Ray Ratto

History 101 with Jerry Jones' fight against Roger Goodell and the NFL

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AP

History 101 with Jerry Jones' fight against Roger Goodell and the NFL

Hey kids, guess what time it is!
 
Yes, it’s time once again for History You Don’t Care About, so quick, grab your parents and flee until this potential menace of learning blows over.
 
Dallas Cowboys oligarch Jerry Jones is threatening his fellow National Football League owners with the high-priced lawyer to the stars and scars David Boies, all over his ongoing jihad with commissioner Roger Goodell. The reason du jour, by all accounts, is Ezekiel Elliott, and whether Goodell told Jones he would not suspend the running back.
 
The real reason, of course, is so that Jones can run the league to his own specifications without bureaucratic interference. Billionaire’s prerogative, I think it’s called, and its coat of arms is a gigantic gray-haired man holding a scepter of Bitcoins and stock certificates while wearing a crown and an ermine cape while sitting on a throne of skulls and tattered wallets.
 
This reminds us that Jones’ entry into the league was highlighted by the way he cozied up to and tried to emulate the last NFL owner to fight a commissioner and league single-handed, Al Davis. Davis won the right to relocate his team (Raiders II) in court, but his war against Pete Rozelle ended short of this level on enmity only because Rozelle resigned before Davis could finish the job.
 
That was in the fun-filled ‘80s, when the richest teams were worth about one-fifth what the Cowboys are worth today, so you see Goodell’s main line of defense – as well as Jones’ leading avenue of attack.
 
The closest any other sport has come to mutiny was when five baseball owners (known collectively as The Great Lakes Gang, in that they came from Milwaukee, Chicago, Minnesota and Los Angeles) gathered a majority of their brethren to force Fay Vincent’s resignation in 1992. That wasn’t singlehanded treachery, though, but the will of the majority in the face of overwhelming logic – another valuable lesson in the limits of democracy.

But Jones’ action is also against the other owners trying to flaunt his petulant will, which brings to mind one other great battle in owner-on-owner crime, when in 1917 four of the National Hockey Association’s five team owners met to expel the fifth team, the Toronto Blueshirts, if it didn’t separate itself from its owner, Eddie Livingstone. When the team refused, the league disbanded and a week later reformed as a four-team league without Livingstone or his employees.
 
We mention that not because this is the 100th anniversary of that brilliant parliamentary maneuver – burn the village down around the guy you don’t like and build a new village up the street – but because the idea of Jerry Jones as the owner of a National Football League with one team is, well, hilarious in any era.
 
Then again, that would mean rooting for the other 31, and there are simply some frontiers we cannot in good conscience travel.
 
History lesson over. You can come out now.

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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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?”