Thursday, April 26, 2012

Draft Day and We are Still Hostages of the Bounty Scandal

Tonight is the first round of the NFL draft. The Saints didn’t have a pick tonight before the bounty stuff started happening so it wasn’t going to be as exciting but I am thinking about not watching any of it. I already know that anytime my team name comes up there will be something negative attached to it.

I have accepted that the team was doing something it wasn’t supposed to. The coach is suspended for a year and I think that will cost the team a chance to play at home in the Superbowl. What Gregg Williams and the defense were doing was unnecessary and stupid. Even if it was just a motivational thing and they never really intended on hurting anyone they should have stopped it once the league told them too. Plus they broke one of the rules of doing something against the rules. You never let too many people in on what you are doing. Gregg Williams was making crazy speeches with all kinds of people in the room. As far as sports scandals go this is by far the dumbest one I have seen in my lifetime.

What is aggravating me is why it is taking so long to announce all of the punishments so we as fans can move on and start getting ready for our handicapped season.  The commissioner said he had 50,000 pages worth of documents in the investigation. There should have been more than enough information to suspend everyone involved and move on. At this rate we’ll have to listen to this over and over until minicamp starts. Why would the league continue to string this along and torture the fans if they already know what they are going to do? I have two theories.

The first one is that although no one has denied there was some kind of pay for performance system in place, there’s no actual video evidence that the players did anything on the field that warrants the suspensions that the commissioner has in mind. I think he’s been trying to get the players association to sign off on a heavy handed punishment like he gave to Sean Payton and they won’t do it without proof. Every news report has played the same two or three plays over and over.  They haven’t said if anyone got any money for those plays or not. It could be that they can’t prove anyone did so it’s hard to suspend a guy for half of the season for one hard hit that wasn’t even flagged on the field.

My other more irrational theory is that the commissioner is taking this long so the media can unleash an all out assault on Sean Payton and the organization. Until the bounty story started I had no idea just how much so many people in the media hated Sean Payton. No one is enjoying his suspension more than the guys that cover the team. A few days ago the reporter from Outside the Lines that broke the Loomis wiretapping story was on ESPN radio talking about it and he kept mentioning how Payton used to call and yell at reporters. I thought that was strange because Payton wasn’t the coach when the wiretapping supposedly happened. I think these last few weeks have been the media’s time to get back at the coach for being a jerk and the commissioner is letting it happen to take Sean Payton down a notch.

From a fan’s perspective, the longer this goes on the more I feel like the league is picking on the team and it makes me want to get back at them by running up the score on everyone we play and making it to the Superbowl anyway. I want to have another parade and let Sean Payton be the grand marshal leading the way holding the trophy.

In real life situations hate and bitterness can eat you alive. It’s debilitating. I wouldn’t recommend it. In sports it actually makes things more interesting. Years of bitterness and hate are what 2009 so sweet. The bitterness building towards the league is going to make 2012 a fun season because the team has nothing to lose after the bounty punishment. I just wish the commissioner makes his final ruling and get it over with it so we can get on with the task of building our villain dynasty. I can’t wait until September 9, 2012 when the Saints play their first home game of the season in which Sean Payton goes to the game in disguise, sits in the terrace and sends messages to the team using a coding system from the light shining off his Superbowl ring.  I know that won’t happen but I am sure a reporter will be up there looking for the next big Saints scandal.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Another Frustrating Voting Experience

Stacy Head is now the new Councilwoman at large in New Orleans after beating Cynthia Willard Lewis last night by 281 votes. Yesterday was the first time I ever walked in the voting booth and still hadn't made up my mind who to vote for. I almost stayed home. This election was really not an course changing event for the city. Both of the candidates have spent forever on the council already and if they had any ideas to really benefit everybody we would know about them. The only thing we would have gained with Cynthia Willard Lewis winning is more unnecessarily angry white residents and a lot more entertainment at council meetings.

I was surprised it was as close as it was. It’s hard to figure out if Councilwoman Head’s attitude rubs enough people the wrong way that more people went out and voted for Cynthia Willard Lewis. I was listening to her concession speech last night and even she seemed surprised to be so close. The next few years will be interesting because it’s possible that after living through a haze for a few years after Katrina the black community may be starting to pay attention to what’s going on around them. I think it’s been sparked by Chief Serpas, the NOPD, and the fact that there seems to be a lot of development going on downtown and none where we live. Of course, I could be wrong and the next election’s turnout will be 10%. That wouldn’t surprise me.

I remember when I first started voting and how excited I used to be. Now when I go it feels like a chore that I am required to do instead of something that’s going to bring about any change. I’m caught in a strange place because when I vote I think about all the vulnerable people in my community who have no power and worry that in the interest of a few could be shipped to the middle of the bayou to live while their neighborhoods become part of a devastation and poverty tour that tourists can pay 39.95 to visit. On the other hand, the same people that I worry about so much don’t vote or pay attention themselves. One day I’m going to crossover to the middle class frame of mind and worry about things like dog parks and how the city’s taxi cabs look. I’m not there yet and won’t be any time soon so I’ll continue to be frustrated until I see evidence that I shouldn't be.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

It’s Easter Sunday. I’m not the most religious guy in the world by far but I respect the holiday’s meaning. The best part about Easter growing up is that it was the first warm weather holiday. In New Orleans that means it’s time to sit outside with your family and have a good time. I remember getting up early to get dress and wait for my grandpa to come and pick me up to go get ice from the old ice house in the French Quarter. I was always fascinated that whenever I went somewhere with him everyone knew him by name. I didn’t know why we had to get up so early just for ice. I’m thinking it had to be because they might run out if we went to late. We didn’t need it that early because everyone had to go to church first before any festivities started.

Everybody would get Easter clothes for church and then a short set to change into afterwards. On Saturday night before we would dye eggs and my mama would make the greatest Easter baskets. I got an Easter basket every year of my life until that barge destroyed the levee (allegedly by me) and flooded the Lower Ninth Ward. I know we are not supposed to be thinking about these things anymore. We have to try and maintain tradition as much as we can so we need to dye eggs and take the kids to church. Every now and then there should be a story about the good old days in the neighborhood on Easter Sunday.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sitting On My Porch Part Eighty

After a few weeks of little rest and hard work I intended on sleeping all day on Good Friday. I’ve been fatigued and wanted to recharge the batteries. Evidence of my fatigue is the fact that this is my third attempt at finishing this blog post since last weekend. Some of the things I wrote in the first two versions aren’t relevant anymore so I am starting from scratch. Even though I wanted to rest today I ended up doing roof repairs thanks to the monsoon we had Wednesday and took a ride through the city where they had to be at least 100 fish fries going on.

We have moved into the Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and New Black Panther Party phase of the Trayvon Martin case. That means that there are all kinds of foolish things being said about the case. Things have gotten way off course from the actual subject. I learned from 9/11 and Katrina that there is no topic that can’t be exploited or taking out of context in this country anymore. This story is no different.

I have to admit that I am a bit surprised at how many people are defending George Zimmerman despite everything that comes out. It just goes to show how everyone is so dedicated to a certain position that they will ignore obvious things. An unarmed kid was killed after an incident in which he was followed by a man that was told not to pursue. I feel like even if you believe in the right to carry arms or Stand Your Ground laws we could at least agree all of this wouldn’t be going on today if he just would have waited for the police to arrive. We can’t even come to that consensus. We also wouldn’t be following this story if the police in Sanford Florida just arrested Zimmerman when they had a chance.

The other thing that bugs me is the people who keep asking where the outrage from the black community is when one of our own has killed someone. I get even more aggravated when someone black agrees with them. People who do this make it seem like we are sitting at home giving one another high fives when the next story of violent crime come across the newswire. The question is what does some other guy’s crime has to do with George Zimmerman killing Trayvon Martin and not even being arrested to stand trial? If we are going to use the crimes of other people to validate everything we do then why are we even bothering sending our kids to school or getting up to go to work. We might as well just all go to the penitentiary right now. You don’t have to choose one thing over the other. None of those arguments are valid anyway unless there’s a bunch of young black guys calling 911 to announce they are about to go confront someone and none of them are being arrested.

After all of the rallies and protests George Zimmerman still hasn’t been arrested........

If I could go one year of my life without hearing, seeing or experiencing something that I thought had racist intent it would be the greatest year of my life. Whenever I hear white people trying to show that they are just as victimized as racism as black people are I think we have done a poor job of explaining what racism is and how it affects us. I don’t care what you hear on television or from a radio talk show host; we don’t like racism and really don’t want to deal with it. Stop trying to turn this into a discrimination contest.

The Saints bounty story keeps getting worst. Now we have a filmmaker taking advantage of Steve Gleason to get access to the defensive meeting room and taping Gregg Williams talking about hurting other players. I am not condoning anything Gregg Williams said. I love football on all levels and the worst thing you can see is a kid laying on the field hurt. However, I can’t believe Sean Pamphilon took advantage of Steve Gleason and pulled him into the bounty story when he didn’t have anything to do with it. He wasn’t there to expose bounties in the NFL. He was there to document Steve Gleason’s journey for his son.

I would like to give these thoughts to public school parents on the education reform being passed in the state of Louisiana right now.

1. If you think the governor and his Republican friends got that concerned about the education of your kids all of a sudden you are DELUSIONAL.
2. If you think teachers’ tenure had something to do with your kid not getting all the resources needed to provide them with a quality education you are DELUSIONAL.
3. If you think that these private schools whose tuition is designed to keep your poor kids away from the paying customer’s children are going to suddenly open their arms and treat your kids equally just because the state is giving them public money to turn a profit you are DELUSIONAL.

I'm going to have more to say about this later.