Posts Tagged ‘Criticism’

The fact that Colin Kaepernick isn’t in the NFL, despite so many quarterbacks with worse resumes being employed instead, does not add up for Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James.

James firmly believes that Kaepernick, who holds a career passer rating of 88.9, is easily an NFL-caliber player that is being blackballed for his beliefs.

“I love football, but I’m not part of the NFL,” James told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “I don’t represent the NFL. I don’t know their rules and regulations. But I do know Kap is getting a wrong doing, I do know that.

“Just watching, he’s an NFL player. He’s an NFL player and you see all these other quarterbacks out there and players out there that get all these second and third chances that are nowhere near as talented as him. It just feels like he’s been blackballed out of the NFL. So, I definitely do not respect that.”

Since opting out of his contract last March, a total of 42 quarterbacks have been signed while Kaepernick waits, according to a study by Martenzie Johnson of The Undefeated. Some of those accomplished luminaries include David Fales, Matt McGloin, and Brandon Weeden.

So why isn’t he in the league? James points out the obvious with Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality and the systematic oppression of people of color in America.

“The only reason I could say he’s not on a team is because the way he took a knee. That’s the only reason. I watch football every Sunday, every Thursday, every Monday night,” James said.

“I see all these quarterbacks – first-string, second-team, third-team quarterbacks – that play sometimes when the starter gets hurt or are starters that play. Kap is better than a lot of those guys. Let’s just be honest.”

James, another socially conscious athlete who uses his platform to affect change, compared Kaepernick’s activism to the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. and Muhammad Ali.

“I’ve commended Kap, and for him to sacrifice everything for the greater good for everyone, for what he truly believed in, the utmost respect to him. Obviously he had a vision like Martin Luther King and like some of our all-time greats that people couldn’t see further than what they were doing at the point and time. And Muhammad Ali and things of that nature,” James said.

“When it’s something that’s new and it’s something that people are not educated about or don’t understand what your beliefs are all about, people are so quick to judge and people are so quick to say that what you’re doing is wrong.

“For him to sacrifice the sport that he plays and to sacrifice the things he’s done his whole life because he knew what he believed in, I salute him. I salute and respect that.”

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LaVar Ball says he knows what type of coaching his son, 20-year-old rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, needs to be successful in the NBA, but thinks that isn’t what the Los Angeles Lakers are currently providing him

“They’re soft. They don’t know how to coach my son. I know how to coach him,” LaVar said Friday after the Lakers fell to 6-10 with a 122-113 loss to the Phoenix Suns, according to Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus. “I tell him to go get the victory. Stop messing around.”

The head of Big Baller Brand added that he has no problem with Lakers head coach Luke Walton, but that he does with losing games.

After falling to the Suns, Walton said it’s important for his younger players to learn from their errors, and not to get too low each time they lose.

LaVar would apparently take a different approach with the impressionable roster, saying he would hold them more accountable for their mistakes.

“What I mean by babying (Lonzo), ‘He’ll figure it out,'” LaVar said. “It ain’t about that. ‘Be patient with him?’ Ain’t no patience if you’re winning.”

“They’re letting it go too easy, saying they’re a young team,” he added. “Forget about that. Put the (onus) on them. Say, ‘You guys need to win. You’ve got enough talent. Win some games.'”

LaVar added that losing at home “ain’t OK,” and said there aren’t any moral victories in a loss. “That’s why they’re so cool with losing by five or six, (to) say, ‘We was in the game.'”

Lonzo followed up his six-point performance against the Suns with his second triple-double of the 2017-18 campaign, ending Sunday’s 18-point blowout of the Denver Nuggets with 11 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 assists in just under 40 minutes of action.

He’s averaging 8.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 7.1 assists, and 1.5 steals for the 7-10 Lakers, although his 31.3 field-goal percentage and his 22.8 3-point percentage has left a lot to be desired.

Denver Broncos general manager John Elway attempted to take responsibility for calling his players “soft.”

Elway told reporters last week that the team had gone “soft” during their losing streak and called the Broncos out for the manner in which they were competing.

He attempted to clarify his remarks Tuesday after many players balked at the implication.

“I was talking about everybody in the organization … when you’ve had success sometimes you get soft,” Elway said on Orange and Blue 760.

“I knew before I said it that some guys were not going to like that.”

The Broncos began the season 3-1, but have since lost their last six games and slumped to the bottom of the AFC West. Denver fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy on Monday.

Vadim Shipachyov is happy to be home.

A one-time prized free-agent signing by the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, the Russian forward retired from the NHL on Thursday after his short stint in North America barely got off the ground.

“The promises which I was given in America didn’t come off, but everything works out for the best,” Shipachyov told the KHL. “A lot of other SKA players who are here now have gone down this route, it’s probably the correct strategy.

“Now I know that Russian players should think 10 times before leaving for abroad, it’s different from what the clubs and agents tell you.”

In all, Shipachyov suited up for three games with the Golden Knights, picking up one point. He was later assigned to the Chicago Wolves, but refused to suit up for the minor-league team, and instead opted for a return to Russia.

On Saturday, Shipachyov inked a one-year deal with the KHL’s St. Petersburg SKA, where he played the past four seasons prior to drawing NHL interest.

St. Petersburg is the defending Gagarin Cup champion whose lineup includes former NHLers Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk. Shipachyov was a part of last year’s championship squad, as he was in 2015, and his return could further spark the first-place KHL club that has won 23 of its 31 games.

Shipachyov, 30, finished second in SKA scoring last season – just two points behind Kovalchuk – tallying 76 points in 50 games. He is disappointed he couldn’t replicate that success in the NHL, but is happy to be back in familiar surroundings.

“Before the season’s start, I was told by the general manager that they need to send a player to the AHL, and I am that man,” Shipachyov stated. “He said for me to help them in order to trade defensemen, and then I will make my debut.

“Face to face I was told one thing, but when it came to hockey, the story changed … However, even a negative experience helps you appreciate how things worked in St. Petersburg.”

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger added himself to the growing contingent of NFL players taking issue with Thursday Night Football.

“It’s miserable, it’s terrible, they need to get rid of this game I think,” Roethlisberger said during a radio appearance on a local Pittsburgh station, according to John Breech of CBS Sports. “Just play on Mondays and Sundays. It’s so tough on guys, you’re beat up, you’re banged up. It’s a very violent, physical game we play.”

Roethlisberger and the Steelers are set to face the Tennessee Titans in the Week 11 version of Thursday Night Football. Players from teams all over the league have been vocal about their disdain for the short weeks because of health concerns, with Seattle Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin going so far as to say the Thursday nighters should be “illegal.”

“You’ve got to let your body recover a little bit,” added Roethlisberger. “Even a week, you’re still not fully recovered by Sunday to Sunday, you’re still dealing with bumps and bruises and things just continue to build up throughout the season. When you go on such a short week, man, it’s just not good. I don’t know many players that like it. It’s a tough thing to do, but you know, you’ve got to do what the league says.”

Of the 32 teams in the league, 30 were scheduled to appear on Thursday Night Football game this season.

 
 

Jimmy Butler has high expectations for his new team.

The All-NBA swingman, who joined the Minnesota Timberwolves via trade in the offseason, has his eyes on the ultimate prize.

“I want to win a championship. That’s the only reason I play this game,” he told ESPN’s Sam Alipour, later adding: “I got a real chance of winning a championship here. God, like, I wake up smiling every morning knowing that we got a chance to be really f—ing good.”

Butler, 28, is excited to be part of an organization “that really knows what they’re doing” and is confident in the team’s young core. So confident, in fact, that he isn’t afraid of any opponent, not even the mighty Golden State Warriors, who’ve claimed two of the last three titles.

“I don’t give a damn if you’re the Warriors,” Butler said.

“We got guys who can play. And we got constant mismatches – really big wings in me and (Andrew Wiggins), and (Karl-Anthony Towns is) a constant mismatch. What can’t he do? Guy did a windmill the other day in practice. … Then you got Jamal (Crawford), the score lord. You got Taj (Gibson), who does all the little things right.”

Entering the season with eight new players, the Timberwolves have reeled off five straight wins and are 7-3 overall. They have the NBA’s seventh-best offense, but their defense leaves much to be desired (27th in defensive rating).

Defense was a problem last year (finished 27th), which was part of the reason they were notoriously bad at closing out games. Butler’s addition should help, as he’s one of the NBA’s most clutch players at both ends of the court and sets out to take over in crunch time. This season, Minnesota is 5-0 in games decided by six points or less.

History isn’t on the club’s side, though, as it’s riding the league’s longest playoff drought, having last qualified for the postseason in 2004.

Butler’s not worried about that.

“Now, this organization hasn’t been to the playoffs in 13 years, but f— history,” the three-time All-Star said. “It’s a new bunch of guys here, and we all say the same thing: F— history.”

D’Angelo Russell had a rocky first two NBA seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. One aspect of that was inconsistency on the court, while others – like his video scandal with Nick Young – were his own fault.

Yet, as Russell returned to L.A. Friday night as a member of the Brooklyn Nets, he said Kobe Bryant’s swan song season in 2015-16 was another challenge – one he commends himself for dealing with.

“I went through a lot,” Russell told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “Kobe’s farewell, everything. I went through a lot, so, just to overcome that, I salute myself for that.”

Not that he’s saying Bryant didn’t deserve the season-long feting.

“He deserved the attention he got,” he said. “No matter how I played, none of that was relevant. Kobe’s a legend. If he came back today that’d be the biggest story in the world.”

Bryant’s final season – capped by a 60-point explosion in his last game – was the worst in Lakers history. Russell’s struggles in that, his rookie year, also included then-coach Byron Scott benching him, and the aforementioned surreptitious filming of Young.

Russell also admitted Friday that Magic Johnson’s post-trade comments about the Lakers needing a leader “ruffled a few feathers,” according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.

Since being traded from one coastal metropolis to another, Russell is essentially the face of the Nets.