September sports feature good, bad, ugly storylines

first_imgThis time of year is quite possibly the best the calendar has to offer when it comes to sports. The NFL and college football are in full swing, six of eight baseball divisions will be decided this week and if that wasn’t enough to rouse your interest, this year the Women’s World Cup final falls during the very same week. Sounds great, right?Unfortunately, not everything is quite so great. A close look at the current situation in the world of sports shows that aside from the good, there is also a heavy helping of bad and ugly stories too. So, without further ado, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the most exciting sports time of the year.The Good: Brett FavreComing into this season, most of the national media wondered how Favre would fare in his 17th NFL season. Sure, the Packers won their final four games in the 2006 season and went to the final week of the season with a shot to make the playoffs, but the offense lacked any discernible weapons outside of Favre’s favorite go-to, Donald Driver. After Favre spoke out about Packers’ general manager Ted Thompson passing on trading a fourth-round pick for Randy Moss, it seemed like the story of Favre’s (possibly) last season would be one of aging athlete sour at his team’s management’s inability to put weapons around him. Instead, with the same no-name cast of characters, the Packers are 3-0 and one of the major stories of the early season.With names so unfamiliar (Seriously, who had actually heard of Ryan Grant before Week 2? I thought I was watching Dorsey Levens spin past Giants defenders in the No. 25 jersey before I was told otherwise) and players that could conceivably be his children, Favre has thrown for the fifth most yards in the league. Favre played one of his finest games of the last few years Sunday, when he threw for three touchdowns against no interceptions in a comeback win over San Diego. The game-winning 57-yard touchdown completion to Greg Jennings tied Favre with Dan Marino as No. 1 on the all-time touchdown list.The Bad: Milton BradleyEveryone likes a good game of Yahtzee, but the hot-headed Padres’ left fielder rolled the dice on San Diego’s playoff chances after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament during a game last week in one of the most bizarre injuries in recent memory.Bradley wasn’t injured legging out a ground ball or chasing down a fly ball in the outfield. Instead, his season ended after he was thrown to the ground by his own manager as he argued with the first base umpire following a single.Bradley alleges the first base umpire baited him into the eventual argument by saying Bradley threw his bat at the home plate umpire after striking out. Now the Padres must try to hold onto a playoff spot without their starting left fielder and cleanup hitter.This is just the latest from a guy who has built a reputation as a hot head and once got into an altercation with his manager when he played in Cleveland.The Ugly: Mike TysonTyson earns the Ugly honor not for his facial tattoo (although that would be grounds for such a distinction) but instead for continued legal problems.I’d say I was surprised when I first read about his guilty plea to drug possession, but in all seriousness, how surprised can you actually be about anything involving a guy who once bit a portion of another man’s ear off and has professed to wanting to eat a competitor’s child?In reality, this is an extremely sad story. Coming up in a tough neighborhood in New York, Tyson became the youngest-ever heavyweight champion in history with the potential to become one of the greatest fighters ever. I’m not one to easily excuse personal behavior, but since he won the heavyweight title, Tyson’s life has spiraled downward faster than quarters in a vortex wheel. He’s found himself in so much legal trouble, from rape to drug charges and alleged spousal abuse, it’s as if he just can’t help himself. Maybe it’s not that ugly, but it sure is sad.Ben is a junior majoring in journalism and political science. He can be reached to talk about the world of sports at [email protected]last_img read more

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With Games gone, hard reality sets in for Brazil

first_imgUntil now, people in Brazil had something to look forward to.Despite deep recession, a presidential impeachment, and a corruption scandal ensnaring the political and corporate elite, the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro shone on the horizon like a sliver of light from a sunnier era, when Brazil appeared to have its act together.But that was extinguished with the Olympic flame at Sunday’s rainy closing ceremony. Now, Latin America’s largest country, its dreams shattered, once again finds itself falling far short of its economic and political potential.“There is nothing left to disguise the hard reality that we now face,” says Roberto Romano, a philosopher, author and commentator on Brazilian society. “This grandiose idea that many believed in until recently has nothing to support it anymore.”The idea was that Brazil, after nearly a decade of economic growth that lifted more than 30 million people out of poverty, was finally punching its weight. The Olympics and the 2014 World Cup, which Brazil also hosted, were meant to showcase its arrival on the world stage.Instead, Brazil’s economy, and the popular leftist government that presided over its boom years, began to unravel, as if on cue for the big events. The spectacles played out in spite of the economy and politics, not because of them.For sure, the Games had their fair share of hiccups, from green water in the diving pool to a camera that plunged from a broken guide wire, to an international scandal that erupted over an American swimmer’s lies about an armed holdup.And questions will linger for years about alleged corruption in contracts for infrastructure and venue construction, not to mention the ultimate price tag for the Games, expected to exceed the already inflated official figure of at least $12 billion.Still, the Olympics unfolded as many Brazilians had expected: the sports went smoothly and the logistical and security problems, allayed by public holidays to reduce traffic and a massive deployment of 85,000 police and soldiers, were not exceptional for a chaotic metropolis of more than 12 million people.‘WHAT NOW?’With the Games over, Brazilians are asking “what now?”“The Olympics were fun, but it was a sideshow,” said Flavio Mattos, a 37-year-old fitness instructor from Rio, after watching Brazil lose to Spain in water polo on Saturday. “We now have real problems to fix.”Consider the state of the government.Brazil’s Senate this week starts an impeachment trial of President Dilma Rousseff, who was suspended in May because of irregularities in the government budget.Both she and her predecessor Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who is credited by most working-class Brazilians with their gains before the boom fizzled, are under investigation for allegedly obstructing justice in a massive corruption scandal centering on the state-run oil company.The economy, once the envy of a developed world wracked by the global financial crisis, is slogging through its worst downturn since the Great Depression. Some indicators suggest a feeble recovery has begun, but others, like a jobless rate that recently climbed past 11 percent, point to continued hard times.Public finances are unsustainable, a hangover from spending increases during the good times when Brazil’s devil-may-care approach led it, among other excesses, to secure the rights to host the world’s two biggest sports events back to back.The government’s budget deficit this year, like last, is expected to equal about 10 percent of economic output, up from about 3 percent in 2013.“We are looking into an abyss,” says Samuel Pessoa, director of the Center for Economic Growth at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, a business school and research institute, who calculates that Brazil’s economy will have shrunk by as much as 10 percent between 2015 and the end of next year.He and other economists say the government will go broke without reining in spending on salaries, pensions and social security costs.“It will be really difficult to attract investment and spur growth when the national treasury is on an explosive trajectory,” Pessoa says.Interim President Michel Temer has vowed to tackle those problems, boosting Brazilian stocks and the currency which has rallied recently against the dollar after hitting an all-time low last year.But after backtracking on some reforms, including a bill to limit spending by states, many economists and business people question whether the new government will make much difference.For everyday Brazilians, the uncertainty is troubling.“We have to be cautious about everything,” says Renato Araujo, a 45-year-old technology consultant and father of two in Rio. “It’s hard to plan much for the long term.”Without any Olympics or World Cups or other distractions on the horizon, the long term could feel like an eternity.“The curtain has come down,” says Roberto DaMatta, an anthropologist and prominent columnist for O Globo, a Rio de Janeiro daily. “Reality is going to have to set in.”Source: cyprus-mail.comTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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