NFL is the most popular and the richest professional sports league on Earth. So, how is it that the average salary in the NHL is $2.4 million a year and the NFL’s is $1.9 million?

And the NFL is the only one of the four major sports without guaranteed contracts.

NFL apologists will tell you that their rosters are twice as large as an NHL and Major League Baseball teams’ and three times larger than an NBA’s.

What they usually forget to mention is that MLB and NHL teams have to maintain several minor league teams, while NFL teams have a free farm system provided by college football.

The NFL Players Association may be the worst union in history.

It signed a 10 year labor agreement four years ago that gave the players better working conditions, but not nearly enough of the ridiculously large NFL money pie.

A few months after the labor deal was signed, the league re-upped its network TV deals for nine more years with a 60% increase in payments, from $1.9 billion to $3 billion.

That doesn‘t count the additional billions that come from DirectTV, the NFL Network and Westwood One radio.

That‘s about $7 billion for the 32 teams to share before they sell a ticket, a hat or a seven dollar beer.

Which brings us to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who may be the most underpaid man in America.

He’s expected to sign a new contract some time this Summer. He threw out the number $25 million and there are some who say that he’s being greedy since that would make him the highest paid player in the league.

He deserves it.

Wilson’s a quarterback and the NFL is all about quarterbacks

Grantland.com surveyed bookmakers in Las Vegas a couple of years ago and the professional handicappers told them that an elite quarterback is worth a touchdown a game.

In August of 2013, the Patriots were 10-1 favorites to win the Super Bowl. The bookies told Grantland that, if Tom Brady were to go out for the season, the odds would change to 100-1.

Two years ago, the bookies put Wilson’s value at 3 points per game. He’s been to two Super Bowls since then and he has the highest winning percentage in history for a quarterback in his first three seasons.

Over a 16 game season, $25 million is about $1.6 million per game. The Seahawks will make $6 million per game in media money. They have the highest average ticket price at $452.34 per game.

So, it takes about 3,500 people per home game to cover Wilson’s $1.6 million. A couple thousand more on the road.

Pay the man.

He’s a steal at $25 million a year.