Velvet Elvis is back in vogue…

Months ago, I applied for an open position with the NFL. The “job” requirements kinda fit  my skillset:

“The NFL is seeking a Social Media Illustrator to create engaging and cutting-edge illustrations for the NFL’s official social platforms, as well as other NFL-affiliated channels”

Knowledge of Football; Prior experience ‘creating engaging illustrations of varying complexity and style’; skillful illustrator; work on deadline; strong character illustration skills; and strong writing skills.  

Gee, I thought – this seems to fit my (multiple) skill sets.

I’ve worked in mass media for decades. I’ve produced illustrations of varying complexity for decades. I meet deadlines.  I’ve illustrated and written published articles. I thought: Gosh,  I’ll get some response – right? But I didn’t. Not even a: “thanks no thanks”. Nothing. My application apparently went into the trashcan.  The NFL’s winning candidate was, apparently, a D grade Elvis-on-velvet artist.

With months of advanced notice that Drew Brees would break Payton Manning’s passing yards record, the NFL put its Elvis-on-Velvet dude on high alert. On October 9th Brees broke Manning’s record and the NFL published its Brees-on-Velvet art.

It depicts Brees (I guess) with Andre the Giant hands. On Brees’ right, Manning with an enormous melon (looking more like Brett Kavanaugh than Payton Manning) also has Andre the Giant hands and a right arm that, I suspect, was detached and dangling from his body (thus the sad face). Manning is depicted in a Bronco uniform rather than a Colts uni. Why? Apparently because Manning set his record in Denver?

In the foreground and to Brees’ left is 6’2″ Favre – much shorter than 6’0″ Brees, and looking starry-eyed at nothing in particular. Favre is dressed out in a Green Bay uni. His right arm looks like it was severed and reattached by Dr Frankenstein. Why is Favre in Green Bay green when he set his record in Viking purple? Meh… forgetaboutit…

The good news — if you’re a starving street artist currently painting Elvis or Bullfighters-on Velvet, be encouraged – the NFL might hire you. Screen Shot 2018-10-08 at 8.25.42 PM.png

 

THE HELTON ROLLERCOASTER

‘MEMBER LAST YEAR when Clay Helton was a genius? Remember two years ago when Helton was dog-meat after three games and was incompetent to coach an 8 year old’s AYSO soccer team? I do. Depending on the results on any given Saturday, Helton can be a loved or hated by SC faithful. Right now he’s not exactly loved in Trojan Land. To be honest without Sam Darnold the team does kinda look… terrible.

At present, USC’s fanbase wants a divorce. If Helton doesn’t make a memorable turnaround SC will be filing papers and moving on. USC Fickle fans

SERENA – QUEEN DIVA

SERENA WILLIAMS is the best to ever play women’s tennis. She’s also a diva who, when losing, tends to blame everything and everyone within a tennis ball’s throw. Remember when she threatened to stuff a ball down a linesman’s throat. I hate to break the news but great athletes can be great big jerks.

Williams’ epic melt down was unfortunate and she made it all the worse by claiming that her punishment was the result of sexism. She claimed men are not punished like she was punished. Facts got in the way. The New York Times researched and it turns out men are sanctioned at three times the rate women are. Why? Likely because men are generally bigger jerks than women.

Williams claimed that her coach wasn’t coaching. Her coach admitted he was coaching. She threw a fit while she was losing the match and losing her cool and broke her racquet. She called the Ump a liar and a thief. She then demanded that the umpire apologize to her. Her pique was self-generated, windy nonsense. She wasn’t the victim of sexism, she was the victim of her own self-induced jerkism.

serenaOutrage

CLUELESS DOWNUNDER

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Mark Knight apparently has no self-control and has no editor with self-control and he has no executive editor with a rudimentary ability to see the obvious. Justice Potter Stewart famously said about obscenity: “I’ll know it when I see it”. Justice Stewart would see the obscenity and racism in Knight’s cartoon. Knight’s explanation is, in “Australian” rubbish. There are a dozen ways he could have draw the concept of Williams being a big whinny baby. Like, draw her as… a big baby. He could have drawn Osaka in the foreground, her back to the camera , Osaka looking stunned glancing at Williams as a silhouetted figure slamming her racquet with the same talk bubble. All of the racist elements would have been eliminated and I assume he could have avoided drawing Osaka as a beach Barbie. But I suspect Knight’s intention wasn’t to comment about bad behavior; I think this cartoon was all about the international reaction he knew he’d get. And, apparently he has an editor who backs him up. Bottom line – a tabloid got what it wanted – millions of eyes on a garbage cartoon and it sullied my profession. I don’t need to repeat the vast condemnation I’ve seen – it’s well deserved. It includes a 2,000 word article in the New York Times ( with quoted “experts” on cartooning) and experts on race relations. Suffice to say I was shocked and saddened that Knight muddied what I consider an honorable and important art form – editorial sports cartoonist. I think I’m at the top of my craft and I am proud of the work I do and it hurts when I see exploitation for prurient reasons.

Justice Stewart would definitely declare Knight’s cartoon obscene. So does Justice Jimmytoons, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Sports Cartoonist.

WHEN OFFICIALS THINK THEY’RE THE GAME

JOE WEST is a veteran heavyweight MLB Umpire and generally a guy who seems interested in the camera being on him – which is kinda odd considering that he doesn’t seem to care about what he looks like.

Joe West isn’t the worst ump in MLB. That distinction, I think goes to Angel Hernandez. But West’s body of work presents a high ejection rate, an expanded strike zone, and a body that seems better fitted for a lounge chair at Leisure World than calling a game in The Show.

Over the weekend West walked over to Austin Davis, a Phillies reliever and confiscated Davis pocket-sized scouting report. Mind you, Davis has been using a scouting report all year and there is no rule against it, but that didn’t stop Joe West. Nope West took the sheet and lated said that he “didn’t want to throw Davis out of the game” because he wasn’t sure the sheet was illegal. What the holy hell? West took it upon himself to, once again, interject himself into a game, make it about Joe West and interfere with athletes playing professionally. West didn’t know the rule but decided he would make one up.

I think West needs to be fitted for a Leisure World lounge chair.

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SACK LEADER DONALD

AARON DONALD is the best player on the Rams roster, and that’s taking into account the Rams’ stellar offensive lineup and the addition of  Ndamukong Suh. Donald and the Rams have been working on a deal for the better part of two seasons now, and it finally got done. 135 MILLION, with 87 Million guaranteed and 40 Million dollar signing bonus.  Donald wasn’t happy last year because he thought he was being underpaid – but he still ripped up offensive linemen like they were paper dolls.

I see a big year for the Rams SACK LEADER.  donald

 

UNRAVELING

LIKE SO MANY DODGERS FANS, I had high hopes for 2018. Yes after they stumbled early, it appeared to be a lost season but they recovered nicely and lead the division just two weeks ago. With the addition Machado and Dozier I thought they were well positioned to win it all. Alas it’s all unraveling, in slow motion. From a Baez imposition to an offense leaving so many men stranded, it looks like the British army at Dunkirk, with no rescue on the horizon.

Such a shame. unravel

ON KILLING

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I played high school football. Like every HS team in America we had Hell Week. Hell was an apt descriptor. Our coaches were awful at football and awful at managing people. They had no concept of how to manage players’ health or maybe they just didn’t care. We ran Hell Week in LA smog so thick visibility was quite literally a mile. My coaches also didn’t allow players to take water breaks outside of “water break” times which were once every hour. The good news? We were allowed to eat as many salt tablets as we wanted.

I started all three years of HS football and earned all-league my junior year. That year I played both sides of the ball and played on every special team, but I quit the team the second day of hell week because we were being tortured. I told my mom to call the head coach and tell him I quit because I couldn’t breathe. The coaches relented (other parents had also called). They shortened practice  and allowed us to drink more water, It’s a miracle no one died under their watch. They thought that they were toughening us, but they were torturing children, damaging our lungs and likely damaging internal organs. If any of these techniques were tried today, they would be arrested for child abuse.

What we know now about training and the limits that one can be put through are known quantities. A player dying of Heat Stroke is unconscionable and likely criminal.

At Maryland players were put through exhausting workouts in high heat that lead to the death of a linemen named Jordan McNair. His death was senseless. Heads should roll but some people shouldn’t just lose their jobs their should lose their liberty.