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Department of Defense Paid $5.4 Million to NFL Teams for In-Game “Military Salutes”

Your tax dollars at work!
Sports • Views: 22,155

This story was broken on Friday by nj.com. Hopefully It can survive the weekend to receive the scrutiny and derision is deserves.

Those salutes to American servicemen and women we all watch on the Jumbotron during halftime of NFL games? Turns out they are paid promotions costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

This does not mean, of course, that all halftime events featuring troops or veterans are paid promotions. However, the fact that many are could undermine such efforts and “leaves a bad taste in your mouth” one lawmaker said.

“Those of us go to sporting events and see them honoring the heroes,” said Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake in an interview with nj.com. “You get a good feeling in your heart. Then to find out they’re doing it because they’re compensated for it, it leaves you underwhelmed. It seems a little unseemly.”

It’s hardly a secret that the NFL is one of the leading recruitment vehicles for the U.S. military. The problem, Flake implies, is that these events are portrayed as genuine moments of gratitude expressed to America’s servicemen, not advertisements.

Yes, this is the same United States Department of Defense that sent some troops to Iraq with insufficient body armor. Post 9/11 veterans continue to have a higher than average unemployment rate, and continue to commit suicide in shocking numbers.

It is a fact that the military needs to recruit, and public funds will always be used for this purpose. Even so, paying tax dollars to the problematic NFL to create on-field events that are, in reality, recruiting appeals in disguise is a disgusting practice. The idea that a penny went into the pocket of a billionaire NFL team owner that could have helped a veteran in need is downright nauseating.

NFL Teams Paid to Thank Troops at Games - scout.com

Which NFL teams got your federal tax dollars? - nj.com

Charles Barkley Urges Final Four and Super Bowl To Stay Out of Indiana

Calls for NCAA events not to be held in Indiana
Sports • Views: 42,220

At Sports Illustrated tonight: NCAA Tournament Analyst Charles Barkley Denounces Indiana Law.

NCAA tournament analyst Charles Barkley released a statement Friday calling for big events such as the Final Four and the Super Bowl not to be held in Indiana in light of recent legislation in the state that many view as discriminatory against gay, lesbian and transgendered people.

“Discrimination in any form is unacceptable to me,” Barkley said in the statement.

“As long as anti-gay legislation exists in any state, I strongly believe big events such as the Final Four and Super Bowl should not be held in those states’ cities.”

Dallas Sportscaster Obliterates Football’s Anti-Gay Hypocrisy

It’s ‘time to celebrate’ Michael Sam, not condemn him.
Sports • Views: 24,135

Here in Texas, football is damn near a religion. Friday Night Lights wasn’t just a book, or a film, or a TV series. It’s real life. It’s hard for people outside this state to understand, but that’s just how it is.

Texas is also a deeply red state. For all our self-proclaimed weirdness here in Austin, we are the exception in Texas, not the rule. There is a Republican super-majority in the state Legislature. Both our Senators have an (R) after their names. By my count, 24 out of the 36 US House districts are Republican.

When a YouTube video of WFAA sportscaster Dale Hansen addressing Michael Sam’s coming out started making the rounds on Facebook, I cringed. I wondered if it would be another in a long line of tiresome speeches about how Sam coming out as gay is a distraction and how he would negatively impact the NFL. Would it be another rant about how football is everything that is good and pure about America, like Mom and apple pie, and Michael Sam was ruining it by being honest about his life?

Imagine my surprise when Dale Hansen proved me utterly, completely wrong, and put all my fears to rest:

Youtube Video

In just over two minutes, Hansen destroys the hypocrisy in sports that accepts players accused of rape, or murder, or drugs, or violence, but condemns a man for being upfront about his sexuality. He also manages to call out the inherent right-wing idiocy about wanting government out of people’s lives but also wanting it in the bedroom.

Watch this video. It’s totally worth your time.

NBA Player Jason Collins Says He’s Gay, Breitbrats Get Their Smear On

Wingnuts doing what they do
Sports • Views: 32,894

You may have heard already that NBA free agent Jason Collins came right out of the closet today. As far as I know, this makes him the first openly gay NBA player; you should read his entire well-written piece in Sports Illustrated.

When the news broke, breitbart.com editor and professionally persecuted victim of the left Ben Shapiro sprang into action and took to the Twitters to denigrate Collins’ playing abilities. That’s how the Breitbrat weirdos respond to all news that involves their major targets of hatred, gay people and black people — by smearing.

I’m only surprised that Shapiro didn’t find a way to work in a hate-Obama angle too.

UPDATE at 4/29/13 4:05:32 pm

Meanwhile, religious right caveman Bryan Fischer sees this as scientific proof that people like Jason Collins are sinners.

Shock News: Lance Armstrong Admits Doping to Oprah

Did Sheryl know?
Sports • Views: 27,399
Lance Armstrong challenges Jan Ullrich in the 2001 Tour de France

Yep, Lance was a doper. Which I could actually forgive (even though the seeking-Oprah’s-benediction thing is totally transparent), because the fact is the whole sport does it.

But Armstrong went out of his way to smear and try to destroy people who told the truth about him, and even won several large court judgments that we now know were obtained through fraud.

Some of those people are now suing him to get those judgments back. Floyd Landis has filed a federal whistle-blower suit against Armstrong for defrauding the US Post Office. His life has become … complex.

He’ll still come out of this with a lot of money, but nobody will ever forget the things he did to try to protect his kingdom of lies.

It’s also still a fact that he was an amazing cyclist, drugs or not. In a sport where — let’s face it — all the top athletes were doing everything they could to get a slight edge, Lance had much, much more than an edge.

On his best days, he dominated the field in a way very few cyclists ever have; the epic battles with Marco Pantani and Jan Ullrich, the time trials where he absolutely blew away the competition, the insane climbs in the Alps when he would get up on the pedals and dance, and just rocket away from the lead group like a cycling god.

But athletic talent and human decency don’t always correlate, and Lance Armstrong may be the prime example.

I can’t help wondering, though, if Sheryl Crow knew he was hitting the EPO.

Book of the Day: Tyler Hamilton’s “The Secret Race”

EPO
Sports • Views: 29,560

I just bought the Kindle version of Tyler Hamilton’s book, and I’m sort of dreading it. A cyclist friend tells me it totally settles the issue of whether Armstrong was doping during his TdF wins, and not in Lance’s favor. This would not surprise me, but I have to admit I still had a tiny flame of hope that Armstrong really was a clean rider. And I’ll mourn the day that tiny flame is extinguished.

Good thing the same anti-doping standards were never applied to musicians. Jazz and rock would be nonexistent.

The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour De France: Doping, Cover-Ups, and Winning at All Costs.

USADA to Strip Lance Armstrong of 7 Tour De France Titles

Bad news for cycling fans
Sports • Views: 32,589

Lance Armstrong dropped his fight against doping charges tonight:

Lance Armstrong called it quits late Thursday in his battle to end an investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, a move that will most likely mean a lifetime ban for the seven-time Tour de France champion.

And an AP breaking news alert :

Breaking (10:45PM EDT): USADA to strip Lance Armstrong of 7 Tour de France titles, ban him from cycling for life.

UPDATE at 8/23/12 8:51:06 pm

Lance Armstrong’s official statement:

AUSTIN, Texas - August 23rd, 2012 - There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, “Enough is enough.” For me, that time is now. I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999. Over the past three years, I have been subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation followed by Travis Tygart’s unconstitutional witch hunt. The toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today – finished with this nonsense.

I had hoped that a federal court would stop USADA’s charade. Although the court was sympathetic to my concerns and recognized the many improprieties and deficiencies in USADA’s motives, its conduct, and its process, the court ultimately decided that it could not intervene.

If I thought for one moment that by participating in USADA’s process, I could confront these allegations in a fair setting and – once and for all – put these charges to rest, I would jump at the chance. But I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair. Regardless of what Travis Tygart says, there is zero physical evidence to support his outlandish and heinous claims. The only physical evidence here is the hundreds of controls I have passed with flying colors. I made myself available around the clock and around the world. In-competition. Out of competition. Blood. Urine. Whatever they asked for I provided. What is the point of all this testing if, in the end, USADA will not stand by it?

From the beginning, however, this investigation has not been about learning the truth or cleaning up cycling, but about punishing me at all costs. I am a retired cyclist, yet USADA has lodged charges over 17 years old despite its own 8-year limitation. As respected organizations such as UCI and USA Cycling have made clear, USADA lacks jurisdiction even to bring these charges. The international bodies governing cycling have ordered USADA to stop, have given notice that no one should participate in USADA’s improper proceedings, and have made it clear the pronouncements by USADA that it has banned people for life or stripped them of their accomplishments are made without authority. And as many others, including USADA’s own arbitrators, have found, there is nothing even remotely fair about its process. USADA has broken the law, turned its back on its own rules, and stiff-armed those who have tried to persuade USADA to honor its obligations. At every turn, USADA has played the role of a bully, threatening everyone in its way and challenging the good faith of anyone who questions its motives or its methods, all at U.S. taxpayers’ expense. For the last two months, USADA has endlessly repeated the mantra that there should be a single set of rules, applicable to all, but they have arrogantly refused to practice what they preach. On top of all that, USADA has allegedly made deals with other riders that circumvent their own rules as long as they said I cheated. Many of those riders continue to race today.

The bottom line is I played by the rules that were put in place by the UCI, WADA and USADA when I raced. The idea that athletes can be convicted today without positive A and B samples, under the same rules and procedures that apply to athletes with positive tests, perverts the system and creates a process where any begrudged ex-teammate can open a USADA case out of spite or for personal gain or a cheating cyclist can cut a sweetheart deal for themselves. It’s an unfair approach, applied selectively, in opposition to all the rules. It’s just not right.

USADA cannot assert control of a professional international sport and attempt to strip my seven Tour de France titles. I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours. We all raced together. For three weeks over the same roads, the same mountains, and against all the weather and elements that we had to confront. There were no shortcuts, there was no special treatment. The same courses, the same rules. The toughest event in the world where the strongest man wins. Nobody can ever change that. Especially not Travis Tygart.

Today I turn the page. I will no longer address this issue, regardless of the circumstances. I will commit myself to the work I began before ever winning a single Tour de France title: serving people and families affected by cancer, especially those in underserved communities. This October, my Foundation will celebrate 15 years of service to cancer survivors and the milestone of raising nearly $500 million. We have a lot of work to do and I’m looking forward to an end to this pointless distraction. I have a responsibility to all those who have stepped forward to devote their time and energy to the cancer cause. I will not stop fighting for that mission. Going forward, I am going to devote myself to raising my five beautiful (and energetic) kids, fighting cancer, and attempting to be the fittest 40-year old on the planet.

Super Bowl Open

The Dog Strikes Back
Sports • Views: 21,503

This year for the first time, you can watch the Super Bowl online at NBC Sports. It requires Microsoft Silverlight, and has a neat picture-in-picture feature that lets you switch between different camera views, including an aerial view of the field.

The game starts at 6pm ET, so in the meantime here’s the Volkswagen Super Bowl ad…

Youtube Video

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 Frank says:

Whereever you're going, don't walk there first. If you do, people will think you know where you're going.