Blog Archives

Why does the media loves Tiger Woods?

woodsTiger Woods is not to golf as Lance Armstrong was to cycling. This is largely due to the fact golf is a sport of skill, judgment, of eye, and of mind. Meanwhile, cycling is a sport of endurance, power, drugs, equipment, and if it comes to it, tactics. While golf can be enhanced with PEDs, doping is cycling’s life blood.

But as Lance “I never failed a drug test” Armstrong has faded from view, the media remains fixated on Tiger Woods despite the fact he’s far from being the same golfer he was in his pre-bimbo eruption days. Back in the pre-scandal days, Woods somehow managed to stare guys down and… they’d blink. Today, at least in the majors, it’s always Woods who blinks. Sometimes, he even seems to close his eyes.

But the media still has a Tiger Woods fixation and the evidence that Woods is still favored by the media is heard in their words. It’s never “Woods,” instead, it’s always “Tiger,” even when he’s playing like a dog. (A PGA dog, but still a dog.)

Phil Mickelson and perhaps Bubba Watson sometimes approach the exclusive first name usage, but never get all the way there like Tiger does. The networks cut to Woods even when he’s out of contention for one basic reason: he’s Tiger Woods, the former great who people remember as being great and who someday, some hope, might return to greatness.

So why is the media so hung up on Woods? There are multiple explanations, many of them interrelated and reinforcing. There’s the money, that is, the media’s rooting might be based on Woods’ success because he draw a ratings crowd; he’s the multiracial guy in a predominantly white sport; there’s the hero turned villain who lost it all angle (note: he didn’t lose it all) who is now clawing his way back to the top, except in majors; you also have the chase for Jack Nicklaus’ majors record storyline. Finally, don’t forget the money, the gigantic gamble Nike has made on promoting and riding their fallen star. (Fallen stars if you include Armstrong.)

Even though Woods remains undedicated to the gentlemanly aspects of golf (smashing clubs, cursing and tantrums, rulebook non-compliance), these things will fade from mind as he enters the twilight of his golfing career, that is, right now. Soon, he’ll be as beloved as Arnie and Jack themselves. Why? Because he was once Tiger Woods, that’s why.

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Lance Armstrong and Rick Reilly

rick reilly at workYes, sports writers remain the bottom feeders of the journalistic fish tank. (While there are exceptions, they are the ones who prove the rule.)

Reilly, in his anti-Armstrong column It’s all about the lies, writes that he received an email from Lance which said, “I’m sorry,” and little more.

Reilly goes on to say what a fool he (Reilly, seen at right) was, basically acting as Armstrong’s stenographer. I’m shocked, shocked.

Reilly closes the column with this:

You’re sorry, Lance? No, I’m the one who’s sorry.

I have to disagree with Reilly’s assessment. They’re both sorry.

And per the pre-production meeting, Reilly got it first on Twitter.

Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, and PEDs

woodsNow that Lance Armstrong has confessed to what we’ve all known for some time, I’m ready for the next round of PED revelations. Such revelations could come from outside cycling and from sports requiring (merely) endurance, pain-tolerance, and anaerobic power, and might even include sports where mental focus can be pharmaceutically enhanced.

Like golf… maybe.

Back when Tiger Woods went through his sex-addict imbroglio, it was revealed he was using Ambien (and was said to have crashed his vehicle in an Ambien-induced stupor). Then, there’s also this:

Rachel Uchitel, 34, told friends that she and Woods took the sleeping pill Ambien before having sex, according to a U.S. website.

‘You know you have crazier sex on Ambien – you get into that Ambien haze,’ she is quoted as saying. ‘We have crazy Ambien sex.’

Beyond Ambien, there’s this (rhetorically offered from a Woods-PED naysayer):

His [Woods’s] association with Canadian Dr. Anthony Galea, who was indicted last October on federal charges of smuggling human growth hormone and other illegal substances into the U.S. and lying to border patrol agents … his waxed and buffed physique … his cluster of injuries … his well-documented marital infidelity. You have to work at it, but you can connect the dots.

Beyond all these things, what if Woods could get a drug which increased his focus like Adderall and/or Ritalin? Is that considered an illegal PED? (And complicating things more, what if he had a prescription? After all, if Woods has access to Ambien—we’ll assume it’s via a legal prescription—is an Adderall and/or Ritalin prescription somehow out of the question?)

However, if Woods is guilty of PED use, it’s unlikely we’ll ever know. His circle of courtiers is smaller and tighter than even Lance Armstrong’s and there’s no team in golf as there is in cycling. That and the fact Woods’s best days as a sports celebrity and golfer—drug enhanced or not—are far behind him mean it’s unlikely any PED use will ever come to light.

But it is an interesting topic.

Interesting observation, dude

These are such interesting times we live in. How so, you ask? Well, because we’re allowed to freely mix our metaphors and analogies! From Slate:

The Honey Badger, like Manti Te’o, is a cartoon character. But since Mathieu found himself on the sports world’s naughty list—troubled athlete, at the crossroads—he was the athlete who got a vetting more suited for a presidential candidate.

Yeah, Honey Badger got the Mitt Romney scrub while Te’o got the cartoonish Obama vetting.

From Sports Illustrated (incidentally, SI was an early perp of the Te’o myth):

Without doping, Lance Armstrong would be nobody.

Can’t disagree with that. Or in other words, in a sport where everyone cheats and lies, everyone is a cheat and a liar. (Although some are better at cheating and lying than others.)

From the New York Times on the legacy of Tim “What’s a 1040?” Geithner:

Mr. Geithner came to Treasury in the middle of a severe financial crisis, a set of problems that he helped to create and then worked hard to prevent from worsening. As president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, starting in 2003, he watched over – and failed to defuse – the buildup of systemic risk. In fact, the New York Fed was relatively on the side of allowing large, seemingly sophisticated financial institutions to fund themselves with more debt relative to their thin levels of equity.

This was a major conceptual mistake for which there still has not been a full accounting. In fact, blank denial continues to be the reaction from the relevant officials.

As history shows us, few things are more dangerous than an idiot with initiative (and without accountability). And speaking of President Obama, there’s this from Real Clear Politics:

Detroit is Obama’s America all inside of 139 square miles.

Yes, and Obama’s America—crony capitalism and borrowing 40 cents of every dollar spent in perpetuity (or at least until the out years)—will not end well. Things that can’t continue forever won’t.

One week of reveals of massive media fails

Quite a week we’re having here, isn’t it? As such, let’s review some recent media fails, which ironically, have now been revealed by the media to the media.

Notre Dame linebacker and Heisman trophy runner-up Manti Te’o didn’t have a real girlfriend and she didn’t have a car crash, have cancer, or die. The incredible lie was faked for months on end until it was revealed by non-traditional media source Deadspin. Others doubtless knew far earlier—like Notre Dame—but were too invested in the lie to bring the issue forward.

Lance Armstrong, media and Nike created hero, drug-based cycling champion, and cancer survivor, just wants to put the whole PED issue behind him—he says—as limited to the crying couch of the Oprah Winfrey show. The fact Armstrong stands to benefit by up to the near-total value of his estate ($100 million) by closing his cheating saga is not much discussed. Another storyline, that Armstrong attempted to destroy anyone who crossed him with the truth of his cheating, is even less pondered.

And of course there’s the media fail on the political front. President Obama knows his words speak louder than actions. That’s why his gun control power grab/photo op is much saluted by most of the media even if it wouldn’t have affected the Sandy Hook shooting in any way. Ignored by the media is a more fundamental issue: if the President can bypass legislation and process with regard to the Second Amendment, why not the First?

The President’s main mouthpiece says if just one child can be saved, Obama’s extra-Constitutional gun control is warranted. Our media fails to note the estimated 3500 children dying daily as a result of abortion were not available for comment.

Among the President’s promises leading up to the 2008 election were halving the federal deficit, increased employment, transparency, improved U.S. standing in the world (especially with Muslims, but consider Benghazi and the Arab Spring writ large), closing Gitmo, and increased political civility. His across-the-board failures on these topics drew little mainstream media attention in the run-up to the the 2012 election.

Did the media notice any of these things? Of course. But most didn’t think it was important enough to mention.

Our press is said to be free. It seems, however, that most of it is indentured to the left, to the government, and to its own mythologies.

Lance Armstrong, Tommy Vietor, and Benghazi

Lance Armstrong is a disgraced cycling super-doper who proclaimed his innocence until it was clear he couldn’t keep up the game in the face of a landslide of proof to the contrary.

Tommy Vietor is the spokesman for the National Security Council and he’s proclaiming the innocence of the White House with regard to the Administration’s security and foreign policy debacle in Benghazi:

… [Vietor] has said that despite some claims, there was no real-time video of the attack being watched in the Situation Room.

OK, let’s introduce the legal concept of quibbling. Vietor was not under oath and beyond that, his paraphrased statement doesn’t mean the real-time video wasn’t available, just that it wasn’t being watched (or that it wasn’t being watched specifically in the Situation Room). Was said video being watched at the State Department? In the Pentagon? In any other of the myriad government watch, operations, and intelligence centers?

As for recent stories suggesting otherwise, Vietor says, “the White House didn’t deny any requests for assistance. Period. Moreover, what the entire government did – the White House, State Department, Intelligence Community, Department of Defense included – was to work to mobilize all available assets and move them into the region as quickly as possible. That’s what the President ordered the Secretary of Defense and Chairman to do the first time he was briefed about these issues. Many of those assets were later used to reinforce embassies in places like Yemen, Libya and Egypt.”

Again, let us deconstruct the not-under-oath Vietor statement. First, perhaps someone in the Administration (far bigger than the White House) kept the request from being elevated to the White House (which is a location and only a vague organizational description).

Next, what’s the point “to mobilize all available assets and move them into the region as quickly as possible” if no assistance has been requested or none is anticipated? And if assets are available, what’s the point in avoiding discussion on whether or not they should be employed?

Conventional wisdom offers it isn’t the crime, it’s the cover up. Regarding Mr. Obama’s Benghazi problem, it’ll be the crime and the cover up.

And as for Lance Armstrong? Like Tommy Vietor, his public statements were not given while under oath.

Nike Announces Their Post-USADA Armstrong Changes

(Beaverton, Oregon, PMNS)

live wrongFollowing the United States Anti-Doping Association’s devastating proof of Lance Armstrong’s performance enhancing drug use across his cycling career, Nike, a firm notoriously loyal to their herds of hired athletes, has announced it will stand-down its support for Mr. Armstrong’s Live Strong foundation.

However, Nike founder Phil Knight has said the shoe giant will instead front a new Armstrong foundation tentatively called Live Wrong. “The days of Live Strong have come and gone. It’s time for a more realistic and traditional approach, something we feel there’s there’s already a market for and a built in audience.” Live Wrong will be incorporated in the Grand Cayman Islands which has less restrictive medical and banking laws than the United States, but Knight said the foundation would still “be global in nature.”

Live Wrong will advocate a non-traditional and somewhat controversial view of winning at all costs. The foundation will provide medical referrals, match drug using athletes to drug endorsing coaches, sell performance enhancing drugs, experiment with gene therapy, help launder money, and provide lawyers. The Live Wrong slogan is said to be “If you ain’t cheatin’ you ain’t tryin’ hard enough.” Two other slogans, “Dope or go home,” and “Get rich or die tryin’,” were rejected due to copyright concerns.

Live Wrong’s announced board of directors will include Victor Conte, Mark McGwire, Tiger Woods, Barry Bonds, Ben Johnson, Mr. Armstrong himself, and the late Florence Griffith-Joyner. Several honorary board positions will be manned by the East German women’s track team.

(Philup Nubia and Zerxes Jones-Smith from PMNS’s Mumbai Information, Research, and Translation Service enclave contributed to this article.)

Weeping and gnashing of teeth: Lance Armstrong’s fans and sponsors

Given the USADA data dump of their case against disgraced former cycling champion Lance Armstrong, how long is it before he gets this phone call?

Caller: Lance, this is Phil Knight. We’ve, uh, well, this is a little uncomfortable, but we’ve decided to put a lien on your estate for $127 million as it seems you may have violated the terms of your contract. Have your people get in touch with our people. Cheers.

Click.

Then will come the similar calls from Radio Shack, USPS, Motorola, Anheuser-Busch, Trek, Oakley, et al.

Advice for all of us: don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. Advice for Lance: remember the strategy of beloved ex-president William Jefferson Clinton–settle, settle, settle.

Why Lance Armstrong Went No Mas

lanceWhy did Lance Armstrong pull a no mas on fighting the accusations he doped? It was probably due to the overwhelming evidence the USADA had. From Sports Illustrated:

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency says 11 of Lance Armstrong’s former teammates testified against him in its investigation of the cyclist, revealing “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”

Lance told us it wasn’t about the bike. Clearly that’s true: it was about the drugs.

He [USADA CEO Travis Tygart] said evidence from 26 people, including 15 riders with knowledge of the U.S. Postal Service Team’s doping activities, provided testimony for the report. It was with the USPS team that Armstrong won all but one of his Tour titles from 1999-2005.

The lesson: be careful who you pick as your gods.

On a related note, the ESPN Films 30 for 30: 9.79* Advertisementwas a fantastic watch. Are there track and cycling studs that don’t dope?

And track and cycling are sports that tested, even back in the day. So how about sports that didn’t test for years, such as MLB? The results are pretty self-evident.

The icon and the iconoclast

the secret raceBarry Bonds was an icon. Mark McGwire was an icon. Roger Clemens was an icon. And yes, Lance Armstrong was an icon.

But regarding Armstrong, Tyler Hamilton is an iconoclast.

And there is an apparent lesson that Harvard can teach us: if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying hard enough. With Harvard, it would appear the most difficult part is getting in and the next-most difficult part is not getting caught.

I think we may need to more fully ponder the distinctions between live strong and live well.

Lance Armstrong’s Greatest Hits

Lance Armstrong as reimagined by Cheryl Crowe’s very best:

1. All I Wanna Do (is score some PEDs)

2. Soak Up The Steroids

3. EPO: My Favorite Mistake

4. The First IV Is The Deepest

5. Everyday Is A Winding ‘Roid

6. Leaving Las Hormone

7. Not Strong Enough

8. Rage In Your Eyes

9. If Doc Ferrari Makes You Happy

10. The Diuretic Kind

11. Painkilling Picture

12. Steve McQueen had cancer, too 

13. A Change of Needles Would Do You Good

14. Ergogenic Home

15. USPS Blood Bags: There Goes The Neighborhood

16. I Shall Not Believe 

17. The First IV Is The Deepest (Pharmacology Version)

18. Bonus Cut (with Raphael Palmeiro): Hey, Everyone Everyone Else Does It Too (and prove I’m wrong)

Call in the next thirty seconds and get a an autographed copy of the new Barry Bonds’ autobiography, My Head Ain’t That Big: It Was My Trainer, Fool.

Lance Armstrong and Barack Obama

Lance Armstrong asserted it’s not about the bike.

The US Anti-Doping Agency doesn’t disagree, but they think it is about the performance enhancing drugs. You say Lance never failed a drug test? Well, neither did Marion Jones.

The media reports Dem insiders think the 2012 election is about money.

…in a classic example of Citizens United-era subterfuge, a handful of the [Obama finance committee] attendees slipped away from the Renaissance Blackstone Hotel in the South Loop and headed to the bar. Over drinks, they met with Bill Burton and Paul Begala, leaders of the super PAC that is supporting Obama, Priorities USA Action, which is forbidden by law from coordinating with the campaign. Burton and Begala pleaded for help. “They said, ‘Don’t you know some billionaires you can send us to?’” says one of the finance committee members. “I tried to think of a couple.”

With every passing week, Democratic insiders are becoming more and more panicked that, by November, their Republican opponents will have buried them under a mountain of money.

Voters know it isn’t about the money. Rather the fall election is going to be a referendum on the presidency of Barry Oh!. To paraphrase Woody Allen, eighty percent of the election will be about Mitt Romney showing up.

And the media is not without a sense of irony, even if it’s inadvertent:

THERE’S ONE VERY OBVIOUS reason that Democratic super PAC fund-raising is lagging, and it can be gleaned from a cursory glance at the Forbes 400. “We’re not as rich as they are. It’s that simple,” says John Morgan, a personal injury attorney from Florida whose firm gave Priorities $50,000 and whom I reached as he waited on the tarmac for a flight to the French Open.

What a drag it is to only have John Morgan’s bank account when you want Warren Buffett’s.

Regardless, while it’s still early, the election is lining up in a way that is likely to be very ugly for the incumbent.

At least Jimmy Carter did the Habitat for Humanity thing for a while before reappearing as a unending plantar wart on the sole soul of America. I wonder what Barry will do (besides have someone ghost-write/invent his memoirs)?