Monday Notes

1) Some comments on all the chatter about the Knicks’ draft and Carmelo Anthony’s reportedly very negative reaction to it. I say “reported” because, as far as I am aware, Carmelo himself hasn’t said anything negative at all. Stephen A. spent Friday haranguing the Knicks and Phil Jackson for betraying ‘Melo, for the horrible pick that was Porzingis and so on. I enjoy a good rant at the Knicks expense as much as anybody. But I have no idea whether Porzingis will turn out to be a great pick, an OK choice, or a bust. Neither does anyone else. Additionally, lots of players take a few years to develop. Steph Curry didn’t really become an elite player until his fifth year in the league.

Furthermore, were it true that Carmelo is upset now about the direction of the team, it’d be hard to be sympathetic given that he could have signed with much more competitive teams – like the Bulls – last summer. There’s a good case to be made that Phil Jackson’s worst move so far as a Knicks’ exec was the trade last summer of the highly productive Tyson Chandler. And that trade took place several weeks before ‘Melo signed his max deal with the Knicks.

But as noted above, ‘Melo hasn’t himself said anything negative about Porzingis, nor has he betrayed feeling betrayed. Indeed, judging by his own Instagram account, he’s got a pretty positive attitude about Porzingis (he called the pick a “steal”) and he’s encouraging fans to feel the same.

And really, all of this was just an excuse for me to mention that Instagram feed, because it has left me *damn* impressed with ‘Melo. His responses to the various and sundry criticisms fans are lobbing his way were smart and savvy. OK, so maybe he’s trying to have his cake and eat it too by having others voice his displeasure for him. Or maybe he had an initial negative reaction to the Porzingis deal but is trying now to withhold judgment. Regardless, I am not persuaded that his own words ought to be discounted entirely. Especially when you read some of his more detailed comments.

2) Brian France, CEO of NASCAR, issued a statement this weekend vowing to disassociate his entity, as far as possible, from the confederate flag.

Here’s the official statement:

“NASCAR will maintain its long-standing policy preventing the use of the Confederate Flag in any official position at our events. In all areas that NASCAR controls on a given race weekend, the flag has no presence.

“We have been clear in support of this position throughout our industry and to those across the country who have called for the eradication of the Confederate Flag. We will be as aggressive as possible to disassociate NASCAR events from an offensive and divisive symbol. We are working with the industry right now to achieve that goal.”

Given the sport’s core fan base, this is a tricky line to walk. Will NASCAR, for example, try to prevent tailgaters and others from displaying the flag, a symbol that is present in significant numbers at NASCAR events? France is, no doubt, responding to market pressures. But given the sport’s origins and its most dedicated following, this is a welcome affirmation of company policy.

And, via ESPN, it’s worth quoting Brad Daugherty, the former UNC and NBA basketball star who is now the only African American NASCAR Sprint Cup team owner, on how he feels when he sees those flags: “it does make my skin crawl.”

3) Elena Della Donne, the former University of Delaware superstar, scored 45 points last Thursday in Chicago’s 100-96 win over Atlanta in a WNBA game. And then she took to the podium post-game to read out loud and respond to a sampling of moronic, sexist tweets.

If you’re one of those men who think you are athletically superior to Elena Della Donne because you happen to share the Y chromosome with Michael Jordan and LeBron James, I have four words for you:

You. Are. A. Moron.

And if you think that women belong in the kitchen, not on the basketball court, because you don’t like watching them play, I have four more words for you:

You. Are. A. Moron.

 

 

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