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Cutting Through the Bull: Derrick Rose, Floyd Mayweather & the Preakness Stakes

In case you haven’t heard, we’re living in a 24-hour news cycle. And if you haven’t heard that statement, which is as declarative as it is vague, you’re either lying, shockingly forgetful, or living under a very large soundproof rock.

It’s repeated ad nauseam by journalists these days who’ve adopted it as sort of a battle cry. By tossing out one tired cliché they are able to both validate their employment, if not their entire existence, and explain away their often shoddy work. 

The 24-hour news cycle is why so many of the exact same non-stories about sports continue to make headlines. Dead air needs to be filled with chatter. Empty space needs to be filled with words. And SportsCenter needs to keep that sides-screen crawl loaded with headlines.

Which means the public is being fed a steady dose of over-hyped nonsense that we’ve been trained to lap up with enthusiasm. Unfortunately, an awful lot of sports “stories” these days are nothing but smoke and mirrors. Perfectly crafted narratives that are built on nothing but hype, the shakiest of foundations.

For instance…

One man has the power to kill thousands of speculative articles about his comeback.

One man has the power to kill thousands of speculative articles about his comeback.

Derrick Rose: Will He or Won’t He?

Spoiler alert! He won’t. 

Whether or not Bulls superstar point guard Derrick Rose would return in time for the 2013 NBA Playoffs has been a story since he tore his ACL during the 2012 NBA Playoffs. That’s not to say the health of one of the league’s preeminent talents is a case of much ado about nothing.

Rose is a pretty big deal. He’s a big deal to his hometown of Chicago, fans of the Bulls, and basketball fans in general—Rose is important to the NBA at-large. He’s a big deal to the franchise that signed him to a five-year contract, worth nearly $100 million, in late 2011.

And he’s a very big deal to Adidas, the company that reportedly inked a 14-year, $250 million deal with Rose in the last year. Which, for the mathematically impaired (like me), comes with a payout of just under $18 million per year.

However, there is one thing about Rose that is not a big deal. That would be his non-existent comeback this season. If a comeback was coming, it would’ve been here by now. He was cleared to play in early March. It’s mid-May. Take a hint already.

This story has made the national media look like a stood-up blind date who has been hanging around the restaurant about two hours longer than acceptable. But it’s not entirely their fault. Rose obviously likes the attention, because he could end this seemingly endless speculation in the blink of an eye.

He just doesn’t want to. Keeping Derrick Rose in the headlines is good for Derrick Rose. It’s good for the Bulls. It’s good for Joakim Noah. It’s good for Chicago. It’s good for Adidas. So he may not be officially “ruling out” a return, but if he was going to play, he’d be playing.

You're the king, Floyd.  The king of fighting scrubs you know you can beat.

You’re the king, Floyd.
The king of fighting scrubs you know you can beat.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. Wins Easily By Unanimous Decision 

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Undefeated welterweight boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather wins another match against a boxer you’ve never heard of to remain undefeated. Everyone on earth probably just tried to stop me right there, but the technological boundaries of the interwebs prevented them.

That’s because Mayweather always wins. He wouldn’t even be fighting if there was a chance he could lose. No offense to Money’s recent human punching bag Robert Guerrero, but your sad ass never had a chance.

If it did, you would’ve been fighting someone else we’ve never heard of. Mayweather has come up with 101 excuses for why he has repeatedly refused to fight Manny Pacquiao over the years, the only fight anyone who cares marginally about boxing, which is almost everyone, has wanted to see.

And now it’s to the point where they’re both too old and overpaid for it to even matter anymore. The headlines following Mayweather’s victory definitely ranged drastically in tone and enthusiasm.

This Grantland headline summed it up quite well: The Boring Excellence of Floyd Mayweather Jr. The excellence part is referring to the fact that Mayweather is a talented and undefeated boxer. The boring part is referring to the fact that he gets to pick his own opponents.

That’s the weird thing about boxing today. It used to be that big name boxers could eventually be harangued into fighting each other once, twice, or even thrice. But no such pressure exists today because boxing is dying and most people can only name one or two boxers.

We know who those two boxers are and we know they won’t fight.

So Floyd Money can keep strutting around like the cock of the walk, revelling in his “victory” during the subsequent publicity tour—whatever. But the fact of the matter is that we all know he’s been too afraid to fight the one man, the only man, anyone wants to see him fight: Manny Pacquiao.

Mayweather’s most recent version/excuse/lie about why the fight never happened is because Pacquiao refused anything but a 50/50 split in the purse. Funny that money is such an issue for one of the highest paid athletes on earth who gambles away more on a single college football game than most people make in a year.

Or a few years.

Although there have been reports that Pacquiao has been willing to fight with a 55/45 split, with him being on the losing end, dating back to September 2012. Not that it matters. Ironically this particular fight has never been about the money for Floyd Money, despite his ever-changing and ongoing explanations.

Some call him the greatest fighter ever. Some call him a coward. His legacy probably will be defined somewhere in the middle. Mayweather is obviously a talented boxer, but he also benefits from the ability to choose his opponents—mostly based on their obvious inferiority.

Not exactly Ali vs. Frazier.

Mayweather is an undefinable, overpaid publicity hound, who has a history of physically abusing women. He’s got a gambling problem. He throws away money like dirty diapers. Anything he does that isn’t fighting Manny Pacquiao two years ago isn’t worth talking about.

So let’s not and say we did.

Hey look! Horses...

Hey look! Horses…

After the Preakness We Can All Stop Pretending We Care About Horse Racing 

Every year the Kentucky Derby is a relatively big story. It’s the first of three major horse racing events of the year and, for some reason, a two minute event that scores four hours of network television coverage each year.

Nobody knows who will win and nobody except for degenerate gamblers and horse farm owners cares. We read through the list of weirdo horse names as if federally mandated and pick a winner, based only on the name, so we can claim bragging rights if Thumpkins Tardy pulls off the upset.

The Preakness Stakes is the next event after the Kentucky Derby, because there are only two weeks each year in which people can pretend to care about a horse winning the Triple Crown. It’s actually a really funny dichotomy.

Everyone pretends they want the same horse to win at the Preakness that won at the Derby, because the Triple Crown is supposedly such a big deal. But every year we’re secretly thrilled when it doesn’t happen so we can finally stop pretending to care about horse racing.

Honestly. Does anyone besides gamblers and know-it-all nerdlingers know what the third race is even called? Probably not, because once Snakehead Barstool wins the Preakness, the entire conversation will be moo. Or moot.

Hey look! Stupid hats...

Hey look! Stupid hats…

Let’s Be Real—We All Know What Horse Racing is All About 

It’s about overprivileged members of the bourgeoisie getting together in a state they would never step foot in otherwise.

It’s about giving them a chance to see and be seen.

It’s about giving them another excuse to get drunk off their asses—as if WASPs ever need a reason to get blitzed.

And, more than anything, it’s about giving a bunch of rich old ladies a reason to buy another hideous hat.

You’re sad now, aren’t you? Me too.

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