Oct. 02, 2017
"The Stack" 9-26-17
It’s a Tuesday here and I know this isn’t going to be an easy post to write. I don’t write this to offend, but rather try and explain things as I see them. I of course am talking about what Trump said Friday night about NFL players being SOBs. This is one of those times where politics and sports cross and it is impossible not to talk about it since it has been the overwhelming lead story just about any sports program or cable news program you listen to or watch. Thoughts on that and more so let’s get right to it and see what’s in “the stack” for today, Tuesday, September 26th:
Cowboys start slow, finish fast to take down the Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals came out on fire in this game. Carson Palmer completed his first eleven passes and the Cardinals offense was rolling. They were up 7-0, forced a Cowboys three and out and were driving down the field again, but missed a field goal and that is when everything changed. Momentum swung heavily in favor of the Cowboys who tied the game up. Dak Prescott was sensational all night throwing for two touchdowns and running for another. He is so poised. How he made it to the fourth round last year is beyond me. The defense made adjustments and defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence had himself a day with three sacks and battering the Cardinals offensive line. The Cardinals defense couldn’t come up with the big stops when they needed them and the Cowboys would go on to win 28-17. The Cardinals need to figure things out and fast. The Cowboys may not be as good as they were last year, but this win was a tremendous bounce back for them after last week.
College football weekend recap and reaction
Week 4 had some excitement, upsets, statements and so much more. No bigger statement was made than #1 Alabama who steamrolled Vanderbilt to the tune of 59-0. First downs were 38-3 Alabama. Yards were 677-78 Alabama. This was a colossal beatdown of epic proportions. Elsewhere in the SEC, #20 Florida kept their win streak over Kentucky going thanks to a 28-27 win. The Gators fell behind, but came back to take the lead. Kentucky had a chance at a game-winning field goal, but a holding penalty certainly did them no favors and #11 Georgia laid the law down on #17 Mississippi State beating them 31-3.
In the Big 12, the upset of the day occurred when #16 TCU beat #6 Oklahoma State 44-31. Oklahoma State’s offense was not it’s normal high-octane offense we’ve seen so far this season and a lot of credit should go to TCU head coach Gary Patterson. That was a big time win for the Horned Frogs. Oklahoma State isn’t out of it by any stretch, but it’s certainly making things more difficult for them if they want a chance to make the College Football Playoff. #3 Oklahoma wasn’t all that inspiring letting Baylor come back before ultimately winning 49-41. A win is a win, but Oklahoma is lucky to escape Waco with a “W”.
Nobody had a better performance in college football in week 4 than Penn State running back Saquon Barkley who had 336 total yards from scrimmage and single-handily kept Penn State in the game against Iowa. Iowa took the lead late 19-15 on a late touchdown, but Penn State quarterback Trace McSorely pulled out his best drive when his team needed it the most throwing a last-second touchdown with no time remaining as Penn State would win 21-19. Michigan had a dog fight with Purdue, but ultimately pulled away 28-10.
#12 Florida State lost at home to North Carolina State 27-21. That’s what happens when you start a freshman quarterback after losing Deondre Francois to a knee injury for the year. What will week 5 bring for excitement? We’ll talk about that Friday in our weekend forecast.
National Anthem protests
Unless you live in a pineapple under the sea (Spongebob Squarepants) or just landed on Earth from another planet, by now everyone is aware of the Trump’s comments Friday at a political rally in Alabama where he said that owners should respond to players who don’t stand for the national anthem to, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!” How unbecoming of a “president” to do this. A public plea to have someone fired. This isn’t the first time the oval office has asked for someone to be fired. Remember a couple of weeks ago when they said ESPN’s Jemele Hill should be fired for her comments about the president? Trump’s comments Friday actually seem to give’s Hill’s Twitter comments more merit. The fact of the matter is, these players who are taking a knee and/or not putting a hand over their heart are doing this for a reason and that is the social unjustice that they see going on in this country. It’s a very real thing. And for those that say that they are disrespecting the military by not standing, the players have said from the beginning that they are not doing this to disrespect the military, but to bring awareness to what is going on in this country regarding the social unjustice. Too many people are choosing to react and say that this is disrespect to the military rather than ask the questions as to why the players are doing this and what can be done to resolve the problem. Members of the military (not all) have come out and said that it is the players’ right to kneel. There is even a photo of a WWII veteran that went viral and on cable news taking a knee. Do all members of the military feel this way? Certainly not. And you don’t have to feel like it’s okay that the players are doing this. That is your right. That is your freedom of speech protected under the first amendment. This is the players’ freedom of speech. You can disagree with what they are doing, but instead of yelling and screaming that they are disrespecting the military, ask more why they are doing what they are doing and see what we can do to help resolve the problem, because they are not doing this to disrespect the military.
Having said all of that, I am incredibly proud of the NFL’s response to Trump’s comments. Instead of owners firing players, many owners were on the field Sunday arm in arm with their players. Nearly every owner released statements condemning Trump’s comments. Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement decrying it. NFLPA Director DeMaruice Smith released a statement. Many players took to Twitter. And we’re just talking about the NFL. We’re not talking about the joke that ensued on Saturday when Steph Curry from the Golden State Warriors said he was not going to the White House and Trump tweeted about a half hour later saying he was rescinding the invitation because Curry was hesitant on coming. LeBron James tweeted back calling Trump a bum because he was taking something away that never was going to happen since Curry already said he wasn’t going. But I digress. A full list of all the NFL owner’s statements can be . I have never been more proud to be an NFL fan than I was Sunday after seeing the reaction of all the team’s and the statements coming out. We do not need what happened on Friday as a country to continue to divide us. If anything, Trump’s comments served as a means of unifying the NFL, the owners and the players. It sucks that it had to take this to unify everyone, but that is the lone silver lining. Would I do what the players are doing? I don’t believe I would. Do I understand why the players are doing this and do I respect their right to do it under the first amendment? I absolutely do and I fully support them. Sports and athletes have a unique platform unlike just about anything else in society. They are using theirs to help spread a message. It’s time we have a candid discussion as to what that is and what we can do to, as many people like to say, make America great again.
In the midst of our college football Saturday, news broke out of the NBA that Carmelo Anthony no longer was going to be a New York Knick. Anthony was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder where he will join Russell Westbrook and Paul George to form a formidable trio. I’m not sure if they can rival Golden State (okay, I know they can’t), but against teams like Houston and Minnesota, it does make things interesting. The Thunder didn’t have to give up much either. Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a draft pick isn’t much for Anthony. Good move Thunder.
The Bulls are buying out Dewayne Wade and his $23 million or so contract. Once Wade becomes a free agent, expect him to land in Cleveland and join LeBron James. Speaking of James, his new teammate Isaiah Thomas is supposed to be recovered from his hip in January.
Coming up Thursday: TNF preview, college football and other headlines