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Sports and such....
***No midweek Bar Chat this week.
[Posted Sunday p.m.]
ABA Quiz: The American Basketball Association had its first season 1967-68. Name the eleven original franchises (the cities, if you know all the names, pour yourself a frosty). Five were in the ‘East,’ six in the ‘West.’ Answer below.
College Basketball Review
It’s hard to take a season seriously when most days you have two games involving Top 25 teams postponed due to Covid. We’re not that far from March Madness in the Indy bubble and can teams stay healthy until then?
But a few games of note since last chat:
Tuesday, 14 West Virginia defeated 7 Texas Tech 82-71.
Wednesday, 15 Iowa beat 25 Rutgers 79-65, snapping the Scarlet Knights’ 4-game Big Ten winning streak. 10 Missouri was blasted by Ole Miss 80-59.
Saturday, 10 Missouri (13-5, 6-5) lost again, this time to Arkansas (16-5, 8-4) 86-81. So guess what? Missouri won’t be No. 10 in the next poll.
12 Oklahoma (13-5, 8-4) defeated 14 West Virginia (14-6, 7-4) 91-90 in double overtime.
4 Ohio State improved to 17-4, 11-4, with a 78-59 win over Indiana (11-9, 6-7).
19 Creighton (16-5, 12-4) had an important win over 5 Villanova (13-3, 8-2) 86-70.
And 22 Loyola Chicago is now 18-3, 13-1 after handing Drake (19-2, 10-2) its second loss, 81-54, the Ramblers a cool 63.8 percent from the field (30-47).
Wake Forest (6-9, 3-9), after a win on the road Wednesday at Boston College, lost at 17 Florida State (11-3, 7-2) 92-85 in overtime.
9 Virginia (15-3, 11-1) has a firm hold on the ACC lead after a 60-48 win over North Carolina (12-7, 7-5).
But 2 Baylor and 7 Texas Tech was postponed due to Covid issues on the Bears, while No. 1 Gonzaga is now 20-0, 10-0, after blasting San Francisco (10-10, 4-6) 100-61.
Well today, Sunday, 3 Michigan played for the first time in 23 days and beat 21 Wisconsin (15-7, 9-6) on the road, 67-59, the Wolverines improving to 14-1, 9-1.
And then Drake got its revenge on Loyola Chicago, 51-50 in overtime, as the Missouri Valley Conference utilizes their back-to-back games strategy in the same location to reduce travel and Covid risks. After the Ramblers shot so well Saturday, they were just 20 of 57, 35.1% today, plus 19 turnovers to Drake’s eight.
Seton Hall had a big win over Marquette (9-12, 5-10) as well today; not that the Warriors are good this year but it improves The Hall to 9-5 in the Big East as they gun for a tournament bid.
--The Big Ten announced it would play its conference tournament in Indianapolis, scheduled for March 10-14 at Lucas Oil Stadium. It was originally set to take place at Chicago’s United Center.
“The decision to relocate the tournament to Indianapolis was based on multiple factors,” the conference said in a statement. “First and foremost was the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches, officials and conference constituents. Hosting both the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments in the same city allows for cohesive testing and medical protocols for both events, as well as centralized accommodations surrounding the competition venues.”
The Big Ten’s move follows the NCAA’s decision to hold its tournament entirely in the Indianapolis area.
The Big Ten tournament ends with its final on Selection Sunday, just a few days before the NCAA tournament’s opening round March 18, giving qualifying teams (and the Big Ten will be getting more bids than anyone else) the option to stay in the Indianapolis area rather than return to their campuses.
NCAA tournament games will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse and Indiana Farmers Coliseum, as well as Purdue’s Mackey Arena in West Lafayette and Indiana’s Assembly Hall in Bloomington.
The Big Ten Tournament has been held in Chicago or Indianapolis in all but two years since its inception in 1998.
If players contract the virus the week before the NCAA tournament, there presumably wouldn’t be enough time for them to isolate, recover and return to play. All players and staff must show seven consecutive negative coronavirus tests before arriving in Indianapolis for the NCAA tournament.
So far during Big Ten play, at least 17 men’s games have been postponed. Nebraska missed five straight games recently, while Michigan has been on pause until today, also missing five games.
--Kevin Durant returned for the Nets Saturday after having to sit out due to contact-tracing, Brooklyn defeating Durant’s old team, Golden State, 134-117, as the Big Three played together for just the seventh time, now 5-2, including the loss to the Raptors last week when Durant was pulled from the floor early due to Covid protocols. The Nets are now 16-12 overall.
But during the week, Kyrie Irving and James Harden had a chat to work out their on-court chemistry and Kyrie said last night after the game, “I just looked at him, and I said, ‘You’re the point guard, and I’m going to play shooting guard.’ That was as simple as that.”
Harden then had 16 assists last night, along with 19 points, while Kyrie had 23 and Durant 20.
--So I wasn’t happy when the Knicks traded for point guard Derrick Rose, thinking it would impede on rookie Immanuel Quickley’s playing time, but coach Tom Thibodeau has Rose and Quickley playing together and coming off the bench and they have immediately become a dynamic duo, including a combined 38 points in last night’s 121-99 win over the Rockets that has New York, at 13-15, actually in the playoff hunt. I watched the entire game and was thoroughly entertained as a Knicks fan. They play hard and have some terrific young talent. Plus Rose just looks so much better than I pictured him.
--Shu says the big story in “the Valley,” Phoenix-Scottsdale metro area (one of my favorites), is the Suns, winners of five straight, 16-9 overall after a 120-111 win over the 76ers Saturday (18-9).
--The best franchise in baseball just got even better as the Dodgers re-signed veteran Justin Turner to a two-year, $34 million contract. Turner, a free agent, was in demand but at 36 no one wanted to give him the three years he was looking for.
Turner, after the Mets dumped him because they didn’t want to pay him $1 million following the 2013 season, resurrected his career in L.A. and has been a clutch performer in his seven seasons since, batting .302, .295 in 72 postseason games.
So the popular fan favorite, leader in the clubhouse and the community, will likely finish up his career as a Dodger. Just another piece that ensures we’re going to see L.A. in the World Series again.
--James Paxton is going back to the future after two years with the Yankees, one very good one and the other destroyed by more injury woes.
Big Maple spent his first six big-league seasons with the Seattle Mariners from 2013-18, and that’s where the power left-hander is returning.
Paxton had an outstanding 2019 with the Yankees after being acquired in a trade with Seattle, going 15-6, 3.82 ERA, but then the injury bug hit him again, including back surgery and then a season-ending flexor strain and he appeared in just five games with a 6.64 ERA in last season’s Covid mess.
Paxton, when healthy, is good, a No. 2 or 3 starter, but he wanted multiple years and no one was going to give that to him, so he accepted the Mariners’ one-year, $8.5 million contract.
The Mets, in need of another experienced starter, could have taken a flyer on the guy.
--Meanwhile, the Yankees signed sluger Jay Bruce to a minor-league contract, $1.33 million guaranteed if he makes the major league roster. The move just makes so much sense, given the short porch in right in The Little Bandbox that Ruth Didn’t Build.
--Back to the Mets, once again they extended a spring training invite to Tim Tebow, and I’m long on record as saying I’m OK with it. As in, ‘whatever.’ Fans love him and if he’s playing AA ball for the Mets and crowds can come back whenever the questionable minor league campaign begins, fine…he’ll put some fannies in the seats.
BUT….this year is different. Major League Baseball is limiting spring roster sizes to 75 spots as a coronavirus precaution and Tebow is thus taking someone’s place.
The majority of minor league players won’t be reporting to camps until the big leaguers depart for opening day April 1. Tebow should have just been another minor leaguer.
--We note the passing of former outfielder Billy Conigliaro, who played alongside his brother Tony, a Red Sox star whose career was cut short by injury. Billy later took care of him and worked to preserve his legacy after Tony died.
Billy Conigliaro was the first draft pick in Red Sox history, and while he ended up winning a World Series ring with the Oakland A’s in 1973, Billy was always a part of New England lore, forever connected by his local roots and the tragic events surrounding his older brother.
The Conigliaros were born less than 10 miles from Fenway Park in Revere, Mass. Billy was chosen fifth overall out of Swampscott High School in 1965, in MLB’s inaugural amateur draft. He made his big league debut in April 1969, the same month his brother Tony returned after almost two years from a beaning that had derailed his All-Star career.
Billy’s best season was 1970, when he played in 114 games for Boston and hit 18 home runs while batting .271. But he ended up with only 1,130 at-bats in the big leagues, 40 home runs, a .256 BA, though he did get into three games in the 1973 World Series for Oakland, their win over the Mets that had me crying like a baby after Game 7…but I digress.
Tony C.’s story has been told often in these pages. He made his debut at the age of 19 for the Red Sox and promptly became a star and matinee idol, slamming 24 home runs, while batting .290. He led the A.L. in homers the next season with 32, and in 1966 then had 28 home runs and 93 RBIs. Tony C. was one of the bright young stars in baseball.
So in 1967, making his first All-Star team and headed towards a 30-100 season, he was beaned by a fastball from the Angels’ Jack Hamilton, which smashed into his cheekbone. One of the first Sports Illustrated covers I vividly remember is that of Conigliaro following this incident, Tony suffering extensive injuries, including permanent damage to his left eye.
Tony C. returned to the majors in 1969 and, despite the limited eyesight, hit 20 home runs. He followed that up with his best power year, 36 homers, 116 RBIs, but he was largely out of baseball a year later and would suffer a stroke and end up in a coma. It was his brother, Billy, who devoted much of his life to caring for him until Tony’s death in 1990 at 45.
--Just a little story on the late ESPN, Arizona Republic baseball reporter Pedro Gomez, who died last week unexpectedly at his Phoenix home at the age of 58.
As John D’Anna of the Republic writes, Gomez’ family was from Cuba and his parents left everything behind to flee to the United States so Pedro could be born free from Fidel Castro’s communist regime.
“In 2013, Yoenis Cespedes, an outfielder with the Oakland A’s just in his second full year in the majors, won the Home Run Derby by beating the best hitter in the game, Bryce Harper. It was the first time the derby had been won by a player who hadn’t been selected to play in the All-Star game.
“Cespedes, who had just defected from Cuba two years earlier by taking a harrowing 23-hour speedboat ride to the Dominican Republic, was still struggling to learn English.
“For Pedro, who was covering the Derby for ESPN, this was a problem with an easy solution, though difficult to pull off on the air. He would act as both interviewer and translator. He would state his question in English, translate it into Spanish for Cespedes, then translate Cespedes’ answer back into English for the audience.
“It was the most American thing in the world, the son of Cuban immigrants helping a Cuban refugee tell a story of triumphant joy, a story that should have made – and in many ways did make – the world seem a little smaller.
“Not everyone saw it that way.
“The backlash from the racists and the nativists was horrific.
“Years later when I asked him about it, he shook his head and said it was sad.
“In the end, he said, people forget that baseball is just a game, and the players are all human.
“And in the end, it was Pedro’s humanity that set him apart from any other journalist I’ve known….
“The last time I actually spoke with him was January 2020, when he called to compliment me on a series I’d written about a young Black man who’d been unjustly singled out for prosecution in a high school football hazing scandal.
“That something I did would earn the respect of a truth-teller whom I respected so much meant the world to me. I’m still trying to process the fact that he’s gone, but this I know:
“Pedro Gomez didn’t just make the world smaller. He made it better. The lives he touched with the truth will swear to it. And there’s nothing more American than that.”
--The AT&T’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am had a much different look and feel. No pro-am, for starters, no stars out on Saturday, no Peyton Manning or Bill Murray sighting.
And there were no crowds, no indoor dining in the area, so it wasn’t the party that it normally is.
Top players have already been fleeing the event the past few years, with many not liking the extra-long rounds (though to be fair, other players welcome the change of pace and chance to meet titans of industry or other sports).
That said, with No. 1 in the world Dustin Johnson pulling out, citing jetlag after winning the Saudi International more than 8,000 miles away last weekend, we didn’t have a single player in the top 10 of the World Ranking as they teed it up at Pebble and Spyglass Hill.
So the only top 20 players were Patrick Cantlay (No. 11), Daniel Berger (15) and Paul Casey (17).
And you had Jordan Spieth.
But the top players did come through and after three rounds we had:
Berger and Cantlay among those in second at -11
Casey and Jason Day among those -10
And in the end, Daniel Berger had career win No. 4, with a sterling 65, including the clinching eagle on No. 18; Berger finishing two ahead of Maverick McNealy (his best finish on tour).
Spieth finished T3, three back, tied with Cantlay. Heck, two straight top fives for Spieth is a great sign. I might have to put a shekel or two on him for The Masters…a tradition unlike any other…on CBS….
--19-year-old Akshay Bhatia is a budding star and in the first round, all he did was hit all 18 greens at Pebble Beach, the smallest putting surfaces on the PGA Tour. No one had done this since 2008. The kid shot 64 and was T16, -7, heading into today’s finale…just his tenth PGA Tour event after he turned professional as a 17-year-old after the 2019 Walker Cup. [He finished T30.]
--Rickie Fowler missed another cut, ditto Phil Mickelson.
--Justin Thomas is one professional golfer who is not enamored with the PGA Tour’s aggressive move to debut a live betting show at tour events.
“Obviously as a player, selfishly, I worry about any sort of sketchiness going on with whether it’s communication within someone that’s out on the grounds and could potentially yell or do something to affect a person that would have, say, a wager or something and that’s a serious, serious concern,” said Thomas, a member of the PGA Tour Player Advisory Council.
“We’re out here playing – this is our job and we’re out here trying to win golf tournaments and a lot of people are supporting families and supporting themselves. I would hope it would never come to that.
“But at the end of the day you can’t sit there and tell me that that’s not a realistic chance.”
It’s a totally legitimate concern. The Tour has been aggressively embracing tie-ins with DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet and BetMGM, and the BetCast show on Peacock Premium is the latest innovation the tour has rolled out since 2018 when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which legalized sports betting.
What is to stop someone with a large bet of money on a certain player yelling in the backswing of another player to influence their own bet? That could have devastating effects on a golf tournament.
The Tour argues it has security measures on-site, and it’s talked of limiting fans’ proximity to those on tournament grounds.
But watching today’s final round at Pebble, boy, did Jim Nantz talk up FanDuel a lot or what?
I lost on my DraftKings lineup, by the way….a fourth straight loss this year after opening the campaign with two wins. I am still on DraftKings’ double-secret probation and need another win soon to get back my full DK players’ card.
--The Houston Texans granted star defensive end J.J. Watt his wish, releasing him so he could find another team.
Watt was drafted by the Texans in 2011 with the No. 11 pick and became the face of the franchise, and a future Hall of Famer, winning three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards from 2012 to ’15. He was also a pillar in the Houston community.
There are no hard feelings in the move, though obvious disappointment within Houston management. This is not the Deshaun Watson s---show, Watson requesting a trade.
“Change is never easy, especially when it involves the ones you love. J.J.’s impact on not only our organization, but the entire Houston community, is unlike any player in our franchise’s history,” Texans chair and CEO Cal McNair said in a prepared statement. “I told J.J. earlier this week that we will forever consider him a Texan.”
Watt did have one year remaining on the contract he signed in 2014 and was owed $17.5 million in 2021, but his salary was not guaranteed so is free to sign with anyone, and the Steelers, Browns, Bills and Titans are among those who are interested.
But the guy turns 32 in March and he’s had a number of season-ending injuries. That said, for a team that’s on the cusp (I’m looking at you, Cleveland and Buffalo), he’s a natural.
--All kinds of rumors circulating on the quarterback front, with the Jets’ Sam Darnold (and perhaps Watson) at the center of them. But as I’ve been saying, the Jets have zero reason to rush into anything. The price for their No. 2 pick in the Draft just keeps going up.
Alex Bowman won the pole for the 500, the fourth straight front-row start for him in the race, breaking a tie at three with a rather august group – Richard Petty, Fireball Roberts, Dale Earnhardt and Bill Elliott.
But as is so often the case with this race, we had The Big One, and it came early, lap 14, which as I write took out 16 cars.
And then the weather came in (I can’t believe they didn’t just postpone the race until Monday, actually) and we sit at lap 15 of 200, with zero hope of a restart, in my amateur weatherman opinion, tonight. But I seem to have lost just two of my six cars in my DK lineup, which is good.
A season that started out with so much promise, as in a super-tight race for the title, has turned into a runaway. Following Tottenham’s 2-0 win over Manchester City on Nov. 21, my Spurs were on top of the table and us fans were authentically excited for the rest of the campaign. But City hasn’t lost since, 15 games, and now, after a 3-0 win over Tottenham Saturday, City has a 7-point lead, and a game in hand, over Manchester United and Leicester City.
Leicester whipped Liverpool 3-1 Saturday, leading the Reds’ Jurgen Klopp to concede the race is over, Liverpool in fourth and in danger of not making the Champions League next season.
Today, Man U didn’t help their fleeting title hopes when they had a pathetic 1-1 draw with West Brom, who is heading towards relegation.
So all enthusiasm with yours truly is gone.
Standings after 23/24 of 38….Played – Points
1. Man City…23 – 53
2. Man U…24 – 46
3. Leicester…24 – 46
4. Liverpool…24 – 40 …Champions League line
5. Chelsea…23 – 39
6. West Ham…23 – 39
7. Everton 22 – 37 …awful loss today to Fulham 2-0
Monday, Chelsea plays 17 Newcastle, while West Ham goes against last-place Sheffield. Liverpool could be sixth after.
Tournament organizers had dreams of crowds of 35% of normal capacity but that all ended as crowds were barred after Melbourne headed into a five-day hard lockdown in response to a Covid cluster. It was hoped fans could be allowed back for the semifinals and finals late this coming week.
And so the tournament went on. It hasn’t been easy, with highly-limited practice time after so many players had traveled from all over the world, only to have to quarantine for two weeks to be eligible.
American Sofia Kenin lost in the second round to Kaia Kanepi, but as I write, on the women’s side 1-seed Ashleigh Barty, 2 Simona Halep, 3 Naomi Osaka and 10 Serena Williams were still in it.
Barty is trying to become the first Australian to win the women’s title at Melbourne since Chris O’Neil in 1978.
So I didn’t remember Chris (Christine) O’Neil at all and it turns out in 1978, she was unseeded and defeated American Betsy Nagelsen in a weak field. O’Neil didn’t get out of the second round at any of the other majors.
On the men’s side, yesterday, 18 Grigor Dimitrov upset 3 Dominic Thiem, but 1 Novak Djokovic, 2 Rafa Nadal and 4 Daniil Medvedev remain, though Nadal and Medvedev are playing tonight right after I post.
World Cup Ski Championships
They are holding the world championships at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, and Austria’s Vincent Kriechmayr has won both the Downhill and Super-G.
On the women’s side, Switzerland’s Corine Suter won the Downhill, while Lara Gut of Switzerland took the Super-G, Mikaela Shiffrin third for the bronze.
I don’t know what Shiffrin is going to think of her season when it’s done. Hasn’t been the best, but it would be a lot better if she could take gold in the slalom this week.
--What a mess. Chris Doyle, who had been hired by new Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer on Thursday to be the director of sports performance (i.e., strength and conditioning coach), resigned Friday after the selection was royally panned.
“Chris Doyle came to us this evening to submit his resignation and we have accepted,” Meyer said in a statement released by the team. “Chris did not want to be a distraction to what we are building in Jacksonville. We are responsible for all aspects of our program and, in retrospect, should have given greater consideration to how his appointment may have affected all involved. We wish him the best as he moves forward in his career.”
The day before Meyer had said his relationship with Doyle went back 20 years and “I feel great about the hire.”
But Doyle had been out of football since 2019, his last full season as the Iowa strength and conditioning coach, because he was fired in June 2020 after dozens of Black players said that Doyle was racist and abusive towards them.
Incredibly, Doyle was making $800,000 as the highest-paid strength coach in college football while at Iowa. His “firing” resulted in a separation agreement for a million bucks paid out in just two installments.
Players said that Doyle was physically abusive and gave white players preferential treatment while saying things like “back to the ghetto” to Black players. In 2011, 13 Iowa players were hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis (stress-induced muscle damage that can lead to kidney failure) after an over-the-top Doyle workout.
The thing is Urban Meyer has a history of bringing on talented people with baggage, witness the fact 31 of his players at Florida were arrested in six years. Some of them were rather innocuous, but there were more serious ones, including several involving the late Aaron Hernandez.
And then you have Meyer himself, who was suspended at Ohio State for blatantly lying about the case of Zach Smith, a coach who worked under Meyer at Florida and Ohio State. Smith was arrested for domestic violence in 2009 and fired by Ohio State in 2018 when his ex-wife said he had strangled her in 2015. When Smith was fired, Meyer claimed at Ohio State’s media day that he knew about the 2009 arrest but not the 2015 assault. But Smith’s ex-wife said that Meyer, Meyer’s wife and members of the Ohio State staff knew about the 2015 incident at the time.
--Valparaiso University will stop using the Crusader as its mascot, the school announced Thursday. Crusader imagery has been widely adopted by hate groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, in recent years. The school said this appropriation played a role in its decision.
But even prior to its adoption by hate groups, people argued that Crusader imagery was inherently violent given the bloody, centuries-long Crusades in the Holy Land.
--Porn purveyor Larry Flynt, who built Hustler magazine into an adult entertainment empire while championing First Amendment rights, died Wednesday. He was 78.
Flynt scored a surprising U.S. Supreme Court victory over the Rev. Jerry Falwell, who had sued him for libel after a 1983 Hustler alcohol ad suggested Falwell had lost his virginity to his mother in an outhouse.
Shot by a sniper in 1978, Flynt was paralyzed from the waist down and used a wheelchair the rest of his life.
Flynt built an empire and fortune estimated at more than $100 million. His life was depicted in the acclaimed 1996 film “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” which brought Oscar nominations for director Milos Forman and Woody Harrelson, who played Flynt.
--A female polar bear living at the Detroit Zoo was killed by her partner in a breeding attempt that went horribly wrong last week.
The bear, Anana, was placed in the zoo in January 2020 and had been introduced to the male bear, Nuka, in March, the zoo said in a statement.
The bears had been living together “without incident” for part of last year before being separated for several months, the zoo said.
They were reunited last week as part of a “polar bear species survival plan” – and tragedy struck when 16-year-old Nuka killed Anana, 20, while he was trying to breed with her.
A spokesman for the Detroit Zoological Society said the zoo “has not experienced the killing of one animal by another animal in decades; the last occurrence was also with polar bears in 1988.”
Nuka has lived at the Detroit Zoo since 2011 and has lived and bred with other female bears without harming them, the zoo says.
I’m wondering if the zoo made a mistake in blaring Suzanne Vega’s “My Name Is Luka” non-stop, thinking that would encourage the male. Instead it drove him nuts.
This last bit may not be accurate.
--I’m one of those Jersey guys who is not a Springsteen fanatic, but he puts on a helluva show and I love some of his old stuff.
I don’t get upset by his political statements because I just don’t give a damn and the message of his Super Bowl commercial went in one ear and out the other.
But he was totally set up by police in Sandy Hook, N.J., last November when he was arrested for DWI at a National Recreation Area, the details of which just became clear the other day.
Springsteen, according to reports, stopped while on a motorcycle ride and accepted a shot of tequila from a fan while park rangers watched from a distance. Once he began to drive off, the rangers flagged him down and ticketed him for driving while intoxicated and reckless driving.
Despite a park ranger’s account that Springsteen smelled of alcohol and flunked field tests (he was otherwise cooperative), his blood alcohol level registered .02, when in New Jersey, .08 is the presumptive level for intoxication.
I mean, c’mon. The park rangers obviously recognized him and concluded a celebrity bust would draw some attention.
A court will eventually decide the outcome of the arrest, but if the .02 blood alcohol reading is accurate, he’s obviously innocent.
--Country music star Morgan Wallen issued a lengthy apology in the aftermath of the video surfacing showing him making a racial slur.
In the video that was leaked last week, Wallen could be heard calling a friend the “N-word.”
“The video you saw was me on hour 72 of a 72-hour bender. And that’s not something I’m proud of either,” Wallen said in a video shared with social media. “I let so many people down, who mean so much to me and have given me so much to me.”
After noting he let his parents and son down, he added, “I’m not OK with that.”
Wallen added that he apologized to the people who he personally hurt and also had “very real and honest conversations” with Black organizations and leaders.
“My words matter. Words can really hurt a person and at my core that’s not what I am,” he added.
“I’ve got many more things to learn, but I already know I don’t want to add to anymore divisions,” he said. “Our actions matter. Our words matter. I just want to encourage anyone watching to please learn from my mistake. There’s no reason to downplay what I did. It matters and please know I’m carefully choosing my next steps.”
So Wallen shook up the country music world when the video surfaced, and the condemnations poured in. The Academy of Country Music Awards halted Wallen’s “potential involvement and eligibility” in this year’s awards cycle, the Country Music Association removed his digital content from their platforms, his recording contract was suspended, and most country music radio stations took him off the air.
And what happened? His streams and album sales spiked.
Wallen’s fans are likely streaming him more now than before because they can’t hear him on the radio.
--Nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2021 are out and they include Jay-Z, LL Cool J, Dionne Warwick, the Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden, Chaka Khan, Todd Rundgren and Tina Turner, as well as Carole King.
In the case of King, this is for her work as a solo artist. She’s already enshrined as a songwriter with Gerry Goffin.
I’ve been so down on the Rock Hall of Fame because it’s really become a joke with some of the recent entrants, and omissions, and I’ll leave it at that.
But it does present an opportunity for us Todd Rundgren fans, including Dr. W., to try one more time. You can go onto rockhall.com and vote, with the top five comprising a “fans’ ballot” that will be tallied along with more than 1,000 judges’ ballots to select a nominee.
The latter list includes musicians, historians and various representatives from the music industry.
To be eligible for induction, a candidate must have released their first recording at least 25 years ago.
Personally, aside from Rundgren, I’d pick Carole King, Dionne Warwick, Chaka Khan (Chaka Khan Chaka Khan) and the Foo Fighters.
--We note the passing of Chick Corea, a Grammy Award-winning jazz musician. He was 79.
The American musician’s career spanned more than five decades, with his last album released last year.
Corea is the fourth most nominated artist in the Grammy Awards’ history with 65 nominations, winning 23 times.
Corea played with Miles Davis in the late 1960s and his own group, Return to Forever, was at the forefront of the jazz fusion movement.
He was also known around the world for his work as a composer with hits like Spain and 500 Miles High.
Corea was recently diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. In a message left for his fans prior to his death, Corea said: “It is my hope that those who have an inkling to play, write, perform or otherwise, do so. If not for yourself then for the rest of us.
“It’s not only that the world needs more artists, it’s also just a lot of fun,” he said.
Top 3 songs for the week 2/14/76: #1 “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” (Paul Simon) #2 “Love To Love You Baby” (Donna Summer) #3 “You Sexy Thing” (Hot Chocolate)…and…#4 “Theme From S.W.A.T.” (Rhythm Heritage) #5 “Sing A Song” (Earth, Wind & Fire) #6 “I Write The Songs” (Barry Manilow) #7 “Love Rollercoaster” (Ohio Players) #8 “Love Machine” (The Miracles) #9 “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” (Neil Sedaka) #10 “Evil Woman” (Electric Light Orchestra…B week…)
ABA Quiz Answer: Initial eleven franchises…some of them started out as being in different locations, on paper, but these are the teams that actually played it out the first season.
New Jersey Americans
New Orleans Buccaneers
Pittsburgh defeated New Orleans, 4-3, in the first ABA Championship. Pittsburgh’s Connie Hawkins was the league MVP and scoring leader.
I’ve noted this over the years, but if you want a great sports book, read Terry Pluto’s “Loose Balls,” the definitive history of the ABA. It’s hilarious.
***No midweek Bar Chat this week. Gotta catch up on personal stuff.