In a column obviously written before Portland’s Greg Oden scored 16 points and collected 10 rebounds against the Raptors Saturday night, The Oregonian’s John Canzano refused to mince words regarding the Blazers’ Center, insisting “a team aiming to make the playoffs for the first time in 5 seasons is starting a player who hasn’t earned it.”
Paul Allen’s customized jet has a bedroom at the back. The bedroom is for Allen’s personal use, and while the Trail Blazers utilize the 757 aircraft “Blazer One” for travel during the NBA season, Allen’s room has been off limits to players.
All, except one.
Greg Oden used the bedroom last year so he could stretch his injured leg out on flights. And even this season, team insiders tell you the now-healthy Oden will sometimes disappear to the back of the plane, and close the door, and spend the flight by himself while his teammates socialize up front.
I bring this up today because the franchise has one set of standards, rules and expectations for the majority of players — and apparently another for Oden.
I know Joel Przybilla deserves to start at center. You know he does. Your spouse knows. Your children know. Your dog knows. Even Oden knows.
You can talk about defensive issues. And offensive issues. But if we can’t talk about the elephant standing in the Blazers locker room we’re all in trouble. And that issue is the one revolving around the franchise’s decision to baby its No. 1 pick, wrap him in protective bubble-wrap, pamper his psyche and hand him a starting position that should belong to Przybilla today.
3 Cy Young Award Winners in one starting rotation sounds pretty hot on paper, but when you consider that two of’em are Surfin’ Barry and the aging Randy Johnson, it’s hard to put much stock in the Unit’s pledge the ’09 SF Giants can contend in the NL West. There’s also the matter of last year’s team narrowly losing to San Diego for the title of the NL’s crappiest run producer, but perhaps Brian Sabean will find Adam Dunn’s phone number sometime between now and the start of Spring Training. Until then, however, the Giants GM calls Johnson, “as intimidating a pitcher as there is in the league and in baseball.” Cameramen surely concur, though perhaps opponents do as well. Not quite blown away by SF’s acquisition is the Journal News’ Peter Abraham who scoffs, “I love the part about how the Giants are looking forward to him helping their young pitchers. Johnson barely acknowledged his teammates when he was with the Yankees.” But we can’t really blame Sabean for resorting to hyperbole — how many season tickets can you sell with a slogan like, “Not Nearly As (Clubhouse) Cancerous As The Sultan Of Surly”?
How else then, to describe the mind blowing stupidity of Tennessee GOP fixture Chip Saltsman, a candidate for RNC chairman and the doofus responsible for distributing copies of Paul Shanklin’s “Barack The Magic Negro”, a tune heard widely this week on hate fuck radio and featuring the couplet, “Barack made guilty whites feel good/They™ll vote for him and not for me/Cause he™s not from the ™hood. From the New York Times’ Jason De Parle :
Speaking to The Hill newspaper on Friday, Mr. Saltsman, described it as a œlight-hearted gift that would be received in œgood humor by members of the Republican National Committee.
œI am shocked and appalled, Mike Duncan, the current party chairman, said in a statement released Saturday. Mr. Duncan is competing for a second term against Mr. Saltsman and four others.
œThis is so inappropriate that it should disqualify any Republican National Committee candidate who would use it, Newt Gingrich, a Republican former House speaker, said in an e-mail message. Referring to Mr. Obama, Mr. Gingrich said, œThere are no grounds for demeaning him or for using racist descriptions.
There are two black candidates for the post, J. Kenneth Blackwell, a former Ohio secretary of state, and Michael Steele, a former lieutenant governor of Maryland. On Saturday, Mr. Blackwell dismissed the fuss as œhypersensitivity.
œAll competitors for this leadership position are fine people, he said in an e-mail message.
The dispute illustrates a larger Republican challenge in the months ahead: how to oppose the first black president without seeming antiblack. There are no black Republicans in Congress, and a party spokesman could name only 2 blacks among the 168 members of the national committee. Katon Dawson, the chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, resigned from an all-white country club in preparing for his campaign to be party chairman.
The parody is sung to the tune of œPuff the Magic Dragon by a character meant to be the Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights advocate and sometime political candidate. The character laments that white liberals vote for Mr. Obama while shunning his brand of more confrontational racial politics.
Along with remind us that Bud Selig had little to say regarding Brett Myers’ sparring session on a Boston sidewalk, the Sporting News’ Richard Justice muses, “San Diego’s Brian Giles certainly isn’t the first professional athlete to be accused of slapping a woman. What makes his case unique is that the alleged incident in 2006 was captured on video. And it’s chilling.”
The incident with a former girlfriend, Cheri Olvera, was settled in 2006 when Giles was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence. He completed anger-management counseling, and the charges were dropped.
But the incident is back in the news, as the video was recently released when Olvera filed suit about financial support she said was promised her.
It’s impossible to watch the video without getting chills. Thanks to a security camera, we see Giles walk into a bar and approach Olvera. In a stunning few seconds, he appears to pull her hair and slap or shove her.
Giles should thank his lucky stars he’s not an NFL player. He would have had a Roger Goodell-imposed suspension coming and could have counted on his union to support that suspension.
Players are suspended for testing positive for steroids. Players are suspended for testing positive for recreational drugs. Players can be suspended for corking a bat, scuffing a ball or refusing a manager’s orders.
So why not suspend a player for an act everyone agrees is despicable?
I’d like to imagine the Padres will have a hard time finding a taker for Giles, and surveillance video of his manhandling a pregnant girlfriend won’t help matters. On the other hand, such incidents were mere speed bumps in the careers of Myers, Wil Cordero or Bobby Cox
On the bright side, if Roethlisberger suffered a serious concussion, there’s no chance he’s been watching the 2nd half of today’s Chiefs/Bengals game, nor did he have to witness Vince Young’s first start since Week One aka National Jim Sorgi Day.
Writes Charles Star of the above competition, “this came up in my Google news feed and I couldn’t think of anyone who would appreciate it more.” I think he’s referring to me, personally, though I really have an eye on the competition’s 2nd prize, a hardbound copy of “How To Play Defense”, autographed by Mike D’Antoni and Nate Robinson.