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Archive for 2014|Yearly archive page

Rice’s Light Suspension is Deeper Than Football

In Football Stuff on July 26, 2014 at 5:51 am

Ray Rice

This week it was announced that Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice will serve only a 2 game suspension for domestic violence. In February, Rice was involved in an incident in an elevator that left his then fiancée Janay Palmer unconscious in Atlantic City. Rice and Palmer are now married and the league is now dealing with his violation of the personal conduct policy. According to police reports Rice punched is wife to be in the elevator which knocked her out. The lenient sentence handed down by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is a mirror of how we as society tend to look at violence against women.

Rice Press conf

Since Roger Goodell has been in charge of the country’s most popular sport he has been known to drop the hammer down on rules violators. The two cases involving women as victims it seems that the league’s sheriff has a soft spot. When Ben Rothelisberger got his 6 game suspension reduced to 4 games for violating the league’s conduct policy. That was when Big Ben was accused of rape in Georgia but the charges went away because of some suspicious evidence handling. Now player who have been caught smoking marijuana have served equal or greater suspensions. While Rice was getting 2 games for swinging on his wife, the Eagles Lane Johnson was suspended or 4 games a day before for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

So is Roger telling us that smoking some weed or getting a DUI is doing greater damage to the league than spousal abuse? Maybe even that consider that last week Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer hit with a 3 game ban for making homophobic remarks. I am not saying that these offenses should not be punished but there are definitely not equal to violating the safety of another human being. After doing a little reading it appears that Goodell is following the guidelines that have already been set by our society. In the larger world there are many young men and women serving time for having a little marijuana while domestic abusers are getting slaps on the wrist.

This topic of Rice’s suspension has sparked some debate in the sports talk world. While a lot fans, columnist and radio show host do feel that the punishment was too relaxed there are others who think it might be a bit much. What I have noticed that there is a large number of men and women who have a fractured view of how people should treat each other. We are raising a society of people who do not value one another and especially is cruel to women. ESPN host Stephen A. Smith is making headlines because he did a little victim blaming in this incident. To infer that a woman provoked a man to hit her is not an uncommon opinion. Smith’s ill-advised words sting a little more coming from a national platform but this is not a view that is alone on.

There are a lot of men going out of their way to defend the actions of a woman beater. It almost makes you have to look at those men and wonder about them. One of the keys is that their brethren who do not share those views have to be more vocal in denouncing that ideology that woman somehow brings these situations on themselves. These same men must also correct women when they hear them speaking that same ignorance. It is a sign that we are passing a dangerous sense of behavior down to the next generation. That flawed way of thinking will create silent victims who will not feel that they have a safe place to speak against their attackers. They will grow up feeling that they did something wrong.

The reality is that no one should ever feel the right to put their hands on you. Right now unfortunately we are dealing with a state of entitlement where somebody feels like they have the right abuse someone else’s body. We have to do better and think about how we want our daughters, sisters and mothers treated. The conversation around this lately is showing that as a society that we are not taking these things seriously.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr

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Kind of Like Sports Starts Podcasting

In All Kinds of Sports on July 21, 2014 at 2:37 am

Sports logo

Today I am announcing that, Kind of Like Sports is entering a new era. We will be launching a podcast starting in August. The podcast will feature a lot of the same kind of content that you currently see here on the page with much more. We will have weekly special guest and interviews with various members of the collegiate and professional sports community. We will still have a strong focus on sports teams from Michigan and Georgia but will never miss the big stories from around the country.

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Some of the segments that you can expect to are things like the Falcons Beat that will feature my Ring Time Pro Wrestling co-host Keshia. The Detroit Lions minute, The Georgia College Football Wrap and other segments that focus on key teams around me or where I am from. We will talk a lot about Fantasy Football and I will give some advice and share some of my dilemmas with the audience. We will work to cover sports from a different angle and talk about the economics of some decisions and the social impact that sports have on the world landscape.

As a veteran podcaster, I am excited about the opportunity that this new endeavor presents. We will strive to have great content and strong production quality. I don’t think there can be enough podcast where African Americans are talking about athletics. The sports talk radio community is a multi-billion dollar medium that largely ignores our voice. Being a passionate fan, I found this to be the perfect place to share my opinions in a way I sometimes cannot convey via the written form.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr

The Falcons Hard Knock Life

In Atlanta Area Stuff, Football Stuff on June 18, 2014 at 4:34 am

Falcons Training

Fans of NFL Hard Knocks series on HBO finally found out who the crew was going to follow this season. For better or for worse the Atlanta Falcons will be followed by HBO cameras all the way to the end of training camp. I am not sure if the organization volunteered or the NFL realized that somebody had to do the series this year. Due to the level of distraction associated with the show a lot teams have opted not to participate. The Falcons are coming off their first losing season in five years and I am sure that has some fans worried.

The teams that have traditionally been on the Hard Knocks program have not done exceptionally well during that season. That all being said there is nothing that has proved that cameras have caused the problems that plagued the underachieving teams of the past. There have been teams that have had good seasons like the 2010 Jets and last year’s Cincinnati Bengals team both made the playoffs and were competitive. That being said no team has made it to the SuperBowl while doing Hard Knocks.

The NFL tries to navigate an interesting dynamic of trying to give fans all access but at the same time teams maintaining their competitive edge. I could see why some teams would be apprehensive in bringing in extra distractions to a camp where they are trying to get younger players acclimated to the NFL. The organizations will also want to avoid any controversy that can come from cameras catching something that the American public may not be ready to see. As we learned with the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito incident last year football culture differs vastly from how we interact in polite society.

The Falcons are in interesting choice for this show. What makes me think that the team will be able to handle the pressure of the extra coverage also is not generally what television producers think make good programming. The organization has strong level headed leadership and Head Coach Mike Smith is not the colorful personality that will provide a lot of one liners. The club’s quarterback situation is stable and there won’t be a lot of high profile position battles. Their rookies will not even bring that much drama. Their first round draft pick is an offensive lineman who kind of already knows the NFL culture. The Falcons wins and losses this year will only be a result of the hard knocks that they deliver or fail to deliver to their opponents.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr

The Parallel Existence of Lebron James and John Cena

In All Kinds of Sports, Basketball Stuff on June 14, 2014 at 4:38 am

Cena and Lebron

Listening to sports talk radio today, I heard the 8,456,377th discussion of whom or what people think LeBron James is or is not. I keep hearing why he is not a part of the great pantheon of NBA royalty and why other guys are better. It kind of took me to a discussion that wrestling fans have about John Cena. Both maybe the most polarizing figures of their respective professions. As I began to examine both men and how they are viewed they have a lot in common. Enough that I decided to post this both on the Kind of Like Sports and on Ring Time Pro Wrestling pages.

James and Cena are both apart of the first generation of athletes that are viewed through the scope of social media. The constant flow of Twitter and Facebook allow fans to debate the greatness of these versus the prior generation’s superstars. James has never been able to escape the shadow of Michael Jordan and constantly being told no matter what he does that he will never be a Jordan. Cena faces similar critiques that is no Stone Cold Steve Austin or will never be The Rock. Both are said to be the stars of what is believed to be the lesser era of their league or company.

Cena rose to the top in 2004 when he defeated the Big Show at Wrestlemania XX. He was not number 1 draft pick like James. The powers that be in the WWE expected Randy Orton or Brock Lesnar to be the unquestioned face of this generation. James on the other hand from day 1 had to prepare to take on the ghost of NBA past. Both have risen to the top and no matter how much they accomplish they still are dealing the comparisons to completed careers that happened prior to them. Both of James and Cena’s legacies are still being written.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr

Wendell Scott Enters The Hall of Fame

In All Kinds of Sports on May 26, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Wendell Scott NASCAR

This past Wednesday, NASCAR honored Wendell Scott by announcing that he will be inducted into their hall of fame. Scott was the first African American driver to race full time in NASCAR’s top series. He won only one race in his career in 1963 in Jacksonville, a victory that was originally not credited to Scott because the track promoters did not want a black man standing next to a white trophy girl. Scott did finish in the top 20 in 80% of the races he competed in, with 147 top 10 finishes from the years of 1961-1973.

Scott should have been elected to the Hall of Fame a long time ago. He was pioneer in the sport and battled extreme prejudice and received numerous death threats throughout his career. He did it all with hand me down parts from other teams because he was not afforded the big time sponsorship deals that his white counterparts had. To quote Scott’s son Frank is father was “a mechanical engineer without a formal education”. Not having an ownership group like say a Hendrick Motorsports makes all of his accomplishments in the sport even more amazing.

Wendell Scott 2

I would love to tell you that Scott’s accomplishments led to the great legacy of black drivers that we have today but unfortunately they did not. The elite level of stock car racing maybe the least integrated sport over the last 40 years in the United States. Professional sports like hockey, golf and tennis have all made major strides in diversity. There is still an environment where lots of minorities do not feel comfortable attending races where the Confederate Flag still waves strongly in the stands.

Today there is not a full time African American driver in the Nationwide or Sprint Cup Series. The race car game is about access and still appears to subscribe to the good old boy network. To be fair NASCAR has made some efforts recently to get more potential minority drivers a chance with the A Drive for Diversity campaign that it started 11 years ago. All of this makes Scott’s accomplishments even more amazing. For all of the lack of progress that has been made, Scott faced even greater obstacles during his time. Not being serviced at restaurants while being on the road traveling to races trying to support a family and living with the constant threats against his life. His fearlessness and determination should never be forgotten.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr

What Does The Sterling Sale Mean?

In Basketball Stuff on May 25, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Donald Sterling Sale

This week in the ongoing Donald Sterling saga, there was some news made. Sources report that Sterling has commissioned his wife to look for suitors in which he can sell the Los Angeles Clippers. After that new release there were a few people out in the media who looked at this as a win for the NBA and the rest of us for getting rid of Sterling. Really it’s not any kind of victory for anybody except for maybe the NBA and Sterling.

Now I am not saying we as a society will not be any better for Sterling remaining the owner of the Clippers but his sale will not force any kind of social change. The NBA would love for him to get rid of the team and not go into a long legal fight. The other owners don’t want to spend the money for courtroom judo it will take to snatch the team. The NBA needs to get rid of the public relations nightmare and remove what they want you to believe is the last racist in their ranks.

For Sterling all of this is a win for him. He may want to sell right now because have the Clippers ever been hotter. They have Doc Rivers under contract as a coach and superstars Blake Griffin and Chris Paul to compete for a title for the next few years. They are the hottest team in the 2nd largest television market in America. The Milwaukee Bucks sold for 550 million dollars and they suck and don’t even have an arena at the moment. A team that Sterling purchased for 12.5 million dollars 33 years ago can now sell for over 1 billion. That may very well be the one of the greatest profits in the history of business.

There are no shortages of suitors who want to purchase the Clippers. Rumors have floated around with names like Oprah, Magic Johnson, David Geffen and Grant Hill putting together teams to purchase the club. That does not include how many non-celebrities who have money to burn that wants to invest in professional sports, which might be one of the safest business deals going right now. That will give an 81 year old man a lot of more cash to buy buildings that minorities can’t live.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr

Don’t Mess With The Playoffs

In Football Stuff on May 21, 2014 at 3:37 am

Playing Football

This week at the NFL owners meeting in Atlanta the heads of the franchises decided to hold off the vote to expand the playoff. They instead will take up this discussion at the fall meetings. It’s an idea that is gaining popularity and one that Commissioner Roger Goodell is heavily trying to make happen. They would like to take the current format of 12 teams and expand it to 14. That would provide an extra playoff game in each conference and give another team a shot at the postseason.

This makes sense from a business side if we are looking strictly at the bottom line. One more playoff game would provide extra revenue for league and maybe would allow them to squeeze a few more dollars out of their current TV contracts. That being said as a fan I would hope that they leave what is the best playoff in professional sports as is. The current format lets 12 teams in and leaves 20 teams sitting outside wanting to get better. Unlike the NBA or NHL where over half the teams make it to the postseason.

The NFL is the king of all professional sports but this maybe one of the first steps in flirting with over exposure. One step was the insistence on having a Thursday night game that has turned out to be a less than stellar representation of the product. The playoffs did not need an extra team and the AFC would have had to push a 2nd team with an 8-8 record into the playoffs if these rules would have been in effect at the end of last season.

More than likely the owners will vote to expand the playoff because they all think that there is one more chance for them to get their team in. This would be the first expansion of the playoffs since 1990 and some people in the NFL feel its overdue. Owners are salivating at the idea a possible extra home game of revenue. I just hope that is the last playoff expansion for a while.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr

New NBA Sheriff’s

In Basketball Stuff on May 17, 2014 at 4:17 am

Coaching

The NBA is deep inside of the playoffs. For the other 26 teams that are not playing anymore the off season has officially begun and for some that means it’s time for new leadership. There are 2 vacancies that have recently been filled and 5 jobs as of right now that are still available. We here at Kind of Like Sports will talk about how the proceedings have went so far.

Steve Kerr gets the Golden Ticket

Steve Kerr

Easily the most talked about name in this summer’s coaching vacancies was Steve Kerr. Kerr is a former player with a few championship rings to his credit. He has never been a head coach or an assistant but with the success of guys like Mark Jackson and Jason Kidd kind of eased team’s fears of that lack of experience. Kerr’s relationship with Phil Jackson and the speculation of him going to the Knicks may have driven the price up.

Kerr has taken what is seen to be the best available job in the coaching market with the Golden State Warriors. A playoff team with a superstar sharp shooting guard leading the way, they may be only a move or two away championship contention. With a 5 year deal worth 25 million he will definitely get his chance to grow in a market that is not as intense as New York.

The Pistons Roll With Van Gundy

Stan Van Gundy

The Pistons hire their 1st post Joe Dumars coach in Stan Van Gundy. The former Orlando Magic head man will also have Dumars old position as Head of Basketball Operations. So the coach will get shop for his own groceries. Not have the trigger happy Dumars over his should, Van Gundy can get a chance to settle in mold a team in his image. He inherits strong piece in the middle in Andre Drummond but unfortunately he also gets Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith with the deal too. Van Gundy will also have to decide what to do with the talented Greg Monroe who seems to be good trade bait. He is 20 million under the cap and has a lottery pick in this year’s draft so he has all the opportunities in the world to succeed.

Minnesota Timberwolves
The Wolves were 40-42 last year and have one of the top players out there in Kevin Love. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Kevin Love is a free agent in 2015 and may want to spend the rest of his good years with a contender. The Western Conference is already stacked up. They do have some pieces with Ricky Rubio at the point and maybe an impact scorer away from getting into the playoffs. They also have a lottery pick in this year’s draft. May not be a great spot for a veteran coach but maybe a great proving ground for an up and comer.

The Knicks On The Clock

New York Knicks

The Knicks are one of the two vacancies that are the most intriguing and high profile. A storied franchise in the world’s biggest market will definitely be a pressure cooker. The job of bringing New York’s premier basketball team back to prominence is one of high risk and high reward. Here is the good news Phil Jackson will have your back and you have an owner who is not afraid to cut the check. The major obstacle is that roster that even with Melo gone next year would over the cap. So the first year or two there will be some growing pains. The Knicks do not have a lottery pick to come in and make an instant impact either. Tim Hardaway Jr and Iman Shumpert are the young bright spots on an otherwise aging roster with big contracts.

This job is definitely for the strong willed who can take the scrutiny of the New York media market. That being said they are in the Eastern Conference where getting in the playoffs doesn’t even require a winning record. A coach with strong name recognition or a solid background as an assistant would be ideal for this spot.

Oh Cleveland
The good news for Cavalier fans is that there are only 30 of these jobs in the world so somebody will take it. After firing Mike Brown for the 2nd time Cleveland is looking for another coach. Let’s look at the tape here. You got a an owner who writes sensitive letters when a player leaves and Cleveland doesn’t really have the free agents breaking down the door. There are not too many people who volunteer to live in Cleveland. Kyrie Irving is there but his contract should be coming due soon so that maybe another departure also.

Getting Jazzy in Utah
The Jazz are a small market team with a lot of potential. This might be one of the sleeper jobs out there that is available. They have some solid young pieces in guys like Derrick Favors and Trey Burke and they have a lottery pick this year’s loaded draft. Not sure if the ownership is ready to spend big but the money is there, the Jazz will have about 30 million dollars in cap room. The downside is that they are in the loaded Western Conference but for a young hire energy coach this might be a dream job.

Showtime in LA

Kobe LA

You only get a few shots at jobs like this one. How many times do you get to coach the Yankees in baseball or the Cowboys in football? Well this is one of the 3 marquee jobs in the NBA with the Celtics and Knicks being the others. The good news is that Kobe Bryant will be back for the next 2 years and the bad news is that Kobe will be back for the next 2 years. The world does not know exactly what a Kobe in his mid-30s recovering from a major injury will provide. The Lakers never see themselves as rebuilding but more retooling.

They do have 30 million in cap space and will have 40 million in the 2015 summer and generally don’t have a hard time attracting free agents. The downside is that this job comes with high pressure and the last 2 guys who had this job didn’t last too long. Their fans expect championships and they are not used to waiting.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr

The Last Gladiators – Sports Doc

In Sports Docs on May 14, 2014 at 6:38 am

Last Gladiators

Director: Alex Gibney
Writers: Jim Podhoretz, Larry Weitzman
Stars: Donald Brashear, Marty McSorley and Chris Nilan

Today’s sports documentary suggestion is “The Last Gladiators” which can be found on Netflix streaming. The film takes a look at some of the last enforcers in the National Hockey League (NHL). The story is centered on Chris “Knuckles” Nilan a former enforcer for the Montreal Canadians. There are other players known affectionately as “goons” who are mentioned but the story always makes its way back to Chris.

Chris Nilan

“Gladiators” tells the story of men whose main job was to fight and protect their teammates. Nilan’s story is a complicated one that we see play out in sports all the time. He was raised in a tough hardnosed household. Nilan suggest that his upbringing followed him to the role he would go on to take in his hockey career. We get to take a look at the life of man who is pushed to the limit on the field of play but struggles to turn off that engine when he is off it.

The film paints a narrative of these enforcers whom more than a few have hard life after their playing days were over. The film is mostly about Nilan but it does a good job of using his contemporaries to give some perspective on what the era was like in the NHL. The meat of the story comes with Nilan’s struggles off the ice with drug addiction and his in ability to adjust with life post playing. It speaks to a tragic tale that is seen in all sports after the fans stop cheering and they have to live their lives.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr

Should The Braves Panic

In Atlanta Area Stuff on May 11, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Braves 2014

The Braves are less than one fourth of the way through the season and they have some issues. Now it may seem a little premature to start ringing the alarm this early but if this seems like a repeat of the end of last season. I am sure some of the fans out there would say “hey we are in 1st place”. Yes you are by a half a game in a mediocre at best division. The question is can you hold that spot for the entire season?

The biggest problem that is glaring at the Braves is their inability to find consistent hitting. When the long ball is hitting the Braves are fine but that only gets you by the Houston Astros of the world. Throughout all of the injuries Atlanta has found their way to some really good pitching so far but nothing else to support it. Right now the Braves are 29th in the league in runs. They have the 25th worst batting average and 27th worst on base percentage. Even if they do win the NL East this is a perfect recipe for being swept in the 1st round again.

A big part of their woes is the struggling of Dan Uggla and BJ Upton. These are two guys with monster contracts who are not producing up to the standards of their deals. Upton batting .202 and Uggla at .184 does not sound like everyday lineup material. Add Jason Heyward’s .204 as a leadoff hitter and you have a recipe for disaster. I am not saying that Frank Wren needs to explore some trades now but he and Fredi Gonzalez are going to have to look at some options. This team was expected to compete for the World Series this year. The Braves may not need to panic yet but they should keep their eyes open.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr