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Trash Talk: NBA Finals Games and More

There’s so much sportsing this week that more Trash Talk posts are needed to prevent other threads from being trashed.

Please confine your sports chatter to these sports-dedicated posts, thanks. You may treat this as an open thread; House J6 Committee hearing discussion should go in those dedicated posts.

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NBA FINALS

The 2022 finals between the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors continues.

Sunday’s game tied up the series at 1-1 with Warriors win over Boston 107-88.

Last night the Warriors met the Celtics at TD Gardens, Boston MA only to lose to the home team, 116-100.

With the Celtics now leading the series 2-1, they’ll meet again in Boston tomorrow Friday, June 10, 9:00 pm ET; the game will be on ABC.

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NFL FOOTBALL

Yuck. By the time this post is published, Walmart scion Rob Walton may have bought the Denver Broncos for a record-breaking $4.65 billion. Denver may now have Walmart marketing plastered all over it to which a local news outlet refers euphemistically as “shaping central Denver.”

Denver would do better buying all Denverites some Spanx shapewear.

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PRO GOLF (PGA and not PGA)

Phil Mickelson did an interview with Sports Illustrated in which he discussed his gambling “habit.” He’s still got a problem if he can’t call it what it is — an addiction.

One might wonder if the addiction is why he’s up to his ears in the Saudi-backed LIV Golf in spite of acknowledging openly the Saudis’ human rights problems.

Knowing about his addiction this mea culpa sounds flat:

Whatev.

Tiger Woods isn’t ready to return to golf just yet; he’s skipping the U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, MA this week. He’s planning to be at the JP McManus Pro-Am in Ireland for July 4-5, and at the 150th British Open at St. Andrew’s, Scotland for July 14-17.

Unlike Mickelson, Woods turned down a massive 9-figure offer to join LIV Golf. I guess Woods doesn’t feel he needs to worry about shaping PGA Golf the way Mickelson does — at least that’s Mickelson’s excuse for being persuaded to participate in LIV.

Speaking of LIV, I went looking for more details about golfers participating in the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series. The USA Today article I found did them no favors; they all sound like they could really care less if they were rubbing shoulders with acknowledged killers because golf.

But what really took the cake is the spokesperson for LIV…

wait for it…

guess who it is…

no, really…

Ari fucking Fleischer.

I have to ask why any journalists, particularly American journalists, will cover this and what editors will assign LIV to any journalists’ beat because they also know this entire golf venture is whitewashing the murderers of an American journalist who was chopped up with a bone saw while still alive because the murderer who put out this hit didn’t like the coverage he was getting in American media.

What the hell; is American journalism as soft in the spine as these compromised golfers? Do they think they’re immune if they provide less than happy coverage of this whitewashing effort?

And are they going to be sucked in once again because there’s a familiar face at the podium offering the same smarm circa the Bush administration?

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MISC. SPORTS

Belmont Stakes will be run this Saturday, June 11. Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike is scheduled to appear after skipping the Preakness; odds, however, favor We the People at 2-to-1 to win the Belmont.

90 U.S. Olympic women gymnasts including Simone Biles have filed a lawsuit under the Federal Tort Claims Act against the FBI for its failure to appropriately investigate and prosecute mass sexual abuser Larry Nassar though the FBI had known about his serial assaults.

I haven’t seen any further details about this suit which is the second filed this year against the FBI with regard to Nassar. On the face of it this looks like a gross violation of women’s civil rights; why were they not afforded equal protection under the law?

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Got some other sports issue you need to air out? Do it in this thread along with any non-hearing related topics, thanks.

Trash Talk: NBA Finals Games 1+2, French Open Tennis, MLB, NFL

Because there’s just so much bloody sportsing going on right now we’ll have a few more Trash Talk posts over the next week or two to prevent other threads from being trashed.

Please confine your sports chatter to these sports-dedicated posts, thanks.

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NBA FINALS

The 2022 finals are already underway with the Boston Celtics leading the series over Golden State after winning last night’s Game 1, 120 to 108.

The next games in the series:

Sunday evening, June 5 8:00 pm ET at Chase Center in San Francisco, CA.

Wednesday, June 8, 9:00 pm ET at TD Garden, Boston, MA

Friday, June 10, 9:00 pm ET at TD Garden, Boston, MA

The entire series will be carried by ABC.

Thankfully no game is scheduled for June 9 when the House J6 Committee hearings begin, but noted above there’s a game on June 10. A fresh Trash Talk thread will be posted next Friday to prevent finals chatter bleeding into the J6 thread.

If the series isn’t wrapped up on Friday, the next game will be Monday evening and yet another Trash Talk post will be published for sports chatter.

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FRENCH OPEN

On his 36th birthday today, Rafael Nadal (Spain) met 25-year-old Alexander Zverev (Germany) in the semifinals today in Paris, but Zverev was forced to retire after a hideous ankle injury late in the second set.

Nadal will meet the winner of the semi-final between Casper Ruud (Norway) or Marin Cilic (Croatia); the meetup to be held this Sunday will Nadal’s 14th as a French Open finalist.

Iga Swiatek (Poland) and Coco Gauff (U.S.) will meet in the women’s finals tomorrow.

Also in Paris this week is Billie Jean King; she was awarded France’s Legion of Honor:

King, who is in France as the French Open concludes, received the award in recognition of her contributions to women’s sports, gender equality and the rights of LGBTQ people in athletics. She took part in a short ceremony at the presidential Elysee Palace at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron.

A perfect way to celebrate this year’s LGBT Pride Month.

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MLB and Other Baseball and Softball

These teams are currently leading their divisions:

AL East: NY Yankees

AL Central: Minnesota Twins

AL West: Houston Astros

NL East: NY Mets

NL Central: Milwaukee Brewers

NL West: LA Dodgers

NY Yankees lead the American League and LA Dodgers lead the National League.

Meh. I can’t get excited about this at all especially since Detroit is third from the bottom of the AL.

However the NCAA DI Baseball Men’s College World Series has started; here’s the schedule:

Regionals: Friday, June 3 through Monday, June 6
Super Regionals: Friday, June 10 through Sunday, June 12 OR Saturday, June 11 through Monday, June 13
First day of CWS games — Friday, June 17
CWS Finals — Start Saturday, June 25 (best out of 3)
Final championship game — Monday, June 27

The NCAA Softball Women’s College World Series began last night with eigth-finals or fourth round in Oklahoma City. I’m going to back Oregon State tonight against Arizona State because I really want to know as others have asked if the Beavers can be stopped or not.

Schedule for the WCWS finals:

Game 1: 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 8
Game 2: 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 9
Game 3: 8:30 p.m. (if necessary), on Friday, June 10

It’s a damned shame there’ll be a conflict on Thursday with the House J6 Committee’s first hearing.

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NFL

What the actual fuck, people? There’s an Oversight Committee hearing this month into the NFL?

Why are elected officials who represent the entire country caught up with the Washington Commanders’ football team’s workforce problems instead of the Department of Labor?

From NBC Sports:

The House Committee on Oversight & Reform has announced that it will hold a hearing on June 22. The Committee has requested the attendance and testimony of two key individuals: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Commanders owner Daniel Snyder.

“The hearing is the next step in the Committee’s months-long investigation into the Commanders’ hostile workplace culture and will also examine the NFL’s handling of allegations of workplace misconduct, the NFL’s role in setting and enforcing standards across the League, and legislative reforms needed to address these issues across the NFL and other workplaces,” the Committee said in a press release.

What really annoys me is the breathless manner in which this hearing and the underlying problems are discussed in sports media while far more important hearings about the near-overthrow of U.S. government have been scheduled and precede the Oversight Committee hearing. NFL fans are far more worked up about Roger Goodell’s invitation to appear before Oversight than whether anyone subpoenaed by the House J6 Committee has made any effort to comply.

It’s no wonder this country is in such a fucking mess — just look at its priorities. Entertainment and its corporate masters über alles.

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Got some other sports issue you need to air out? Do it in this thread, thanks.

Rocky Racoon, NFL, NCAA and F1 Trash Talk

Okay, the big news at Casa de Bmaz is that a full blown giant raccoon has taken up residence somewhere in our front. We have always had families of little ground squirrels living in some of our cactus patches, but this thing is huge. Our 92 pound Doodle, MissCue, has discovered it and is close to breaking through the front window to get to it. We, of course, call our new friend Rocky. It is pretty amusing so long as giant doodle doesn’t break through the window.

Some excellent NFL games this weekend. The Rams already clobbered the SeaSquaks, and Seattle has lost Russell Wilson in the process from a hideous middle finger injury on his throwing hand. But, wait, there’s more! The Cardinals, shockingly the only unbeaten team left in the league, travel to face the San Jose 49ers, who will be without Jimmy G already. Young Trey Lance takes over, and it could be a very interesting game.Pack goes to the Bungles, but Cinci is starting to maybe gel for once. Denver at Steelers is interesting. Steelers are flailing a bit, and if Bridgewater plays, this could be a great game, as could Cleveland at the Bolts. Then there is the Sunday Night game on NBC, the Buffalo Wagon Circlers at the Chiefs. The Chiefa have struggled, but think I’ll take the Chefs with some home cooking.

In the junior pro football league, which is all that the NCAA is after adoption of the NIL insanity, The Sun Devils dispatched the Trees of Stanford in the PAC-12 after dark game in Tempe. If you don’t watch PAC-12 after Dark, you are missing out, it is usually very good. The best game today is arguably number 4 Penn State at number 3 Iowa. Go Hawkeyes! LSU at Kentucky could be a real sleeper, but nobody ever made money betting on Kentucky Football. Same for the ND Domers at West Virginia. Georgia at Auburn looks interesting, but I’ll take the Dawgs.

That leaves F1 of the major sports. Hamilton is on pole, but has a ten place grid penalty, so will start eleventh. Verstappen will start in P2 alongside Hamilton’s Merc teammate, Bottas.There are not a lot of great passing opportunities in Istanbul, so we shall see how the race plays out. This has turned into a pretty interesting F1 season.

In other sports, the WNBA playoffs have been simply spectacular. Last night, the Phoenix Mercury beat out the Las Vegas Aces, in Vegas, behind timeless performances by Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner. Griner has a last second block that sealed it with less than a second to go. Really good stuff. The Mercury will face Candace Parker, Courtney Vandersloot and the Chicago Sky in the finals.

Also, too, the MLB playoffs are ongoing. Jim Whie’s Tampa Bay Rays looked to be world beaters until the Sawx lit them up toward the end of the game, and now the series is tied up. Giants beat the Dodgers in their first playoff meeting ever.

So, there is the sporting scene. It has been a while since we have done Trash Talk, so let your hair down and chat it up about anything. Today’s music is All Along The Watchtower. Most people think it is a Hendrix song, but it originally is a Bob Dylan song. And if you have never seen Dylan play it electrified, you are in for a treat, and it also includes Highway 61. Rock this joint.

Impoverished Teachers Or The Rich Bitches Of Professional Sports?

Which side are you on? I have been an avid, if not rabid, sports fan since I was a little kid. Still am. It would be great to have sports back on a full scale.

But at what cost? How important is it really?

The NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL are all demanding daily testing, even when they are, as Amy Trask has coined it, “enbubbled”.

Not all the athletes are millionaires, many are not paid near that and are just trying to hang on and make a living for themselves and their families. That is a good thing. But even the common professional athlete makes many times more than a teacher.

Who is more important to society in the long run? The league personnel and athletes are getting tested and traced relentlessly in their bubbles and training camps because billionaire owners, TV platforms and gambling lobbyists demand it. They are tired of their gravy train being interrupted. An understandable thing if in their shoes. But 99.9% of the citizenry is not in their shoes.

Teachers and their schools are being ordered to open with nothing in place for their, or their students’, safety. How many teachers in Florida could be tested in Florida if the insane capacity being expended in the Magic Kingdom on the NBA were reallocated to a better benefit? How will that play out with that which is allocated to the NFL, MLB and NHL were reallocated across the country?

Where are the real priorities in a time of pandemic this country, and this world, has not seen in the last 100 years?

I want to reemphasize, would love for all the sports to be back. That would be wonderful. Especially when we all are sequestered unnaturally in our own homes.

But maybe teachers and their students….our children….and the future of all are more important than the current demand for sports.

The Covid danger is real, it is not a joke. It is not partisan politics. Here is a heartbreaking story. This man ran through my neighborhood to a win. The young and strong are in danger, not just the old and infirm.

Maybe, at least temporarily, our priorities ought change. Maybe LeBron James and Tom Brady should give their daily test to a teacher.

Championship Sunday Trash Talk

Last Sunday of football before the Super Bowl, so only two games today. We’ll get to those in a minute, but since there are only two, I thought I’d throw a couple of other topics out for discussion too.

You’d think the Trump impeachment would be the biggest news for the weekend, but it got a serious run for its money from the Royal split-up. Harry and Meghan are out, and not out in some kind of hybrid duty arrangement, but just out. They will still be the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, but no longer possess any “Royal Highness designations (seems kind of like a distinction without difference, but the Brits seem to take it seriously), and will do no more official work at all for the queen. They will no longer get money from the Royal Trust or whatever, but that was very little of their funding anyway and will still get from whatever personal trust Prince Charles doles out, which is apparently a lot. And will earn some of their own too, how is unclear. And they will maintain possession of their UK home Frogmoor Cottage (apparently one hell of a “cottage” but will have to repay some money that went to renovation of it recently. And, maybe most notable, they intend to spend a lot of time in North America, sounds like British Columbia is the likely place for that, which also puts them in easy reach of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. I don’t really have too much interest in all this, but a stunning amount of people do it turns out.

Second is, of course, impeachment. The House Impeachment Managers filed their brief yesterday afternoon, and it is here. It is over 100 pages and is extremely well done, supported and argued. That is the House’s main trial brief. Team Trump made a filing yesterday as well, but it is only a six page boatload of stupid that veers into ludicrous and awful. It is here, and reads like Trump himself authored a lot of it. And it is really only an answer to the impeachment articles summons. The Trump trial brief will be much longer, and is due tomorrow, so yesterday’s filing is NOT their final word before the proceedings begin.

Okay you can also talk about anything else you want of course, but enough of the other stuff, let’s get to the football.

First up is the Titans at Chefs. The Titans are simply a better team than people think, and they caught lightning down the last half of the regular season and playoffs. Derrick Henry is just a beast, but I expect KC’s defense to try and contain him and make Ryan Tannehill beat them. Tannehill has played well enough in their first two playoff games, throwing for TD’s, but not throwing often, and not for many yards (as in 160 yards combined over this two wins). He is going to have to do a lot more today, because Pat Mahomes looks back to full speed and Jesus can he and KC’s offense put up a lot of points in a hurry. Odds started out plus 10 in favor of the Chiefs, but are down to 7 now. Sounds about right.

The second game is the rejuvenated Packers at Santa Clara to visit the 49ers. Green Bay is a lot better team than the one that got absolutely smoked 37-8 there earlier in the year. I think the Pack defense can do some things against Jimmy Garropolo and the Niners, but they better watch out for those quick hitters in the middle, and that is not the best part of the GB defense. That is a problem. Packers offense is much improved as of late, especially with Devante Adams back at full speed. But the rest of the receiving core is not exactly going to light anybody up with the possible exception of Aaron Jones out of the backfield. And that is a problem. Rookie Nick Bosa is just a freak for the Niners’ defense, he is seriously good, and Dee Ford is back from injury and a handful too. And then there is always Richard Sherman in the secondary, and he always comes to play in big games. Packers O-Line has been playing fairly well, but they are fragile as to in game injuries. They will have to be great today. Current line favors the Niners by 7.5, and that sounds about right too. If this game was at Lambeau on the Frozen Tundra, I would be very tempted to take them in an upset. But not in the Niners’ crib.

Since the Royals are all over the news, today’s music is The Royal Scam by Steely Dan. Tilt a pint or two and have some fun.

Packers At Bears – The NFL Sun Comes Out Again Trash Talk

Trash Talk is back baybee! The NFL season starts for real tonight with the first game of the league’s centennial season. And, proving that even Roger Goodell and the NFL can occasionally get something right, the season starts with the Packers at the Bears. On Soldier field. Now that is a start to the season.

Honestly, the Bears are at home, and are probably, overall, the far better team. But the Cheesers have that Rodgers guy. If Green Bay’s O-Line can hold, they have a chance. If not, they don’t. It is pretty much that simple. Even a couple of Khalil Mackers to Aaron Rodgers will slow the Cheese train down. But, either way, it is one hell of a season opener.

There are a myriad of additional games on tap for Saturday in the college ranks, and Sunday, in the pro ranks. Not to mention the timeless speed of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Last weekend at Spa was a sensational race at, perhaps, the most beautiful circuit on the Circus calendar. Monza is not far behind, even if it is not the same as it once was with the feared steep banking.

So, Saturday is a big day here at Casa de bmaz as our daughter is coming home in the afternoon after six months on work assignment in India. We are extremely excited, but will try to get some more content up in the morning. If not, now you know why. The NFL sun is coming out starting tonight at Soldier Field. So the official Trash Talk season opening music is Sun King by The Cult. It is one truly kick ass song. Let’s rock and roll peoples!

Stormy Weather Ahead

As you may have heard, there is an interview on CBS 60 Minutes tonight of former Trump paramour Stormy Daniels. In the last 48 hours, there have been a slew of Stormy biographies. From the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN. All worth a check if you are interested, but all paint a similar picture.

It is a picture of a modern empowered and self assured woman. She is no slouch, she is bright and ready. It was been all too casual for the press to early on slough her off and characterize her as a “porn star” like that automatically makes some throw away bimbo. Clearly, nothing is further from the case.

The picture that emerges on closer inspection is far different. She is an informed and savvy woman in full. She is a mother and businesswoman, and one who understands and worries about the conflicts between the two. Karen McDougal, in her Thursday interview on CNN came off as genuine and honest, even if somewhat lost in why she is here with all of the public now. Daniels has none of that. And her story is, within the salacious category Trump brings us to consider, far more compelling.

The stories of Daniels and McDougall were literally concurrent, starting with a golf tournament tete a tete at the Tahoe Pro Am. But McDougall presents as a jilted woman once in love, Daniels is flat out a smarter woman who knew then, and knows now, what was up, then and now, and just isn’t going to stand for the rank hypocrisy and lying by Trump and his goons like Michael Cohen.

The rushed out bios linked above largely track each other, but to my eye, the New York Times is the best:

Those who know her well have registered the moment differently. Ms. Clifford has subsisted amid the seamier elements of a business often rife with exploitation and unruly fare; more than a few of her film titles are unprintable. But for most of her professional life, Ms. Clifford has been a woman in control of her own narrative in a field where that can be uncommon. With an instinct for self-promotion, she evolved from “kindergarten circuit” stripper to star actress and director, and occasional mainstream success, by her late 20s. Why would a piece of paper and an executive legal team set her back?
….
“She was a very serious businesswoman and a filmmaker and had taken the reins of her career,” said Judd Apatow, who directed her cameos in the R-rated comedies “Knocked Up” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.” “She is not someone to be underestimated.”
….
She has a daughter, a third husband and an expensive hobby: equestrian shows. “She blends right in,” said Packy McGaughan, a trainer on the competition circuit.
….
“Just as these misguided arbiters of the mainstream view an adult entertainment star as an anathema to the political process,” she said, when she eventually decided against a bid, “so too do they view the dishwasher, the cashier or the bus driver.”

This woman is real. Please go read at least the NY Times story, if not the others linked. She is everything you think she is, and far, far, more. And she has no fear. Not of her career, and not of Trump. That has to terrify Trump.

Here is the other thing that is different: Stormy Daniels has Michael Avenatti as her lawyer. Never met or talked to Avenatti before, but I have heard of him in cases (and from auto racing things), and from friends, for several years. He is good.

After three years at O’Melveny, he joined Greene Broillet & Wheeler, a Los Angeles boutique litigation firm. While there, Michael spearheaded many high-profile cases, including a $10 million defamation case against Paris Hilton; a successful idea theft lawsuit involving the reality show The Apprentice and its producer, Mark Burnett, as well as Donald Trump; and a large corporate multi-national embezzlement case involving in excess of $42,000,000.

In 2007, Michael formed the law firm Eagan Avenatti, LLP (fka Eagan O’Malley & Avenatti, LLP), with offices in Newport Beach, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Since co-founding the firm, Michael has been responsible for securing a number of large verdicts and settlements as lead counsel, including an April 2017 $454 Million verdict after a jury trial in Federal Court in Los Angeles in a fraud case against Kimberly-Clark (NYSE: KMB) and Halyard Health (NYSE: HYH) that was featured on 60 Minutes (won every jury question as to every defendant); a $80.5 million class action settlement against Service Corporation International (NYSE: SCI) in another case featured on 60 Minutes and in the international press (settlement reached in the middle of trial); a $41 million jury verdict after a nearly five-week trial in New Jersey; a $39 million settlement in a case involving the alleged theft of trade secrets; and a $13 million plus verdict after a six week jury trial in Palm Beach, Florida (won every jury question as to every defendant). In 2015, Michael prevailed against the National Football League after a two-week jury trial in Federal District Court in Dallas, Texas after obtaining a court order requiring Jerry Jones to attend trial and be cross-examined.

I had heard of him before, but really first watched Avenatti when he took on the National Football League and Jerry Jones. Because of some sports law friends, some of whom were closer to that story, I paid attention. Avenatti is seriously that good, and he has the extra bonus of knowing how to be a good trial lawyer AND play the PR game, personally, well. There are not many such lawyers, and ones tending to the PR more than the law are routinely panned mercilessly here at this blog. For good reason.

If you don’t have a winning strategy with the press, don’t talk to the press. Even if you think you do, think twice and thrice before doing so. Or, by my book, just don’t do it. But Avenatti has a really special combination of savvy, and has proven it long before Stormy Daniels.

Nobody knows how it all ends up, and playing the press is a risky game even for those genuinely good at it. But, so far, Avenatti and Stormy have played Trump and the press like a Stradivarius.

And, if as Trump is reportedly contemplating, Trump decides to get personally aggressive, watch out. He may well have met his match with Ms. Daniels and Michael Avenatti. By my guess, they are almost making bank Trump will try that ill advised tact. Let it be. Please, let it be.

It’s Not the Economy, Stupid

Despite Bill Clinton’s famous catchphrase that he rode to two terms in the White House, and despite its echo in the 2016 campaign when Trump voters were described as acting out of “economic anxiety”, politics in the United States in my lifetime comes down, first and foremost, to racism. Yes, in Trump’s case and for most Republicans in office, there is a hefty dose of misogyny mixed in, but the animus against those who are not old, rich, white males unites their hatred.

Russia affected the 2016 contest. Clearly. But one of their primary tools was to stoke racial animus. Another huge impact on the actual outcome of the election was the outright suppression of minority votes by Republicans. It now appears that they may well have tipped the Wisconsin vote through suppression. And all those millions of votes for Trump, in the end, amount to nothing more than a huge endorsement of his outright racism. In the end, they came out on top with a little help from Republican policies expressly developed to prevent minorities from voting.

Trump is America’s racism unmasked and he would not be President if there weren’t a huge racist component to American culture today. The primary home for that racism is the Republican party.

The last few days have shown Trump revealing both his deep-seated racism and his cynical understanding that virtually his only support now is rooted in America’s racism. He tried his best to make his response to NFL protests be about the flag and patriotism. But that is most definitely NOT what Colin Kaepernick was protesting when he started this movement in August of 2016:

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has willingly immersed himself into controversy by refusing to stand for the playing of the national anthem in protest of what he deems are wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the United States.

His latest refusal to stand for the anthem — he has done this in at least one other preseason game — came before the 49ers’ preseason loss to Green Bay at Levi’s Stadium on Friday night.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Making matters even worse, NFL teams and even billionaire NFL owners–the very parties responsible for Kaepernick still not being on a roster despite abysmal quarterback play on several teams–came out with what some folks saw as admirable statements and actions in response to Trump calling for owners to “fire the sons of bitches” who kneel during the national anthem. The best response to that development came from Shannon Sharpe. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch the entire statement, it is a thing of beauty and something that every American needs to hear:

So what are we to do?

First, those of us who carry the advantage of being old, white males who are at least comfortable if not rich must speak up every time there is an instance of racial injustice. Especially at the local level, when the police treat minorities without respect, make it known that this will not stand. Support larger groups that are working to promote racial justice.

But perhaps it is also worth taking look at our own lives. What aspects of our own lives help to perpetuate racial injustice? Even simple actions can accumulate. The next time you reconcile a credit card statement, take a look at your choices. Do you only eat at faceless chain restaurants? When was the last time you had a meal at a locally owned restaurant with a minority owner? Those are likely some of the best eating establishments in your town if you take the time to look around and try some new cuisines.

How about schools? Do you send your kids to private schools, most of which have been established to get around integration? Worse yet, do you send them to charter schools, which are set up expressly to take money away from public schools?

How about your place of worship? Is it integrated? Does it have any activities or programs aimed at racial justice?

One small action that I’ve decided to take is that I won’t watch another down of NFL football until Colin Kaepernick has been signed by a team.

Trump is the poster child for American racism, but we could all benefit from spending a little time thinking about our own roles both in how he came to be President and what we can do to make sure his sort never gets there again.

Did President Trump Violate Federal Law With His Alabama Rant?

I wrote yesterday about the racial, social and football implications of Trump’s rant in the history and home of George Wallace.

But a new, and by all appearances excellent, commenter on that post noted this:

“It occurs to me that his tweets are at least arguably in violation of 18 U.S. Code § 227. That section prohibits the POTUS (among others), from “attempting to influence or interfere” in a private company’s labor matter, to urge a “political” firing. This is especially true where the basis for the POTUS’s urging of the firing of such a private company employee (union covered, collective bargaining agreement governed) — is (as here) centered on protected political first amendment expression.”

So, is that right? Well, it is a LOT closer call than most would dismissively think. Let’s look at the language of the relevant statute, 18 USC §277:

18 U.S. Code § 227 – Wrongfully influencing a private entity’s employment decisions by a Member of Congress or an officer or employee of the legislative or executive branch:

(a) Whoever, being a covered government person, with the intent to influence, solely on the basis of partisan political affiliation, an employment decision or employment practice of any private entity—
(1) takes or withholds, or offers or threatens to take or withhold, an official act, or
(2) influences, or offers or threatens to influence, the official act of another,
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than 15 years, or both, and may be disqualified from holding any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.
(b) In this section, the term “covered government person” means—
(1) a Senator or Representative in, or a Delegate or Resident Commissioner to, the Congress;
(2) an employee of either House of Congress; or
(3) the President, Vice President, an employee of the United States Postal Service or the Postal Regulatory Commission, or any other executive branch employee (as such term is defined under section 2105 of title 5, United States Code).

Read the statute. It is a lot closer call than you think. Will Trump’s own Department of Justice pursue this? No, no chance, nor probably should it be. Is it a viable question, and one that ought be discussed in the public and media, yes, absolutely.

As sports law “experts” would say, let’s break it down. There are elements to a crime. Trump is unequivocally a “covered person” within the ambit of the statute. Also unequivocal is the fact that his words in Alabama were meant to influence “an employment decision or employment practice of any private entity”, in this case, the National Football League.

The problem lies in section (a)(1) of the relevant statute, which requires:

takes or withholds, or offers or threatens to take or withhold, an official act

It is easy to see and admit that Trump would do just that in a heartbeat. But Trump did not do that per se in his Alabama speech.

No. That element cannot be met by Donald J. Trump’s Alabama Song of hate. So, no, there is no exposure to 18 USC §227.

It is a great thought and question though.

And it is a perfect example of the precipice of racism, bigotry and ignorance on which the political discussion in the United States, and our Article II Executive Branch, courtesy of President Trump, nows perilously treads nearly every day.

The events and actions in and from the NFL today, tomorrow, and in the next few weeks pale in comparison. They are a symbol and a voice. But it is so much more and bigger than that.

When The President Hates A Race And Talks Racist Trash

President Donald J. Trump is a racist bigot. Jemele Hill was right on that one, not that sane people had not already realized it long ago, and well before his election. Take his ignorant position on the Central Park Five case, just as a for instance. Then add on how he was sued decades ago for discriminating against blacks in housing. Throw in a thousand other tell tale points and you have a picture of a self entitled candy assed rich New York racist. That is just who he is. It has always been there for inquiring minds to see if they so desired.

Now the latest pure and unadulterated racism from the now President of the United States. Last night in Alabama, Trump let loose a rambling self centered screed of a speech that would make George Wallace cringe. Here is a sample:

“Wouldn’t you like to see one of these owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired!”

He then went on to state that any player so exercising free speech should be “fired” and unemployable at their career job. From Michael David Smith at PFT:

Trump said an NFL owner who releases a player would instantly gain broad support across America.

“Some owner’s gonna do that. He’s gonna say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag? He’s fired. And that owner . . . they’ll be the most popular person in this country. Because that’s total disrespect of our heritage. That’s total disrespect of everything we stand for,” Trump said.

Trump added that he believes fans should walk out if players don’t stand for the anthem. “If you see it, even if it’s one player,” Trump said, “Leave the stadium.”

Trump also argued that if they do this to boycott the NFL and personal free speech, they would be supporting him and his position.

Clearly aiming at Colin Kaepernick, Michael Bennett and Malcolm Jenkins, prominent NFL players who have had the audacity to be free thinking humans and exercise the protected free speech our Bill of Rights is led by and that generations of American patriots fought and died to preserve. Donald Trump shits on every ounce of that every time he goes on one of his little pointed and racist rants. And boy did he shit on it last night in Alabama. You’d almost think Trump is aligned with the neo-Nazi white supremacists with torches in Charlottesville that he praised as “fine people” instead of the full diversity of American citizens. Including, you know, black people.

Was Trump done? Of course not. He then cravenly went on to scold the NFL for being soft because of their (still lame and ineffective) concern about CTE degenerative brain disease:

“When the ratings are down massively, massively. The NFL ratings are down massively. Now the number one reason happens to be that they like watching what’s happening….with yours truly. They like what’s happening.

Because you know if they hit too hard…Fifteen yards! Throw him out of the game! they hd that last week. I watched for a couple of minutes. Two guys, just really, beautiful tackle. Boom, fifteen yards!

The referee gets on television, his wife is sitting at home, she’s so proud of him. They’re ruining the game! That’s what they want to do. They want to hit. They want to hit! It is hurting the game!”

An outrageous thing to say about, again, American citizens and their workplace safety issues. Especially when the most recent studies found CTE degeneration in 99% of the brains from NFL players they have examined. And when the NFL was just slapped with a complaint on Aaron Hernandez that exhibited that even a relative young player displayed “a raisin-like brain of a 70-year-old even though he was 27″. Simply craven, bigoted and outrageous.

It is the the stuff of a narcissistic self entitled bigot plantation slave owner. Trump literally thinks he is not only the the better, but genetically superior to other humans, including the constituents he works for. Including people he thinks are owned as slaves by the NFL and other terrorized employees.

When Trump instructs NFL owners to fire people that disagree with his own petty world view, he thinks they are plantation owners such as he sees himself with the rest of humanity. Trump makes “the best deals” but cannot see, nor appreciate, the NFL collective bargaining agreement (CBA), nor does he respect that deal for squat if employees thereunder happen to annoy the fat ass boy king and god.

Apparently Trump thinks the illustrious group of NFL owner oligarchs are his bitches too. As Don Van Natta noted, “Bob Kraft, Jerry Jones, Stan Kroenke, Daniel Snyder, Shahid Khan, Woody Johnson & Bob McNair each gave $1M to Trump”. That is nearly one quarter of the NFL owners. What are they rewarded with by their benefactor Trump? A call for boycott of their business interests unless they enforce an unconscionable suppression of political free speech he disagrees with.

This may “only be sports”, but this is one of the more stunningly outrageous and un-American symbols of the cancer the Trump Presidency really is. And what a demented, sick and small man Trump really is.

Did Trump stop with that stunning pettiness and bigotry? No, of course not. He woke up and decided to be the charlatan of humanity he really is, and decided to lash out at another icon of sports. Steph Curry. And more:

Well that is brilliant Art of the Squeal Like a Pig Don.

So, lets see, who has Donald Trump lashed out at exclusively in the last 24 hours? Ryan Lizza hit it on the head:

Trump has now attacked Jemele Hill, Colin Kaepernick, & Stephen Curry. All have something in common but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Ryan was being sarcastic about the putting a finger on it. And, again, he was completely correct in his observation. I wonder what Trump would say about a golden white boy who turned down a White House invitation”? Oh, wait….

The face of the New England Patriots, Tom Brady, did not attend Wednesday’s White House ceremony with his teammates due to “personal family matters” — but the show went on without the star quarterback.

Brady’s decision not to visit the White House comes on the same day former teammate and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez was found dead after an apparent suicide in his prison cell.

Yes, a pure as white can be Tom Brady gets no bad mouth at all from our racist bigot President, but be a black person in sports, whether athletes like Colin Kaepernick and Michael Bennett, or sports journalist like Jemele Hill, and he will try to deprive you and your family of the essential income your professional career provides.

This is where we are in America in the Age of Trumpism. If you are a white nationalist fat ass racist bigot, your President thinks you are “fine folk”. If you are an intelligent black, brown, gay or other, even trying to serve your country’s military, your President, Trump The Genetically Magnificent, will attack you and your family’s very source of income, and well being, mercilessly.

It is the shame of modern America.

I’m sorry, I’ve no stomach for the actual games this weekend at this point. We can all discuss that in comments, but not here. Not now. Not after this.