02
Dec
09

My Take on Tiger

As a journalist I have a job to do. As a journalist covering a specific beat I have a job to do. However, as a fan, I have a more important job to do. I will fulfill them in that order.

Florida police have closed their investigation of golf superstar Tiger Woods’ s Thanksgiving car accident. He has been issued a citation for $164 and four points towards his license. There. That’s what’s new in this story.

Now to get to my “social media and the future of news” obligation. Tiger Woods handled the situation without consulting typical media outlets. He did not hold a press conference. He did not answer reporters’ questions. He did not even make himself available to the police for a statement. He informed the public of all he had to say about his accident through his web site. Talk about skipping the middle man, ie. the future of sports news. Here is what he had to say:

“As you all know, I had a single-car accident earlier this week, and sustained some injuries. I have some cuts, bruising and right now I’m pretty sore.

This situation is my fault, and it’s obviously embarrassing to my family and me. I’m human and I’m not perfect. I will certainly make sure this doesn’t happen again.

This is a private matter and I want to keep it that way. Although I understand there is curiosity, the many false, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible.

The only person responsible for the accident is me. My wife, Elin, acted courageously when she saw I was hurt and in trouble. She was the first person to help me. Any other assertion is absolutely false.

This incident has been stressful and very difficult for Elin, our family and me. I appreciate all the concern and well wishes that we have received. But, I would also ask for some understanding that my family and I deserve some privacy no matter how intrusive some people can be.”


Many members of the media have criticized Tiger for not saying more. Many have said that he owes the public and his fans a more honest explanation of the event that occurred early Friday morning outside his multi-million dollar home. To these members of the media I have one thing to say: Tiger owes us nothing.

His accident is a private matter. It involved one vehicle, his own, and no one besides himself was hurt. He does not have to, by law, make a statement to police. He did not break any laws, besides some minor traffic infractions, and alcohol did not play a part in the accident, according to police. He does not have to tell us why he was leaving his home at 2:30 in morning, either.

Sure, I want to know as badly as the next guy what really happened that night. I want to know why he left his home, why he crashed his car a stone’s throw away from his driveway, why he had cuts on his lips and face, why he had blood in his mouth. I want to know it all.

Without making the situation any less vague, Tiger does leave himself open for speculation. I have speculated a bunch myself. Maybe he was leaving his house to go get a microwave burrito from the gas station down the street and in his haste he neglected to put his seat belt on and even forgot to turn at the end of his driveway and subsequently drove his Escalade right over a fire hydrant and into a tree.

Maybe his daughter was sick that night. He was in a rush to go get some medicine, perhaps some Pepto Bismol, so his daughter could sleep soundly and he could have peace of mind when it was time for him to go to sleep that night.

But maybe, just maybe the rumors that have surfaced in the last week about his infidelity are true. Maybe his wife got liquored up on Thanksgiving and after putting their children to sleep, she started an argument with him. Maybe she accused him of sneaking around with a woman from New York, like the tabloids are saying. Maybe she sucker punched Tiger right in the mouth, causing blood to be found there later by police. Maybe Tiger decided to get away from here and clear his head. Maybe while he was getting into his SUV his wife began to chase after him, golf club in hand. Maybe as he got half way down the driveway she caught up with him and smashed through his back window. Maybe she then fell to the pavement because she swung the club with such velocity. Maybe Tiger was concerned for his wife and the mother of his children’s well being so he turned around in his seat to see if she was all right. Maybe then he drove over the fire hydrant and crashed into a tree. Maybe he never got a chance to put his seat belt on and banged his head into the steering wheel and was knocked unconscious.

We all can choose what we want to believe. I know what I believe, and I think I made that pretty clear. The fact of the matter is, if Tiger does not want to clear up any speculation about it he does not have to. We should respect his and his family’s privacy in dealing with this private matter.

There are members of the media demanding answers and demanding that he tells the public exactly what happened, saying that his fans deserve to know all the details. What kills me is that all sports journalists started out as fans and now here they go torturing this poor guy who has done everything in his power to please them – as journalists as well as fans.

Tiger Woods is one of the classiest athletes to ever grace this earth. To my knowledge he has never shied away from an interview, rejected a fan’s request for an autograph, or left the 18th green without shaking his opponents hand – win or lose.

In an era where athletes are being arrested for driving while under the influence, incarcerated for running illegal dog fighting circuits or shooting themselves in a night club, using steroids, being caught with controlled substances, and beating their wives – here’s Tiger; as clean an athlete as we’ve ever seen and probably will ever see.

We have seen him at his best – winning major after major, getting his first green jacket, beating Rocco Mediate on one leg, driving the ball further than you or I could even dream of doing. We have also seen him at his worst – mourning the loss of his father on national television, and now this; a potential house-breaking, family splitting clusterfuck that is all over the news.

To anyone that thinks that Tiger Woods owes us something, anything at all – he doesn’t. We may actually owe him a thing or two.

But perhaps that’s just the fan in me.

04
Nov
09

Fantasy Football Mid-season Awards Part 1 of 3

We find ourselves here again; 8 weeks into the fantasy football season. You are either ecstatic about your squad or wishing you hadn’t taken Derek Ward in the 4th round and Lendale White in the 5th. You are either in playoff contention or you’re getting blown-out on a regular basis and researching prospects for next season.

I find myself in playoff contention mostly because of week-by-week pick ups from the waiver wire and sheer luck (what’s up Miles Austin in week 5 and the 49ers Defense/ST in week 4!).

But I digress. Here are the top performers for each fantasy position thus far in the season. Pay attention, you may learn a thing or two.

Best Fantasy Quarterback – Aaron RodgersPackers Cowboys Football

Suck it, Brett Favre. You may have more wins, but Rodgers has more yards and less interceptions. Oh yea, and he doesn’t get to hand the ball to Adrien Peterson. You disgust me, Wrangler Jeans-boy.

Personal nonsense aside, Rodgers has cemented himself  in the top tier of fantasy quarterbacks this season. If he had the kind of weapons that Brady, Manning, or Brees have (or even a decent offensive line), he’d be crazy dangerous.

Season stats – 1989 passing yards, 14 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 1 rushing touchdown

runners-up: Matt Schaub, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees

Best Fantasy Running Back – Maurice Jones-Drew

Maurice_Jones-DrewI miss you MoJo! I had to part ways with this fantasy stud in order to secure depth at wide receiver and I just hated watching him break off two 79+ yard touchdown runs in the same game. He can do it all; run between the tackles, sweeps, draws, counters, catch a pass on the flat and even block.

In his first year as the feature back on the Jaguars Jones-Drew has earned his stellar pre-season ranking. It definitely helps to play in a division with some of the poorest run defenses in the league, too.

Season stats – 640 rushing yards, 10 rushing touchdowns, 27 receptions, 161 receiving yards

runners up – Adrian Peterson, Cedric Benson, Ray Rice, Chris Johnson

Best Fantasy Wide Receiver – Reggie WayneCowboys1

There is no one happier that Peyton is healthy this season than Reggie Wayne.  Wayne is second in receptions, second in receiving yards, and tied for first in receiving touchdowns. Every week he pulls in another catch that makes you say “holy shit, did you see that?”

When Anthony Gonzalez went down, I figured Wayne would not be able to get enough room to roam in the secondary with no other deep threats. Enter Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie. With Dallas Clark making moves in the middle of the field and these two rising stars pulling coverage away, Wayne has been given more room than he should to do major damage.

Season stats – 51 receptions, 689 receiving yards, 6 receiving touchdowns

runners up – Andre Johnson, Steve Smith (NYG), Vincent Jackson, Larry Fitzgerald

Best Fantasy Tight End – Dallas Clark72907596CC008_AFC_Wild_Card

What’s that? Two Colts? That’s what a healthy Peyton Manning can do for his team. No need to get into details about how the Colts offense has been able to get these guys open, although I could talk all day about my boy Donnie Brown, but Clark is an integral part of this offense. Without him moving the chains, the Colts would probably just be average.

Season stats – 46 receptions, 584 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns

runners up – Owen Daniels, Antonio Gates, Brent Celek, Heath Miller

Best Fantasy Defense/Special  Teams – The Eaglesphiladelphia_eagles

The Phillies are going to lose the World Series, but this Philly team can play defense. They are the only squad with more than 20 sacks and more than 10 interceptions. They may not get into the endzone as much as the Saints do, but they give up less points and pressure the ball more. The Eagles are second in the league in sacks, third in interceptions, and tied for seventh in fumble recoveries.

Season stats – 23 sacks, 14 interceptions, 7 fumble recoveries, 3 defensive touchdowns, 1 return touchdown

runners up – Saints, Vikings, Bills

28
Oct
09

Rudy Gay – Tweet of the Week

This will be a short post. In fact, I am posting it simply on impulse. This is a Tweet conversation between Jeff Green of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Rudy Gay of the Memphis Grizzlies.

rudy-gay2

green_070606jeff_green22 @rudygay22 GO HOYAS!!!

rudygay22 @jeff_green22 what are the HOYAS?

jeff_green22 @rudygay22 WATCH YOUR MOUTH YOUNG MAN…YOU KNOW WHAT THEY ARE AND WHO THEY ARE SUCKA MAN

In case do not live anywhere near Storrs, Conn. or Washington, D.C. (or anywhere in between, for that matter), Green went to Georgetown and Gay went to the best school in the country, UConn. They are, and will always be, Big East basketball rivals.

You don’t just leave college behind when you go to the NBA. Michael Jordan used to wear his UNC basketball shorts under his Chicago Bulls shorts for every game. Your university becomes a part of you, and you must show pride in it at all times. This argu-Tweet goes to show that even after leaving school and making millions of dollars in the NBA, these athletes still know their roots and will continue to show their college colors.

Never graduate.

For sticking it to Jeff Green and to the Georgetown faithful, Rudy Gay receives the A.Martin Sports’ “Tweet of the Week”.

day2_16

27
Oct
09

Mr. Durant, I Hardly Knew Yee

I didn’t like Kevin Durant in college. I thought he was too small, too lanky, and too raw. I thought his game was great for college competition but was unpolished and would not translate to the NBA. I also thought he was arrogant. Today, I am willing to admit I was wrong on all accounts.

His game has gotten much better; and much more quickly than I could have imagined. He can cut to the basket, hit a mid-range jump shot, drive the lane, and hit the open guy with a pass. He is leading a very young and very talented Oklahoma City Thunder team into the 2009-2010 season with a lot of confidence. He is also very friendly and open to his fans (via Twitter).

The other day he had a “Q&A” session through his Tweets. Fans sent him a message and he would post his reply. I have no idea how many questions were sent to him or how many he was able to answer, but my feed was polluted with Kevin Durant trivia.

kevin_durant_0628

Fans asked him things like: what’s the weirdest thing someone asked you to autograph? (a baseball); what has been your best NBA moment? (a game-winning shot against the Atlanta Hawks his rookie season); who is your favorite rapper? (Jay-Z and Lil’ Wayne); what is your shoe size? (18); what position did you play in high school? (center); and when the Thunder make the playoffs, can you hook me up with three tickets? (of course).

I thought this was amazing. I got to know things about Kevin that I may have never been able to find out. News articles and interviews on television only go so far. Most athletes are so image-conscious that they never open up fully to the media. Twitter has allowed the athletes themselves to control the information the public receives. We, the fans, benefit from that more than anyone. Then I read this question and answer:

KevinDurant35 RT @AdotGdot @KevinDurant35 What other schools were you thinking about goinkevin-durantg to other than Texas?!? ….UCONN and UNC..glad I picked Texas!!

YOU WERE GONNA COME TO UCONN?!?!??!? HOLY SHIT!

Kevin would have been here my freshman year, when the Huskies were transitioning from that terrible George Mason loss in the Elite 8. He would have been here the one year we didn’t even make the God-forsaken NIT. He would have been on the court with A.J. Price, Craig Austrie, a raw and lanky Hasheem Thabeet, and Jeff “I’ll eat your children at half-time while smiling” Adrien. What a line-up that would have been!!! We wouldn’t have needed to put Dougie “No Brakes or Steering” Wiggins in the game at all. And, we could have brought along Jerome Dyson and Stanley Robinson slowly and develop their game so that they reach their immense potential.

You would have walked down the same streets as I do, ate in the same dining hall, “attended” the same classes, chased the same women. We would have been at the same parties, laughed at the same jokes, chant the same chants. We would have become best friends. But no, you went to Texas.

Could you at least send me some autographed merchandise or something?!?!?!

nba_g_durant_200

23
Oct
09

Tweet of the Week – Marcus Williams

I have to be honest – most of the stuff that comes out of Marcus Williams’ Twitter account is nonsense; illiterate, ignorant, ridiculous nonsense. Take these for example:

a_williams_195“A chick ever sent u a pic of herself and her room was dirty but u ezpass it cuz she look good? Hehehe”

or

“Do baseball players have groupies? I wouldn’t know who the 1st basemen from the dodgers was if he walked right in front of me”

or

“Lmao if u remotely fart by someone’s face, it can get very funny if ur just a witness…”

or

“I HATE ppl that follow me and don’t reply to nothin. Its quite creepy, cuz u just in the cut being nosey. Like u in the bushes nearby”

or

“I have the most retweetable tweets”

You see my point. I mean, is a “verified account”even necessary for him? Recently, however, he had a half-coherent thought and decided to Tweet it. He didn’t attribute the information, nor elaborate on it, but I do believe in its vacnnlidity.

mw1ll Yo, twitter officially gets news faster than CNN!

This is something we’ve talked about all semester in class: how social media platforms are the new newspapers. People hear about something and instantly its on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. etc. and it spreads across the web. I’m not sure what Marcus means by “officially” but I can see what he means. And if he can get it, mainstream media outlets should definitely be able to get it.

For making a valid point on your Twitter account, proving to me you’re not an idiot 24/7, and showing the effects of social media on the news business, Marcus Williams receives this week’s A.Martin Sports’ “Tweet of the Week.”

sp-marcus29_0499207871

08
Oct
09

Tweet of the Week – Larry Fitzgerald

Larry Fitzgerald is an elite wide receiver in the NFL and is one of the most active Twitter-ers in all of sports. He tweets several times a day – comments on football practice, inspirational words or quotes, and feedback to fans that tweet twitterProfilePhoto.jpghim. I like to read his updates almost as much as I like to watch him terrorize his opponent’s secondary, but one of his tweets this past week really grabbed my attention and motivated me to act.

Lfitzgerald11 – Support Breast Cancer Awareness, add a #twibbon to your avatar now! – http://bit.ly/WGcGz

The “twibbon” Larry is advocating for is a pink breast cancer ribbon that appears in the lower left hand corner of your Twitter NFL-Breast-CancerAvatar. It shows up whenever you tweet and shows your followers that you support breast cancer survivors, victims and/or research. Twibbons can be used to show a variety of different things on your avatar- from your favorite baseball team to your favorite brand of coffee.

The NFL, along with other professional sport leagues, have designated days to show support for breast cancer research. In baseball, players wear pink gloves and use pink bats. In basketball, a pink ribbon is painted on the court for the game. In football, players wear pink cleats and coaches wear pink hats.

Tom Brady and his pink cleats

Tom Brady and his pink cleats

If you have a Twitter account and would like to add the breast cancer awareness Twibbon you can visit this site – http://twibbon.com/join/Breast-Cancer-Awareness-4 .

Breast cancer research has come a long way and with the help of social media and big name advocates it can go a lot further. For supporting breast cancer research on and off the field (and on social media), Larry Fitzgerald is honored with A.Martin Sports’ “Tweet of the Week.”

3_F_s

01
Oct
09

Tweet of the Week – Marlon Williams

ncf_a_mleach_300

Mike Leach

Texas Tech head football coach does not understand social media. More specifically, he does not understand the purpose and importance of Twitter.

Mike Leach has banned all of his football players from using the social media platform Twitter after he was called out by one of his linebackers, Marlon Williams, for being late to a meeting.

According to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Williams asked on his Twitter account why he was still in a meeting room when “the head coach can’t even be on time.” That tweet has been deleted and his page no longer exists, according to an article by ESPN.

Not only has he banned Twitter use for his team, Leach has pretty much made a mockery of the entire Twitter population, calling them “narcissists.” He added that if his players didn’t get enough attention already, he would be willing to put mirrors in their lockers.

Leach should take a page out of USC head football coach Pete Carroll’s book and embrace Twitter. Carroll tweets multiple times a day about a wide variety of things; from where he’s going to eat, to what he’s watching on television, to boasting about his former players’ success in the NFL. But an event that happened in the past week has shown how different his view about Twitter is to Leach’s.

pc3

Pete Carroll

After his running back Stafon Johnson had a freak weight-lifting accident that required emergency throat surgery, Carroll encouraged Johnson to create a Twitter account to interact with fans who want to give him their support and prayers during his recovery. Johnson joined Twitter on September 30 and at the time of this publishing, he had over 7,000 followers.

One coach not only bans all his players from using it but makes fun of the use Twitter whereas another not only uses it but has encouraged one of his players to use the site to connect with fans.

So, are Twitter users narcissists? Absolutely not. Leach is delusional and uniformed. For exposing one  man’s ignorance and arrogance about Twitter, Marlon Williams receives the A.Martin Sports “Tweet of the Week.”

Marlon Williams

Marlon Williams




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