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Jun. 29 2010 — 12:46 am | 331 views | 0 recommendations | 3 comments

Michael Vick Just Can’t Avoid Trouble

Mike Vick with Philadelphia

How much longer will we see this?

The tragedy of the once-highest paid NFL player (scroll to #14) continues …

The AP reports that gunfire disrupted the wee hours of Mike Vick’s 30th birthday party last week. No, the onetime dogfighting ‘heavyweight’ did not pull the trigger nor receive the bullet; however, the fiasco occurred just outside the Virginia Beach nightclub hosting the soiree, and police identified the wounded man as a co-defendant in Vick’s dogfighting case.


CBS adds that, according to Vick’s attorney, #7 wasn’t present at the nightclub when the bullets started flying. Plus, Vick and his brother Marcus apparently hadn’t even invited the victim, who had “crashed the party” and insulted its hosts.

Worst punishment in the history of party fouls?

The NFL is still investigating the incident. But it appears that the maligned QB is again swimming in hot water after his reinstatement from NFL commish Roger Goodell.

Is this simply a case of Vick being snake-bit, or ought we incite the classic dictate of “fool me once … ” ?

Unfortunately for Vick, I’d guess Goodell suffers from a busted “Give-a-Damn.” When he decided to reinstate Vick last July, Goodell also made explicit certain unbreakable conditions — such as, don’t f@^& with me or the League.

“Whether you succeed is entirely in your hands,” Goodell wrote in the reinstatement letter. “Needless to say, your margin for error is extremely limited.”

The decision was unpopular at the time and surely receive more scrutiny as more details emerge and media attention intensifies.

Whether Vick’s fault or not, ol’ Rog may not like the spotlight shining on his League … and exile the former Atlanta messiah and his shadow of controversy. The actual answer to the question may not matter in the end.

Jun. 22 2010 — 6:53 pm | 37 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Milton Bradley: Batty Bait for All-Star Fishes?

Milton Bradley at the 2008 Major League Baseba...

Million-dollar smile. Impeccable sense of style. Unshakable penchant for absolutely decimating a clubhouse. What's not to like, potential suitors? Oh, right ... Image via Wikipedia

From today’s Chicago Sun-Times:

Don’t blame the Cubs if they look around the Puget Sound area for some more booty as they arrive in Seattle to face the Mariners barely six months after pulling off what looks like the half-season trade of the century in baseball — getting probable All-Star pitcher Carlos Silva (8-2) and a sizable bag of cash from the M’s for malcontent outfielder Milton Bradley (.215 and two weeks off in May to get his head examined).

That’s actually the second time a Bradley trade has produced a gem. In 2005, the Los Angeles Dodgers landed OF Andre Ethier from the Oakland Athletics. At the time, Ethier was a relatively unknown minor leaguer years away from starring at Chavez Ravine … and offering some all-star dining advice.

This season, the 2009 Silver Slugger was threatening to take home the triple crownleading the National League in batting average (.392), home runs (11) and RBI (38) — before breaking his pinkie on May 14. Still, the right fielder is projected to bat .318, hit 33 homers and collect 120 RBI this season. Ethier will surely figure in All-Star Games to come — much like the Cubs’ Silva, apparently.

If I’m Seattle’s GM, I’m jumping at any offer for Bradley in hopes of an all-league return. If proposals are not forthcoming (as one must expect), I’m desperately suggesting that Bradley’s difficulties are distant memories and accepting literally anything. Shit, I bet Seattle could persuade the Sandlot kids to deal Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez for Bradley, season tickets and a prospect to be named later.

Granted, this plan isn’t certain. Of five Bradley deals, only two have netted Milton’s former employer a doozy. Yet two-out-of five still makes a success rate of .400 — or nearly double poor Milton’s current batting average.

Jun. 14 2010 — 10:49 pm | 320 views | 0 recommendations | 3 comments

Ron Artest: Straight Outta Queensbridge, Straight Outta the Starting Line-Up (Hopefully)

We all know where Los Angeles guard Ron Artest hails from; now, this Laker fan wishes he could control where the Hennessy connoisseur is headed.

Namely, right beside coach Phil Jackson’s space-age captain’s chair, that homeless guy with the mustache, and whichever L.A. skank sits courtside for Game 6:

Smack-dab on the Purple-and-Gold bench.

With a season in hindsight, the Artest-Trevor Ariza swap at small forward smells like a well-intentioned failure. What youth and athleticism that Ariza possesses was replaced by the Tru Warier’s (yup, that’s the “correct” spelling) mystifying shot selection and general lack of sanity.

Nominally, Artest is out there to defend the opposition’s best weapon. However, Boston guard Paul Pierce — a perimeter player whose size and quickness ought to agree with Artest’s physique and skill-set — has been anything been shut down. Pierce paced Boston in scoring in both Games 4 & 5 — not coincidentally, both losses for the Lakers. In Game 5, Pierce shot 12-21 from the floor en route to 27 points with zero turnovers; in Game 4, he went 7-12 and attempted seven free throws for 19 points.

Yet Artest’s offense has been even more offensive (zing!). For the series, he is shooting a paltry 30% from the field and 47% from the charity stripe, averaging a shade under eight points per his 35 minutes of play. Damn, when did L.A. sign Ice Cube?

continue »

Jun. 12 2010 — 11:50 pm | 368 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Most Sincere Apologies, USC football: It’s OUR BAD

University of Southern California seal

University of Skirting Culpability

“As I read the decision by the NCAA … I read between the lines and there was nothing but a lot of envy. They wish they all were Trojans.”

via Mike Garrett doesn’t back down – latimes.com

Facing some of the hardest reprisals in years — including a two-year bowl ban, four years of probation, 14 vacated football games and 30 football scholarships — one would assume that the University of Southern California would express some, you know, contrition.

Yet you’d be only partly correct.

Prior to last season, the men’s basketball team acted proactively by self-imposing penalties — a ban from postseason play, forfeiture of wins from 2007-08 and elimination of two scholarships and 20 recruiting days — and admitting guilt before the NCAA intervened.

Said coach Kevin O’Neill, “We’re moving ahead in a positive manner. I really admire how our players handled the situation this last year.”

But as suggested by the above complaint bitchfest refusal to admit wrong comment from USC athletic director Mike Garrett, not every Trojan is mature enough to accept their medicine.

USC senior vice president Todd Dickey, while acknowledging the infractions, complained that “the penalties imposed are too severe.”

USC President Steven B. Sample called several sanctions “excessive,” but at least admitted “perfect we will never be.” Um, duh?

But at least those exceed this: Garrett, according to the aforementioned Times piece, “felt invigorated by this stuff” and actually opined, “With the penalty we got today I know we’re bigger than life.”

What arrogance. What audacity. What a poor example: Hey kids, when The Man catches you, just deny everything while counter-intuitively praising yourself!

The NCAA report, while spelling out the penalties, noted that “the general campus environment surrounding the violations troubled the committee.”

With leaders such as Garrett, who supposedly work to develop the bodies and minds of their student-athletes, it’s no wonder investigators are worried.

Jun. 10 2010 — 1:19 pm | 330 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

World Cup Warning: Beware Misleading Coverage

Nelson Mandela.

Mandela > U.S. -vs- England. Sorry, ESPN.

Unless you live in an Amish community  — which, if affirmative, kudos to reading this blog — the media blitz has probably informed you that the world’s premier single-sport event kicks off tomorrow.

But in the States, this World Cup will be many folks’ first extended exposure to futbol that doesn’t feature seven-year-old pigtailed girls, over-caffeinated/midlife-crisis afflicted coaches, and (alas!) a hearty reservoir of Capri-Sun.

For those virgins, listen up: ESPN/ABC, the primary U.S. home of English-language World Cup telecasts, is spreading some drivel that simply ain’t true. Here’s correction to two fallacies I’ve witnessed in just the last 24 hours:

Nope, Brazil Won’t Be Playing the Prettiest Brand of Football

Sorry, ESPN, but that tired cliche of Brazilian (soccer) beauty  is dead. This year’s side is built on organization, power and superior defense.

Hell, they left the aged but flashy Ronaldhino back home. Does that sound like a team concerned with style points?

Nope, U.S. -vs- England is NOT the “Most Anticipated Match”

I laughed out loud when ESPN/ABC basketball announcer Mike Breen repeatedly advertised (certainly according to an ESPN-approved script) that Saturday’s group match would be “the most anticipated.” That’s without any qualifiers, like ‘here in America’ or ‘for those still bitter about Benedict Arnold.’ And I’ve heard the sentiment expressed elsewhere on the empire’s media (but not, unfortunately, on linkable online video).

Maybe for U.S. soccer, and most English fans, but not-so-much for everyone else. England is the eighth best soccer country in the world according to FIFA’s rankings, while the Yanks are 14th. Not bad, but we Yanks are a bit on the scrappy/overachieving (read: sorta boring) side. We have a decent goaltender and some talented attacking midfielders, but our forwards lack the flair of elite strikers.

Elsewhere in the group stages, we have #1 Brazil -vs- #3 Portugal (another post-colonial rivalry) on June 25; #6 Germany -vs- #15 Serbia on June 18; uber-combustible (from a soccer sense — see Maradona, Diego ) #7 Argentina -vs- uber-combustible (from a literal sense — see meltdown, economic) #13 Greece; and any match involving the ultimate wild card, uber-secretive North Korea.  Plus, Nelson Mandela figures to swing by the opening match tomorrow.

If you’re from Sweden, which of these matches would you rather see?

– — –

The danger, people, is looking stupid to the rest of the world. As soccer figures to rise in domestic popularity, let’s make sure we become indoctrinated the right way. And ensure some way to burn all those damn vuvuzelas.

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    A native of Tinseltown, I migrated to the Windy City in 2006 with an eye on an undergraduate education and a yearnin' for the American Dream. My first impression was the city's suffocating pathos, its sense that no matter what happened Chicagoland would inevitably lose again. And Grossman was our goat to scape. One part tragic hero, two parts Aeschylian protagonist: A genuine 21st century Oedipus (Rex). I miss my mancrush.

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