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Category Archives: Texas

May 27, 2012 Headlines: Former Running Back in TX Senate Primary & other Athletes in Politics, Ukraine Ticket scandal ends, ‘n’ Pole dancing an Olympic Sport?

Column: Sports, politics don’t often mix

Craig James, the former Southern Methodist University and New England Patriots running back, TX GOP senate candidate- Eric Gay, AP

USA Today Mon, 28 May 2012 15:25 PM PDT

Robert Lipsyte: Craig James, ex-pro running back, is the latest seeking office. But good athletes don’t always make good politicians.

Craig James, the former Southern Methodist University and New England Patriots running back, is running again, this time in today’s Texas GOP primary for senator. He joins a growing roster of former professional athletes who want to score in a more consequential arena, usually as the same kind of fiscal and social conservatives who once owned their contracts and now are probably their biggest donors.

Tackle ’em early, I say. While most never make it from the field house to the statehouse, much less the White House, a few do make it over the goal line. Chalk it up to high name recognition, and often hero status for their athletic exploits. But when they find success in politics, they usually are holding onto the worst traits that helped them succeed in sports — narcissism, lack of empathy, a need for constant admiration. While those traits could help them win a game — or an election — they are not what we need in a public servant.

Topping my list is the former senator Jim Bunning from Kentucky, a Hall of Fame pitcher who threw a perfect game in 1964. As a politician, he was imperfect. After a 12-year hitch in the House, he spent 12 years in the Senate. In 2006, Time magazine dubbed him “the underperformer” and one of the worst five senators of his time.

Then there were those two oversized governors. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican of California, was arguably the most famous body builder of all time before his time in office from 2003 through 2010. Sam Hall Kaplan, who covered The Governator for a Los Angeles TV station, says: “The jock’s need to dominate and to win at any cost certainly applies to his term of office. He showed little initiative and little imagination, while playing to the crowds and the cronies.”

Ventura just wanted to win: Jesse Ventura wrestled as “The Body” (a villain, his motto was “Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat!”) before becoming a Reform Party governor of Minnesota for one term, 1999 to 2003. Jay Weiner, who had a close-up view of Ventura while working as a reporter at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, says: “To him, all the world was a stage and not the hard work of compromise. You win or you lose, or you jump off the ropes and cause a stir.”

Ronald Kamm, past president of the International Society for Sports Psychiatry, agrees that pro jocks often exhibit “adolescent” traits such as grandiosity. Even so, he says, their experience with teamwork, their resilience to defeat and their personal confidence could make them all-star politicians. “I wonder why there aren’t more athletes going into politics,” says Kamm, who practices in New Jersey. “Maybe it’s because they need instant gratification. And they aren’t used to compromise and tedium. They are conditioned to win or lose.”

He notes that some pro athletes have made excellent politicians. One we agreed on was the Buffalo Bills quarterback Jack Kemp, who was a respected longtime Republican congressman from New York, and a vice presidential candidate. But what separated Kemp from the trio above was that Kemp possessed, and displayed, intellectual and leadership qualities that pre-dated his years in politics. For example, he co-founded the AFL Players Association.

Bill Bradley an exception: My own favorite jock/politician is former New York Knicks forward Bill Bradley, who spent 18 years in the U.S. Senate. But Bradley is an Ivy Leaguer and Rhodes Scholar, whose academic pedigree other pros would envy. He has written seven books — on U.S. politics, culture and the economy.

While a historical list is hard to come by (most jocks lose in regional primaries), in recent years more than a dozen pro athletes have held elective office as city mayors (currently, former NBA players Dave Bing in Detroit and Kevin Johnson in Sacramento) and members of Congress (baseball player Wilmer “Vinegar Bend” Mizell and football players Steve Largent, Jon Runyon, Tom Osborne, J.C. Watts and Heath Shuler). Not all popular athletes score the winning political touchdown. In 2006, Hall of Fame wide receiver Lynn Swann was thrown for a big loss in his run for governor of Pennsylvania.

Which leaves us with James, 50, who according to Southern Methodist’s Daily Campus newspaper “classifies himself as a fiscal and social conservative who believes in state rights, entitlement reform, hard action against an increasingly belligerent Iran and a reduction in the power of the Federal Reserve.”

If James doesn’t win, we might just have to wait for Tim Tebow, the star quarterback sensation for the University of Florida, the Denver Broncos and now the New York Jets, who says he has not ruled out the possibility of elective politics. Kamm thinks the recent Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin, 23, would someday make a fine politician for “his combination of humility and confidence, assertiveness and team play.”

And don’t forget Charles Barkley, the NBA Hall of Famer and broadcaster who has said that he might run for governor of Alabama in 2014. He also once said in a commercial, “I am not a role model.” Now that sounds like a campaign slogan that could get my vote.

Robert Lipsyte is a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors and author of the recent memoir, An Accidental Sportswriter.

Dancers push to make pole dancing an Olympic sport

FOX 59 Indianapolis Mon, 28 May 2012 09:02 AM PDT

Pole dancing at the Olympics?  That’s right. Serious pole dancers are pushing to make this a sport. But can it shake its naughty reputation? “It can be extremely challenging. It’s Olympic level difficulty depending on what you’re looking for what style is,” said Becca Butcher, pole dancer. And Butcher isn’t exaggerating; these pole performers could soon be going for the gold. “The biggest challenge is going to be the stereotyping that we have to deal with. And you know, quite frankly everyone thinks pole fitness and pole sport and everything came out of strip clubs but it started long before then,” said Trautman. “We have to take some of the eroticism out of the moves and also take off the high heels. We’re going to frame it as these are athletes that you’re watching. “

Ukraine Olympics boss resigns over ticket scandal

AFP via Yahoo! Canada Sports Mon, 28 May 2012 03:54 AM PDT

The general secretary of Ukraine’s National Olympics Committee (NOC) resigned on Monday following claims by the BBC he sought to sell tickets for the London Games on the black market. “Volodymyr Gerashchenko has submitted his resignation from the position of general secretary of the NOC,” the committee said in a statement, adding he had pledged to cooperate with an independent investigation commission. The BBC revealed last week that Gerashchenko had been exposed in a sting operation trying to sell some 100 tickets for the London Olympic Games.

FIFA: Politics should not influence Euro 2012 hosting

KYIV Post Mon, 28 May 2012 00:10 AM PDT

FIFA President Joseph Blatter on Friday urged not to raise political issues in connection with the Euro 2012 European football championship, which is held this summer in Poland and Ukraine, the EFE agency has reported. Political issues should not influence the organization of sports events as a whole and football matches, in particular. Football should unite people, not estrange them, he said in Budapest. The EFE agency said that Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban speaking at the FIFA congress organized in his country supported the idea. “Football and other sports aimed at uniting people. It’s unlikely that boycott [of Euro 2012] will allow achieving the goal,” he said.

May 27, 2012 Headlines: Saluting our Soldiers, Barkley messes with the wrong Texan, ‘n’ Astrologers predictions

Happy Memorial Day and Thank You to all our Men and Women in uniform

Christian Slayton, 12, prays while Marine veteran Tim Chambers salutes fallen service members during the Rolling Thunder ride in Washington. Linda Davidson:The Washington Post

San Antonio mayor fires back at Barkley

Fox Sports Sat, 26 May 2012 20:49 PM PDT

Charles Barkley, you’ve messed with the wrong mayor. Barkley, the former NBA star and current TV analyst-slash-wisecracker, has bashed San Antonio for years. Now the mayor of the Alamo City is fighting back. In a new YouTube video, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro attempts to make peace with Barkley, before getting in a few jabs of his own. Seated behind a desk in what looks to be an official government address, Castro talks about the things Barkley and San Antonio have in common. Castro cites Barkley’s new dedication to fitness and support of the military. Then Castro reveals his left hand adorned with the four NBA championship rings won by the Spurs. The inference is obvious, as Barkley never won a title despite a highly decorated playing career.

GOP candidate for NC governor NASCAR race starter

Stamford Advocate Sun, 27 May 2012 02:29 AM PDT

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Republican who wants to become North Carolina’s governor is joining West Virginia’s current governor and a swimsuit model to handle some of the honors ahead of Charlotte’s big NASCAR race. GOP gubernatorial candidate and former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory will serve as honorary starter of Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Democratic candidate Walter Dalton has no public events planned Sunday. Progress NC Action said it planned to sponsor a banner flying over the race highlighting questions about McCrory’s tenure as mayor. The grand marshal of Sunday’s NASCAR race is West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin

London 2012: Jacques Rogge confident Saudi women will make debut

Guardian UnlimitedSun, 27 May 2012 13:25 PM PDT

Jacques Rogge, IOC president

Qatar and Brunei also considering sending female athletes & Rogge defends Dow Chemical sponsorship: The International Olympic Committee president, Jacques Rogge, is optimistic that Saudi Arabia will send female athletes to the Olympics for the first time at this summer’s Games. Rogge said the IOC was in advanced talks with the Saudis to include female competitors. Details of how many athletes and from which sport or sports are still being worked out…Rogge also reiterated the IOC’s support for Dow Chemical, rejecting demands from India that the company be dropped as a sponsor of the Games because of its links to the 1984 Bhopal disaster. Dow bought Union Carbide in 2000. Union Carbide’s plant is blamed for the gas leak that killed an estimated 15,000 people. Critics argue the purchase makes Dow responsible for lingering groundwater contamination and other issues

Astrologers Make Predictions: Will President Obama be Re-elected? Will the Saints Go To The Super Bowl?

ABC 26 New Orleans Sun, 27 May 2012 08:36 AM PDT

NEW ORLEANS—Thousands of astrologers from all around the world are in New Orleans for the Untied Astrology Conference…These astrologers are here to discuss and look to the stars to answer questions about the Mayan calendar, whether the economy will recover, and will President Barack Obama be re-elected in November…Astrologer, Christina Collins said, “The world’s not going to end…It is a long-shot but we had to ask the astrologers if they had any knowledge on our heavenly NFL Super Bowl winning Saints.