About Me

I am currently an intern with ESPN's Wide World of Sports and working on my Master's of Sport Administration at Belmont University. I am a sports addict, but just cant stand the way it gets fed to the public. Follow me on twitter @reCash22

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Kings Circus

It was a cold night, and I was packed into a small gym to watch my high school team in a pre-season scrimmage, and it was standing room only. Looking back, I probably did not realize the magnitude of what I was watching, but I would liken it to someone in the early ‘80’s in North Carolina who watched a skinny kid named Michael play in high school. The difference here is LeBron James was destined for the NBA, and being talked about as a freshman, while Michael Jordan was apparently being cut from his high school team.

I am a fan of all Cleveland sports, and thought that the Cavs were FOR SURE going to win at least one championship with him on our team, especially after making it to the NBA Finals in 2007. I also played the optimist in July 2010 thinking that he’d stay. And here we are, half-way through year #2 of the Miami Vice project, and there are whispers he wants back. Ugh.
Yesterday on ESPN, Brian Windhorst, who coincidentally, followed LeBron in high school and at Cleveland, and bolted to ESPN to write for the “Heat Index” in a much less publicized “decision,” wrote that LeBron might want to come back to Cleveland, and would not “rule out” the possibility. Huh???? Outside of the obvious of what he did to a yearning fan base, there is a laundry list of reasons why this is just another twist in the craziness that is the “chosen one.”

1. (Completely disregarding the shots that went back and forth between James and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert) Gilbert cannot comment on any rumors or things that James has said because it would result in a fine per the NBA’s rules about commenting on players under contract. Which leads to what seems like the obvious question: Why is James allowed to talk about this? He’s in year two of a deal which he cannot “opt” out of for another 2 seasons, so why can say things like this? Doesn’t make a lot of sense if you ask me.
2. Clearly his words carry very little, as many Clevelanders remember his guarantee that he brings a championship to the city of Cleveland before he leaves. Um, see, what ha ha happened was…
3. To me, this just seems like a ploy by James to garner some sympathy by fans. What it really seems like is just another way to drag a tortured fan base, tarred and feathered, through Public Square. I mean, let’s say he and Gilbert settled their differences and he came back, what does that make the fans look like if we embrace him again? Hypocrites? Fair weather? He’s just trying to play the fans and a city so he comes out looking like “not such a bad guy after all.”
4. Any Cleveland fan who says, “We don’t need him/we don’t want him/we’re better off without him” is lying. It is night and day the difference he made on the team and the city. And just because he left, doesn’t mean he still isn’t one of the top three players in the NBA.
5. What are you thinking if you are in the front office for Miami right now? It has been documented that James and team president Pat Reilly do not necessarily see “eye to eye” on everything. But hearing your star, prized free agent, comment about the possibility of leaving only two years after signing him has to be a little disconcerting.
6. As much as I would like to see him running the court in Cleveland (I still have my jersey, never burnt it, and never hated him for leaving, he was a free agent, but just could have handled it A LOT better) there is small part of me deep down who wouldn’t mind if Dan Gilbert stuck to his guns, and refused to talk to the diva. What is the worst that could happen? The King’s Curse? Add it to the long list of sports icons that torment the city.

James said if he returns he hopes the fans would embrace him again. For me, there are some stipulations that would have to happen in order for me to embrace him. First, is a public heart-felt apology. No big ESPN production, but either a local news outlet, or full page add in the Plain Dealer apologizing for the way it was handled, and that we deserved better. Something that doesn’t sound scripted, but words that are yours that you truly mean. Second, don’t come back if you win a championship in Miami. I don’t want you to come back and be like “look I won there, now I can win here.” We want you to win here, but we also want you to win here first. Third, if you come back, it better be for good, and you better openly state that you want to retire here.

It is just a bit funny, however, that James’ comments about returning back to the Cavs some day, come the eve before the Heat and James play in Cleveland. As if it were some sort of plea to soften the boos which will most certainly rain down. The notion of him playing with our young talent is entertaining to think about, but at the end there is that sour taste, and this city cannot bare something like that again

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Browns Issues Deeper Than Just a QB

Earlier this month the Browns’ brain-trust stated there would be an open competition for the starting quarterback spot and that Colt McCoy would not be labeled as the starter from day one of training camp, he would have to earn it. That’s fine by me. I think competition breeds excellence. Personally, as our quarterback depth chart stands right now, I think McCoy wins that battle. But there is a proverbial wrench being thrown into the mix, and it comes by way of the NFL Draft in April.

The Browns are sitting very pretty with the #4 overall pick, as well as the #22 pick in the first round thanks to the brilliant draft day trade of 2011 with the Atlanta Falcons. Sure, Julio Jones is a very talented player, but we managed to get a pirates bounty for an unproven rookie coming out of college, and it affords the Browns what they need most, more talent.

There is currently quite a bit of talk that the front office is very high on Robert Griffin III from Baylor University. The Heisman winner is ranked as the #2 quarterback in the draft (no surprise there) and many pundits have him going #2 overall. RGIII’s ascent has been rapid, I am sure many football followers had barely heard of his name before his unbelievable college season this past year. And I have to say he impressed me quite a bit with his ability to throw the ball down field with great accuracy. But I want to state this right now; I am vehemently against trading up to the #2 pick o take RGIII.

The Browns need to look at this draft realistically. Are the Browns just a quarterback away from being a playoff contender? The answer is most definitely NO. I know that quarterbacks are the keys to the offense, but the Browns have so many holes that no one quarterback can make those holes look smaller. This was a team that was 28th in the NFL in rushing yards per game at less than 100, and was tied for the NFL lead in dropped passes by receivers. I just do not see how a rookie quarterback can come in and succeed with those two areas so glaringly lacking. The dropped pass issue MUST be fixed, that is inacceptable. The rushing game was hampered by injury to both the stable of backs and a few offensive linemen, but nonetheless needs to provide more support to whoever is the quarterback in 2012.

On defense the Browns took a substantial step forward in my opinion, only twice did they give up 30+ points, and were consistently in each of the divisional games they played. The passing defense finished 2nd in the NFL, while the rush defense was almost dead last. My point in outlining the deficiencies on both sides of the ball is to reiterate that a quarterback, especially one unproven at the NFL level, is not the answer in this draft for the Browns. Not with the quarterback likes of Matt Barkley, Aaron Murray, Tyler Wilson, E.J. Manuel, and Geno Smith coming out of school in 2013.

I have been on the Justin Blackmon bandwagon for a few years now it seems. And his performance in the Fiesta Bowl against Stanford only reinforced the way I felt. 8 receptions, 186 yards, 3 touchdowns. He looks every bit of the real deal. My only concern is that he will be gone before pick number 4. The Browns top priority should be Blackmon at number 4. If, however, he is gone by then here is the scenario I am hoping for:

Trade – the possibility to trade down is there, although that might make most fans cringe. I am not saying trade down to the middle of the round, but trading down a few spots and taking either Trent Richardson (RB from Alabama) or Morris Claiborne (CB from LSU) would provide an instant playmaker on one side of the ball. Note also, with the likely impending departure of fan favorite Peyton Hillis, Richardson would fill a huge need.

Stand pat – the Browns could also stay in the #4 spot and take either Richardson at four, or reinforce the offensive line with either of the two top rated tackles Ryan Kalil, or Reilly Reiff. I am not huge on taking offensive lineman that early however, especially not when you have your cornerstone left tackle, Joe Thomas, locked up for a long time.

Depending on which side of the ball the Browns go with in their first pick, which opens up possibilities for their second pick later in the first round. It would be my preference to target a linebacker with this pick, namely Courtney Upshaw from Alabama or Vontaze Burfict from Arizona State. Last year in the draft we addressed the defensive line with two solid picks, and this year the focus should be on the line backing corps which desperately needs speed and tackling presence. I would also target a linebacker here because I firmly believe that if we do not get Blackmon with the #4 pick, either Michael Floyd, Alshon Jeffery, or Kendall Wright will be around for our pick early in round 2, and those three wide outs are just a tick below Blackmon but still very talented.

With all of that said, trading up in the draft would go wildly against Tom Heckert’s draft pedagogy as he comes from the “trade down and stockpile draft picks” school of thought. With a plethora of picks, and early picks at that, I feel like this is a perfect time for the Browns to address their biggest need, and that is talent. The Browns lack talent in a few key places, and that probably cost them 3-5 wins in 2011. Put talent around the core you have; give Colt one more shot with a playmaker wide receiver; and if it does not work in 2012 then bring in a quarterback in 2013 with a skill position talent already around him.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


WARNING: This May Offend Some

Never have I ever been more reassured of my decision to study history and be subject to learning about the various different religions and religious denominations than I am right now. It comes with a somber undertone, but I am glad that I chose not to blindly dive head-first into something I do not fully believe in.

I need results, proof, something tangible that lets me know that it is feasible. Many of you asked for prayers, and prayed, and received prayers from all over. And what did it change? Your prayers have a batting average of .000 because the result never changed. I am just stating what I see, and in no way am I judging those who pray, or those who say they get strength, or comfort through prayer.

I can only believe in something that makes sense to me. And if it makes sense to you then by all means you should believe it. But please, do not judge me, or question me because I do not believe in something I cannot make sense of. In fact, if you think I am lost, or a radical, or crazy, and cannot get past your nearsightedness to see that there are other beliefs besides yours in this world, well then you are also subscribing to another institution of higher power: hypocrisy.

The close minded people that are reading this will probably infer that I am an athiest, or some form of anti-Christianity advocate. I am neither. I am just someone who does not see the proof that God has a role in our lives, and the way they play out. If that were so, why would God make us sick? Why wouldn't he just heal us? Why do we need medicine? Why would he let great people go so young? There is no explanation I have heard yet that proves God plays a part in any of those things.

God does not wound us, or heal us, or put us on the right path (if that were the case there would be no criminals) he lets us figure this stuff out on our own. Yes, I believe in God, or whoever "he" is, but I do not pray to him nor do I ask him to help me because he can't help me, only I can help me. He created man with everything needed to pave our own way in this world. He created man and nature, and that is where God, to me, ends. We live in a world dictated by nature, but you have all of the tools to be and do everything you have ever wanted to do.

Please do not mistake me as some sort of religious zealot, or preacher of new faith, it was called "Diesm,"and it was a wildly popular religious sect during the times of Enlightenment when man began to discover science, and nature's great powers. It makes sense to me. Mostly because its the only form of religion that has proven to me that it isn't about believing in something in something imaginary. It's about believing that nature is a powerful entity, and rules over all, and it has proof, just look at the awesome power of hurricanes and earthquakes.

Maybe this is my way of grieving, or maybe I am just fed up with being inundated by people who constantly fail to realize that their beliefs aren't the only way, and that their religion is not the only one around. This is not a cry out for help. I am not asking for your prayers. I am not anti-religion. Maybe I just want people to know that this is how I feel, and what I believe in, and want them to respect that.

I don't demean those who subscribe to Christianity. I don't talk negatively about those who are Muslim. I don't think down upon Catholics. I'm not against the Jews. Nor am I defiant towards Buddhists. If it makes sense to you then by all means believe in it! But that doesn't make one belief better than the other. The point, I think we have to remember, is this thing called "religion" is something man came up with, and like all things man has created, it is not perfect.