49ers

Recording dooms Saints' appeals

643514.jpg

Recording dooms Saints' appeals

Weve now read the Yahoo.com story and heard the audio on Gregg Williams speech before the Saints-49ers playoff game which is the smoking bazooka in BountyGate. Put simply, the Saints got off easy.That said, we need to remember that if this had worked, if the Saints had beaten San Francisco and then the New York Giants and New England Patriots, the National Football League would never have let any cats out of this particular bag.Oh, Williams would have been retired, in that wonderfully euphemistic way that HR departments have of greasing the disobedient. And the team would have been quietly fined. And nobody anywhere would have been the wiser.REWIND: Saints punished for bounty program
But Sean Payton would have skated again, because the league would never tolerate a two-time Super Bowl winner and supergenius being publicly rebuked for something they were trying to keep on the down-low.In short, the 49ers did the league a huge favor. Alex Smith is owed a huge solid, and heres hoping now that hes been given the back of the business hand in his latest contract that someone sees fit to take care of him.Those two late scores took out New Orleans, freeing Roger Goodell to muster enough owner support to drop a bag of hammers on Tom Benson and his perpetually defiant football staff. And if you think Paytons appeal wasnt damaged by this story, youre drunk way too early.And maybe thats why the story got out. A leak to a leak to a leak to Mike Silver of Yahoo, who is not one prone to cheerfully be used by the authorities, only helps the league and hurts Payton.Then again, Payton would have been appealing his sentence to the same cop who pulled him over, so he didnt have a lot of chance anyway. This might have just been the warning shot to shut him up preemptively because the league is willing to do that, too.RELATED: Payton, Saints appeal suspensions
And frankly, while this definitively finishes Gregg Williams, it also points out how the NFL handles employees who go fingers-up to the big man. Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and by extension owner Tom Benson essentially told the league office to screw itself on BountyGate by doing nothing to change their behavior.And that is the real crime that is being punished here. Just as USC got the works for crossing the NCAA, the Saints took theirs because the weight of 31 billionaires is far greater than the weightlifting power of one.Payton is being punished not so much for his arrogance but for his cavalier dismissal of authority (and it explains why Al Davis saw such good in him). He told the league to slag off, and the league reminded him of who runs the Department of Slag.Indeed, the meeting between him and Goodell would have been a short one.Commissioner, I present today my appeal for . . . "First, stop speaking. Second, let me ask you something, you little weasel. Who do you think youre screwing with? I pick guys like you out of my teeth when I floss. I should double the year you already got and dare you to take it to court. Cross me again, and youll be volunteering to run Pop Warner fundraisers in the Okjlahoma panhandle. Appeal denied. Get out. And apologize to my secretary for soiling the couch you sat in.And then hed sit back and wait to see if Payton can hire enough lawyers to fight the league. Which he cant. Another uneven fight won by the NFL.But thats how it works in the real big leagues. Payton fought the law and the law won. Williams is one of the sidekicks in"The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" who buys it in the gunfight, but Payton is definitely Liberty Valance.Who, by the way, also buys it in the movie.But for those of you who believe in tradition,. Never fear. The bounty system will never go away. Itll just become more surreptitious. It wont be advertised. Itll work just the way it always has, only on the down-low.And thats all the NFL really wanted here for the Saints to shut up about it. But Gregg Williams couldnt, and Sean Payton wouldnt, and Loomis wasnt going to buck his superiors by going to his other superior.But Alex Smith screwed them all. If there isnt some lifetime job in the league for him because of this, then the league really is filled with ingrates and brutes.Oh. I forgot. It is.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

Colin Kaepernick's mom responds to Trump's 'son of a b----' remark

kaepernick-parents-nevada-ap.jpg
AP

Colin Kaepernick's mom responds to Trump's 'son of a b----' remark

In front of a raucus crowd at a rally in Alabama on Friday night, President Trump had pointed words for NFL players that are kneeling and protesting during the National Anthem.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ’Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,” Trump said.

Colin Kaepernick, who kneeled before every 49ers game last season, has yet to respond to those comments. But his mom, Teresa, made her thoughts clear on Twitter Friday night.

"Guess that makes me a proud bitch!" Teresa said in response to a journalist tweeting an article with Trump's comments.

Roger Goodell, NFLPA angrily denounce Trump's 'divisive comments'

goodell-trump-ap.jpg
AP

Roger Goodell, NFLPA angrily denounce Trump's 'divisive comments'

SOMERSET, N.J. -- The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national anthem and that fans consider walking out in protest "when somebody disrespects our flag."

"Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players," the league commissioner, Roger Goodell, said in a statement.

DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, tweeted: "We will never back down. We no longer can afford to stick to sports."

Trump, during a political rally in Alabama on Friday night, also blamed a drop in NFL ratings on the nation's interest in "yours truly" as well as what he contended was a decline in violence in the game.

Smith said the union won't shy away from "protecting the constitutional rights of our players as citizens as well as their safety as men who compete in a game that exposes them to great risks."

Trump kept up his foray into the sports world on Saturday, when he responded to comments by Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, who has made it clear that he's not interested in a traditional White House trip for the NBA champions

"Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!" Trump tweeted while spending the weekend at his golf club in New Jersey.

It was not immediately clear whether Trump was rescinding the invitation for Curry or the entire team.

Several athletes, including a handful of NFL players, have refused to stand during "The Star-Spangled Banner" to protest of the treatment of blacks by police. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started the trend last year when he played for the San Francisco 49ers, hasn't been signed by an NFL team for this season.

Trump, who once owned the New Jersey Generals of the U.S. Football League, said those players are disrespecting the American flag and deserve to lose their jobs.

"That's a total disrespect of our heritage. That's a total disrespect of everything that we stand for," Trump said, encouraging owners to act.

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you'd say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He's fired," Trump said to loud applause.

Trump also predicted that any owner who followed the presidential encouragement would become "the most popular person in this country" - at least for a week.

The players' union said in a statement that "no man or woman should ever have to choose a job that forces them to surrender their rights. No worker nor any athlete, professional or not, should be forced to become less than human when it comes to protecting their basic health and safety."

The NFLPA said "the line that marks the balance between the rights of every citizen in our great country gets crossed when someone is told to just 'shut up and play.'"

On the issue of violence on the field, Trump said players are being thrown out for aggressive tackles, and it's "not the same game."

Over the past several seasons, the NFL and college football have increased penalties and enforcement for illegal hits to the head and for hitting defenseless players. A July report on 202 former football players found evidence of a debilitating brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them. The league has agreed to pay $1 billion to retired players who claimed it misled them about the concussion dangers of playing football.

During his campaign, Trump often expressed nostalgia for the "old days" - claiming, for example, that protesters at his rallies would have been carried out on stretchers back then. He recently suggested police officers should be rougher with criminals and shouldn't protect their heads when pushing them into squad cars.

It's also not the first time he's raised the kneeling issue. Earlier this year he took credit for the fact that Kaepernick hadn't been signed.

Television ratings for the NFL have been slipping since the beginning of the 2016 season. The league and observers have blamed a combination of factors, including competing coverage of last year's presidential election, more viewers dropping cable television, fans' discomfort with the reports of head trauma and the anthem protests.

Ratings have been down even more in the early 2017 season, though broadcasters and the league have blamed the hurricanes that hit Florida and Texas. Still, the NFL remains by far the most popular televised sport in the United States.

Trump said the anthem protest was the top reason NFL viewership had waned.

"You know what's hurting the game?" he asked. "When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they're playing our great national anthem," he said.

Trump encouraged his supporters to pick up and leave the stadium next time they spot a player failing to stand.

"I guarantee things will stop," he said.