Quotes of the Week
“I call Twitter the microphone for morons.”
—Denver GM John Elway, at a NFL event, the career development symposium, Saturday at Penn’s Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia.
“The NFL is a unique work place. There are no secrets anymore. Technology has taken over and secrets are exposed. People are going to know what you’re all about. You have to make sure you have real honesty in the workplace or you’re going to be exposed.”
—Andy Reid, the Chiefs coach, at the symposium in Philadelphia.
“It is completely unacceptable that Daryl has once again put us in this position. We all know what the consequences are and will deal with them.”
—Arizona GM Steve Keim, in an unusually strongly worded statement condemning linebacker Daryl Washington, one of his best players, for being suspended for the 2014 season. Washington said he tested positive for marijuana.
“It’s a war. It’s on. I have no respect for him no more … You can’t be acting like a little girl out there … a little b—-.”
—Red Sox DH David Ortiz, on Tampa Bay pitcher David Price, after Ortiz was hit in the back by the first Price pitch he saw in 2014, the first time they faced each other this season, on Friday at Fenway Park.
Cool baseball drama. Last fall, Ortiz homered twice off Price in a playoff game at Fenway Park. On the second homer, which wrapped around the foul pole in right field, Ortiz stayed at home plate, waiting to see if it would be fair or foul; there was no question it was far enough to be a home run. When it went fair, Ortiz ran around the bases. Price evidently seethed. Ortiz said after the game Friday that he called Price in the offseason and smoothed over their differences stemming from the home run and Price’s alleged hard feelings about Ortiz being too slow to run around the bases.
Baseball is a fun game. It is also a silly game sometimes.
Stat of the Week
Every year, NFL officials are given points of emphasis for the new season. One of the big ones this year will be taunting. Not just the woofing or screaming in vanquished players’ faces; but excessive belittling language, and racially charged language too.
Amazing to me the numbers from last year on taunting. In 2012, officials threw nine penalty flags in 256 regular-season games for taunting. Last year, officials threw 34 flags for taunting, and there were another nine that the league officiating office would have deemed acceptable taunting calls.
So if there were nine taunting fouls in 2012, and if 43 such fouls could have been called in 2013, imagine what happens when officials are ultra-sensitive to make such calls in 2014. Either players will get see the quick trigger fingers the refs have and cut it out early this year, or there will be an epidemic of taunting calls this fall.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
Roger Goodell takes a trip every year to Silicon Valley to meet and talk to innovators in the technology, TV, social media and academic set. On one of his first such trips, he met with Steve Jobs, the Apple boss, who had one word of advice for Goodell: “Wifi.”
When you hear owners and club presidents and league officials say they’re intent on enabling all fans able to use their smart phones inside all NFL stadiums, you can trace that advice to Jobs.
One of my favorite press releases of the year came in the email box the other day—the one announcing the awarding of grants by Peyton Manning’s PeyBack Foundation. Manning’s charitable arm is giving out $1 million to charities in the states he’s lived and worked—Louisiana, Tennessee, Indiana and Colorado. This year he gave $10,000 to GreenLeaf Denver, which promotes urban agriculture so city kids can eat fresh fruits and vegetables and get used to working the soil; $8,000 to Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee; $8,000 to Kedila Family Learning Service of New Orleans, which fills some gaps in social services left by post-Katrina effects; and $4,000 to the anti-bullying Peace Learning Center of Indianapolis. It’s good to spread the seeds.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
I have heard of flight delays and I have heard of emergency landings, but what happened on a US Airways flight from Los Angeles to Philadelphia last Wednesday sets an American aviation record for incredulity. Lucky for all of us, Chris Law, a 30-year-old NFL Network producer—he handles Rich Eisen’s podcast and produces programming about fantasy football, the draft and the combine—was in row 10 of the plane and was an eyewitness, and nasal witness, to airline history.
And to Truffles the dog, who couldn’t quite control her bowels on the coast-to-coast flight.
“I fly US Airways all the time,’’ Law said over the weekend from Virginia, where he was attending a bachelor party. “I have status with them. I didn’t get an upgrade to first-class on this trip, but I did get a good seat in row 10, the emergency exit row. Before we board, I see this lady with a full-grown dog. I have never seen a full-size dog on a plane in coach. This dog had a service tag on it, and the lady looked healthy, fine. But whatever. I get on the plane, everyone boards, the lady and her dog go in back.
“A strange thing happens while we’re waiting to take off. They spilled 1,000 gallons of fuel on the tarmac. They had to add fuel to the plane. But they didn’t fill the tank all the way because of all this gas spilling. We’re on the L.A. tarmac for two-and-half hours while they take care of that. While we wait, this lady is walking her dog up and down the aisle.
“So we take off, and an hour or so into the flight, I have to go to bathroom. I walk to the back of the plane, and there’s a flight attendant with a drink cart; she can’t move it because there’s a blanket covering something on the floor with white powder in the middle of the aisle. I asked what happened. She says, ‘The dog went to the bathroom. We dropped some sanitation powder on it.’ I go back and sit down, mention it to a couple people. ‘That dog went to the bathroom back there!’ A lady near me laughs about it.
“So I’ve got a lot of room in this exit row. And then, maybe an hour later, I notice seven or eight passengers start moving aggressively down the aisle. I’m wondering what’s going on. Strange. The flight attendant comes up. She says, ‘The dog defacated again—for the third time.’ She goes, ‘People are getting sick back there. I think we’re going to emergency-land in KC.’ Up where we were, in row 10, very faintly we start to smell it. After a half hour I could really start to smell it. And the flight attendant says, ‘We’re landing in Kansas City. Hazmat’s got to come on board.”
“The pilot comes on. He says, ‘We have to emergency land. There is an issue in the back of the plane. We have to land the plane.’ ”
[Fellow passenger Steve McCall, contacted by “Inside Edition,” reported exclusively that Truffles had, and I quote, “fully fledged dog diarrhea.”]
Now back to Chris Law: “So we land. We stay on the plane. Hazmat is actually five guys in orange vests. They work on the problem for maybe 35 minutes. But by the time we’re ready to take off, so many people already know they’ll miss their connections or aren’t going to make it to their destination on time. A lot of people just don’t continue on the flight.
“This dog was like some kind of full-size poodle mixture. Biggest dog I have ever seen in coach. During the flight, when I went back there, the dog had a seat to itself. It was the woman on the aisle, the dog in the middle, and some poor guy in the window seat. I wonder how that guy felt when all that was going on. The lady seemed nice. She was asking people all around her, ‘Please give me your name and address. I will send you a Starbucks card for your trouble. I am so sorry.’
“But when we were in Kansas City, she and the dog got off. It was clear this dog was ‘serving’ no purpose. The woman was walking fine. The dog had its own seat. So when she got off, it was like a walk of shame. Her and the dog walked off. People were clapping when she got off the plane, maybe 10 or 15 people clapping. Some people were pretty pissed off. Two people missed their cruise to Greece. People missed their connections. A lady sitting near me was getting honored by a charity that she runs in Hartford that night, and had to make a speech there, but she never made it.
“I wasn’t in a rush to get anywhere that day, so all I could do was laugh about it. I want to say also the crew was really nice, and professional. But what a day.”
I will never, ever, ever complain about anything related to travel for the rest of my life.
At least until next week.
One last thing: A paper in Ireland headlined its story on the incident thusly:
A plane had to make an emergency landing
because a dog wouldn’t stop pooping
… with this subhead:
Hey, when you gotta go you gotta go
Or, perhaps, you’d like to see how Poopgate was portrayed by Italian TV, complete with footage from “Airplane:”
Tweets of the Week
Every pro team should watch the Spurs trophy presentations. No egos, no stars, head coach is hiding. It’s all about the TEAM
— John Middlekauff (@JohnMiddlekauff) June 1, 2014
Watched a cut-up of Mariota’s 31 TD’s. Only 6 were behind LOS (bubbles, smokes, shovel). Gets to #2 or #3 a lot more than I anticipated.
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) May 28, 2014
Former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah with his early analysis of the possible top pick in the 2015 draft, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Red Sox losing streak reaches ten. It’s like watching one of your good friends, normally sober, get drunk and puke on his shoes.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) May 26, 2014
Things have turned around since. They followed the 10-game losing streak with six wins in a row.
Returning a car in San Francisco is roughly like bringing home Apollo 13.
— Joe Posnanski (@JPosnanski) May 28, 2014
Extra f-ing innings again.
— Kevin Burkhardt (@kevinburkhardt) June 1, 2014
That was reaction of the New York Mets announcer for SNY, upon seeing the Mets—who had played 14 innings Friday night and then 14 innings Saturday—go to extra cantos again on Sunday in Philadelphia. The Mets won in 11.