Kevin Garnett Can Come Back, But Not Too Much Back

Somewhere in rural Renville County there is a door that just regained relevance. The reality the door shows hasn’t been a reality since July 31, 2007. 2,760 days that door has sat there. 66,240 hours it has dreamed about a reunion. 3,974,400 and change minutes later, that door has seen its wish come true.

The door is not covered in supermodels. I didn’t have a huge thing for supermodels when I was eight.

It’s not cartoons, TV shows, movies or musicians, but it was a Big Ticket.

My door is covered with Kevin Garnett posters and pennants and articles from SI for Kids. I kind of liked the guy. He was the best basketball player on my favorite team that always somehow made the playoffs and somehow (almost) always got knocked out in the first round.

8-year-old Collin freaked out today. Kevin Garnett returning to the Wolves is like a glorious return to childhood. My childhood could be seen in a 22-minute episode of Rocket Power if they could put Kevin Garnett in it.

Young Collin was enough behind the return of Kevin Garnett to make college student Collin think it was a good idea. As a whole from the basketball perspective, it’s stupid. Completely stupid. Thad Young is younger and KG is old. Simple as that.

But I could still overlook it. A couple month KG retirement party would be fun and I could understand the ticket-buying part that the Timberwolves want from it. Then it was reported that the Wolves want to sign Garnett to a two-year extension.

Now it’s just crazy stupid. There’s nostalgia and then there’s stupidity.

Garnett’s productivity has fallen greatly. He is nowhere near the double-double machine he was with the Wolves once upon a time. He now averages six points and six rebounds a game.

Sign me up for the retirement party. I’m cool with that, I can handle seeing the KG I’m not used to for a couple months. Don’t make me see it for two years. That would feel like 2,760 days.


Time For The WNBA To Step Their Game Up and Pay

Minnesota has a WNBA dynasty and we still don’t care. The thing is that Minnesota might be the best WNBA market in the league and the general public still doesn’t give a rip about the Minnesota Lynx or the league. The league was dealt a blow on Tuesday that might change the game.

The league lost one of its best players. Not because she retired or she’s pregnant or she’s injured. Nope, she’s getting paid not to play in the WNBA.

Diana Taurasi is sitting out the next WNBA season via the request of her overseas team UMMC Ekaterinburg. It’s not even exactly a request; they are paying her to sit out the season. Not just a couple thousand, no they are paying her entire WNBA salary and then some to sit out.

Taurasi makes a little under the league maximum of $107,000 in the WNBA. In Russia, during the WNBA offseason, she gets paid $1.5 million a season. The WNBA has been her hobby.

It is for a lot of players in the WNBA. They get paid millions during the offseason while being paid chump change for professional athletes in America.

The sad part is that you can’t even blame Taurasi for doing this. She is playing year-round right now, why not take the time off to finally recover and get paid more for doing it then actually playing. Sure basketball is her passion, but her passion is paying her more away from America.

15 times more.

This is a problem for the WNBA. There’s no reason other players won’t do the same exact thing. One of the biggest names in the game just did it.

Start paying these women the amount they deserve. I know the WNBA isn’t very profitable, probably not even profitable at all, but it’s a shame that the home of basketball is losing out to other countries.

The WNBA should be the dream for every female basketball player. They shouldn’t have to go overseas for what they deserve. Show them the money.

About 15 times the money.

Talking Myself Into Peyton Manning Coming Back For Another Season

I go back and forth. Yes and no. Stop and go.

If we put all the cards on the table, it’s easy to see that Peyton Manning was awful the last month of the NFL season. The awfulness spread into Sunday’s game against his former stable and all hell broke loose after the performance.

It should have. Manning is one of the best quarterbacks of all-time. Manning is, and I hate when sports talkers say this word, elite. But he’s elite with a capitol E. Manning will be forever loved and forever joked about because in a game that sees more commercials than actual action on the field; Peyton is/was on the TV constantly.

I, like many, am conflicted about what Manning is going to do. Will he come back for another season in Denver or will he hang it up and call it a Hall of Fame career. I started off as a no, but then Monday morning happened.

Monday rolled around and the general public learned that Manning was suffering from injuries to both legs. Initial reaction is that the legs shouldn’t be a major injury to a quarterback, especially with an – let’s say immobile – quarterback like Manning, but it all comes from the legs. A lot of power comes through the legs to throw the ball way down field.

An injury like this explains away the suckiness of the last segment of the season for Manning. When we look at that stat sheet we can say ‘he was hurt, he played through it like a champ.’

I was in on Manning being in for another season in Denver.

Monday afternoon rolled around and John Elway had fired head coach John Fox; a guy that got to the playoffs with Tim Tebow, who had more passing yards in his one playoff appearance than Manning did on Sunday, but that is beside the point. Way beside the point. Fox is, at a minimum, a decent coach. It is no shoo-in that the next guy up for Denver will have the same talent as Fox.

I have moved to totally not knowing what Manning is going to do.

Did Manning want Fox out? Is Manning an Elway guy or a Fox guy? Does Manning really give a bleep about who the head coach is? Does Manning care who his offensive coordinator is? Manning basically is his own offensive coordinator out on the field, right?

Broncos Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase is up for multiple head coaching jobs in the league, including the now open Broncos job, but does Gase’s destination really factor into Manning’s decision?

I think not.

One usually reputable source of information asked on Twitter on Monday who would sign Manning if the Broncos released him. The answer is no one. That’s because the Broncos should not and will not move on from Manning unless he retires. Manning is better than anyone available and the injuries give a good excuse for a reason to give it another go for both the player and the team.

Manning will finish his career as a Bronco. I am certain of that. Very certain. We’ve either seen the last game of his career or it’s still coming, but he’s finishing it as a Bronco.

Every participant in any sport wants to finish on top. From high school basketball player at a school in the boondocks who never got off the bench to a Hall of Fame quarterback, everybody wants to finish on top. Manning didn’t finish the season on top, not even close. He didn’t even finish it healthy. Peyton Manning was one hit away from being Brett Favre damn near dead on the frozen turf at TCF Bank Stadium. I don’t want injuries to be my lasting memories of two of my favorite and two of the best quarterbacks of all-time.

I want another Manning season. I want Manning standing tall and leading the Broncos to another first round bye and playing his heart out for another Super Bowl. The least I want is another Tom Brady – Peyton Manning matchup. I want beautiful, beautiful closure with no what could have beens.

I think Peyton Manning wants that too.

Ingrained or Magic PR: Our NFL Fascination

September was an ugly month of PR for the National Football League. The kickoff month to the season usually needs no help since the American public starts craving football about three weeks after the Super Bowl and eats it all up for at least a month. This season was a little different though.

The league had a couple things hanging over its head.  The Washington Redskins’ name controversy was heating up again and many were skeptical about the length of the suspension commissioner Roger Goodell gave Ray Rice for allegedly hitting his then-fiancé and now wife.

A video pops up showing the actual abuse and all hell breaks loose on the internet, rightfully so. A couple days, an even bigger star, Adrian Peterson is accused of child abuse.

It was a storm of horrible things and the right steps needed to be taken by the NFL. They weren’t.

The Vikings didn’t help matters when they sat Peterson for a game, reinstated him on Monday and then in the wee hours between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning announced he was being banished again.

The Commissioner went into hiding before coming out for a press conference that almost everyone in the sports media landscape said was a failure of a press conference, but here’s the thing… I write this blog post with an NFL game on the TV in front of me.

It’s not even my beloved Vikings or Denver Broncos. Just a random Houston Texans/Dallas Cowboys tilt that the suits at CBS thought I’d be interested in watching. I guess they were right.

After the Rice and Peterson fiascos came out, a lot of people took the moral stand of never watching the NFL again or at least not until Goodell resigned or was fired. I don’t know for sure how those people are doing, but I know the outcry of never watching the NFL has died down to a level that’s not even noticeable on Twitter.

The NFL stepped in a hole when they tried to take on the hits to their image after the domestic abuse scandals. It looked like the NFL would fall down on its face, but it hasn’t. I don’t know how.

I have not noticed that the NFL is doing anything out of the ordinary to make the public forget about these horrid things, but I think a majority of us have to an extent. When looking ahead to Vikings games, it doesn’t cross my mind why Adrian Peterson isn’t playing; I just accept that he’s not playing.

I don’t know if it’s subliminal PR or advertising by the NFL or if the sport is just that ingrained in my being, but it fascinates me that this could happen.

Maybe it’s because Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice have nicely faded into the background. We really haven’t heard a peep from either of them after a handful of days post their banishment.

Arrests have been made since the Peterson accusations, but none of them have taken a hold of the public’s attention like his. It’s almost like the NFL went Happy Days on us with Peterson’s case as a ‘jump the shark’ moment and now anytime something negative happens we’ll go, ‘Eh, it happened to one of the biggest stars in the NFL. Why wouldn’t it happen to the third string long snapper on the Jacksonville Jaguars?’

The NFL has produced a product that makes us not care about the negatives of the product or at least not care enough about the negatives to not still partake in the product. That’s a hell of a product.

Would you keep buying Bounty paper towels if they were a reference to the bounty put on Native Americans in the early days of this country? No, you wouldn’t. More importantly, you shouldn’t be buying Bounty because they kind of just did that.

The Daily Show did a wonderful piece on the Washington Redskins team name. It got publicity. It got a lot of publicity mainly because some of the interviewees in favor of the name felt threatened by Native Americans who were not so in favor of the name, but the piece got everyone talking. Nothing has happened.

The Redskins are still the name of a team. Commentators have tried to say it less, but it’s unavoidable. It’s ingrained to someone who’s been around football for their entire life.

The government has pulled the trademark on the team logo. The FCC is looking to see if they can fine Washington’s flagship radio station for continually using the racial slur that is the word ‘redskin’, but we don’t care.

Sure, Tuesday through Saturday (with the exception of four hours or so on Thursday night) we say we care. We say we are appalled by the Washington team name, we can’t stand that Adrian Peterson is being paid millions of dollars, but any given Sunday millions and millions of Americans sit on their coaches wearing the clothing that made the league that tried to hide the effects of concussions for years millions upon millions upon millions of dollars.

There’s no easy solution. We simply won’t stop watching football, but we can try to make more of a stir about it during the five or so days of the week when we aren’t watching the game.

Try to kick a little, the worse they can do is pay you to shut up. They’ll pay you with the money you gave them to get a louder megaphone.

ESPN: Killing the Dream and Out of Touch

I think every sports crazed human at one point or another has wanted to work at ESPN. Just the thought of wall-to-wall sports coverage makes a grand portion of the population start to drool. If a Disney executive showed up at my door and said that I’d be paid mucho dollars to go and talk sports, I’d probably give it a listen, but I don’t know if I’d accept it. Not anymore.

ESPN seemingly can’t tell the difference between actual controversies and controversies they dream up in their own head. Two things have happened on the airwaves of ESPN in the past couple of weeks that have grabbed outside headlines and each has been handled quite poorly by the network.

First, Stephen A. Smith, commenting on the Ray Rice case, said that women provoke abuse. Smith implied that women are to blame for domestic assault. How can a guy that claims to have so many sources be that out of touch? Maybe it’s the corporation he works for.

ESPN made him tape, TAPE, an apology. Let’s record it to make sure he doesn’t say something else that is so blatantly horrible. Then they later suspended him for only a week. A week. Five working days off from his TV show, First Take (probably more of a vacation not to speak to Skip Bayless for a string of days) and his ESPN Radio show.

The suspension was too short in my opinion. A lot of people were calling for Smith to lose his job and I’d have to say that his punishment should have been much closer to that side of the scale, but ESPN only cares about ratings and apparently people are still watching the TV filth that is First Take.

That brings us to the even more recent events of the suspension of Dan Le Batard.

Le Batard is well-known in the Miami area and has now moved on to national prominence on the stages of ESPN TV and radio. Le Batard bought billboards in Cleveland to mock LeBron James in his return to his home state. The billboards say ‘You’re welcome, LeBron… Love, Miami’ with a picture of the two NBA championship rings that James won with the Miami Heat.

ESPN thought this stunt was so horrid that it suspended Le Batard for two days from ESPN TV and radio. Two days for a joke on a billboard. A joke that is actually kind of funny.

Let’s translate what we are really learning from ESPN: saying that women provoke domestic violence is only three days worse than a billboard joke that literally harms no one.

How out of touch are you, ESPN?

Yes, we can have our own views in this country, but there are also views that you can’t let the public know about. Your views have to be ‘politically correct’ in order to not be beaten down with every move that you make. Stephen A. Smith’s comments were far from being ‘politically correct’ and so farfetched that it almost seems like a story from the satirical newspaper/website The Onion.

Dan Le Batard on the other hand made a joke. A joke he’s been talking about openly on ESPN platforms ever since LeBron James officially returned to Cleveland. If you can’t stop your own employee from doing something you don’t want them to do when you have fair warning, that’s a management failure and shouldn’t be taken out on the talent.

Get your head out of your ass, ESPN. Realize what’s a joke, what simply can’t be said and that First Take might be the shittiest thing that’s ever been on TV, which is saying something since we’re living in the era of Jersey Shore and Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

Stop giving the shaft to great shows like Outside the Lines and Olbermann. Stop killing the dreams of intelligent sports nuts. There’s a reason I watch my Canadians.