Big-name sports stars keep choosing money over integrity


What does integrity sell for, these days? Can you buy it by the pound, the yard, the bottle? Is it listed on the NASDAQ or the Dow?

All I know is that unlike Roger Goodell’s PSLs, integrity is not a good investment. It has been devalued, defunded, repossessed, abandoned.

Part I: Doesn’t matter where you line up on COVID vaxxing, Aaron Rodgers told a selfish, self-entitled lie. He said he was “immunized” from COVID, when he wasn’t.

Next, the public was supposed to be satisfied with his “apology,” the kind that would have had a 10-year-old sent to his room, no TV for a week, for continued failure to admit the lie.

Rodgers: “I made some comments that people might have felt were misleading. And to anybody who felt misled by those comments, I take full responsibility.”

Yeah, misleading. Like claiming it’s noon when it’s midnight. Just a slight misunderstanding.

Still, Rodgers’ revision seems to have been good enough for many, among them CBS’ $18 million-a-year man, Tony Romo. Sunday against the Seahawks, as Rodgers returned after his one-game absence in the NFL’s COVID Caution Cave, Romo, normally pleasantly skeptical, declared a happy ending.

Rodgers, he said, made good on his transgression, fessed up and now let it go: “He’s ready to play football … and wants to move on.” Hut one! Hut two!

Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers
AP

Not so fast.

As Romo should have known, Rodgers’ apology to those he may have misled, was preceded by Rodgers having been dumped as the paid spokesperson for Prevea, a Wisconsin-based health care operation, of all things, whom he had been with since 2012.

Rodgers was dropped by Prevea on Nov. 6. His “apology” was issued three days later. Fascinating.

Rodgers receives millions-for-nothing through commercial endorsements, most conspicuously and consistently State Farm insurance. To look at Rodgers’ “apology” as more sincere than as an effort to protect such a continued commercial presence would be self-delusional.

To ignore the timing of Rodgers’ “apology” would be an abrogation of the most significant daily lesson drummed into sports fans:

Follow the money.

Part II: Football’s First Family has become the Mannings: Peyton, Eli, Cooper and the patriarch, Archie.

Not that they’re starving or lack endorsement deals, but they now appear in TV commercials pushing a big dough sports gambling operation.

The Mannings gamble on sports? Or are they endorsing a product they never use, a possible violation of Federal Trade Commission advertising statutes?

But beyond and far below that, the Mannings are being paid to encourage people — many presumably their fans — to invest their money in a business totally predicated on customers losing their money. Mostly nothing in exchange for plenty.

Or are betting operations in business to give away money?

Peyton and Eli Manning
Peyton and Eli Manning
Getty Images

The Mannings can’t see this? Or they don’t care? Perhaps the money was just too quick and easy. Or maybe they are broke — and desperate.

Our most famous and often admired sports figures have lined up to encourage the public, especially young men as seen in TV ads, to gamble their money away, to chase lousy odds in the pursuit of pots of gold.

Renowned QBs apparently make good shills. The aforementioned Mannings, Drew Brees, Phil Simms and Weekend Boomer Esiason — whose claimed beloved WFAN partner, Craig Carton, did hard time in exchange for his gambling addiction — have all been enlisted.

Why not cut to the last scene and endorse pawn shops?

Audience could use commercial break

With commercials now seen during replay reviews, and while teams huddle, as well as during stoppages for injuries, is it not time for the NFL and its TV partners to demonstrate some in-game quality control?

Sunday, with 42 seconds left in the first quarter of Bills-Jets, CBS went to commercials after a punt. Back from commercials exactly one play was run before the end of the quarter sent it back to commercials.

To think football, before TV money became all that counted, was an action sport. And that was in everyone’s best interests.


Ex-Jets QB Mark Sanchez, throughout Fox’s Vikings-Chargers on Sunday, was pretty good, speaking cogent thoughts and alert to game circumstances. Now to stop pandering to the showboaters, as if he and his audience enjoys watching the self-smitten regardless of circumstances. But why should he be alone?

More pandering: With Seattle down, 10-0, to Green Bay early in the fourth, Seattle DT Carlos Dunlap, a 12-year-man out of Florida, was hit for 15 yards for throwing an opponent’s shoe down the field. Brilliant. Rather than excoriate Dunlap, Jim Nantz and Tony Romo laughed.

Tony Romo and Jim Nantz in 2017
Tony Romo and Jim Nantz in 2017
AP

And more: Why would Fox show replays of good plays in Vikes-Chargers when it could show the same old and tired slo-mo replays of players pounding their chests, flexing their muscles and making first-down gestures?


Inside Misinformation: Those who receive endless up-to-the-second expert gambling touts and advice on their cell phones from CBS Sports will eventually conclude that CBS has no clue.

Saturday CBS alerted to the “stunning upset” of Baylor over Oklahoma — at home, Baylor was a mere five-point ’dog — and the looming “upset” of Penn State over Michigan, as if PSU winning at home as a one-point ’dog would have been an upset.

But rankings over reality has been going on for decades.

Another graphic display of televised stupidity

The We Never Sleep Stupid Stats Screen Shots Council is here to serve you.

From reader Bob LaRosa: With 1:19 left in Sunday’s Seahawks-Packers, Green Bay up, 17-0, Seattle had second-and-10 from their own 30, when the NFL’s Red Zone Channel posted Seattle’s “win probability” as “1 percent.” Seemed kinda high.

From Steve Arendash. During SNY’s simulcast of WFAN’s “Carton and Roberts,” a graphic told us that at 3-6 the Giants are “tied for third place in the NFC East.”

Given that there are only four teams in the NFC East, Arendash notes “That also means the Giants are tied for last.”


The shamelessness of TV is beyond shameful.

NFL RB Adrian Peterson recently was invited to compete on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”

The producers apparently didn’t care that Peterson was suspended a year from the NFL for the physical abuse of his 4-year-old son, and lost another son, a 2-year-old he’d never even seen in person, when the child was murdered by his mother’s boyfriend.

ABC is owned and operated by Disney, once synonymous with family entertainment.


The epidemic of say-anything game commentators grows. Sunday on CBS, Bills-Jets was just four minutes old when on the Jets’ seventh play from scrimmage Ty Johnson caught a short pass.

“That’s the first time we’ve called his [Johnson’s] number,” said play-by-player Spero Dedes. Dedes then added that Johnson was tackled by the “old veteran, A.J. Klein.”

While veterans tend to be older than, say, “young rookies,” Klein is just 30.

Then it was back to a telecast in which the defensive coordinators should’ve been called “The Get Off the Field Coaches.”

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