Soft Tissue, or Just Plain Soft? Why Are The NBA’s Stars Missing More Games Than Ever?

LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard

We need to talk about the NBA and the epidemic of players missing games.

In a world with Normatec leg sleeves, Game Ready Ice Machines, dietitians and sports scientists, in a league without hand checking or hard fouls, and back-to-back games cut down by a third over the last decade, why does it feel like more players are dealing with more injuries than ever? And sitting out for injury prevention?

This is not a diss at any particular player, but a critique of a league I love.

Pro Sports are about the fans. Players are entertainers that are handsomely paid to sacrifice some of your body and potential longevity for the fans. Some people will take this statement too far. 

I played injured in my time in the NFL, and I would never advise anyone to play injured. But sometimes, you do have to play hurt.

The NBA, TV networks, and its players are partners in a giant cash cow. The players aren’t holding up their end of the bargain when fans who may spend up to $1k for a family of four to sit in marginal seats while not being able to count on the stars to show up.

I remember times Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James talking at various times about feeling the need to show up every night that they are able to play in front of fans who might otherwise never get a chance to see them perform.

The league knows that something has to give, and that surely must be addressed in the new CBA.

We already know the NBA is home to the most sensitive superstar athletes. The wrong type of scented candles in a locker room will have a star player asking for a trade 45 minutes after signing an extension. Shout out to Zach LaVine. 

And you don’t even have to be a big star to have big feelings anymore. Just ask Jae Crowder, who is in the middle of a four month paid vacation just because his coach asked him to play 28 minutes off the bench instead of 28 minutes as a starter. 

It’s a league full of easily bruisable egos- but where are all these other bumps and bruises coming from?

It is confusing to me how the stars of today play so many less games with so many more technological advances than the older generations.

I played and did things to play injured that i wouldnt do if I could do it all over. But playing hurt is necessary.

The top 19 scorers in the NBA this year have missed a combined 137 games this season, and so you know I’m not cherry picking a few banged up individuals and prescribing it to everyone else- every single one of those has missed at least 3 games. Not one has played a full slate.

And that’s not even including the LA Clippers “big three,” who have missed a combined 56 games. 

This is beyond load management. It feels like the whole damn NBA decided to join the rest of us and work from home.

Injuries happen. But in today’s day and age, they shouldn’t be happening this frequently, to this many players, across an entire league. And the preventative measures of load management clearly aren’t working. 

Either we’ve got a soft tissue epidemic on our hands, or the entire league is just plain soft.

Dear Mike Vick- Lamar Jackson Did the Right Thing By Not Coming Back From his Knee Injury Too Early

We need to talk about Lamar Jackson’s injury, and the reaction to it.

I’m still struggling with the audacity of anyone, including you Michael Vick, to say that Lamar Jackson needed to slap a brace on his grade 2 PCL strain and go out there and win the Ravens a playoff game.

This isn’t an MCL, Mike. And even then, that would have presented its own set of risks. I didn’t let my MCL heal properly. I came back too quick, shed the brace too early, and immediately tore my ACL. 

When your PCL isn’t stable, your whole leg can fall off like Robert Griffin III’s did, and for a dual threat quarterback, there’s no coming back from that. 

Lamar Jackson’s teammates have said that he’s having trouble just walking around the facility. They knew he wasn’t going to play, which was reflected in the fantastic gameplan John Harbaugh put together that had a Tyler Huntley-led offense outperform the defending AFC champions on the road! 

Lamar Jackson didn’t let anyone down. He certainly didn’t harm the day-to-day existence of the armchair QB that calls in sick with seasonal allergies, or pretends to have the flu to take advantage of discounted weekday tee times at the local golf course. 

We have to outgrow some of the outdated ideas that have permeated and poisoned this sport for decades. 

Is the best ability availability? Sometimes. Sometimes the best ability is the most athletic QB the NFL has ever seen being able to be himself. Would you want Randy Johnson on the mound without his slider? Or Aaron Judge at the plate when he’s only able to bunt? Hell no. Why throw Lamar Jackson out on one of the worst playing surfaces in all of football when he’s having trouble walking?

Are some issues of pain tolerance more about a change in mentality? Sure. But one of the dumbest things about this sport has always been that there are 60 year old coaches that stir fiber supplements into their morning beverage to keep their anus from rupturing on the toilet that equate bodily injury with character concerns.

Even last week on this podcast I pointed out that Ronde Barber should be included in this year’s Hall of Fame class in part because he played his last 13 seasons without missing a game. Now I feel the need to clarify that it was a reflection of his preparation combined with good fortune to make sure that people aren’t gleaning that I, of all people, think that physical health makes you a better or more worthy individual.

Believe it or not, the athletes you see on television are just like you. If you’re a construction worker, and you lose your father, you’re not getting thousands of messages from strangers telling you the best way to honor him is to go out and lay a concrete slab. 

If you’re a minister and you have pneumonia, no one is questioning your dedication to your faith if you decide to take a Sunday morning at home instead of coughing into a microphone. 

If you’re a schoolteacher in the last week of school, and your contract for next year isn’t settled, but you’re not healthy enough to be around the students, no one is going on TV to talk about “maybe you’re not the franchise educator the district thought you were.”

I know not everyone thinks this way, but we need to find a way to get the people that do released from their self-imposed prison of idiocy. Start asking people if they’d want their surgeon or their airline pilot at 60%. 

Everyone involved with the Ravens franchise has a job right now because almost every other team, including Baltimore, passed on Lamar Jackson in the first round of the 2018 Draft. If and when they wake up and pay him what he’s worth, they’re going to be relevant and competitive for the next decade.

The idea of throwing the next 10 years out the window for the temporary glory of seeming tough to people with an outdated mindset and zero skin, or ligaments, in the game is completely insane. 

It’s even more insane when that mindset is coming from people inside football. 

Let that sink in.

We Need to Slow Down the Hype on the Brock Purdy “Linsanity” Moment

We need to talk about Brock Purdy and his Linsanity moment.

Brock Purdy has been good, I’ll give you that. But like Clyde Carson saysSlow Down.

The reason for the hype is simple. Brock Purdy is playing expectation-free football. Every other quarterback in this year’s playoffs outside of Skylar Thompson, and maybe Geno Smith, is locked into the struggle of trying to justify their draft position, paycheck, desired paycheck, or status amongst the NFL’s elite.

If any other quarterback in this year’s playoffs had a zero touchdown game in a divisional round win, we’d be talking about them like they’re the weak link.

Brock Purdy was the last pick in last year’s draft. No one expected him to rattle off 8 wins in a row. No one expected him to have seven consecutive multiple touchdown weeks heading into the divisional round. And when I say no one, I mean literally no one except for Brock Purdy himself. 

Just after being drafted as the NFL’s “Mr. Irrelevant,” he told an interviewer “I’ll embrace the role and have some fun with it, but at the end of the day you know I’m trying to go and help a team win a Super Bowl, so that’s where my mindset is at with it.”

Well, Brock. Here you are. You’ve done enough to make sure you have a chance to make a Super Bowl. And you and I both know that eight games is enough for one of these defensive coordinators to figure you out. And you and I both know that not every ball that hits a defender’s hands is going to magically fall to the turf.

I suspect that’s what was on your mind when Erin Andrews and George Kittle celebrated a divisional round victory and spoke glowingly of you, while you stared straight ahead, emotionless.

I like that you get the gravity of the moment. I like that you’re not just here to have fun and enjoy the ride.
Because that ride is about to get bumpy. And no one throws a wet blanket on a feel good story quite like the people of Philadelphia. Let me put it this way, you won’t be the first beloved character wearing red and white to find a hostile wintertime crowd waiting for you in the city of Brotherly Love.

And since we’re comparing Brock Purdy to St. Nick; let me offer some advice. Kyle Shanahan’s offense is the sleigh that got you here. The running game is the reindeer that gets that sleigh off the ground. All you have to do is worry about getting that package into the hands of the players that are on every fantasy football player’s “Nice” list, and out of the hands of those grinches in green.

And if you do that, Mr. Irrelevant, you’ll get your post-draft wish. A chance to help your team win a Super Bowl, in front of your friends and family back in Arizona, at just 23 years old.

And that’s a feel good story.

Let that sink in.

6 Players That Should Be Inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on the 2023 Ballot

Zack Thomas

We need to talk about the 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists, and who should be getting in.

This class is stacked. 

First and foremost, Darelle Revis needs to be the first one in. He had his own damn island. Not only was he probably the best cornerback of his era, he’s one of the best corners of all time. He’s definitely a first-ballot guy.

And I feel the same way about Dwight Freeney. There was nobody I played against that caused more trouble for offenses. Two blockers? Three? Never made a difference. Dwight Freeney was an unstoppable game wrecker with that dumbass spin move.

Joe Thomas should be in on the first ballot, but I think it’s fair to objectively admit that there are levels to being a Hall of Fame player, and I’m not sure I put Thomas on the same level as a Walter Jones or an Orlando Pace. But timing matters, and Joe Thomas was probably the best offensive tackle of his era.

I’m also including Zach Thomas, and you’ll never convince me that as a linebacker, even though he was four inches shorter, Thomas had a career any less praiseworthy than Brain Urlacher. And Urlacher got in on the first ballot. 

My fifth inductee is Ronde Barber. 47 interceptions. Didn’t miss a game for his final 13 seasons. Scored 10 times on defense, and that’s just in the regular season. If you don’t remember his touchdown in the 2002 NFC championship game, stop this video and go look it up. Donovan McNabb probably still has nightmares about this man. He’s also the best pass-rushing corner the NFL has seen outside of Charles Woodson.

Before I give you my sixth person I’d include in this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame class, let me talk about some of the players I think are on the cusp of getting in. 

Devin Hester is an interesting one. He’s one of, if not the best returner of all time, but the NFL Hall of Fame has a long precedent of ignoring specialists altogether. Ray Guy is the Hall’s only punter, and it took 28 years after he retired, after he’s already been forced to sell off his Super Bowl rings due to financial difficulties, to get him in. I’m hoping the Hall doesn’t treat Hester the same way, but I wouldn’t be surprised. 

Patrick Willis feels a lot like Gale Sayers, Jim Brown, Terrell Davis and Calvin Johnson. Yes, they had short careers, but they were undeniably great. Willis was arguably the best defensive player in the NFL for a seven year stretch. And like I said, there’s levels to the Hall of Fame- outside of a very select few, players are included for what they accomplished in their prime stretch, and Willis’ career just happened to be all prime stretch. 

Jared Allen and Demarcus Ware are part of the 100 sack club, I have no doubt they’ll get in eventually. 

And this year’s crop of receivers are all probably stealing votes from each other. Andre Johnson deserves it, but the idea of him getting in before Torry Holt doesn’t make sense to me. 

Now for my sixth inductee. One that isn’t even on this list, but everyone that ever had to play against him knows he damn well should be. 

I’m talking about my old teammate Fred Taylor. 

Of the 16 running backs in NFL history that had more rushing yards than Fred, 14 are in the Hall of Fame. The other two, Adrian Peterson and Frank Gore, aren’t eligible to even be nominated yet. 

And of those 14 Hall of Fame running backs, only Barry Sanders and Jim Brown averaged more yards per carry than Fred.

If Fred Taylor played in a different market, he’d have been in already. I’d say make it make sense, but you can’t.

So to recap, if it were up to me, your 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame class would be Darrelle Revis, Dwight Freeney, Joe Thomas, Zack Thomas, and Ronde Barber.

And if the world made any sense, you’d have Fred Taylor in there too. 

Let that sink in.

Caleb Williams Is The Villain College Football Needs in 2023

We need to talk about Heisman winner Caleb Williams, and why USC losing three games this year might be the best thing for college football in 2023.

Caleb Williams is electric. He might be the most elusive quarterback behind the line of scrimmage of all time. That’s right, I said it. All time. 

He’s an elite passer, has game changing speed, absurd pocket awareness, and is one of the most sound decision makers in all of college football. 

The thing I like most about Caleb Williams is that he has the mindset at all times that no one is going to outcompete him. 

Every good story needs a villain, but the best villains are the ones you secretly like.

Stephanie Garber

Now, I’ve been accused of being a USC hater, so to some, this is going to sound like I’m celebrating the Trojans demise after Tulane scored 46 points in the Cotton Bowl, despite only EIGHT pass completions, to move Lincoln Riley to 1-4 all-time in New Year’s 6 Bowl games. 

I’m not celebrating, but I’m also not mad about it. 

USC losing that football game, as well as losing twice against Utah in 2022, sets college football up for an incredibly compelling narrative heading into the 2023 season. 

There’s a Stephanie Garber quote that says “Every good story needs a villain, but the best villains are the ones you secretly like.

In a vacuum, it’s impossible to hate Caleb Williams, or to think of him as a villain. But when you put his 11-3 season, and Heisman run in context, you see Williams’ villain arc come into focus. 

Everyone is a villain to somebody, so of course USC’s natural rivals, Notre Dame and UCLA both have a reason to hate Caleb Williams. And of course the entire Pac-12 is sore about USC heading to the Big 10, so there’s 10 more teams rooting on Williams’ demise. But when you add in Williams fingernails being painted to say F ASU and F Utah, you now add an extra bit of spice to those games next year. 

Plus, let’s not forget all of Sooner nation praying on Williams downfall for following Lincoln Riley from Norman to Los Angeles. And you know that Texas fans haven’t forgotten Caleb Williams coming in down 28-7 in the Red River Showdown and leading the Sooners on a 48-20 run, and a win. I can’t imagine Longhorn fans are rooting for Williams just because he left Oklahoma. 

And I’ve heard from enough Tennessee and Texas Christian fans that think Caleb Williams shouldn’t have even been the Heisman winner, and when you consider that Williams had the lowest percentage of available points for any QB winner since Robert Griffin III, it would seem that a decent amount of this country’s sports media agrees with that sentiment.

2023 is setting up to be a high stakes revenge tour that that we probably wouldn’t have gotten if USC had made the college football playoff in 2022. Williams still having a year of eligibility left, with the target on his back of being the defending Heisman winner, and the surefire #1 overall pick in 2024, in the Trojans last year in a conference filled with players poised to make their own Heisman runs in Bo Nix and Michael Penix Jr, and with Utah returning as the bully on the block?

You couldn’t script a better drama than this. 

Get your popcorn and your fancy fingernail polish ready, because next year’s fixing to be a movie. 

Let that sink in.

The New NBA Awards Missed an Opportunity to Honor Kareem Abdul Jabbar

We need to talk about the new NBA Individual Award trophies, and the decision to omit Kareem Abdul Jabbar from being included amongst the honors.

If you haven’t seen it yet, the NBA decided to re-name its awards to honor the contributions of past greats. Most championship trophies have names, for example the Larry O’Brien trophy that goes to the NBA’s champion. But honoring former NBA greats on the individual awards is new. 

Let’s go through them-

The league’s Most Valuable Player will now be awarded with The Michael Jordan Trophy. You’d have to be insane to think there was an honor that could be given out that didn’t deserve to have Michael Jordan’s name on it, but Kareem won this award six times. More than any other player in NBA history. And even if you say to yourself, but surely “Michael Jordan deserved the MVP award more than the five times he won it,” don’t forget that in 1973 Kareem Abdul Jabbar averaged 30 points and 16 rebounds per game, and finished second to Dave Cowens, who averaged 20 and 16. MJ ain’t the only one with a legitimate complaint here.

The NBA is introducing a new award at the end of the 2022-23 season, the Kia NBA Clutch Player of the Year. This trophy is named after Jerry West. Love Jerry, but he’s already the logo, and do I have to remind you that at 1-8, Jerry West has the worst NBA Finals record of all time. His nickname might have been “Mr. Clutch” back in the 1970’s, but if Jerry West existed with this record in today’s hot take economy, you’d go to sports entertainment jail for calling him the most clutch player of all time. Kareem not only has six NBA championships, he owns the longest win streak in college basketball history, and was on the other end of snapping the longest win streak in NBA history by dominating Wilt Chamberlain and the Lakers. If anyone is clutch, Kareem is clutch.

And speaking of Wilt Chamberlain, the Rookie of the Year trophy has been named in honor of Wilt. I’ll admit that the man had the craziest debut in NBA history, coming out of the gate with almost 40 points a game. But if we’re keeping it a buck, Wilt wasn’t technically a rookie when he was a rookie. Through no fault of his own, Wilt was forced to wait to enter the draft after leaving Kansas, and spent time with the Globetrotters. Kareem, who went by Lew Alcindor when he came out of UCLA, turned down the Globetrotters money, and also won rookie of the year, improving the Bucks record by 29 games and setting a record for 20 point playoff games  by a rookie that stood until 2018. 

The Most Improved Player award is being named after George Mikan, whose scoring average dropped every year from 1950-1956, and who never won MVP again after his first season with the Minneapolis Lakers. I mean, what are we even doing here.

Until LeBron breaks Kareem’s all time scoring record, we’re talking about the all-time leader in scoring, wins, MVP’s and all-star selections, and is tied for most all-NBA selections. And while I get naming the NBA Defensive Player of the Year trophy after Hakeem Olajuwon, guess who “The Dream” had to pass in order to be the NBA’s all-time blocks leader? That’s right, Kareem. I don’t care what the NBA has to do to make this right- whether it’s a citizenship award, or an award that goes to the total points per game leader, Kareem Abdul Jabbar deserves something. Especially if we’re inventing new awards to hand out to Jerry West because he hit four buzzer beaters in a 14-year career. You know who more than doubled that amount? Michael Jordan. We should be naming the clutch award after him, and the MVP trophy after the guy who won the award more times than anyone. 

Let that sink in.

Justin Herbert vs Tua Tagovailoa Was Never (And Will Never Be) A Rivalry

We need to talk about the rivalry between Tua Tagovailoa vs Justin Herbert.

I mean we don’t, because it’s not a rivalry, and it will never be a rivalry.. but for some reason enough of you got tricked into engaging in something that has no business being a debate, so here we are.

The only thing Tua and Herbert have in common, besides the position they play, is that if I had to name two NFL quarterbacks that would rather face a free-rushing Aaron Donald than be included in a synthetic rivalry for the sake of ’embracing debate,’ it would be these two men right here. Both are humble, hard working, and embrace the challenge before them without any prima donna tendencies. 

If anything, they could both use a bit more ego. Maybe then, Herbert would protect his ribcage and Tua would protect his medulla oblongata, instead of putting their health at risk for the benefit of their teammates and the fans that root for them.

 But for some reason, we’ve been roped into comparing their skillsets.

Are you kidding me? 

I get that most sports debates are subjective. Statistics go a long way to scaffold and support an argument you’re presenting in one of those debates, but for the most part, a person makes up their mind, AND THEN finds the numbers that will buttress their claim. But that’s only a process people go through when there’s a debate worth having. Or at least, it used to be.

If you were walking a busy downtown street and saw a man holding up a sign that said “Tom Brady or Peyton Manning?” You might stop and give the question your time and energy. But if that same man held up a sign that said “Puppies or Tax Audits?” You don’t need to add your voice to that. 

It’s not anyone’s fault Herbert went after Tua in the draft. He had some training wheels on him in Eugene, and despite the fact that he was clearly built in the same quarterback lab that gave us Josh Allen, at the time of the 2020 draft, Allen hadn’t finished evolving into his highest form yet. And to even become the sixth pick in the draft, Herbert had to outshine his initial three star ranking out of Sheldon High, while also languishing on Larry Scott’s inaccessible television network.

Tua was always that dude. ESPN and Rivals had him as a top 60 prospect. 247 had him as a five star, which if you’re not familiar with the rankings, five star means projected first round NFL draft pick. Nick Saban clearly thought he was worthy of a spot on a championship roster out of Alabama, and he lived up to every bit of the hype while in Tuscaloosa. 

But one of these men is 6-6, 240, has Michael Vick’s arm, and Rob Gronkowski’s athleticism, and was drafted with the full understanding that all those tools had yet to be tapped into to their fullest extent. And all he’s done since landing with the Chargers is save the entire franchise from drowning in the irrelevance that moving out of San Diego created.

Meanwhile, the owner of the Miami Dolphins, Stephen Ross, has his entire franchise being sanctioned over trying to get rid of Tua for everyone from Deshaun Watshon to Tom Brady. Tua is a very good quarterback, but not good enough to have the man that signs his paychecks convinced he’s the future. 

Do you understand how concerning that is? It’s pretty clear that Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill might hate his starting quarterback, and vice versa, but even that dysfunctional mess of a relationship doesn’t go as far as denying that Kyler is the future of the franchise.

Herbert and Tua’s skillsets, and their place with both their own franchises, and as the future of the NFL aren’t even in the same neighborhood. And the worst part about engaging in this conversation at all is that it steals the joy from Dolphins fans who should be able to enjoy being competitive in the AFC East for the first time in decades.

Instead they have to mount up and defend a point that they don’t even believe. 

Imagine being a Dolphins fan last night when Justin Herbert and the Chargers had a two-score lead in the fourth quarter, and Herbert had thrown for more yards against your defense this year than anyone outside Josh Allen. Imagine sitting there knowing that your franchise quarterback, who had been artificially inserted into a debate he wanted no part of, was simultaneously putting together the worst game of his career. Instead of just taking the L and moving on to next week, you’re having to consider whether to delete all the social media apps off of your phone, or to mentally deconstruct your own understanding of both facts and truth so that you can engage in living an obvious lie without it causing permanent brain damage.

Last night should be the end of a conversation that never should have started, but in the hot take economy anything can happen. And if Justin Herbert vs Tua can heat up the internet streets, anything can. Guard your hearts and minds, folks, because if not, you might find yourself skipping dinner with the family to write ten paragraphs about why Jalen Hurts is better than Davis Mills.

When a thing is true, it should be able to Speak for Itself. 

Let that sink in.

A Message For People Mad About Brittney Griner’s Freedom

Brittney Griner is free. 

I’d love to talk about one of the best women’s basketball players of all time returning home after being held as a political prisoner over a vape pen… but enough of you have made today’s events about YOU, YOUR morals, YOUR preferences, and YOUR politics, that I’m not sure it’s even possible to talk about Brittney Griner.

So let’s talk about you.

You don’t think the Biden administration should have traded a convicted arms dealer for a female basketball player, especially with former Marine reservist and Iraq War veteran Paul Whelan going on four years behind bars for what may or may not be false charges of espionage. 

That’s sensible I guess. 

But my question for you is this. When did you first learn Paul Whelan’s name? When was the first time you appealed directly to the Biden administration for his release? Or the Trump administration before that? Or at the very least, publicly posted on any social media platform to alert your followers of a cause that today’s events have revealed is apparently so near and dear to your heart?

Go ahead. Pause the video and look it up for me. 

Was it before Brittney Griner’s detention? And if not, are you prepared to keep that same energy from here forward, to pressure our leaders to negotiate the release of political prisoners from vindictive, undemocratic countries?

Maybe you’re completely committed to fighting the injustice of Brittney Griner’s release in the face of Paul Whelan’s continued detention on behalf of the Whelan family. Surely they must be furious at this inexplicable injustice, and you’re just doing your part on their behalf, with their blessing.

It’s not like Paul Whelan has a twin brother out here saying something to the effect of “I am so glad Brittney Griner is on her way home,” or “The Biden Administration made the right decision to bring Ms. Griner home, and make the deal that was possible, rather than waiting for one that wasn’t going to happen.”

Can you imagine if Paul Whelan had a twin brother named David that said those exact things today? That would mean that your outrage wasn’t about the family at all. Wouldn’t that be embarrassing?

Or maybe you just want to make sure that a member of the United States armed forces is treated with dignity and has his needs prioritized. You’re pro-military. That’s it, right? You’re so pro military you have the same rules as USAA- you don’t just care about our troops, you care about their families. So if former Marine Paul Whelan hypothetically had a daughter imprisoned in Russia, you’d probably rather have her home than Brittney Griner, right?

Wouldn’t it be crazy if there was someone out there named Raymond Griner that served two tours in Vietnam and spent 30 years as a cop, hoping for someone as pro military as yourself to come along and reward the sacrifice he made on your behalf to help get his daughter home? I’d imagine that would motivate someone as pro military as yourself into action.

Or maybe you just spent too much time on ESPN’s trade machine, and you don’t want a war criminal back on the St. Petersburg streets because it’s an objectively unfair price for this country to pay. Certainly you’ve known of Viktor Bout’s imprisonment since the Bush justice department pursued him, and the Obama administration extradited and imprisoned him. And I know that you can provide lots of public evidence that you’ve posted about how important an asset he is to the American government in hostage negotiations. Posts that you definitely made before Brittney Griner’s arrest. You can show me all that, right?

Look, maybe you just want the Secretary of State to publicly acknowledge how lopsided and unpopular this is. I’ll do you a favor. Let me read this direct quote from the Secretary of State. “We acknowledge that the release of these prisoners is unpopular, but this difficult action will lead to an important result…”

Oh wait, my mistake. That was Donald Trump’s Secretary of State talking about the release they negotiated of 5,000 imprisoned members of Taliban and ISIS, 400 of which were said by the Afghan government to be “convicted of serious crimes, including the killing of Afghans and citizens of the international community.”

Ah, that’s my bad guys. I’m positive you’ll also be able to provide me with several examples of the outrage you publicly expressed when Donald Trump’s treaty to get us out of Afghanistan called for the release of nearly 5,000 Taliban and ISIS soldiers. I didn’t mean to make more work for you, but I know you’re consistent, so I’ll wait here while you gather that up.

But hey, there’s always the few of you that just don’t think the United States should be doing anything to negate the foreign punishment of a spoiled athlete that hates America. After all, Brittney Griner called for an end to the playing of the national anthem before WNBA games

It doesn’t matter that Brittney Griner was specifically protesting the unjust killing of Breonna Taylor at the hands of the Louisville, Kentucky police. It doesn’t matter that Griner repeatedly said that she loves the police, and grew up wanting to be a police officer like her father. It also doesn’t matter that she repeatedly said she supports the idea of a new national anthem, rather than stand for one that includes an unsung third verse about hunting down rebel slaves. 

It’s the principle of the matter. This is America. You can’t just go around protesting our hallowed institutions because a woman got shot by law enforcement. And you, you’re consistent. It’s not like you’re out here calling for justice for Ashli Babbitt. 

Are you?

Certainly you’ve thought this through. You’ve been consistent. You cared about the executive branch’s role in political prisoner negotiations long before Brittney Griner was detained, and you’re going to keep caring long after she’s been freed. I’m definitely going to see you at the rallies to release Paul Whelan, and I’m definitely not going to see you doing anything but deferring to the statements and wishes of his loved ones. 

You certainly condemned Trump’s prisoner release, and you’re not partisan at all, so you’ll do the same when the next republican president is faced with a similar decision. 

And every time someone brings up January 6th, I’m going to hear you talking about how the police have a hard job, and how anyone that protests the convictions that came out of the events that day hate America, and are criminals that deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. 

Because today’s energy has always been your energy, right?

Let that sink in.

The Transfer Portal Is A Good Thing- But You Can Have Too Much of a Good Thing.

We need to talk about these restless college football youths.The transfer portal is a good thing, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. 

I love players being able to transfer, and have the same freedoms as the coaches and administrators that make a living off of their blood sweat and tears. 

But just like how not every coaching move is the right one, there’s often a price to pay for movement for the sake of comfort or short term gains. 

Have you ever been driving the speed limit, and someone comes along whipping in and out of traffic like they’re in a Fast and Furious reboot, only to end up sitting at the same exact red light. 

Now they won’t look you in the eye because you know and they know they didn’t have to do all that movement for the sake of movement?

Some of these players are hitting the portal two or three times only to end up in the exact same place as they would have had they just stayed the course. 

Fans used to be able to invest their interest in 90% of any given roster to stick around for anywhere from 3-5 years. While most people are fans of the laundry above all else, many did invest deeply in the personalities and talents of the young men that elected to represent the university they love.

Now you have NFL-level roster turnover in the NCAA.

Whether or not it’s a fallacy that fans were able to separate the NFL being a business from the so-called purity of the NCAA’s “amateurism cartel,” the fact that players stuck around and earned their place both on the field and in the hearts of the fans is a very real reason why people love the sport.

I don’t fault people for hating that the transfer portal takes them out of the fantasy that college football isn’t a business. 

But it is a business. And if we’re being honest, some of these players and their families are out here making Sam Bankman-Fried style short term business decisions.

Your business might be booming today, but if you’re not smart, it could be belly up tomorrow.

Look, there are a lot of lies told on the recruiting trail, but the whole thing about how your college choice is a 40 year decision isn’t one of them. 

I cannot tell you how blessed I’ve been to be part of the Oregon Duck community as I’ve gotten older. Do you think I’d have the same networking and relationship benefits if instead of jumping to the NFL after three years in Eugene, I’d treated my lack of playing time as a freshman like it was everyone else’s fault but mine? Or what if I’d decided to take this smile to Seattle for the million dollars my mother says it’s worth?

You’d be surprised how fast a million dollars gets spent. Even a million after tax. And now I’m old and wise enough to know there’s no amount of money I’d take to be a Husky. 

I’m just playing, Washington fans. 

My point is this. If you’re out here selling yourself to the highest bidder, don’t sell yourself short.

Yes, having a bank balance is better than being broke. Yes it feels better to be built up by recruiters than broken down by coaches, and yes it’s sometimes hard to reconcile when the recruiter and the coach are the same person. 

But nothing feels better than proving yourself where you planted yourself, and discovering that your worth goes beyond your net worth. 

Maybe the best spot for you is somewhere else. And every case is different. Especially for quarterbacks, or other positions where only one person can play. But wherever the best spot for you is, it will only be because you brought the best version of yourself to that spot. 

And if you haven’t brought the best version of yourself to the spot you’re already in, you might want to try that before jumping ship. 

I think you might find that it’s good for business.

Let that sink in.