Yesterday, San Diego Charger safety Eric Weedle was fined $10.000 by the team for staying on the field during halftime and not coming into the locker room, which is team policy.
The 31-year-old Weedle was in the wrong. At the very least, he should have informed the team he was staying on the field. As a result of his actions, he missed a team meeting.
Okay, there's something I'm leaving out of the tale here, which you might have figured out at this point.
The reason that Eric Weedle stayed on the field, you see, was because he wanted to watch his young daughter who was dancing during the the halftime show. And yes, the Chargers fined him $10,000 for that.
Again, it was against team policy, and he was wrong. But...well, seriously guys. Not only was the team leading 23-0, so it wasn't likely that anything terribly important was being discussed in the locker room, but...well, okay, y'know, the obvious: it was his young daughter. Even though it was "against policy," and therefore some sort of penalty was due, surely there should be a codicil in there amidst Team Policy which reads, "If a player heretofore fails to return to the aforesaid locker room at half-time and also does not henceforth inform team management because his child is performing on the field, the penalty ipso facto will be reduced from $10,000 to enough money to buy pizza for all his teammates and the equipment managers."
Here's how reporter Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune wrote about it, in part --
"Weddle did not tell team officials beforehand that he was staying on the field. He should have done that. But he missed a seven-minute halftime and a much shorter address by defensive coordinator John Pagano during the intermission in a game in which the Chargers had a 23-0 lead. The team did not have to penalize him for what it termed “conduct detrimental to the team.”
"Detrimental? How about completely alienating a player who spends as much time at the facility as anyone and has started 93 of the past 95 games through myriad injuries and taught younger players on and off the field and been like a coach during games. In addition to making plays that others screw up, this is one of the great family men and role models in the game.
"Between 2011 and ‘14, Weddle played more than 98 percent of the Chargers’ defensive snaps and almost half (49percent) of their special teams snaps. No other player in the NFL played even 75 percent of his team’s defensive snaps and 49 percent of the kick team snaps in that span."
Oh, it should also be mentioned that Eric Weedle is the team captain.
So, clearly through all his actions on the field as a player -- and off, as a human bean -- this is a person who doesn't even remotely hold the respect of of his teammates... A most highly detrimental character and action, indeed.
The NFL has had a lot of off-the-field scandals in recent years, with murders, shootings, physicals assaults and spousal abuse. So, you'd think the Eric Weedle "transgressions" of staying on the field to watch his daughter are the ones that the league would actually love to, well, you know, promote.
Weedle tends to be an outspoken character, which doesn't always play well with the highly-structured NFL. And since the end of last year, the team has been positioning itself to ending its longtime relationship with the player. Something that at this point seems a given. But still...it was his daughter performing at halftime. And they fined him $10,000.
I know that brain injuries are a major concern these days for the National Football League. But I didn't think it affected the front office.
I say this too often, but -- It's been much too long since I've had a bit of Jiminy Glick here. So, before the year gets away, let's rectify that, and here is Martin Short as his bizarre but wonderful would-be Hollywood insider interviewing Mel Brooks.
This is belated by a couple weeks, but when Pete Rose's application was again denied to have his lifetime ban from baseball overturned, I just wasn't up to writing about Pete Rose at the time.
I was quite taken by the moving plea that Rose made at a press conference about his little granddaughter wanting to see grandpa in baseball. While I’m sure that his sadness was heartfelt, my main thought was that you sort of wished he’d figured out that the responsibility was on him and his actions, not on baseball. And that the responsibility had been there for 26 years when he was banned for life, a lifetime ban which he signed an agreement to.
When baseball commissioner Rob Manfred denied the application, he issued a pointed explanation, but at the core of it was that Pete Rose had done nothing to show he had turned his life around and continued openly gambling in Las Vegas.
I had mixed feelings about the commissioner’s reasons for keeping the ban. On the one hand, I loved that he pointed out that Pete Rose has done nothing for decades to rehabilitate himself in order to overcome a LIFETIME ban. Not just the continued gambling, or that he'd denied it for 15 years even after signing the ban (only to finally acknowledge it 11 years ago when promoting a book -- though just that he bet when a manager, not as a player...only to have evidence turn up this year that, in fact, he lied and had also bet while a player), or that he had regularly gone to Cooperstown on Hall of Fame weekend to promote himself by intentionally spitting in the eye of baseball at this annual, hallowed event. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s the reason commissioner Manfred should have used. After all, even if Pete Rose had become an angel on earth, I think a perfectly proper reason to say the ban was being continued was because it was LIFETIME. And Pete Rose had agreed to it.
I watched with a certain bemusement how a few commentators thought it was an unfair reason, since Pete Rose was no longer in baseball, and “Everyone else has the right to gamble legally in Las Vegas, so why not Pete Rose?” Seriously, guys?? Really?? In fact, Pete Rose actually does have every right to gamble legally in Las Vegas to his heart’s content. And nothing the commissioner said or did alters that. But “everyone else” isn’t trying to get a lifetime ban for gambling overturned so that they can return to an involvement in professional baseball and get voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. If Pete Rose wants to keep gambling in Las Vegas, godspeed, go ahead. Bet to his heart’s content and even double-down as much as he wants. Triple-down, even. But if you want to convince organized baseball that they should throw out your ban for life which came about because of gambling, that’s a really poor way to go about it. If a restaurant says you can’t eat there if you’re wearing sandals, you are free to wear sandals every single moment of the day. But you’re not going to be allowed in the restaurant to eat. It’s not a hard concept.
Years ago, the great pitcher for the San Francisco Giants Juan Marichal got into an ugly incident on the field, swinging a baseball bat at catcher John Roseboro of the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was seen as likely the reason he didn't get elected into the Hall of Fame. But Marichal was openly regretful for the attack and for the next several decades became a model ambassador for baseball, and even became close friends with John Roseboro, even being invited by Roseboro's widow to speak at the catcher's funeral. And eventually, Marichal was elected into the Hall of Fame.
Years ago, too, Cubs pitcher Ferguson Jenkins was arrested on a cocaine charge, after his baseball career. It also was seen as a reason he didn't get elected to the Hall of Fame. And Jenkins, too, took personal responsibility, and became an admired ambassador for baseball. And not long ago, he also was finally elected to the Hall of Fame.
To be clear, these are different cases. Neither Marichal or Jenkins had a lifetime ban from baseball. But they had done something that tarnished their reputations and kept baseball from voting them into the Hall of Fame. They had every right to live their lives however they wanted, but they clearly had such love for baseball that they did everything possible admirably in an effort to be included in the baseball community. And both did finally get included. And if, indeed, one of the criteria that commissioner Manfred said was used for assessing Pete Rose's application for reinstatement was whether he turned his life around on the standards baseball required, then Pete Rose has had a quarter of a century to show his interest. And he's pretty much spit in baseball's face for that whole time, while asking them to overturn a lifetime ban -- that he agreed to.
I'm not completely convinced that Pete Rose should be re-admitted to baseball if only he stops gambling and becomes an ambassador to the sport. Maybe that's enough, maybe not. But if it is, then him not getting re-admitted falls entirely on Pete Rose. And if his granddaughter is sad to see that, then it's her grandpa's fault. And for him to try and put the onus on baseball itself, that's just one more example of what Pete Rose has been doing since 1989 -- actually before that, since he began betting on baseball while still an active players: spitting on the sport and denigrating it, all by himself.
This week's contestant is Cynthia Schwab from Joplin, Missouri..The tune was incredibly well-hidden, but then at one point the song became completely clear (at least to me). As for the composer style, I happily got it pretty quickly. So, as a happy holiday treat, I got both parts of the Puzzler. O joy.
As readers of these pages know, I often post rare videos and write about the wonderful Steve Goodman. (Thankfully, as time passes, more of the rare videos keep surfacing, including amazingly the video here of a concert he gave in 1976.) Just the other day, in fact, I had a recording here of his giddy, extemporaneous performance of "Winter Wonderland." And generally explain how difficult it is to get across how remarkable he was in concert.
I've told the story here in details about seeing him at the Universal Amphitheatre opening for Steve Martin and winning over 5,200 screaming Martin maniacs. Only last week, my friend Adam Belanoff posted this in reply on Facebook, confirming the tale and even exceeding it when he wrote --
"I saw Steve Goodman open for Steve Martin at the Nassau Coliseum in 1978 and much as I loved his music - and I did and do love it - I was perhaps most impressed by how he handled a crowd of 17, 686 screaming for the headliner. If he wrote nothing other than 'City Of New Orleans' he would be an immortal.."
This below doesn't alter how difficult it is to describe the experience of Steve Goodman in concert. It's just a recording, after all, and only audio. But it takes a leap in the right direction. It's the full audio of yet another, entire Steve Goodman hour-long concert done in Cincinnati in 1979. The radio station which I believe was sponsoring the event, WXRT, recorded it.
So sadly, Steve Goodman passed away only four years later of leukemia at the bizarrely too young age of just 36. But happily there are recordings like this one to pass along the joyousness he brought to performing.
Here is that complete show --
It was a quiet week. Pastor Liz delivers a sermon that helps the church's coat drive, the town's ice fishermen take to the lake before it's fully frozen with disastrous results, Carl Krebsbach uses an enormous sum of money to do a good deed, and Marilyn Tollerud visits her uncle Harry.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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