Packers look for help at running back


The 2016 Green Bay Packers have had a tough time running the football. Before Wednesday, their leading rusher was Eddie Lacy who had tallied 360 yards on 71 carries. It’s already more than halfway through the season. And he hasn’t played in over a month because of injury.

Yikes. I’m not sure what aspect of that is worse, that the Packers highest rusher has only 360 yards midway into November, or that there hasn’t been anyone to pick up the slack in Lacy’s absence.

By comparison, Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott has surpassed that total just within the past three games.

The Packers rushing attack has been anemic this season, to say the least. Oh, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers has more rushing touchdowns than do the rest of the Packers combined. Packers running backs, amazingly, have no rushing touchdowns this year. The Packers are the only team without a rushing touchdown by a running back.

It’s like that year where the Kansas City Chiefs went through a season with recording a receiving touchdown by a…receiver.

On Wednesday, the Packers looked for help and signed free agent back Christine Michael after he was cut by the Seattle Seahawks the previous day.

Sports media covered the acquisition thoroughly throughout the middle of the week, especially on ESPN.

ESPN Packers reporter Rob Demovsky had three articles up on since news of the signing broke Wednesday.

His first article chronicled Michael’s transition from Seattle to Green Bay. According to Demovsky, Michael’s long flight was the easiest part of the transition. The Packers surely hope the more difficult part – learning the terminology of a new team – comes quickly to Michael. They need all the help they can get out of the backfield.

Demovsky’s second article covered comments made by Packers head coach Mike McCarthy concerning Michael’s checkered past. As for Michael’s prior issues, McCarthy had this to say:

“Those are all part of his past experiences,” McCarthy said. “He’ll come here, we have a way we do things, and he’ll be given an opportunity to do it.”

McCarthy added that he wasn’t going to rely on information from old scouting reports from college or his other NFL stops.

Finally, Demovsky asked the question every wants to know who’s interested in the Packers situation. “Can Christine Michael halt the Packers’ running back carousel?” was the title of the aptly named article.

That, of course, will be the question. Demovsky didn’t offer his own take, but continued to provide stats that underscore how putrid the Packers have been at running the football this season.

The answer probably won’t be known until the Packers play the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football over a week from now. Michael is  unlikely to play this week against the Washington football team as his first day of practice was yesterday. It’s highly unlikely he’ll be comfortable enough with the offense, or that the coaches will be comfortable enough with him in the offense, by Sunday night.

One thing is for sure; the Packers hope he is the answer.

Update: ESPN Wisconsin reporter Jason Wilde expects RB Christine Michael to play Sunday in Washington. 

Florida Amendment 1 fails, 2 passes


The two prominent amendments on the Florida ballot were Amendment 1, which created an industry monopoly on solar power, and Amendment 2, which legalized medicinal marijuana.

Amendment 1, the Trojan horse of a pro-solar amendment, failed to receive a super-majority, or 60 percent, of votes.

Amendment 2 passed with 71.3 percent approval.

As was the case in past elections, The New York Times had a page detailing the results for each amendment, one for Amendment 1 and another for Amendment 2. Each page had results broken down by county.

Interestingly, every Florida county voted favorably to pass Amendment 2 and legalize medicinal marijuana. For a state that has been so backwards on marijuana categorization, that was a surprise.

As for Amendment 1, a decent majority supported the “yes” vote. Even so, the amendment was still 10 percentage points in the red.

The Miami Herald ran a piece that looked into the efforts that were put forth to defeat Amendment 1. In the article, Mary Ellen Klas quoted Tory Perfetti, chairman of Floridians for Solar Choice, an opposition group.

“We defeated one of the most egregious and underhanded attempts at voter manipulation in this state’s history,” Perfetti said, referencing the misleading nature of the amendment.

Amendment 1 cloaks itself as being pro-solar by protecting individuals’ rights to solar energy, but would effectively eliminate the market for solar energy in Florida by creating an investor-owned utilities monopoly on the energy source.

The Herald also had an article about the passing of Amendment 2. According to the story, Florida became the 26th state to legalize marijuana either recreationally or for medicinal purposes.

According to writer Michael Auslen, questions remain about how the medical marijuana amendment will be implemented.

“The Florida Department of Health has until July 2017 to pass regulations under the new amendment,” Auslen writes, and “by October, the state must start registering growers, dispensaries and other facilities and start issuing identification cards for patients approved to use marijuana.”

I’m interested in how Florida will transition to a medical marijuana state.

Will recreational legalization come next?

Obama endorses Stockton candidate


Stockton, Calif., mayoral candidate Michael Tubbs received a huge endorsement Wednesday.

It didn’t come from a union or a well-known local resident. No, it came from a much higher source.

President Barack Obama, in fact, was the endorser. The highest source of all one might contend.

Here is President Obama’s full statement:

“I am proud to endorse Michael Tubbs in his bid to become Stockton’s next mayor. Michael’s service as a Councilmember illustrates that he understands the need for every Stocktonian to have safer neighborhoods, stronger schools, and a voice in the political process. His story is the American story, and Michael will work tirelessly to ensure that Stockton reaches its full potential.”

How did the local news media cover news of the endorsement?

The Record, Stockton’s regional newspaper, had an article in their Wednesday edition. Staff writer Roger Phillips provided the coverage.

Phillips offered that it might be “a rare and possibly singular occurrence in Stockton political history.”

If that’s the case, it may prove enough for Tubbs to displace current Mayor Anthony Silva. Tubbs received less-than a majority of the votes in June’s primary, but a higher percentage than Silva. This resulted in a run-off, and Stockton will vote for their next mayor on Tuesday.

Tubbs was part of a four-month internship at the White House in 2010, according to Phillips. I can’t help but wonder what kind of impact Tubbs had over the course of his internship, and if any impressions he made during that time led to this endorsement.

Also of note, Tubbs gave a speech at my high school graduation in 2012.

Several other local news outlets had stories published on their respective websites, including CBS Local, FOX 40, and ABC 10.

Warriors go from 24-0 start to 0-1


In a stark departure from last year, the Golden State Warriors are winless so far this season. A far cry from their record 24-0 start to the 2015-16 NBA season, the Warriors are a dismal 0-…well they’re only 0-1.

As many people know, the Warriors added superstar Kevin Durant to their lineup during the off-season. An off-season that followed Golden State’s record setting 73 regular season wins.

The 2016-17 season started Tuesday night, which saw the Warriors get trounced at home to the San Antonio Spurs, 129-100. It wasn’t exactly the coming out party many expected.

So, how did the news media react to the Warriors blowout loss?

The San Francisco Chronicle‘s new Warriors beat writer, Connor Letourneau, brought up how the Warriors were relatively dreadful offensively outside of Durant, Stephen Curry, and Draymond Green. The entire team combined for only 29 points outside of the main trio.

The Bay Area News Group’s Tim Kawakami, one of my favorite sports writers, offered his own unique take on the fizzled-out spectacle that was opening night.

“The lights went on, the curtain raised, and … the new super-team flopped,” Kawakami writes. “Fire everybody! Shut down the show! Let’s all overreact and sound the alarms!”


“Well, that’s not quite right, of course,” Kawakami reasoned, before going on to remind all of those who were disappointed that the Warriors have only played one game out of 82.

Marcus Thompson II, also of the Bay Area News Group, wrote about the lesson that the Spurs taught to the Warriors. The lesson was twofold, that Durant “isn’t the answer for a suspect front line,” and “not everybody is scared of him or the Warriors,” Thompson wrote.

After collapsing in the NBA Finals when the championship was only one game away, the makeup covering the Warriors mortality began to wash away.

To round up the coverage, ESPN Warriors beat writer Ethan Sherwood Strauss made an appearance on “The Right Time with Bomani Jones” on ESPN radio Wednesday. Strauss also spoke about the Warriors lack of defense. He criticized the play of new center Zaza Pachulia,citing his low rebounding totals, while speaking with host Bomani Jones.

“Andrew Bogut’s MVP campaign is jumping off the page right now,” Strauss said.

Bogut, cut by the Warriors in the offseason to create salary cap space for the signing of Durant, is one of the premier rim-protectors in the association.

The Warriors might struggle to replace his presence in the paint.

At least they have 81 more games to figure it out.

Reporter continues to hound mayor


Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva is unhappy with many people.

Perhaps none more so than Stockton Record metro-reporter Michael Fitzgerald.

I’m sure Silva thinks the microscope has been hovering over him and his every move since  his inauguration. I’m also quite sure Silva thinks the unending news coverage about his is unwarranted and unfair. Except Silva is a mayor in one of the largest cities in California. Not only is he the mayor, but, to put it one way, he’s an unconventional mayor at that.

So sure, he’s going to live in the eyes of the news media. His failure to understand why such a thing might be falls in line with his whole mayorship, from day one to present, as you will see momentarily.

Fitzgerald has been there at every turn to chronicle how poorly of a job Silva has done with his time in office, both administratively and politically. Let’s take a look at Silva’s mayorship through Fitzgerald’s reporting.

First, we’ll start with Silva’s accomplishments.

“In terms of accomplishments in office, Silva ranks beneath do-little Mayor Ed Chavez (2005-08). He has set the bar for getting nothing done,” Fitzgerald writes.

Fitzgerald goes on to write about the only policies Silva has successfully championed while in office. Both of them, “the fiscally suicidal Safe Streets crime-fighting plan and a reduction in building fees,” were handed to him by developers, according to Fitzgerald.

Now that we’ve looked at Silva’s successes, why don’t we delve into the remaining 98% of his term.

Silva calls himself “the people’s mayor,” fighting on behalf of everyday citizens, from the middle-class to low-income families. He was sure to stand up to big money influences while in office, not only with words, but with actions, right?


“He’s made some rich guys richer,” Fitzgerald writes. “All the while demagoguing about the rich bigwigs who control this town and how he stands up for the economically disadvantaged.”

Okay, so maybe standing up to money while in office isn’t as easy as the politicians want us to believe. That isn’t to say mayors are impervious to submitting to financial influences.

But what about possessing knowledge on the rights, duties and powers that a mayor does actually have?

“[T]hen it appears Silva did not understand the office for which he ran,” Fitzgerald writes. “He has been publicly shocked and perturbed by the statutory limitations placed on the mayor’s power.”

Well, maybe the educational system is to blame for Silva’s ignorance on the position he campaigned and was elected for. He can at least keep his word on things under his control, can’t he?

“Ethical lapses followed,” Fitzgerald continues. “Silva promised if elected not to work two jobs. But he did. He promised not to take a mayor’s salary until crime tumbled. But he did. There were more.”

Alright alright alright, but he had to at least have some ideas on policy and positive changes that can be made to the citizens of Stockton. Right?

“What did not follow was policy,” Fitzgerald goes on. “It became clear that “The People’s Mayor” had no real ideas for governing and no real interest in the hard work that goes into civic improvements.”

But wait, there’s more:

“When I asked him what his position on growth was — on sprawl vs. infill — he looked at me as if I had spoken to him in Mandarin,” Fitzgerald writes.

While Silva has a laundry-list of political and administrative failures, Fitzgerald looks to the distraction he has become as the figurehead of the city, a city which is attempting to move out of the darkness of being the largest city in United States history to declare bankruptcy (before Detroit).

“[I]t is as a distraction from the serious business of governance where Silva has been a Hall-of-Famer,” Fitzgerald writes.

I wrote about some of those in a previous post.

To strengthen the case that Silva is unqualified to run a city of 300,000 people – or any city, for that matter, and as if his case needs any strengthening – look no further than his reactions and response to the most serious of his “lapses.”

“Silva is refusing to cooperate with investigators trying to understand how his stolen gun came to be used to kill a 13-year-old,” Fitzgerald writes. “And he has been indicted on felony and misdemeanor charges related to his alleged participation in an alcohol-fueled strip poker game with teens.”

Come Nov. 8, material as great – and horrible, considering his is an elected public official – as what Silva provided might be harder to find.

In all likelihood, it won’t just fall into our lap.

All about hurricanes this week


The South Florida region saw the passing of two hurricanes this past week.

Matthew was the name of one, letdown was the name of the other.

Hurricane Matthew did most of its damage in the Caribbean and along Florida’s eastern coast. The Miami Hurricanes football team lost in a much anticipated match-up to the Florida State Seminoles, 20-19. Now that the storms have passed, let’s take a look at how the Miami Herald covered the events.

First up, Mr. Matthew.

The real-life hurricanes claimed the lives of six people in the state of Florida, as described in this informative article. I thought that this was a good post because it included information that probably wasn’t reported on heavily in our area, such as the storm-related deaths (which occurred outside of South Florida); the effects of the storm up the coast in Brevard, Flagler, and Volusia counties; the water levels of Lake Ockeechobee; and why state law enforcement didn’t provide security around Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday.

This article reported on the progress of FPL restoring power in South Florida. As of Sunday evening, all but 10 customers had their power restored.

Think that because you haven’t heard about Zika recently the problem has gone away? As this article indicates, you may be hearing more about it in the coming weeks.

On to the Hurricanes. Oh, the ‘Canes…

Herald columnist Greg Cote penned a gem in his post-game story. Great coverage coming from Cote.

Florida State running back Dalvin Cook was cooking in his return home. The Miami native caught fire in the second half, finishing with 209 total yards. Elliot Lapin chronicled the hometown feast.

Not only did he throw a game-changing interception, but Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya came out of the game with a banged up shoulder. And lost a tooth. Susan Miller Degnan provided the coverage in her article.

The best part of the game was seeing the ‘Canes in those new (old) unis

All in all, the Herald continues with its reliable and interesting reporting.

There will only be one Fernandez


I’m not the first to write about him. And I won’t be the last.

It seemed like too obvious a choice to write about for this week, yet in the end I couldn’t help myself.

I had to write about Jose Fernandez. Just like many others this week.

The Miami Marlins pitcher was killed in a boating incident early Sunday morning in Miami Beach. The boat hit a rock jetty. Fernandez and two other men were killed. Instantly, I hope.

Coverage of his death on Sunday, tributes made out to him Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and live coverage of his public and family funeral processions Wednesday and Thursday were hot topics.

The uniform blog Uni-Watch covered all sports-related tributes to Fernandez. Among them were the Marlins wearing “Fernandez” jersey’s with his No. 16 for the duration of their Monday game against the New York Mets. Uni-Watch believes this to be the first occasion of a team memorializing a player through uniformly (get it?) dressing the team in that player’s jersey (excluding the league-wide wearing of Jackie Robinson’s “42” for one day of each season).

Local TV stations WPLG 10, WTVJ 6, WSVN 7, and WFOR-TV 4 all aired the funeral procession live, with commentary.

The Miami Herald covered the events of the week extensively. 

The coverage is warranted. Fernandez was an incredibly bright light. He had an infectious smile. He was able to penetrate through to Barry Bonds’ soft side. The courage he displayed through 4 overall attempts to defect from Cuba is immeasurable.

And he was only 24.

We’ll all be left to wonder what more he could have given us.

The pressure on Rodgers increases


Aaron Rodgers is the NFL’s all-time leader in passer rating, a statistic that measures the effectiveness of a quarterback through the course of a game. He leads that category with a rating of 103.8.

No other quarterback with a minimum four years in the league has a rating more than 100.

However, Rodgers has gone almost a complete NFL season without eclipsing 100 mark in the category. For the last 14 games, dating back to last season, Rodgers has underperformed according to his own high standard.

Just don’t bring it up to him.

In a weekly conference with reporters, Rodgers was asked about his recent (and not so recent) struggles. It wasn’t just one question but a platoon of questions. As ESPN’s Rob Demovsky noted, Rodgers knew the questions would be coming his way.

Rodgers responded “abrasively” to the questions, according to an ESPN description.

I can’t blame him. Rodgers, that is. Search “Aaron Rodgers” on Google and practically all of the news articles revolve around his recent performance. Oh, and by “practically” all of the articles, I mean all of the articles. It’s understandable that he would get tired of answering perpetually negative questions. Especially because he is, after all, the all-time leader in passer rating.

I also can’t blame the news media for their persistent questions on his struggles. Especially because he is, after all, the all-time leader in passer rating.

The sword cuts both ways.

Nowhere to hide for Stockton’s Silva


Mayor Anthony Silva (R) of Stockton, Calif., has had one interesting run as mayor.

Pending the results of the upcoming November election, that run has the potential to continue.

Anyone privy to Valley politics is aware of Silva’s tenuous term as mayor. Perhaps none more so than Stockton Record columnist Michael Fitzgerald.

Silva’s bad rap has only been brought on by Silva himself. He has a laundry list of boneheaded decisions and proposals to his name.

What’s on that list, you ask? Bear in mind that this is an abridged version…

There’s the time he walked around town putting up campaign posters. At 2 a.m., In his bathrobe…

At a city council meeting, he declared himself Stockton’s first black mayor. Silva is Hispanic.

He proposed a vision he called “Stockton Proud” that would bring in cruise ships, mini golf, “fun rides,” and a space needle to Stockton’s port. It’s not as if Stockton was the largest American city to declare bankruptcy before Detroit.

When Carrie Underwood came to Stockton and had the misfortune of performing on the night of a city council meeting, Silva moved his agenda to the beginning of the meeting, declared a 10-minute break after some time and skipped the rest of the meeting to attend the concert.

After partying one night, he got into a drunk fight in his limo with a friend after a dispute about his wife.

Then there’s his Aug. 4 arrest while at his Mayor’s Youth Camp in Silver Lake, Calif., for providing alcohol to minors, playing strip poker with nude teenagers and recording conversations during last summer’s camp.

At every turn, Fitzgerald has been there to call the mayor on his bull. Or his weirdness. Sometimes it overlaps.

Fitzgerald’s responses have made an impression on me.

There’s something that tickles me in the right spot when I read one of his intelligently written articles or comments on Silva’s latest inane exploit. It must be the juxtaposition of idiocy and brains.

Such as what Fitzgerald had to say when Silva bounced from the city council meeting to see Underwood.

“It’s ironic that Silva postured as a Public Safety candidate,” Fitzgerald said. “Because one of the votes he skipped out on was the new health plan for city employees. Exit interviews with departing police cited unsatisfactory health insurance as a prime reason for quitting. The new health plan is therefore the most important step the city can take to retaining police hires.”

He proceeded to finish Silva off.

“A mayor sincerely concerned with law enforcement would want to vote on that,” Fitzgerald said. “A mayor who knows only how to campaign and to party would not.”

I had a good chuckle when reading about what Fitzgerald thought of Silva’s “half-baked” homeless plan.

Sometimes all Fitzgerald needs is a few words to get his point across. 

I love Fitzgerald’s reporting. He doesn’t let Silva off the hook for anything, nor should he. Yet he’s able to do it with a comedic tone that I simply eat with a spoon.

Or maybe it’s just that juxtaposition.

Kaepernick effect felt in hockey


The name Colin Kaepernick has probably permeated some portion of your brain tissue by now.

Kaepernick plays for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League. Surprise. It’s not his play that’s getting him headlines. The 49ers haven’t played a regular season game.

Not to mention the fact he isn’t even starting.

Yet he’s found himself in the news cycle in all the major — and minor — news outlets for purposely sitting, or most recently kneeling, during The National Anthem of preseason games.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said.

The news media have reported on his choice of expression daily.

During a question and answer session with local journalists Marc Caputo (Politico), Patricia Mazzei (Miami Herald), and Dan Sweeney (Sun Sentinel), a student asked about the ongoing reporting of Kaepernick’s expression, including the reactions to the message. He wanted to know why news outlets continued to report on the same issue.

Caputo thought the relatively uncommon nature of Kapernick’s act was just cause, and fodder, for continued coverage.

Other athletes have joined in Kaepernick’s message. Soccer star Megan Rapinoe and Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane both took a knee during the anthem before games this past week.

While the protest has reached the soccer pitch, don’t expect any dissent in a hockey rink anytime soon. At least if John Tortorella is your coach.

On his radio show The Right Time with Bomani Jones, Jones brought up the remarks made by Tortorella, the United States National Team and Columbus Blue Jackets head coach.

“If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there the rest of the game,” Tortorella said.

I liked Jones’ take on the coach’s new rule.

“Who are you?,” Jones asked. “I’m a grown man. I get to make some of these decisions for myself. So I got to stand up for what you believe is the proper form of indoctrination.”

Well put.

A coach is there to set rules, sure. He’s not there to set the moral compass of the players he coaches, however.

It isn’t the first time Tortorella made news with his comments.