Monday, October 28, 2013
Something ugly, sinister and vicious is afoot in the NBA, which opens its season this week.
It's about gays in the league. You think the NBA is gay-friendly, with all the players having a live-and-let-live policy?
There's a toxic layer of fear, hatred and homophobia that's slithering through the underbelly of the league. Yes most of the players have a positive attitude toward gays but, unfortunately, there's more gay haters in the league than you'd think. And they have been quite busy since April, the end of the last regular season, when Jason Collins came out of the closet, a first for an active player in a major American pro sport..The haters been waging a quiet, sneaky and effective campaign to keep other gay NBA players either out of the league or in the closet.
This is the word from Dr. K, a Brown university alum who operates mostly on the East coast. He's in touch with many NBA players and very active in the underground that handles some of the players' dirty business.. Says Dr. K: "Since Collins came out there's a bunch of players who don't want more NBA guys to come out of the closet. They're sneaky and very effective. They don't want this to become a league that's overrun with gays. They've leaked their feelings to NBA management, which is aware that openly gay players may cause some problems."
So far, Collins hasn't been hired.by any team. A 34-year-old, seven-foot veteran, his stats aren't impressive and he's no more than an aging, marginal, end-of-the-bench player.. But, with his experience and savvy, he could help some playoff-bound team. Explaining why Collins is still unemployed, the GMs are saying they not only can sign a younger, equally talented player for much less money but they don't want the media distraction Collins would create.. .
Notes Dr. K: "That's only part of the story. The GMs don't want to make waves. They know there's part of the NBA that doesn't want gays in the league. Why antagonize these players to sign a guy who's not an impact player?"
This means the NBA's gay haters have power.
"Oh yes they do," Dr. K says emphatically.
Why are the gay haters hating?
Replies Dr. K: "It's religion in some cases. It's culture in some cases, where guys grew up in anti-gay hoods.. Or it's just that some guys just want to be able to walk around undressed in the locker room and not think they're being sized up by some gay guy..Sure there are gay guys in the league now but they're very quiet and nearly all in the closet."
Which teams are most likely to sign gay players?
Says Dr. K: "The ones in big cities, like L.A. or New York, or maybe Golden State,, which is near San Francisco. I wouldn't expect to find openly gay players going to a small, mid-western city--or to Utah. Even blacks and Latin players aren't crazy about going to Utah. If you're not white and straight and religious, you don't want to be in Utah."
What's going to change this situation?
Says Dr.K: "If somebody would hire Collins that would get the ball rolling. If teams could see that having an openly gay player isn't so bad or so disruptive, that would help. But what would really make a difference is if some openly gay player was really good, among the league's best, a player who's a major factor on a playoff team. If some guy like that was openly gay, many teams would want him. If some gay player could put their team in the championship hunt , the GMs wouldn't give a damn what the gay haters thought."
Posted by Dennis Hunt at 4:02 PM
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
A moment of silence for die-hard Cal fans.
They're deep in mourning for their football team. After the latest beat-down, by UCLA 37-10 last Saturday, the Bears are dead, six-feet under. They have just one win, over a mediocre small-college team, and no prospects for any more.
A one-win season for Cal? Looks like it. How pitiful. Shades of Tom Holmoe, the bungler who coached Cal to a one-win season in 2001---and then was replaced by Jeff Tedford.
It's a shame no one can indict coach Sonny Dykes for murder. He's killed the program, in just a half season, with his idiotic, all-offense format. He had an accomplice who should be strung up with him. That's AD Sandy Barbour, who hired this boob in the first place. What the hell was she thinking? It was smart to finally fire Tedford, who'd lost it and was making blunder after blunder and had the program pointed in the wrong direction for years.. But to hire somebody worse, some offensive whiz from minor-league Louisiana Tech who clearly has a disdain for defense..His approach may have worked in the WAC, where defense is a dirty word, but it's wrong for the big leagues.
What's really eating away at the mourning Bears' fans is that there's no real hope for things to get better. According to sources close to several Cal players, the team is totally demoralized and down on Dykes. All that buddy-buddy stuff that you see occasionally between Dykes and the players? A public-relations sham, reports one of the sources. A bewildered defensive player told a source that the team has no confidence in the defensive schemes and has little respect for the skills of coordinator Andy Buh, who's clearly in way over his head. Let's not even talk about defensive fundamentals..The way these players tackle is laughable.
One clear signal about the quality of a new coach is the progress of stars.Well, Cal's most promising star, RB Brendan Bigelow, has rapidly regressed under Dykes. Predicted to be one of the prime players in the Pac12 this season, Bigelow has turned into a fumbler who runs cautiously and has been demoted to the third team. That explosive power runner with the gaudy yards-per-carry stats? A thing of the past, a victim of the new coaching staff and the dumb Dykes system.
Cal has two big-time players, QB Jared Goff and WR Chris Harper--and not much else. While Tedford did leave the cupboard somewhat bare,. there is some leftover talent. With the right coaching and a system suited to that talent, the team should win at least three or four games and be somewhat respectable-and not, as it is, the laughing stock of the Pac12..
Dykes' excuse for this miserable season, that so many players are injured, doesn't cut it. When the team was healthy, it was terrible.
Cal fans, don't look for help in the next recruiting class. Word travels among high-school players headed to big-time colleges. In California circles, sources report, they're saying don't bother with Cal as long as Dykes is in charge..If you want to be a winner, these players are telling each other, stay out of Berkeley. With this negative feeling out there among recruits, how is Cal going to attract high-quality players?
Right now, Cal has to be among the top 10 worst teams in the major conferences. Who's to blame?
Why is this program-killer still in charge?.
Cal AD Barbour, do Berkeley and the Pac12 a favor, correct your horrible mistake and rid Cal of this incompetent.
Who says you can't can a coach mid-season? USC did it, dumping Lane Kiffin, and is much better for it. And Kiffin, by the way, is twice the coach Dykes is.
Posted by Dennis Hunt at 2:41 PM
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
The angry texts among big USC boosters, report Trojan inner-circle sources, started during the nightmarish third quarter of the team's` 62-41 collapse in Tempe Saturday night, when coach Lane Kiffin suddenly turned into Curly of the Three Stooges,.
Watching that slapstick-comedy-style loss to Arizona State, SC boosters had a fit: Their texts said it all. Predicted one: "Lane won't last the week." Said another: "Lane won't last the weekend." Moaned another: "I'm ashamed to be a Trojan. I'm not giving another cent til that clown is fired." Screamed another: "Get rid of that bum. No more checks."
AD Pat Haden was cringing on the sidelines in Tempe with SC president Max Nikias, You know they got wind of the boosters' outrage, via a flurry of texts, tweets and emails. During the game, Kiffin made some shockingly stupid play calls, making you seriously wonder; "Has he lost his mind?" The capper was the laugher late in the third quarter, on a fourth-and-one on SC's 41 yard line. Kiffin resorted to trickery, calling for a pass, from RB Tre Madden, of all people, who tossed it right to an Arizona State CB. You just know that when Haden was firing Kiffin in the middle of the night at LAX, he mentioned that ridiculous play. Would Nick Sabin or Urban Meyer have called that play? How about Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, rumored to be a candidate for the SC job? No way.
It wasn't just the boosters' rebellion that pushed Haden over the edge. There were flagrant signs that Kiffin had lost the team. The players weren't just whipped in the second half. They clearly quit. Sources on the sidelines said their disdain and disrespect for Kiffin was obvious. Clearly Haden and Nikias saw it too.
And what about the recruits? Word has been spreading for a while in those elite high-school circles that SC is a place to avoid. Why? Because Kiffin is a micro-managing, cold-fish of a coach who doesn't connect with players. In those circles, the SC atmosphere is perceived as drab and low-energy. One local recruit, a lineman, when asked by a source to describe SC, he replied: "Dead." So, for sure, no more Top 25 recruiting classes with Kiffin in charge.
Haden knew this was a bye week, so a new coach, SC assistant Ed Orgeron as it turned out, would have extra time to get acclimated. SC's next game is Thursday night, next week, on national TV, against conference foe Arizona. Already loud at home games, the ugly "Fire Kiffin" chants would have been deafening by then. After the Arizona State fiasco, the Coliseum would probably be half empty. Disaster loomed.
Haden no doubt considered Pac12 factors. SC has already lost two games--to two so-so conference teams, Washington State and Arizona State. What's going to happen when they face Stanford? Another UCLA rout is a given. The boosters, in particular, dread that. Also, how does SC measure up to Pac12 powers Oregon and Washington, which they fortunately don't have to play this season? On the plane back from Tempe, Haden probably imagined what Oregon would do to SC and chills ran up and down his spine.
With Kiffin in the driver's seat, SC was headed down hill--in high gear. Haden knew the boosters were furious and would withdraw support from the program. The players clearly had soured on Kifffin. With the program in shambles how could SC recruit? No time to waste. So when the team plane landed, after the game, in the middle of the night in LA, Haden summoned Kiffin to an airport room and canned him.
Word got out right away. A giddy booster recalled that he got a 5 am text from an insider that simply said: "Mission accomplished."
Posted by Dennis Hunt at 3:47 PM