Friday, September 30, 2011

13 comments TMQ: I Guess the 2012 Super Bowl Matchup Has Been Decided Already

During last week's TMQ, Gregg cried for the NFL cheerleaders who are forced through the threat of violence to cheer during NFL games and barely get paid any money for their work. Gregg also got angry over the fictional show "Terra Nova" and its blatant disregard for how fictional television should be written. Of course, no TMQ would be complete without criticism of a coach's decision during a game. This criticism is based completely on the result of the play that occurred and not whether the underlying decision made by the coach was a good move. This week Gregg wonders if the Lions and Bills will be in the Super Bowl and pretty much repeats his weekly complaints, but uses different examples. He also discusses whether matter exceeds the speed of light...because that is relevant to a football column and all.

Once there were giants walking our earth. And on Feb. 6, 2012 -- that was in the old way of counting years, before the Fox show "Terra Nova" altered the planet's timeline -- these gleaming heroes met in the Super Bowl at Indianapolis.

Of course, children, I am referring to the Buffalo Bills and the Detroit Lions.

Last week Gregg asked if Cam Newton was a “football god,” after having played two entire games in the NFL, and this week Gregg is putting the Lions and Bills in the Super Bowl. Apparently he has become a big fan of making premature statements that he will later hope we all forget. It's a bit early to discuss what teams will be in the Super Bowl, no? The Bengals were 2-1 after the first three games in 2010 and won 2 games the rest of the season. In 2009, both the Giants and the Broncos were 3-0 and they both missed the playoffs.

The ESPN research desk reports: "Since the current postseason format was adopted in 1990, three out of four teams to open 3-0 have reached the postseason."

These teams reached the postseason, three out of four teams didn't make it to the Super Bowl.

Well I guess it isn’t premature in Gregg's world to go ahead and pencil the Lions and Bills into the Super Bowl. I’m just waiting for Gregg to make a revised Super Bowl prediction or claim he knew one of these two teams would make the playoffs based on the fact neither of these teams played on Monday Night Football last year.

An ideal outcome for the 2011 NFL season would be for two underdog teams from fading old-industry cities to meet in the Super Bowl.

I disagree. I think an ideal outcome for the season would be two underdog teams from rising new-industry cities that have a temperate summer climate but a below average amount of Spring precipitation to make the Super Bowl. We could argue this all day I guess, but I just don't see what value two underdog teams from fading old-industry cities would provide to the economy. Wait, what are we talking about again?

I’m pretty sure the NFL has nightmare Super Bowl scenarios on a whiteboard in Roger Goodell’s office. Detroit v. Buffalo is near the top of the list in regard to nightmare scenarios for them. Who cares if it would be a good game? What is the narrative they could sell the public for this Super Bowl? That's all that matters. I think Buffalo v. Detroit in the Super Bowl is directly above Jacksonville v. Seattle on this “nightmare scenario” whiteboard, not to mention these aren't even fading old-industry cities.

At least Detroit has a superstar or two on their team and the network could go with “the no-name Bills” narrative for Buffalo during the two week hiatus between the Super Bowl and the championship games. Who cares what teams deserve to be in the Super Bowl, it is all about the narrative.

As TMQ noted last week, if Buffalo and Detroit met in the Super Bowl, "One of them would have to win -- I think."

I like how Gregg cites his joke from last week’s TMQ. Not sure why I like this, but the idea of repeating a joke, and then citing that joke even though you just re-told it and there isn't a need to cite the entire column, tickles me a bit.

Is this the best time to bring up some of the best players on the Lions team are Jahvid Best, Calvin Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew, Matthew Stafford, and Ndamukong Suh? Those guys appear to all be 1st round picks. Gregg naturally will never mention this. He wouldn't us to believe that first round draft picks and highly-paid glory boys are performing well in the NFL. He would be the first to tell us, and he does repeatedly in this TMQ, which undrafted or unwanted players perform well.

Bills faithful may recall that in the 1990 season, leading to the team's first Super Bowl appearance, in consecutive weeks Buffalo came back from big fourth-quarter deficits, against Denver and Oakland. Now history appears to be repeating itself.

Yes, because the Bills came back from big fourth-quarter deficits 21 years ago and they have done so twice this year this definitely means history is repeating itself. Book those Super Bowl tickets now Bills fans!

When history repeats itself in sports, it leads to the same outcome as before as well. That’s why the Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2008 after losing Tom Brady during the opening week of the season, just like what happened in 2001 when they lost Drew Bledsoe during the opening week of the season.

Today there is rending of garments and gnashing of teeth in Massachusetts, because a Haaaa-vuudd boy beat the Patriots.

Absolutely. Patriots fans are solely angry the quarterback who beat them went to Harvard. That’s the majority reason for their anger. They don't really care the Patriots blew a lead, but they are just angry it was a Harvard man who helped contribute to the loss.

The Bills-Patriots game even produced a moment in which the unassuming Chan Gailey, fired twice in the past five years and OOF -- Out of Football -- entirely in 2009, out-Belichicked Bill Belichick.

Jackson not scoring was great for Buffalo! Belichick immediately realized that if the play was ruled a touchdown, Brady would have 1:43 and two timeouts to try for overtime. If instead Jackson was ruled down at the 1, Buffalo could kneel three times, force Belichick to burn the timeouts, then kick a field goal, leaving New England mere seconds to reply…As it happened, a personal foul against the Patriots allowed Buffalo to use the entire clock and launch the winning kick as time expired.

I am not sure how this is out-Belichicking Bill Belichick anymore than it is having the good fortune for the Patriots to commit a personal foul and allow the Bills to use more of the clock.

What’s interesting is the Bills may have actually out-Belichicked the Patriots on this play, but not for the reason Gregg cites.

A bit more to the point, why hasn't Indianapolis made a play for Carson Palmer? He's the only person out there who could step in and make the Colts winners in 2011.

Carson Palmer, you are the Colts only hope to win this year. You and your rapidly declining skills at the quarterback position and arm strength can master the Colts offense in a day or two and then start this team a-winning again!

Let me make a list of reasons why the Colts haven't made a play for Carson Palmer:

1. The Bengals have stated they won't trade him at this point. Maybe they could be convinced otherwise, but this leads to reason #2.

2. Even if the Bengals traded Palmer, they would want at least a second round pick in return. Is Palmer worth that at this point? Especially to a Colts team that we have all seen has some holes to fill and historically rebuilds its team through the draft.

3. Palmer would have to learn the Colts offense in record time and he probably wouldn't run it effectively until he had a full offseason to work in the system. So basically the Colts would trade a second/third round pick for the privilege of missing the playoffs anyway.

4. If Peyton Manning comes back, what the fuck are the Colts going to do with Carson Palmer? Cut him? Waste a second/third round pick for a 13 game rental?

5. The Colts probably don't mind losing a little bit. Not sure if Gregg has noticed, but there are guys by the names of Andrew Luck, Landry Jones, and Matt Barkley who may leave college to play in the NFL next year. These guys are quarterbacks. Grabbing one of those guys may be a good strategy considering the Colts regular starting quarterback is going to be in his middle-30's and coming off a major injury.

6. Seriously, the Bengals aren't trading Carson Palmer right now, and if they did, it wouldn't be worth giving up a draft pick like that for a 13 game rental.

Conspiracy theory says the Indianapolis plan is to tank the season in hopes of getting Andrew Luck. If it worked that way, that would make sense. Luck is the most Peyton Manning-like quarterback since Peyton.

Yes, it would make sense.

Sweet Play of the Week: The Houston Texans leading the New Orleans Saints 26-17 in the fourth quarter, tight end Jimmy Graham lined up wide left, with two wide receivers right. The Texans were in Cover One -- only one safety in the middle of the field. This told Drew Brees the play would be a big blitz as, indeed, it was.

I love what I call "Gregg Easterbrook's Rules of Football." These are rules, which are basically huge assumptions, that Gregg makes. This is a good example of one of these rules.

The rule here is: Anytime a team is in Cover One, that means it will be a big blitz.

Is that really what a team playing Cover One is definitely going to do? I don't think so. Cover One does tell the quarterback there potentially isn't much help for the defenders, at in the form of safety help.

Brees audibled to vertical routes.

Because he saw the defenders didn't have much safety help and he trusted his receiver to beat the opposing defender. This is exactly what happened. Brees didn't audible to vertical routes because Cover One always means a big blitz is coming. He audibled because he saw Graham had single-coverage and a height advantage.

Sour Play of the Week Washington leading Dallas 16-15 just before the two-minute warning, the Skins had the Boys facing third-and-21 on their 30. Since the average NFL snap gains somewhat over 5 yards, and Washington this season is allowing 6.1 yards per snap, all the Redskins needed do was play straight defense and a stop was likely.

Gregg and his statistics, sometimes they make me laugh. This is a throwing situation, so the average NFL snap that gains over 5 yards and what the Redskins had given up during the game per snap are irrelevant because this statistic includes downs where the ball was run. A more accurate number of what the Redskins could potentially give up in this situation or what the average NFL snap gains in terms of yardage is if passing stats are the only ones included in giving any per snap data. This is true because this is an obvious passing down.

That cannot seriously be an eight-man blitz on third-and-21! The eight-man blitz is almost never seen, because it is like handing out a card that says "Please score a touchdown."

Except the Cowboys didn't score a touchdown on this play. I know, let's not get caught up in the details of what actually happened.

Tony Romo threw a 30-yard completion to the single-covered Dez Bryant, penalty yardage was added, and a moment later the home team launched the winning kick.

That's what happened, but that's not exactly what happened. At the snap, Romo ran as fast as he could backwards like he was running from the cops because the Redskins defense was on top of him and then threw a brilliantly thrown Hail Mary (essentially) to Dez Bryant. Kudos to Romo and Bryant, but it was a great play and the blitz served its purpose of making Romo run and make an off-balance or bad throw.

Gregg also neglects how the Redskins got the Cowboys in a third-and-long situation. I'll give you a hint. Blitzing was involved. Naturally, he leaves any positive aspect of the Redskins blitzing out of his analysis.

On the possession, Washington defensive coordinator Jim Haslett called an eight-man blitz on first down, a seven-man blitz on second down and an eight-man blitz on third down. He also handed out cards saying "Please score a touchdown." Dallas settled for as field goal.

Haslett was handing out cards for the Cowboys to score a touchdown, but they didn't score a touchdown. Again, those damn details.

even Skins corner DeAngelo Hall thought an eight-man blitz on third-and-21 was ridiculous.

Hall was questioning the call because he didn't have help on the play, which is true. Here is my rebuttal of why his complaint is a bit absurd. One would argue if a cornerback signs a $55 million deal then he should be comfortable covering another team's second-best receiver with single coverage (Dez Bryant in this case). Hall shouldn't necessarily expect help.

Sour Game Plans: The Jacksonville Jaguars surrendered a safety for the second consecutive week. On both, the Jaguars quarterback deliberately retreated into his own end zone.

Blaine Gabbert didn't deliberately retreat into his own end zone. He dropped back to pass (and took more than a three-step drop so he ended up in the end zone) and moved sideways a little bit to avoid the defensive player attempting to sack him in the end zone. I am nitpicking, but because that was a bad game plan to put a rookie throwing out of the end zone, but I want to clear up Gabbert didn't deliberately retreat into his own end zone, he was already there when he dropped back to pass.

Then Gregg criticizes the Texans for not realizing the Saints were using a two point conversion play they used in the Super Bowl two years ago. He continues to misunderstand that recognizing a formation means a team can immediately stop the opposing team's play out of that formation.

Michael Dietrich of Bethlehem, Pa., who lives in Warsaw, Poland, reports that MSN has already announced the "hottest toys" of the 2011 holidays -- "hottest" before hardly anyone has bought anything.

Well that's the point isn't it? To introduce the "hot" toys before anyone has bought toys for Christmas? It wouldn't make a hell of a lot of sense to introduce the "hot" toys two weeks before Christmas once many people have done some Christmas shopping and the inventory levels of these toys may low, would it?

"You have handed me the menu to choose what entree I want and I haven't even ordered my drink yet! It's Restaurant Creep!"

Reader Balázs GyQrik, of Budapest, Hungary, reports Citroen had a male model adorning its latest product at the Frankfurt auto show. He notes, "Sure, it's only a drop in the sea, but can hunks in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue be far behind?"

Sports Illustrated has had some male pro athletes with their wife (both in a bathing suit) in the swimsuit issue for some time now. It's not male models, that I will admit.

Stop Me Before I Blitz Again! Leading 22-16, Jersey/A faced third-and-11 on the Philadelphia Heat 18 with less than four minutes remaining. Philadelphia, known for being blitz-wacky, rushed seven men against a screen-pass call -- touchdown. And TMQ wrote the words "game over" in his notebook.

The Giants were up 13 points with less than four minutes remaining and Gregg Easterbrook said the game was over. What a bold statement. If the Giants didn't do anything and kicked a field goal on third down then they would be up 9 points, so the game was pretty much over at this point anyway. I didn't see this part of the game, but I am assuming the Eagles were blitz-wacky because they knew they were about to go down 9 points regardless and wanted to see if they could get Eli Manning to throw an interception. Or is this too logical to believe?

I just wonder, since the screen pass touchdown against the blitz is not worth 29 points, how the other 22 points were scored by the Giants? I am sure excessive blitzing and not poor tackling had something to do with this.

Then Gregg talks about "Moneyball" for some reason.

yet Oakland has not finished above .500 in five years, and currently is a dreary 72-88. Nor did the moneyball approach ever take the team into the World Series.

But the approach helped other teams. This is important to note. On a side note, it is really irritating for all of Sabermetrics to be thrown under a "Moneyball" heading. This tends to happen fairly frequently.

It is also possible that Beane fell victim to "commoditization," which happens with increasing speed in a globalized environment. This would mean Beane did in fact have an important insight, but his idea has been copied by most if not all MLB franchises, turning the idea into a mere commodity that, possessed by everyone, confers no advantage.

Bingo, this appears to be what happened. Some teams integrated the approach into their scouting and now most teams know about the "Moneyball" approach to build a team so the A's are at a somewhat disadvantage again.

Angry Birds Become Tweedy Birds: What's the story with Atlanta? Since clinching home-field advantage in the NFC last season, the Falcons are 1-3 and just lost to City of Tampa, a team they traditionally own. The mega-trade for wide receiver Julio Jones so far has only disrupted chemistry.

Oh yeah, it has disrupted chemistry and caused all of the other players on the Falcons team to play poorly. No really, this is Gregg's hypothesis.

Sunday, normally reliable Roddy White let the ball bounce off his hands for an interception just before halftime, costing Atlanta a likely field goal, then dropped a perfectly delivered touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

And clearly White dropped these passes because he doesn't like Julio Jones being on the team. Everyone knows one wide receiver who doesn't like another wide receiver on the roster immediately starts dropping passes. It's the Jones Curse! Just like the Crabtree Curse! Gregg doesn't even understand why teams draft wide receivers who are highly-paid glory boys like this. Teams should draft lowly drafted players like those Colts wide receivers, the same guys who don't look quite as great without Peyton Manning throwing them the ball.

Game tied, Pittsburgh reached first down on the Indianapolis 30 with 1:13 remaining. The Steelers patiently rushed four times, forcing the Colts to use timeouts, then kicked the winning field goal with 8 seconds remaining: the final Pittsburgh rush was to position the ball where the kicker wanted it relative to the goal posts. Finishing the game the old-fashioned way caused the football gods to smile upon the Steelers, who earlier had turned the ball over twice in 17 seconds.

In an alternate universe, if the Steelers had fumbled the ball by patiently rushing the ball four times Gregg Easterbrook would have stated they got conservative and they should have known they would fumble the football because the Steelers had turned the ball over twice in 17 seconds. Gregg would be irate the Steelers didn't go for the throat and gave hope to a team that was winless up to this point. As I commonly accuse him of doing, Gregg tends to judge a team's decision on the outcome of the decision, not the thinking that led to the decision.

So in this case, fortune didn't favor the bold and the Steelers didn't get conservative in beating the Colts on the road. It worked out for them. If this had not worked out for them, Gregg would have said Mike Tomlin got conservative which told the Steelers players he didn't trust them, which naturally led to a turnover, and then led to the Steelers losing the game because they got too comfortable and didn't get in better field goal range by passing the football.

The more football TMQ watches, the more your columnist thinks the tight end is essential to an NFL offense.

What a bunch of idiocy. The tight end has been essential to NFL offenses for a few decades now. What a painfully obvious statement.

Next trend to keep your eye out for: The decisive play of the Buffalo-New England contest came when the Bills split tailback Fred Jackson far wide, near the sideline, and he was forgotten by the Flying Elvii secondary. Every NFL coaching staff is pouring over film of that game. Look for tailbacks split far wide in weeks to come.

Nearly every single NFL team has a running back split wide at some point during the game. NFL coaching staffs are already doing this. I question whether Gregg Easterbrook actually watches NFL games. It took him until 2011 to realize tight ends are being put in the slot receiver position and he just noticed running backs being split wide.

Because the claimed velocity is less than one-thousandth of 1 percent more than light speed, observer error seems the likely explanation.

Gregg also wonders why scientists are using such specificity. Scientists should just say matter moves at the same speed as light instead of going to all of those decimal places just to avoid all this needless specificity.

In the Giants-Eagles game, the undrafted Victor Cruz from Division I-AA Massachusetts scored two touchdowns, including one over megabucks Nnamdi Asomugha. In the Indianapolis-Pittsburgh game, big defensive plays were made by Jamaal Anderson, waived by Atlanta,

Naturally, because Gregg wants to mislead his readers, he forgets to mention that Jamaal Anderson is a megabucks bust first-round draft choice. It's always awkward when Gregg's "undrafted/unwanted players" fetish collides with his "megabucks, highly drafted players are useless" fetish. Which side Gregg falls on when these two fetishes collide completely depends on the point he is trying to prove. Here, he wants to make Jamaal Anderson seem unwanted, so he neglects to mention Anderson flamed out as a highly-paid glory boy with the Falcons. Now, if Anderson had made a bad play here then it would be mentioned he was a highly-paid, highly-drafted glory boy and the Falcons were tired of his act. Gregg has criticism prepared no matter the outcome.

Next Week Jill and Polly ask Mr. Tumnus to save to Colts.

I don't get this weak attempt at a joke and I'm not sure I care to.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

12 comments About last night...

That was fucking awesome. For all the hating on sports journalism we do around here, and all the analysis and analysis of analysis, sometimes it's great to just watch something that is a once in a lifetime occurance. Let me taste your tears Bill Simmons, your tears taste so yummy and sweet! Enjoy the playoffs, while I talk Ben off a bridge from his Braves blowing this.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

7 comments Jemele Hill Writes a Column Saying a QB's Race Is Still a Factor, Thereby Helping To Make Race for a QB Still a Factor

JemeHill, as we all know, enjoys talking about race factors in her columns. Sometimes she is pretty good in what she writes, other times she is less than good with what she writes. Today I think she is less than good. She talks about a quarterback's race is still a factor in the NFL. Of course by writing this, she helps to make sure race is still an issue for a quarterback. I don't think all discussions of race should be swept under the rug because they are still relevant, but too many of the discussions are intellectually lazy. JemeHill's discussion on Cam Newton and Mike Vick is an example of one of these intellectually lazy discussions.

I feel like there are times JemeHill wants there to be a double standard for black quarterbacks so she will have something to write about. In the article I am about to cover she is complaining that Mike Vick, a quarterback who has gotten two $100 million dollar contracts in his career is treated differently because of the color of his skin. Maybe that’s true in some parts of the United States, but he is also treated differently in the NFL because of his immense skill set.

The reason Touré's ESPN The Magazine piece entitled "What if Michael Vick were white?" is stirring such an emotional debate

Is because it is race-baiting at its absolute worst?

Is because it takes a complicated issue and intentionally introduces controversy in the debate simply to sell magazines?

Is because it is a lazy way to discuss a complicated issue?

Is because most sports journalists would be ashamed to put their name to a column that so obviously tries to be controversial by initiating an irrelevant and ridiculous discussion that is based purely on speculation?

is that a lot of African-Americans just innately believe that white people's actions -- whether they are failures or successes -- are perceived differently by the mainstream.

Ben Roethlisberger will be called a rapist by opposing fans for a good portion of his NFL career and he has never been convicted of rape. He definitely isn’t beloved by NFL fans for a crime he wasn’t convicted of, yet this stigma continues to follow him. So Vick isn’t the only quarterback who got in trouble with the NFL and isn’t beloved by fans. The difference is that Vick actually got convicted for his crime and Roethlisberger did not, but both got convicted in the court of public opinion. I understand African Americans can believe Vick gets treated differently, but the fact he was convicted for a crime he admitted to doing and wasn’t immediately forgiven doesn’t mean the mainstream is racist. Besides, if you are indicating mainstream opinion is an intelligent and well-thought out position then you haven’t looked at the Top 40 music chart in the United States from to week-to-week.

When Tim Tebow bowls over a couple of defensive players for a touchdown in a meaningless preseason game, it's considered a display of his toughness and leadership. But when Vick launches himself at Troy Polamalu after throwing a costly interception, it's considered risky and stupid.

This is why I call JemeHill’s point of view to be intellectually lazy. She takes two hypothetical incidents like this and creates racial undertones where they may not be any present. She reaches a conclusion without looking at the entire incident.

The first biggest difference in these two incidences is that Tebow is a much bigger guy than Vick, so running over a defensive player is something his body could better handle.

The second biggest difference in these two incidences is that Tebow is on offense trying to score, so using his big body to score is using his skill as a quarterback on offense for his team’s benefit. Mike Vick launching himself at Troy Polamalu after throwing an interception is Vick playing defense (essentially) and he is launching himself in the air at a defender who is bigger or of equal size to him.

The third biggest difference isn’t even a difference because it is an incident that JemeHill conveniently ignores for the sake of making her point. In the Panthers third preseason game, Cam Newton, who from all appearances is not a white quarterback ran over two Bengal defenders on the way to scoring a touchdown. This was a highlight plastered all across ESPN and Newton was lauded for his ability to score like this.

This is exactly why JemeHill is being absurdly lazy in an effort to try and prove a point that doesn’t exist. Take “Tim Tebow” out of the sentence above and put “Cam Newton” into the sentence and that is exactly what happened in real life. Exactly the same. It was a meaningless preseason game. He launched himself at defenders to score a touchdown and was lauded for toughness and leadership. Newton isn’t white and JemeHill ignores this in an effort to have reality achieve what she wants people reading her column to believe.

The same goes for appearance. The Denver Nuggets' Chris "Birdman" Anderson, who is white, has so many tattoos that you can barely see his actual skin. And despite a troubled past that includes serious drug abuse, he's a fan favorite who is characterized as a free spirit.

But that wasn't the way a lot of people felt about Allen Iverson, whose tattoos and diamond necklace were airbrushed out when he appeared in the NBA's publication, HOOP magazine, in 2000.

So we are going 11 years back to find a time when a magazine airbrushed out Allen Iverson’s tattoos and diamond necklace in order to prove a point? Yet again, these aren’t necessarily similar situations. JemeHill tells there is a double standard because Chris Anderson is treated well by fans, while Allen Iverson one time had his body and jewelry airbrushed by a magazine.

Much like the Vick/Tebow example above, JemeHill is using two different sets of criteria to attempt and point out a double standard. She compares Chris Anderson's treatment by the fans to Allen Iverson's treatment by a magazine. HOOP magazine doesn't speak for NBA fans as a whole, especially since Iverson long had one of the best-selling jerseys among NBA players and was loved, even more so than Chris Anderson, by fans.

We try to pretend these double standards don't exist, hurling the phrase "race card" at one another that cheapens any kind of contextual racial discussion.

Hurling the “race card” seems to be what the first couple paragraphs of this column were all about. I come to this conclusion based on the fact JemeHill tried to prove a double standard by using two situations between white and black players that weren’t analogous to each other. Her first example was disproven to be true just a week or so ago and her second example basically consisted of saying, “Fans like a white player with tattoos, but one time a black player with tattoos was treated badly,” while ignoring the black player with tattoos is probably more beloved than the white player with tattoos.

There was an understandable outcry after Richardson proclaimed on "The Charlie Rose Show" that before he made Cam Newton his franchise quarterback-in-waiting and the NFL's No. 1 overall pick this year, he asked Newton if he has any tattoos or piercings.

Oh yes, the story that people knew back in April but the media just picked up a few weeks ago. As a Panthers fan I don’t care if Cam Newton has tattoos and understanding the business side of the NFL I can see why Jerry Richardson proclaimed his dislike of tattoos to (the possible) face of his franchise. The idea an employer can tell his employees what to look like, what to wear and how to behave isn’t foreign to most of the citizens in the United States. To JemeHill and anyone else who needs fodder for a column this is a huge story that needs to be addressed right now.

Clearly, Jerry Richardson as the owner is close-minded for not wanting Cam Newton to get tattoos or piercings. Quite possibly Richardson is close-minded, but when the Panthers signed Jeremy Shockey he expressed his displeasure at Shockey’s tattoos. One of Richardson’s favorite Panthers of all-time from a personal perspective is Steve Smith, who also has tattoos. I think Richardson in his “old man who was born before World War II” way was trying to say he doesn’t like tattoos to a player who currently did not have any, not make a statement on race relations in the NFL.

Depending on what you've read, Richardson is either just a concerned capitalist or an outright racist.

There is absolutely no in-between. Jerry Richardson is either an outright capitalist or huge racist. Way to draw a line in the sand when it isn't required.

In his column addressing the flap, my good friend Dave Zirin wrote, "No word if he then checked Newton's gums" -- a pointed reference to how blacks were physically appraised by prospective owners at slave auctions.

By saying that, Dave Zirin has managed to perform a journalistic feat that is the envy of JemeHill. Zirin managed to make a classless comment which reflected as poorly on him as it did the subject he was talking about in a pathetic attempt to increase his pageviews by further sensationalizing a story. That's what frustrating is there can't even be an honest discussion about a column that says shit like this. He's taken a situation where the owner of a football team said he would rather his quarterback not have tattoos or piercings and turned it into an example of a slave auction. All for publicity of course, which is funny because I had not read this comment until now, but apparently it worked because JemeHill linked her good friend's column on ESPN.com.

But Richardson wasn't being a racist. He was doing Newton, who will start the Panthers' final preseason game Thursday, a favor.

Here comes the part where JemeHill creates a fake argument and then disproves it.

"Everyone thinks Andrew Luck won't be a quality NFL quarterback without Jim Harbaugh as his coach but here is why he will be."

If you've been listening to any of the discussion generated by Touré's piece on Vick, it's obvious that some people will never forgive Vick for operating and financing a dogfighting operation despite the two years he served in federal prison for the crimes.

THAT is the takeaway for JemeHill on the "what if Mike Vick were white" discussion? Some people will never forgive Vick for operating and financing a dogfighting ring? She read the article, which had a ridiculous premise in the first place, and thought, "Boy, people certainly won't forgive Mike Vick for financing a dogfighting operation." Perhaps I give her too much credit.

There are white players the public will never forgive for their crimes as well. Ben Roethlisberger is a great example. He's not beloved by many fans, outside of Steelers fans.

I love that very nearly the same day JemeHill posted this article, Vick got a $100 million dollar extension. It's hard to argue he gets a bad rap or is held to a different standard when he gets handed an 8 figures contract...for the second time in his career. Regardless, it doesn't matter because JemeHill isn't interested in an honest discussion about black quarterbacks and how they are perceived. She is interested in pushing through her point of view, no matter what other realities may say.

Now, the primary reason Vick has reclaimed fans and generated another $100 million contract is that he's one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

I am pretty sure this part of the article was edited in after it was announced Vick got the $100 million contract so JemeHill could stammer around and explain how a quarterback who is receiving his second $100 million contract is held to a different standard.

So Vick is held to a different standard than white quarterbacks, but not really because his performance level on the field is so high? So is there a double standard or not? If JemeHill is arguing there is a double standard for black quarterbacks based on their level of performance, this goes for every quarterback in the NFL. If Matt Schaub gets arrested next week for hitting a woman in the face, he will be much more beloved in one year if his performance stays at a high level. That's just sports.

But let's credit Vick's image overhaul for assisting in his career resurgence, too. Perhaps he's been coached by a public relations professional; but in his interviews now, Vick appears much more polished than he was in his Atlanta Falcons days. He is saying the right things and seems more thoughtful.

So again, is there a double standard for Vick? Because that was the argument JemeHill is attempting to further, but now she is stammering around saying, "Well yeah, but he's a great player and he's changed the public's opinion of him...he's more polished now."

Don't say there is a double standard and use Vick as an example of this double standard and then back your way off using him as an example. So we are to believe a black quarterback who has a great public image and performs at a high level won't be treated differently than a white quarterback? That goes as well when comparing a white quarterback to a white quarterback. Just think about the perception of Matt Ryan compared to that of Jay Cutler. Cutler doesn't give a shit what people think, while Ryan doesn't have the chip on his shoulder that Cutler does. So Ryan gets more of the benefit of the doubt from fans and the press.

Whether his willingness to be a spokesperson for PETA is genuine or a well-crafted ruse, it likely factored into Nike's decision to reinvest in an endorsement contract with Vick.

I think JemeHill destroying her own argument right now.

Not that Newton has done anything as heinous as Vick -- it'll garner a big shoulder shrug from me even if it is one day revealed that he took money while a player at Auburn -- but Newton nonetheless should be taking notes on Vick's transformation and heeding Richardson's words.

Why would Newton take notes on Vick's transformation? They are completely different players and Newton hasn't been arrested (lately) for a crime nor has he been to jail. I'm confused.

It isn't clear if the Panthers owner ever asked Jimmy Clausen, the team's incumbent starter, or any other white quarterback, about having tattoos or piercings.

That's because Richardson doesn't have to.

Oh I get it! There isn't really a double standard, but in the absence of proof let's just assume there is one. Let's also ignore that Clausen has outperformed Newton in the preseason and Newton has been handed the starting job. JemeHill doesn't want that to be relevant.

Does it count if Richardson had called Clausen "doughboy" in reference to his weight? Well, he did. I wonder if Dave Zirin and JemeHill chalk this up to Richardson's slave auction tendencies?

Clausen could get "thug life" tatted on his stomach like Tupac and it would either go largely unnoticed or just be fodder for a "Saturday Night Live" skit.

Again, JemeHill didn't do all of her research to know Richardson is very outspoken at times about his players. He called Clausen "doughboy" for his physical appearance. So we just ignore that when discussing comments Richardson made on Newton's physical appearance?

But if a prominent black athlete -- especially a high-profile quarterback, the No. 1 overall pick and the de facto leader of the team -- has tattoos or piercings, it takes on an entirely different connotation.

Maybe it does for some people, but Richardson's comments to Jeremy Shockey about his tattoos and his comments about Clausen's physical appearance show to Jerry Richardson it doesn't matter what color a player is or what position he plays, he pays attention to a player's physical appearance.

Newton's first goal is to help the Panthers win games, of course. But his next one should be to take advantage of all the opportunities that come with being the franchise guy.

In asking Newton about his tattoos and piercings, Richardson wasn't subjugating him. He certainly was looking out for the best interests of his franchise, but he also was approaching Newton businessman-to-businessman.

Wait, wait, wait. So there is a double standard for black quarterbacks in the NFL, as seen how Jerry Richardson treated Cam Newton and how Mike Vick is treated fans, except there isn't really a double standard?

There's a reason the majority of franchise quarterbacks in the NFL carry themselves a certain way,

This is what I don't enjoy about reading JemeHill's columns. So is there a double standard or not? It seems like JemeHill is saying there isn't a double standard and Richardson treated Newton the same way he would treat another franchise quarterback in regard to his image.

Richardson supposedly told the heavily tatted Jeremy Shockey he could "do without the tattoos," but last I checked, teams weren't hinging their franchises on tight ends.

So knowing this, perhaps it is overreacting a bit when a comparing Richardson to a slave owner at an auction? Of course, I am sure Dave Zirin didn't care to do any research and wrote a column he thought would cause the most controversy and could get his name in the mouths of the public.

More is expected of a quarterback. And more is given to a quarterback, too.

So basically JemeHill has talked her way around this issue so much we have no clue what she actually believes. One minute she is talking about a double standard for black quarterbacks, the next minute she is saying there isn't a double standard, then she doesn't seem to disagree with an article comparing Richardson to a slave owner, and finally she is saying a lot is expected of a franchise quarterback so it comes with the territory.

Richardson already is a successful businessman. He understands that how you present yourself is as important as what you know and how you perform.

Especially if you're black.

What? I'm not saying there hasn't been some sort of double standard in the past, nor may there be one in the future, for black quarterbacks. Nearly everything JemeHill wrote towards the end of this column when discussing Cam Newton discusses how franchise quarterbacks are held to a different standard than other NFL players, so Newton is also held to that standard. Then in the last sentence, she makes a statement that Newton will be held to a higher standard without really describing to us how this is true.

A franchise quarterback is supposed to hold himself publicly to a certain standard, so if there is any double standard JemeHill has shown, it is for quarterbacks, not just black quarterbacks. I think JemeHill has failed to really provide any evidence in this column that Vick and Newton are being held to a different standard from white quarterbacks. She may be on the right track, but she has possibly chosen the wrong way quarterbacks to prove her theory.