By Mark Smith
Editor in Chief
How’s that again Kap N’ Kirk?
Former Los Alamos and Lobo basketball star Alex Kirk made a
touch of news during the past week in which he chimed in about the “bravest man ever,” a guy who gave up all his worldly possessions, thwarted a nuclear attack to save millions of lives and … uh, wait.
Bravest man ever?
Gave up everything?
Look, Nike wants to sell shoes and make mucho dinero.
And whatever your view on Colin Kaepernick, it’s pretty tough to argue that he is the biggest opportunist in sports today. Maybe ever.
Still Kirk, also, uh, coincidentally has been endorsed by Nike (according to the Los Alamos Daily Post in 2015. He also played for the Anadolu Efes in 2017, a Nike endorsed team), basically took Kaepernick’s back in a story that absolutely nobody outside of the 505 will ever hear about.
And no other media in the 505 will question publicly.
I actually listened to both sides of the contentious great-kneeling debate during national anthems – one that Kaepernick ignited and is milking like a Wisconsin dairy farmer.
Can I see both sides?
But when various media call the Fidel Castro fan the “bravest man ever,” and when it comes to Nike inking a star?
Kaepernick isn’t exactly Tiger-esque or Michael.
And this ad campaign that Kap “gave up everything” is offensive to more than a few. As a result, we’ve all seen the images of folks burning Nike gear in protest of the ad.
I have plenty of Nike stuff, but the thought of charring it never crossed my mind. I’m too busy trying to negotiate toast.
And, of course, burning Nike garb has the ire of those in Kaps’ corner. Which apparently includes Kirk, who, as I mentioned, who has been endorsed by Nike in recent years.
Kirk had a cup of coffee in the NBA, and has made a nice living playing pro ball in various countries, including Japan, where he is these days — with a non-Nike team.
But non-NBA pro players are constantly on the move Kirk has played for six teams since 2014 — so who knows when another Nike squad is next?
And it looks like he certainly knows who helped put bread on his table.
And milk in his fridge, to keep a theme going.
So last week, during the Nike/Kappy conflict, Kirk took to Twitter, posted a photo of the new ad and tweeted the following:
“Are any of my followers burning their Nike Gear? Contact @AK53Foundation and we will give it to kids that need it in northern New Mexico that need it! I will then unfollow you and wish you a good life. Thanks.”
Problem is, Alex, I’m pretty sure those burning Nike apparel aren’t doing it to get rid of it. Chances are pretty good, Alex, that it’s called a social statement.
You know, basically similar to Antifa and other radicals burning American flags.
So, props for your suggestion about giving kids in your foundation unwanted Nike gear.
But now how about Tweeting to Antifa and others, and request them to donate those American flags to the Salvation Army or the like?
JUST WIN, BABY: “You play to win the game.”
It’s one of the most oft-recited quotes in NFL history.
And when then Jets coach Herman Edwards stated that repeatedly to chastise a goofy question from the media during a 2002 presser, the video became legendary.
Edwards’ cliché is so simple and obvious.
And forgotten constantly.
Yep, I was as guilty as the 99 percent of callers to local radio sports talk shows last week, thinking No. 5 Wisconsin would hammer UNM in Saturday’s college football game.
But unlike many I heard, I understand you must do everything to prepare and try to win.
“Just don’t get hurt?”
I heard that so many times, I wanted to jump through the radio. I even heard some who questioned whether starting quarterback Tevaka Tuioti should play, for fear of losing him to injury.
You Play To Win the Game!
Plus, anyone who has ever been involved in athletics knows that if you’re playing scared and not to get hurt, you’re going to get hurt.
So, I’m watching the game on Saturday, and Tuioti and the Lobos look brilliant in leading 7-3 in the second quarter. It’s commercial break, and I’m pumped. I go into the other room and tell my wife (who isn’t watching, of course – not a football fan) how ludicrous those statements were that I heard all week.
Media timeout ends. Lobos have ball. Tuioti’s out with an injury.
You know the rest, Wisconsin wins 45-14.
Look, you still play to win the game.
Sometimes you lose more than the game. But you have to play it.
PLAYOFF RUN-UP: Wisconsin, by the way, also played to ensure its ranking.
I have always agreed that the backup should get to play as hard as possible, even when a game’s out of reach. But it’s garbage that the Badgers punched in a TD with 22 seconds left of a game that was 10-7 game midway through the third quarter.
It’s the nature of college football these days, and the much-left-to-be-desired four-team championship playoff.
The points a top-five team wins by matter much more than it should.
WHY WE WATCH THE GAME: Yep, for moments like Sunday night.
If you’re not a die-hard Bears or Packers fan – or a gaming enthusiast (see just below) – that fourth quarter was the reason sports are great.
Aaron Rodgers pulling Willis Reed (look him up, millennials), made for one of those occasions that show why sports can be great.
SPREAD THE NEWS: If you had the over 47.5 in Sunday’s memorable Green Bay win, you probably turned off the satellite early or you called in sick for work today.
Chicago led Green Bay 20-3 heading into the fourth quarter.
A chance, maybe, with a healthy Rodgers. But you know it’s not happening on this night.
Unless, of course, you’ve ever bet on an NFL game.
So, Rodgers, earlier carted off field with what looked like a possible season-ending injury, leads Green Bay to a miraculous 24-23 advantage with 2:13 and the Packers kicking off.
All the Bears need is a field goal to win.
Same goes for you.
In fact, you can win with a safety – and with the way Lambeau Field is rocking and the Packers’ defense has ignited, that is a real possibility.
Plus, that field goal, of course, is just as good for you if Green Bay hits it. Which is far more than a possibility, because the Bears are pinned back to their own 14 with a first-and-15 after a penalty. They have two time-outs left!
Three plays later, and it’s fourth-and-9. An incomplete pass, and the Packers get the ball at the Chicago 19 and the Bears still have both timeouts.
One more stop, and you’re within a hair of the best back-door of Week 1. And a pick-6 would give you the over and even cover the 7-point spread the Packers are favored by, if you bet the favorite.
And there it is!
Incomplete deep with 1:39 and two Bears timeouts. A Green Bay field goal attempt is a lock – unless they break off a run to get the TD. The over is cinched!
Until that yellow flag that the NBC crew doesn’t see for almost 10 seconds on the Bears fourth-down pass.
Roughing the passer.
Clay Matthews? How?
Automatic first down.
By the time the Packers hold again and get it back, it’s simply time to run the clock out – and reinforce one fact:
“It’s never over until it’s over.”
Final 24-23. The “under” bettors survive.
WE TURN OFF THE GAME: No, we’re not back to Kappy, but yet another Nike-endorsed star who created more controversial sports news last week – Serena Williams.
As John McEnroe might say, “You can’t be serious?”
McEnroe certainly had some legendary rants, but the one by Williams on Sunday was an all-timer.
She, of course, was being punished for her “heritage” and for “being a woman,” as she said. And the media applauded her?
Of course they did. It’s 2018, and the truth can only be found by folks like us.
Forget Williams’ classless behavior, her racquet-smashing and her constant belly-aching and bullying – think for a moment how much she took away from Naomi Osaka.
Osaka, by the way, is also a woman. And from Japan.
So why didn’t the ref/judge display what a misogynist and racist he was when it came to Osaka?
In this era of PC, Me2, flag burning and so much else, sportsmanship is taking a huge hit.
Here’s the video. You decide.
Mark Smith has been in New Mexico sports journalism for four decades and is the editor-in-chief of Enchantment Sports. Contact him at Mark.enchantmentsportsNM@gmail.com.