NFL

Are paid athletes the answer to society's evil?

Kneeling at football games might be the start of a revolution
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

If there's anything somewhat progressive coming out of the social battle involving NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem of their games, it's the attention and potential it might have to create a national, even international, revolution against history's greatest evil - bullying.

Addressing the issue of bullying is the key for players taking a knee - almost all of whom are black - to get their issue the greater attention it deserves, and the President and America's elected officials can be the starting point for progress.

Bullying is a tremendous issue in America's government, and if elected officials won't address it, maybe paid athletes can because they have voices that are regularly more well heard than those of elected officials. And, society tends to react more readily to those athlete's voices.

Kneeling at football games is the flash point so far, one made much more of an issue by the President because he he is using it as a way to divide America into those who see it as dishonoring the nation and it's troops, and those who support it as a way to address the social issue of black people, primarily men, being shot by police simply for being black.

Where the movement of kneeling is missing out is it's lack of greater focus. The issue has divided teams, in fact, into those who kneel - almost all of them black, and those who don't - basically all the white players. The larger issue is bullying, which the President is showcasing his significant ability to accomplish. Bullying is the key to the social issue that turns into deadly shootings, and it's separating America powered by the President.

There's no better way to address the issue of bullying than by focusing on the President, and his elected followers.

The President has focused attention on kneeling because it dishonors the flag and America's military in the process. So, kneeling is about a lack of honor.

Now, let's go to the President, and his commitment to honoring America's military and the flag through his actions.

This past week, the President responded to comments that he hadn't remembered the name of a fallen soldier when talking to his widow by telling the media, and therefore world, that he did use that soldier's name many times because someone had written it on a chart and put it in front of him to read off. Then, he promoted he remembered the soldier's name because he has a good memory, and then pointed to his head to, apparently, remind everyone that's where his memory is located. This was not a way to promote honor or integrity as the ultimate leader of the U.S. Armed Forces.

These types of press conferences, of course, are repeated enough that 24-hour news channels have increased their ratings significantly in the past two years. Late night talk-show hosts have an endless supply of material. How this is allowed to continue is the issue players need to direct the public's attention toward. It's allowed to continue through the evil called bullying. They don't need to attack the President, either, just challenge the main group allowing itself to be bullied - Republican Senators and Representatives.

Start with Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. You might remember them better as "Lyin" Ted and "Little" Marco from the 2016 campaign after the President came up with these playground names for them. He has never apologized for using those names, and they have not called for him to apologize, either. To apologize, we all know from the President's past, is to show a sign of weakness.

So, he continues to create playground names for individuals on an international level.

The President insults members of his own party regularly, members of his own cabinet regularly, international leaders. And when his plans don't work out right, he blames Congress for not doing it's job. It's their fault. This would be like a coach addressing the world after a loss and saying his players sucked. He/she had the perfect game plan, the players just sucked. Imagine practice the next day.

"Lyin" Ted and "Little" Marco have the ability to do something about this uncontrolled bully, though - they can vote him out of office using the 25th Amendment. Do they have the character to kneel on the White House lawn, demand an apology and address the evil of bullying?

Do the members of Congress, and this is primarily those who are in the Republican Party, have the character to address why they say nothing when the President comes up with these names as though he were a bully on a playground?

What about the President's wife? She made bullying a point to combat upon reaching the White House? That campaign does not seem to exist.

Bullying is a key to Capitalism, so it's not an easy issue to tackle. And being a bully basically involves someone or a group telling someone to do something regardless of what it means to that person or group simply because they/it tells it to. Harrassment? Force? There doesn't need to be any logic involved, any thought of compassion to those involved, just the outcome. People with political or social power don't want that to change, either, so they don't make any kind of issue out of it.

"Do it because I tell you to. And don't complain."

How white police officers have abused their power is a key to the issue black players want addressed. But, it has turned into a black vs. white issue. "Black Lives Matter." And, now "White Lives Matter." The President has done some passionate work to move this issue of black vs. white forward ... through bullying. 

Black Lives Matter has some passionate logic behind it, but ultimately it does separate people by color, which is what White Lives Matter is doing. White Lives Matter, of course, doesn't have to mean White Nationalism - it can mean white people who support better healthcare or better public schools or fewer pot holes. Or even vote by mail so you don't have to stand in some long line. People of all color can promote they support all these things, along with an end to government by bullying.

Bullying isn't an issue of color it's a societal issue and one that black and white football players, heck all athletes, can address at the National Anthem.

Stand Up To Bullying. Take a knee before the anthem, then stand up for the anthem to promote the campaign.

England already has a Stand Up To Bullying Day. The U.S.has a campaign, but it hasn't gotten beyond Massachusetts.

Black players in the NFL have the world's attention, but it's largely being lost as an issue that only relates to people of one color and the issue of honoring America's military by kneeling during a song. They need to move the issue from kneeling to the evil of bullying and make that the issue. They need their teammates of all color to join them. Take a knee before the anthem, then stand for the anthem and make that a social campaign. Stand Uo To Bullying.

How do you think the President would respond to this campaign? Black players taking a knee on the sideline, then standing up for the national anthem? Where's the dishonor there? What if their white teammates did that, too? White players stood up to bullying because it's an issue that affects white people, too.

A worldwide revolution can start from this campaign and challenge injustice on just about every issue. Congress? Why is it that as soon as someone gets elected and arrives on Capitol Hill, they immediately fall in line? Every issue is Us vs. Them. Democrat vs. Republican. Liberal vs. Conservative. Obamacare? It has to be repealed and replaced because it's broken. It's falling apart and was never a good idea in the first place, in spite of all the people who did achieve affordable health care. Millions of people. But, it's a terrible system that should never have been approved. That's a bully speaking.

An effective politician might say, "if it's broken, fix it."

If your car were damaged and struggling to run, would you just keep driving until it stopped and leave it on the side of the road to go get a new one? Or would you stop at a repair shop and work on making it run better? Especially if you knew the problem was simply a lack of gasoline.

The bullying that involved sacrificing Obamacare has gone so far that Republican leadership wouldn't even tell the nation what it was working on before voting on it. "It's going to be great because we tell you it's going to be great." That sounded like someone making a degree from Yale or Harvard look quite valuable. And making the framers of the Constitution quite proud. Lots of honor there.

This kind of bullying - "repeal and replace because I tell you to" - is making Yale, Harvard, Cornell, The Ohio State, Penn State, every college for that matter that's got a degree on a wall of an elected official, look terrible. America has no strength to think for itself, especially these days.

Stand Up To Bullying by getting Congressmen and women to think for themselves, using logic and compromise to better the nation, not just the people who voted for them. And not just people of one color.

Then, we're off.

Obamacare. There's a single-payer health care system in America's future, and if Obamacare is going to be fixed, this is the fix it needs. Capitalism and health care just don't mix for much of the public - the part that's old and/or sick.

How about the Military Industrial Complex? That's a biig one, but ... wow an issue. For starters, why does the U.S. have such a large military? And, apparently getting larger. We're not getting invaded. We can play police for the world, but does that need so many aircraft carriers and nuclear submaries? And, why is Russia our enemy, by the way? Heck, what is Communism? I think it's a nation run by one person, or a ruling party, that severely restricts the freedoms of its citizens to keep them under control. "Do it because we tell you to." Sound familiar?

Communism might be a bad way to run a nation, but Russia isn't invading the U.S., and really has never been close to invading our territory and putting Communism in place. So, why did the world need all those thousands of nuclear missiles? Why do we need them now? The answer is Capitalism and the need to keep factories and ports building the elements that power the military. Without wars and enemies, there's not need for tanks and fighter aircraft.

Of course, the companies that produce tanks and aircraft could be reformed to produce ... better roadways or spacecraft, renewable energy sources etc. Capitalism can survive a changing military direction.

Education. When I watch sports, there's an endless supply of commercials relating to the military. Either join up, or get insurance or health care or great loans because you were in the military. There's nothing wrong with any of those, but I often think what if they had the same commercials for ... teachers? Become a teacher, or get great health care and access to loans because you are or were a teacher. Education should be a much greater focus for the nation.

Gerrymandering. This is one of the main reasons elected officials get re-elected so often and regularly feel the need to just ... get re-elected by voters in their party rather than work together between political parties for a better nation.

It's a fantasy time for football fans

NFL kickoff highlights Episode 16 of Sportland, Oregon
Sept. 4, 2014

If this is the second week of September, then it must be time for the NFL season to begin.

And, that means Fantasy Football leagues get underway, which makes the sport the most involved game for fans of any sport in the world.

So, who went first in your league? That's a topic for this week's episode of Sportsland, Oregon, recorded at The Pit Stop in SW Portland.

Co-hosts Cliff Pfenning and Derek Weber chat up the fun of the league's season-openers, as well as college football and the huge game involving Rose Bowl champion Michigan State at Oregon, with its implications on the post-season playoff.

Oregon State heads to Hawaii, with a chance to go to 2-0.

Then, there's the Timbers and their continued push to reach the MLS Playoffs, and the future of basketball and its World Championships.

And, Major League Baseball is making its push toward the playoffs.

 

 

 

DAT heads for money game

Oregon's Thomas decides to leave school, enter the NFL Draft
Jan. 5, 2014

EUGENE - Running back De’Anthony Thomas will leave Oregon to enter the NFL draft, he announced Sunday.

Thomas had 594 rushing yards, 246 receiving yards and 10 total touchdowns this season despite being sidelined for nearly four games because of a right ankle injury.

He also excelled as a returner, running back four kickoffs and a punt for touchdowns in his three seasons in Oregon.

“I am officially withdrawing from the University of Oregon to pursue a professional career in the NFL,” Thomas said in a statement. “I want to express my deepest appreciation and thanks to the University and all of my teammates, coaches and fans. I look forward to staying connected to the University and visiting the sidelines as often as possible.”

Thomas’ 5,345 total yards are third in school history after LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner. He holds Oregon records for kickoff return yards with 1,885 and his 17.1 punt return average.

The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Los Angeles native ran for two touchdowns in the Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin after the 2011 season. The next season in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl win over Kansas State, he ran the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown.

“De’Anthony has been a spectacular talent in college football and has been a part of some of the most memorable plays in the history of the University of Oregon,” Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. “We wish him success going forward with his career.”

Thomas also ran track for the Ducks, anchoring their 4x100-meter relay team.

Thomas joins cornerback Terrance Mitchell as early entries to the draft. Cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu has not yet made a decision on whether to turn pro.

In early voting amongst viewers of Espn.com, nearly half predicted Thomas would be a back-up as a professional.

 

Oregon tops the list for 2013

The Ducks didn't reach the title game, but they had our attention
Dec. 30, 2013

The University of Oregon football team took its fans through highs and lows pretty well this season, and that put the Ducks at the top of the list for memories of the 2013 calendar year for the cast of Sportsland, Oregon, which recorded its 28th episode Monday night.

Oregon had the BCS Title Game squarely in sight until and loss at Stanford, and then slipped out of a BCS game with a punishing loss at Arizona, both of which had fans beginning to look in the direction of first-year coach Mark Helfrich.

But, at 11-2, it's tough to claim Helfrich isn't qualified for the job. So, it's time to relax, find a successor to Nick Aliotti at defensive coordinator, and look toward winning the 2014 Pac-12 title and a spot in the BCS Playoffs.

The show cast: Derek Weber, Marlon Thomas and host Cliff Pfenning, then move on to the NFL and its glorious final day that broke the hearts of Dallas Cowboys fans everywhere.

And, the Portland Trail Blazers, who've quietly dazzled the pro hoop world, took another late-game shot to the chest in the form of a two-point loss at New Orleans, which gave the team its first two-game losing streak of the season with a game at Oklahoma City up next.

It's all recorded at Blitz Pearl in Northwest Portland.

Can a rivalry help Portland to the NBA Finals?

Sure the Blazers can win - a lot - but can they attract a TV audience
Dec. 16, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

It seems like just a week ago that fans of the Portland Trail Blazers were being polled on whether the team could win 60 games this season.

Now, the poll is up to a 70-game level, as in "can the Blazers win 70 games?"

Even if they do, will the pro basketball community care? Imagine the potential match-ups for Portland in the NBA Finals. Miami? Indiana? Carmelo Anthony after being traded to the Pacers? How will that roll with the NBA in terms of television viewers?

Portland might win a lot, but what's winning without star power? And, Portland lacks star power, even with two potential All-Stars.

That's where the Oklahoma City Thunder comes in, and it's a key topic for the cast of Sportsland, Oregon, during its 27th episode of the year.

Can the NBA build enough of a rivalry between Portland and Oklahoma City, which was a heavy franchise rival when the team played in Seattle as the Sonics. How much value to TV networks would a Portland-OKC rivaly make?

The cast also talks up the woes of the Dallas Cowboys and strength of pro football in terms of people wanting to pay to see a game.

It's all recorded at Blitz Pearl in Northwest Portland.

 

Marcus keeps the Heisman heat on

Mariota leads Oregon to rout of Tennessee, keeps pace with 'Johnny Football'
Sept. 16, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

"Johnny Football" might have the attention of the sports world, but Marcus Mariota continues to keep pace with the defending Heisman Trophy winner as the 2013 college football season moves into high gear.

That's a prime topic for the cast of Sportsland, Oregon for the 22nd Episode of the year, recorded from Blitz Pearl in Northwest Portland. Host Cliff Pfenning, Derek Weber and Marlon Thomas delve into the Ducks' season after they moved to 3-0.

Mariota threw for 456 yards and four touchdowns in Oregon's 59-14 victory over Tennessee, cranking out the stats in less than three full quarters. The rout kept them No. 2 in the AP Poll after No. 1 Alabama beat No. 6 Texas A&M 49-42, overcoming Johnny Manziel in the process. Manziel had 562 yards of total offense in the game.

Beyond the Ducks, the cast looks into Oregon State and Portland State football, as well as entertaining topics such as the depth of the NFL, whether Kansas City or New York is more of a favorite to jump into an American League Wild Card playoff spot, and the value of having too many good players on a Fantasy Football team.

It's all on Episode 22 of Sportsland, Oregon, Oregonsports.com's signature podcast, recorded every Monday night.

CAST:

CLIFF PFENNING - Writer, Auto Sales Consultant at Beaverton Honda

DEREK WEBER - Media personality, marketing manager at First Tech Bank

MARLON THOMAS - Furniture Sales  Consultant at Mor Furniture, Tigard

PODCAST:

 

 

"World's Greatest" doing a sack dance?

If it weren't a decathlete, Ashton Eaton looks at football players as next in line
Dec. 31, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

The title of "World's Greatest Athlete" goes with the territory that decathletes compete within, and that's where Oregon's own Ashton Eaton lives.

After winning the gold medal in the decathlon at the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games, Eaton earned the title, especially after setting the world record in the 10-event competition at the U.S. Olympic Trials earlier in the summer.

But, if it weren't a decathlete, what kind of athlete would be next in line for that title? Oregonsports Journal asked Eaton that question for the Oregon Sports Year in Review issue and he came up with a very unique answer: a defensive end, perhaps just ahead of a running back.

"I've always thought they are the most athletic people on the football field," Eaton wrote in response to the quesstion. "Some of them are as fast, jump higher than, and are stronger than running backs. 

"It's kind of scary if you look at some of their statistics."

At 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, Eaton is a perfect size for a decathlete - only an inch shorter and the same competitive weight as Dan O'Brien, who held the world record previously. That makes him more suited to be a running back on a football field, but without the specialty skills needed for events such as the pole vault and high jump, Eaton focused on the combination of power, endurance and overall athleticism. When put together, Eaton, who played football in high school, looked at football players as having the best combination of the three ahead of athletes in such events as the triathlon.

The demands of a defensive end, especially the need for explosive power, made that position stand out, "because those types of athletes would have better chances of being good at basketball, baseball, maybe tennis, weight lifting, track (short stuff and field stuff), compared to an endurance athlete (triathlete) who would most likely excel at endurance activities like biking, distance running, soccer, and swimming."

In the prime of his career, Jason Taylor, who played defensive end in the NFL for 15 seasons for the Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins and New York Jets, would have been a perfect example of Eaton's combination of talents. Taylor retired with the sixth-most sacks in NFL history and returned six fumbles for touchdowns, which set an NFL record.

Taylor, who is 6-foot-6 and played at around 240 pounds, also finished as runner-up on "Dancing With the Star" during the sixth season of the popular series that airs on ABC.

So, does Eaton see himself giving the NFL a try? It's something he ponders.

"Sometimes I wonder how good I would be at baseball or football or soccer," Eaton wrote, "maybe even golf."

For more on Eaton and his recollections on 2012 subscribe to Oregonsports Journal.

http://oregonsports-com.myshopify.com/products/subscription

 

Who's No. 1 in your league?

The cast of Sportsland takes part in a Fantasy Football draft
Aug. 26, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

The University of Oregon may be the top college football program in the state, but incoming players might take note of the Fantasy Football rankings as the NFL season gets set to begin.

Of players with backgrounds at Oregon or Oregon State, three running backs from OSU are in the top 200.

Those rankings will be on display as the cast of Sportland, Oregon, Cliff Pfenning, Derek Weber and Marlon Thomas, take part in a fantasy football draft set for a live webcast at 9:30 p.m. The league includes former show host Carlos Molina, taking part from New York City.

Steven Jackson, who recently moved from the St. Louis Rams to the Atlanta Falcons, rates No. 24 on nfl.com, which is the host site for the Sportsland2013 league. Along with Jackson, former Beavers back Jaquizz Rodgers is No. 129. Former Oregon back Jonathan Stewart is No. 96 in the rankings.

The Sportsland draft will take place at 9:30 p.m. from Blitz Pearl in Northwest Portland. A chat room will be available for fans.

 


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Super duper bowl

Mon, 01/28/2013 - 3:17pm
Derek Weber
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Here we are the last game of the season, the Super Bowl. I’ll forgo the conversation about the coaches, did you know they’re brothers!?!??!? What do football games come down too? Running the ball, time of possession, turnovers? Sure all of those items are great a predicting winners, but we’re talking about scoring, you don’t score you don’t win.

Which team has the better chance of scoring? The 49ers. They have a good RB, a QB that can pass and run, WR’s and TE’s who can catch and run oh wait…am I talking about San Francisco or Baltimore? Let’s see Rice, Flacco (say what you want 8TDs and 0INTs in the playoffs), Boldin, Smith, Pitta… yeah I must be writing about the Ravens. Wait what? Gore, Kaepernick, Crabtree, Davis… Ah crap.

Ok, so defense wins championships as they say. Who has the better D, who can keep the other team from scoring? Easy, the Ravens right, they’re a perennial top D team. What’s that you say? I’m living in the past, the Ravens are old and can’t slow down anyone? If you say so I swear they held the Pats to 13 points at home last game, oh well, the 49ers it is! Wait, they were down 17-0 last game and gave up 31 points in one playoff game already? Hmm that doesn’t sound dominate either.

Ok well, how about the coaches! Did you know their brothers?

Either way this should be a good one. I’m stoked. My money’s on the 49ers. I think they have the better team overall and seem to keep it together no matter the situation. Look for Vernon Davis to have a big day, but not as big as Kaepernick, your MVP.

Championship Week

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 2:18pm
Derek Weber
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What a weekend of football. The divisional round of the playoffs should go down as one of the best set of games we’ve had a in a long time. Even the blowout games were close at half time. Enough dwelling on the past, in a what have you done for me lately world, we need to take a look at this week’s games.

NFC Championship

San Francisco at Atlanta:

Well Matt Ryan finally did it, he won a playoff game, much to the chagrin of my co-worker/Saints fan. Let’s not forget that this was the first playoff win for more than a few people on the Falcons, most importantly Tony Gonzalez. Can you believe that? I know he played in KC for a long time, but not a single playoff win in 16 years? Wowzer.

The question here is if the monkey is off Atlanta’s back will they be happy with the win. Sure winning a playoff game is nice, what about winning the NFC championship and moving to the Super Bowl? Well that’s gotta be even better.

The 49ers on the other hand rolled out a new starting QB a few weeks ago and really haven’t looked back. I was one of the many who thought Alex Smith should have gotten his job back once he was back from injury. But if Colin Kaepernick has been playing like that in practice you can see why Coach Harbaugh stuck with him. It remains to be seen if the seemingly new wave of QB’s can keep up this type of play but I don’t think we’ll see any defensive revelations in the next two weeks.

The Pick:

At the beginning of the year I picked Atlanta to play in the Super Bowl, you think I’d feel good about that pick being the #1 seed and hosting the conference championship game…but…well…hmm. I’m not sure we just saw what Seattle was able to do to the Falcons, and I think the 49ers have a better offense. Then again the Falcons just played against a similar styled QB. I think the 49ers will be too explosive on the offensive side of the ball and Vernon Davis will have a field day, heck did you see what Miller, Seattle’s TE did? Oh yeah, how many Oregonians want to see the Jacquizz/LaMichael  theme played out in this one?

AFC Championship

Baltimore at New England:

So far I’ve gone 7 for 8 in the playoffs, my one mistake was the Ravens over the Broncos. Who saw that coming? The Ravens seemed to be out of it the entire game but never really fell behind by much, in fact their biggest deficit was 7 points. Still, their comeback seemed to come from nowhere. Nobody scores a TD with 30 seconds left and 70 yards to go. The big story here is that Ray Lewis has another game left to play and it’s against another future hall of famer in Tom Brady.

The Pats seemed to have the easiest game of the weekend winning by 13 but being up by 25 with 13 mins to go. The question you have to ask about the Pats is if their D can stand up for a solid 60 mins, or 75+ mins if you’re going to play the Ravens. We know that New England can and will score, you just hope to keep them to FGs, take the ball away if they make a mistake and win the special teams battle.

The Pick:

I picked the Pats to play in the Super Bowl this year and I really don’t see why I’d change it now. I think they can score on the Ravens and hold Ray Rice to a minimal game. Since the Pats have incorporated a faster pace on offense they’ve averaged 13 more positions a game, that’s giving Tom Brady 13 more plays to beat you with.

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