Develop Change

With the current NFL issue focusing on abuse, it’s ironic that the NFL’s leader, Roger Goodell has encountered some beatings of his own this week. Goodell has to be careful that the sword he’s so willing used with players, coaches and owners doesn’t end his tenure as the commissioner of the NFL. Before his tenure is over, he should start proactive plans to end domestic abuse and develop change.

The public and the media have been bombarded with NFL topics to digest this week. From domestic abusers to a suspected child abuser, it seems everyone’s focus is on the abusers or Roger Goodell. Let’s face it, we know Goodell isn’t telling the “complete truth” about viewing the Ray Rice video. If he personally didn’t see that video, he was informed of its contents. How can a multi-billion dollar organization, who notoriously digs up the dirt on its incoming rookies, not have the resources to obtain the Ray Rice video. No one is buying that story.

In my last post, I referenced ways to make a difference in domestic abuse. Goodell could make amends by challenging his owners and players by piloting programs that force a change in behavior and views on domestic abuse. Goodell and the NFL should have fund raisers with the proceeds benefiting new proactive programs to end domestic abuse. Start awareness and counseling programs to help families help their relatives get away from abusers. Implement programs to help teachers identify and report signs of domestic abuse in the households of their students. Create exit strategies and provide additional funding for abused spouses who are too afraid nor have the means to leave and relocate. Develop shelters for immediate short term care for the abused who need to relocate in every city that houses an NFL team.

Goodell should be the first million dollar donor. A percentage of the NFL fines received should be donated to domestic abuse and parenting programs. As a nation we need to stop looking for a culprit and start looking for ways to change what’s archaic. In lieu of its week in the press, it’s the NFL’s duty to develop change because they have the means and the platform to do so. Maybe Sean Peyton should be the commissioner.

Today’s Selections:

Dolphins 43ov
Patriots -3
Saints -5
Falcons +5.5
Seahawks -5
Packers -7
Panthers 43ov

The Ray Rice Incident and Real Change

James Daye
The Ray Rice incident can be the beginning of a national conversation that will effect positive change, but it will never take place while we are focused on creating sensational headlines. Maybe Kim Kardashian has it right. If you can’t beat the media circus, embrace it and laugh your way to the bank! At least you won’t lose your job if your job is making headlines. But when you think about it, aren’t just as many girls looking to her as an example as little boys are to Ray Rice?

And then there’s Rihanna. She gets beat up by Chris Brown, then breaks up with him. Later she goes back to him. He isn’t suspended from all concert and TV venues. We shrug at her questionable decision, but we believe she is capable of determining how to live her life.

Solange attacks Jay Z in an elevator and the gossipfest lasts a few annoying weeks, but no one loses a job or gets condemned for domestic violence. We honor the premise that it’s a family matter and they’ll figure it out. We all know that family fights are often messy, ugly affairs.

Why is it different with high profile sports figures? Often when an athlete misbehaves it becomes a reason to threaten his job and ridicule him publicly. Who decided that the NFL and NBA should be the moral police? Is that even a reasonable idea especially when Roger Goodell’s integrity has been questioned in the Rice incident?

For the moment, the answers to those questions don’t matter. The media has made an example of Ray Rice, the NFL, and tomorrow, probably Jerry Jones. As long as they are condemned loud enough and often enough, many people will begin to believe what the media are saying is true.

But what are they really saying? We’ve heard that Ray Rice should lose his job forever. It’s easy to agree with that suggestion while watching him brutally cold-cock his fiancĂ©e.

But why should he lose his job? We don’t suggest that every lawyer, doctor, investment broker, teacher, or entertainer who punches a family member be fired from their jobs. We don’t ask for the resignation of their supervisors or company CEOs. Most often, we just look the other way. Maybe we have a conversation with our daughter about how men should treat her when Aunt Phyllis shows up for Sunday dinner with yet another black eye, but we don’t call the police or Uncle Vernon’s boss.

Several years ago a white female teacher in Buffalo missed numerous days of work due to evidence of domestic abuse. She told her principal that she had been rear ended by another car and her face hit the steering wheel. Her face oozed black and blue from the trauma of a closed fist punch from her baby’s dad while she sat idly on her bed watching TV. Was it her fault she didn’t answer him quickly enough? Where were her superiors, ESPN, TMZ and the rest of the media to fight her cause?

It seems that the condemnation of Ray Rice in an effort to create sensational headlines, fill the airwaves, and show a spike in ratings is the real goal. We mention domestic violence and women’s rights as if those are our concerns, and yet our focus remains on condemning a particular man rather than on strategies to change the environment that leads to such violence.

It is easier to turn away from someone whose behavior we find appalling than it is to explore the path that led them to that behavior. We must find the courage and compassion to support those who err in order to allow them to heal the wounds and shift the beliefs that contribute to their use of violence as a means to solve a problem or settle a score. Until we do this, we cannot begin to craft a solution to a problem that is pervasive in our culture not just in professional sports.

No positive change will result from continued condemnation of Ray Rice or the NFL. Ray Rice made a mistake. He knows it. Now he and his family feel ostracized, isolated, and alone. Perhaps that is what we intend because we believe they deserve it, but surely we don’t believe that isolating and vilifying creates an environment for healing. The more pressure we put on the NFL to police its employees, the more players we may find unemployed.

If the NFL, advocates against domestic abuse and the media are serious about making a change, here are some ideas to ponder: Have fund raisers to start awareness programs to help families help their relatives get away from abusers. Implement programs to help teachers identify and report signs of domestic abuse in the households of their students. Create exit strategies and provide additional funding for abused spouses who are too afraid nor have the means to leave and relocate. Develop shelters for immediate short term care for the abused who need to relocate. Finally, mandate anger management and develop stiffer punishments for the abusers.

Ray Rice has brought us a valuable teaching moment. This incident can be the beginning of a national conversation that will effect positive change, but it will never take place while we are focused on creating sensational headlines.

Tonight’s Selections:
Steelers +3

La. Tech +3.5
BYU -18.5

Surprises And A Lot Of Disaappontments

The NFL season started off with some surprises and a lot of disappointments. The Buffalo Bills, Atlanta Falcons and the Minnesota Vikings all put on spectacular performances. On the other hand, the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs stumbled out of the block.

One key thing across the league yesterday was the offense line’s inability to protect their quarterback. If this is a trend of what’s to come this season, the NFL will experience a higher number of QB’s on the injured or inactive list.

The Buffalo Bills traveled to Chicago and pulled out an impressive win by using it’s D on offense and defense. Running backs Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller combined to rush for 104 yards while Anthony Dixon contributed 60 yards on 5 attempts. QB EJ Manuel didn’t have a spectacular day but just managed the game. If Manuel can manage the game without turning the ball over, the Bills will have a shot in each game they play because of thier youthful speed and talent.

The Falcons had a shootout at home with Matt Ryan passing for 448 yards on 31 of 43 attempts. The Falcons seem to have thier offensive swagger back. The biggest play of the game came from the defense as The Saints attempted to drive in for the go ahead score in overtime. As they stripped the ball from Colson, this allowed the Saints to win on a Matt Bryant 52 yard field goal.

The Vikings looked impressive on both sides of the ball yesterday. With a balanced attack, they rushed for 186 yards and passed for 160 yards and were still able to amass 34 points against one of the projected defenses in the NFC. Just like the Bills, the Vikings success will predicate whether Matt Cassel can manage the game without turnovers. Stifling the Rams quarterback, the Vikings front 7 created 5 sacks and several rushed pass attempts.

Each of these teams must improve on week one’s efforts and should have a good chance of making the playoffs.

The 3 teams that suffered the most in week 1 had poor offensive line performances. Though the stats looked even on paper, the 49ers forced the Cowboys into 4 turnovers. Tony Romo had 3 interceptions and did not look like a playoff caliber quarterback. Romo threw most of his passes off his back foot which caused them to sail. The Cowboys offensive line looked porous against the 49er front 7. Although Jerry Jones likes Romo and Jason Garrett, if the Cowboys are going to get back to their championship days, someone will have to go if this calibur of play persists.

Just like the Cowboys, the Patriot’s quarterback Tom Brady, was under duress the entire game versus Miami. The Dolphins literally turned the heat up on the Pats. Brady was sacked 4 times and never really felt comfortable enough in the pocket to step up to pass. Being in last place for the first time in a long time, the Patriot’s need to protect Brady or they may not make the playoffs.

The Chief’s passing game is predicated on their rushing game. With only 67 yards rushing, Kansas City never really got into a rhythm versus Tennessee. The Titans dominated every positive statistical category and maintained the ball 15 minutes more than the Chiefs. Alex Smith was a meager 19 of 35 for 202 yards and had 3 interceptions. Being in a tough division, the Chiefs must run the table at home. Yesterday was a lost opportunity. Alex Smith must play better and the Chiefs have to maintain a solid running game to win in that divisions.

Tonight’s picks:
Detroit -4.5
Arizona -2.5

NFL Free Picks

Cleveland +6.5
Buffalo +7
Philadelphia -9.5
Oakland +6.5
Baltimore -1
Carolina +3
San Francisco -3

PAC 12 Power

Week two matches of the 2014 NCAAF season has two intriguing matchups, which will undoubtedly diminish the tournament chances of the loser. The PAC 12 will have a chance to flex its muscle and demonstrate its PAC 12 power.

Michigan State travels to Oregon to face the Ducks. This matchup presents an aire of elimination for the loser. The PAC 12 seems to be legit in talent this year and looks to reserve a seat at the tournament of four.

Led by Heisman hopeful Marcus Mariota, the Ducks are still the fastest team on turf, even after losing their maestro Chip Kelly. Last week Mariota completed 14 of 20 attempts, for 267 and 3 TDs. Michigan State’s Conner Cook was just as sharp, passing for 285 on 12 of 13 attempts and 3 TDs.

The Ducks are tough at home. They may have a better all around dual threat as a team. If speed kills, the ducks should prevail in a high scoring affair as they flex their PAC 12 power.

Mich St. 56.5ov
USC. +3
S. C. -14.5
Ohio St. -10

More picks later
Notre Dame -4
BYU. +1
Boise St. -8