Reader response III: Why can’t athletes speak up loudly about this?

These continue to be responses emailed directly to me (while there are more than 50 responses now at the story link):

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== “Please tell my why the Lakers, and, for that matter, all teams whose fans riot following wins (or losses), don’t LOUDLY condemn this behavior. Perhaps the athletes/superstars should speak up before and during the finals. If they’d tell their fans that this behavior totally dishonors their accomplishment, they’d could be shamed into stopping what seems to have become habitual following titles.”

== “The Lakers won and then the world gets to see this? These people are not fans at all, just trouble makers.”

== “I have never written a email to anyone in the media before, but you wrote an exceptional piece. I couldn’t agree with you more.”

== “I too believe that there should be a greater respect for the property of others and that people should celebrate responsibly. A great follow up article would be to examine some of the “problems that plague most major cities divided by haves and have-nots, especially those hit hardest by the economy and are wrought with poverty.” There is not enough being said about there plights. Those ‘knuckleheads’ that turn out to be repeat violent offenders should be put away for good. The others need to be rehabilitated so that we can end the warehousing of humans and assimilate them back into society.”

== “After viewing the front page of the Daily News yesterday — all Lakers …my God, I am old enough to remember VJ Day and VE Day at end of WWII and that ‘real’ news wasn’t even typeset as large as the Lakers’ nonsense — I would have cancelled my subscription. But your piece tempers my reaction.”

== “As I was with friends in Orange County when the game ended. I jumped up and said: ‘I gotta leave.’ I live in the S.F. Valley, so I wanted to get by downtown before it all started. I recall seven years ago, what these so called “fans” did with the Lakers win. I too feel along with most of my coworkers, that thought it is not fear, the parade should not go on. Maybe and just maybe, it might sink in, that the next win we need to show the world that L.A. has class. Thank you for putting out yet another great piece.”

== “Unfortunately the perpetrators of those acts of vandalism following the Lakers victory probably do not read the Daily News. They just ignite newspaper racks where the newspapers can be purchased.

== “It is really sad that there is a segment of our society that believes this is appropriate behavior. Your story was not only very insightful and well written but it also managed to deliver your very personal observations while making it read as an objective news story. ”

== Monday’s blog posting (linked here)

== Reader response I (linked here)

== Reader response II (linked here)

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Reader response II: It is a little frightening to wonder what our situation on would have been without even less of us 911 dispatchers working

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There are more than 30 responses to the column in today’s newspaper (linked here). These continue to be responses emailed directly to me:

== I am a Police Service Representative (PSR) for the LAPD. We are the people that answer all the incoming 911 calls from the citizens of L.A. – including those for fire and medical emergencies. However, the City Council and Mayor Villaraigosa have decided that we are to be included in the mandatory furlough program. This will mean an approximate 10% reduction in the number of 911 operators available to answer calls, and potentially a longer time to get emergency calls answered. We are also the people who work the police radios on the Dispatch side, and send the officers to calls and urgent situations, such as the one Sunday night. Many of us were working in the Dispatch Center on Sunday night, after the Laker victory, and during the rioting afterwards…I was one of them. It is a little frightening to wonder what our situation would have been with even less of us working.

“I don’t understand how the Mayor and City Council can think that helping to fund a parade is a necessary thing, but 911 operators are expendable. I also think that they need to be honest with the citizens as to where some of the budget cuts are being made, and that they are willing to compromise public health and safety even further. These concerns have apparently been brought to them numerous times, and have fallen on deaf ears.”

== ” ‘Knuckleheads’ doesn’t begin to describe these felons who looted stores in downtown LA and overturned cars. They used the Lakers victory as an excuse to go on a rampage under the guise of “celebrating” and made the city look like it was once again out of control. It wasn’t a celebration, it was a riot. As for Mayor Villaraigosa, he’s been in Providence RI attending a national conference and has unfortunately missed the festivities. If he gets back any time soon, the first thing he should do is cancel the Lakers victory parade. The city needs that like it needs another “celebration.”

== Monday’s blog posting (linked here)

== Reader response I (linked here)

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Reader response: There needs to be consequences for people’s actions

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Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer
People stop a light-rail train in its tracks during the Lakers celebration near the Staples Center on Sunday.

Responding to today’s column (linked here), which was a byproduct of a late afternoon blog posting on Monday (linked here), we have some reader reaction:

== “Thank you so much for your great article today. I agree 100% with you. We should cancel the parade. There needs to be consequences for people’s actions.”

== “What kind of a celebration when their team wins calls for mass destruction? I am not a fan but am really disgusted at this scene . The photograph shows a REAL JERK bouncing on a car’s hood and another BOZO to the right that looks like he is holding a new pair of shoes , probably stolen from Richard Torres. … I am a huge fan of NASCAR and we are far different than these animals in Los Angeles. You would never see anything like this by NASCAR fans, we are a family and rejoice in wins. Even if it is not our favorite driver taking a win or for that matter the championship. I think Mayor Villaraigosa should cancel the parade to prevent anymore of this foolish behavior and the Lakers should be very unhappy that their so called fans acted like they did.”

== “At least we know what the Raider fans are doing in the off season.”

== “Thank you for being so diplomatic! These punks ruin things for good people who really are proud of our city and team. Thank you again for printing the truth. I have been reading your newspaper for years and due to writers like yourself, Brian Dohn, Jill Painter, Ramona Shelburne and too many others to list I would be willing to pay for the right to read you all online. I am stuck in Tucson AZ for health reasons and you are my eyes to my home. You all do it well. Peace.”

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The Lakers serial continues, with the fruits of victory

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For the breakfast of champions, the Lakers have already won themselves a spot on the box of Wheaties. That was announced moments after Sunday’s Game 5 victory.

For the sports magazine of champions, the Lakers won’t be on this week’s cover. Sports Illustrated has singled out Kobe Bryant as its coverkid. It’s easier for him to sign copies of it.

So, this was Kobe’s moment, eh? OK, now that we got that straight. Not Derek Fisher (who is also now a four-time NBA champ and proved he could win the title this year finally without Shaq). Not Phil Jackson (with that silly “X” yellow hat that his kids made for him in Sunday school). Not Luke Walton (who became the back end of the third father-son combo to ever win a title).

Not even the fans of L.A.’s moment?

Chris Ballard writes the story that includes this paragraph to justify the story’s headline:

“His performance in these Finals was memorable not necessarily for the bursts of scoring (though of course there were those) but for the moments that revealed both his evolution as a player and his near-desperate desire to win. The way he wrestled with Orlando’s Rashard Lewis, elbowing and hooking and kneeing when he had to switch onto the 6′ 10″ forward; the way he bared his teeth after big plays, like a feral animal; the way he dominated not only with baskets but with passes–a shooting guard, Bryant had twice as many assists as any other player in the Finals. Though he would never admit it, his willingness to play whatever role his team needed may have reflected Bryant’s awareness that the era of LeBron James and Dwight Howard is at hand, and that the best way for him to stay relevant, since he can’t do it by sheer force of personality, is by winning.”

There’s also this quote from Kobe, after Ballard asked him about his future and if he could see himself ever backing down and becoming a third option on a team.

Said Kobe, with a frown:

“Third option? I don’t know, that’s tough to see. One thing I’ve always been great at is scoring the ball. Even when I’m 35, I think I’ll be a bad motherf——.”

By the way for those of you non-NBA fans in the Pennsylvania area, SI has a special “Penguins Win!” cover with Sidney Crosby hoisting the Stanley Cup. Imagine how well that would sell in L.A.

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You didn’t expect Artie Lange to curse like an m-effer? On HBO?

One of the things I asked Joe Buck about last week, as he geared up to the debut of his new HBO four-times-a-year sports talk show “Joe Buck Live” on Monday, was how he was going to handle the foul-language issue.

Meaning, on HBO, you can pretty much say what you want. It’s just a matter of whether you want to or not.

“I’ll let the guest do it, if they’re propelled to go that way,” said Buck, “but it would be a major mistake for me if I went into that category and used (foul) language just because we’re on HBO. I’ve build a reputation 15 years on the national level and the worst thing I could do is tear it down with that. I’ve been around microphones since I was age zero and it’s in my genetic code that when you’re around a mike, certain words don’t come up. If I’m on the golf course, it’s a different story. But I’m not here (on HBO) for that.”

Apparently, Artie Lange was.

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The comedian who’s made his career on the Howard Stern radio show — and can do more of that kind of routine with looser restrictions put on Stern’s Sirius XM satellite deployment — went on a rant during the last part of Buck’s debut show Monday that included …. well, how do we describe it …?

A hostle takeover, is how Richard Sandomir put it in today’s New York Times (linked here). A “scatological, homophobic, insult act” complete with “a sort of blithe and gleeful explosiveness that threw Buck a bit.”

And the audience laughed. A lot.

And, so far, has caused enough buzz to make some remember how an indignant Buzz Bissinger hijacked one of Bob Costas’ HBO shows on sports and the media with his tirade against blogger Will Leitch last year.

The difference here, it seems, is that Lange didn’t have a particular target — just to promote himself and his act — and Buck, while maybe understanding that it affects the overall quality of the show, seems OK with the net result — more people are writing and talking about today.

“It’s cable,” Buck told the New York Times. “You can get away with it. … It’s an unfortunate thing that happened. But it’s live. If it were taped, nobody would have seen it.”

That’s the key: Live. (Even if it was tape-delayed here in L.A.-ville). And knowing that going in — that someone could take over at the expense of the host — is something Buck had to expect. And, in fact, almost hope happened.

Like when Magic Johnson accepted Howard Stern as a guest on his “Magic Hour” way back when. It drew the biggest ratings for a show that barely lasted a month. And there was no swearing involved there.

Think Jerry Springer without the cough button, and maybe that’s the direction Buck wants to take this thing. We’ll know when show No. 2 comes on in the third week of September.

It’s how the TV game works, friends. And why we just wasted the last 10 minutes reading and writing about it.

More response:

== From The Big League (linked here)

== From Deadspin.com (linked here) and (linked here)

== From USA Today (linked here) on Lange being “mean spirited.”

== According to Broadcast & Cable magazine, Lange responded on Stern’s show Tuesday morning:

“And Ross Greenburg (the show’s producer), you mother f-cker, you came up to me and said, ‘If (fellow panelists) Paul (Rudd) and Jason (Sudeikis) get boring, you go nuts.’ So go f-ck yourself, I don’t care how important you are in this business.”

Lange did say that following the appearance: “(Buck) was very friendly to me afterwards.”

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Odds are, there’ll be a repeat

Before we even know where Lamar Odom and/or Trevor Ariza will end up next season (or if Shaquille O’Neal teams up with LeBron James), here are the 2010 NBA Championship odds just posted by www.Bodog.com.

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Lakers: 9/4
Cleveland Cavaliers: 3/1
Boston Celtics: 9/2
Orlando Magic: 15/2
Denver Nuggets: 12/1
Houston Rockets: 15/1
San Antonio Spurs: 16/1
Portland Trailblazers: 18/1
Utah Jazz: 20/1
New Orleans Hornets: 35/1
Dallas Mavericks: 40/1
Detroit Pistons: 45/1
Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns: 50/1
Philadelphia 76ers: 60/1
New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, Washington Wizards: 75/1
Clippers, Charlotte Bobcats, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks,
Oklahoma City Thunder, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors: 100/1
Minnesota Timberwolves: 125/1
Memphis Grizzlies: 150/1

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Our Daily Dread: If I’m late for Wednesday’s Lakers victory celebration at the Coliseum …

Don’t bother saving a seat. I doubt I’ll be coming that way.

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Jae C. Hong/The Associated Press
Two men throw a trash can at a Los Angeles Metro Rail after the Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of the Finals on Sunday night.

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If I’m anywhere near downtown L.A., I’d rather be here, helping Richard Torres, owner of The Holy Grail shoe store on Pico and Flower, just southwest of Staples Center, put his business back together.

He had the great luck of having his store looted Sunday night during the celebration after the Lakers wrapped up the NBA title in Orlando. (Photo by Nick Ut/The Associated Press).

Someone decided it was time for everyone to have access to free shoes. The mob followed.

The rest is unfathomable.

Torres told the Associated Press that about $140,000 worth of vintage shoes and apparel were stolen, as well as computers. He also noted that much of it was then burned.

“It would be different if we got burglarized, but they were literally lighting stuff on fire,” said Torres. “For this to happen, it leaves a sour taste.”

If you go over to Torres’ website (linked here), a window will pop up now that says: “Due to rioting, we are temporarily unable to process orders. Thank you for your understanding.”

No, thank you for not giving up and just closing your store for good.

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Wednesday, I might be also be calling the South Park police and fire departments, who we pay to help protect us and are already stretched to every extreme, and ask if there was anything I could do to help clean up all the burned-out messes around town, like this ignited newspaper rack that some provided the perfect lighting for a cell-phone photo.

We already know how many of you already have no need for newspapers. Why add to the embarassment of taking out another distribution rack? It’s only how someone makes their daily income.

Hey, save that cell-phone shot. It’s another great piece of evidence to use in convicting the wrong-doers. (Photo by Philip Scott Andrews/The Associated Press).

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Surely, some of the Lakers players and front-office types who came home Monday will see scenes like this LAPD car getting its windshield bashed in by more revelers, or a L.A. Metro Bus at the Chick Hearn station have a trash can thrown at it doors, while other riders were on board. How much more frightening can that be?

This isn’t just what we’re to expect as the collateral damage of what happens these days when a pro team wins a championship. This is getting to be a far too common occurrence, one that we ridicule animals in other cities for doing because it’s so preposterous, no one here would consider ruining the neighborhood business or public transportation that are vital life support services. (Photo by Philip Scott Andrews/The Associated Press).

Police Chief William Bratton said many known gang members were in the crowd sparking all this, people he referred to as “knuckleheads” and “cowards” who “seem to really relish their opportunity in the dark.”

Knuckleheads used to be almost an endearing term for someone who did something stupid but can kind of be forgiven for it.

Bratton was way too kind here.

These are barely people. They lack in so many ways, incarceration isn’t the answer them once they’re apprehended. Far from it. Make them clean up the mess, and then some.

Maybe they didn’t get the memo. Or the hammering over the head by the league.

Maybe they didn’t get the memo. Or they ignored their TV sets right after the game ended.

Moments after the final buzzer on the ABC there was the league-sponsored spot with Laker highlights that included this message:

“We’ve been working hard all year to bring another championship to Los Angeles,” starts Kobe Bryant. … “So when we win, please celebrate with dignity.”

“This is your moment to shine,” Phil Jackson adds.

“And show the world we do things the right way in Los Angeles,” concludes Derek Fisher. “Be safe.”

A moment to shine has become a video clip beamed to every other local news program to show how a small minority of Angelinos haven’t figured out yet how to react to a sports championship.

It’s like a touchdown celebration, people. Simply hand the ball to the referee and go to the sidelines. Act like we’ve done this before.

No overanalyzing what causes these barbaric acts by pent-up citizens who feel entitled to destroy things that don’t belong to them in the name of revelry. It cuts deeper into a cross section of cultural and social justice problems that plague most major cities divided by haves and have-nots, especially those hit hardest by the economy and are wrought with poverty.

Funny, but the long, wrong stereotype of the L.A. fan is one who’s apathetic. Now, mix in these images of those who take civil disobedience and adolescent behavior to a new low.

Neither depiction is very flattering. But at least the former leaves a lot less to clean up and be sad about than the later.

If L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa really wanted to make a statement, he’d call off Wednesday’s parade entirely. Sure, those who did nothing wrong would be punished just as harshly as those who did. But if we’re all supposed to be on the same team, isn’t that what any reasonable coach would do to get his point across?

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Jae C. Hong/The Associated Press
Two men attempt to break an information stand in downtown L.A. after the Lakers’ victory Sunday night.

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Your NFL Network game team: Papa ‘n’ Millen

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Matt Millen’s charmed life without being connected to the Detroit Lions continues, as the NFL Network has hired him to be the game analyst on its eight telecasts this fall between Nov. 12 and Dec. 25.

He replaces Cris Collinsworth, and will work with play-by-play man Bob Papa.

Millen, fired by the Lions as their team president last September before they went on to an 0-16 season, has since worked for NBC during its Super Bowl coverage last February and been hired by ESPN as a studio analyst for the NFL and do college games.

Although Millen had a decent career with CBS as a game analyst following his NFL career — much of it as a linebacker with the Raiders — his run with the Lions is what many will remember him for.

“My tenure was not good; it was very poor,” Millen said on a conference call. “So it’s been said that you learn a lot from failures, and I learned a ton. So I can bring that to the table. I think I view my experience in Detroit as a positive just in terms of — not in terms of winning and losing, obviously — but having gone through it and having been exposed to every level of the National Football League.

“Yeah, I think that’s something that could help with the telecast.”

There are no Detroit appearances scheduled on the NFL Network slate of games.

“To have Matt available and not having him do NFL games this year would just cheat the fan,” NFL Network executive producer Eric Weinberger said.

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Can’t get enough of that Favre guy

The special secret guest for tonight’s first episode of “Joe Buck Live” on HBO (9 p.m., or 6 p.m. if you have HBO East coast feed) was revealed: Brett Favre.

With the topic of this episode focusing on sports and celebrity, Buck has invited the future Minnesota Vikings QB to discuss the matter from his perspective, from a midtown Manhattan studio and live audience.

After that, former Dallas Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin and newly renamed Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco will come on, and the Mets’ David Wright appears in a taped piece on living in the New York media spotlight.

The hour ends with a comedy panel featuring Artie Lange and “SNL” player Jason Sudeikis.

The other element to the show: An “Overtime” segment will continues on HBO.com.

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More (not so desperate) Dad’s day decisions that deliver

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In addition to recommentations for Father’s Day gifts in today’s paper (linked here), consider these as well for dads who not only still read a newspaper, but like the feel of these former hardback books now out as paperback (sometimes updated and revised, often with a different cover):

== “Always by My Side” by Jim Nantz (Gotham, $16) (amazon.com link here)

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== “All For A few Perfect Waves: The Audacious Life and Legend of Rebel Surfer Miki Dora” by David Rensin (who also did “Devil at my Heels” on Louis Zamperini; $15.99, Harper Collins) (amazon.com link here).

== “America Son” by Oscar de la Hoya with Steve Springer (Harper Collins, $14.99) (amazon.com link here).

== “The Downhill Lie: A Hacker’s Return to a Runious Sport” by Carl Hiassen (www.carlhiassen.com, Vintage Books, $14) (amazon.com link here)

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== “Covert” by NBA referee Bob Delaney (Union Square Press, $14.95) (amazon.com link to hardcover version here)

== “The Final Four of Everything” by Mark Reiter and Richard Sandomir (Simon & Schuster, $19.95) (amazon.com link here, more of a spin-off from their previous hardbound book, linked here)

== “We Would Have Played for Nothing” by Fay Vincent (Simon & Schuster, $15) (amazon.com link here)

== “The Great Book of Los Angeles Sports Lists” by Matt “Money” Smith and Steve Hartman (Running Press, $14.95), which we’ve publicized in the past, but is worth throwing out as another reminder.

And if we could throw one hardback entry into that mix:

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== “What Were They Thinking? The Brainless Blunders That Changed Sports History” by Kyle Garlett ($24.99, Harper, 231 pages), by a freelancer for ESPN The Magazine and FoxSports.com who also wrote for “The Best Damn Sports Show Period” and lives in Marina del Rey. Among the blunder recreations that we enjoyed: The first story is from the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” (a story that’s the starting point for the book we mentioned in today’s column called “Miracle Ball” by Brian Biegel), examining why Dodger manager Charlie Dressen’s grudge toward 24-year-old pitcher Clem Labine resulted in his decision to use Ralph Branca (who had already lost five games against the Giants in ’51 and gave up 10 home runs) against Bobby Thomson. … or why didn’t Dressen walk Thomson with first base open and pitch to the rookie Willie Mays? Or does that all sound too much like the 1985 playoffs, when Tommy Lasorda brought Tom Niedenfuer in to pitch to Jack Clark, instead of walking him … or is all that too painful to revisit? Not to give away the book’s ending, but in writing about the Bartman game from 2003 at Wrigley Field, Garlett reminds us of a Homer Simpson quote that should be taken more seriously: “When you participate in sporting events, it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how drunk you get.”

Find that book here (linked here)

Again, give Dad something to read while awaiting for ABC’s new series, “Cougar Town.”

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