Each week The Friday Sports Dump looks at the world of sports and ridicules the evil that permeates within the sanctity of sports. At the same time, we strive to stay positive by balancing the bad with the pure stories that keep our sports heart blemished but not rotten.
With the NFL season finally whimpering to a resolution this week, the stage has been set with an all-time epic of depravity that has spilled from the top of the league pyramid down to the team equipment managers.
Last week, the NFL leaked information regarding an internal investigation on the New England Patriots and deflating balls to enhance their performance. Deflate-Gate or Ballghazi was born. On The Dan Patrick Show earlier this week, current NBC football analyst and former Cincinnati Bengal, Cris Collinsworth said:
“The pressure is really on Roger right now, there’s no other way of saying it.”
“They let it get out of control, Cris.” Patrick responded. “You have to do this behind the scenes. They should have said to [Patriots Head Coach, Bill] Belichick, knock it off if there’s something going on here, I don’t want this to be a bigger deal.”
“That’s what at least one coach said to me, Collinsworth added. “In days gone by in this league, if they had gotten a report that the balls were underinflated, you would have gotten a call from the commissioner saying knock it off. We’re going to check you at halftime and if you get caught at halftime, I’m just telling you right now, make it go away. Because we don’t want to go into the Super Bowl with this spectacle of what has been going on.”
Unfortunately, the good old days are gone. The days of a smart, reasonable commissioner who understood the morality and ethical responsibilities that came with leading “The Most Powerful Professional League.” In a tour de force piece for GQ, former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue recognizes what most of us have singled out, “If they see you making decisions only in economic terms, they start to understand that and question what you’re all about,” Tagliabue told GQ.
The reason Goodell is still commissioner is because he made the league a ton of money. When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses, said former US Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm. The NFL is a shining example of that.
Luckily for us, there is more to the NFL than what is plastered on the headlines. While Green Bay Quarterback Aaron Rodgers would rather be playing this Sunday, his third and final episode of #ItsAaron is making the rounds. #ItsAaron looks to create awareness for organizations and people who are changing the world, according to its website. Camp Hometown Heroes in Wisconsin is one of those organizations. The weeklong summer camp is free to children who’ve lost loved ones in the U.S. military. Rodgers surprised sisters Alexis, Starr and Kylie along with another young man Dylan.
The interaction between the five and the joy Rodgers brings to these kids whose dads fought for all of us can not be detailed in words, just watch:
Call it the emotional pull of watching that video, but The Friday Sports Dump is changing the rest of the format to only focus on the good things that happen in sports. Just so happens, that they both come from the world of the NHL.
In a first, Washington Capitols star forward Alex Ovechkin wanted to be picked last. Much like the NFL, the NHL eschewed conference and team loyalties and pick teams like their games on the frozen ponds in grade school. The last pick in the All-Star draft received a new car. A car Ovechkin was planning on donating to the Washington Ice Dogs, a local hockey program for children and young adults with physical and developmental disabilities.
While Ovechkin wasn’t picked last, Honda found out the reason behind his desire to be picked last. They reached out to the Washington star and a Honda Accord is soon to be the team car for the Ice Dogs.
Why the Ice Dogs? Ovechkin took Ann Schaub a 10-year old with Down syndrome on a sushi date in October, who plays for the team.
Last Sunday, fans of the NHL witnessed the highest scoring All-Star Game, ever. Team Toews defeated Team Foligno 17-12. For many on the losing team, however, the highlight may have been what has happening on the bench, not on the ice. 21-year-old Chris Sutter is the son of Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter and was dad’s assistant for the game. What makes this different is this isn’t your usual case of nepotism at the professional level. Chris has Down syndrome, and the only way dad, Darryl, would coach in the All-Star Game was if Chris could be behind the bench with him. For Chris, this wasn’t an exhibition game and he made that known to his players.
“He made us laugh a lot. It was great to have him around the room,” said Kings and Team Foligno defenseman Drew Doughty. “All the boys loved him and it made him happy, which makes us happy.”
Sometimes it’s easy to make fun of hockey as the least popular sport of the four professional North American leagues. After watching and reading about these special moments, it may be time for a recount.
Photo Credit: Youtube Screen Capture