May and June are just about the only months when there's nothing to talk about regarding the NFL. Mays is doing the heavy lifting with his Warning series, but we wanted to make sure you were fully aware of some of the truly stupid NFL news stories floating around this week.
So let's take a look at some of the headlines from the past week or so that have made life more fun.
The NFLPA Goes to War With Jay-Z
This is so, so stupid. From NFL.com: "The union is planning to send a letter of inquiry to Roc Nation Sports agent Kim Miale to gather more information about Jay-Z's involvement in courting [Geno] Smith. The recently instituted 'runner rule' prohibits agents from having colleagues or friends who aren't NFLPA certified agents present for recruiting meetings."
It's the second time this year the players association has investigated Jay's involvement in recruiting a player. And Jay-Z was at that meeting. You know he was. Everyone knows he was. Geno Smith's adviser said he was (before backtracking), and Geno Smith posted a picture of himself on Instagram. With Jay-Z. At that meeting.
But here's the thing: Jay-Z is not really a "runner," is he? He's a business, mannnnn. (Literally; he owns part of the agency.) So, maybe there's a point to this investigation that I'm missing, but it sure seems like this is a way for the NFLPA to harp on technicalities and appease rival agents who are upset that Jay-Z is suddenly a threat to steal their clients. In that case, there are two responses. First of all, having Jay-Z looming as a threat only ensures that agents will take better care of their stars for fear of losing them, so the NFLPA's doing everyone a disservice by trying to chase him out of football. Second and more importantly, the NFLPA needs to see the forest for the trees in all this.
I used to live on Horton Road in Manchester. The back alley of the terraced house backed onto Maine Road, Manchester City's former home in Moss Side. On game days I used to enjoy the time delay of hearing a muffled roar through the window, followed a few seconds later by the audio on the radio: "And there's been a goal at Manchester City!" I recently wrote about the intimate distance of Sir Alex Ferguson's choreography following me from Manchester pub TV screens to Brooklyn laptops, but the affective experience of that surge of sound is just as much a part of my emotional memory of Manchester football.
With Ferguson retiring, David Beckham and Paul Scholes following suit, and Roberto Mancini being fired, Manchester's been on my mind recently. But now it's "over here," as Manchester City and the New York Yankees have teamed up to form New York City FC. Manchester's in America.
Manchester and America are a fascinating mix, partly because America is one of the few land masses big enough to cause slight unease in the average Mancunian's assessment of his city as the center of the universe. When I think of previous encounters between Manchester and the U.S., such as Tony Wilson telling a bemused group of New York music journalists to "wake up, America — you're dead!" as he introduced the Happy Mondays. Somewhere in the mix there's always a faint air of hurt bewilderment on the Manchester side at any air of indifference on America's part.
In part 1 of 2, Bill tells Jalen and Jacoby his conspiracy theory of a Jay-Z and Lebron James business merger. Then they talk NBA Playoffs, and Kobe's future. In part 2 of 2, Bill, Jalen and Jacoby talk NBA Playoffs, Kenyon Martin's comeback, and whether Jay-Z, Obama, or Michael Jordan would get the best table at a nightclub. In the bonus video after the jump, Simmons pitches Jalen and Jacoby his theory that LeBron James and Jay-Z are setting the table to team up under the Roc Nation Sports banner.
The order of events that have made up the Jay-Z–Brooklyn Nets narrative:
1. "Jay-Z buys New Jersey Nets, moves team to Marcy Projects." (False.) 2. "New Jersey Nets move to Brooklyn, Jay-Z buys team." (Nope.) 3. "New Jersey Nets become Brooklyn Nets, Jay-Z is minority owner in team." (BLACK.) 4. "Jay-Z with very small percentage of team ownership, but EIGHT STRAIGHT BARCLAYS SHOWS, MARCY STAND UP." (Oh, minority as in "small." But how small?) 5. "Jay-Z owns 1/15th of the Brooklyn Nets" (Not quite ) 6. "Jay-Z owns 1/15th of 1 percent of the Brooklyn Nets." (There it is.) 7. "1/15th of 1 percent = .067 percent." (Yo, that's real small.) 8. "Hov is selling his shares, and that's only 350,000 dollars." (Accurate. Also: wow.)
Before Jay-Z took the stage September 28, on the Barclays Center's opening night — before he christened the building, before he consummated his home borough’s ascendance — we got a short video ticking off a selective list of Brooklyn’s accomplishments. “1862: BROOKLYN RAILROAD BEGINS OPERATION” and “1893: BROOKLYN BRIDGE COMPLETED” and “1895: BROOKLYN MUSEUM FOUNDED.” We saw “1913: EBBETS FIELD OPENS” and “1945: JACKIE ROBINSON JOINS THE BROOKLYN DODGERS” and “1949: MARCY PROJECTS BUILT.” And then the jouncy jazz riff playing under the montage cut out for the bone-crunching guitars of “No Sleep Till Brooklyn,” and a string of Brooklyn babies were trumpeted: Basquiat, Biggie, Jordan, Aaliyah, Tyson, ODB, and Adam “MCA” Yauch, born in downtown Brooklyn in 1967. Twenty seconds later — before the montage picked up speed beyond decipherability, as if to suggest the borough’s simply overwhelming success rate — we saw Yauch again, along with The Beastie Boys: “1986: LICENSED TO ILL RELEASED.”
On Saturday night, a national television audience watched the Brooklyn Nets defeat the Toronto Raptors in the transplanted franchise’s new home. From your soiled barcalounger, you may have heard the “Brooooooooooklyn” chants and seen Brook Lopez draw countless foul shots with his herky-jerky release. But you missed so, so much. Here’s an on-the-ground report of what really went down in the mean seats of the Barclays Center on opening night.
After years of grappling with eminent domain laws, entrenched homeowners, and Frank Gehry’s since-scrapped melty architectural imaginings, the Barclays Center was finally unveiled this morning. Accompanied by giant novelty scissors and a popgun burst of streamers, the ribbon-cutting ceremony capped off a cavalcade of celebratory speeches that were delivered overlooking the glowing hardwood court where the Brooklyn Nets will now play.
The themes of the day were predictable: The world-class greatness of Brooklyn, the fortunate public housing residents who will now be gainfully employed, the painful slog all these gentlemen endured to make it to this moment. Jay-Z, who didn’t seem to be around, was mentioned by name on a dozen occasions, each time followed by a pause for light applause.
A few days ago, photos surfaced of Jay-Z in a shirt emblazoned with the new logo for the Brooklyn Nets. Despite his very public ownership of a very small stake in the NBA franchise, there was reason for skepticism: mostly, the insignia appeared as if it were designed in MS Paint by Canal Street bootleggers. One expected a CD-ROM pre-loaded with 1,000 free hours of AOL to tumble out of Jay-Z’s pocket.
On Monday, the unfamiliar Nets logo was disappointingly confirmed as the genuine article. Shooting for aggressive simplicity, the stark logo — a “B” inside a basketball, topped by the word “NETS” — has a simple black-and-white color scheme. Outside of the vague “B,” there are no visual markers to indicate the team hails from Brooklyn. In comparison to NBA logos from the past, it resembles the emblem used by the Rochester Royals, a franchise that later leapfrogged across America until majestically morphing into the Sacramento Kings.
Sure. Why not? I wonder if Hanley Ramirez, who posted this photo to his Twitter account, has a favorite Nirvana song. "Pay to Play," probably. (Just kidding.) Seriously though, Jay-Z looks like he has no idea who Hanley Ramirez is.
"Can you believe ‘15’?" one Detroit Lions defender asked after his team's 45-10 immolation of Tebow and the Denver Broncos. "Come on — that’s embarrassing. I mean, it's a joke. We knew all week that if we brought any kind of defensive pressure, he couldn’t do anything. In the second half it got boring out there. We were like, 'Come on — that's your quarterback? Seriously?'"
The Minnesota Lynx beat the Atlanta Dream on Friday to claim the organization’s first WNBA championship. The 15th WNBA season, in the books. So now what? While this assuredly isn't true for all of the players, I'm assuming some members of the Dream and Lynx will join the rest of us in what could be a long fall … and winter … and spring full of non-stop banter about the NBA lockout and the present and future condition of the fractured league.
Fortunately for the players of the WNBA, there is another option. An option that not only keeps these talents on the hardwood, but also irreversibly transforms the league from something that is oft overlooked to to a profitable, wildly popular enterprise.