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Bill Pucko - Chief Editor

Today's Best

by Michael David Smith, 7/29/14
The NFL hands out longer suspensions for everything from getting caught smoking pot repeatedly, to taking Adderall without filling out the necessary paperwork to — in the case of Roethlisberger — being accused of crimes without any arrests or charges. For the NFL to come down harder on pot smokers, Adderall users and players who weren’t evan arrested than it came down on Rice is baffling and requires an explanation.

by Albert Chen, 7/29/14
This year’s market is the result of a number of factors. The second wild card is deluding clubs into thinking they’re contenders (when they probably really aren’t). General managers are becoming wiser about pulling the trigger on the bonehead deal. And there's now a trend of teams hoarding young talent like rare diamonds.


Home Grown

by Eric Adelson, Yahoo Sports 7/29/14
On Tuesday, possible bidders must submit a "letter of indication" to Morgan Stanley, which will review the candidates and determine who gets to the next step in the process. Bills fans are counting on Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula to purchase the team and keep it in Western New York.

by Matthew Fairburn, 7/28/14
If Chris Hogan was on the roster bubble heading into training camp, the first week of practice would have him on the right side of it. The Bills have depth at wide receiver after bringing in Watkins and Williams, but Hogan has continued to find ways to get open and catch most everything thrown his way.


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Our Contribution

NFL's Sliding Scale of Justice

by Bill Pucko, 7/28/14

Gene "Big Daddy" Lipscomb was a defensive end with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1960s.  A beast.  A self abusing beast.  "Big Daddy" overdosed on heroin and died at the ripe old age of 31. 
Without any real explanation, my father took Lipscomb out of my football card collection and disposed of it.  I never rally had an issue with it, but I didn't forgot either.
It wasn't until today that I learned that Lipscomb was the product of a broken family.  Abandoned by his father who he never met, his mother was murdered when Gene was just eleven.  He never went to college but became a pro when the Los Angeles Rams scouted him playing for the United States Marines.  Back then football players didn't make much money and held down off-season jobs.  Gene was a professional wrestler.  That's when they started calling him "Big Daddy."
That's a made for television movie plot right there.  These days he'd be a very sympathetic character.  Back then though, they didn't talk much about those things.  "Big Daddy" was a drug abuser, nothing more, nothing less and that was that.
Times have changed.  The NFL is no longer just a Sunday afternoon activity.  It has become the social conscience of the country.
On the field things are pretty clear cut.  Attempt to injure another player in the most extreme cases can cost you a two game suspension.  Stomp on an opponent's helmetless head and it's five games.  Using performance enhancers and getting caught will cost you four games.  Pay bounties for hits on a quarterback.  That's a year. 
Off the field it's a little trickier.  The NFL has decided that first offender DUI charges will result in a game suspension. Multiple offenses result in multiple games.  Cleveland wide receiver Josh Gordon is looking at a season long suspension for having a history of drug abuse.  Ben Roethlisberger saw his six game suspension for a rape allegation reduced to four.  Richie Incognito of the Miami Dolphins was suspended three months on a bullying charge.
This sliding scale of justice was called to task last when the NFL suspended Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice just two games for beating his girlfriend and now his wife, unconscious at an Atlantic City casino.  It's hard to rail against the outrage. 

The NFL is telling us that domestic violence is a more serious issue than DUI.  That won't make everyone happy.  It is also telling us that it is half as serious as a rape allegation.  That won't make everyone happy either. 

And that's the point.  The National Football League shouldn't be expected to provide us a moral compass.  Nor should Commissioner Roger Goodell be considered God.  It's a job he shouldn't want.  He'd have to take a pay cut.
Maybe this is all we know.  It was easier back in the days when "Big Daddy" Lipscomb was simply allowed to kill himself on heroin and no one felt obliged to explain.



from 5/21/14

Tyler Ennis' game likely would have benefited from another season or two in college, but as a possible lottery pick, he probably made the right decision from a financial standpoint.

from 5/20/14
Both Toronto and Minnesota jumped five places this week, with the Blue Jays continuing an impressive rise up the rankings. Toronto is the only team in the AL East with a positive run differential, thanks in large part to the division's best offense -- the Blue Jays have scored the third-most runs in the AL and lead the league in home runs.



by Nathan Grimm, 7/29/14
When the Royals and Rays pulled off a seven-player trade on December 9, 2012, James Shields and Wil Myers headlined the returns for their new teams. But Jake Odorizzi was one of the players who made the switch from Kansas City to Tampa as well.

by Michael Beller, 7/28/14
With the trade deadline just a few days away, fantasy owners have long been scouting the guys who could step into the void after a team makes a deal. We’ve already seen it with Joaquin Benoit in San Diego and Neftali Feliz in Texas. It isn’t just closers changing addresses, though, and more holes will be created before the deadline hits on July 31. And that brings us to Noah Syndergaard.