Kevin Figgers is a 5-year radio veteran who began his career as a technical producer for AM570 KLAC in 2007 while he attended California State University, Los Angeles. Kevin graduated from CSULA in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.
Kevin is currently a producer and technical producer for AM 570 KLAC and Fox Sports Radio. He has produced numerous local and national broadcasts including the Pac 10 Insider Show and the Petros and Money Show, and was also a co-producer of the Lakers radio broadcasts from 2007-2009.
Its a tradition unlike any other...no, not the Masters, i’m talking about my annual column on the wussification of American sports.
The product that I see on the football field today is a borderline embarrassing compared to the sport that I initially fell in love with as a kid. I could hardly contain myself the other night while watching Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning be nudged (LITERALLY NUDGED) in the back by Colts defensive tackle Cory Redding, only to have Redding called for a 15 yard roughing the passer penalty. One of the biggest disgraces that i’ve ever seen in my years watching the sport of football. Football was built on the basis of toughness and physical play. Now you can’t even breathe on a quarterback or a receiver without being penalized.
But the core values of football are not only being challenged at the professional level, it’s also trickling down to the youth level - only in a slightly different way. While in the professional ranks the emphasis has been placed on player safety (an admirable cause obviously), at the youth level, the issue is overzealous administrators instituting rules that are aimed at sparing kids on losing teams of any embarrassment.
A story last month spotlighted the North California Youth League who has decided to levy a $200 fine and one game suspension against any coach whose team wins a game by 35 or more points. Yea, you read right, fined and suspended!
Now, i’m all for mercy rules. Some teams are so over-matched that it would be ridiculous to subject them to a embarrassing beating. So if the case may be that a team were up by 35 points going into the 4th quarter, I would have no issue with the league mandating that the game end. The problem is the NCYL doesn’t do that. What it DOES do, is force the game to be played from start to finish and actually tells the team that is leading by 35+ points to continue to play and NOT try to score. There’s nothing illogical about that is it?
The deputy commissioner of the NCYL told a Nor Cal TV station that this new rule teaches the kids “sportsmanship.” Correct me if im wrong but, since when has it been “bad sportsmanship” to score points as an offense? Bad sportsmanship is busting the Cuzzin Terio dance (ooohh, kill em!) in the endzone when you're up by 50 points. Bad sportsmanship is throwing the ball in the face of the corner you just burned for a TD. Bad sportsmanship is taunting the sideline of the opponent who's ass you're kicking. Continuing to do what you’re on the field to do – make plays – is not under any circumstance, “bad sportsmanship.” (Unless the team that is up big is still throwing the ball of course).
How many times has it been said that injuries happen when you're playing at half speed moreso than when you’re hussling? Wouldn’t encouraging kids to not try to score points be an exact contradiction of what is normally hammered into their heads? - “Finish! Finish! Until the final whistle! Don’t quit!” Now all of a sudden we're supposed to say “Hussle! Hussle! Play through the end of the whistle...unless we're blowing them out. If we are, then just fall down and take a knee at the 5 yard line because we don’t want to show up the opponent.”
I realize that kids don’t want to be embarrassed, but as I mentioned in my article a few years ago, how else will they learn? They have to realize that there are going to be struggles in life. Some people are going to be more talented than you, or just flat out better than you. How you react to this type of adversity is what’s important.
The issue also continues into the high school ranks where Texas superpower, Aledo High defeated Fort Western Hills 91-0. As if the beating on the scoreboard wasn't bad enough, a parent from Western Hills High actually filed a bullying complaint against Aledo. Bullying!? So what was Aledo supposed to do? Take a knee for 2 quarters straight? I can't speak for the players on Fort Western Hills, but for me, watching a team not try to score would be a bigger shot to my ego than a team thats running me over like a battering ram. At least i'm still competing. By taking a knee, i'm being forced to believe that i'm a charity case that deserves to have it “taken easy on me.” Sorry, but if I have to play full speed on the field and lose 2,014 to nothing, then so be it. I'll at least walk away knowing that I gave it my all from the opening kick until the end of the 4th quarter. Even the head coach for Fort Western Hills said that he had no issue whatsoever with the final score and even disagreed with the bullying claim.
The solution is simple, if it is determined by coaches, officials, or by league rules that a game is out of hand and should be ended early because of the scoring margin then I have no problem with a mercy rule. BUT, if you aren't going to have a mercy rule, then let the kids play with no inhibitions. If adversity truly does build character, then what better adversity to endure than getting your ass handed to you on the football field? By far the most lasting and impactful postgame speeches that I experienced were the ones I heard after LOSING games (some of them blowouts). As great as Michael Jordan was, how much of an impact did his struggles against Detroit early in his career shape him as a player? Think being labeled a big game choke artist motivated John Elway at the end of his career at all? Its not in the losing or in the being “embarrassed” that the significance lies, its in how you react and grow from these outcomes. If we continue to protect these kids from adversity on the football field, what we may actually be doing is damaging their growth off of it.
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Although the Los Angeles Dodgers didnt make much of a splash at the MLB trading deadline (the non-waiver deadline that is), they did make a potential impact move by bringing in the eccentric, crazy, whacky, zany, (insert any number of adjectives) but always entertaining former All-Star reliever Brian Wilson. The former San Francisco Giants closer hasn't pitched in a game since last April after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his elbow, and is the PERFECT pickup for the Dodgers right now.
Even though the Dodgers are finding ways to win games and the bullpen has played better of late, it has still been a position of concern for much of the season. As a sign of their desperation, the Dodgers went as far as to trade for the fallen Cubs closer, Carlos Marmol and his 6.53 ERA. Ronald Belisario is dominant one night and a punching bag the next, Brandon League elicits groans from the Dodger Stadium crowd every time his number is called. Outside of J.P. Howell and Kenley Jansen, the Dodger bullpen has been less than spectacular for most of this season.
With 171 career saves and a world series under his belt, Brian Wilson brings an experienced, veteran presence to a bullpen that is severely lacking in that category (Only Howell and Belisario have any significant playoff experience). How big of an impact Wilson will make remains to be seen, after all, we're talking about a guy who hasn't pitched in over a year. But its the classic low risk-high reward move. If Wilson doesnt perform well, it will only cost the Dodgers $1 million for less than half of a season. But if Wilson does check out and becomes a big time contributor to the bullpen, that will make their push for a division title (and possibly even greater things) a lot easier. If nothing else, his presence instantly makes that clubhouse a lot more entertaining.
***UPDATE*** The Clippers have pulled off a three team trade with the Suns & Bucks. The Clippers will send Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler to Phoenix, the Bucks receive two 2nd round picks, while the Clippers receive JJ Reddick and Jared Dudley.
With the off-season officially here, its time to take a look at our local teams and which directions each of them could (or possibly even SHOULD) go, going into the 2014 season. Both the Clippers and Lakers had high expectations headed into this past season, only to be sent home packing in the first round. Both teams have holes to fill, both teams have a big name player who is on the market as a free agent.
Lets start with the Clippers who for the better part of a week were mired in on again/off-again rumors of their acquisition of Boston Celtics head coach, Doc Rivers. The deal was finalized this past week and now the Clippers officially have the best coach in franchise history (not including Larry Brown of course). And for the first time ever, dare I say the Clippers have the best coach (Rivers) AND the best player (Chris Paul) in Los Angeles.
With the acquisition of Rivers and CP3 officially back in the fold the Clippers will be on par with the best teams in the Western Conference again this season. But despite the Clippers' wealth of talent, they still managed to take a step back in the post-season this year, losing in the first round of the playoffs to a team that they defeated in the same stanza last year in the Memphis Grizzlies. So what does a team that is already deep and already talented need? The change in philosophy the Doc Rivers brings will definitely help.
Rivers brings a tough, defensive minded style of play that the Clippers haven't had since the days of Mike Dunleavy (sooo long ago I know). Drafting Reggie Bullock out of North Carolina gives them another wing player who can stretch the floor, make hussle plays and play quality perimeter defense that was greatly lacking at times last season. In other words...so long Matt Barnes.
The good news is that even after signing Paul to a max contract, the Clippers will still have enough cap room to use the full mid-level exception that they can give any free agent (thats a 5 year contract worth about $30 million). Here's a short list of players who the Clippers could pursue (a few in which they have already have begun pursuit) to either give that full-midlevel or at least a portion of it to:
Pros: Would provide the Clippers with another backcourt scoring option
Cons: Volume shooter;Extremely similar to Jamal Crawford
Pros: Tough, defensive minded guard who played for Doc Rivers in Boston and would set the tone for the Clippers defense on the perimeter
Cons: Limited as an offensive player and does not stretch the floor as a shooter – something the Clippers DESPERATELY need.
Pros: Deadly 3 point shooter and excellent overall scorer when given enough minutes/opportunities
Cons: Plays little, if any, defense
Pros: Streaky scorer who can get hot at a moments notice
Cons: Umm, how much time do you have?
Pros: Former Clipper who is a better than average spot up shooter and can create off the dribble
Cons: Shot selection and on-court focus can be questionable at times
Pros: Comes back home in a reserve role; still an effective mid-range shooter, hussle player and shot blocker
Cons: Have a hard time believing Donald Sterling would be able to forgive him for spurning the Clippers in the 11th hour during free agency a few years ago
Pros: Plays hard every night and never gets out-hussled; a Doc Rivers type of player
Cons: A bit undersized for the power forward position and limited offensively
Pros: Solid mid-range shooter and post defender despite his size
Cons: Few, if any, considering what his role on the Clippers would be
The free agency period is still in its infancy and it'll be interesting to see what direction the Clippers take. Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin, Jamal Crawford, Caron Butler and Eric Bledsoe are the only players currently on the roster. And Butler and Bledsoe have been on the trading block all off-season.
As for the OTHER team that plays in Staples Center...I'll talk about their free agency and off-season scenarios in another post next week. I'll promise you, itll be much shorter than this one. Who knows? By then, their most important off-season move may have already been made [Dwight Howard].
Its Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Lebrons legacy vs. Popovich/Duncan's undefeated finals record...And FnA will be here with postgame reaction. Be sure to check back here at am570radio.com for our postgame thoughts and observations. We will also get postgame analysis from Hoopsworld.com columnist Eric Pincus, and update you on the Clippers-Celtics trade controversey.
Rapper/Producer Kanye West is one of the most controversial, yet most popular figures in pop culture. Whether he's screaming uncontrollably on stage or walking head first into a street sign, Yeezy cant seem to keep his name out of the headlines (I guess knocking up a chick with the last name Kardashian will do that to you too).
With the release of his 6th studio album just weeks away, what better way to help in its promotion then a video game dedicated to Ye?
"Kanye Quest 3030" is a 2D video game created by Phenix that takes the Chicago rapper into the year 3030 where he encounters a world inhabited by clones of rappers who are being controlled by a "god-like dictator."
The game is currently in the alpha stage of its development. No official release date has been announced. West is in no way affiliated with the game or its company which begs the question of whether itll ever actually be released. Here's the official trailer for the game:
Too bad Microsoft. I was really looking forward to that whole XBOX ONE thing. But youve clearly already lost the war with this one. Theres always next generation.