A tribute to MCA, the Beastie Boys, and the power of music and sports

This morning, Doug referenced the death of Adam Yauch, otherwise known as MCA, of the legendary rap trio, The Beastie Boys.

This event, of course, has nothing directly to do with the Denver Broncos and football.  And yet, on some level, it does.  That's because it provides the ability to reflect on those rare spaces--the crevices, if you will--of American culture in which America really is greater than the sum of its parts.

A brief explanation is in order.  Since the 1960s there have been two particular areas of American culture in which race (however we choose to define this term), class, and all other manner of categorical classifications blend and morph into the America we all puport we want and export across the world--a true melting pot.  This was never more true than in the 1980s.  This was the era in which we saw the emergence of the black quarterback in the NFL; further, we began seeing the fusion of music that had traditionally been considered black (hip-hop and rap) with music that had been considered white (rock). You saw the likes of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, blending funk and rock, but also the collaboration of diverse groups like Aerosmith and Run DMC, with the insanely popular remake of the Aerosmith song Walk This Way. This continued when Public Enemy (Fight the Goodell) and Anthrax combined to remake Public Enemy's Bring The Noise.

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The Daily Lard 5-5-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In its letter to the four players suspended in the Saints' bounty scandal, the NFL alleges that DE Will Smith helped Gregg Williams set up and fund the bounty system in New Orleans, that LB Scott Fujita also contributed to the fund during the 2009 playoffs, and that DE Anthony Hargrove was an active participant in the system.

In responding to the grievance filed by the union yesterday over the four players' suspensions, the league notes that the NFLPA did not challenge any of the facts in the case, nor the length of the penalties. In its statement, the NFL also alleges the NFLPA had never before suggested the players should possess immunity from punishment under the current CBA.

A legal expert says the issuance of suspensions by the Commish falls under the Ginger Hammer's best-interest powers to protect the league, and thus should pass muster with arbitrators.

Meanwhile, NFLPA counsel Richard Smith says the league has refused to provide the union with any of the evidence they requested, including player names, interview transcripts, or violation dates.

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Why you shouldn’t listen to radio guys

I’ve been writing about football for the last four years, and when I am occasionally taking myself really seriously, I remember that that makes me part of the Broncos media.  Not the part of the media that feels the need to suck up to Jim Saccomano (I’ve seen that in action elsewhere), but still, we have a platform that tens of thousands of people have visited, and continue to visit, and we’re on a really rapid growth curve.  Throughout the Broncos media, lots of words and thoughts are generated and consumed about the Broncos, and some of them are mine, which is kind of cool.

Given that IAOFM has a place in the media environment, I have always found it interesting to consider the content producers in other places within that environment.  What are they bringing to the table?  Who exactly are they serving with their content?  Is any of it worthwhile, or is it a bunch of garbage?

I’ve always been fascinated by talk radio, for two reasons.  For one thing, it’s really old media, but it continues to be a really highly-used form of communication.  All kinds of new technologies have emerged over the last 80-90 years, and nothing quite kills the radio star.  I mean, just in the sense of a normal product life cycle, radio should have been destroyed and replaced many times over by now, and in some ways, it’s more successful than ever.  My main interest in radio as a medium is why that is.

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The Daily Lard 5-4-12

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! There is a growing dispute over the quality of evidence the NFL holds regarding the Saints' bounty scandal. Former US Attorney Mary Jo White says the NFL has some powerful evidence against New Orleans, perhaps referring to DE Anthony Hargrove's reported written statement detailing the bounty system and acknowledging his role in it.

That would probably qualify as strong-to-quite-strong evidence, right? Well, an NFLPA lawyer doesn't think so, and Mike Silver says the NFL must publicize whatever evidence they do have, stressing that there appears to be no proof of money changing hands, or of any players actually suffering injuries resulting from hits delivered with intent to harm.

Meanwhile, suspended LB Jonathan Vilma requested a meeting with the NFL prior to the announcement of his suspension, but he then decided not to go on advice from his lawyers.

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Terrell Suggs likely done for the year

Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, the reigning AP NFL Defensive POY, is expected to miss the entire 2012 season due to a torn Achilles suffered possibly while playing basketball (or, not?) in Arizona. The former 10th-overall pick is due to make $4.9M this season and is expected to undergo surgery next week.

The Broncos will head to Baltimore for a Week 15 matchup that will look significantly more winnable if the Ravens are without Suggs, who accumulated 14 sacks, two interceptions, seven forced fumbles, and six passes defensed, and 75 tackles in 2011.

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RIP Junior Seau Lard 5-3-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans. We've continued to add quotes and links to our story on the death of Junior Seau, and will continue to do so. Some poignant words about player safety and the future of football from the man himself are worth emphasizing here, via Jim Trotter:

In March, we spoke about the perception that commissioner Roger Goodell was making the game too soft with his enhanced enforcement of player safety rules. "It has to happen," he said. "Those who are saying the game is changing for the worse, well, they don't have a father who can't remember his name because of the game. I'm pretty sure if everybody had to wake with their dad not knowing his name, not knowing his kids' name, not being able to function at a normal rate after football, they would understand that the game needs to change. If it doesn't there are going to be more players, more great players, being affected by the things that we know of and aren't changing. That's not right." (h/t Judy Battista)

RIP, Junior. You will be missed.

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Seau’s death ruled suicide; family will allow researchers to study brain

Originally posted 5/2/12 at 2:16 pm ET; latest update 5/4/12 at 7:52 am ET

Former Chargers, Dolphins, and Patriots linebacker Junior Seau was found dead at his home in Oceanside, California Wednesday morning, at the age of 43.

Police investigated Seau's death as a suicide, and the autopsy performed on Thursday confirmed it. Bennett Omalu, the forensic pathologist who made the initial discovery of CTE, participated in the autopsy, and on Thursday evening Seau's family announced they would allow CTE researchers to study Junior's brain.

Drafted fifth overall in the 1990 Draft, Seau played 20 seasons - 13 in San Diego,  three in Miami, and four in New England.  His best seasons came with Chargers, however, and often, his best games came against the Denver Broncos.

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Four current and former Saints punished; Porter spared

The NFL has announced that for his part in the Saints' bounty scandal, linebacker Jonathan Vilma will be suspended for the entire 2012 season.

Additionally, defensive end Will Smith was suspended for four games, DE Anthony Hargrove (who signed with Green Bay in March) got an eight-game penalty, and linebacker Scott Fujita (now with the Browns) was hit with a three-game suspension.

Cornerback Tracy Porter, who signed a one-year deal with the Broncos after four seasons with the Saints, was never publicly implicated in the scandal, and he was not punished.

According to Albert Breer, the NFLPA is planning to defend the four suspended players on the grounds that the NFL lacks evidence to implicate them, and all four players are expected to appeal their punishments.

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The Daily Lard 5-2-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Part of the predraft smokescreen emanating from Denver was the notion that the Broncos were considering Coby Fleener at #25. It didn't make sense then, and it doesn't make sense now, what with the team having already signed two free agents at the position in Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme to add to youngsters Virgil Green and Julius Thomas.

But having watched plenty of Stanford games last season in the hopes that Denver would Luck their way into the #1 pick, I had grown quite fond of Fleener's skills, and was excited about the possibility of the Broncos adding him. A few readers pointed out the silliness of that notion, and here's a tip of the hat to them. Now that we're back to reality...

Bill Barnwell writes that aside from quarterback (too easy), tight end is the position which got the biggest upgrade in Denver:

While Tamme is another ex-Colt, he's one of the few members of the Manning offense who isn't past his prime and might actually flourish in his new digs. Denver also made a nice investment by adding Joel Dreessen, who's consistently been an effective, efficient player behind Owen Daniels in Houston. Even if the Broncos hadn't added Manning, signing Tamme and Dreessen would have been a wise move; by doing so, the Broncos now have one of the five best one-two punches at tight end in football.

Well now, that's some hefty praise. We'll take it.

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You Got Served: Draft groupthink

Did you hear the one about the NFL team which “reached” for a player to fill a need?  That’s a no-no, picking for need.  You should be drafting the best player available (hereafter BPA), regardless of need, goes the story.  I reject that thought as being over-generalized, because if you have a bad team, you should be picking to fill roles that will allow you to be competitive.

If you’re the Giants, then fine - take the BPA - if there’s no massive need to fill.  Some would say that Jerry Reese did that over the weekend (including Reese), but I would tell you that RB David Wilson and WR Rueben Randle filled needs, and specifically replaced Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham.  The Draftnik groupthink didn’t have the Giants universally taking any position, so that allows Reese to say he went BPA, regardless of the reality.

Then there’s the Ravens taking Courtney Upshaw.  They got the BPA and he’s a pass rusher!  Huzzah for Ozzie Newsome!  Except that Upshaw isn’t a dynamic pass rusher, and that he does fill a clear need, with the departure of Jarret Johnson, as an edge-setter in the running game on the strongside.  If Ozzie had a slightly worse track record, you’d be reading about how as an Alabama alum, he shows too much love to Crimson Tide guys like Upshaw.  (Johnson also played at Alabama, actually.)

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