Kiss Between Tristan Thompson and @FSOAllieOop (Allie Clifton) Yields to Great Overreaction

If you watched Friday night’s NBA preseason game between the Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers, you saw Cavs forward/center Tristan Thompson score 17 points and grab 11 rebounds in 30 minutes of play.

However, it’s what happened before the 108-102 Dallas victory tipped off that has had everybody talking, and in some cases crying foul, over the past few days.

In a pregame interview, Clifton grilled Thompson as to his approach to moving back to playing forward.

Thompson replied with “See ball, get ball. Same approach. You know how I do, Tina.” This is nothing new for Thompson, who has routinely joked around with Clifton during her previous two seasons on the FOX Sports Ohio Cavaliers telecasts. As the interview neared its end, Thompson leaned over and planted a quick kiss on Clifton’s head, right after he winked at the camera.

(If you have yet to see the video clip in question, go here:

In the aftermath of the kiss seen nationally via NBA TV’s carriage of the Cleveland feed, people are acting as if Thompson was behaving inappropriately toward Clifton.

Good Lord, it’s not like Thompson and Clifton shared a kiss on the mouth! A kiss is just a kiss, no matter if it’s on the cheek, forehead, or mouth. Was the kiss inappropriate? Sort of, but it’s not that big of a deal.

The pinheads of the Internet are treating this as if it were an act of sexual misconduct. Half of the comments on YouTube are crying racism because of the smooch between Thompson, who is black, and Clifton, who is white.

Heavens to Betsy, this is late 2014. In this day and age, interracial couples and marriages are about as common as having a cup of coffee while reading the daily newspaper every morning.

Kelly Dwyer, writer at Yahoo!’s NBA-centric blog, Ball Don’t Lie, delivered the granddaddy of all overreactions, calling Thompson’s innocuous kiss “not cool, not funny.” Here’s the paragraph that’s made the most rounds on the Web:

“Just because Allie Clifton remained calm and professional and kept a smile following the buss, it doesn’t mean Tristan Thompson wasn’t straight up sexually harassing her. She remained calm and professional because she is a professional – that is to say, she’s doing her [EXPLETIVE DELETED] job. Don’t kiss someone without their consent, ever, and don’t kiss someone without their consent while they’re doing their job.

This isn’t cute or funny or meme-worthy. There should be no marginalizing or rationalizing of this. That could be a mortifying thing for this reporter, and Thompson couldn’t be more in the wrong.”

It isn’t a mortifying thing. As was stated previously, the kiss is 100 percent innocuous in nature. Dwyer completely missed the point.

Besides, if Dwyer had bothered to do research on Allie Clifton before writing that column, he’d have know she’s not scarred by this in the least bit. She’s been happily married for just over a year.  I’m certain her husband isn’t too concerned about this funny moment, either.

While no official response about the kiss has been made by Tristan Thompson, Clifton tweeted this yesterday:

“Hey fans thing was inside joke & not a big deal. We have a good working relationship. All is good. Can’t wait 4 tonight.”

In closing, I ask you to just calm the hell down about this. Chill!

Ties Bad For NFL

Prior to 2012, there were only four NFL games which ended in tie scores since the start of the 1990’s. Here are the games which ended in ties in question:

November 16, 1997: Baltimore Ravens 10, Philadelphia Eagles 10. (Each team’s kicker missed what would have been the game-winning field goal attempt for their respective clubs in the overtime period. Baltimore placekicker Matt Stover missed wide right on a 53-yard try with 2:21 remaining, and Philadelphia kicker Chris Boniol [just acquired the previous spring from Dallas] also whiffed on a field goal from 40 yards out at the whistle.)

November 23, 1997: Washington Redskins 7, New York Giants 7. (This is the only tie game ever in the history of Sunday Night Football. Game was made famous for Redskins quarterback Gus Frerotte’s headbutt into the wall after the tying touchdown.)

November 10, 2002: Atlanta Falcons 34, Pittsburgh Steelers 34. (Atlanta overcame a 17-point deficit to force OT. Tommy Maddox threw a Hail Mary pass to Plaxico Burress on the last play of the game. Burress was tackled a half yard away from the end zone, preserving the draw.)

November 16, 2008: Philadelphia Eagles 13, Cincinnati Bengals 13. (Shayne Graham’s 47-yard game-winner fell short with seconds left in the game.)

No ties were recorded until November 11, 2012, when the St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers battled to a 24-24 stalemate. In that game, the Rams had the game-winning field goal nullified after a flag, and both clubs failed to convert field goal attempts in the extra session.

The next year on the Sunday prior to Thanksgiving, Minnesota and Green Bay tied, 26-26 after the Vikings erased a 16-point deficit in the 4th quarter. Both the Vikings and the Packers kicked field goals in OT to tie the game for good.

Last Sunday, the NFL had its third tie since the outset of 2012, when the Bengals and Carolina Panthers played to a 37-37 draw after Mike Nugent failed to convert the game-winner at the whistle.

In the wake of the highest scoring tie in the NFL since overtime rules came into play in 1974, the fact that regular season games can still end in a tie score in 2014 is very frustrating.

Think about it: You’re sitting there, watching a three and a half hour-long football game, but there’s no result, no ultimate winner. Ties aren’t good for the National Football League. They leave a bad taste in fans’ mouths.

With there having been three tie games in as many seasons in the NFL, it’s time for a change,  The League should seriously consider adopting the overtime rules used in the NCAA since 1996.

Pretty much everybody in the NFL today has played college football using these OT rules.  The NCAA overtime rules are a better set of regulations than what the NFL uses for overtime.

In college overtime, you’ve got only a play clock, possessions beginning on your opponent’s 25-yard line, no sudden death, and you and your opponent have to attempt a two-point conversion after touchdowns in the third and all subsequent overtime periods.

This means that if the NFL were to adopt these rules (which they should,) games will end in a guaranteed winner all the time.

Read my lips, no more ties.

NFL on FOX Removes UFC Announcer Goldberg after Twitter Outburst

During every UFC telecast, when a knockout occurs, play-by-play announcer Mike Goldberg will shout this phrase:


That phrase now also applies to his career as an NFL play-by-play broadcaster. Goldberg, who joined the on-air staff at FOX Sports in 2011 after the American television broadcast rights to all UFC non-pay-per-view events transferred to FOX from Spike TV, was given a two-game trial run in October. Brendon Ayanbadejo, former Atlanta Falcons linebacker, was tapped as Goldberg’s color commentator.

The pair’s first telecast was Sunday afternoon’s regionally-aired Lions/Vikings game. Throughout the telecast, Goldberg made several factual errors, none more glaring than when he said that the intended receiver of an incomplete pass by Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was Lions wide receiver Golden Tate. The target was #15 on the Vikings, Greg Jennings. Tate wears #15 on the Lions.

He also flubbed by mispronouncing the names of certain players on both teams, forgot what down it was, and the like. Some fans weren’t too keen on having Goldberg call their team’s game.

One fan tweeted that he’s “heard better announcing on the subway.” Goldberg, who has previously called Arizona Cardinals exhibition games on local television in the Phoenix broadcast area, had a horrible telecast on Sunday afternoon.

After the game, Goldberg took to Twitter and got into a war of words with the viewers who criticized his broadcast.  Most of the nasty tweets he sent out (and later deleted) are unfit for reposting on this blog.

The cleanest tweet from his outburst was this message he sent to a member of the Lions/Vikings viewing audience:

“I hope you never waste my time again.”

Earlier today, FOX responded to this tirade by removing Goldberg from this Sunday afternoon’s regionally-televised Vikings/Bills game. Ayanbadejo will provide color analysis as originally scheduled.

In lieu of Goldberg, FOX Sports has tapped the newest member of its on-air staff, veteran play-by-play announcer Tim Brando, to describe the action of this Week 7 ballgame.

Brando just came over to FOX from CBS Sports this fall after leaving The Tiffany Network earlier this year, where he served as host of the network’s SEC on CBS pregame report, College Football Today, as well as a play-by-play announcer for the network’s NCAA basketball coverage including March Madness.

Brando is, like Goldberg was, part of a revolving door of announcers and analysts for regionally-televised NFL games. He’ll return to the NFL booth at the end of the season after his college football duties wrap up. Fellow college football announcer Gus Johnson will cover NFL games in December, as well.

Even though Mike Goldberg is a great play-by-play man, the way he conducted himself on social media late Sunday afternoon after his NFL telecast was completely unprofessional. Every sports broadcaster has had a bad day on the air every now and then.

If any sports broadcaster were to respond to people who badmouth them in the way Goldberg did, they’d be fired quicker than you can say “Peyton Manning throws a rare interception and Perrish Cox returns it all the way back for a 49ers touchdown.”

You’d never see Jim Nantz respond to critics like that, because it would look bad on him. It would reflect poorly on any sportscaster.

UPDATE: As of 5:02 p.m. ET, Goldberg has officially apologized for his remarks on his Twitter account last weekend.

“I just want to apologize to everyone at FOX and elsewhere for my momentary lapse of reason Sunday night. I let some mean-spirited folks on twitter get to me and I should have had thicker skin instead of reacting so quickly and emotionally. I don’t want to be a distraction on the upcoming broadcast Sunday, so we mutually agreed that it would be best to sit this next one out. I’m not happy about it personally but, professionally, it’s the right thing to do after my mistake. Thank you to FOX and to others who have been so great to me and understanding.”- Mike Goldberg’s apology, via Twitter earlier today.


AMC Sacks LA KISS Reality Docuseries “4th & Loud” after Only Season

Earlier this year, the LA KISS, one of two new Arena Football League teams for the 2014 season, took the field for their inaugural campaign. All of America was watching.

Television network AMC captured all of the on-field action and off-field drama of the day-to-day operations of the football team, owned by classic rockers Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, in a reality docudrama entitled 4th & Loud, which premiered on August 12.

The premiere date was one week later than what had been originally planned. 10 episodes made up the first season, which closes on Tuesday night.

Although the initial season was successful, AMC has decided to pull the plug on 4th & Loud after Tuesday’s broadcast, as per a report from Variety Magazine’s Television Managing Editor Cynthia Littleton.

The article states that most of AMC’s unscripted programming, like Game of Arms, an arm-wrestling competition, and three new reality series just commissioned by the network last May, were all scrubbed.

According to Littleton, this was done “as the cabler beats out a retreat of the reality genre to redouble its focus on scripted development.”

Some viewers of the show have argued that too much emphasis was placed on Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley’s involvement with the franchise.  The episode “Marked Man” revolved partially around Simmons and Stanley going on tour with KISS, while the football team was faced with a game against rival Portland.

Another crucial story line in the episode came about when LA head coach Bob McMillen overheard that quarterback Aaron Garcia had been offered the head coaching position for the KISS if McMillen were to be fired after the 2014 season.

In the previous week’s episode, footage of a meeting between McMillen and team co-owner Brett Bouchy was shown, during which Bouchy assured McMillen that his position wasn’t in danger.

It’s almost as if AMC was banking solely on Simmons and Stanley’s involvement with the team for the show to be successful.  The fact of the matter is that the show has very little to do with actual football.

Aside from edited highlights with post-production commentary by Arena Football announcer Ari Wolfe, there’s not much action going on. Practices have been shown interspersed with interview-style commentary from Simmons, Stanley, McMillen, Bouchy, and other members of the staff and players.

Other people contend that the off-field footage captured seems staged.

Case in point: Last week’s episode showed clips of a pool party held for the team and staff, during which Bouchy and his wife got into a heated argument regarding the time the team spends on the practice field. To top it all off, this tete-a-tete unfolded right in front of the players, who gave the couple some strange looks.

To me, that just screams staged, no doubt about it.

After Tuesday night’s first season finale, 4th & Loud faces an uncertain future. Not all hope is lost. According to reports, the series’ production company, ThinkProgress Media, is currently in the process of shopping 4th & Loud to another network.

That just might be what turns the tide. If it goes to ESPN, maybe the series will focus more on football.


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Redblacks playoff dreams hanging by a thread


Expansion RedBlacks’ postseason hopes could be dashed after Monday’s Thanksgiving games, writes Gord Holder of The Ottawa Citizen.

Originally posted on Ottawa Citizen:

Like millions of turkeys, the Ottawa Redblacks’ playoff aspirations may not survive Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Maybe it was always a longshot for the Canadian Football League expansion franchise to qualify for the six-team tournament leading to the Grey Cup championship. Still, given the relative struggles of East Division counterparts, it was possible.

Crunch time has arrived.

If the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (6-7) beat the Toronto Argonauts (5-8) on Friday, the Redblacks (2-11) lose to the B.C. Lions (7-7) on Saturday and the Montreal Alouettes (5-8) down the Saskatchewan Roughriders (9-5) on Monday, Ottawa will be officially eliminated.

“It’s literally the cliché: It’s one game at a time, and we are trying to win as many games as we can this year,” Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell said Wednesday after practice at TD Place stadium. “We are going to play all five of the rest and see what all shakes out.

“We have never…

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Thursday Night Football Proves Tedious so Far in 2014

It’s Week 6 in the 2014 NFL season, and in terms of the on-field action, one thing remains constant: The play on Thursday Night Football through the first five Thursdays hasn’t been good.

USA Today’s sports blog, For The Win, hit the nail on the head in a column last Friday when author Chris Chase wrote this:

“Even for a league that’s proved easy to criticize over the last month, the complete disdain for the awful football on display every Thursday night is perhaps the most universal complaint. Put aside the telecast, which is top-notch despite the awful games they’re forced to air and no one– NO ONE– can say Thursday Night Football has been anything but a complete disaster.”

Chase is right. The quality of the broadcast of Thursday Night Football has been the finest operation this year on sports television.

When it has the talent of The NFL Today on CBS Sports, such as James Brown and Bill Cowher, combined with the talent of NFL Network’s own NFL GameDay Morning, such as Rich Eisen, Marshall Faulk, and Michael Irvin, it’s almost impossible to criticize the presentation aspect of TNF.

The games have all been decisive in nature this season. Look at the scores of the first five Thursday night games of 2014:

September 4: Seattle Seahawks 36, Green Bay Packers 16

September 11: Baltimore Ravens 26, Pittsburgh Steelers 6

September 18: Atlanta Falcons 56, Tampa Bay Bucs 14

September 25: New York Giants 45, Washington Redskins 14

October 2: Green Bay Packers 42, Minnesota Vikings 10

The first two weeks tied for the closest margin of victory (20 points.) Weeks three, four, and five have all featured blowout games, with the margin of victory being 30 points or greater. It’s been pretty boring.

We’re only six weeks deep into the season, and the three largest blowouts this year have all happened in the last three weeks on Thursday Night Football. By halftime, most viewers are searching for the remote to turn on the Thursday night college football games on ESPN or FOX Sports 1.

Here’s another statistic: Night games in the NFL account for nearly 50 percent of the most lopsided ballgames. Atlanta’s 42-point beatdown of Tampa Bay three weeks ago was the largest blowout of this season.

That night, the Falcons jumped out to an early lead and never gave it up, swelling to a 56-0 halftime advantage. While the Buccaneers got on the board with two second half touchdowns, it was academic.

Perhaps the biggest complaint about Thursday Night Football comes from the men playing in these games: It’s a quick turnaround.

Think about it: A usual week entails a Monday off day for the teams, followed by the weekly press junket and initial practice on Tuesday. Practice continues through Friday, with team meetings and walk-throughs on Saturday in advance of the game on Sunday.

With a Thursday night game, that all gets condensed into a three-day time frame, and with the added concern over player injuries, it can get rather dangerous for the players. If a player who just came back from an injury were to get re-injured playing on a Thursday night game, it could be the injury that ends his season.

It wasn’t that long ago that the NFL had Thursday Night Football as a regular feature only in the back end of the regular season. While some contend that TNF should return to that format, it’s not going to go away.

Much like the Pro Bowl, Thursday Night Football brings in advertising revenue for the NFL and gets people to watch pro football on an evening that was once reserved for college football. Here’s the Chris Chase For The Win article.

#Indians 2014: My Personal Thoughts

Well, here I sit at my laptop on this, the night of the last Cleveland Indians game of the 2014 season. Six months ago, when the season started, I had high hopes for the team. Frankly, so did a number of the team’s fans.

I thought these guys were going to go to the playoffs again this season. Frankly, so did many of the team’s fans.

While most baseball writers thought otherwise,  Jeff Bennett of ESPN’s statistics and information department predicted that the Indians were going to emerge as the world champions of baseball this year.

(For the record, Bennett also thought that the Boston Red Sox would repeat as champions of the American League Eastern Division, and that the Dodgers would win the National League Wild Card Game and parlay that into the National League championship.)

After 162 games, the 2014 Cleveland Indians are done, gone, finished, out the door, whatever expression you want to choose. While some fans are upset that the season is over too soon, I am not one of them.

I feel that despite the loss of several key players on the team, such as Justin Masterson and Asdrubal Cabrera from last year, there’s so much for fans to be proud of.

The fact that Terry Francona’s Indians were mathematically in contention for a postseason berth until as recently as this past Friday night– 160 games into the season– is absolutely incredible given all the trouble the team had gone through this season. In a word, it’s amazing.

I’m proud of what the team was able to do this season even with everything that happened over the course of the last six months.

An 85-77 record this season may not have gotten the Indians into the playoffs, but I still feel that it is a successful season by and large. The Indians exited the clubhouse on this last day of business in the 2014 season in third place in the American League Central Division, five games back of the four-time division champion Detroit Tigers.

364 days ago, the Indians flew back home from Minneapolis with a 92-70 record, second place in the division, one game back of Detroit. They were getting ready for the American League Wild Card Game against the Rays, a game which they dropped 4-0.

This year ended with the same opponent, but with much lower stakes and a different result. The Indians took 2-of-3 to end the second year of the Terry Francona era of Cleveland Indians baseball on a high note.

A postseason berth isn’t everything. I’m still quite happy with the way the Indians performed over the course of the year. The future looks bright for the Indians, a team which has only two players from this season’s roster not under a guaranteed contract for next season.

To quote singer Dr. John in the opening theme song to the early 1990’s teen sitcom Blossom:

“In my opinionation, the sun is gonna surely shine!”

A full recap of the 2014 Cleveland Indians season will be up on this blog in a few weeks’ time. Next Indians game: Monday, April 6 (just 190 days from now, kids) at the Houston Astros.



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