Column: Is Mark Cuban A Prophet?November 23, 2017

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban knows a thing or two about trends and investing, knowledge that made him successful in business. Now you might be able to add NFL prophet to his list of qualifications. Three years ago, Cuban predicted a decline in the NFL’s popularity, due primarily to an oversaturation of the product. NFL games were everywhere, Sunday afternoon on CBS and FOX, Sunday evening on ESPN, Monday night on NBC, and a Thursday night package shared among CBS, NBC and the NFL Network. The League also shows games from London on Sunday morning and will add Saturday night games next month. In addition, 11 of the 14 Thursday games are streamed on Amazon. And those are just the live games.

Read more

Column: Cowboys' Owner Jerry Jones At War With NFLNovember 16, 2017

Forget the Russian probe. Jerry Jones versus the NFL – and Commissioner Roger Goodell – is the most interesting legal matter in the country. If you think the previous statement is a bit facetious, think again. Regardless of the outcome of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, it won’t have as great an impact on the average American as the outcome of the Jones-NFL feud. While Mueller may put a few greedy incompetents behind bars, and precipitate the resignation of a few more, like it or not Donald Trump will be our president until the 2020 election. Goodell only wishes he had Trump’s security.

Read more

Column: Republican Tax Bill Targets SportsNovember 9, 2017

The long-awaited Republican tax plan unveiled last week contained proposals which would benefit some taxpayers and negatively impact others. The sports world is no exception. One provision specifically targets professional sports and another is aimed at college sports. A proposal to eliminate tax-exempt financing for sports facilities takes direct aim at the professional ranks. Even if it’s adopted, governmental entities could still pay for new sports facilities but they’re likely to cost more. Cities may be forced to seek alternative sources of revenue or reduce the size of facilities. Major League sports, considering their substantial resources, will be less affected than Minor League sports.

Read more

Column: Baseball Managers Have Never Been More DisposableNovember 2, 2017

Baseball managers have never had much security, with the exception of Connie Mack who remained in the dugout for 53 years. Of course, Mack owned the team so he never had to worry about a pink slip from his boss. Managers are hired to be fired and they have never been more undervalued than they are today. The end of the 2017 season is a stark reminder of that. Examples of managers who were relieved of their duties include John Farrell, who was discarded by Boston after leading the Red Sox to three American League East titles and one World Series flag in five years. The Nationals decided to move on from Dusty Baker who led the team to back-to-back National League East titles. Farrell and Baker committed the same sin: Losing in the Division Series in successive years. Perhaps the best example of the lack of respect accorded a manager occurred in the Bronx, where the Yankees elected to replace Joe Girardi.

Read more

Column: NCAA Punts On UNC Academic FraudOctober 26, 2017

One of the most recognizable sports acronyms is NCAA, which stands for the National Collegiate Athletic Association. After the governing body’s recent ruling on the University of North Carolina (UNC) academic fraud case, it might as well stand for “Not Concerned with Academic Accountability.” In 1993, UNC began offering independent study courses in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies. Over a period of almost 20 years approximately 3,100 students took the classes, almost half of whom were athletes. The courses required no attendance and only one gradable component, a paper at the end of the semester. After the scheme was uncovered, the NCAA conducted a three –year investigation, ultimately agreeing with UNC’s position that it did not violate any rules.

Read more

Column: Jeter's Success As MLB Owner No Sure ThingOctober 19, 2017

Derek Jeter, Major League Baseball team owner. The title may not be as familiar as shortstop/captain of the New York Yankees, but after MLB owners approved his group’s offer to purchase the Miami Marlins, Jeter is now a part owner of the team. During a Hall of Fame career spanning 20 years, Jeter was ultra-competitive and confident on the field. Those traits, along with an unmatched work ethic, made him a stalwart of the Yankees teams of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s that won five World Series titles. Jeter’s confidence was never on display more than in 2004 when the Yankees acquired Alex Rodriguez in a trade with the Texas Rangers

Read more

Column: Bribery Kickback Scandal Rocks College BasketballOctober 12, 2017

“I rob banks because that’s where the money is.” Willie Sutton Last week a New York federal court handed up indictments charging a number of assistant coaches, agents, financial advisers and shoe company employees with corruption in recruiting amateur basketball players. Ten men were arrested on criminal charges including conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. During a press conference to announce the arrests, Joon Kim, acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said the investigation is ongoing, sending an ominous signal that this is merely the tip of the iceberg in unmasking a scandal that has been an open secret for years. Prosecutors will no doubt use the prospect of jail time to coerce defendants into identifying more schools, coaches, and companies involved in the corruption, kickbacks and bribery schemes to funnel top-level athletes to certain programs.

Read more

Column: Trump Takes On The NFLOctober 5, 2017

Leave it to President Trump to stir up a controversy at a time when he should have been dealing with the myriad issues confronting the country. But as untimely as his actions to take on the NFL players and owners may have been, that doesn’t mean he was entirely wrong. The President castigated the players for taking a knee during the national anthem and accused the owners of being afraid to take action against them. Trump said the players showed “a total disrespect of our heritage…a total disrespect of everything that we stand for.” When the players suggested that Trump’s comments were “racial” (the NFL is approximately 70 per cent African American), the President shot back: “The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our country, flag and national anthem.”

Read more

Column: NFL Overestimated LA MarketSeptember 28, 2017

Greed can motivate human beings to do things they might regret upon hindsight. NFL owners, despite being billionaires, are no different from ordinary folks in that regard. Their decision to storm back into the Los Angeles market last year after a 22-year absence was motivated by greed. As so often happens in such instances, the league and some team owners may be experiencing a severe case of buyer’s remorse. In 1995, the Los Angeles Rams bolted LA for a new, state of the art stadium in Saint Louis. Along with an array of revenue streams and fancy suites, perhaps the best part of their deal was a clause in the lease that required Saint Louis to guarantee the stadium would always be one of the top-ten in the league. If at any time the stadium was deemed to fall below that standard, the team would be free to move. Two decades later, the inevitable came to pass and Rams’ owner Stan Kroenke printed business cards that read, “NFL team available for the best deal.”

Read more

Column: The Intersection Of Sports & Politics Is MuddledSeptember 24, 2017

The synergy between sports and entertainment has existed since time immemorial. ESPN paid homage to that notion when it was founded in 1979. The “E” in its name stands for Entertainment, which perhaps not ironically comes before “S,” or Sports. Sports and politics have likewise had a symbiotic relationship, but since the advent of social media, that relationship has become even more pronounced. And once again, we need to look no further than ESPN to recognize that. SportsCenter hostess Jemele Hill took to twitter last week to issue a series of vitriolic accusations against President Trump, accusing him of, among other things, being “ignorant, offensive, unqualified and unfit to be president, a bigot, an incompetent moron” and most controversial of all, “a white supremacist.”

Read more
Next Page