Linsanity: it’s not black & white anymore

In today’s Philadelphia Daily News, journalist Sam Donnellon expressed incredulity that race is a factor in the Jeremy Lin story.

Come on!

Jeremy Lin is the first Asian-American player in the NBA since 1947. It’s a league that is somewhere around 75% African-American and the rest of the league is made up of primarily Europeans. Of course Lin’s race is a factor in the hype. Any other statement is just someone (like Donnellon) attempting to show their open-mindedness through political correctness.

But Lin’s race isn’t the only reason for the talk.

The boy’s got game.  Yes it’s only been 6 games and yes, at some point the league will catch up, but Lin’s start is the best since Lebron James’ start since 2003; you can’t discount that. Scrubs don’t just put on a pair of shorts and score 38 against the Lakers.

New York, New York.  Jeremy Lin plays for the Knicks, who happen to play in New York City and the pseudo New York network ESPN is loving this. If Jeremy Lin were doing this in Milwaukee, it would be news, but #Linsanity wouldn’t be a trending topic. To paraphrase T.O, New York loves them some New York – and since they love it, everyone else has to hear about it.

It wasn’t so long ago that blacks weren’t “equipped” to be quarterbacks, but after a few black QBs had success, this short-sighted belief disappeared. This excitement around Lin is good because it’s always good when someone comes along and opens a door that everyone thought was shut, and no matter why people are paying attention, it’s nice that they are.

Comment below or hit me up on Twitter @iamspencer.

Andy Reid | the smell of desperation

I am lost. I know the fans (who were excited that Kevin Kolb was named the starter in February) wanted Michael Vick in September, but Eagles fans are generally morons; I expected more out of Andy Reid.

I probably wouldn’t have traded Donovan McNabb in the first place, but I could understand and accept the reasoning. Kevin Kolb was the future of this team and McNabb was the past. I know that Michael Vick gives them a chance to win now, but I thought the plan was to win the big one? Donovan McNabb was let go because he couldn’t win the big game. The same argument can be made against Michael Vick. Does everyone forget how Michael Vick looked in the playoffs? Say what you want about McNabb, he’s never looked that bad in the playoffs. His issue was always ending up a drive short – not an entire game. Is Michael Vick what we got rid of Donovan McNabb for? Does he really give you a better chance to win in January? No.

The only reason for this decision is that Andy Reid has to win now. Joe Banner is holding him responsible for 10 years of failure, as he should, and Kevin Kolb is paying the price. Reid doesn’t care about the Super Bowl, he cares about his job.

I used to love the Eagles, now I can barely stand them.

Andy Reid needs to go now — anything else is a waste of time.

Mark McGwire owes us an apology

Nearly 5 years ago I wrote a post titled “Apologies are owed to Mark McGwire”.  It was the first post that I had written to gain any sort of attention. The point of the story was that even though Mark McGwire hadn’t told Congress that he had taken steroids, he didn’t lie on the stand, and he should be respected for that, especially in light of Raphael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa. I defended him for that. Watching Palmeiro and Sosa up there, lying under oath, I respected that he didn’t lie. That’s all undone tonight.

I watched Mark McGwire go on the MLB Network and lie to the fans and that is unforgivable. McGwire stated that he didn’t take steroids for performance enhancing benefits, just to get back out on the field sooner. He also stated that was able to hit because he had God given talent. Maybe he believes this, but Mark, you benefited from taken steroids, whether you wanted to, or not.  It’s not as if you can tell the steroids to only make you feel better and not make home runs go 25 feet further.

Either McGwire lies or he’s stupid, and I don’t think he’s stupid. What I don’t understand is why come this far just to screw it up at this point. What’s worse is that when McGwire stated that he wishes that he didn’t play in that “era”, he basically threw every player that played in the 90′s under the bus. It’s one thing for writers and fans to do that, it’s another thing entirely for McGwire to do so.

Good for Mark McGwire coming clean after all these years, I wish him the best of luck as a hitting coach. Let’s hope he teaches his players how to play on the field, and that those same players learn from his example of how not to behave off the field.

Michael Vick divides a city

vickprotestersThe old saying goes that you don’t discuss politics or religion in polite company – you can add Michael Vick to that list.

As soon as the Philadelphia Eagles signed Michael Vick, Philadelphia lit up. Tweets, Facebook statues, blog postings, radio talk shows, etc. People who didn’t even care about football were moved to take sides. There are bars that have pledged to turn off the Eagles games on Sundays – that’s like a bar saying it will stop selling alcohol on Fridays. That’s how passionate people feel about this issue, and can you blame them? Here’s a man that beat, tortured, maimed, and killed dogs in the name of sport; he is the Hitler of dogs. How do you redeem yourself for that behavior? If Hitler hadn’t committed suicide, could he have redeemed himself to Jews? No.

This past Thursday I responded to a  a friend’s Facebook  status update, more than 50 comments later, after that friend told me to buzz off (ok, he didn’t say that, but that’s what he wanted). Philadelphia has found its abortion issue. This issue has so divided the city, that it pits friends and family against each other. Sides are entrenched and both sides are getting testy. There are protesters on each side outside the Novacare Center in South Philly. Philly.com ran a poll this week simply asking if fans were for or against the Vick signing – the results were 51% against to 49% for the signing; the city wasn’t that divided over the Presidential election this past year.

This of course is not the most important issue in the world. It’s amazing that at a time when we’re trying to figure out how to fix our flawed healthcare system, that this issue has taken the headlines in this city.

It’s only football, and this doesn’t reflect on a whole city, just on the people that run the Philadelphia Eagles. Even though people will continue to discuss Vick, the games will go on and I am going to go out on a limb and say Michael Vick won’t be dog fighting ever again, so at the end of the proverbial day, all Vick’s signing will do is strain relationships for a few days before we move on to something else.

Can’t wait.

Eagles sign Vick. Fans revolt.

Michael Vick signed with the Eagles. Why? Let me start here – if I were an NFL owner, I would not have hired Michael Vick to my team. That would be my right. I think what he did was reprehensible, and I wouldn’t want to associate him with my team and my brand. It seems that year after year the Eagles give me more reasons to like them less and less. They don’t seem to like their fans and and they treat their employees like shit (see Brian Dawkins).

Thank goodness the Phillies have come back to their rightful spot as #1 in my sports heart.

That said.

There’s a lot of talk about how he shouldn’t be allowed back in the NFL, that he was given his chance and he blew it. Well that isn’t how this country works. I can see preventing him from taking jobs that are related to his offense – so he can’t work at a kennel or at a pet store, but the NFL is a sports league, and I think a lot of people forget that. Each NFL team is their own company and makes the decision on their own. It seems somehow un-American for people to be saying that the NFL should have prevented the teams from making this hiring decision. I don’t know if that is a country I want to be part of.

People want him to pay and pay and pay again. That again is not how this country works. If you want that type of legal system, move to Iran – I think we all see how people are treated there.

I do wish someone else had signed him – I don’t want my team associated with a thug like him. We now have the most hated man in all of sports. It kind of sickens me, but that said – he’s done his time, I see no need to punish him further.

Reposted from Orangeliners.com

Philadelphia Eagles Draft Advice

This is more for the fans than the Eagles.  I’ve been hearing all the fans and media talk about trading our last remaining 1st round pick for Anquan Boldin.  While I would love for Boldin to play for the Eagles, everyone needs to realize there are more pressing concerns.  Brian Westbrook has never been the picture of durability, and he’s turning 30.  If the Eagles have a chance to find a back that can replace him, they absolutely need to do that.  If that means they need to trade up to get Knowshon Moreno or Chris “Beanie” Wells, they need to do that.  If this means they can’t trade for Boldin, then so be it.

Listen to me here: wide receiver is the least important offensive position on the field.  The offensive line, quarterback, and running back are much important to an offense in that order.  I’m including the tight end in the O-line, but if you want to separate it, then yes – WR is more important than TE. Having a top notch WR is gravy and if you’re deficient in any of the other positions, fix those first.  The Eagles can boldly address a huge problem at the RB position, and a Ryan Moats type 2nd round pick ain’t going to do it.

Thank goodness the Eagles rarely listen to the fans and press, don’t start now.

I’ll miss you Brian Dawkins, but…

71465315DH0164_eagle_packYesterday the Philadelphia Eagles lost their heart and soul in Brian Dawkins.   Dawkins was more than a player –   he was a coach on the field.   I remember in a game last year when former Eagles’ rookie Matt McCoy made a boneheaded penalty, it was Dawkins that dressed him down on the sidelines. I think Dawkins would make a great head coach one day. That’s how much I thought of him.

As much as loved Dawkins as a player, I’m not going to blame the Eagles for allowing him to walk away. He got more money than he’s worth at 36.   I didn’t want him to leave, but it wasn’t stay at all costs.   I now hope that the Eagles will spend the money on a stud safety 10 years younger.   I hate to say it, but the Eagles are running a football team, not the hall of fame.   The worse thing you can do as a team is to allow nostalgia to blind you to reality. It happened to the Philadelphia Phillies after 1993 when they decided to spend a lot of money on a bunch of past their prime players.   It ruined their team for years after that.

When the season starts in September, all that we’ll care about is whether it will end with the Eagles hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy. You think I’m wrong?   How many people mentioned Aaron Rowand’s name after the Phils won the series?   Not many.   Winning cures all.   But for those games in October, we’re going to miss B-Dawk.

And we’re going to miss him now.   Wish you well B-Dawk.