News clips

Spending all day on the road meant I got to hear all the daytime sports radio I could handle. Thrilling, I know. I did pick up a few interesting nuggets, though:

– If Johnny Manziel wins the Heisman Trophy this year, as experts now expect, he will be the first freshman to do so. He won’t be the youngest winner, though. That distinction belongs to Mark Ingram, Jr.

– Apparently there’s some sort of adderall flap surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles and other NFL players. All the obvious issues aside, ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio said that he thinks the adderall story is a cover up. Because the NFL has a policy of not commenting or elaborating on players’ positive drug tests, the players are free to say whatever they’d like about the test. Florio thinks that adderall is the convenient cover story du jour for players who actually tested positive for a more controversial substance.

– Kentucky hired Florida State defensive coordinator Mike Stoops to serve as Joker Phillips’ replacement at the football head coach position. While Kentucky local sports talk radio listeners generally approved of the hire, citing the successes of the Stoops family and Mike’s own rapid improvement of the FSU defense, no one mentioned the only factor that matters right now for the future success of UK football: program funding. Don’t forget that the UK athletic department just spent more on a preseason basketball pep rally than it did on an entire year of football recruiting. For Stoops’ sake, I hope he negotiated a substantial increase in funding for the football program. If not, his pedigree and resume will be irrelevant.

– Before leaving Army for Duke, Mike Krzyzewski interviewed at Vanderbilt but didn’t take the job because the VU athletic director at the time, fearing media exposure of an ongoing search, wouldn’t let Coach K visit the campus.

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For the NFL, does pink really mean green?

Now in its third year, the NFL’s very public approach to breast cancer awareness has resulted in approximately $3 million in contributions to the cause, something that is unquestionably good. The campaign is not without its critics, though, who are asking a variety of questions. Some wonder whether, given the wide prevalence of public awareness of breast cancer, the NFL’s stage might more effectively be used to increase awareness within the male population– the league’s primary audience– of the risks associated with colon cancer, a disease with less attention but high incidence nationwide. Others, tired of the harsh pink visuals in the country’s most television-centric sport, constructively wonder whether the campaign might raise more money by letting people pay to somehow watch the game without seeing the neon-pink gloves, cleats, and other things, all of which seem to confound the color spectrum on even the highest definition televisions.

None of these critiques question the fundamentals of the NFL’s breast cancer awareness campaign, which is what makes the latest inquiry stand out. In an article posted last week, Business Insider asked, “Why is the NFL profiting off of breast cancer?” That doesn’t sound too good. The article explains that, while on-field pink equipment items are sold at auction, with the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society (an organization dedicated to “research, education, advocacy, and service”), “it is less clear how much of the sales of pink gear in the NFL Shop go towards research.” The article continues:

According to the website, by purchasing pink items in the NFL Shop, fans can “support the fight against breast cancer with pink NFL breast cancer awareness gear.” Of course, there is a huge difference between supporting “awareness” and donating money to research. In the case of the former, most of the money ends up in the pockets of billionaire NFL owners.

When we contacted the NFL’s online shop for clarification, we were told 5% of the sales are being donated to the American Cancer Society. If the pink products have a typical 100% mark-up at retail, that means the NFL is keeping 90% of the profit from the sale of Breast Cancer Awareness gear.

There’s more math to be done, though, because according to Charity Navigator, 70.8% of donations to the American Cancer Society go something called “Program Expenses,” which, according to the Business Insider article, is the designation for the organization’s research and educational programs. According to Business Insider, this means that “for every $100 in sales of pink gear, only $3.54 is going towards research while the NFL is keeping approximately $45 (based on 100% mark-up).” On Business Insider’s math, even this probably is a generous estimate, since the American Cancer Society does more than just fund research, as evidenced by their mission statement, quoted above.

The NFL issued a response:

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Picking at the Scabs: Week 4

The NFL’s replacement official charade certainly has become a tired to quite tired act. The volume of written responsive outrage is headed that way, too. While it’s good that the media is heeding Jim Leyland’s call for them to hold officials accountable, there’s only so much complaining you can or want to read. This new, weekly feature takes care of the latter problem for you. Each week, we’ll sift through the glut of hyperbolic, whining responses and pull out the best snippets for you.
As we all know, the real NFL referees were back in action for all of Week 4, meaning that this is yet another of ALDLAND’s short-lived features, though we prefer to think last week’s edition was the precipitating factor for their return. Here’s a sendoff to the replacement officials and this feature, presented, as before, without comment.

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David Roth:

But there is, finally, only one thing to find at the bottom of all this, and it’s worth repeating. This whole florid thing springs from a cold—and, it seems so far, astute—calculation on the part of the NFL’s Rand-oid ownership class. That calculation, which is not precisely new but has a new manifestation over these last three weeks, is that people will watch NFL games no matter what, no matter how slow or poor or wrong or off or dangerous things are allowed to become on the field. . . . That [the owners] haven’t and won’t pay up to make their hugely profitable product palatable says a good deal about them. It says a lot more about how they think of us, and of the game that enriches them.

Lingerie Football League:

Because of the LFL’s perception it is that much more critical for us to hire officiating crews that are competent, not only for the credibility of our game but to keep our athletes safer. Due to several on-field incompetent officiating we chose to part ways with with a couple crews which apparently are now officiating in the NFL. We have a lot of respect for our officials but we felt the officiating was not in line with our expectations.

We have not made public comment to date because we felt it was not our place to do so. However in light of tonight’s event, we felt it was only fair that NFL fans knew the truth as to who are officiating these games.

Foot Locker:

Despite recent allegations, our employees have spent the last few weeks at our stores and not [working as replacement referees] at NFL games.

Mike Florio:

Some have suggested that Commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of the officials lockout should result in the termination of his employment.  The more accurate position is that he should get a raise.

Roger Goodell:

We are sorry to have to put our fans through that, but it is something that in the short term you sometimes have to do to make sure you get the right kind of deal for the long term and make sure you continue to grow the game.

Pacman Jones:

Guys are going to have to play with a lot of technique now [that the real officials are back].

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Previously
Week 3