Adrian Peterson Slavery Comment Obscures Important Message

There are some phrases and words that refer to such sensitive situations in American society they cannot be uttered without repercussion. Mention Hitler, Pearl Harbor, Vietnam, abortion, or The Holocaust as a basis of comparison for an unrelated subject, and you risk some serious negative backlash. It doesn’t even matter what you’re actually saying either — drop one of those phrases outside the realm of history class, and you could be in for a public beatdown. It actually reminds me of the scene from Meet the Parents where Greg says “it’s not like I have a bomb in the suitcase” while he was on an airplane. It didn’t matter that he said he didn’t have one, because once he mentioned the word “bomb,” everyone freaked out.

The same exact thing happened with Adrian Peterson.

In an interview Friday just after the owners locked out the NFL players, Doug Farrar spoke with the Vikings star running back who made the mistake of evoking one of these comparisons, and the valid points he was making is now obscured by the unfortunate reference. Here’s what he said in its entirety to provide you proper contest:

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Tom Zbikowski Boxing Again in 2 Weeks

Baltimore Ravens safety Tom Zbikowski improved to 2-0 in his professional boxing career with a first-round win over Richard Bryant Saturday. If the first-round knockout didn’t convince you that Bryant was a bum, maybe the news that Zbikowski will be fighting again in two weeks should.

Zbikowski announced on both his twitter and facebook account that he has another fight set up for March 26th in Atlantic City. The card will be on HBO and feature the following four fights:

Yuriorkis Gamboa (19-0) vs. Jorge Solis (40-2-2)
Miguel Garcia (24-0) vs. Matt Remillard (23-0)
Jorge Diaz (15-0) vs. Teon Kennedy (16-0-1)
Glen Tapia (8-0) vs. Eberto Medina (5-5)

Zbikowski will fit in on the undercard in some capacity, and I’m sure it will be another cupcake opponent. Like I said, Bob Arum is going to try and ride the Tommy train as long as he can until the NFL figures out its labor situation. He’s moving quickly.

NFLPA Using Threat of Future Decertification to Keep Agents in Check

We’ve talked about what the lockout and decertification processes mean for the NFL and NFLPA, but one aspect of the sport that hasn’t been discussed much is the agents. Initially, when reports emerged suggesting the players union would decertify, there was concern that without regulation from the Players Association, agents could run wild.

People speculated that agents could theoretically steal each other’s clients, recruit on college campuses, and do things they normally wouldn’t be allowed to based on the rules outlined by the NFLPA. There was also concern that players wouldn’t have to pay their agents since they were no longer governed the NFLPA. Well fear not LBS Nuts, things won’t be as bad as you were worried they might be.

Larry Brown Sports spoke with agent JR Rickert who has numerous NFL, NBA, and MLB clients for answers to these questions. Rickert said the agents were advised about many of these issues during a seminar in Indianapolis. Most notably, Rickert explained that the NFLPA essentially is holding a threat over the agents to caution them against breaking the rules.

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There Will Be No ‘Calvin Johnson Rule’, Call to Remain the Same

When Calvin Johnson caught a game-winning touchdown against the Bears in Week 1 this past season, it looked as though the Lions were going to accomplish something extremely rare by Detroit standards: starting off a season on a high note.  Then the score was taken away, sending Lions fans into an uproar and filling the football world with talk of a “Calvin Johnson Rule.”

According to Newsday, via Pro Football Talk, there will be no such rule in 2011.  NFL competition committee member John Mara said that after examining the play it was determined that any change to the rule would be too tough to officiate.  He explained that having to maintain control of the ball all the way to the ground makes the rule “easier to officiate.”

(Click here to see the Johnson play from Week 1)

While Mara’s reasoning may be sound, the decision is wrong.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there’s a reason we have human beings officiating games and not robots.  Referees need to make judgments in order to throw flags for penalties like pass interference and holding, so why can’t we extend that same responsibility to them for catches like the one Johnson made?  When it’s that obvious that he was flipping the ball up in the air after completely controlling it, why can’t the league allow officials to use discretion?

Johnson made a tremendous catch that may have even impressed Al Davis.  When everyone can blatantly see that a player made a catch and a technicality in the way the rules are written prevents a team from winning a game, you have a problem.  One came to light early last season when the Lions were screwed, and the NFL should have made a rule adjustment.

Agent Explains Reasons Matt Ware Kept Diabetes Diagnosis Private

Earlier this month, Arizona Cardinals safety Matt Ware received the 33rd annual Ed Block Courage Award. Ware received the award not just for the courage it took to overcome multiple knee injuries in the 2008 and 2009 seasons, but also because he overcame his March 2009 diabetes diagnosis.

Learning that Ware had diabetes was a surprise for most media members and fans because unlike other players (Jay Cutler for instance), there was no public knowledge of Ware’s diagnosis. His agent, JR Rickert, explained to LBS it was kept that way for two reasons.

Rickert said that Ware wanted to keep the news private because he was not comfortable letting the public know about a personal medical issue. Secondly, as Rickert explained “there are some conditions that guys have that essentially have little to no impact on the field, so you don’t want to create a question where there really isn’t a question.”

Rickert cited ADD as a similar condition that could be negatively perceived by teams, but is really insignificant. “As long as they’re dealing with it and overcoming it, I’m not sure you want to share that with a club if they don’t know it already because that is a guy’s right to deal with it anyway he sees fit,” he reasoned.

Ware signed a two-year deal with the Cardinals in 2008, re-signed for one year in 2010, and is now a free agent.

What Decertification Means for the Players Union and NFL

On Friday evening, the NFLPA made the decision to decertify in a move that would block the lockout by the owners. I keep getting asked the question by readers and friends what decertification means, so I figured it was worth a post to explain things.

The NFL players initially bonded together and formed a union in an act they hoped would help generate more favorable rights. For instance, by forming a union, they could approach the owners with certain demands and the owners would have to negotiate or lose their players (and risk going with “replacement players” who are inferior in talent). The sides formed an agreement known as the Collective Bargaining Agreement that details how the league will be run. The CBA contains points such as when players can become free agents, whether teams will pay players who get injured, and how long the season is.

I’ve never read the NFL CBA, but several years ago I read the MLB CBA and let me tell you, every possible detail you could imagine is covered. We’re talking everything from meal money on road trips to the way arbitration hearings will go is spelled out.

Anyway, the NFL owners realized that the league was getting extremely popular and generating ridiculous amounts of revenue, and they wanted more of it for themselves. Two years ago they opted out of the CBA, just like A-Rod opted out of his contract with the Yankees to negotiate a more favorable deal.

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Drew Brees Feels Badly for Fans

The NFLPA has decided to decertify and sue the NFL for violation of anti-trust laws. LBS is firmly on the side of the players in this negotiation, feeling that the pot should be split 50-50 and that the players deserve lifetime health care for their injuries. It’s pretty simple: the players surrender their health every time they take the field and they should have many more rights than they do now. The owners owe the players much more decency than they currently provide them, and it’s sad to see their greediness result in the lockout that has been prevented by decertification.

It’s also sad that fans have to endure the labor battle between the two sides. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees recognizes this and expressed that sentiment on his twitter account Friday.

In various tweets, the former Super Bowl MVP wrote “To our fans – I give you my word that we as players are doing everything we can to negotiate with the NFL towards a fair deal … The NFL brought this fight to us – they want $1 billion back, we just want financial information to back up that request … I am very sorry that you as fans have to endure this. Football is more than just a game for all of us. We will keep fighting…always …Not once have the players asked for more money during this negotiation. That is a FACT. I don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for us”

Well guess what Drew, you’re right in not expecting people to feel sorry for the players, but you have someone here who sees beyond the owners and does feel badly for the players. And with compassionate sentiments such as this one, you make it much easier for us to root for the players to have success in gaining more rights and equality in their fight with the owners.