Friday, September 19, 2014

A new collection of dunces & weasels

The turmoil surrounding the NFL has produced a veritable cornucopia of Weasels and Dunces this week, to borrow some of the late Howard Cosell's preferred vernacular.

However, we start with baseball.

Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon may have written his ticket out of town with a lewd gesture aimed at the homies on Sunday. After blowing a save, Papelbon was lifted by manager Ryne Sandberg, who had to be embarrassed, along with the rest of the team, by what happened next. Upset over being booed by the hometowners, Papelbon decided to grab a hold of his, ah, package, if ya will. Umpire Joe West wasn't digging, and proceeded to further Papelbon's exit by ejecting him from the game.

While West isn't one of the most popular umpires, he got praise from the press for taking matters--literally---into his own hands, although that cost West 1 game. Papelbon gets set down for 7, and the Phillies might as well begin the process of auditioning new closers for next year, and see about trading Papelbon, who's nearing the end of his career. Papelbon gets a set of Weasel ears and a Dunce Cap.

Next stop is Minneapolis. Vikings owner Zigy Wilf really earned a Dunce Cap this week by first reinstating running back Adrian Peterson on Monday, a day after gift-wrapping a win for New England, then, under pressure from the league, sponsors, and Lord knows who else, Wilf reversed field by Wednesday, and Peterson was placed on the exempt/commissioner's permission list. Wilf, thanks to Peterson's attempt at old school discipline being exposed for all the world to see, may have mortgaged the Vikings' chances at a playoff spot, but what else could he do? Even a former Viking from a by-gone era, Fran Tarkenton, took a shot at commissioner Roger Goodell's sudden bumbling and stumbling on domestic issues off the field. To borrow the title of Tarkenton's lone primetime series, That's Incredible! That exempt list is getting longer. In Charlotte, Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, no relation to the Hardy brothers of pro wrestling, is appealing a July domestic abuse conviction, and was allowed to play the first two games. Carolina went 1-1, but Hardy was put on the exempt list, also on Wednesday. Shouldn't Goodell have thrown the book at him in preseason? Yep, but the common theme the NFL is using in these cases is that they would rather wait for the legal system to run its course in each case through due process. The media isn't that patient, and now, neither are sponsors such as Anheiser-Busch, makers of Budweiser and the biggest advertiser in sports for years. Hardy gets a set of Weasel ears for trying to appeal when the evidence is obviously there.

Moving west, the Arizona Cardinals had a pair of former Pittsburgh Steelers running backs on their roster at the start of the season, neither one named Rashard Mendenhall, who decided to retire after 1 season in the desert. Former mates Chris Rainey and Jonathan Dwyer followed him to Phoenix, but at mid-week, Rainey had followed Mendenhall out of town, as the Cardinals cut him, while placing Dwyer on the exempt list after he was arrested for---wait for it---attacking his wife. Rainey's stay in Pittsburgh was short, too, as he didn't even finish his rookie season in 2012, and, yep, he too has had a history of domestic troubles. Dwyer gets a set of Weasel ears because he should've known better, considering his act was more recent.

Goodell gets a Dunce Cap for having his head in the sand so long, he could've been making out with an ostrich for all we know. Today, he surfaced for a press conference, only to have that crashed by some jackass named Benjy Bronk, a writer and performer on Howard Stern's satellite radio show. Bronk was there for one reason, to get the so-called "King of All Media" trending on Twitter. Mission accomplished, but did Stern really need to resort to this kind of guerrilla stunt after all these years? No, but it seems he's not happy about not being relevant enough in social media, and that's despite the charity work his wife Beth does.

Face facts, Howard. These kinds of stunts were so last century. Captain Janks' act got old, and he apparently isn't the type to appear in public, so you send some jabroni no one's heard of. Are you that homesick for old school radio? I'd say yeah, but here's a set of Weasel ears. If you don't know what these are for, ask Beth. She'd probably model them for you.

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