Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Rashard Mendenhall - From Osama Bin Laden Twitter To Roethlisberger Dry-Hump, Never Dull

Pittsburgh Steelers star running back Rashard Mendenhall has done it again. One can say that from his semi-pro Osama Bin Laden Twitter Tweet of Monday, to his Ben Roethlisberger Dry-Hump after the Steelers AFC Championship victory over the New York Jets, he's never dull at all.

What Rashard Mendenhall did on Monday, was issue a series of Twitter Tweets that communicate a certain insensitivity to the pain and suffering of those who were immediately impacted by the events of 9-11, September 11th, 2001, and just as America was celebrating the demise of the most feared enemy of our nation since Adolph Hitler.

This is the series of tweets that got Rashard Mendenhall in hot water:

R_Mendenhall Rashard Mendenhall
For those of you who said you want to see Bin Laden burn in hell and piss on his ashes, I ask how would God feel about your heart?

2 May
Rashard Mendenhall
R_Mendenhall Rashard Mendenhall
Those who judge others, will also be judged themselves.

2 May
Rashard Mendenhall
R_Mendenhall Rashard Mendenhall
I believe in God. I believe we're ALL his children. And I believe HE is the ONE and ONLY judge.

2 May
Rashard Mendenhall
R_Mendenhall Rashard Mendenhall
What kind of person celebrates death? It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side...

While Mendenhall is referring to allegations that 9-11 was faked, the bottom line is that, first, over 3,000 people were killed, and second, Osama Bin Laden himself did say that they intended to hit the twin towers of The World Trade Center with a hijacked jumbo jet, and in this video called the hijacker a "hero:"

Steelers Embarassed

Rashard Mendenhall's social media actions sent the Pittsburgh Steelers into damage-control mode, with team president Art Rooney II saying "it is hard to explain or even comprehend what he meant with his recent Twitter comments."

Still, the Steelers themselves have not used Twitter to issue a statement, which, considering that the whole story came from Twitter, would have been a good idea to do.

Overstock Buys Oakland Coliseum Naming Rights While In California Lawsuit

To add insult to the injury of a terrible $7 million naming rights deal with e-commerce retailer Overstock.com that was reported at Zennie62.com, comes the revelation that the agreement was stuck while the Internet firm was and is embroiled in a lawsuit involving the State of California, and the County of Alameda, as well as six other California counties.

The lawsuit was filed on November 17, 2010, and is still active as of this writing.

It alleges that Overstock.com has, to quote the blog White Collar Fraud, "engaged in fraudulent pricing practices after a two year investigation."

Moreover, one look at the copy of the lawsuit that is online, shows one name well-known to many as the County of Alameda's new District Attorney, Nancy E. O'Malley. Here's the link to the lawsuit: Overstock.com Lawsuit.

This blog post is not to dive into the details surrounding the lawsuit, only to ask how and why the City of Oakland and the County of Alameda, and the Oakland Raiders got involved with a firm who's very way of treating the customer has been tainted by lawsuit?

Did the Oakland Raiders say anything?  What about anyone with the City of Oakland or the County of Alameda.   Did they even know that the County was involved against Overstock.com in this way?

Moreover, how could the San Francisco Bay Area print media, normally derisive of bloggers like myself, miss this legal issue?

So, to close, we have two problems with the Overstock.com, Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Stadium Naming Rights Deal: it's way under valued at $7 million, and the firm that's on the other side of the deal is being sued by the same County of Alameda it's giving money to, and for allegedly fraudulent business practices.


Stay tuned.

Overstock Paid JUST $7 Million For Oakland Coliseum Naming Rights

The Oakland Coliseum is continuing a tradition of bad naming rights deals that goes all the way back to when it was called Network Associates Coliseum for just $6 million in 1998.

This time, over a decade later, the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum authority approved a deal for Overstock.com to place its name on the stadium where the Oakland Raiders and Oakland Athletics play for just $7 million for six years.

Let's see, just a million bucks more over that time?

Overstock.com Chairman and CEO Patrick Byrne said, "Overstock.com is thrilled to become a part of Oakland and Alameda County, and to be associated with the Raiders and the A’s—two globally-recognized championship teams"

What Byrne should have said is "I'm so happy to deal with an organization that routinely gives so much globally-recognized value away for so little money." Overstock gets to put its name on stadium signage, internet, television, radio and print promotion, and all for just $7 million.

This penchant for bad deals is something this blogger has railed about for years, and one reason why I've asked Oakland City Auditor Courtney Ruby to look at what's going on with the Oakland Coliseum. This is terrible. And before I continue on my angry rant, I'll show you why.

While the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority was giving away the store, again, Farmers Insurance signed a 30-year, $700 million naming rights deal for a football stadium in Los Angeles that hasn't been built, in a media market that hasn't seen football in 15 years!

And The University of Louisville even tops the Oakland Coliseum with a 10-year 13.5 million deal with Yum Brands, that was done in 2010.   

Yeah.  For The University of Louisville! 

That news, right there, should be enough to make any Oaklander's blood boil. But folks, this crap has been going on for years. Oakland City Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente, who should not be surprised that this blogger's raising hell about this, should be flogged for even speaking highly of this deal, let alone approving it. Ignacio should have said "You know, I'm not going to sign off on this deal, because Zennie's going to be on my butt - again - if I do."

Damn right.

What the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority should have done is execute the plan I laid out when I worked to try and bring the 2005 Super Bowl to Oakland: name both the stadium and the field, which includes the parking lot. The Oracle Arena, (which was the focus of a price that was not named, but we can guess it was somewhere in the area of what Overstock.com paid) would not be hampered by the plan.

But the idea is to offer the true stadium complex and its overall value. When I crafted that plan, and the argument for it, I asserted that if we landed a Super Bowl, we could afford an "ask" of $200 million, and Sports Business Journal at that time, estimated that the value of a stadium naming rights deal for the SF Bay Area could be as much as $80 million.

That's right: $80 million.

The problem is that Oakland thinks small of itself, and therefore is just happy for what it gets.  And this goes for the Oakland Raiders, who get part of the $1.2 million annual payment.  How else to explain the continuation of such crappy stadium naming rights deals in Oakland?   Plus, what really bothers me, is the Coliseum people only seek local businesses to name the Coliseum, which gets "global" exposure.

Overstock is well aware they got off with a bargain, else Byrne would not have mentioned that the facility, because of the teams, was "globally recognized." 

This is an outrage, and I'm not done outraging about it!

Let's see now. Oakland's crying about a deficit, and asking people to share the pain, and we can't even get our stadium act together. And to think that I wanted to run the Oakland Coliseum way back in 1998, and guess who rejected then-Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris' recommendation?

Ignacio De La Fuente.

If I were running the Coliseum, this would not have happened.  Heads would roll.  

I like drinking with Ignacio, but I've got to hammer him on this one. It's not personal. It's only business.  This crap has to stop. 

Julio Jones WR, Atlanta Falcons 2011 NFL Draft Pick

Of all the picks not Cam Newton, Julio Jones just may be the most electrifying one. Jones, the Alabama wide receiver who wowed the NFL Combine with an amazing performance and 4.39 40-yard-dash speed while participating with a broken foot, is The Atlanta Falcons 2011 First Round Pick in the NFL Draft.

The Falcons traded up to get Jones, getting the Cleveland Browns' sixth pick, and trading five picks to get there, moving up 21 spots in the process. And Jones, who's from Foley, Alabama and not far from Atlanta, could not have been happier. "I'm excited," he said in the Media Interview Room at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday, "I'm excited. It's not far from home, and I can go to a winning program. I can go in and play. I'm looking forward to it."

Jones, who said he loved the atmosphere of The Georgia Dome, the Falcons' home, will be paired with Falcons star Wide Receiver Roddy White, making what will become the most dangerous receiving duo in the NFC South. "I'm going to call him," he said. "I'm going to learn the game from him."

In the video interview, Jones said that the fact the Falcons traded up to get him means that they know he's a hard worker, and then said "A lot of people don't see how hard I work."

I don't know where he got that from, because all the talk, especially on the NFL Network, was about his work ethic. Anyone who could come into the NFL Combine on a broken foot and do that well is a wonder.

And now that he's heeled, the prediction here is for Julio Jones to make the 2012 Pro Bowl squad in his rookie year.

Stay tuned.