Thursday, February 15, 2007

Former Packer Jerry Kramer is a Saint of a man

Drive Raises Funds for Needy NFL Players
Associated Press Writer

February 14, 2007, 5:41 PM EST

MILWAUKEE -- About $125,000 has been raised to aid needy, retired National Football League players.

The Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund was launched by Jerry Kramer, star right guard of the Green Bay Packers four decades ago under Vince Lombardi. Kramer auctioned off a replica of his Super Bowl I ring last spring, raising more than $22,000 to help supplement pension and disability benefits for other former players.

Mike Ditka's 1975 NFC Championship ring -- when he was an assistant coach with the Dallas Cowboys -- sold for $12,200, a tennis experience with John McEnroe went for $11,250 and hand-drawn plays by Lombardi sold for $7,101 at an auction that began two weeks ago and ended Tuesday night.

"It's amazing how this initiative has taken off," Kramer said. "The fact that so many fans and so many NFL legends are working together to provide assistance to some of the retired players who helped build the league into what it is today is just wonderful."

Jennifer Smith, the fund's executive director, said that reports about the auction resulted in more donated tiems and prompted a second phase of the auction, which will run until Feb. 20.

About $100,000 was raised by auctioning about 50 items in the first phase, Smith said. The second phase has started with about the same number, but other items will be added.

Kramer's Web site,, will continue to serve as the portal to the auction, Smith said.

Items being offered during the second phase include a helmet donated by former Packers quarterback Bart Starr, bearing his signature and those of teammates Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor, and a behind-the-scenes trip at the NFL Network.

About $25,000 was raised through Tuesday in about 225 donations ranging from $2 to $10,000, Smith said.

Ditka and fellow Pro Football Hall of Fame members Willie Davis, Gale Sayers, Harry Carson and Joe DeLamielleure were recently named to the GGAF board of directors, which Smith said will set up policies on how the money will be distributed.

"It is important for everyone to remember who the funds that are raised are going to," Ditka said in a statement. "It's going to the guys who started football, not the guys who are making the money off it."

The Super Bowl ring that Kramer auctioned last May was made for him after his original disappeared in 1981. The original ring showed up last April in an online auction, but was pulled after Kramer learned about it. It eventually was returned to him.

"More than anything else, the fundraising effort has been an opportunity to raise awareness of the problem," Kramer said.

The former Packers guard said he was gratified that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had addressed the matter when asked about players from the 1950s through the 1970s at his news conference a few days before the Super Bowl.

"There are players that do have issues that need to be addressed. And we are going to need to address that directly with them," Goodell said.

Smith said the group plans to hold an annual auction around the time of the Super Bowl and will accept donations at any time.

Mike Sportelli, 45, a sales representative for a Los Angeles area construction company, made the winning bid for Ditka's ring.

"It's a nice way to start my collection. And it gives me an opportunity to help former players in need," said Sportelli, who also had a winning bid on spending a day with Carson, a former New York Giants linebacker. "These guys took quite a beating back then."

Darrel Wright, 65, of LaQuinta, Calif., who formerly served as the timekeeper for NFL games at the Los Angeles Coliseum, donated $10,000 to the cause.

"These guys loved football and didn't make a lot of money. They provided me with a lot of entertainment," he said.

This is a cause we should all rally behind. I'm dissapointed that the NFL has not addressed the issue until now.....
every Player should be giving 1% of their Gross income before taxes.

Ann Coulter Wants To Date Barack Obama - He's Married!

Ann Coulter's got a thing about us Black guys that she just can't shake at all. First, if you've seen her on TV, she's recently admitted to a desure for us brothers. Yep. Not kidding. She told Larry King that she'd date a brotha -- I heard her say it myself. And now, she's got this new article that says she's got Obama Fever! Oh, yeah!

Now, she does poke fun at him, but if you read the text she's got nothing but love for his message. And of course, she admits her excitement for him.

Hey, Ann. It's OK. It's the 21st Century. Go ahead and admit the truth. Say what we already know. You want him. You think us Black men are hot, especially the political ones.

Ann, that "clean, renewable electricity " you're feelng is called an orgasm.

Video - San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's Speech At February 8th 2007 Fox Sports Luncheon

Just after a bad PR period where San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom admitted that he slept with the wife of a friend and co-worker and then claimed he had a drinking problem, the Mayor gave a great speech before the Fox Sports Bay Area Baseball Season Kickoff Luncheon on Treasure Island February 8th.

I'm a regular attendee at this function, which this year featured an appearance by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. But this year, I decided to set up a camcorder and tripod and just let it run while I ate my lunch.

The Mayor gave a general talk, but couldn't resist taking a swipe at the San Francisco 49ers when he said that he'd give Niners tickets in place of MLB All Star Game tickets because he only had one All Star Game ticket for 300 requests.

You can't blame Gavin for the joke considering how Niners owner John York had been treating him.

Here's the video:

Also see the video of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig's speech with a click here.