Though we take from a covetous man all his treasure, he has yet one jewel left; you cannot bereave him of his covetousness.
- Milton, English Poet (1608-1674)
A funny thing happened to me this morning. I woke up and knowing full-well that my Raiders were playing the early game today, it struck me that I had no absolutely no desire to tune into the game or have anything else to do with the NFL. This after four decades of die-hard fandom, following my Raiders almost every single game for what would have been exactly forty years this year. I had no desire to watch any of it – none, zip, zilch, nada.
It was bad enough for sports in general to see ESPN become the equivalent of MSNBC’s sports division, but at least with the propaganda ESPN spews, you couldn’t blame the leagues themselves. Now we have to witness the same National Football League which cracks down on players for excessive celebrations turning a blind eye to players disrespecting the flag and the national anthem. To hell with those players and to hell with the league which allows it.
Athletes making millions of dollars a year crying about oppression should cry about it to their black president. If they really cared about their people, they would focus on the actual problems inside the community, such as the rate of nearly 6,000 black on black murders last year instead of putting all their energies into playing the victim card over a handful of police shootings.
After 40 years, I am done with the NFL. I have absolutely no desire to watch it any more and it looks like I’m not alone on this, either.
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I think the referees got the calls right. I don’t think it was a hard foul. I think the one involving LeBron against Boozer, that was flagrant. I think the officials got it right . . . I think that it’s almost embarrassing that LeBron would complain about officiating.
Coach Riley came back with some stark words in support of his star player:
“Danny Ainge needs to shut the f— up and manage his own team,” Riley said in a statement released through a Heat spokesman. “He was the biggest whiner going when he was playing and I know that because I coached against him.”
First time I’ve ever seen a coach drop an F-bomb in a statement released by his team’s spokesman. That is so much more emphatic than saying it off the cuff to a reporter.
And that is some serious smack talking there for Riley to call Danny Ainge out as the “biggest whiner going” when he was a player.
Ainge replied to the statement with some pretty good smack of his own:
I stand by what I said. That’s all. I don’t care about Pat Riley. He can say whatever he wants. I don’t want to mess up his Armani suits and all that hair goop. It would be way too expensive for me.
Pretty good comeback, but I think Riley wins that round. Not only does Riley know what a whiner Ainge was because he coached against Ainge in the NBA Finals in 1984, 1985 and 1987, but anyone who watched the game back then knows Riley’s words are true. I’d rather be known as a sharp-dressed man with my hair slicked back than the biggest whiner going.
Remembering how Danny Ainge used to cry on every call brings back all the memories of Showtime and being a Laker fan and loving L.A. and hating on the Celtics and even hating all of Boston itself and all the pasty-skinned fans that used to pack The Garden. (Of course, I say “hating” in just a sports fan kind of way.)
As ESPN reporter Stephen A. Smith said, complaining on every call was part of Ainge’s game plan. Might have been something a Celtics fan would cheer, but for anyone else watching, all that crying and complaining was completely insufferable. The only other guy I remember from that era who was as much of a non-stop whiner on the court was Bill Laimbeer. Don’t even get me started on that guy. But this little war of words really did bring back memories of all the fun of being a Laker fan in the 80s.
I think Celtics coach Doc Rivers summed it up best:
Asked if Rivers believes Riley’s statement could further stoke the Miami-Boston rivalry, Rivers noted, “Not unless they are playing. Really, I just think it’s talk both ways. I’ll let those two grown men handle their own grown-men argument. I’m going to stay out of it. On a side note, it just gives me a smile and it’s interesting. I think it’s fun. It’s a flashback.”