In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, the “Ref,” Michael Battista, asks our panel of experts three questions: Is bad press actually good for the NFL, who are the favorites in the NL and AL East and should the Chicago Blackhawks be ready to drop Patrick Kane?
1. With all the negative media around the NFL this year, can this benefit the game and get more people watching?
George: As celebrities like Donald Trump and the Kardashians probably always say, any publicity is good publicity. This adage can be applied to the NFL, as well. Sure, some of the players — and commentators — may be scumbags, wife beaters, idiots, dog-fighters or short-tempered meatheads. Some NFL players are just awful people. I think the NFL should go further. They need to find a way to get money from the shortcomings of their players’ characters. They need to make a “Real Quarterbacks of the NFL” or an “NFL Survivor” type show. America needs to revel in these people’s horribleness just as they already revel in the horribleness of other celebrities. If anything, this publicity indicates that America is ready for a NFL reality show spin-off. Hopefully the NFL will answer that call.
Matt: I think it will have quite the opposite effect, actually. The NFL will lose fans due to the ever-expanding list of suspensions, criminal charges and teammate-punchings. Every die-hard NFL fan will stick around no matter what dumb thing Goodell decides to do this week. The fans that the NFL will lose are the occasional fans. With all of the growing negativity surrounding the league, it will cause some viewers to distance themselves from the tarnished reputation of the league. I know if I already had lukewarm interest in the game I would be less inclined to watch a sport where possibly deflating footballs is equal in punishment to knocking your wife unconscious in an elevator. Or at least it is in Roger Goodell’s eyes.
Otto: There has been so many off the field issues in the NFL recently, and they haven’t just come this year. Deflategate, Geno’s jaw issue and others were just adding on to the issues of Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice and Richie Incognito. Because of all this, the NFL has never been at a lower point. This doesn’t make more people watch games, in fact I believe it does the opposite. Those who are not big fans of the sport are going to start developing a very bad perception of the league and these current events are definitely making them less likely to ever watch a game. For those who are already fans, these events have made them ashamed and sad to see their favorite players act this way.
George gets 3 points for suggesting NFL survivor and other entertaining reality ideas. Matt and Otto get 2 points each for making points about the interest of casual fans.
2. With the baseball season heading into the final stretch of the regular season, who are your picks AL and NL East?
George: The season belongs to Queens. The New York Metropolitans will dominate the National League’s East, West, North, South, Left and Right. Every direction you can think of belongs to the Mets, they can’t be stopped. 2015 is the year of Mr. Met. They have some of the best pitchers in the MLB right now, never mind the National League. As for that other appalling league — totally irrelevant. Why bother wasting words on that paltry bunch of ballplayers when the kings have already been crowned?
Matt: Easy. In the NL East, the Mets are clearly the favorites. With a dominant pitching staff filled with three legitimate aces, the Mets have opened up a sizeable gap between themselves and the perpetually underachieving Nationals. With the addition of Yoenis Cespedes, the Mets finally have a feared hitter in the heart of their lineup. The AL East is a much closer division, and probably the best in baseball. But, the favorite has to be the Blue Jays. The Jays have been on fire since acquiring Troy Tulowitzki and David Price at the trade deadline. Paired with the likely MVP Josh Donaldson and a lineup littered with power, the team can outscore anyone. And with seven games remaining between them and the second-place Yankees, it’s only a matter of time before they euthanize the aging Yankees into oblivion, where they belong.
Otto: The east divisions for both the American and the National League have been so exciting this year. The Blue Jays finally got over the hump with some great trade deadline acquisitions, the Yankees have hung around all year, defying all predictions, the Mets have made everyone believe through their nasty pitching staff and the Nationals have just disappointed anyone who watches the sport. I think the standings will stay as they are: the Jays will win the division, with the Yankees getting the wild card. On the National League side, the Mets will win their division, and the Nationals will not even compete for the wild card. The Yankees have too much hitting and experience to fade away in September while the current division leaders are just too strong on both sides of the ball to choke.
Otto gets 3 points for citing early difficulties. Matt gets 2 points for mentioning recent trades and George gets 1 point for not talking about the AL East.
3. Patrick Kane was recently dropped from the cover of “NHL 16” due to the ongoing police investigation surrounding him. Should the Blackhawks be ready to drop him as well to avoid bad PR?
George: No way should Kane be dropped because of a little “investigation.” The man’s just too good at hockey for the Blackhawks to kick him off. When Nixon was being “investigated,” did the team he play for — the team called America — kick him out? No. They almost did, but in a symbolic gesture of humility and honor, both traits that Nixon is famous for having, he stepped down from the presidency. What does all this politics have to do with hockey? I’m not entirely sure. Perhaps I’m suggesting for Kane to take a cue from Tricky Dick and put down the hockey stick before the Blackhawks impeach him.
Matt: Absolutely not. There is no way the Blackhawks would let Kane leave, especially after signing him to a monster eight-year deal that kicks in this season. The team would be on the hook for too much dead cap space to just let one of the most dynamic players in the entire NHL walk. Players of Kane’s caliber are tough to find in today’s NHL and a replacement would be hard to find. The Hawks need Kane now more than ever, so he is there to stay for the long haul, despite the allegations and ongoing investigation into the alleged sexual assault case. This isn’t Kane’s first run in with the law, and it may not be his last, but outright cutting him would not be a team-friendly move or financially responsible.
Otto: Patrick Kane has been under a lot of scrutiny in the past couple of weeks and has started to face the penalties for his actions. While I do not think he should be released from the team, he should be suspended and not cleared to play until police investigations are over and a verdict has been determined. While they are allegations, it’s important to take them seriously and keep up with the investigation. If proven innocent, he doesn’t deserve to lose his job. That’s why I think he should just be on the bench without pay until the courts find out what happened. Many times athletes are found innocent so it’s important not to issue a ruling until all the evidence comes out.
Otto gets 3 points for suggesting a good PR move. Matt gets 2 points for mentioning the large contract and George gets 1 point for the Nixon comparsion.
Otto wins Around the Dorm 8-6-5.