Sports

NFL national anthem policy stirs reaction as 49ers owner says he abstained

A decision from NFL owners requiring players to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” if they are on the field when the anthem is played triggered intense reaction from supporters and opponents Wednesday, as one owner revealed that he abstained from the vote. Commissioner Roger Goodell said the change was approved unanimously at the league’s spring meeting in Atlanta. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Fox News in an email that San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York was the only abstention. “I want to work with my team to make sure everything we do is about promoting the right types of social justice reform and getting to a better America,” said York, who added that he planned to meet with his players to discuss the new policy. New York Jets chairman Christopher Johnson told Newsday that he voted for the new policy because “I felt I had to support it from a membership standpoint.” “[Y]ou have to understand that the plan we ended up with … was vastly less onerous than the one that was presented to me late last week,” said Johnson, who added that the team would not fine or suspend any players who choose to stay in the locker room while the anthem is played. “I never want to put restrictions on the speech of our players,” he said. “Do I prefer that they stand? Of course. But I understand if they felt the need to protest. There are some big, complicated issues that we’re all struggling with, and our players are on the front lines. I don’t want to come down on them like a ton of bricks, and I won’t. “If the team gets fined, that’s just something I’ll have to bear.” York said other initiatives were in the works, including a suspension of all concessions sales during the national anthem. “If we want to be sacrosanct, if we want to honor the flag, we’ve got to make sure we go through a litany of things,” he said. “We’re not going to force people to stand in their seats, but we’re certainly going to make sure we’re not profiting during that two or three minutes of time during the game.” York’s 49ers kicked off the protest debate during the 2016 season when quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat on the bench when the anthem was played, then got down on one knee as a protest against police brutality. Other players took up the cause, and the gesture carried on during the 2017 season even after Kaepernick left the 49ers and failed to land a job with another team. Kaepernick and Eric Reid, a former 49ers teammate and fellow protester, have filed collusion grievances against the NFL. The controversy even reached the White House, with President Trump telling supporters in September 2017: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘get that son of a b—- off the field right now, out, he’s fired.'” Vice President Mike Pence, who left a game between the 49ers and Indianapolis Colts this past October after some 49ers knelt during the anthem, tweeted a link to a news story about the policy change with the phrase, “#Winning.” Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, also tweeted about the story, saying he was “STILL NOT SICK OF WINNING!!!!”

This new policy certainly isn’t perfect.  But, it’s a step in the right direction.  So, we applaud the owners (the majority of them) for supporting this step.  For more on this story, click on the text above.

St. Louis Cardinals’ pitcher hits 105 mph twice on radar gun

A relief pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday lit up the radar gun with two pitches registering at 105 mph in the team’s 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. USA Today, citing StatCast, reported that Jordan Hicks threw the five fastest pitches in the major league this season, hitting 104.2 mph, 105, 104.3, 105 and 103.7– all with sinkers. “You see 105 up there. That doesn’t happen. I don’t know what the exact mph was, but we’re all wondering if it was 105 point, or where on 105 it was,” Jack Flaherty, the game’s starter told MLB.com. “I wish I could throw 105.”

Holy crap!!  Click on the text above for a video, and more on this incredible story.  Go Cardinals!!      🙂

U.S. Supreme Court Overturns Sports Gambling Ban

The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) moved to allow the state of New Jersey to legalize sports betting at its racetracks and casinos, on Monday. The new rule could open sports gambling in up to 46 states. The 7-2 SCOTUS ruling in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association shot down federal rules that prohibited sports gambling in most U.S. states. The case was brought to the high court after the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that a New Jersey law allowing gambling violated the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), Sports Illustrated reported. Many states, including New Jersey, have been eyeing sports gambling as a new source of tax revenue, but until now federal rules have stood in the way. While many state legislatures are pleased with the new ruling, the major professional leagues have taken a stance against the growth of sports gambling and filed several lawsuits against New Jersey to try and stop its move towards enlarging gambling. A recent statement from the various sports leagues player’s unions addressed the impact of gambling on players. “Given the pending Supreme Court decision regarding the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) … The time has come to address not just who profits from sports gambling, but also the costs. Our unions have been discussing the potential impact of legalized gambling on players’ privacy and publicity rights, the integrity of our games and the volatility on our businesses,” the Players Associations said in January. To date, only Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana are allowed sports gambling and are exempt from PASPA due to previously passed betting laws. Justice Samuel Alito, a New Jersey native, wrote the court’s opinion in the case. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented, USA Today reported. “Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own,” Alito wrote. “Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not.” Geoff Freeman, president of the American Gaming Association, celebrated the ruling: “Today’s decision is a victory for the millions of Americans who seek to bet on sports in a safe and regulated manner. Today’s ruling makes it possible for states and sovereign tribal nations to give Americans what they want: an open, transparent, and responsible market for sports betting.”

ESPN Lost 500,000 Subscribers in April

ESPN lost half-a-million subscribers in the month of April, adding to a massive hemorrhaging of customers which now hovers around 14 million over the last seven years. While the numbers were catastrophic across the board for the national networks, only NBCSN lost more households than ESPN. According to Awful Announcing, “ESPN (-500,000), FS1 (-328,000), NBCSN (-544,000), TBS (-490,000), and TNT (-495,000) were all hit hard too. And that’s perhaps especially concerning considering that it’s prime playoff time for NBCSN (the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs), as well as ESPN and TNT (the NBA playoffs). These are not out-of-season drops, but drops at a time while those networks have some of their best content. So there are certainly some things to worry about there.” Those worries are exacerbated by the fact that ESPN launched their brand new morning show Get Up! in April. A show which takes place in a studio that reportedly cost $35 million to build, and is hosted by three personalities who make nearly $15 million a year. Most networks consider launching an expensive new show while losing 17,000 subscribers a day, to be less than ideal. Yet, while April’s loss of 500,000 subscribers is certainly bad, the network hasn’t lost households in those numbers over the last 15 months. ESPN has lost roughly 1.6 million subscribers from February of 2017, until now. That rate of loss comes out to just over 100,000 subscribers each month. No one wants to lose customers in any numbers, though, that kind of loss is sustainable for an immensely wealthy network operating under the Disney banner. However, if April’s losses of 500,000 become the new normal over the next year or so, that would cause ESPN’s new leadership to downsize the “worldwide leader” in a way that would dwarf the layoffs of 2017.

Opinion: MLB’s Opening Day: What the NFL could learn from Major League Baseball

On Major League Baseball’s opening day Thursday, hope springs eternal across the country. Even as Chicago Cubs fans shiver in their puffy blue jackets, New York Yankees fans rub their hands together in the Bronx, and millions of baseball fans search box scores at work, a unity among people from all backgrounds not only exists, it flourishes. So does patriotism. The “Star-Spangled Banner” actually debuted in the sports world thanks to baseball. In 1918 during Game 1 of the World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs, Babe Ruth – a man who would become arguably the most iconic home run hitter – and his teammates first sang along to the national anthem. The Cubs followed suit, and the pageantry quickly spread to every team across the league. Appropriately, baseball earned the nickname “America’s Pastime.” Now, compare that to the modern-day National Football League, where the en vogue trend has been to kneel for our country’s most emblematic sign of solidarity. This movement, spearheaded by the now-unemployed Colin Kaepernick, is meant to protest police brutality against African-Americans. Supporters will tell you it has nothing to do with the flag … despite players using the American flag as a prop to give themselves the most publicity. When President Trump weighed in on the matter, which he repeatedly and rightfully did, at least 200 players knelt or sat during the anthem last Sept. 24. Many of those players – on the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars rosters – actually had the audacity to still stand for “God Save the Queen” prior to kick off in London. It was a blatant sign of disrespect, followed months later by an even more egregious act. The league rejected a print ad for this year’s Super Bowl program that read “#PleaseStand.” In response, a NFL spokesperson said the Super Bowl has “never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement.” Hey, Commissioner Roger Goodell, how about you tell your own players that? You know how many baseball players have knelt during the national anthem? One. Bruce Maxwell, a catcher for the Oakland A’s, joined in the protest late last fall. It was short-lived and he failed to garner any participation from teammates. This is in part because most baseball players see the consequences of an ongoing problem in this current political climate: Debate isn’t just relegated to politics anymore. Athletes and coaches increasingly use America’s beloved pastimes, and their participation in them, as a method of division. But in reality, sports should exist as a way to bring Americans together. Just one regular baseball season provides 162 opportunities for refuge from tiresome rigors of everyday life or from the wounds of tragedy. At Yankee Stadium in Game 3 of the 2001 World Series, baseball helped Americans transcend the most horrific act of terrorism on U.S. soil – 9/11. Against security recommendations, then-President George W. Bush decided to make an appearance and throw out the first pitch. He strode onto the field waving one hand and holding a baseball in the other. Smiling ear to ear, the president took the mound and calmness instantly enveloped the stadium. As soon as the ball hit the catcher’s mitt, cheers and chants of “U-S-A” erupted. “The country, which was rallying at the time, had further caused a rally to see baseball being played, and I was just a part of that,” President Bush told ESPN. “I didn’t realize how symbolic it was, though, ‘til I made it to the mound.” Even before that game, baseball helped bring Americans back to normalcy after 9/11. The Mets and Braves played each other when games resumed that season after the tragedy, and for one beautiful, brief moment two bitter division rivals tipped their caps to the people of New York City and shared a feeling of resiliency. That same embodiment of hope propelled an already extremely talented Houston Astros roster to a World Series clinch over the Dodgers last year. Game 6 scored Fox its best ratings in almost a decade after the Dodgers staged a rallying comeback. Even though the larger market team didn’t win the Commissioner’s Trophy, it felt like the whole country shared a piece of joy with the Astros. As Houston learned from Hurricane Harvey, catastrophe can strike from Mother Nature too, and even though thousands of Houston residents lost most of their belongings and homes, a baseball team managed to rekindle their spirit. All of our spirits will once again reignite with pleasure as the 2018 baseball season kicks off. As you enjoy a hot dog, watch a flyover, and tip your cap to veterans, take a minute to appreciate the beauty of a sport that, unlike the NFL, contributes to and enhances the patriotic fabric of our country.

Agreed!  And, well said Britt!  Former ESPN reporter Britt McHenry is the author of that spot-on op/ed.  Excellent!!     🙂

Racism charges fly over indictment of NFL’s Bennett despite liberal prosecutor, black victim

Allegations of racism have erupted over the indictment Friday of NFL star Michael Bennett, even though he’s being prosecuted by a liberal, Soros-backed district attorney for a crime against a black victim. Progressive activists and commentators weighed in after the three-time Pro Bowl defensive end was indicted by a grand jury on a felony count of injuring a 66-year-old disabled black woman last year at Super Bowl LI, calling the charge “bogus,” “BS,” and a “set up.” Columnist Shaun King said Mr. Bennett was charged because he “touched a woman’s shoulder,” although Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said the paraplegic woman, part of the stadium security team, suffered a sprained shoulder after Bennett shoved her as he tried to get onto the field after the game. According to the chief, Mr. Bennett told a police officer at the scene, “F— you” and “You all must know who I am, and I could own this motherf—er. I’m going onto the field whether you like it or not.” His defenders argued that the 32-year-old Philadelphia Eagles player was targeted as a result of his race and his social-justice activism. Mr. Bennett has refused to stand for the national anthem and last year accused Las Vegas police of racial profiling after he was briefly detained. At the same time, Mr. Bennett could have hardly drawn a prosecutor more sympathetic to the rights of defendants than Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg. She ran in 2016 on a reform platform that called for reducing incarcerations, aided by a half-million dollar ad buy from Democratic megadonor George Soros via his Texas Safety and Justice PAC as part of his national effort to elect progressive prosecutors. Ms. Ogg has since been accused of being soft on crime by seeking alternatives to prison such as deferred adjudication, including in a case last year in which a man shot at deputies but received no jail time, which she attributed to his mental-health issues, according to ABC13 in Houston. The county’s first openly lesbian D.A., Ms. Ogg fired 37 experienced prosecutors shortly after taking office and replaced them with “a far more diverse group of experienced and talented lawyers,” she told the Texas Observer. “I also am trying to diversify our lower ranks because we need prosecutors who the public can relate to,” said Ms. Ogg in the July 26 interview. “If they’re all Caucasian, and they’re all straight out of law school, they’re just not going to have the life experience that I think is important when you have people’s lives in your hands, like we do.” She released a statement Friday saying that Mr. Bennett was told by security staff to use a different entrance as he tried to gain access to the field for the post-game celebration at NRG Stadium in Houston. “Instead, he pushed through them, including the elderly woman who was part of the security team,” said the DA’s statement. The charge of “intentionally and knowingly” causing “bodily injury to a person 65 years or older” carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

On word…karma!  Normally we don’t do the whole human interest story thing here at The Daily Buzz.   But, ya gotta love the irony here..  This loser of an NFL player is shamelessly trying to play the race card.  But, the victim is a black elderly woman, and the prosecutor is a lesbian minority herself.  So, that’s blowing up in his face..  DOH!!  Just another entitlement-minded, America-hating, black racist, NFL loser…  For more on this story, click on the text above.

Mikaela Shiffrin’s Gold Rush Begins With a Bang

At the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Mikaela Shiffrin won the slalom, but in her only other event, the giant slalom, she finished fifth. Shiffrin, then 18 years old, was peeved. “The next Olympics I go to,” she said at the time, “I’m sure as heck not getting fifth.” On Thursday, after three days of races postponed by strong winds, Shiffrin’s celebrated quest for multiple gold medals at the Pyeongchang Olympics finally began. And she emphatically lived up to her prophecy with a stirring, authoritative, come-from-behind victory in the giant slalom. Roaring down a steep and especially taxing racecourse, Shiffrin was both the most aggressive and most technically sound skier. Despite a minor miscue in the race’s final 50 yards, her two-run time of 2 minutes and 20.02 seconds was 0.39 seconds ahead of Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway. Italy’s Federica Brignone won the bronze medal. “It’s more than another gold medal,” said Shiffrin, who joins Ted Ligety and Andrea Mead Lawrence as the only Americans to win two Alpine Olympic gold medals. “I knew I might win multiple medals at these Olympics but I also knew I could come away with nothing. Now I know that I’ve got one.” But by winning in the giant slalom, which is her third-best event, Shiffrin has heightened her possibilities for at least three gold medals, which is the most any Alpine skier has won in any Olympics. On Friday, she will defend her Olympic title in what is her strongest event, the slalom. Next week, she will be favored in the Alpine combined, the last individual Alpine race of the Pyeongchang Games. Shiffrin also indicated on Thursday that she was planning to race in a fourth event next week, the women’s downhill. Although Eileen Shiffrin, Mikaela’s mother and one of her coaches, said her daughter would not enter a fifth event, the women’s super-G on Saturday. Shiffrin’s giant slalom victory completes a portion of a four-year journey to transform herself into an elite racer in every Alpine event. But the first of the events she had to conquer was the giant slalom, a speedier and more changeable race than the slalom. As Shiffrin said Thursday: “I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with giant slalom. It’s been a fight sometimes.” Only months after the 2014 Sochi Games, Shiffrin began a dedicated training program to improve in the event. As a high schooler then, she had once been among the best junior skiers in the world at giant slalom. But as she became a professional, she found more success in slalom and spent more time on it. Her giant slalom results, not surprisingly, lagged. Still, in the summer of 2014, Shiffrin began to study videotape of her best giant slalom runs, going all the way back to her days as an amateur. Alone in a dark room, an Olympic champion was taking the unusual step of scrutinizing her technique as a young teen. “The clues to improvement aren’t always in the places you expect,” Shiffrin said in an interview last year, recalling the summer of 2014. Shiffrin had another strategy to make the leap from being just a competitive World Cup giant slalom skier to one of the world’s best. She decided to spend hours quizzing Ligety, the American skier and defending Olympic giant slalom champion who had single-handedly revolutionized giant slalom technique between 2012 and 2013. In the fall of 2014, Shiffrin trained with Ligety in Colorado, not far from her home outside Vail. Afterward, they would watch videotape of that day’s training for an hour to 90 minutes. “I remember that Mikaela would ask me about 20 questions in every 15-minute span,” Ligety said late last year. “When we’d be done, I’d say, ‘What else do you want to know?’” “And she’d answer: ‘Everything else.’” In October that year, Shiffrin won her first World Cup giant slalom. Two months later, she had the first of six straight top 10 finishes in the event and by the winter of 2016-17, she was rarely out of the top five in any giant slalom. This season, she has won two giant slalom races and been second in another.

It was a thrill to watch Colorado native Mikaela Shiffrin win her gold last night!  We defintely look forward to seeing her go for more!  Go get ’em, Mikaela!!!    🙂