WOODS SLAMS CHAMBLEE’S FAKE NEWS!!!

ALERT!!!

Tiger Woods has unequivocally corroborated Lanny H’s statements to Brandel Chamblee about Chamblee’s nonsense commentary regarding Woods “returning to his old swing.”

Remember when Brandel Chamblee blocked ol’ Lanny’s Twitter account for pointing out Woods was physically unable to “return to his Butch swing.”  It was information everyone should have known, as Woods commented on it numerous times.  Nevertheless, Chamblee insisted the only thing holding Woods back was his bull-headedness in refusing to “return to his old swing.”

Chamblee lost all contact with reality.  I even drew a cartoon about it.

Anyone remember when Chamblee responded to me on Twitter, back in June 2015? No, you don’t?  Does this remind you?

brandel2

“The Harmon swing did not put undue stress on his knee, that’s a myth, up there with the Easter Bunny.”  Hmmmm.

Let’s look at the recent New York Post article, to see what Woods says:

“People ask me, ‘Why don’t you go back to your 2000 swing?’ I can’t, because my knee is trashed from all those years of playing that way,” Woods said on a podcast with Geno Auriemma.

Brandel Chamblee: Just another pawn in the NBC Fake News Empire.

 

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The Times They Are A-Changed

Tiger Woods returns to action in two weeks.  A few thoughts:

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Just saw a recent Golf Channel article on Woods with this line: “While compiling the greatest career record of his generation, Tiger Woods has…”  What do you know, the hyperbole is winding down?

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Just looked at OWGR rankings.  Woods has one counting event with points.  You guessed it, last year’s Hero Challenge.  Otherwise, he wouldn’t even have a world ranking.  If he makes it through all four rounds this year, he’ll get some more points, as even the last place finisher gets points.  Woods, who comes nowhere meeting the requirements for these end-of-year point grabs, is given an exemption for being the host.  At this point, it hardly matters, but the exemption serves as a reminder of how the PGA Tour has always had a different set of rules for Tiger Woods.

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Is this Woods’s first event since parking his car on the side of the highway?  Probably good for him the event is, I believe, in Bermuda.  I would think the time for heckling Woods has passed, but the American public is consistently late to the party and unceasingly crude.  The same people who screamed “In the hole!” after every shot Woods hit in the 00’s will now be screaming “Don’t fall asleep!”

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I forgot to mention that last Sunday while watching Fowler fall short in a late charge, Rickie’s grandfather was in attendance.  I’ve written several times about his role in Rickie taking up the game.  Here’s a good USA Today piece from early this year, with this nice bit in it:

Tanaka was walking with Fowler again last year during the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale. With him most every step of the way were friends and other members of Fowler’s family, including his father, Rod, who used to haul sand and gravel from his business to the Murrieta Valley Golf Range east of Los Angeles and swap it out for range balls for his son to hit.

Don’t think I’d heard that before.

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I noticed something of interest on NPR yesterday.  There is now, as I’ve written about, an effort by all media to rehabilitate the image of the NFL.  It’s been deemed: Anti-NFL is a conservative position; Pro-NFL, pro-protest is a liberal position.  NPR, being decidedly left-wing, one morning this week informed me that it was the 28th birthday of some player for the Indianapolis Colts I’d never heard of in my entire life.  NPR, which generally has as much use for sports as a fish for a sandbox, chose him to be their birthday announcement person of the day.  Very odd, but predictable, I suppose.

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Tuesday Thoughts

  • In past years, I would have been watching Dallas play their NFL game on Sunday afternoon.  This year, I turned on my television and saw that the PGA had some live golf.  Rickie Fowler kindly birdied the 17th hole to pull within one shot of leader Kizzire.  Kizzire recovered from a faulty tee shot to end the drama, but it was not bad theater.  Glad I saw it.
  • I’m already back in “offseason mode” for NFL.  Meaning, I don’t miss the games or even much think about them.  I admit to checking “protest stats” and photos of empty stadium seats, but I’ve quickly gone from love to hate to something approaching indifference.  You know the nugget about indifference being the opposite of love, right?  For the record, the last time I loved the NFL was two or three decades ago, and my hate has been pretty mild.  Nevertheless, I am rapidly approaching indifference, which can’t be good news for the NFL.  If I feel that way, many others do as well.
  • The media is freaking out over the NFL.  Ten minutes after last Sunday’s kickoffs, there must have been 100 headline stories saying, “No NFL Players Protest During Anthem on Veterans Day.”  But there were, what, five or six early games?  There were protests in the afternoon games, and, possibly, that night and Monday night.  The media is really, really struggling to make people forget about the protests.
  • Notice, too, that the media focuses on during the anthem.  They want to pretend actions just prior or after the anthem are not protests.  They are really in a panic.
  • Another trick — if such obvious blather can even be termed a trick — is to headline something like, “Fox Early Game Up 17 percent.”  When you read the article, however, you find that means up 17 percent from the prior week.  Compared to last year, it was down 20 percent, compared to year before, down 26 percent.
  • There was a poll out yesterday from Rasmussen detailing how people are not only not watching the NFL, but say they are unlikely to return to watching it when the protests end.
  • I just saw the numbers for last week’s games.  They are ugly.  I believe every single year-over-year comparison was down, some upwards of 20 percent.  Take a look.  “Lowest for the Cowboys on the FOX Game of the Week since 2008.”  “The 14.6 is the lowest for the Week 10 national window since 2003.”
  • Check this out, then contrast to headlines we saw yesterday: “Later in the day, Patriots-Broncos scored an 11.5 overnight on NBC’s Sunday Night Football — down 20% from Patriots-Seahawks last year (14.3) and down 9% from Cardinals-Seahawks in 2015 (12.6).  The 11.5 is tied as the lowest for a Patriots game on NBC since 2008 against San Diego (9.4).”  Yesterday’s headlines: “Sunday Night Football Ratings Rise As Patriots Crush Broncos” and “Primetime Ratings: ‘SNF’ Is Up and NBC Wins.”  Anyway, lots of happy-talk stuff.  Their hope is that when the numbers are actually released in full, people won’t be paying attention.
  • The goal of everyone in America if they don’t really have a goal — you know, an honest goal like breaking par, or learning to play piano, or reading all Shakespeare’s plays — is “to get rich.”  Or “succeed” or some other win at capitalism.  I don’t find anything wrong with that, particularly, but as usual, things run to excess.  What we have with the media and entertainment — and what isn’t considered entertainment these days? — is, let’s face it, a competition to suck blood out of suckers.  So you had NBC/MSNBC (let’s just focus on them, though all NFL nets are the same) pushing the idea that “racist” cops were attacking innocent blacks minding their own business due to “white supremacy,” etc.  This was a big hit for their news divisions.  The NFL players, perhaps not realizing NBC was exaggerating in order to pump up ratings — cha-ching! — started protesting during the anthem.  At first, NBC loved this, as the controversy pushed up ratings for their news divisions.  But their joy was short-lived.  Then they realized they had permanently damaged the NFL, a real cash cow, in order to temporarily pump up their political show ratings.  Now they are trying to unscramble the egg.
  • This stuff snowballs, too.  If you don’t watch an NFL game, you miss the NBC ads for their television dramas and comedies and reality shows.  If you don’t even know those shows exist, you are less likely to watch them.  Also, there is the matter of NFL “lead-ins.”  Fewer viewers mean a small lead-in.  It’s a big mess, and one the media and NFL totally deserve.  They were stirring up national strife to make more money — and it backfired on them.

Addendum:  Forbes article out with: “League-wide attendance is down almost 2% year over year.”  That contradicts what they NFL and media have been telling us.  What a surprise…

Also from the same article: “My opinion? The number of people that are all-in for the NFL has fallen more than the aforementioned numbers. Viewership is being propped up by fantasy sports enthusiasts, which suggests to me attendance will be even lower next season.”

Now, where have you heard that before, that fantasy bettors were propping up NFL ratings?  Gee, I wonder where…

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Sports (?) Illustrated

You can’t help but laugh at the state of today’s media.  Check this out from Sports Illustrated, from an article supposedly relating to the NFL protests.  My comments are interjected in red:

These questions came to mind last week when the Washington Capitals and the National Hockey League eluded major opprobrium despite a superstar’s expression of truly ugly political views. [SI labels this hockey player’s differing views as “truly ugly.”] Alexander Ovechkin, the Caps’ captain and three-time Hart Trophy winner, announced on Instagram on Nov. 2 that he was creating a social movement in support of Russian president Vladimir Putin, who will likely stand for reelection to his office in March. He called it the Putin Team. [The player’s sin is supporting Putin for re-election. Putin is one of the cogs in the Russia-Elected-Trump conspiracy theory, so anyone supporting him is, ipso facto, “truly ugly.”]

According to a translation published in the Washington Post, Ovechkin wrote: “I’m certain that there are many of us that support Vladimir Putin. Let’s unite and show everyone a strong and united Russia. Today, I want to announce a social movement in the name of Putin Team. Be a part of this team—to me it’s a privilege, it’s like the feeling of when you put on the jersey of the Russian team, knowing that the whole country is rooting for you.”

There are indeed many that support Putin: Such are the spoils of a country where the state media circumscribes political discourse [As if our state media — think CNN, NPR (funded by taxpayers), MSNBC, ABC-CBS-NBC, New York Times, Washington Post — don’t push an agenda], and the sitting government determines who can and cannot stand for election [Which, we now know is exactly what the DNC, our “sitting party” at the time, did regarding Hillary Clinton]. Alexei Navalny, a prominent leader of the Russian opposition who has vowed to run against Putin in 2018, has been jailed three times this year already [And here in the U.S., there is a a push to arrest anyone associated with Trump]. Under Putin’s rule, Russia has cracked down on the free press [just like the suppression of information U.S. tech media companies decide hurts their narrative], ethnic minorities, and gay rights. [I don’t know enough about Russia to comment here, but those are typical oh-the-humanity buttons the U.S. media pushes.  I guess I’m hearing a boy crying “Wolf!”] And throughout 2016 Russia pursued a program of cyber warfare to destabilize American democracy. [Okay.  First off, they bought a handful of Facebook ads.  Maybe.  Who knows what they really did, if anything.  In any event, does anyone claim the U.S. doesn’t do far more destabilizing around the globe?  If you doubt that, you can start your education by reading about Mossadegh in 1953.]

Anyway, whatever your views, I think you’ll agree with me that such writing marks an astounding departure — a devolution, really — from the Sports Illustrated so many of us anxiously anticipated reading each week as kids back in the day.

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“I like NOT watching the NFL”

Just read a new article at Yahoo, “NFL TV numbers’ plunge deepens“:

Last weekend’s action featured two strong games in the late Sunday afternoon window. The Seahawks nipped the Texans 41-38, and the Cowboys beat the archrival Redskins 33-19. Even the magnet Cowboys couldn’t save the numbers.

That’s extremely unsettling for the NFL.  Golf fans, that’s as if Tiger Woods won the Masters and ratings tanked.

While scanning the comments, I came across one that really sums up my view: “I like NOT watching the NFL.”  I can totally relate.

It’s like cutting out sweets to reduce your weight.  You lose weight, yes, but also your taste for sweets.  Or stopping smoking.  After you quit, you wonder how people could spend so much money and deal with all the logistical hassles — all for something you don’t even miss.

It’s also fun to read the articles from the media “explaining” why my decision to jettison is so stupid and wrong and — well, basically they are reduced to just calling me names.  I’m gone and I won’t be back, so spare your ink and lungs.

I don’t need to be told “what the protests are about.”  They are about a false narrative of evil, white supremacist cops gunning down innocent blacks, an idea completely debunked by a black Harvard professor.

Also, why anyone would need their “awareness raised” is beyond me, in that for the past three years, the media has been pushing that false narrative nearly nonstop.  Who hasn’t by now heard from the media that white cops are shooting black people with the frequency and nonchalance of Annie Oakley firing at clay pigeons?

The NFL brand has become toxic for sponsors.  Consider Papa John’s Pizza, who spent a fortune paying Peyton Manning to make commercials that they then spent a fortune showing on television.  The CEO told the NFL that protesting hurts Papa John’s advertising, which hurts their sales, which hurts their bottom line.  The reaction?  People who are boycotting the NFL won’t buy their pizzas.  But that’s just the start:  That the CEO had the temerity to point out that the protests were hurting them made Papa John’s the enemy of the pro-protest crowd as well, and those people are now also boycotting Papa John’s and trashing the quality of their pizzas online.  Which, if the goal is to help the NFL, trashing NFL sponsors might, just might, be counterproductive.  You have to laugh: Here’s a company hoping to use NFL advertising to increase pizza sales and suddenly their pizzas are a political symbol no one wants to touch!  They find themselves in the unenviable position of spending millions in order to sell FEWER pizzas!  Like I said, the NFL is toxic.

It’s gotten funny.  The media, players, owners, advertisers — they all just want the issue to go away.  They tell us the ratings are to be blamed on other things.  (By the way, other live sports are not seeing the ratings declines.)  They stop showing and talking about the protests.  They explain that protesting during the national anthem “is not an insult to the flag.”  (Uh, yeah, right.)  They tell us linking arms, or kneeling prior to the anthem, isn’t an insult.  (Uh, huh, sure.  That’s like changing “the Irish are drunks” to “the Irish are alcoholics” so as to avoid insult.  Pardon me if I don’t see the difference.)

The ratings are very likely to look particularly bad for the rest of the season.  Why?  Because last year they improved during the second half of the season, i.e., after the presidential election took place, when viewers returned to NFL from cable news.  So now year-to-year comparisons are going to have bigger numbers for last year.

Anyway, like the Yahoo commenter said: I truly like NOT watching the NFL.

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We Are Not Alone

“It’s impossible for the country to get any dumber.”

Once in a blue moon, I find a sports article that gives me hope.  A piece that shows I am not the only human able to use my brain above 3rd grade level.

From the quickly-becoming-legendary Clay Travis of Outkick the Coverage: “Houston Texans Protest Proves Team Is Full Of Idiots.”

This line reminded me of me: “And no one in the sports media but me is even going to point out how…”  I’ve been there before, Mr. Travis!

ADDENDUM:  When You’re Hot, You’re Hot

Immediately on the heels of the above column, Clay Travis strikes again with “ESPN Can’t Afford Monday Night Football Any More.”  A 2000-word piece on ESPN and the NFL that reads like page-turner novel.  I found it via Google News search and didn’t realize it was Outkick The Coverage again until I have nearly finished the piece.  (I really need to read OTC regularly…)  Even before this year I never watched MNF on ESPN.  I never even remembered it was on.  The past two years, “Gotham” was my television association for Monday evening.  I say this because Travis’s column points out that every ESPN subscriber (of which I am one, via my cable package) pays $21.50 a year — just for NFL!  The total is about $90 a year, so it’s $21.50 for NFL and $68.50 for everything else.  For me, that means a ton of college football and, until this year, the British Open.  Also a sprinkling of live boxing and whatever else I might find of interest.  So, from my perspective, I would love to see them drop NFL and let me keep twenty bucks a year.

A big problem with that, however, is that ESPN has a ton of programming associated with the NFL.  Consider their MNF “pregame” programming.  (Which seemingly starts around noon…)  Anyway, if you any interest in the business of television sports, you’ll find this OTC article worth reading.  Travis is on a hot streak right now.

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Lanny H on the NFL Protests

First, a few foundational comments:

  • I don’t define myself at all by “patriot.”  For one thing, I was never in the military, and it seems somewhat presumptuous for someone who did not do a stint in the military to label himself as a patriot.  As well, it’s my view that Samuel Johnson’s “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” too often rings more than a little bit true.
  • I’ve never been bothered by flag-burning whatsoever, but I can certainly see why that act would upset some people.  Consider a dirt-poor country boy who joins the military, returns to his hometown proudly wearing a new uniform and getting instant respect.  Maybe he serves in the Middle East or another hot spot, risking his life to enemy fire each day, especially when he runs the American flag up the flagpole every morning.  I fully understand and respect that that man is going to react differently to flag-burning than I am.  I would not burn a flag for a multitude of reasons, but respect for that man’s journey through life would be first and foremost.
  • I don’t personally care what anyone does during the national anthem.  (I’m surprised to learn — truth be told — that NFL players all stood prior to Kaepernick.)   Sit, stand, kneel, or knit, I don’t care.  But why needlessly go out of your way to do something that will upset someone?  To belittle something that is a great source of pride to some people?
  • I’m not a rah-rah “USA! USA! USA!” type.  I’ve written about how I often pull for the European team in the Ryder Cup.  If the European players are classy and polite, and some of the Americans are plagued by scandals such as inside stock trading, I’m not going to apologize for pulling against the guys wearing red, white, and blue.
  • Then there’s the workplace issue.  Suppose a schoolteacher insisted on wearing rebel flag shirts on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day and all through Black History Month.  He might say, “Oh, I love Dr. King, and I love Black History Month.  What I’m protesting is the way northern journalists portray the South, that is to say, the states of the old Confederacy.”  Maybe he’s being sincere and truthful.  Or maybe not.  Whatever the case, no school district in the nation is going to let him do it.  Employers, such as the NFL, can set arbitrary rules for employment.  If you want NFL players to kneel against owners’ wishes, don’t whine to me about the teacher above.

Okay, I needed to make those points before I got started.  By “start” I simply mean to disclose my decision to permanently stop watching the NFL.

To regular readers of this website, that can hardly be shocking news.  My interest in the NFL has been waning for over a decade.  A quick site search on “NFL” will yield several articles such as, from three years ago on opening NFL Sunday, “Why I Will Watch Golf and Tennis Today Instead of NFL.”

Another article, “On Super Bowl Sunday, Revealing the NFL’s Dirty Little Secret,” was written two-and-one-half years ago.  Here’s a snippet:

The dirty little secret? Television ratings are not as stellar and unassailable as the NFL wants you to believe. The highest-rated Super Bowls were in the 1970s and 1980s.

Funny how my commentary, at first labeled heresy, has become conventional wisdom.  Lesson: If you state the truth instead of following the lemmings, you will be surprised how smart you turn out to be.

The protests were the final straw for me.  Not because I’m some flag-waving super-patriot because, as I pointed out above, I’m not.  My response came primarily for two reasons.  First, I’m sick of politics being dragged into everything.  I find the entire two-party yay-team Dem/lib/left/blue vs Repub/con/right/red game to be intolerable bullshit.  It’s beneath me and insulting to my intelligence.  The straw that broke the camel’s back, however, was the issue ostensibly being protested: “Police brutality toward people of color.”  Because, you see, that simply is not true.  Not in any meaningful way, and certainly not in the way the media and politicians claim.  It’s an invented issue which brings unnecessary discord to our nation.

Here, read this [the bolding is mine]:

This paper explores racial differences in police use of force. On non-lethal uses of force, blacks and Hispanics are more than fifty percent more likely to experience some form of force in interactions with police. Adding controls that account for important context and civilian behavior reduces, but cannot fully explain, these disparities. On the most extreme use of force – officer-involved shootings – we find no racial differences in either the raw data or when contextual factors are taken into account. We argue that the patterns in the data are consistent with a model in which police officers are utility maximizers, a fraction of which have a preference for discrimination, who incur relatively high expected costs of officer-involved shootings.

That’s from a study done last year by a black professor at Harvard who labeled it the “most surprising result of my career.”  What surprises me is that he was surprised.

He found blacks were eighteen percent more likely to be pushed into a wall.  Sixteen percent more likely to be handcuffed.  Several other things like that.  Not perfect, but hardly something upon which to blame all one’s failures and shortcomings.  Nor is it inequity enough to condemn a nation.  Especially when you continue reading the report.

Shootings?  Blacks are no more likely whatsoever to be shot and killed.  In fact, white suspects were more likely to be fired upon in cases where officers were not first attacked.  Not exactly what the media preaches night and day, is it!

So, I have quit the NFL for good.  Because of the protests and a whole lot of other long-standing reasons (which I’ve written about extensively in the past, and others seem now to finally be writing about).  Bottom line: The product wasn’t much good to start with, and then they introduced politics via unfounded protests.

I want to point out two last things.  First, I’m quite good at actually quitting things, not just saying I’ll quit.  Two or three years ago, I said I was going to stop, temporarily, watching Golf Channel other than the live tournament coverage.  Well, I found life was better not watching, so my temporary experiment turned into a permanent practice.  I might catch the stray hour or two of Live From during a major, but frankly I still find GC’s non-tournament programming largely unwatchable.  Another example: I smoked for a spell when young, and I quit that, too.  I’ve got a string of successes.  The secret is to know that at first you’ll feel a little depressed and unsettled as you struggle to grow into a new routine.  What I know now (that makes such breaks easier) is that once you break a habit — and it only takes a couple of weeks — you will feel good about it from then on.

Second, I’m a little bit suspicious of the people who say, “I won’t watch another minute of NFL until all the players start standing up again.”  That strikes me as, I don’t know, controlling and sadistic.  Like they are saying to the players, I’m going to force you to stand!  Like I said earlier, I really don’t give a damn if the players stand or not.  My problem is that they are forcing a false narrative and juvenile politics onto someone who has no interest in them.  As far as I’m concerned, the NFL can’t put the genie back in the bottle.  Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.  So, I don’t understand the people who one day hope to say, “I’m watching NFL again because we made them horrible players stand up and salute Old Glory!”  There’s something creepy about that attitude, if you ask me.  Is their goal to cheer their lungs out for players who have demonstrated they have values opposite to theirs — as long as those players stand while the national anthem plays?

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