Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Roger Goodell should be Suspended a Year

The majority of people who are paying attention to the Ray Rice scandal will agree that the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, is a total a**hole and hypocrite.  Goodell claims he didn't know about the elevator tapes involving Rice and his then fiance, which led to his initial two-game ban on Rice.  But when TMZ released the footage to the public, Rice gets suspended indefinitely.  There has been many news articles circulating the web that both the Baltimore Ravens and Goodell knew about the tapes since April, when Rice admitted he hit his fiance.  There's reports that Rice got the two-game suspension because the Ravens' owner, Steve Bisciotti, convinced Goodell to reduce the punishment.  But since the videos became public, the NFL had no choice but to take swift and hard action against Rice.
The question is whether or not the league knew about the video in April.  The league is in denial.  So, Goodell is either lying or ignorant, and ignorance is grounds for one whole year suspension.  Where the one year suspension come from? From the outcome of the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal.  Coach Sean Payton was banned for one year because he was unaware of the bounties his assistant coaches and several players were involved.
As ESPN contributor Bill Simmons and Drew Brees, the Saints' quarterback, pointed out, Goodell should be suspended for a whole year because he claimed ignorance and the bounty scandal already created a precedent on ignorance claims.  ESPN suspended Simmons for three weeks for his podcast criticizing both Goodell and ESPN.
Right now, Goodell has too much power.  The NFL will continue to remain messy with him in charge if there's no form of checks and balance to him.  The league has launched its own investigation of the Rice case.  However, the investigation is handled by WilmerHale, a law firm with close ties to the NFL instead of an independent and neutral one.  As a result, the NFLPA has requested that former federal prosecutor Richard Craig Smith probe the case on behalf of the NFLPA.  The union is hoping to get a neutral arbitrator to settle the case.  Unfortunately, the collective bargaining agreement allows Goodell to choose the judge.  Even if the judge is partial toward Goodell, his reign as commissioner is declining.  His legacy is tarnished and he may have to resign to save face.

Robert Lin loves basketball and anime.  Follow him on Twitter and/or Google+.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Atlanta Hawks Owner wanted to be more Inclusive not Racist

Recently, majority owner of the Atlanta Hawks, Bruce Levenson, has felt pressured to sell his team because of an email he sent out to general manager, Danny Ferry, two years ago, which has now become public knowledge and alleges that he was making racist comments.  The truth was that Levenson wanted to attract higher income and white families to a sport venue predominantly attended by black fans.
This email would not have seen the light of day had Ferry not made these comments about forward Luol Deng of the Miami Heat, when he was a free agent this past summer: "He [Deng] is still a young guy overall.  He is a good guy overall.  But he's not perfect.  He's got some African in him.  And I don't say that in a bad way.  But he's a guy who would have a nice store out front, but sell you counterfeit stuff out of the back."  This is a description of a player who is well-respected in the league and in April was presented with J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship award for his off-court charity work.
The offensive quote came from a background report, meaning a scout's report, which instead of editing it, Ferry said it out loud during a telephone meeting.  It turns out the scouting report came from a different team.  When minority owner Michael Gearon heard it, he requested to Levenson that Ferry be fired.  One of the Hawks' stakeholders called for an internal investigation.  A private Atlanta law firm performed the investigation.  During the review of over 24,000 documents, Levenson's two year old, questionable email resurfaced.

In the Levenson's email, there was the following passage:

 "I think southern whites simply were not comfortable being in an arena or at a bar where they were in the minority" and "I have been open with our executive team about these concerns. I have told them I want some white cheerleaders and while I don't care what the color of the artist is, I want the music to be music familiar to a 40 year old white guy if that's our season [tickets] demo. I have also balked when every fan picked out of crowd to shoot shots in some timeout contest is black. I have even [complained] that the kiss cam is too black."

Levenson is basically telling his staff to find ways to draw more Caucasian customers.  He feels white people are uncomfortable mingling at the bar or at the arena where they're in the minority.  He advises his staff to play music that white people can identify, to hire white cheerleaders, and to have the stadium cams show there are other people besides African Americans that attend the games.  It is a sad state when the team has the second longest playoff streak at seven years, but finished 28th in attendance last season. As a businessman, Levenson wanted reform to bring out more revenue by being more inclusive of diverse customers.  It just so happens there's this witch hunt on white people because of Donald Sterling and the Ferguson case and he's being bunched in with them when he's not willfully racist at all.
In 2016, the Atlanta Braves will be moving from downtown Atlanta to the suburbs of Cobb County, Georgia.  It's called "white flight", a migration of people from a previous place that no longer meets their standards of safety and decency.  Cobb County is 65% white and has a poverty level of 12%, whereas Atlanta is 54% black with poverty level of 24%.  If more businesses relocate from Atlanta, the city deteriorates.
Levenson's email brings up the fact that Atlanta itself is a divided city.  White and black people feel unease around each other.  Levenson should be applauded for trying to be more inclusive and to keep the team in Atlanta instead of being forced to sell his team to a new ownership who might not be comfortable having a business in a black dominant neighborhood.

Robert Lin loves basketball and anime.  Follow him on Twitter and/or Google+.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Not Rape if Unconscious

Yesterday, singer CeeLo Green tweeted a message that roughly said "It is not rape if the person is unconscious."  His Twitter account was temporarily shut down and he did apologize about the tweets.  He was going to have a reality tv show, "The Good Life", with TBS.  Thankfully, TBS cancelled the show in light of these accusations. 
Green tweeted those ignorant comments while he was on trial for giving a woman ecstasy before going back to her hotel.  The woman in question remembered going to dinner with him and then waking up naked at her hotel with no recollection of the events in between.  He tweeted, "People who have really been raped REMEMBER!" "If someone is passed out they're not even WITH you consciously! so WITH implies consent."
He compared his definition of rape with a home burglary.  "When someone brakes on a home (sic) there is broken glass where is your plausible proof anyone was raped."
In a burglary, there might be broken glass as evidence of burglary.  But when the victim is unconscious, there's no proof of invasion without consent and "not with you" consciously.  Basically, if the person is knocked out, the perpetrator has permission to do whatever.  Same as if a house has the door wide open and the house is empty.
Green tweeted that his comments were taken out of context before closing down his twitter account.
On Friday, the judge sentenced him to 3 years of probation and to be registered as a controlled substance offender.
Celebrities sometimes say the stupidest things.  It's a good thing the new "Yes means Yes" law on sexual consent will be passed. The only problem with the law is it'll be a battle of which person do we trust?  He said yes, she said no or she could have said yes, and other possibilities.  There will not be any witnesses.  Plus, asking for permission for sex between lovers ruins the whole "let's have sex" moment.
On a side note, a group of North Carolina State students is developing nail polish that will change colors in a drink if the drink has date-rape drugs such as Rohypnol, Xanax, and GHB.  It's called Undercover Colors. 

Robert Lin loves basketball and anime.  Follow him on Twitter and/or Google.