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For the football fan, Peter King’s “Monday Morning Quarterback” on SI.com is must-read material each week. About this time each year, he includes memorable snippets of commencement addresses, and yesterday’s clip captured my attention.

This is from Aaron Sorkin, the Hollywood screenwriter and producer and Syracuse grad. He spoke at the Syracuse graduations Sunday. What I liked from his speech:

“I’ve made some bad decisions. I lost a decade of my life to cocaine addiction. You know how I got addicted to cocaine? I tried it. The problem with drugs is that they work, right up until the moment that they decimate your life. Try cocaine, and you’ll become addicted to it. Become addicted to cocaine, and you will either be dead, or you will wish you were dead, but it will only be one or the other.

How perfectly do these words picture the power and work of sin. Go through his comments and strip out “cocaine” and “drugs” and substitute “sin” and “evil.”

“I’ve made some bad decisions. I lost a decade of my life to sin addiction. You know how I got addicted to evil? I tried it. The problem with sin is that it works, right up until the moment that it decimates your life. Try sin, and you’ll become addicted to it. Become addicted to evil, and you will either be dead, or you will wish you were dead, but it will only be one or the other.”

  • “sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7 ESV)
  • “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:14-15 ESV)
  • “For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. (Romans 7:11 ESV)
Is there any hope? Is it in sheer will power? 7 steps? some other addiction program? Our only hope is in the person and work of Christ.
  • “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!  (Romans 7:24-25 ESV)
  • “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, (Romans 8:1-3 ESV)

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The NFL has built a multi-billion dollar industry on a morally bankrupt foundation. As much as I enjoy watching football and remain in an abusive relationship as a Cleveland Browns fan, I cannot help but believe that the ethically corrupt practices will cause the Shield to crumble at some point.

The lack of integrity is highlighted most recently by Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown comments about his quarterback Carson Palmer.

Here is the background: Palmer has been the Bengals quarterback for 9 years. Mostly good, occasionally really good, Palmer has been the face of the franchise for a decade. However, the Bengals aren’t nicknamed the Bungles for nothin’, and Palmer finally had enough after last season. He told the front office he would retire if he wasn’t traded, and then sold his Cincinnati home.

That led to owner Mike Browns’ comment the other day: “Carson signed a contract, he made a commitment. He gave us his word. We relied on his word and his commitment. We expected him to perform here. If he is going to walk away from his commitment we aren’t going to reward him for doing it.”

This from an owner (just like all the other owners) who has built a financial model on the foundation of releasing players who have years left on their contract, cutting players who are hurt but can somehow be cleared by the team’s physicians, and tearing up contracts if salary cap considerations ‘require it.’

Listening to an NFL owner talk about trust and commitment is like listening to a politician talk about fiscal responsibility, or some Hollywood celeb talk about marital faithfulness, or like listening to Charlie Sheen talk about…well, anything. It swerves into the surreal faster than the Twilight Zone (just to mix in even more metaphors).

But some truth did leak out. Look at Brown’s last statement, “If he is going to walk away from his commitment we aren’t going to reward him for doing it.”

What would be the “reward” for Palmer? Escaping the Bungles. The penalty would be having to stay put. Even retiring is apparently better than being a member of the team from southern Ohio. To paraphrase the infamous words of Sam Wyche, “Hey Carson, you don’t play for Cincinnati!”

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browns town 2010

This Browns season is slowly turning into something worth paying attention to. Usually the beginning of November marks the point in the season when the team is officially written off as failures yet again and attention turns to the draft. While our record is not even .500 yet, the Browns are playing good ball and are enjoyable to follow.

Peyton Hillis is leading the offensive charge and this is what many db’s seem to think he looks like.

If I can find this action figure, Gideon will have a great stocking stuffer!

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Hope springs eternal for Browns fans, particularly in the late summer. It usually fizzles quickly. This year things seem different. Mike Holmgren seems to have put a proper organization in place and he is hitting the right notes with football decisions as well as rhetoric. He has brought in useful players, banking on actual production rather than ever-elusive potential. He has also wonderfully initiated a “Ring of Honor” for the numerous Browns who have excelled throughout the team’s storied history.

All in all, Browns fans-except for a few chuckleheads who have already begun imbibing liquid insulation-are optimistic that the team will be competitive without necessarily winning even half their games. The AFC North is tough.

Several story lines have cropped up this summer, some intriguing, one downright disgusting. Let’s get that out of the way first: Jim Brown-the greatest Cleveland Brown and the greatest running back in NFL history-has once again spewed his disturbing and revolting rhetoric and revealed his own selfishness to the point that no one care that he won’t show up at the inaugural Ring of Honor ceremony. Enough of that, you sense a real need to take a shower after reading his comments.

On to brighter topics. After who knows how many decades, we finally have a real NFL quarterback, maybe two! Delhomme is the first Browns qb probably since Bernie who was capable of leading a team, and Seneca Wallace has proved to be a more than capable backup. For the first time at least since 1999, the backup qb won’t be the most popular player.

In a related topic the wide receivers have been widely panned throughout the league, but seem to be much better than expected. It is likely that their dismal showing last year was, to a great extent, due to pathetic quarterbacking. We also have a full stable of running backs and they all seem to be able to tote the rock without stumbling over their feet or running into their own blockers. Defensively, we may have a defense that can actually tackle and will! What a change that would be.

One final story line that has been dragging on far longer than necessary has been Shaun Rogers and Robaire Smith. Each of them were caught with pistols in luggage at airports (don’t ask me why, but our current sports players do a lot of dumb and illegal things). The NFL headquarters has been threatening suspensions ever since. These infractions took place last winter and spring and the League office still has not done anything. Things are still “under review.” In the meantime, Ben Roethlisberger assaulted yet another female, was suspended by the League office, and is scheduled to have another meeting with Goodell later this week to determine if his suspension will be reduced. Can someone explain to me why Goodell fast tracks someone who sexually assaults females each off season, yet drags its feet over two non-violent and non-harmful incidents.

But the NFL front office is

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just wondering

Saw this on ESPN.com…

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell cleared Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger Thursday to work out and practice with the team.

In a statement, the league said Goodell made the decision based on reports and recommendations from medical experts. Goodell ordered a behavioral evaluation of Roethlisberger as part of his six-game suspension under the league’s conduct policy.

…and wondered, just how exactly does one perform a reliable “behavioral evaluation” of a man who has exhibited a remarkable lack of self control when it comes to keeping his hands off women young and older?

Junk science + cover yer tuckus = NFL

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In their insatiable pursuit of more dollars, the NFL owners have created another brouhaha by voting the 2014 Super Bowl to the NYC market. Oh the furor. Oh the angst. The poor players may have to play in cold weather. Oh dear. Worse yet, they and the media may have to attend all their parties in cold, slushy conditions. Sniff, sniff.

You know, this is the one game that no average football fan ever attends, unless they happen to win some contest by a big-bucks sponsor. Every normal football fan watches this game in his living room or at a friend’s house. It’s warm. You can control who you sit near. The bathrooms are close and the lines are short. The food is a LOT cheaper. The drive home doesn’t take 2 hours just to get out of the parking lot. And if you have a knucklehead friend who spent last year’s tax return on that gigantic, plasma high-def tv, the view is much better than it would be at the stadium.

The NFL ought to send the Super Bowl overseas, instead of the regular season games that the average fan might have a chance to attend. The people who would attend the SB have the money to fly to some exotic location. The average joe wouldn’t really care as long as he can have his SB party. Find a locale where the game could even be paid in daylight, and it would be so much the better.

Now to figure out a way to convince them that hiring geriatric rockers creates a lengthy and boring halftime.

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A pretty good poke at prima donna, over-acting soccer players. HT: Tim Challies

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