Clueless cowards

It’s reprehensibly stupid when sports reporters not only can’t stick to sports, but insist on publicly demonstrating both their complete ignorance of geopolitics as well as their intellectual cowardice.

Enough already with the politics. From John D.: “We get it. You’re liberal and you hate the POTUS. Just shut up already about it.”

I will spend some words from time to time calling it the way I see it.

I am a coward for not addressing China last week. From Jeff Cannon Sr.: “You’re a coward, Peter. A quiet coward. Thank the ghosts that your industry is dying an accelerated death … Avoiding the subject of China while taking another needless shot at the president cost you a loyal reader. Good day.”

You mean you don’t want me to stick to sports?

One overriding thought about the NBA-China-United States-LeBron-Morey story: If Daryl Morey expresses his opinion wishing good luck to Hong Kong for its freedom fight from China, and if China gets incredibly ticked off about it, that is understandable. China is not as free as the United States. So of course China will be angry. So what? The Chinese run their country their way. We run our country our way. Why should anyone in the United States—particularly someone who has benefited from the freedoms of the United States like LeBron James—kowtow to China? Our belief is that our citizens can speak freely, which is what Daryl Morey was doing. China should understand this is who we are. Who cares if China is offended? If the Chinese don’t accept that we have a right to criticize them, well, tough. And if it costs the NBA billions, such is life.

I get it: It’s not my money at stake. But it’s outrageous, honestly, that China would be outraged at us. If they want to prevent their citizens from speaking freely, that’s their business. We allow our citizens to express opinions, on everything. They should understand that.

Why should the Chinese understand that? Why should anyone understand that, especially when it is observably false? Peter King would disemploy, disavow, and forcibly silence anyone in his power who expressed an opinion of which he did not approve on race, sex, or sexual abnormalities. Why should he affect outrage that China should wield its economic power as it sees fit?

If Sports Illustrated had simply stuck to sports, it might not be circling the drain now.

No need to wonder

I think it is pretty clear the Chinese don’t intend to permit the game to take place barring a full and public kowtowing from the NBA Commissioner:

Despite nearly every coach, player and staff member apologizing on behalf of Morey, China is severing financial connections with the league and discontinuing scheduled broadcasts.

Ahead of a preseason game between the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers set to take place Thursday, multiple videos have surfaced of NBA memorabilia being purged from the public view in Shanghai.

The move has many wondering if the game will be canceled.

NBA China update from Shanghai:

4:30pm NBA press conference was cancelled.

NBA fan event tonight cancelled.

Video shows how logo of Chinese Smartphone maker Vivo – an NBA advertiser – was covered on an NBA promotional sign.

Lakers-Nets scheduled to play in Shangai Thursday.

The Chinese are absolutely within their rights. They are a sovereign nation and the NBA is blatantly lying through its teeth about “free speech”, which it does not respect, practice, or support in any way, shape, or form. The NBA has literally nothing to complain about in light of the way it treated a former team owner over nothing more than comments of which it did not approve.

On the plus side, we have now discovered the one force capable of forcing Mark Cuban to keep his mouth shut. And President Trump is right to observe that these bozos have no problem shooting their mouth of about him, but they’re terrified to even mention an entire country, much less criticize it.

  • Item: Silver refused to apologize and said the NBA doesn’t dictate what people can or can’t say.
  • Item: Philadelphia 76ers fans kicked out of game for carrying ‘Free Hong Kong’ signs.
  • Item: All of the NBA’s official Chinese partners have suspended ties with the league.

There is a lesson in this, people. You don’t have to let SJWs push you around.

A contest of wills

The NBA is about to learn that China doesn’t negotiate with lying foreign devils:

The National Basketball Association won’t gag its personnel or apologise over a team executive’s tweet that ignited a firestorm in China, commissioner Adam Silver insisted Tuesday, standing firm despite a growing backlash that imperils the league’s lucrative Chinese following.

The tweet last Friday by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey supporting pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong has infuriated Chinese fans and led to broadcasters and sponsors severing ties with the NBA.

But Silver, speaking at a press conference in Japan where the Rockets are playing exhibition games this week, said the world’s top basketball league would continue to “support freedom of expression and certainly freedom of expression of the NBA community.”

“The NBA will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues. We simply could not operate that way,” Silver said in a statement before the press conference.

It won’t surprise me if the Chinese government waits for the commissioner to travel to China before cancelling both exhibition games at the last minute. Especially in light of how Silver’s claim that the NBA supports freedom of expression is absolutely and entirely false. The NBA doesn’t even hesitate to put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say when it comes to “racism”, “sexism”, “anti-semitism”, and “hate”.

“We believe that any comments that challenge national sovereignty and social stability are not within the scope of freedom of speech,” China Central Television (CCTV) said on its social media account.

Just call it “hate speech”. Then the NBA will have no choice but to ban it.

Il sinistro magico

So, my unexpectedly extended run as a starter has finally come to an end. The veterans were in desperate need of reinforcements this season, and we received them in the form of a new keeper, defender, midfielder, and attacker. This has come in handy, as we’ve given up ZERO goals in three of our first four games.

However, this week’s game was against the three-time league champions and we had an almost-full squad with only our starting sweeper being out, so I found myself on the bench at the start for the first time this year. I couldn’t complain, as the new attacker is much better than me, so is the new midfielder, and the other midfielder is for all intents and purposes my equal, only he didn’t give up a penalty to cost us two points last week.

(The call was 100 percent incorrect and the penalty was not awardable, but regardless, it was still on me.)

So, I didn’t disagree with the captain’s call at all. In fact, his starting lineup was precisely what I would have set if I was in charge. Not only that, but when I went in halfway through the first half at left midfield, I found myself entirely outmatched by the Red team’s extremely aggressive right mid. I only gave up the ball twice, but one turnover was an exceptionally stupid pass in a situation when I found myself surrounded by four opposing players, and I think I only managed to get up across midfield to help the attack once.

I did do a decent job of helping out the defense, but it wasn’t exactly a surprise to find myself back on the bench after halftime. Somehow, we were ahead 1-0 thanks to a goal by the captain that was completely against the run of play, but of the 10 field positions, we might have had the advantage of two of them. Fortunately, they kept trying to attack up the middle, where our best player, the defensive midfielder, was more than equal to their number 10 and repeatedly stifled their attacks.

They started to flag a little in the second half, and we actually managed a decent attack or three, but neither team looked particularly like scoring until the referee gave our defensive midfielder a yellow card. In our veteran’s league, that’s a 10-minute penalty benching, but a substitution is allowed. I was called in for him and sent over to the left, while the left mid I replaced moved into the now-empty defensive slot.

Somewhat to the surprise of both teams, they weren’t able to exploit our best player’s absence, and once, after picking up a blocked shot, I managed to beat not one, not two, but three of their players on a long 60-meter run up the left side. I actually got the ball past a fourth and last defender, the sweeper, as well, but he took me down hard to give us a free kick and give me three sprained fingers on my right hand which I can still feel as I type this.

We didn’t get anything out of that, but a few minutes later, we got another free kick on the right. Our number 10 tried to put it on the heads of our two tallest players at the top center of the box, but he hit it a little too hard. As I saw it coming, I thought the second of the two defenders to my right would manage to deflect the ball, but it just skimmed the top of his head, so I ran onto it, brought it perfectly to the ground with my left foot, took three steps, then hit it with my left foot without even looking at the goal.

When I looked up, I saw the ball had cleared the keeper, but it looked like it might be going a little wide right. Fortunately, the right post got in the way and the ball banked cleanly in. 2-0! The captain was the first to congratulate me, then pointed towards the bench as the 10 penalty minutes were up and our defensive midfielder was eligible to come back in. “Supersub!” he shouted and we exchanged a high ten as he came onto the field. My work was done.

“If we need any more goals, let me know. I’ll be right here,” I told the rest of the guys on the bench. They laughed and promptly christened my left foot “the magic left”. You see, I have an exceptionally feeble shot by their standards, and that’s with my RIGHT foot, so the idea that I could possibly score against anyone, let alone the champions, with my left struck them as intrinsically hysterical. Despite the other team’s best efforts, our defense stoned them again and again, and we held on for a 2-0 victory. It was a really good win.

The lesson is this: even when you are playing poorly, even when you’re overmatched, even when it’s clearly not your night, keep trying. Keep fighting. You never know what will happen. Replay that free kick 100 times and I might touch the ball five times, and maybe I score again once or twice at most. More likely, the defender heads the ball away, my first touch is too hard, or I miss the ball entirely. But you never know, so don’t give up. Of the 30 players on both teams who played that night, I was the second-oldest and almost certainly the worst player on the field. But you never know….

NFL open thread

Skol Vikings!

UPDATE: Kirk Cousins is the Charlie Brown of quarterbacks. It’s FIRST DOWN. The RBs are running right over the Green Bay defense, which appears to be almost gassed. Your first two reads are covered. THROW THE BALL AWAY!  Whatever you do, DO NOT TRY TO BE THE HERO.

Naturally, he decides this is the perfect moment to throw an off-balance, under-pressure pass to the corner of the end zone, where Diggs is double-covered. Interception.

This is why the NFL doesn’t have guaranteed contracts.