FIFA’s Blatter resigns – good riddance

Just days after winning the presidency of FIFA for another 4 years, Sepp Blatter resigned in front of a near empty press conference. [I wonder if that was done on purpose. Hmmmm.]

With his departure, FIFA will be looking for a hopefully new untarnished president but it may take a couple of months or so to gather the federations back. So he stays on until then.

With Blatter out of the picture at the next vote, will Prince Ali Hussein of Jordan have a good chance [after all, comes from the royal family – I’m sure plenty of money already].

An example of probably corruption by Blatter is threatening to suspend international football games in Iran, Nigeria, Kenya and Greece if their governments continued to have investigations into corruption of those federations.

This is a bit too much power. Does he has the authority to do so on his own – or maybe he thinks he does with the backing of the majority of federations.

The second-in-command for FIFA, secretary general Jerome Valcke, has been implicated in a $10 million payment involving the South African bid for the 2010 World Cup.

Even with the fact that in 2006, Blatter’s personal favorite, Valcke lying on the stand in a trial, he still managed to get to his current position. It shows you there is some type of corruption in FIFA.

As it is, Valcke has decided not to attend the Women’s World Cup in Canada starting this weekend because of some pressing “critical business”. One wonders if it is because the US and Canada have a nice extradition treaty and is nervous that he may be arrested in Canada and sent to the US.

If FIFA wants to clean up its image, it can start by taking a modified play out of the US government playbook. They should hire independent reputable investigators to investigate [vetted] the potential presidents of FIFA. Have the contenders decide very soon so that the investigators can check the contenders for a couple of months or so.

Turmoil hits FIFA

Turmoil hits FIFA, the world governing body of soccer, errr, football, in the world.

Just days after arrests from major officials in the organization, 4 time president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, became a 5-time president. It wasn’t even close, winning in the second round.

The latest battering to FIFA’s credibility came when Swiss and U.S. criminal probes into corruption were disclosed two days before the presidential vote, with several leading officials arrested in Zurich.

Major [US] sponsors have already warned that they want to see corruption and reported near slave labor in Qatar [hosting the 2022 World Cup] cleaned up.

The 2018 World Cup was awarded to Russia and Russian President [and tyrant/dictator] Vladimir Putin was already blaming the US wondering why the US was also probing FIFA – thinking that the US is trying to remove Russia from hosting the world cup, just 3 years away. He has gone bonkers.

[Since the US doesn’t have clout in football and the rest of the world’s votes dwarf the US – even with allies – unsure how the US can get FIFA to remove Russia as host unless it is clear that Russia was heavily involved in corruption. But you know Putin. He comes out with these hypotheticals that are so unlikely.]

One of those officials that were arrested is from Russia.

Sepp Blatter has promised to clean up FIFA. If so, he didn’t notice all this corruption over the past few years as the probes have indicated the length of the investigation?

And what happens if it continues?

Oh both Russia and Qatar backed Blatter as president – which will run for the next four years. Blatter was supposed to leave his post in 2011 in a deal but reneged on the deal. Can he be trusted?

There have been some rumors the UEFA [the European governing body], US, Canada and South America could pull out of FIFA. What would this mean for FIFA?

Well, some of the major powerhouses – let alone most of the sponsors – would abandon the World Cup. The sponsors want to see the best teams play and not a bunch of previously ranked low ranked countries battle for the cup. The UEFA president asked Blatter to stand down but was refused.

I think FIFA needs UEFA more than UEFA needs FIFA.

A European boycott could also cause problems when it comes to having foreign players play in the various leagues across the Europe and elsewhere. Would the best players in Africa be able to play in European leagues?

Blatter has tried to defend himself and has hinted there is some type of political correlation in the investigation.

Meanwhile at least two banks that have dealt with FIFA have opened internal investigations to see if they are involved in the corruption.

[Oh the US can investigate FIFA, just like any other country as they are a member of FIFA. In addition, most of the major sponsors are from the US.]

Windows Updates causes team to lose basketball game

[And no, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke.]

As the home team in a match against Chemnitz in the German league basketball game, the Paderborn Finke Baskets were responsible for the large score display. The laptop that was controlling the screen crashed before the start of the game. As it rebooted, it insisted on installing Windows updates. The game was supposed to start at 7.30 pm on March 13th , but after speaking to the referee, the manager for Paderborn decided to wait for the screen to come back before tip-off.

With the team badly needed to hold on to their spot in the league, it took 17 minutes for the Windows updates to be installed [why so many?] which turn out to be two minutes longer than the Paderborn could work with. In an official statement from the Basketball Bundesliga league officials, they confirmed that Paderborn has been relegated from the ProA because if a game is interrupted for more than 15 minutes, the responsible team is considered to have lost the game. This is part of the league rules.

How not to handle a crisis

Well, we see the NFL seems to continue to have problems. Between owners with racist remarks to the dumb and stupid antics of their players, the NFL needs to do something to clean themselves up.

Consider the latest issue with Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. He was caught on camera hitting his then girlfriend [and now wife] back in the spring. In the video, they were shouting obscenities at each other, and she appears to spit at Rice right before he throws a hard punch at a casino.

The NFL claimed they only saw it this past week when it was shown on TMZ but a law enforcement official claimed the full video was sent to a NFL executive back in April. But at one point, the NFL has said it asked for the video from law enforcement, but was denied. Something definitely wrong in the front office.

Rice meanwhile had been charged with felony aggravated assault, but in May he was accepted into a pretrial intervention program that will allowed him to avoid jail time [with conditions]. The program could lead to the charge being purged from his record. He was initially suspended for two games but when the video came out and was then cut from the Ravens and right after was suspended by the league indefinitely.

It’s not the only controversies in the past few years. The Miami Dolphins bullying incident in 2013, the New Orleans Saints bounties and the New England Patriots with their spying scandal.

Just within the past 48 hours, Philadelphia Eagles’ LeSean McCoy decided to give a waiter a 20 cent tip [yes, two dimes] on a bill of over $60 at a Philadelphia restaurant. The waiter – who is a Baltimore Ravens fan – claims McCoy and his friends were using rude language and making “derogatory comments” during their time in the restaurant. [The waiter did admit he forgot to deliver an appetizer.] Once the players received their food, one said “We ain’t eating this s**t. We don’t want it.”

As well, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is being sued by an exotic dancer accusing him of sexual assault. The $1 million suit claims that the 2009 incident caused the 27-year-old to fear for her life.

Another team owner, Jim Irsay of the Indianapolis Colts, is currently serving a six-game suspension and had to pay a $500,000 fine after pleading guilty to one misdemeanor count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

So, will the NFL front office do something?

Fan takes team to court for dozing off during game

Yes. You read it right.

A New York Yankees fan has filed a $10 million lawsuit against two ESPN announcers, ESPN, Major League Baseball and the Yankees contending they mocked him using words like “fatty” and “stupid” when he was caught on national television sleeping in his seat during a game against Boston recently at Yankee Stadium.

In the lawsuit, Andrew ector admits in court documents he “napped” during a game on April 13, but says the ESPN commentators Dan Shulman and John Kruk unleashed an “avalanche of disparaging words” against him.

Rector says he suffered “substantial injury” to his “character and reputation” and “mental anguish, loss of future income and loss of earning capacity.”

The “loss of future income and loss of earning capacity” would not have happened if he didn’t fall asleep and didn’t file a lawsuit. Now that he filed a lawsuit everyone knows his name.

Yes, the announcers did go a bit far but until the lawsuit came out, I think few would of known he was the sleeping target.

The fact that he also blames the Yankees is ridiculous as they have little to do with the issue – other than a boring game [2-1]. Maybe he included them because it was a boring game and if it was 12-10, he would of been awake!

I would suspect Yankee fans won’t be happy with him.

You can see and hear a video of the what happened here. It’s your call. :-0)

Politically correct team names

The NFL’s Washington Redskins may be forced to change the team’s name. It was tried before but unsuccessful. Now there is further pressure to do so.

The name “redskin” is not politically correct.

There are some who are traditionalists and those who want to keep the name argue that [among other reasons] it’s been that name for so long, why change it now?

Others argue that in this politically correct world [well, part of the world at least], it is time to correct the names of various teams that offend others.

But where do we draw the line?

Is the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos not politically correct? I’d say the name is fine.

The NHL’s Chicago Black Hawks? I’d say they’d be nervous if the Redskins are, but mostly because of the team logo. An actual black hawk as a team logo wouldn’t be an issue.

US college football’s Notre Dame Fighting Irish? I never heard any complaints. I think the Irish are happy.

US college football’s North Dakota Fighting Sioux? Well, if Notre Dame is fine, shouldn’t the Fighting Sioux? But some may object.

How about the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs? Surely those birds aren’t happy to be associated with a team that hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since 1967. 🙂

There actually is one financial advantage of changing a team name: merchandising. Think of all the die-hard fans buying the new merchandise. Even the old Redskins merchandise would increase in value on various sites. [The late Baseball’s Montreal Expos merchandise is still selling – maybe even better than the last few years when they were around.]

Here comes the second season

Ok. We are coming close to playoff season for hockey and basketball.

A few have commented on how many teams make the playoffs.

Over the years the National Hockey League had a problem because too many teams made the playoffs. Even with a very sub-par season was good enough for a team to make the playoffs – and in a few cases actually went farther than expected.

At least as the NHL reached 30 teams at least they didn’t increase the number of teams in the playoffs. Already it is too long at possibly 2 months’ worth of playoffs – considering the season is under seven months.

It all comes down to money. NHL players do not get a salary as the playoff season begins. So any sales from tickets [and maybe from other sources] are pure profit [well except for the obvious stuff]. On top of that, playoff tickets are usually quite higher than a regular season game.

The same could be said for some junior hockey leagues. One in particular has 18 teams and 16 make the playoffs.

Baseball could be another example. It used to be 2 teams in each league. Then with three divisions, it was the best three plus the best ream of the rest. Now there is a playoff game between the two top teams [other than the division winners].

Once again, what the owners reap in is almost pure profit as the biggest chunk of playing a game is the players’ salaries.

The National Football League – luckily – doesn’t have a very lengthy season. Well, not really, as there are plenty of teams. But they play a single game and not best of five or seven.

 

Here comes the Putin Olympics

So the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are set to begin very shorty.

One wonders how the International Olympic Committee even allowed Russia [as well as others] to host the Olympics. Consider the following:

  • The weather is above zero constantly. True, many events are in doors or in the mountains but Sochi even has a beach. Will Sochi have some lack of snow issues like they had in Vancouver? [They could have been the first Winter Olympics to have beach volleyball!]
  • Islamic extremist from Dagestan, Chechnya and other areas threatening with terrorist strikes. In fact, those areas aren’t too far from Sochi – almost at the edge of what some would call a war zone. In fact some athletes are coming to the Olympics but without their families.
  • The Putin government has implemented anti-gay [or LGBT] laws that are borderline draconian. A “Pride House” was banned by the Putin government. Adults can’t really mention LGBT issues to children or fear about getting arrested.
  • Recently, an environmental activist was arrested for swearing. Something tells me they just wanted the activist away from Sochi. He was jailed for 15 days. Hmmm. He’ll be released just about the time the games end.
  • Other lengthy jail terms for what would be considered lighter crimes [such as Pussy Riot or the “Greenpeace 30”] where those sentenced were placed in brutal gulags in northern Russia or just nasty prisons that make some US prisons look like a luxury resort.
  • There is an authorized protest zone but far far away from the Olympic venues.

You though it could get as bad but future Olympics locations include Qatar [where workers are working under near slave conditions] and South Korea [where some dislike human rights abuses].

So is the IOC picking sites because nobody else want to pay for or host the games?

The final audited price for the Vancouver games was $1.84 million. When awarded the Olympics, the Russians estimated the games would cost $12 billion. The estimated price for Sochi is already estimated around $51 billion [which includes extra security] but I’m sure a nice chunk is corruption related. The Russian government claims that the actual price tag is in line with the original estimate and the remainder was for upgrades that would of happened anyways. Ya. Right. Maybe $35+ billion in upgrades to Sochi over 7 years [the time since the games were awarded]. On the other hand, Sochi is like a playground for the rich.

Of course we will probably never know. I’m sure the Putin government will give doctored results.

Lawsuit by hockey player’s family has little merit

About 2 years ago, hockey player Derek Boogaard died from an overdose of painkillers.

If you follow one story, he was an NHL just to fight other players. The New York Rangers were paying him $1.6 million a year to do so – way more than a good chunk of the NHL players do and especially for a guy who will spend more time in the penalty box [and maybe on the injury list] than most players.

His family is suing the National Hockey League claiming that they should have done more to prevent Boogaard’s brain injuries and his addiction to pain killers.

Just like the National Football League, the [ex-]NHL players are coming out of the woodwork complaining about various ailments related to concussions. They say that the NHL should have responded sooner.

Boogaard knew he signed his contract that had just one job and one job only – to fight other goons in the NHL [while it is probably not worded in his contract I am sure he was informed as well as his agent, his family, etc.]. He wasn’t there to score or anything else.

Anyone who plays hockey [and for that matter football] know that there is a risk of getting a concussion and it increases if you are the team’s designated goon. He knew that when he signed the contract. Concussions didn’t start to appear last year. They have been known for years.

Take the NHL to court? For what? Something he and his family already knew? He could of quit the game or maybe told his coach that he doesn’t want to fight. It was his choice. Was he pressured? Maybe. But it was still his choice. They could of said, fight or lose your job. Making $1.6 million a year is no pocket change. For the typical person, that is about 20 years of a good salary. And he played for a number of seasons.

As for the pill aspect, the story goes that he was playing for the Minnesota Wild where he had more than 40 prescriptions for 1,023 pills. If so, why go after the NHL when it was Minnesota Wild that probably started his drug addiction. Take them to court. Looks like there is some incompetency with the doctors there.

While it is too bad that he died, the Boogaard is at least partially to blame. The Minnesota Wild could also be blamed. In fact, NHL players [like any professional sport] have physicals prior to the season begins at training camp. Surely between the physical as well as seeing anything “odd” in his well-being or behaviour during would have raised a few alarm bells. Or how about his family? Surely if his mood or behaviour was different, wouldn’t they notice it as well? With recent issues related to cracking down on using illegal substances, you would figure testing of various drugs would be included.

Like any life insurance [and assuming here], the insurance isn’t paid out if death is from a suicide. I may be wrong here but since the estate can’t get any money from the insurance, the estate lawyers are going after the NHL with this law suit.

NFL players take league to court – good luck

Former NFL players are trying to sue the league over concussion-linked injuries argued in court that the NFL “glorified” violence and profited from damaging hits to the head that the players suffered over the years. The players’ lawyer also accused the league of concealing the emerging science about concussions over several decades.

About 4,200 of the league’s 12,000 former players have joined the litigation. Some are battling dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other issues such as depression. They say the league is at fault for rushing them back on the field after concussions. Some have committed suicide with claims the suicide were related to the injuries.

The NFL insisted that teams are chiefly responsible for health and safety under the players’ collective bargaining agreement, along with others. [So you have the players blaming the league who are sort of blaming the teams. Nice.]

The judge is not expected to rule for several months, and the cases will take years to play out if the judge’s ruling is appealed when handed down.

While I think it is a bad situation for the players, you have to wonder about the following:

  • Why isn’t the player’s union going after the high schools, colleges and universities? Surely some head related injuries occurred at those places. In fact, professional teams can probably diagnose head injuries better than most schools because they can afford to get better medical help. Some injuries probably started in these schools but got worse when they turned “pro”. Can a high school that can barely function afford to have their player’s checked for a concussion.
  • Football [like hockey] is a contact sport. It is very unlikely you can have a full career and not get injured from something. As many players are running at opposing players at high speed, the helmets from both players will eventually meet [if not getting hit when a bunch of players land on a player]. They knew this from the time they started to play football.
  • You have the player’s union blaming the league who in turn is blaming the teams. The teams hired medical staff. The medical staff would give the “ok” to play again. But I’m sure many players shouldn’t of played immediately because some of them may still have not been healed completely but played for various reasons [money, like the “rush”, etc.].