SL Discussion Thread for Week of May 9

This is your thread to talk about … well, whatever you want.

– I don’t know if it’s because we’re bored due to the lack of actual football news to discuss, or because people really, really care about athletes and their views on global politics, but Rashard Mendenhall’s Twitter comments were still a hot topic of discussion in Pittsburgh through the weekend. One of the most accurate assessments (in my mind) that I heard basically came down to this: Mendenhall is free to share his opinions, you’re free to be offended by them and you’re also free to ignore them. And Champion is free to drop his endorsement deal. So why are we still talking about it?

The discussion on Sunday (and perhaps this was happening earlier in the week, when I was still ignoring it) started to revolve around the old argument of athletes as role models and how we “relate” to them. On one hand, I can see why people look at these guys in that light, while I can also see why it’s dangerous and, more often than that not, not a good idea.

To make it simple (and perhaps overly simple) I pretty much ask three things from athletes: 1) Stay out of jail, just because it’s the decent thing to do to be a functioning member of society. 2) Play hard when you’re on the field/ice/court. 3) Entertain me.

That’s about it.

Sure, I’ve always had favorite players (and hey, I still do) but I’ve never really tried to relate myself to them or use them as “role models” with one possible exception: The only athlete that I’ve ever looked at and thought to myself, “Hey, I can really relate to that guy” is Johan Franzen of the Detroit Red Wings. Though I like to think I’ve improved in this area, I am a terrible public speaker and am painfully shy around new people. If I’m at a party with 50 people I wait for one of them to initiate a conversation with me, and even then I tend to be on the uncomfortable side for a while. It’s an anxiety thing. Last year an article came out in a Swedish magazine about Franzen where he talks about how he had a similar anxiety problem, how it almost ended his career before it began, and how he was afraid to score goals as a rookie because he hated the idea of having to speak publicly about it after the game. That’s something about an athlete I can relate to, and that I can look at and say, “Hey, that guy can teach me something.” But that’s about it.

– Here’s a cool look at the draft day process from Kevin Colbert. []

– And here’s what Dewayne Washington is up to these days. My favorite part is how he admits that he’s not only a Steelers fan, but that he and his son lock themselves in their theatre room to watch games. []

– For some more current football news, the Pittsburgh Power improved to 4-4 on Saturday night with a 51-41 win against the defending champion Spokane Shock. Go Power. [Pittsburgh Power]

– And for your random YouTube: Here’s a 35-yard touchdown run from Tim Worley…

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  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    Very interesting read from Colbert. I like the approach of doing the mock as if we had each pick, as well as the ABCD buckets. Parcells and others describe spending more time in the week before the draft calling other teams about their interest in trading up / down and the price for doing so. Maybe we do as much as other teams and Colbert only described making calls on draft day, or maybe we try to wheel and deal less than others.

    And Adam, I thought it showed openness and courage to describe how you relate to Franzen.

    • Randy Steele

      Mr. Gretz, many years ago I reached an impasse in my career and personal life that I wasn’t going to get past unless I learned public speaking skills and became more comfortable working in crowds and talking with strangers.

      My advice? Take a course at Dale Carnegie. Although the quality of the instruction varies, sometimes greatly, if you get hooked up with the right instructor and coaches, they will change your life.

  • David

    Well, the NFL’s doing one thing right: Nessler and Mayock are now calling NFLN games.

  • Canadian Steeler

    Pretty interesting story here (via Doug Farrar’s Shutdown Corner).

    I’ve never been a big fan of the owners position and Goodell’s definitely rubbed me the wrong with a lot of stuff during his tenure, but stories like this do make it seem as if he’s not so much a bad guy as the owners are just spoiled and he’s forced to represent their best interests.

  • ryan

    I blast Goodell as much as the next guy but I give him credit for facing the torch-and-pitchfork crowd. I’m sure he’s mastered the art of the non-answer like any skilled politician but at least he’ll allow some fans to hear it straight from his mouth instead of through a league spokesman or a press release.

    As my lawyerin’ buddy pointed out to me when Judge Nelson enjoined the lockout a few weeks back, Goodell’s in a difficult position. A bunch of old, rich owners aren’t used to (or interested in) taking advice from people, especially when they feel like it’s costing them a lot of dough.


    Adam, in case you have not read it, take a look to The Introvert Advantage, it is a very interesting book that deals with the way that people that is not on exrovert side of the character spectrum, can deal with a society that is not designed to their strenghts. Very good reading and highly recomended.

  • GlennW

    I’m just not sure that Roger Goodell is intestinally built for the dirty, arm-twisting, political business of consensus-building among ownership. He comes off as more of a PR guy, even a real fan of the sport. Tagliabue didn’t– rather it sometimes seemed as if Tags could not care less about the game itself– but he focused on business and completed labor deals, however allegedly flawed. This left Tagliabue unpopular with a vocal minority of owners at minimum, but that’s part of the job as far as I’m concerned.

    On the PR side such as with this correspondence with the Colts’ blogger, maybe Goodell is customer-sensitive and sincere, but so what? It changes nothing; his battle is with the players, not us. One thing for sure though, I am not impressed with such things as editorials to the Wall Street Journal foretelling the fall of Western civilzation if the players win their court battle.

  • Gretz

    Alan Faneca retires.

    • ryan

      The Steelers should sign him to play guard next year in case the whole Willie Colon thing falls through.

    • ROb D

      Great career. But boy..were the Steelers right on the money when they let him go. They are rarely wrong when it comes to making that decision on a third contract.

  • ecks
  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    The Rooneys were ranked by ESPN as the top owners in the NFL:

  • John S.

    Sad news for Pirates fans:

    This guy was always one of the most entertaining parts of the game. He will be missed.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    Here’s the best idea for a column that Rick Reilly has ever had: His grade on Juan seem low, though.

    • Anonymous

      The concept is good. The totaling up of the positional differences is very flawed. And he’s waaaay too generous to running backs. up of the positional differences is very flawed. And he’s waaaay too generous to running backs.

      • Cols714

         I stopped reading Reilly because he’d become way too much like Gregg Easterbrook, writing misleading columns.

        I read this one though, and while fun, not exactly useful. Plus he underrates the hell out of Timmons while overrated Posluszy and of course Jarod Mayo.

        • ryan

          I actually liked the idea, and I absolutely abhor what Reilly has become. In fact, I’m going to tweak it for our purposes here and make it a little more rigorous. For some reason, I love playing NFL Draft Time Machine. 

          • Anonymous

            If you play that game, this may be more useful than raw positional rank:

        • GlennW

          You don’t go to Rick Reilly for analysis, such as the subject of this column.  You may not go to Reilly for anything, but it’s certainly not for football analysis.  I’m surprised he even took the time to attempt such an endeavor.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    Two interesting things from Eddie B: Hines and Aaron Smith are the last two Donahoue draftees; this really is Colbert’s team. And Faneca made more Pro Bowls as a Steeler than all other Steelers OGs and OTs combined over the last 46 years.