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#DeflateGate Latest Dent in Indestructible NFL Shield

#DeflateGate. Such an awesome name, and an even better hashtag.

This has been an absolute disaster of a year for the NFL. Yet, considering their ratings, revenue, and continuing interest, it all says just about how much of a public relations hit the league can take and keep moving forward. 

Looking to move past the debacle that was the Ray Rice issue and some of the unflattering referee calls/game rulings we've seen this season (shout out to Dez Bryant on what SHOULD HAVE been a catch!), the NFL now has another - ANOTHER! - Patriots cheating scandal on its lap. Even worse is the fact that the scandal may have, possibly, could have, kind of, or quite possible have influenced the holiest game in American culture - The Super Bowl. 

What bothers me most about this is not the fact that the Patriots cheated, but the idea that some are either attempting to downplay the situation or gloss over it. So what they deflated the football. So what if it's not in line with league rules?!  Why have rules in sports? Why not just use a nerf ball? No big deal. Ok, sure, that's a big too far, but still, I think my point is clear. 

The glaring and unconditional pass the NFL receives in our society is amazing. I'll admit, I'm no super football fanatic. You know, the type who is tied to fantasy leagues and crazy about the game. The person who parks it on the couch every Sunday. I'm a fan of the New York Jets and I root for them when possible - if possible. They suck. But football as a sport ranks behind my love, baseball, which I am crazy about, and my second and third favorite sports of basketball and soccer respectively. 

Regardless, I have little to no faith in the NFL to discipline the Patriots, or at the very least, provide some type of justice in this scenario. Jets fandom aside, the Patriots broke the rules (I do agree that "cheated" is too strong a word), and did so knowingly to play in the ultimate game. Regardless, if the Colts looked like my hapless Jets on that Sunday evening, and regardless of if the Patriots played with properly inflated balls during the final 30 minutes of the game, the game rules were broken, intentionally. 

To knowingly defy the rules, in order to gain an advantage is the core ethical ingredient here, and such should be the focus. 

But again, this is a league that flubbed the Ray Rice issue and only did the right thing when pressured to do so. Coming off the heels of that issue, and the severe suspension Sean Payton received with "Bounty Gate", I'm very, very curious to see how this is handled. 

A insignificant monetary fine and possibly a forfeited draft pick? Maybe two? Sounds like a good guess.

But who knows? I've lost so much trust in this league this past season. 

But who cares, right? It remains King. And the Super Bowl is two weeks away! Yay! And that is all that matters. 

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Dear Son, 
The word is now spreading to more and more people about your existence, or eventual arrival - however, you prefer to look at it - and it feels like a fire that is now out of our control. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but as mentioned in prior letters to you, your mother and I are pretty methodical in how we divulge news about our private lives. 
Truthfully, your mother is definitely more willing to share news than I am, and you'll eventually see that one day. Maybe I'll change, who knows? But the truth is, because of the nature in how I grew up, in the neighborhood that I did, and really, the independence that I had to attain early on, I've always been late to share things with others. That's just who I am. It's probably why I have had this very blog since I was sixteen - to let those thoughts out somewhere.

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Division I Basketball is getting more and more difficult for me to watch and support. 
Just like I once laid out regarding my ethical feelings towards the NFL (and really, football, overall), thus is the same credence and feelings I have developing for Division I Basketball - mainly the NCAA's approach to it. Now of course, my feelings aren't something new as many share my thoughts and opinions on this - the NCAA is corrupt and college basketball is a sham. But for me, it goes even deeper - certain programs, coaches, and communities enable this exploitation of young men. And yes, many shy away from that word, but that's exactly what college basketball has become, an exploitation of services.

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 3/18/18

3 Up 
1. UMBC - I'm really struggling to watch these tournament games. The games have been entertaining, but morally, I can't stomach the exploitation of these young men (more on that some other time). Regardless, kudos to the young men of UMBC who made history this week. I'm thrilled to see such a program make headlines, and of course, for a coach from the DII and DIII ranks who did it the right way. 
2. UMBC Social Media Team - Yo, whoever is running the UMBC Twitter following their defeat of Virginia deserves a raise. There was some serious shade being thrown, and to be honest, everyone who was in their way in some ways, deserves it. 
3. 2018 Paralympics - Oddly, I watched a tremendous amount of these games and was totally in awe of the athletes. Shockingly, the hockey games were super entertaining to me. So much love and credit to those who participated, and even more importantly, continue to persevere despite disabilities. 
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An unusual but driven and idealistic lawyer finds himself in a series of events that forces him to his extremes, and ultimately, to make a decision on what he stands for. 
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