If you think political talk radio is a brutal place, you should try sports talk radio. In the world of news talk, you have a biased hosed with a political agenda attempting to spin current events to make you see them his way. In the world of sports talk, you largely have a field of minds so jammed with statistics and dates that they are unable to form a point of view on anything other than a simple Vegas line, let alone manage to try to find a way to spin the event for the mindless masses who tune it. This can make listening to channels like Mad Dog Radio on Sirius and XM Radio an exercise in frustration. Yet it is an exercise that I perform almost daily, and occasionally I call in to try to straighten some of these guys out. My latest beef? The New York Knicks.
This past week Hank Williams Jr., who performed the opening intro for ESPN's Monday Night Football, was relieved of his responsibilities with the network after he appeared on FOX News and suggested that the President and Speaker of the House golfing together was comparable to Adolph Hitler golfing with Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu. While Williams did not specifically identify either individual as being like Hitler, his comments were obviously way out of line and he was promptly fired. I want to be clear here that I support ESPN's decision to get rid of him over these remarks. While I don't believe that they had to, I do believe that they are entitled to and I can easily understand why they would want to distance themselves from these comments. My concern, however, is for an apparent double standard with the network. During the 2008 NBA Playoffs, ESPN columnist Jemele Hill had the following to say about fans of the Boston Celtics.
What an exciting round of playoff games we had last weekend. I, of course, went on my rant about Bill Belichick following the Jets/Patriots game, and that seemed to be the topic of interest on sports talk radio. Much like my approach here on this site, picking next weeks games seemed to be a bit of an afterthought to both the callers and the hosts. This makes sense too, because next weeks games are going to be tough to pick. In both leagues, the teams seem to match up well against each other, so a lesser man might try to shirk this round and hope the readers didn't notice. Not I. I will make my picks, right after we look at last weeks games.
I'm going to get to my picks from last weeks games here in a minute (next article) but first I need to vent a little bit, and I feel another Stevil Rant coming on. I was driving tonight listening to Mad Dog Radio and all of the talk was about the Jet's Patriots game. Yes, I picked the Jets to win. Yes, I am a patriots hater. Do the two correlate? Absolutely not. It seems like I am one of the few guys around that does not let his emotions get in the way of his football picks. Listening to the so called experts talk about Bill Belichick and and declare him (sometimes they qualify it with "arguably") to be the best coach in the history of the NFL, I wonder what game these guys are watching and analyzing. They are certainly not watching football, unless of course they just suck at their job. Yes, I'm going to talk about Spygate, but before you click off to the next site Patriot Fan, I will quote your own guys over at the Boston Globe.
If you are wondering why I care about a National Championship game that did not involve my Miami Hurricanes, I can give you two good reasons. First, my girl is an Auburn fan, so I was pulling for them there. I'll explain that further in a minute. Second, I hate Nick Saban, so as an extension of that emotion I must also hate the Alabama Crimson Tide. This hatred was easy to pick up. After all, you're looking at a team named after a phytoplankton with an elephant for a mascot. They are also represented by a roll of toilet paper followed by a bottle of laundry soap. I hate laundry, and I'm not a big fan of human excrement either. Thus, everything came together quite nicely to make me an (almost) Auburn fan.
The irony of all ironies was unfolding before my very eyes. Well, not really, but if you enjoyed that delve into the over-dramatic, stick around for the coverage of the NBA Finals. I'm sure it will be full of almost religious references to the two iconic teams that will match up now that the Lakers have eliminated the Suns. But of course, my interests lies in the impact zone of the collision between sports and politics that took place in the Western Conference Finals.