A CULTURE PROBLEM

Patrick Creighton: NFL Network is going to burn

Patrick Creighton: NFL Network is going to burn
The NFL Network has a problem. NFL.com

Since being launched Nov. 4, 2003, with $100M to fund it, NFL Network has become a staple of NFL coverage, included in most cable packages, showing games, highlights, NFL Films, in depth coverage of the NFL Draft and everything and anything from the NFL Combine.

Apparently some of its employees think it’s a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah where completely shameless and disgusting sexual harassment is just fine.  Turns out its attorneys do as well.

In the NFL Network’s response to former employee Jami Cantor’s sexual harassment lawsuit filed January 18, 2018, the Network claims that Ike Taylor, Eric Davis, Donovan McNabb, Warren Sapp, Heath Evans, and Marshall Faulk, among others, never did any of the things Ms. Cantor has alleged they did.  There were no sexual advances, disgusting comments about what they think she would be like in bed, no statements that she was put on earth to pleasure them, no whipping out their junk in front of her, no videos sent by these people of themselves ‘'getting the job done'’ in the shower, no nude photos of themselves or other women they shacked up with, and that it is all complete fabrication.

Oh, wait, sorry, that is not what NFL Network said.

No, the Network admits that its employees actually did all of these things to Ms. Cantor.  However they still say none of it was sexual harassment.  How did they justify this mindboggling position?

They said she liked it.

In fact, if you want the exact language the network attorneys used, they said she “approved, consented to, authorized, and/or ratified” all of the interactions that occurred between her and all of these other male employees where she was subjected to the most vile, disgusting language you can process as well as unwanted sexually explicit pictures and videos.

Considering Ms. Cantor’s suit is predicated on these electronic transmissions, I’m going to have the belief she has the texts, pictures and videos in her possession.  Now I’m going to try to come up with a scenario where 12 men and women allow a bunch of pigs to get away with sexual harassment because they work for an NFL entity and therefore the woman was begging for it.  I don’t think the NFL has that many people on the take.

This story continues to get worse for the NFL Network, where it’s patently obvious that a culture has existed and been cultivated where the boys can basically do anything they want and the girls should just be grateful for the attention and accommodate the boys’ wishes whenever possible.  

Now the NFL Network will do its best to protect its boys’ club environment by portraying Ms. Cantor as the network whore who wanted every guy in the place.  They will seek to destroy her emotionally and professionally.  The network is basically the living embodiment of why the #MeToo movement exists.

This is why the NFL Network needs to burn to the ground, and when it goes to court with this defense, it will deserve to do so.

The fact NFL Network isn’t even trying to deny the despicable and indefensible actions of its employees is incredibly disturbing on its own.  I really cannot foresee how a judge and jury will not find in favor of Ms. Cantor.  For all the NFL Network’s hubris in their "she wanted it" defense – the same defense used for decades by rapists to justify their actions – I hope they pummel the network with at least a nine figure penalty in favor of Ms. Cantor.

Punish them for creating and encouraging this kind of atmosphere.  Punish them for thinking it's OK to continue to smear women as trashy whores when they don’t like being harassed.  Make the penalty so large the only way for NFL Network not to completely burn to the ground is by selling a major portion if not all of the network since it's clear they don’t know how to run one.

But make it burn.

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Cristian Javier is in better shape this season. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

As the Astros prepare to play their first game of spring training against the Nationals this Saturday, we're starting to see reports about how the players approached the offseason, and what tweaks they made to improve in the 2024 season.

Cristian Javier is a player Astros fans are hoping bounces back this year, as his ERA jumped from 2.54 in 2022 to 4.56 in 2023. Workload was thought to be one of the main factors causing his regression, he dealt with a dead arm last season and threw more innings than ever before (162).

Another explanation could be the pitch clock. This was another new element all pitchers had to deal with last year, and that also likely played a role in his struggles.

But according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome, Javier believes he was carrying some extra weight last season. Add that to some mechanical issues he was experiencing, and his struggles in 2023 make a lot more sense. And to be fair, he wouldn't be the first person to get a little fat and happy after winning a World Series.

In an effort to get back on track in 2024, Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. With the pitch clock not going anywhere, pitchers need to be in better cardiac shape than ever before.

Hopefully this modification helps Javier return to form and put up jaw-dropping numbers like he did in 2022. This rotation needs Javier to be the dominate pitcher we all know he's capable of being. With Justin Verlander behind schedule and Framber Valdez trying to bounce back from his own down year, Houston will depend on Javier like never before.

The Astros are certainly counting on it after giving him a 5-year, $64 million contract last season. Javier will definitely be a player to watch this spring.

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