Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Getting it wrong both in St. Louis and New York

The “hot” topic Monday in the sports world was the “political statement” made by some St. Louis Rams players in response to the Ferguson, MO verdict which “vindicated” police officer Darren Wilson. The players raised their arms as they were entering the field, as a symbol of “surrendering” to police—instead of shooting them. The St. Louis police were in an uproar over this “slander” against them, and demanded an “apology.” 

Frankly, they don’t deserve one, but here are a few thoughts on the matter. The players were wrong in the fact that Michael Brown was clearly not “surrendering” to Wilson, at least according to him and several witnesses deemed “reliable.” Brown apparently wrongly believed he could impress friends by “intimidating” the officer physically, which was a fatally foolish mistake on his part. 

On the other hand, the police are wrong because they still apparently don’t understand why there is a certain level of distrust between police and minority communities; the police seem only too eager to use lethal force against them. In regard to the players themselves, in place like South Florida police seem less interested in “protecting” players—especially black players—from “fans” with grudges to milk than making local celebrities out of themselves by arresting players for whatever reason is plausible.

The other sports news of Monday was the “return” of Geno Smith as the New York Jets starting quarterback against the Miami Dolphins. After a blow-out loss last week against Buffalo—in which Geno completed 10 of 12 passes (leading to no points) in junk time—it was deemed time to give him one more shot to see what he’s got. The Jets got off to an early lead, thanks to a thankfully effective running game that did not require any of Geno’s mind-numbing theatrics. The Jets were still leading 13-6 in the fourth quarter despite the fact that he had thrown just 8 passes for 42 yards, but the Dolphins scored ten unanswered points to win 16-13, dropping the Jets to 2-10 and Geno to his eighth loss in a row in the starting role.

ESPN commentator Rich Cimini complained that Geno had not been allowed to “make plays,” instead being turned into a “handoff machine.” This, of course, is exactly what the Jets needed him to be if they expect to win, and they might have, had Nick Folk not missed two field goal attempts. But when Geno was called upon to “make plays,” he was either sacked, completed three passes for a measly 23 yards, or made a lousy decision and threw a pass into coverage that was intercepted and ended the Jets night. Geno’s 35.7 passer rating was nothing that we haven’t come to expect from him.

It is entirely possible that the Jets will win one or two more games this year out of sheer dumb luck—much like last year’s .250 team masquerading as a .500 one. But what will that prove? Even with near 300 yards rushing to back him, Geno just can’t seem to make it work. With what they have on their offensive roster right now, they will likely have to start from scratch again—starting with the quarterback position.

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