Saturday, June 29, 2013

PATRIOTS '81' JERSEY TRADE IS IMAGE SCRUB


The sight of several Patriot fans wearing jerseys with the number 81 on them, cheering
wildly as Aaron Hernandez was driven away from a court house made me cringe, so I
can imagine how owner Robert Kraft felt when he saw the same scene. I'm sure he wanted
to throw up.

The very next day, the Patriots announced that fans who bought jerseys with the name and
number of Hernandez, can trade them in for another jersey, free of charge. It's a nice gesture
by a first-class organization, seemingly one that demonstrates their commitment to the fans,
but this move is all about the Patriots and their image. This is nothing more than an image
scrub, as it tries to rinse everything Aaron Hernandez out of their organization.

Aaron Hernandez was a star playing for the most high-profile team in the NFL. He wore a
popular number with a team that was on national television more than any other team in
the league over the past three years, or the length of Hernandez' NFL career. He is accused
of one murder, and possibly two more. This isn't Ray Lewis or Rae Carruth, who played
on mediocre teams and "allegedly" played a hand in homicides. This is an accused, cold-
blooded killer playing for a team that America both loves and loves to hate.


Hernandez is accused of actually pulling the trigger and killing a man execution-style.
Unlike the cases of Carruth and Lewis, this happened in the age of Twitter, Facebook, and
a television world obsessed with wall-to-wall coverage of riveting stories. This is the kind
of attention that every franchise fears and the type of stain that is deep and won't go away
easily.

Robert Kraft spent more than 20 years trying to build a model NFL franchise, one that
was close to squeaky-clean and the envy of many organizations around the league. He
erected a beautiful stadium, won Super Bowls, and had the all-American boy, Tom Brady,
as the face of the franchise. It took just one night for Aaron Hernandez to cheapen it and
put a giant stain on the 'Patriots Way.'


With the '81' jersey swap, Kraft is trying to scrub that stain away. He doesn't want to see
that number in the stands, on the street, or national television. As an organization that
doesn't retire numbers easily, I can almost guarantee that '81' will be retired for the
upcoming year. The sight of it is painful for an organization that has done so many things
right, and this number is a reminder of their biggest mistake: drafting Aaron Hernandez.

The Patriots knew  the background of Hernandez before drafting him. They had
full knowledge of his failed drug tests, hair-trigger temper, and the crowd he hung out
with. So did the 31 other teams that didn't draft the best tight end in the nation in the
first three rounds. Everybody knew what they could possibly be getting in a player who
had the size of a tight end, but ran like a wide receiver. Hernandez was a game-changer,
yet, he lasted all the way until the fourth-round, a spot normally reserved for players you've
never heard of and from colleges that you didn't know existed.


The Patriots gambled on Hernandez, hoping the 'Patriots Way' could keep him in line.
It couldn't. Perhaps, if Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Rodney Harrison and Willie McGinnest
still ruled that locker room, the Patriots would've had a chance to keep Hernandez from
going off the rails, but the crowd that takes up the locker space at Gillette Stadium is
just not as strong as it used to be.

The front-office compounded their mistake of drafting Hernandez by giving him a
lucrative contract extension they didn't have to. He was just two years into a 5-year
contract, and the Patriots could've waited to see if Hernandez had truly changed his
stripes. They lavished him with a $40 million contract, $12 million of which was fully
guaranteed. It was another huge mistake by an organization that makes very few of them.


The drafting of Hernandez turned out to be the biggest one in franchise history, by far.
One man has damaged the image of an organization significantly. It is ugly and a public
relations nightmare.

When Robert Kraft sees a fan with an '81' Patriots jersey, I'm sure he'd offer them 
$100 on the spot to acquire and then burn it. He can't do that, so Kraft and the organization
are doing the next best thing: offering the fans a jersey swap, free of charge. It's a small
step in the cleansing process, but it brings the Patriots a step closer to rinsing Aaron
Hernandez out of the organization for good.

Friday, June 28, 2013

'PATRIOTS WAY' WAS ALWAYS A FARCE

Turns out that Andre Agassi was really off the mark when he proclaimed that "image is
everything" in his commercials for Canon in the early 1990's. Many athletes who carefully
crafted their images into super heroes like Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, and even Manti'
Teo, didn't exactly turn out to be the people we thought they were, did they?

After the recent murder charge against Aaron Hernandez, you can add the New England Patriots
to the list of those who couldn't measure up to the image they helped create for themselves.


In the early part of the 2000's, the New England Patriots, like Armstrong and Woods, put
together a dominant stretch where they seemed not only unbeatable, but untouchable as well.
From 2001-2004, they went 48-16 and won three Super Bowls. In this day and age where
every streak, gimmick offense, and successful team gets tagged with some kind of name or
phrase, New England's winning formula was the 'Patriots Way.' After all, there had to be
some reason why the Patriots were so much better than everyone else.


They had an owner in Robert Kraft who seems to be a stand-up and morally strong type
of guy. He even looks like a really sweet person. (Not sure the state of Connecticut thinks
that way after Kraft used and abused them to get a new stadium in Foxborough)

And who better to be the face of the franchise than Tom Brady, the All-American boy
who says all the right things and has the supermodel on his arm. There were high-character
people in the locker room like Willie McGinnest, Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Matt Light,
and a host of others. There was the perception the team drafted and signed only those players
of high-moral fiber and great character. Life was certainly good for the Patriots.


During their incredible run, where they established themselves as a dynasty and a model
NFL franchise, few, if any players, got in trouble with the law. Was every player squeaky-clean
during that amazing era? I highly doubt it. When you're the New England Patriots, who have
just filled up the trophy case with three silver items with the name, Lombardi, on them, winning,
as Tiger Woods likes to say, takes care of everything.

Bill Belichick brought in players like Corey Dillon and Randy Moss, two high-profile
malcontents, with shady pasts that included police mug shots, to help fortify the roster and
make Super Bowl runs. Dillon and Moss were perceived as bad guys and 'locker room cancers',
but the 'Patriots  Way' would make them fall in line with the program. Both of them contributed greatly to the Patriots, but their true colors eventually came out and Belichick got rid of them
before they poisoned everybody else.


The fact is, the Patriots are no different than any other team in the NFL They can do background
checks, talk to coaches, and even follow them around, but the bottom line is, drafting and
signing players is a crap shoot and you have to be extreme lucky. Nodody could've foreseen
Javon Belcher  pumping nine bullets into his girlfriend and then killing himself. After all, he was given  psychological tests before the NFL draft. How could that possibly happen? It's life. bad
things happen to the nicest people everyday.

Scouts fell in love with JaMarcus Russell's arm, but they failed to recognize he had a ten-cent
head. General managers admired Ryan Leaf as a quarterback in college, but nobody saw what
he was really made of until it was too late. Talent, not character rules the NFL. Teams thought
the rocket arm of Russell could hide his bad work ethic and attitude. It didn't.

The Patriots are a smart organization from top to bottom, but they simply got lucky drafting
players who didn't show up on the police blotter during their incredible run. The perception
of their franchise was they did everything right because they were smarter than everyone else.
That was false. They just got a little bit luckier.
 

How come nobody talks about the New York Giants and their so-called, "Way"? They beat
the Patriots in two Super Bowls and are a very well-run organization. Oh, I guess, Plaxico
Burress ruined their image by shooting himself in a nightclub which led him to spending
two years in a federal prison.

The Patriots, like Armstrong and Woods, aren't the people we thought they were. Do people
forget about SpyGate? The NFL fined Belichick $500,000 and took away a first-round draft
pick because they caught got filming other teams signals, which is illegal.

And Belichick is a sore loser who often exhibits poor sportsmanship at the end of games
he doesn't win. Is that the 'Patriots Way.'?

Tom Brady left his pregnant girlfriend for a super model. Some would say that shows poor
character and judgment. Is that the 'Patriots Way'?

Rodney Harrison tested positive for PED's during his career in New England. Is that part
of the 'Patriots Way'?

The Patriots knew about the shady side of Aaron Hernandez when they drafted him.
Belichick is the smartest man in the NFL and he knows everything about everyone. He
wanted Hernandez because he was an incredibly talented and versatile player with great
'upside.' The Hoodie hadn't won a Super Bowl since 2005 and the window with Brady is
closing pretty fast. He felt the 'Patriots Way' would keep Hernandez in line. Man, was he
ever wrong.

The Patriots took a chance on Hernandez, just as they did with Albert Haynesworth and
Chad Ochocino, who didn't exactly fit the mold of the "Patriots Way." But their luck ran
out and it hit them hard. After Hernandez got arrested, the team followed the 'Patriots Way'
and cut  him, essentially washing their hands of him.

This stain will be on the Patriots for a long time and it just may have proved that the
 'Patriots Way', like the image of Armstrong and Woods, was just a creation that got
exposed and brought down because people are what they are: human and capable of making
catastrophic mistakes.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

AARON HERNANDEZ: BEYOND BELIEF! REALLY?


"How he screwed up his life like this is beyond belief."

"He just threw away his entire career, and for what?"

"He had everything and now he'll have the rest of his life to think about it?"

Many people around the country were saying those things about Aaron Hernandez as he
took the perp walk on his way to a court house where he was charged with the murder of
a "friend" on Wednesday. The Pro Bowl tight end had everything; fame, fortune, and talent
from the God's that few people are blessed with. How he blew everything in this fashion
is beyond belief. Or is it?



In 1999,  we couldn't believe that Rae Carruth of the Carolina Panthers would conspire to
kill his girlfriend who was 8 months pregnant. He ruined three lives because he didn't want
to have to support another child. Really?


It was supposed to be beyond belief when we saw Ray Lewis walk into an Atlanta court house
13 years ago to face murder charges. Didn't we say the same thing after Michael Vick went off
to federal prison after fronting a dog fighting operation and lying to the authorities? He
destroyed everything for that?


We were stunned  when Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Javon Belcher pumped nine bullets into
the mother of his child, then blew his brains out in front of his coaches.  Belcher was mad at his
girlfriend  partied too much, yet he was sleeping with other woman. He killed a person and
then himself over that?

Weren't we incredulous when veteran receiver Donte Stallworth killed a man while he was
drunk  out of his mind in Miami several years ago? Yep, those extra shots he had at the bar
must have been worth it.

Oh, and don't forget good ole Plaxico Burress. The former Giants receiver brought a concealed,
unregistered weapon into a New York City night club. He didn't kill anybody, but he shot
himself in the leg, then spent two years in prison. His stupidity cost him millions of dollars
and two solid years of productivity on the field.


What we saw on Wednesday is what we have seen many times before, so why did we think
the arrest of Hernandez was "beyond belief?" Shouldn't we be immune to the self-destructive
acts  of these professional athletes?  If you throw in the indecent behavior of Lance Armstrong,
Tiger Woods, Manti' Te'o, and Rick Pitino over the last five years, can any of us actually be
surprised by anything anymore?

For some strange reason, however, we are. People around the country were riveted to the
drama taking place inside the court house just outside of Foxborough, Massachusetts this
afternoon. We labored to make it through ESPN's wall-to-wall repetitive coverage complete
with the legal speak of Roger Cossack, who is wrong more often than your local weatherman.

We  couldn't believe what we were seeing, although we've seen it many times before. The NFL
is starting to see  these types of things in their sleep. Since the Super Bowl, 28 players in
the league have been arrested. 28! I'm sure Roger Goodell and his men behind the NFL shield
are used to it by now. They certainly can't be surprised. And neither should we.

The legal process is just beginning for Aaron Hernandez. There's a chance he may never get
out of prison, but there's also a chance he may play in the NFL again, as well. We saw that
with Ray Lewis and Donte Stallworth,. When they escaped serious prison  time and returned
to the NFL, we all thought it was "beyond belief" as well.
 

If Hernandez somehow walks, too. We shouldn't be surprised at that either. As we've seen in
the sports world over the last two decades, there isn't anything at all that makes us say to
ourselves and others, "that's beyond belief". Nothing is anymore. Not in the NFL, and not
around the neighborhood corner.

Aaron Hernandez is not the first NFL player to be shackled and chained going to face a judge,
and something tells me, he's far from being the last.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

PLAYING THROUGH PAIN: IT'S WHY I LOVE HOCKEY PLAYERS.



It's why I love hockey players

Patrice Bergeron is why hockey players are the toughest athletes in professional sports. The
Bruins center played Game 6 with a broken rid, separated shoulder, and torn cartilage. Are you kidding  me? Bears quarterback Jay Cutler twisted his knee during a playoff game two years
ago and was sill standing, but he waved the white towel  and didn't return to help his team try
to win.

It's why I love hockey players.

Andrew Shaw of the Chicago Blackhawks got drilled in the face with a puck in Game 6 and
was practically sipping from a pool of own blood. Dazed and confused, Shaw went to the
locker room, got stitched up and returned to help his team win the Stanley Cup. He didn't
even put on a protective shield to shield his stitches from possibly ripping apart. Carl Crawford
of the Los Angeles Dodgers feels a twinge in his hamstring and he goes on the disabled list for
60-days.
 

As the Stanley Cup Final between the Chicago Blawkhawks and Boston Bruins clearly
demonstrated, hockey players are resilient, passionate, incredibly hardworking, but most of
all, tough. The series gave us six brutally competitive games, but if you add up all the
overtimes, it came out to more than seven.  They battled fiercely, dishing out big body
checks, and took them, as well, squeezing every ounce of sweat out of their bodies, with
one goal in mind: winning the Stanley Cup.


It's why I love hockey players

In baseball, if you get hurt, you go on the disabled list. If you get injured, you go into the
witness protection program. Hockey players don't get hurt, and if they get injured, they never
show it. Oh, the 25 stitches across their forehead might give it away, but hockey players never
let anybody see they might be in pain.

Four years ago, Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith took a puck to the mouth and ended up
spitting Chick-lets. He lost seven teeth! Seven. Did he go on the disabled list for 15-days?
Hell, no. He went to the locker room, got sewed up and returned to play in the same game.
Unreal.


It's why I love hockey players.

There are no athletes in any sport, anywhere, who endure so much physical pain as hockey
players. But they never show it. They are the toughest athletes in professional sports. I just
wis the entire country would appreciate it like many fans in hockey do. They really deserve more
attention and admiration than they get. But they would never complain about it.

It's why I love hockey players

Saturday, June 22, 2013

AARON HERNANDEZ AND THE RUSH TO JUDGEMENT


If you read the Boston papers over the past week, you probably think that Aaron Hernandez
is the anti-Christ. Nearly every article painted him as a bad guy who attracts trouble like Kim
Kardashian garners attention. Druggie, hood, thug, criminal were put in print, everything
else but the word "murderer" was added for emphasis.

And to think, the guy hasn't even been arrested.

The dirty spotlight shined on Hernandez after an "associate" of his was found dead less than
a mile from his home near a rental car registered in the name of the Patriots tight end. In this
Twitter-obsessed, be first, rush-to-judgment world, Hernandez was guilty in taking part of
the execution-style murder of 27-year Odin Lloyd.


As soon as news of the homicide broke, local and national news stations were camped outside
of the home of Hernandez in North Attleboro, MA. Helicopters followed him to Gillette
stadium, then reporters ambushed him while he was getting gas. Hernandez refused to answer
any questions, which to most airheads, represented his guilt.. As Hernandez made his way to
Boston in his white Audi SUV, comparisons to OJ's white Bronco chase emerged almost two
decades after Simpson was accused of double-murder.

Hernandez didn't help his part in our "perception is reality" society. He had the audacity to
wear a black-knit hat on a summer-like day along with a black hooded-sweatshirt. By golly,
he just LOOKS guilty a lot of people would say.



Has Hernandez even been charged with anything yet? I don't think so.

I'm not defending Hernandez or saying that he's innocent. But one thing is for sure, he's
already been convicted in the court of public opinion.

The public reads an article or hears a report on television and they surmise that he must be
guilty, because after all, (insert sarcasm here) if it's in the papers, on Twitter, or television, it
must be true.

We all thought that after John King of CNN told us the bombing suspect in Boston had
been arrested and he was a "light-skinned black male," didn't we?

We all thought that when news anchors told us the Newtown shooter was Ryan Lanza, who
killed his Dad in New Jersey, then travelled to Sandy Hook Elementary School where he
kill his mother who was a substitute teacher at the school. Wrong, wrong, and wrong again.
It was Adam Lanza, who didn't kill his father, and his mother wasn't a substitute teacher at
the school.


On Thursday, media reports, citing the always popular "sources", said Hernandez would
be arrested for obstruction of justice because he, not even allegedly, smashed his cell
phone to pieces, destroyed the home surveillance system, and had a team of cleaners come
in to "scrub down" the house. On Friday, one news organizations reported that yes,
Hernandez would definitely be arrested. Tick, tock, tick, tock. Friday came and went and
that didn't happen. Saturday came and went, and is still didn't happen. Darn, I hate when
those sources are wrong.

Investigators brought dogs, crow bars, and a bunch of baggies to search the home and
cars of Hernandez on Saturday. This was going to be the big day that Hernandez would be
taken down and everybody would rejoice. Investigators left near dinner time, but Hernandez 
wasn't in handcuffs for his perp walk.


Most of  those watching or reading at home were incredulous. How could they not have
arrested Hernandez, at least for obstruction of justice charges? I mean, he destroyed evidence,
didn't he? All those CSI fans believed that alone is worth up to 10 years in prison.

Perhaps, investigators don't have as much evidence as the public thought they had to make
an arrest. Maybe, all those media reports with their "sources" were wrong. I've covered
police blotters daily in a rough section, as well as crime scenes and investigations. That's
in a small town. I can tell you this: the police dislike the media and won't screw up an
investigation just so they have something for the evening news. Especially when all of
New England and much of the country is watching. Their is usually one voice for the police
department and one voice only. Whoever else talks, jeopardizes their career, and most
wouldn't do it  just so bubble-headed bleach blonde has something for her live shot.

The truth is, none of us, not you, me, or the media knows exactly what is going on. We
don't know if Hernandez pulled the trigger, told somebody else to pull the trigger, or
drove the trigger man back to his place for milk and cookies. Nobody knows outside
of the police and they probably don't even know at this stage. They could be trying to
squeeze Hernandez with all these searches or whatever.


The media and much of the public wants an execution, not an investigation. It seems as
if they want nothing more to say than, "I knew it. I told you so. He's a thug." They want
to see Hernandez in prison probably so they can be there and cover the story when he
gets out.

He may never go in, and he may never get out. But it's not for the public to decide,
especially when they don't have all the facts. Just because a man looks incredibly guilty
doesn't mean he is.

There have been plenty of men falsely accused and convicted, spending more than 20
years behind bars. A few of them have been released, and you can look it up, because
there was a rush to judgment and the facts were presented in an unfair way. They were
made to look guilty when they never were.

Slow down, everybody, we don't need to see another rush to judgment here. Let the
facts come out and go from there, but to convict Aaron Hernandez so quickly is just
wrong.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: UM, SORRY. OUR SOURCES WERE WRONG

On the information super highway littered with Twitter, 24-hour channels and reporters
falling all over themselves to get the scoop, there have been some major catastrophes lately.
Who can forget John King of CNN telling the world on live television that a suspect had been arrested in the Boston Marathon bombing case? He also described the suspect as "light, black-
skinned male." A city on edge exhaled and was relieved that law enforcement officials had
a dangerous person in custody. Oops! King was dead wrong and had all kinds of nasty egg
on his face.

Media reports were also way off the mark in the Newtown shooting tragedy. At first, Ryan
Lanza was identified as the shooter and in the frenzy of the breaking news, he supposedly shot
his father in New Jersey, then travelled to Newtown, entered the elementary school, and shot
his mother who was working as a substitute teacher there. Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong
again.

Journalism and the broadcast media have definitely changed over the years. The motto had
always been 'get it right.' But that seems to have morphed into 'be first, be fast, and worry about
the facts later.' Accountability? Non-existent. Credibility? That's hilarious. All these local stations
are so anxious to say, "As Fox 88 reported first...." and have their promotions department make
a glitzy commercial bragging about their scoop, they lose sight of the most important thing and
that's getting it right.

As all of Boston, New England, and a good part of the country is focused on the homicide case
involving Patriots star Aaron Hernandez, the media is being reckless with their facts again, all
in an effort to be first, fast, and compelling.


On Thursday morning, multiple media reports, citing the always concrete unidentified "sources",
said that Hernandez was likely to be arrested some time during the day. Better get a Snickers,
because were not going anywhere for a while. It still has yet to happen.

After there was a lull in activity, reports, according to "sources",  surfaced that Hernandez had
a cleaning company "scrub down" his house on Monday. In addition, according to "sources",
the attorney for Hernandez turned over a cell phone to authorities that was "in pieces." Finally,
a surveillance system was, "according to sources", destroyed.

And just as in the Boston bombing case and Newtown tragedy, the public bought into everything
it read, heard, and saw on television and the Internet. They read about the cellphone, "scrub
down", and a surveillance system that was destroyed, and figured, hell, if it's on the news,  it
must be true. LOL. Don't people ever learn? Why do we believe everything we hear?


First of all,  do you think a 23-year old man making four million dollars a year  is going to
clean his own house? Is it possible that he has a cleaning service come in every Monday
to spit-shine the entire house? Do you think paying them 75 bucks is a big deal for a guy living
in a multimillion dollar home? How many people do you know making 4 million dollars a
year, clean their own house? Give me a break. That could've been a total coincidence.

Why is a cell phone given to the police "in pieces" significant? All law enforcement officials
have to do is subpoena the cell phone records of Hernandez and they have everything they
need. Time of phone calls and who they were from or went to. They don't need a cell phone
in tact to determine that. Right, I guess they just wanted to see the pictures of Hernandez flexing
in the mirror. Who hasn't dropped their cell phone and seen it come apart in three different
pieces? This report about the phone "in pieces" is irrelevant.


As for the surveillance system,  there is a chance it wasn't even put together or even
functional. If Hernandez wanted to get rid of it, he could've done that easily. What, do you
think he's dumb enough to take a baseball bat to it and just leave it there in a million pieces
for the police to find?

The police haven't released any statements and I don't think any on them are allowed to be
on twitter to tell the world what they've discovered. Yes, there are some reporters who have
"sources" within the police departments who get tidbits, but there aren't many law enforcement
officials who are going to jeopardize the investigation or their careers to give a reporter a
"scoop". Most police officials detest the media anyway, and are never in the mood to help
them out.

Local stations and networks have camped outside of Hernandez' house. Helicopters are
shadowing his every move and reporters are stalking him at the gas station. It's insane! But
it's all about ratings and getting the compelling shot and story---even if it's wrong. It seems
that many of these stations and networks, in an effort to keep up with the competition, just
throw stuff up on the wall and hope it sticks. If they're wrong, to hell with it.

I'm waiting for the day when  an anchor opens the show by saying, "Our bad, we were wrong,
we got our facts terribly wrong. Our "sources" sucked. We apologize." Fat chance of that
happening. News stations never want to bring bad attention to themselves or admit they
were wrong.

But the public will just continue to buy what they are selling, because if they say it, it must
be true, which in this day and age, couldn't be further from the truth.

NESN'S PATRICK GAMERE: ALWAYS ON THE MONEY


Patrick Gamere is to videography what Steven Jobs was to technology: pure genius. When
he puts a camera on his shoulder,  he creates magic like Ozzie Smith often did with his glove.
Gamere has the eye of a trained Navy SEAL sniper and, like Larry Bird,,  often sees things
develop before they actually happen.

Gamere is a longtime videography working for American's best regional network, NESN. He
has been on a spectacular run in the city of champions, covering the likes of Bruins, Celtics,
Red Sox and Patriots. A former basketball standout at Framingham State,  Gamere has an
uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time, and is often photographed by
others doing it.

On Tuesday night at Fenway Park, Gamere was assigned to cover the Red Sox game against
Tampa Bay, which ended with a walk-off home run by Johnny Gomes. There was 'G', as he's
known by his fans throughout the region, following Gomes as he touched down at home plate.


The photograph illustrates what Gamere is all about: passion, focus, talent, and commitment.
Gamere makes something that's really difficult, look easy. Holding a 20-lb camera free-handed
in the middle of a scrum can be a challenge, but Gamere is a total pro. He got the money shot
for NESN.

Gamere certainly knows how to get the money shot. He uses his vast knowledge of sports
and has a sixth sense when it comes to knowing what scene in the locker room or on the field
will make for a memorable image. When the Celtics won the NBA title in 2008, there was
Gamere in the post-game celebration, camera perched up high, standing behind Kevin Garnett
who was celebrating his first championship. Priceless.


As a videographer for NESN and working in the sports tradition-rich city of  Boston, everyday
is like Christmas for Gamere. If he's not covering the Patriots on a run to the Super Bowl, he's
with the Celtics or the Bruins or the Red Sox. It's a dream job, but few do it better than Gamere.
He was recently awarded an Emmy for his videography brilliance. He is a valued employee at
NESN, one with a tremendous work ethic, dependability, and commitment. Gamere takes his
job seriously, but has fun doing it. Who wouldn't working at NESN and covering the best teams
in sports?


Gamere reminds me of the former Chicago Cubs great, Ryne Sandberg. He's pretty quiet, stays
on an even keel, loved by his teammates, and delivers an MVP performance nearly every
night, but never says, "look at me, look at what I did, aren't I great?'


Gamere works on a great team of photographers along with the wily veteran John Phillip Martin,
Byran Brenan, and Chris Del Dotto. They all love what they do, and do what they love. It's
a great group of guys, who are having the times of their lives.

He may not show it, but Gamere has the biggest smile of them all as he goes to work. He
is living his dream and knows that on any given night, he could get the shot that everybody
in New England will remember forever. And he often does.








Wednesday, June 19, 2013

JIMMY HOFFA AND TOP 5 THINGS INVESTIGATORS FIND


5. HOFFA WEARING TEBOW JERSEY. Even though he's been dead for more than 30
years, Jimmy Hoff, miraculously, is wearing a Tim Tebow New York Jets jersey. When reached
for comment, Tebow says, "My Lord and Savior works in mysterious ways." Jets owner Woody
Johnson wants to claim the jersey so he can auction it off to his season ticket holders, and Bill
Belichick says, "It is what it is. We think Tim's a good football player."


4. HOFFA HAS IPHONE IN HIS POCKET.  Investigators find an IPhone in the pants pocket
of Hoffa that's still working. When they go through the pictures, they discover one from Anthony Weiner titled, "Rocket Pocket."


3. A-ROD IS WITH HIM. A-Rod hasn't played for so long, everybody's pretty much forgotten
about him. and don't know where he is. (As if anybody cares) Investigators are shocked to find A-Rod next to Hoffa still breathing and with a syringe in his butt-taaaaaks.


2. HOFFA HAS BUSINESS PLAN FOR FACEBOOK. Investigators are shocked to
find a binder enclosed in plastic sandwich wrap that has detailed plans for a social network.
Upon hearing the news, the Winklevoss twins plan to sue the estate of Hoffa for $900, claiming
intellectual larceny.


1. HE COMES ALIVE---FOR 10 SECONDS. When investigators nudge the skeleton of
Hoffa, it comes to life and does the Harlem Shake, Gangnum style. What entertainment??!!!
Geraldo Rivera captures the event on his cell phone camera, but when he plays it to a nationally televised audience, there is nothing on it.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

STEVE GLEASON: A HERO DEFINED


Before Monday, not many people other than hardcore football fans knew of Steve Gleason.
Very few people outside of New Orleans were familiar with his story. That all changed thanks
to the malicious and callous act of three sports radio jocks in Atlanta. For some reason, perhaps,
to get a cheap laugh, they chose to mock Gleason, who is dying from ALS. They actually
produced a skit that had someone acting as Gleason being interviewed live on-air with the
answers coming from a computerized voice.

In the annals of sports talk radio history, this could have been the worst attempt at humor.
Ever.

Listeners were shocked, management of the station, 790 The Zone, was incensed. They acted
swiftly, first suspending the trio, then terminating their contracts. Nobody argued in defense of
the three radio jocks, and how could they? Making fun of a man dying from a brutal disease
was about as low as it could go. It was despicable.


But through all the slimed hurled by three radio jocks who lived in it, Gleason has emerged
as a bigger inspiration and hero than he already was. This stupid act produced by
three grown men, has shined the spotlight on a former athlete who is a real man. It has
brought more attention to ALS, an insidious disease. Every terminal illness is no less
painful than the next, especially when the result is the same. But ALS is just brutal,
attacking the nervous system and robbing a person of all their motor skills.

Life isn't fair, but it really didn't seem right that Gleason was afflicted with the disease
in the prime of his life. He was a football player who overcame tremendous odds to stick
and stay in NFL. Gleason, a linebacker at Washington State, went undrafted in 2000, but
signed on as  a free-agent with the Indianapolis Colts, and then was promptly cut. He hooked
on with the Saints where he became a folk hero, immortalized with a statue outside of the
Superdome.

On September 25, 2006, the Saints were playing their first game in 21 months after
Hurricane Katrina tore apart New Orleans. In the first quarter against the Atlanta Falcons,
Gleason  blocked a punt that was recovered for a touchdown. The roof of the Superdome
nearly blew off because of the noise generated from what became an iconic moment in
Saints history. A statue of  Gleason's punt block stands outside the dome and it will remain
there long after Gleason is gone, which could be sometime soon.

In 2011, Gleason announced he has ALS. The entire city of New Orleans was devastated.
Gleason was a free-spirit, who was much too young to be taken down by this terrible disease.
Today, Gleason can't walk, talk, or do much of anything on his own. To see him in a
motorized wheelchair withering away knocks the wind out of you.


But Gleason, hasn't given up, gotten down, or ever wondered, "why me?" He has incredible
courage, character, and resiliency through this trying time. Gleason and his wife had a baby
boy and he's hiked mountains in Peru. ALS may have slowed him down, but it hasn't stopped
him from living. On the day those radio jocks in Atlanta mocked him, he filled in for Peter
King of Sports Illustrating, writing the"Monday Morning Quarterback," by blinking his eyes
on a computer device. Think about how that is. He detailed his incredible battle with ALS.
It is sad, funny, and difficult to read at times. The end game is near and Gleason knows it.

Perhaps, the attention Gleason received over the past two days will help people become more
aware of what he and other ALS victims are dealing with. It's not pretty. Perhaps, more people
will reach into their pockets and donate money for research to help cure this terrible disease. I
sure hope that's the case.

Perhaps, the attempt to mock Gleason really just showed how strong he is. The three men who
made fun of him, aren't the man Gleason is if you put them all of them together. On Tuesday,
he accepted the apologies of the three men. He holds no bitterness inside as ALS ravages his
body and mind.

Gleason was the bigger man because that's who he is. We will  remember him far
longer than we'll pay attention to three guys who tried get a laugh at a dying man's expense.

That's because Steve Gleason is a hero defined.