TV Archives

Feb
2016
04

A Sports Fans Argument Against Donald Trump

As the domain name suggests since starting this blog in the summer of 2009 I have written almost exclusively about sports. Starting in September of 2015 I decided to venture into the world of politics. The plan was just to provide color on the various different wagers offered on the Betfair.com exchange on the 2016 US Presidential election and stay out of the political discussion. Though it was impossible not to observe the campaigns and watch the debates without having an opinion. Quickly I realized that this race wasn’t about who I wanted to see win, but who I didn’t what as our next Commander-in-Chief. I’m 39 and the United States is the most divided it has been in my lifetime and I believe will become only more fractured if Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump were to win.

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Mrs. Clinton is a criminal and is despised by a very large portion of this country. Senator Sanders is a communist (socialist I guess), but I can’t believe we have to defend capitalism in America. Mr. Trump is a clown that has hijacked the Republican Party using hateful rhetoric and his celebrity. Trump is by far the most divisive of the candidates and the one that I fear the most for the future of this country (Congress won’t let Sanders abandon capitalism). I think Donald Trump is vastly unqualified to be the POTUS.

Trump is one of the most overrated business men of all time. He is fooling his conservative supporters and true conservatives have spoken out against him. “The Donald” says he will put together a great team of people, but has Sarah Palin stumping for him. He is a phony and a fake that has flipped-flopped on his positions countless times. The whole campaign is a charade and he consistently insults his base of support and they are too stupid to even realize it. He is a brilliant showman and a gifted politician, but it would be an embarrassment if he were elected President of the United States. I will use just his interactions with the sports world to demonstrate this.

Donald Trump is an Overrated Businessman

Fred (“KKK”) Trump may have been a brilliant businessman, but his son Donald Trump inherited his money. Forbes magazine estimated Donald’s worth at $200 million in 1982. Had he invested that money in the S&P 500 he would be worth $8.3 billion today instead of the $4 billion currently estimated by Forbes. He has lived lavishly and had to pay for a couple of divorces, but he has made a lot of money in Reality TV and by selling his “brand”. The Kardashian family has made a lot of money in “non-scripted” television and branding as well. With all this money and the zest for fame you would think Donald Trump would own a sports franchise. He once did. In 1983 he purchased the New Jersey Generals of the newly inaugurated USFL (United States Football League). Trump encouraged the league that played in the spring to compete directly with the NFL and move to the fall. He was hoping to force a merger as a way to get into the NFL. This decision and the impending failed law suit sunk the upstart football leagueand that was his only foray into ownership of a professional sports team. There is an ESPN “30 for 30” documentary titled “Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL?” As you can see from this trailer we know who the filmmaker thinks is the culprit.

Virtually any purchase of a sports franchise in one of the big 4 US team sports leagues in the early 1980’s would have outperformed Trump’s real estate returns and it would have been much harder to go bankrupt, especially if he bought in his native New York City. Trump said he was interested in buying the Buffalo Bills when they came up for sale in 2014. He said he could have bought them if he really wanted them, but wasn’t going to pay the “ridiculous” price of $1.4 billion Terry Pegula paid. Self-made billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Trump wasn’t liquid enough to buy the Bills on his own while calling him a “paper tiger”. I would be shocked that even if Trump had made the highest bid 24 of 31 other NFL owners would have approved the purchase as required by league rules. By pushing the USFL to the fall the “great dealmaker” blew his opportunity to ever buy into the exclusive NFL club that is seemingly a license to print money. Now he is on to bigger and better things, but I think Trump’s current political rhetoric would not make him welcome with any major sports league. As a huge horse racing fan I am thrilled that the billionaire has never been involved in any capacity in the “Sport of Kings”. That probably is a smart business decision, but what is the point of being a billionaire and not having a Kentucky Derby horse every year?

Donald Trump and Eminent Domain Abuse

The conservative magazine National Review published an article titled “Conservatives against Trump” in their most recent issue (that I am realizing that I am ripping off a bit). They filled two football teams of conservatives, 22 who tried to convince fellow conservatives that Trump is not one of them. They seemingly didn’t come close to succeeding as Trump support has only been stronger after the issue was released. One of the issues repeatedly mentioned is Trump’s support of eminent domain (resumption or compulsory acquisition for you Aussies). They either mentioned the issue by name or talked about previous bullying tactics while developing properties. I thought the government seizing land without adequate compensation was a major conservative ideal. The Trump supporters are seemingly blind to his support for eminent domain abuse. Can you imagine how much land the government would have to seize to build his “Great Big Beautiful Wall?” To illustrate Trump’s ideology it is easiest to just watch this short segment from HBO’s Real Sports.

Unfortunately I am not able to find the full clip, but there is a full-length documentary titled “You’ve Been Trumped” by Anthony Baxter about the saga of Michael Forbes and other residents of Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Forbes was a major holdout not willing to sell his land to Trump so he could develop a golf course. As you would expect it illustrates Trump’s bullying tactics like cutting off water and electricity and surrounding a man’s home with a wall of bulldozed earth. Could you imagine if he had the power of the Presidency how much land Trump would have the government seize for his projects?

Donald Trump is the Brain Damage Candidate

Donald Trump now claims he is happy he isn’t an owner in the NFL and says he barely watches the sport any more. He uses the NFL player safety rules as a metaphor for how America has become soft. This is actually quite sickening to listen to considering what we know now about the dangers head injuries.

I am certain that the play he is referring to was this clearly illegal hit to the head of Pittsburgh Steelers superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown in the AFC Wild Card round by Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Brown suffered a concussion and was unable to play the following week against the Denver Broncos. Trump also gets the details of the game completely backwards. Football fans listen clearly at the 1:14 mark of Trump’s speech. Somehow the penalty on the “great tackle” didn’t allow the Steelers to kick the field goal?

As you can see this hit never would have been considered a “great tackle” as Trump put it. It wouldn’t have been penalized back in the “good old days” of football, but we have learned the damage these types of hits have caused. This hit along with other actions in that game and a history of dirty play earned Vontaze Burfict a 3-game suspension by the NFL. I guess Donald Trump hasn’t read or watched “League of Denial” or the fictionalized version “Concussion”. This is an example of Trump not caring about the facts, science and most importantly the health of professional football players. He has been dubbed the “brain damage candidate”, which certainly explains Sarah Palin being part of Team Trump.

I’m sorry but I couldn’t resist. She really is too good to be true for the comics out there in America. I am not a fan of Stephen Colbert but calling former Alaska Governor Palin “The Original Material Girl” is dead on. This is another reason to be scared of Donald Trump, the potential for Sarah Palin to be part of the federal government. Trump has had a lot of athletes endorse him. Another clown in former NBA star Dennis Rodman is pro-Trump. A real team player (tongue firmly in cheek) former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens has backed “The Donald”. Trump also has the support of a convicted rapist in former heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson and a confirmed racist in former MLB relief pitcher John Rocker. Rocker’s hate speech made him infamous and hated especially here in New York with us Mets fans as a member of the Atlanta Braves. Here are a couple of Rocker’s quotes: “The biggest thing I don’t like about New York are the foreigners. I’m not a very big fan of foreigners… How the hell did they get in this country?” and riding the 7 train in NYC is “like you’re [riding through] Beirut next to some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids.” John Rocker is the quintessential “Trumpeter”, I would consider him “right wingin” and “bitter clingin’”.

Donald Trump always says he has great judgment. I will have to respectfully disagree that 3 marriages, 4 bankruptcies and leaving the house with that ridiculous second base to home plate orange-dyed comb over is good judgment. On a side note the three top Republican candidates all rock the comb over. Trump goes from second to home while both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz go the more traditional first base to third. Anyways Donald Trump also has been quoted that he has a great memory. I would have to question if Trump has suffered some brain damage. After the tragic terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California President Barack Obama said in a speech that “Muslim-Americans are our sports heroes”. To which Donald Trump tweeted:

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I listened to President Obama’s speech live and I hiccupped at first, but within a second or two figured out exactly who the POTUS was talking about. How Donald Trump could write this whole tweet out without scanning his brain of the great athletes he has met that could have been Muslim. Meeting “the Don” as he likes to call himself should equate to greatness and how could he forget about these two guys.

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Alonzo Mourning Charities

I could see Mr. Trump not knowing that Shaquille O’Neal is Muslim, but not to immediately think of Muhammad Ali? Then once your mind goes there how do you not think of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? Ali is “The Greatest” and was ranked number 2 in the ESPN SportsCentury: Top 100 American Athletes of the 20th Century. Kareem, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer was 26th on that list. If that list were to include the last 15 years certainly both Shaq and former NBA Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon would be added to it. Considering that Muslim-Americans make up only about 1% of the US population they are easily over represented on this list. Especially when the list contains just 97 humans that can even have a religion. Three thoroughbreds: Secretariat (35th), Man O’ War (84th) and Citation (97th) made the list. If we did add the last 15 years we certainly would lose Man O’ War and Citation, but we would pick up American Pharoah who would probably be around 75th with Secretariat dropping to about 50th. Sorry another aside from a horse racing enthusiast which directly leads into my next sports fan argument against Donald Trump.

Donald Trump and the Proposed Muslim Ban

Donald Trump has called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” When pressed on this Trump has said it would apply to “everyone” including “tourists” and didn’t list any exceptions. The fact that he won’t back down is just another example of hateful rhetoric that would be impossible to enforce. How would this work? Indonesia is a country of 260 million people of which 95% are of Muslim faith. You would ban virtually the entire country from traveling to the United States. Would they not reciprocate and ban travelers from the US to travel to Indonesia? I have a small investment in some real estate in Bali and I would like to travel there some time. This plan would shut down much of the world to American citizens and I am not going to get bogged down in the ripple effects as I want to get back to sports. There are a total of 1.6 billion Muslims in the world the vast majority living in peace with no gripe with America. Muslims are more likely to be victims of fundamental Islamic terrorism and are our allies in fighting Islamic extremism in the Middle East. Only one of the main stage GOP Party candidates has stood up to Trump and that was Jeb Bush. He has made the argument this policy makes it harder to fight ISIS and the former Florida Governor is 100% right. Sadly it has not helped him in the polls, I guess having a brain AND a heart is a negative for right-wing voters. In one of the undercard Republican debates the best argument against the Muslim ban was made by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.

The worst part is that Trump doesn’t believe in this policy and knows he can’t enforce it. As Jeb Bush said “it is another example of how he (Trump) is not a serious candidate”. It is all part of riling up his crowd and saying whatever they want to hear. So odd that a man who “owns” all these golf courses and hotels he would want to ban all those tourists and all that cash from visiting America.

What does this have to do with horse racing? I can’t think of sport where foreign Muslims play a bigger role in the economics and history of the industry. I do again remind you horses can’t have a religion. If they did the foundation bloodstock of the Thoroughbred horse breed would be Muslim. Thoroughbreds were developed in England after importing three foundation stallions from the greater Middle East. The Byerley Turk (1684) was stolen from the Ottoman Empire. The Darley Arabian (1704) purchased from Aleppo, Syria. The Godolphin Arabian (1724) was born in Yemen then traveled from Syria to Tunisia then on to France before finally ending up in England. To be honest if I saw a military aged male who followed that same travel path, Donald Trump and I would be in agreement. Currently some of the biggest players in Thoroughbred racing around the world are Muslim. Darley Stud, Darley Stables, Godolphin Stables are all owned by Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai. Venerable US based auction house Fasig-Tipton is owned by a Dubai based company. There are significant owners in another one of the Emirates, Abu Dhabi and neighboring Qatar. One of my favorite sporting events I have traveled to is the the Dubai World Cup. I would hate to think I could travel back to one, but much more importantly if there was a reciprocal ban then an American owner, trainer and jockey couldn’t travel with their horse to Dubai to compete for a share of the biggest purse in the sport. The big race has a $10 million purse and the total for the night is $27 million. It doesn’t seem very American if our policies wouldn’t allow a citizen to compete for that kind of prize money. It also wouldn’t be American either if Godolphin couldn’t bring their trainer if they have a horse racing in the USA. Here is a shot I took as part of the press corps as the sun rose over Meydan Racecouse in Dubai.

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I said I didn’t want to mention the ripple effects of the Muslim ban, but I actually am as sports are a big part of that ripple. Toronto Maple Leafs center and natural born Canadian citizen Nazem Kadri, is a practicing Muslim and would be subject to this ban. You know how loyal hockey players are and if one is banned from a country the other 19 aren’t going to be going either. Edmonton Oilers right winger and 2012 number one overall NHL draft pick Nail Yakupov is a Russian citizen and also of Muslim faith. He is from Tatarstan which is a peaceful Russian Republic of 3.8 million people of which 55% practice Sunni Islam. The most beautiful woman (inside and out) I know is a Muslim from Tatarstan, another reason why Trump’s ban is terrible idea. Yesterday it was announced that Mexican Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will fight Amir Khan for the WBC Middleweight title on Derby Day May 7th. Khan is a UK citizen and of Muslim faith with his family roots from Pakistan. This bout will be a huge money making event on Cinco de Mayo weekend for Las Vegas. Think about it Donald, a Mexican and Muslim are going to beat the crap out of each other and it will be a huge boon for the Vegas economy why would you want to ban that? The sport that would be affected most in our global standing is in soccer. Many of the world’s soccer stars are of Islamic faith. Mesut Ozil of Germany, Franck Ribery of France, Edin Dzeko of Bosnia, Yaya Toure of Ivory Coast and Marouane Fellaini of Belgium are just a small diverse handful of Muslim soccer stars. City Football Group own Manchester City Football Club, New York City F.C. and Melbourne City F.C. Their primary owner is Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi. These three clubs on three different continents share a color scheme and I personally think is one of the cooler ownership groups in the world. As a New Yorker who hates Red Bull and correspond in Melbourne, Australia for 7 years it is only fitting I support the three teams in this group.

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Donald Trump and the WWE

I have been trashing Donald Trump, but I would be remiss not mention he has been inducted into a national “sports” hall of fame. I put the word sports in quotes as Trump was inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE formally WWF) Hall of Fame in 2013. Wow! What an honor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame of a fake sport that has a terrible history of abusing their entertainers/athletes. I have no real problem with professional wrestling, but I think it is very unbecoming of a Presidential candidate. More importantly it represents what the Trump campaign is about. Phony manufactured scripted entertainment, but unfortunately unlike in wrestling, the “fans” don’t know it is all a fraud. He really should be a WWE HOFer as there isn’t a professional wrestler who does a better job insulting their opponent or “laying the smack down” verbally. Here is the billionaire’s performance in Wrestlemania 23.

Conclusions

If I can’t support a “criminal” a “communist” and especially not the “clown” Donald Trump that doesn’t leave a lot of other viable options. I don’t think Florida Senator Marco Rubio will do a terrible job. Most importantly I think the majority of Americans can stomach him. That is a ringing endorsement! As I am posting this Rubio has 55% chance of the nomination and a 25% chance of being elected President. I like Ohio Governor John Kasich he is a moderate and has tons of experience, but is a 500-1 chance to become the next Commander-in-Chief. I also am a big fan of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg who still may enter the race at is a 75-1 chance to be elected to the hardest job in the nation.

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I will leave you with maybe Donald Trump’s worse crime in sports. He has been accused of being a golf cheat. In September the Washington Post quoted three different people that alleged Trump cheats at a game based on honor. Rock star Alice Cooper said “The worst celebrity golf cheat? I wish I could tell you that. It would be a shocker. I played golf with Donald Trump one time. That’s all I’m going to say”. Jumping on as well is actor Samuel L. Jackson who has been in a golf feud with Trump. Sorry this ended up being a lot longer than originally planned, but the evidence continued to pile up.

May
2015
11

What’s Next for Bill Simmons?

I was asked about this on air when the news broke. First, I’m not a Bill Simmons fan at all. I rarely ever read his stuff,, I did listen to his podcast with Cousin Sal for part of one season, until I got sick of how clueless those two guys were. I occasionally read articles on Grantland, a little bit of entertainment and Bill Barnwell is a solid NFL writer, but it is not a “go to website” for me. That being said I am jealous of his success. His timing was perfect both in terms of the creation of blogging and that Boston’s professional sports teams all became champions and major national stories. The “30 for 30″ documentary series just might be the best produced programming on ESPN and he deserves a lot of praise as one of its creators. Though just by writing an article about a member of the sports media is the highest praise. I have never done this before, but there has been some requests as to many this is a fascinating story.

I feel that this “divorce” between Bill Simmons and ESPN will be a win for both parties. ESPN has an arrogance and doesn’t value an individual more than their brand. In straight dollars and cents Simmons doesn’t bring in the revenue to justify paying what the market will bear. The market will bear a lot as there are so many new media conglomerates who are trying to take a bite out of ESPN’s dominance in sports broadcasting in America. He is worth more to Fox Sports, NBC Sports or CBS sports, than to ESPN/Disney. He could legitimize one of their networks and bring fresh eyes to their website. Fox makes perfect sense as you would expect them to overpay and their model seems to straight copy ESPN. NBC doesn’t really make sense as they are focusing on golf, soccer, and hockey (the white sports). CBS doesn’t have enough going on aside from radio and Simmons doesn’t want to work that hard. Some of the non-traditional media players in the mix are The Turner/Bleacher Report and Vice Sports. Turner is interesting as he really is an NBA guy and that is their major partnership. Vice is also interesting as they have more money then they know what to do with. What I have seen of their sports is embarrassing. Potentially an alternative and un-partnered NFL programming would be interesting. He would not be permitted any highlights and might be hard to get people to interview. Yahoo would potentially be in the mix as well, but for some reason I’m not seeing it. I think there will have to be a major TV component to the deal, I think that would be lacking with Yahoo.

I think that editorial control will be a big factor in his decision. Something completely independent is also a possibility. He seems to going for some sort of rebel image. He wore a Hunter S. Thompson t-shirt to the Clippers game the other day. To me he couldn’t be any further from Thompson. Thompson was a counter-culture journalist who founded Gonzo journalism, where he was involved in the action of what he was covering. He was on the fringe of sports and politics and in the middle of the drug culture.. Simmons is pop culture, he is mainstream and he is a square. BS’s big out spoken “political” expression has been his criticism of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. That is as populist a position you can take. Just listen to how roundly booed Goodell was at the NFL draft earlier this month. His “road trips” that he wrote about which I guess would be Simmons version of Gonzo was to Super Bowls and NBA All-Star games. Not exactly the “Decadent and Depraved Kentucky Derby” or the Mint 400 Motorcycle race. I think trying to be Thompson will turn him off to his loyal fans as it wouldn’t seem natural.

A misconception may be that as a New Yorker, I am a Boston hater. That is not the case as being a New York Mets fan in baseball and a New York Football Giants fan those teams are in the opposite leagues/conferences as the Boston/New England teams. The New York Yankees have the hated rivalry with Boston Red Sox in the American League East and the New York Jets and New England Patriots are big division rivals in the AFC East., I am New York Rangers fan without any passionate fandom for the NBA If there is a city I hate (sports teams that is) it is Philadelphia. The Phillies in baseball, Eagles in football and Flyers in hockey are 3 of my most hated sports teams. It was a tough 3 years of college in that city. My biggest area of conflict with Simmons is that I think he would consider professional basketball as his favorite sport (certainly his area of expertise) while I would rate it behind (in no particular order) the NFL, MLB, NHL NCAA Football and Basketball, PGA Tour, UEFA Champions League and major horse racing events. I think that most big time American sports fans are limited to being passionate for either an NBA or NHL team. Their schedules cover virtually the same months of the calendar and there are many scheduling conflicts if you want to watch both teams play every game. I am New York Rangers fan and like the Brooklyn Nets, the “Sports Guy” is a Boston Celtics fan who likes the Boston Bruins. That being said I have followed the NBA very closely for the All Night Appetite on SEN in Melbourne, Australia as it certainly is demanded by the hosts and listeners. That demand will only get bigger in the next few years as Dante Exum develops and Ben Simmons is potentially the first overall selection in the 2016 NBA Draft.

He knows the Red Sox, knows the NFL but is not a strong analyst, but is NBA expert. He really doesn’t know a lot about any other sport. That is my biggest problem with the “Sports Guy” When the World Cup rolled around he had to write a soccer article. Why would anyone read his once every 4 year thoughts on the gam?. He will write about a major fight, but I don’t think has knowledge of the fight game. He will talk about Tiger Woods, but he isn’t following the PGA Tour in between majors I double checked and looked at a list of headlines from his ESPN Page 2 archives. It is all NBA, NFL and Red Sox. He wastes his time following professional wrestling, fake sports. I really don’t get the mass appeal.

I think Bill Simmons will enjoy being a free agent and will listen to a lot of different pitches that will include multiple outlets for exposure and lots of cash. I really envy as he will have a lot of favorable options. I’m not sure where he will go, it will be a big story when it happens. It will be a huge splash and I would think his fans will travel with him to his new venue.