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Friday, April 10, 2015

Harvey Day provides hope; what's with the Tiger fuss?

As a diehard Met fan, like everyone knows that I am, Thursday provided a little slice of life.

The sun was shining, even though the weather reports said it was cold and raining.

The birds were chirping, even though none were spotted.

The coffee was piping hot, smelled good and tasted even better _ and I don't even drink coffee.

The world was right again, because Matt Harvey took the mound for the Mets. It was Harvey Day and our ace pitcher didn't disappoint, throwing six shutout innings, striking out nine, helping the Mets get a huge win over Steven Strasberg and the dreaded Washington Nationals.

Harvey hadn't taken the mound for the Mets in 19 long months. During that time, it was nice to see the development of Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler (now hurt) and watch the effectiveness of the ageless beauty Bartolo Colon.

But they weren't the ace of the Mets' staff. Harvey always had that distinction, much like Tom Seaver did in the 1960s and 70s and Doc Gooden did in the 1980s. To an extent, Pedro Martinez and Johan Santana had it briefly.

When those aforementioned pitchers took the hill, you knew the Mets had a good chance of winning. The world stopped spinning on its axis when Tom Terrific had the baseball in his hand and he was dragging that right leg, getting that knee dirty. Everything was just fine in 1985, when Gooden was high kicking and unleashing his Lord Charles curveball to the tune of 24-4.

That year, regardless of whatever you were doing, you stopped to watch Doc perform. Nothing else mattered. If you were out and about, you made sure you got home to see Gooden. Perhaps you even went to Shea to be part of the "K Corner." But the world was just fine when Doc had the baseball.

That's the way Thursday felt when Harvey made his triumphant return to the hill and pitched like he was never gone. Sure, there were some brief struggles early on, but the bottom line was six scoreless innings and a win over the divisional rival.

There was this sense of relief, like a boulder was lifted off my back. We had an ace again, that sense of security that comes when the ace takes the mound. It makes everything in the world right again.

Yes, it was indeed a happy Harvey Day and we'll get another Harvey Day in five days. And then five days after that. Because he's our ace, our No. 1, our king of the hill.

Matt Harvey is back and that makes everything right.
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I don't understand all the fuss that was made about Tiger Woods making his return at the Masters.

After all, he is Tiger Woods. He's won that tournament and the green jacket that comes with it four times. He's an absolute icon in the sport, despite what his status is now.

So what's all the hubbub about him making his return to competitive golf in Augusta? Doesn't he deserve the opportunity to do whatever he pleases?

I have always been fascinated with the way the general public treats Tiger. You either like him or you totally despise him.

I know he's had a tough go of it over the last five years or so, both off the course (mostly) and on it. His off-the-course perception has taken a giant hit because of all his indiscretions and affairs. There was a time when you couldn't turn on the TV without seeing Tiger endorsing some product or another. Those days are gone. There are no more Tiger commercials. Frankly, he did that to himself and is paying the price.

But if he wants to step away for a month because he doesn't feel like he could be competitive, that's his right. If he wants to come back and play Augusta and spent the par-3 tournament with his kids as his caddie, that's his right as well.

With the umpteen tournaments and the many majors that he's won, Tiger has earned that right to do what he wants.

And if he wants to play middle-of-the-road golf and battle to make the cut at Augusta, that's his right as well.

His resume on the course speaks for itself.

Woods has been an absolutely spectacular personality since his days as a toddler swinging for Mike Douglas. He will always continue to dominate our attention because of his once-impeccable popularity. The game of golf frankly owes a lot to Tiger Woods, because he helped in a way to save the sport and in fact make it more accessible to others.

Throw out what he did off the course. He's still paying the fiddler for those mistakes.

But as a golfer and golfer alone, Tiger Woods has earned the right to play in whatever tournament he likes at whatever level he achieves. If he's not the same brilliant golfer, then so be it. But he should be allowed to play the Masters, a place where he once dominated, if he so chooses.

And who are we, the outsiders, to judge that right?
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The winter weather was absolutely unbearable and simply won't end. The car thermometer read 43 degrees when I returned home from physical therapy at lunch time. And yes, it's April 10. Ridiculous.

With that in mind, it's time for the NJSIAA to seriously consider pushing the spring season's opening day back to April 15 from April 1, where it now stands.

It simply makes no sense to have teenaged kids out in this wicked weather, trying to compete. Chances are that we're going to get a serious arm injury or two out of baseball players who simply cannot warm up. If that's the case, then what good is having a baseball season at all?

Starting the season on April 15 and ending it during the first week of June, with the state playoffs then to follow, makes too much sense for New Jersey. Who cares if the season runs into the first weeks of June? Some say because some schools are already done for the summer by then. So what makes it wrong for those kids to compete in high school sports after they graduate? Who made that rule?

Have the practices begin in the first week of March, then the season begin April 15 and play until June makes too much sense.

Now here's to hoping that the NJSIAA agrees and changes the dates for the 2016 season. Because what has transpired over the first 10 days of this season has been nothing short of brutal.
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You can read more of my work at www.hudsonreporter.com, www.theobserver.com and www.dailyrecord.com, where there is a special tribute to the late Dave Minsavage of Hanover Park, the long-time baseball coach who died Thursday after a battle with pancreatic cancer.



Sunday, March 29, 2015

Exciting times for NJIT hoops; sticking by the Seton Hall blog

When Jim Engles took over the totally moribund men's basketball program at the New Jersey Institute of Technology seven years ago, the Staten Island native had an inkling of what he was getting into. After all, NJIT had just become an NCAA Division I program, much to the dismay of the former coach, who liked things the way they were as a Division II organization.

So in perhaps one of the most spiteful moves in athletic sports anywhere, the former coach (who will remain nameless here) went out and gave scholarships to kids who simply could not play and had no rhyme or reason being a Division I athlete. The Highlanders had perhaps two kids who could play on the Division I level _ and the rest could have a tough time playing Division III. That's how bad it was.

The results were just as bad. The Highlanders were 5-24 in their first year as a Division I program, playing with the Division II roster, then with that band of misfits, they went a robust 0-29 in 2007-08, forcing the school to fire the old coach and bring in the new and energetic coach from Staten Island.

Engles, a former assistant at places like Wagner and Columbia, knew that NJIT wasn't exactly the plum coaching position. But, hey, it was a chance to be a head coach at the Division I level. It was his opportunity, even if the program didn't win a single solitary game in the year prior to his arrival, even if he was inheriting an entire team that was already on scholarship _ but in essence, couldn't really play.

So Engles had to be patient and take his lumps. The losing continued, with a losing streak of epic proportions. NJIT lost an incredible 51 straight games over the span of two years, setting a new NCAA record for consecutive futility. Of course, there had to have been times when Engles had to wonder what in the world did he get himself into.

The streak finally ended on a cold night in January of 2009, when the Highlanders defeated Bryant. But the losses returned and the Highlanders ended the season with another 12-game losing streak and a 1-30 record in Engles' first campaign.

Imagine that. Engles gets his chance to be a head coach and the team he coaches wins one of 31 games.

Undaunted, Engles worked diligently to rebuild the tattered program he inherited. A year later, the Highlanders won 10 games, including a win in the opening round of the Great West Conference tournament.

Yes, that season, NJIT joined a conference called the Great West. The league didn't have an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, but it did offer home and away games with programs like North Dakota and South Dakota (yes, both of them), Utah Valley State, Chicago State and Houston Baptist. Those were some road trips.

In 2010-11, more improvement. The Highlanders went 15-15, including nine wins in the Great West Conference. They won 15 games again in 2011-12 and advanced to the Great West Conference tournament title game. A year later, the Highlanders won 16 games and won the Great West Conference regular season title.

But that year signified the end of the Great West Conference. The other teams in the league found permanent homes in established Division I leagues that owned automatic bids. The Highlanders became the nation's lone Division I independent, having to search far and wide for games, especially in February, when most conferences are in the throes of league play.

The Highlanders went 13-16 as an independent last year in what was a trying season, but the program welcomed in two recruits from New Jersey who were legitimate Division I studs who could play anywhere.

Guard Damon Lynn somehow flew under the radar from Union Catholic H.S. and had very few Division I schools interested in him. Forward Tim Coleman came from perennial national power St. Anthony, but wasn't really one of the top Friar players.

The two came in and electrified the program. Lynn was one of the top freshman scorers in the nation, averaging 17.2 points per game, the highest scoring average of any Highlander since the program went Division I. Coleman averaged 7.9 points and 4.9 rebounds as one of the more versatile performers.

The two this season have lifted the Highlanders to unthinkable heights. In December, they went to Ann Arbor, Michigan and managed to knock off the mighty Wolverines of Michigan, ranked No. 17 in the country at the time. The win helped to put the Highlanders on the national radar. Sales of NJIT merchandise skyrocketed in the school bookstore by an estimated 290 percent after the upset win.

The wins kept coming. There was a solid win over St. Francis of Brooklyn, which eventually came within a basket of going to the NCAA Tournament. There were great wins at the University of Maine and the University of South Alabama and a dominant home win over Hampton, which defeated Manhattan in the NCAA Tournament play-in game in Dayton two weeks ago.

But without a conference tournament and without a conference, the Highlanders literally had nothing to play for. Or so it seemed.

The College Insider.com Tournament, known as the CIT, has been giving mid-major Division I programs a chance to extend their seasons. Recognizing the fine work by Engles and the Highlanders, the CIT extended an invitation to the Highlanders to participate in the CIT _ an invitation that NJIT gladly accepted, even if it meant defraying some of the cost to host games in the tourney.

The Highlanders hosted New Hampshire in the first round and with a packed sold-out crowd at Fleisher Athletic Center, they won and advanced. They then took on Cleveland State in the second round, also at NJIT, and won that game to move on.

Saturday night, the Highlanders took on Canisius in the quarterfinals and came away with a 78-73 win to advance to the CIT semifinals at the University of Northern Arizona Tuesday night at 9 p.m. The game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network beginning at 9 p.m.

Yes, this program that just eight years ago didn't win a single solitary game now has 21 wins this year and is headed to the Final Four of the CIT.

Sure, it's not the Final Four like the one in Indianapolis where Kentucky and Wisconsin are already headed. But it is a Final Four. There's only one college basketball program left playing in New Jersey and it's remarkably NJIT.

Some people may downplay the fact that it's not a big-time tournament. Try selling that to the 1,500 avid fans that were in the Fleisher Athletic Center Saturday night. They were electric and alive and loud. For the third straight game, there was a marching band and the band was certainly loud _ and not to mention brilliant.

In a stroke of genius, NJIT athletic director Lenny Kaplan found Cicely Tyson School for Performing and Fine Arts in West Orange to come and play for each of the three CIT games. No question, the band made a difference and helped the electricity in the gym.

Legendary Marquette head coach Al McGuire used to believe that a band was critical to a team's success and once hired a high school band in Atlanta to play at the 1977 NCAA Final Four. Well, thanks to the Cicely Tyson School for Performing and Fine Arts, the Highlanders are jetting off to Arizona today.

But the fans were really into the game last night _ and in fact, all three CIT games. Don't tell those people in attendance that the game didn't matter. The students, the fans, the faculty and alumni, they were all out in full force. So was Gov. Richard Codey, who attended all three CIT games. As did Mayor Raz Baraka. They were supportive of the Highlanders.

If this little postseason run doesn't help the Highlanders get into some league, any league, then nothing will. It has to give the Highlanders some credence, as does the news that the school plans on building a new $100 million athletic facility within the next two years.

Who knows if Engles will still be around to see the ribbon cut on the new building? His stock has skyrocketed this year. Yes, the guy who once had one win for an entire year is now on the list for three possible national Coach of the Year honors and is getting talked about for possible openings throughout the Northeast _ and beyond.

One thing is for sure: NJIT, whom I've had the pleasure to do the public address announcing for their men's and women's basketball games for the last nine years, as well as an assortment of baseball games, is no longer a laughingstock. You don't win 21 games and go to the Final Four of a Division I tournament by fluke. You're not the last Jersey team still standing in college basketball by accident.

Last June, the NJIT athletic family suffered a tremendous loss, when the affable Joe Caiola, the assistant athletic director and a former NJIT basketball standout in the 80s, died after suffering a heart attack in Florida. Caiola was only 57 years old. He was NJIT through and through and worked his tail off all year, coordinating events and the facilities for the athletic program.

Late Saturday night, as I walked out of the Fleisher Athletic Center and headed home quickly to see the end of the Notre Dame-Kentucky NCAA Tournament game, I got in my car, sat in front of the steering wheel and wondered just how truly proud my friend Joe would have been of his Highlanders.

Joe would have been gearing up for the trip to Arizona, getting out his best NJIT gear to wear with pride. He would have danced around the gym on a cloud Saturday night, wondering if what was happening was actually happening. It's almost criminal to think he's not here to enjoy all of this excitement. I have to hope that he's smiling down on all of us. I know he's still with me. I can picture him coming up to me during the game and saying with his big smile, "Isn't this great?"

Yeah, Joe, it's great. The only thing that isn't great is that you're not here to enjoy it with the rest of us.

There's an old saying that says, "Good things happen to good people." Heck, there's even a book, written in 2007 written by Dr. Stephen Post and Jill Neimark, that has the same title.

Well, Jim Engles is truly one of the good people in the sport of college basketball. He's been nothing but style, class and grace since the first day I met him more than seven years ago, when he was announced as the new head coach. Legendary sportswriter Cormac Gordon of the Staten Island Advance, who has known Engles since his high school days, told me that day, "You're going to love this guy. He's one of the best."

Well, no one should ever doubt Cormac. He was right. Engles has been nothing but the best since he came to NJIT. He's good people. And if good things happen to good people, then Engles should be entitled to all the good wishes the world has to offer. Right now, he's enjoying life with the NJIT Highlanders, the program he constructed from the utter depths of despair to an airline trip to Flagstaff later today. No one deserves this ride more than Engles. No one.

If it means he gets another job elsewhere, then it's our loss, but he's leaving knowing that the program is light years better off than where it was when he arrived, that he turned this thing around in miraculous fashion. If Engles somehow stays and NJIT somehow finds a league to call home, then everything is good in the world _ and the good things that happen to good people are the ones who work in the Garden State's biggest city.
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This has clearly been the worst winter of my existence. I don't care about snow inch totals, because obviously, we've had more snow. But in terms of just brutal cold from the end of November straight through to today, there's just been nothing but hideous conditions.

The high school baseball and softball seasons are supposed to begin Wednesday. That idea is ridiculous, considering none of these teams have had enough time outdoors to properly prepare.

The NJSIAA should do the right thing and delay the start of the seasons for another week. I know that means a lot playing games in late May and early June, when things like proms and graduations are also taking place, but there are far worse things to happen than pushing back the entire calendar.

Will that happen? Of course not. So the seasons will begin Wednesday and the level of play will be diminished because of the lack of preparation. It's really sad how the spring sports always get the short end of the stick. Football has months to prepare. Baseball gets four weeks and five of those four weeks are in insane weather conditions. It makes only sense to do something to compensate for the poor spring weather locally, like starting the seasons on April 15 instead of April 1. Just a thought.
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Finally, I took a ton of heat from people in the sports media business and then others who are just fans about the blog I wrote last month about Seton Hall.

There were some sportswriters who claimed I made up what I wrote, which is totally absurd. I'm not in the business of writing fiction and since I don't get paid for writing this blog, I certainly want to make sure it's as accurate as possible. There was one sportswriter, who has not been in the business that long, who went as far as to say that I didn't know at all what I was writing about.

Well, I've been doing this now for 32 years, which is longer than the unnamed critic has been on the planet. I must be doing something right if I keep getting work after three decades. If I was making up crap, I think I'd be working in the pet care department in Walmart or washing dishes at a local diner by now.

I wholeheartedly stick by that blog. I wasn't making anything up. I got the story from TWO very reliable sources, two people who don't even know each other, but had the same exact details. Now, wouldn't that be enough to go on? I stake my entire reputation on that blog.

I also put up Mergin and Jaren Sina's request that they refuted what I wrote, saying that the reason for Sina leaving the Seton Hall program was not racially based, which is what I wrote. So I obliged to what they wanted to have said and reported that the same day here.

Do I believe it? Actually, no, because something had to have happened to force a kid who was starting and playing 32 minutes a game suddenly leave in the middle of a season. Disgruntled kids quit over a lack of playing time, not when they're starting and second on the team in minutes played.

The elder Sina wouldn't confirm or deny that the racial taunts took place, rather he just didn't want it out there that Jaren left because of racial tension because the kid still wants to play college basketball somewhere for the final two years of eligibility. And there aren't a lot of schools who would take a kid who claimed racial problems was the reason for him leaving the previous school. I understood that.

I pressed both about the racial taunts that I heard and neither chose to answer it. So they might have refuted what I wrote, but they didn't address the reason why either.

Also, something had to have happened to have a team that was once nationally ranked totally collapse like no other college basketball team in history, losing 13 of their last 15 games and winning only once after February 1. Something triggered the rapid demise of that team and the obvious discord that the team had, despite what head coach Kevin Willard claims.

Willard tried to paint a picture that everything was just peachy keen with his program and nothing was wrong. Some writers even bought that claim from Willard, citing that he deserves another chance to win with this team.

Well, that's just garbage. A team doesn't get that bad overnight, regardless of whether the players are freshmen or even in diapers for that matter. Imagine using the excuse that the team was filled with freshmen? Well, "The Fab Five" were all freshmen. Did it hurt Michigan? Talent is talent is talent is talent. It overrides age and experience every day, especially when the talent is considered to be the one of the best recruiting classes in the country and definitely the best in the Big East.

Again, the purpose of the whole blog last month was to hopefully have the head coach stop blaming everything else under the sun for the team's problems and take a long look at himself, which obviously has not happened. Willard was using the young and inexperienced excuse for his team at season's end.

And since Willard has three years left on his contract _ and since he's the one that helped get AD Pat Lyons hired at Seton Hall, and then Lyons in turn gave Willard a ridiculous and unearned two-year contract extension _ Willard is going nowhere soon. Seton Hall is not going to buy out Willard and pay him for three years after they did the same thing with the bastion of basketball brilliance Bobby Gonzalez, when that shyster was shown the door five years ago.

Here's the one thing that cannot be ignored. Since Willard has taken over the Seton Hall program five years ago, the Pirates have a collective record of 82-81.

That's right _ just one game over .500 in five full years. But this is a coach who deserved a contract extension? Heck, the school fired Louis Orr and he only took them to the NCAA Tournament twice. At this rate, in comparison, Orr would be deserving a parade down Springfield Avenue.

To the detractors and critics, I say, "Bring it on." I've been at this for too long to stop now. To the people who say I fabricate things, that's just so untrue and wrong. At least the people who truly know me know exactly what I am. I might be full of bluster and hot air, but I'm not full of you know what.

And to those who wrote nasty e-mails saying that I didn't write the blog because I was avoiding the truth, the only reason why there was a blog delay is because I've been so busy with work (yes, paid work, thank God) I haven't had enough time to catch up on my needlepoint and butterfly collection lately. Like Cyndi Lauper once sang, "Money changes everything." 
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You can read more of my work (yes, paid work) at www.hudsonreporter.com, www.dailyrecord.com, www.theobserver.com and www.sportsxchange.com. Or Google my name and have a field day.


















Monday, February 16, 2015

Mergin and Jaren Sina deny racial claims

After writing the blog this morning, I received a phone call from Mergin Sina, the father of former Seton Hall guard Jaren Sina, who said for the record that Jaren's departure from the Seton Hall program had nothing to do with any racial discord.

The elder Sina, a highly respected coach at Gill St. Bernard's, said that he didn't want anything out there that said that Jaren left the Pirates' program because of racial tensions. Mergin Sina would not elaborate about the reasons for Jaren's sudden departure from the program last week.

Mergin Sina then handed the phone to Jaren, who also reiterated that racism was not the reason for him leaving the program. He also did not care to go into detail why he left, just that the report I used in the blog this morning was untrue.

Jaren said that he plans on finishing the semester academically at Seton Hall, but has not made up his mind about a possible transfer location.


Time for Willard to look at the man in the glass

The 2014-2015 college basketball season began with such hope and high expectations and aspirations for the Seton Hall men's program.


It was the best recruiting class the Pirates had in 15 years. The Pirates were welcoming a McDonald's All-American in Isaiah Whitehead. There were other promising freshmen like Khadeen Carrington, Angel Delgado and Desi Rodriguez, freshmen of impact.


It appeared as if coach Kevin Willard had turned the corner after four mediocre seasons. How mediocre? Well, the Pirates were exactly .500 (66-66) in the prior four years since Willard arrived from Iona.


But with a great recruiting class coming in, one of the best contingent of freshmen in the nation, the prospects finally looked great for the Pirates.


As the New Year turned, the Pirates were headed in the right direction. They were finally ranked among the nation's best, climbing all the way to No. 19 in the AP and USA Today rankings. They owned a 13-2 record and defeated two ranked teams (St. John's and Villanova) for the first time in almost 20 years.


But then, things unraveled rapidly. The Pirates inexplicably lost game after game. There was no rhyme or reason for the Pirates' demise. Some thought it was the injury to Whitehead, who suffered a broken foot after 11 games and missed a month.


After losing on the road to Providence Saturday, the Pirates own a mediocre 15-10 record and a pedestrian 5-8 mark in the Big East. It's been more of the same for Seton Hall. The season might have once had high hopes, but it's now become a gigantic disaster.


How can something so drastic actually take place? Sure, the Pirates might have been average in the past, but they had an average roster. Last year's team had at least four players who were simply not Division I products.


But this year was different. There was a standout shooting guard in Sterling Gibbs, a power forward with a great outside shooting touch in Brandon Mobley. There was a sure-fire 3-point threat in Jaren Sina.


Then, you add the incoming freshmen. Whitehead had all the hype of a McDonald's All-American. Delgado, a complete rebounding machine, was even better than expected. The same can be said for Carrington, who definitely was a better player than advertised. Rodriguez, who came with Whitehead from the same Brooklyn high school (Abraham Lincoln), was more than serviceable.


It was clearly a talented roster, the best Seton Hall had put on the floor in ages. I definitely bought the hype and told anyone and everyone that this was a team that was going to make the NCAA Tournament and could challenge for Big East honors. It was the best Pirate team that I could remember since....


Yes, 2001. It was almost eerily similar to this group. That team featured a nationally ranked recruiting class, led by a McDonald's All-American in Eddie Griffin. That freshman class also included a highly ranked point guard in Andre Barrett and a solid shooting local product in Marcus Toney-El from Seton Hall Prep. With returning players Darius Lane and Samuel Dalembert, the Pirates were set that year to make some noise.


But Tommy Amaker's group never really got along. There was chemistry problems from the outset and everything came to a boil when Griffin, who tragically lost his life a few years later after a non-descript brief NBA career, got into a celebrated fistfight with guard Ty Shine in the locker room after a loss to Georgetown. The Pirates finished that year with a highly disappointing 16-15 record. Amaker was soon gone off to Michigan and so were Griffin and Dalembert.


This year's team has endured very similar circumstances. There has been chemistry difficulties. Mobley questioned some of his teammates' motives after one loss. Sina packed his bags and left the team for good after he took the last two shots in a frustrating loss at home to Marquette. Sina felt like he was an outsider, getting called names because others felt he was getting favoritism from Willard, mentioning the color of Sina's skin as the reason.


There's the major problem caused by the superstar attitude of Whitehead, who had 20 points Saturday in the loss to Providence, but has been less than All-American all season, averaging just 12 points per game and shooting just 36 percent from the floor.


Whitehead came to South Orange complete with his own personal posse, both on the court and off. He arrives everywhere with teammates Carrington and Rodriguez, but also with five or so others who are not players nor family members. It's not known whether or not they are even Seton Hall students, yet they are constantly in Whitehead's company.


The Whitehead faction has caused a tremendous rift within the core of the Pirates, one that now cannot be repaired, certainly not this season, if not ever.


Whitehead came to South Orange with the thought he might be a "one-and-done," meaning spending one year at Seton Hall, living up to his hype as the preseason Big East Rookie of the Year, then declare his intentions for the NBA Draft.


Well, Whitehead has definitely not played like an NBA prospect this season. It's safe to say that he's been a gigantic bust.


Gibbs has basically saved the Pirates all season, but even now he's playing with mixed emotions, because his best friend is Sina, who remains in school, but has left the basketball program.


Any team that loses eight of 10 games in January and February is in serious trouble. That's what the Pirates are right now. The media guide's motto this year was boldly proclaimed "Blue Rising." It now can be best described as Blue Sinking, like the Pirate ship sinking rapidly in the high seas.


Why? Well, taking a page from the immortal Hall of Fame football coach Bill Parcells, it's time for Willard, the mastermind behind this mess, to read the words of Parcells' favorite poem and digest them, because the problems with the Pirates lay solely right now on Willard's shoulders.


The poem is called "The Man in the Glass," written in 1934 by Peter Dale Wimbrow, Sr. Here goes:


When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that man has to say.

For it isn’t your father, or mother, or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

He’s the fellow to please – never mind all the rest
For he’s with you, clear to the end
And you’ve passed your most difficult, dangerous test
If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.



Yes, the Man in the Glass has to be Willard. He has to take a hard look and realize that he's the one who created the mess. He brought in Whitehead and allowed the posse to follow. He didn't address the chemistry problems and lost his team with the entire Sina incident.


No kid quits a team where he is starting and playing regularly. Only disgruntled kids who don't play quit in the middle of the year. If Sina transfers, he now has to sit out a full year and a half to play again. How ridiculous is that? But things had to be so bad for him to leave now.


Whitehead has not lived up to the hype and has been more of a nuisance and hindrance than a help. Clearly, this team should have been better than this disaster that has completely unraveled in the last six weeks.


Closing the locker room and keeping the media away is never an answer. Sure, when the team was winning and the bright lights of the television cameras were in attendance and the microphones were placed in the players' and coaches' faces, everything was just peachy. The attention was welcomed.


Now, things have gone sour and Willard closes the locker room and tells his players to stay away from social media outlets and don't talk to reporters.


You can't have the good and then not face the bad. It doesn't work both ways.


So there we have the unmitigated mess that is Seton Hall basketball. The Pirates have games at Villanova and St. John's this week, teams definitely looking for revenge and more than likely will get it. Losses will give the Pirates a 15-12 record and 5-10 mark in the league. Just like that 2001 team, a team that was a disappointing disaster, much like this one has become.
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Now that the Brooklyn Nets have a 21-31 record and appear headed for oblivion for a long time to come, is it safe to say that the franchise made a gigantic mistake in letting P.J. Carlesimo go?


After all, the Nets posted a 35-19 record with Carlesimo as a head coach two years ago, after Carlesimo replaced Avery Johnson.


But for some reason, the Nets canned Carlesimo in favor for the unproven Jason Kidd, who then played the Nets like a fiddle in a bad power struggle, left for Milwaukee and left the Nets with the recycled Lionel Hollins.


Well, since the Nets let Carlesimo go, they have posted a 65-69 record and have no hope for the future. Deron Williams has become a shell of what he once was. Joe Johnson's skills have deteriorated. Kevin Garnett is at the end of the road.


The Nets are a bad basketball team right now and no one will ever know if the team would have been better off just keeping Carlesimo as head coach.
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I am also a believer that new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred should allow Pete Rose to be on the ballot for Hall of Fame consideration. Rose has paid his dues and deserves a chance to get in the Hall before it's too late.


But it has to be done under certain stipulations. Rose has to hold a press conference to admit that he gambled on baseball games while he was manager of the Cincinnati Reds. He can't just randomly go on TV and radio shows and hint that he gambled. He has to fess up to his indiscretions and answer questions about it, once and for all. Not in a book. Face to face with reporters and cameras and an apology to the sport for breaking the one rule that is posted in every MLB locker room.


Two, he can never hold another paid position in baseball. He can appear at card shows and sign autographs, like he does, but Rose can never be a coach or manager on any level.


No one can deny the fact that Pete Rose doesn't deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. At the very least, he should be placed on the ballot and see if the sportswriters do the right thing and elect him.


But then again, I believe that Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds are Hall of Famers and were Hall of Famers before they ever saw a syringe.
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You can read more of my work at www.hudsonreporter.com, www.theobserver.com and www.dailyrecord.com.













Thursday, January 29, 2015

"Deflate-gate" and the impact of it has nothing to do with air in balls

There has been so much attention given to the New England Patriots and the "deflate-gate" controversy, involving the underinflated footballs that the Patriots used in the AFC Championship win over the Indianapolis Colts.


There has been so many articles about the proper inflation and so much time spent on talk shows about PSI (pounds per square inch, for the under informed) that it has frankly become nauseating.


But the true newsworthy factors of this indiscretion has nothing to do with footballs.


The real reason why this is such a major story leading into the Super Bowl on Sunday is that once again, the New England Patriots have been caught being cheaters.


And yes, sorry you blinded-by-the-light of Giselle's golden hair Patriot fans, this is indeed cheating.


It marks the fourth time that the Patriots have been caught cheating over the past decade or so. They circumvented the salary cap years ago in order to keep players on their roster. They taped the St. Louis Rams' practice before the Super Bowl so they could know what plays the Rams would run in the game _ and used that tape to their advantage, getting an interception return from Ty Law on a pass by Kurt Warner, who was quoted as saying, "It was like he (Law) knew it was coming." Well, guess what? Law knew it was coming.


And then there was "Spygate," where the Patriots were found to be taping signals off the New York Jets' sidelines. That one cost the Patriots some money and a draft pick, but the cheating has not stopped.


That's because head coach Bill Belichick believes that he is like a Steven Seagall movie, you know, "Above the Law."


Belichick, who of course denied any knowledge of the underinflated football, giving a pseudo physics lesson during his press conference and showing his movie knowledge by saying, "I'm not Mona Lisa Vito," from "My Cousin Vinny," has been involved in all of these cheating incidents. As much as he would like to deny it, he had his hands all over them.


Yet, he pays no penalty for his indiscretions. Belichick will get to coach the Super Bowl game and if he wins, he will get his fourth Super Bowl ring. How great is that? It will cement his place in Canton as a Hall of Famer.


But he's a cheater. As are the Patriots. They cheat. That's the real story of the underinflated balls. It's cheating. Yeah, sure, I believe Tom Brady didn't know how the balls got underinflated. Like he had nothing to do with it as well. It was all the equipment manager's idea or some ball boy's maniacal plan.


That's the real story here. The Patriots and their hoodie genius of a coach cheat, lie, steal, do anything to win. This is the fourth time, yet the NFL has done nothing in terms of a penalty.


Well, the league is not going to do anything now before Sunday. But after the game, the NFL has to throw the book at the hoodie genius and the owner who said he wants a public apology if the league finds the investigation into "Deflate-gate" is all rubbish.


The NFL has to hit Robert Kraft with a hefty fine, like as much as $10 million. They have to make the Patriots surrender their first round draft pick to the Colts, maybe even their second rounder as well. They then have to suspend the hoodie genius for at least half of the 2015 season.


Hey, the NFL suspended Sean Payton of the Saints for an entire year because of the Bounty-Gate investigation, when it was learned that the Saints' coaching staff was putting out price tags for hits on opposing players. Payton lost an entire year. So did the Saints' GM and the defensive coordinator.


And all they did was go out and tell their players to hit the opponent hard and they'll get a monetary bonus.


But the league is going to do nothing to a four-time cheater? Sounds to be just a tad hypocritical to me. It's so totally wrong that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Kraft are buddy-buddy and there are pictures of Goodell attending a barbecue last summer at Kraft's residence.


Is Goodell now afraid to bring the hammer down on the cheating owner and his cheating franchise because the cheating owner helped him to get his cushy $44 million a year job? Who knows?


One thing is for sure: This cheating crap has to stop. The Patriots get away with too much and they're playing once again for the top prize in the sport.


So the football garbage isn't the story here. It's the cheating. It doesn't matter what PSI the balls had against Indianapolis, because the Patriots would have beaten the Colts using a brick as a ball. That's right, they didn't have to cheat to win the game. But they did and deserve to pay a severe penalty for doing so.


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As for the game itself, there hasn't been a Super Bowl in my lifetime that I have had the least amount of interest in like this one.


I hate the Patriots and everything they stand for. I hate the hoodie and the cleft-chinned quarterback and the logo that looks like Elvis. I hate their fans with an absolute passion, because they all think the Patriots invented the sport and they fail to remember the days when they were so putrid.


I also hate the Seahawks and their coach Pete Carroll who broke every law under the sun while coaching at USC, then when the penalty was just about to be delivered, he scampered off to Seattle, took millions and is now considered a hero and possible Hall of Fame coach. Say what?


I hate the Seahawks' running back who boldly treats the media like their idiots with his "I'm only here so I don't get fined." Yet, there are some media who believe Marshawn Lynch is a Hall of Famer now. However, do we just simply forget that Lynch once ran over a woman while driving drunk in Buffalo and killed her? I guess that's something that gets forgotten when you treat the rest of the world like they are idiots.


So I'm rooting for chicken wings and commercials Sunday. I don't care about the game or the outcome or anything about it. I truly wish they both could lose, if that was possible.
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You can read more of my work at www.hudsonreporter.com, www.dailyrecord.com and www.theobserver.com







Friday, January 16, 2015

Return to blogging

After a significant delay caused by a computer glitch, having too many Google accounts and far too many passwords to remember, the faithful blogger has returned in the new year, albeit midway through the first month already.

A lot of people simply say, "Time flies," but in reality, it actually does. It's Jan. 16 already. Wasn't it Christmas yesterday?

In any case, there are some issues that I feel I need to address today:

One, which has bothered me since the Baseball Hall of Fame voting was announced last week, is the fact that once again Mike Piazza didn't get elected into the Hall.

Now, I know what people are going to say, that I'm so totally biased because I'm a Mets fan. There's no denying that fact. Even after 32 years in this business, I know I should be totally unbiased about everything related to sports, but I can't drain the blue and orange that has run through my veins since I was four years old.

Believe me, there are times that I've tried and thought about that fateful transfusion, especially after the way the Coupon boys have turned the franchise into a laughingstock, but there's no price tag on loyalty and tradition. I'm a Metsie, Metsie, Metsie until the Lord calls me home.

Now, putting that aside, how does any sports writing member of the Professional Baseball Writers of America organization not vote Piazza into the Hall of Fame?

I know he got closer this year, finishing about 80 votes shy, and I know that he will probably get in next year, considering the only new candidate with true Hall of Fame credentials is Ken Griffey, Jr.

But still, the idea that Craig Biggio, a very nice player and a credit to the game as well as Seton Hall University, is now a Hall of Famer over Mike Piazza is downright ludicrous in my eyes.

I know Biggio got 3,000 hits, which used to be the sure-fire stamp of earning a place in Cooperstown. I know he had 50 doubles and 50 stolen bases one year and led the league in runs scored twice. All nice facts.

Simply put, Mike Piazza is the best hitting catcher to ever play the game. He hit .308 for his career and hit 427 homers, 380 of which came as a catcher, which is the most ever for anyone to ever play the position. His offensive numbers are clearly better than other Hall of Fame catchers like Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk and Gary Carter.

And yes, I'm a Met fan who believes that Gary Carter, the Kid, the last piece to our 1986 World Series puzzle, was a great player and a great Met, but he's not a Hall of Famer. His numbers over the last seven years of his career are scary bad. There's a lot of sentiment for the Kid now that he's left us, but please, you can't even put Carter and Piazza in the same breath.

Mike Piazza is a Hall of Famer and was well on his way to becoming one before he became a Met. After he became a Met, he literally saved that franchise from ruin and led that rag-tag team with limited talent (and an outfield of Timo Perez, Derek Bell, Benny Agbayani and Jay Payton) to the World Series. Piazza literally carried that team _ with the help of Edgardo Alfonzo and Robin Ventura. But Piazza was the main man in 2000 in winning the National League pennant.

Not to mention the countless clutch homers and hits he had over the years. Who could ever forget that monstrous blast on the first day baseball returned after the 9-11 tragedy? That homer uplifted an entire nation and especially gave the Big Apple a shot of much-needed adrenalin.


In my eyes, Piazza should be a sure-fire, no-brainer Hall of Famer. If I had a vote, he would have been among my first choices.

But for some reason, the voters chose to exclude Piazza because there are rumors floating about that he took anabolic steroids. True, at one time, Piazza used the strength and conditioning enhancement powder that a lot of ballplayers used before it was banned by MLB. But there is no substantial proof, like the Mitchell Report or any drug testing result, that shows Piazza using steroids. None.

Nope, it's all based on rumors. Bill Madden of the New York Daily News wrote that he learned from a former Piazza teammate that he was using steroids. But when Madden was asked if he knew for sure, he didn't know. He's just going on the hearsay of the former Piazza teammate.

Others have followed suit, citing that there are rumors of Piazza using steroids. RUMORS. We're going to base a man's place in immortality on rumors and not his actual performance? Are you kidding me?

In 32 years of being a sportswriter, do you know how many rumors I've heard, ranging to one's sexual preference to who they're sleeping with to what drugs they're on and where they hang out? Christ, I could write two books of juicy tidbits, based solely on rumors. But you can't base anything on a rumor.

But these sportswriters are keeping Piazza out of his rightful place because of rumors. One sports writer said on ESPN that the reason why he didn't vote for Piazza was because he didn't want to put him in now, then five years from now, the truth about his steroid rumors come out. Can you believe such crap? Let's not vote for a worthy candidate now just because a rumor MIGHT come out. It's beyond ludicrous.

The players who got voted in this year, namely Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz, were no-brainers in my mind. They all belonged in and deserved of the red carpet treatment to Cooperstown, even if Johnson is one of the most surly, most unapproachable human beings in sports.

Again, performance. They were all three dominant pitchers.

Biggio? He was never the best player on his own team. How can someone be a Hall of Famer if they're not even the best player on the Astros? That distinction belonged to Jeff Bagwell, and he's not getting in because of _ yes, steroid rumors.

I don't envy the voting members of the PBBWAA, because they have a difficult job voting. It's painstaking to think who deserves it and who doesn't, especially now in the steroid era.

However, I'm a firm believer that both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were Hall of Famers before either was introduced to a syringe. Just look at their stats prior to 1998 and you'll see what I mean. They just extended their great careers longer than what anyone else could have done because of drugs. But in my mind, Bonds and Clemens deserve to be in the Hall of Fame above people like Craig Biggio. And I despise both Bonds and Clemens, perhaps my two least favorite baseball players ever, right next to Vince Coleman.

I also believe that the time has come to put Pete Rose on the ballot and see if he gets enough votes to get in. Rose is a Hall of Famer and should be put in the Hall for what he did as a player, not what he did hideously as a manager.

Look, O.J. Simpson was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and they haven't exactly taken his bust down after all the juice that has fallen on the juice.

I would vote for Bonds, Clemens and Rose. And most definitely, I'd vote for Piazza, who deserves his place there.

I'd also vote for Tim Raines, but I do have a little bias there, considering I worked with Raines for two years when he was the manager of the Newark Bears. So he's someone I consider a friend, so there's bias there.

But I don't know Mike Piazza. I've covered him enough and interviewed him enough and watched him even more than enough to realize that the man is a Hall of Famer, much like the greats I grew up with like Mays, Aaron, McCovey, Brock, Gibson, Seaver, Killebrew and Frank and Brooks Robinson.

Back then, when you walked into a ball park, you knew who the Hall of Famers were. There was no debate. Now, you have to consider whether they did steroids or even worse, whether there are rumors that they did steroids.

It really makes it a tough job selecting who gets to go to Cooperstown. Someday soon, it will be Mike Piazza. It just should have happened already.

And while we're at it, the stupid-ass Mets should put his No. 31 on the wall in left field already. To think that number is not retired is beyond comprehension. But then again, it's the Mets. What can one expect?

Remember, this is an organization that held it's Farewell to Shea ceremonies AFTER the team was eliminated from the playoffs that day against the Marlins. Real smart, holding that after a heartbreaking loss, the last October baseball game that truly mattered for this organization.
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Here's my movie tip of the day. Stay far away from "Boyhood." WOW, is it lousy!

I have to wonder what the Academy Award voters are thinking, considering this boring drivel for Best Picture and other awards. But then again, "The Artist" and "Unforgiven" were once Best Picture winners. I think "The English Patient" also won. In my eyes, those movies were drivel.

"Boyhood" was a nice idea, filming the boy from the ages of seven through 18. But the story was boring and the movie was almost three hours long. After a while, I couldn't wait for it to be over. I lost interest in the boy and his development. In fact, I was bored to tears.

So it's up to you whether to plunk down the money to see it On Demand like I did. After all the Oscar nominations, I figured it was a must-watch. Now I think it's a must avoid.
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I have three friends in the local sports circle who are currently waging war against cancer, all doing as best as they possibly can.

One is Hanover Park baseball coach Dave Minsavage, who has pancreatic cancer. Minsavage, one of the most professional and nicest coaches in the business, has taken some time off to take on cancer and hopes that he can recover enough to make a comeback in the future, but he will not coach this year.

Another is North Bergen girls' basketball coach Dan Reardon, who has cancer of the lymph nodes and is taking on cancer head on, coaching his team as he undergoes treatment.
 
The third is my wonderful, caring and loving physical therapist Carl Gargiulo, who has lymphoma and has successfully gone through three various chemotherapy treatments before heading on to grueling stem-cell surgery next month. I owe my existence to Gargiulo and his loving hands, helping me walk again, guiding me from walker to cane to no apparatus whatsoever.

I'm not 100 percent. I still visit Strulowitz & Gargiulo Physical Therapy in Jersey City three times a week, more religiously than I used to go to bars. I plan on walking freely and easily again someday. There's no guarantee. But I'm not stuck in the house and bound to a walker anymore, thanks to Carl and his incredible staff.

Cancer is a hideous, relentless, unforgiving and horrible disease that doesn't choose sides and has a lottery draft. It attacks everyone, even those who don't actually have it, but care about those who do, like the three great men that I wrote about.

Here's to hoping all three are able to beat cancer, kick cancer's ass like it has never been destroyed before. In sports terms, cancer has won far too many times. It needs to be knocked on its keister from time to time.

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I plan on being more active here in the future. I apologize for my lack of contributions, especially to the faithful readers of the blog and I know there are many. Happy New Year. Let's all have a better 2015 than the one we had to endure in 2014. I know for sure I'm going to give it my best damn shot.

You can read more of my work at www.hudsonreporter.com, www.theobserver.com and www.dailyrecord.com. This week, check out the tribute to Kearny girls' basketball coach Jody Hill's father in www.theobserver.com.
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Monday, December 1, 2014

Rams receivers out of line with stupid display

Ever since the grand jury in Missouri decided two weeks ago that there was not enough evidence to indict now former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in his role of the unfortunate shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown,  I have tried very hard not to voice my opinion on the situation for fear that it might get construed as being racist.


After all, at last check, I am a white man, like Officer Wilson. I am not an African-American, like the deceased. So any stand I might take in the situation may be portrayed as being a white/black opinion, because I cannot relate with the trials and tribulations that black people feel, especially when it comes to the way black people are treated by law enforcement officers.


So I said nothing. I just didn't understand why the residents of Ferguson, Missouri would want to trash where they lived, that they wanted to loot and steal from business owners, burn the businesses to the ground simply because they believed justice wasn't properly served. That those people took to the streets to hunt and maim innocent business owners, their own neighbors, because an innocent teenager was killed at the hands of the law.


I didn't understand that after the grand jury failed to indict a police officer doing his job, that a pack of hoodlums dragged an elderly man out of his vehicle _ a man who had an oxygen tank simply to live and breathe _ and drove over the man, still attached to the tank, while the whole incident was captured by a news gathering organization. Yes, I guess that's a form of protest.


I also didn't understand how so many people rallied around the family of this Michael Brown, a hulking 300-pound young man who was caught on videotape just 20 minutes prior to his shooting punching a convenience store owner in the face after Brown refused to pay for two packs of Tiparillos. Hey, I guess he needed a smoke that bad.


I didn't understand how an 18-year-old teenager could have a long arrest record, with an assortment of seven prior arrests. I didn't understand how Brown had no regard for Officer Wilson, failing to adhere to what Wilson had to tell him about walking in the middle of the street, so much so that he went after the cop, tried to close the cop's car door on him, then reached into the car to strike the officer in an attempt to steal his gun.


I didn't understand any of that. But the outcry was so widespread that one would think that Michael Brown was a bastion of society, that he was unjustly treated like perhaps Mahatma Gandhi or Anwar Sadat. Or in more of a layman's terms of recent years, like the way Abner Louima or Mamadou Diallo were brutalized by the New York City police department. Then, I could see the outcry, the outrage, the anger.


But this was a career criminal at age 18, a big bully punk who had no regard for the law. He was told to stop by the police officer, refused, got into a physical altercation with the cop and was subsequently shot and killed. Now, did he need to be shot six times? No, that's where I think Officer Wilson was wrong. But in terms of it being a justified shooting, I don't think there's any debate.


I don't understand how this has become a racial debate, a source for more of a racial rift than already exists in our great nation. Like we needed more of a reason to create more of a chasm. But this wasn't a black/white issue by any means, except for the undeniable fact that Michael Brown was indeed black and Officer Wilson is indeed white.


This wasn't black/white. This was right/wrong.


And that is coming from someone who doesn't have a racist bone in my body. I grew up in Jersey City, in a racially diverse neighborhood, in fact, a complete melting pot of society, more so than a lot of other locations in our great nation.


My favorite athletes growing up were almost all black, people like Willie Mays and Walt Frazier and Joe Frazier and Bubba Smith and Deacon Jones. I once made a joke to my father when I was five years old that after watching the Flip Wilson Show on TV that I wanted to be "a Temptation." I envisioned myself hanging out with the Jackson Five and dancing on stage with Michael.


I never have once treated anyone differently because of the color of their skin. I coached kids of all colors, creeds, religions, backgrounds. I've written about them all. I've had several friends from grade school through high school into college and beyond.


I didn't have to write that to justify myself, but I didn't form my opinion on this matter because of my race. I believe that Michael Brown was way wrong in doing what he did. Did he deserve to die? Probably not. But if he would have obeyed the law in the first place for the first seven times he was arrested, then the incident with the store owner 20 minutes before he was shot and then when Officer Wilson first addressed him, he would still be alive today.


With that now all out of the way, I was absolutely disgusted and dismayed and frankly embarrassed by the way five members of my favorite football team, the St. Louis Rams, entered the field Sunday before they faced the Oakland Raiders.


It was the Rams' receiving corps, namely receivers Travon Austin, Steadman Bailey, Jared Cook, Chris Givens and Kenny Britt, took the field Sunday and posed in the now famous "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" formation as they were introduced.


It wasn't the time or the place for the Rams to make a political statement. In fact, it was idiotic timing and in bad taste, especially with the tensions of the community still tepid in the area.


And it really took away from what was a great win for the Rams. I had one friend call me to tell me that the Rams had waited years for such a great one-sided win (they won 52-0) and all people wanted to talk about was the protest of the players.


There's no way no how that these five Rams players asked the coaches, the general manager or the administration to see if it was okay if they could make a statement like this. After all, this wasn't for domestic violence awareness or child abuse awareness or one of the countless cancer and health-related issues that the NFL proudly supports.


No, these were five African-American football players snubbing their noses at the local police and law enforcement officials by acting out what they thought was support to the black community or even the Brown family.


What makes the incident involving the Rams even more sickening is that one of the players who took part in this protest was none other than Bayonne's resident bastion of goodness and wonderment Britt, who has been arrested a total of seven times in recent years for an assortment of charges.


Britt has found himself behind bars for speeding, driving without a legitimate license or insurance, as well as three different drug related arrests. He was involved in an altercation at a party in Jersey City that resulted in a stabbing and yes, he's even posted bail for someone who was arrested and charged with murder.

And what did Britt's "cousin" allegedly do? He merely ran down a guy with his car, then got out of the car, dragged him to the edges of the Hudson River in Hoboken and threw him into the icy waters of the Hudson.


But Britt, because he makes more than a million a year to play football, posted the bail for that kind, considerate soul.


And Britt now wants to make a protest stand that slaps every single person who has been involved in law enforcement right in the face? The nerve. Britt should be thankful he's able to make millions playing football and keep his mouth shut and his protestations to himself.


The Rams had a big win, but their behavior sickened me. It's tough enough being a Rams fan and having to deal with all the ridicule and scorn I had to hear because they have been so God-awful on the gridiron. Now, they have a good win and this is what people will remember.


And again, this was a display that these five chuckleheads did on their own without permission of the team that SIGNS THEIR PAY CHECKS. With that in mind, they should be fined just as much as someone who gets flagged for a personal foul penalty or taunting or even being late for a team meeting. This was insubordination in its finest sense and they should all pay the price for their hideous indiscretion.


And as for Kenny Britt, shame on you, but then again at this point, we've all come to expect such infantile and idiotic behavior. It's all become part of the norm for him. He gives everyone in Hudson County reason to be so very proud, right? Instead of standing on a stepstool waving a flag that he's one of our own, we all kind of hide our eyes and ears and hope the last story involving Britt isn't true _ when it most certainly is.


Shame on the Rams' futile five for throwing a wet rag over a good win. And for forcing me to make a stand on this situation I really didn't want to make.
Now, watch the floodgates get opened with this one.


Incredibly, there were four juveniles who beat an unarmed man with a hammer in Ferguson over the weekend, but there was no outcry about that. Or there was a cop in South Carolina who shot an unarmed 30-year-old man. Yes, the four juveniles were black, the victim white in Ferguson. But there were no protests. The cop in South Carolina black, the victim white. Al Sharpton wasn't seen going there to voice his displeasure.
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You can read more of my work at www.hudsonreporter.com, www.theobserver.com and www.dailyrecord.com, as well as others at www.pro32.ap.org