Any example one can find while searching on the internet to determine if hands or feet can be considered deadly weapons can be tied into state court cases. After enough review, I have found that there is no sure fire way to determine whether or not Joe Schmoe’s black belt in karate is reason enough to charge him extensively by default for attacking with deadly weapons. I could not find anything about people in the U.S. being required to register body parts with local government. I did find, however, that the underlying factor concerning whether or not hands and feet can be considered deadly weapons is purely situational and each court will handle differently. Although there is no wording that punishes high ranking and trained fighters immediately, there have been several cases that charged these individuals according to intent and whether or not the fighter used their weapons justifiably. If a trained boxer who is paid to fight punches a random guy in the face and breaks his jaw over something petty, the boxer could potentially see a sentencing slightly stricter than assault.
Herein lays the question: If you are a professional athlete and you intentionally use an aspect of your sport to injure another athlete, should you be held legally accountable for damages?
The common and unwritten rule in Major League Baseball seems to be if a pitcher on the opposing team hits your player with a ball and it is seemingly intentional, the natural reaction is for your pitcher to do the same. Retaliation such as this is common in every sport and can be seen on almost every level from childhood all the way through the professional ranks. More often than not, retaliation is blatantly obvious. In the NHL, when a star player gets laid out making a rush towards the net you almost expect to see the team “goon” chasing down the player who administered the hit with the intentions of fighting or doing something to inflict pain.
Sometimes, however, these intentional and “justified” reactions can lead to injuries that could be detrimental to one’s health and even career. The case between Steve Moore and Todd Bertuzzi has lasted for years and was initiated when Bertuzzi went above and beyond the scope of the game to pull Moore from behind and punch cheap shot him from behind. The blow left Moore with many lingering post-concussion symptoms and, in turn, ruined his career.
Although I do not feel that athletes should have to register their abilities or appendages based solely on their training, I do feel that governing bodies should handle cases where injuries stem from professional athletes just as if they would any type of assault case. I also feel that more “intent to injure” plays should be further analyzed by law officials. More often than not, the professional sports league reviews the play and slaps the wrist of the player who intentionally caused damage by fines or suspensions. If I hit someone with a hockey stick randomly but with the intention of harming the person…I’m going to get a slightly stricter punishment than holding back my next paycheck.
Matthew Stafford – 6 years, $41.7 million guaranteed
Jason Smith – 6 years, $33 million guaranteed
Mark Sanchez – 5 years, $26 million guaranteed
Darrius Heyward-Bey – 5 years, $23.5 million guaranteed
Brian Orakpo – 5 years, $12.1 million guaranteed
Although this is only a sample size of the 2009 NFL draft class, one thing ties all of these rookies together: grossly overinflated contracts.
Imagine the following scenario:
You’ve just entered your senior year of college. You’re going to school for some random business major because it was one of the easier majors at your school and you’re anxiously awaiting the chance to be top dog within the party scene. You party your heart out, make many temporary girlfriends, and spend most of the school year drowning in Natty Ice and the bong water. May rolls around and companies start looking to pick off talent from your school by sending out recruiters to gauge/express interest. Super Huge Corp. Inc. decides they like you and, before even spending a day on the job, the company offers you employment in a sales position that pays more than the 10 year veteran that has been making huge money for the company and has continually contributed on a high level. You take the job, obviously, and head out after graduation in hopes that you can survive your first day knowing that each of your fellow employees are well aware that you’re making sick money without even closing one deal. You’re excited but what are the chances that you instantly make it into the good graces of all the supporting people that are supposed to harness and develop your potential?
This scenario happens on an annual basis in the NFL. I personally feel there is no way that Matthew Stafford, the party boy fresh out of an average senior year playing in the NCAA, should be making millions of dollars more than a seasoned veteran that has paid their dues regardless if they have made it to the Super Bowl. Granted, the Detroit Lions have a significant amount of salary cap space available despite having high draft picks every year, but with that kind of guaranteed money what kind of pressure to be successful does Stafford really feels? He can just look back to piano master Joey Harrington to see how well being crappy behind the center worked out in the long run.
Once the contract is up and negations begin between the NFLPA and NFL, I feel the first issue to tackle has to be a rookie salary cap. Show appreciation for the veteran players who have built your league to the monster it is currently. Normally I find it hard to side with team management, but this is one example where I am on their side.
The Michigan State Spartans lost to the North Carolina Tarheels last night in the NCAA Men’s Division I National Championship game. Although the game was not exactly the most exciting game in the tournament, I felt the game was a closing to yet another fantastic March Madness tournament.
The biggest story stemming from Final Four weekend, however, has to be the significance of hosting arguably the second most important sporting event in the US within the city of Detroit during a time when the city and the state are being continually slammed by hardships.
Being from the Metropolitan Detroit area, one could hardly avoid seeing the impact Final Four had on the surrounding cities. I personally did not spend much time in Detroit over the weekend, but I assuredly maintained correspondence with all of my MSU friends that packed into low capacity bars with their fellow Spartans to watch the games.
Overall, the weekend turned out to be a great success on multiple levels. Aside from a few minor problems here and there, I feel that the general consensus by the local crowd and the teams involved was that everything turned out fantastic. Sure, there were a few media outlets that felt the need to bash on Detroit because…well…it is Detroit. Unfortunately, there is little the city can do to get around negative sentiments held by outsiders that rarely visit the state led alone the city. Financially, crowds visiting establishments’ downtown generated sales figures in roughly the $30-40 million range. Most importantly, I feel that another successful weekend hosting a major sporting event (see also: Super Bowl XL) considerably amplifies the possibility of Detroit gaining an opportunity to get into the mix for future major events.
So do I think that the Final Four weekend will ultimately be the booster shot needed to kick start the State of Michigan? No, not really. The reality is that everything will be back to normal in the next month and, unless you are a bitter Spartan fan, the memory will be faded by a shift in focus onto the miserable Detroit Tigers or Lions. Do I think that Tom Izzo put a lot of unnecessary pressure on his team by insinuating the game was important on a higher level than just a National Championship? No, I do not. I feel that almost every college coach (cough John Calapari) has a deep seeded desire to shape the minds of their players and turn them into successful and productive human beings. Izzo legitimately felt that telling his players they were playing with the happiness of each unemployed worker, each MSU alumni, every failed business owner, and every person tied into the automobile industry on their shoulders would light a spark inside and push them in the direction of victory.
“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” (Theodore Roosevelt)
The better team won on Monday. Regardless, the heart shown by players from both sides accomplished just what everyone had hoped to see. For a brief moment in time, the game of basketball was able to bring together a city in shambles and give the people something to be proud about.
The ongoing public relations nightmare in Denver concerning Jay Cutler is the perfect example of why the quarterback position is the most important position within an organization. To be totally honest with you, I feel that the quarterback position is the most important position in professional sports period. The question remains: why are quarterbacks loved so much?
I was not alive when Joe Namath was in the National Football League. Being a sports fan, however, I cannot get away from the lasting legacy that Namath has left on the game of football. The truth is that Joe Namath was the first media superstar to be exposed in the NFL. Until Namath, every professional football player was built from the same mold. The players were rugged, hard working, team oriented, Johnny Unitas military-types that drew appeal to the game because many people returning from the military could relate to the image. Essentially, football had no sex appeal whatsoever (unless buzz cuts and high waist lines were your thing of course).
Fans were different then as well. When I look back on TV shows, NFL films, or even talk to my father I realize how closely sports fans held their team to their heart in “the old days”. I know that I will never come close to that level of fandom for any one professional team. Love/hate rivalries amongst fans have lasted for decades on every level of sports and are exhibited wholeheartedly by the team’s fan base. Free agency, trades, and rapidly changing rosters just do not give me time to fall in love with a current team. I can appreciate a team from my hometown and their tradition, but everything is so saturated today.
Despite his mediocre career statistics, his propensity to wear lavish furs, and strug-gl-ing through sideline interviews, Joe Namath brought to the forefront a media explosion that made people realize, “Hey. This person touches the football for half the game and his game play has a direct correlation to how well our team plays.” Fortunately for Namath, the ramifications from his antics went to the wayside when he started racking up Pro Bowl births, MVP’s, and had his legendary “We’ll win the game. I guarantee you.” Super Bowl 3 performance.
Balance ultimately prevails and, as the rest of the country started to realize how important the quarterback position was becoming, the “scapegoat” was born. Headline worthy failures by quarterbacks became just as glorified successful performances in big games.
Today, the criticizing of quarterbacks spans well beyond the focus of sports media. Every oversaturated medium wants a piece of the action. The Tom Brady’s and Tony Romo’s of the world cannot help but be thrust into the limelight based on something as simplistic as who they chose to date.
At the end of the day, all the drama and media attention that accompanies the NFL quarterback position comes down to one thing: can you win the big game? Many of the legendary quarterbacks throughout the history of the NFL had mediocre statistics. Regardless of their on field statistical production, almost every single quarterback can say that they were part of a championship winning team in their career and this fact is what matters the most. Aside from championships, the Hall of Fame worthy quarterbacks have an underlying factor that many people disregard while attempting to find more pictures of Kyle Orton wasted. All of these legendary quarterbacks have pulled themselves away from the flash-in-the-pan superstar status by showing signs of the rugged, hard working, team oriented, Johnny Unitas-military-type of personality that made people fall in love with football from the start.
This weekend is Final Four weekend in Detroit, MI. To honor the conclusion of yet another great NCAA Men’s College Basketball championship tournament, I have decided to simultaneously conclude my Mustache Wars tournament. If you have been paying attention during the last month, you will find that the top mustaches from previous weeks have been included in a final round as well as a few “at large” mustache wearers. Voting will close on Monday, April 6, 2009.
Which of the following is your favorite sports mustache of all-time?
Goose Gossage (50%, 2 Votes)
Harold Snepsts (25%, 1 Votes)
Adam Morrison (25%, 1 Votes)
Jake Plummer (0%, 0 Votes)
Jack Lambert (0%, 0 Votes)
Bill Cowher (0%, 0 Votes)
Rollie Fingers (0%, 0 Votes)
Mark Spitz (0%, 0 Votes)
George Parros (0%, 0 Votes)
Lanny McDonald (0%, 0 Votes)
Joe Namath (0%, 0 Votes)
Richard Petty (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 4
Recently, NCAA players anxiously awaiting the possibility of gaining the chance to become the next superstar in the NFL began preparation for the draft. The sports media pays special attention to three events designed to showcase players, allow scouts to evaluate athletic ability, discover any ongoing or potential injuries, and analyze mental capacity. Just like the “Any Given Sunday” cliché often associated with NFL games, the physical prowess exhibited on NFL Combine and “Pro Days” from each player can be slightly misleading but for the most part give a fairly accurate assessment of each potential draft pick’s ability. I mean…if they were not fair representations the league would not condone such events…right?
A widely debated part of the talent assessment involves a common test used by the human resource departments in companies to determine mental fitness. The test, produced by Wonderlic, Inc., is a test designed to assess aptitude by giving the potential employee 50 learning/problem solving questions to be completed within 12 minutes. Wonderlic develops test relevant to the occupation. The most publicized use of Wonderlic testing happens in the month of March when all potential NFL draftees take the test. Despite their better efforts, the NFL continually fails to thwart “leaks” of individual player scores to the public and the ensuing discussions that prevail upon release can get a bit out of hand. After reviewing the “100% factually accurate because it’s on the Internet” Wikipedia page for Wonderlic testing, the page displays a list of score ranges associated with individual positions and written by Paul Zimmerman (author of The New Thinking Man’s Guide to Pro Football). The scores out of a possible 50 correct answers are as follows:
Offensive tackle – 26
Center – 25
Quarterback – 24
Guard – 23
Tight end – 22
Safety – 19
Linebacker – 19
Cornerback – 18
Wide receiver – 17
Fullback – 17
Halfback – 16
Immediately after listing NFL scores, the page puts into perspective Joe Schmoe’s average scores based on job title:
Chemist – 31
Programmer – 29
Journalist – 26
Sales – 24
Bank teller – 22
Clerical worker – 21
Security guard – 17
Warehouse – 15
So how does a league full of players that went to college and obviously have varying levels of intelligent determine the value of a player based on an IQ test? According to an ESPN Page 2 article, the loose bar established is a score of 10 when discussing the “literacy” of individuals; anyone scoring above a 10 is considered to be literate by Wonderlic.
I find the concept of the test to be quite interesting. Especially considering that the NFL takes pride in trying to maintain the utmost in individual player quality on and off the field, constantly making strides to maintain integrity in the eyes of the general public. Singling out individuals based on an IQ test that can easily be prepared for is a questionable method of determining value. Although a level of “Hey Ma! Look! I’m smarter than Andre Smith! I could probably play in the NFL!” comes with the annual Wonderlic score leaks; I still feel that allowing scores to go public can be a detriment.
Suppose you’re a 21 year old potential first round pick that just so happens to score low on the test. The news, local sports fans of the team that inevitably drafts you and every analyst discussing you during/after the draft is going to completely rake you over the coals by consistently calling you an idiot. Some players, like Adam “Pac Man” Jones may prove to be so naïve that a continual intelligence bashing does not have much affect. On the other hand, the nation discovered what can happen when a young professional athlete is forced to cope with outside pressure and allows it to break them down. Vince Young scored poorly on the test and the score still haunts him because they bring up his low score every time his mental stability and ability to play quarterback comes into question.
In the end, I feel that the league should be more protective of intelligence scoring if they continue to evaluate talent based on an IQ test. I also feel that implementing an EQ test could prove to be more beneficial than assessing whether or not Percy Harvin can tell the difference between an alligator and a crocodile. I think all team owners and Roger Goodell really need to know is if he can run like the wind, hold onto the football, and that he will not have a propensity to “make it rain”.
One of the most exciting events in sports goes into full swing on Thursday, March 19, 2009 – the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship (March Madness for those living under a rock). Alongside the chaos that is cheering on your alma mater, pulling for the Cinderella story, and calling into work to watch your favorite team play comes the often discussed “Bracket Challenge”. Whether you’re bragging about your awesome choices to your friends or to your coworkers, every Joe Schmoe attempts to out decision-make the professional sporting analysts and pick the best possible solutions to the winner of each game leading all the way towards a crowned NCAA National Champion.
I would be lying if I said that I watched the Portland State, Binghamton, or Cornell basketball programs closely this year. I must say that as a sports fan, however, I do love rolling into March knowing that people will undoubtedly be putting their theories together. I actually enjoy hearing how people have the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks magically making it to the Elite 8 and how Danny Kaspar is the second coming of Dean Smith.
With that said, I have decided to make a list of 8 teams currently seeded within the 64* (pending the play-in game) I feel will make a legitimate run OR…experience an epic fail.
Top 4 Busts
1. Utah – Do not let the Mountain West title and 5th seed in the Midwest fool you. The Utes football team should have battled for the National Championship last year, but their basketball team is terribly overrated and should have been seeded way lower. Crushing Air Force does not make up for losing to Southwest Baptist.
2. Purdue – If I had to pick a conference that I follow closest, I would have to say the Big Ten takes the cake. With this said, you must understand that I go into every March expecting at least half of the Big Ten teams to get into the dance and for ALL of the teams to get crushed by a nobody. Although Purdue had a few big wins this year including a throttling of Michigan State at home, we must not forget that Purdue lost their only two of three non-conference games against ranked teams. Also, the Big Ten has a tendency to be the team that faces a Cinderella team and loses. Go Mississippi State!
3. Marquette – I have heard nothing but great things about the Marquette Golden Eagles. Their coaching staff, their players, and all of their fans seem like really great people. Unfortunately, losing Dominic James and going into the tournament winning 1/5 games (including 4 consecutive loses to ranked teams) leads me to believe that Marquette’s nice story will reach an early demise. Look for the sexy Missouri Tigers to knock off the Golden Eagles.
4. Duke – Duke won the ACC crown this year and, just like seemingly every year this decade, the Blue Devils have been ranked as a very high seed. I don’t know if I would consider an early season loss to Michigan as a huge disappointment, but losses at Wake Forest, North Carolina, and being annihilated at Clemson all give me reason to believe that 2009 will be yet another year that Duke comes in as the sexy pick and faces another earlier-than-expected demise. I’m sorry, Coach K. Maybe next year?
Top 4 Teams to Watch
1. Oklahoma – BOOMER! Oklahoma finished with a record similar to the other top seeded teams within the tournament. The difference maker? Player of the year Blake “I could probably dunk from half court if I really wanted to” Griffin. Aside from the fact that all of their losses were within 10 points, Griffin missed the games against Texas and Kansas. Having Griffin against both teams would have made a huge difference and, now that he is healthy, I am riding the Sooners to Detroit.
2. Villanova – Villanova’s last loss came to the hands of Rick Pitino and the white hot Louisville Cardinals. Despite this loss, Villanova had huge victories in the last month and a half of the season including the destruction of Pittsburgh (Ranked 3), Syracuse (Ranked 20), and Marquette (Ranked 10). The East is the weakest conference as far as I’m concerned and I don’t know if any teams will be able to defend their outside game.
3. Wake Forest – Ranked as a 4th seed in the Midwest, Wake Forest’s high powered offense may not face a legitimate threat until Louisville. After reviewing their win/loss record, Wake Forest won 5/6 games against ranked teams including North Carolina (Ranked 3) and Duke (Ranked 1). Wake Forest loves to knock off the big dogs so the Cardinals better be on the look out.
4. Missouri – Missouri upset Oklahoma (Ranked 4) and officially capped a perfect home record by doing so. The Tigers also won their first Big 12 tournament last Saturday against Baylor. Missouri has experienced tons of success in both Men’s Basketball and Football in recent years and should continue to be a threat for awhile.
According to SportingNews.com and ESPN Magazine, the government of Delaware is on the verge of legalizing sports gambling. Governor Jack Markell is adamant that the legalization of gambling will generate $50-100 Million and will play a large part in the reduction of a $700 Million budget shortfall currently facing the state.
In 1992, a federal act entitled “Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act” was passed within government to ban states from bookmaking. The only states that have secured exemption from the act are Nevada and the oft forgotten state of Montana.
“Our policy on this issue has been consistent for decades.” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the magazine in an e-mail. “We have been an active proponent of federal and state legislation that prohibits the spread of legal sports gambling. We do not want our games used as bait.”
First, I’ll start by responding to Aiello’s claim that the NFL does not support anything related to the legalization of gambling.
Regardless of this majestic, guilt-free, epitome of class image that the NFL attempts to maintain, no one in their right mind would believe that the NFL could do as well as their doing right now if gambling played no part in league growth and revenue generation. Sure, the teams and league may have their hands and cheeks turned in an opposite direction, but even Roger Goodell has to realize the prosperity associated with sports gambling. As far as I am concerned, sports’ gambling is no different than fantasy sports. Instead of legitimately rooting for your favorite team, you are watching the games with a bias for a specific part of each game in hopes to win something. Sure, the ramifications from a poorly placed bet can be more significant (see also: down economy, unemployment, foreclosures), but betting and fantasy football are one in the same. The benefit is simple. Whether there is money on the line or people are doing it for bragging rights, people are watching the games. Viewership leads towards merchandise sales, ticket sales, advertisement sales, and all that jazz.
So is it right that a state can legalize gambling for the sake of profit?
I say sure. Why the heck not? The truth is that you have the choice to gamble if you want to. If your state starts to make money, they become less likely to burden you with taxes that you will undoubtedly bitch about if implemented. If your state has more money, your roads get better maintenance, the school systems give your children a better education, and when you lose your job due to everything else in the country failing you have a better chance in receiving assistance in the pinch.
Everyone knows in a down market there are three things almost guaranteed to make money: sex, booze, and gambling.
Important? You bet.
Assessing the value of a superstar can be one of the most difficult things a professional sports franchise can go through.
In the past, players that rose to stardom in their perspective sports became the face of the franchise. Being the face of a franchise meant that each and every fan of your team would live and die by your game play. Trades happened but not with great regularity. Some teams would attempt the “rent a player” scenario that is common today (Harry Chiti was traded for himself) but great success in such transactions would never reflect a return-on-investment. Occasionally you would see the George Herman Ruth for cash type deal, but many players played their entire careers with the team they began their careers playing with.
Today, finding a Steve Yzerman or Cal Ripken Jr. in professional sports is a rarity. Professional teams treat their players in a business-like manner. Free agency, salary caps, the media, and fans have all made the concept of players jumping from team to team throughout their careers acceptable. Are you getting old? Well, we’re going to disregard the fact that you have brought our team to prominence and helped turn young players into superstars and we are going to find your replacement. Ask Joey Porter about how it feels to be treated like an aged pit bull. Did you voice a frustration concerning your team and face perjury because of it? Despite recently landing on NBA Championship contender Boston Celtics, Stephon Marbury found out what happens the hard way after getting benched throughout most of the 2008-2009 season.
Another problem that franchises face when they want to go through rebuilding or clear salary stems from determining trade value of superstars. Due to a microscope being held by the media over each team’s ongoing organizational decision making, off-season trade talks can be a major detriment to locker room and player performance. The most recent controversy involves Denver Broncos franchise quarterback, Jay Cutler, being involved in a few trade deals with multiple teams across the league. Regardless if Denver desired to deal Cutler or if they were just listening to possibilities, the talks have led him to become outspoken about his unhappiness. If not handled correctly, these negative sentiments may lead to Cutler playing for a different team next fall and could ultimately lead towards a complete debacle, setting back Denver’s offense for years to come.
In the end, no clear cut methodology exists when discussing a professional sports superstar and what should be considered a fair deal. I will say, however, that franchises struggling with such a dilemma should turn to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Twins, and San Antonio Spurs of the sports world for advice. Recognize players that are cancerous to locker rooms and get rid of them as fast as you can. Build each part of your franchise into a system that is conducive to player and locker room happiness, high quality coaching, and developing youth. Then, in the event a big name player wants out, the team can easily transition a player into the new role and not have to worry about being set back 5 years due to rebuilding.
According to Fox/Ap, the Washington Redskins have signed the top defensive lineman in the 2009 free agent class, Albert Haynesworth, to a 7 year deal worth rough $100 million.
The deal takes place almost immediately after the Redskins resigned CB DeAngelo Hall to a 6 year, $54 million contract.
Haynesworth is aging and Hall…well…we’ve seen what happens when he has cash flashed in front of his face.
Either way, the Washington Redskins are starting to head in the right direction.
At least Clinton Portis think so.