Gutierrez: Pro Bowl postcard -- a football luau


Gutierrez: Pro Bowl postcard -- a football luau


KAPOLEI, Hawaii -- Aloha, boss,

It took all of about five minutes to realize the hunger Hawaii still has for the NFL, even after being abandoned by it last year. Walking through the Honolulu airport to pick up my luggage, I was inundated with signs welcoming the Pro Bowl back to Oahu.

Driving the rental car to my hotel, I noticed Pro Bowl banners plastered all over Waikiki Beach and adorning every other building on the main drag. Part of me expected to see a helmet atop the statue of surf legend Duke Kahanamoku.

Did I mention how eager Hawaii is to play host to the NFLs all-star game?

Football players are literally walking the streets here. Driving in, I swear I saw Jevon Kearse in a crosswalk. I wanted to yell, Freak! But Tim Lincecum might have popped out and started singing some Hall and Oates, ya dig?

Anywho, it was pretty cool waking up and seeing the sun creep up over Diamond Head, then seeing the Pro Bowlers practice on a high school football field in West Oahu, while school was still in session. Fans parked all over the roads shoulder and they could get no closer than 50 yards or so ... to the buses. Still, they yelled and screamed for autographs. No way could they even see the shorts-and-helmets practices or hear the banter, such as when Ray Lewis protested, as only he can, about the length of practice. As a member of the media, I was able to stand on the sideline. Ill be sure to send in some Flipvids. Cool stuff, methinks.

Tee time, Lewis yelled at Bill Belichick. Dont we have a tee time to get to?

Well, Coach Hoodie, who has seemingly cut the hoodies (as well as the sleeves) off his favorite garments, actually showed some personality.

Youre not going back to (John) Harbaugh and telling him were not working on special teams, Belichick said of the Baltimore coach. How long are special teams meetings with him?

OK, cue up the Beli-cheat should just secretly videotape the Ravens special teams practices jokes. And get a chuckle out of DeAngelo Hall accidentally kicking an NFL Films camera, which was on the ground. LOL at a piece of the camera, which costs thousands of dollars, flying off and Hall simply pointing at his own shin, as if it was all the cameras fault. Then there was poor Roman Harper, who took the practice field with his jersey on backwards.

Well, you know what happened after that. I went to the team hotel, the ridiculously posh Ihilani Resort and Spa, and caught up poolside with Nnamdi Asomugha, who seemed genuinely melancholy about his free agency lot with the Raiders.

I was able to score an invite to the Pro Bowl welcome party on the beach and took in the luau. Not quite the Brady Bunch ending scene with Vincent Price and the taboo tiki idol. Instead, it began with a blow from the conch, continued with fire dances and hula and ended with a massive fireworks show that lit the night sky.

Really, though, this Pro Bowl party is just getting started.

Shaka, brah,

-- Paul.

P.S. And dont worry, I have my sunscreen with me at all times. SPF 25.

For Draymond Green, protests can't be short-lived: 'We're screwed' if they end soon

For Draymond Green, protests can't be short-lived: 'We're screwed' if they end soon

OAKLAND -- Easing into a seat for an interview a half hour after the Warriors finished practice Monday, Draymond Green responded to the first six questions at decibels barely above a whisper.

There was candor on basketball matters, because there always is with Green, but the power forward’s tone was relatively relaxed.

Not until the next several questions, all related to America’s polarizing sociopolitical climate, did Green’s heart and mind lock into rhythm. Asked if he believes the current wave of protests against inequality will go away soon, his voice picked up volume and conviction.

“I hope not,” Green said. “If it goes away, then we still have a problem. So I hope it’s not going away in a few weeks. Then we’ve missed the message again.

“So, no, I don’t think it’ll be gone away in a few weeks. And I pray that it’s not, because it’s not a problem that can be fixed in a few weeks. So, no, it shouldn’t be gone in a few weeks.”

Green acknowledged that he did not see the demonstrations that were spread across the NFL landscape on Sunday. He was, he said, out shopping and enjoying the day with his children.

He was aware that some teams stayed in the locker room during the anthem, that others knelt on the sidelines and that some linked arms. Being aware was not enough for Green to feel comfortable addressing that aspect.

But he’s very familiar with the subject matter.

“You just have to stand for what you believe in,” Green said during an answer than lasted more than two full minutes. “What everyone else may believe in, you may not believe in.”

Articulating the difference between the life of the athlete and that of a soldier, Green explaining that he has the “utmost respect” for those in the military.

“I just hope that there can be an understanding that this isn’t against the military,” he said. “It’s not to disrespect anything they do. Because I think everyone respects what they do . . . I appreciate everything they do.”

It was evident, however, that Green is on the same page as those pushing for the progress that would make America great, allowing the country to live up to its pledges stated in the constitution and elsewhere.

That’s why he hopes this activism is not a trend but a movement.

“I’m not saying kneeling shouldn’t be gone,” Green said. “But this conversation, trying to make these changes, absolutely not. If it’s gone in a few weeks, we’re screwed.”

Giants lineup: Pence leading off, lefties back in against D'backs

Giants lineup: Pence leading off, lefties back in against D'backs

After batting fourth on Sunday in Los Angeles, Hunter Pence is back in the leadoff spot in the series opener against Arizona.

Additionally, Denard Span, Joe Panik and Jarrett Parker return after sitting against Clayton Kershaw.

San Francisco Giants:
1. Hunter Pence (R) RF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Denard Span (L) CF
4. Buster Posey (R) 1B
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
7. Jarrett Parker (L) LF
8. Nick Hundley (R) C
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P

Arizona Diamondbacks:
1. Gregor Blanco (L) LF
2. Kristopher Negron (R) SS
3. Brandon Drury (R) 2B
4. Christian Walker (R) 1B
5. Rey Fuentes (L) CF
6. Adam Rosales (R) 3B
7. Jeremy Hazelbaker (L) RF
8. John Ryan Murphy (R) C
9. Zack Godley (R) P