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Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Sports Thread #2/The World Cup 2-A Days Team Runthrough #2 For 5/29/14: #28 Honduras

Photo from Stanley Chou/IOC

Projected Formation (4-2-2): 

                Valladares

Peralta  - Bernandez- Figueroa - Izaguirre

Espinoza -  Garcia -   W. Palacios  -   Najar

            J.Palacios - Bengtson

The Runthrough

Colombian manager Luis Fernando Suarez went from the highs of leading an Ecuador side out of the group stages at the 2006 World Cup to the lows of emphatically being fired thanks to the rough start of that nation's unsuccessful 2010 qualiication bid.

Suarez has recovered to display his winning managing credentials, leading Honduras to a second straight World Cup. Barring a miracle however, he will have to hold off on adding more W's to his win column.

Unlike central American rivals Costa Rica with Brian Oviedo's devastating ACL injury, there are no absences that Garcia has to overcome. However, this Honduran side (100% full strength or not) will be completely up against it, targeted to finish last and be the goal difference test to see which of Switzerland, France, and Ecuador goes home with them in Group E.

The real bad news for the 54-year-old manager is the disarray at who will be the two key men joining regulars Wilson Palacios and Victor Bernandez in the vital middle of the field. Suarez's long going search for a permeant centerback partner for Bernandez may lead him to placing Maynor Figueroa right next to him, opening up the rightback spot for either Arnold Peralta or Brayan Beckeles. Neither are nowhere near the level of the energetic Hull City fullback, nor the underrated leftback Emilo Izaguirre, a fine performer for Celtic the last four years.

Finding Palacios help in the midfield is also something Suarez and the Honduran nation ponder everyday. It will be predicated on what formation Los Catrachos brings come June 15 against the 1998 world champions for the Stoke City man to know if he will be part of a straight four, a three man line, or even a scenario of being the central figure in a 5-man "park the bus" aliment. Regardless of what it will be, anything less of a top performance from Palacios could spell Honduras finishing 32 in all 32 teams in Brazil.

They do, however, have attacking options who showed at the London 2012 Olympics that they aren't intimidated to be on a global stage. Andy Najar is growing his trade for the Jupiler Pro League champions Anderlecht with his smooth abilities and growing maturity on one wide side of the midfield, while Roger Espinoza showcased why European top flight football should be his destination next season after another solid stint with Wigan in The Championship. Espinoza's skillful directness has been prevalent in England since those Olympic games where he made himself become a household name.

Neither are as good of wingers as the ones featured on France (the likes of Franck Ribery, Antoine Grizemann, and Mathew Valbuena), Switzerland (Xherdan Shaqiri, Tranquillo Barnetta), and Ecuador (Antonio Valencia). However, they will not have trepidation over this names and will try to show why they are talents the world's eyes need to observe as well.

The same intrepid mentality holds true for an athletic and pacy forward line that, outside of Carlos Costly, are CONCACAF club regulars. One of the weird mysteries in the region is why the uber talented Jerry Bengtson can showcase his talents for the national team yet not find a regular starting place with rebuilding MLS outfit New England Revolution. The 27-year-old has an amazing 19 goals in 41 appearances for Honduras, including three superb tallies in their London 2012 tournament participation. One of those goals was a fine flashing header past David De Gea that eventually knocked Spain out of the Olympics.

It's like Bengtson becomes the old version of David Suazo, the great talent that Honduras fans saw before his incredibly unfortunate decline due to injuries and lost form, whenever he puts on the colors of the blue and white. He will certainly be hungry, along with the other "Jerry" in Wilson's brother Jerry Palacios, to pounce on any of the likely few chances Honduras will get in Group E. Also eager to perform on the world's stage is Carlo Costly, who is back in the Western Hemisphere with Real España after a weird but successful half year stint for Guizhou Zhicheng in China's second division (yes, you read that right). It will be a sweet relief for Costly if he can make it through the friendly warmups without injury, something he was unlucky not to accomplish in 2010. This certainly will mark as his last chance to play at a World Cup.

Under The Radar, Important Player

Jorge Claros of Honduran domestic power Motagua will need to have a few miracle performances and help Wilson Palacios and his backline in the midfield, especially if he starts the match for Suarez. The 28-year-old has the bite, but the talent against his future Group E rivals he just doesn't have. 

The Sports Thread #1/2014 FIFA World Cup 2-A Days Team Runthrough #1 For 5/29/14: #29 Algeria- A Talented Team By Way of France

Photo from CAF 

Projected Lineup (4-5-1): 

                         M'Bolhi

Mandi - Cadamuro- Bougherra- Goulam

                          Lacen
               Taider           Bentaleb
Feghouli                                   Silmani

                        Soudani (Ghilas)

             
 The Runthrough: 

As the least heralded of the five CAF teams, Algeria are fully aware that any progression to the knockout stages will be a remarkable result. In fact, they feel fortunate to even return to the competition for the fourth time after getting by Burkana Faso on away goals in the CAF playoffs.

With the 24 year gap from their last two appearances on the global stage (1982 and 1986), Algeria hopes this World Cup and the last one will be a sign of consistency for the North Africa nation. With the young talent they have currently in their midfield (mostly from France), they should expect nothing less.

All prominent, offensive attention is placed on Valencia's energetic right midfielder Sofiane Feghouli, who shined in a season full of dim lights for the notable La Liga outfit. Unfortunately for Feghouli, his responsibilities for manager Vahid Halilhodzic rely on playmaking from the middle as a true #10 and not the side midfield role that gets the most out of his talent.

It will be vital for Feghouli to be allowed to operate on the right side and that will only happen if young two way midfielder talents Nacib Bentaleb and Saphir Tarder make their presence felt in the middle. Bentaleb was a major addition to Halilhodzic's side after busting onto the seen as a midseason revelation for Tottenham, spurning France to play for the country of his origin. It's one of many global bi-national moves helped made ironically by Algerian Football Federation President Mohamed Raouraoua, who lobbied FIFA to allow bi-national players without a single senior international cap for their first country to switch allegiances to a country of their background.

That has been the constant case for Algeria, as 17 out of 23 players in their last World Cup squad were born in France. The number of French born players on their roster will be one lesser this time around, but their play will make or break the squad's summer once more.

It's not like the squad doesn't have ability up front, with Nabil Gilas and Islam Slimani making headlines in the Liga Zon Sagres with giants Porto and Sporting Lisbon respectively while El Arbi Hillel Soudani continues a very reputable career scoring goals regularly for Croatian giants Dinamo Zagreb.

The defense however, despite players filled with solid credentials and resumes in France, Italy and Spain, has some questions at centerback. Team captain Madjid Bouherra has seen his interest globally decline after leaving Rangers and is currently without a club. His likely centerback partner Liassine Cadamuro is nothing more than a 2nd division player in a prominent league, struggling for time at Liga Adelante side Mallorca. The fullback situation is much better for Algeria, with rightback Aissa Mandi adding to a growing reputation in Ligue 1 with a very good campaign for Remis while Faouzi Ghoulam settled in nicely at Napoli after his January move from his boyhood club Saint Etienne.

Overall it's an Algerian squad that certainly on paper is a few steps better than where they are listed here. The likes of Getafe's Medhi Lacen, Crystal Palace's Adiene Guediora, Udinese's Hassan Yebda, and Grenada's Yacine Brahimi are four options off the bench "minnow teams" would dream of, further indicating Algeria's vastly underrated strength in midfield. But the questions on whether this team will gel under Halilhodzic is firmly justified to be brought up.

Algeria were listless in the last Wold Cup, dogged defensively but lacking offensive threats to really scare England, Slovenia, and the United States. They are a much more talented team this time around, and Belgium, Russia, and South Korea certainly had better be wary. The Fennec Foxes are trying to show that all of CAF's teams, including the projected 5th best side, is to be greatly feared and respected.

Under The Radar, Important Players  

Slimani, not Feghouli, was Algeria's player of the year in 2013 and has impressed in his first campaign for Sporting. "Super Slim" is the nickname he has garnered in the Portuguese capital, as Slimani has had quite the rise from third division football back at home (third division, at home) to a key figure in the renowned Liga Zon Sagres club. Although he isn't a dribbler, Slimani has a presence in the box and is quite good with his head. His Group H rivals better be cognizant of that. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Sports Thread #1/2014 FIFA World Cup 2-A Days Team Runthrough #1 For 5/28/14: Queiroz Looks To Get Out Sir Alex's Shadow

30- Iran Team Runthrough 


Photo from TeamTalk

Projected Lineup 

                      Ahmadi 

Montazeri- Hosseini - Sadeqi - Belkzadeh 

Heydari - Nekounam - Teymourian - Dejagah 

            Shojaei  -  Ghoochannejhad     

Runthrough 

For a man who has led three nations to the last four World Cups, Carlos Queiroz is a manger still known more for being Sir Alex Ferguson's loyal #2. 

Disappointing displays both of his global tournament participants is the reason why Queiroz's most notable accomplishments have come as the legendary Scottish manager's understudy at Manchester United. That label appears that it will continue in Brazil 2014 for the former South Africa and Portugal manager despite a qualifying campaign that saw them finish ahead of South Korea to top their group. 

In fact, they swept both home and away ties with the 2002 World Cup semifinalists and represented a team that has truly brought into Queiroz's principles. Vital in that comfort with the Portuguese tactician is team captain and all around midfield ace Jevad Nekounam. As most know about the Iranian leader, Nekounam's accomplished career at Osasuna made him among La Liga's most underrated players in the last decade. A box to box midfield ace who is more adapt on the offensive end, Nekounam at 33 is still the soul of the Persian princes' outfit. Only the legend Ali Dali ranks ahead of him in the list of Iran's greatest players ever, as he is set to receive his 140th cap for his national before their first group match against Nigeria on June 16th. 

Nekounam has a long term synergy with fellow midfield talent Masoud Shojaei from the time they spent in Pamplona. Despite being a sub for most of his career with Osasuna, Shojaei had his own standout moments with the club, including this fine winning goal he scored against Levante. Now with Liga Adelante side Las Palmas, Shojaei is not to be overlooked as most give deserved attention to Nekounam. 

But a player who will be more vital for Iran than even Shojaei and even the great Nekounam is Fulham winger Ashkan Dejagah. The converted German-Iranian was one of the few bright spots on Fulham's relegated campaign and will be the team's key attacking threat from outside. He will hope that any chance he creates with his notable pace can be finished off by Reza Ghoochannejhad, the Charlton Athletic man who scored the winner in Seoul that saw his country earn another World Cup finals spot. 

Ghoochannejhad has struggled since, scoring only one goal for Championship side since his move in January from Standard Liege, forcing Queiroz to further ponder if his forward can covert any of the small chances his side will receive. Ghoochannejhad may not be threatened for his starting spot by globally limited Karim Ansarifard, but Rubin Kazan's adolescence Sardar Azmoun could get a look after impressing throughout his early days in the SOFGAZ Championship. There's a firm reason why the 19-year-old is getting looked at by some of Europe's biggest clubs. 

Along with Azmoun, another youngster who could lighten up his country's dim prospects is NEC energetic talent Ailreza Jahanbakhsh, who saved his new club from Eredivisie relegation with a top class two goal performance in a 2-2 draw vs Ajax early this month. At 20, Jahanbakhsh still has plenty of inconsistent moments (not tracking back on defense, not being as sharp with his final passes as a winger is required to be) where he isn't a regular starter yet for his club side. But the talent is there and it would be a shame if Queiroz doesn't give him a chance. 

Despite an organized side that was hard to score on in AFC qualifying, Iran still sought the additions of players from other backgrounds for their roster. Eintract Braunschweig's German keeper Daniel Davari and MLS solid rightback Steven Beitashour of California came into the side last fall for an Asian Cup qualifier against Thailand, but neither look set to start with Rahman Ahmadi and Khosro Heydari ahead of them. 

With Nekounam, Shojaei and Andranik Teymourian, Iran have a presence in the midfield. However, Queiroz doesn't have enough up front to expose his competent but mediocre defenders to an aggressive style. He may play a 4-4-2 or a 4-4-1-1 with Shojaei pushed up with Ghoochannejhad, as was the case in their scoreless draw against Montenegro yesterday. But it likely, as their encounters against Korea and notable good teams show, will be almost all 11 playing behind the ball for Iran at the World Cup as Queiroz hopes Dejagah's pace can create a counterattack opportunity. 

But if that doesn't happen, then Queiroz's peripatetic career will still take a backseat to being Sir Alex's sidekick.

Under The Radar, Important Players

Jahanbakhsh and Azmoun will hope to get a chance, but the centerbacks will be key as Hosseini and Sadeqi will have to be even more solid than they were in qualifying to give Iran a chance to advance.  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Sports Thread #2/World Cup 2-A Days Team Runthrough #2 For 5/27/14: Los Ticos Will Be Getting Many Ay Dios Mios In June

Costa Rica Runthrough  

Photo from EFE

Projected Staring XI: 

                  Navas 
Gamboa Umana Gonzalez Miller 
                   Borges 
              Diaz Tejada 
                  Ureña (Ruiz) 

     Campbell  Ruiz (Saborio

Runthrough

When it comes to playing away from the great home confines of San Jose, the troubles are very prevalent for Costa Rica. 

A sound 1-0 defeat in Sydney, Australia at the hands of the Socceroos last fall, in which Jorge Luis Pinto's squad could only muster one good chance there, represented how Costa Rica would struggle to even get to the knockout stages of a World Cup for only the second time in its history. 

Then their Brazil 2014 group was revealed in December, and, well, they might as well start preparing those hopes of getting beyond a group stage for Russia 2018. But that news of seeing England, Italy, and Uruguay alongside them in Group D seemed like great tidings compared to seeing star Everton leftback Brian Oviedo suffer a terrible  double break to his tibia and fibula in an FA Cup 4th Round match vs Stevenage in January. The tragic blow at the hands of a ridiculous tackle from Simon Heslop ensured that the small CONCACAF county would be without their best defender for the tournament. And it changed the narrative to whether Costa Rica would be a fine spoiler for their three heavyweights to now seeing which team will score the most goals for them. 

Matters haven't been that much better for the other standout Bryan in the squad, Ruiz. After not getting playing time with then Fulham manager Martin Jol, Ruiz had to go on loan to PSV and get the sharpness required of Los Tocos' defacto playmaker for Joel Campbell, Marco Urena, and Alvaro Saborio. It was a nice return to the Eredivisie league that made him a star figure during his time at Twente, but Ruiz netting five goals for the Eindhoven giants won't strike any fear in the English opponents who know his game, nor will it Cesare Prandelli or Oscar Tabarez's final 23. 

Still, Costa Rica will always be a decent technical side that won't be scared to play football, and their front six does have positive reputations. Box to box midfielder Celso Borges is a fine link man in the middle with drive and deserves to play in a better league than the Allsvenskan. 

After a year in the Bundesliga wilderness, Junior Diaz has gotten consistent playing time and closed his 2013-14 campaign nicely for a Mainz team that had a fine 7th place season, earning a Europa League berth. Yeltsin Tejeda, part of the young duo with Campbell expected to be the figures for this Costa Rican side for the next decade, certainly should end his days at domestic powerhouse Saprissa with a sound showing in Brazil with the bite he brings as a holder. 

Campbell, though still very inconsistent, showed throughout the year for Olympiacos that he does have a chance of being a factor at Arsenal with his quality touch, good pace, and decent finishing ability. Plus Saborio isn't scared of anyone and will finish chances no matter if the goalkeeper is a backup MLS netminder or Gigi Buffon (although he could easily be a 12th man as Marco Urena may take the playmaking role from Ruiz and bump Saborio to the bench). 

And Pinto can always call upon a solid core of Costa Rican veterans on the bench ready to contribute in anyway in what will likely be their last World Cup. Scandinavian based duo Christian Bolanos and Michael Barrantes, and A-league luminary Carlos Hernandez will surely play a significant role when their nation will required needed jots of fresh legs.  

But for Costa Rica to even get a point in this group, they are going to need one of La Liga BBVA's top shot stoppers in Keylor Navas to bring his fine form from Levante into the entire month of June. Navas could further place himself available for bigger clubs in the aftermath of him almost costing Atletico Madrid their long awaited Spanish title with a Man of the Match display in the Valencia club's 1-0 victory three weeks ago. 

With Oviedo out, Navas, LA Galaxy failure Michael Umaña, Rosenborg right back Cristian Gamboa and MLS defenders Giancarlo Gonzalez and Roy Miller will need the performances of their lives to prevent embarrassment. They showed in their  last match, 2-1 victory over non CONMEBOL qualifiers Paraguay, that they have the capabilities up top to cause their much more heralded Group D adversaries some problems. 


But, that was back in San Jose. And you already know how the story goes from there. 

Under the Radar, Important Players: 

Yeltsin Tejeda- As mentioned at the top, Costa Rica is hoping that this is the first of several World Cups for the talented Saprissa midfielder, and how he will have to be the key main link up for the front three. Although Tejeda is not afraid to show a "destroyer's mentality," he is better adapt at the deep lying playmaking phase with his ability to develop decent long passes. And although Costa Rica will be mostly on the back foot, he will not be afraid to venture into an opponent's box and show a striker's finishing touch. 

The Sports Thread #1/World Cup 2 A-Days Team Runthrough For 5/27/14: Oooo The Socceroos


Projected Lineup- 

                       Ryan
 Wilshere (Franjic)  Spiranovic  Good Davidson 
              Milligan Jedinak 
           Leckie    Rogic  Oar 
                        Cahill 

Runthrough

When the Soccroos were humiliated 6-0 by Brazil back in September, they immediately were pegged by many as the worst team to participate in the final tournament. That dubious mantle was further vindicated with the group the Socceroos were drawn in, with Chile, Holland, and the world champions Spain eyeing how many tallies they need to score on Australia to strength their goal difference in complicated, difficult Group C. 

It didn't help ease pessimistic feelings for fans Down Under when rising forward Robbie Kruse was ruled out for the summer tournament after suffering an ACL tear for his new club Bayer Leverkusen in January. The former Brisbane Roar's star had a slim chance to recover in time from his devastating injury, and manager Ange  Postecoglou couldn't take any chances in selecting a player far ready to even be healthy, let alone be at a fraction of his powers. 

Group C for Australia could easily be labeled as Group Cruel, but despite a team now featuring only captain Mike Jedinak as a first team regular in a Big 5 UEFA league, Postecoglou will lead a mostly young team believing it can shock the tournament like their eternal rivals New Zealand did in 2010. 

Although the Kiwis had a much easier group that featured a declining Italy side, Paraguay, and Slovakia, they were still expected to be the laughingstocks in South Africa. Instead, they almost achieved two of the most improbable results in World Cup history, narrowly missing out on beating the defending world champions and almost advancing out of the group. 

That information won't do much to help their adversarial neighbors' situation against the likes of Iniesta, Van Persie, and Vidal, but the Socceroos are always a team that plays with spirit no matter the massive challenges they face. That was in evidence by their draw against Ghana and victory over Serbia in the last World Cup, missing out on advancing to the round of 16 thanks to their 4-0 thrashing in the opener against Germany. And Postecoglou's hightempo, pressing, and passing on the ground style is similar to what was implemented by Roy Herbert's overachieving Kiwi side in South Africa. 

However, much has changed from that last Australian team that performed admirably in 2010. Gone are the likes of stalwarts Harry Kewell, Brett Emerton, the underachieving Jason Culina, Lucas Neill,  Mark Schwarzer, and Brett Holman, the latter three painfully exposed against Brazil in that friendly last fall. Schwarzer, Neill, and Holman didn't need any more evidence to know their international days were over. 

So outside of veteran rightback  Luke Wikshire, Postecoglou is placing the hopes of his backline on three young defenders. It will be quite the baptism under fire for centerbacks Matthew Spiranovic (25) and Curtis Good (21), who have garnered a few headlines globally. The same can be said for leftback Jason Davidson, who had a decent campaign with Eredivisie midtable side Hercales and does like to get forward. 

They all will sit in front of arguably the strength of this Australian team in Jupiler Pro League goalkeeper of the year Matthew Ryan, as Australia will certainly not miss the long team steadiness that Schwarzer brought for so many years, nor will they miss Liverpool veteran Brad Jones being the number two. Ryan, along with Roman Weidenfeller understudy Mitchell Langerak and possible Leverkusen bound Mark Birighitti give Australia a reputable crop of young goalkeepers. 

But the loss of Kruse is a rough one for Postecoglou, putting more focus from their massively difficult Group C opponents on all-time leading scorer and Aussie legend Tim Cahill. Cahill will have to hope that more key youth influences on this  team (talented midfielders Tommy Oar, Tom Rogic, and Mathew Leckie) wow scouts with their play in order for him to bury the few chances he will likely get. 

It will be quite the achievement if Postecoglou's men, with Cahill, Jedinak, Wilkshire, and the fine Australian winger Mark Bresciano lead a mostly inexperienced side even register a point in Brazil. But they sure will have the synonymous Australian sporting spirit to try and prevent  what happened to them last September, instead of it being a precursor of what is to come. 

Under the Radar, Important Players: 

Matthew Ryan- The Jupiler Pro League's best goalkeepers and one of the premiere young netminders in the world. Winning the league's best keeper award and joining a list that including Thibait Courtois and Simon Mignolet

Him, Dortmund backup goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak, and possible future Bundesliga goalkeeper Mark Birighitti (received interest from Bayer Leverkusen to be Bernd Leno's backup) ensure a fine future for the Socceroos in the net. 

Jason Davidson had a decent season with Hercules as their left back, scoring two goals and three assists in another key year of development for the leftback. 

Music Midday Energy Boost For 5/27/14: Lupe Fiasco - Missions (2014)

 (Photo by Steven Lawton/FilmMagic)


















Not his most complex spitting, but Lupe is getting so momentum from this new one he's released. It's the combative, resilient "Missions, your Music Energy Boost today. 



More to come at TWD, stay tune. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Sports Saturday Thread #3/UEFA Champions League Final Thread #3 For 5/24/14: Dramatic End Sees Real Reach La Decima (Final Version)

Fulltime (ET): Real Madrid 4-1 Atletico Madrid 


Sergio Ramos' heroics, and a tried Atletico side, spelled the difference as Real Madrid received their long coveted 10th European Cup title. 

Full review to come in other outlets, but for now, the pictures and celebration take all the headlines. 


It's been another wonderful season in UEFA Champions League play, as Real Madrid now extend their most continental cup championships lead over AC Milan to 3 as the great Italian club have 7.

Take care and so long to the UEFA Champions League for this season, until it all starts again in August.

(Enjoy all the prematch and midmatch stuff below):



Halftime: 'Baked Iker" Mistake Leads To Godin Giving Atletico The 1-0 Lead 

Gareth Bale's agony face was less painful for Madrid than the one Iker Casillas's face featured after allowing this. 

Really for Madrid, Ronaldo has to come back further up instead of waiting for Di Maria, Modric, and Benzema to create for him. Bale is doing a little better job at not being isolated. Also, Di Maria has to be wary of JuanFran getting forward like he wants to, as his presence doing that grew as the half progressed.  

For Atletico, nothing much you want to change other than Tiago making sure that he makes secure passes from deep towards his right and NOT to his left, as he poorly did in giving Bale the chance he should have finished. Garcia and David Villa grew at the end of the half. 


Final Pregame and Walkthru Version 

Photo from UEFA.com

Come back for halftime highlights, halftime analysis, and the dramatic post game recap.


The Sports Saturday Thread #2/UEFA Champions League Final For 5/24/14: The Key Matchups And Predictions



Sami Khedira vs Tiago/Gabi - It's quite the stage for the German glueman to be given the starting center midfield nod in his still early convalescence from his long term ACL tear back in November. Khedira faced Atletico in the first Madrid derby of the season and was outperformed by Simeone's two holders. It didn't help Khedira that his partner Illarramendi wasn't ready to perform on the day in that big match, but it was a performance that will make Tiago and Gabi ready to attack further this time around. With Xabi Alonso's absence, Khedira will need to be strong and provide the outlets for Modric and Di Maria without them coming back too much to assist him.

Diego Costa and David Villa vs Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos- With Pepe unavailable and Costa's magically available, this matchup has turned from a decent Real advantage to a firm toss up. It's still a question on how effective the much discussed horse placented Costa will be, while the unexpected news of the Portuguese centerback's absence means that the young French defender will have to have a firm partnership with Ramos. With Raul Garcia lurking on the side, their communication will be vital, especially after Ramos & Pepe hit their best form together in the Bayern Munich fixtures.

Cristiano Ronaldo vs JuanFran- As mentioned down below, Juan Fran has transformed himself into one of the world's best rightbacks. He will need to continue that level today against a Ronaldo who comes into the final in his hometown at less than 100%. The knee continues to be a bother for him, and if JuanFran can be secure in containing him going forward, it would behoove the potential Spanish World Cup rightback to make Ronaldo (and Di Maria) having to defend as well.

Gareth Bale vs Felipe Luis- It still is a quite a shame that this will be the last we saw see of Luis until late July at the earliest. The leftback has had a wonderful season, and yet, that still wasn't enough to convince Luis Scolari to play him on his home soil for Brazil. Luis will be fully aware that Bale will cut inside and try to have Carvajal help him on the right, and will hope he doesn't have the slight mistake he made in the second leg against Chelsea. 

The Sports Thread/UEFA Champions League Final Thread #1 For 5/24/14: Looking For The RightBacking From Del Bosque

First Thread Focus: How JuanFran and Daniel Carvajal Are Playing For More Than Champions League Glory 


With every UEFA Champions League final, much is obviously at stake. But unlike any final in the 22-year old reformation of the European Cup, the ultimate match in Lisbon today has its own unique elements. The whole all-Madrid final, as well as seeing if Atletico could achieve an unfathomable double or if Real can finally end its global community's long (and very annoying for some) obsession for La Decima, gives this campaign's decider an appeal like any of the 21 that preceded it.

However, while the dynamics on club football have received the most attention from this crosstown final, the dynamics of what this contest has on the World Cup, in particular the Spanish national team, will certainly hold equal importance for both sides.

This is the match before Vincente Del Bosque narrows his provisional 30 man list to the final 23 man squad tomorrow morning, and will serve as the last test for players who aren't secure in their places for Brazil.

David Villa's chance at a third World Cup are in a precarious place, but Spain's all time leading scorer will likely have a firm opportunity to make it secure by playing significant minutes for Diego Simeone with David Costa' injury status, even with the stunning placenta return for the Brazilian turned Spaniard. The physical but adept brilliance of young Koke would be a guarantee lock in most national teams after another top class season. Still, a poor outing in the biggest match of his fledging career could sway Del Bosque to make him among his final cruel cuts (although he wisely should not).

But those two players won't be battling against someone on the other side for their final chance to impress. Instead, the most intriguing World Cup last audition in this Champions League final is a fierce duel in Lisbon that could also be determine who will be Del Bosque's first choice rightback come their opener against Holland on June 13. For JuanFran or Daniel Carvajal, this immense game takes on even more importance.

Since Carles Puyol's inevitable decline, Sergio Ramos has been moved (just like with his club outlet) to centerback to partner Gerald Pique. With Alvaro Arbeloa never having a firm lock on that position, the rightback spot for the defending world champions seem to be in a questionable place from what it was four summers ago. Thankfully for Del Bosque, both JuanFran and Carvajal have emerged as eligible candidates for the job, with the toughest last interview coming their way.

It's been quite the transformative journey for Atletico's 29-year old wide right defender. Ironically, Juan Francisco Torres Belen started his career as one of many promising, but failed youth products at Real Madrid, and wasn't even a defender. A skilled winger, JuanFran's early pro career made it seemed he was destined to be another good talent bouncing around mid-table and lower clubs throughout La Liga. However, a career rejuvenating five year stint at Osasuna was just want he needed to lead him to "Madrid's other club."

Still, as a attacking player who didn't score much, JuanFran was never going to wear the colors of La Roja at senior level. Instead, he needed one vital switch to his career, and he received that not under Simeone but from Simeone's predecessor Gregorio Manzano. His move further down the pitch has done him wonders, adding an element of disciplined track backing to go along with his abilities to cause problems to opponents going forward. And now, as Simeone has gotten the maximum level out of him and his fellow defenders (Diego Godin, Miranada, and Felipe Luis), JuanFran has become a true modern day fullback with seven national team caps now to his name.

He has been his terrific form all season with Atletico, especially in the second half to ensure that Madrid's other club would not have the collapse in all competitions that most thought would happen to them. His play in particular against Barcelona ( in containing Andres Iniesta) and then versus Chelsea (in exposing Eden Hazard's questionable trackback skills) placed him for now as one of the best rightbacks in the world. And yet, his place in Brazil is far from a guarantee, especially if he is outperformed by his opposite half Carvajal today.

As this could be the only time ever for JuanFran to be on a World Cup squad, the same can't be said for the 22-year-old man from Leganes staring to become a household name. Like JuanFran, Carvajal was apart of Real's youth system, joint the club at the tender age of 10 and rising up the ranks in an 8-year span. And like JuanFran (and so many other teenage and post adolescent prospects), he found playing time with Los Blancos at senior level hard to come by. But unlike his Atletico adversary, Carvajal was open to going abroad for his first team play instead of being loaned off to a lower La Liga side. He signed a five year contract with Bayer Leverkusen in July 2012 and enjoyed a sterling campaign in the Bundesliga, becoming one of the best fullbacks in the German top flight last year. Only "Earth's best RB" Phillip Lahm and Schalke's Atsuto Uchida were rated to have a better campaign at the spot from Bundesliga observers, and likely for Madrid, a buy in cause to purchase him back was in his contact.

With Arbeloa still around, Carvajal knew he would have to fight to start for Carlo Ancelotti's side in his return to Madrid and was second choice for most of the campaign. However, a season ending knee injury to the 31-year old World Cup and Euro winner in March was the break that Carvajal needed. And since his goal scoring performance against Rayo Vallecano later that month, he has not looked back ever since.

Causing Jurgen Klopp headaches with his forays into Borussia Dortmund's half of the field and shutting down Franc Ribery (albeit an off form injury recovery version of Ribery) exhibited Carvajal's natural two-way feel despite being so young, a mastery of the spot that his Barcelona rival Martin Monoya still is aways from owning after his struggles this season. It's why Del Bosque has named him into his provisional 30 despite not earning a single cap and why one great performance today could earn him a coveted spot.

It's Carvajal's long manufacture development in that position from his childhood days, as well as a seven year age gap, that gives him the major upside advantage over JuanFran. However, experience is still invaluable and JuanFran does have that in spades over the skilled ace standing in his way to Brazil. Plus the desperation in seeing that this maybe is his only shot at playing in FIFA's global competition maybe the added edge that he will play with today.

But both men are also cognizant of the fact that they aren't just battling themselves for that coveted position. Fully aware of Cesar Azpilicueta's versatility and first home at the rightback position, both have to figure that the Chelsea man's spot in the final 23 is not only secure, but that he may have already wrapped up the starting right back position in Del Bosque's head.

It makes their effort today even more important and what's at stake for them larger. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Thibaut Courtois, and Diego Costa know their places in Brazil are guaranteed regardless of how they perform today. For both JuanFran and Daniel Carvajal, this final in Lisbon could be the match that makes or breaks their international football careers.

(More to come on this Champions League final day in Lisbon, in a bit). 

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Flashback Fridays #1 For 5/23/14: Mase feat Total - What You Want (1997)


When Mase was at the top of his game, but still right in the aftermath of Biggie's death. "Harlem World" went four times platinum back in 1997 and featured his full star appeal in the game before it all faded away with Bad Boy losing their luster and his decision to go retire to the Lord.

Despite all the history and transformations, Mason Durell Bertha is still just 36 years old and even planning to do a new album after finally getting out of his Bad Boy contract in December 2012.

Although this was the third popular single from his smash debut, it went higher on the Billboard Top 100 (#6) than "Looking at Me" (reached #8) and just was a whisker under "Feels So Good" #5 pinnacle.

Your Flashback Friday music choice for this week, it's Mase featuring Total and their smooth, underrated hit "What You Want."


Mase feat total - what you want by mh_moody

More to come at TWD today, stay tuned...

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Thread For 5/22/14: Mark Culless

Focus: How Mark Cuban's Lack of Encountering His Racial Bias Hurts Society 


In the midst of his still trepidation of revealing all of his feelings for Donald Sterling, Mark Cuban's racial bias comments from last night have gotten traction all day today. 

Now the main issue from this author with Cuban's comments wasn't his candid honesty at expressing what his primary thoughts are that arises in certain situations, but the fact that he never mentioned that a key follow up contemplation over his initial instinct existed in him.

We will all have initial thoughts that serve as terrible ideas to execute. That currently is the case whenever a person has to write, where one sentence or statement needs proper refurbishing before it is finalized. There is a reason why the term "rough draft" is prevalent in our minds since the days we commence our grade school life. You never want to finish with a rough draft, no matter if you are Frederick Douglas or this person.

And that is what Cuban sadly did in perpetuating his fears into a justification of his "rough draft" first thought. He left his first initial instinct be the final choice instead of having the required "is this really a good idea?" second reaction. There was no "am I continuing ugly stereotypes and irresponsible haunting fears by believing that this black kid will attack me if I say on the side of the street?" interrogation from Cuban. (A kid mind you who scares him, not a black man the size of the players he pays or the one he shares a show with in Daymond John of Sharktank, just a kid.) It was the typical, "If I see X, always do Y" steadfast nonsense that Cuban gave that rough full of "Cuban wannabes" last night.  

The Dallas Mavericks' first thought perception with no pause button is the same mindset found in George Zimmerman when he saw Trayvon Martin that tragic February 2012 night. The rest is a painful history that will always be in our memory banks.

Cuban didn't just show (understandable) racial bias last night. He refused to properly slap down racial prejudice like he should have.

His comments give a proper excuse to the white woman to always get scared whenever QuestLove gets into an elevator with her or for that corner store owner to halfway assume some black kid is about to steal an item.

Again, having a racially bias first thought when encountering someone of a different race is human nature and understandable. But what separates those who are able to unite and advance human society, instead of having it stuck in the eternal hell hole that it will always collectively be in the end, is the ability to analyze if your racial bias is right/correct.

It is vital that individuals do this instead of going by his or her opening thought as the ultimate move recklessly like Cuban seems to comfort in without fixing. But it seems destined to always be a fundamental part of our global human dysfunction. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Condolences For 5/20/14: More Than Just A Speech Writer

Vincent Harding (1931-2014) (Eternal -....)


One of America's most underrated went up above the sky yesterday. Vincent Harding was more than just the man who wrote MLK's Vietnam. He was his own venerable Civil Rights figure who should have never fallen off the list of renown black figures.

Maybe moving to Colorado and no longer being apart of the Harlem community he grew up helped contribute to his lack of deserved recognition? Or just maybe in the still myopic, waterdown perspective of black history in a commercial form for this community that Harding became less than an alterthought in the mainstream conscious: He barely garnered even a single thought.

Either way, it is paramount that some time and some space be taken out in tribute to an unsung soul like Harding.

As pious of a Christian as they come (with holding up Christian values instead of being intrusive and antagonizing), Harding's tenure across the country in many storied universities exhibited the depth of knowledge he had. You don't get the privilege to teach at the likes of UPenn, Temple, Spelman and Swarthmore to name a few, and not have a certain level of gravitas.

That gravitas was prevalent in this great member of SCLC, SNCC, and CORE, making it vital to always remember Vincent Harding.

It is the least the general public can do since we certainly weren't doing that when he was on this Earth.


Music Midday Energy Boost For 5/20/14: The Roots- When The People Cheer (2014)


With their 11th album out today, the lead single from the concept album "And then You Shoot Your Cousin," it's The Roots with "When The People Cheer," your Music Midday Energy Boost for the day.



More to come from TWD in a bit.




Monday, May 19, 2014

The Sports Thread #1 For 5/19/14: Luis Enrique, Ter Stegen, Signal New Era Already For Barcelona (Final Version)

The Main Story: New, Quick Changes in Catalan Country  


Hoping that they get a "Pep Guardiola 2" with their choice, Barcelona have moved swiftly on replacing Tata Martino with Celta Vigo coach Luis Enrique becoming their new manager. The former Barcelona class midfielder returns to the Nou Camp, looking to be the man to return the club back to their trophy earning ways after its worst campaign in years.

The moves comes hours after Louis van Gaal became officially Manchester United's new manager. Van Gaal will take over the team after his World Cup duty with Holland. The Dutchman's arrival signals Ryan Giggs to his new assistance role after being the interim manager following David Moyes' exit, spelling the end of the legendary Welch winger's 24 year career.  In fact, Giggs wrote a emotional letter to United fans about the close of his playing days.

Back to Barcelona as another official signing has happened for the Catalan giants. Marc Andre ter Stegen completes his long rumored move away from his boyhood club Borussia Monchenglabach to become Victor Valdes' likely replacement. The German goalkeeper has been apart of the amazing golden generation of German shot stoppers and will be counted on to provide the stability in net that Valdes has given throughout the years.

The Other Soccer Related Links:

Portugal head coach Paulo Bento has narrowed his squad form last week's provisional 30 to his final 23, as Ricardo Quaresma likely will never play in a World Cup now as he is left off. William Carvalho and Rafa are the long up and comers who will being going to Brazil instead of prolific U-21 striker Ivan Cavaleiro.

In true moronic fashion, it seems the official La Liga BBVA makers of their Best XI this season thought Lionel Messi did not deserve to be in that team.

And World Cup 2014 non-participant Carlos Vela sees himself going back to Arsenal instead of staying at Real Sociedad.

Other Links: 

All that weight loss in the offseason has not improved CC Sabathia's luck this season. After another poor, early season start, Sabathia now will be out until July at the earliest because of an inflamed right knee.

Carey Price is out for the rest of the Eastern Conference Finals, making Chris Kreider even more hated in Montreal.

And the Kevin Love saga seems like it will edge out the Carmelo Anthony pending one as the most annoying NBA on-court story after the season ends.

And that is your Sports Thread for this segment.

The 1st Thread/Music Midday Energy Boost #1 For 5/19/14: Talib Kweli feat Raekwon - Violations (2014)


(Viewer and listener discretion is advised, especially if you aren't black or from a diverse minority American community):  

It's a new one from Talib with the Chef on the track, it's Violations and it serves as your music energy boost for this current moment here at TWD:



More to come here, stay tuned. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Sports Thread/La Liga Finale Runthrough Thread For 5/16/14: Come Too Far For Nothing (First Version)

Photos from Atletico's press conference

With no proper reasoning why the Malaga-Levante match was played on a Friday night to close their seasons, the 2013-2014 La Liga campaign has its finale weekend, where the leagues MVP Atletico Madrid may somehow have nothing to show for their historic season. A loss to Barcelona tomorrow in the competition's dramatic last chapter would be about as unkind as any Suarez's bite.

Atletico have clearly felt the pressure and fatigue of going into the last weeks of the season with multiple trophies to play for. They couldn't get anything past Keylor Navas and almost were dealt the same devastating blow against Willy Caballero last week, while their own ace netminder Tobias Courtois' gaffe to give Malaga the opener belied the unfamiliar May tension surrounding Madrid's unglamorous big club.  

Make no mistake, Atletico have been a Godsend to a league that couldn't tolerate another season of "Big 2" duopoly being poisonous. Despite Sevilla winning the Europa League and a respectable effort from Valencia to reach the semifinals, the great Spanish league is still financially a contest between the giants of Real Madrid and Barcelona. Next season, Atletico are already guaranteed to be weaken once more, losing their best players for yet another season (Courtois returning to Chelsea while Diego Costa seems bound to go to Stamford Bridge as well), a financial luxury the Big 2 never have to worry about.

(Although it speaks to the greatest that Diego Simeone has exhibited in his tenure with Atletico, it would take another magical season of Herculean managing and fortuitous favors to be able to replace those two like he has been able to replace Falcao this campaign.)  

Both Real and Barcelona's continued persistence (as well as the LPF, Mediapro and main sponsor BBVA banks' constant disturbing silence) to keep the lion share of the league's TV money continues to be a major dark cloud on a league that certainly doesn't refuse to call itself the "best league in the world." It really is kind of a hilarious irony considering how the Premier League long received chastisement throughout the global soccer community for boasting of such a phrase, but at least they have both a decent track record and financial stability for all of its clubs unlike what LPF and the Big 2 have allowed. Yet, no major uproar has been produced by those same English critics.

Even with the usual fiscal disadvantages, Atletico have allowed Real and Barcelona partisans to repeatedly mention how "We're more than a two team league" as this spring has developed. They have given the league the rare opportunity to be fully bold in mentioning it does have depth despite being a year removed from its worst showing in Europe as a collective whole.  Without Atletico's "more than 3rd place brilliance", it would be the same argument held up against it, and it would possibly lead to the league demanding that it now be run not by just Los Blancos or the Catalan giants.

The fair result to culminate La Liga's season (and its representation in the Champions League this campaign) would be for Atletico not to suffer a crushing defeat that may easily linger into the showdown in Lisbon with their bitter crosstown rival next weekend. A loss to a Barcelona side as undeserving of any trophy since the Rijkaard days would amp up the pressure on Simeone's squad to prevent a wonderful season going for naught. A scenario that shouldn't be the case considering how the Real Madrid community throughout the entire planet have, are, and will be on pins and needles desperate for La Decima to finally arrive.

But Real, even with the massive despair their fans will feel if their European Cup drought does not end at the hands of their little brothers, will always have firm chances to still win the Champions League and La Liga. For Atletico, the opposite is the case, as they may never have a better chance to win either trophy (or both) for a long time. Maybe even longer than the 18 years they last won Spain's top flight domestic league, especially if the Big 2 continue to emulate the economy inequality crisis of the haves and have nots throughout España (and really now, throughout the world).

Atletico Madrid has given the Spanish soccer fan and the LFP almost everything this season. It would be so very cruel if they received nothing back for it in return. 

The Flashback Fridays #2 For 5/16/14: Kelis - Bossy (2006)


In the spirit of the whole Jill Abramson-Times debacle, take it back to when Kelis' career was its most relevant point, with the smooth semi-hit "Bossy", with only "Milkshake" being a way bigger hit for her.

With the Bay Area sound individual Too Short (before he went to VHI's Couples Rehab), it's "Bossy", your second Flashback Friday selection of the week.



More to come from The Whole Dleivery in a bit, stay tuned. 

The Friday Fun Thread For 5/16/14: Cats >> Dogs Forever (First Version)


If you ever needed anymore proof, this video from two days ago highlights it for us all.



And the interview with the boy, his mother, and Tara the hero cat afterwards was golden:



Timeless.

More to come in the Friday Fun Thread in a bit. 

The Flashback Fridays #1 For 5/16/14: Elephant Man - Pon De River (2004)


The Flashback Fridays are back, with the long forgotten (except out of reggae circles since he is still getting salary somewhere, since he has also had a lot of legal issues) Elephant Man with his dance crossover classic "Pon De River."

"Yup, good to go" will always register in the mental. So "Walk the Plank" and "Give Them a Run" for "Pon De River", as the Flashback Fridays return.


(This is The Whole Delivery. Stay tuned for more). 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Thread For 5/15/14: Jillted

Focus: Jill Abramson's Firing Looks Worse When The Times Advocated For Equal Pay in the Past 
Photo from MSNBC 

It's not about whether Jill Abramson was a "pushy" boss or someone who helped their friend steal back her dog, or whatever way that funny, irrelevant story turned out to be. 

Jill Abramson's forced egress out of the New York Times was yet the latest, prominent example of the professional inequality still prevalent in the female salary work place.

How dare Abramson asked for the same pay as her male predecessor Bill Keller? That what was clearly expressed in the thoughts of Arthur Sulzberger, the paper's publisher and proud member of the powerful white male union still presiding over our gender pay gap ethos.

You can understand if the pension wasn't the same as Keller had, as the size of many workers' pensions (or if they even qualify for a pension in the first place) is dependent upon years spent at a profession. But for a high profile place and journalism institution like the Times to not give the identical salary to Abramson that Keller guaranteed really is so embarrassing, especially when they have done stories throughout the years on equal pay. Highlighting the lovely hypocrisy they showed is just too easy to do.


In fact, it hasn't been just daily articles reports like on the process of the Lilly Ledbetter Act being signed five years that Times has, but also the number of opinion pieces pushing for equal pay. Look at how much they slammed Mitt Romney and his campaign's constant tepid response on the matter. Clearly that fact was lost on Sulzberger and anyone else who was fully cognizant of this nonsensical financial ploy.

And it further shows once again that our journalistic institutions fail to practice what they certainly love to preach.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Sports Thread #1 For 5/2/14: The Petty Team

Focus: How Floyd Mayweather Revealed That Despite Everything He Has, He is Still A Fool 
Photo From Mayweather's Twitter

In case you needed another reminder to this fact that won't improve your life one single iota, Floyd Mayweather is the highest paid current athlete in the world now. More than LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. More than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. More than Miguel Cabrera. More than even Peyton Manning and Tom Brady combined.

He is an still undefeated and considered pound for pound the #1 boxer, even if his ducking (which will be addressed later in this column) is maybe the greatest thing about his career. He is about to have another one-sided victory over a far inferior opponent that will lead to him getting another $32 million pay check.

But no matter how he has made a living now at being able to dupe thousands of people into playing for his ridiculously overpriced PPV fights against fighters who will never be ask quick as he is (including yours truly last time against Canelo Alvarez), Mayweather still seems like a man who is on the verge of having a nervous breakdown.

The reason for that conclusion is because of the ugliness Mayweather displayed yesterday in broadcasting all of his and former fiancee's (Shantel Jackson) private information to the whole world. In arguably the ugliest Instagram post of all time, Mayweather dropped the news that the separation happened because Jackson made the very personal decision to abort their pending twin daughters. This came weeks after Mayweather then posted a "Throwback Thursday" picture of Jackson and captioned it as saying that he paid for plastic surgery for her while the two were together.

The move represented the awful side of Mayweather once again that has turned many forever against him and not able to acknowledge the world class pugilist he is. And it represented two dreadful characteristics that any person can have prevalent in Mayweather.

The first is his petty trust for personal revenge. Originally Mayweather claimed that him and Jackson split in much more amicable terms, the conventional "our careers just got in the way" reason. But the minute he caught wind of Jackson dating Nelly, the trust for Mayweather to be #1 and win every fight both in and out the ring faired up more than his ego does on those long played out All Access 24/7" clips of him.

The only way he could get back at Jackson was to embarrass and humiliate her in public, even if that was at the expense of him looking like the un-datable fool (or at least for women who don't want to have deal with his domestic violence or this latest insanity) he has become. But it was not out of the norm of pettiness for him, as his continued cowardly prodding of Manny Pacquiao still is in full existence. The mere thought of Pacquiao's name still brings both anger and uncomfortable sentiments for Mayweather, just as seeing his former significant order be able to have a life without him with another male celebrity.

Which leads to the second terrible trait "Money Team" Floyd has exhibited in this latest episodes: desperation.

Desperate to overcome what looks to be the worst Pay Per View sales of his entire career in a fight against a tough but completely overmatched Marcos Maidana, Mayweather used the story of a women's abortion to prevent incoming awful sales. He figured he couldn't do anything else more to sell this sham of a fight, so why not use a female as his final shield against the loss of few watching? It's a move that you would have thought would have come from Mayweather wannabe Adrien Broner, not a 38-year-old man with many kids, millions and millions of dollars, and being at the pinnacle of his profession. Mayweather professed in the last two years that he was happy in life and done with being an over the top moron like he became since the buildup to his career turning Oscar de la Hoya fight.

But that represents how even at his current age and with all his accomplishments that Floyd Mayweather needs for his own mental clarity to win "in and out" of the right at all costs.

He is cognizant of the fact that many in the public still thinks he ducks Pacquiao (including yours' truly). It seems that he even ducks the likes of Amir Khan, desperate not to face a boxer that is either as fast or faster with his hands than he is now. Those things however pale in comparison to the more important thing here that exists away from the squared ring: The sudden reigniting of how unbearable of a person he can truly be.

All the money in the world can't make you happy. And in Floyd Mayweather's case, it can't stop you from being a petty and desperate human being. 

The Flashback Fridays #1 For 5/2/14: Usher - Burn (2004)


Made even more iconic for how The Boondocks's "Tom" karoked it to perfection, "Burn" as the second single for "Confessions" help continue Usher's push to full superstardom a decade ago during this time.

Jermaine Durpri produced another classic beat for this terrific ballard that wasn't too slow. And though the music video was subpar as for what it could have been, "Burn" still resonates up there as one of Raymond's Top 5 in my mind.

So for today's Flashback Friday first choice, it's "Burn" from a decade ago.



More to come at The Whole Delivery in a bit, stay tune. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Thread For 5/1/14: National Association For The Advancement of Hypocrites

Focus: How just slamming the LA chapter of the NAACP Rings Hollow If You Barely Cared About it in The First Place 


For yours' truly, it wasn't the least bit surprising to see one of the more idiotic things in "ironic racial history" occur, when the news that the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP had given and would give another award to Donald Sterling.

Of course, some people who are black and not black reacted in shock, laughter, anger, and just overall bemusement at how this could be. After years of housing and employee discrimination charges of both the racial and sexual kind, how could this local chapter not see it was dealing in good tidbits with one of America's richest racists.

Is this another "Onion joke" gone true, that even the Onion couldn't think of?' Is it the thought most pondered when they saw this?

And as stories come out now about the chapter's current president, Leon Jenkins, and his own sordid chapters in Michigan and California legal system, proclamations of "The NAACP sold out and only cares about money" and "There is no need anymore for an NAACP" have become more common than ads for that "Neighbors" movie.

But even more troubling than any lifetime achievement awards given to a racist rich man or the appointing of a dubious character to the head of a non-profit advocacy group is the mostly blasé, long term indifference from critics, black and especially non-black, who never even think about the NAACP in the first place.

There is a reason why the NAACP has unpaid volunteers like Jenkins at the head of some of their chapters. And there is a reason why (referring to the national board) it sometimes takes money and sponsorships from the likes of the Walmarts and Verizons of the world. It's because as a whole overall, there isn't enough public or consistent grassroots help for these chapters.

As is the case for many non-profits and certainly minority driven groups, you can only be realistically make an impact by being funded. And in this specific debacle of a case, there was absent the required amount of people from not only the black community but outside of it who could help the LA NAACP chapter not make nutty decisions and not be desperate for money from the lowest of low.

"What the world doesn't know about an organization like the NAACP is that we are all volunteers," Californian NAACP President Alice Huffman said. "We don't have a funding stream to support our activities across this country. Every local unit has to go and raise its own funds. We sort of have to work with corporations."

A lot of people, including myself, have never gone to their local NAACP chapter. They don't even know where it is in the first place. But they are certainly ready to always have an opinion whenever something stupid and hypocritical like this occurs.

Meanwhile, we'll have those "drive by" critics never tweet about North Carolina's chapter fighting voter ID, or the New York chapter highlighted the ills of its state's prison industrial complex, or all the other local chapters taking up the modern day fights people that these critics aren't marching or participating in.

There was no ground swell to vet Leon Jenkins. Hell, no one nationally outside of the NAACP even knew who he was until this week. Maybe if there were more people being active in the Los Angeles chapter throughout the years instead of people coming out for this story, a character like Jenkins wouldn't have become president. Maybe if people were active in helping get scholarship programs and community driven events going at the NAACP that there wouldn't have been any need to get money from an eternal slime like Sterling.

If people really cared about the NAACP instead of voicing their "outrage" on the questionable ties of this specific chapter, then I would further take their criticism of the LA chapter this whole week as legitimate. If people in Los Angeles regularly attended the meetings and rallies of their local NAACP chapter, then their castigation of the LA chapter I would have no qualms about.

And most importantly, if they are among the list of members or donators to any part of the organization, be it the national chapter or this specific local mess, then their apoplectic or befuddled ways at the lack of sagacity shown by Jenkins and company have full merit.

But if you aren't any one of those things or any of those individuals, than your criticism of the NAACP in general rings more hallow than Prince William condemning privilege.

For those who are non-black under that guideline, it's another "how could black people do this" indolent perspective, a fake interest that breathes a masqueraded apathy that is long term. Any thoughts about the NAACP's community development or job creation centers, or funding a non-profit organization clearly desperate for financial stability wasn't prevalent in most of these critics' minds, and will go right away real soon after breaking news reports or grandiose columns age. Some of it already has in the first place.

The easy answer is to call the NAACP, from this troubled local chapter to the entire organization, a "sellout failure." But the harder and better answer, if you really want productive outrage, is to get involved and help steer these non-profits from the its "ilks" and not have it make awful mistakes like this.

If not, then you are part of the hypocritical and racial chutzpah of current times, when portions of the black and especially the non-black community don't ever give one iota of a thought about the NAACP (and black people in general still), until the times when it has embarrassing moments like this.


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