The NBA and the Miami Heat double-standard: the Stern Crime Family strikes again

Let’s review.

This was an automatic, on the spot flagrant 2 and ejection.

But this – a blindside cheap shot, a two-handed shove and some subsequent manhandling of the ref – earned only a flagrant 1.

Note that LeBron flopped like a Portuguese midfielder while Hansbrough remained upright.

And this flying WWE-style flying elbow from Dwyane Wade was assessed a flagrant 1, but only after the league office reviewed it the next day.

Flagrant 1s earn the opposition a free throw and the ball. Flagrant 2s get the offender ejected. And if you’re the sort of conspiracy theorist who thinks the NBA is protecting its cash cow, the star-studded Miami Heat, well, there’s not much in this sequence to prove you wrong, is there?

(I guess the league might still take some extra action against Anderson, seeing as how he’s a role player and not a superstar. Of course, he’s an important role player and the Miami/Indiana series is still tight, so maybe not. We’ll see.)

[UPDATE: The league has apparently been embarrassed into suspending Anderson for a game.]

Some advice to the NBA league office. If you want your fans to stop seeing the hand of the Illuminati in every controversial call, if you want smart-asses like me to stop using phrases like “RICO investigation” and “Stern Crime Family,” you should stop, you know, acting like an organized crime family.

Just saying.

Mr. Booth goes to the theater, ESPN FC fails to mention that assassination thing: sports "journalism" strikes again

Chicharito celebrates offside winner

It’s no secret to Chelsea fans that the sporting press, such as it is, does not love us overmuch. Time and again, whether we’re reading a match report or an  editorial “analysis” or listening to in-game commentary, we’re confronted with “journalists” who seem on the verge of bursting into song every time something bad happens to our side.

Fine. I can deal with this, and in a way it’s a badge of honor. Nobody bothers working up much in the way of snark or venom if you’re bottom of the table, do they? Still, as a guy who has been a journalism professor, it galls me at a professional level to see the media simply ignore the facts. Continue reading

Lakers/Nuggets Game 7 preview: call your bookie because the #fix is in

Tonight, the Los Angeles Lakers will square off with the visiting Denver Nuggets in a first-round playoff Game 7 that promises to be crackling with intensity. I’m a big fan of my hometown Nugs and I expect them to bring their A games.

I also expect them to lose, no matter what, because however well prepared they are, however brilliant George Karl’s game planning, however incredibly they may shoot and rebound and defend, they’re playing 5-on-8.

Put simply, it is not in the league’s financial interest to have LA lose to Denver. Continue reading

Nota Bene #112: GOOOLLLLLLLL

“Freedom of any kind is the worst for creativity.” Who said it? Continue reading

Conspiracy or ineptitude: Why do so many bad calls seem to go against the US soccer team?

Ken Gude has some thoughts on all the calls going against the US at the World Cup.

It wasn’t the first time in this game that there were odd calls – all going against the US – in and around the Slovenan box. One play Dempsey was wrestled to the ground in the box, no call. On another, he was body check as Altidore got off a snap shot. Altidore was blocked off just outside the box by the last defender that only drew a yellow card. One earlier decision saw Altidore thrown down this time near the midway line only to find the infraction whistled on the American. You might think the ref just plain didn’t like the United States. Continue reading

The uneasy truth behind Tim Donaghy's allegations

Disgraced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy, who was convicted of two charges related to betting on NBA games (some of which he worked as an official), is out of prison, pimping a new book and telling his story to 60 Minutes and ESPN. What he’s saying, and who’s backing him up, has to be giving NBA Commish David Stern a king-hell case of the nightsweats.

We’ll stipulate up front that the witness has a credibility issue. Continue reading