Monday, February 28, 2011

SHEEN CHANNELS HIS INNER RICKY VAUGHN

Charlie Sheen gave new meaning to the "Wild Thing" during his
round of network interviews on Monday. One look into the eyes
of Sheen, told you he has gone off the reservation. Waaaaaaaay
off the reservation, and into a world where few have ever gone before.

Volatile, bombastic, and acutely psychotic, Sheen gave us the
most-riveting television since 33 Chileans were pulled to safety from
the deep, dark mines that almost became their tombs. It's clear the
mega-star of "Two and a Half Men" has reached the depths of self-destruction,
but unlike those miners, it doesn't appear he can be saved.

Watching Sheen's mind-numbing interview for the "Today" show, I
couldn't help but think of how much he reminded me of the character
Sheen  played in "Major League."  That could have been Ricky Vaughn
being interviewed by Bob Costas in "Major League 3", which incidentally,
Sheen has signed on to do.

Ricky Vaughn was gifted but reckless, fearless yet careless, mindless
but, still brilliant. They are the same traits Sheen has exhibited during his
transition from grossly talented actor, to walking time-bomb. Vaughn was
cocky, arrogant, and more than a bit narcissistic. Hearing Sheen state
that he was "tired of pretending like he's not special,"  and that he's a
"rock star from Mars," would have been something Vaughn might
have expressed after striking out the side with 102 MPH fastballs.

The stress, the drugs, and the alcohol may have taken him back to
his role as combustible pitcher in "Major League", where he said
to his boss after he thought he was getting cut. "I got news for
you Mr. Brown, you haven't heard the last of me. You may think
I'm shit now, but someday you're gonna be sorry you cut me.
I'm gonna catch on somewhere else and every time that I pitch
against you I'm gonna stick it up you're f-----g-a--s!

That was remarkably similar to Sheen's reaction to his bosses
at CBS after they shut down production of his show.

"I’m just gonna forewarn them, it’s everybody else who’s gonna
be begging me for their job back. I’m gonna live my life the way
I want, I’m gonna win inside every moment, and they can just find
the most comfortable chair in their small house and sit back and
enjoy the show.

Whether it's in sports, entertainment, or just life, everybody enjoys
a good comeback. People thought Robert Downey, Jr. was done after
his battle with drug and alcohol addiction, but he overcame his
demons to be a wildly successful actor once again. Sheen is
spiraling out of control, and it doesn't appear that anyone can
stop, or even help him.

Sheen's in the "Sober Valley Lodge" now, hoping he can overcome
his problems by himself. He is a self-proclaiming betting man,
but even the "Wild Thing" inside of him, can't like his chances.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

THE DEMISE OF SEAN SALISBURY


If the eyes are indeed the window to the soul, then it's pretty obvious
that Sean Salisbury is in a deep, dark place. Watching him on HBO's "Real
Sports" last week, I couldn't help but feel sympathy for a man who
admits to having "lost everything". Eyes sunken, face ashen,
his hair more salt than pepper, Salisbury looks to have blitzed past
middle-aged and gone right  into the line for senior citizens.
The regret and burden of making one colossal mistake, appears to
have sucked the life out of a man, who at times, was the life of every party.

Salisbury's weak moment and big mistake, came at an after party
at a Connecticut bar nearly five years ago. The ex-NFL quarterback
and ESPN analyst,  had taken a cell phone picture of his pecker
and shown it to a co-worker, which of course, is a no-no.
People talk, rumors fly, and the next thing Salisbury knew,
he was suspended by ESPN for a week. When his contract came
up for renewal in 2008, the world-wide leader passed and Salisbury
was on the street.

As an NFL analyst, the former USC quarterback wasn't great
at breaking down games, and his condescending attitude and the
vitriol he spewed towards NFL insider John Clayton, was both
unnecessary and uncomfortable. During one segment, Salisbury,
called Clayton "the crypt keeper." ESPN had an excuse to
drop Salisbury and they used it.

Salisbury lost a great job, but he would lose much more on his
path of self-destruction:  his reputation and any chance of making
a career comeback. In an interview with Deadspin, the website
which broke the story on Brett Favre's sext-messaging scandal,
Salisbury denied what most in the broadcasting already knew-that
he had indeed taken a picture of his genitals and showed it off.

Salisbury, who got fired from his first job after ESPN, working
at a radio station in Dallas, then made another significant blunder.
He chose to get into a text-messaging battle with Deadspin, threatening
to sue them for defaming him and promising to write a tell-all book
about the shenanigan's at ESPN. The more he texted, the more
Salisbury dug a hole for himself. Deadspin printed his texts for the
world to see and Salisbury came across looking like a deranged man
on the verge of a breakdown.

Last January, to cleanse himself and perhaps save what was left
of his career, Salisbury admitted that he did show a co-worker a picture
of his genitals. He also said that he was dropping his lawsuits against
Deadspin and wouldn't write a tell-all book against ESPN.

That's all well and good, but the damage has been done. Nobody in
broadcasting is going to hire a guy who has produced more baggage
than Samsonite. Oh sure,  people in the business have done things
worse than taken pictures of their pecker and been hired for other jobs.
Marv Albert comes to mind. But Salisbury is no Marv Albert. He's just
a former NFL back-up QB, who didn't stand out on television.
There is a line from Bristol to Boston with ex-NFL players who are
more talented than Salisbury as an analyst.

Second of all, Salisbury learned a valuable lesson that a lot of athletes
from Tiger Woods to Brett Favre didn't. Cell phone pictures and texts
can destroy you. And battling those who wield a mighty sword on
the Internet is suicide. The Internet is forever. Nothing can be erased
or taken back. Things got so bad for Salisbury in his battle with Deadspin,
his son e-mailed the editor of the website to ask them to lay off
his dad because he was going through a hard time.

At least, Salisbury didn't have to see his penis show up on the Internet
like Favre, Grady Sizemore, and Greg Oden. Those athletes suffered
tremendous humiliation, but didn't lose their livelihood. Salisbury did,
and I'm just hoping he can somehow find peace and serenity. Because
the road he's headed on now, doesn't appear to be a good one.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cam Newton an icon? Don't laugh

Cam Newton, the Heisman-winning quarterback, recently told
Peter King of SI.com that he considered himself not only to be a
football player, but an entertainer and icon, as well. Football
player, check. Entertainer, of course. But an icon? Did he really
say ICON? Yes, Newton did say icon. Talk radio went on overdrive,
columnists mocked him, bloggers blasted him, and the snickering
could be heard by NFL players from New York to Newport Beach.

But don't laugh. Didn't we do the same thing when Earl Woods said
that his Tiger would be as big as Muhammad Ali? And that was before
he ever won a major, and of course, before all of his philandering with
pin-ups, porn stars and prostitutes. And oh yeah, that waitress from
Denny's.

People can laugh all they want at Newton, but the rock-star QB might
just have the last laugh, seriously. He won the Heisman trophy and
national championship in his one year as a starter at Auburn. He dominated
the headlines and airwaves for almost 3 months because his father
was pimping him to a few colleges. The kid's already been on
Letterman and on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Two weeks ago,
he signed the largest endorsement deal ever given to an incoming rookie.
You don't think Under Armour is going to raise his profile just a little bit.
Commercials, billboards,public appearances. You are going to see his
big smile and affable personality everywhere.

Look at the guys who've made a name for themselves with half of Newton's
talent and resume. Chad Johnson is funny, personable. and has done a lot
with good talent. T.0.? Please, haven't seen him land one endorsement contract.
He's just the ultimate diva. The most popular players in the NFL are Peyton
Manning and Tom Brady. 1 and 1A. They get the endorsements and they make
millions of dollars.

Who else is a rock-star in the NFL. Reggie Bush? Yes, he did make a
lot of money from endorsements coming out of USC, and like Newton, he
won the Heisman trophy, and even dated Kim Kardashian. But he's not even
a starter and is clearly on the elevator going down. If a poll was taken of the
most popular football players, not just NFL ones, but all active football players,
I'd have to say it would go Manning, Brady, and Cam Newton.

Newton has got "it". The personality, good-looks, athletic ability, and resume.
I'll say it again. Heisman trophy. National Championship. And already, one big
endorsement deal. Others will follow, and so too, will the jealousy.

There is no doubt, other NFL players will test Newton's character and
toughness.Veterans will be upset because Newton will make more before
he ever takes a snap, than they will in their entire careers They will
play through the whistle and drive him through the ground. They
will mock him in training camp and leave him with a dinner
bill that nears the  GNP of Haiti. Yes, Cam Newton is going to be
tested physically and mentally.

However, this kid is 6'6, 250lbs. He is bigger than most linebackers and could
probably hold his own with a few down lineman. Mental toughness? Are you
kidding me? He played in the SEC. When the scandal broke about
his dad allegedly offering him to Mississippi State for $250, 000, Newton
became the most scrutinized player in the country. He didn't break
and certainly didn't snap. He just flashed his trademark smile and
said, "come get some." Newton played in the toughest conference in
the country, won the Heisman trophy, and the national championship.

Is Newton confident? Heck, yeah. But so what?. Anyone who's ever gotten
anywhere in this world knows how good he or she is. He's going to need that
confidence in the NFL because he's going to be humbled real quickly. Remember
John Elway? Newton hasn't had to deal with real failure in his career yet, but
he will experience it as a young QB in the NFL, guaranteed. His belief in himself,
just like Elway and Montana had, could help him get through the difficult times.

Cam Newton IS an icon in the state of Alabama and much of the southeast
already. Check back with me in a year, and see how many parents name their
kids, "Cam". It won't be because of Neely or Ward.

Yes,  Newton is on his way to laughing all the way to the bank, and
he will probably get the last laugh on all the people that laughed
at his belief that he'll reach "icon" status.

They are missing who?

Really? Knicks fans were worried the team gave up too much for
Carmelo Anthony? Were they really going to have separation anxiety
from watching Tomefey Mozkov leave the "world's most famous
arena." Could they not bear the thought of watching Dinillo Gallinari
hoist and heave 3-balls in the mile high air of Denver?

Come on, people.Are you going to miss those guys? It's kind of like going
from 8th grade to high school. Once you leave middle school, you never
think about your old teachers. Out of sight out of mind. Can't name one of my
old teachers from back then. Not one.

In these blockbuster trades, the old adage holds true: whomever gets
the best player wins the trade. Wayne Gretzky was traded for a king's
ransom in 1988. Does anybody really  remember who the Edmonton
Oilers got in return? The Boston Celtics sent five players to Minnesota
to acquire Kevin Garnett.  Can you name one of them?

When you have the chance to get a bona-fide superstar, you do it.
You're going to tell me that your scouting staff can't find another
Tomafey Mozkov? The only I time I heard Mozkov's name mentioned
before all the trade talk, was when Blake Griffin posterized him with
vicious dunk.  Used the Russian's head for an elbow rest on his way
to making the lead on "SportsCenter".  If Mozkov wasn't emasculated
after that one, he's a pretty tough guy. Tomafey Mozkov? What, Dwayne
Schintzus wasn't available?

This is New York. This is Madison Square Garden. The Big Apple
demands stars.They don't clamour for stiffs like Ed Whitson, Carl Pavano,
Luis Castillo, and Chris Duhon. It's all about glitz, glamour, and "it" players.
The A-rods, The Jeters,and even Mark Sanchez. Not middle-of-the road
players like Wilson Chandler. They can be replaced in New York City minute.

The buzz Carmelo Anthony has generated is priceless. He is a rock star
in shorts. Ratings for his first game were the highest in 16 years for MSG!
16 years!  Jersey sales are through the roof, ticket sales will go up, and the
Knicks will elbow their way on to the back pages of the New York Post
again. I was at a high school hockey game the night Carmelo made his debut. I
walked into the snack bar to find about 10 people huddled around the
television watching the game. One guy said to me, "It's the first time I've
watched a Knicks game in about 15 years." Enough said.

I guess the only negative that came out of this, was that Isiah Thomas'
name was brought up again. The man who destroyed the franchise with
his lack of genius,was somehow trying to take credit for helping acquire
Anthony. Please. James Dolan pulled the trigger, and finally hit his target.
The Knicks are the not the king's of New York, but they are certainly on
their way to taking over the Big Apple once again.