Browsed by
Month: January 2017

Wake Up Call – Being a Premier League Fan in America

Wake Up Call – Being a Premier League Fan in America

When my alarm clock went off I figured it had to be a mistake.

Possibly the time got pushed forward through some electronic glitch and it’s really still close to midnight? There is no way it’s already 4:15 am, that was a whole four hours away when I laid down a second ago. I swear, the slightest blink and back awake before gravity took my head to my shoulder has eroded the entire four hour window I carved out by ditching the bars early last night. I was supposed to relish that time, not skip it.

Ugh, whatever, it’s matchday.

To me, and many other American’s scattered in small towns, big cities, and in pockets of earth everywhere in between, the Barclays Premier League is not optional. The weekly rush of life-gratifying victory, or soul crushing how-will-I-get-through-the-international-break taste of defeat is as much as a necessary piece of my life as consuming alcohol in the morning. Sure life might go on in theory, but would I really even want it to?

When that alarm goes off and I finally do stretch out the cobwebs to open my FotMob app on my phone with one cracked eye, the justification is already apparent. The feeling of Premier League matchday evokes a certain adrenaline (or is it dopamine) rush that reminds you why you love it. Every ‘1’ or ‘2’ on the scoreboard across the league could represent beautiful team counter, or an overhead kick, or maybe it even *gasp* was an own goal. While your eyes fixate on your own club, whether on a beautiful NBC Live stream (honestly, thank you) or through a reddit link, the rest of the world is having a kick, creating chances and adding pages to this season’s screenplay, which will eventually be binded and filed away in the world’s largest collection of transcribed magic.

On this particular morning, I find myself in the salt water air of San Diego, California in a small pub by the name of Shakespeare. There are 30 or so of us sitting around wooden tables, some with coffee, others with alcohol, everyone with smiles. The Tottenham (yuck) game is finishing up and there is a man in an Ashley Cole Chelsea jersey in front of me. I shake my head in joking disgust and he goes “oh you’re a gunner aren’t ya” and we laugh and cheers.

It’s a unique group, American Premier League fans, as it is actually one of the only collection of individuals who follow the league in it’s entirety. In England, (according to Men In Blazers I think, this is a blog, sue me) supporters follow more their club than the entire macroscope lens we see it through every weekend morning. Due to obvious time differences we find ourselves choosing between the 4:30 am game (west coast) or sleeping in until the 7’s, frantically googling to find a bar open in your current vicinity that sounds european enough to possible have Fox Soccer Plus. I’s a grueling process, but one that universally unites all patrons once arrived, with only a simple nod and a smile enough to acknowledge your respect for one another’s efforts to wind up in that particular bar chair this early.

That’s how I ended up at Shakespeare’s. As I type this, the sun is peeping above a blind drawn to satisfy the 75 year old British man to my left, and he keeps rambling on about the Sunderland fans showing no respect leaving early after only 10 minutes and two goals allowed.

“Where’s the spirit? Where is the hope?” He mumbles on. “The beautiful moments that occur only after sure defeat, those are the only worth celebrating anyways! Why have your ass in a pint down the street when the boys are looking at an empty seat?”

I asked him to repeat what he just said slowly so I could get it right.

The result? Oh it really doesn’t matter. If The Arsenal prevail or break my heart it’s all the same. Next week it will probably be another bar, another set of people, another fixture. The feeling though, it actually can’t change if it wanted to.

Because there is something about a human sacrificing a thing universally adored for genetic reasons, sleep, in exchange for watching an imitation of art performed by men not allowed to use their hands, that creates a sense of achievement and energy unrivaled. When men and women gather in the sunrise light at a bar, usually with a man still sweeping up in a corner from last night’s late close, to be greeted by a bartender as eager for the drama as you are, the love is palatable. The beer gets flowing and the conversations get louder, Dele Alli flops and we bash him, then he dances beautifully and we praise him. Andy Carroll makes everyone crack up laughing and then hold our heads screaming. That one guy still says that if Charlie Adam can last the 90 then he could get a trial.

It’s everything that is right about sport. If you want to be there, you made a true effort to do so. No one is getting talked into going there if they don’t want to be there. Only those with a knowledge or desire (neither more valuable than the other) in attendance, the orchestra plays another set of tunes. While your ears stay fixed on one, the echo of others can be heard (or seen in the top right corner) whenever you turn your attention.

From San Diego to Boston, Michigan to Houston, there are those individuals who feel that this matters. Who quite literally lose sleep over their men and the pursuit of either a title or ‘not relegation.’ With jerseys on our backs and a guinness in our hand we peer through squinting eyes at the current chapter of our story, never knowing if this week is when the twist happens.

And next time you find yourself surrounded by peers, enjoying whatever you please, with an eye on the clock and another on Danny Welbeck’s incredible man pectorals ask yourself this: Have I ever been this peaceful?

At least for me, the sleep can wait until I’m either dead or soccer goes away. But that’s a conversation for another time.

For now, it’s matchday.





Donald Trump and the New England Patriots – Why This Matters

Donald Trump and the New England Patriots – Why This Matters

Let me start this off by saying that you can be a fan of the New England Patriots without supporting Donald Trump. You may also be a Trump supporters who feel the New England Patriots are the worst part of football. Opinions work that way. You are entitled to your own and do not need to disclose that information unless you feel the urge to do so.

You can even be a fan of football and be disinterested in politics. You are allowed to know nothing about the President of the United States but everything about the yards per carry of James White. The Patriots and Trump are two of the most polarizing topics on the national forefront today, and nothing you feel about them individually requires a parallel thought about the other.

What can’t be ignored is the fact that both Donald Trump and the New England Patriots have had their names in the same sentences dating back to the Fall of 2015, and this should matter to everyone more than it currently does.

“Tom Brady is a great friend of mine. He’s a winner and he likes winners.” – Trump, March 2016

It all ‘started’ with the image above.

In the Fall of 2015 Tom Brady spoke to the media outside his locker in Gillette Stadium with a ‘Make America Great’ hat visible in the corner. It was calculated, it was placed, and it was significant.

While many feel this hat was strategically inserted to signify a friendship that was starting to boom, it was actually closer to representing the type of brand association a recently-declared Donald Trump was using his long-time friend Tom Brady for in a crucial moment of his campaign.

Branding, or the art of creating an emotion your name or logo becomes associated with, is one of the biggest strengths our President possesses. Since he first began boasting about wealth and power in his youth, Donald was formulating what the name Trump was going to mean to those who prefer their opinions handed to them. The questions of ‘how much money’ or tangible numbers mattered not to those who had been associating Trump with wealth since the first time they heard the name. Think of Trump, and imagine the massive golden hotels, the intricate casinos, the sheer beauty of what was created in his name. Donald Trump, what a rich man.

If you remember that speech from the Fall of 2015, when Donald Trump declared his campaign as active for the Presidential Nomination, the headlines surrounding it honed in on a hard stance regarding immigration (he called Mexicans rapists) and a promise to make our nation what it used to be.

Professional athletes like Tom Brady completely understand the value of branding and creating a profitable image, so the idea that this could have been coincidence will not be respected in this piece. Brady knew exactly what he was doing at a very crucial time to the Trump campaign.

Trump needed legitimization, and what better way to portray yourself a winner than get the ringing endorsement of a man known by all as just that. Tom Brady, for the past 15 years, has become synonymous with greatness and consistent success through commitment, hard work, and persistence. Brady acknowledges the brand he has created in this Under Armour commercial from 2016, where he wears the number of his famously low NFL Draft selection and repeats the same grueling process, which we can assume leads him to the live success we see each Sunday.

If this had been the only contribution to the Trump campaign conducted by members of the New England Patriots, there would be nothing to see here. One athlete making one calculated product placement during a crucial time is enough for a headline, but not enough to propel a candidate to victory. That was not the case.

When Donald Trump made the ‘Locker Room Talk’ comment in October of last year, Tom Brady refused to denounce the words. Then, the immediate Monday afterwards, he appeared on Boston Sports Radio and spoke about how ‘Donald has been my friend for 16 years’ and again chose to place his brand in the firing line for someone he openly supported, even through the lowest moments.

For those who don’t get their news through twitter, who value football every Sunday over the evening news, and hold Tom in the highest regard, these comments from Trump were brushed aside due to the swift action of his good friend, and trustworthy, Tom Brady.

At this point, we have potentially the two biggest obstacles in the Donald Trump campaign trail belittled with the help of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

As mentioned before, the power of branding can’t be overstated. Ask your local Instagram model or aspiring youtube sensation. You must create something that resonates with an audience, allows them to trust what you provide as entertaining or worthwhile, and eventually put their money where their mouth is and support you.

That is exactly what Donald Trump has done, and continues to do, with the Super Bowl bound New England Patriots.

The above video was taken by a member of the audience during Donald Trump’s final speech before election day. That’s right, the very night before the ruler of our national would be decided, Donald Trump stood on a podium and recited words written to him by the greatest football coach in American history.

The beginning of a presidential campaign needs a propulsion in order to separate a candidate from the rest of the pack. Then, during a campaign, there will come a time where all hope seems lost and you need a strong backing from someone respected nationally. Finally, right before the curtain pulls behind a voter, you need something to tap them on the back of the brain and say “This guy could be the one, look who supports him.”

In all three of those instances, the New England Patriots were there to lend a helping hand. The ‘no distractions’ motto recited time and time again by the one coach who seems a walking embodiment of the word ‘calculated’ was disregarded for what? For the aiding in the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States.

As previously mentioned, the idea that the world is ending or this is somehow a condemnation of the Patriots or Donald Trump is soaked in a pot of overreaction and pessimism. This is not the worst thing to ever happen to America, nor is it the best thing. It is another President taking office in a nation seemingly small enough to exist on our phones, but too large to drive in one day. Things happen you might not always agree with, but we carry on all the same.

What this is meant to portray is the level of cross-promotion both Trump and the Patriots were comfortable performing in tandem with one another. For whatever reason, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady felt their assistance of Donald Trump was necessary and essential to whatever cause they are pursuing. If it isn’t as complicated as that, then the New England Patriots aren’t as smart as we thought they were.

It’s a seemingly huge risk to legitimize a candidate maligned by so many, when your entire profession is under constant scrutiny by often times those same members of society who despise your selection. It makes no sense unless there was a direct motive to do so. Bill Belichick is a lot of things, but reactionary or impulsive is not one of them.

When it came down to it, America voted Donald Trump as the next President of the United States with the ringing endorsement of the “most hated team in American sports” still echoing in living rooms across the country.

Ask yourself this, America.

Do you really hate the Patriots? Or do you hate that they aren’t your team. Because when election time rolled around…

The brand spoke for itself.


House of Cards: Real Life Edition

House of Cards: Real Life Edition

Do you ever catch yourself waking up from a dream and swearing it was real? For all my texting-while-driving people, have you ever looked up from your phone and wonder how you got to where you were without crashing? Or maybe one time you spent all day in your pool then were astonished to find out it was 5:30 P.M instead of noon. These are all tiny tricks the mind plays. Little theatrical illusions which distort reality from fiction.


Well, if you were to tell me right now that I was unknowingly participating as an extra in ‘House of Cards’…I would seriously believe you.


We may all be getting ‘Truman Show’d’. The characters are cast to perfection. A billionaire President who’s only defense mechanism against his own ‘little man syndrome’ is to emasculate others. A Vice President who looks the part of a warm grandpa, until you realize he has a secret agenda to punish gays. Behind the scenes lurks a soulless woman hell-bent on supporting her President; except her true motive lies within personal gains and not sincere jingoism. To add an element of eeriness, a former Big Oil Tycoon sinisterly awaits in the shadows as he is confirmed as Secretary of state. For extra drama a Russian Oligarch and President is thrown into the mix, with all of his vengeful tactics waiting to be deployed. Lastly, a former challenger of the president is featured. Once belittled as ‘Little Marco’, the now devious Senator has a master plan to stop a major conspiracy and finally stick it to the man who burnt him best.

Oh, and who can forget the smokin’ hot First Lady?


Unfortunately folks, this is real life.


In an excellent segment of journalism, Rachel Maddow delineated the connection between Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson, Exxon Mobile and the country of Russia. Maddow and her usual crew of erudite researchers dug up some important dirt on Mr. Tillerson. It turns out that our current nominee for America’s top diplomatic position has over 63 MILLION ACRES OF RUSSIAN LAND THAT AMERICA HAS NOT ALLOWED EXXON MOBILE TO DRILL IN.

Reread that.


Due to sanctions placed on Russia by America due to some deplorable actions by the Eastern Superpower, Rex Tillerson and Exxon Mobile never got the chance to drill for oil in Russia. Exxon has been sitting on these 63 million acres of drilling potential for some time now. The only thing stopping Exxon and Tillerson from making literally billions of dollars is a sanction from the U.S government. As Secretary of State, Tillerson could effectively lift those sanctions and allow for Exxon Mobile to rake in the billions they have been patiently sitting on.


How did we get here? The cynic in me wants to write about some farfetched conspiracy theory. It would go something like this:


Putin ordered the hack of the DNC to help Donald Trump get elected. In return, Trump nominated Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Tillerson hired Condy Rice as a consultant (actually happened) to vouch on behalf of Tillerson and help him get confirmed. Let us remember, Condoleezza Rice is literally employed by Tillerson to help Exxon Mobile make as much money as possible. Tillerson lifts the Russian sanctions, allowing for him and Putin to make a ton of money. Sure, Tillerson will have to divest from his Exxon holdings and put his assets in a blind trust. But, only a dummy would believe that Tillerson does not have anything to gain from this.


Sorry to disappoint again folks, but that is one conspiracy theory I do not subscribe to. Although it is something Alex Jones and the people at Infowars dream about, I cannot believe in it. Simply put, it is exactly what I labeled it…farfetched. Still, it is something you could imagine becoming the plot of Frank Underwood’s next House of Cards episodes.


Here is a theory I do believe in, however:


Marco Rubio. The man who was virtually nowhere to be seen during the Presidential Campaign is back from the woodworks. Rubio finally thought it would be his time to get the GOP nomination and become POTUS. All he had to do was beat out Grayson Allen’s dad and Jeb Bush. And then came Trump. All of a sudden, Rubio was deemed ‘Little Marco’ and lost all chances of becoming president. Oh, and Trump ridiculed him every step of the way. A guy who had paid his dues to his party was suddenly abandoned by it as gutless cowards such as Reince Preibus refused to stand up for him. Do not fret Mr. Rubio, your day of vengeance of here.


Mathematically speaking, if every Democrat voted ‘no’ on Tillerson’s confirmation, then they would still be short one vote. One Republican will have to vote against Tillerson’s confirmation. That one senator…you guessed it…Marco Freaking Rubio. Watch as Rubio absolutely grills Tillerson during his hearing. In an interview this week Rubio revealed that is he is currently up in the air about voting for Tillerson. After watching his questioning of Tillerson, Rubio’s vote actually appears to undecided. Want my hot take?


Just like Priebus, Rubio has proved to be spineless. Despite all of the personal attacks from Trump and a series of deep, intense policy disagreements, Rubio still endorsed and voted for Trump. He fell in line with Party expectations like the sheep he is. Do I expect Rubio to vote ‘no’ on this confirmation? No. Would I love it if he did? Of course. Still, a gambling man would bet that Rubio is just playing politics here. Tillerson will probably be confirmed, yet Rubio is making Trump sweat and conjuring legitimate dissent against Tillerson at the same time. The odds of Rubio’s vote being the deciding one is little. Consider this ‘Little Marco’s’ attempt to put a stain on Trump’s cabinet before they even take office.

What Obama Will Truly Be Remembered For

What Obama Will Truly Be Remembered For

Tuesdays are a fun day for me. My best friend and I get to coach some high school kids and teach them a little bit about roundball. Sure, we coach rec-league basketball but still, the kids love it and so do we. So I was a little bummed out when I came home last night to find my sister and mother almost in tears.


They were watching Obama’s farewell speech. An American icon said his official goodbyes to a generation he inspired to simply do better. I could comment on the content of the speech itself. Or I could relay to you that within the first five minutes of Sean Hannity’s show he had already given up on celebrating a president and started to delineate Trump’s agenda. It would be more prudent however, to demonstrate just how Obama changed this country for the better. And what better way to begin this discussion than by commenting on today’s Trump Presser.


First it was Sean Spicer. The Rhode Island native and Connecticut College graduate walked up to the podium and began condemning Buzzfeed for their horrible journalism. He was right to do so. Then VPEOTUS replaced Spicer and did more of the same. Next up, the PEOTUS himself. You guessed it; he also went ballistic on Buzzfeed and CNN.


Predictably so, the majority of questions placed a focus on the recent reports about the Russian influence on our elections. In fact, the first handful of questions basically asked the same thing. After a brief interlude from Trump’s lawyer, who described how Trump would disclose his conflicts of interest, we finally got a question that had nothing to do with Russia. Yes, some brave soul from some news publication actually dared to ask a question about Obamacare. The paraphrased question: “What do you (Trump) plan to do about the repeal of Obamacare and do you have a replacement program?”


Trump responded by asserting he will make good on his campaign promise of repealing ACA. Then he made the usual unsubstantiated claims that a replacement program will made into law only a couple weeks after the repeal. Upon first glance, this statement is neither sexy nor surprising. Anyone who has watched at least five minutes of CNN this week has heard about the GOP’s attempts to repeal the law. So, what does this have to do with Obama’s legacy? Surely, the removal of his signature bill can only be detrimental to how historians and the American Memory perceive our first Black president.


Well, in the infamous words of the Trumpster himself: Wrong.




The Pursuit of Happiness.


Military Protection.

Gun Ownership.


Fair and Free Elections.



Those are a list of just some of the principles Americans have accepted at maxims now perceived to be guaranteed from simply being a citizen. Some have been cemented into law (Gun Ownership). Others are theoretical (Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness) yet hold a weight as though they were legislation. These things we consider sacred. Untouchable. They are as American as The Simpsons and hating soccer. Well add another one to that list- Universal Healthcare.


When parsing Trump’s response to the “repeal and replace” question, one thing becomes clear. Universal healthcare is here to stay. Sure, Obamacare may be replaced. But this is exactly my point! It is going to be replaced, not banished. Remember the days when Republicans were calling for the Supreme Court to rule Obamacare unconstitutional? Neither do I. Obamacare is not synonymous with universal healthcare, it is merely a manifestation of it. When the GOP replaces Obamacare with something else they are tacitly agreeing that accessible, just healthcare for all is an American principle. In fact, it is the newest one added to the list. The 44th President tackled one of the country’s most pressing problems and solved it by insisting that the government had a duty to help everyone obtain affordable healthcare.


His bill will be replaced. His movement will not. President Barack Obama has transformed a once radical, communist idea into an American axiom. Ten years ago if you discussed universal health care, you were sneered at and labeled a socialist. Today when discussing universal healthcare, you are a patriot and champion of the little man.


President Obama did not change the American mind. He simply revealed what was on. And for that, we tip the cap. Sometimes true courage has the uncanny ability to hide in plain sight. I have a feeling posterity will not forget how a junior senator from Illinois permanently altered the American consciousness for the better, displaying the bravery we have come to expect from our fearless leaders.

Two things on the BuzzFeed dump

Two things on the BuzzFeed dump


A lot of folks are tweeting things like this regrading BuzzFeed’s release of the Russa-Trump-Piss dossier:

The Wikileaks, er, leaks were emails to and from Hilary Clinton. They weren’t unsubstantiated. They were just dumb emails that didn’t really say anything besides “Ol’ Hil should let the young’ns help her with this new fangled email thingy.”

The BuzzFeed thing is certainly unsubstantiated. It is from an anonymous source citing anonymous sources. That’s a huge difference. Critical thinking has completely left the building people. That being said…


A lot of folks are saying BuzzFeed shouldn’t have released the document because it is unsubstantiated and probably has some made up stuff – “I wanna piss on you” – in it. Here’s the thing: people in the highest levels of the government, and many reporters, have apparently had their hands on this thing for awhile now. BuzzFeed didn’t publish it as fact. The first damn line of their story is as follows:

A dossier making explosive — but unverified — allegations that the Russian government has been “cultivating, supporting and assisting” President-elect Donald Trump for years and gained compromising information about him has been circulating among elected officials, intelligence agents, and journalists for weeks.

Many have said the release was inappropriate. Paste Magazine even brought up the potential of a libel suit. In my opinion, that’s only remotely possible if BuzzFeed presented this thing as confirmed fact. They did no such thing. The fact is that elected officials – including Obama and Trump – were made aware of the dossier, and exposed to some or all of its contents, before BuzzFeed released it. With that being the case, how do you not release it?

The biggest problem I see with the whole thing is that it has the potential to damage the credibility of a future, fully vetted revelation re: Trump-Russia, or Trump-whatever. But the people who put him in office won’t believe even the most evidence-backed information, and the Republicans in DC won’t turn on their man, so does it really matter?

Anyway, the public deserves to know that this thing is receiving attention at the highest levels of our government. Its current veracity is besides the point for many reasons, not least of which being that Trump has obviously lied about his relationship with Putin and some of his appointees have clear ties to Russia in their past.

But most importantly, it made Twitter really fun for a few hours.

* * *

Trump held his first press conference since being elected – just a shade under a decade – today and it was completely bananas. He rambled on mostly incoherently about random things including: a $2B dollar deal he turned down this weekend, stuff about Hilary, how awesome his election rallies were. Trump seemed to have brought his own cheering section – Politico is reporting that they were his paid aids – along as applause and hoots could be heard as he dissed the media and various intelligence agencies.

He then fielded like two questions and then scuttled away and let a lawyer discuss Trump’s business ventures and how he’s not going to divest from them, but, instead, will turn them over to his two adult vampiric sons. Trump came back for another round of questions during which he refused to take a question from a CNN reporter and called his organization – who had done limited reporting on the dossier prior to its release – “fake news.”

We’re all gonna die.

*Insert Insanely Idiotic Boat Joke*

*Insert Insanely Idiotic Boat Joke*

I am here right now to call a spade a spade:  The Giants–MY NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS–got the ever loving crap kicked out of them yesterday.  As far as complaints, I have none; I can only tip my cap to the greatest quarterback in the NFL right now.  Aaron Rodgers is an absolute surgeon, and despite losing his best receiver, the man took to carving up the Giants secondary like Hannibal Lecter.

I was confident going into yesterdays game, and my confidence was rewarded through the first 27 minutes of the football game.  It’s a moot point now though considering Rodgers and the Packers kicked it into a hyper speed that left the Giants in the Lambeau mulch.

Here is my lone thought on the game, and I’m going to make this very simple for everyone out there who feels as thought their vanilla ice cream opinion on Odell and co. is even remotely interesting:  Go take a long walk off a short bridge.

To sit there and blame yesterdays loss on a trip to Miami that happened one week ago, on the teams OFF DAY, speaks to the mental capacity of the opinionated.  Yes, Odell had maybe his worst day as a professional yesterday.  I cannot defend his play on the field, but for any person or institution *COUGH NEW YORK POST COUGH* to cast sole blame onto #13 is a fool.  The guy is like 70% of the reason the Giants were in the playoffs anyway.  So do me a sincere favor and shut up.

You want to levee blame?  Ask Dwayne Harris why he field multiple punts inside of the Giants 5 yard line.  Ask Bobby Rainey why he fielded a kick at the 3 yard line and WENT OUT OF BOUNDS.  Ask Robbie Gould why he short-kicked about 8 consecutive kickoffs, and why Brad Wing averaged next to nothing.

It actually might be fundamentally impossible within the structure of the game for one player outside of the quarterback position to be solely responsible for a 25 point loss.

Do I agree with the wide receivers going to Miami on their off-day?

I genuinely do not care.  They make more money than I can possibly fathom, and since I don’t have the financial flexibility to quickly hop on a plane for a day trip to SoBe followed by a nightcap with Biebs, I am unable to speak to that.

Would I have posted to every social media about it?

Maybe not, if the off-day is really only about me getting away from the game for one day, or maybe even celebrating an 11 win season and first career playoff berth.

At the end of the day, the guys showed up on time Tuesday.  They just so happened to fall flat on Sunday.  Whatever.

The Giants lost because Aaron Rodgers is a freaking magician, the Special Teams play of the Giants was terrible and injuries to the Giants secondary got exposed in the second half.  The Packers adjusted accordingly once DRC was out of the game, and exposed Trevin Wade.

Hats off to the Packers.  Aaron Rodgers is the best player I’ve ever seen.  Not even the vaunted Seattle defense could slow him down, and now he adds the Giants defense to his trophy mantle.

It will be a long off-season for the Giants after a loss like this.  However, they took a huge step forward, and with the right acquisitions this off-season, I have no doubt they will compete for a Super Bowl next season.