NFL Recap: Week 3

Image result for images of football fieldsImage result for images of football defensePittsburg ran into the Eagles DEFENSE last Sunday and the Panthers ran into the Vikings.

 

Texans vs. Patriots: Patriots won 27 to 0 – No surprise there.

Cardinals vs. Bills: Bills won 33 to 18BIG surprise, because the Bills don’t have one of the league’s best head coaches but Rex Ryan’s decision to fire Greg Roman last week and hire Anthony Lynn may have been what the team needed. I still caution Bills fans not to start making Super Bowl t-shirts just yet. The Cardinals on the other hand is a different story.  I stated in my blog last week that people shouldn’t get too over confident with the Cardinals because they beat the Jaguars into the ground.  The team still hasn’t jelled and I’m not sure they will this season.

Vikings vs. Panthers: Vikings won 22 to 10. Vikings defense, defense, defense. Need I say more? Don’t think so.

Lions vs. Packers: Packers won 34 to 27. The Lions need to improve their defense.  They’re getting production from Stafford but these teams have to stop expecting the QB to win the game by throwing touchdowns.  Defense wins games.

Ravens vs. Jaguars: Ravens won 19 to 17. Seriously, who cares?

Browns vs. Dolphins: Dolphins won 30 to 24.  These teams are pretty evenly matched. Both teams have new coaches so only time will tell.

Redskins vs. Giants: Redskins won 29 to 27. Seriously, the faulty Redskins, I cry foul!!! This was poor clock management and turnovers.  Eli Manning is a two time Super Bowl champion and he’s still making rookie mistakes, give me a break.

Raiders vs. Titans: Raiders won 17 to 10.  I’m not sure either team has the coaching leadership needed to become impactful in the league right now so only time will tell.

49ers vs. Seahawks: Seahawks won 37 to 18. The Seahawks have been struggling since the season started but found what they needed to slaughter the 49ers. The 49ers replaced the QB that took them to the Super Bowl with a less talented QB and they’ve commenced their coach carosouel again.  How long will Chip Kelly last?

Rams vs. Buccaneers: Rams won 37 to 32. Actually this was a decent game but let’s remember the Bucs replaced Lovie Smith with his offensive coordinator so let’s see how that change works out for them.

Chargers vs. Colts: Colts won 26 to 22. The Colts are finding a rhythm and the Chargers just can’t be trusted.  They have the tendency to put up a lot of points and still lose.

Jets vs. Chiefs: Chiefs won 34 to 3.  This is what happens when you don’t prepare another QB for the role when the starting QB, who’s not really a starting QB sits out during preseason because of a contract dispute.

Steelers vs. Eagles: Eagles won 34 to 3. The Steelers couldn’t handle the Eagles defensive pressure or newbie QB Carson Wentz.  I must admit the 3 – 0 Eagles are looking good and I’m really impressed with Wentz.  I guess Jeffrey Lurie said, he was going to turn this team around “by any means necessary” after what Chip Kelly did.  “Hell hath no fury like an owner scorned by a bad GM/Coach.”

Bears vs. Cowboys: Cowboys won 31 to 17.  I am really impressed with Dak Prescott but they did play the hapless Bears.

Saints vs. Falcons:  The Falcons won 45 to 32.  At what point will the Saints realize they need to improve their defense?  I hate games where both teams just put up a lot of points and the “winner is” the team that scores the most points, that’s just stupid.  Get a descent defensive coordinator in there and stop the other team.  Drew Brees’ stature causes him to make mistakes when reading defenses and that’s why he gets’ picked off so often.

 

1raregrl

#nflplayers#healthinsurance4life

NFL RECAP: WEEK 2

Image result for images of pets side eyeSeattle, seriously?

 

There were some very exciting games this past weekend.  My top three games were the Vikings vs. Packers, Steelers vs. Bengals and Cowboys vs. Redskins.  My honorable mention game is the Giants vs. Saints.  My “what the heck” game was Seahawks vs. Rams.  Football fans just remember, this is only week 2 and there are 14 more games to go in the regular season so there is no reason to get bent out of shape right now.  Teams are still finding their footing so calm down because the bad teams will probably always be bad and the good teams will continue to be good, we hope.

Jets vs. Bills:  Jets won 37 to 31.  Don’t get too happy, the Bills didn’t do as well as you would think.   The score is deceiving.  Rex Ryan promptly fired Greg Roman, the offensive coordinator after this loss.  What’s interesting about Greg Roman is that he flourished under Jim Harbaugh during his time at San Francisco.  As I’ve said before, Rex Ryan is not a good coach but people keep hiring him, why? 

Panthers vs. 49ers: Panthers won 46 to 27.  The 49ers scored first on a field goal and Gabbert connected with the receivers on several drives but it was the defense that kept them in the game initially but once the Panthers found their rhythm it was lights out for the 49ers.

Cowboys vs. Redskins: Cowboys won 27 to 23.  Probably one of the best games of the day and that’s because of Dak Prescott.  Rumor has it the Redskins locker room is in turmoil again.   Guess what? RG3 is not even on the premises and the locker room is still shaky.  According to the rumor mill, if you believe it, the locker room is upset with Kirk Cousins because he appears to be indecisive on the field and isn’t getting the ball to the receivers.  If this is actually going on, my recommendation is to fire Jay Gruden because he should never have been hired in the first place.  Everyone thought RG3 was the problem but clearly the problems extend beyond RG3. 

Bengals vs. Steelers: Steelers won 24 to 16.  As we all know, these two teams “hate” each other and that bitter rivalry always make for a great game.  At the end of the day it was Big Ben and Company coming away with the victory.  This was a very well played game on both sides of the ball. 

Saints vs. Giants: Giants won 16 to 13.  These two teams were pretty evenly match, which made the game watchable.  The Giants defense did surprise me.

Dolphins vs. Patriots:  Patriots won 24 to 31.  I would have said don’t bother but the Dolphins came back in the second half and outscored the Patriots and that’s because Jimmy Garoppolo, the starting QB, was knocked out of the game with a shoulder injury and the 3rd string QB had to come into the game, which caused the momentum to shift.  That said, all the Pats did was slow down the pace and won the game.

Chiefs vs. Texans: Texans won 19 to 12.  This was a good game.  The Chiefs offense sputtered after coming from behind last week against the Chargers and scoring 23 unanswered points to win the game.  Hmmmmm!!!

Titans vs. Lions: Titans won 16 to 15.  This game went down to the wire and I expected the Lions to win but Mariota threw a touchdown pass in the last seconds of the game and pulled it out.   

Ravens vs. Browns:  Ravens won 25 to 20.  The Ravens came back from a 21 point deficit to win the game.  Teams have to remain focused all four (4) quarters or you will lose. 

Seahawks vs. Rams: Rams won 9 to 3.  Neither team threw a touchdown and both teams looked bad.  Seattle better shore up their offensive line, quick, fast and in a hurry because that’s their biggest problem.  The Rams won, seriously? 

Buccaneers vs. Cardinals:  Cardinals won 40 to 7.  I suppose once Andy Reid threw his players under the bus last week after their loss to the Patriots, he prepared them to give a beat down to the Bucs.  Who are we kiddingThe Cardinals were going to win this game because the Bucs are still finding their way.  This game doesn’t give us any indication into how good the Cardinals are. 

Jaguars vs. Chargers: Chargers won 38 to 14.  They played the Jaguars, a team that doesn’t really have a coach or QB. 

Falcons vs. Raiders: Falcons won 35 to 28.  This was a good game.  It kept the audience on the edge of their seats.  The Raiders kept fighting but the Falcons exposed a hole in the Raiders defense that has to be plugged before they get too far along in the season. 

Colts vs. Broncos: Broncos won 34 to 20.  The Broncos defense is still what keeps other teams from winning.  Defense wins games.  

Vikings vs. Packers: Vikings won 17 to 14.  By far, the best game of the day.  The Vikings had Aaron Rodgers so flustered he had to call a time out to get his thoughts together.  In order for a team to win, it’s important to have all cylinders firing and that’s what the Vikings had going on.  It also proves what I’ve said about being a good coach.  Zimmer is one of the best coaches in the NFL.  A coach has to be able to coach talent up and he proved that by acquiring Sam Bradford from the Eagles once Teddy Bridgewater went down with his knee injury during preseason practice.  Under Chip Kelly Sam Bradford was a marginal QB and nobody wanted him, under Zimmer he looks like a completely different QB.  The announcers will not say that but that’s the difference.  

1RAREGRL

#nfl#players#healthinsurance4life

Athletes and Drugs: Is it primarily an NFL Thing?

 

Image result for images of money being set on fireImage result for images of money being set on fire

It has long been a question in my mind given the number of NFL athletes that are sanctioned for illegal use of drugs each year, if NFL athletes are the biggest offenders. I just don’t get it.  Sadly, most of the athletes in the news are NFL players so I decided to research 2016 and determine which professional sport has the most athletes either fined or suspended for drug use.

Based on the information I was able to locate for 2016 from Spotrac the numbers are as follows:

  • NFL suspended or fined 32 athletes;
  • NBA suspended or fined 2 players; (O.J. Mayo has been banned for 2 years); and
  • MLB suspend or fined 82 players and this number includes minor league baseball players as well.

Spotrac is a source that tracks suspensions/fines assessed on players by all of the professional sports teams. If you would like to check my source you can go to www.spotrac.com/nba/finessuspensions.

Another piece of information that I found interesting is that a lot of these players are suspended or fined for Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED) use. Athletes are also suspended/fines for issues related to domestic violence, fighting, illegal hits etc., which the above-referenced numbers do not include.  Unfortunately, drugs whether it’s PED or some other substance is the biggest problem.  One thing to keep in mind is that 2016 is not over so more fines to come.

The leagues make an enormous amount of money from these suspensions/fines. The NFL is making approximately $16M in 2016 from these suspension/fines.  I can understand when tempers flare on the field and a fight breaks out because as the old saying goes “boys will be boys” but the drug thing is mindboggling.  They may as well just set their money on fire because that’s what you’re doing when you purchase illegal drugs and end up getting popped for it.

Are basketball players less likely to do drugs than football and baseball players? With respect to my initial question, clearly drugs are not just an NFL problem and NFL players are not the biggest offenders.  It crosses all of the professional sports and ethnicities but the problem is real and it’s one that has to be dealt with.

Should consideration be given to legalizing certain drugs?

1RAREGRL

#NFL#players#healthinsurance4life

2016 NFL WEEK ONE RECAP

Image result for images of football fieldsIt’s time for Football Again!!!!

 

Before people get too ahead of themselves and start claiming the Super Bowl title, remember this was just week one. In the words of Nick Saban “a team can win game one and never win another game” so don’t get too happy.

Panthers vs. Broncos: Great game but the Broncos defense was still too much for the Panthers.  On another note, Cam should have been removed from the game and placed in concussion protocol.  Clearly, the League is still not on top of this very serious matter.  No win is worth a man’s life.  Get the concussion protocol in order, please.

Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta: The Bucs beat the Falcons in Atlanta.  Jameis Winston made some great offensive plays that exposed some problems in the Falcons defense.  Good win by the Bucs.

Buffalo vs. Baltimore: Baltimore won and it was a good defensive game.  Honestly, Rex Ryan is not a very good coach.  He’s a players’ coach and that’s great if you’re winning but he’s not.  I have to remember it was the first game of the season and it’s possible the Bills will find a rhythm, doubtful.  Baltimore is still ironing out some kinks from injuries sustained last year.

Chicago vs. Houston: Houston won.  Osweiler found his rhythm and never looked.  Cutler and the Bears defense are still struggling.  There was a spark in the Bears’ offense for a moment but it fizzled so they picked up where they left off.

Green Bay vs. Jacksonville: Green Bay won.  Good game and the Jaguars probably could have won had they managed the game a little better.

San Diego vs. Kansas City: Kansas City won.  Wow, KC scored 23 unanswered points.  San Diego better shore up the defense because that’s not a good showing.

Oakland vs. New Orleans: Oakland won.  This game came down to coaching and Jack Del Rio’s gutsy play call to go for the two point conversion.  Neither team was executing defensively, it was all about which QB could throw the most touchdowns and gain the most yards to win.

Cincinnati vs. New York Jets: Cincinnati won.  Good game.  This is what happens when the QB sits out demanding a new contract.  Fitzpatrick is a journeyman so let’s see if it was worth it.

Cleveland vs. Philadelphia: Philadelphia won.  RG3 has got to learn to slide or run out of bounds so that he doesn’t get hurt. Now he’s on IR.  Coach Jackson is right to stand by his QB.  As I’ve said, a player shouldn’t lose his job because he gets’ injured.

Minnesota vs. Tennessee: Minnesota won.  Both teams did a good job.

Miami vs. Seattle: Seattle won, barely.  I assume Seattle is working out some kinks and the 12th man was absent, hmmm.  As for Miami, I was shocked at how well they played or was I shocked by how poorly Seattle played.  Either way, it was a good game.

New York Giants vs. Dallas: Giants won.  The Cowboys have a winner in Dak Prescott.  Now the Cowboys have to shore up the defense line.  They weren’t able to stop the Giants running game and Eli looked like old Eli.

Detroit vs. Indianapolis: Detroit won.  Just a darn good game.

New England vs. Arizona: New England won.  This game was poorly coached by Bruce Arians.  He can call out players in his press conference all he wants to but this game came down to poor coaching and nothing else.  The Cardinals coaching staff wasn’t in synch and made bad play calls.  I told my nephew with three minutes left to play in the game that the Cardinals were going to lose and that Palmer would throw a pick.  The first bad throw wasn’t picked off because the Cardinals receiver batted the ball out of the hands of the Patriots player.  The second bad throw came when Palmer threw the pass to the side and it was caught but the Cardinals receiver pushed the player out of bounds but for the Cardinals receivers playing defense, Palmer would have had two picks.  Belichick is “Darth Vader,” his Jedi mind tricks confused the heck out of the Cardinals coaches.  Seriously, why not try to get more yards so that the kicker wouldn’t have to work so hard to get three points?

Pittsburg vs. Washington: Pittsburg won.  This was the second worst game of week one.  The Redskins didn’t have a prayer against the Steelers defense or offense.

Los Angeles vs. San Francisco: San Francisco won.  This was the first worst game of week one.  Both teams have bad offenses.  The 49ers have a better defense but neither team is very good.  However, the Rams are worst.  The Rams need a QB, they should never have traded  Nick Foles for Jared Goff but this is what listening to the media will get you.  I watched Jared Goff play in college and I didn’t think he was very good but the media was looking for someone to hype up and the Rams bought into it and chose him as the number one draft pick.  Jerry Jones is probably laughing hysterically right about now, so am I.  The Rams need to move back to St. Louis.  Here a question for you to ponder: Is Jeff Fisher really a good coach?

1RAREGRL

 

Colin Kaepernick: Finding Middle Ground

Image result for images of colin kaepernickImage result for images of police brutality

In any protest where people are seeking to make a change to social injustice, it’s important to find middle ground and that’s exactly what Colin Kaepernick has done in terms of his silent protest of police brutality and social injustice for African-Americans and people of color in this country.

Colin spent time with a Green Beret, 49ers Eric Reid and other individuals discussing how his protest could be handled in a manner that would be viewed as more respectful to the military and the country.  It was during these discussions that the decision was made to kneel, which is brilliant. I was worried initially when he started his protest that he would be let go from the team and as I stated in an earlier blog the last thing the black community needs is another unemployed black man.  However, his stance has gained momentum and backing from players, fans, athletes in other sports and just people in general.

It was important for Colin to find middle ground because the media was going to continue to find a way to vilify him, which is not what the media is supposed to do.  Kap made it very clear from the onset of his protest that he wanted to shine a spotlight on the way blacks and people of color are being treated in this country.  Also, he wanted people to start having conversations about the police brutality plaguing the country and the absence of justice being done with respect to these violent acts being committed by police officers.  I need to digress for one moment and remind people that police brutality is not new.  It has always been pervasive throughout this country’s history and culture.  With advances in technology, the public is able to record their heinous crimes for the world to see and that’s why people are more sensitive to the issue.  In addition to rogue police officers, the punishment for their behavior needs to catch up with the crimes they’re committing.

If you check out an earlier blog I posted entitled “How Do We as a Nation Stop Police Brutality” you will see the recommendations I believe need to be put in place in order to eradicate this behavior so I will not go into it in this blog. Back to Kap, his jersey is number 1 in NFL sales and he plans to donate all of the proceeds to groups fighting injustice in this country.  Police brutality is a difficult conversation but it needs to be addressed and it’s time for the punishment to fit the crimes rogue police officers are committing.

I’m happy that the media is backing off their vile, vindictive Kap stories, now if they would just write about the problems this country is facing and possible solutions, change might really start to happen. I’m sure you’re asking if 1RAREGRL still believes Kap’s forum was not the correct one, my answer is yes but keep in mind change requires that we make bold steps regardless of what people think and that’s what Kap did.

1RAREGRLE#kaepernick#boldmeasures

USC: The Fallen Trojan

Image result for images of a fallen trojan horse

I admit it never bothered me not having a professional football team in Southern California because we had USC football.  However, the loss of Pete Carroll and Mike Garrett was detrimental to the USC football program.  Prior to Garrett being hired SC football was under performing and not producing at the level fans were accustomed to.  Garrett went out on a limb and hired Pete Carroll.  This controversial hire was not without its critics but the critics were silenced once Coach Carroll returned the program back to its glory days.

Then came the NCAA sanctions, Coach Carroll’s departure to the NFL and Mike Garrett being let go because of the sanctions firestorm and other allegations.  Some say the sanctions were unjustified or too harsh by the NCAA but it is what it is.  The one thing that is blatantly evident is that these things had a domino effect on the SC football program and has left it once again in shambles.

Mike Garrett was replaced as Athletic Director with Pat Haden who hired Lane Kiffin who was famously fired by Haden, upon the teams return from Arizona after a disappointing loss, at 3:00 am on the tarmac at LAX.  Which, in my opinion, was very unprofessional.  Haden replaced Kiffin with coach Steve Sarkisian, an alleged alcoholic.  Sarkisian was subsequently fired by Haden, and after these two hiring/firing debacles Haden resigned, “wink, wink” and was replaced with Lynn Swann.

Clearly, if a person has not walked the hallowed halls for USC football don’t bother applying for the job of athletic director because the powers that be are not interested.  Garrett, Haden and Swann are all past USC football players.  I understand wanting an alum to head up the athletic department but is it the right thing to do?

Pat Haden was a poor choice and based on Lynn Swann’s resume he wasn’t a wise choice either.  So what these people played for USC?  It doesn’t mean that they are right for the role of AD.  Let’s call a spade a spade, is Lynn Swann going to be able to go out and recruit players to sign with USC.  He fancies himself a politician so I’m not sure that will translate to players clamoring to become a Trojan.

The current head coach Clay Helton, hired by Lynn Swann, coached the Trojans to a 52 to 6 route by the defending 2016 College Football Playoff National Champions Alabama Crimson Tide.  Ironically, Lane Kiffin is the current Offensive Coordinator of the Crimson Tide. The game wasn’t even competitive so if this game was a preview of what’s in store for USC football, December can’t come soon enough.

1RAREGRL

Colin Rand Kaepernick: Right or Wrong for Not Standing for the National Anthem and Flag?

Image result for images of the american flagImage result for images of colin kaepernick

A number of people have asked 1raregrl where she stands on this issue and when a blog would be released regarding this issue.  As everyone knows, Kap has ignited a firestorm and much debate, both domestically and abroad, because he has elected not to stand for the American National Anthem and flag in protest of racial oppression of the black community and people of color in America.   People have been burning his jersey, the media has vilified him (as they have the tendency to do)and politicians have weighed in on the matter, including Donald Trump saying Kap should move to another country.

The good thing is, I don’t write or spew venom based on a reaction.  I like to sit back and take stock in a situation. That said, when this happened initially, I tweeted Kap and told him that it was not a good idea because it would lead to him becoming another unemployed black man. He doesn’t own the San Francisco 49ers and when you work for someone else, you don’t have the luxury of doing what you want to do if you want to remain gainfully employed. That is just fact.

That said, I have listened to reactions, read numerous articles, read tweets, etc. and now it’s my turn to opine on whether I believe Kap should continue to sit. Let me start by saying that I’m a black woman from the deep, deep South, born and raised in Mississippi.  I love the state of Mississippi but it is not without its good and bad.  In order to write this blog, I contacted by oldest living brother Coach Marcellus Singleton, a Vietnam veteran, and asked him for his opinion.  I now paraphrase what he said, which almost brought me to tears.

First, my brother was drafted into the United States Army to fight the Vietcong in Vietnam.  Just as our uncle before him, who fought in World War II, my brother was forced to fight in a war for our country, despite his personal feelings regarding it. Adding insult to injury, my brother wasn’t welcomed back upon his return to our country and no one thanked him for his service.  Subsequently, my brother obtained a coaching position in Northern Mississippi, and made history as one of the first black coaches leading his team to victory over predominately white programs. Conveniently, the principal of the school where he was employed, told my brother “the job was being phased out”; however, my brother knew the truth.  He was being “fired” for winning.  (Shaking my head) Fortunately, the Lord had a Ram in the bush and two weeks later he had a better job with a better salary and the rest is history.  

As a United States Veteran, sports professional, & survivor of the Jim Crow Era, I felt my brother could offer an invaluable perspective. He believes it is Colin Kaepernick’s constitutional right (under the First Amendment) not to stand for the anthem and flag, and as a black man who has lived through tough times in the deep South, he understands Colin’s frustration, although he would not take the same course of action. He reasoned that when you live in America and are privy to all of its goodness, a person should show respect.  In other words, you have to be able to take the bitter with the sweet.

What does 1raregrl say?  As I said earlier in the blog, when you work for someone else you don’t have the luxury of doing what you want to do, unless you’re okay with being terminated.  I believe Colin can do more for the cause employed than unemployed.  Do I understand where he’s coming from? Absolutely!!! However, I don’t believe the football field is the right forum.  

People, including Kap, need to understand that his protest has taken the focus off of the events surrounding racial oppression in this country, and the people who have fallen victim to such oppression in the recent months; i.e., the unarmed black man who was shot in the back; the Latino man who was shot coming home from work, the black woman who was taken to jail for a routine traffic stop and ended up dead in jail; the unarmed black man who was shot and killed after being subdued; and the unarmed black man whose neck was broken after being placed into the back of a police vehicle; and the list just goes on and on and on.  Now, all of the focus is on Kap.   I don’t believe this was his intent but it is how the media is spinning it.   It’s unfortunate because his heart is in the right place.

America has its problems, and slavery and racism is an ugly truth in our history and culture.  However, the meanings behind the American flag and anthem are honorable. It’s the execution by humanity that sucks.  I will continue to stand for the American flag and anthem, but I will also continue to be a voice for my community, and not shy away from expressing what I believe is right, and what I believe to be wrong.

I’m going to leave you with a thought. And anyone on Trump’s team, can give him this piece of food for thought.  My brother said that he knows white people in Mississippi who honor the rebel flag more than the American flag…so where should they be sent?

1RAREGRL#Kaepernick

Joey Bosa Stood His Ground: A Very Smart Move

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I must commend Joey Bosa for standing his ground and not allowing the Chargers to bully him into signing a contract he was not comfortable with.  The short story is that the Chargers didn’t want to pay Bosa the full amount of his $17 million signing bonus at the time he signed his contract.  They wanted the option of paying a portion of it in 2017 and he said no, which was the right thing to do.   

Fortunately for Bosa, his father played in the NFL for two years and I’m sure he knows all too well what the pitfalls are.  Also, having only played two years he counseled his son on the importance of getting as much of money up-front or he would run the risk of never seeing it.  The NFL is the wealthiest of all professional sports, the most violent, yet they have the worst player contracts, health insurance and pension plans. 

The only money that is truly guaranteed for an NFL player is his signing bonus and to give up a portion of it would not be wise. Apparently, the Chargers wanted to incorporate offset language into Bosa’s contract related to the delayed signing bonus portion, and he said absolutely not. 

Clearly, it worked in Bosa’s favor to have someone familiar with NFL practices to advise him.  Normally, players are bullied into signing contracts without knowing the ramifications or the impact of signing a deal that has offset language.  I reviewed the offset language and had to research some outside sources to fully understand the impact of the offset language.   

Basically, a team can cut a player that was drafted at the top of the draft within the four years of his original rookie deal and receive a dollar-for-dollar credit if he is picked up by another team.  Without offset language, the player will continue to receive his guaranteed money from the team that cut him, and his new salary from the new team.  Offset language is a way for owners to hedge their bets so that they can get out of paying the player what they negotiated and agreed to. 

It’s very critical that players and their agents understand the underlying impact of what’s in the CBA.  It’s really sad how many players just get PLAYED.  In my opinion, given the complexity of the CBA, players need a lawyer and an accountant, not an agent. 

#1RAREGRL