Wednesday, April 19, 2017


You won't find his name on any police blotter.

You and your 1,452 friends on Facebook can search his name every day for a year and not
discover it.

For the sake of this article and protecting his real name, "He" will be John Doe.

Several months ago, John Doe, who played football at a Division I school, was accused of sexual
assault by a woman on campus. She was over 18-years-old, so she can be described as a woman
despite not being very mature. After the alleged incident that took place at a party on campus, the
woman filed a report with the police.

When school officials got wind of the allegations, they discussed the situation with the football
coach, who immediately dismissed John Doe from the football program, no questions asked. The
school expelled the player, as well. 

I think it would've been proper to suspend the accused player from the football program and
the student from school activities pending an investigation. Common sense tells us it's not safe
or very smart for anyone if someone accused of a major crime is walking around  campus or
on the field catching passes for the football team.

However, I don't agree with rinsing away John Doe altogether without all the facts. The football coach met with all players and told them not only to stay away from John Doe, but advised them
to discontinue any friendship they had with their former teammate. If they saw him off campus,
the coach said, don't talk or make like you even know him.

This comes from a coach who often told his players to stick together, no matter. They are the
ones who battle, bleed, and bond during training camp, off-season workouts, and during football games. "Always stick together, no matter", the coach said, but when 'no matter what' became an accusation of sexual assault, all bets, not to mention friendships, were off.

John Doe was a leper, not to be seen, or be seen talking with anyone on the team.

The coach also stripped the scholarship from John Doe.

Police didn't rush to judgment. They investigated the case over several months. News reports
stated law enforcement officials were close to making an arrest. However, a student on-campus
who had been privy to details of the alleged assault, came forward and showed investigators a
text from the accuser that shed new light on the case and what the actually happened.

Several week ago, police made an arrest. But they didn't put John Doe in handcuffs. Instead,
they went on-campus and arrested the 18-year-old woman. When pressed on the text and other
details from the incident, the woman said she made the entire thing up. Yes, there was a sexual
encounter, but the woman admitted it was consensual. She made the entire sexual assault
story up to gain the attention of another person whom she was interested in.

She wanted attention and sympathy.

This woman sacrificed John Doe's name and reputation to gain something for herself. John
Doe not only lost his name and reputation, but his football scholarship, which was worth over
$50,000. For a kid who grew up poor, that might as well have been a lottery ticket.

John Doe also lost a lot of so-called friends who bailed on him. Instead of believing in him or
at least getting all the facts, they made like he never existed. That can happen a society that loves
to rush to judgment nor has any time to waste to make a decision based on something other that gossip. We live in a society where friends are easily made when they can be an asset, easily
discarded when they can be a detriment.

John Doe was an innocent man caught in someone else's drink for attention. A woman was thirsty
for sympathy. She wanted someone else. John Dow got swallowed whole.

The football coach didn't reinstate John Doe but I'm not so sure John Doe wanted to be any part
of a coach or team that abandoned him so callously.

The school reinstated John Doe, but there was no more scholarship. He was on his own for
fulfilling his financial obligations to the school.

The school, in a press release, praised themselves for allowing due process to take place and
not rushing to judgment. People will say just about anything, especially in a carefully prepared
letter produced by a highly-paid public relations firm that specializes in crisis management.

There was no chance for the media to challenge the statements of the press release. School
officials retreated to their ivory tower, safe from those who had far more common sense than they
will ever have.

The woman who fabricated the entire story to gain sympathy and attention is not safe. She is back home after dropping out of school and will be going to trial soon. There are many who believe the woman will be made an example of.

You will be able to find her name on a police blotter and finding her name on the Internet will
not be very difficult. A few major newspapers were resourceful enough to go to her Facebook
page and find a picture of her in a tight dress take a selfie of herself. And they inserted it in the
article about her arrest.

As for John Doe? Well, he's trying to rebuild his life. There is no more football, no more
scholarship and not a lot of friends. Even if he was cleared of the phony allegations, those
friends would rather move on than be associated with someone who was tarred, feathered, and slandered.

Sadly, that's just the way a big part of our society is.

I knew nothing about John Doe when I was interviewing him for a job. He had been passed off
to me after the boss spoke with him. I talked to John Doe about his career path in football and
why he wasn't going to pursue his final year of eligibility. He admitted he had 'made some
mistakes in his life', which admittedly, caught my attention.

After John Doe left, my boss showed me an article on his iPhone about a sexual assault on
a college campus. He then told me the accused was John Doe. John Doe was not required to
tell anyone at our company he had been involved in the incident, after all, there was no names mentioned in the article and it would be hard to connect the dots. Most people are accused of
a crime where there name never appears in a police blotter or has any kind of paper trail,
would never admit to being accused of something so foul and sinister, even if cleared by

In reality, the accused never truly get cleared in our society that equivocates an accusation to
an arrest, an arrest to a conviction, and a conviction to a felony. Our society loves to say that
everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but in reality, it's guilty until proven innocent. Even
when you are innocent, there will be always be that stain can never be removed.

No. Matter. What.

John Doe's life has been altered forever. He will always have to be worried about someone,
somewhere who may know his story which may be used against him in trying to get a job. John
Doe had more than 90 teammates. And when they tell two friends and so on and so on. You
know the drill.

As for the woman? Her life is pretty much ruined. She will likely spend some time in prison,
have a record, and be a convicted liar. She is part of the Internet forever. Who can trust her again?

Two lives are significantly altered and why? Because a woman wanted attention and sympathy.

One man, John Doe, went through a tortuous ordeal.  And why? Because people, outside
law enforcement officials, wanted to be bothered by the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but
the truth.

How sad. How very sad.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


I'm fairly confident most people won't bother reading the first line of this article. I'm not
really going out on a limb because most of America believes it can tell what's in story by just
perusing the headline.

Sad, but it's very true.

I'm anticipating a number of comments about the 'addiction' on my Facebook, LinkedIn, and
Twitter pages offering support or condolences. "Oh, Paul, I did not know. I'm so sorry",
somebody will write. Or it'll be,  "Hang in there, man, we are all pulling for you."

I'm sure the gossip cauldron will ignite with, "Did you knows" and "Do you believes." I'm
sure the next high school reunion I go to there will be plenty of "Hey, man, sorry to hear
about your problem. Stay strong and keep up the good work."

People that read the headline of this article will have it all figured out, I'm sure. They won't
ask what kind of addict I am, but will go ahead and assume the worst because, after all, they
just need to scan the headline to determine they don't have to waste any time or
energy to read the rest of the article to get the facts.

Maybe our lack of depth is a result of social media and the tsunami of information that floods
it. People are always scrolling, swiping, and snapping and probably don't want to deal with
overload. They scroll, read a headline, then move on. Some would rather take the chance of
being misinformed than not being informed at all. As we've seen with social media users,
everybody is an expert about everything from politics, terrorism, Syria, tax returns, and
anything in sports.

Albert Einstein may have been correct when he said, "I fear the day that technology will
surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots."

We don't need to  investigate or bother to do the least amount of work to see if something
that's been printed, texted, or shouted out at the top of a person's lungs, is the truth. In this
world where we get our information in 140 characters less, people don't have the time to ask
anybody anything face-to-face. We no longer take the time to have a conversation to seek
the truth or get the facts. We just read a tweet, post, or a headline from some fake news
site and believe it to be true.

It's amazing  that with all the stories about athletes, politicians, law enforcement officials,
and Wall Street executives who lie, lie, lie, lie, and then, lie some more, there are still people who ask, "Why would they lie?" to justify or solidify a story they just read or saw.

Lance Armstrong? He lied. Rick Pitino? They don't call him Pinocchio for his skills with a
woman not his wife on the floor of a Louisville restaurant. Michael Vick? Liar. Donald
Trump? Convicted liar. Every steroid user in professional sports that got caught? Liar.
Good,grief. The list goes on and on, doesn't it?

News and entertainment sites lie all the time just to get the most amount of clicks from
people who can't tell the difference between real and fake news. I remember reading an
article by AmericanNews or one of those god awful click-centers that said Trump got Fox
News anchor Sheppard Smith fired

After reading many of the jubilant comments eviscerating Smith,  I just shook my head and
said to myself, "Man, I can see why people get robbed blind of all their savings by some
scam. People believe everything they read and can't think for themselves."

A few months ago, I arrived late to my nephews hockey game at an arena in Long Island.
A big crowd had gathered near the corner of the ice rink. They were in a big hizzy because
someone read a headline of an article on their iPhone where Donald Trump said Barack Obama
was wiretapping the big tower with the president's name on it in Manhattan.

Somebody said something and everyone ran with it to tell all their friends. They didn't say
Trump accused Obama (without any facts, of course). The people just railed away that Obama
was wiretapping Trump, making like he committed a felony and was going straight to prison
sans an arrest or trial.

Yep, I had to let out a giant Good, grief, Charlie Brown.

I've had people make arguments against points I made in an article, spitting venom and vitriol
my way. I often respond with a, "Did you even read the article?" Time suddenly stops and the
pregnant pause is brutally painful. "Um, no, sorry."

Take the time to read the article my friend. Headlines aren't always for the truth, but often
candy to get your attention. Read before you respond.

In one of the million recent studies that people often post on their social media platforms,
(which people often post without reading) a group at Columbia University found that nearly 70 percent of the people who re-tweet or re-post articles don't even read them before banging
on that send button. They just read the headline and re-tweet it to their 2,984 friends on social
media, which like sleeping at Holiday Inn Express, must have made them feel smarter.

If you read this far, then you'll know this: I am truly an addict. I'm addicted to food and exercise.

Is that such a bad thing?


Monday, April 10, 2017


I do not rush to judgement.

Even in this social-media driven world that loves to overreact and make a decision based on a headline instead of reading the entire article, I am pretty measured and realize that even the
thinnest pancake has two sides.

Having been part of the media for 18 years and counting, I know how it can twist, shape, and edit
sound bites to make it convenient for their story. I realize that video can, indeed,  lie depending
how it's shot and which part television networks want to cut out.

With that said and everything that's been seen, the incident that occurred aboard a United Airlines
flight, was truly despicable. It cannot, under any circumstance or situation, be defended by the
airliner or anyone else, for that matter. It's cut and dried.

A flight was overbooked. Employees on the airline all of a sudden needed to be on it. It turned
out to be an unlucky day for an elderly Asian physician who needed to be home to care for
some of his patients.

For some reason, he was the chosen one. The one who would be manhandled, humiliated, and
scarred both physically and mentally. Three security "officials" decided to literally rip the man
out of his seat and drag him off the plane in front of more than 100 passengers. I reckon the
gentleman knew he'd be arrested if he tried to fight off the overzealous security animals who,
for some reason, felt they had to justify their positions.

A man dragged off a plane? In the year 2017? At a time when the entire world is equipped
with a cell phone? Hello, major lawsuit. Good-bye hundreds of customers.

I can understand if the passenger was inebriated and unruly, that would've been deserved. If
he made like Gaylord Focker in "Meet the Parents" and talked about a bomb, I would've cheered
it. If he was like Charles Oakley and started pushing the security guards, I would have applauded

But the guy did nothing. Absolutely nothing. He didn't deserve that.

The man was just minding his own business and wanted to go home. He had no interest in volunteering to get off the plane and receive a voucher. That's not against anything. Not the
law, not airplane etiquette, not anything. Yet, he becomes fodder for some goons trying to
audition for the WWE.

Is this what our society is coming to? Is it a by-product of all the hate that is spewed against
others on social-media? I mean, there is something going in our society today and it's not
all that good. I remember seeing six police officers tackling Eric Garner, an unarmed man,
then putting him in a choke hold that eventually killed him. Garner was selling untaxed
cigarettes. Yeah, he was a real threat to the officers and society.

I remember seeing James Blake, a former world-class tennis player, just standing outside
his hotel in NYC just checking out his cell phone before he was tackled and thrown to the
ground by some cop who thought he was Rambo while investigating an identity fraud case.

Identity fraud? Untaxed cigarettes? A man sitting in his seat on an overbooked flight?
Seriously? That's how humans are treating fellow humans? Ones who are not armed, dangerous,
or a threat to anybody?

United Airlines suspended one of the goons who dragged the man off the plane. That wasn't
a hard decision even for the most inept CEO's. Neither will the offer of a free flight to anywhere
in the country for the man and his family. It's the least the airline can do.

United Airlines will settle out of court with the man and pay him for the embarrassment and
physical pain he endured. The last thing United wants is more bad publicity. They want the
public to forget about it as soon as possible. That won't be easy because a lot of people have
already said, good-bye, and rightfully so.

Saturday, April 8, 2017


It's a selfie-obsessed world and I'm just living in it. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have
become a haven for the self-absorbed who can't refrain from posting multiple self-portraits every
single day. The astonishing number of car selfies I see on my daily news feed makes me wonder
if a lot of people bought vehicles equipped with a mechanism that won't allow you to start it unless you take a selfie and post it.

Boring. Bland. Nauseating.

If you're going to take self-portraits, you may want to check out Bryan Brennan, who in my
mind, is still the undisputed selfie king. Brennan is a sports videographer for NESN, although
few at the  mother of all regional networks have ever seen him really work.

That was a joke. Kind of.

Brennan, like many of us in this social media-driven world, takes a ton of selfies. That's cool, I reckon, but everybody needs to take a few pointers from Brennan. He doesn't take himself too
seriously and according sources close to SportsRip, isn't obsessed with the almighty 'likes'.

The kid just has the uncanny touch of taking selfies that are unique, funny, and very creative.
When I see Brennan in his furry ear-flap hat, I can't help but be reminded of Peter Stormare's   character in the movie, "Fargo."

Brennan isn't as sinister as Stormare but he is a showman. Many, including myself, wonder
why executives at NESN haven't given him his own show yet. The guy has style, creativity, and
is a ratings magnet with women between the ages of 54-72 in New England. Dear Sean McGrail:
Please give Bryan his own show. Now!

Brennan travels with the Bruins and Red Sox throughout the season and, remarkably, none
of the players have beaten him up or thrown him in a trash can. They've actually grown to
like his free spirit and entertaining nature. I have little doubt that if Brennan covered the Patriots,
he'd become the first member of the media to ever snap daily selfies with Bill Belichick--he
is just that good.

With all the political experts obsessed with bashing and trashing Donald Trump combined with
the tsunami of selfies, deactivating my Facebook account seems like the thing to do---until I
see another selfie from Brennan and get a good chuckle. Laughing is healthy. Brennan's selfies
make that happen.

Yeah, that's Brennan with Barry Bonds in the background. And yes, that's Brennan with a guy
whose pot belly is as big as Barry's head used to be when Bonds was on the bean. Does Brennan make light of others? Sure, but not as much as he makes fun of himself. He's an entertainer. The guy has to do what he has to do.

Keep it up, Bry-Guy, you are the undisputed selfie king. You keep it fun, real, maybe not always
so clean, but you are one helluva funny guy.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Watching Luke Maye on television hit the shot that sent North Carolina to the Final Four
is one thing, seeing a picture of the former walk-on practicing jumpers with his father, Mark,
is quite another.

The photograph was captured by Andrew Carter of the News & Observer last year in late
February after a regular-season game. The clock said it was close to midnight. The empty seats
tell you everybody's long gone and probably resting comfortably in bed. A little used player,
craving meaningful minutes, knows he has to get better. A father who knows about sacrifice, commitment, and the fine line between success and failure in big-time college sports, is going
to help him get there.

Yes, the picture is worth far more than 1,000 words.

Oh, I reckon the conversation on the floor that night didn't add up to 10 words, much less 1,000.
There were maybe a few, "good shots", or "keep your elbow up", but nothing else really needed
to be said between father and son. They knew. They both knew what it was going to take to be
more than an end-of-the-bench type of player at Carolina.

Hard work.

Luke Maye didn't go from reserve forward to an important player in the NCAA tournament by
accident. He put in the hard work and earned it.

Roy Williams didn't put his trust in a player in the biggest game of the year just because that
player's father used to be the quarterback of the football team. Luke invested a lot of sweat
equity when nobody was watching and secured it.

It wasn't by a stroke of luck that Luke hit the biggest shot of his life and one of the biggest in
the storied history of North Carolina basketball.

He was ready for it.

Thanks to his father who was feeding Luke ball after ball on that February night a year ago,
Luke made the most of his opportunity. Mark didn't need to push or pressure a kid who bet on himself to walk-on at North Carolina team after bypassing scholarship offers to other schools,
but he knew.

He knew that behind every great shot there are usually thousands of others that clanked
off the rim, backboard, or missed everything, altogether. But he kept feeding Luke and fueling
his desire to get better.

He knew about the doubts, lonely moments, and failures that would cause many athletes to
pack it in and quit. But he encouraged Luke to keep believing in himself as he sat on the

Luke Maye's jersey may not go up in the rafter alongside Michael Jordan, James Worthy,
Sam Perkins, and countless other North Carolina All-Americans, but he is a basketball legend
throughout the state. No Tar Heel will ever forget him or his shot that beat Kentucky.

Hard work, persistence, and a father who knew better, helped make it happen.

Sunday, March 26, 2017


Just over a year ago, I ran into Mark Maye, one of my old roommates at UNC during a
football game. We hadn't seen each other since I left Chapel Hill after graduating in 1987, but
we had reconnected recently, thanks to one of our other roommates, Brett Rudolph, who was a standout linebacker on the football team.

Coming out of high school in 1983, Maye was North Carolina royalty. He was the top-rated
quarterback in the country after a spectacular career at Charlotte's Independence High School.
Maye was a 6'5" pro-style quarterback who threw lightning bolts. He was Peyton Manning before Peyton Manning.

Maye was also pretty darn smart, too.

After getting the full-court press by every coach in the country, Maye told everyone to keep
the full-ride they were offering. He was going to UNC on the prestigious Morehead Scholarship,
the highest-academic award given by the university.

Maye was also one of the nicest guys on the planet, void of ego, full of manners, and very
genuine If you didn't know better, you'd have thought he was the last walk-on allowed to dress
on Saturdays instead of a quarterback who was the object of every college coaches desire.

On a spectacular football Saturday in 2015 at Kenan Stadium, the same place Mark
called signals for the Tar Heels, we connected in person for the first time in more than three
decades. I had talked to him on the phone, trying to prank him by saying I was a fundraiser
for North Carolina and asked him if he could donate $50,000.  The conversation went on for
about five minutes before he figured out he'd been had.

We made small talk and I asked about his kids. Someone in the Carolina network told me
he had a son who was a pretty good basketball player in Charlotte. Mark was about as perfect
as a guy could get, but he did have a slight stutter going all the way back to his Carolina days.
He said, "Paul, he, he, he, he's a pretty good player. He, he, he got some scholarship offers but
he wanted to walk-on at Carolina."

6'8" white kids have as much of a chance of walking-on at Carolina as Donald Trump does. It
just doesn't happen very often, and if it does, they will get limited seconds of playing time
and a start on senior day. That's about it.

Mark and I shook hands, wished each other luck, and went our separate ways. A blast from the
past vaporized into the Carolina blue sky.

I am not a Carolina die-hard fan these days. I don't wave the pom-poms or get emotionally
involved in games anymore. Well, that was before Sunday's game against Kentucky. This was
for the chance to go to the Final Four. I missed the entire first half as I was traveling from out of town.  Basketball games don't really get going until the last 12 minutes, so I wasn't too upset
about joining the game in progress.

As the game went into crunch time, a player named Luke Maye stepped up for Carolina. Yes,
this was the son of my old roommate. Damn, I was feeling old. Like his father, Luke is tall,
very tall. He stands 6'8".  He is a spitting image of the old man: dark hair, sleepy eyes, great

Mark's career at Carolina never lived  up to the huge expectations thrust upon him. He had
rotator cuff surgery as a sophomore and was never quite  the same. One of the most sought
after players in the country out of high school, he blended in with so many other football
players in college.

It happens.

Sunday, I was watching his clone, a player who fits in perfectly to the system of Roy Williams.
He is a smart player and one who hustles his ass off. When Luke went to the foul line, I saw
his father, Mark, talking to me at the dinner table in our old apartment. When Luke dove for
a loose ball near the end of the game, I imagined Mark giving his son a big fist pump from the
stands and then recoiling, hoping no one saw his emotion. And when Luke hit the shot that beat Kentucky and sent UNC to the Final Four, a huge huge smile washed over my face.

How great was that? A walk-on, playing on the same floor with a slew of NBA lottery picks,
hitting a game-winning shot to send the school he grew up rooting for, to the Final Four.

Luke Maye, an unheralded player unlike his father, etches his name in the annals of Carolina basketball. Everyone who ever went to UNC and even those in North Carolina who didn't, will  remember that shot forever.

I will remember that shot forever, not because my school is still alive and has a chance to
win the national championship. I will remember it because my old roommate, Mark Maye, who
battled through injury and unfulfilled expectations at North Carolina, enjoyed his greatest
moment as part of the Tar Heels family.

Any top-rated recruit in the country who gets injured and has to live with unfulfilled
expectations, may always wonder, "what if?" It can eat at a person for a long, long time.

Mark Maye waited a long time to experience a moment like Sunday. His son, Luke, a walk-on,
nailing a basketball that is now part of Carolina history. How sweet is that?

That was so awesome. That's what makes sports so great.

Sunday, March 19, 2017


"I was waking up at 4 a.m. every single day asking myself if all this was real."

John Martin's near-perfect life was shattered in early October when he was diagnosed with ALS.
Sleepless nights and questions to himself were returned with brutal answers. One minute, Martin
was living the dream as a father of two beautiful girls while firmly entrenched in a job he truly
loved. The next minute, a doctor gave him the news that's altered the course of his life.

"It blew me away," Martins said of the diagnosis. "It still blows me away. I can't believe it.
But I am staying positive and doing everything I can to stay that way. That is the biggest part
in all of this. I'm maintaining a positive attitude daily."

Upon learning he had ALS, Martin left his job as a videographer at NESN, his employer of 19
years. Martin has made it clear he's handling the disease  his own way, creating a path that
suits him and only him. Martin recently spent two weeks at a wellness facility in West Palm
Beach, Florida.

"It was a lot of green drinks, wheat grass, salads, and sprouts." Martin said from his home
in Newton, Massachusetts. "It was a type of mental and physical cleansing thing. No caffeine,
no alcohol, and some meditation."

Martin says he is embracing both the Western and Eastern approach to dealing with the
disease which includes acupuncture, meditation, and an energy trainer. He says he's also
working out daily with a stretching routine and a lot of swimming.

"I feel great," he said. "Just like I did before. But sometimes when I look down, there
is a little less muscle than there was before. I'm not expecting to wake up and everything
will be OK. I know that's not going to happen, but I'm dealing with it the best way I can."

Martin also credits his great team at Massachusetts General Hospital for helping in his battle
against Lou Gerhig's disease.

Perhaps, the best medicine has come from his friends back in Boston. Martin is one of
the most beloved members of the media and you'd have to search far and wide to find
someone to say a bad thing about him. If they did, they either never met John Martin or were
flat out lying.

The support for Martin has been heartwarming. A GoFundMe page was set up for Martin
shortly after his diagnosis and in the first two weeks of it going on-line, more than $80,000
was raised.

Red Sox manager John Farrell chipped in with a $1,000 and sent Martin, who covered
the team for many years, a text he will always cherish:

"Throughout all the dealings with media- your positivity and being real  has
always been a strength! That strength will always be present."

"That meant a lot to me," Martin said. "He also invited me to visit his office and watch a
game. I've always liked John. He is a class act."

Martin said he's been overwhelmed by the donations that have come in from all over New
England and beyond. Longtime friends have shown their love and generosity. People Martin
has never even met contributed to his cause.

"This college kid sent me five dollars and wrote, 'I don't know you personally, but you sound
like a great person. I don't have much money, but wanted to help out.' "That means as much
to me as the donations that have come in from the big hitters."

Many of Martin's good friends have stepped up in a big way to put a smile on the face of
their buddy. Bryan Brennan, a former colleague of Martin's at NESN, bought a beautiful Stetson
hat during a trip to Nashville while covering the Bruins. Brennan did a little something extra
for Martin. He went into the Bruins locker room and asked them all to sign the hat for Martin.
Every player on the B's did.

Martin with cowboy hat signed by Bruins

"That was awesome of Bryan and the Bruins." he said. "For the Bruins to take time out and
sign that hat. That was really cool."

Martin's love for his work had cooled since his diagnosis. He had covered the Red Sox for
so many years, shooting interviews while making the talent look really good. You can
forgive him if the job took a backseat to what was going on in his life.  But his love for
the Sox and his job was re-ignited in early February.

"When I started to see all the reports from Fort Myers while sitting at home, I started
to get the itch a little bit. I missed it."

Martin missed a lot of his former colleagues at NESN and when he stopped in Fort Myers before
his trip to the wellness facility in West Palm Beach, Martin enjoyed a night out with his buddies
from NESN.
Martin with his NESN buddies in Fort Myers

"That was great. Tom Caron and Steve Lyons were there. So was Mike Narracci, longtime
director for NESN and Bill Titus," Martin said. "It was great catching up with them.
It was like I never left."

Martin is back in Boston now with his two girls and wife, whom Martin calls his "rock."
"Adrienne has been really amazing. Always has been. She's taking care of me. She's taking
care of the kids. She's taking care of everything."

Martin was dealt a terrible blow. His fate has been revealed and far sooner than he ever
expected. But in true John Martin fashion, he's looking on the bright side and trying to power
through a difficult time.

"I truly am George Bailey," Martin said, referring to the fictional character played by James
Stewart in 'It's a Wonderful Life.' "I still can't believe it. But I'm going to be OK."

As for those sleepless nights? Martin reports he is back to getting seven plus hours of sleep a

Please continue to love and support John Martin. Donate to his GoFundMe page.

Monday, March 13, 2017


Until Monday, I had never heard of LaVar Ball and didn't know much about his basketball-playing sons, Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo. Oh, sure, I had seen a few highlights on ESPN of Lonzo at
UCLA, but I wasn't phased by him or his talent. He was just another guy dunking on 'SportsCenter'.

However, thanks to his father, Lonzo and his brothers, who are committed to playing at UCLA, I know about the entire family now. I learned a lot about them just by reading the avalanche of the
information about them on social media and the world's reaction to it.

According to Twitter, Facebook, and just about every media outlet that occupies space on the
web, LaVar has stoked the fire and passion of the number of sports fans who consider themselves
to be experts. That number matches the dollar amount Daddy Ball says the shoe deal for his kids should be worth:

More than a billion.

Yes, that's right. More than a billion dollars.

Michael Jordan, who just happens to be the greatest basketball player in the history of the
sports, makes about $100 million annually from Nike for lending his name to the brand. Daddy
Ball says the package for the 3-Balls, who have never set foot or sneaker in the NBA, should
start at one billion dollars.


You see, the world reacts like wildfire on social-media. Then every media outlet like ESPN picks
it up and talks about it. America will hate and Pardon The Interruption will debate. And just about
every knucklhead on sports talk radio will scream, holler, and even laugh at Lavar Ball.

Go ahead, LaVar Ball is laughing--and his kids will eventually do that all the way to the bank.

And do you think it was an accident that Daddy Ball made all these proclamations right before
the NCAA Tournament? Heck, no. He knows that everybody that has something to do with
March Madness will be talking about his Balls.

I mean, look at all the money the Kardashians have made and they have zero talent. None. At
least the Ball kids can flat out, well, ball. They are a special talent and thanks to the big words
of their father, everyone knows about it.

People laughed at Richard Williams when he said Venus and Serena, his African-Americans
from Compton, California, would dominate the lilly-white world of tennis before they even
reached high school. What happened? If you know anything about sports, then you know.

LaVar Ball is taking a page right from Mr. Williams' book. He's already said Lonzo or
LiAngelo or LeMelo---I forget which one it was, would be better than Steph Curry, the
two-time NBA MVP.

Good, Lord.

Daddy Ball also added that he would've kicked Michael Jordan's ass in a game of one-on-one back
in the day.

Good, grief.

Even Big Daddy Ball knows MJ would've wiped the floor with his jockstrap, but Daddy Ball
also knows putting Jordan into any conversation will attract a lot of attention and attention is
all Ball wants. He will use anyone or anything to get it.

Now, America is angry and talking about the Balls.

It's easy to say Daddy Ball is a fool, but in reality, he's brilliant. He knows how the world
works today. It's not so much about talent, as  it is having a name that every sports can can roll
off their tongues.

People are talking about Daddy Ball. Well, they are not exactly talking about him as much
as they are hating on him. Hating is another thing the people on social media have become
experts in. They will go on their rants, take their cowardly cuts at the Balls, and Daddy will
just have one big smile on his face.

Thanks to him, all the Balls are on the national map. They will soon become household names
and eventually, very, very rich. That's just how America works. Endorsements, contracts, etc., etc., etc.

Daddy Ball has trademarked "Big Baller Brand" and is selling merchandise on the web site.

The price has just gone up for the all the Balls.

Daddy is a smart, smart man, and one with very big balls.

Saturday, March 4, 2017


There aren't many families who've passed through New Canaan like the Hardens. Boyd,
Shea, Graham, and Holmes---siblings who define and embody what integrity, class, honor,
and respect is all about,  were raised by Lucy Gail, the sweetest of mothers, and Holmes,
the strong patriarch, who passed away far too young, suffering a heart attack at the age of

Lucy Gail and the kids persevered through the tragedy of losing a father to thrive in the
community, making an everlasting impact in New Canaan through their great accomplishments
in sports and in the classroom. Shea was the smartest of the bunch. She went on to Dartmouth
and earned her MBA at Stanford. Boyd, Graham, and Holmes were great athletes, all three
going on to play lacrosse at UNC. Boyd was an All-America but Graham was All-World.
He was National Defenseman of the Year and named to the ACC's Top 50 players of All-Time.

In August. the Hardens, who overcame the tragic loss of their father, received another dose
of unthinkable heartbreaking news. Graham was diagnosed with ALS. Even in a world that
seems to yield tragedy every day, this just seemed so unfair. A great family man who has
given so much back to his community in Cincinnati as a volunteer firefighter, coach, and
through his charitable endeavors, is ridden with an insidious disease that has never lost.

However, the community where the Hardens cemented their legacy, is rallying around
Graham to see that his life is a made a little bit better and all of his medical bills are paid
for. On Friday March 3, more than 200 people gathered at Grace Farms in New Canaan
to show their  support for Graham and his entire family. It was supposed to be a fundraiser
for Graham, but turned into a remarkable show of love, admiration, and respect for
someone who  was not only one of New Canaan's greatest athletes, but greatest of men,
as well.

The love was real. The admiration, genuine. The respect, undeniable. Friends who grew
up with Graham in New Canaan, came from all over to honor a person whose had a great
impact on their lives and community. It was truly heartwarming to see New Canaan step
up and support one of its favorite sons.

Graham is taking on ALS just as he battled opponents in football, hockey, and lacrosse:
with an unmatched competitive fire and the same iron will that helped him become one
of the best lacrosse players in NCAA history.

The former All-American has started a blog
to keep his friends and supporters apprised of what lies ahead for him and answers questions
that many people are afraid, or too uncomfortable to ask.

Friday night was a great showing by New Canaan in its support of Graham. He is a great
father, husband, brother, son, and friend to so many from New Canaan, North Carolina, and
Cincinnati, where he currently resides.

Keep it up, New Canaan. Graham Harden deserves our love and support.

Sunday, February 26, 2017


112 miles.

112 miles is a little more than a nice ride in the car. It's not exactly a hop-skip-and an easy train
ride, either. Trying to cover that distance using two wheels and your own two legs, two lungs, and
heart, well, it can flat-out be a bit of challenge.  Throw in a 2.4 swim before it and a 26.2 mile
run after it, and that challenge has a way of turning into misery.

Completing the middle stage of an Ironman is, arguably, the hardest one for many endurance athletes who seem to have an extremely close relationship with mind-numbing pain.

112 miles on a bike. On a hard seat. On a two-loop 56-mile course that takes you through the Adirondack region. No, not one on a flat-as-an-ironing board course one like those in Florida
or Texas. This bear of a course goes through and around Lake Placid, consisting of rolling  hills, lung-searing inclines, and a 12-mile finish that goes up, but never down.

Yeah, it's a bitch. And a long one.

A lot of riders have gone further than 112 miles and many of them do it a lot faster than
this 50-something, slow-twitch, 220-lb, boy-in-a-man's body can. Nobody gets a medal for
completing it and I'm not bragging because I've done it three times over. I'm just a guy
who wants to share my experience because there's a lot of things that go through your mind
during a stage that can least nearly seven hours without stopping even once. Not even to go
to the bathroom.

That 112-mile bike ride doesn't begin until after a 2.4 mile swim and a 600-yard run from
the water to the transition area where the man boobs flop with every stride and the brain tries
to reset itself after an hour of swimming in what seems like a blender, with arms, legs, and
elbows flying all over the lake at 6:30 in the morning. Once you slip out of the wetsuit into
cycling shoes, shorts, shirt, and a helmet, reality hits you in the face like a sledgehammer: Now
I have to bike 112-miles. That is a lot of time on the bike and a lot of time to think.

There are only two things that are really important to me when I begin the journey: avoid a
flat tire and hydrate myself enough so I can go the distance. Truth to be told, I really spend
most of my time on two wheels praying to God about one thing. It usually goes something like
this, "Please, God, don't let me get a flat tire." Flat tires suck. They are worse than being forced
to watch a season-long series of the Kardashian's. If  you get a flat tire during a race, it'll cost
about 30-45 minutes to repair it---that's if everything goes right.

In the first Ironman I did in 2014, the bike ride started out in a monsoon. The rain pelted my
face like brass needles into a dark board as thunder and lightning lit up the sky. My feeling at
the time was, "Well, if you're going to take me now, Lord, I won't have a problem with it.
There can be worse ways to go than during an Ironman event." I seriously didn't care about
the lightning crackling above me. I had trained for more than six months. There was no way
I was going to quit now.

The downpour went on for the entire first loop of the race. Then the skies opened and the sun
came. So did a litany of thoughts. "What the hell am I doing this for anyway? I paid $750 to
put myself through absolute torture more 12 hours? Seriously?" Yeah, when you have to sit
on a bike for almost as long as an average work day, some crazy things go through your mind.

Another one for me was, "What the hell am I going to do when I have to go to the bathroom?"
I mean, I didn't want to stop and get off the bike. If that happened, I feared  my legs would
cramp up and I'd have no desire to finish the race. But during a race where you consume more
than 20 16-ounce bottles of Gatorades, countless gels, goos, bananas, and orange slices, you
have to go to the bathroom, right?


For some reason, I had the urge to go to the bathroom, but never could. I'd see riders ahead of
me standing up on their bikes to relieve themselves and others squatting in the woods, but I
could never go. Ever.

The 112-mile bike ride wasn't completely filled with pain. Riding in the Adirondacks offered
some amazing scenery with rivers, mountains, and beautiful trees. It was easy to lose yourself
in the scenic ride.

But the pain was never far way--nor were the prayers about making it through without
blowing a tire. That would be a total buzz kill.

I've been lucky in all three Ironman events I completed. I never blew a tire. Thank you, Lord.
When I approached the end of the 112-mile stage knowing I wouldn't have to fix a flat tire,
I always let out a big yell, celebrating my luck and ability to avoid jagged edges, potholes. or
anything else that could've ruined my ride.

And after I changed into my running shoes, visor, and sunglasses, it was finally time to relieve
myself after six and-a-half hours on the bike. Yep, almost four minutes standing up next to
a trough-like, make-shift urinal in the transition tent. I'm not going to lie. It felt amazing.

A little relief before a 26.2 mile run does the body and mind good.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Jim Bibby died seven years ago today. There may have been better pitchers who toed the
rubber in the history of major league baseball, but very few of them possessed the character
and love of the game that Bibby had. This is to honor the man who touched so many lives
and gave me a lot of laughs during the two years we spent together in the Carolina League.

I first met Jim Bibby in spring training with the Boston Red Sox organization nearly 27
years ago. He was one of the biggest human beings I'd ever come across. He stood 6'5"
and God supersized nearly everything on his refrigerator-sized frame. His legs, back,
arms, and shoulders  were massive. Bibby looked more like a current NFL defensive end
than former major league pitcher.

If you didn't know Bibby, you'd take one look at him and believe he was one of the baddest
men on the planet. If you did  know him, you'd realize Bibby was one of the nicest guys
who'd ever walk into your path. His smile, laugh, and personality matched the size of his
physical gifts, making him a person you couldn't soon forget and one you always wanted to
be around.

I'll never forget shaking hands with Bibby at our first introduction in spring training back in 1988. His hands were the size of lobster traps, making mine appear to be those of a
two month-old infant. Bibby was one of the few people in the game who could hold eight
baseballs in one hand. I can hold three. A man with extra large hands can hold five. The sight
of Bibby cradling eight is mind-boggling.

Attached to his right hand was a powerful arm that vaporized hitters with 95-mph fastballs.
Bibby enjoyed a solid 11-year career in the major leagues, recording 111 victories while
authoring a no-hitter. There was nothing secret or complicated about his approach on the
mound. He'd just hump up and fire fastball after wicked fastball, challenging you to hit it.
No games, no nibbling, no backdoor sliders. Just straight heat.

Bibby, whose brother, Henry, played in the NBA,  pitched for the Cleveland Indians and
Pittsburgh Pirates during the late 70's and, unfortunately, is pictured  (below) in two of the
worst uniforms in the history of the game.

In 1976, Bibby toed the rubber for the Tribe in those hideous all-rust colored uniforms. After
getting traded to the Pirates a year later, Bibby pitched in either all-gold, all-black, or half and
half. Imagine seeing a guy that big in those uniforms, throwing darts in the mid-90's? Scary.
The baseball looked like a Tic Tac coming out of those monster hands, rearing back in attire
better suited for Halloween than major league baseball games.

There was a lot of little boy in this mountain of a man. When I played for the Lynchburg
Red Sox of the  Carolina League, Bibby was our pitching coach. He appeared as though he
never had a bad day in his life. He was loud, funny, and still ultra-competitive. Bibby threw
batting practice to us nearly every day and always made like he was on the mound pitching
in the 1979 World Series for the Pirates.

During batting practice, Bibby moved to the front of the mound, making the distance to the
plate about 55 feet. He would grunt, groan, and release a fastball that you could hear hissing 
on its way to the plate. Bibby wanted to do two things: turn your bat into kindling wood
or blow the ball past you When he accomplished one or the other, he'd have a mile-wide grin
on his face and roar with laughter, the old man reveling in overpowering kids half his age.

When Bibby, as the pitching coach, would come out to the mound to consult with a young kid
having trouble finding the strike zone, he'd often take off his hat and bury his head deep into
his shoulder, hoping to dry the river of sweat produced on all those thick Virginia summer
Standing next to Bibby on the mound as he'd offer some words of advice to a struggling pitcher,
I'd flash back to his days in the major leagues and laugh to myself at an experience that seemed
so surreal. As I kid growing up, I was a baseball junkie. On Saturday afternoons, I'd always 
watch NBC's Game of the Week with Curt Gowdy and Tony Kubek. I vividly remembered the
time Bibby was pitching on a sweltering summer afternoon in Pittsburgh back in 1979.

Bibby was on the mound and I recall Gowdy saying, "Bibby is really laboring out there. Just look
at the sweat dripping off the brim of his cap." It wasn't dripping. It was more like a torrential downpour. I had never seen anything like it. I couldn't believe a human being could possibly sweat that much.

Less than a decade later, I saw first hand just how much Bibby could sweat. It was like a
tsunami rolling through the hills of Virginia. Forget about towels, he needed a leaf blower to
dry the sweat off him. Ah, but it didn't matter to Bibby, he just had that big 'ole grin on his face,
as if he was having the most fun of anybody that walked the face of this great earth.

That was Bibby, he loved life and never spent a day worrying about the past. That was gone
and he seemed like a guy who always set his alarm for early the next day because he didn't
want to miss out on what it would have to offer.

In 2002, the Lynchburg professional baseball franchise retired Bibby's number 26. It's the
only baseball number that's been retired in the city's history. Nobody deserved that honor more
than Bibby.


Bibby died in 2010 of bone cancer. which was about the only thing that could suck the joy and
happiness out of a great, great man. He was just 65-years-old, yet still just a kid in a large man's
body. In the journey through my baseball life, I met thousands of different people, but only a
few I can say really had an impact on my life. Bibby was a special man who was so large, so
humble, and so full of enthusiasm. He was a fun-loving guy who just never to wanted to grow up.

But that was OK. He was Bibby and everybody loved him.

                                          PITCHER BART HALEY AND JIM BIBBY