Major props to New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck for his work the past few days in support of tornado victims in Alabama. And for his ability to recognize the current NFL labor dispute for the foolishness that it is.
"I don't have the vocabulary to describe how selfish that sounds," Tuck said. "There are more important things in the world than figuring out how to divide up $9 billion."
Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News expressed his feelings about the lockout in the article about Tuck, and they are worth sharing. Here they are:
There are big and serious issues at stake, to be sure. I don't mean to diminish the importance of the stakes in the NFL’s labor battle, even as some choose to simplify and trivialize it (inaccurately) as a "millionaires vs. billionaires" battle. There’s nothing trivial about healthcare for current and retired players, and the revenue streams surely matter to those involved in the sport.
It’s just grown distasteful. The sides wage verbal warfare on Twitter, on conference calls, in press conferences. They take no-interest loans from the public in the form of ticket sales for games that might not ever be played. They draw legal lines in the sand and vow to take their chances in court, while so far the only people getting hurt are the ones in the organizations who are taking pay cuts, furloughs or layoffs. Meanwhile, the players can draw money from a lockout fund and won’t lose pay checks until September. Meanwhile, I don’t see many owners trading in their luxury cars, downsizing their mansions or selling their private jets.
So while we await the next Twitter war from the public relations people, or the next player to speak of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as if he’s the devil, or the next lawyer to claim with a remarkably straight face that this is all about the fans, or the next ruling from a court that will be undoubtedly appealed, it pays to remember Tuck’s words and the displaced, tornado-ravaged people near his hometown of Kellyton, Ala.
I have to wonder if it bothers New York Knicks fans when they watch Zach Randolph play for the Memphis Grizzlies these days. Randolph scored 30 points and had 13 rebounds Friday in Game 6 of the Grizzlies series with Oklahoma City, helping force a Game 7. Randolph had four 30-10 games in the playoffs, is averaging 22.7 points and 10.9 rebunds, and is playing with a maturity that was not evident during his time in New York.
New York Mets catcher Josh Thole recently shut down his Twitter account as he was tired of much of the sniping he heard from fans who followed him. Players like Rashard Mendenhall of Pittsburgh and Reggie Bush of New Orleans have recently found themselves mired in Twitter controversies. You have to wonder what players are thinking when they write some of this stuff.
Who are you taking in the Eastern Conference final between the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat? I'm going with Miami. I know the Bulls won all three regular-season meetings, but three stars vs. one gives the advantage to the Heat. I think Miami goes to the Finals.