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When last we left sportswriter on a stick, Peter King, he was telling us about how Chip Kelly is like Honda’s vice president of football coaching and that the Redskins are a mystery team in a mystery division. None of that makes sense, but don’t worry, it’s all sponsored by GoRVing.com.

What about this week? Well Ape is back in the saddle (where apes belong) to tackle PK duty and, boy, this is a doozy. Some of the dumbest shit Peter has ever written. Honor the sacrifice of my brain cells and READ ON.

Before we even start, know that the headline of this week’s column is “The Maturation of Cam”. Anytime Peter King talks about Cam Newton, it’s almost exclusively negative and often racially charged. When circumstances dictate that PK absolutely MUST compliment Cam, it ends up being grudging and qualified by some past failure. Perhaps reader and writer criticism has finally made PK realize he’s been treating the quarterback unfairly? Haha, nope, that would require an iota of self-awareness and Peter King is completely devoid of that. So here we go.

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — “Can I see you for a couple of minutes before you leave today?”

It was a pleasant dream. Peter imagined himself working as a baseball writer at a metropolitan newspaper back in the golden ages of journalism, whenever the fuck that was. It didn’t matter. All that mattered was that his editor was Brett Favre, burning the midnight oil well after deadline. The rest of the staff had gone home for the night and now Brett was summoning PK into his office for a little quality time…

AW FUCK SOME PLAYER SNAPPED HIM OUT OF HIS REVERIE

I looked up, and it was Cam Newton speaking. From my seat in the lobby of the Wofford College student union, just outside the cafeteria the Carolina Panthers use at training camp here, I was a bit taken aback. It was the first time Newton had spoken to me since Feb. 22, 2011, when he told me in a telephone interview, “I see myself not only as a football player, but an entertainer and icon,” and I reported it. Newton thought it was a cheap shot for me to report it — more about that in a minute — and so we’d gone into radio silence whenever I was around him since, which wasn’t that often.

Naturally, Peter paints himself as the bastion of journalism ethics and neglects to mention the years of pettiness he’s shown Cam for those very snubs.


He’s made sure to undermine Cam’s achievements while calling attention to his failures. And there’s been a lot of criticism for PK because of that. Any mention of that? Nope. This is all apparently about how Cam was being a baby.

This item is about the maturation of a person and a player, and about something I don’t recall ever experiencing covering the league.

Perhaps Cam has matured some and this might be indicative of that, but the act doesn’t prove it in and of itself. Cam really doesn’t need to give you any of his time at all, Peter. Cam Newton is not actually hurt at all by your criticism, even if he pays attention to it, which he shouldn’t. If he wants to get something out to the media, he has endless other, better options to do so. No general manager in their right mind would give heed to any assessment Peter King has of a player. He’ll get his contract whether you think he should or not. You’re white noise, Peter. White fat overpaid fucking noise.

Then PK segued into the table of contents for his column, because that’s how bloated and self-indulgent all this is.

Last note: When I got to 9,200 words Sunday night

9,200 fucking words.

nobob

I decided to hold off on including my Tennessee, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville items, all of which I like. But I rarely write 9,000 words during the season, never mind in early August. So you’ll have to read my Tuesday column to learn who the second-best player is who I’ve seen on my camp tour. On with today’s show.

That’s the threshold for PK to start thinking his column might be running long. 9,000 words! I bet he thought that Buccaneers longform was a quick jaunt of a piece.

Anyway, back to this Cam bullshit:

[Cam] got right to the point. He said most of the people close to him wanted him to never speak to me again. Ignore me. I was one of the haters, so don’t deal with me; just deal with the media who were either fair—in their minds—or consistently supportive. “But I am my own person,’’ he said. “I think for myself. I make my own decisions. I decided I wanted to talk to you to see if we could work this out. I don’t want to walk the other way every time I see you. That’s not what a man does.”

Because Cam Newton is a better person than Peter King. He’s certainly not without his faults, but I’ll also take a stolen laptop over a stolen foul ball from a child.

And I said I wanted to explain to him exactly what happened that day three-and-a-half years ago, when I quoted him accurately after our telephone interview; that way, he could decide for himself if he wanted to ever speak to me again. This was the situation: At the time, two months before the draft, Newton wasn’t doing much press, and I was called by one of his PR people and told that he was going to spend an hour on the phone with selected reporters—four reporters, 15 minutes each. Did I want to be in? Of course, I said. I was the first of the four to talk with him that day, and during the interview, he said the icon and entertainer thing.

I figured there were certain messages about work ethic and image he wanted to get across in the interview, which he did. And I figured I wouldn’t be the only one he said that line to. I just figured if I didn’t use it, and fast, one of the next three interviewers would hear it and use it, somewhere. And so I threw it on Twitter, and said NFL people wouldn’t like to hear it. And it became a cause célèbre when he went to the NFL Scouting Combine a few days later. One quarterback-needy coach high in the draft said the comment totally soured him on Newton, and he caught some crap for it, and I caught some crap for it too, for what some thought was taking a quote out of context.

“I’ve thought about what I’d have done differently,’’ I told Newton, standing there in the auditorium. But I said we weren’t face-to-face, and maybe if we were I’d have cautioned him about it; I wasn’t sure. But I just figured he’d say it to someone else at some point, and so I used it.

Newton looked me straight in the eye and spoke earnestly, with passion. He told me he had some in his support group wanting him to—and this is my word, not his, because I can’t quote exactly what he said—be a brand, a great quarterback with a great image off the field as a multi-faceted person. I understood totally. What marketing person or PR person working for a first-round quarterback doesn’t use Peyton Manning as a model? On one hand, Newton said what he said, and I reported it. But in the end, I feel bad that he was branded with those comments because his three years as a player has proven him to be, after some missteps at post-game podiums following losses, a good person and leader.

Peter does not feel bad. That might be the biggest lie he’s ever told and this column is constantly full of them. He doesn’t feel bad that even though he just got his way, he still felt the need to throw in a barb about missteps at post-game podiums like anyone gives a shit about those in the big picture.

All Peter King cares about is access. We make jokes that Peter is racist and he certainly has a record of being much tougher on black players than white ones, but I think that’s more the product of Peter being an obtuse old white guy who rarely questions his motives. I don’t think he straight-up hates black people. In fact, I think he’ll better to Cam from now on because Cam gave Peter some quotes. If Aaron Hernandez gave Peter King a jailhouse exclusive, Peter would find a way to gush about what a swell guy he secretly is. That’s the moral compass of Peter King.

Then we talked for a few minutes about the perception of African-American quarterbacks.

Hell is a one-on-one discussion on black quarterbacks with Peter King. “WHY CAN’T YOU ALL BE PRECOCIOUS LIKE RUSSELL WILSON?”

Spur of the moment thought just then. I said: “Russell Wilson wrote something for The MMQB this summer about the history of race in the NFL, and he wrote a lot about the rise of African-American quarterbacks. I’ll send you the link. If you ever want to do something about what you’re talking about with the young African-American quarterbacks, I would love to see you do it.”

“If you want to give my site free content that will get tons of views, you’re more than welcome! Don’t mention it. I know I’m a great guy!”

We talked a while longer. We were about to walk out, and he looked at me. “Let’s let bygones be bygones,’’ Newton said, and he stuck out his right hand. We shook.

“Only after I rejected his terrorist fist bump.”

I haven’t done PK duty in a month and I already want to shoot myself after reading that. This season is going to be fun.

Miami Dolphins
Davie, Fla.
A different Joe Philbin

Five minutes into a talk with Miami coach Joe Philbin here at Dolphins camp Friday morning, I hadn’t noticed any nervous tics or 10-year-aging wrinkles from last year’s Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin/Ted Wells season. But this did pique my interest:

“This camp,” Philbin said, “I’m doing every bed check. Every night. I knock on every door.”

Everyone knows the cure to bullying is door-knocking. Spread the word. We can end this disease in our time.

How many doors? Sixty.

It’s official. Joe Philbin leads the league in knocked doors.

Philbin told me a coach can’t be expected to know everything that goes on away from the facility.

But you knocked on the doors! Isn’t that basically the same as a Wonder Woman truth lasso?

The players asked Philbin for music during practices, instead of the old white-noise crowd noise that most teams blast when trying to practice communicating in a loud environment.

Surprised Philbin wasn’t already playing Lawrence Welk at practice.

On Friday, the music — a rap/salsa/pop/oldies mixture — played for maybe 70 percent of practice.

Philbin: “Salsa is a music too? I thought it was just the stuff I put on my Tostitos. Gotta stick to the mild. THAT STUFF PACKS A PUNCH!”

Atlanta Falcons
Flowery Branch, Ga.
I can’t believe what I am seeing.

Every year when I go on my training-camp trip, there are things I see and players in different uniforms and coaches in odd places that I just didn’t expect. In my first 12 stops I was stopped in my tracks only once: when I saw Devin Hester wearing a strange number, 17, and the red jersey of the Atlanta Falcons.

Seriously? That’s the fucking thing that floored you? Devin Hester wearing a new number? You are the most easily astounded person ever.

I always figured that Hester, who played eight years for the Chicago Bears, would one day join Butkus, Luckman, Halas, Sayers and so many legendary Monsters of the Midway, guys who played or coached their entire careers in Chicago and went to Canton with the full-throated support of rabid Bears fans. Now, I am not automatically putting Hester in. He’s 31, and he is tied with Deion for most return touchdowns (19) in NFL history. But I’ve learned never to assume anything in Hall voting. Hester’s an electric ball of fire. But that guarantees nothing. I would just say that if a returner from this era gets in, it’s got to be Hester.

The greatest return man ever gets in before any other returner in an era in which their role is being diminished? Way to go out on a fucking limb, Nugget Baron.

Something new about 2014 training camps: Groovy tunes.

None more dad.

One of the new things about camps that I’ve noticed in my 12 stops so far is music. Namely, more play it during practices than I have ever heard. Music has momentum. Players are happy about it. A scorecard:

Ever since Peter credited the Seahawks Super Bowl victory to practice music, he’s been endlessly fascinated by this. It’s like PK thinks he cracked the code of football. It would be adorable if it were anyone but this shithead.

In Buffalo, Doug Marrone started it last year, early in the season. “You have to respect how young people live today,’’ said GM Doug Whaley.

With their hippity hop jungle music twerking business. Everyone take a selfie, am I right? Kids these days…

/Doug Whaley posts a 1,000-word essay on the Bills website calling millennials lazy

Remember the “Seinfeld” episode when the society lady sees the oil painting of Kramer and says, “He is a loathsome, offensive brute, yet I cannot look away?”

Yes, I am familiar with that well-known episode from a famous television series.

Well, the Falcons’ “Hard Knocks” series, five one-hour shows between now and the final cut of the roster, debuts Tuesday night on HBO (10 p.m. Eastern Time), and the producers have more than 400 hours of footage to cull down for the first hour.

It’s a training camp about nothing!

One scene very likely to make the final cut is this one:

SPOILERZ

Actually, it’s just Steven Jackson giving a speech to his fellow running backs about being a brotherhood. I do like this part:

“I made a lot of money in my career. Had a lot of success.”

Just look at this $2,000 suit!

“But at the end of the day, I appreciated when somebody genuinely cared about me. I will do that for you. I want you to know, whatever you need, whatever you ask me, I will try to make sure you HAVE that information. And if I don’t know, I will try to find a resource to help you with it.”

“Some of y’all are losers but I’ll help you anyway.”

Quotes of the Week

“I’m truly looking forward to celebrating and sharing this special moment with all of the great fans of the Packers.”

—Brett Favre, on his website Sunday night, acknowledging that the Packers will induct him into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 2015, ending an icy period that dates to 2008, when he was traded to the New York Jets after retiring/unretiring and bitterly trying to re-take his starting job when the team had given it to Aaron Rodgers.

A Favre quote? This PK column has everything. Which is another way of saying it REALLY, REALLY made me want to kill myself.

“It’s been long overdue, but the Hall of Fame has a complete team now.”

—Ray Guy, the first punter ever selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, in his induction speech Saturday night.

Good, now the Hall of Fame can play the winner of the Pro Bowl ever year.

Chip Kelly Wisdom of the Week

Note: I’ve made an editorial decision about the “Monday Morning Quarterback” column in 2014. I’m going to comb the weekly Chip Kelly press conferences and find a quote I like. There might be some weeks when I cannot find one, and in that case, this note will disappear. But most weeks, I feel sure I’ll have a Kellyism for you.

NICE. If anything, this 9,000-word column needed to be longer for no reason. More! More grist for the nugget mill.

“He asked me what was surprising me and I just think the hype that surrounds the draft in general. The fact that people would watch the Scouting Combine … There’s times at the Combine where I fall asleep. So I don’t know why people watch it on television. They are running 40-yard dashes.”

—Kelly, to Philadelphia media, referring to my question to him during The MMQB’s training-camp visit to the Eagles, when I wondered what surprised him about his first year in the NFL

Indeed. The combine is boring to watch. Thanks for that invaluable wisdom nugget. Name five things more enriched than my life. You can’t.

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me

When Carolina coach Ron Rivera and wife Stephanie got a golden retriever a few years ago, Stephanie set out to train him well. Lots of dogs can be trained to go out to the driveway to fetch the newspaper in the morning, and Fiyero (named after the prince in the play “Wicked”) can do that.

Yeah, but Ron Rivera’s dog can also riverboat gamble.

But Stephanie went a step further. She put a little bell by the two doors to the outside in the Rivera home, and trained Fiyero to ring the bell with his paw every time he wanted to go outside. So any time the Riveras hear the little bell, one of them goes to the door and lets Fiyero out.

Good dog.

I dunno. It was cuter when the mouse did it.

So The MMQB crew, on an off-night before hitting Bengals camp, went to the Louisville Bats-Rochester Red Wings game Sunday evening. I met the general manager, a genial fellow named Greg Galiette. I complimented him on how beautiful his stadium is, a jewel on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Louisville. He told me it was 15 years old. It looked five. Terrific venue.

And he asked: “Do you know who scored the first run in the history of this ballpark?”

Well, no. I mean, heck no.

I mean HI DIDDILY HO NEIGHBOR GOSH DARNIT GEE WHIZ IN THE G-D HECK NO SIRREE BOB

And he told me the answer. “Deion Sanders,” he said.

WOWZERS WHAT THE HECKAROONI!

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

A bunch of notes from the road:

• The MMQB Tour pulled into Gaffney, S.C., late last Sunday night. The four of us—driver Andy DeGory, me, PFF’s Neil Hornsby, video man John DePetro—hustled into an Olive Garden for dinner before it closed at 10. “Anything to drink for y’all?’’ the waitress said. I blurted out, “Glass of Chianti, please.” She said she is sorry, but this is a dry county and there is no alcohol served or sold in this county on Sundays. We are crestfallen. DeGory, who has been driving for seven hours since West Virginia, just hoping for one lousy beer when he gets us to the motel in Gaffney, looks like his dog just died. We lived. Unhappily, but we lived.

Peter then banged the table, “FINE, BUT THERE BETTER BE BREADSTICKS AND THEY BETTER BE ENDLESS!”

• The MMQB Team had time Sunday to work out at a Planet Fitness in Louisville. I’ve never been to one. A couple of observations: They spell “judgment” wrong. They insert an “e,” and make it “judgement,” as in “No Judgement Here.” They’re trying to say that if you’re overweight, it’s fine — just come in and work out and get started on a healthy path. Cool, other than the spelling.

No way he didn’t complain to the person at the front desk about the fucking misspelled sign. There’s just no way. I bet he lectured them about the importance of the written word for like 10 minutes.

And the scales. I wanted to weigh myself at the end of the workout Sunday. No scales in the men’s locker room. I went to the front desk and asked the fellow where I might find a scale. “We don’t have scales,’’ he said. “This is a judgment-free zone.” Those were his words: This is a judgment-free zone. Or maybe a “judgement”-free zone.

What a country!

Here, PK, let me help. You weigh all the pounds. All of them.

scale

all the pounds


Peter King then linked a Florio post and a Shaughnessy column in his tweets of the week section because this is a masterstroke of malevolent art.

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think Roger Goodell has had happier anniversaries. Friday is the eight-year anniversary of Goodell’s ascension to the commissioner’s job. I doubt in the wake of the Ray Rice decision he’ll be feted in many corners.

Exactly when has Goodell not been fucking shit up?

2. I think Goodell erred Friday when addressing the Rice suspension to reporters for the first time.

You know The Rog is really screwing the pooch big time when PK has to sheepishly acknowledge it at the end of his 9,000+ word column.

3. I think the best idea I heard all week on my tour was this, from Tampa Bay quarterback Josh McCown. On Thursday, I asked him about the breakneck pace of the baseball trading deadline that day, and he said he’d not been paying attention because of, you know, his job, and I told him about all the trades, and he said, “Man, that’s exciting. I wish they’d push our trading deadline back.” So does football nation.

This motherfucker asked a goddamn quarterback at training camp about the baseball trading deadline. That’s the depth of assholery we’re dealing with here.

Also, no no no, football’s trade deadline does not need to be more like baseball’s. At all. Baseball’s trade deadline is fucking awful. Moreover, football trades happen less often than baseball trades because it’s more difficult for a football player to adjust to a new team on the fly than a baseball player. A football player had to learn an entirely new playbook and system. A baseball player has some adjustments to make, but mostly he’s just doing the same shit in a new uniform.

8. I think, after pondering the prospective 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame class, I would predict these five modern-era finalists for entry: Marvin Harrison, Will Shields, Junior Seau, Charles Haley and … now this is a tough one, because there are so many close calls in the modern-era class, but I’ll say Orlando Pace, narrowly, over Jerome Bettis. We shall see. Even though I’m one of the voters, I’m always lousy at predicting the outcome of the vote.

“I’m terrible at predicting these things but fuck it here’s my prediction anyway because the world needs constant reminders that my dumb ass helps determine who goes in the Hall of Fame.”

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

b. I know nothing about basketball, and it is always dangerous to speak of things you know nothing about, certainly.

But…

But if I were an NBA general manager

Oh no.

I might draw up in my contracts that a player can play in the Olympics, but not in any of these other international tournaments. There’s just too much at stake, and basketball is too much of a contact sport, to risk getting hurt severely in a scrimmage between national team members preceding an international tournament that no one really cares much about anyway.

If Peter King drew up contracts, he’d put them on outside of Starbucks cups. “Sign there until the latte stain.”

c. Love the baseball trading deadline. What a fun day Thursday was. Many thoughts.

nopenope

nope


f. Coffeenerdness: “This could be what turns it all around,” Miami GM Dennis Hickey said Friday, standing in front of the new Dolphins’ acquisition: a coffee machine that I swear can make anything you can imagine in the coffee and hot chocolate realm. I chose a “Cortadito,” which is half Cuban coffee, half steamed milk. All I can say is, Good to the last drop. Or as I said to Hickey: “This is obviously a more important acquisition than [new tackles] Ja’Wuan James or Branden Albert.”

You think this tongue-in-cheek. It is not. We must root aggressively against the Dolphins doing well this year because he will credit the coffee machine for all of their success. And probably the salsa music. But mostly the coffee machine.

g. Beernerdness: A rare bad beer Friday night at the Marlins Stadium in downtown Miami: Sofie, the Farmhouse Ale by Goose Island Beer of Chicago. In a word, sour. In two words, really sour. Not my cup of tea, or my kind of ale.

Here, a cup of SHUT THE FUCK UP, on the house.

The Adieu Haiku

Jags coach Gus Bradley
Could sub for Tony Robbins.
The man can inspire.

Can he inspire you
To take a flying leap in
hell’s gaping maw?