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Penguins acceptance of Trump’s White House invitation odd, but opportune.

September 25, 2017 Leave a comment

At the beginning of June, Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement, stating that he was acting on the grounds that he represents the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris. Now at the end of September of the same year, mirroring the US election results in which Hillary Clinton received 75% of the Steel City’s vote, the actual people who reside in Pittsburgh have again made it clear that they don’t all agree with President Trump’s sentiments.

Trump’s incendiary comments at a rally speech on September 22nd regarding NFL players following Colin Kaepernick’s lead in taking a knee during the American national anthem, and subsequent withdrawing of Stephen Curry’s invitation to visit the White House (along with the rest of the Golden State Warriors) to recognize his team’s NBA championship win due to Curry’s “hesitation” to accept the invitation, sparked a torrent of social media based backlash from many professional athletes from across North America’s “Big 4” sports leagues (for starters, see: Blake Wheeler, NHL; LeBron James, NBA; Bruce Maxwell, MLB) as well as press releases in the media, and public displays prior to games from team owners, management, and players all standing together in solidarity against Trump, and the larger narrative of racism in America. The Pittsburgh Steelers (followed in kind by the Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks) opted to not be present on the field during the national anthem in direct protest to Trump’s stance – though the Steelers’ offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva did come out to salute the flag and sing along against the wishes of his head coach.

While representatives of the NFL, MLB, and NBA all made statements and took different degrees of action, the NHL also responded, though not in sync with everyone else.

The Steelers’ city mates, the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are the NHL’s most recent Stanley Cup champions, took the road less travelled, releasing a statement on September 24th in acceptance of the President’s invitation to bring their trophy to the White House, give him a jersey, and pose for pictures, confirming Trump’s tweet on the same day about their pending visit. No date is set, however, which hints this statement release was anything but coincidental, and suggests very odd and questionable support for Trump and his recent words.

“Any agreement or disagreement with a president’s politics, policies or agenda can be expressed in other ways. However, we very much respect the rights of other individuals and groups to express themselves as they see fit,” reads the latter half of the Penguins’ media release.

There are keywords in that paragraph to hone in on – firstly, the notion that the Penguins respect other people’s rights to free speech and expression, just not those of their own personnel, apparently. Secondly, that a political disagreement can be expressed in a way other than declining an invitation to visit the White House, and rub shoulders with a demonstrably terrible human being and even worse world leader. What exactly could that alternative angle be?

Penguins’ captain, Sidney Crosby, ran further with that same idea in a later interview, scratching the surface of something quite tangible, if you let the concept breathe for a moment.

“I still feel like we look at it as an opportunity. We respect the office of the White House. People have that right to not go, too. Nobody’s saying they have to go. As a group, we decided to go,” Crosby told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on September 24th.

If what Crosby says about none of the Penguins being forced to go is true, we’ll have to see if any of them decide to pull a 2012 Tim Thomas and skip out on the event due to political disagreement (or other pro athletes who have done the same in the past) while his whole team still goes – if that were to be any of them, some might suggest it be Ryan Reaves, the only black player on Pittsburgh’s roster, though Reaves was born in Winnipeg, Canada. But they also have 16 American born players in their lineup, and an owner in Ron Burkle who knows Donald Trump personally, who all could take that opportunity of a public audience with the President that others are either declining or being disqualified from possessing – the opportunity to have an open, visible discourse with Trump, to air grievances in a diplomatic fashion, have their voice heard, and simply hear what he has to say in response. Every player will surely get the chance to look Trump in the eye and shake his hand if only for a moment – what they do with those precious few seconds could go a long way in either direction, or absolutely nowhere at all.

It would be the perfect opportunity for the NHL to start practicing what they recently started preaching, in accordance to excerpts from the league’s recently developed and published official Declaration of Principles:

We Believe: The game of hockey is a powerful platform for participants to build character, foster positive values and develop important life skills. These benefits are available to all players, desirable to every family and transcend the game. Hockey’s greatest value is the role it plays in the development of character and life skills. We believe in our ability to improve lives and strengthen communities globally through hockey.  

All hockey programs should provide a safe, positive, and inclusive environment for players and families regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status.

Integrity: We do the right thing, not the easy thing. We have courage on and off the ice.

Wouldn’t it be something to see someone outside of Trump’s inner circle, or the hosts of Fox and Friends, try to talk some sense into him face-to-face, rather than through TV or Twitter? We’ve all seen how well Trump remotely dialogues with his fellow Americans and foreign leaders alike through his preferred social media vehicle of Twitter. While the statements all professional athletes have been making thus far are valid and meaningful, none of them have been channeled directly at Trump’s face, not transmitted through a screen. As juvenile as it would be, Trump basically can basically still say, “Oh yeah? Why don’t you say that to my face?” to it all. And this seems to be the opportunity that the Penguins truly have, as I hope Crosby was eluding to. Might then a hockey player, generally considered fair, conservative and level-headed, be the perfect person to bring a slant of reason to this president? Trump may not listen to any of it, but at the very least someone from the Penguins could convey a message. Hopefully the team makes the most of the chance their captain already knows they have. Either they tap into the character they have developed through hockey, use courage and their powerful platform to transcend the game and do the right thing in helping all families feel included regardless of their minority status, or they instead do the easy thing that would be just showing up to smile for the cameras, nod when spoken to, and give classic canned answers to reporters while they tour the oval office and admire the furniture. I know which option I would prefer.

***UPDATE***
On October 10, 2017, the Pittsburgh Penguins visited Donald Trump at the White House, and did and said nothing. 😦

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New AllSportsMarket Free App allows you to trade pro sports teams like stocks

October 23, 2014 Leave a comment

NHL hockey legend, Bernie Nicholls, and Hollywood stuntman and filmmaker, Ace Underhill have teamed up to build the World’s First Sports Stock Market. The duo’s brainchild, the All Sports Market App (ASM), is a sports stock market App where fans can buy and sell shares in their favorite NHL, NBA, and NFL teams.

After each game, the winning teams payout dividends to their shareholders (note: the app is free, and no real money is involved). Players can accumulate SportsFolio Points to exchange for ASM Dollars (the in-app currency), which can then be used to buy real sports memorabilia and other sports products from the Rewards Store (opens in or before January 2015, though points are collectible now). The program parallels the real stock market, except that ASM uses sports teams from leagues that people actually know, rather than unfamiliar businesses listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

ASM is free to download, free to play, and offers sports fans an alternative to “gambling”, instead focusing on “investing”. It’s more of a “reality sports” product, rather than a “fantasy sports” product.

“As a player, I always loved the fans and appreciated them,” Nicholls said. “I’ve tried to give back as much as I can. All Sports Market is taking it to the next level by opening up a whole new world of fun and opportunity for sports fans everywhere. It’s simple. You buy and sell teams like stocks on the stock market. When they win, you win!”

“ASM is a quantum leap beyond fantasy sports,” Underhill remarked further. “We know fans love consuming all the data they can find, following their players and bragging about them, but something is missing… a REAL connection to their favorite teams. We enable fans to own the game.”

The app, and its unique combination of founding talent, has drawn the attention of comedian Christopher Titus, film and television star Zack Ward, triple Grammy winner Ben Moody, Snoop Dogg, and many other celebrities and athletes who are participating in the worldwide launch over social media.

By contributing to and supporting the Snoop Youth Football League (SYFL), ASM seeks to help end financial illiteracy and create new opportunities for kids to learn finance through sports. The SYFL’s classroom setting and focus on education in addition to athletics makes a partnership with the sports stock trader a logical evolution.

“I love the kids and I always have,” said Nicholls. “I love the youth camps and programs. Having Snoop on board is just awesome. I know we’ll do great things together.”

“The children are our future,” Underhill continued in his manifesto on the sports trading movement. “As cliche as that sounds, it’s true. Financial illiteracy in this country, and the world, represses people’s abilities to overcome the day-to-day challenges of earning and handling money, as well as planning for their future. What if you could focus all that sports knowledge and passion into a positive change for your personal future?”

Upon reading Underhill’s statement, Snoop replied, “Run with it everywhere.”

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Full disclosure: I owned 50 shares in the LA Kings at the time of this picture.

ASM is a great way to really get involved with your favorite teams, giving players a feeling of novelty and involvement not normally gleaned from other sports products. It gives the fans a sense of empowerment both through the ownership of a team ‘share’, and the confidence that goes with having learned about stock trading, without having to open a text book.

To find out more about the AllSportsMarket App, visit ASM’s website: http://ASMFree.com/; Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/asmfreeapp; and Twitter feed: http://www.twitter.com/ASMFreeApp

You can download ASM for free on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/kr/app/asm-free!-allsportsmarket/id905746665?l=en&mt=8

Read more about ASM online:

1) Yahoo! Finance: www.finance.yahoo.com/news/hollywood-stuntman-hockey-legend-build-184700872.html

2) Reuters: www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/16/ca-allsports-snoopdog-idUSnPn5gC6sQ+89+PRN20141016

3) The Hockey Writers: http://thehockeywriters.com/all-sports-stock-market-ex-nhler-bernie-nicholls-explains/

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AllSportsMarket (ASM) is operated by The New Sports Economy Institute, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established to teach finance through sports. Ace Underhill is the sole technical architect with over 15 years experience working in movies, television, and music videos with such luminaries as Snoop Dogg, Coldplay, Rihanna, Foo Fighters, and other top artists worldwide. Bernie Nicholls is ASM’s spokesman and sports industry liaison. Bernie was an explosive scorer who accumulated over 1,200 career points while playing for six NHL teams. Recently, Bernie helped coach the L.A. Kings to their first Stanley Cup in 47 years.

The Snoop Youth Football League is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded to provide the opportunity for inner-city children to participate in youth football and cheer. The SYFL serves children between the ages of five and thirteen, teaching them the values of teamwork, good sportsmanship, discipline, and self-respect, while also stressing the importance of academics. Visit: http://snoopyfl.net/

XP PSP s01e15: Former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, Candice Carr interview

October 13, 2014 Leave a comment

166601_10150402147215646_2118447_nIn episode 15 of XP PSP, Harold Dale and I start out the show with a discussion of the legal trouble that NFL players have found themselves in this season and whether or not it’s actually hurting the league at all, then former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Candice Carr calls in to talk about her cheerleading career for arguably the world’s most popular and recognized cheer squads, as well as to give her take on the lawsuits brought against NFL teams recently by the cheerleaders of the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, and Oakland Raiders.

Candice is now the owner of Social Photo Booths in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Be sure to check them out on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and their website socialphotobooths.com.

Follow host Dave Cunning and XP PSP on Twitter too!
Download XP PSP on iTunes

 

 

XP PSP s01e03: Chelsea’s Dagger

June 1, 2013 Leave a comment

In our third episode, we catch up on/discuss:

1) the first two rounds of NHL playoff eliminations, previewing conference finals, and catching up on the NBA playoffs, and our predictions across both sports.

2) 8th seeds running wild in the playoffs, and the legitimacy of an 8th seeds playoff threat across sports.

3) Which sport’s playoffs are the hardest to win.

4) The audacity of people calling close, low scoring playoff games boring.

5) cheering for players vs teams; former players becoming/succeeding as coaches (Roy, Gretzky), Tortorella benching Brad Richards, “contract years”….

….and plenty more.

Click here to listen: xppsp.podbean.com

Download_on_iTunes_Badge_US-UK_110x40_1004Subscribe and download us on iTunes as well!

Categories: Hockey, Podcasts, Sports, XP PSP Tags: , , , ,

XP PSP s01e01: Evenflow

April 29, 2013 Leave a comment

Fun little venture I’ve started up with some fellow sports-minded fellas here in Korea; We’ve started the Expat Pro Sports Podcast — XP PSP — and basically myself, Sachin Mahajan, Harold Dale, Jason Hiltz, Ryan Brown, and who knows who else will rotate in and out to chat about everything going on in the sports world for about 30 minutes at a time. For those expats out there who are missing their favorite multi-million dollar athletic competitions back home, we hope this scratches your itch just a little.

In our premier episode, we chatted about:

-The NHL playoffs, previewing a few of the first-round series.

-The NFL draft, Manti T’eo, and whether owners should touch the championship trophy first or not.

-The NBA playoffs, and whether the Miami Heat can be beaten.

-Why the Toronto Blue Jays are still bad.

-Whether coaches or management are to blame for a team with good players being bad.

-much, much more. Well, a little bit more.

Special thanks to the talented Ralph Hass of http://www.hasthevoice.com/ for providing our intro voice-over.

Enjoy the first episode! Leave a comment with some feedback, tell us if you like it, and what you’d like to hear in the future.

Click here to listen: xppsp.podbean.com

Download_on_iTunes_Badge_US-UK_110x40_1004Subscribe and download us on iTunes as well!

Sports Shorts: MJ-Favre, Shootout Trophy, Kings Colors, Goalie Chirps, and the Commonwealth Games Snub.

October 27, 2010 9 comments

 

 

Before (good) & after (not as good)

To me, it seems that the most recent incarnation of Brett Favre (that is, the Minnesota Vikings version) seems a lot like the most recent playing incarnation of Michael Jordan (Washington Wizards edition); both former superstars in their prime (Jordan best basketball player ever, Favre arguably one of the better quarterbacks in recent history), now playing in/beyond the twilight of their career, playing for an obscure team not likely of much success, putting up decent enough numbers to say that they’re contributing, but not in a “championship contender” kind of way.  Oh, and they both danced the retired/unretired/retired/unretired-legacy endangering sonata, with Mike finally bowing out, and Brett (supposedly) finally winding down after this year as well.  I know it’s gotta be hard to leave the game for a lot of different/mostly selfish reasons; it’s all they’ve ever done, all their friends are doing it, what else would they do, they’re really good at it, winning championships is fun, self-worth and identification, etc.  But I think the mark of a really great player in any sport is being good enough at it, and earned enough respect through the years to be granted the ability to leave their game on their terms.  Too many players who’ve had good careers abuse this right, lose the privilege, and are eventually told there’s no longer room for them (Mike Modano), or are told just to leave altogether (Chris Chelios).   Not that Modano nor Chelios possess the legacy in hockey that Jordan or Favre do in basketball or football, but you get the point.       

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How is there still not a side points bracket for shootout goals/saves in the NHL?  With such a pivotal interlude in the game that literally wins or loses games, you’d think the people responsible for the results could get some sort of recognition.  Their stats don’t need to count towards Rocket Richard or Vezina Trophy balloting, but why shouldn’t there be a trophy for most shootout goals in a season?  Or shootout saves for that matter?  The best rookie (Calder), defenceman (Norris)/ a forward ”being good at defensive aspects” (Selke), and most gentlemanly player (Lady Byng) all get one and have their acheivements recognized; you’re telling me the guy responsible for winning the most games in the season shouldn’t get something?

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Before (underrated) & After (looking sharp)

I have to admit, I like the retro LA Kings jerseys; they might even be my favourite throw-back uniform so far.  I think the purple and gold look better than they get credit for, and I also think they got way too much heat for looking bad back when they were the starting jerseys.  Also, nice work on the brown pads, glove and blocker.

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A few goalie chirps… how many 2nd chances on how many different teams is Jose Theodore going to get to be good again?  How long before the lustre/protection of a Vezina/Hart Trophy win in 2002 wears off? 10 years max?

Can you imagine if Cory Schnieder bumped $64 mil Roberto Luongo out of the Canucks’ starting goalie spot?  Lu should be careful with his “the team decided to give Schneids the night off” comments, they might just come back to haunt him, pemanently. 

I’m secretly cheering for Carey Price (not the Habs, just Price) to have an awesome year and shut everyone in Montreal up.  He’s got it rough playing in front of that kind of heat (Habs fans).  Obviously the fans wanted Halak to stay, and no one blames them.  Price getting traded probably would have been the best thing for him, but alas here he is.

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Speaking of heat, with all the hubbub about Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh over the summer, the Miami Heat pretty well have to win the NBA title this year if they’re going to show their faces in the league after this season, right?  Ok, good talk. 

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Do the Commonwealth Games seem a little snooty to anyone else?  54 countries are invited to participate, while at the Olympics, 200 are invited.  Do the results not seem a little skewed when you only compete against ¼ of the world’s sporting community?  Sure it’s nice to win stuff and be better than other people at sports, but I wouldn’t have too long of a parade when I get home for winning one of those medals.  Tough to brag much about winning when athletes from countries like China, Russia, Germany, and the USA aren’t invited or anywhere near the premises.  Congratulations, you beat competitors from a bunch of other average nations at this event….        



NFL Inquiries, Trophy Triviality, and the Business that is Pro Football.

February 10, 2010 6 comments

A few thoughts on football before people’s caring about it completely drifts away until next season…

First, of course a tip of the cap to the Saints for winning the Superbowl.  I’m not anywhere near the first person to make this observation, but New Orleans was in need of something to celebrate since the Hurricane there.  Enjoy the “Lombardi Gras(awesome name)”, New Orleans!

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Now that we’re in the TiVO age, the Superbowl is the only television broadcast (possibly) in history that people will actually fast-forward the content in order to get to the commercials.  $3 million dollars for 30 seconds this year.  Here’s the best one that I saw:

So all the winners of any championship are on the field decked out in their new championship shirts and hats.  Obviously they had that stuff printed up prior to the win, and they must’ve made stuff for both teams (especially in a 1 game showdown for all the marbles, like in football).  So I’m wondering, where do all the printed shirts and hats go of the team that didn’t win the championship?  Is it carted off to be incinerated, as to not leave any evidence of its existence?  I’d love to get my hands on the 1993 Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup Champions stuff that never made it to the public.

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The NFL recently adopted the use of captain’s C’s on their jerseys; ala the NHL.  In hockey, this identifies you as a leader, and affords you the ability to converse with referees during the game.  Hockey’s got C’s and A’s; but the NFL has developed some sort of Star Trek star ranking system.  Can any football fans out there clue me in on the responsibilities possessed by NFL captains, and how the ranking system works?

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The fact that headsets allow conversation between Quarterbacks, coaches, and team officials in the press box up top during games seems a little like cheating, doesn’t it?  Shouldn’t the players just play the game as they see it?  What happened to the well-disguised hand signals and mouth covering of baseball? 

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wait your turn, sir.

And finally, is there any more indication that the NFL is a business first, game second, than the fact that the team owner gets to hoist the Lombardi Championship Trophy first, ahead of team captains, and all the players?  I understand the whole “invested interest” thing, but come on man, those guys left it all out on the field to get their hands on that thing (also worked their entire lives to get to play at a level that’s nearly unobtainable by most humans).  Everyone tuned in to watch THE PLAYERS play football.  You paid a bunch of money.  You deserve the hoist too, but let the guys have their fun first.  Also, for how glorified the Superbowl has become, can we get them an adequately sized trophy?  Nothing says, “We’re the best in the world!” like a huge, two-hands-required, over-the-head-hoist, trophy. 

The Stanley Cup is a prime example; with all the engravings of past champs

Gretz, doin' it right.

 and additions of new sections over 100+ years of hockey.  You lift a lot more than that season over your head when you win it; especially considering you have to win 4 seperate 7 game series’ to get it.  The NFL’s just got a shiny football on a stick that you can lift with one hand.  And you can win it in one game.  Which would you rather win?

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