Tuesday, January 2, 2007


Perhaps you heard about the recent murder of a professional athlete.
DENVER (AP) -- Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams was killed early Monday when his white stretch Hummer was sprayed by bullets after a nightclub dispute following a New Year's Eve party.

Police have no motive and no indication the 24-year-old player was targeted in the drive-by shooting of the limousine. The burst of violence occurred hours after the Broncos were eliminated from playoff contention.
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"We all know that Darrent was an excellent player, but as a person, he was a first-class young man who brightened every room with his smile, attitude and personality," [Coach Mike] Shanahan said. "I cannot express how heartsick I feel at this loss."

Jackson said there was a dispute at a nightclub several blocks from the shooting where Williams and his group had attended a party. He said the argument didn't specifically involve Williams, according to witnesses, and the confrontation wasn't physical, just taunts.

"Why this happened, we're not sure," Jackson said.
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"His heart was so big, he was always giving to those who didn't have," said Williams' mother, Rosalind Williams, who flew to Denver from Fort Worth. "It didn't even have to be for an agency or a charity. If he knew you didn't have, he'd hand it out of his pocket."

His former high school football coach in Texas, Anthony Criss, said Williams had gone from hanging with the wrong crowd to trying to keep kids away gangs and violence.

"When he was younger, he always gravitated to the wrong crowd," said Criss, who coached Williams for three seasons at O.D. Wyatt High in Fort Worth. "I remember he went to church and the minister was talking to him about needing to pray and stop hanging around with the wrong people, and he started straightening up and doing the right thing."

Williams, who has two young children in the Fort Worth area, said last month that he wanted to return to his hometown in the offseason to talk to kids about staying out of street gangs. He also had recently spoken to Criss about establishing a free football camp for young players in Fort Worth.

This kind of thing (murder) shouldn't happen to anyone, regardless of whether the person was an athlete. However, I share all of this because of a comment made by a popular sports commentator. I was listening to WFAN's Mike & the Mad Dog radio program today despite the fact I usually prefer WPEN's Jody McDonald Show. The Giants are in the playoffs and I would much rather listen to New York radio than Philadelphia radio, although it's also easier to listen to Mike & the Mad Dog as they are simulcast on television. Anyway, Mike Francessa made an off-hand comment about Williams, questioning (and I'm paraphrasing) when these athletes are going to learn.

This really annoyed me. We've been hearing about how black athletes are thugs because they have tattoos and they listen to rap and whatever else. This wasn't an athlete carrying a gun. He wasn't even involved in the fight, as far as reports go. He was just a guy in a club for New Year's Eve. Who hasn't been in a situation like that? He was shot three blocks from the club as he was trying to go home. These were sick people that killed Williams. The blame cannot be placed on him. You can't say he shouldn't have been there. If I get stabbed at a concert, is it my fault for going? Maybe it just happens to be the fault of the guy who stabbed me?

There are situations where athletes cause their own problems. When they drink and proceed to drive, when they carry a weapon on them, when they're mixed up with drugs and gangs. However, this was a simple scenario of going out on an evening where lots of people go out, and he was murdered. Just because Williams didn't golf at the country clubs doesn't make his choice of entertainment less valid. There's nothing wrong with going to a restaurant or night club.

With that important matter said, his death reminded me of something far less serious. Last year was my first time playing fantasy sports, and I was or am involved in baseball, football, survival football, hockey and basketball. Hockey and basketball are still on-going, but the others are concluded. I came in first place out of 14 in my baseball league, fifth place out of 12 in the football league, and I was the last man standing in the survival league. As you might imagine, I am active with all of my teams, which were all in Yahoo's Fantasy Sports.

Yahoo provides a nice, free service, and they even subscribe to news feeds to let users know about updates, streaks, injuries, etc. These snippets of information are sometimes followed with advice, which I have found to be terrible. To get a feel for this, I have taken advantage of the senseless violence which took away Williams' life. I feel it illustrates my point and is in poor taste, which is sometimes my style:

Part II of this post will commence...now

Moving along, I mentioned the Giants and the playoffs, so I'd like to discuss that for a little bit. It's my blog, after all. I want the G-Men to win despite their near-disastrous collapse. What the Giants need to do on offense is have Tiki Barber run a good game (which means the O-line needs to open up holes), have Eli Manning actually hit his men, and then have those receivers not drop the passes. What the Giants need to do on defense is stop passes up the middle, pressure Jeff Garcia and not allow big runs by Brian Westbrook. This seems like a tall order, but it could happen. I don't expect the Giants to go to the Super Bowl, but I really don't want them to lose to Philadelphia. Eagles' fans are already insufferable miscreants without adding that to the mix. That might sound harsh, but keep in mind they're from Philadelphia.

I suspect that Tiki Barber's decision to retire was probably based a large amount on his dislike for Tom Coughlin, which has shone through repeatedly over the past couple of years. Coughlin doesn't seem to command the respect of his team, which would, I think, be important. This is the playoffs, though, and if a team can't get over themselves enough to listen to their coach and to win, then they're not professionals. The regular season is one thing, but this is the playoffs. At least the Giants can't get fewer points than their last playoff game last season, where they got a whopping zero.

As for the Jets, I'm not a fan but I can support them, at least more than I could with the Mets, Nets, Islanders or Devils. I certainly don't want New England to win, as a Patriots' win would necessarily pleasure various Red Sox fans, and that would be a sin. It doesn't really matter which team wins, because either the Ravens or the Chargers are going to the Super Bowl. I would think New Orleans has the best shot at meeting one of those teams in the big game, but Chicago does have a solid defense, and maybe Todd Jones has one of his good games and Rex Grossman doesn't throw so many picks.

Kansas City looks like a good bet over the Colts, who have been terrible recently, but Indianapolis is at home and the Chiefs aren't wonderful, only getting into the playoffs based on a Denver loss. However, Larry Johnson, a fellow alum who makes millions of more dollars than I do (I made a great career choice), is a good running back, and the Colts don't know how to stop the run. The Cowboys and Seahawks game should be interesting, as both teams are lackluster, but Seattle has been consistently lackluster, whereas Dallas has tanked the past month. I would give the edge to Seattle, who at least has shown their ability to make a Super Bowl run as recent as last year.

1 comment:

CNE said...

Since you've been playing fantasy sports for only a year, I'll give you a pass for bragging about how well you did. Hopefully in the future you'll become an insufferable fantasy prick who whines about finishing 2nd in his league because the scoring rules were not adjusted to account for your team.

I don't know which was worse: Mike's comments or TMQ's assessment, which was "you shouldn't go out after midnight, even on New Year's Eve." Next thing you know, TMQ will start hating on Jews again, screaming for kids to get off his lawn, and write 1000 words on how his youth league football playbook would work in the NFL.