B-Hop, Ronda Rousey and Rashaan Salaam: So Sorry!!

Happy New Years to everyone!  As the first weekend of the NFL playoffs has commenced, I ponder to think of the consequences that the game inflicts on some individuals.  I have so far refused to watch Concussion because one of my favorite Eagles was featured in the movie.  Andre Waters was an assassin on the field.  He and Wes Hopkins were feared for their physical style and punishing hits.  Along with Reggie White (RIP), Clyde Simmons and Jerome Brown they were one of the greatest NFL defenses ever.  The Super Bowl ring eluded us when Randall broke his ankle early one season!!  That's enough of the reminiscing.  On to the story.

Bernard Hopkins will go into the boxing hall of fame one day.  The way his last fight ended though, he should have been considered for this honor a couple of years ago.  On December 18th, 2016, Bernard entered the ring against Joe Smith, Jr.  He exited the ring via a combination that had him landing on his head.  It was the first time that I had ever seen a fight in which a fighter was knocked totally out of the ring.  I mean he literally landed on his head on the concrete.  He had been trying to get his fans to buy into the concept that his last fight should be a night of wine and roses with people wearing tuxedos to the bout.  He forgot that his opponent, not the crowd, has other ideas.  Joe Smith should have effectively ended his crazed dream of fighting into his fifties.  We appreciate you B-Hop but save your brain cells and sanity to utilize as a promoter for Golden Boy Productions.

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Ronda Rousey just got knocked out in 48 seconds in her most recent fight.  It had been 13 months since she also lost to Holly Holm.  Ronda, to say the least, was on top of the world before that Holm fight.  She had finished filming a role in Fast and Furious 7.  She was in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition wearing body paint.  She was being referred to as the Mike Tyson of UFC women's fighting.  Rousey was no slouch when it came to her fight skills.  She was an Olympic judo bronze medalist.  She also was smoking hot physically.  Ronda was knocking women out in one round or less.  Her arm bar was lethal and her 12 opponents submitted quickly.  Only Miesha Tate lasted into the third round.  The one thing about sports, and champions, is that you have to learn to lose.  I don't think Ronda has this trait.  I will be surprised to see her fight again.  Acting and commentating beckon you.

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Rashaan Salaam killed himself in December 2016.  He died alone in a park in Colorado,  He won the Heisman Trophy in 1994 as part of the Colorado Buffalo's.  He had a very brief pro career that was marred by injury.  I don't want to categorize his life and early death as symptomatic as some of the problems that NFL players face as they leave the game.  He rushed for a record 2,055 yards in his Hesiman winning season.  That was a lot of yards and projects to NFL mega earnings.  He became the youngest NFL player to rush for 1,000 yards at 21 years of age.  He attributed marijuana use to some of his problems rehabbing from a broken leg and trying to get back into the league.  Other NFL players have met tragic ends: Joe McKnight, Will Smith, Robert Eddins, Konrad Reuland and Zurlon Tipton all died young.  The game is unforgiving in its impact on the body.  Some players can live normal lives upon retiring.  Many struggle to walk and complete routine tasks.

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Sports are a way out of poverty for the very few athletes that can transcend the large pool of people trying to reach the pinnacle of fame.  I feel sorry for Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds and Manny Ramirez.  They were all suspected of using performance enhancing drugs as they climbed the home run chart in baseball.  In addition to PED's, Sammy Sosa is also suspected of bleaching his skin to ease his way into an upper class stratum of Latin American society.  He does not look like the same person who was launching home runs at a rapid rate.  Allen Iverson might be regretting all of the tattoos that he had to have imprinted on his body.  It will be hard to fit into a front office or coaching role while 'tatted' up.  For my pro athletes, some of who were my idols, I wish them a smooth transition back to the life of average Joe.  God Bless your blood, sweat and tears on the way to the top.   

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