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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Nets, Knicks a total mess

They were supposed to be battling for supremacy in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, a full-fledged Streets of New York donnybrook. The Knicks were poised to take a step up from the solid playoff run of a year ago. The Nets made the blockbuster trade of the offseason, getting two Hall of Fame players to go along with the Hall of Fame point guard selected to coach them.

In fact, most of the talk in the offseason centered on which New York team was better, the Knicks or the Nets? It was the hot topic for the tabloids and the sports talk radio stations. The debate went on and on.

Now, a month into the NBA season and the question is: Which team is worse?

It’s really hard to determine, because right now, they are both God-awful. The Knicks are 3-8 overall, 1-6 at the Garden. They’ve lost four straight and show no signs of improving anytime soon. The Nets are one loss worse at 3-9, also having lost four straight, including last night’s 111-81 embarrassing debacle against that world power known as the Minnesota Timberwolves.

It’s actually hard to believe that both teams are so bad.

I mean, the Knicks have Carmelo Anthony. I know he’s very limited as a player and he’s a shoot-first, take-names-later kind of player who does not make everyone around him better, but he’s still among the top 10 talents in the league.

Losing Tyson Chandler to a broken leg is a huge blow, but with Andrea Bargnani, they should have been able to recover, right? Hardly. They are a severely disjointed team right now with no true leadership. The Knick faithful are already calling for coach Mike Woodson’s head, even after he led them to 53 wins and a win over the Celtics in the playoffs last year.

The Nets are a total mess. As it looks right now, they’re the ones who got fleeced in that trade with the Celtics. Those draft picks are looking pretty good now.

Kevin Garnett aged faster than Shoeless Joe Hardy did at the end of “Damn Yankees.” I don’t remember a player disintegrating over one summer like he has. Willie Mays played centerfield for the Mets better in the 1973 World Series. KG is totally shot. He’s averaging 6.7 points per game. Hell, he used to get that in the first quarter.

Paul Pierce isn’t much better. That patented fade away jumper keeps clunking off the rim. He’s shooting 36 percent from the floor, averaging 12.5 points per game. He’s said and done all the right things, but if he can’t make a shot, he’s useless.

Speaking of useless, Deron Williams is supposed to be the floor general of this team, but once again, he can’t stay healthy. Ever since he came from Utah, he’s been injured in some capacity and he’s been a sullen, moody clod.

And as for the rookie head coach? Jason Kidd has looked totally lost at times, like not knowing the team’s rotation and who to substitute for whom. Sure, he has a capable Lawrence Frank on his bench to guide him along, but there are times that he just sits there, wide-eyed, not showing any fire, any emotion. As a coach, he’s not the same intense person he was as a player.

And to think, the Nets got rid of P.J. Carlesimo for this? The former Seton Hall coach, who was masterful turning the Nets around last year, was shown the door in favor of an unproven Kidd. How’s that working out right now?

So forget the talk of which New York team is better. Right now, the topic should be which one is worse. And the answer is anyone’s guess.

Has there ever been a bigger train wreck than what’s going on at Rutgers now? I had a friend, a Rutgers alum, who said, “They can’t f*ck up enough.”

The school just can’t stay out of the headlines, no matter how hard it tries.

There was the entire Dave Cohen-Jevon Tyree bullying mess that came to a head last week. The beleaguered athletic director, Julie Hermann, tried to defuse the mess by holding a long overdue meeting with the kid’s parents last week, as a courtesy to a family friend and respected clergyman Rev. Dr. DeForest Soaries.

Hermann claimed that she spoke with Tyree’s father, then after the father said that he never received a phone call, Hermann said that she must have been duped by an imposter claiming to be Tyree’s father. Where is Capt. Jenks these days? Did Howard Stern put him up to call Hermann?

At least now, Hermann can say she actually spoke with them. The lying can finally cease.

My friend, Star-Ledger columnist Steve Politi, wrote yesterday that if Hermann truly lied about trying to contact the Tyree family, then she deserves to be fired. Hell, she didn’t deserve to be hired in the first place _ or at least shown the door before she entered the Hale Center, after it was proven she lied about her activity at the University of Tennessee years ago.

Hermann only became a candidate for the position as a favor to one of the people on the search committee, who was very friendly with Hermann. Just like that, she got the job _ and just like Carlesimo, Rutgers got rid of Tim Pernetti for this??

Pernetti got the school to build an extension to Rutgers Stadium, then got a sponsor to underwrite the thing, then pulled off the biggest coup since Dillinger by getting the Big Ten Conference to actually think Rutgers was a good fit and pried some of the Big Ten’s billions to go to the banks of the old Raritan. What has Hermann done, except for not f*cking up enough?

As for the football team, it’s really a sad, sad state. A month ago, the Scarlet Knights were 4-1 and talking about a possible bowl berth. Now, they’re 5-5 and have not been competitive one iota over the last four games, losing by more than 30 points three times. People now wonder if head coach Kyle Flood can keep his job and that’s a shame, because he’s a great guy and a good football coach. But he’s lost this team. They’re uninspired and listless. They don’t seem to care.

The basketball team just lost to Drexel in the preseason NIT. It was almost a given that the Scarlet Knights would head to the Big Apple. Nope. And this is a program that is going to the Big Ten? Who’s kidding whom? They’re not ready _ except ready to cash the paychecks.

As Stan Laurel used to say, “Well, this is a fine mess you’ve gotten me into.” This isn’t even a fine mess. It’s an unmitigated disaster that even Irwin Allen couldn’t create.

Here’s to four high school football programs I know pretty well who punched their respective tickets to the NJSIAA state finals Friday night.

Parsippany Hills shocked previously undefeated West Essex to get to the North 2, Group III title game. That’s great news for Dave Albano and the Vikings. There isn’t a classier, nicer guy in the game than Albano. This is his fifth try at a state title and he deserves to get one.

Mendham upset sister school West Morris to get to the North 2, Group IV title game. The Minutemen won two games the last two years and now get back to the state title game for the first time since 2004. It’s a credit to head coach Bill Carpluk, who came back to coach the Minutemen this season after a seven-year hiatus. After this year, they should rename streets and buildings in Mendham after him.

Hoboken defeated New Providence to get to the North 2, Group I championship game for a second straight year. The Red Wings (or Redwings, the debate continues) have battled through injuries all season, including one to head coach Lou Taglieri, who came out of his hospital bed last week to coach the team. It’s amazing how they have managed to keep winning through the adversity.

And the alma mater, St. Peter’s Prep, will get another crack at winning the Non-Public Group 4 title after defeating St. Augustine Prep last night. The Marauders haven’t won the state title since 2005 and they’ll get a chance to rid some demons, facing either Don Bosco Prep or Paramus Catholic in the finals at MetLife Stadium in two weeks. The Marauders haven’t won a big game against the Bergen County powers since that win in 2005. Maybe this is the year.

Anyway, it’s an exciting time for local high school football. It’s a shame that it’s all passing me by. I hope and pray to be at some of the finals in two weeks.

You can read some of my other work at, and


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Update from Kessler and update about Rutgers


Before I start on my sports rant of the day, I wanted to give everyone an update on my medical condition. I’m still a patient at Kessler Rehabilitation Institute in West Orange, with this being day 11 of my stay.

And I can wholeheartedly say that I am improving with every passing day. I’m getting a lot of the strength and mobility back again in my right leg. My left leg is almost 100 percent and my right leg was at 43 percent the other day in a stationary bicycle machine. I’m doing anything and everything that the wonderful staff here at Kessler tells me to do. I have yet to miss a therapy session and listening to my great pair of physical therapists, namely Marissa (mornings) and Ivana (afternoons), and what they’re telling me to do.

I again am amazed at the strength and dedication of the fellow patients here, most of whom have conditions that are far worse than mine. There’s a woman, a quadriplegic, who is full of life and energy. She moves her body to the music that plays and talks of the days when she ran marathons and did triathlons. On Friday, with the assistance of three therapists, she took her first steps since her arrival. Her face beamed like a child on Christmas morning. I applauded as she took her steps.

I have a new roommate and ironically, he’s a Hudson County guy as well. Jeff is from Bayonne and until recently, he was an English teacher at Bayonne High School. A few months ago, Jeff lost use of his legs, almost like me, and couldn’t walk. He’s been back and forth from Bayonne Hospital to Kessler three times since August and is having a real tough time.

I cannot applaud the people of Kessler more, none more than rehabilitation assistant Harold Shaw, who is an absolute gift from God. Harold takes the time to make sure I have what I need. He has to watch while I shower just so I don’t fall. He provides towels, dry floors, clean sheets and more importantly, support. He’s a huge sports fan who somehow has four favorite NFL teams, the Steelers, the Packers, the Texans and the Raiders. He thinks that it’s good to root for four teams. I have a tough time with just the Rams.

So Harold has taken a special liking to me because he knows I’m a sportswriter and wants to spend time talking sports. Friday night, we went through the entire NFL schedule and picked our games, like we were doing Kessler’s version of “Inside the NFL.”

You cannot put a price tag on what Harold has provided for me during my stay here. I don’t know what I would have done without him.

So I’m getting better. There’s still no timetable for my release or when I can get back to my normal routine. But I am improving and that’s a good sign, thanks to the wonderful people of Kessler.


Now, back to the sports world.

It’s absolutely mind boggling that Rutgers is in the headlines once again for another imbecilic incident. You would have thought by now, with all that has transpired over the last two years, that the people on the banks of the old Raritan would have gotten it all down pat.

Yeah, right.

There are reports now of Rutgers assistant football coach and defensive coordinator Dave Cohen verbally abusing, threatening and “bullying” former player Jevon Tyree to the point where Tyree eventually quit the team. Cohen apparently called Tyree homophobic slurs, spit in his face and berated him time and time again.

When Tyree’s family brought the incident to the attention of head football coach Kyle Flood, he assured the family that the incident would be taken care of. The family also wanted to speak with beleaguered athletic director Julie Hermann about the incident.

Saturday, Rutgers released a statement which said that the athletic department was aware of the incident. Here’s the statement:

The situation between Jevon Tyree and Dave Cohen took place in the spring and was dealt with immediately.

Cohen apologized the following day for his participation in the escalation of banter, which resulted in the use of inappropriate language. Kyle Flood reprimanded Cohen and addressed the situation immediately with the entire coaching staff.

This was an isolated incident. At no time was there any threat of physical violence, which was verified by an academic counselor, who was present in the room.

Six months later, Tyree’s father contacted Director of Athletics Julie Hermann to discuss Jevon’s role on the team and how coaching decisions were made. During the conversation with Hermann, Tyree’s father reintroduced the March situation.

Since the situation occurred prior to Hermann’s arrival, she immediately contacted Flood, who apprised her of the situation and how it was addressed.

To be sure, Flood initiated an additional meeting with Tyree and his parents to address their concerns and his future with the team. The following morning, September 17, Tyree informed Flood of his intention to remain with the program.

Hermann spoke to Tyree’s father following the meeting with Flood and confirmed that the matter was resolved to his satisfaction.

There’s only one problem. Tyree’s father told reporter Dan Duggan that he never spoke to Hermann. Ever. He called the statement, “insane.”

“I never talked to her. That is insane,” Tyree’s father  told “My mother has passed and I would put my hand on a stack of Bibles in her goodness. That’s ridiculous that she would even say that. That’s scary.”

So who do we believe? The father of a disgruntled player or the embattled AD, who has lied several times in the past, about that fateful wedding video, about the letter written by her former players at Tennessee and then the claims of athletes being abused at Louisville and Hermann turning a blind eye?

Incredibly, my friend, Star-Ledger columnist Steve Politi found Hermann yesterday, asked her a series of questions about the Tyree-Cohen incident and how the school handled it.

Well, Hermann danced around Politi’s questions better than Ginger Rogers and Kirstie Alley. She actually went as far as to say that she actually spoke to “somebody.”

 “Yeah. Somebody – if it’s not him, who calls me and informs me of it?” Hermann told Politi. “Otherwise I wouldn’t know about it. So I’m not trying to call – I’m not trying to use big words like the words he’s using, but I’m informed by him, to my knowledge. If it’s not him, who’s calling me?"

Excuse me??? You have no idea who you’re talking to? This Hermann woman has now swung and missed for the third time. Strike three and you’re out. Well, that’s the case in baseball, but certainly not at Rutgers.

Rutgers also said that Cohen apologized to Tyree the day after the incident took place. However, the family doesn’t say anything about an apology.

There’s no question that the allegations are enough to have Cohen removed as an assistant coach. Hell, the performance of his team’s defense is enough to get him canned. The 52-17 loss to Cincinnati Saturday is proof. The Scarlet Knights were not competitive at all defensively. It also was a case where the Scarlet Knights appeared to quit, which is not a good sign at all.

I am a huge fan of Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood and have been since he was promoted to head coach. I want him to succeed more than any other coach in New Jersey. Flood is a great man, a knowledgeable football man. If given the opportunity, I know Flood would do an incredible job.

But it’s not a good sign when your team is not competitive. They were not competitive against Houston and weren’t competitive against Cincy on Saturday. Maybe the Scarlet Knights can find some internal moxie and mettle to improve and play better over the next few weeks. If not, Flood could lose his job as well.

Hey, Greg Schiano appears headed for the door in Tampa Bay. Maybe this mess called Rutgers would want to bring back that true bastion of truth. Because after all, it’s proven that the athletic boss certainly doesn’t know what the truth means.

You can read more of my work at,, and

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A different perspective on life

As you may or may not know, my physical condition has deteriorated enough that I’ve been sent to the Kessler Rehabilitation Institute in West Orange. I have no idea how long this will be my temporary place of residence. Doctors have not given me a timetable, other than that I will eventually recover and hopefully, as God is willing, that I will walk again. Maybe I might even walk out of Kessler.

But it is good that I’m finally getting the medical treatment that I so desperately needed. I have fallen too many times to count. The last time was last Monday, when I toppled over in my driveway en route to physical therapy, landing on my bad knee and ankle and hitting my head on the macadam.

That was the last straw. I could not live at home in that condition. I couldn’t continue to struggle with a walker with the hope that I would eventually get better. Coming to Kessler was the last straw.

I figured it was a great institution _ perhaps the best rehab/healing hospital in the area. If it was good enough to treat Christopher Reeve and my man Eric Legrand, then it had to be good enough for me _ and I’m not even close to being in the same condition that they were when they came to Kessler.

What has transpired since has been nothing short of amazing. First, the medical staff and physical therapy staff here are amazing, caring, tough-as-nails, considerate and helpful people.

I may have been poked, prodded and pushed every way known to man, but I know that it’s all for my betterment and eventual recovery. Already, in just four days, I’ve seen signs that I’m getting better. My right leg, almost useless upon my arrival, is moving better. I’m doing leg raises and lifts. I’m walking with the walker almost 500 yards a day.

I was told that I had to be able to push myself in order to recover. I didn’t need to hear that message twice. I was going to do whatever they said _ and then some.

There’s been a huge range of emotions since I started having leg issues and subsequently falling. I had to give up several of my work assignments.

Now, that was a very emotional setback. As anyone who knows me can attest, I love my work. After 32 years, I never once dread the idea of having to do my work in whatever capacity it may have been. Whether it was covering the World Series or the Super Bowl or then covering Little League, I always go at it with the same fervor and excitement.

My friend Mike Moretti once called me “the hardest working sportswriter in New Jersey.” I tend to think of it as being the most fortunate, because I kept getting assignments and worked for about 12 different organizations. I have said that I had more jobs than a Jamaican.

But never did I feel like I was working. I always called it a “poor paying hobby,” because I love the idea that I actually get paid covering sporting events and writing about them.

So when I made the grueling decision that I had to give up working and stop covering events in late September, it took a lot of out me. It triggered a roller coaster of emotions that still exists. I find myself crying for no reason. It has nothing to do with finances _ although I do like to get paid. It’s the camaraderie I felt with my colleagues while covering events. It’s the closeness I’ve felt with coaches and athletes.

Perhaps the biggest gift I’ve received over the years in being a sportswriter is the countless friendships and relationships that I’ve formed. I can’t even begin to count the number. I know it was evident the other day, when I received 325 get well messages on Facebook. None of that exists without choosing my profession, being the big guy with the pen-stained pants and notebook coming toward coaches and athletes, asking questions.

Sure, there have been times I’ve angered people, but it was all part of the job. But most of the time, I am gladly accepted and appreciated _ and that is a gift. Most of the coaches and athletes I’ve covered have become friends, some of which are lasting. Again, a gift.

So I miss that more than anything, other than being at home.

But while I’m here, I’m gathering so much inspiration from my fellow patients, again most of whom are in far worse condition than me.

I got to meet the wonderful Dave Carver, who for years was the coordinator of the softball program in the borough of Madison. Carver ran the program, soup to nuts, and even coached for many years. He beamed with pride that he once coached Oscar-winning actress Anne Hathaway when she was 10 years old.

Dave suffered a serious fall a few months ago, severing his spinal column. He was told that he was going to be a quadriplegic. But Dave has been here for 12 weeks, pushing himself to the limit. He’s working hard in his therapy every single day. He’s now using his hands and lifting his legs a little. And Tuesday, he’s going home after being here for three months. No question, he’s an inspiration to me.

My roommate is Pete Torres. Pete was an active member of the United States Coast Guard. Three months ago, Pete came home from work, laid down on his couch with a beer and couldn’t get up. His son had to carry him to the hospital.

Pete found out that he has a mass on his spine that is being reduced with radiation. He still cannot walk, but he’s also pushing himself and he’s set to go home to a personal physical therapist Monday.

Pete is also an inspiration to me. So is the elderly man whose wife suffered a massive stroke and he’s here every single day to guide her through her therapy. There’s a strapping former athlete named Gene who fell out of a tree deer hunting, landing on his back and he’s now paralyzed from the waist down. Another young man Devin from Paterson was shot in the spine and he’s also paralyzed.

But they all work hard every single day and they all serve as motivation to me to get better and to come home. If I’m fortunate, I’ll get my life back. I’ll be somewhat as active as I was a few months ago, going to games and practices.

For now, I’m here at Kessler. This is my home. I don’t know how long, but it’s home. I’ll be here with the other patients, all hoping and praying for a miracle, a dream.

As it stands now, I couldn’t ask for a better place to call home.


Now, as for the sports world, I’ve had enough of this Richie Incognito –Jonathan Martin crap. I cannot comprehend that Martin is being made to look like a villain while Incognito, a piece of trash since his days in high school, is being defended by his teammates.

Bottom line is this: No one should be forced into paying a $15,000 tab for an event he wasn’t even attending. I don’t care about the rituals of the football locker room. That is garbage. If Martin doesn’t want to pay, he shouldn’t pay, even if it was for a pizza and a case of beer.

Incognito was a bad apple during his days with the Rams and was cut because of his attitude, not his play on the field. Same goes for his brief stay in Buffalo. He’s been known as a dirty player and now it’s proven that he’s an a-hole.

But anyone who defends his actions because it is “all part of a football locker room” is complete garbage. How about the Dolphins calling Incognito “an honorary black man.” Say what? That has to anger anyone of color.

Incognito has played himself out of a job and it’s doubtful any other team will give him a chance to play again. He’ll be working in a Home Depot in two years and more than likely dead in five.

Maybe I have to eat my words about the Nets’ trade to get Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, because the two legendary performers and sure-fire Hall of Famers haven’t exactly played like anything but old men for Jason Kidd’s Brooklyn Nets.

The other night, the Nets lost to Washington in a game where Pierce and Garnett both scored four points. Ouch.

Have to hope they can turn it around, but at 2-4, the Nets are not exactly world beaters.

The NCAA’s decision to have basketball referees call hand check fouls on every single possession was a complete mistake, never more evidenced by the 73 fouls called at the Seton Hall-Niagara game Saturday night, a game that took almost two and a half hours to play.

The game’s leading scorer, Sterling Gibbs, had 23 points _ 17 of which came from the free throw line. Gibbs is the former Seton Hall Prep standout who spent one year at Texas before transferring back home.

This idea cannot continue, because the sport will lose fans by the droves. No one wants to watch a free throw shooting contest.

You can read more of my work at, and

Friday, October 25, 2013

Memories of the Amazin', WNEW-FM and St. Peter's College

There were two news items that occurred in a span of 48 hours this week that brought back some incredible memories of my days as the Sports Information Director at St. Peter's College.

From 1986 through 1990, I worked at SPC as a statistician, public relations person, conduit to the athletes, you name it. I did everything, bleeding Peacock blue.

Part of my job was to try to promote our athletic teams, most prominently the men's basketball team, which was pretty good back then. We would challenge for top honors in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference every year, thanks to the brilliance of head coach Ted Fiore and the hard work and diligence of the constantly overachieving players.

So I would do practically anything and everything to get publicity for the Peacocks.

One of those instances took place in 1989, when I called WFAN to see if I could get a spot for Fiore to be interviewed. The producers agreed to put Fiore on with Bill Mazer, who died Wednesday at the age of 92.

Mazer earned the nickname as "The Amazin'" for his impeccable ability to know sports trivia answers off the cuff. Mazer was the sports anchor on Channel 5 for more than 20 years and began every broadcast with a trivia question asked by news anchor John Roland.

Mazer was also the host of "Sports Extra," which was the first show of its kind, on every Sunday night at 10:30 p.m. reviewing the events of the previous week with Lee Leonard, John Dockery and my good friend Jerry Izenberg. It was a great show, one that I couldn't wait to watch every Sunday, a great lead in to my fanaticism for Monty Python's Flying Circus, which also made my Sunday nights wonderful.

Anyway, I get the producers at WFAN to give Fiore a slot. Mazer did his show at Mickey Mantle's Restaurant near Central Park, so I had to take Fiore to Mickey Mantle's. We left SPC with what I thought was enough time, but of course, we hit rush hour traffic and it looked as if we were not going to get there on time.

We finally get to Mickey Mantle's around 9:50, 10 minutes before Mazer was set to go on the air. I told Fiore to go inside, to tell the producers he was there and I would take care of parking the car.

So I found a parking spot on the street that I thought was fine. I put four quarters in the meter and went inside.

As Fiore is sitting with Mazer, I looked out the window to see a tow truck taking the car away.

Fiore looks at me and notices that I was upset. He mouths to me, "What's wrong?" I mouthed back, "The car was towed."

Fiore thought I said that the car was totaled. So now he was upset. He became more angry when Mazer didn't ask him many questions about his team. He wanted to talk about Jersey City, about Bobby Hurley, about St. Anthony, about the old Jersey City Armory and Calvin Murphy, but not much about the Peacocks.

When Fiore is done with his 20 minutes of fame, he comes over to me and I then let him know that the car was fine, but it was in a municipal lot clear across town. We get in a cab, go get the car and paid an incredible fine. All in the course of getting positive publicity for the Peacocks. It was a substantial hit, especially for someone making $17,500 a year.

But the incident certainly was good for a few laughs back then at my expense _ literally _ and remained a good memory for the years I spent with Fiore and St. Peter's.

There's another memory about my days at SPC that came about after the news of the week, about the horrific arrest of former WNEW-FM disc jockey Dave Herman.

Herman was arrested Thursday and charged with attempting to arrange a sexual encounter with an apparent 7-year-old girl in St. Croix. Herman apparently was part of a sting operation conducted by Bergen County Prosecutor's investigators. There was no actual little girl, rather a detective posing as the girl on the Internet.

Herman wanted to arrange a sexual meeting with the child,  because he "found girls that age incredibly sexy." It's an awful, horrific story, a sick tale.

Anyway, Herman's arrest made me remember another attempt to bring positive publicity for the men's basketball team.

In 1988, I was a contestant on a sports trivia television game show called "Grandstand." The host of the show was Curt Chaplin, who also did the sports on Herman's "Rock and Roll Morning Show" on WNEW-FM.

I got to talk to Chaplin before the taping and he asked what I did for a living. I said I was the Sports Information Director at St. Peter's and he found it fascinating.

After getting destroyed on the game show _ I finished second and won a television and a boom box _ I maintained a relationship with Chaplin. He told me that he wanted to adopt the Peacocks as the college basketball team of the "Rock and Roll Morning Show."

Every day, Chaplin gave updates on how well the Peacocks were doing. He would end his report with "Gotta love those Peacocks." And Herman would echo that saying every day.

Chaplin, who now is the interviewer of the plaintiffs and defendants on "The People's Court," came to SPC and was an honorary assistant coach one game against Holy Cross. The game that Chaplin attended was one of the most thrilling games ever at Yanitelli Center, an overtime win that saw point guard and Jersey City native Jasper Walker set a MAAC record (and third all-time in NCAA history) with 20 assists.

After that game, Chaplin invited Fiore and team captain Willie Haynes (who unfortunately has now passed away after a battle with cancer) to visit the WNEW-FM studios and appear live on air with Chaplin and Herman right before the Peacocks were going to face MAAC rival LaSalle.

It was a fun appearance and brought more attention to our program.

Herman's arrest and Mazer's death brought those memories back, reliving a wonderful time in my life and my career. Nothing will ever diminish the time I spent working at SPC, being with the great athletes, the great coaches and the great people.


I had a phone conversation today with New York Post columnist Phil Mushnick about my recent blog about Adrian Peterson. Needless to say, the conversation became very heated. Let's say we agreed to disagree about practically everything.

But I give Mushnick credit. After reading the blog, he wrote an e-mail to me and told me to call him, which I did. He told me that I was wrong several times, especially saying that he didn't know much about Jersey City.

Mushnick said that his wife is from Jersey City, that he lived in Jersey City for a few years and that he had been to Jersey City, including covering St. Peter's games when Ted Fiore was the coach.

He said he didn't remember me, even though I was the SID at the time. Maybe I wasn't. Maybe he went there when my successor Tim Camp was the SID.

In any case, I was wrong to write that Mushnick didn't know Jersey City. I admitted to him that I was wrong to write that and I'm apologizing here now.

As for my stance about what he wrote then and recently, no, I won't change my opinion there. He then said the truest words.

"Jim, you're as stubborn as I am," Mushnick said.

Yes, I am. No doubting that. Stubborn is one of my born traits.

In any case, I give him a lot of credit for reaching out to contact me. It shows that Mushnick is not afraid of confrontation and it proves that people do indeed read this blog.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are now 0-7 and there are articles and columns from writers from all over the country calling for the head of coach Greg Schiano, the former Rutgers coach.

There are billboards calling for his firing. There was a rhythmic chant from fans, singing "Fire Schiano."

Most people who know me know that I was never a fan of Schiano when he was the coach at Rutgers. He lied to me several times about kids he was recruiting, especially local kids that I had a relationship with.

Schiano lied to me at least five times, so that put him on my doo-doo list. One time, I had a heated confrontation with him about lying to me and lying to kids.

Now it looks as if his pro coaching career is coming to an end. I can't say that I'm shedding any tears.


As for the World Series, I have two words: "Go Cardinals."


You can read more of my work at,, and

There's no change in my physical condition, so I am out of commission for covering events for an undetermined amount of time. I thank all of those who have sent get well wishes and positive greetings. Believe me, it means a lot, especially at a time now where I am truly missing my usual routine.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mushnick gone way overboard

There's no question that New York Post sports columnist (or drivel contributor, as I'd prefer to call it) Phil Mushnick has angered me to no end about things he's spewed on the wasted space of the Post.

I am not one to just simply write off the Post as being a bad newspaper. I have good friends like Mike Vaccaro, Fred Kerber, George King, George Willis, Mark Cannizzaro and Dave Satriano who do a great job writing and reporting for the Post. They are all excellent journalists and credits to the craft.

But Mushnick is an embarrassment to journalists everywhere. He constantly spews venom, crap that makes absolutely no sense.

A few years ago, he ripped Jersey City and St. Peter's College's Yanitelli Center as being in a crime-ridden area and that it was unsafe to hold high school basketball games there at night. I wrote an e-mail to him, criticizing that column and he admitted to me that he had never been there! How could have he written such a scathing picture of Jersey City and especially Yanitelli if he had never even been there? It blew me away.

Anyway, Monday morning, Post readers of Mushnick got the chance to glance upon these pearls of journalistic wisdom, thrown at Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, just a few days after it was learned that Peterson's 2-year-old son was murdered by the man who was involved with the child's mother.

Ready for this? It's beyond sickening.
We in the media — especially those working event broadcasts — have a horrible habit of blindly or wishfully reporting great achievers are additionally blessed: They’re great humans.
Among many others, we did it with Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong. Last year, we began to do it with Adrian Peterson, before, and then after, he was selected the NFL’s MVP. With every big game — 2,037 running yards worth — the media bloated his profile: There runs Superman, a super guy, too.
“We talked with him after practice, and let me tell you this and that about Adrian Peterson.” “Adrian Peterson still finds time to do charity work in the Twin Cities area.” Blah, blah and blah. Good equals goodness.
Thus it was unsurprising Peterson’s downside went ignored. In 2009, he was busted for driving 109 mph in a 55 mph zone. He dismissed that as no big deal, which was doubly disturbing — his older, full brother was killed by a reckless driver.
Last summer, Peterson was in a club when he and friends were informed that it was closing time, past 2 a.m. Apparently, Peterson and pals felt they would decide when it was time to close. The police report noted three cops were needed to subdue Peterson.
He spent the rest of the night in jail, arrested for resisting arrest (a charge that was later dismissed).
Of course, we all have to operate from are our own set of values, our personal sense of right from wrong. Perhaps, given current standards among NFL players — mostly college men, no less — Peterson qualifies as a man of good character.
Still, I’m stuck with what I’ve got. And it’s sickening the NFL’s latest MVP, hours after his son died — allegedly murdered — declared he was “ready to roll,” ready to play football.
Me? I’d be fighting for breath, my knees weak with grief, demanding to know why, who, how. Then, I suspect, I’d seethe with rage, swearing retribution. I even think I’d take off a day or two from work. Maybe a week.
The suspect in the beating murder of Peterson’s 2-year-old is the boyfriend of Peterson’s “baby mama” — now the casual, flippant, detestable and common buzz-phrase for absentee, wham-bam fatherhood.
The accused, Joseph Patterson, previously was hit with domestic assault and abuse charges.
With his resources, how could Peterson, the NFL’s MVP, have allowed his son to remain in such an environment? Did he not know, or not care? Or not care to know? Or not know to care?
Peterson couldn’t have provided his son a better life, a longer life?
Money can’t buy love, but having signed a $96 million deal, he could not have provided his child — apparently his second from a “baby mama” — a safe home?
But given Peterson’s father did hard time for drug money laundering maybe we’re both stuck with the values in which we were born, raised.
On Friday, Peterson said he was “focused” on football. On Sunday, he played. But it’s not as if murder doesn’t now regularly afflict the NFL.
Maybe Peterson’s son is just one more stands-to-reason murder victim, just another child born to just another “baby mama,” one more kid who never had a shot, anyway. Maybe, by now, even if we can’t accept it, we can expect it.
Now, is that sickening or what? How in the world could the Post allow such hurtful and venemous words ever to appear on its pages? The man should be allowed to grieve in his own way. Has anyone seen the pictures of Peterson with his son at training camp in August, kissing the little boy and putting his helmet on the child's head, giving him a football? Those photos are priceless and now rip any good soul's heart out.

That is, any good soul except Phil Mushnick. He chooses to bring up Peterson's past indiscretions _ and those of Peterson's father! _ in a mean spirited pile of shiite written just three days after the child's senseless death.

And then he's throwing around the term "baby mama." Excuse me. If that isn't racist, I don't know what is.

This was clearly the most sickening sports column I've ever read. I'm embarrassed for my friends that work there at the Post. Words can't begin to describe the anger I have for this conglomeration of excrement.


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Friday, October 11, 2013

A return from the missing in action

Incredibly, it had been since late August that I had written on my blog. I am so embarrassed and upset by that fact.

I have legitimate excuses. At that time, I was totally buried by high school football previews. This marked the 32nd year that I had to focus on heights, weights, years and positions, about high expectations, raising the bar, taking it one day at a time, respecting the opponents and playing within the means. I had to write 44 such previews for three different newspapers. It was definitely time consuming and mind erasing, if you know what I mean.

But if you ask me a question about Hudson, Essex, Bergen and Morris County football, I should have an answer with all the preseason research I did.

Soon after, the season began and wouldn't you know, I got sick. I'm battling a rare form of diabetic neuropathy that has attacked my legs. Since late June, I've fallen a total of 20 times. I've done more pratfalls than Dick Van Dyke. I've done headers at Red Bull Arena, the Prudential Center and a high school football game, where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was on call to get me off the ground. It's been embarrassing, frustrating and upsetting, all at the same time.

The inability to walk right now has forced me to give up some of my jobs temporarily. I used to joke that I had more jobs than a Jamaican, that I had about 12 different payrolls that I was under. Well, for now, that number has been sliced tremendously.

So those are the reasons why I've been away from blog writing for the last two months. I had to worry about getting the work done for organizations who pay me _ and then I had to deal with my ridiculous inability to stay on my feet.

So here goes, my first attempt at blogging since August.

I know Giants fans are upset that they're 0-6 _ and rightly so. No one could have ever dreamed that Big Blue could be so bad. I know I certainly didn't, even though there was some concern going into the season about their linebackers and the health of their secondary.

I certainly didn't expect Eli Manning to become such a giving soul, turning the ball over to the opponents so many times. Throwing 15 interceptions in the first six games is inexcusable and downright putrid.

But you can't pin the Giants' poor record just on Eli. Sure, he's been awful, but it's not all his fault.

Before last night, when Brandon Jacobs showed us a flashback to 2007, the Giants had no rushing attack at all. David Wilson did not perform as expected and did that silly backflip when he finally scored. If he hurt his neck doing that routine, he should surrender the rest of his salary.

The Giants' offensive line was put together with postage stamps and hinges. Jerry Reese gambled and thought that Will Beatty was the lineman of the future, so Reese gave him a huge contract. Beatty has been dreadful. The entire line couldn't block the Olsen twins. They let Eli get hit time and time again and then now he's gunshy and throwing the ball too soon. There's not enough time for Eli to throw like he used to.

Defensively, the Giants' strength when they won the two Super Bowls was their defensive line, with Justin Tuck and JPP getting sack after sack. Well, where are they now? Tuck is too busy eating Subway sandwiches and JPP is a shell of his former self after back surgery.

So there's a lot of blame to throw around. It's not just Eli.


Talk about bad quarterback play. How much longer can Rutgers allow Gary Nova to be their signal caller?
I have never seen anyone misfire as much as Nova does, throwing to the other team, overthrowing receivers on simple out patterns by 20 yards, hitting the mascot and cheerleaders instead.

The Scarlet Knights had a chance to beat Louisville last night. The nationally ranked Cardinals were trying their best to give the game to Rutgers with fumbles and miscues on field goals. What happens? Nova turns it right back over with an interception, four in all.

And how does Nova handle it? "My's on's my fault."

Yeah, no kidding. The Scarlet Knights will not be a national power with Nova as the quarterback. It's impossible to get that bad of play from your quarterback and expect to be a contender.

Speaking of Rutgers, there's another case of abuse that took place at Louisville under Julie Hermann's watch and the school is doing nothing to question their already embattled athletic director.

The powers-that-be at Rutgers maintain that the case with the Louisville women's lacrosse team in 2012 is a "matter that Louisville must handle and has nothing to do with Rutgers."

But it does have something to do with Rutgers, considering the woman you chose to be your new AD was in charge when these latest cases of abuse took place. Obviously, Hermann turned a blind eye to the abuse being done by the Louisville women's lacrosse coach. Sorry, but Rutgers has do to something to investigate that situation and not blow it off because it didn't happen at Rutgers.

With all the bad publicity the school has received in recent months, they had to at least look into the allegations.

My beloved Mets honored Mike Piazza on his induction to the Mets' Hall of Fame. It was a nice ceremony and it was nice to see Piazza at CitiField with his former teammates Edgardo Alfonso and John Franco. It was also touching to see Piazza recognize his father, Vince, who has been in ill health recently.

However, the Mets really flubbed the day _ as usual _ by choosing not to retire Piazza's No. 31 jersey. Here's the best positional player in the team's history, the man who helped give the franchise credibility again, and they don't honor him permanently? That's just ridiculous.

You can read more of my stuff at,, and I'm going to try to continue to work through my illness, thank God.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The absurdity of the ''Johnny Football'' lynch mob

Let's face it. When you win the Heisman Trophy, the title stays with you even after you die. The obituary will read, "Heisman Trophy winner Joe Blow died today. He was 91."

When you receive that heavy conglomeration of granite and pewter, it's yours forever. Some flourish after winning the Heisman, like Roger Staubach, Barry Sanders and Earl Campbell, all the way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Others, like Gino Torretta, Eric Crouch and Shawn White, have not.

So when Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to ever win the Heisman last year, it was his forever. And it made everyone wonder if Manziel could win two, like Archie Griffin did in the 1970s for Ohio State,
or who knows, maybe even three.

But the Texas A&M wonder, affectionately known for his catchy nickname of "Johnny Football," has certainly been the center of attention ever since he won the Heisman last December.

Oh, look there's Johnny Football with great seats for a Houston Rockets game. How did he afford those tickets? Look, now he's in the elite crowd at the Staples Center for a Lakers game. How'd he get there?

Then, Manziel goes to the Manning family passing camp in June and has a few too many beers one night and ends up in New Orleans on Bourbon Street. That earned him an expulsion from the camp and made everyone who watches ESPN as religiously as I watch Law and Order cringe in disgust.

How could Johnny Football do that? To the Manning family no less.

Now, good old Johnny Football is in another mess. He apparently has signed his name about 36,000 times and has received umpteen dollars for doing so.

In the eyes of the almighty and totally hypocritical NCAA, that's a no-no. A student-athlete should not receive any money for selling autographs or memorabilia. You could lose your precious amateur status and receive a bad boy hand slap from the precious NCAA.

So that's what Manziel has to deal with these days. Again, the spotlight shines bright on Johnny Football and not in a positive way and certainly not on a football field.

Here's the one thing that is getting lost in all of this Manziel madness. He's a kid. He's only 20 years old. Do you remember when you were 20? Were you doing whacky things like getting drunk and going on a road trip? I know I certainly did. I did some insane and crazy things drunk in college.

So what's the big deal if he got drunk? OK, he's underage. There aren't millions of other kids his age downing brews and doing something silly? Of course there are.

And as for the hypocritical NCAA, Manziel should be able to profit off his Heisman Trophy. After all, the NCAA has tried to profit off Manziel's popularity.

Until last week, the NCAA had on its website the chance to buy a maroon and white football jersey (Texas A&M's colors) with the No. 2 on it (Manziel's number) and the name FOOTBALL on the back. All for the tidy sum of $89.99.

OK, the jersey doesn't say Manziel, but we all know what the intent was.

So the NCAA is now launching an investigation into whether Manziel profited from his autograph and there are at least seven memorabilia collectors who have now come forward to say that they paid Johnny Football hundreds for signing helmets, jerseys and footballs.

I say two words: "Big deal."

Let him be. He's a kid. He's not hurting the integrity of anything by signing his name. He's not a bad kid. He hasn't done anything illegal. He hasn't gotten arrested for DUI, hasn't displayed a handgun and is not doing drugs.

But sure enough, Manziel has been under scrutiny every single day since he won that blasted award.

Let's face more facts. If he wasn't the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, would anyone care what he did?

I just wrote nearly 800 words without mentioning A-Rod. I should have my library card revoked...

I'm currently at the Mexico-Ivory Coast soccer game at MetLife Stadium. I know, too much excitement for words. But anyway, it's like watching the Monty Python matchup of the British gynecologists against the Long John Silver impersonators. If you're not a Python fan, you won't get that reference.

But Mexico is going up and down the field, much to the delight of their fans, who keep singing the old "Frito Bandito" song from the commercials over and over. OK, I know it's been the Mexicans rally cry long before it was the jingle for a corn chip.

It's days like today why I get paid the big bucks. Just wait until I have to go get quotes in the mixed zone, my very favorite aspect of international soccer, especially when I don't speak Spanish...

Geno Smith threw four interceptions in practice today? Four? He's fitting right into the Jets' offense...

Jonathan Hilliman of St. Peter's Prep, my alma mater, will make his college football decision known tomorrow. The speedy Hilliman has narrowed his choices to Ohio State and Rutgers. Oh, to be young again and have the world eating out of your hand. Every high school football player should have such a tough choice.

One thing is for sure: Kyle Flood has been an absolute breath of fresh air since he took over for that used car salesman liar who now coaches the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Flood has returned class and dignity to the head coaching ranks on the banks of the old Raritan. Every high school football player should aspire to play for someone such as Flood. He's an absolute joy and gives me respect by calling me "Mr. Hudson County." I like the way that sounds.

You can read more of my work at, and

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Not exactly Hudson County's finest

When one county in New Jersey, like Hudson County, is fortunate enough to have three talented athletes make it all the way to the National Football League, it should be a reason for pride. Stick out your chest a little, give a profound punch to the heart, stroke your own tailfeathers.

It's not everyday that three athletes who played high school football in the same county get a chance to play in the NFL.

So when athletes like Kenny Britt, Evan Rodriguez and Will Hill somehow manage to make NFL rosters, we should all be beaming with pride.

Yeah, right.

Could there be three worse examples of what to do with the possibility of an NFL career than these three? Do we even want to say that there's a sense of pride when it involves these three. Frankly, all three have been more of an embarrassment than anything.

It has nothing to do with their athletic ability. All three have been impeccable athletes.

But it's what they've done off the field that is frankly appalling _ and for some reason, not taken to task.

Britt, the former Bayonne High great who went from Rutgers to the Tennessee Titans, has been arrested a total of seven times during his brief NFL career. That's right, seven _ ranging from driving without a valid driver's license to creating a public nuisance.

In July of 2012, he was arrested and charged with DUI for trying to break through a security gate at the Fort Campbell Army base in Kentucky. In June of 2011, Britt was arrested for making false statements on his driver's license. That same month, he was arrested in Hoboken on two counts of resisting arrest, allegedly trying to conceal a marijuana blunt from Hoboken police. In March of 2011, Britt was arrested in Bayonne for his involvement in a car chase with police. He pleaded guilty to careless driving in the case and was fined.

In February of 2011, Britt was arrested for theft by deception, for failing to live up to a pledge to pay bail on a friend who was arrested for attempted murder. He also had an arrest in Tennessee in 2010 for driving with a revoked driver's license and that same year, he had three outstanding warrants for his arrest for failing to pay three motor vehicle violations in Glen Ridge.

And earlier this year, Britt was believed to be at a Jersey City party where a patron was shot. Britt was asked to appear in front of the Hudson County Prosecutor's office to give a sworn statement as to what transpired at that party, but Britt refused to cooperate.

Rodriguez, the former Chicago Bears tight end, had two incidents this year involving police in Miami and Chicago. In March, Rodriguez, the former North Bergen standout, was charged with public intoxication and resisting an officer, but those charges were dropped. In May, Rodriguez was arrested and charged with driving under the influence and making an improper lane change. That arrest sealed his fate with the Bears and he was released, but has since been signed by the Miami Dolphins.

Rodriguez had a checkered past with North Bergen police while still in high school. He was involved in a brawl in West New York where a teenager was stabbed and believed to be involved with a ring of teenagers that went around town stealing cars. While a student at West Virginia, Rodriguez had an incident with a resident advisor outside of a dormitory, forcing Rodriguez's transfer to Temple.

Hill, who was perhaps the greatest high school football player in Hudson County history, began his controversial career by failing to sign his national letter of intent to Florida at his alma mater St. Peter's Prep, signing it instead at a local sports training facility for a fee. He then had a series of suspensions at Florida and was part of a heralded website, where Hill bragged about smoking marijuana and having sex with a host of different women.

Hill, who has fathered three children with two different women, then went undrafted in the NFL Draft, eventually signing a free agent contract with the New York Giants. He made the Giants roster last year, but was suspended four games for violating the NFL's drug policy. At the time, Hill said that he used the banned substance Adderall, an amphetamine used mostly to control children with epilepsy and attention defecit problems.

Now Hill has been suspended again, set to miss the first four games of the 2013, for using a banned substance once again. It has not been revealed the type of banned drug Hill used this time.

He remains on the Giants' roster, but who knows what will happen once training camp begins.

It makes you wonder. What in the world are these guys thinking, willing to throw away a precious pro football career that so few get a chance to achieve? What are they thinking?

It's one thing to make one mistake. That's considered a mishap, a slip-up. Everyone is bound to make a mistake.

But in these three guys' cases, these are repeated instances. These are not mistakes. This is a habit. It's become a ritual.

What will it take for Britt to stay out of trouble? He's already been suspended by the NFL once last year, yet he ends up at a party with people with guns? If I were Britt, I'd stay so far away from guns and trouble so I can continue to collect my $1.3 million salary.

Rodriguez had a four-year deal with the Chicago Bears. He had a promising future there, but obviously, the Bears had no tolerance, because they set him free. Most NFL teams don't cut fourth-round draft picks unless there's a good reason. It's an embarrasment to the Bears for taking the risk to draft Rodriguez in the fourth round and a year later, having to cut him for his off-the-field behavior.

He's now getting another second chance in a lifetime of second chances with the Dolphins, but I can imagine how tight the ropes must be around Rodriguez in Miami. Because if he makes another mistake, his career is totally history.

What happens to Hill is anyone's guess. Can the Giants, with six safeties in camp as training camp begins this weekend, afford to wait for Hill to play out his second four-game drug suspension in less than a year? It was hard for Hill to make the Giants' roster last year. Chances are there's a hungry rookie safety just waiting to jump into Hill's locker.

Three Hudson County football stars, all given the chance of a lifetime by playing in the NFL. All three of them have now managed to diminish their star value with their infantile behavior off the field. It's mind boggling to think how they've all jeopardized such a good thing.

At the very least, they have had to have embarrassed themselves for their behavior. Or perhaps they don't realize how embarrassing it is _ until the NFL stops sending them paychecks, which could happen sooner than later.

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