Tag Archives: Keith Olbermann

The NFL and Ray Rice: What a bunch of phonies and hypocrites. And a most unlikely U.S. Open men’s champion is crowned

I was nauseated by this Ray Rice situation Monday.
Not by the act itself, because we’ve all known for months that Ray Rice beat his fiance unconscious in an Atlantic City elevator, and what a deplorable act that was.
And we’ve known for months that the NFL completely dropped the ball and insulted women everywhere by pathetically suspending Rice for only two games.

No, what made me want to toss my cookies was the shear phoniness and cowardice of the NFL, suddenly acting all tough on Ray Rice once TMZ leaked the video from inside the elevator, which showed Rice just unloading with a huge left fist right to the face of Janay Palmer, then showing no remorse or concern at all while dragging her out of the elevator.

“Oh my,” the NFL and the Baltimore Ravens basically said. “We knew Rice had hit her, and she was knocked unconscious, and we were fine with letting him get away with that except for a measly two-game suspension. But OOOO, when the whole world sees the video of the act, well then we are shocked, horrified and outraged! Get that man out of our league immediately!” (Tweet from the NYT’s Lynn Zinser about sums it up: “We were totally OK with Ray Rice clobbering his wife until you all watched it on video.”

Puh-lease. What a joke. You’re going to tell me the NFL didn’t see this video until Monday? This is a league that gives a shit about players’ sock heights, suddenly they didn’t investigate to see what was on the Rice tape? If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

The phony outrage Monday, give me a break. How in the hell did Roger Goodell, and the Ravens, think Palmer had gotten knocked out in the first place? Suddenly Rice’s crime is worth throwing him out of the league for NOW, but not two months ago?

I swear, the NFL has become harder and harder to take. The hypocrisy is stunning. Keith Olbermann has the best take (above).

(For a nice NFL-related palatte-cleanser, check out this story of one team doing very, very good by a player.)

Cilic.USOPEN

**For so long, men’s tennis has been delightfully predictable. You knew at the end of the Grand Slam tournaments, either Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal would be holding the trophy and smiling broadly. (OK, Andy Murray snuck in there twice).
It was glorious, and the tennis was great, but it was pretty much guaranteed that one of them would win.
So I was totally flummoxed Monday night when I sat down to watch … Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic in the U.S. Open men’s final. And unfortunately, despite my expectations of a tight, exciting match, it was as one-sided as the women’s final was. Nishikori was clearly out of gas after a series of epic wins last week, and had no legs left for the final.
Marin Cilic, for two weeks, has been in that indescribable place athletes and sportswriters call “the zone.” Every serve was perfect, every backhand stung down the line, every volley perfectly placed. It was incredible to see a guy who’s always had so much talent finally harness it for two weeks, and reach the pinnacle of the sport.

He’s a great story, Cilic, as he missed the Open last year after being suspended for taking a “banned substance,” which in this case was a glucose tablet his Mom had given him (hey, our Mom gives us something, we take it, right? I actually believe Cilic wasn’t trying to cheat).

Will Cilic keep this up and become a force in the game? I doubt it. I think this was a magical run by him that won’t ever be repeated, and his ranking will linger between 10-20 for several more years.

But man, it sure was a magical run. Bravo to him on finishing off a truly stunning U.S. Open.
(And now I pause for sadness, realizing the next Slam isn’t until January in Australia.)

Governor Ah-nold, revealed again as a dirty boy. And the new ESPN book spills dirt

There were lots of people in 2003, me included, who couldn’t fathom why anyone in California would want Arnold Schwarzenegger to be their governor.
He wasn’t that smart. He had no good ideas. He had a Australia-sized dose of charisma and charm, sure. But the man was repeatedly exposed as a sexist, serial groper of women, and even though California was in awful shape then (though now it’s in worse shape, of course), I couldn’t possibly understand why anyone would vote for him.

Well, eight years later, here’s Arnold. He left California in awful shape, and it turns out the lovely Maria Shriver left him after finding out Arnold cheated on her and has a child with another woman.
What a disgrace. And to think he got to lead one of the biggest states in the union.
The brilliant L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez, a Schwarzenegger skeptic from Day 1, has written this terrific piece about the former governor.
I read it and just shook my head. The leaders we choose aren’t always what we deserve…

**Next week brings the publication of a brand-new book about one of my favorite subjects: ESPN. Like many of you, I’m sure, I used to love the now-enormous media giant. And then slowly, slowly, slowly as it grew so gigantic, little parts of its soul started melting away, piece by piece, until finally last summer, in one of the low points of our civilization, they allowed LeBron James to hijack the network for one giant French kiss to himself.
Anyway, telling the story of the history of ESPN has been attempted before, but never quite to this extent. James Miller and Tom Shales, who wrote the fabulous book “Live from New York” about Saturday Night Live, have written the story of ESPN’s rise. They interviewed 550 people, and apparently there’s a lot of good and bad in there.
The good: Lots of creative, brilliant people worked there, including Keith Olbermann (who gets praised and savaged in this excerpt I highly recommend).
The bad: A culture of sexual harassment was rampant, and egos were out of control, leading to so many bad ideas.
As much as I’ve grown to dislike ESPN, I do love it for one thing: Its explosion led to so many more televised sports events. Which is a good thing for nuts like me.
Check out the book on Amazon here.

Keith Olbermann shockingly gone from MSNBC. And Honey Buns, the favorite food of Fla. prisoners

Well this was pretty stunning.
Keith Olbermann, the No.1 television voice for liberals like myself, abruptly announced on his show “Countdown” that Friday was his last show.
Was he fired? Not really. Apparently he and MSNBC, always at each other’s throats, agreed that he wouldn’t continue.
Yeah, right. There’s got to be more to the story than this. I don’t know if Comcast, which like five minutes ago finalized its deal to buy NBC, had something to do with this.
I don’t know if Keith was forced out the door, or if he’s got something else cooking.
Whatever it is, he’ll be sorely missed. Olbermann grew on me. Sure he’s pompous, and a little obnoxious.
But after years and years of liberals being beat over the head by the likes of Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and others, it was so refreshing to hear someone hit back from our side.
Olbermann is incredibly smart, very clever with words, and has a definite presence that makes you want to listen to him.

In tribute, here’s my favorite Olbermann “special comment” he ever did, exploding on George Bush in 2008:

**When I used to work for a newspaper in North Carolina, and I had a late deadline in the office and needed just a little snack, I’d walk to the vending machine, insert my $.85, and buy a Honey Bun. Then I’d pop that sucker in the microwave for 20 seconds, take it out, and sticky, gooey sweet goodness was mine.

I’d sometimes feel sick an hour or so after, but man, those Honey Buns were darn tasty.
I bring all this up because I heard this on NPR this week and it sounded ridiculous, but it’s true: Apparently at Florida prisons, Honey Buns have become more valuable than cigarettes and money. They’re used for everything, and the sweet treats can make or break the peace in jail.
Read the details here. Honey Buns. Who knew?
I wonder what a Ding Dong would go for in the can.