A Stones Throw 12-6-12

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I think by now most people, regardless of their level of being sports fans, are aware of the tragedy of last Saturday involving Kansas City Chiefs’ linebacker Jovan Belcher.

For those who are not aware, Belcher went to the home of Kasandra Perkins, his on-again-off-again girlfriend and the mother of his three-month-old daughter where an apparent argument ended with Belcher shooting Perkins nine times – killing her.

Belcher then went to the Chiefs’ practice facility where he sat in his car talking to Chiefs General Manager Scott Pioli and Head Coach Romeo Crennel. When the first police sirens were heard, Belcher put the gun to his head and killed himself.

Obviously, this was a terrible tragedy. The lives of a beautiful 23-year-old woman and a talented 25-year old man ceased to exist. In the wake of this violence, a three-month-old girl will never get to know her mother or her father.

Throughout the weekend, it seemed this tragedy was being treated as a football related strategy. It was a tragedy that evoked a strong debate on whether the Chiefs-Carolina Panthers game should be played on Sunday.

The game was played.

Naturally during press conferences after the game there were more questions about the tragic Saturday events than about the game itself.

Without doubt, the best response (as reported by several sports online publications) came from Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn.

In the post-game press conference when asked about Belcher, Quinn stated: “When you ask someone how they are doing, do you really mean it? When you answer someone back how you are doing, are you really telling the truth? We live in a society of social networks, with Twitter pages and Facebook, and that’s fine, but we have contact with our work associates, our family, our friends, and it seems like half the time we are more preoccupied with our phone and other things going on instead of the actual relationships that we have right in front of us. Hopefully, people can learn from this and try to actually help if someone is battling something deeper on the inside than what they are revealing on a day-to-day basis.”

I find it interesting that it took a teammate of Jovan Belcher to put things in what I feel is the proper perspective.

Regardless, Jovan Belcher and Kasandra Perkins are dead. A three-month-old girl is alive – with no parents. While, unfortunately this is not a unique situation – it is a tragedy.

Speaking of which, I wonder how many people, sports fans included, realize that on the same Saturday a member of the Cleveland Browns grounds staff hung himself in the Browns practice facility?

Another tragedy.

Another family without a father.

Add this to probably a hundred or more similar tragedies from the weekend without a sport related connection and Brady Quinn’s words take on even more meaning.

The next time you ask “how are you doing?” – mean it.

The next time you answer the question “how are you doing?” – tell the truth.

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On a different note, last week the NBA made a decision that could change the landscape of professional basketball – if not all of professional sports.

To set the situation, last week San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich decided to rest his top three scorers instead of playing them in a game against the Miami Heat. Popovich felt that his players needed rest after playing three games in four days.

The NBA didn’t agree. NBA commissioner David Stern decided to fine the Spurs $250,000 for not playing their three stars.

Dumb!

I wonder if Stern even considered the ramifications.

First, I think if I was the owner of an NBA team I would look at this decision as a money saver. Obviously the NBA commissioner has decided he has the right to decide which players will play – and when.

Stern has also decided he can determine when a player can’t play. While there are set standards where a player can be suspended for the use of performance enhancing drugs as well as for exceeding a certain number of technical fouls, Stern and his office are now threatening suspension to players suspected of “flopping.” (Flopping occurs when a player falls to the floor when minimal contact is experienced.)

So, who needs a coach to make those decisions? (How much money can a team save without paying a coach to make these decisions?)

On the other hand, if Stern’s philosophy were to carry over to the other major sports leagues, consider the consequences.

Could Dusty Baker rest Joey Votto for a day game following a grueling 16 inning game? Or, could he be forced to play Votto because the commissioner wanted him to?

Who should have the right to make this decision?

At the same time, I remember the debate that raged when the Indianapolis Colts decided to rest many of their starters rather than try for a perfect season. Colts coaches and management decided the starters needed the rest.

What if NFL commissioner Roger Goodell felt he has the right to determine who plays and who rests? What would happen if a Peyton Manning or a Tom Brady is hurt during a meaningless game that the commissioner forced them to play?

I think the answers are obvious.

I also think David Stern should fine himself $250,000 for making a bad call.

*

Speaking of making a bad call – I wonder how many people remember the “Heidi game.” Obviously, the management of Cincinnati’s Channel 12 “Your loco station” doesn’t.

I know, Channel 12 actually claims they are “Your Local Station.” However, after this past Sunday, I suggest they change “local” to “loco.” (Loco means crazy or insane.)

Last Sunday Channel 12 carried the 1 p.m. Detroit Lions-Indianapolis Colts football game. It was scheduled to carry the Cincinnati Bengals-San Diego Chargers game, scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m.

On November 17th, 1968, NBC switched from coverage of the Oakland Raiders-New York Jets game – with 65 seconds left – in favor of the movie “Heidi.” What happened next became history. When NBC switched to “Heidi,” the Jets were leading. After the switch, the Raiders scored 14 points in nine-seconds.

The Raiders won.

And Raiders and Jets fans did not see those 14 points – unless they were in the stadium.

Move to last Sunday.

With 64-seconds to go in the Colts-Lions game Channel 12 “Your Loco Station” decided Colts fans, Lion fans, and football fans in general would rather watch three minutes of local commercials than see the final 64-seconds of a game where the Colts trailed but had just received the ball on their own 28 yard line.

What happened next? A final 72 yard drive capped by a 14 yard touchdown pass to give the Colts a 35-33 victory over the Lions.

Meanwhile, Channel 12 thought we would be more interested in a bunch of local commercials we have seen dozens of time before.

Still, Channel 12 has a couple of valid arguments. First, by NFL rule they would have had to cut-away from the last play of the Colts-Lions game since one of the outfalls of the “Heidi” game is a rule that all games be shown completely in home markets. This means Channel 12 had to carry the start of the Bengals game.

Second, Channel 12 can argue they did give fans one more second of Colts-Lions football than football fans got during the “Heidi” game.

And – as we all know – every second counts.

– Mike Cooney