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Originally, I was going to just do some commentary on the state of sports betting in the United States, but a number of other issues have caught my attention, but not quite so much so that they warrant individual articles. In this article, we will address the following:
- The state of sports betting.
- Colin Kaepernick’s workout.
- The Browns/Steelers fiasco.
- Transgender athletes in sport.
The State of Sports Betting
Sports betting is taking off in a way that I could not have imagined since the repeal of PASPA by the Supreme Court of the United States, which has led to (as their Tenth Amendment rights should) states having the ability to legalize and regulate sports betting and create laws for same.
Granted, I fully expected most (if not all) states with legal commercial casinos to authorize sports betting as it is a popular form of gambling (even when not legal) and casino revenues mean state revenues. Therefore, the installation and popularity of sportsbooks in various casinos hardly comes as a surprise.
That being said, sports betting has since become an integral component of the world of sports. If you watch a Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game, you’ll see periodically that it is brought to you by FanDuel. There are also commercials for that and other sports betting websites.
One of the local sports radio stations, 93.7 The Fan, does a bunch of radio spots for some of these sports betting sites as well as any number of live broadcasts from Rivers Casino. The radio hosts themselves (not all) have also transitioned into talking about sports betting, their picks and games they considered betting but did not necessarily bet.
More than that, there is a weekend segment on 93.7 The Fan that has recently featured a sports handicapping tout. When I say a tout, I mean a tout, this was a straight hustle if I ever heard one. Undisclosed was whether or not he paid to be there, was paid to be there or whether it was a quid pro quo in exchange for pimping his website.
The long and short of it was that he ran down his analysis of a few college and NFL games, but then he spent the rest of his time promoting his website with a promise of a, “Guaranteed winner,” when one signs in and purchases some sort of subscription. I’m not going to mention the name of the site, because I’m not going to give them the free promotion, but here are examples of a few NFL offers:
(Omitted) and his clients have gone 56-46 (55%) over his last 105 football picks! The players at $1,000 per game are up $5,700 since September 14, 2009!
Join (Omitted) for his Sunday GUARANTEED winner on Dolphins/Browns!
Excellent, so if I lose I get the $44 back, right? Or, are they going to give me back the $44 and refund my loss on whatever bet I make? After all, this is a GUARANTEED winner, right?
And...here’s the refund policy:
All products are sold “as is”. You assume the responsibility for your purchase, and no refunds will be issued. For subscriptions you may contact us if you wish to exchange your remaining time for a subscription of equal or lesser value. If you choose to exchange you purchase for an item of lesser value, there will be no refund for the difference in price.
Okay, so I am buying one GUARANTEED pick, therefore there is no subscription upon which to receive a partial reimbursement. Even if there was, said reimbursement cannot be in cash.
Can someone please explain to me what about this is GUARANTEED? I must be missing it. Granted, 56-46 is (barely) beating the spread, so it’s a decent record, but that seems pretty far from being a guarantee to me.
And, here’s one from our total bettor:
(Omitted) is now 149-97 (61%) over his last 259 football picks!
My God, what an incredible record! Of course, they don’t advertise his profit/loss results, because there is absolutely no way he is showing that sort of win record against Vegas total lines. Clearly, he is buying some points somewhere. However, there is something of an actual guarantee with this one:
Panthers/Saints that comes GUARANTEED TO WIN or the next day is FREE!
That’s awesome! If my pick loses, for the low cost of $24.99, I can get another potentially losing pick for free! What an incredible guarantee!
Oh, but it gets worse:
(Omitted) has cashed four straight Top-rated 10* Gems in the NFL dating back to last year. (Omitted) NFL is on a bankrolling 14-6 run this season and 67-33 tear his past 100 selections. (Omitted) Top-rated 10* Gems in the NFL are on a 19-9 run. (Omitted) NFL GOY is 16-4 lifetime, including six straight covers. Don't miss (Omitted) Top-rated 10* NFL Game of the Year with all the reasons why for $59 bucks going this Sunday. Get down now before this line starts to move. You will be glad you did. 100% Profit Guaranteed!
There. Are. No. Refunds. What the hell does, ‘Guaranteed,’ mean in this context? I don’t even know this guy’s financial results, but the one thing I do know is he is not 67-33 making -110 picks exclusively. Anyway, you can get this non-refundable pick for the low price of $59.
Anyway, these are the kinds of guys that are now getting radio time and a venue to tout their touting website. You really can’t make this stuff up.
That’s definitely good for some no pressure betting, though! Assuming any of these guys are laying down actual action at all, their expected loss is going to be significantly offset by whatever people are paying for these GUARANTEED (though non-refundable) picks.
The site is also home to some free picks with varying degrees of analysis. Surprise, surprise, only upcoming picks are listed, so one would actually have to follow the site for several months to see how these guys are actually performing. Naturally, there is some verbiage that essentially says they are not going to give away the best picks, so the free picks are not likely to perform as well as the paid picks. Isn’t that a surprise?
Presently, there is only one free NFL Pick being offered. Perhaps better still, you can’t even get the line anymore, but the pick has not been updated to show this.
No cash refunds, now let’s have some fun looking over the Guarantee Policy:
1. There is no free time given when a profit has been made. Even if our guys go 1-1, but hit a +125 underdog and lose a -120 favorite, that means you profited 5 units and will not receive additional selections. On the reverse, if we lose a single unit then you will be given additional time equal to what you purchased.
-That’s fair as far as free time goes. Of course, that’s still not a guarantee of profit, it’s just a guarantee that (sometimes) if your pick loses you will get another pick that could also potentially lose.
2. All plays are graded on 100 unit intervals, even if the handicapper has 1* on the game that wins and 25* on a game that loses.
-Basically, they are not more confident in the picks that they are claiming to be more confident when it comes to their guarantee that refunds you no actual cash anyway. In other words, if you lose $26,500---(25000 * 1.1) - 1000---by making two picks, one of 25 units (loses) and one of one unit (wins) that does not entitle you to a free pick. That despite the fact that you lost greater total funds than you theoretically could have won.
3. There is only one free subscription given per purchase, no matter how much you lost on the package that you bought and even if the free package you received for the first losing package ended up losing as well. If you lose 150 units with your purchased subscriptions and then win 125 during your free term, no more picks will be sent. Also, if you lost 50 units on your purchased subscription and then lose 25 units on your free term, your subscription still comes to and end at the finish of your free time. Back to back losing days will happen, but our site does not offer more than a single free subscription of the same term. If you give up after a short term of losses then we wish you all of the best trying to find a better group of handicapping services out there that will win for you over the long run.
I’m not sure why one would still want their picks after this, but basically what this says is that if you lose on a GUARANTEED pick (which not all of them are) and then you lose on your compensatory pick, you are not entitled to an additional compensatory pick.
Of course, that doesn’t stop them from still claiming that they are the best handicapping service available over the long run. Makes me wonder why they can’t grade the picks as presented (units bet) and not charge you for anymore picks until you’re a long-run winner.
4. All of our plays are graded on the odds selected by the handicapper. These lines are based off of our live feed that is taken directly from eight of the best online sportsbooks around. Line movements happen and more often than not you will see the line going in an unfavorable direction since our handicappers are on the “smart” side of games. Unfortunately during football if you wait until Saturday or Sunday then you are going to be worse off than if you buy early in the week.
-If you pay for the pick and can no longer get that line, not our problem. Why should we have to update our website to remove stale lines?
5. Free subscriptions are based on the sport you make your purchase under. For example, if you purchase a Monday Night Football pick, which shows a loss, you will receive that handicapper's next available football pick(s). For packages and subscriptions with multiple sports, you will receive a one day all sports subscription for that handicapper on the next available day that there are picks.
-Why? This probably has something to do with the handicapper’s (obviously) getting a cut of the subscription...what I don’t understand is why you couldn’t lose on a handicappers NFL pick and then take the basketball pick for free (as opposed to another football) if he handicaps basketball.
6. You get a full day of picks, but that does not mean it will include the same number of picks that you purchased. Sometimes you will receive more, other times it will be less.
-This refers to their daily packages and basically means, “Buy a day, get a day.” That’s awesome since most NFL games are played on Sunday. If the Sunday picks (indexed to one unit bets, regardless of how many units recommended) lose, then you’ll get the Monday Night Football pick for free.
7. Handicappers do pass (no picks posted) on occasion. You will be compensated for this. If a package you purchase shows a loss on Monday and the handicapper does not post (or does not have a pick available in the sport you purchased) you subscription carries over until the guarantee is fulfilled.
8. Season subscriptions are handled differently other subscriptions. There is NO GUARANTEE on seasonal subscriptions. Seasonal subscriptions are provided from our handicappers at a significant discount as compared to their other subscriptions. Please keep this in mind before buying a seasonal subscription.
The reason for this policy is that we want to turn you into a serious investor, which means riding out the winning and losing streaks over the course of a full season betting all of our releases on a daily basis. We don’t want you to go on tilt and press your bets if you hit a small slump, but instead be the kind of player that can focus on the long term.
-First of all, I couldn’t find a way to buy a season subscription for anything that is not currently in progress, so I have no idea when that happens. Interestingly enough, if someone buys these season subscriptions which costs several hundred, perhaps thousands, of dollars, they cannot get a season for free if they lose overall. They. Get. Nothing.
Way to show your faith in the long-term, boys.
Also, you’re not a bettor, you’re an investor. Maybe they aren’t handicappers, are they Sports Transaction Brokers?
All great stuff.
But, maybe these guys just perform extremely well. I went ahead and looked at the supposed best performance of their best spread handicapper, and here’s what we have:
3590-3266, 52.4% winners, 52.4% win rate, $21,049 profit, -103 average line.
Okay, let’s break this down:
(3590 * 100) - (3266 * 103) = $22,602
According to the site:
Profit for all of the long-term trends is determined using a flat $100 bet for each premium pick that handicapper has published during the duration of the trend.
Okay, so here’s what we can establish. Even though my total disagrees, the total they pimp is lower, so we’ll go ahead and use their numbers:
Games Picked: (3590 + 3266) = 6,856
Total bets: (6856 * 103) = $706,168
Percentage Gain: (706168+21049)/706168 = 1.02980735462 (2.981%)
Those numbers are looking pretty good, except for one major equation that we are missing:
The best current offer I could find for this handicapper is a seven-pick package for $49.99, which comes out to $7.14 (rounded down) per pick. So, let’s look at his amazing returns on these $100 bets and determine the financial result paying this BEST CASE SCENARIO amount per pick:
21049 - (6856 * 7.14) = -27902.84
In other words, a $100/game bettor, looking at the BEST handicapper on this site in the light most favorable to him and using their numbers WILL LOSE $27,902.84 (after fees and rounded down) flat betting $100/game. Granted, some of the games call for bigger unit bets, but I am going by the metric that they are pimping these guys based on. They picked the criteria, not me.
1.) Why am I listening to this guy on terrestrial radio? What possible justification is there to allow these scam artists, these conmen, these touts to speak?
2.) Why is this guy allowed to say, “Guaranteed,” on the radio without going into the policy that not only are you NOT guaranteed to win, there’s also not an actual refund if you don’t? More than that, the non-actual cash refund is also fairly conditional.
3.) Why is this even legal?
Oh, and here is the breakdown on his, “Premium Picks:”
All Sports 1342-1237
I’m not a math expert, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say the bottom four sets of numbers do not add up to the top set of numbers.
Oh, here’s a one-day sports package that can be purchased for $49.99:
*This subscription currently includes 1 NCAA-F pick but more may be added during the term of the subscription.
Of course, he is selling individual NCAAF picks for today for $29.99/each.
There’s only one game being played!!! Colorado State @ Wyoming, $29.99, or you could buy the full day package for $49.99 which includes one NCAAF pick that is automatically Colorado State & Wyoming.
Okay, now that we have determined that a best-case scenario minimum of $27,902.84 (rounded down) will be spent on these picks, if bought any other way but a season package, let’s assume that you can get in every single bet and figure out what the average bet would have to be at -103 bets:
(3590 * x) - (3266 * (x * 1.03)) = 27902.84
Okay, so betting roughly $125 on every single game and picking them at the lowest possible cost per game would have enabled a player to break even after a few years and nearly 7,000 bets.
Remember also: This is the best spread better they have, profit-wise.
Conclusion on Touts
These guys have no business being featured on terrestrial radio, or on any other public platform, and I have no interest in anything they have to say. Generally, I’m one to have a laissez-faire attitude towards all things gambling, but I think that I have finally discovered my line, no pun intended.
I have some question as to whether or not this should even be legal, and would have to put a lot of thought into that question to reach a conclusion. The one thing that I will say is that these sites should be more strictly regulated. For one thing, if they are going to use $100 bets as a metric, then they should be forced to disclose that the bettor would actually lose/spend money overall after considering the impact of paying for the picks. They should have to disclose the average price/pick and how much would have to be bet in order to overcome that.
I’ll tell you this also, I’d be running at nearly a 2% profit in the WoV Picks game every year up to and including 2017 had I actually been betting the picks. I was 258-226, so we add that to my current record of 34-26 for this year and we get 292-252 for a 0.53676470588 winning percentage. Let’s assume lines of -110 and see how that’s going for me:
(0.53676470588*100) - ((1-0.53676470588)*110) = 2.7205882348
There you go, 2.720588% profit on all bets. Betting on 544 games, you’d have made $1,480 on total bets of $59,840.
(Some Picks are on stale lines and a very select few were based on that)
The best part is that you can have my Picks, not a single one have I actually bet money on, for free. Just PM me (kidding, don’t PM me), but that is not a guarantee of results...at least you won’t be paying for picks.
Better still, just do your own research and make your own picks for free if you have fun betting sports. Maybe you’ll turn out to be a good handicapper and win some money, more likely you’ll lose money, but at least you’re not walking into a situation of a virtually guaranteed loss unless you’re betting a ton of money per game and have the bankroll to support downswings.
Seriously, don’t PM me for Picks. I won’t give them to you. If you want to bet sports, bet sports, but I’m not going to either encourage or discourage you from that.
Also, and again, you’ll get no picks from me...but I’m pretty sure I’d be breakeven or better even without the stale lines. I’m fairly good. The stale lines are also offset by being forced to pick EXACTLY five NFL games every week. I’m still not betting money on my picks, though, and I imagine some of these guys selling them don’t, either.
Colin Kaepernick’s Workout
Will the drama ever end? It’s 2019, so I guess not.
The drama started with Colin Kaepernick remaining seated during the playing of the National Anthem during a pre-season game in the 2016 seasons. Kaepernick explained this by stating that he had no intention of standing given his perception of the unequal treatment of African-Americans in the country.
The result of this was that Kaepernick, who has engaged in some other divisive means of protest (such as wearing socks portraying police officers as pigs) was eventually released by the San Francisco 49ers.
There exists something of a misconception that Kaepernick was given his release from the team immediately following the first incidence of kneeling for the anthem, but that is not the case. In fact, Kaepernick was on the roster that entire season and started eleven regular seasons games. He completed a respectable 59.2% of his passes and, at 4:1, had the best TD:Int ratio of his career. Additionally, he enjoyed the third-best QBRATE of his career, the other two years didn’t have as strong a TD:INT ratio, but he averaged significantly more yards per attempt.
New 49ers Coach Kyle Shanahan would hand Kaepernick his release in 2017 citing that he did not believe the quarterback was the right fit for his offense.
This would lead to Kaepernick’s position that he was blackballed from the league. Only two teams showed any direct interest in him. Firstly, the Seahawks brought him in for a workout in 2017, but it was decided by Coach Pete Carroll that Kaepernick is a starting quarterback in the league and they did not need him as a backup. The Ravens would have signed him as a backup, but it has been reported they were concerned about public backlash given Kaepernick’s protests.
Reportedly, the Seahawks considered working him out the following year, but eventually grew disinterested when he would not commit to standing for the national anthem. The NFL has since instituted a rule that states that one must either stand for the anthem or remain in the locker room, but the rule was not in place at that time.
Before we get into the current drama, let me express my opinion when it comes to both sides of this argument. I will try to present it as neutrally as possible.
1.) Colin Kaepernick’s Position
-Colin Kaepernick’s stated position is that he has a responsibility to use his platform as a star to promote the interests of this particular cause for the African-American community. Furthermore, at the time that Kaepernick conducted himself by kneeling for the anthem, neither the NFL, nor the San Francisco 49ers, had any rule to the contrary.
2.) The NFL Position
-Honor the anthem, you’re killing our ratings.
Seriously, the NFL was put into a really tough position on this one. Initially, the reaction to Kaepernick kneeling for the anthem wasn’t a particularly huge one. There were a few mentions, but it was largely ignored and nobody really thought much of it.
Through factors external to the NFL which I will not detail, the issue of players kneeling for the anthem was brought to the forefront of the national attention and the attention of NFL fans. This created significant divisiveness in a country already suffering from extreme political divisions. The NFL, prior to these issues, could rightfully be called an institution beloved by people from all walks of life and of all political bents.
The NFL was forced into a situation where the best thing they could hope for was to irritate as few people as possible. They came up with a new rule in 2018, which, according to ESPN.
The six pillars of the rule are:
All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.
The Game Operations Manual will be revised to remove the requirement that all players be on the field for the anthem.
Personnel who choose not to stand for the anthem may stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field until after the anthem has been performed.
A club will be fined by the league if its personnel are on the field and do not stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.
Each club may develop its own work rules, consistent with the above principles, regarding its personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.
The commissioner will impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.
In other words, it requires a player to either stand for the anthem or exit the field during such time that the anthem is being performed.
This was the best solution they could come up with, in my opinion. On the one hand, you’re essentially disallowing any protests of the anthem (aside from simply not being present) and, on the other hand, you’re also giving players who disagree with the anthem an avenue by which they do not have to stand during its performance.
If the NFL had forced all players to be on the field and standing for the anthem, (since no previous rule existed) they would kind of be making Colin Kaepernick’s point for him. Here you have a league with a white commissioner and ownership consisting of all white families/entities except for two (one African-American owner and the Green Bay Packers are technically public-owned) telling an individual he may not protest to benefit an African-American cause. Not a great look.
If the NFL had continued with the rule that simply required players to be on the field, but otherwise doing whatever they want to, the public backlash would have continued.
Anyway, you can’t please everyone. Many cited the NBA’s long-standing rule (source: ESPN, see above link) that requires all players to be on the court and standing in a respectful way. From the source:
The entire Indiana Fever team and two Phoenix Mercury players were not penalized for kneeling during the anthem before a WNBA playoff game in September 2016. Meanwhile, the NBA did set a precedent when Denver Nuggets guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf decided not to stand during the anthem late in the 1994-95 season. He believed the anthem and flag were not inclusive, either religiously or politically.
Abdul-Rauf's position went unnoticed for months and when it became public the following season, the NBA told him he could remain in the locker room if he did not want to stand, but he refused, according to a report by Outside the Lines. The league suspended him for one game without pay, a loss of $31,707. Afterward, he agreed to stand -- but pray -- during the anthem.
In this case, however, the NBA was not creating a rule in reaction to something that happened; the rule already existed. In fact, there was nothing in the rule that suggested the resolution of being allowed to stand in the locker room, (foulines or sideline required) but the NBA was apparently willing to make that concession.
3.) My Take
For my part, I don’t know what went on behind the scenes between Colin Kaepernick and any of these teams. I don’t know what sort of closed-door or side conversations may or may not have occurred.
In my opinion, the workplace is not necessarily going to be the forum for a political protest. The employer is paying you to be there, so if they are requesting that you do not engage in conduct that they prefer you not engage in, then, as an employee, I don’t see what choice there is but to acquiesce that request regardless of the existence of a hard rule on the books.
Kaepernick could have, as far as I know, protested in any other way he wanted to and say whatever he wanted to during press conferences or on his time. He was on the 49ers’ clock during these protests. These guys are rich. I’ve been asked to do things that are either illegal (or violate the health code) at previous places of employment...I can either live with it or be terminated from my job. Those were the choices.
Far from being made to do something illegal, Kaepernick, presumably, was simply asked not to take an action non-conducive to the goals of the workplace while on the clock. I don’t know what his thoughts on entitlement are, but I’d have liked to be entitled enough at a few select previous workplaces not to engage in illegal activity and/or activity violating the health codes. As an employee making far less than he did, I knew the workplace was not the correct forum to make my political opinions known, especially by way of protest.
Again, that’s not a political take on my part. That’s my take on literally what the employer/employee relationship is. They tell you to do something, you do it. At a minimum, I accepted that the consequence of doing otherwise would be termination, and I can promise I wa signing much smaller checks than did Kaepernick.
Back To The Present
Anyway, no teams have shown an interest in Kaepernick on an individual basis since the Seahawks showed a conditional and passing interest in maybe working him out back in 2018. Everybody knows that there is going to be a media circus for any team that even so much as brings him in on a one-on-one workout, much less signs him.
All of this comes with someone who, in some cases, is going to be nothing more than a backup quarterback for the remainder of the season. In other cases, he might eventually start a few games, but it is likely going to take a little time for him to develop knowledge of the playbook. Regardless of what shape he has been keeping his body, one would also assume he is going to be a little rusty after not having taken an NFL snap in nearly three years. Reasonable.
Anyway, the NFL, reportedly through Jay-Z imploring to Commissioner Roger Goddell, elected to have a workout at the Atlanta Falcons’ practice facility that any NFL team could attend. Twenty-five teams chose to do so. With a half hour prior to the scheduled workout, Kaepernick announced he would not be attending and instead opted to do a different workout at a high school field some sixty miles away. He cited problems with the contract, which is identical to a contract he had previously signed, with the exception that the workout was not an implicit or explicit guarantee of employment. (Probably the league didn’t want to be sued for blackballing him again.)
The number of teams dwindled from twenty-five to seven, presumably due either to scheduling issues or they just thought it wasn’t worth the pain in the ass. Kaepernick had this to say:
"When you go back, tell your owners to stop being scared.”
That should help.
Conclusion on Colin Kaepernick
Let me tell you something: When Stephen A. Smith is criticizing a man whose goal is to champion an African-American cause, you know that man has screwed up big time. Check it out:
“He don’t want to play, he wants to be a martyr. But, guess what? It ain’t working this time.”-Stephen A. Smith
That says it all. I don’t need to say anything. Do you have something to say? Let’s hear your take in the comments!
3.) The Browns/Steelers Fiasco
Watch it before the NFL pays Youtube to take it down! (I think I’m kidding)
DISCLAIMER: The Youtube video linked below contains an act of violence. If violence is disturbing to you, then please do not watch the Youtube video below.
FULL DISCLOSURE: As a longtime lover of the game of football, at all levels, I am going to be presenting a biased opinion for this section of the article. These opinions are my own and I apologize if they are in any way divisive, however, they are not meant to be political in any implicit or explicit way.
The breakdown on this is that MIles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns takes down Steelers’ quarterback Mason Rudolph when the result of the game is known. (The Browns were ahead 21-7, there were no time outs, and under ten seconds on the clock). In my opinion, the initial contact was not late, (the nearest referee who would be responsible for throwing a flag if it had been did not) but Garrett may have taken Rudolph to the ground unnecessarily. No flag was thrown at that time, but the backjudge was engaged in trying to break up the conflict. The referee closest to the two was looking in the other direction at the time.
After the hard takedown which would see Garrett twisting and wrestling Rudolph to the ground, Rudolph appeared to (in my opinion) try to forcibly remove Garrett’s helmet. If this was the intent, Rudolph was unsuccessful. After that, Garrett successfully removed Rudolph’s helmet despite multiple Steelers being involved at the time. Having removed the helmet, Garrett appeared to be basically under control by the Steelers’ players, but then Rudolph again approached him and, for reasons only Miles Garrett will ever understand, Garrett all-out swung Rudolph’s own helmet into Rudolph’s head.
At this point, the two Steelers players, one of whom is Maurkice Pouncey, forcibly took Garrett to the ground with Pouncey delivering a few punches and kicks. Around this time, Larry Ogunjobi approached the helmetless Mason Rudolph from behind and shoved him to the ground.
Wow. What a mess.
Here were the initial suspensions:
Miles Garrett: Indefinite, remainder of season and postseason minimum.
Maurkice Pouncey: Three games.
Larry Okunjobi: One game.
Mason Rudolph: None.
After the appeals, the only suspension altered was Maurkice Pouncey, who would have his suspension reduced from three games to two. It would perhaps even have been one, except one assumes that they want to keep him out of the upcoming game against the Browns in Pittsburgh.
For my part, I initially disagreed with the Miles Garrett suspension being indefinite, as I felt it should be of a finite duration. I don’t know how many games into the 2020 season I would have felt appropriate, (perhaps none, but definitely agree with the remainder of this season) but I do believe he should at least have the right to know how long he would be suspended. It’s tough to get the body ready to play football for so many weeks, so he should know when he is coming back.
I did say, ‘Initially,’ given his recent actions of accusing Mason Rudolph as having uttered a racial slur and saying the incident was, in part, retaliation for that...I now support an indefinite suspension. Immediately after the game, Garrett showed contrition for his actions and spoke in a manner appropriate to that.
I am not changing my position because I do not believe Garrett’s claim, how would I know? I’m changing it because he seems to think words are a justification for hitting somebody over the head with what is essentially a weapon. More than that, Mason Rudolph had recently just come back from a concussion. While I don’t think any charges should be pressed for assault, it was assault, don’t use words to try to justify committing assault with a weapon.
Maurkice Pouncey’s suspension was reduced from three games to two. I essentially agree with this decision, (to keep him out of the Browns game) but would have been fine with a one-week suspension if not for the upcoming matchup. He acted in the moment and laid some kicks and punches on Garrett who had just assaulted his quarterback with a weapon. I think that’s somewhat justified.
I believe that Larry Okunjobi’s suspension should have been tied to whatever Maurkice Pouncey received and that he’d also be better not to be in the upcoming matchup. I don’t really have an opinion on the length, per se, just that he should have got what Pouncey got, at a minimum. He shoved a helmetless player from behind who had just been assaulted with a weapon AND had his hands in the air.
I would support Mason Rudolph being suspended for at least one game, though that may be somewhat reactionary to what ended up occurring. I guess there would probably be no talk of suspensions at all had Garrett never clocked Rudolph with the helmet...but it sure looked to me like Rudolph was trying to yank off Garrett’s helmet first. Sometimes the ultimate results of an action can have more bearing than the action itself and I think it perfectly reasonable that this may rightly be one of those times.
Conclusion on Steelers/Browns Fiasco
In my opinion, the league basically handled it the right way. I think Garrett should have been given a finite suspension from the beginning, that Pouncey and Okunjobi’s suspensions/fines should have been tied together and that Rudolph maybe should have caught a one-game suspension, but this is basically fine. Do you have any thoughts? Put them in the comments below:
4.) Transgender Athletes in Sport
I am going to try to discuss this in as non-political and non-controversial a manner as can possibly be done. Once again, we want to keep any commentary in this regard relegated to this specific issue, not about the bigger question of Transgender right and definitely not on Liberals v. Conservatives, in general.
I don’t know how this escaped me to this point, but there have been a few situations involving transgender athletes in sport to have recently come to my attention.
MIXED MARTIAL ARTS:
The first one we will discuss is that of Fallon Fox, born a biological male and who had surgery to become a female. Fallon Fox would go on to participate in mixed martial arts (MMA) and would enter a tournament for a championship and cash prize.
DISCLAIMER: The linked video contains an extremely violent act that some may find disturbing. Due to the overuse of the word cringe in today’s society, I hate to use it at all, but that’s the best word to describe what I did:
This is a brutal knee strike knockout to the head, which saw Fox beating Ericka Newsome by knockout.
In any case, this is not even the most brutal outcome of a fight involving Fox. I won’t link to the video in this case, but the last fight of her career is just a two minute long merciless beating until the referee finally called the fight. In any case, the ultimate result of the fight out of the ring was a broken skull for Tamika Brents...who never had a chance.
Ericka Newsome would go on to challenge the decision because she felt that the fight was called too early. Additionally, Fallon Fox put that she was female (obviously) when obtaining her MMA license, but Newsome claimed it was not disclosed to her that Fox was born a biological male:
In her career, Fallon Fox would lose only the fight that followed the fight with Newsome. Ashlee Evans-Smith would go on to beat her in that same tournament using a combination of superior judo and wrestling skills. In addition to stating that she trained with guys in the MMA world, Evans-Smith also pointed out that she wrestled on the boys team back in high school.
For her part, Evans-Smith has stated that she would have refused the fight and refused to enter the tournament had she not already been signed up for the tournament at the time that Fox entered. She chose to fight Fox and, in my opinion and the opinion of multiple MMA analysts, only beat Fox due to superior technical skill.
Evans-Smith would further state that Fox hit harder than some of the men with whom Evans-Smith trained, but that the big problem was escaping, “The clutch,” which is to say that she (Fox) had more strength in her hands and a stronger grip than any other female fighter that she had encountered.
On power, Tamika Brents had this to say:
“I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night. I can’t answer whether it’s because she was born a man or not because I’m not a doctor. I can only say, I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right… I still disagree with Fox fighting. Any other job or career I say have a go at it, but when it comes to a combat sport I think it just isn’t fair.” – Tamika Brents said.
The medical community is somewhat mixed on the effects of the combination of gender reassignment surgery and hormones, but from this source, Dr. Ramona Krutzick had this to say:
“Typically, you're looking at about 15 years after androgen suppression and sexual reassignment surgery to really start to see significant changes in bone density. It's been too early for her to see much of a decrease in bone mass or to make her equal to that of a female. She started off with a much higher bone density than other women her same age, and therefore will maintain a lot of that for a while. Additionally, because she is taking estrogen, that will actually help to maintain that bone mass. Women also have lighter, child bearing hips because of the difference in hormones during the body's developmental years. Her skeleton and body mass and shape developed a long time ago. Those changes cannot be undone. They are permanent.”
In other words, Dr. Krutzick’s position is that a biological male will inherently be more powerful for around fifteen years due to increased bone mass and density. Even then, body mass and shape would remain a lifelong advantage.
Joe Rogan, an MMA/UFC analyst, originally took a hard stance against transgender athletes in combat sports, (which will not be repeated here, if you know who Joe Rogan is, you know why) but would go on to soften his stance a little bit saying that a woman can take the fight if she knows it was a biological male going in and accepts the disadvantage. He compared it to fighting men, saying in this video:
“...If you choose to fight her, and you’re a woman, and you know that she’s a trans woman, I’m totally fine with that.”
Personally, I’m basically fine with that, as well. If you have someone who is a straight up man who wants to take a fight with a woman, and a woman willing to fight him, who am I to say that the two of them can’t fight each other?
The only area that has me concerned if you’re going to have transgender indiviuduals in combat sports is this: What if such a person were to rise through the ranks such that he or she has earned a title shot, but the champion says, “No, I’m not going to fight you because you used to be a man.” Is that going to be a discrimination case? Does the promotion have to strip the champion of her title? Just, how does it work?
But, this is not just an issue in combat sports:
TRACK & FIELD:
If you’re interested in hearing both sides of the story from those who experienced it, then watch these videos:
The Transgender Athletes:
The Non-Transgender Athlete Forced to Compete Against Them:
This discussion is about transgender athletes in high school athletics, specifically, Connecticut Track & Field. In order to provide a little context without the need to watch the videos, two transgender teens (Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood), who are pre-surgery, are dominating girls’ track and field events. In particular, they focus on dash type events.
Here’s an example of what they do in the 55-meter indoor girls’ dash back in 2017.
Finishing first and second with times of 6.95s and 7.01s with the closest biological female finishing with a time of 7.23s.
Some of you might think that under three-tenths of a second is not a big difference, but 3rd-7th place, all biological girls, were separated only .16s ranging from 7.23s-7.39s. In the process, the winning time of 6.95s, set by Terry Miller, would be a girls’ state record for the event.
Simply put, the biological girls got absolutely smoked in this race.
Comparatively, the same event for the boys would see a winning time of 6.51s with last place finishing at 6.63s, a spread of .12 seconds. From top to bottom, this was a more competitive race than was the girls’ event from second to third.
At the time, the personal best times of the transgender athletes would put both in the top ten nationally, whereas they wouldn’t rank Top 100 in the boys’ event in the State of Connecticut.
The clear conclusion to draw here is that the girls were absolutely smoked and only the fastest girls in the country would have any chance of beating the transgender athletes, and might even lose on a given day.
Essentially, with the gender reassignment, it can be argued that the two transgender athletes went instantly from being extremely mediocre sprinters to world-beaters in an instant. That is, of course, given biological female competition.
In the State of Connecticut, the biological girls either run against the transgender girls or not at all. Unlike a one-on-one combat sport, it’s not like they can simply decline to accept the challenge and go on to an equal challenge elsewhere. They can simply choose not to participate in the event, but how is that fair?
Terry Miller also won the 300 meter dash, by nearly a full second, whilst the spread on the same event for males was equivalent from 1st-6th, and again, Miller’s time would fail to qualify her for last place in the boys’ event.
Neither of the transgender athletes participated in the longer runs. I don’t know if it being more of a stamina competition closes the gap (not the gender gap, mind you) too much for their liking, or what.
Anyway, I don’t know what the solution is. I don’t think there is a politically acceptable one, so it’s hard to say. Instantly, one might think, “Transgender only events,” but those events would cost a certain amount to put on, would require their own coaches and teams and simply might not have many competitiors. Furthermore, a discrimination case would almost certainly be made out of it.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on potential solutions in the comments, because I sure as hell don’t have any ideas.
Conclusion on Transgender Athletes in Sports
It’s a scientific fact that there are biological differences, in general, between males and females. Were this not the case, one assumes that physical sports would not have been separated into the genders and that there would not be female teams for anything.
This is not a matter of opinion. Simply look at the records and results for any given athletic (timed/measured) event for girls and boys and you will see that the girls get smoked almost every time. The national high school girls’ record holder for the 55m dash:
Would have lost to the kid who won the 2019 indoor state event in Connecticut by 0.17s whereas the latter fell .43s short of setting a national record. I’m not going to get into specifics, but we’ve also seen this same thing happen in sports such as tennis.
Simply put, it’s a different physiological makeup between the genders.
I believe that this gap may close a little bit as one gets closer to the professional level and with that degree of experience. I also believe that there are extreme female outliers who have the desire, and most importantly, the ability to run with the boys/guys.
I keep score for middle school football games for my friend who is a coach and I saw a girl playing 8th grade ball for one of their opponents. I think that’s awesome. I hope that she’s successful and is given the opportunity to play high school football (and beyond) if she has the desire and ability to do that.
However, there’s a difference between women choosing to compete with men, girls choosing to compete with boys and a girl being given no choice but to compete with biological males or not participate. It may not be politically correct, but it doesn’t make it any less true that there is a difference in athletic ability, almost always, between the genders.
I think the gap closes a bit when one gets closer to the professional level and then opens back up. Even in bowling, the male professional bowler with the highest career average smokes the female professional by some sixteen pins per game. That’s not close and of all the sports I can think of where bone density and muscle mass provide the least advantage...bowling is pretty high on the list. That said, in the case of bowling, Jodi Woessner would very well beat Jeff Carter if they played multiple games together and would have a chance if they only played each other once.
Should all girls/women in an event have to agree that they are willing to compete against a transgendered biological male? Should that person not be permitted to compete if the girls/women refuse? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
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