Ray Ratto

Even Aaron Rodgers knows the bidness of football

rodgers-kap-ap.jpg
AP

Even Aaron Rodgers knows the bidness of football

Today’s unsurprising revelation is that Aaron Rodgers, in this good-enough-to-be-unfair piece from ESPN’s Mina Kimes, thinks Colin Kaepernick should be on an NFL roster, and isn't because he decided to use his powers of speech and gestures to express his concerns over inadequacies in the national fabric.
 
This will change exactly zero minds, of course, because among other things, what could Aaron Rodgers possibly know about quarterbacking (I mean, other than nearly everything)? But Rodgers clearly gets why Kaepernick isn’t playing – because football is more a bidness than a sport, and has been since owners started paying seven, then eight, then nine, then ten figures to buy a team.
 
And we mention this because Rodgers also expressed in the story an open desire also become more active with the NFL Players Association and face the labor-management war to come on the front line, seemingly aware of how unpleasant that is likely to become. Again, because football is a bidness more than it is a sport.
 
And with the union in such obvious flux (there is a mid-October vote among player reps that could prevent anyone from challenging current president DeMaurice Smith), realists like Rodgers will become increasingly important for the negotiations to come. Issues like guaranteed contracts, increased health and safety benefits, player discipline and yes, players' freedom of expression, will have to be faced with greater urgency.
 
Rodgers, who will be 37 when the dress shoes hit the conference room floor, seems eminently qualified to become a force in those negotiations if he chooses to do so, and the players can use all the smart reps they can get. That is, if this is going to be nasty as everyone seems to saying it will.
 
And yet he may also know that talk four years’ out means a lot less than it does a year out. And who knows – by then, some team might have found that its quarterbacking void is so profound that it would even consider Colin Kaepernick. I mean, that’s not the way to bet, of course, but . . .

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

You don’t think you needed this game to go this way, but you did, and you do.

The Golden State Warriors spat out a 17-point lead and lost, 92-88, in Boston Thursday night, in a game that was taut if not particularly elegant, and in a game that elevated the Celtics to a place that makes them the new heir apparent to the heir apparent.

The Celtics have been a difficult out for the Warriors during the Brad Stevens Era, losing six of nine but only being blown out twice, and Thursday was not one of those nights. The box score will tell you the shooting and rebounding problems, but the Warriors had that lead and didn’t hold it. Or, to be accurate, the Celtics had that deficit and refused to let it destroy them.

Which is exactly the kind of team you, the fully licensed Warrior fan, want to watch play your team in the NBA Finals. You want to see them genuinely challenged, forced to win outside their comfort zone, induced to show their greatness in the highest of high leverage situations.

At least we think that’s what you want. Maybe you prefer blowouts so you can drink and go to the bathroom without care or fear. After all, the Warriors have taught the area the true meaning of front-running by being in front so often.

But the Celtics play a level of defense typically reserved for the San Antonio Spurs, and yes, the Warriors. They have a spiky exoskeleton that the acquisition of Kyrie Irving has actually enhanced, and Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum give them a gifted precocity that fits well with veterans like Al Horford and Marcus Morris, and Boston’s overall youth (they are fifth youngest, while Golden State is third-oldest) ought to make them a more difficult conundrum than Cleveland or any other team in either conference.

They are not yet the superior team; that remains to be proven, and betting against the Warriors requires a level of irrational bravery left only for the truly self-destructive.

But they are, as we sit this evening, the team the Warriors will have to work hardest to finish, because on a night when they had the chance to do so, they didn’t. In other words, the fight for a third ring still goes through Oakland, but it looks more and more like a one-stop through Boston.

And as much as you may hate thinking about it, you’ll almost certainly remember, and savor, a Celtics-Warriors final more than another round of Cavs-on-the-half-shell.

Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor

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AP

Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor

Programming note: Warriors-Celtics coverage starts today at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming live right here 

Draymond Green spoke to a group of students at Harvard Thursday on the subject of leadership, and if you find that incongruous, shame on you.
 
I mean, who else would you want as a college professor?
 
Green has led, and been led. He has learned, and he has taught. He has certainly lectured, as any teammate, official and media member will testify. He’d be a hell of a teacher, and the subject almost doesn’t matter.
 
For one, homework would be different, as in I’d bet there would be no written work. I don’t see Prof. Day-Day poring over essays about the Industrial Revolution, M-theory or pre-Raphaelite art. Not even the history of Basketball-Reference.com.

For two, having tenured faculty audit his classes may find his choice of rhetoric a little strident, as in “What the ---- were you thinking, dude?” is not typically approved instructional methodology.
 
And three, nobody would get a grade. Green would mark every exam with a “35,” as in his draft position, and besides, the exams would be students arguing with each other over whether that was a foul or a no-call, and who pulled the better face when the call was made. He’d give either an approving nod or give the loser a second technical foul and kick him or her out of class.
 
But it would be a hell of a class. Not at Harvard, of course, because Green probably would want to teach a school that could better use his brand of wisdom, and Harvard kids already have a healthy lead off third base. He’d want his students to make Harvard students cry, you can just tell.
 
But wouldn’t he look perfectly Draymond in a cap and gown on graduation day, pulling a bottle out of his sleeve to make the valedictory speeches less painful. “Damn, dude,” you could hear him yell. “Peaking?”