It’s been a weird week among team owners, starting at Craven Cottage in North London.
Fulham chairman Mohamed Al Fayed announced plans this week to unveil a life-size, color statue of Michael Jackson outside Fulham’s home ground.
The statue, which overlooks the River Thames and stands between the Riverside and Hammersmith Stands at Craven Cottage, shows Jackson standing on his toes in what is being called an ‘iconic pose’. The words to his smash hit Thriller are engraved on the podium below.
We admit we don’t know much about Fulham’s history, other than they have a thing for signing American players, but this definitely sounds odd.
But we’ll let David Lloyd, editor of the popular fanzine There’s Only One F in Fulham, have the last word:
“If you has asked me if I wanted a statue of Michael Jackson at Craven Cottage I would have said ‘no.’ However, we owe an enormous debt to the chairman and if this is one of his whims, then that’s fine. As a football chairman he is one of the best; he’s been fantastic.”
Closer to home, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert got loose again after the Cavs beat Sacramento for Cleveland’s 13th win of the season.
Gilbert took to Twitter to taunt Yahoo! Sports’ Kelly Dwyer, who had predicted the Cavs would only reach 12 wins on the season.
Gilbert reverted to his schoolyard days by asking “who is Kellie Dwyer?” and saying “Never heard of her.”
We like Gilbert’s passion and willingness to spend money to try and make the Cavs better, but it seems as if the owner of a major professional sports team could act more maturely than a 14-year-old girl who just got dumped and is taking out her feelings on Facebook.
We first learned of the tweets at Ben Blog (check it out) and Waiting for Next Year weighed in as well with a good take.
But L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling wins the prize for this week’s for wackiest owner.
While testifying in Elgin Baylor’s wrongful termination civil trial against the team, Sterling claimed that he didn’t know of Baylor’s Hall of Fame career before hiring Baylor as vice president of player personnel in 1986.
Baylor was the NBA’s first overall pick in 1958 and a member of the league’s 50th anniversary team, was an 11-time All-Star who once scored 71 points in a game and brought the Lakers to the cusp of a title they would ultimately win the season he retired.
“I didn’t know that,” Sterling said according to The Los Angeles Times. “I hired him for $3,000 a month. I didn’t really know what his role was…. He was working in a mail-order company back then.”
What a goof.
Lost a little bit in the NFL’s labor issue, is a proposed rule change for next season that would potentially neutralize one of the Browns best scoring threats.
The league’s competition committee is expected to propose moving the kickoff up to the 35-yard line and bringing touchbacks out to the 25 – but only on kickoffs.
In addition, the kicker will be the only player allowed to line up more than five yards behind the ball and the committee will suggest outlawing the blocking wedge on kickoffs completely.
“The injury rate on kickoffs remains a real concern for us and the players and the coaches’ subcommittee,” Falcons president Rich McKay, the chairman of the competition committee, told ESPN.com. “This is a pretty major change.”
Opposing teams were already doing everything they could to kick the ball away from Josh Cribbs. Now with a shorter field to work with, the number of non-returnable kicks should increase, limiting Cribbs’ opportunity to handle the ball on kickoffs even more.
James Walker at ESPN.com weighs in with some good advice for the Browns in regard to their No. 1 pick on next month’s NFL Draft:
I agree that Georgia receiver A.J. Green is a tremendous prospect. But he’s not better than Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald. The aforementioned players are elite NFL receivers and they all played for losing teams in 2010. My point is the receiver position is not very important in the NFL hierarchy.
Games are won and lost in the trenches, and if you noticed, teams like the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers take offensive and defensive linemen nearly every year. These are non-sexy draft picks that turn out to be huge when it’s time to play football.
Cleveland needs to start learning from the dominant teams in its division. President Mike Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert drafted a lot of skill players last year and it’s time to add some meat to the NFL’s 27th-ranked run defense.
Makes a lot of sense. Here’s hoping Holmgren and Heckert are thinking along the same lines.
Finally, the NFL Network may start feeling some heat as players may be less than willing to appear on the network’s programs during the work stoppage because the network is owned by the league.
According to The New York Times, the NFL Players Association, which is now a trade association, has not advised players to boycott the network. But it is not pushing them to appear on it, either.
George Atallah, the association’s assistant executive director, told the paper, “My message is, regardless of the outlet, check with the association to get a sense for its previous coverage.”
Arizona kicker Jay Feely told the paper, “I wouldn’t go on there now. It’s a league-owned network, so I would take that stand. But other players can go on if they choose.”
We’ll admit, we didn’t see that one coming.