Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Clearing the Clutter

Spraying to all fields:

Carolina Panthers have endured a difficult season, sitting 1-10 with their next stop out west in Seattle. I won't go into my diatribe about how this team was set up for failure (lack of veteran leaders to show the young guys the ropes), but I will commend every guy that puts the pads on for the organization, as well as the coaches. They REFUSE to lay down their sword. John Fox won't say this out loud, because of their record, but this might be his best coaching work. Offensively, Brandon LaFell, David Gettis, Jimmy Clausen and others, are rookies on offense. Greg Hardy, Eric Norwood are rookies on defense, plus a host of new faces brought in to take on the season.

Youth is no excuse, but it is a very valid reason why this team is struggling, but to their credit, they are improving, and still playing hard. That's a testament to their strength and will, and it is also a testament to Fox and his staff. They are still working to win games, and most of all, the players are still on board with it. Sadly, it's almost as if the players are resigned to their fate (record-wise), but they still believe in their leader. As tough as this season has been, these players have made it as fun as possible with their attitude, and their effort.

Charlotte Bobcats forward Stephen Jackson will miss Wednesday night's game against New Orleans due to a 1-game suspension by the NBA. Jackson's crime: not leaving the court in a timely fashion after being ejected in Milwaukee. Once again, NBA referee's showing little to no respect for the players and coaches , now that they have the "no showing up the officials" card in their back pocket. The ref in question, Eli Roe, is young in terms of NBA experience. According to the site http://www.basketball-refs.com/ (it's basically a blog), Roe had over 50+ games of NBA experience at its last update (mid June of this year). Roe was also voted, according to the site, as the ref "to most likely to choke to death on his own whistle." Rave review, right?

The NBA has to revisit this policy. How is Dwight Howard among the league leaders in technical fouls? I understand how Jackson is, and there is not doubt in my mind, Jackson is a mark for refs. To me, they are looking for him to do something. Problem is, Jackson usually obliges them with some form of discussion, but that doesn't mean Jackson is wrong. Respect is a 2-way street. NBA referees, young or old, need to remember that.

Speaking of officials, I love the uproar over the fight between Andre Johnson and Cortland Finnegan over the weekend. Neither player was suspended, both were fined $25,000 for the altercation. Folks wanting them to be suspended are reaching. Let's remember, this is an emotional and very physical game. Johnson felt Finnegan was taking liberties, and finally retaliated (video shows that to be the case). Things happen in the heat of battle. The league stepped in, took action, that's it. Finnegan is actually lucky he wasn't suspended, considering he is a repeat offender.

Adding this at 8:25 pm tonight, want to mention a conversation I had with injured Panthers WR Wallace Wright on Wednesday, and he gave me something else to think about here. Earlier Wednesday, Panthers safety Sherrod Martin was fined $40,000 for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Cleveland TE Evan Moore on Sunday. Stiff penalty, based on Martin being a repeat offender of the head-to-head knocks. But is $40K justified when 2 players were actually fighting? According to Wallace, the fighting penalties should have been stiffer, to curb that behavior in the future. I agree, to an extent, with Wallace. The fine didn't fit the crime on Martin, especially when reviewing the game tape.

High school football nears an end, state semi-final Friday on tap this week, with championship games next weekend. Hope you check out the Discount Tire Friday Night Final to see all the action this week, and our state championship previews next week.

Mike Solarte

1 comment:

MichaelProcton said...

If Martin didn't want to get fined, he shouldn't have committed the crime. He was highlighted as THE #1 example of what not to do when delivering a hit to a receiver. Frankly, he was lucky the first fine came before the fines got jacked up, or he'd be looking at closer to $75K combined, not $45K.