Monday, April 29, 2013

The Openly-Gay NBA Player & the Incomprehension of Mike Wallace

In a ground-breaking announcement today, NBA free agent Jason Collins has become the first non-retired professional athlete (baseball, football, basketball, hockey, soccer) to come out as a gay  man. As you can imagine, the internet exploded...until Tim Tebow got shit-canned, and then everyone moved on. Sorta.

I'm an active ally in the LGBT movement, so I'm incredibly proud of Mr. Collins for taking the brave step of coming out and being true to himself. As he says in his Sports Illustrated article, "I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, "I'm different." If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand."

Mike Wallace, formerly of the Steelers and currently of the Dolphins, was apparently the first person to "say something dumb" about Collins' revelation:

Honestly, as far as athletes' reactions to LGBT news, this is really, really mild. Wallace isn't hating on Collins specifically, or even gay men in general; he just said that the idea of someone being with a person of the same sex was a foreign concept to him. Now, I'm not trying to excuse Wallace's comments entirely; they WERE dumb and fairly insensitive to the gay community. But really? Admitting ignorance on a subject rather than just Twitter-blasting hate speech isn't, in my opinion, something to get that worked up over. Chances are good my comrades in the LGBT community disagree, but that's the lovely thing about being a human; we can all be a part of a supportive, collective movement and still disagree with one another.

Give Mike Wallace a break. I'm sure he got mad schooled by hundreds of people (on Twitter and on blogs) for every several dozen of fans supporting his statements. He took the tweets down and immediately apologized. Hopefully in the future he'll think twice before tweeting and maybe do some research as to why "guys wanna mess with other guys" to purge the ignorance from his mind.

Whomp Goes the Tebow

So in news that shocked NO ONE, Tim Tebow has been released by the New York Jets. Of course, ESPN, your leader in All-Things-Tebow-News, has been having rage-induced orgasms over the story all day, despite the fact that there are several other important things going on in the world of sports. (More on that in another blog entry to be posted later today.)

When the Jets first purchased (for lack of a better word) the divisive player, many of the saner NFL fans asked, "Why?" The Jets kept talking about how Mark Sanchez had their undying loyalty, yet they brought on a quarterback who, even though he wasn't really that great at all, had spent his rookie year going to a playoff game and turning around a floundering team that didn't think they'd see the light of day, much less a post-season. I figured it was just another way for Coach Fatty to keep the spotlight on him and keep the Jets relevant. Tim obviously wanted to go to Florida to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars so he could be closer to his family and probably so he wouldn't have to deal with the batshittery that the team in New Jersey would bring to his life. But no. No one likes Tim Tebow, so off to New York he went.

So far, it doesn't seem that any teams have expressed interest in him. I wonder if he'll continue in the NFL as an overpaid back-up, or if he'll "retire" and move on to do motivation speaking gigs about The Lord across the country?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Gettin' Slammed by the Author of Dragons

Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin is a HUGE Jets fan for some unknown reason. As a man with a powerful voice and throngs of adoring fans, he took to the internet to express his disgust with the recent Jets decision to release "Revis Island" for two draft picks.

It is hard to be a fan of the New York Jets,” Martin wrote. “They have hardly done anything right since Joe Willie Namath won SuperBowl III, and every time you think maybe they are finally turning the corner, they find some new way to screw things up."


Good Thing He Didn't Get Any Guaranteed Money!

The Ravens recently-signed linebacker Rolando McClain, formerly of the Oakland Raiders, was arrested ELEVEN DAYS after joining a team that was willing to give him a (risky, IMO) second fourth chance. Reports out of Decatur, Alabama said that Rolando was at a park with 700 other people, there was some kind of fight, the cops tried to break it up, our boy got all N.W.A. on the situation and started screaming, "F*CK THE PO-LICE!" then resisted arrest, because that's OBVIOUSLY a good idea. According to the above (second) link, the 23-year-old was already out on bond because of some shenanigans earlier. I'm seriously beginning to wonder if this guy has ANY common sense...

Obviously I discussed the situation with Shawn, who laughed as much as one would expect a Steelers fan to laugh. (Probably because for once, it wasn't one of HIS players committing a crime.) While this isn't a verbatim quote (he refused to type one up for me, claiming he was "busy doing his job), this was the basic gist of why he thinks the Ravens drafted such a high-risk player in the first place:

"Rolando McClain seemed to be a reasonable option for the Ravens before the draft to fill the holes in their defense that they created when many of their players left or were cut. It's not that McClain is a bad player; he's just a personnel risk from a legal standpoint. Ravens' management wanted to go into the draft [which starts this Thursday] with the ability to draft players that they want, that will be the best option and NOT the players that they need to fill empty spaces on their roster."

JP Starkey of SBNation agrees with Shawn: it was a risk to hire McClain, and he's now put the Ravens in an awkward position only two days before the draft. The team is still deciding what to do, and it's hard to think that they'll make a decision in the next couple of days. Then again, I don't know anything about the draft, so we'll just wait and see.

Monday, April 22, 2013

I Don't Think That's What Troy Meant, Mr. Lewis...


Troy: "Mr. Lewis and Mrs. uhm..RaNikki? What do you think the Ravens are going to do in the first round?"
RaNikki: "I think we're going to draft a sassy Italian girl from Baltimore!"

It appears that Ray has no more fucks to give about anything football related. It also appears that I'm going to be a lineback for the Ravens (if they're smart!).

NOTE: I'm not yet a "Mrs." I'm getting married in August. <3

Friday, April 19, 2013

Neither of Them is Necessarily Wrong

I'm fairly certain that I've hated on the Orioles, Baltimore's often disappointing baseball team, on this blog before. They're awful, historically speaking, and sometimes to a painfully laughable level. They proved me mostly wrong last year by getting their shit together and making the playoffs, and even though they didn't go that deep into the post-season, this glimmer of hope and promise gave the good fans in Baltimore something to cheer about. The team brought back the "Orioles Magic" that so many people had been waiting for thirty years to visit the city once again. They're having an up-and-down start to the season this year. (Check out their losing streak numbers, then read about how Chris Davis is a friggin' BEAST in a variety of ways.) The fans are remaining loyal though, coming to the game in (relative) droves and still talking about how "this year is OUR year." However, the Orioles management has gotten into hot water for completely dicking up something even MORE important to the Baltimore sports fans:

They refuse to reschedule a game that coincides with what would be opening day for the Ravens. Seriously. The REIGNING SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS are going to start their year ON THE ROAD in Denver. (Which means that when I get (probably insanely expensive) tickets to this game, I might actually be assaulted.) I'm not sure if this problem has arisen in other cities, so I can't say if it's that big a deal elsewhere, but Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium are in the same spot, essentially. They practically share a parking lot. So rescheduling was crucial for TWO reasons: 1) to save people the wrenching task of choosing between their two beloved teams as to which they'll watch; and 2) to save people from the clusterfuck that would be the traffic/parking/bar hopping situation.

The city is split into two camps: those who think that the Orioles are being dicks, and those who think that the Ravens are being bullies to the MLB. While the latter camp's arguments are sound, I'm firmly in the first "This is crap" camp because I obviously like football MUCH better than I do baseball.

I'm not the only one who is disappointed in the Orioles. Jets' head coach, former Ravens defensive coordinator, well-known sandwich-lover, and foot fetishist Rex Ryan had this to say about the controversy:

“I understand the Orioles are playing a game at home. Well, who really cares? You’ve got 81 of them things at home and maybe you could’ve done the right thing and given one up and played 82 on the road and 80 at home. I really don’t think people are going to care about that game. You have a chance to have the defending world champs open the season at home where they rightfully should. I think that’s unfortunate.” (Source)

In a hilarious burn, Orioles' head coach Buck Showalter had this to say:

“I think I’d be a little more concerned about Nov. 24 when the Jets come here and try to figure out a way to beat the Ravens, wouldn’t you?”

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

NIKKI vs. Troy?!?!

I can't wait until Shawn comes in tomorrow morning and sees this.

Shawn's reaction (the next day): "No. You're not allowed to play football." 


My boss Lyndsey has been teaching herself Photoshop and trying to boost her skills by practicing on her coworkers. I posted to Facebook a picture of me that she'd edited and asked friends what they thought of it so she could get some constructive criticism. Overall, the reviews were positive, although we agreed that my face had too many shadows removed, leaving it looking a little fake. My friend Shannon, with whom I worked at Loyola, suggested that I ask Lyndsey to Photoshop my head onto Ray Lewis' body. I passed the suggestion along to Lyndsey, and in two minutes, this is the masterpiece that she created:

This picture made me laugh so loudly and so hard at work that I cried at my desk. It's the greatest thing I've ever seen, and it's now my Facebook profile picture.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

This Year is the Bills' Year...Or is it?!

I have a friend on Twitter (we bonded over our mutual love of tacos) who is a diehard (as much as possible) Bills fan. I sent him an article about how the much-maligned Kevin Kolb has recently joined my favorite underdog team, and these tweets were his reactions:

Shawn, on the other hand, isn't as my friend about Buffalo's chances of making it to the big game:

"Maybe it is the Bills year. Their year for what, I don’t know but it could indeed be their year. Maybe it’s their year to have more staff infections than the Cleveland Browns? Maybe it’s their year to get the #1 overall draft pick. Maybe it’s their year to throw more interceptions than yards? Who knows!"

Only time will tell if the Bills will return to the Big Show for the first time since I was a tiny child with no knowledge whatsoever of football, only the innate knowledge that the Cowboys were a terrible organization of terrible people and should be rooted against at all costs.

EDIT: One more opinion from Shawn: "My only other thought about this being the Bills' year is that the Super Bowl is NEXT year..." Oh, Shawn, so literal.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

"In Oz We Trust" is Becoming a REALLY Stupid Motto This Year

It figures. The first day off Shawn's taken in weeks, and the Ravens drop another huge bomb during free agency. (Well, they haven't actually officially made the announcement yet. Probably trying to find a PR-friendly way to do it.) Now who am I going to rant and rave to?!

The news of which I speak is that special teams player/inside linebacker/gay marriage advocate Brendon Ayanbadejo has been cut by the Ravens. (NOTE: If you are an intelligent, empathetic person, do NOT read the comments. I made that mistake, got to the two ignorant ones about how he's gay for supporting marriage equality, and had to leave my desk because my blood pressure spiked.)

He announced it this morning on his Twitter feed:

Now I learned this news from my friend Zack (more on that later), but it turns out Steve knew as well! He didn't tell me because "I knew you’d flip out." My friend Kelsey ALSO knew, but she didn't tell me because she figured that "if [she] knew then [ I ] probably knew." (Usually a valid assumption to make.) I understand their caution because I'm sitting here writing a blog entry about it, all upset and cranky.

Zack pointed out the confusion that many Ravens fans will feel about this bizarre and shocking move:

"We're already thin at inside linebacker, and the man is a beast on special teams. They weren't paying him a lot, so why do it? Zero sense move. Somehow I knew you would not be pleased [with the news]." (Everyone knows me really well apparently.)

Now, I don't pretend to understand the math involved during free agency with regards to salary caps. I can't give specific stats about why a player should or should not leave. But the terminations of Brendon's and Boldin's contracts just don't make any sense to me, nor do they make sense to a lot of fans in Ravens Nation.

I worry that next year isn't going to be as successful a year as 2012 was...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Long Goodbye

Shawn is very pleased that he has a four-day weekend. I don't know how he'll be spending his free time, but I'm going to guess that short of having brain surgery or spending a long time in an MRI machine, it's going to be better than dealing with IT problems (mostly "user error" of course) all day. We wish him a happy vacation.

Side note: Ray is selling his mansion in Florida. It has something like seven bathrooms and nine bedrooms. My question is...why wouldn't you have the same number of bedrooms as bathrooms?! It makes no sense.