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Media Bias in Sports

ESPN ran this photo and its story on the NBA front page for over 24 hours.

ESPN ran this photo and its story on the NBA front page for over 24 hours.

Media bias is nothing new. We’ve seen it every day of our lives. and have generally come to either accept it, or ignore it. Like any business, the media is out for traffic, revenue generating traffic. They seek this out by writing stories about the most popular subjects within their spheres, but when does it enter the range of absurd? I think ESPN has shown us by running its story about Pau Gasol’s injury for over 24 hours.

Two nights ago, the Lakers won a nail biter after Gasol went down with an injury that required an MRI. Since then, the image of him on the ground in pain has been on their front page until finally, this morning, when they decided to run a fluff piece on the Heat.

To run this story on its NBA front page for so long is ridiculous. This isn’t exactly something new. In fact, this is probably Gasol’s third injury this season alone, as it’s become evident that age is catching up with him. It’s also even less of a shock to the Lakers, who’ve been suffering injury woes since the season began with three of its stars being out for extended periods of time. There really was nothing that warranted this story to take center stage while 13 NBA games were played last night. What, you wanted to see what was going on during actual play? Too bad, here’s Gasol’s face of pain.

No matter the reason, bias, traffic seeking, or just plain laziness, ESPN should really be ashamed for doing something so insulting to the very idea of news delivery.

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When Dreams Become Reality

The impossible has come true, thanks to Disney.

The impossible has come true, thanks to Disney.

Back in October, Disney blew our minds when it acquired Lucas Films and announced Episode VII-IX on the same day. It was one of those times when you saw the news and had to check first if you were dreaming, and then if it was actually April 1st, and you blacked out 6 months of memory. Now, it’s happening all over again.

After months of searching, rumors, and people bowing out, Disney found their director in one J. J. Abrams. Yes, the same man in charge of the current run of Star Trek films is also now the man in charge of the new Star Wars trilogy. It’s Star Wars versus Star Trek in a very strange way, a way even the most imaginative kids only dared to dream about. Oddly enough, it also continues a rather strange relationship between Paramount and Disney that started when the Big D acquired Marvel.

There are many things that are often talked about as the dream team of team-ups, cross-overs, and genre defining rivals.  Street Fighter vs Mortal Combat, Marvel vs DC, Mario vs Sonic, Star Wars vs Star Trek. Slowly, but surely, the new age of entertainment has brought some of those clashes together. Marvel and DC are preparing to duke it out in 2015 with Avengers 2 squaring off with the first Justice League movie. Mario and Sonic have teamed up since Sega dropped out of the hardware race. And now Star Wars and Star Trek will battle it out for sci-fi fan base supremacy.

This is causing science fiction fans to either cheer, jeer, or enter a speculative meditation over which side of the coin they fall on. As someone that grew up watching both, I can tell you this is an exciting time. Star Trek has been brought into the mainstream brilliantly, and now Star Wars has a chance to be given new life in the same way. Lines are sure to be drawn, but for the space movie junkie, there’s rarely been such a bright future in the dark expanse.

Oh, and I uploaded my little photoshop so you can click on it to see the full size version and use as you please.

Jumping the Gun – Making a Mole Into a Mountain to Overshadow What’s Important

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Just over a month ago, the nation was shaken by the Sandy Hook shootings.  It was the worst school shooting since the infamous Columbine shooting first put such tragedies under the microscope in America. In the aftermath, the usual battles on the political stage are taking place, using the tragedy as a shameless tool to further agendas.

The usual arguments over gun control, gun laws, and school safety took center stage right away. People were quick to look for a simple answer in the form of a scapegoat. In the midst of this, the Sandy Hook facts were twisted and used in such a way that the truth has been lost somewhere in the turmoil. The number of weapons, type of weapons, and placement of weapons have all changed several times according to whose telling you about it. There exists a shotgun, an AR-15 assault weapon, and anywhere from one to four handguns that may, or may not have been used, but were all present in the vicinity of the school. The only detail that hasn’t changed is that the shooter, Adam Lanza, committed suicide with a handgun shot to the head.

This is a troubling pill to swallow as the argument continues. How is it that the agendas have become so important, and the people behind them so adamant that they no longer care about the truth? What good does it do to try to push change when you ignore what’s really important? No amount of gun control or gun laws would have prevented this shooting. An armed guard would not have prevented it from beginning. The guns were legally owned by Lanza’s mother, and he had to use them to even enter the school through the locked door before the killing began.

Things would be different if he’d obtained the guns himself, but he didn’t. America must look at the other aspects of this tragedy if they truly desire working to prevent future incidents. Our society is hurting, and in need of real healing.  People have developed this notion that it’s best to turn your cheek on something because it’s “not your business.” Turning around and closing your eyes doesn’t make the problem go away. If people are suffering, we should be reaching out and helping them, not shrugging our shoulders and trying to convince ourselves with figures of speech.

The law is there to protect us. It is up to us to help ourselves and each other.

Bounties, Cover-ups, No Hall of Famers, Fake Girlfriends. Is This the Year of the Sports Scandal?

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2013 is shaping up to be the Year of the Sports Scandal.

This year started off with a bang in terms of sports scandals. We’re only on the third week of 2013, and already we have so much going. The NFL continues to see more and more trouble with concussions, brain damage, and most recently, depression. This season, in fact, saw a spike in player deaths off the field for various reasons, all of them tragic. Moving forward, the NFL still must face issues with New Orleans’ apparent bounty system, which is under even more scrutiny now that all of the players have had their bans removed.

Last week, no players were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame for only the third time in history, because there’s still a rift between voters regarding players that have been found  guilty of using PEDs. While this is not in of itself a scandal, it does put the spotlight on a rather scathing double standard. Players found guilty of PEDs in the MLB can’t play, but their records still stand.

Now, just this past week, the scandal gates were blown wide open when it was revealed that Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o’s girlfriend, whose death was once a story of overcoming tragedy and finding inspiration, was discovered to have never existed. This story has yet to be concluded, with questions swirling around whether or not Te’o knew what was going on, and if he was fooled, or part of the fooling.

Now, Lance Armstrong has topped them all by finally coming forward, and admitting to doing PEDs while he achieved his seven Tour De France win streak. His 2-part interview with Oprah brought an end to his long battle against allegations that he cheated with him giving an at times cold and calculated confession. Now it only remains to be seen just how far this rabbit hole goes down into the depths of Hell.

2013 is still young. We’re still 23 (Hello Mr. Jordan) weeks from the NBA draft, which is often hailed as one of sports biggest conspiracies year after year. The shortened NHL season is launching right now, which is sure to be rife with drama regarding player health, the hectic tightened schedule, and other bits of chaos. What kind of madness will 2013 bring next?

128 Days Later

ArmaDevs_32334_screenAfter 128 days in a Greek jail, two video game developers were released after posting bail and returned home to the Czech Republic.

The two Bohemia Interactive developers were originally arrested on suspicion of espionage after they were found photographing and recording footage of a Greek military base on the island of Lemnos. The island is the setting for their company’s upcoming title, Arma III, and they claim they were collecting reference material.

While it’s good to see two potentially innocent men released on bail, their trial still looms. This also should make everyone wonder why they thought they could freely record photographs and video of a military base without permission.

When this story originally broke, everyone was quick to jump on it. There was a hard line separating people arguing for tourists to be left alone and to spend time and money on real problems, and the people arguing that they feel safer knowing their government takes home defense so seriously. I think that everyone should realize that no time or money is wasted when people are arrested for activities such as this. Military bases watch their borders. The troops are already there to do their duty. No resources were pulled from somewhere else to arrest these two men.

If they are found to be innocent, their 128 days will be recorded as a tragic misunderstanding, but I don’t think they’re free of guilt, even if things end this way. They should have been smarter, and used official channels to get their source materials.

I know how much people hate the idea of big brother watching over their shoulder at all times. Personally, I think it’s better to know your government isn’t allowing foreigners to do whatever they please around military installations.

 

NRA Shows Us All How to Make Asses of Ourselves

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The NRA has been a source of conflict for a long time in America, but recent events have shown just how foolish the organization can be. It’s stance on gun control hasn’t budged for over a decade. They think things are fine, and continue to wave that second amendment like it’s some kind of God Given shield.

In the modern world, the NRA doesn’t just stick to guns, however. Violent video games have been the center of attention in a lot of political battlefields. They’re blamed for certain behaviors in teenagers, including aggression, depression, and most importantly, violence itself.  Regulations to control the sale of games have been brought up, citing the danger to young minds, even violent game taxes, but thus far, nothing has yet to pass. In all of this, the NRA has been silent, showing no support for action.

Shortly after the Sandy Hook shooting, the NRA quickly blamed it on violent video games. They were quick to name specific examples involving schools, claim armed guards in schools will help, and anything that took the attention off of gun control. This earned them slaps in the face already. Leland Yee, the California senator that fought for regulations on violent video game sales to children in 2011 didn’t hesitate to point out the NRA was nowhere in sight when he proposed his bill. You know you’re making an ass of yourself when both sides of the debate attack you.

The NRA has come full circle now. Exactly one month after the Sandy Hook shootings, after pointing the finger at a shooting game, the NRA released a shooting game for the iOS. That’s right, they went there. They want to curb gun violence and foster gun education with a shooting game.

This begs the question, have you ever witnessed such stupidity before? Have you ever seen someone light themselves on fire twice, just because they didn’t learn the first time? I sure haven’t.

NFL Replacement Refs Deserve a Break

Finger pointing at the fall guys has become the norm in the NFL.

It’s no big secret to sports fans that the NFL is currently using replacement referees to officiate their games. This became the dreaded reality of the NFL ever since the labor dispute between the NFL and the official refs turned into a lockout. Ever since the announcement was made, media, fans, and team members have all been whispering about how bad the games are going to be.

From the get go, little was expected of the replacements outside of blundering calls, and missed fouls. In some cases, it really seemed audiences were more interested in watching the refs for mistakes, rather than the players. Botched pass play? Let’s look for a missed holding call an official ref would have never missed! Foul taking back a big gain? Clearly the fault is the replacement making a judgement call an official would have never screwed up. The replacements have had these kinds of scrutiny driven comments on every game, no matter the outcome. This, coming from the same fan base that has been largely claiming the games are being rigged by the officials for years. Blind hatred is being directed at what has become the easiest scapegoat to pick on. All sides are united, a rare occurrence, in attacking these men who’ve been handed their cards, and can’t do anything about it. The flop, turn, and river have already been laid on the table, and people are expecting them to win with a seven high, the absolute weakest hand in poker.

To be fair, mistakes have been made. You can point to them, but don’t fool yourselves into thinking official refs would have resulted in a largely different outcome. You also cannot rightfully blame the replacements for the state of things. They didn’t picket line the NFL offices and force the officials out. They didn’t feed dirty money to the owners to stonewall the negotiations. It was the NFL and the Official Refs that couldn’t come to an agreement. It was the NFL and Official Refs that got the league into this officiating situation. So, don’t go blaming the replacements for sour milk. It’s the people they’re replacing that left it out of the fridge in the first place.