With Audibly Offensive Radio getting ready to return and take on a new format, I thought I’d start off this holiday week with a glimpse into some of the other things I, along with the rest of the AO staff, will be tackling.
Gone are the days where we just rant and rave about sports. When we all put our heads together to see what worked, we realized that there are so many other things besides sports we’re passionate about and have strong opinions on.
For me, one of those things is professional wrestling, which leads to this piece… and a flashback.
Last Thursday night, pretty much at this exact time (which is about 8:30 pm Eastern), I spent two hours watching NXT Takeover: REvolution on the WWE Network. For those of you that don’t follow wrestling like I do, NXT is the developmental system of WWE. It’s a place where you will see wrestlers that have toiled in the independent scene for years get their shot at the big time.
It’s also a place where you will see some of the best in-ring action in wrestling today. Forget it being the developmental system. It’s just a great product.
I could seriously spend this entire piece talking about the great things NXT brings to wrestling, but I won’t. There’s a point to this, I promise.
NXT Takeover: REvolution was two hours of great in-ring action. It was one really solid match after another and there were no dead spots. After watching the show, I felt really good about the direction wrestling was headed.
So fast forward a few days to Sunday… where I watched the main roster’s pay per view, TLC (stands for Tables, Ladders and Chairs) thinking that the main roster had to respond. The internet was buzzing about Takeover and the general opinion was two simple words.
Instead of topping that, I got to watch… whatever the bloody fuck that was… for three hours.
Three hours of my life I will never get back.
Less than 24 hours later, I watched Monday Night Raw like I always do. Why? Because I’m a wrestling fan. I’m also apparently a glutton for punishment because for the second time in less than 24 hours… I wasted ANOTHER three hours of my life that I could have spent trying to do things like drill a hole into my head or bathe in battery acid.
Six… six hours of my life… thinking that those kids in the developmental system will light a fire under the asses of Vince McMahon, John Cena and the like. Six hours… wasted.
RANT….. MODE….. ON!
Maybe it’s just me, but if I’m an established guy… I’d be a little pissed off that wrestling fans think the developmental product is far and away better.
Put it in this perspective. How do you think the San Francisco Giants would feel if fans thought their AAA affiliate, the Fresno Grizzlies, were a better team… had a better manager… and those fans would rather pay money to watch the minor league team than the defending World Series champs?
I guess not. Because just a few days after wrestling fans across the board were completely pumped about the industry for the first time in a while, the main roster mailed it in instead of cashing in on the momentum. Instead of working in tandem to make the experience for the better, the main roster gave wrestling fans the middle finger.
No, let’s be honest… we got a bigger eff you than that. We got the “fingerpoke of doom”.
It’s sort of pathetic that a bunch of established stars that make millions and are recognizable throughout the world… have millions of followers on Twitter… droves of fans that are interested in what they believe in and stand for… and they just bumblefuck around on tv for six hours to give the fans absolutely nothing when the younger stars that would kill someone to be where these mega stars are bust their asses.
Now, before you start tweeting me @AORadio about how it’s not all the collective faults of John Cena, Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, the Bella Twins, etc… let me point out one thing.
You are absolutely right. It’s not all their fault. Blame has to be given across the board and it starts with the man that calls the shots, Vince McMahon… the man that calls all the shots.
It’s not just the guys and girls in the ring that make the product on the main roster crap. It’s the people (or person) in charge of creative that makes what drives the product about as riveting as watching paint dry in cold weather.
I’ll give you an example. Let’s take WWE Diva Paige for instance. When Paige was in NXT, she was the first NXT Women’s Champion. When she came to the ring, it was worth watching because she could… and would… have a great match with anyone they put her in the ring with. Keep in mind, the women that wrestle in NXT get the proper training to improve on a daily basis at the WWE performance center. Those girls learn how to work with anyone.
Move Paige to the main roster where she has to work with talentless models posing as wrestlers and nothing happens. Paige isn’t allowed to show what she can do in the ring. There’s no reason to it. I mean, Paige could make either of the Bella Twins look like they could have at least a three-star match.
Regardless, doesn’t happen and the reason is because of how out of touch the people running the main roster are.
When you watch Raw or Smackdown, you’re seeing a wrestling program disguised as some sort of shitty television show. Not even a good one. Maybe the people that write for Total Divas write Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown.
When you watch NXT on the WWE Network, you’re getting a wrestling program disguised as the “minor leagues”.
Here’s the problem, it’s not the minor leagues anymore. It’s a better show. It’s a better product.
No one cares that every episode between last night and January 1, 2015 was taped last Friday night at Full Sail University in Orlando. No one cares that they can easily go online and see the spoilers for any of those shows. I’ve already looked at the spoilers. I already know what happens. You want to know the most important thing?
I will still watch.
Gone are the days where Eric Bischoff gave away the results to a taped Monday Night Raw show on his live WCW Nitro. I wish they weren’t. He could save me a lot of time.
The WWE bills NXT as “the future” of the industry.
That future can’t come any sooner, because the present absolutely blows.
Rant Mode Off.
Tags: Opinion/Editorial · Patrick Swafford
NBA Free Agency is a week away, the NBA Draft is Thursday night and we talk about it, along with the World Cup and some of baseball’s biggest first half surprises.
We’re back from an unpacking break to talk World Cup, the NBA and Stanley Cup Finals… and Johnny Manziel. Yeah… just what we needed… something to rant about.
We’re back this week to talk about the NFL Draft and the farewell of Donald Sterling. Yeah… he deserved it. It was awesome.
Another Wrestlemania and another year of syndication under our belts. As usual, Kevin Jeffers (on Twitter @jevinkeffers) joins us to talk about this year’s big show.
Chris Lemke returns to the show to help Swafford break down the NCAA Tournament and how *not* to win Warren Buffett’s Billion Dollars, plus a little NFL Free Agency and the National League’s Central Division.
Tourney time is upon us. Looks like it’s nothing but baseball and basketball for us for the next few weeks. Swafford talks about the bubble, the potential of Phil Jackson running the New York Knicks… and the WWE Network?
Shorter show this week, but NFL Free Agency is a hot topic. Did the Saints make the right call in hitting Jimmy Graham with a non-exclusive franchise tag? Also, what are the best sports movies ever?
Why does it seem like I have a bone to pick with the NBA every damn year around this time? Why is it that despite all the racial conversation we’re having concerning sports (the use of the N-Word in sports, the PC-ness of the Redskins nickname, etc), the National Basketball Association pretty much turns all of that into a dumpster fire full of backhanded “pandering” to a specific demographic.
Nope. We still repeat the same racist bullshit and call it a “celebration”.
In case you haven’t caught on to what I’m talking about, it’s the NBA’s annual Noche Latina, the league’s tribute to the contributions that Latin players and the Latin community have on the sport.
Sounds like a great idea in theory, right? Damn right it does.
However, in practice, Noche Latina, is a descojon. A trainwreck.
Rant. Mode. On.
I’m sure the conversation over racist language has been something you’ve heard… or seen. If you read the stuff on www.audiblyoffensive.com, then you saw it yesterday. I agree with the points that Chris Lemke made in his NFL piece on Sunday, but this is a completely different deal.
First, let me get something very obvious out of the way. I am a 35-year-old white guy from Alabama that lives in Akron, Ohio now. I have the street cred of a tomato and I am about as in-touch with the racial platforms of other races as I am with 99% of the movies that were nominated for Oscars this year.
Now that I’ve said that, here’s what the NBA is doing to make themselves more “in-touch” with the Latin community:
They are taking the jerseys of teams inside markets with a heavy Hispanic population and changing the team names to something Spanish.
That’s cool… if you’re talking about changing the Chicago Bulls to the Toros, right?
Nope… Los Bulls.
You’d think Miami’s team name would be translated from Heat to Calor, right? Oh no… not in the Rosetta Stone: NBA Edition.
It’s El Heat.
Are you fucking kidding me?
Don’t even get me started on the half-assed attempt to translate the great city of New York to something more “hispanic”… but for those of you that really want to know. The Knicks jerseys just say “Nueva York” on them.
Am I the only person that feels dirty just being an innocent bystander to this? I take one look at this and I see a cheap, backhanded attempt to try and make money just by pandering to a different ethnic group. I see One Direction or Justin Bieber or some other God awful pop artist re-recording an entire album in Spanish.
I see Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money.
I ranted about this last year and I am ranting about it now… ESPECIALLY now because as racially sensitive as we are becoming as a society (finally), we have bullshit like this to deal with and mainstream media plays right along.
ESPN last year during their broadcasts were playing their NBA theme music that takes them to commercials… but instead of the big band horn section that normally blares it… it was a Mariachi band.
Who the bloody fuck comes up with these concepts? Paula Deen? Fuzzy Zoeller?
What’s next? We’ll serve fried chicken and watermelon to everyone at Atlanta Hawks home games?
Please, do not misinterpret any of this as a disagreement toward the NBA wanting to honor these communities or me being racist in any way. Anyone that knows me knows that the only race of people I hate are stupid people… and they come in all shapes, sizes, genders, creeds and colors.
… and apparently… they all work for the National Basketball Association.
Just because you stick a Spanish form of the word “the” in front of a team’s name does not honor the Latin community. It’s insulting and why no one has had the conscious thought to call out the NBA on this blatant undercover racism is beyond me.
In putting my thoughts into text last year, I asked around and picked the brains of some of my friends who list English as their second language, including our badass graphic designer… who is a Dallas Mavericks fan, and apparently I’m not the only one that gets like this.
By the way… the Mavs are just as guilty as other teams.
The people I know that speak Spanish as language number one are more offended than I am, and rightfully so.
No one likes having their intelligence insulted. No one likes being looked down on, and this feels exactly like that.
The NBA offices, whether it was David Stern or Adam Silver at the helm, are the ones making this out to be some bridge between a racial divide when it’s not.
It’s creating a racial gap.
Anyone with a brain should be insulted by the carelessness the NBA has shown in their piss poor attempt to acknowledge a part of the population that pumps millions of dollars into their product. Basketball is clearly the second most popular sport in this country in the Latino population next to soccer.
Just because most of them speak English as a second language doesn’t make them stupid.
FYI… English is harder to learn than Spanish.
You try re-learning a language that has three different ways to spell a word that sounds the same (There, Their, They’re… sorry this is what happens when you have a Grammar Nazi as your Rant Master).
Okay… so the NBA wants to halfass the Spanish language? Here’s my response:
Besame el culo.
Rant. Mode. Off.
Managing Editor/Executive Producer
Audibly Offensive Radio
Tags: Basketball · Opinion/Editorial · Patrick Swafford
**Despite not being able to be a part of Audibly Offensive Radio, Chris Lemke will still be joining us through written commentary. This is the first in a series this week that Lemke and Patrick Swafford will do on racism in sports**
Okay, so if we’re gonna do this, then let’s get it out of the way. Nigger. It’s the single most horrible word in the English language and conjures up every terrible feeling that comes along with it. It’s offensive, burdensome, and I genuinely feel sick to my stomach that I even typed that with its presence on the page staring in me in the face. Last year during the Riley Cooper scandal, Patrick Swafford and Chris Lundy had a very real, very frank discussion about racism; specifically the use of that word and how it affects the modern sports landscape.
This week the NFL made news by attempting to do something to forever change that status quo with the announcement it was thinking of assessing a 15-yard penalty if the N-word is heard on the field of play. It’s an ambitious plan that Roger Goodell and the NFL Owners are embarking on, one that could actually pay off dividends in terms of striking a blow towards the eradication of the word, and I strongly believe that it is the absolute wrong thing to do.
I genuinely find it somewhat hard to defend any position that seems to favor any sort of cultivation of the ominous N-word, especially as a white man. It’s a word that is steeped in hatred, mired history, and never is without consequence when said…at least by white people. This point has to be the first issue that will be addressed when dealing with the NFL’s proposed rule. Last year Riley Cooper, at a Kenny Chesney concert, drunk out of his mind, was caught on a cell phone video using the N-Word and it immediately became the biggest story in sports. A solid slot receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles, who I genuinely believe was set to have a huge year under Chip Kelly’s system, was absolutely mauled by the media, fans, players, politicians, and anyone who chose to voice their opinion. The mere mention or implication of the word by a white person is cause for serious alarm. Just ask Paula Deen. Am I defending these people? Absolutely not, but the fact of the matter is that the N-Word is now “The Word That Must Not Be Named” by anyone not black. It’s become a racial divide just as much as a cultural one. African-Americans have whether correctly or incorrectly feel like they have reclaimed that word for themselves. It’s theirs now and no one else is allowed to use it. Even looking at the hip-hop genre as a whole, imagine the backlash if top selling artists like Eminem or Macklemore were to use the N-word as freely as Kayne West or Jay-Z. Can you imagine it if they said it ONCE? Eminem actually went through a minor scandal based on a song that he wrote early in teens on a throwaway demo after a bad breakup with a black girl.
To argue whether or not the N-Word should be part of the African-American culture is not the point of this piece, nor part of this argument against the NFL. This is merely to point out that our current culture polices the N-Word’s usage by those deemed unacceptable and already punishes it fairly harshly. However, since the N-Word has become engrained in the black community, making part of the ruling on the field would actually only affect ONE group of players; blacks. I can only imagine the backlash of a referee, white or black, throwing a flag on a black player for calling another black player the N-Word. It’s the job of the referee to police the gameplay, keep players safe, and enforce the rules. It is neither their job nor responsibility, especially as part time employees of the NFL, to become guardians of social change and cultural progression.
This comes to another point that I find rather unbelievable about the hypocrisy of this proposed rule change. It is not without good or even great intention of the work of John Wooten and The Fritz Pollard Alliance, which monitors diversity in the NFL, who are trying to do something to stem the language that players use on the field. I understand that we as a society look up to athletes as role models and that by trying to get these athletes to eliminate the word from their dictionary, there is a belief that slowly but surely it will trickle down to youth who look up to them. It’s a great idea in concept but in execution, there are definitely going to be flaws.
The NFL officiating crews have already been under fire for making some pretty awful calls in 2013, from helmet to helmet violations, pass interference, and everything that happens in the trenches. To even attempt for them to have to now be paying attention to what players are saying to each other, whether they are on the same team or not, whether they are the same RACE or not, is going to be an absolute crapshoot. I can’t even imagine what the fallout is going to be to see a 15-yard penalty assessed during a pivotal moment in a game or after a key 3rd down stop because two players were excitingly celebrating with one another drops the N-Word. Perhaps even worse, if the referee even thinks that he heard the N-Word. This is not part of the officials job description nor should this be something to add to their already laundry list of things that they need to be watching during the field. It won’t be a white player calling a black player the N-word, it won’t be changing the culture of making the word less offensive, it will just be affecting a football game.
The NFL owners, Roger Goodell, and of course, Riley Cooper have all come out in strong support of this proposed rule change. Of course one would expect Cooper, still and probably forever on the contrition train of apologies, also not surprised that Goodell and the NFL owners, none of whom are African-American, would see this change as favorable. It’s considerably easier for non-blacks to find the word reprehensible; it’s a word that white men used to degrade blacks. It’s a word that serves as a stinging reminder of a very dark time in American History say from its founding till about now.
I can also understand John Wooten and Ozzie Newsome and others of a different generation feeling so strongly about the word being said in any context, whether by whites or by blacks. They lived through the negativity and degradation but there’s a strong generational divide that has to be acknowledged as well and to immediately point fingers and say that a person, again of any color, is wrong to be saying the word is something of a personal preference. White people will always vilify the word because it’s easy to be offended by your own reminders of guilt. It’s permanence will forever be a stain in American history. Of course one could make the very same assumption about the word Redskin. A word that was once used proudly until the white man turned it into a term of degradation and abuse while subjugating an entire race of people.
Yet there remains strong pushback on the movement to change the Washington Redskins to something less offensive. Dan Synder, the Redskins owner, refuses the change the name and says it shouldn’t be seen as offensive because it’s just a sports team now with a completely different history. Is it okay then for Synder to turn around and say “well ‘Redskins’ is different than the N-Word because we don’t mean it to be offensive”?
This also comes at a time when we are still dealing with the aftermath of the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin scandal. The use of the N-Word is pulling focus on the majority of this rule change but it will also quickly move include any racial slur or sexually derogatory statement. Again, it’s tough to stand against any push to outlaw these kinds of behavior and it’s not an easy argument to make because it really can come off as defending the N-Word or other hate speech. I would love to live in post-racial, post-sexist, post-discriminatory society where words like that have no power and we can all just treat each other wonderfully. I believe in working towards goals like that, we all as a society should. I understand the argument that if you worked at a bank or a law firm and two black employees were to call themselves the N-Word there would be serious ramifications to that. Now, let’s move past into the real world and know that there are a lot of things that you couldn’t do in an office that you can do as a professional athlete.
If the NFL, Roger Goodell, and John Wooten want to get together and start creating meaningful social programs where athletes take pledges to not use the N-Word or any other hateful language, go to schools and start talking about the negative effects of saying words like that, start filming public service announcements, and begin to form players committees to actively work on changing the culture and removing hateful language of any kind. It is not, however, rules that should dictate the way that a sport is played on a field. The N-Word is too complex to be fixed by throwing a weighted yellow piece of cloth to fix and to think that we can put that burden on an officiating crew which is predominantly white against an NFL that is 70% black, is a fool’s errand. There are steps to be taken, moves to be made, and a culture that maybe can change through proper programs, education, and community. With that, I give the NFL and society as a whole, my completely support and voice. You cannot, though, expect 15 yards to change over 150 years of history.
Tags: Chris Lemke · Football · Opinion/Editorial
Craig couldn’t make this week’s show, which leaves Swafford alone in the studio. He doesn’t screw it up, but it’s obviously shorter than usual. AL Central preview this week, can anyone contend with Cleveland for the #2 spot in the division? (Give it up, no one’s catching Detroit) Jason Collins plays for the Nets and the future of the NFL is on showcase at the 2014 NFL Combine.
Craig Meyer joins us for the first time in an official capacity just in time to start the 2014 MLB preview. We focus this week on the AL East and we give our Redneck Asshole some mic time when we get into our first ever NASCAR preview. Will Jimmie Johnson win his 7th Cup Title? Ask the camo wearin badass?