And the people rejoiced, for the NFL is back!!!

OH HAPPY DAY!!!!!

I can hardly contain my excitement. The day I have waited for since February has finally arrived.

Since I am a writer and I love sports, I know you all are expecting me to issue some predictions. I have said over and over that I hate doing predictions. They hinge on so many things: who stays healthy, who performs the way that they should, which coach best utilizes its players, yada, yada, yada. However, without predictions, it would not give journalists much to talk about, huh?

So you are expecting a Super Bowl prediction. Oh boy. Can I pick two teams? Sure I can. It is my blog. I fully expect Denver to be in the Super Bowl again. Aaaaaaaand I expect their opponent to be an NFC team. Haha. Ok, for real because I do not think Seattle will repeat, I am going to go with New Orleans. Denver will win and Peyton can ride off into the sunset like Ray Ray.

I would have loved to have picked my beloved 49ers. Sadly, I think I window of opportunity may have closed. I do not even want to get into it. Even with the departures, suspensions and distractions, I still think we have tremendous talent and players in place to win it all. The question is, can they gel together to get it done? Only time will tell. I hope my prediction is wrong!

I think my beloved Panthers will be solid again this year but I do not expect them to have the same success as last year. I honestly cannot even tell you why. Just a gut feeling. I hope my prediction is wrong!

 

 

So here we go, my predictions for the week…

Seattle over GB
NO over ATL
STL over Minnesota
Cleveland over Pittsburgh
Philly over Jax
Jets over Oakland
Cincy over Baltimore
Buffalo over Chicago
Wash over Houston
KC over Tenn
NE over Miami
Panthers over Bucs
9ers over Dallas
Denver over Indy
Detroit over NYG
SD over AZ

We shall see what happens.

Enjoy the first weekend of the NFL!!!

 

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Free Agent Frenzy

For two days straight, my phone has been blowin up.

A buzz here. A buzz there. A notification here. A notification there. A retweet here. A retweet there. Everywhere a tweet, tweet. It feels like my phone buzzes every other minute. Welcome to the frenzy that is NFL Free Agency.

Donte Whitner. His release HURT!! For real. DeMarcus Ware. Darrelle Revis. Antoine Bethea. Jared Allen. Julius Peppers. LaMarr Woodley. Aqib Talib. T.J. Ward. Karlos Dansby. This would make a nice Pro Bowl roster.

And then, the hammer dropped and everyone in North Carolina and South Carolina heard the news that they did not want to hear, the Carolina Panthers would start training camp in July without all-time leading receiver and arguably the franchise’s most famous cat, Steve Smith. The rumblings began at the NFL Combine when Panthers General Manager, Dave Gettleman, offered a noncommittal response when asked about Smith’s future with the team. Many were stunned by the response including Smith. In 2012, Smith signed a three year extension which many felt would guarantee that Smith would retire as a Panther. That was what Smith wanted and at the time it was what the Panthers wanted. Loyalty seemed to be at the root of the deal as everyone walked away from the table happy. Unfortunately, loyalty does not always rise up from its hole each year. And loyalty does not score touchdowns. And loyalty does not guarantee good seasons. And loyalty does not guarantee championships.

Buzz. 9:05am. Alert from SportsCenter. Panthers to cut WR Steve Smith Thursday, a league source told NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Once Schefter tweets it/says it, you can bank on it.

Wow. I was in Bank of America Stadium to witness Smitty’s last game as a Panther.

This part of the NFL just makes me go ugh. I have dissected this move from many angles. Smith is 34 years old. He is 5’9(not that his height has ever been an issue but short WR’s are becoming less common). He is coming off a knee injury. The Panthers would potentially have to pay him seven million in 2014. They need to get under the salary cap. Yada yada yada. Everyone will scream it is business and move on. To me, I do not believe this is JUST a business move. I think this was personal. Sure we do not know what kind of year Smith may have next year. He may have a horrible year. He may have a great year. He may have even decided to retire. That is just the nature of sports. You can make all the predictions you want but none of us know what will really happen during the year. Right? Or are you trying to tell me you picked Seattle to win the SuperBowl. Anywho, back to Smitty. Regardless of what is going to happen, the Panthers will be paying Smith three million dollars. It is part of the guaranteed money that he got for his extension. So, they essentially saved four million dollars which I hope they use to spend on another wide receiver because I am not sure that Tavarres King, Martin McNutt or R.J. Webb can step in and fill Smith’s void. Oh and did I mention that the four million saved does not really put a dent in the cap space needed.

Perhaps the most telling sign that this is a personal move is the fact that the Panthers never asked Smith to restructure his contract. Let that sink in. Business or personal? You be the judge.

The past two days have been a doozy. I am almost positive that there have never been so many big name players released at one time. For as much as I love the game, I absolutely hate this part of the “business” where feelings have to be separated from reality in order to save dollars. But I have learned to accept it. If the 9ers can trade football royalty in the form of Jerry Rice and Joe Montana then anything is possible. Here is to hoping today is not as hectic. I have work to do and I do not need any distractions!

Until next time…TOODELLS.

Follow me on Twitter @Kassienette

 

P.S. To Smitty….thank you for your dedication, loyalty and hardwork. As a Panthers fan, it has been a joy to watch you play the past 13 years for the blue and black. May GOD bless you abundantly in your next chapter.

 

Kassie’s NFL ReKap, Week 11

Oh boy! Oh boy!! A rare feat. My 9ers AND my Panthers both won this week. My 9ers got a much needed win over the downward spiraling Redskins. Hey! A dubya is a dubya. My Panthers finished another game and squeaked out a win over the Dolphins for their 7th dubya in a row. 7Up for everyone!

Was hoping to get the trifecta. However, Peyton the Broncos could not pull out the win in the always chilly Foxborough. I do not even want to talk about how the game ended. So anti-climatic. Oh and Tom Brady berated another referee but of course no one talked about that yesterday.

The Steelers beat the Browns. The Steelers now actually have a realistic chance of making the playoffs. Told ya’ll. Any Given Sunday. Or Monday. Or Thursday.

Shoutout to fellow Wolfpacker, Tampa Bay QB, Mike Glennon with the dubya. Unfortunately, it was over fellow Wolfpacker Stephen Tulloch’s Lions.

The Vikings and the packers done messed around and couldn’t get right. Their game ended in a tie. *snickers*

The Bears got run over by the Rams. Yeah, those Rams.

The Chargers handed the Chiefs their second lost. Shoutout to fellow Wolfpacker, Chargers QB, Philip Rivers who 27-39 with 392 yards and three TDs. I see you Philly Cheese!

*yawns* The Ravens beat the Jets.

The Cardinals, who are surprisingly and quietly seven and four, mollywopped the Colts. I mean what they did was not even right. Sheesh.

Why is no one talking about the Texans? They have lost nine games straight. This most recent lost was at the hands of the Jaguars. I think I just answered my own question.

The five and six Titans are now back on the playoff hunt with their win over the Raiders. Kool.

The Saints sqoze out a win against the Falcons. Would have been real embarassing if they lost. Maybe next week!

Lastly, the Cowboys beat the Giants. We all know what happens next. Let the annual Dallas December Debacle commence.

What’s happenin??

Hey kiddos!! Didja miss me?? Alright, lets catch up on the happenings. Gonna stray away from my normal NFL ReKap.

I know I have been slipping on my coverage of the World Series but please tell me ya’ll have been watching. Thanks to another monster pitching performance by Jon Lester, the Boston Red Sox are now just one win away from clinching their third World Series championship in 10 years. If that does not interest you, then you should at least watch to see the dominance that is David Ortiz better known as Big Papi. This guy has been UNREAL in this series. If I recall correctly, he is 11 for 15 is batting over .750. Every time he steps to the plate, Kodak moment. Game 6 is Wednesday night in Boston. The Sox have a chance to clinch their eighth title in legendary Fenway Park for the first time since 1918. I guess you can tell who I am pulling for. #BostonStrong

Sooooo Dez Bryant snapped huh? I probably would have snapped too if I played for Dallas. They stay melting down. Ok. Ok. Let me focus. For real, I did not have a major problem with Bryant’s temper tantrum. Football is a heated sport and most players are very passionate about the game. Sideline tantrums are nothing new. Now Bryant probably does not have the clout yet to be outbursting…too much, too soon?? That slamming down of the Gatorade cups and pounding his fists on the table…definitely too much. Is this the beginning of their yearly episode of self destruction?? We shall see.

Man. Ya’ll just refuse to give the Kansas City Chiefs any props. Only undefeated team left and they are constantly left out of the top three in power rankings. They gets no respect. Probably because they are the Kansas City Chiefs. Carry on.

Forgot to tell ya’ll hockey is back! Happy. Happy. Joy. Joy. Go Canes!!!

The NBA season starts tonight. Oh joy.

Oregon took over the #2 spot in the BCS. Dropping FSU down to #3. Alabama remains #1. If all three remain undefeated, this is going to be one year the powers that be wishes they had the playoff system in place. Ah. Next year.

You know I do not comment often on the NFL and all the changes it has endured the past few years. However, while watching the Seattle/St. Louis game I got a little annoyed. Seattle’s Russell Wilson laid a nice dime in the hands of Golden Tate, while he had a DB draped all over him. Tate made a phenomenal play and in the process blew by the safety help as he trotted into the endzone. On his way to the endzone, Tate waved bye to the defense which resulted in unsportmanslike penalty.  Ugh. Really? For waving? That is the one thing I really wish the NFL would ease up on. Let guys celebrate. It is a competitive sport. If your thing is scoring and handing the ball to the ref then great. If your thing is scoring and cabbage patching after you do then great. Neither should be frowned upon. No one is getting hurt. Geez Louise. They better be glad I do not play. I would do the worm all the way to the endzone :-}.

Until next time…TOODELLS.

YESSSSSSSSSSSS!!!

YES! YES! YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!! THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE IS BAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!! Excuse me while my peeps and I celebrate…

 

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As far as predictions go, I have my 9ERS and the Broncos in the Super Bowl. This year I will finally be able to call us the SAN FRANSIXCO 49ERS!!!!!!

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Still loving my PANTHERS too…

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Riley Cooper, the n-word and my grandfather

I am sure you all have been wondering if I would address this particular incident. Almost three weeks have passed so I am assuming most of you thought that I would not. Wrong. here it goes…

My grandfather was one of the first blacks in the United State Marine Corps(a true piece of American history that I love to talk about). He served in the Asiatic Pacific Theater during World War II from May 1944 to March 1946. In May 1944, he was honorably discharged from the corps. Upon his return home, this American hero was subjected, indirectly and sometimes directly, to the ugliness of a particular six letter word.

The n-word.

Riley Cooper went there. With no hesitation. He parted his lips and uttered arguably the most offensive racial slur known to man. Big deal? No big deal? I will let you decide for yourself. Was Cooper wrong? Of course. Did he deserve to be punished? I believe fining him was an appropriate consequence. Does he deserve a second chance? Sure, he does. Do I understand if teammates and friends especially those who are black refuse to offer him that chance? Yes.  Actions have consequences.

I have heard many analysts and journalists express shock over the fact that this incident was considered “newsworthy.” According to some of them the fact that incidents like this happen on a daily basis, this particular incident should be no big deal.  They left out the part where Cooper was caught on video using the slur. They left out the part where in the last 10 years, the sports industry has not had to deal with this type of incident, publicly, not that I can recall. They left out the part about Cooper being an NFL Player, a professional athlete in the most lucrative professional sport in the United States and perhaps, the world. That alone is bound to get you on SportsCenter.

So what do I think about this whole situation? I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it is because I am such a happy go lucky person but I truly believe that most people are good people. They want to go to work, raise their kids, buy a house and try to make a difference in this world. None of us are perfect and some of us happen to make mistakes that drastically alter our lives.  And some of us happen to make mistakes that are magnified because we are in the public eye. What Cooper did was foolish. Unless he has been living in a cave at Mount Rushmore all his life, there is no way that he did not know the type of backlash he could experience from uttering the n-word especially in public.*plays Jamie Foxx’s *Blame It On the Alcohol”* At the same time, I think some people are truly naive when it comes to how deep that word cuts. I am not sure how you can be that naive in 2013 but it happens. A lot of people automatically assume that because someone utters a racial slur, they are indeed racist. I am willing to bet that almost every person on this earth could be qualified as a racist if that is the standard we are basing it off of. Yes, there are some people who are just downright prejudice. And then there are some of utter certain words around people whom they feel comfortable with. People that know them. People who would never think they are racist despite some of the things they say. For them, it is normal.

I do not know which category Cooper falls in to. Only he knows that for sure. However, from the amount of teammates and friends that have spoken publicly to defend him, I am willing to bet he falls into the category of those who are not racist but may utter a racial slur. How can this be? How can a person utter a racial slur and not be racist? Well Merriam-Webster defines racist as a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. With that definition as a basis, I do believe racial slurs can be uttered by people who are not racist. That might sound crazy but hey, this is my blog therefore I get to voice my opinion. I am sure at some point in our lives all of us have uttered a racial slur and I am sure not all of us are racist. Think about it. Think about the words you have used to refer to blacks, whites, Latinos, Asians, etc. We are all guilty of it. If you say otherwise, then you are not being honest with yourself.

The n-word.

The truth is I wish the n-word could just be eliminated. I wish black people would quit saying it. I wish white people would quit saying it. I wish other minorities would quit saying it. I wish rappers would quit saying it. I wish professional athletes would quit saying it. I wish. I wish. I wish. I wish people would stop defending the word. I wish people would stop saying it is ok to say it because the ending was changed from ‘er’ to ‘a’. I wish everyone had the opportunity or took time out of their busy schedules to talk with an older black man who experienced some extreme racism and let him share his wisdom about using the word as a “term of endearment.” I wish I could talk to my grandfather and hear his opinion on the situation. I am almost certain I know what his thoughts about it would be, he would be wishing for the same thing his first born granddaughter is.

Until next time…TOODELLS.