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Archive for the ‘Ruminations’ Category

I’ve long since all but stopped using the Jenkins Family Blog as a venue to ruminate about what’s bothering me.  But three days after the Seahawks’ heartbreaking loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX, I’m making an exception.

Normal grieving just isn’t working very well.

In reverse order, here’s what I’d like to see the Seahawks do for next year:

10. Find a way to keep Brandon Mebane.  A core player on this Hawks squad, the veteran DT is almost a certain salary cap casualty this offseason as management frees up funds to sign Russell Wilson and/or Bobby Wagner … This is low on my list because a much cheaper Jordan Hill may be a very capable replacement.

9. Promote an insider to replace Dan Quinn as defensive coordinator.  Kris Richard and Ken Norton seem plenty competent and have done well in their respective jobs — there’s no need to look elsewhere.

8. Give Ricardo Lockette more playing time as a WR.  Except for not catching that not-very-good Wilson pass, he’s done everything the coaching staff has asked of him on both offense and special teams … He’s earned the right to more PT — I hope he gets it.

7.  Sign Russell Wilson long term.  This one would obviously be much higher on my list if he didn’t have a year left on his rookie deal … Would be nice to get this deal done, but we can theoretically survive without it this offseason.

6. Trade Doug Baldwin.  The Angry Doug act is wearing thin, especially when it costs his team fifteen yards near the end of the Super Bowl (more) … Almost as bad, he defiantly stated as late as two days after the game that he had “no regrets” about that disgusting, pre-meditated act and did not care what anyone thought about it except his teammates … Deal him to Timbuktu for a draft pick to be used on a WR and I’d be perfectly happy.  Which leads me to …

My heart wouldn't hurt if this was gone.

My heart wouldn’t hurt if this was gone.

5.  Add a big wide receiver to the mix.  Maybe it’s Chris Matthews.  Maybe it’s a guy out of the draft.  But we need a guy who can go up and get it.  Package Baldwin and a draft pick to move up and get a Kelvin Benjamin type — ideal.

4. Sign a new kick returner.  With or without Sir Poop-a-Lot, the ‘Hawks presented no threat to the end zone on kick returns — on too many occasions they barely threatened the 20-yard line … Not saying we need another Percy Harvin, but neither Angry Doug nor Paul Richardson appear to be the answer.

3. Sign a new punt returner.  Brian Walters looks like a high school kid out there … We don’t need Devin Hester in his prime, but we do need something other than a designated fair catcher.

2. If Byron Maxwell goes, sign a starting cornerback.  I’m guessing BM is gone and if he is, it’s clear his replacement isn’t on the current roster … An undersized Jeremy Lane is a nickel back at best, and Tharold Simon reminds me of Kelly Jennings — hard-to-watch bad.

1.  Sign Marshawn Lynch to a three-year deal.  He and Kam Chancellor are the guys who stir the drink … I get that he’s almost 29, but it simply isn’t true that all running backs tail off once they hit 30 (more) … Beast didn’t work too hard in Buffalo, doesn’t practice now and has shown no signs of slowing down, so I’m guessing there’s still plenty of tread on his tires.

Keeping Marshawn Lynch is priority No. 1.

Keeping Marshawn Lynch is priority No. 1.

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Last week I started quite a ruckus with my post about the Ray Rice affair.  With readership of the family blog tripled thanks to me posting a link to it on Facebook, brouhahas broke out in my house, at the park (with me not there), on my guys weekend in San Diego and, of course, on the social network.

With all that fun I’m compelled to share my thoughts on the Adrian Peterson affair.

1.  A parent has a right to use a switch to discipline his child.  I wouldn’t think of doing it in a million years, but it’s not my place to impose my values on other parents.  According to Charles Barkley, switching is a common means of child discipline in the African-American community.  I have no reason not to believe him.

2. That said, when a parent grabs a tree branch he runs a considerable risk of negligently or intentionally injuring his child — more so than, say, if he used an open hand.  As such, said parent should be pretty darn careful when he’s wielding that stick.

3. In this case, Daddy Peterson did not take care to not hurt his kid, as the photos so graphically show.  Those photos, which I won’t post on this blog, were taken five days after what the Vikings star called “a whooping.”  I can only imagine how the kid looked when Daddy put the stick down.

AP

He doesn’t LOOK like a child abuser, but …

As for whether Peterson should go to jail — that depends on whether he violated the laws he’s alleged to have violated.  I don’t know Texas law on the subject so I have no opinion on the matter.  One person who does, blogger Gregory S. McNeal,  concluded that he likely did.   I don’t know if Mr. McNeal’s legal analysis is correct — it’s a lot more conclusion than analysis — but I’ll go with it here.

What I do know is this.  If a Texas jury does not convict Peterson of something, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will be under intense pressure to sanction Peterson, anyway.   The photos don’t lie.   If he doesn’t do something, Goodell will be gone.

And deservedly so.

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Author’s note: The views below are mine alone and do not represent the views of others in the Jenkins family. 

First things first.  I don’t hit girls.  Never have, and have no plans to.

That said, I find myself holding out a proverbial helping hand to Ray Rice today — and that’s after watching the now-infamous video of him knocking out his then-fiancee (now wife) in an Atlantic City elevator.

The now former Baltimore Raven’s left hook to Janay Palmer’s face was tough to watch — every bit as tough as watching Beyonce’s sister open up a can of whoop-ass on Jay-Z.  If Mr. Rice were my son I would be extremely disappointed in him.  Like everyone in the world save Mr. and Mrs. Rice, I have no idea what preceded the punch or what, if anything, then-Ms. Palmer said or did to get her NFL boyfriend so furious.  I’m guessing something happened: the video shows her getting in his face and they appear to be spitting on each other.  Whatever (if anything) it was, I would have hoped my son would have had more self control.

But what I find just as unseemly is the race to pile on and punish Mr. Rice in the wake of TMZ Sports’s release of the aforementioned video yesterday.

The Ravens released their long-time running back almost immediately.  The video “changed things,” his now-former coach told us.  Why?  Ravens management saw the video of Mr. Rice dragging his unconscious now-wife out of an elevator months ago.  Did they think he knocked her out with Starbucks breath?   New Jersey’s criminal complaint stated that Rice struck his fiancee “with his hand, rendering her unconscious” — exactly what the video showed.  Me thinks Ravens management concluded their once-beloved star would be forever doomed to bad guy status once this video went viral and, seeing little upside to standing behind their once-dominant-but-now-past-his-prime running back, they booted him — and his considerable contract — out of town.  Politics over principle — shame on them.

Not the monster he's being made out to be.

A victim-maker in February, Ray Rice now finds himself a victim of another sort.

I wonder if the Ravens would have severed ties with Mr. Rice in 2012, when he was coming off a career year that saw him gain over 2,000 yards from scrimmage.  They didn’t come down as hard (or at all) on Terrell Suggs in 2011 when a court issued a protective order against their star linebacker based on a series of very detailed allegations that portrayed him as an unspeakable monster.   (More.) Mr. Suggs was at the peak of his career then.

The NFL’s indefinite suspension of Mr. Rice is another matter.  The league took a PR beating for its initial two-game suspension of Mr. Rice — way too lenient, the masses screamed.  Sensing public opinion was against him, the ever image-conscious Roger Goodell later concluded that he hadn’t punished the theretofore model citizen harshly enough and announced the NFL’s new domestic abuse policy — six week ban for a first offense, lifetime ban thereafter.  NFL mucky mucks, who Goodell insists didn’t see the inside-the-elevator tape until a few days ago, upped the penalty from two games to “indefinite” once the video went viral. But this was the once-model citizen’s first offense, and indefinite is not six weeks.   What gives?

Then there’s everyone else.  I’ve followed this story fairly closely for the past forty-eight hours and know of only two people — Mrs. Rice and conservative African-American commentator Dr. Ben Carlson — who have suggested that everyone should put down their pitch forks.  No one’s even curious about background or context.  Nothing, the self righteous scream with indignation, could justify Mr. Rice’s left hook, and anyone who even considers as much should lose their job. I wonder. Suppose I called an African-American the n-word and the object of my derision became so enraged that he killed me.  Think a sizable minority in the typing class would opine that my killer should be excused, or at least be entitled to a lesser conviction than murder?   I do.   Just last week a good (and very bright) friend of mine insisted to me that a white police officer’s killing of a black man justified citywide looting in Ferguson, Missouri — looting against business owners, I might add, who’s only “crime” was owning a business in Ferguson.  Now I don’t know what Ms. Palmer did or said (if anything) to her fiancee that got him so enraged; perhaps she went Solange on him where the cameras weren’t rolling.  I don’t know, but I’d like to.  That no one else seems to care a wit is what bothers me most.  Everyone else seems angry; better get angry, too.

Which brings me back to Mr. Rice and why I find myself hoping he emerges from this very dark spell.   Like him, I’ve had a few moments I wish I could have back (mine, and perhaps his, alcohol-fueled).  And like him, I’ve been on the underside of a the-facts-don’t-matter avalanche; in my case the avalanche was my own state’s government.  That experience landed me in jail three times, twice as an alleged fugitive from a state I’d never set foot in, and cost me a bundle.  It took almost two years for judges to take a deep breath and consider the facts, but ultimately their exonerating opinion didn’t matter because their superiors re-wrote the law to put my then-company out of business.  It’s a lonely feeling when you get steamrolled by The Machine, especially when you’ve otherwise led an exemplary life, as I like to think I have and a good many people say Mr. Rice has.  (E.g., 1I2.)

He hit a girl no doubt.   But Ray Rice didn’t deserve to lose his job and his career because he had the misfortune of screwing up on video.  The NFL is chock full of monsters.  Mr. Rice isn’t one of them.

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The other day I stumbled on an article entitled “18 things about Arnold Palmer.”  His wife penned the piece to let the world know what little it didn’t already know about The King.  The idea, I guess, was to give the world an idea of what kind of guy Arnold really is.

Me and my best friends.

Me and my best friends.

That got me to thinking.   Assuming I’m not around, what 18 things would give my kids an idea of what kind of guy I really was.   Well:

  1. I don’t like — and almost never drink — beer.
  2. I wear ties — usually bow ties — whenever the occasion even arguably warrants.  Reason: I think most people phone it in when it comes to their appearance, and I don’t want to be like that.
  3. I don’t care to spend my money on fancy, contemporary cuisine; I’m basically an anti-foodie.  Oh, and I don’t get the wine thing.
  4. I rarely drive faster than 65 mph.  And I try not to drive long distances at night.
  5. I believe in the death penalty.  I think death penalty executions should be frequent and televised.
  6. I’m hopeless on anything with wheels.
  7. Speaking of “hopeless,” I’m hopelessly addicted to Dr. Pepper.
  8. I’ve never drank and drove.  Ever.
  9. I don’t want a funeral.  Reason:  too many people would be too “busy” to make it.  I’d prefer not to be remembered as the guy who had the sparsely-attended funeral.
  10. I’m about as handy around the house as a frozen banana.
  11. I believe ghosts, bigfoots and magalodons all exist.
  12. I have many friends but I consider my kids to be my best friends.
  13. I prefer a night at home with my family to a night out — 99 nights out of 100.
  14. I used to be a big sports fan, but the only professional sports I follow now are football and golf.
  15. I love Scrabble and jigsaw puzzles.
  16. I haven’t written in cursive since I was a teen.
  17. I couldn’t care less about many popular entities — namely, March Madness, the Academy Awards and the NBA.  The Masters, on the other hand …
  18. I used to be a political junkie.  Now I care about politics about as much as I care about March Madness (read: not at all).

POSTSCRIPT: Turns out I’ve already done one of these

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Just finished about my sixth go-’round of the famous-in-this-house hot dog diet, so named (by me) because one of the dinner items is hot dogs.

Starting weight: 171.5.  Ending weight 165.5.

In three days.

I kinda like this.

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I have a lot of clothes.

I mean a lot of clothes.

What I don’t have a lot of, however, is bags to carry them in.

Especially to the gym.

I’d say I have two, in fact.  A black gym bag that’s recently been converted into a t-ball bag, and an old green Nike gym bag that I’ve had since roughly the Monica Lewinsky days.

Sadly, however, I’ve worn her out (my bag, not Monica).  Two big holes in her, in fact.  And today, with much regret. I retired her for good.

Green Nike Bag

That Old Bag served me well and often, and I will miss her.

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As both my readers know, I am no Tiger Woods fan. My considerable Tiger shirt collection notwithstanding, I have called him the anti-role model on this very blog. And just when I thought it was difficult for me to dislike the guy any more, Dropgate happened.

If you’ve been on the moon since then, what happened on Friday afternoon slash Saturday morning is sure to be discussed to death in country club grill rooms for years to come. In brief, Tiger hit a perfect wedge shot to the green at no. 15 during Friday’s second round – so perfect, in fact, that it caromed off the flagstick and into the water hazard. Clearly flustered, Tiger weighed his drop options and, as he would later state in a post-round interview, dropped a ball two yards behind where he’d previously hit from so that he could take the same swing he’d just taken and not hit the flagstick again.

I was watching this on my couch and suspected he’d done something wrong, but I didn’t call in to that invisible guy you call to report rules violations. But someone did, and the Masters rules committee was made aware of the situation as Tiger played the 18th hole. The problem: under the drop rule under which he ostensibly proceeded, Tiger was required by rule to drop his ball as nearly as possible to the spot from where he last hit on pain of a two-stroke penalty. As ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski detailed (more), the committee decided before Tiger signed his scorecard that he had done nothing wrong. Amazingly, no one bothered to discuss the issue with Tiger after he completed his round or before he signed his scorecard. So Tiger signed his scorecard and gave the aforementioned, televised post-round interview where he admitted to dropping the ball two yards back of where he took his previous shot.

Tiger blew it -- in more ways than one.

Tiger blew it — in more ways than one.

Woops.

According to Wojciechowski, Masters rules committee chairman Fred Ridley was made aware of what Tiger said in his interview at 10 pm on Friday night. Faced now with what amounted to new evidence – Tiger’s unwitting admission – the committee reconsidered its previous decision and determined that it had gotten it wrong. Tiger’s drop was illegal after all. Tiger should have been assessed a two-stroke penalty — but he wasn’t. Technically, therefore, he signed an incorrect scorecard, a big-time no-no in the world of golf.

So here’s my take. First, Tiger’s drop was clearly illegal. Given the relief option he chose, Tiger was required by rule to take his drop as near as possible to the spot he took his last stroke from. Two yards back from that spot is clearly not that. Tiger, therefore, should have signed for an 8 on his scorecard instead of a 6. On this there is no debate.

Second, given its handling of the situation, the rules committee at least arguably made the correct call by assessing Tiger a two-stroke penalty rather than outright DQing him. Under rule 33-7, the competition committee “may in exceptional cases” waive the disqualification penalty. What made Friday’s case “exceptional” wasn’t the fact that it involved Tiger Woods or that it was The Masters – the rules committee wouldn’t soil the integrity of its much-revered competition with reasoning like that. Nor was it the fact that Tiger didn’t know he took an illegal drop when he took it: there is a specific Rules Decision (33-7/4.5) that says “ignorance of the rules or facts that the player could have discovered prior to signing his scorecard” are not sufficient reasons to waive to the disqualification penalty. What made this case “exceptional” was the rules committee’s botching of it — twice. First, it incorrectly concluded while Tiger was still playing that his drop was fine when it obviously wasn’t. (I wonder if the committee would have exonerated a certain fourteen-year old Chinese amateur with such alacrity.) Second, it didn’t take the very easy step of addressing the situation with Tiger before he signed his scorecard – an inexplicable error if ever there was one. The committee could have prevented Tiger from signing an incorrect scorecard, as the PGA did with Dustin Johnson after he brushed sand in a bunker on the 72nd hole at the 2010 PGA Championship. It just didn’t. The committee concluded, therefore, that it would have been, in Ridley’s words, “grossly unfair” to Tiger to disqualify him based on what he said in his interview when it could have prevented him from signing an incorrect scorecard.

This point is a lot closer than Ridley made it sound. Tiger’s exoneration happened without his knowledge, so effectively retracting that decision through disqualification doesn’t seem terribly unfair. Had Tiger relied on a ruling made by a rules official that turned out to be wrong, then “grossly unfair” would be an appropriate description. But that didn’t happen. The stronger argument is that it would be grossly unfair to use Tiger’s post-round interview against him but, from what I’ve read so far, that is not the argument the committee made.

Third, this situation will not mark the end of the “trial by TV viewer” era, as many players and commentators suggested yesterday. Cases where rules committees and players do not know about alleged rules infractions until after the player signed his scorecard will not be affected by this case, which PGA Tour player Aaron Oberholser curiously likened to “Supreme Court precedent.” Those cases will be unaffected because there will not be an intervening cause – a committee botch job – that would make disqualification “grossly unfair.” Ignorance of the rules or facts that the player could have discovered prior to signing his scorecard” remain an insufficient reason to waive the DQ penalty – by rule. Players will still get disqualified from time to time based on the minutest of infractions caught by guys on their couches with nothing better to do. Now, however, people will complain (wrongly) that there are two sets of rules – Tiger’s and everyone else’s.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, Tiger should have withdrawn. It is incumbent upon players to follow the rules. If a player does not know them, it is incumbent upon him to call in a rules official. In this case, Tiger was dealing with a rule with which most mid-handicappers are familiar – how and where to drop a ball after you’ve drenched one. He just botched it. If he had any uncertainty he could have called for a rules official: he didn’t do that, either. In the end, he never played a ball from where the rules required him to play it – a spot he intentionally avoided lest he hit the flagstick again. Whether he would have hit the flagstick again, or come up short with an incrementally softer swing – neither we nor any of his competitors will ever know. What we do know is that Tiger did not play the 15th hole by the rules of golf like the rest of the field did. And while it arguably would have been unfair to Tiger to be DQ’ed after the committee exonerated him without his knowledge, the flipside is also true: it is unfair to the other players for Tiger to remain in the field just because the committee could have saved him but didn’t. And inasmuch as most of those other players wouldn’t have been on TV, they would not have been entitled to the benefit of the committee blowing a ruling if they had been accused of a wrong drop by, say, an on-course fan. Tiger’s acceptance of the committee’s gesture, therefore, was not the honorable thing to do in this most honorable of games.

Then again, this is a guy who cheated on his wife with every Waffle House waitress from here to Tallahassee, who cusses like a sailor at the slightest mishit, who throws clubs in front of kids and who, as a 22-year old, refused to autograph a golf ball to help his colleagues Brad Faxon and Billy Andrade raise money for charity.

Honor is the furthest thing from this guy’s mind.

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