Presenting Browns Weekly with WTF Browns

MTAF Full Size Logo wtfbrowns More Than a Fan is excited to announce that in partnership with WTF Browns we’ll be doing a weekly Cleveland Browns show called ‘Browns Weekly’ every Tuesday at 9 pm. You can catch the show live on our Google Plus page.

Sig (@WTFBrownsSig) from WTF Browns, and a rotating panel of guests will host the show. If you’d like to participate email Damien Bowman (@damienbowman) at damien@morethanafan.net. All are welcome.

This week, More Than a Fan managing editor Damien Bowman and contributor Stephen Garvin (@CleveNole) will join Sig.

We’ll see you Tuesday at 9 p.m. and #GoBrowns

Athletes Have the Right to Be Stupid, and We Have the Right to Not Care

June and early July have certainly had their fair share of "regular world meets sports world" moments. The case of Aaron Hernandez in Boston is the easiest example of an athlete acting stupid in a real world situation. The second and less obvious sports-related example happened Saturday night after George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder and manslaughter in suburban Orlando. You might be wondering the sports connection, so here they are, Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White made two tweets on his thoughts on the verdict: https://twitter.com/roddywhiteTV/status/356247239594749952

Roddy White Tweet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neither is appropriate for anyone, but particularly for someone who represents the Atlanta Falcons and the National Football League.

Later in the same evening, Mike and Maurkice Pouncy posed with each other wearing hats that said 'Free Hernandez', in reference to Aaron Hernandez, who is currently in jail and is a former teammate of theirs from their time at the University of Florida.

https://twitter.com/JazzyNice5/statuses/356415714275504130

As offensive and derogatory as these tweets and pictures are, all three certainly have the right to express their feelings about both subjects. None of the three, however, has the expectation of First Amendment protection, and I expect that if the league itself doesn’t fine or suspend, their respective teams will, regardless if the sanctions aren’t publicized.

I know this might be shocking, but these three people aren’t the only idiots who acted out this week. Search on Twitter and Facebook for other references, and you’ll see plenty of less famous people doing similar things.

I’m not here to defend these guys, but to remind you, and mostly myself, that these guys are real people as well as Americans and have the same rights to express themselves as you and I.

For the record, I don’t follow any of the three on Twitter or Facebook, but I generally don’t follow athletes because they have nothing interesting to say.

So, I’ll renew this question that I’ve asked many times before. Are we asking too much from our athletes? Would you go to any of these people for moral advice over your priest or rabbi? I wouldn’t.

Another question: are athletes not supposed to express their support or frustration for friends and family? I’ll guess that there a lot of people who are related to Hernandez that don’t believe he’s guilty, and I’ll guess there are plenty of athletes who are one side or the other about Zimmerman.

These athletes have the right to act stupid, and we certainly have the right to call them out about their opinions, but to suggest they need to keep their mouths shut and stick to sports is not only offensive, it’s inappropriate. Sports isn’t what makes most of us money, but we feel free to express our opinions on it, so why aren’t they allowed to speak about issues outside of sports?

What’s easier than telling them how stupid their remarks are? Easy, doing what you do when normal people say stupid things – don’t care.

Athletes have the right to be stupid, and we have the right to not care.

A Very Cleveland Sports June

I’ll be totally honest with you: I haven’t written in weeks because I’ve been busy, and nothing in the sports world caught my attention. I was off Twitter & Facebook for the month of June and I was having too many beers and hot dogs to care about sports. Don’t be offended. I’m back. Since nothing still has caught my eye I’ll give a recap on what I thought of June's Cleveland Sports shenanigans through the eyes of twitterless observer. Obviously the two biggest non-sports stories in June were Paula Deen and the Supreme Court’s Ruling on the Voting Rights Act, but since y’all don’t care about my politics, I’ll move on to sports. There have only been a handful of things to talk about, so let’s dive in.

Aaron Hernandez

What a douchenozzle. Look, I’ve been pretty angry with some people in life, which is why James (@j_cynic) calls me #AngryDamien, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never wanted to kill anyone. If I were going to kill someone, I’d contact OJ and Ray Lewis and get advice from them on killing someone and getting away with it. I’d guess their first piece of advice would be to, I dunno, have someone else do it? Yeah, you could get just as much time in prison for conspiracy, but at least you aren’t a murderer.

And dude, you’re on camera with a gun you own, then you claim you have no idea where it is, but they found a clip for the gun? I don’t predict this ends well for you, and you know what, you deserve everything you have coming to you.

The best thing that happened to you was passing on UConn for Florida, even though most players under Meyer at Florida were thugs, and the worst was signing for the Patriots. Tim Tebow thanks you for opening the door for him. Either way, you give credence to my post earlier this year that athletes shouldn’t be role models for children.

Kraft and Belichick were smart to cut you the day you were arrested. Yeah, they could have saved millions by waiting until camp started, but the bottom line is they don’t want your kind of garbage associated with their team, and even if fans don’t like Kraft and Belichick, they did what many college coaches wont do: distance themselves from idiots who are ungrateful for what they have and commit crimes.

Nothing like throwing away millions of dollars in income and a fiancé because some semi-pro football player pissed in your Cornflakes.

p.s. – good luck on those other two murders you thought wouldn’t come up either.

Cleveland Indians

The Indians are playing quite well. They played terribly for a stretch in June, but teams go through slumps all season. There’s a lot to like about this team. I personally don’t think they’ll make the playoffs this year, but for your sake I hope they do. Let me go on record by saying that securing one of two wild-card slots and being bounced in a one-game playoff doesn’t count as making the playoffs, although Indians front office personnel and many amateur writers will say it does.

It doesn’t. Nice try.

Also, last week the dudes over at Waiting for Next Year wrote up a whole big thing about the Indians ticket pricing structure and how this was and wasn’t fair. I dunno, I had to read it 10 times to figure out. Here’s the bottom line: if the weekend games are too expensive for you, then go during the week.

Your kids are out of school, so take the plunge and go on a Tuesday night. If the only time you can afford to go is on $1 dog night, how about you eat before you go to the game and go on a different night? If everyone who bitched about the price of tickets went to to ONE game during the season, attendance would likely increase by an average of 3-4,000 each night. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s better than having a team in first place and only having 12,000 show up.

For the record, I’ve probably been to 10 games this year. I like baseball, so I go…even if it requires me to suffer through Brohio (worst promotion ever) and $1 dogs (second worse promotion ever) with Hayden.

Cleveland Cavaliers

I don’t watch the NBA. The product is generally terrible, and I’m not a fan of the draft system they use. It’s unneeded drama in so many ways. All that said, I have no idea who Anthony Bennett is, but I can tell you he isn’t worthy of a #1 overall pick. How do I know he isn’t worthy? Because I’ve never heard of him. You can continue to give Gilbert and Grant a pass (like Aaron did Tuesday), but the work those two have done with the team has been shittastic since they took over.

Oh, and stop blaming the departure of LeBron James.

If the Cavaliers don’t make the playoffs this season, then Dan Gilbert is the new Larry Dolan. Argue with me. I’ll wait.

Cleveland Browns

Can we call Chudzinski, Chudzinski? Jesus Christ. How old is this dude, and people are calling him Chud? H

How many people at the Plain Dealer, WTAM, WKNR, WKRK, etc are blowing the people in Berea to where they can’t act like reporters? If someone on MSNBC referred to President Obama with some stupid nickname y’all would be hanging them by his testicles. His name is Rob Chudzinski.

Use it.

I don’t know what’s going on with Jimmy Haslam, but when your company makes about $40 billion a year and you have $4 billion in debt, you don’t have a cash flow problem. Companies have debt, you have debt, and I have debt. If I make $120,000 per year and have $10,000 in debt, you certainly wouldn’t tell me the sky is falling, so why are you doing the same for Haslam?

Things aren’t well for him, and he’ll probably end up selling the team. I hope he doesn’t because I think he’s a decent dude, and not because he’s from Tennessee (#RockyTop), but because he’s better than the alternative. What’s the alternative? No one knows, and we all know the devil you don’t know is worse than the devil you do know.

If Haslam has to sell, will it go back to Lerner? Anyone know, because I don’t.

As far as Haslam’s background check, he had already been vetted by the NFL when he owned part of the Steelers, and I’m guessing this FBI thing started well after that. No offense to anyone in the NFL, but the FBI generally doesn’t care about you, so they probably aren’t willing to share the details of an active investigation. His potential crimes with his family’s business are a much bigger deal than the Cleveland Browns.

Did I miss anything? Of course I did, so I’ll try and pump out more words for you later this week on the other stuff I missed. Let me know what you think of what I wrote here.

Email me at Damien@morethanafan.net and follow me on Twitter @DamienBowman

[tl;dr] Expanding Baseball’s Instant Replay and Limiting Extra Innings

Monday, while watching Nationals play the Braves I saw an interesting play that I hope will be reviewable when instant replay expands next year. No, I’m not a fan of instant replay for a number of reasons, but this is a situation in which most umpires would hopefully agree review is needed. The Braves were batting in the bottom of the fourth with two outs and runners on first and second. Gerald Laird singles to center, Freddie Freeman scores from second, and Dan Uggla is thrown out by Denard Span while attempting to advance to third. Sounds like a typical scoring play, except in this case it isn’t.

The putout recorded by National’s third baseman Chad Tracy happens almost simultaneously while Freeman scores. Home plate umpire Laz Diaz is in position to see signal from third base umpire Mark Wegner and the tag at home by Tracy, but because of the timing probably gets the play wrong (advance to :47).

Normally, I wouldn’t touch on such a scenario, but at that point the Braves had just tied the game 2-2 and later went on to win 3-2.

Through no fault or lack of effort did the umpires get that play wrong, but did so because of the timing of the play.

These plays are exactly the types of plays instant replay can resolve correctly.

Also on Monday, the Angels and Athletics played 19 innings. The game ended almost seven hours after it started or somewhere near 5am on the east coast. In the regular season, this is unacceptable. Major League Baseball needs to come up with a limit for the number of extra innings. I propose three extra innings for a total of 12 before the game is declared a tie.

Teams shouldn’t be forced to essentially play and additional unplanned game in one day then be expected to play the next day and have quality pitching or hitting. Baseball isn’t nearly as phsycially taxing as football and hockey, so if the NFL and NHL can agree on ties, so can MLB. NBA, you need to look at this too.

Generally, I’m a traditionalist when it comes to baseball being against instant replay, the designated hitter, interleague play, and limiting the length of games, but the two changes listed above benefit both players and fans and should be implemented next season.

tl; dr is a tech nerd term for too long; didn’t read. the purpose of these posts is to provide a quick summary and analysis of something interesting in the sports world.

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On The Offensive: Being Offended, Browns Radio Network, Indians Club Seats, Mike Rice, and Ed Rush

On The Offensive Instead of making you read nine posts, I thought I’d package a bunch of thoughts into on long post. I’ll try and do this once per month, but I make no promises. Today we’ll talk about offensive people, the Browns Radio Network, how Larry Dolan doesn’t want my money, Mike Rice, and Ed Rush.

Being Offensive to Those Who Are Offended

Yesterday, someone I follow and respect tweeted something more offensive about Native Americans (the people who were here before us) than anything we’ve done to them. Since his profile is private I won’t mention his name, but here are two of the tweets:

  1. [Redacted]: The only reason Native Americans are upset about Chief Wahoo is due to them being disrespected in the past.
  2. [Redacted] to @damienbowman: Time to move on IMO. The Irish population are not holding a grudge for being characterized as angry "fighting Irish".

Stop. Telling someone they shouldn’t be offended because another group isn’t offended by something is more offensive than offending them. I generally agree that too many people take the fact that some teams use Native American names too seriously, but I’ll never tell someone they need to get over anything or they shouldn’t be offended. I don’t like that the Cleveland Indians and Major League Baseball have deprecated Chief Wahoo, but I understand why they do it. It’s all related to money, and while some have the notion that sports shouldn’t be about money, it is. Deal with it. I’d love to see more Chief Wahoo, in fact my two favorite pieces of clothing feature the old-school Indians logo from 1948. If someone told me they were offended I certainly wouldn’t tell them it’s “time to move on,” because I don’t agree with them. As much as I offend people, and generally don’t care, I still respect the feelings of others.

The Fans Are the Losers

Yes, #Browns fans, you are the losers, or at least those of you who listen to the games on the radio. I rarely bitch about radio stations, but I’m going to do so now. If you think that having WKRK, WKNR, and WNCX is better than having WTAM and WMMS broadcast Browns games, you’re stupid. The big loser in the transition from having two powerful (wattage wise) radio stations broadcast games to three are the fans. The winner: clearly Browns shareholders (you still aren’t one). Not only are fans of both radio stations dumb for thinking one station is better than the other, but you’re dumber (I made that word up) to think that in this scenario three is better than two.

The advantage to having WTAM in addition to WMMS is WTAM has a full time 50,000-watt signal whereas WKNR does not. This is a big deal as it gets darker earlier and for those who are unable to pick up the FM signal or to those whose only radio option is AM. For the most part the Browns play on WTAM and/or WMMS and it may change if the Cavs are playing or the Indians are in the playoffs (we’ll get to that soon).

For the most part Cleveland needs less Browns and more Cavaliers and Indians and all this new deal does is give you more Browns coverage in a town when there’s already too much of it. You may say that Cleveland is a “Browns town,” but let’s be honest with each other; the team hasn’t been good since 1999. The Indians and Cavaliers, on the other hand, have generally shown more promise than the Browns since their departure in 1995 and their return in 1999.

There are two factions of people in the city: those who love WKRK and those who love WKNR, but the truth of the matter is both groups are being taken advantage of by both stations. To rally around one station while calling the other terrible only makes you look stupid. Not only did one of the hated, Chris Fedor, move from one station to the other; but the two stations teamed up to broadcast Browns games. Now who are the stupid people? Exactly, those who worship one radio station over another. Grow up, because in general both stations are terrible.

Also, while we’re here, can we STOP with the Browns talk and start talking about the Indians? The Browns don’t play a meaningful game for something like 150 days, but when I turn the radio on all is hear is about them and not the two teams playing now.

The Indians Won’t be in the Playoffs

Despite winning the first game of the year, the Indians won’t be in the playoffs. We were supposed to do an Indians Extravaganza, but because of the Easter holiday and other family issues we didn’t get to it, so here’s where I think they stand. The Indians made many moves this off-season to improve their roster. The best move was selling STO to fund the signing of several key additions to the team. While I don’t think the Indians will make the playoffs this season it won’t stop me from going to several games this season. I do think the Indians will be in the playoffs next season. Not being a prick, just telling you what I feel based on what I see throughout the rest of the league.

Spoiler alert: I enjoy baseball games and went to many games last season even after the team was out of contention. Indians fans complained about the Dolans and their lack of spending, and this off-season they put their money where their mouth was; now it’s time for you to do the same.

If you can’t commit and follow through to going to at least two games this season, then don’t ever complain about the team not spending money. They spent, and now it’s your turn.

Larry Dolan: TAKE MY MONEY

A little inside baseball for you: the Indians erected an all-new club section for people who have season tickets. The team removed about ten suites that they couldn’t sell and converted it to an area where ticket holders get all they can eat and drink during the game. This is great, except it appears Larry Dolan doesn’t want my money because I don’t have season tickets.

Allegedly, these tickets go for around $150 each. I have the money. I want four tickets to at least three games. That’s $1,800 of real, government approved money. It’s also more than I’ll spend in food, beer, and merchandise if I buy regular seats for those three games. Mr. Dolan, don’t lock me out because I don’t have season tickets. Don’t complain because fans aren’t willing to pay for tickets, but then have a stupid social suite that only ass kissers can get into or an exclusive club level that big spenders like me can’t get into.

Take my money. My American Express is ready to be charged; otherwise, I’ll spend it at another stadium and you’ll only get pennies instead of dollars.

Rutgers gets it Partially Right and the Pacific-12 gets none of it Right

Rutgers fired Mike Rice after a videotape surfaced of him abusing his players. Good move except that it came way too late. Rice should have been fired when the tape initially came to light earlier this season. The two people who signed off on his pathetic punishment also need to be fired. I’m talking about Tim Pernetti and Robert Barchi, athletic director and president. In light of what happened at Penn State, for two administrators to initially slap Rice on the wrist with a three-game suspension and $50,000 fine is laughable. Parnetti and Barchi are supposed to protect the student-athletes. They failed and should be fired immediately. Instead, Rutgers Board of Trustees has given both a vote of confidence.

While it’s naïve for people to think athletes aren’t generally treated like garbage by coaches, it’s totally unfair to paint the entire profession in the same light. Coaches at the Division I level are generally good people, but there is absolutely no excuse for the abuse that Mike Rice was dishing out. I’m sure Rice will get another job in time, but as a person who deals with basketball coaches on a near daily basis, I surely hopes he doesn’t.

Speaking of people who shouldn’t get another job, it’s time to talk about Ed Rush. Rush is currently the Supervisor of Officials for the Pac-12, and also a former NBA official, who is accused of suggesting a reward to basketball officials giving a technical foul or ejecting Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller. Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said Rush used “very, very poor judgment.” Ya think, Larry? Solution: Fire Ed Rush. No one is bigger than the game of basketball or the reputation of the Pac-12 or its officials. I don’t know if what Rush said was “in jest” or not, but as someone who has refereed basketball on the collegiate level, I’m offended he still has his job.

After everything that’s happened in the NBA with Tim Donaghy, the fact that the NCAA and Pac-12 would simply reprimand and not terminate Rush is more offensive than telling American Indians to not be offended by the use of their likeness. The two associations are saying it’s OK to goad officials into calling fouls when they may not be appropriate.

One phrase: Fire Ed Rush.

I don’t know how often I’ll write these types of columns, but I hope to package a bunch of thoughts into one post at least once per month. Let me know what you think of the format.

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More Than a Fan Does The North Coast Speakeasy

This Tuesday, while Dan Gilbert and company were trying to figure out what the leaky fluid was at Quicken Loans Arena, Josh and I were guests on No Static Radio's "The North Coast Speakeasy;" a weekly sports talk show with rotating hosts is general sports talk without an agenda where people sit around and talk sports for two hours. Even though our own technical difficulties, we still were able to start our show before the Cavaliers started the game.

Take a listen, and let us know what you think.

Thanks again to Marcus and John for having us on this week. It was a lot of fun.

 

 

Northcoast Speakeasy (3/20/13) by Nostaticradio on Mixcloud

I am Divorcing ESPN

Nearly every week on Twitter, Facebook, or whatever fancy social media platform you young people use, there are complaints about ESPN and how it is not honest or fair or any list of daily gripes. I see all these, and I respond to most of these with "change the channel" or "read another site." Unlike most, I know and understand the network's built-in conflict of interest, and understand that short of separating ESPN into two different companies there is no real way to prevent that conflict. So, instead of complaining about ESPN and its standards of journalism I am going to do something different. I am divorcing ESPN.

A few months ago, a friend of mine we'll call "James" (@j_cynic) basically told me he was done with ESPN, and I challenged him to find something better or less controversial for his sporting news. Guess what, he did. He switched to CBS Sports for his primary source of news, and as far as I know he does not watch SportsCenter or any of ESPN's journalistic programming. He watches ESPN only when it's required to watch a game. That's it. He put his money where his mouth is, and it is about time I did the same. You should, too.

The lesson here is simple; if you hate ESPN for its failings at being good at journalism, then change the channel or go to a different web site. There are many options that are just as good - or bad - as ESPN, so do yourself a favor and change.

I'm one of the few that enjoy Mike & Mike, PTI, Sports Reporters, and yes, parts of First Take. Leaving ESPN is a decision I am making on my own, but I am doing it so I do not become one of those that constantly complains how bad the entire network has become.

James tells me he watches "The 'Lights" daily on NBC Sports Network as a replacement to SportsCenter. So if you're sick of Chris Berman or Stuart Scott or whomever, watch "The 'Lights," because there's no anchor…at all.

For my radio listening pleasure, I'll listen to CBS Sports Radio and Fox Sports Radio; both have 24-hour shows just like ESPN.

So here is what I'm going to do, for the entire month of March I'm divorcing ESPN. No SportsCenter, PTI, First Take…nothing. If there is a basketball game on ESPN I'll watch it there unless I can find a radio feed instead. They say it only takes a few days to change a habit, but to help facilitate the transition I'll delete all of ESPN bookmarks and channels from my computer, phone, and television.

To give you a scope of how big ESPN is let's review their properties. The network has a hand in almost every sport. One big sport where they have no presence? Hockey. How do I know ESPN doesn't care about hockey, because it's never on SportsCenter. Sure there is some token coverage once or twice per week, but generally the network doesn't care about sports that it doesn't cover.

Honestly, I don't blame them. The network pays billions in rights fees and to expect them to give the NHL the same coverage it gives the NFL is laughable. What else is laughable is that many all of you complain about how bad ESPN is without even attempting to discover what your other choices are.

And you wonder why they call themselves the "Worldwide Leader." They've earned it.

The network has a built-in conflict of interest. They pay rights fees to broadcast sports then ask the anchors and analysts that broadcast them to be journalists. ESPN is a monopoly, in fact they're probably the 21st century version of AT&T. Will the network be broken up? No, and they shouldn't be, but as consumers you have other places in which to consume sports journalism.

Last month many eviscerated ESPN for not running the story of Manti Te'o while praising Deadspin for the feature, but I have two questions for you. 1. Did you read Deadspin before that story? 2. Have you been back to Deadspin since? My response to both is no, because it is easier to get everything from one source.

Remember James? He reads Deadspin, CBSSports.com, and others daily, and so will I for at least the next 30 days.

So I have radio, web, and television covered for the next month or so. Right now, the only thing I can see myself watching on ESPN is parts of the Women's basketball tournament and ESPN's MLB coverage.

Where will you be watching sports other than ESPN? //

For Cleveland to Get a Fair Deal, Haslam Needs to Build His Own Home for the Browns

Cleveland's North Harbor In September, I wrote about the need for a new stadium for the Cleveland Browns and moving its location from the lakefront. Nothing has changed my mind since September, but now I know the city still owes about $160 million in bond payments on the stadium, and those are not set to expire until the end of 2027. We all know there is no way Jimmy Haslam will stay in current Cleveland Browns Stadium until 2027. In fact, if he were smart he’d get out of that dump in the next eight years. The only way for him to possibly build a new stadium before the bonds expire in 2027 is to either ask voters to extend the sin tax or build the stadium himself.

When the citizens of Cuyahoga County voted to extend the sin tax in 1995 to build a new football stadium, the deal left the City of Cleveland holding the bag for all expenses and left it little room to generate any revenue in return. In fact, the city is allowed to only host about 10 events per year in a stadium it owns and maintains at its own expense. The Browns keep all revenue from tickets, concessions, parking and advertisement in the stadium for any other events.

When the Browns and Jimmy Haslam decide it is time to replace their stadium they should do so on their own dime or give the voters more control over its facility. The sin tax should not be the burden of Cuyahoga County voters alone, but should extend to contiguous counties. It is unfair that those of us who live in the county are the only ones who are responsible for the payment of the stadium when many non-Cuyahoga County residents attend games.

The other scenario is one in which I fully support, that Haslam and the Browns build and pay for the stadium themselves with minor infrastructure contributions from a city or county. I personally am not in favor of building another stadium without a dome of some kind, or a facility that sits on city’s prime lakefront real estate. Since there is no other space large enough downtown to build the stadium without tearing down the city’s precious historic buildings, that means that Haslam will - and should - build the stadium outside of downtown.

clemapJosh (@RailbirdJ) and I have discussed this many times, and I think we both generally agree the best area for the stadium would be somewhere along the I-71 corridor near the airport and turnpike or, as an alternate location, somewhere along I-77. This new facility does not need to be in Cuyahoga County or the City of Cleveland.

NEWSFLASH: That is not downtown, nor is it near the lake, but in the end the city and the region is better if the stadium is not in either place. Most people who attend Browns games are in and out of downtown as soon as the game is over and do not shop, stop at bars, or go to the casino.

As foreign as this concept may sound there is an NFL team that built its own stadium not near the cityy's core; The New England Patriots. Do you know how far Gillette Stadium is from Fenway? Thirty miles. Do you know how much impact it has on the economic growth of the team and downtown Boston? Zero

Robert Kraft built his own stadium after coming to an agreement with Foxborough and he controls the stadium, its maintenance and its events. He keeps the revenue from tickets, parking, and concessions. The city of Foxborough collects taxes on each and is not responsible for any stadium maintenance.

Browns fans, while this deal might sound a lot like what the Gund brothers did with the Cavaliers in Richfield, it isn’t. Traffic infrastructure is better and everyone knows the region will support the Browns over the Cavaliers any day.

Do I have faith that current regional leadership will make this deal happen? Of course not, so I guess all of this is just a pipe dream. Think about what I have said though, if you are going to build and pay for a stadium that will likely cost upwards of $500 million, shouldn’t the owners at least have a say in its operations and benefit from its revenue?

If Haslam wants to be a good civic partner, either he will pay for the entire facility using private dollars or he’ll shoulder upwards of 80% of the debt. At this point, it is the only fair thing to do.

Photo courtesy of Tom Baker (@mylifeinhdr) on Flickr.

//

We Are the Victims of an Elaborate Hoax

I have to admit that January 16, 2013 is a date which will live in my personal infamy. The day started with mostly everyone in the sports world rightly bashing the fraud known as Lance Armstrong. Then before lunch the surprising news that Chip Kelly would indeed leave Oregon and college football for the Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL. And the day ended with news that former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o was part of a hoax surrounding a girlfriend who is, at this point, allegedly not a real person. I have to say, I cannot remember a day in any facet of my life where so many different types of stories all occurred at once. I say all this only to say that, as sports fans, I think we are all victims of an elaborate hoax.

In sports, any sport really, we tend to idolize players or athletes, but it’s time to end that practice. When you were growing up, did you ever absolutely adore an athlete, only to find out they aren’t who they thought you were? Sure, we’ve all been there.

Chip Kelly, now the former coach at Oregon, interviewed with the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles and decided he wanted to stay at Oregon. He went back on the recruiting trail and told a bunch of teenagers he was staying with the Ducks. A week later, Kelly decided he didn’t want to be at Oregon and left for the NFL (confused yet?). Is there a bigger piece of garbage in college football? Of course there is, it's every other head coach. Newsflash: they all say the same thing. Lesson: pick your school, not your head coach. Chip Kelly, the person, is not who I thought he was (cue Dennis Green), but he is exactly who he needed to be to succeed in college football.

Lance Armstrong, the disgraced cyclist, who at some point today, or rather Monday, partially admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he was doping for years. Lance then lied, threw every single person who challenged him under the bus, and defrauded the world of millions of dollars as a “hero” to all many. Lance, in this case, is exactly who I thought he was, and was also doing exactly what he needed to do  to cheat millions of people out of millions of dollars after beating cancer. Newsflash: Lance would have been a hero by simply competing after beating cancer.

Manti Te’o, the former star at Notre Dame, and future NFL player, has been at the very least a victim of some type of hoax, and at the most been lying about his girlfriend who is now dead fake. Why he did it, I cannot say. Some speculate he did it to boost his Heisman stock, others because he wanted sympathy. I don’t know Te’o, but if the allegations are true, he is also a liar and is certainly not the high character type of person I thought that would attend Notre Dame, even if he is a Mormon.

Here’s the thing about all three of these guys, I don’t care about any of them…as people. I don’t care what these three or any other athlete does in their personal time. I don’t care about whatever crimes Ray Lewis did or did not commit, I don’t care that Tiger Woods was a slut and this wife left, and that now she’s back. I don’t care that college coaches lie to teenagers, or that people say they’re going to do one thing and do the total opposite. Why? Because I’m used to it.

Think about this, this country has a President that some say wasn’t even born in America. Have you seen the birth certificate? Neither have I, but you know what? I don’t care. Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States and on Sunday he’ll be sworn in for another term.

I led you down that long and elaborate path to say that, as humans, it’s time to stop being the victim of everyday hoaxes. Put your faith or fandom in things that aren’t likely to change. You want to be a big cycling fan? Do it, but understand for the past ten years the only thing I know about that sport is that almost everyone has been dirty. If you want to be a fan of Notre Dame or Oregon, go ahead. But understand that coaches and players like Chip Kelly and Manti Te’o exist and are out there only for themselves and will use you to raise their value.

It’s time for us, as fans, to recognize that we know absolutely nothing about the people we idolize through sports. The people involved aren’t honest. Hell, you all make fun of Nick Saban for the way he left LSU to go to the Dolphins, but you were surprised by Chip Kelly?

Be real with yourselves, and more importantly, your children about how dishonest people are in sports.

I’m sure there are some good people in sports, but we were all fooled pretty good yesterday, weren’t we?

//

2013 Week 1 Linkpost

This is the first in a new weekly post at More Than a Fan that will share links and information from inside and outside of the MTAF world. Yes, we were as surprised as you were that people other than us could read and write. These links come from various sources and cover the best and unknown sports stories for the past week. This will be posted every Monday, including holidays (grumble, grumble), at around 6 a.m. so you can read and digest while you do whatever it is you do at 6 a.m. Enjoy.

In case you've been under a rock for the past week the only thing Indians fans are talking about is the signing of Nick Swisher. Hayden Grove (@H_Grove) writes about how he jumped around his house "like a small child" when the signing was announced. Matt Kline (@Tbone44444444) writes about how he isn't sure if the signing is a good deal for the Indians. Chris Hannun at Motor City Bengals agrees with Matt that signing Swisher is questionable at best.

On Saturday I quickly wrote about the sale of SportsTime Ohio to Fox Sports Media. While my piece was small, a post by the Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes gets into much greater detail.

Sam Drew (@samuelldrew) reminds us that the success of the Cavaliers starts with the general manager, not the coach. This week the Cavaliers waived Donald Sloan in favor of Shaun Livingston and Conrad Kaczmarek at Fear The Sword tells us why that is a good move.

Jess Dorsey (@JDorsey33) at Bleacher Report thinks Dan Gilbert’s reaction to LeBron James leaving Cleveland is keeping free agents away from Cleveland.

This week’s More Than a Fan podcast has special guest Aaron Mcghee (@aaronm59). Josh (@RailbirdJ) and Aaron are exclusively Browns. If you missed it listen, and if you already listened, listen again.

Ryan Isley (@Isley23) thinks Danica Patrick will race in the 97th Indianapolis 500, while Michael Guadalupe at Bleacher Report gives advice to Brad Keselowski on how he can improve on his 2012 season. In non-racing news, Reed Sorenson and Trevor Bayne got engaged, while David Ragan got married. John Sturbin at Racin' Today writes Rubens Barichello's obituary after one year in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Earlier this month, SpeedTV's Robin Miller says IndyCar the firing of Steve Shnuck is irresponsible.

Mark Mazzone (@Believelander) believes the coach of the year should be one of two men who barely, if ever coached this year in the NFL. Matt (@BaseballwMatt) asks what the Mets could have become if Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan had stayed with the organization. On Matt’s MLB blog he interviews Jeff Idelson, President of National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Bundle of links: http://bitly.com/bundles/mtaflinkpost/1

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NFL Doubleheader Sunday

In this final week of NFL action, all viewers receive a doubleheader of action. For those of you living in the Cleveland area you'll see the Browns in Pittsburgh on CBS at 1 and on FOX you'll see the Chicago Bears take on the Detroit Lions. In the afternoon games on CBS you'll see Miami Dolphins in Foxboro vs. the New England Patriots and on FOX the Green Bay Packers will battle Vikings in Minneapolis.

The final NBC Sunday Night game will show the Cowboys visiting our nations capital to take on Redskins.

These games and many more are automatically updated through our Sports Calendar Feed. Subscribe and watch.

Source: the506.com //

More Than a Fan Sports Calendar

What time does Ohio State play? What channel are the Browns on? What day is the Daytona 500 next year? Yeah, I cannot keep up with the times or places of most sporting events without looking them up online. So, we created a calendar that you can view on your phone or e-mail client.

We’ll keep the calendar up to date, and you enjoy the games.

HTML Link: HTML

ICS: Import into another calendar application Subscribe with your phone using the above link

[google-calendar-events id="1"]

Rob Parker, Racism and ESPN From a Cornball Brother

ESPN’s Rob Parker had a few interesting comments on Robert Griffin III; here they are, out of context, for your consumption:

“I am an African-American in America. That will never change. But I don’t have to be defined by that…We always try to find similarities in life, no matter what it is so they’re going to try to put you in a box with other African-American quarterbacks – Vick, Newton, Randall Cunningham, Warren Moon…That’s the goal. Just to go out and not try to prove anybody wrong but just let your talents speak for themselves.”

We keep hearing this so it makes me wonder deeper about him. I’ve talked to some people in Washington D.C. My question, which is just a straight, honest question, is he a brother or is he a cornball brother”

He’s not really. Okay, he’s black, but he’s not really down with the cause…

He’s kind of black, but He’s not really the guy you want to hang out with. He’s off to something else.

We all know he has a white fiancée. People always talk about how he’s Republican. There’s no information at all. I’m just trying to dig deeper into why he has an issue.”

I am going to do my best to defend Rob Parker and  to tell you why he was wrong at the same time. This is a long and difficult path, so bear with me.

It is 2012, and as much as we like to pretend it does not, racism still exists in this country. And It is no more prevalent than in the African-American community.

I have said this for years. Yes, I am black, so I can say whatever I want about this subject; but if you are not black you cannot. See the problem?

Parker frames his comments under the guise that he is trying to get to know and “understand” Griffin, which he could easily do by spending time with him instead of asking the opinions of those in the D.C. community who do not know him personally, either.

I grew up in the inner-city of Cleveland and went to Catholic school most of my life. I spent one semester of first grade in public school. If you have ever heard me on the More Than a Fan podcast you would likely think I am a white man. As I said already, I am not.

I live in the suburbs where the population is 97% Caucasian, I have a very good job, and I do not rob or shoot people. I have never been married, but most of my girlfriends have been white, which is something I never hide. I am also a member of “the party of Lincoln.” Abraham Lincoln was a Republican.

According to Rob Parker, I am a “cornball brother.” Most of my friends, black and white, call me Damien. The other type of “brother” are the ones that are not responsible to themselves, their families, or the rest of society.

They likely do not have jobs, have multiple unsupported children, and are not educated beyond ninth grade. In the African-American community if you are a “cornball brother” you are considered white and are therefore ostracized from the greater community. You get made fun of, get called “white,” and are often questioned about your sexuality and about slave status.

When I explain to people that I grew up in the murder capital of Cleveland (4th district, Mt. Pleasant neighborhood) people often asked what I did to get out. Easy, I went to school, got decent grades, got a job and moved. They let anyone do those same things regardless of skin color. Shocking, I know.

Parker and others in the African-American community should replace to term “cornball brother” with “model” and do everything they can to produce as many of these as possible.

The “cause” should be producing more African-American males like Doug Williams, Randall Cunningham, Warren Moon, and Robert Griffin III. Each are past or present successful African-American NFL players who should be considered “cornball brothers” models.

Parker refers to the “cause” in his comments. What is the cause? It should be ending racism within the race, but it seems like it is easier to throw the race card around when something does not go one’s way versus eradicating the stereotype.

Many in the African-American community would say Parker is 100% accurate in his comments, but Parker’s problem is that he cannot say what he said on ESPN. And in reality, ESPN did the right thing by suspending him.

What should ESPN do with Rob Parker? The same thing they did with Rush Limbaugh and Jay Mariotti; terminate him. In corporate America the term “suspended until further notice” is code for “finding a way to terminate with cause,” and in this case it is the right thing to do.

No one, Rob Parker or Rush Limbaugh, should get away with this behavior and if needed Disney, ESPN’s parent company, should step in and fire Rob Parker to send a message to its columnists throughout the company.

Disney does its best to come off as the biggest of family companies. How long did it take ESPN to “fire” Jay Mariotti, four days? Do the same here because not even Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson can defend Rob Parker’s comments.

There is a lot of truth in what Parker said, but his venue and the context in which he made those comments makes him look foolish. Parker needs not apologize to anyone except for those in the African American community that think being a “brother” is the right path in life.

It isn't what you say, but how you say it.

Parker transcript provided by The Big Lead

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Fixing the Football's Atrocious Overtime Rules

This past weekend I spent two wonderful days in Knoxville, Tennessee. I along with three of my other friends went on our somewhat-annual trip to Neyland Stadium and watched Tennessee take on new Southeastern Conference member Missouri. A side note to all of this, if you have never been to Neyland or have never heard the song “Rocky Top,” I promise you will have heard it at least 60 times by the time you leave. The game was rather entertaining as you can probably tell by the final score of 51-48.

Watching football in the south is an incredible experience that I will likely write about one of these days. While most of the game was rather enjoyable, the part that bothered me the most was overtime. I mostly prefer college’s football rules to those of the NFL because I like pure football without the blatant advantages given to the offense.

To summarize, in college football overtime starts with a coin toss to determine who will receive the ball first and which end of the field they will play at. Each team receives one possession in which to score and starting with the third overtime period teams are required to attempt a two-point conversion versus simply kicking a field goal. Both teams play at the same end of the field and start their possession at the 25-yard line. No game clock, but the 25-second play clock is used for each play from scrimmage.

Does anyone have a problem with those rules? I do. The picture above was taken from my seats at Neyland and is not zoomed. The four periods of overtime were played at the far end of the stadium. I know--buy better seats. Easier said than done. Would it be so hard for college football to alternate which end of the field they play on each period? No, but that is not even the biggest problem I have with overtime in college football.

Why do they start at the 25-yard line? The Canadian Football League, which uses the same “Kansas Playoff” format, starts each possession at the 35-yard line. I would prefer they started somewhere closer to the 50-yard line, but I am more than willing to accept the 35-yard line to force them to get at least two first downs before attempting a field goal.

Another issue, why do we need to continue playing until a team wins? Missouri and Tennessee played four overtime periods. Yes, it was fun to watch…if you were at home, and could go to bathroom and drink a beer. Neyland does not sell beer and it takes 10 minutes to walk to the closest bathroom. Solution: play two overtime periods. If neither team can figure it out, call it a tie and let us go home.

To be completely honest, I also do not like the overtime format the NFL uses. Sunday, I was out with fellow twitteres (is that a word?) Marcus (@seel_deal) and Becky (@reinhoren) watching the overtime game between St. Louis and San Francisco and the best part of the overtime was once we were into regular game mode. My point: the NFL should either play sudden death from the beginning or play an additional quarter.

Before I end, I would like to thank everyone for the excellent feedback you gave to Josh (@RailBirdJ) and I on our semi-impromptu college football podcast. We only planned to do about 20 minutes and ended up with 60 minutes of solid college football talk.

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