Monday, July 30, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
I'm trying to imagine what Michael Vick is going through now (doing for him than he allegedly did not do for his dogs. But then, they're just dogs.) One day you are on top of the world with a $100 million income stream. Next day, your secret life comes out and you lose everything in the blink of an eye. This is when you find Jesus. Someone asked Mother Theresa why there was suffering in the world. Her reply, "so you can share the suffering of Jesus Christ" (stay with me folks). I didn't understand that answer. Then, when facing my own troubles (nothing like Vick's), I found that people tend to pray more, pray harder with more sincerity than when things are going good. You get a Divine reminder that you don't really control your life, usually just when you think you do.
I'm sure Michael's praying now, and those prayers are going to be answered; but he's going to walk the Via Dolorosa first. And just maybe come out of this a better man.
An AP story in USA Today says Vick's legal team faced a daunting P.R. challenge. No kidding. The story named Michael Vick's legal team and it included James "Butch" Williams of Durham, North Carolina. Williams' web site profile describes his expertise as contract negotiations and legal advice for athletes. His clients include Alge Crumpler (Falcons), Greg Ellis (Cowboys) and Rasheed Wallace (Pistons). Oh yeah, he represented the captain of the Duke LaCrosse Team, so he knows a thing or two about daunting p.r. challenges. Williams will likely face-off with the NFL on Ookie's behalf.
Lawrence H. Woodward Jr. and Thomas B. Shuttleworth II, both of Virginia Beach law firm SHUTTLEWORTH, RULOFF, SWAIN, HADDAD & MORECOCK, P.C. round out the team. Woodward and Shuttleworth will have local knowledge with the District Court. Vick better hope there is no "I" in this team.
Meanwhile, Tony "T" Taylor, one of Vick's co-defendants, will return to U.S. District Court Monday for a plea hearing. That didn't take long. A plea bargain in return for what?
Photo: Butch Williams on www.jdwlaw.net
Like the Sun crossing the Equator, we've changed seasons to "football" from "waiting for football."
Well, not quite; but Redskins training camp is open so the offseason is gone, so we can get some real football news.
Over at Hog Heaven, check out Redskins: Five Questions for the Offense.
Readexpress.com has a story about the second year of the "Joe CEO" experiment. "This Year, Onus is on the Assistants" points big, bloody fingers at Gregg Williams and Al Saunders for their play-calling last season. With Gibbs as the "executive" leaving on field operations to his coordinators, both these guys must do better. That word onus is close to anus. That's how Williams and Saunders will look with a repeat 5-11 season.
hailRedskins.com has 5 things to look for as the season begins. It's worth a look.
Steinberg at D.C. Sports Bog has comments up from the first day of training camp. Read the 7/27/07 posts.
The Redskins Report has The Friday Round-up, with some thoughts on Corey Bradford, signed by the Redskins yesterday, and Simeon Rice. You know the drill: aging star; Redskins free agent aggression; Daniel Snyder interest, yada, yada, yada.
I'm a great admirer of Ben Folsum's writing. He posted an anti-dog-fighting editorial on The Curly R, relieving me of my Vick duties for the day. Whew.
The season tix arrived this week. Oh yeah. The season is here.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
"According to league officials, the review will be conducted by members of the NFL's security staff and D.C. lawyer Eric Holder, a partner with Covington & Burling. Holder formerly was the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. He was appointed deputy attorney general by President Clinton in 1997, and served briefly as the acting attorney general under President Bush. Holder's firm is the NFL's outside counsel. He is the second prominent D.C. lawyer to become involved in the case this week. On Monday, Vick hired William R. 'Billy' Martin to represent him."
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
"Billy also maintains an active sports and entertainment practice. In addition to serving as an advisor to organizations such as the NBA and NFL Players Associations, Billy has advised numerous clients on the scope and meaning of the NCAA rules and eligibility requirements. He has represented professional athletes and entertainment industry figures in their public and private business dealings."
Monday, July 23, 2007
"While it is for the criminal justice system to determine your guilt or innocence, it is my responsibility as commissioner of the National Football League to determine whether your conduct, even if not criminal, nonetheless violated league policies, including the Personal Conduct Policy," Goodell said in a letter to the quarterback.
Friday, July 20, 2007
"RICHMOND, Va - The judge assigned to preside over Michael Vick's sensational dog-fighting case is a tough jurist who has a history of exceeding federal sentencing guidelines to make a point, criminal defense attorneys here said today."
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
"Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was indicted Tuesday on one felony count related to dogfighting.
"Vick is charged with conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce and aid of unlawful activities and to sponsor an animal fighting venture.
"The grand jury indictment charges that Vick and co-defendants Pernell Peach, Quanis Phillips and Tony Taylor spent six years 'knowingly sponsoring and exhibiting in an animal fighting venture.'
"The grand jury also charged the men with establishing a kennel to represent dogfighting competitions, purchase and train pitbulls in dogfighting competitions and 'destroying or otherwise disposing of dogs not selected to stay with the ongoing animal fighting venture.'
"The Falcons will issue a statement later Tuesday as owner Arthur Blank and president and general manager Rich McKay were traveling via airplane, according to a Falcons spokesperson."
ESPN just posted a longer version of this story. You can see it here.
There's a back story buried somewhere in this development. These are federal charges. The investigation started as a Commonwealth of Virginia show, when Vick's cousin, Davon Boddie, came to local police attention on suspicion of selling drugs. The dog kennel was discovered during a raid on the property owned by Vick. County authorities were the first to investigate animal cruelty charges, but it's the feds who bring the first indictments -- for unlawful interstate activity.
How that came about will make very interesting reading someday.
If I were Vick, and I knew I was guilty, I would cop a plea now. Doing so might hurt his street cred, but save his career and his income stream. A conviction would devastate everything, not to mention the sense of pending doom that will hang over him all season. Oh, I would walk away from dog fighting, too. Invest in race horses instead.
If he's innocent, he should fight the thing all the way and plea to nothing.
Needless to say, he won't be on my fantasy team this year.
Photo: Harry Howe, Getty Images
Passing the time waiting for the start of Redskins training camp, I came across this post on the Atlanta Falcons message board. It picks up a Scout.com story assessing National Football Conference owners, with a focus on front office personnel decision-makers. The full read is interesting (to me), but here are the snips on Daniel Snyder and Jerry Jones.
"Owner Daniel Snyder has the final say on every personnel matter, and even though many don't like his style, it's hard not to be impressed with his commitment to turning his franchise around. He doesn't have a great football background in terms of watching film and evaluating players, so he leans on Vinny Cerrato, the vice president of football operations, who often speaks for Snyder and the organization. However, Cerrato's relationship with coach Joe Gibbs and the coaching staff is in question. Don't be surprised if Gibbs tries to take a more active role in personnel decisions, and that could lead to some clashes. The Redskins have a solid scouting staff, but they are only information gatherers and have not had a lot to do on draft day because of numerous trades involving draft picks.
"Owner, president and GM Jerry Jones is more involved in personnel matters than any other owner in the NFL. He attends all-star games and the combine, he watches film and he is directly involved in every player acquisition. In the past, he respected then coach Bill Parcells' opinion on the type of player Parcells wanted, and they seemed to have a good working relationship. It will be interesting to see whether new coach Wade Phillips has the same kind of influence on Jones. The scouts are information gatherers. Although they have a voice, they are not decision makers. CEO and executive vice president Stephen Jones handles the salary cap and player negotiations."
The rest of the article is a good read. Go see it here.
Hmmm. I should do a feature on cheerleaders of the NFC East.
Monday, July 09, 2007
Photo: George P. Marshall's Hall of Fame photo, www.profootballhof.com
LaRon Landry pain/t ball incident caught on tape; actually on Bangcartoon.com.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
— John Hancock
New Hampshire:Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts:John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut:Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York:William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey:Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania:Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware:Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland:Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia:George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina:William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina:Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia:Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
MASN will air the scrimmage between the Washington Redskins and the Baltimore Ravens on August 4 at Noon, according to a story in the Baltimore SUN.
This is a boon for stir-crazy football fans. Preseason games begin the following week.
Monday, July 02, 2007
Skin Patrol at Hogs Haven touts these guys all the time. Greg Trippiedi's recent post at Hog Heaven finally convinces me. I've got to pay more attention to those wonks at Football Outsiders.
There are "lies, damned lies and statistics." The origin of that phrase is open to argument, but I can tell you that it was me after looking at exam grades for my undergrad stat classes. I just couldn't grasp it, despite the valiant effort of the cute blond grad assistant who took me through the concepts while using little words. I was distressed to be informed that I would have to retake statistics in grad school. I no longer recall exactly what the prof said, but one day in that hated classroom in Madison, Wisconsin, a light bulb came on. I not only understood everything the prof was saying, but everything the other prof said in those undergraduate statistics classes that remain anchors on my GPA. Although I nailed three out of four grad level stat exams, the whole experience left an emotional scar about statistics buried deep in my easily bruised psyche.
Football Outsiders apply statistical concepts to challenge conventional wisdom about about pro football teams and their performance. They developed measures like Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, or DVOA, to analyze individual players and squads. Trippiedi's article assessing the Redskins O-line was an example of applying the stats to reach logical conclusions. I can see that I'll have to overcome my fear and loathing of statistics and pay attention to DVOA and the other measures at Football Outsiders. (another example of the artist suffering for his art.).
So, dear reader, in this lull before training camp, I'll be spending time at the FO site to understand what the numbers say about about the Redskins and the NFC East. I'm only posting about once a week anyway.
Football Outsiders is now added to the Running Redskins blogroll. Also added are those funny, irreverent writers at Kissing Suzy Kolber.
I have Redskins season tickets to lower bowl seats at FedEx -- tickets that have been in my family for four decades. I've always felt like minor royalty with those tickets in my possession.
One of the neat things Daniel Snyder did was to introduce the Forward Pass card that was tied to a personal credit card. With it, the carrier could stand in a special line, just for Forward Pass carriers, at concession stands, place their order, wave the Forward Pass card near a proximity reader for payment and walk away with their food & beer. Short wait. Fast service. quick transaction. Snyder genius. By making the whole transaction so damned convenient, I and a lot of Forward Pass users, visited the food and beer stands more frequently and bought more stuff. It was a special privilege to go along with the privilege of holding season tickets.
Two seasons ago, the Redskins tried to force season ticket holders to charge their tickets exclusively to a Redskins MasterCard. Ticket holders squawked and the practice violated MasterCard's business practice. The Redskins relented. Now they are back with a more subtle approach. Master4caster received this email from the team last week:
"With the opening game less than 60 days away, the Redskins are getting ready for the new season on the field and in the stadium. One change that directly affects you is that as of July 1, the Redskins Forward Pass program is being discontinued. Forward Pass cards will not be valid at FedExField this season. All outstanding rebates will be calculated in July and disbursed in August. These rebates will be good for 6 months.
"The great news is you can still “Tap and Go” AND earn rewards on purchases at FedExField and almost everywhere else, with the Redskins Extra Points™ MasterCard with PayPass®! As a Forward Pass member, you’re invited to upgrade to the Redskins Extra Points card, provided by Bank of America."
So my Forward Pass card is dead, and so is my fast path in the food line. Maybe some people sign-up willey-nilley for credit cards based on promotions, but I learned the hard way to limit the number and use of credit. So, I'm going to pass on the Redskins Extra Points™ MasterCard with PayPass® and stand in line with the common people. I'll be in that line less often and spending less when I do, because I'll be using cash. I doubt I will be the only one taking that approach. Maybe the Redskins will make up for the loss with interest income from the card.
Promoting your affinity card is one thing. Restricting services exclusively to an affinity card is usually a bad business idea. That's unlike Snyder. Your customers will smell a rat, and they will think it's you. The better practice is to allow any PayPass enabled card at the concessions while promoting your own Redskin affinity card.