Pro Bowl finances, a crazy Clemens circus
Friday - February 15, 2008
Last Sunday’s Pro Bowl featured everything the NFL hoped for when it moved its all-star showcase to Honolulu in 1980: beautiful weather, a full stadium, happy players and an entertaining game.
Which makes it all the more puzzling why NFL commissioner Roger Goodell held an impromptu press conference the Wednesday before kickoff, hinting that the game may be headed elsewhere. He did throw a crumb to Hawaii; possibly Honolulu could be a part of a rotation in the future.
Considering that a Players Association poll showed 80 percent of the league’s players are in favor of the game remaining in Hawaii, you have to think there is a negotiating ploy here. The NFL already receives $4.5 million of Hawaii’s public money to hold the game here. That is roughly 70 percent of the money that is dedicated to promote sports tourism. And with a recent report indicating that the Pro Bowl brings in some $30 million to the economy, Hawaii does not recoup the investment in tax dollars. There is value in the promotion of Hawaii smack in the middle of the Mainland winter, but the dollar amount is difficult to quantify.
The NFL is making some noise about holding the Pro Bowl the week preceding the Super Bowl at the same site. The problem with that is players on the Super Bowl teams will not be able to play. That is not a happy prospect for the Players Association.
The other option is to sell the game to the highest bidder. Good for the league, not so hot for the players and their families. I can just see the NFL promoting the game in say, Los Angeles. The Coliseum frequently hosted Pro Bowls prior to 1980. “Come to the City of Angels where you and your loved ones can sit in traffic, breathe smog and be treated to a panorama of urban decay.” Or maybe take the game to Minneapolis. “Bring your family for an all-expenses-paid trip to a famous winter wonderland. Don’t miss the exciting ice fishing tournament where you can model your Christmas presents. Prizes for the snuggiest outfits!”
Goodell pointed out that 17 players failed to come this year. If he thinks that number is high now, just move the game to Orlando. Wait till he sees the number of nagging injuries that appear then.
Let’s hope the powers that be avoid the Stockholm syndrome. That’s when hostages begin to identify with their captors. It’s time to make the case to the NFL that we’ve enjoyed providing an excellent partnership, and we’ll continue to provide a wonderful experience for the players and their families, but the buck stops here. We love the NFL, Roger, but enough is enough.
The George Mitchell report appears to be so much more than baseball commish Bud Selig bargained for. It has become the Roger and Brian show.
One of these men is lying, but which one?
If it’s Roger Clemens, his strategy makes little sense. An admission and an apology would have disappointed but hardly shocked, and the lasting damage would have been minimal. But superstar athletes have long held themselves above the rules of society, and many believe that Clemens is arrogant enough to believe he can sell Congress a bill of goods. If he’s caught lying, it will mean a permanently shattered reputation and likely jail time.
And Brian McNamee is one strange gent. Not only does he claim also to have injected Mrs. Clemens with HGH, but he has saved used syringes and bloody gauze pads for six years.
I don’t know if he’s lying, but I have the perfect match for him. No need to go to E-Harmony.com. Just call Monica Lewinsky, another person with a weird proclivity to hang onto things better cleaned or disposed of. The entire circus can’t help baseball one little bit.
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