5-at-10: Loyalty in sports? Nope, A Frozen political future, Calvin Johnson on concussions, Rushmore of Sevens

5-at-10: Loyalty in sports? Nope, A Frozen political future, Calvin Johnson on concussions, Rushmore of Sevens

July 7th, 2016 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

FILE - In this April 7, 2016, file photo, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) drives around Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler during an NBA basketball game in Miami. A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that Wade has decided to leave the Heat and sign with the Bulls. Wade made the decision Wednesday night, July 6, according to the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because nothing can be finalized before Thursday. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

Photo by The Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Dwyane Wade goes home

There is no loyalty in sports.

That's the easy attack this morning on Dwyane Wade, the face of the Miami Heat franchise who has agreed to sign with Chicago. Wade is the latest huge-name superstar to pull up stakes and follow the payday.

And it's easy to be mad at the player, who makes millions playing a kid's game. But that angst toward just the player is letting the team and the franchise off too easy, considering the owners are making hundreds of millions having stars such as Wade play a kid's game in their arenas.

Wade was the face of the franchise. Wade took less money six years ago to help the Heat put together the super powers of LeBron and Bosh and win two titles in four consecutive triple to the finals. 

Where's the loyalty from the top down?

Yes, side with management if you think letting Wade walk for millions of dollars. Maybe it was a questionable decision considering Wade's health and his relentless style that adds so much wear and tear on his 34-year-old body. Maybe the Heat and front office guru Pat Riley are right that Wade's overvalued at the price tag he was asking.

But Chicago didn't think so and ponied up the coin.

And Wade took it. Can you blame him? Would you have left $10 million on the table on what almost assuredly will be the final big contract of his professional life?

Of course not.

And the double-edged sword of teams wanting superstars to take a discount so the teams can fit more talent under the cap is becoming tired and in truth it's such a flawed excuses from the view of management.

First, know this: The NBA salary cap is not a hard cap like the NFL's. It is a flexible cap, especially when it comes to retaining players already on your team. Yes, there are slots and requirements, but teams can exceed the $94.1 million cap in a lot of ways, and when they do they have to pay a 'luxury' tax to the rest of the league.

Now, this 'hometown' discount or star taking less to help bolster the roster, are trendy talking points right now, but they unfairly put too much of the business end and the sacrifice on players like Wade.

Take Tim Duncan, who accepted under-market value in recent years so he could stay in San Antonio and play with teammates he likes and with a franchise that always contends.That's cool, and those are tangible parts of the employee-employer exchange. Working conditions, successful operation, moral and atmosphere, all count in real world ways. But to expect that type of sacrifice from every superstar, and to label the ones not willing to make it as players "who don't want to win" is hypocritical.

Are owners lowering ticket prices so fans can experience Tim Duncan at a discounted rate? Are they turning back TV money in a good faith effort to do all they can for the organization? 

Yes, it hurts more because we are connected to our favorite teams and the stars that make them competitive and fun to watch.

It hurts even the casual fan who appreciates the legends such as Jeter or Ripken or Brady or Kobe who played their entire career in one city.

Yes, there's no longer loyalty in sports, but that dead end is a two-way street.

No, there's no loyalty in sports, because sports is a huge business. And we all know there's no loyalty there, either.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton arrives to speak on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J., Wednesday, July 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Mel Evans) (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

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Photo by The Associated Press/Times Free Press.

What in the world

We are the most advanced country in the world, right? We are in a place that one of our major cities is truly upset over losing a basketball player to another major city.

Compared to the rest of the globe, that is the definition of a bona fide First World problem.

So, how in the world can anyone explain to the common American that the best our two major political parties can offer is Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton? How is that even remotely possible?

The latest flap of course is about what The Donald did or didn't intend with a social media message that was viewed by a lot of folks as anti-Semitic. To account for that, The Donald referenced a star on a box on a toy with the images from the Disney movie "Frozen."

Not to be outdone by the juvenile acts of her counterpart, The Hillary offered "Do you want to build a straw man" on her Twitter account because, well, this is now officially junior high. 

This would be absolutely hilarious if it was an episode of "House of Cards" or played on on "West Wing" back in the day.

FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2014, file photo, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson waves to fans after defeating the Miami Dolphins 20-16 in a NFL football game in Detroit. Calvin Johnson has retired. The 30-year-old receiver, known as Megatron, announced his decision Tuesday, March 8, 2016, to walk away from the NFL after nine mostly spectacular seasons with the Detroit Lions. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

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Photo by The Associated Press/Times Free Press.

NFL undercover

There has been a slew of hand-wringing and issue stories about the safety of football and the future of the NFL. 

All of that is well and good, and if those talking points make the game safer for even one player or prevent even the smallest number of concussions, then great. In fact, there's been a lot of folks to wonder about the long-term health of a league like the NFL, which seems silly since it's bringing in almost 11 figures annually in revenue.

There are the whispers about mommas not want their boys to play, and that may be true to an extent. The biggest trouble in regards to health and safety question marks for the NFL from this view come in testimonials like the one Calvin Johnson delivered to E:60. 

In the interview — which is scheduled to air tonight — Johnson details the concussions and the pain and even the pain killers along his way to NFL greatness before retiring at 30 this offseason.

Here's more on the story and this quote is pretty clear:

"Concussions happen," he said, per ESPN. "If not on every play, then they happen like every other, every third play, you know. With all the helmet contact, guys hitting the ground, heads hitting ground. It's simply when your brain touches your skull from the movement or the inertia, man. It's simple to get a concussion, you know. I don't know how many I've had over my career, you know, but I've definitely had my fair share."

Jon Jones attends a UFC 200 mixed martial arts news conference, Wednesday, July 6, 2016, in Las Vegas. Jones is scheduled to fight Daniel Cormier in a light heavyweight championship fight at UFC 200 on Saturday. (AP Photo/John Locher)

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Photo by The Associated Press/Times Free Press.

This and that

— Another day, another strong column from TFP ace sports opinionator Mark Wiedmer. Here's his view on the UT settlement and how Butch Jones was the bigwinner for not having to testify as some of you guys mentioned around these parts Wednesday.

— Here's an interesting look at some of the best in the MLB who could be traded before the end of the month. 

— Speaking of baseball, remember the Chewbacca Mom from Facebook fame? Here's a video of her crushing the National Anthem before a recent Astros game. 

— We thought this was interesting too, as none other than Barry Bonds says 42-year-old Ichiro, who has 113 homers in his almost 3,000 MLB hits, would win the Home Run Derby. Here's the story, and there are some legends out there about Ichiro's amazing power when needed. 

— Jon Jones has been ruled out of UFC 200 because of PED concerns. Tough blow for the entire UFC, considering his light heavyweight title fight was the main event of Saturday's card.

— France faces Germany in the Euro semifinals later today. Has France surrendered yet?

Today's question

Gang, spots open for the mailbag. And yes, that is not a question.

So let's go here: Today is July 7 — or 7/7 — so let's start with The Mick and do a sports Rushmore of Sevens.

Be creative — and remember the mailbag.

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