Some of you know me. Some of you don’t.
Those who’ve been frequently pestered through social media to peruse my musings probably know me from my years spent wallowing in the muck of SEC football. (By the way, hope y’all enjoy these new digs. Pretty spiffy, no?)
But for those regulars who’ve been checking out Gonzogeek.com when we were little more than a wordpress account and a dream, I am the forgotten individual. The man of mystery. The mute drummer in “Almost Famous.” The Matt Damon of the Jimmy Kimmel show, if you will.
So, for those of you who don’t live in Northeast Tennessee and/or Southwest Virginia or don’t share my admittedly geeky hobbies, you might be asking yourself… “Who is this John chap? He’s little more than an avatar and a brief—though exceedingly well-written—biography.” (I picture you, The Reader, in a den or library filled with leather-bound books while saying this. Perhaps while enjoying a snifter of brandy and some fine aged cheese. And wearing a monocle. Sound close? No? Oh well.)
Glad you ask.
Without further ado, as an introduction of sorts to my new online home, I humbly present a list of Four Important Things you should know about me when it comes to sports, writing and writing about sports.
I. In labor disputes in pro sports, I typically--and by typically, I mean always--side with the players.
I don't want to go all Warren Sapp on everybody, but it's hard for me not to empathize with the guys involved in the current NFL labor strife who are taking the potentially life-altering hits.
Understand this. NFL revenue is higher than it's ever been. Yet the league wants to lower the cap, cut player salaries and oh by the way it wants to add two games to the regular-season schedule.
Expecting more work out of people while paying them less money? Hey, Goodell! Is this a professional football league or a newspaper?
II. College athletes who directly generate revenue for their school deserve to be paid.
This is not to say that I believe all college athletes should be paid. That's ludicrous, and unrealistic.
There's a rather vocal line of thought
out there that it's criminal for the NCAA and its members to bring in billions of dollars in revenue when the athletes whose hard work and sacrifice produces that revenue don't see a dime. While I understand the spirit behind the notion, there's simply no way to make it work.
You can't simply pay football and men's basketball players. Do that, and a Title IX suit will be filed within nanoseconds. So, now you're going to pay every varsity athlete at every college? Most of the athletic departments in Division I already operate in the red, so that extra expense will be too much for some schools to shoulder. And that doesn't include the Division II and Division III scbools out there.
Where the system is truly broken, however, is with regard to players whose exploits directly generate revenue. Take the case of A.J. Green, for example, who was suspended four games by the NCAA last fall for selling a game-worn jersey for some extra money during spring break. Keep in mind that, at the time Green was suspended, multiple versions of the No. 8 jersey coincidentally worn by Green at the time were available on the University of Georgia's website. Green went pro, but the school currently is selling ELEVEN
different versions of his jersey.
So, here's my idea. For the star athletes out there, the LaMichael Jameses of the world, they'd receive a cut from any jersey sales by the schools. That money would go into a savings account and the athlete would get it once they'd concluded their college careers--or, better yet, once they got their degree.
III. Mixed martial arts will be the next "boom sport" in North America.
It could be argued that MMA is already on its way, given the still-strong pay-per-view buyrates and that it draws that coveted 18-34 demographic...
It's not a done deal. By no means.
Mixed martial arts is desperately lacking unified world champions in its various weight divisions. UFC also is at risk of over saturating its pay-per-view market.
Mixed martial arts might end up becoming the next major sport. Or, 10 years from now, we'll look back at it as a fad.
I'm thinking the former is much more likely.
IV. Relegation is one of the best things in sports.
Soccer might fall pretty low on the sporting echelon here in the United States, but in most of the rest of the world, it's not a sport. It's the sport.
One common bond in many of these professional leagues in other countries is the concept of relegation.
The basic premise? The lowest-finishing teams in the season standings get bumped down to a lower division. The team or teams that finish at the top of said lower division earn a promotion.
It's way too difficult to see such a system working in American. Major League Baseball relies on its minor-league system, with contracted affiliaites. The NFL and NBA have no feeder system to speak of... oh wait, aside from the free one supplied by the NCAA. And the cadrres of ownership in the respective sports are far too strong.
Still, imagine a system where the last-place team in the American and National Leagues got relegated to Triple-A--and the Pacific Coast and International League champions earned spots in the big leagues.
Such a structure also would prevent teams from playing out the string once they fell out of contention for postseason spots. Imagine an NFL game in the final week of the regular season with the Bengals and Raiders playing one another. Might be snooze-worthy, unless both those teams were playing to avoid getting relegated out of the league.
Instead we're treated to perennial basement-dwellers in every major pro sport. Oh, joy.
Check out John Moorehouse's thoughts on the sports world every Monday morning right here at GonzoGeek.