[ED. NOTE: KSK reader Adam Crockett asked to fill in for a week and I let him because any chance for a reprieve from reading Peter King is a welcome one. So let’s all thank Adam for his work and sacrifice.]
When last we left Event Horizon manifestation, Peter King, he was bravely defending the reputations of GMs who wanted to passive-aggressively (or just outright) say they didn’t want a gay player on their team gaying it up, because then they’d no longer give him the stories they wanted him to run. He has a journalistic responsibility not to make his job harder you guys. So what about this week? Well there’s an even bigger nugget out there than last time, and Peter doesn’t want to be seen as the only one not biting into it, even if it completely contradicts himself. READ ON.
Before we all get totally depressed about the NFL’s South Beach Locker Room Reality Show, something good to start your week: T.J. Oshie.
Jesus, the first sentence and he can’t even stay on potentially the biggest story I’ve heard of for the NFL off-season since Knute Rockne called it the forward pass. Oh well, bonus points for it not being about baseball at least.
Did you notice what Oshie did Saturday, seconds after he scored his fourth goal of the shootout against Russia—in the eighth round of the shootout, against some of the best scorers on the planet—to give the United States a 3-2 victory in a game that wasn’t for a medal but had the intensity of the seventh game of the Stanley Cup? He slid the puck through Russian goalie Sergei Bobrovsky’s legs for the winner, whirled, raised his arms in jubilation, and then immediately pointed to his own goalie, Jonathan Quick. NBC could show that 17 more times, and I’d watch it 17 more times.
How do you not root for Oshie and his mates? Especially on a weekend like this one, after reading the 144 pages from hell that was the Ted Wells Report? Much more with Oshie, and on the hockey game, later in the column. In a me-first world, and after a disturbing couple of sports days, we can all use some good news.
YOU HEAR THAT NFL GLORRRRRRRRY BOYS?! IT AIN’T A “ME-FIRST” WORLD OUT THERE ON THE ICE! They’re not doing it for themselves out there in that one-on-one situation where no one on their team is allowed to help them! It’s a team effort that wins shootouts! Especially when they face other scorers disguised as the opposing team’s goalie. NO ROOM FOR SHOWBOATING HERE! THEIR RUSSIAN ANTIGAY AGENDA STANDS NO CHANCE AGAINST OUR MIGHTY NOT-DOING-IT-FOR-THEMSELVES-DOERS!
What the NFL needs to do now.
It’s time for Roger Goodell to earn his $44 million—if that absurd sum is possible for anyone running any sports venture. It’s time for him to professionalize professional football.
That’s right, Mr. Goodell. It’s time to actually start paying people in REAL money, instead of Ginger Bucks, redeemable at Gold’s Gyms across America. I have to give Petey props, though, for actually calling out the Banhammer’s exorbitant salary. Of course, one could say the same about whatever the hell SI is paying PK, because anything above “Cracker Jacks” is just as excessive.
In the past 60 days, Goodell, I’m told, has met with more than 30 players, asking them how to make the locker room a more tolerant, more professional place.
As a functioning human being, I didn’t think this is something that would require a lot of input. “Dammit, Marge, I WANT to tell the players not to threaten to shit in each other’s mouths anymore. I truly do. But what if they have a good reason?”
Players like Avant have told Goodell what he needs to hear.
“You can totally do more push-ups than me.”
In the end, Richie Incognito and his perverse and persistent bullying and sister-raping jokes and goonishness gone mad will do a favor for the league. All the gone-too-far frat boys in locker rooms around the league can thank Incognito now, because when the NFL adopts a locker-room and meeting-room behavior policy, it’s going to be for adults. Will veterans be able to make rookies sing their college fight songs? Yes. Will vets be able to run kangaroo courts and fine peers $100 for especially stinky farts? Yes. Beyond that, vets won’t be allowed to shame young players the way it happened in Miami.
Goonishness gone mad! Shenanigans run amok! Cats and dogs living together, raising all sorts of unnecessary media attention that no team wants to handle! Thank god Goodell had that 60 days of input so they could keep fines for stinky farts and forced singing on the table. Not to mention I don’t think I’ve ever read a single sentence that reminded me of how old and white Peter King is than when he thinks making people sing the college fight song is the height of pranking.
A shame! The corporatization of the NFL!
Screamed the kuato living in Peter’s chest. Because no one outside of his body is yelling that.
In fact, people without the memory of a goldfish might remember a person who wrote in to a certain prominent author’s mailbag last week about how the NFL should be held accountable to the same standards as corporate hiring policies. Which of course PK argued was completely different. The NFL doesn’t “hire”, it drafts a contract a potential hire signs in order to receive compensation for a service they will provide for the team. See. Totally different.
I say good. And good riddance to the bad-cop stuff Incognito and John Jerry and Mike Pouncey or whatever disgusting crap they were advocating in the past couple of years.
Yeah, fuck you, strawman kuato.
And while they’re at it, the NFL is going to going to put in a seminar for players and coaches and staff on sexual-orientation training. Call it the Michael Sam Seminar. It’s coming, and it should. Homosexuality is not going away, and there’s no reason why any gay player in any NFL locker room should be subject to one-tenth of what Jonathan Martin had to endure over the past two years.
You hear that, NFL? Homosexuality isn’t going away. Peter knows. He’s tried. But no matter how much help he gets he just can’t erase those passionate nights in Mississippi with that one, untamable man. And there’s no reason any gay player should be subjected to harassment… unless it’s anonymously through Peter King. You know, like the kind he let happen last week? But surely you don’t remember last week? Why if you did, that would mean the lobotomies aren’t working, and now PK can’t get away with just saying whatever shit he wants without any sort of connection to past opinion. In fact, it might look like ole Peter’s changing his stance because he caught a lot of flak in his mailbag about being an enabling asshole for more important assholes to give opinions without suffering the consequences of having them. But surely that can’t be the Peter we all know and love. Right? Now if you’ll excuse me…
The Sam declaration and Ted Wells report came within six days, and the reverberations will be felt for years… When the 32 owners and coaches and their front offices convene for the annual spring meetings in Orlando March 24-28, more discussions will be had.
Please tell me they will passionately argue the standards of just how stinky a fart should be before it’s considered fineable.
Vincent said he hopes the league can establish a working group of coaches, players, club officials and league executives—men and women—to discuss issues and solutions. Vincent wants to teams to begin workshop training for players and other club employees. Those workshops should included sexual orientation, diversity, domestic violence, and professionalism in the workplace, among other things.
“And should they spread their butt cheeks in a firm, grasping, and sustained fashion shortly before emitting gas rectally, then, if this fart is at least a 6 on the Andy Richter scale, that player will be allowed to be subjected to even stricter fines from his veteran teammates.”
Speaking of Sam: On Friday, former NFL player Wade Davis—who came out after retiring—held a workshop of sorts for some NFL employees, including Goodell, in New York. He talked about the importance of a team atmosphere to deal with Sam and any other future gay player, because in some cases the team will be the best support group the player has.
A team atmosphere which might change, MAYBE, ten years down the road because the current batch of front office people don’t want to deal with it now, FURTHER ENABLED BY A CERTAIN HIGH PROFILE JOURNALIST WHO CONTRIBUTED TO THE ATMOSPHERE NOT CHANGING.
Get ready for several weeks (months?) of internal and external debate around the NFL over how to professionalize the players’ workplace. You’re going to hear a lot of that, and you should, after Sam announced he is gay and the scathing Ted Wells report told the world what a soulless place an NFL locker room can be. “Can’’ being the operative word, because I do not believe there are many, if any, other locker rooms or portions of locker rooms that go so over the top as the Incognito-led Miami offensive-line group went.
“THIS SORT OF THING NEVER HAPPENED FOR THE SCHIANO MEN! Lights out at 9 means shenanigans die! And the Patriots’ players aren’t in the locker room for more than a week before they’re dropped back off at the Home Depot parking lot, so they don’t even get a chance to know each other. No, dear reader, rest assured that not all white people are monsters.”
Yeah, I can’t see a room stuffed with alpha males in peak physical condition who aren’t used to being told “no”, perpetually whipped into a competitive frenzy, being confrontational or harassing with each other at all either.
• Roger Goodell has to suspend Incognito, and give more than a slap on the wrist to partners-in-intimidation John Jerry and Mike Pouncey. To me, that’s not nearly sufficient for the mayhem this story caused the Dolphins, and the sport.
Wow, Peter, make it less obvious you’re just being used as the League’s mouthpiece to call for Richie’s head, while simultaneously implying that this isn’t a widespread problem, so the NFL can do continue to do nothing worthwhile for solving the problem. Oh wait, that requires subtlety and you not being distracted in eight weeks by the preseason of baseball games.
• Miami will have to fire offensive line coach Jim Turner, who was complicit in the atmosphere of bullying.
Too bad SI won’t have to fire a Sportswriter of the Year for enabling the atmosphere on a public level.
• Martin should have talked to Joe Philbin. Martin might be a fish out of water in the NFL and certainly deserves his share of empathy for having to deal with 18 months of mental beatdowns from veterans like Incognito. But he should have told his head coach what was going on. If I have to choose between snitching and being driven stark mad, I’ll take snitching any day.
PK would rat out his own mother to cartel deathsquads for a fucking depth chart update in a heartbeat. Hell, he’d probably do it just to hear the Ginge tenderly speak his name.
In the report, Wells wrote: “Martin believed that going to his coaches or other authority figures meant risking ostracism or even retaliation from his fellow linemen. At the same time, we strongly believe that if Martin had reported the harassment to a coach or front office executive (or even his agent), the team might have been able to address his issues before it was too late. There is no question that the better course of action would have been for Martin to report the abuse.’’ Absolutely.
Here’s where it gets fun. Now, as a Stoic, I firmly believe that empowering victims is the best course of action for dealing with bullying on a national scale. But even I, whose core philosophical belief is “words can’t hurt you”, can see how fucking insane it is to expect the victims of bullying to see snitching as a viable option. “Hey, you know how these peers are making your life miserable and probably will only make it worse if you should happen to tell authority figures? You should totally talk to authority figures.”
• For Philbin not to know anything definitive about the crisis with Martin, he had to be either tone deaf or not paying enough attention to his team. Head coaches have their locker-room sources.
Right. Which is why bullying victims have to come to the coaches. Otherwise they’ll never know. Wow, suddenly that “risking further harassment to tell the coach so he can stop it” looks even better when the possibility of that coach being an incompetent boob or a complicit asshole is on the table.
Some I’ve known, like Bill Parcells and Jimmy Johnson, spent lots of time with players, making sure their fingers were on the pulse of their teams.
Being fined for their one-legged salutes just like regular folk.
“We find that Head Coach Joe Philbin was not aware of the mistreatment of Martin, Player A or the Assistant Trainer. After interviewing Coach Philbin at length, we were impressed with his commitment to promoting integrity and accountability throughout the Dolphins organization—a point echoed by many players,’’ the report said.
“This guy was clearly an idiot. But we were impressed when he said a bunch of meaningless buzzwords that had no bearing on his actions or proof of action.”
How can Philbin have been in that building 15 hours a day, at least, and not known anything? And how can Wells accept this was a fine job by Philbin, and he was some sort of Boy Scout troop leader promoting wonderful citizenship? I do understand he asked Turner about what was going on with his players, and Turner told him everything was fine. But what caused Philbin to ask Turner? Obviously his antennae were up. Philbin, who I find to be a good man, still should know better, and this had better be a very good lesson for him, or his time in the head-coach’s chair is going to be short.
WOW. I closed my eyes and actually heard a neuron burn up and die. So Peter hates how lenient the report was on Philbin, because Philbin should’ve known. He didn’t, which means he’s incompetent. But, because Philbin has talked to Peter King, obviously he’s a good man, and he should be given a chance to prove how SOWWY he is you guys. FFFFFFFFFFUUUUU-
For the NFL, Sam and this report are two firecrackers designed to wake up anyone who can’t see the league needs to have its collective head examined. It’s time, and Goodell can’t let this moment get away.
-CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKK YYYYYYYYYYYOUUUUUUUUUUUUU! YOU, as part of the mechanism for exposing the “collective head” to the public for examination, DIDN’T DO YOUR FUCKING JOB EITHER BY ALLOWING THE FRONT OFFICE MEMBERS TO REMAIN ANONYMOUS! YOU REFUSED TO ALLOW ANYTHING TO BE DONE BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T WANT SOMEONE SOMEWHERE OUT THERE TO NOT TELL YOU THINGS! If Jon Stewart read this column and last week’s, his head would have fired out of his ass while his comedy boner also rocketed into the sky.
A year ago, the American sports media trooped to Indianapolis for the annual NFL Scouting Combine, and the story was the distraction that Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o would be for the team that drafted him, in the wake of the girlfriend hoax. The Detroit News wrote, “Draft prospect Te’o is a distraction the Lions cannot afford.’’ Said draft guru Gil Brandt: “I think some teams will say [Te’o] isn’t worth the problem.”
Te’o was such a distraction that the team who drafted him went to the playoffs. Of course, I could also point out that he’s only a distraction by the very same institution that’s calling him one, since a competent head coach should be able to maintain discipline. But then the media IS the only entity that can feed itself forever and forever without ever dying.
Houston defensive lineman Antonio Smith said his teammates would chide and laugh at Te’o, and he’d better have a very thick skin.
AND I’M SURE YOUR COLUMN CALLED HIM OUT FOR THAT UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR THAT ENABLES AN ATMOSPHERE, PETER.
Think back now: What do you remember about his rookie year, on or off the field? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. He was unimpactful on the field, particularly against the run, playing 56 percent of the defensive snaps. He kept his mouth shut off the field. He’s a vanilla interview anyway, and eventually the questions about the phony girlfriend went away.
Almost like the media is just as much a pack of giant children as the players are, because they’re attention is constantly broken by shiny objects and the next big embarrassment THAT WILL NEVER GO AWAY!
So much for the headache that drafting Te’o would bring.
Now, Sam is likely to be just as big of a story at the combine. And, unlike Te’o, Sam probably will be more of a lingering story during the season, wherever he is drafted.
Oh yes. These three sentences coexist in the known universe together. I’ve seen potatoes with more self-awareness than Peter King. Doesn’t this complete lack extend to more of himself? Does it take a helpful stranger to point out he’s embedded his car keys into his thigh instead of the car ignition? “Hey, this guy turned out not to be such a big deal because we stopped making him a big deal. BUT THIS OTHER GUY WILL NEVER STOP BEING A BIG DEAL!”
But I think Sam will be a mega-story only for several days, when you might see Anderson Cooper with a CNN crew on the sidelines early in training camp.
I want to be surprised Peter is contradicting himself, I really do.
Especially after the aforementioned league-mandated “enlightenment’’ in the preseason, with some education about treating all teammates with respect.
Which I’m sure none of them have ever heard and will totally stop after that.
That’s why I think if you’re a scout or GM, and you think Sam fits your team, you shouldn’t overthink it. If Sam can play, his teammates will accept him—maybe with a hiccup or two from a very religious teammate who disapproves of homosexuality or an unenlightened teammate who thinks it’s cool to make gay jokes. And it could be that some of those on the team will simply steer clear of Sam. No one knows. But there won’t be much of a problem, I don’t think, if Sam is contributing as a player.
Are you seriously telling me this is a different person than the one from last week? The one that totally thought the openly gay player would be sunk because the “anonymous” sources were sure teammates wouldn’t accept him? The one that was assured that Sam “couldn’t play”? Because that writer was a piece of shit, and such a huge stance change so soon would just feel a spineless hack is being blown along by popular opinion.
Quotes of the Week
“In light of the Incognito/Martin story, people would have you believe that you have to be some raving lunatic to play in the NFL, wound so tightly that the slightest spark will insight an insatiable inferno. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I’m 48 years old now and about the least confrontational person you’ll ever meet. My fists have never found purchase on the flesh of another man’s face. I’ve never been in a fight. Yet I succeeded for many years in the trenches of the NFL, in which there are several confrontations on every play. It can be done—through focus, effort and discipline, not through unbridled rage and hair-trigger emotional outbursts. I’m left with this conclusion about the Dolphins organization from the coaching staff on down: They were either complicit, incompetent or, worse, both.”
—Former NFL guard Mark Schlereth, in an excellent column written for ESPN.com about how, from his experience, he feels what happened in Miami is more of an outlier than common.
“As this one anecdotal evidence from a man who hasn’t played in 14 years will clearly show, this is NOT an epidemic. So don’t panic if nothing happens or changes.”
Stats of the Week
Florida State closer Jameis Winston’s first outing of the baseball season Saturday in Tallahassee, in a 4-1 victory over Niagara University:
Factoid of the Week That May Only Interest Me
Why isn’t the baseball thing here?
I am still trying to figure out why NFL Network and NFL.com are in Culver City, Calif., and not in either Mount Laurel, N.J. (home of NFL Films) or Manhattan (home of the league office).
I should probably mention that this “Factoid” is actually an argument involving travel times and mileage and distances teams have to travel, because Peter King needs to masturbate during his column at some point.
Tweets of the Week
“According to Dolphins OL ‘fine book”, being subpoenaed by the FBI carries same $ penalty as a failure to bring candy & is equal to 10 farts’’
—@brian_mcintyre, the NFL reporter.
This is at the once the most unintentionally hilarious Peter King and the most infuriating one.
“Greg Cosell: Sammy Watkins best WR prospect since A.J. Green, Julio Jones.”
—@caplannfl, NFL analyst Adam Caplan, on the universally respected Cosell’s opinion of the Clemson wide receiver.
This quote is a quote within a quote! We need to go deeper! BRAAAAAAAAAAAHM!
Ten Things I Think I Think
3. I think, if I had to guess, the quarterback Cleveland GM Ray Farmer was referring to when he told Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer he knows which QB he’d take if the draft was today is one of two: Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles. Manziel, obviously, with a very high pick, and maybe Bortles lower if Farmer feels he could safely trade down and still get the Central Florida kid.
MAY THE BORT ERA BEGIN!
4. I think many of you have rightfully asked me, and others who work in NFL locker rooms, how surprised we are about what was in the Wells report, and might think it’s disingenuous for me to say, “I’m surprised.” I am—because, and you need to understand this, the Incognitos and Pounceys aren’t going to show us the truly real world when the doors are open and we walk in the door to the locker room. If they’re not going to show coaches the sometimes vile stuff they do, why would you think they’d be open to be truly real around the media? Now, I know lots of untoward stuff goes on, because it always has, and there’s an Animal House element to every locker room. But I just don’t believe what happened in Miami is common to every NFL locker room.
“Let me assure you again, that even though I’ve just admitted that the players have a different face for us when we’re around, that I believe punishing Richie Incognito is enough change the NFL can enact. I mean it’s not like I can be bothered to do my goddamn job or anything and dig beyond what their press offices tell me. I HAVE BARISTAS TO BERATE AND TRAVEL ITINERARIES TO ESTABLISH!”
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
d. Hey Pierre McGuire: Great call on the heretofore unknown T.J. Oshie being one of the U.S. shooters in the shootout as everyone debated who would get the call for the Americans.
Except he wasn’t unknown by anyone who watches even a little bit of hockey, and he was brought on SPECIFICALLY FOR HIS AWESOME SHOOTOUT ABILITIES YOU STUPID FUCK.
e. Can someone please explain how Maxwell, the Geico pig with cloven hooves, can get his smart phone to work by pressing the screen with hard cloven hooves instead of with fingers?
Can you please explain how no one has firebombed your office yet?
h. “God is saying, ‘Enough skating, Evgeni,’ ‘’ said Evgeni Plushenko, the 31-year-old Russian master of a figure skater. He retired when his back wouldn’t allow him to skate the men’s short program, and he deserves tremendous respect. He’s probably the most recognizable men’s figure skater of the generation.
BUT THESE HOCKEY PLAYERS, WHO KNOWS WHERE THEY COME FROM? MAYBE HEAVEN! AMERICAN HEAVEN!
The combine’s this week.
Hearty welcome, Michael Sam.
Welcome to mayhem.
Rather than a haiku, I’m going to express my time with PK with this video