Ray Ratto

Jackson unwise to wait on league to discipline McClain


Jackson unwise to wait on league to discipline McClain

You know this would all be different if the Raiders had beaten Miami, 34-14, rather than the other way around. The NFL doesnt do morality it does results, and when you win everythings cool, and when you dont ... But they lost, and lost big, so when Hue Jackson said he would wait to see what the league would do about Rolando McClain and his alleged Alabama indiscretion before doing something himself, one wondered what kind of Raider decision-making is this.The McClain situation is in the system now, but at the very least it seems clear that he lost a little attention span when he went home for what the Raiders have said was his grandfathers funeral. We make no conclusions about his guilt or innocence.
What we know, though, is this. The Raiders historically have done one of two things with legal issues regarding their players. They either ignored them for the betterment of the team, or they acted unilaterally for the betterment of the team. The sliding scale was always determined on the basis of how important the player was, and the punishment, or lack thereof, was determined by the team first.

Waiting for the league first ... well, that just wasnt done. Al Davis always viewed the league as the guys who arent us, never the Raiders as members of the greater whole.Which is why Jackson caused a new round of head-scratching with his, if the league ... thing. If McClain needs help, or a stern kick in the hinder, it seems clear that the Raiders dont need to wait for Roger Goodell. They are not only allowed to act first, theyre pretty much obliged to do so.I mean, who is supposed to care about McClain more than his team? The league office? The NFL has 1,700 McClains players, I mean and they cant be everywhere and do everything, minor would the 32 client-states which comprise the league. Each team takes care of its own, no matter how gentle or stern the remedy.This is what the Raiders were when they advertised their rogue nation status, and this is what they ought to be now in the post-Al era. Rolando McClain is their responsibility, and the idea that Hue Jackson will wait for the league to do something before doing something himself seems plainly antithetical to team-building.Players need to know that the team has their backs, whether in this case it is McClain or the rest of the roster. He is their issue, first and foremost, and Jacksons declaration should have been with that as the central theme:We will deal with Rolandos situation as we learn more about it. We will work with the league as required, but he is first and foremost a Raider, and the Raiders are responsible before anyone else for any discipline that might be required, or any help that is needed.Of course, all this might change as Jackson reflects on it. He is, if nothing else a very malleable fellow that way. He has to know, as the head of the football department, that his must be the first say on the players. It may not be the last one, but it should be the first.

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


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?”