Tidbits

1) Just a couple of quick notes here. First, kudos to Bomani Jones of ESPN’s page 2, for pointing out the absurdity of the $100,000 fine the NFL levied against Brian Urlacher for wearing a baseball cap during Super Bowl week that had a non-NFL sponsor on it. When I heard this fine reported on Mike and Mike this morning, I was surprised at how little attention they gave it. Surely, I thought, they would comment on how steep that number is in comparison with the amount the NFL usually fines players for doing things like stomping on other guys’ heads. Well, Jones did the leg work and pointed out the following:

Urlacher was fined a whopping $100,000 for wearing a hat promoting vitaminwater at Super Bowl media day. That’s more than the total fines against Bill Romanowski for kicking Larry Centers, spitting on J.J. Stokes, breaking Kerry Collins’ jaw with an illegal hit and three separate illegal hits and a punch on Tony Gonzalez.

Well, that about tells us everything we need to know about the NFL’s priorities. For the record, the NFL is playing “the kind of gangsta” that is “to be respected” in Jones’ view:

Gatorade pays to be down with the program, to be part of the league’s unwavering consistency. It’s part of the league’s fabric, which keeps it in the public eye at all times. Gatorade knows we’re going to tune in every week and, just like us, it wants to be down.

So does Reebok, whose apparel contract with the NFL prevented coaches from wearing suits on the sidelines. Coaches weren’t allowed to wear suits until 2006, once Reebok developed a line of suits. Reebok didn’t sign its 10-year sponsorship deal with the NFL so Jack Del Rio could look sharp in someone else’s duds. It signed on to be part of the money-making machine.

Vitaminwater didn’t give the NFL a damn thing. Gotta pay to play, baby.

Brian Urlacher, about as large a star as the league allows for, isn’t going to interfere with the machine with any personal agenda. Don’t be surprised if the next guy who tries something like this faces a much stiffer penalty, perhaps even a suspension. When money is on the line, the NFL will do what is has to do to get what it wants.

Now that’s gangsta.

Next time Commissioner Goodell talks about the league’s “values” just – remember – multiple attempts to seriously injure players < wearing an errant cap.

2) Mike and Chris had Jim Dolan on their show on Tuesday (their afternoon show – not the absolutely brutal morning show they’re doing as temporary fill-ins in the Imus time slot. Truly painful to listen to). Mike and Chris have their likes and dislikes. If they dislike you, they can be unfair, but they can also become tenacious journalists, holding sports decision-makers accountable for bad decisions in a way that really serves their listeners. On the other hand, if they like someone, and they like Dolan, Mike and Chris go soft. Dolan is a disaster – an incompetent manager, an egotistical maniac, and a disaster for the Knicks. Mike and Chris know this, and they half-heartedly asked him about the general direction of the team. Francesa asked him with evident skepticism whether he honestly thought the Knicks were headed in the right direction. They’re not – for the record. They haven’t been over five hundred in six years, they’re tens of millions of dollars over the cap with more bad contracts than any team in the league, and they will now have to surrender a lottery pick for the second year in a row because of the Eddy Curry trade. When Dolan talks about the Knicks being on the path to a championship team (which he actually said), you have to laugh.

Russo did directly challenge him on the Curry trade, telling Dolan:

“you have to admit that was a terrible trade. “he a heart condition, the Bulls didn’t like him…they were dying to get rid of him. The point is, Isiah didn’t just give up last year’s pick, which was Tyrus Thomas, who’s playing great, but this year’s pick and the Bulls were dying to get rid of him…”

Dolan did concede that if the Knicks knew then what they know now (that the team would miss the playoffs these past two seasons), maybe they would have thought differently. And, Mike and Chris both criticized Isiah for failing to lottery-protect the draft choices, a standard of NBA trades nowadays. But, Dolan insisted, the Knicks “weren’t the only ones competing for Curry.”

I don’t know whether Dolan is lying, has a bad memory, was lied to by Isiah or what, but here’s what the New York Times had to say about the demand for Curry shortly after the trade, in October 2005:

the Knicks were apparently the only team willing to make that gamble (on Curry’s heart). No team offered Curry a contract this summer when he was a restricted free agent. And, according to Paxson, no other team offered to trade for Curry. ”I had several teams tell me they weren’t interested because they were scared about his health,” Paxson said.

Paxson could be lying, too, except that he has no reason to in this instance. I have written about this ad nauseam, I know. And, in it’s in own way, it’s no worse than the unconscionable decision to give thirty million dollars to Jerome James as a reward for having played one good week of basketball in his entire NBA career. But, given how Mike and Chris treat other guests, the way they let Dolan slide is unacceptable.

3 Responses to “Tidbits”

  1. “Francesa asked him with evident skepticism whether he honestly thought the Knicks were headed in the right direction. They’re not – for the record.”

    Phenomenologists be damned! There is an objective reality and it’s here to stay! :)

    Good stuff.

  2. TheLastPoet Says:

    I dunno, Mr Weiler

    You say you’ve talked about Dolan and the Knicks ad nauseum (at your own website, I presume), but I missed all of that… Here you imply that Dolan is delusional, to put it mildly. Sure, if the bar is set at “championship by June of ’08,” then Mr Dolan is tweaked on that jolly good sticky icky green. The other facts you present in order to prove that the Knicks are not headed in the right direction are solid, too: they’ve been a losing team for some years now, they’re over the cap, strapped with bad contracts, and surrendered two picks for Eddy Curry.

    Like I said, these facts are solid, but not unassailable.

    1) it is fallacious to assume that because the Knicks have lost a lot recently, that they will continue to lose in perpetuity. The team has talent. When healthy, they’ve proven they can play better and win . They are not a finished product, to be sure, but they are not an unmitigated disaster either.

    2) many teams are over the cap, and the Knicks were over the cap when Isaiah came to NY. Some teams can still manage to trade and to sign players while over the cap. The Knicks under Zeke/Dolan have been such a team. The players they have now while over the cap, bad contracts and all, are better than the players they had before, while also over the cap. This includes Eddy Curry, who is a better player than Kurt Thomas (who started at C for the Knicks before Curry) and Tyrus Thomas (who was drafted by the Bulls with the Knicks’ pick, as everybody knows). More on Mr Curry later.

    3) bad contracts, like the cap situation, are a fact of life for nearly all NBA teams. Part of the reason why the Knicks have so many bad contracts happens to be the same reason why they’re over the cap: it’s because they can afford to be. Cablevision makes it so. Moreover, Zeke/Dolan were able to trade some bad contracts they inherited, while taking on others. Again, what else were they supposed to do? Not all the bad contracts are the fault of Zeke/Dolan, and like I said, they are not alone in sharing this burden, but rather all the NBA shares it. The good news is that the bad contracts are slowly, inevitably coming off the books in NY, and the Knicks will be primed for action around the time when Bron Bron becomes available…

    Finally, the two picks for Eddy Curry, what’s the big deal here? Eddy Curry ain’t so bad. Have you seen him in person? (I’m sure you have.) He’s one of the most physically imposing cats in the league, he’s a talented low post scorer, he’s young, he’s improving. Since he’s playing for a coach who believes in him, we should have every reason to believe he can improve his conditioning, his defense and rebounding. The same cannot be said of either Kurt Thomas (who may have one last playoff run in him with the Suns, but is otherwise washed up) or Tyrus Thomas (sure, T-Time is palying well and he’s gonna get a lot better, but not with the Bulls because he isn’t a Skiles type of guy, watch and see). Besides, I’ll take Eddy Curry’s size and potential over Tyrus Thomas’s wiry 6-8 frame and athleticism, which comes a dime a dozen in today’s NBA. In other words, I can name a handful of NBA players who Tyrus, at his best, may turn out to be, starting with Shawn Marion. Now the Matrix is awesome, but he ain’t Shaq – and that’s the kind of ceiling that Eddy Curry has (go ahead, insert your questions about my sanity here – but I am right about Curry’s POTENTIAL! There is no one else in the league besides Shaq with the same combination of size and athleticism). And let’s see who the Knicks select with their later 1st round pick this year. With Zeke’s eye for talent, who’s to say that the Knicks don’t end up with the better player?

    One last thing: you opined that Mr Paxson had no reason to lie about the interest in Eddy Curry around the league a couple seasons ago. I say he did have good reason to lie. How else do you convince your fellow GM’s that you are not an absolute fool to be shopping Eddy Curry in the first place? Obviously, he wasn’t lying about the existence of Curry’s heart ailment. But he may have been lying about its severity, or the necessity of a mandatory test. These could have been bargaining chips. Hey, I dunno, man. You tell me.

  3. TheLastPoet Says:

    I hate to be double posting all over this joint, but I gotta say peace to StopMikeLupica.

    He’s the one who provided the evidence where it was needed in my counter-argument above, all from his website which is a must-read for die hard Knicks fans (yeah, we be dyin hard nowadays…) Of course, he may not want to admit that he has authored those views, or he may be tired of defending the Knicks, at any rate. Sorry. home boy!

    You my man fitty grand, tho!

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