Stupid Deal of the Decade? Magic Johnson Group Buys LA Dodgers for $2 billion…

There are good investments…and bad.  Paying out $2 billion for a Sports Franchise in a sport which is on the way down – is definitely one of those “bad” investment ideas. Seems to me $2 b could be better spent buying a NFL Franchise (Several of which are actually worth $2 B or more) or investing in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), which is about the fastest growing professional sport out there right now. The list of the Top 50 Professional Sports Franchises in the World looks like this.

So… Why but the Dodgers?

I hope Magic hasn’t lost his business “magic”!

Group Led by Magic Johnson Wins Auction to Buy Dodgers for $2.15 Billion

In a quick, dramatic end to the year-long financial crisis of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team’s owner, Frank McCourt, agreed to sell the team Tuesday night for $2.15 billion to a group headed by Magic Johnson, the Lakers’ Hall of Famer.

The Johnson group’s deal, financed largely by Guggenheim Partners, a Chicago-based financial services firm, includes $2 billion for the team (minus $412 million in debt) and $150 million to create a joint venture with McCourt on the parking lots and land surrounding Dodger Stadium. The deal is valued at $2.3 billion.

If the all-cash deal is approved by the judge overseeing the Dodgers’ bankruptcy, the price will be the most ever paid for a professional sports team.

The most ever paid for a franchise is at least $1.4 billion for Manchester United. The Miami Dolphins were sold for $1.15 billion and the Chicago Cubs were acquired for $845 million. McCourt, who bought the team in 2004 for $421 million, had resisted selling the real estate, preferring to rent the lots for $14 million a year to the team’s new owner. But the Johnson group suggested the joint venture on the land, said a person briefed on the sale but not authorized to speak publicly.

The deal will let McCourt repay a $150 million loan made to the team last year by Major League Baseball and his $130 million divorce settlement to his ex-wife, Jamie.

The winning bid defeated one by Stan Kroenke, the billionaire owner of the St. Louis Rams, Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets, and a second from two other billionaires: Steven A. Cohen, the hedge-fund manager who recently bought a small share of the Mets, and Patrick Soon-Shiong, who made his money in pharmaceuticals.

The final steps in the process came rapidly. McCourt’s investment banker, Blackstone, asked each bidder to raise their offers Monday night.

Baseball owners approved all three bidders Tuesday afternoon and later in the evening McCourt selected on the Johnson group. An announcement was made shortly after 11 p.m. eastern.

In addition to Johnson and Guggenheim Partners, the winning group includes Stan Kasten, the former president of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals, and Peter Guber, the film producer and head of Mandalay Entertainment.

The agreement to sell the Dodgers to Johnson’s group appears to end an extraordinary year for the team. It filed for bankruptcy last June after Selig blocked a new, long-term billion-dollar cable TV deal between the Dodgers and Fox Sports. Selig had sharply criticized McCourt’s management of the team — in particular his use of team money for his and his ex-wife’s personal use — and installed a monitor to oversee the team’s operations. McCourt called that a hostile takeover.

Jeremy Lin – Race Matters

Growing up in the 60′s I was pretty comfortable in my ignorance about Asian people. They were short, small folks weren’t they? During segregation black folks didn’t much socialize with Asians, as the few Asian kids that were here went to the white schools. That comfortable ignorance was shattered my freshman year of college when I went to the Penn Relays and a friend introduced me to a 7′ tall Chinese High Jumper, who educated this poor brainless twit to the fact that Asia is huge, and peopled by a lot of different folks…

With the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 eliminating racial quotas and restrictions on immigration (not to mention putting us all in the same schools in more enlightened parts of the country) – you would think folks would have learned a hell of a lot about each other by now.

I guess not in the last bastion of bigotry – Sports.

Jeremy Lin - The Kid's Got Game, Y'all

Opinion: Man to man defense

Last Friday, Jeremy Lin – the Knicks’ sensational out-of-nowhere superstar – finally sealed the deal.

Despite his record as one of the most exciting talents to come out of the Bay Area in years, leading Palo Alto High to a stunning 32-1 record in his senior prep year, he was recruited by none of the top basketball schools, finally opting to attend Harvard University after being offered a guaranteed spot on their team.

He subsequently dominated the Ivy League, and put up numbers in his senior year that should have gotten any NBA scout excited, becoming the only player in the NCAA’s Division 1 to rank in the top 10 in virtually every performance category.

And yet Lin went undrafted, finally accepting an offer of a deep backup slot on his hometown team, the Golden State Warriors – who gave him a handful of garbage minutes, shuffling him back and forth between the bench and the NBA’s development league, before finally releasing him in December.

The Houston Rockets, who’d lost center Yao Ming to retirement the previous season, briefly picked up Lin as a potential ploy to retain their substantial Asian fanbase, but dropped him a few weeks later – on Christmas Eve.

The Knicks, ravaged by injuries to all their big-name, big-ticket stars and reeling in the standings, picked him up to ensure they could field a full team on the floor. In the past week, Lin has led New York to a string of victories with a set of incredible individual and team performances.

And last Friday, after dropping 38 points on an elite Los Angeles Lakers squad, he convinced his remaining critics and doubters that they’d been wrong all along.

Most of them.

Minutes after Lin’s amazing game, with the streets of midtown still in the throes of LINsanity, Fox Sports News personality Jason Whitlock issued a flip, ostensibly satirical tweet that probably can not be reprinted in full here. Suffice it to say that it suggested that Lin would be celebrating his victory by entertaining “some lucky lady,” while also reiterating an ugly and cliché stereotype about Asian anatomy.

Why Jeremy Lin’s race matters

After heavy pressure from a range of sources, particularly the Asian American Journalists Association, on Sunday, Whitlock apologized for the joke, calling his remark “immature [and] sophomoric” and one that “debased a feel-good sports moment.”

While many people, including, apparently, Fox Sports News’s leadership, have been willing to let things go based on this act of contrition, I think Whitlock dodged addressing the larger cultural context behind his statement.

I think that’s unfortunate, especially in light of a few other recent in-the-news events.

The first is another offhand tweet by a television personality. Roland Martin, a commentator for the news channel behind this blog, CNN.

Just a week before Whitlock’s unfortunate gibe, as the Giants were headed for a shocking Super Bowl victory over the Patriots, Martin blurted a response to H&M’s sexy underwear commercial featuring David Beckham – suggesting to his followers that any men expressing enthusiasm for the ad should be slapped upside the head. The remark drew a firestorm of backlash from LGBT activists, who interpreted it as an anti-gay statement. Martin was subsequently suspended “indefinitely” from CNN appearances.

There is a connection between the two incidents, and it’s not just that they both related to prominent news figures caught out on social media. Both Whitlock and Martin are African-American men. And both were speaking from a position that illustrates a particular entrenched attitude among men of color about masculinity.

This isn’t the place to go deep into the record of how sexuality, gender and race have intersected in black, Latino and Asian American history, with tragic and sometimes horrific results. Suffice it to say that as a consequence of that history, within each of these communities, manhood – its definition, its expression and yes, the defense of it against those who would question it – plays an outsized role.

Whitlock’s joke said more about his own male insecurities, reinforced by mainstream culture’s stereotypes about black men, than it did about Lin’s anatomy.

And Martin’s joke was ultimately less of an attack on homosexuality than it was a rejection of “sissyhood”: Beckham has long been held up as an exemplar of the “metrosexual male” – the sensitive, fashion-forward guy who, gay or straight, presents an image that runs counter to the rugged and bellicose sensibility of organized team sports, particularly football.

As NFL cornerback turned sportswriter Alan Grant noted in an essay some years back for ESPN.com, “the athletic world – that realm of all things male, musky and aggressive – is the final frontier of masculinity,” which is why it’s so frequently a cesspool for, as he put it, “crude, old-fashioned, sophomoric statements about sexuality.” Like Whitlock’s. And Martin’s.

Whether they intended to or not – and even if they’re oblivious to the fact – with their comments, Whitlock and Martin injected themselves into a much larger conversation of what it means to be a “real man” in an era where manhood is constantly perceived to be “under attack.”

But maybe the particular male archetype that Whitlock, Martin and many others have held up as a benchmark is one that deserves to be under attack.

It celebrates physical parameters that few men can reach – certainly not Whitlock or Martin, or me, for that matter: Big, burly, massively muscled, inhumanly endowed. It reinforces the notion that manhood is best expressed through violence – giving women “pain,” per Whitlock, or “slapping the ish” out of someone, per Martin.

It is, quite frequently, accompanied by words and actions that are deeply misogynist or nastily homophobic, or both.

It presents manhood as the fruit of harsh treatment and abuse – as exemplified by the viral video of the so-called “Eagle Dad,” Chinese businessman He Liesheng, forcing his four-year-old son to run around Central Park in the snow in his underwear to make him more manly: “When the old eagle teaches its young, it takes the young eagles to the cliffside, beats them, and pushes them to teach them to use their wings,” explained He.

One of the things that’s most incredible about the Jeremy Lin phenomenon isn’t just that he’s had so much success, but that he’s done so without relying on or embracing the tenets of raw, rugged, roughneck notions of manhood…

Dewey Bozella – Exonerated After 26 Years in Jail…Wins Professional Fight

52? What’s in a number…Indeed.

Yet another wrongly convicted man in our troubled system of justice. Dewey Bozella pursues a long denied dream.

Exonerated inmate, 52, wins professional boxing debut

Dewey Bozella poses for photographers after defeating Larry Hopkins in their cruiserweight fight Saturday.A 52-year-old cruiserweight who spent 26 years in prison for a murder he did not commit won his professional boxing debut Saturday night.

Dewey Bozella defeated Larry Hopkins by unanimous decision in the four-round match at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The pugilist served time in New York’s Sing Sing prison after being found guilty of murder in 1983; his conviction was overturned two years ago.

According to a biography on his website, Bozella was offered several opportunities for an early release if he would admit guilt and show remorse.

“Anger at his imprisonment gave way to determination and instead of becoming embittered, he became a model prisoner” and earned several degrees, the site says.

President Barack Obama called Bozella this week, offering him encouragement in his fight.

During his incarceration, Bozella was crowned the Sing Sing heavyweight champion. Continue reading

Bill Russell – Mentor Golf Challenge

Guys are still kickin’ it – and seem to be doing well. Bill Russell, Jim Brown – two of their respective sorts most accomplished heroes. This event was for Bill Russell Mentoring, part of the Bill Russell Legacy Project which is supporting the National Mentoring Foundation focused on youth mentoring.

Bill Russell Legacy Project Includes Grants for Youth Mentoring

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 – The Mass Mentoring Partnership, a MENTOR affiliate, is partnering with the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation and the City of Boston on the Bill Russell Legacy Project, which includes an annual grants program for youth mentoring organizations in Boston so that more local children have access to quality, structured mentoring.

At an event last week, Russell and more than 400 supporters and community leaders were at Fenway Park, along with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino; Boston Celtics Co-owner and Managing PartnerPresident of the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation Stephen Pagliuca; Boston Celtics LegendTommy Heinsohn; and Founder of the Sager Family Foundation and Chairman of PolaroidBobby Sager to discuss the Legacy Project.

In addition to establishing the Bill Russell Mentoring Grant Program, which Mass Mentoring will administer, the project will erect a statue of Russell in Boston to celebrate his achievements as the greatest champion in the history of professional sports, as a national leader in human rights and as a dedicated advocate for youth mentoring.

“We are so proud to play a role in this effort that Mayor Menino and the Celtics have made so reflective of Bill’s lifetime of activism, as well as his many iconic accomplishments in Boston,” Mass Mentoring Partnership’s Chief Executive Officer David Shapiro said. “They have created a living legacy of Bill’s catalytic social justice leadership that will inspire future generations of our city’s youth through the proven impact of mentoring.”

As part of last week’s event, the Mass Mentoring Partnership presented Russell with a Lifetime Achievement Champion of Mentoring Award and the Boston Celtics with its 2011 Champion of Mentoring Award, which honor individuals and organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to youth mentoring and have championed the strategic growth of high-quality mentoring throughout Massachusetts.

“We are delighted that Bill Russell’s many accomplishments are being recognized in this way,” said MENTOR President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Larry Wright. “Bill has been an active member of MENTOR’s board of directors since 1996, so the collaboration to make youth mentoring grants in his name is particularly meaningful.”

Is He, or Isn’t She Allowed to Compete? Caster Semenya Saga

Caster Semenya is the South African sprinter who ripped up the women’s 400 and 800 Meter events starting in 2008. Coming out of nowhere, Caster’s times improved markedly, and extremely rapidly.

Due to Caster’s appearance, facial hair, and musculature – other teams cried foul, that Caster wasn’t a woman (Which has happened in the past).

The physical exam and DNA tests provided the most unimaginable answer possible – Caster is both man and woman, a true hermaphrodite, shattering the staid sports world’s neat sexual definitions…

And possibly altering women’s sports forever.

This has led to a complete circus, with plenty of hurt to go around. There is no reason to believe that Caster, or any of her coaches was aware of her condition. Nor is there any reason to believe there has been any sort of underhanded steroid or chemical manipulation. On the other hand, is it fair for Caster to compete against women whose “female” genetic makeup doesn’t give them male muscle mass?

One thing for certain – the only people in the world dumber than politicians at handling difficult issues…

Is Sports Governing authorities.

Caster Semenya athletics future thrown into confusion after press conference cancelled

Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya saga hits new low

South African sports minister Makhenkesi Stofile was forced into an embarrassing climb-down on the eve of the World Cup on Thursday after being ordered to cancel a high-profile announcement that Caster Semenya had been cleared to compete again in women’s races.

Stofile, who warned last year of “Third World War” if the 800 metres world champion was barred from competition on gender grounds, had called a news conference in Johannesburg to announce that the 19 year-old was free to resume her athletics career following the conclusion of a nine-month gender inquiry by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

It later emerged that the IAAF had been forced to intervene, complaining that Stofile had jumped the gun and that its long-running gender investigation had yet to be completed. Continue reading

DC’s First Female High School Football Coach – Natalie Randolph

Yeah, she’s going to be the best looking coach – not the least because she is a good looking gal. Watch her closely, and you begin to realize there’s some serious steel under that facade. She played Woman’s Professional Football as a wide receiver for 6 years for the DC Divas, so she is no stranger to a hit. Her fiance is also the Coach of a rival team. Her focus is not only on the game, but making sure the young men in her charge get a good education.

Going to be an interesting year in DC High School Football. Good Luck to Natalie!

Coolidge’s new coach, Natalie Randolph, stands out for all the right reasons

The members of the search committee weren’t looking to make a political statement or even a big splash. They were trying to decide between 20 or so candidates with nice résumés, some of them long and impressive, who wanted to be head football coach at Coolidge High in Northwest Washington. The only problem, according to one member of the committee, was almost all of them talked about themselves, about their credentials and qualifications, their goals for the team.

One person, according to a committee member, stood out. She was stunningly different, and not just because she was a she. Her presentation went into specific details about tutorial programs and after-school mentoring, about raising GPAs and improved SAT prep classes, as well as winning football games. “She blew us away,” the search committee member said. “It wasn’t close. A couple of minutes into her presentation it was like: ‘Okay, it’s a wrap. She’s the one.’ ” Continue reading

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