Category Archives: GTP Stuff

Happy Fourth!

If this was good enough for last year, it’s good enough for now.

I can’t say it any better than I did last year.

Once again, this blog would like to join the Godfather of Soul in wishing all y’all a badass Fourth.

Enjoy the day.

I’ve got an assortment of Patak Meats’ finest lined up and ready for the grill.  What do you folks have in store?

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Your 7.1.20 Playpen

I have lived in the South my entire life.  There is much about Southern culture that I have embraced and cherished over that time, but this fetish, especially when I see it adopted by non-Southerners, is something I really don’t understand.

Screenshot_2020-07-01 Josh Wingrove on Twitter President Trump's acting DHS secretary announces he's creating a task force [...]

Screenshot_2020-07-01 Donald J Trump on Twitter I will Veto the Defense Authorization Bill if the Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Wa[...]

I presume in Trump’s case it’s likely nothing more than cynical political pandering, but he’s pandering because he thinks it appeals to a lot of folks out there.  Why should protecting the name of those who took up arms against this country matter enough to threaten people with 10-year jail terms and veto a defense spending bill?

And before you go all slippery slope and where will it all end on me here, there’s a pretty simple line I draw:  if you took up arms against the United States of America, there is no valid reason for your memory to be celebrated by the United States of America.  (Same thing for those of you in the “we risk forgetting our history” camp.  Nobody’s saying we shouldn’t be taught the lessons of the Civil War, but remembering is not the same thing as honoring the memory of men like Lee.)

We shouldn’t have to wait for protestors to take action against things that display Braxton Bragg‘s, or any other Confederate general’s, name.  As a nation, we should have enough of a sense of decency and shame to pull that down without being pushed.  It’s not as if we regularly honor the names of enemy soldiers from other wars, so why are we having this particular fight in the first place?  I honestly don’t get it.

Have at it in the comments.

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Your 6.24.20 Playpen

Forget being serious with this Playpen.  Gawd knows we could all use some distractions about now.  Share with the group any books, TV shows, movies, music, cooking, etc. that have helped you cope with reality this last month or so.

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Your 6.17.20 Playpen

I may make this the official logo of the Playpen:

duty_calls

Anyway, let’s get to it.

In one corner, Clay Travis.

In the other, Andy Staples.

But there’s something unique about the power dynamics in college football. I spoke with Andy Staples, a college football writer at the Athletic, who told me that football players at big-time programs have realized something very important: “Without them, there is no athletic department.” As many universities make deep cuts to athletic programs in a fiscal response to the coronavirus pandemic, Staples said that athletic directors are well aware that college football, a multibillion-dollar industry attracting hundreds of thousands to stadiums and tens of millions of viewers every year, is the golden goose they need to survive.

“[Programs] have to have a football season or basically everybody loses their jobs because there’s no money,” he said. “So the football players are looking at this and going, ‘Wait a second, they need us at this point even more than we need them.’”

… Staples noted during our conversation that many coaches are trying to educate themselves during this moment. “Most coaches really do care about their players. They want them to succeed. They want them to be happy. And I think there’s a lot of coaches that are looking and saying, how can I help understand better so that I can do the job better?” (And it doesn’t hurt, from their perspective, that speaking out in favor of racial equality could also help recruit and retain future players.[Emphasis added.]

So, who you got?  More to the point, who you got, personally speaking, as a college football fan, versus who you got, if you were a head football coach?

Have at it in the comments.  (Don’t make me send you to time out, you scamps.)

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Your 6.10.20 Playpen

This seems like the quintessential Playpen topic.

First, given how Clay Travis has hackishly (and profitably, I presume) whined about politics affecting sports fandom for a while now, involving him in a discussion like this is irony so rich it’s almost beyond words.  (And, no, for once, I do not digress.)

Second, I know Shapiro is young, but politics has been intertwined with sports in the modern era for decades:  the 1936 Berlin Olympics, integration, Cassius Clay’s refusal to submit to the draft, the 1968 Olympics… hell, the list goes on and on.  It’s nothing new.

Third, he doesn’t come right out and say it, but I strongly suspect what he really disapproves of are politics that don’t align with his impacting sports.  Doubt me?  I don’t follow every comment of his, but, as an example, I don’t think you’ll find a tweet or podcast where he complains about the NFL decision to have the players on the field for the Anthem.

Anyway, here’s an explicit example of that:

They’re making money stirring up the rubes, so I get it.  That’s America.  Besides, and to be fair, if a particular political expression intertwined with sports does comport with your personal leanings, at the least, it probably doesn’t interfere with your entertainment and may even enhance your experience.

But does what we’re witnessing now really affect your perception of sports and your level of passion for them?  I mean, Herschel Walker and Mike Leach are Trump supporters and I couldn’t care less about that in terms of how I take their sporting accomplishments.  But that’s just me; your mileage may certainly vary.

If you are a “shut up and dribble” sort, okay, but if so, aren’t you really saying that your selfish interest in being entertained is more important than the entertainers’ interest in expression of their beliefs?  After all, they’re folks just like you — folks with opinions.  Beyond that, do you expect the entertainers to buy into your point of view?

I’m not being snarky with those of you who disagree with me here.  I am curious how far you are prepared to take it, though.  Those of you who found fault with Kaepernick’s stance and mocked Nike’s support for it, how will Georgia’s and other college football teams’ embrace of Black Lives Matter (using that label in the larger sense of what is the subject of protests now) affect your desire to watch the sport going forward?  Do Drew Brees’ comments about kneeling or the blow back Drew Brees received for them make you less willing to watch the NFL now?  (I know, but work with me here.)  Share in the comments.

Speaking of which, a gentle reminder about how should you interact with your fellow commenters seems apropos about now.  Don’t make me come in there and get you.

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Go sit in the corner

I hate to waste my time and everyone else’s on housekeeping issues, but after yesterday’s wankfest in the comment thread about Jake Fromm’s faux pas, I feel like I’ve got no choice.  The constant back and forth with the personal insults that drives some of you has gotten extremely tiresome.

So, going forward, here’s what’s going to happen.  I’m not going to ban anyone for them, but if you can’t debate somebody without getting personal, your comments — all your comments — will get shunted into a holding place for me to review.  The ones that aren’t insulting will be posted; the rest will be trashed.  This won’t be a high priority for me, so don’t expect me to drop what I’m doing so that the world won’t miss your keen insight about Georgia’s offensive line for a moment longer than necessary.

Once it looks like you’ve regained control of your better judgment, I’ll let you back into the regular flow.  Look at it as a sort of virtual timeout.

That’s it.  That’s the warning.

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Your 6.3.20 Playpen

I’m sure plenty of y’all have been waiting to weigh in on George Floyd’s death and the aftermath consuming the country.  Fine, that’s what this Playpen is for.

First, some words of caution.  I don’t have a lot of bright lines here when it comes to commentary at GTP, but making racist comments is one of them.  Anyone who posts something that crosses that particular line will find his/her post scrubbed and their posting privileges revoked for good.  As to what crossing that line might entail, that’s entirely my call.  If you don’t like that, I would suggest that if you’ve composed something you’re unsure passes the smell test, don’t post it.  I’ve still got a couple of neo-Nazis who try to pass their garbage off here on occasion and I don’t have any desire to tolerate it.  Please, don’t be stupid.

As for the topic du jour, I feel a lot like Kirby Smart.  I haven’t experienced racism, but I recognize the pain it’s caused and still causes.  If you are a skeptic about institutionalized racism, I strongly recommend reading this Radley Balko post.  The math is the math.

Institutionalized racism, unfortunately, is a subset of an even bigger problem, institutionalized indifference to police power abuse.  There’s math for that, too, as Balko summarizes here:

The answer to the first question is easy. The problems in policing — from militarization to lack of transparency, to misplaced incentives, to the lack of real accountability — certainly do affect everyone, not just black people. According to The Post’s database of fatal police shootings, since 2015 police have shot and killed about twice as many white people as black people.

But while police abuse and violence have the potential to harm anyone, as with virtually all of the other shortcomings of the criminal justice system, it disproportionately harms black people. Cops may shoot and kill twice as many white people as black, but there about six times as many white people as black people in the United States. Proportionally, black people are much more likely to be shot and killed by cops.

Which brings us to the whole “Black Lives Matter” thing.  Swinging back to Smart’s comment, it’s hard for most of us to understand what that means when we haven’t walked in those black lives’ shoes.

When white people see video of unjust police abuse of a white person, it may make us angry, sad or uncomfortable, but most of us don’t see ourselves in the position of the person in the video. If we’re polite and respectful, we think, and don’t put ourselves in scenarios that lead to confrontations with police officers, there’s little chance that we’ll ever end up like Daniel Shaver. When black people see video of Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, their reaction is much more likely to be that could have been me — or my son, or friend or brother.

I am not arrogant enough to pretend that I have all the answers, or that I should even be somebody who deserves to be listened to in a serious way about this.  But what’s left of my inner libertarian insists that a large part of this is fueled by what I’ve called the failure of the Wars on Nouns (Drugs, Terror, etc.).  We have sacrificed our civil rights and liberties steadily over decades for false security and we’re paying the price for it.

It’s time for our politicians to recognize that and start undoing the damage.  This is a good first step.

And this is a good second one.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress have begun a new push to shut down a Pentagon program that transfers military weaponry to local law enforcement departments, as bipartisan urgency builds to address the excessive use of force and the killings of unarmed black Americans by the police.

Somehow, in too many places, we’ve allowed police to mutate from “protect and serve” to occupiers in our midst.  We didn’t intend it, but it’s happened nonetheless.  And while I’ve seen countless examples of good cops over the past week, I’ve also seen what happens when you have police departments that feel threatened, not by individuals’ violence, but by wide scale resistance to police power abuse.  Fixing that isn’t going to be easy, but we’ve got to start making the effort.

Okay, I’m climbing off my soapbox now and inviting you to stand on it.  Please be considerate.

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Today, in freedom

This is not offered as a special edition Playpen, but instead as a preemptive warning:  do not be this guy at GTP.

Screenshot_2020-05-29 Does trumps executive order apply to this message board

For one thing, it’s wrong, legally speaking.  For another, it’s rude.  You come in my house and take a dump on the rug, you’ll be escorted out.  It’s no different here online.

You may think I’m overreacting, but you don’t see the comments I get from people I’ve banned.

Don’t be that guy.  Please.

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Your 5.27.20 Playpen

Here’s a question for you — what’s the best movie you’ve seen by accident?

I remember going to some multiplex, finding that the movie I was planning on watching was sold out and stumbled into this instead.

Breaker Morant is a movie about how, as the director once put it, wartime atrocities can be “committed by people who appear to be quite normal”.  It’s also about the difficulty of a government putting its own soldiers on trial for murder for acts performed in the field.

The acting is superb and the ending is one of the most moving I’ve ever watched.  Try to keep a lump out of your throat.

“Shoot straight, you bastards.  Don’t make a mess of it.”

So, what’s yours?  Share in the comments.

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Your 5.20.20 Playpen

Don’t feel political or virus-y this morning, so instead what you get is the tweet I obsessed over the most this past week.  It’s absolutely mesmerized me.

Maybe that says more about me than the clip, I dunno.  But after I got through laughing, I had so many questions:  how does somebody go to that much trouble?  how does someone in a devil’s costume manage to stroll around on a golf course unchecked?  who the hell filmed it?  why go to the trouble of toting around a helium-filled balloon when there’s a handy pond to toss the ball into?  why bother to chase a dude in a devil’s costume?

Pulling up with tweaked hammies is the perfect cherry on the sundae, too.  All in ten seconds.  I wonder what he told his wife when he got home that day.

So, what’s on your mind today?

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