Too Good To Check

August 1, 2013

Oh, please let this be a real photo…

UConn Ladies

…And apparently it’s legit! I give the UConn Lady Huskies  huge chutzpah credit for this. I predict they’ll go far in life.


Michael Vick’s Stats Can’t Hide The Monster Within

November 17, 2010

You won’t find any fawning Pro Sports fans here at Grand Rants, so if that’s what floats your boat, you might as well enter the URL for ESPN  and be done with it.


For a long time, it has been the opinion of all three writers here at Grand Rants that Pro Sports, like  the entertainment world in general, is emblematic of all that is wrong with American Society: Greed, avarice, and the absolute willingness to rush headlong towards the lowest common denominator in society and cling to it as if it were an enviable aspiration.  We Americans have come to embrace hype over substance and are willing to look the other way at any and all behavior, no matter how abhorrent, as long as the person is good-looking or famous. Nothing illustrates this so well as the media and public response to celebrities and professional athletes.

Ask yourself: Would Charlie Sheen be the subject of such adulation (from both sexes for, sadly, many of the same reasons) if he weren’t a star of TV/Movies?

Would Michael Vick have been welcomed back to his old job after serving time for his involvement in illegal dog fighting if he was a computer operator instead of an NFL quarterback? What message does it send, not just to the other NFL players, but to children who look up to professional athletes as their inspiration? This is a tragic case of opportunity lost (or as Barack Obama would call it, “A Teachable Moment”) and, as a society, we’re too damned stupid to even understand what, exactly, we’re missing.

Case in point: The sports world is buzzing over the performance of Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Michael Vick logged on Monday Night Football’s matchup against the Washington Redskins. In that game Vick passed for 333 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 80 yards and another two touchdowns. On the first play of the game, Vick threw an 88-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson.


Read the rest of this entry »

Breaking: Super Bowl Ring Raffle

June 8, 2010


Drews Brees announced on Fox News today that the New Orleans Saints will raffle off one of their Super Bowl Rings to benefit the victims of the Gulf Coast oil spill. Read more here.

The actual raffle site isn’t up yet, but keep an eye on:

UPDATE: Here is the correct URL for the raffle which is now up and in operation:

Alan Speakman

Dog-Killer Signs with NFL’s Eagles

August 14, 2009

UPDATE: HotAir is taking a poll. Go vote.

Gerry was right. The Philadelphia Eagles lost sight of their moral compass enough to sign Michael Vick yesterday. Even though the Eagles were one of the 26 teams who said they had no interest in Vick, they have clearly given up any pretension to being anything other than desperate.

The NFL Fanhouse site suggests that while this may not have been the worst choice the Eagles could make, Vick is still a very iffy proposition:

This is an experiment. Philadelphia, which could use a third quarterback option after backup Kevin Kolb‘s MRI revealed a sprained MCL in his left knee, is kicking the tires on a used luxury car. And the Eagles’ mechanics better look over this carefully before they make a final decision.

It remains to be seen how the Eagles fans feel about this. I would hope that not a single ticket sells for any Eagles game, home or away.

Professional football is a great game, but there are thugs a-plenty in the NFL already. The last thing it needs is the poster child for such vile behavior.


Welcome Back to the NFL, Michael Vick

August 12, 2009

Michael Vicks

Michael Vick

 This is a joke, right? No… Sorry, I just wish it were.

As unbelievable as it might seem, Michael Vick, the former NFL quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons will soon be back playing in the NFL.  You know, the same Michael Vick who was convicted of sponsoring a dog-fighting league and of the brutal torture and death of dogs that didn’t win their fights. Yeah, him. It seems to be only a matter of which team will outbid others for his services.

Take a moment, America, to think about what this says about us as a society: It doesn’t matter how vile you are or how horrible a crime you commit. If you can connect with your tight end on third down, “Hey, bud, it’s all good!”

I’m sure many of you are dog lovers. I will purposely avoid rubbing your faces in the details of what horrors and atrocities Vick plied on these poor dogs whose one shot at life was spent in abject terror and horror at the hands of an absolute sadist who saw their suffering as a way of making money while establishing his “thug credentials.”

Note: Take heart, there is a happy ending for the vast majority of dogs recovered from Vicks. More on that in a minute.

If you want, you can read about Vick’s meteoric rise from the streets of “Bad Newz” (Newport News, VA) to the NFL in a Sports Illustrated article. I have absolutely no interest in doing so.

Incredibly, after years of funding and participating in the brutalizing, torturing, and killing of dogs, all Vick got was a slap on the wrist; he was sentenced to 23 months in Federal Prison, but served only 18 months. There’s a reason why they call it the criminal justice system, folks. He spent less time in prison than the amount of time he spent torturing and killing who knows how many dogs? In a perfect world, Vick would be too old to do anything but drool on a football by the time he would be released.

Even more incredible: Now that he is out of prison, Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the NFL (which apparently stands for National Felon’s League), has reinstated Vick, which means Vick is eligible to look for a team that has no conscience or sense of moral outrage. And according to the NY Times, there are several teams talking to him now, including the Green Bay Packers.  Welcome to professional sports, USA style. 18 months later, all Vick has really lost (assuming an NFL team is sick enough to welcome him back), is a year and a half at the money trough. Possibly before this week is out, he’ll be back to making more money in one season than many of us will make in our lifetime.

Next Sunday, 60 Minutes will pander to Vick, giving him his big “comeback” spot where he will get to recite talking points provided by his lawyer to show us how remorseful he is… (Say, does anyone remember when 60 Minutes had some journalistic integrity? Oh wait… Me neither).

I was discussing the inevitable Vick come-back the other day with a friend who had studied psychology. He mentioned, “The kind of brutal cruelty displayed by Vick is the kind that can only be attributed to a true sadist. And you don’t rehabilitate a sadist. It’s only a matter of time before something else happens.”

Oh, goody.

He suggested that somewhere out there in the NFL there is a 340-pound tackle who also happens to be a dog lover. When given the opportunity to sack Vicks for a loss, said tackle may just “accidentally” land all 340 pounds on Vick’s knee, bending it in a direction knees normally don’t bend. With his career gone (along with the millions of dollars in income), imagine what such a sadist might do to make ends meet.

You know, if only Ted Bundy had been a little quicker off the line of scrimmage…

Vick-tims of a sadist

Vick-tims of a sadist

I’ve saved the best for last, however:  Click here for a heart-warming story about the rescue of Vick’s dogs, the unprecedented progress they’ve made, and the things some of them are doing today. One of them is now actually a therapy dog working with the elderly.

Fortunately, pit bulls can be rehabilitated with love and treatment over time.  As for Vick, don’t bet the farm on it.

I understand he’s waiting for an invite to the White House for a beer. If an injury does end his career, maybe President Obama will hire Vick to train his ACORN thugs how to keep order at Town Meetings.


Gerry Ashley

What’s RIGHT With America: The Williams Sisters

July 6, 2009

Look at any of the largely “politically oriented” blogs (including Grant Rants) and you will frequently find us pointing out the shortcomings of government, often focusing on particular politicians… and deservedly so.  And, as the mainstream media learned from such bastions of journalism as the National Enquirer, nothing sells like a sensational, negative headline.

But, we’re not the National Enquirer, nor do we ever aspire to be. And Sweet Baby James (Taylor) hasn’t stayed a fixture in our lives for some 40 years by singing the blues all the time.  Therefore, you will note, from time to time, we choose to focus on something positive or humorous to break up the monotony.

It dawned on me over this 4th of July week-end, that there’s a lot of things we should be discussing here that shows our world in a very positive light. Such a light shone for us all on Saturday in Wimbledon, England, when two shining examples of American excellence took to the courts to face off against each other for the woman’s Wimbledon title. The fact that the top two players in the finals are sisters makes it that much more impressive. I am referring, of course, to the lovely Venus and Serena Williams.

But as our late pal Billy Mays (rest in peace, old friend) would have said, “But wait! There’s more!”  This was the fourth time these two sisters have faced off against each other at Wimbledon, a feat unmatched in the history of this hallowed competition.  Venus and Serena Williams are sterling examples of the kind of work ethic that leads to character-building, respect amongst your peers, and success earned in the traditional manner. To paraphrase an old Smith-Barney ad that featured actor John Houseman:

“Venus and Serena have earned their numerous championships the old-fashioned way… they’ve earned it!”

A victorious Serena Williams (L) stands alongside her sister Venus after the two battled for the Woman's Championship Crown at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships on July 4th, 2009.

A victorious Serena Williams (L) stands alongside her sister Venus after the two battled for the Woman's Championship Crown at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships on July 4th, 2009.

Serena and Venus Williams by the numbers:

28 year-old Serena has won 28 Singles titles and 10 Doubles titles.
29 year-old Venus  has won 36 Singles titles and    9 Doubles titles.

In spite of their professional rivalry, they are close friends. Both home schooled by their mother, they received their high-school diplomas in 1999. Both studied Fashion Design at the Art Institute of Florida.

Venus Williams, in addition to setting the Tennis World on fire, also the CEO of  her own interior design firm, V-Starr Interiors. And  Serena has launched her own designs for Puma and Nike, in addition to her own line of designer clothing called Aneres

Indeed, as I watched these two symbols of excellence battling it out on the tennis court, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of elation for them and their parents. For this is truly an example of America’s best, not once, but twice within the same family. And it is the realization of the American dream.

The Williams sisters… a shining example of what’s RIGHT with America.

Gerry Ashley

Take THAT, Yankees!

April 27, 2009

Jacoby Ellsbury steals home against the Yanks in last night’s game at Fenway. Now that’s entertainment!

UPDATE: Link fixed


LOL Sportz, A-Rod Edition

February 11, 2009




The Parable of the Golden Boy

February 9, 2009


Imagine if you will an athlete: gifted by God, the fates, or good genes with a strong physique, a good eye, and a unique understanding of his chosen game.

Picture his childhood, playing first with his friends, then moving up to Pop Warner. Becoming a little “star” in his own small firmament, the child is praised for his skills, and is frequently encouraged to practice, grow stronger, get better at his game; and when he does so, he is rewarded.

In middle school, with good coaches and parental encouragement, the boy’s talents start to bloom. By his second year in high school, he is already being scouted for college teams. His studies suffer, but his teachers and his coaches help him scrape by with “respectable” scores. By his senior year, he is the star of the town, adored, feted; but he knows that even better things lie ahead.

An athletic scholarship to a Big 10 college puts the young man at the top of the world as he knows it. He learns more about his game, tactics and strategy, including how to intimidate opposing teams, physically, as well as by more subtle means, perhaps by revealing embarrassing information about a key player or two. He seeks out other like-minded players, and learns from them.

He also learns to accept as his due the praise that is heaped on him. He now expects it, needs it. He also needs the accouterments of the heady life he is leading–a free college education; cars; money; gifts; the adoration of fans; girls who throw themselves at him. And the guidance of those he trusts: coaches, father figures. Life is very good, even if his grades aren’t.

Junior year comes, and with it, a significant trophy. The young man has achieved everything he has imagined; the world is aglow with adoration of him. The scouts and coaches court him. Could he turn pro? Of course he could. The man is a bit uncertain… he’s still young, and hasn’t even finished college yet; he somehow feels that he’s missing something, but he doesn’t know what. His mentors scoff and press. “No time like the present,” they say. “Carpe diem.” He is very easily persuaded.

And so the talented young man decides to turn pro after his junior year. His dream is fulfilled; he won. The thrill of being the number one draft pick of the year lasts throughout training and pre-season; the warm glow of being himself lasts until his first actual game. He suddenly and brutally discovers that much of the real world is not, in fact, swooning at his feet. The coaches and scouts are now out looking for the next best thing; his team members frequently snub him; and the man is bewildered. He’s in the big leagues now, and he is discovering that his life is not as wonderful as it should be. It’s much, much harder.

He wonders if his expectations were unrealistic, and if so, what he should do about it. Those trusted friends who remain scorn his uncertainty; is he not still the gifted one, the golden boy? At the top of his game and in the golden job? But he is slowly discovering that when you have lived in a world full of “Yes”, the word “No” can be difficult to understand. And if your enablers continue to insist that each “No” is meaningless, the insulation remains as strong as ever and your isolation from your peers continues to grow.

And so this golden man now sits sadly on his throne. He wonders if all his mentors and advisors were honest with him. He wonders if his “gift” is really all they told him it was. He thinks maybe it isn’t.

He realizes it’s going to be a very long four years.


Courage of Our (Super Bowl) Convictions

January 31, 2009

Or: Arrested Development

Tomorrow is arguably the premier sports event of the year. Super Bowl XLIII. Steelers vs. Cardinals. Security will be tight at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium. Sports fans will be subjected to metal detectors, x-ray machines, and bag inspections. And with nearly 60,000 excited and excitable fans ready to cheer their favorite team to victory, it’s probably good that security will not allow such items as weapons, knives, explosives, fireworks, tripods, frisbees, poles, and sticks in the stadium.

However, based on recent research, it’s not the fans that are likely to be the problem. Our professional sports teams, and in particular the NFL, are rife with rustlers, cut-throats, murderers, bounty-hunters, desperadoes, mugs, thugs, pugs, nitwits, half-wits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bush whackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass kickers, sh*t kickers, and Methodists!

Actually, that may be just a little over the top. But only just a little. It seems that our competitors this weekend have some  issues, shall we say, with obeying the law. Based on which team has the most arrests, it seems Pittsburgh will be a shoo-in to win. However, if you’re rooting for law and order, the Cardinal should be your guys. It breaks down like this:



Santonio Holmes, possession of marijuana , 10/08 J.J. Arrington, disorderly conduct,  06/08
James Harrison, slapped his girlfriend across the face and broke her cell phone,  03/08 Larry Fitzgerald, Assault, restraining order,  12/08
Jon Dekker, obstruction of justice, 01/09
Steely McBeam (mascot), arrested for DUI, 04/08
Deshea Townsend, assault (charges later dropped) 05/07
Cedric Wilson, assault, 03/08
Larry Zierlein (coach), emailed porn to employees, including league commissioner Roger Goodell, 05/07

This of course, is simply a small current sampling of the NFL, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Of necessity it excludes those who didn’t get caught, who bought their way out, who hushed up a scandal with money, or otherwise weaseled out of trouble. And it’s only one facet of professional sports. Imagine the scale of not just two pro football teams, not just the entire NFL, but also pro basketball, baseball, hockey, and soccer. If you do a little research, you’ll find it’s a veritable rogue’s gallery of miscreants.

So in the future, I suggest you pick your favorites based on which team has the most convictions. Michael Vick was unavailable for comment.