Manziel Went To Vegas, So What?

Will Selva’s latest post about Hispanic Athletes.

So this is how it’s going to go, huh? Wait, I’m answering my own question. That would be a resounding YES. Yes, this is how it’s going to be with Johnny Manziel whose every move, frivolous or not, is getting the ultimate Tebow treatment. Did I mention that we’re barely into OTA’s? You may have heard he went to Vegas over Memorial Day weekend. Imagine that. A 21 year-old who wants to go to Sin City. Ah, but it’s not just any 21 year-old. It’s Johnny Football who’s living in his own sphere which doubles as a fish bowl.

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Johnny Manziel recently took a trip to Las Vegas.

 

Maybe Manziel was on to something when he was asked about being drafted by the Cowboys, “I don’t know if the world could have handled that, honestly.” He’s absolutely 100% spot-on. If he was in Dallas or New York, we would’ve been absorbed in an armageddon scenario. All city municipalities would be shut down. Meteors would crash into the Earth. Computers would malfunction. As is, he’s the Browns quarterback and that’s causing almost as much chaos. Almost. Who cares if he went to Vegas? Really. There’s reports he even sat in the middle seat on a Southwest Airlines flight.

You see, he’s slumming it like the rest of us. Of all the people, he’s put it into perspective by saying he hasn’t done anything yet to even create a buzz. Right again, Johnny! If and when his off-field antics become a distraction, then and only then, should we process his choice in pool parties he attends, but until we reach that point, let him, as he says, “live life to the fullest.” Browns head coach Mike Pettine says Manziel is studying the playbook. That’s all you can ask for right now. For what it’s worth, he took reps with both the first and second teams. Last week, he worked exclusively with the third team, so he’s making strides on the field. Let’s ease up on the Tebow-like fascination and put this in perspective. At least Manziel is.

(Youtube)

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Klinsmann’s Risky Move

Will Selva’s latest post about Hispanic Athletes.

Calling it the toughest decision in his career, U.S. men’s manager Jurgen Klinsmann nearly tipped the earth off it’s axis by leaving beloved star Landon Donovan off the final World Cup squad of 23. Klinsmann’s move took, for lack of a better word, stones to make.

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It was highly unpopular among die-hard fans and a head scratcher among the fringe ones. After all, we’re talking about the U.S. men’s national team’s all-time leading scorer, but Klinsmann didn’t just wake-up and make this decision based on one week of World Cup training camp. No, it had been one that was germinating for awhile, ever since Donovan took a sabbatical during CONCACAF World Cup qualifying when a roster spot was anything but solidified. Klinsmann never got over what he perceived as Donovan’s lack of committment and fitness.

In short, the two men simply did not mesh. The painful reality is that at 32, Donovan is not the same player he once was, lacking the burst of speed that was his trademark. Consider this: He hasn’t scored a goal in any professional match since October 6th 2013. With the Donovan omission, there’s now a total of 5 players who have World Cup experience on this roster, while the rest are newbies entering the Group of Death.

However, there is talent with attacking options at Klinsmann’s disposal. Still, a player of Donovan’s ilk would’ve provided a nice spark off the bench. That’s the risky part of this. Klinsmann may have made this move and possibly others with an eye toward 2018, but let’s remember that the German may not even be around then. As the realization of a World Cup without Donovan sets in, take a moment to remember perhaps the greatest memory we have of him. The stoppage time goal against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup, a sequence that for a glorious time, stopped the planet from spinning on its axis.

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California Chrome Riding Into History

Will Selva’s latest blog post.

Since Affirmed won the Triple Crown 36 years ago, we’ve witnessed exactly a dozen horses snag the first two legs only to see the pursuit of the sport’s most elusive prize evaporate over the Belmont’s punishing one and a half mile stretch.

Let’s put this in a greater historical perspective. Only 11 horses have won the Triple Crown since 1919. 11! The most obvious reason for this protracted drought may have to do with the fact that these horses must run three grueling races in five weeks when they normally compete in one race a month.

There’s hope that California Chrome will reverse the same fate that befell others before him like Smarty Jones and Big Brown. Physical ailments forced I’ll Have Another to withdraw from the Belmont in 2012. California Chrome is the first horse to win the Preakness from the Number 3 position in 21 years, deftly navigating through the field at every turn. The horse’s trainer, Art Sherman, lamented the fact that racing in 14 days is pushing the envelope. Sherman says it’s all about the recovery, which typically takes about eleven days. California Chrome seems to have the speed to pull off what, up to this point, has been the unthinkable. It would be nice to finally see the penultimate achievement realized in the sport of kings.

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Warriors Take Leap of Faith With Kerr

Will Selva’s latest blog post.

As a longtime observer of Warriors basketball and even covering it for a short period of time, my initial reaction about the Steve Kerr hiring by the Warriors was ‘meh.’ Don’t get me wrong now, Golden State was able to land the top name candidate out there, one that equally captivated Phil Jackson, who’s running things in Gotham, so he must be good, right? Listen, the Warriors in years past would never, ever be able to woo a high-profile head coaching candidate. It shows just how far the Warriors have come when a coach spurns the Knicks.

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The Warriors take on a new coach.

Kerr has the championship pedigree as a player, has strong ties to the team brain-trust, experienced with personnel decisions as a former GM himself, but we have no idea how he will be as a coach. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. Zilch. The same was said about Jackson when he was hired, but he eventually learned to motivate the team and instilled the need to play tough on defense. The players bought into it. His short-comings came out with his in-game strategy. Stephen Curry needed an offensive scheme that truly utilizes his talents more. Perhaps Kerr will provide that to him. From all the All-Stars being shipped off over the years from Golden State to the long playoff droughts, Warriors fans have endured a lot with an unwavering loyalty to this franchise.

It’s nice to have an ownership group declaring the goal to be the NBA Finals or bust, but on the other hand, expectations need to be somewhat tempered and realistic here. The Warriors have more or less really burst onto the scene as a force only over the last 2 years. It’s not like the Celtics with a long tradition of winning titles. Golden State is building something meaningful, but now they want it built at warp-speed with everyone living inside. We’ll never know if Mark Jackson would’ve been the answer. Golden State is now a pressure-cooker situation. Yeah, I never thought I would write that last sentence either, but that’s the new reality Kerr is walking into. Let’s hope, for his sake, he realizes what he’s walking into.

(Youtube)

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Michael Sam Still Faces Obstacles in NFL

Will Selva’s latest post about Hispanic Athletes.

The Dolphins fining safety Don Jones and excusing him from team activities for comments about Michael Sam on Twitter is a jolting reminder that the former Missouri defensive end enters a culture with certain archaic corners of it largely not accepting of him or his sexuality. Jones has since apologized for his response to Sam kissing his boyfriend after getting drafted. It obviously was jarring for many people like Jones, who were not ready for the public display of affection on national TV between two men. How do you explain this to your kids? Someone on Twitter nailed it perfectly and it was re-tweeted many times over. “You explain Michael Sam as a pass rushing specialist who plays on passing downs and tries to sack the QB.”

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Michael Sam has faced enormous obstacles so far in the NFL.

He’s a football player folks. Look beyond his sexuality. It all makes his journey to get to this point all the more admirable considering what potentially lies ahead of him. Something tells me that insensitive tweets will likely be the tamer part of it. Wait until he gets to other stadiums, where the vitriol at times, can be toxic. However, he’s shown that he possesses the right attitude, downplaying the attention and reminding the world that he’s.. wait for it.. a football player! As well as he should.

He says this will only fuel him to be a better player and as it turns out, the Rams were the absolute right match for him. He’s nearby where he once starred in college, will be with a no-nonsense coach in Jeff Fisher and is part of a defense as a situational pass rusher. A very good defense we should add. He couldn’t have asked for a more ideal situation, although you have to wonder, now that we’re a few days removed from the draft, just how high he would have gone had he not announced he was gay. Roto World had him listed in the top 90 or so prospects before his announcement, but fell to 140 after it. You can blame it on his poor combine performance, his small stature at 6 foot 2 or his limited ability in coverage. All salable points that may prove to be stumbling blocks to a long and prosperous career. We’ll never know, but we know this. He’ll attack the quarterback just the way he’s attacked this whole thing.

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Being Witness to Johnny Cleveland

Will Selva’s latest post about Hispanic Athletes.

One of the enduring images from the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft was the normally confident Johnny Manziel tugging at his collar, nervously sipping what seemed like an endless supply of bottled waters, as Commissioner Roger Goodell announced everybody’s name but his. The intrigue his agonizing wait created goes to show that the league’s OTHER yearly spectacle is better than any reality program on TV because well, it’s real. You simply can’t manufacture this kind of suspense as Manziel became the star of his own Draft Day movie.

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Once the Jaguars selected UCF QB Blake Bortles, it looked like a forgone conclusion that Manziel would land in Cleveland.. the first time around. Instead, the Browns took Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert. A perplexing move at the time that baffled nearly every draftnik. They owned the 26th pick, but then moved up to 22nd. At that point, you had the feeling they wouldn’t pass on him again.

The Twitterverse nearly shut down after he heard his name finally called. His arrival creates a buzz around Cleveland not seen since LeBron James was picked by the Cavaliers. Whether he can make everyone witnesses like LeBron did, remains to be seen. What we do know is that Manziel makes the Browns truly relevant again. Their PRESEASON games will be a must-watch. How good will he be? Finding out will be the fun part. He will be extremely motivated to prove every team that passed on him wrong. During the broadcast, you could just see the giant chip on his shoulder grow. Kyle Shanahan and his version of the West Coast offense should be a good fit for Manziel. It’s just a matter of if his 5 foot 11, 207 pound frame can take crushing blows and how it will alter his style of play. At least, we’ll be closely watching just like we did on draft night.

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