By Chris Pennant (@kwandarykitten)
There’s a lot of noise in this time of 24-hour news and even the most insignificant sports tidbit gets at least five minutes of airtime before fading into memory.
Most of these news bits really aren’t deserving of such over-analysis and can be easily distilled into two categories: trash or not trash. It’s difficult for a regular person to find the time to distill, but have no fear, I’ve taken it upon myself to do it for you. Here’s the latest edition of “Trash or Not Trash.”
TRASH — Robert Kraft’s (Un)Happy Ending
Years ago — when our worst political fears were Ron Paul and Mitt Romney — Boondocks Bootleg, the long missed online creative outlet of “The Boondocks” television producer Carl Jones, released a promo video for the third season of the Boondocks, parodying the recent Tiger Woods scandal.
The key phrase in that 30 seconds of hilarity is “you’ve got too much bread to be sloppy like that.” If Tiger had too much bread then, Robert Kraft definitely has no excuses. Kraft, who is worth $6.6 billion according to Forbes, decided to celebrate yet another AFC Championship by flying to Florida and getting domed up at a massage parlor.
(In Stone Cold voice) What? A massage parlor. What? A massage parlor.
You’ve seen these places around whatever city or town you live in. They’re typically in strip malls or in small storefronts and look very unassuming, but every few years, there’ll be a news story about the local police busting a prostitution ring, usually centered around a massage parlor. (Read a few articles to illustrate this point.)
I don’t care about Kraft’s reasoning for going to this place, even if it was due to loneliness, as this laughingly sanctimonious op-ed from the Boston Herald tells us. It. Was. Stupid.
If you have enough money to fly to Florida from Kansas City and put up $200 or so to visit a sex worker, you have enough money to be discreet about it. Certainly don’t roll into the parking lot in a Bentley with Massachusetts plates.
My only wish is that Julian Edelman somehow works this into his “underdog” narrative for next season. “They said we were too old to get toppy at a massage parlor…”
NOT (EXACTLY) TRASH — Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant Ether the NBA Rumor Mill
*SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT* A few weeks ago on the Runnin’ with WARR podcast, I said Kevin Durant was weak for coming at NBA reporters during a press conference, and echoed Mike Greenberg’s sentiments that KD should shut out the noise and hoop. Let me say here and now that I was wrong. He shouldn’t have blown up at the media and he still shouldn’t read all the news about free agency rumors, but he’s not weak.
Kyrie Irving was the latest combatant of the NBA rumor mill, as reporters pressed him over a conversation between him and KD during All-Star Weekend. The video below (starting at 1:33) has the best part of the exchange, with a clip of Kyrie and KD’s convo at the end.
The most salient point here is Kyrie describing he and KD talking as a “private conversation with one of my best friends” that somehow became a discussion of free agency. As you can you see in the clip, only an expert lip reader would be able to discern exactly what they’re talking about., so the idea that it has anything to do with teaming up anywhere is a stretch.
In general, the endless rumors and hearsay circulated among sports media and fans alike annoy me to death. It makes sense that Irving, who’s the focus of those rumors, would be even more annoyed. To me, it’s the Zebra Cakes of sports news — delicious, but it doesn’t do too much for you in the long run. (No disrespect to our man Brandon Robinson, who is building a rep off breaking stories months in advance. Keep cultivating your sources, my dude.)
However, Kyrie is wrong about the privacy of the conversation. This is the Digital Information Age; there’s no end to the news cycle, especially in sports, and there’s no limit to the consumer’s appetite for any morsel of info that could qualify as newsworthy. The NBA is a global entertainment business, and the players are the entertainment.
The NBA is also the only league in North America where players wield the most control over their fates, in terms of where they’ll play and for how much, so those same free agency rumors are in their hands. This means the focus will be on Irving, Durant, LeBron, Anthony Davis and other big names will be the epicenter of free agency questions for months before they actually finish their contracts.
As more players who have never known a world without high-speed internet and social media enter the league, it’s going to be tougher for them to ignore the noise of the rumor mill. The players have a legitimate gripe, but the demand for rumors won’t go away any time soon.
TRASH — Ed Burke Reelected Amid Corruption Scandal; Chicagoans Aren’t Surprised
In a display of parity that the NHL could only dream of, Toni Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot will be in a runoff election on April 2 for mayor of Chicago, meaning the city will elect a Black woman for its highest office for the first time in history.
Step away from this column for a second, close your eyes and breathe that in. A Black woman will be the mayor of Chicago. Dope, right? Not trash at all.
What is trash is Ed Burke winning a reelection for 14th Ward Alderman.
That’s “conspired with ‘Fast Eddie’ Vrdolyak to hamstring Harold Washington during the 1980s” Ed Burke.
That’s “used to do Donald Trump’s taxes” Ed Burke.
After months of reporting — the original story that the FBI raided his office broke in November — and Preckwinkle having to distance herself from him during the election, Burke not only beat his closest challenger by nearly 1,700 votes, he also won a majority.
In keepin’ it extra Chicago on Election Day, Burke wasn’t even the only councilman under investigation: Danny Solis snitched on Burke during his own federal investigation, Willie Cochran plead guilty to corruption after being arrested in the council chamber, and Ricardo Munoz tapped out after domestic violence charges. Shady politics — it’s still the Chicago way.
If that isn’t enough for you, Ed Burke has held the 14th Ward seat for fifty years, a Burke has held it even longer as Ed’s dad had the spot before him.
Remember the idea that civil service should be service and not a career? It’s really never been that way in Chicago until recently, but Ed Burke is as old school as it gets so he’s said to hell with all that.
I would say he would be in city council until he dies, but if the charges come up good, as can only be hoped, Burke will be neither the first nor the last city councilperson taken out by the alphabet boys. Just the most recent.
Chris Pennant covers professional and amateur basketball for WARR Media