Posts Tagged ‘NFL’

NFL Lockout Looming

Monday, February 28th, 2011

The NFL “Collective Bargaining Agreement” (CBA) is set to expire, Thursday at 11:59. Numerous sources are indicating that a lockout is almost certain. The International Sports Professionals Association is interested in how the lockout will affect professionals whom work with athletes. Sports Professionals, if there is no NFL this upcoming season do you anticipate your business to be effected? Please respond to this blog with your comments.

Conference Highlight

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

One of the highlights of the Sports and Society conference was to hear two of our ISPA superstars speak, Dr. Chris Stout and Kurt David. With these two speakers along with Justin Mayer, Executive Director of ISPA, Andrew Teunis, Director of Development of ISPA and myself, Dr. John Mayer, President of ISPA, the International Sports Professionals Association had a very strong showing of professionals speaking at this inaugural conference.

More and more ISPA is taking Paul Tagliabue’s call for sports leadership and standing out in the forefront of sports. We have several exciting programs we are going to roll out in the coming months.

Dr. John E. Mayer, President-the International Sports Professionals Association-ISPA

The Loss of Chicago Bear Gaines Adams

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

With the news of Chicago Bear Gaines Adams’ passing this week, there has been a wide array of speculation as to what caused him to go into cardiac arrest. Yesterday, however, some of those rumors generated were put to rest by an autopsy report which discovered Adams had an enlarged heart. As ESPN reported earlier today,  an enlarged heart is not abnormal for athletes, nor is it the sure reason why Adams went into cardiac arrest. However, it has raised other issues in regard to medical exams on professional athletes. An enlarged heart is not a condition that directly causes a person to go into cardiac arrest, but it can be a sign or symptom of other very serious heart/health conditions.

This raises some interesting questions: If the NFL is so concerned about player health and insists on extensive annual medical examinations, how was Adams’ condition not found sooner? If it was found sooner, could it have saved his life? Did the NFL somehow miss performing an EKG on Adams upon entering the NFL (standard procedure)? If so, are they at fault to some extent in this situation for not finding this condition sooner? Should athlete examinations undergo a reform to make sure such conditions are not overlooked in the future?

Gaines Adams’ full autopsy and toxicology report will be made available within the next couple of months. Until then, we can only continue to speculate as outsiders.

Our hearts go out to Gaines Adams and his loved ones in this time of sorrow. He was a gifted athlete whose potential had not yet peaked, and a dedicated family-man that will truly be missed.

– Andrew Teunis, Director of Business Development – ISPA

We lost! Who can we blame?

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

It seems that us professionals, who serve athletes, come under much scrutiny when the teams (or individuals) we work with do not win. It is very popular these days to fire coaches when a team does not perform. Typically this process starts from the bottom up, a hitting coach may be the first to go and if the team keeps losing not even the head coach is safe. My hometown team the Chicago Bears is one such team where speculation is that coaches are going to start losing their jobs. This begs the question who is to blame? Is Lovie Smith, head coach of the Chicago Bears, to blame? Or are the players who have played less than inspired football to blame? Clearly a great coach can guide a team to victory and a bad coach can steer a team into troubled waters. Poor coaching decisions can hurt a teams chance to win (i.e. Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s decision to go for it on 4 and 2, this is purely an example of a poor decision not a bad coach). However, at the end of the day a coach is only as good as the talent that surrounds him/her and while a great coach can squeeze the most talent out of his/her players there is only so much that a coach can do with substandard talent.

Perhaps, we should not be so quick to blame the coaches and take a step back and evaluate the talent on the field and ask the following questions. 1) What is the talent of the players? 2) Are the players playing to their fullest capabilities? If the players are extremely talented and playing to their fullest capabilities and a team is still losing then it is time to stare at the coaches and say, “what the heck is going on here!”.

Even if the players are the problem the chances that they will get fired before the coaches are slim. More on this tomorrow!

Justin Mayer, Executive Director-ISPA

With Larry Johnson Baggage Comes Free!

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

It seems nowadays you are hard pressed to find an airline flight where “baggage comes Free”. Increasingly you have to pay to bring baggage with on your journeys. However, at the other end of the spectrum, the NFL, apparently baggage comes free. Unlike, in the airline industry this is not a perk! An increasing number of players have baggage. What do I mean by baggage? Arrests, assault, late night carousing, drug use (both recreational and performance), unbecoming language, greed, immaturity, I could keep going but I think you get the point. Modern sports teams not only have to evaluate the talent of a player but they also have to inspect the baggage a player carries with him/her. If a team finds a player with little baggage they are really flying high (I will stop with the airline analogies).

This blog has dedicated several posts to former Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson, whom could be the poster boy for troubled NFL players. Note the use of “former” above, the Chiefs have decided to part ways with Johnson. I would like to think my blog had something to do with this, but I am not that naive…yet! I applaud the Chiefs decision. It sends a clear message to players that unbecoming behavior will not be tolerated. Now the question becomes which team, if any, will pick up Johnson’s contract? Hopefully, the message that the Chiefs sent will not die quickly with another team indulging Johnson by allowing him to play this season. Let Johnson sit at home for the rest of the season and evaluate his behavior. Perhaps this time away will allow him to appreciate the opportunities he once had and inspire him to improve is off field behavior.

Justin Mayer, Executive Director-ISPA

Let Larry Johnson Join the Unemployed

Friday, November 6th, 2009

It seems that Kansas City Chiefs fans don’t want troubled player Larry Johnson to play this week. Several thousand fans (the number is growing every minute) have petitioned the team to not allow Johnson to play. The rationale behind this request is they do not want a player who has openly made homosexual slurs and repeatedly disrespected the team on Twitter to play and break the Kansas City Chiefs rushing record (Johnson is only 75 yards away from achieving this record). Last week I blogged about this situation and the fans have spoken with vigor!
Today it was announced that the unemployment rate has hit 10.2 %, maybe Larry Johnson should be listed with this unfortunate group of unemployed and not belong on the list of record breaking athletes. Perhaps time off the field will allow him to see the incredible opportunity he had and how foolish he was to jeopardize this opportunity. I am sure the millions collecting unemployment right now would love to have the gift that Larry Johnson has to play in the NFL. The owners of the Kansas City Chiefs (a team with a 1-6 record) should make sure they consider how much fans will continue to shell out for tickets, particularly in this depressed economy, to watch a player who inspires negativity. One of the reasons people go see sporting events is for a release, not to witness intolerance and selfishness. Give the fans what they want, particularly when we are already bombarded  with bad news in the real world.

It’s Good to be Old!

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Back in July Lance Armstrong, then 37 years old, came in third at the Tour de France. The Tour de France is one on the toughest bike races in the world and boasts one of the most competitive fields in the sport of professional cycling. Armstrong was eleven years older than race winner Alberto Contador and thirteen years older than second place finisher Andy Schleck. Brett Favre, 40 year old quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, finds himself ranked fourth (based purely on stats) among all NFL quarterbacks this season. Perhaps, even more important than numbers Favre has his team rolling along with a 7-1 record with their sights clearly set on the playoffs. The NFL is a tough league and even young players are chewed up and spit out by the dozen. Favre, who is 40 years old, excels even though he is many years older than the average NFL quarterback.

Science tells us that over time the body begins to slowly deteriorate. We lose muscle tone and our motor skills are not as sharp as they once were. How then can Armstrong and Favre compete at such a high level when they are many years older then their peers? Undoubtedly, both of these individuals are incredibly gifted athletes. One could make the argument that they are among the greatest to ever engage in their respective sports. Genetics play a large role, but I would like to think it is more than just winning the genetic lottery. I would like to think that it is heart that allows both of these athletes to continue to excel. Obviously, both athletes are still paid large sums of money; but they have already made their fortunes. I find it hard to believe that money is driving them to be so great at this stage of their lives. Ego? I am sure ego has something to do with their desire to compete, but is it enough to drive them to the pinnacle of their respective sports? No, I would like to believe that heart is what keeps them at the top. In an era when players only seem to rise to the occasion when their contracts are due it is refreshing to see two great athletes who have nothing to prove excel. What do I mean when I say “heart” keeps them at the top? Armstrong and Favre give their all to their sport. They play with a determination and passion rarely seen at any age. If only we could bottle their spirit and give it to all athletes. Armstrong and Favre show us that you are never too old to be great.

Justin Mayer, Executive Director-ISPA

Larry Johnson is being a “Tweet”

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

In this day and age it is ridiculous that players still think it is okay to use homosexual slurs. Apparently, Kansas City Chiefs running back, Larry Johnson thinks using these type of derogatory terms is okay, as he has done it numerous times on his Twitter page and in public. Mr. Johnson further shows his immaturity by making several negative comments about his coach, Todd Haley, on Twitter. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with you coach, but to do so on a public forum undermines the team. Intolerance and stupidity should not be tolerated in the NFL. Players who engage in activities unbecoming of an NFL player should face discipline.

When something like the above situation happens I always wonder where this type of behavior started. Several days ago, I blogged about Shiloh Keo the Idaho Vandals college football player who was involved in a misdemeanor battery. The team allowed him to play the very next game even though he was involved in this highly unbecoming behavior. This is yet another example of a player getting away with violent behavior and nothing being done to curb this behavior. My guess is players like Shiloh Keo and Larry Johnson were excused from many unbecoming activities throughout their lives. Why? Because come Saturday (or Sunday) they enhance their team’s chances to win and to some people victory is the most important thing. Never mind that the individuals whom are providing this victory grow to think they are invincible and conduct themselves as thugs. We all like winners, but at some point we must say enough and stop condoning (and in some cases glamorizing) these types of behaviors. Where do we start? We can start by guarding the ethical principles of sports. Organizations such as The International Sports Professionals Association (ISPA) are working to safeguard these principles. When you have a chance check out ISPA to see what they stand for and give them your support. Together we can keep the ethical standards of sports high.

Justin Mayer, Executive Director-ISPA

Thuggery in the NFL

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Plaxico Burress accepted a plea deal that will place him in jail for two years for carrying an illegal weapon into a night club and then accidentally shooting himself. Many sports analysts seemed more interested in when Mr. Burress would be back to play football than discussing the ramifications of Mr. Burress’ actions. It seems that much thuggery has surrounded the NFL as of late and many analysts are focused more on how much football these individuals will miss and not on opening a dialogue on how these activities can be prevented. Playing football in the NFL is a privilege, one that for many is a highly compensated privilege. Because playing football in the NFL is a privilege it can and in some cases should be taken away permanently when deemed necessary. Sports analysts should be focusing on why players such as Plaxico Burress should be allowed to play again and not when can they can play. There needs to be more dialogue on how we can prevent these thuggish actions. Furthermore, commissioner Goodell needs to have zero tolerance when individuals do not uphold the standards of conduct set forth by the NFL and society.