As you may have read, the NFL is in the early stages of a new civil war. Two of the NFL’s most unpopular figures are facing off: Jerry Jones and Roger Goodell. What started out over something seemingly trivial(though it’s not), looks to escalate into something that could divide the league yet unite football fans. Roger Goodell has been hated by fans for years for many unarticulated reasons, however ever since the Ray Rice video, the NFL has undergone years, of bad distractions starting with domestic violence, blowing up over deflategate, and peaking with anthem protesting. All of this in in the litany of issues, Jones can use to usurp Roger Goodell from his Commissioner title with the NFL.
Star running back Ezekiel Elliott finds himself as the centerpiece of this battle. His legal battle to overturn his suspension was the preseason for a larger showdown. Reports have surfaced suggesting Jones was assured by Goodell that Elliott would serve no time. This assurance prompted Jones to vote in favor of the process of a committee going forward with renewing Goodell’s contract. However, Goodell reneged his promise to Jones and suspended Elliott anyway. this comes after police filed no charges, and text messages have surfaced that Tiffany Thompson was merely trying to blackmail, Elliott. Goodell punished Elliott for battering Tiffany Thompson even though the lone NFL investigator who interviewed Thompson did not find sufficient evidence to support Thompson’s accusations. So Goodell suspended Elliott for nothing. What else is Jerry Jones to take that as other than a smackdown to show that he’s in charge and a petty slap against the Dallas Cowboys’ ability to compete?
Jones Not Alone
The fans are behind Jones because they dislike Goodell, but no one cares about the fans, sadly. Jerry Jones may look to find an ally in the NFLPA, the union for players. Following the Ezekiel Elliott case they lost, they issued this statement
On behalf of all players, the Union appealed the suspension of Ezekiel Elliott to its logical conclusion and we are withdrawing our lawsuit.
Our vigilant fight on behalf of Ezekiel once again exposed the NFL’s disciplinary process as a sham and a lie. They hired several former federal prosecutors, brought in “experts” and imposed a process with the stated goal of “getting it right,” yet the management council refuses to step in and stop repeated manipulation of an already awful League-imposed system.
In truth, the NFLPA has no one to blame but themselves. They were a part of the process which gave Roger Goodell carte blanche with league discipline and it has been a disaster ever since. They helped create the monster during their last collective bargaining negotiations. However, in recognizing this failing, they may be eager to join Jerry Jones in his fight. This would be a credible ally that would make Jones seem less like a loose cannon.
History of Goodell’s success
One of the main selling point under Roger Goodell has been the increasing pie for NFL owners. Jerry Jones, specifically, has been a benefactor of Goodell’s leadership for many years.
According to Forbes, thein the world are the Cowboys ($4.8 billion), the Patriots ($3.7 billion), the New York Yankees ($3.7 billion) along with soccer clubs Manchester United ($3.69 billion) and FC Barcelona ($3.64 billion).
This year, 27 of the league’s 32 teams are worth over $2 billion, and three of the teams that aren’t — the Browns, Bengals, and Buccaneers — will likely hit that number in the near future.
One team that didn’t see a huge jump was the Chargers. Although the Ramsin 2016 — they jumped from the 28th most valuable team to the sixth most valuable — the Chargers only saw a slight increase. Since moving from San Diego, the team’s value has gone from $2.08 billion to $2.275 billion.
Ratings may tank Goodell
The NFL boycott is real and is deeply reflected in the ratings decrease. NFL owners can’t be blind to the hurt they are getting by the ratings drop, attendance decline, dip in merchandise sales, and tainted relationship with major sponsors. However, as colleague Scott Byrd would suggest, this is just the beginning. These are Goodell’s biggest threats to his continued tenure and unfortunately, they are all financially tied. A while back, I previously wrote about how the NFL could hemorrhage the bleeding.
Force Players to Stand For the National Anthem
Seriously, this shouldn’t even be debatable at this point. Get the politics out of football. The players have angered so many fans that the rating drops are accelerating. Players disrespecting the anthem is a direct cause of fans turning them off. You can’t expect to increase ratings when players alienate fans. Regardless of how you feel about the issue, the NFL has a fiduciary duty to implement and enforce a policy to keep the politics out of football. If they want a ratings bounce, they better listen to those who boycott. Football is supposed to be American. It should be a reminder of why we love our country. When that reminder is replaced by players protesting the anthem, the brand is tarnished. The NFL has a brand issue they need to fix.
End Regional Broadcasting
In 2017, there is no reason that a Broncos fan in Miami can’t watch their team except with DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket. I grew up with that, and it’s a great service. However, people are cord-cutting. Cable is increasingly losing its firm grip on entertainment with streaming services. NFL should offer streaming on their website that has no regional broadcast restrictions. It doesn’t even have to be free. This is a way for the NFL to modernize. They are already expanding their own streaming capabilities, but the only live games you can watch on NFL.com are out of market preseason games. How useless is that? Allow people who follow a team to pay for a package to watch that team every Sunday. It’s not that hard.
Written Rules for Player Discipline
How long should a player be suspended for in domestic violence cases? The amount of time is less important than the equal standard it should be from Josh Brown to Ray Rice. The NFL needs consistency. Otherwise, these scandals are a distraction from the football.
Due Process for Player Discipline
The NFL should defer to the legal system and not their own investigating. They are obviously terrible at it. In the case of Ezekiel Elliott, they suspended him when the police dropped the case. Furthermore, in the process, the NFL ignored evidence that exonerated Elliott. This was an unnecessary legal battle and distraction that the NFL really doesn’t need. It’s been proven that Elliott’s accuser was lying, but the NFL insists on a four-game suspension. Skip the NFL investigating process, and just defer to the legal system. If police drop charges, no suspension. If acquitted, no suspension. If they plead no contest, suspension. Players need to be proven innocent. And obviously, suspend when found guilty.
Stay At Home
This one is aimed at the San Diego Chargers. Abandoning the San Diego Market to pursue the Los Angeles dream would have been a good idea, if the Rams hadn’t already done it first. Now they gave their original fanbase a free pass to either lose interest or cheer for a different team. Stupid move. It’s great when the NFL gives back to the community, but abandoning your market shows how little you truly cared. Perhaps the Raiders should stay in Oakland. In pursuit of LA, the NFL lost the St. Louis market. San Diego and St. Louis are sizable markets. They can support multiple sports teams. If anything, the Jaguars should relocate, but they are investing in England for a possible relocation across the pond in the long-term future. When franchises relocate, it can devastate a community and turn people away from the sport. It’s very possible that these relocations have contributed to ratings declines. And so this should cease. As a side note, the Las Vegas move is not a terrible idea considering the city’s space and growth. But I don’t think the Raiders should be the ones to move. To clarify, It’s the stupid relocations that must stop.
Much of my five ways to stop the bleeding have only been validated with time, like the Chargers’ move to LA resulting in only a small increase in valuation. The internet also poses a threat that Roger Goodell seems behind on. Time is of the essence. If the NFL doesn’t change its ways, it could lose relevance in more households perhaps losing a generation of fans if this continues for however long Goodell’s contract is extended for. Rating declines only serve to make the NFL, and by extension football, less relevant.
Luckily Jerry Jones is opposing Goodell for more reasons than just Ezekiel Elliott, although that’s huge. Also, Jerry Jones has a history of suing and winning against the NFL. He is the best chance of saving the NFL. The NFL needs to act on its fiduciary duty to end these PR nightmares. And part of acting on that duty entails the removal of Roger Goodell. Jerry Jones is championing the fight. And while he isn’t quite the hero we wanted, he is the hero we need and deserve to save the NFL from itself. Who knows what the endgame is? But it’s hard to imagine, Jerry Jones succeeding makes the NFL’s situation worse. Usurping Goodell is the first piece in saving the NFL, but far from the last.
Harden scores 48 points, Rockets beat Lakers 138-134 in OT
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden was the star for the Houston Rockets as usual on Saturday night, but he and the team got a big boost from Eric Gordon in his second game back after recovering from a bruised knee.
Harden scored 48 points, Gordon added 30 and the Rockets overcame a 21-point deficit to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 138-134 in overtime.
The Rockets trailed for most of the night and were down by 18 in the second-half. Gordon sent it to overtime with a 3-pointer, and made four free throws in the last seconds of the extra period.
“He’s playing unbelievable,” coach Mike D’Antoni said of Gordon.
Coming off 57- and 58-point games, Harden had his 19th straight game with at least 30 and he’s had 40 in 10 of the last 13. He was 14 of 30 from the field, going 8 of 19 on 3-pointers, and hit 12 of 15 free throws.
Harden was asked if Gordon being back after missing eight games before his return on Wednesday night eased the burden on him a little bit.
“A little bit? It takes a lot of burden off me,” Harden said. “He’s so offensively gifted and talented being able to shoot the basketball, being able to get to the rim, being able to make plays for others. You get a guy like that on the floor with you it makes it easier for not only myself but for everybody.”
Brandon Ingram missed a 3 for Los Angeles before Harden hit 1 of 2 free throws to make it 132-130 with less than a minute left. Ingram tied it with a basket, and Harden again made 1 of 2 free throws to make it 133-132.
Los Angeles missed a 3 before Gordon also made just 1 of 2 free throws to leave Houston up by two with 12.6 seconds left. Kyle Kuzma lost the ball and it went out of bounds to give Houston the ball back. Gordon added four free throws after that to secure the victory.
It was the second straight overtime game for both teams after Houston lost to Brooklyn on Wednesday night and Los Angeles beat Oklahoma City on Thursday night.
Kuzma had 32 points for Los Angeles and Ingram added 21 in a game where coach Luke Walton was ejected in the third quarter.
Already without LeBron James and Rajon Rondo, the Lakers have another injury concern after Lonzo Ball sprained his left ankle in the third quarter. Walton said his X-rays were negative but that he’d have an MRI and “we’ll see where we are after that.”
Four straight points by the Lakers stretched the lead to nine in the fourth quarter, but Harden and Gordon made consecutive 3-pointers cut it to 112-109 with about two minutes remaining.
Los Angeles made four free throws to make it 116-109 about a minute later, but Harden made two 3-pointers around a basket by Ivica Zubac to get Houston within three with about 30 seconds left.
Lance Stephenson missed a 3-pointer and Harden made two free throws to cut the lead to 118-117 with 5.7 seconds left.
Zubac made two more free throws before Gordon’s off-balance 3-pointer with 2 seconds left sent it to OT.
“I saw Kentavious Caldwell-Pope running out to me and I thought he was going to fly right by me, but he stood right there,” Gordon said. “So I had to try to shoot it with confidence and I’m glad it went in.”
The Lakers built a huge lead early and were up 64-46 at halftime, with Kuzma scoring 24 points.
They were ahead by 17 with about eight minutes left in the third quarter after scoring five straight points capped by a basket from Kuzma before Houston scored the next 15 points to cut it to 74-72 three minutes later. James Ennis had five points in that stretch and P.J. Tucker capped it with a 3-pointer.
Ball was injured just before Houston’s run began. He remained on the court for a couple of minutes talking with trainer’s before he was helped to his feet where he hopped on his right foot for a few steps before being carried off the court and to the locker room by Stephenson and Michael Beasley.
Walton was ejected a couple of minutes after that when he got two technical fouls after yelling at officials during a timeout.
Ingram pointed to losing Ball as when things started to get away from the Lakers.
“Right when Lonzo went out,” he said. “That’s exactly when it went away. We lost momentum a little bit.”
Lakers: James was out for the 13th straight game with a strained left groin and did not make the trip. … Stephenson finished with 16 points.
Rockets: Harden also had eight rebounds, six assists and four steals. … Ennis returned after missing Wednesday’s game after cutting his left leg in a fall at his house. … Chris Paul missed his 14th game in a row with a strained left hamstring … Clint Capela had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb and is expected to be out 4-6 weeks.
THEY SAID IT
D’Antoni on Houston’s comeback: “Words don’t do it. That was just our guys showing a lot of heart.”
Lakers: Host Golden State on Monday night.
Rockets: Visit Philadelphia on Monday night.
‘Unsolved Mysteries’ is coming back, only ‘Stranger’
Robert Stack brought us over 500 Unsolved Mysteries episodes from 1987 to 2010 across three networks. Apparently, that’s not enough, and now the executive producer of Stranger Things wants a shot at rebooting the iconic television show for Netflix.
The series, which was hosted by Robert Stack and ran for over 500 episodes between 1987 and 2010, is being refreshed by Stranger Things EP Shawn Levy and his company 21 Laps Entertainment and Netflix.
The 12-part show will use re-enactments in a documentary format to profile real-life mysteries and unsolved crimes, lost love, cases involving missing persons and unexplained paranormal events. Each episode will focus on one mystery. In the original series, actors played the victims, criminals and witnesses but family members and police were regularly interviewed.
This is one of those shows that really doesn’t have a conclusion. It could conceivably go on indefinitely because there are always new and interesting mysteries to be solved. Since each one has its own spin and attachment to reality, there’s no need to worry about fatigue.
Some shows need to be buried forever. Others have a valid reason to keep going and get a reboot. Unsolved Mysteries falls in the latter category.
Trailer for John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum reveals everything we need and nothing we don’t
Fans of action movies have been foaming at the mouth over the John Wick series since it was launched in 2014. The first movie was amazing, scoring an uncanny 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, a rarity for action flicks. The sequel in 2017 was even better, scoring an 89% and breaking from the Hollywood tradition of completely botching things the second time around.
As the series reaches its cinematic climax, hopes are high that the long journey of the titular character, played by Keanu Reeves, will be the exception to the rule by delivering on three great movies. Few series have been able to do this, especially in the action genre. One can argue the Mission Impossible, Fast and Furious, and James Bond series were able to do it, but none of them did it consecutively. There were stinkers mixed in.
Lord of the Rings was a fantasy series with action while the original Star Wars trilogy did science fiction action like no other. Can John Wick be the first purely action trilogy to pull the trifecta?
If the trailer is any indicator, yes. Yes they can.
It has motorcycle sword fights. There’s a giant in the mix. We even get to see gun play on horseback. Throw in Halle Berry, Anjelica Huston, and the amazing supporting cast that has returned and suddenly there’s hope that the impossible can happen. They might be able to go from great to greater to greatest. Thankfully, this is a rare “good” trailer that gives us just enough information to know where we stand in the series but does’t have real spoilers that ruin the whole thing.
It’s noteworthy that this series has been one continuous series of events. Chapter 2 picked up shortly after the first, while Chapter 3 is an immediate continuation from Chapter 2.
The subtitle of the film, “Parabellum,” is Latin for “prepare for war.” That may not be possible since nothing can prepare fans to wait for it to come out, but we’re almost there. The film hits theaters on May 17.
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