My Top 5 Boston Sports Quotes

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This is a short list and usually, I hate lists, but here are my 5 favorite Boston sports quotes of recent memory. Enjoy the quick trip down memory lane, feel free to let me know if I missed your personal favorite.

1. “Malcolm go!” – Brian Flores

Two words. That’s all it took for Brian Flores’s voice to be etched in my memory forever. And to think that  I wouldn’t even be writing this sentence if the Seahawks just gave the ball to Marshawn.

I would run through a brick wall if Brian Flores told me to.

2. “But let me tell ya. Don’t let us win today” – Kevin Millar

The only thing that could make this quote better is if it didn’t include Dan Shaughnessy at all. But alas, I know I can’t get too greedy. Millar was one of many heartbeats of that 2004 Red Sox team and he couldn’t have been more on the money. If the Red Sox didn’t win Game 4, the greatest comeback in sports history never would have happened.

If the Red Sox didn’t win Game 4, the greatest comeback in sports history never would have happened. I know hindsight is 20/20, but the Yankees should have taken Millar’s advice.

3. “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLEEEE!!!!!” – Kevin Garnett

This one speaks for itself. For the first time in his career, and maybe the only time in his whole damn life, Kevin Garnett was TOO hyped up. The interview is short, but it packs a punch. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t tear up the first 100 times I watched KG proclaim, “I’m certified,” after fighting back tears, trying to grasp the magnitude of the moment. With the confetti falling and a microphone in his face, he just lets it fly.

What makes this particular quote stand out to me is it’s literally the culmination of a career-long fight by Garnett to get to the top of the mountain. I might never know how that feels, so I choose to live vicariously through KG.

The year is 2002 and some Patriots fans might have been looking forward. Quite simply, this is where it all began. The most interesting part is that Madden was right, it probably was the smart decision to take a knee and take their chance in overtime. But sometimes greatness trumps logic.

Disclaimer: that isn’t the exact quote from Madden. He was mumbling and I had to clean it up a little bit.

Bonus Quote: “I’ll tell ya, what Tom Brady just did, gave me goosebumps” – John Madden.

5. “We saw a weak team…the New England Patriots, let’s face it, they’re not good anymore!”  – Trent Dilfer

Hey Trent, you are a great analyst who is always on the money with the takes…..NOT!

Ha…got him

IMPORTANT EDIT:

THIS IS OUR FUCKING CITY. AND NOBODY’S GOING TO DICTATE OUR FREEDOM. STAY STRONG” – David Ortiz

This is the moment I decided I would take a bullet for David Ortiz, and he convinced me he would take a bullet for anybody in this city. It was before he hit close to .700 in the 2013 World Series.

I couldn’t leave this post up without including it. Ortiz transcended the game of baseball when he spoke to a city that became his home, from the depths of his heart, and dropped the most necessary F-bomb on TV in history. It’s impossible to think back on the tension and weight of the moment, but that has never phased Ortiz.

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Wisconsin Basketball And The Hunger For More

New York Times –  The Wisconsin basketball players Nigel Hayes and Jordan Hill took a step behind their teammates during the national anthem before the ninth-ranked Badgers’ season opener on Friday. It was another in a long series of visible protests from one of college basketball’s most socially aware locker rooms.

Hayes, a senior who was named the preseason Big Ten player of the year, has lobbied for players to be paid, serving as a plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking a freer market for top athletes and once showing up to an ESPN “College GameDay” set sardonically identifying himself as a “broke athlete.” Hayes has also posted about the Black Lives Matter movement to his more than 80,000 Twitter followers and recently joined other Wisconsin athletes in demanding university action after a fan appeared in a mask of President Obama and a noose at a Badgers home football game.

Hill, a redshirt junior, also writes provocatively on Twitter. And in September, Wisconsin’s starting point guard, the senior Bronson Koenig, traveled to support protesters of the Dakota Access pipeline, many of whom are, like him, Native American.


In a sit-down interview with three players from what the New York Times has labeled “College Basketball’s Most Political Locker Room”, the curtain gets peeled back a little bit on what life is like for these three guys who continue to put more responsibilities on their plate. Nigel Hayes has taken the role as the vocal leader of not only Wisconsin’s  basketball team, but for all Division 1 athletes who struggle to find their place amongst their fellow students.

Whether it is the fight for the right to be paid, taking a stand against police brutality, or protesting the Dakota Access pipeline, these guys are there and ready to use their platform to extend their influence.  But what will it really do?

I am skeptical of what immediate benefits these guys will be able to enjoy, but what is obvious is that they don’t care about all of that. The causes they are fighting for will never go away, but as they reach the tail end of their  college careers it is important to note that they are not simply falling in line. They are carrying the torch, and the spotlight has never been brighter.

 

Unreported Concussions: An Ominous Cloud Over the NFL

The RingerKuechly was sent sprawling before rolling over onto his stomach, writhing around with his appendages flapping. Players huddled around him. Voices hushed. Commercials happened. Kuechly eventually landed on the injury cart, looking decidedly less than superhuman. Was he really crying? Was something else going on?

I hopped on my iPad, Googled “Kuechly concussions” and learned that he had suffered one last season that sidelined him for weeks. This was his second. God knows how many undiagnosed ones he’s had.


 Whatever happened, Luke Kuechly went from “heat-seeking missile” to “hyperventilating, blubbering mess” in one play. The following morning, he appeared in this photo on Instagram:

 

… and that was supposed to make us feel better. Or something.


The NFL has upped the focus on concussions over the past decade or so and over at the swanky new offices at 345 Park Avenue in Midtown, maybe they think they are doing enough. In a recent conversation between The Ringer founder Bill Simmons and best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell, the future of the NFL is examined with Kuechly’s on-field breakdown fresh in their minds.

Simmons explains that had it been another time, he would have made a joke about Kuechly’s on-field display like he used to make jokes at Troy Aikman’s brains expense, but this is a new NFL and the rules have changed.

What really sticks out to me is that Simmons acknowledged that this was only Kuechly’s second reported concussion, but he places emphasis on the unknown variable of how many undiagnosed concussions he has had in his young football career.  While it is the big blows, the loss of consciousness on national TV that stands out to the outside world the repeated blows to the head on every play are a problem as well. The differentiation between a “major” and “minor” concussion is pointless. The NFL is driving an unstoppable train with thousands of lives on the line. If it doesn’t get control soon, it will derail.

Silence Should Not Be Rewarded

The Boston Globe – Sports and politics are both cutthroat competitive. They both revere history. They both inspire wall-to-wall coverage and hyperbolizing pundits. They both require energizing bases — fan and voter. In both, logic and viewpoint are often dictated by loyalty to a particular team.


Athletes have a right to express their political opinions and participate in the process. However, we shouldn’t assume their stances are more noble or informed.

Just because (LeBron) James is a franchise player that doesn’t mean he is qualified to tell people what to do with their franchise.

But the athlete who is willing to put himself or herself out there with a view that could alienate some of their fans and upset their brands has my respect. That includes athletes whose beliefs and opinions may not be ones I share.


 

While the above article was written in a world where Donald Trump was simply the Republican candidate for the Presidency, Chris Gasper of The Boston Globe perfectly explains why it is important for athletes to not shy away from their beliefs, and throughout the article Gasper draws parallels between sports and politics.

In a way, this is a continuation of my post regarding Tom Brady and his line stepping when it came to his inability to be public about how he supported his “good friend” Donald Trump.

It is understandable why an athlete that is on the edge of super-stardom might be less willing to be vocal about their opinions regarding real issues., especially on politics. While it might not be fair to discredit an athlete for remaining quiet, it is important to revere those who do not allow themselves to be simply another cog in the machine.

Gasper gives the example of Curt Schilling, who’s opinions are less than relatable for me. However, I agree with Gasper in the sense that while you can question his stance on certain issues, you can’t question his passion and willingness to risk his career in order for his voice to be heard. Silly, stupid, absurd. These are all words you can use to describe an athlete that you feel doesn’t see through the same lens as you.  But the discussion they provide in the public sphere is more important than the actual hot takes.

Utter Fulfillment

Late one night while ignoring my need for sleep and mindlessly scrolling through Twitter one particular tweet from Chad Finn about the hunt for utter fulfillment caught my eye.

 

With Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians trading blows in the World Series this year the unbiased baseball fan, especially those who don’t buy into the whole “going to sleep at a reasonable hour” fad is being treated to a great series. Sure, there are things that the MLB could work on to make the games end at a reasonable hour, but you won’t see me complaining about run-times in the World Series. It’s the freakin’ World Series. Every pitch matters.

Now, back to utter fulfillment.  When I said that this series is a treat to the unbiased baseball fan I can guarantee you it hasn’t been so enjoyable for Indians fans or the Cubs fans. Make no mistake, for these clubs there will be no solace in heading into the Winter Meetings without a ring. And for the diehard fans, a good nights sleep will be few and far between after the final out of their season is made if they are on the losing end.

Think about it. You don’t know a Cubs fan who has seen a World Series win, that’s a fact. The same can be said about Indians fans, with only a little less certainty. The “careful-what-you-wish-for b.s.” that Finn refers too is purely a safety net, it’s the first step to reminding yourself that there is always next year. But when the final out is made and one of these championship-starved clubs is holding up The Commissioner’s Trophy, next year won’t matter. Next year will never feel as good as this year. That is the utter fulfillment that Finn was talking about.

 

p.s. What a lame name for the MLB’s championship trophy. Why isn’t it the David Ortiz Trophy yet?

 

 

The Silencing of Sevyn Streeter

USA TODAY –  Singer-songwriter Sevyn Streeter was scheduled to sing the national anthem ahead of the 76ers’ season opener against the Thunder, but that performance didn’t happen. Streeter tweeted a video where she said her anthem performance was stopped because of her “We Matter” jersey. She added that the order came from the 76ers organization.

 What is the NBA thinking here? This is just a terrible look. One day after the NBA rolled out their “Together” campaign the league goes and pulls this.  It seems as if it was a serious knee-jerk reaction by the 76ers management, one that they will undoubtedly regret.

One week ago, before a preseason game between the Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers, Denasia Lawrence took a knee in the middle of the court during her rendition of the National Anthem. The hosting Heat claimed to be unaware of the gesture, and that type of unapproved protest is something that the NBA is looking to avoid.

How does this reflect upon the franchise? After being a witness to the unscheduled protest in Miami the 76ers, how could the team be so unprepared to deal with a situation that was in their control?  ESPN’s Bomani Jones was brief  but stern in his reaction to the blunder.

With a team that is compromised of 85% black players, the trickle down effect behind closed doors could be volatile but it is very likely this will remain behind closed doors. Simply put, this is bad look for the Philadelphia 76ers and more importantly it looks really bad for the NBA. At the same time that the league acknowledges their role in advancing conversation as they roll out a campaign promoting unity, they have silenced the voice of a civilian.

It All Started With A Red Hat

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WCVB (September 2015)

CSNNE (Tom E. Curran)- I don’t know whether Brady will ever go on-the-record and “correct” Trump on his version of locker-room talk. Maybe deep down he’s thinking if he hadn’t willingly allowed Trump to glom onto him 15 years ago, he wouldn’t be dealing with this crap now.

But at the same time, Brady obviously enjoys the friendship. Fun guy, good golf, nice courses, great cigars and all that.

Saying nothing means remaining loyal to Donald Trump as a friend, protecting the brand and staying above the fray.

But saying something — even something as simple as “I didn’t like the comments…” — will be remembered longer than any cigar or round of golf.

For a man who’s been very much surrounded and formed by powerful, confident, capable women — his mother Galynn, sisters Julie, Maureen and Nancy, his wife Gisele — it’s unfathomable that Brady thinks for a nanosecond Trump’s comments aren’t a big deal.

He really ought to say so. 


Confession. I’m a big fan of Tom Brady. The reality of my life as a New England Patriots fan having already peaked is a sad one, but I wouldn’t trade the memories for anything. I have Tom Brady to thank for that.

Now, let’s just say my feelings for Donald Trump land somewhere on the complete opposite side of that spectrum. So the friendship that has blossomed between the two is a bit of a sore subject for me. Ever since Brady showcased one of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” hats in his locker during media availability the link between the two has been the elephant in the room yet following his silent endorsement Brady has been tight-lipped on the subject.

It always made sense to me. Brady has created a brand, something that very few NFL players are able to do. The league is designed to take from the players much more than it gives. It has the least effective players association and the shortest average career length of the big four American professional sports. But Brady catapulted himself to that tier of athletes who transcend their sport into the public eye. He stayed quiet, deflected questions about Trump just like he would a question about last week’s game. Very clearly his camp identified the questions as toxic and he stayed far, far away. But now Trump has stepped directly into his life. A week following the release of Trump’s tour bus discussion with Billy Bush where they glorified sexual assault which  Trump simply wrote off as ‘locker room talk’, Trump sang Brady’s praises at a rally in New Hampshire.

Brady has been vigilant in his efforts to profess his friendship with Trump while also asking to remain out of any political discussion. This is where Brady draws the line. As Tom E. Curran wrote for Comcast Sports Net New England, this is also where Brady must acknowledge that Trump crossed that line and he would do a lot of good by coming out with a statement and peeling back the curtain a little bit.

This is where I draw the line. This is where Brady needs to step up and say something. In a way, this will always be the difference between Brady and David Ortiz, the two most important athletes of my life. Ortiz was an extravagant force in a sport that is more accessible than any other. A summer with the Red Sox dominating the sports media cycle always meant a healthy dose of Ortiz sound bites and highlights. With Brady and the Patriots, you are permanently on the outside looking in. Brady never gives you a real look behind the curtain. Now more than ever it feels like  I don’t want to know what is really going on between Brady’s ears and that’s just the way he wants it. His brand off the field is the same as the one on it.  Unflappable, charismatic, excellent. But his personal life is a lot like when he is on the field, Brady wants you to enjoy it from a distance.

Maybe I should have listened to Mike Felger after Brady’s incident with the Trump hat when he took to the radio waves to poke fun at the reluctance of Patriots fans to acknowledge that Tom Brady might be a little stranger than we would like. The truth is, Patriot’s fans don’t want to know. But Brady’s actions makes it hard to not wonder how it got to this point.