October 18, 2019

Our NFL Week 7 picks!; plus LeBron James forgot who he is in following company line on China, and nothing will stop hell-bent Dolphins from finding their Holy Grail. Latest columns & more

1) It's FRIDAY OCTOBER 18. Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins lose to winless Washington with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

PicksDOLPHINS-BILLS, GAME OF THE WEEK, UPSETS: OUR NFL WEEK 7 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season and a solid start to our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, here are our latest selections. Will the winless Dolphins cover the enormous point spread in Buffalo? Who won the tough battle for Game of the Week? Can we keep our Upset of the Week streak alive? Answers to all of that and more may be found in the motherlode that is our NFL Week 7 Gems. Alas, got off to a bad start to our week last night, as we incorrectly had the Broncos upsetting the Chiefs in Denver. Um, the Chiefs won 30-6. This was our worst pick of the year. I make my picks by a mixture of research, methodology and gut feeling. In this case I felt KC was the better team poised to rebound from two straight losses -- but allowed me to talk me into the Broncos. Dumb. Against form. Tally ho!

LebchinaLEBRON JAMES FORGETS WHO HE IS, FOLLOWS COMPANY LINE ON CHINALeBron James is the villain now, to many, for one comment this week that served to inflame rather than quell the fallout from the NBA’s China crisis. It isn’t especially fair, but this is the take-sides society we have become, where the moderate middle has disappeared and nuance gets bludgeoned by the immediacy of outrage that social media provides (and encourages). So LeBron is the sellout now, right? The faker who turned his back on social justice where money was involved? First, the easy answer: No. He isn’t. The I Promise School that James founded for at-risk kids in Akron, Ohio, is thriving. In Miami we remember when he wore that hoodie in support of Trayvon Martin. James spoke out against that white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. He has defended Colin Kaepernick against the misrepresentations. Worn “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts during warmups. Spoke out on stage at the 2016 ESPYs. At every turn, James — still the biggest star in the NBA at 34 even as "best player" is now arguable — has shown his heart is right. There is a world off the court that he cares to impact, and does. He is a model for athlete activism, for the use of platform and voice. It is only in this context of credibility earned that raised eyebrows this week when he said Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey "wasn’t informed" in writing the tweet that caused the firestorm. For our entire latest column, please visit LeBron Follows Company Line On China After Career Devoted to Social Justice

Select most recent other columns: Another Dolphins Loss, But There was Fight And Heart This Time (loss to Washington) and Hurricanes Finally Get Quality Win -- And The Spark They Needed (win over Virginia). Also: Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years / and 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat.

Tank4tuaNO SACRIFICE TOO GREAT FOR TANKING-FOR-TUA DOLPHINS TO FIND THEIR HOLY GRAIL: Tua Tagovailoa by gradual degrees appears more and more in focus to Miami Dolphins fans. Nearer and nearer. More and more real. But he appears less like a quarterback in Alabama red than as a savior in a flowing robe, back-lit by a halo of sunlight. That sound ... are those angels singing? A dispatch from Tanking Central: This is like few seasons ever seen in sports and none ever experienced in South Florida: One team so strategically awful, with one player in mind — and no sacrifice too great to reach that Holy Grail. Perversely, the historically winless Dolphins in the midst of overtly Tanking For Tua might be the biggest story of this NFL season. It has become a national controversy. It has split a fan base with winning versus tanking the wedge. This franchise hasn’t made this much news for being this embarrassing since, well, OK, I would say since knucklehead Richie Incognito was bullying a teammate, except that the offensive line coach caught snorting white powder off his desk happened more recently. But this embarrassment is happening on the field. In the open. It’s being televised! To read my entire recent column, please visit No Sacrifice Too Great For Tanking-For-Tua Dolphins.

Loboslogo NFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 6: WIN, WIN, WIN!: NFL picks -- Pretty great, actually. We deftly navigated an upset-laden week to go 10-4 overall and a terrific 11-3 (!) against the point spread. We nailed another Upset of the Week with 49ers over Rams ("Aawwk!"), bull's-eyed Cardinals' upset of Falcons and hit a third outright upset, though a mini-one (1-point line), with Saints winning at Jaguars. Also had a trio of 'dogs-with-points in Dolphins, Bengals and Steelers. We're having another big season. All abooaarrd! ..... LeBatard Show fantasy (16-team PPR) -- Yes! Greg's Lobos rose to even at 3-3 with an 85.4 to 63.4 spanking of Randy Scott. Got 24.8 from Patrick Mahomes (who's good even when he isn't great) and a nice 20.6 bounceback from Mike Evans. We're tied for sixth of 16 teams and thinking playoffs. ..... Friends n' family fantasy (10-team PPR) -- Yes again! Lobos are now 3-3 with a 139-133 win. Kept the faith in Stefon Diggs and got a 43-point reward. Also cashed 29 from Deshaun Watson. We're tied for fourth place and playoff-hunting. And we get Saquon Barkley back soon. Go 'Bos!

Previous select recent columns: Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (preseason NFL Team Rankings) / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

February 18, 2019

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See who's No. 1 and what else falls where; plus Kaepernick and Kuchar columns, your verdict on Murray vs. Tagovailoa for Dolphins & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

Prezday1) It's MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18. Happy Presidents' Day. I honor the office and what it stands for. Not always the man in it. But the office. 2) Football is done, but never too late to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Matt Kuchar/underpaid caddie tempest, Dolphins' QB plan with poll, Parkland 1-year anniversary & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Colin Kaepernick, Caddiegate, Kyler Murray: Our most recent columns: Stain On NFL Stays Until Kaepernick Is SignedHe Was Wrong To Stiff Caddie, But Vilifying Kuchar is Wrong, Too /  And Why Murray Is Perfect Fit For Dolphins.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature, updated Mondays, is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HEAT/NBA: Wade's 'Last Dance' pauses for All-Star Game: It was Team LeBron rallying to beat Team Giannis 178-164 in a typically defense-oriented (!) NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte Sunday night. Heat's Dwyane Wade, a special all-star roster addition, scored seven points with four assists off the bench in 10 minutes of action in the final all-star bow of his Last Dance farewell season. Now back to earth: Miami will return from the break Thursday at 26-30 and narrowly off playoff pace.

2. MARLINS: Fish open full spring training: Marlins are up in Jupiter (the city, not the planet) for Monday's first full-squad work of spring training. With catcher J.T. Realmuto now a Phillie, every Miami veteran with any appreciable trade value has now been swapped out for prospects. Fish could be good someday. We just have no idea when.

3. MOTORSPORTS: Hamlin takes Daytona 500: Denny Hamling won the Daytona 500 for the second time in four years Sunday in NASCAR season-opening race, one marred as usual by multiple wrecks. William Byron (whom Hot Button is not pretending to have heard of) was on the pole. Too bad. Nobody has won this race from the pole position since Dale Jarrett in 2000.

4. UM BASKETBALL: Canes women win at No. 2 Louisville: After earlier stunning No. 4 Notre Dame, Katie Meier's Canes women -- 22-5 and ranked 20th -- visited second-ranked Louisville Sunday and won 79-73. The drama for UM's men is of a far different sort. Jim Larranaga's guys (11-14) will need a miracle finish in last five games and in ACC Tournament for any prayer of an invite to NCAAs.

5. COLIN KAEPERNICK: QB, NFL settle collusion grievance: I'm no lawyer, but this I know: the settlement of a collusion grievance is a compromise but one that does not mean there was no collusion to keep Colin Kaepernick out of the league. Simple to end all doubts, though. Somebody sign the guy!

6. CANES BASEBALL: Canes open season, DiMare era with sweep: With Jim Morris retired after 25 seasons, Gino DiMare took over as coach as the Hurricanes wrapped their season-opening home series vs. Rutgers Sunday with a three-game sweep: 19-3, 7-1, 9-3. Canes are unranked. For now.

7. MATT KUCHAR: 'Cheapskate Champ' finally does right by caddie: The PGA Tour's Caddiegate starred Matt Kuchar, who, after winning a tournament and its $1.3 million prize, paid his fill-in caddie a paltry $5,000. Social media vilification ensued. Friday, Kuchar relented, apologize and said he'd give the bag man 50K.

8. PANTHERS: Barkov hat trick lifts Cats: Florida, in the midst of a seven-game homestand, beat Montreal Sunday behind Aleksander Barkov's hat trick. But Cats are still a big 11 points off playoff pace two-thirds into the NHL season. Panthers have won than three games in a row only once all season. Streak, please?

9. BOB COSTAS: Broadcaster breaks silence on NBC split: Bob Costas revealed details of his breakup with NBC Sports after a 38-year run, saying it came down to his outspokenness on NFL brain injuries clashing with NBC's pricey partnership with the league. No surprise: Costas leaves with his integrity intact.

10. INSPIRATION: A coach with no arms or legs: ESPN told the story of Rob Mendez, a California high-school football coach born without arms or legs. Store away the previous sentence in the back of your mind for use the next time you start feeling sorry for yourself.

Missing the HB10 cut: The Dolphins introduced new coach Brian Flores' staff of assistants to the media on Friday. Time now for them to introduce Miami to something nearly forgotten: a winning Fins team ..... Week 2 for the new Alliance of American Football, and I can already feel interest fading ..... Bengals RB Mark Walton, the ex-Cane, was arrested in Miami for snatching a cell phone from a woman during an argument. And the propensity of some pro athletes to be their own worst enemy continues to astound ..... Finalists for the 2019 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class are led by Marques Johnson, Jack Sikma, Ben Wallace and Paul Westphal, verifying once and for all they're letting too many people in ..... David Beckham watched his first Salford City match since becoming a 10-percent owner of the English non-Premier League club. Hey Becks, how about you concentrate on Inter Miami, yes? ..... R.I.P. Gordon Banks, famed British goalkeeper who ended his career with Fort Lauderdale Strikers in late '70s, gone at 81 ..... Update: Countdown now 2,681 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

KaepNO KAEPERNICK COLLUSION? ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN SETTLEMENT: Colin Kaepernick settled his collusion grievance against the NFL on Friday, but the quarterback remains unsigned entering his third season of suspicious unemployment. For my newest column, please visit Stain On NFL Stays Until Kaepernick Is Signed. Friday's settlement should not have surprised anyone. The player knows how difficult it is to prove collusion in court. And the NFL wanted very badly to spare commissioner Roger Goodell and several team owners from being deposed and having their phone records and emails examined. It also is important to note that settling the collusion grievance does not mean there was no collusion to blackball Kaepernick from the league, or that there isn't still. I'd rehash the whole background here, but you're living under a rock if you don't know the polarizing QB is where he is as the father of the NFL players' social justice movement that has included kneeling during the national anthem. All it will take is one brave team to see in the "athlete/activist" first as a really good quarterback who is better than what they've got. Only then will the stain of collusion begun to fade.

POLL RESULTS: IT'S TAGOVAILOA OVER MURRAY FOR FINS: We asked, "Which of these 2 options would you prefer as a Miami Dolphins quarterback plan?" And you preferred drafting Tua Tagovailoa in 2020 over Kyler Murray in 2019 by 57.50 percent to 42.50%. So a somewhat less than overwhelming majority is buying into the prevalent "tank in '19 for Tua in '20" theory -- even though odds are against Miami being bad enough next season to draft high enough to get him. And a sizable minority agree with me about fast-tracking the future by going for the more gettable Murray in this April's draft.

Other most recent columns: Taking On NFL Cost Costas His Job, But Not His Integrity / The State Of South Florida Sports in 2019 / The Redemption Of Manny Diaz / Here's Why Dolphins Hit Big With Flores Gamble.

Additional select recent columns: Bonds and Clemens Inch Toward Cooperstown, But A-Rod Faces Tougher Road / We All Got Cheated, Not Just Saints / Kooch Never Made Canton But Helped Make Dolphins History / From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / Wade Deserves All-Star Sendoff / The Dolphins Seem Desperate, And It's About Time / Getting Diaz Back The Perfect Fit For UM / Miami's Hate-Hate Relationship With Nick Saban.

APSE-HONORED WORKThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

March 08, 2018

Our column Dolphins' Ross, Stills, anthem-kneeling and activism; plus the power of LeBron, Aly and MSD, latest Back In My Day video (Cookbooks!) & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It's THURSDAY, MARCH 8. Surprise and delight the Dolfans in your life with our Fins At 50 book. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check it out. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Ranking Miami's 2018 Top 25 Sports Figures: I last did one of these in late 2015 and man has a lot changed around here in two-plus years. Does Dwyane Wade hang on to No. 1? Where do newcomers Derek Jeter and David Beckham land? Who's the top Dolphin? You're a click away from those answers and more. For that column and full list, click Top 25 Miami Sports Figures For 2018.

StillsWHILE ANTHEM-KNEELING SPOTLIGHT IS ON ROSS, STILLS HAS KICKED HIS ACTIVISM UP A NOTCH: Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is in the news this week over his stand on players kneeling during the national anthem, but the team's face of that form of protest, receiver Kenny Stills (pictured), is showing how his activism is more than just that symbolic sideline gesture. My latest column is on the unfair criticism of Ross, and on Stills' hands-on offseason odyssey for social justice and equality. To read the column, click As Dolphins' Owner Wrestles With Anthem-Kneeling, A Player Shows A Way Beyond Protests.

Lebron
LEBRON TO ALY TO STONEMAN DOUGLAS: DON'T SHUT UP. GET LOUDER AND LOUDER
:
 This is the new age of social activism, in and out of sports. From LeBron James and others speaking out on racial quality, from NFL players continuing that push, from Aly Raisman and other gymnasts bringing down pedophile doctor Larry Nassar, from actresses rising up against Harvey Weinstein's abuse, and of course from Stoneman Douglas survivors determined to foment gun control -- inspiring, all of it. I explore in my latest column. To read it, click Don't Shut Up, Get Louder.

'BACK IN MY DAY': COOKBOOKS!: Here's our latest BIMD video from yesterday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio. I spent the show dressed as Sean Connery's Zardoz, from the 1974 film, to pay off a losing Grid Of Death bet:

ICYMI: OUR APSE CONTEST-WINNING COLUMNS: Here are the five submitted 2017 columns that earned us a Top 10 national designation from the Associated Press Sports Editors: From March 1: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing  /  April 22: Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose  /  May 15: NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering  /  July 24: What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer  /  October 1: With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.

Select additional recent columns: For One Night: Magic City  /  Fins Must Find Their Future  /  Tiger Still Best Thing In Golf, But Reasons Why Have Changed  /  Jeter's Shameful Decimation Of Marlins Overshadows Season  /  Will You Make The Leap Of Faith The Marlins Are Asking? And our two on the Parkland tragedy: MSD On Their Jerseys, A Community In Their Hearts and Sports Mourns. We All Mourn, Then Wait For The Next Tragedy While Leaders Do Nothing. Also, our Dwyane Wade homecoming trilogy: Only 3 Points, But He Owned The Night / Heat Have Big Plans For Wade 2.0 / Welcome Home, D.Wade. Others: Richt Building Something Big & Something To LastDear Canton: Call Zach. Farewell, RubinBeckham's Dream Becomes A TeamAppreciating Wayne HuizengaWhen Victims Seize The PowerNo Way to Escape Her ShameThe Hurricanes Are Back; Deal With It, AmericaThe Godfather SpeaksWade Will End Where He BelongsRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote