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Entertainment and Sports

The NFL ‘Anthem rebellion’ is quelled. It was over before it began



There are only two real possibilities here for each NFL team this coming Sunday, in Week 4 of the season.

1. Everybody kneels or no-shows

2. Everybody stands

Of course, there are exceptions to this, but no real shades of gray. One kneeling or sitting player is simply another Kaepernick, who will earn fan derision into eternity. One standing player when all others are in the locker room will become an instant hero, with the rest of the team made to look like cowering simps. We know this from Week 3, and so does the NFL, the players, the management, and the owners.

There are some hints of surrender. I say the “Anthem rebellion” is over. President Trump has won.

I think it was never really in doubt, because the president has a preternatural sense (for a liberal New York billionaire) of how the pulse of America feels on many issues. Without getting into raw speculation, 4D chess, or Scott Adams’ theories on persuasion and perception, I think Trump eats and drinks media and eschews analysis. His gut has been trained on how to do this for 40 years. He knows in his knower.

The first white flag came from the New England Patriots.

The Carolina Panthers, who are playing the Patriots, will also be standing. Team by team, most of them will end up showing up, and standing for the anthem. Some holdouts will do their own thing, and nothing will be done about it. The media will focus on those things, but the media also got called out for telling camera operators not to show booing fans.

Unfortunately, the ratings aren’t rigged to lie like that. Advertisers know what the public wants, when they’re burning memorabilia, getting refunds on satellite TV packages and overall tuning out.

The Baltimore Ravens are mum on what they’re going to do, and that in itself portends surrender.


The Patriots Just Announced How They’ll Spend the National Anthem on Sunday — It’ll Make a Statement Patriot players will stand this Sunday during the National Anthem, a league source told me.

The Patriots will play the Carolina Panthers, who reportedly will also be standing. Trump has called for a ban against protesting the national anthem in the NFL. The league has also seen its fair share of fan backlash involving disgruntled fans burning their jerseys and broad drops in the ratings.

Ravens fans, bars eye Sunday for sign of whether NFL protests will pass or continue – Baltimore Sun fan plans to wear his Ravens jersey inside out. Others talked of selling once-prized tickets or leaving their seats following the national anthem. The Ravens and rival Pittsburgh Steelers have played 46 times but never quite like they will on Sunday: when the outcome of the contest will compete for attention with whether players will kneel again during the anthem and how fans will react.

TV Ratings: ‘Sunday Night Football’ Down Again On Day Of Player Protests | Deadline’s an 8% dip from the early numbers of last week’s game, Atlanta’s 34-23 win over Green Bay. Still, NFL ratings are down double-digits this season so far after taking a similar tackle-for-loss last year. Add to that, Sunday’s game was the worst a Week 3 SNF has done in 11-years.

NFL Camera Operators Told not to Show Booing Crowd When Players Knelt During Anthem are everything to a message, and it wouldn’t do well if the networks showed the NFL kneelers — the media’s latest favorite fad — receiving boos and disapproving shouts while it was going on. The league saw this weekend’s unprecedented anthem coverage as a golden opportunity to demonstrate unity among players, coaches and owners — and opposition to Trump’s comments. Of course, in today’s era, when everyone and their dog has a camera that can display anything to everyone at that very moment, that “golden opportunity to demonstrate unity” narrative was bound to collapse faster than a house of cards in a wind tunnel.

DirecTV is offering refunds for NFL Sunday Ticket to fans offended by national anthem protests – LA Times subscribers who want to drop the NFL Sunday Ticket because of the protests during the national anthem before games are being offered refunds, according to multiple media sources.

The Wall Street Journal also spoke with some DirecTV subscribers who indicated the same. I just wanted to make a point.” The Journal noted that DirecTV had varying responses regarding the refunds. The Sunday Ticket package can cost close to $300.

NFL protests updates: A team-by-team look at the NFL vs. Donald Trump –

There are countless examples of the positive influence and extraordinary impact these players have on our community. Football is something that has always united us as Americans and, particularly in times like these, has the ability to inspire rather than divide. It’s a brotherhood in the locker room, we’re out in the community, and we know ourselves.

Here’s a look at how each team responded to Trump’s remarks…

Final Thoughts

Thus endeth the rebellion. For the NFL players, this ended worse than the Dorr Rebellion in Rhode Island in 1842, where the stolen cannon didn’t fire and the rebels scattered to the winds. It was a victory for Donald Trump, but most of all, it was a victory for the fans. The NFL and teams, collectively, have been screwing their fans for decades.

Think about it: the NFL is a sport where practically every player is a millionaire, every owner (except the oh-so-holy-and-grandfathered Green Bay Packers) a billionaire, most of the game officials are lawyers doing the job as a part-time gig, the league president is also an attorney, and everything the relatively small club of rich people do is designed to extract money from the very people they are all supposed to be entertaining. My father would have called it (and probably did at one point) “a racket.”

Finally, they’ve done something so distracting and deleterious to the game to incite fans, en masse, to depart and break the emotional bonds forged over generations to their teams. Of course, when teams pack up and move over extortion demands for new, ever-more-luxe stadiums anyway, that does tend to harm the marriage between fans and teams.

It doesn’t matter whether fans agree or disagree with Trump–most disagree. It’s the game of football that won here, and Trump was on the winning side. Trump chose the winning side before the battle even begun.

In fact, the battle was over before it began.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Susan

    September 28, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Stand or kneel, don’t forget that the NFL opposes Religious Freedom. People still shouldn’t give them their money.

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Entertainment and Sports

Binge-worthy show: Counterpart works because J.K. Simmons is incredible. Twice.



With season 2 of the Starz hit Counterpart getting going, I thought I should go ahead and binge the first season to see if it’s one to follow going forward. Despite a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and universal acclaim, I’ll admit I probably wouldn’t move forward to season 2 if it weren’t for two letters and a surname: J.K. Simmons.

Very minor spoilers ahead for the sake of understanding why you should see this show.

Imagine if the world we know copied itself 30-years ago. These two worlds continued without knowledge of each other, save for a select few on each side who are aware of the tunnel below a building in Berlin that connects the two worlds. Now, imagine if both sides kept the existence of this secret from everyone, even most of the world’s governments, and instead ran a shadow organization in the building above the tunnel that allowed the two sides to cooperate.

That’s the world of Counterpart.

This is where it gets interesting. J.K. Simmons plays Howard Silk… twice. In the “alpha” version of the world he’s a mild-mannered operator working in the building above the tunnel but unaware of what it does or the role he plays in everything. The “prime” version is a badass secret agent who must travel to the “alpha” side to foil a plot that would bring the two sides to war.

The premise is pretty clever, albeit not completely unique. There have been stories of alternate realities playing with or against each other in everything from comic books to Star Trek shows. This is the first I’ve seen that plays it more as a spy game in an inter-reality Cold War setting, but nonetheless it’s a relatively common premise. What Star Trek fan doesn’t remember evil Spock?

Spock Mirror

On the merits of the story alone, I’d see this as an acceptable show to watch. Not quite binge-worthy, but a nice aside while waiting for the next season of The Expanse for sci-fi fans. What pushes it up to the binge-worthy level is the dual performances of Simmons. Despite the parallels between the two characters he plays, the audience is never confused about which one they’re seeing. He doesn’t even have to speak most of the time. We can tell by the way he carries himself, the expressions he makes, and the bearing he holds when looking at people.

That’s actually not that hard. What Simmons does masterfully is he accomplishes this without exaggerating the differences. He brings them to light with subtly, giving us just enough understanding of who the characters are without overplaying those differences.

There’s one more thing that the show does well that should be noted since it almost lost me otherwise. Just when you’re getting a little bored with the mundane aspects of the spy game, it slams you across the face with an unexpected twist or impromptu action scene. Even a simple conversation about arranging travel can turn into a gun versus fireplace poker fight to the death.

Great actors can take good material and turn it into something special. Though we’ve only seen one full season of Counterpart, it’s clear that J.K. Simmons makes it worth the watch.

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Entertainment and Sports

Travelers season 3 launches tonight and fans are going nuts



Travelers season 3 launches tonight and fans are going nuts

Technically, it will be launched tomorrow at midnight, but who wants to get technical?

Time traveling science fiction has never been as great as it is with Travelers. This is one of the most binge-worthy shows on streaming television for a reason.

Binge-worthy show: Travelers season 3 is here. Time to catch up on the first two seasons. 3 will be released on December 14 and I’m truly pumped. I haven’t been this excited about a new season of a show since the last season of Sherlock (which was admittedly disappointing). Season 2 ended with a world-changing cliffhanger. Luckily for those of you who haven’t seen the show yet, you have plenty of time to watch the two 12-episode season on Netflix.

Here’s a very brief overview of the premise:

Hundreds of years in the future, humankind isn’t doing so well. The planet is dying. The people are dying. All they have going for them is advanced technology that allows them to carry on with their dismal existences. Things are so bad, they decide to go back to the past – 2016 – and change things in a systematic way that will create a better world.

Season 2 ended on an extreme cliffhanger, one that will change the fabric of the story completely. It was so intense that by the last few minutes of the episode it almost seemed like a series finale. That’s how drastic it was. That’s how much things are about to change.

Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms are buzzing over the new season dropping. The Canadian-American show has resurrected an interest in time-travel entertainment while never getting too nerdy. It’s almost contradictory that the science invoked by an understanding of the space-time continuum is able to exist within an excellent cast and a tight storyline that keeps viewers so engaged.

The new season of Travelers drops on Netflix at midnight, PST. Fans should prepare their excuses for calling in sick tomorrow. The Director has a mission for you.

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Entertainment and Sports

Of course an 8-team college football playoff system makes sense



Of course an 8-team college football playoff system makes sense

In just over two weeks, we’ll get to see who’s going to play for the national championship in college football. It all happens in two games with the current playoff system; the winner of #1 vs #4 will play the winner of #2 vs #3. It’s simple, elegant, and so far it’s been working better than any previous attempt at crowning a national champion.

It’s also inferior to what it could be. An 8-team playoff system would be ideal.

Detractors (and there are fewer and fewer all the time) have two primary complaints. The first one isn’t really an argument. Traditionalists believe the playoff system in general harms continuation of the rich history of the old bowl system. This is true, and frankly there’s no going back at this point.

The second concern is about where it stops. If 8 is better than 4, is 12 or 16 better than 8?

Let’s put that one to rest now. No. 8 is the ideal number for the playoff system. It is fair enough to allow all the teams that deserve a shot without being so big that undeserving teams might sneak in and make a mess of things.

Today, there are seven teams who have a legitimate claim that they deserve a shot at the national championship. The four teams that are in – Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma – are the teams that had the best seasons this year. Oklahoma avenged its one loss in the Big 12 Championship game and the other three teams are undefeated.

Added to the mix are the three teams on the outside looking in. #5 Georgia had the two best losses of any team and is arguably the second best team in the country despite those losses. #6 Ohio State won the Big 10 Championship and has only one loss. #8 UCF is undefeated for the second year in a row. While #7 Michigan didn’t really have a shot at the top 4 after losing badly to Ohio State, they would round off a solid 8-team playoff if that system were in place today.

It would be perfect.

Not every year would end up like this one with 8 clear top teams, but even in disputed years where #9 or #10 complained, they would do so knowing they could have gotten in by winning. This year, Ohio State was penalized despite being the Big 10 Champion and having only one loss. UCF demonstrated it doesn’t matter how well they play for how long. Two undefeated seasons wasn’t enough to earn them a spot.

An 8-team playoff system with automatic bids for the champions of the five major conferences and three at-large bids would extend the season for one week, allowing the first round to be played on or around Christmas. It would make the whole bowl season more interesting and offer hope to teams like UCF who would otherwise need a perfect storm of major conference losses to earn a spot.

This really should be a no-brainer. ESPN won’t mind. Their contract lasts until 2026. They would happily expand to include another round of four games. Those who are making the decision should make it fast. We can get this up and running by the 2020 season.

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