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Archive for the ‘Jews and football’ Category

 

JFL Report, Week 3: MNF

Posted on: September 25th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

The Pittsburgh Steelers almost coughed up a 30-10 halftime lead but managed to hold off the host Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 30-27. Safety Jordan Dangerfield appeared in 21 special team plays (66 percent) for the Steelers while Ali Marpet took all 74 offensive snaps at center plus another six (15 percent) on ST.

JFL, Week 3

Posted on: September 24th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

Welcome your newest JFLers. The update was provided by Bob Wechsler:

Image result for Greg Joseph, browns

Greg Joseph, the newest Jewish NFL player, made his debut with the Cleveland Browns (1-2) on Thursday in their 21-17 win over the visiting NY Jets. He kicked field goals from 45 and 27 yards. a 45-yard field goal just before halftime…. It was his first NFL kick. Joseph after the Browns’ previous kicker left eight points on the field in a narrow loss the week before. The South Africa native attended a Jewish day school in Boca Raton and played at Florida Atlantic.

Image result for jordan dangerfield, steelersAlso newly certified “kosher” by the Jewish Sports Review: Pittsburgh Steelers safety Jordan Dangerfield. The Steelers visit Ali Marpet and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tonight.

In yesterday’s matches…

Stop the presses: the New England Patriots dropped to 1-2 following their loss to the host Detroit Lions. Nate Ebner appeared in nine special teams plays (36 percent), making a tackle (assisted) for the third straight week.

Mitchell Schwartz appeared on all 76 offensive plays at right tackle and another six (21 percent) on special teams as the Kansas City Chiefs improved to 3-0 following their 38-27 win over the visiting San Francisco Giants.

And mazel tov to Josh Rosen, who made his NFL debut for the Arizona Cardinals in their 16-14 loss to the visiting Chicago Bears. The 0-3 Cardinals scored all their points in the first quarter. Rosen came in at 4:31 in the fourth quarter, and connected on his first NFL attempt (nine yards) one of his four completions in seven tries for 36 yards. He also threw an interception with 1:10 left on the clock to seal the Cardinals’ doom, but that came when he was hit from behind. Rosen rushed once for 12 yards. He appeared in 13 offensive plays (36 percent). Personally, I think the AP story on him was a bit harsh: “Thrust into a difficult position, Rosen failed to lead Arizona’s beleaguered offense to a comeback, throwing an interception on his fifth NFL pass.” Geez, cut the guy some slack. It wasn’t his fault the Cardinals coughed up the lead.

Image result for josh rosen

 

 

 

JFL update, Week 2

Posted on: September 17th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

Nate Ebner was a substitute on defense, appearing on one play on defense (one percent) and 17 (71 percent) on special teams where he made one tackle in the New England Patriots’ 31-20 loss to the host Jacksonville Jaguars.

Mitchell Schwartz was the starting right tackle, appearing in 57 plays (98 percent) and another six (17 percent) on special teams as the Kansas City Chiefs beat the host Pittsburgh Steelers, 42-37.

Once again, Ali Marpet is listed at two positions for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their 27-21 win over the visiting Philadelphia Eagles. Listed as the starting left guard, the official NFL Gamebook has him playing on all 58 downs at center. He was also in four plays (14 percent) on special teams.

Josh Rosen did not appear for the Arizona Cardinals in their 34-0 blowout at the hands of the host Los Angeles Rams. At o-2, maybe it’s time to give him a chance?

It's time for the 0-2 Cardinals to try rookie Josh Rosen at quarterback

And sorry, Forward, but the Patriots’ Julian Edelman is still not considered Jewish by the sports powers that be.

Are you ready for some football?

Posted on: September 12th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

Welcome to Week One in the JFL season…

Mitchell Schwartz made all 71 offensive plays at tackle for the KC Chiefs in their 38-28 win over the host LA Chargers.

Nate Ebner returned to action for the New England Patriots after missing most of last season. He appeared in 27 special teams plays, making one tackle.

Ali Marpet was in on all 66 as the center for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their 48-40 win over the host Houston Texans. Or was it left guard? The NFL Communications playbook has him down for both positions.

2018 Donruss Football Josh Rosen Rated Rookie #302Josh Rosen did not appear  for the Arizona Cardinals in their 24-6 loss to the visiting Washington Redskins. Will he start next week as his team visits the Los Angeles Rams in the city where he achieved his fame at UCLA? Stay tuned. And how about that card, eh? Very old school.

Are you ready for some football?

Posted on: August 7th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

As we slowly head towards the fall, I am reminded that there are other sports beside baseball, reluctant as I am to admit it.

NFL training camps opened recently, so now would be an appropriate moment to look at the handful of Jews who hope to make their living cracking heads in the months to come.

Of the course the biggest story of the 2018 campaign is the ascension of Josh Rosen (right) as the new Jewish quarterback. So far, so good. On the other hand — and I hate to say it — but you have to wonder, given today’s political and social climate — if anything negative said about him is honest commerce or something more insidious. IMO, football is a “Christian sport,” with lots of praying and little tolerance for the outsider. If that’s truly the case, anti-Semites will not be as reticent to cloak their criticisms.

Nate Ebner missed most of the year for the New England Patriots due to injury. According to CBSSports.com, he was “removed from the PUP list [physically unable to perform] Tuesday and returned to practice Tuesday, Ben Volin of The Boston Globe. Ebner was one of three Patriots defensive backs to come off the PUP on Tuesday, but given that he is coming off a torn ACL in November, chances are the Patriots will ease him back into practice sessions. Ebner re-signed with the Patriots back in March and is expected to primarily play a special teams role this season.”

Mitchell Schwartz has been acclaimed one of the better offensive lineman in the league. He has quietly become a leader for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Ali Marpet of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is also an O-Man of whom more is expected for the upcoming season.

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Adam Bisnowaty was signed by the Carolina Panthers off waivers after spending last season on the NY Giants’ practice squad without getting into a regular season game. He had previously been signed by the Detroit Lions who released him at the end of July.

And Julian Edelman (Patriots) is still not considered Jewish by the powers that be.

Cleaning out my inbox

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

So I have a bunch of Google alerts set up to bring me the latest news on what the MOTs are up to in various sports. Unfortunately, I’ve been letting time slip away and it’s been building up. So in an effort to get clean again, here goes…

NFL

Hard to believe training camps are close to opening again. Should be an interesting season, if for no other reason than to see what the players and teams will do about the whole National Anthem business. It’s not within the purview of this blog to get deep into politics; if you want to know my feelings you can find them on Facebook, where I probably spend too much time.

Suffice it to say the biggest news on the field as far as we’re concerned will center around new Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen. Maybe we’re just being overly sensitive, but there already seems to be a lot of attention — relatively speaking, of course — paid to his religion, in a way that other players do not have to face, even the Jewish ones who are already in the league. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, here are a few items on Rosen to chew on:

Of course, Rosen is not the only MOT in the NFL. There’s Nate Ebner, a special teams specialist for the New England Patriots who’s coming off a season-ending injury sustained in the ninth game last season. There’s Ali Marpet, an offensive lineman for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, now entering his fourth season (“Bucs union rep Ali Marpet questions legality of the NFL’s new anthem policy“). There Adam Bisnowaty, who signed with but never played for the NY Giants last season. They placed him on waivers and the Detroit Lions picked him up last month. And, arguably the best of the bunch, Mitchell Schwartz, another O-Man for the Kansas City Chiefs.

David Tepper became the ninth current Jewish NFL owner when he bought the Carolina Panthers in May, joining Arthur Blank (Atlanta Falcons), Malcolm Glazer (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Robert Kraft (New England Patriots), Jeffrey Laurie (Philadelphia Eagles), Stephen Ross (Miami Dolphins), Daniel Snyder ( Washington Redskins), Steven Tisch (NY Giants), and Zygi Wilf (Minnesota Vikings). Last month, Blank was named Sports Executive of the Year by The Sports Business Journal.

By the way, in case you were wondering, former Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman returned to the Canadian Football League where he led the Toronto Argonauts to the Grey Cup, Canada’s equivalent to the Super Bowl.

NHL

If you consider Andre Burakovsky to be Jewish, then fine, there was a Jew on the Stanley Cup-winning Washington Capitols.

Other Jews in the League during the 2017-18 season included

  • Jason Zucker (Minnesota Wild) who enjoyed career highs in goals (33) and points (64)
  • Josh Ho-Sang (NY Islanders) who had more than his share of issues with his team
  • Brendan Leipsic, (Vancouver Canucks), who missed his chance to appear in the Cup finals when the Vegas Golden Knights traded him away
  • Jacob Chychrun (Arizona Coyotes), who missed time due to injuries.
  • Jason Demers (Arizona Coyotes)
  • Michael Cammalleri (Edmonton Oilers, the dean of Jewish hockey players with more than 900 games in the NHL
  • Zach Hyman (Toronto Maple Leafs), who may have a career in children’s literature waiting for him when he retires

And mazel tov to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, who celebrated his 25th anniversary in that office.

NBA

I think we can all agree that the Golden State Warriors really screwed Omri Casspi when they released him with just two games remaining in the regular season. Yeah, yeah, I know: it’s a business. Here’s hoping the first Israeli to play in the NBA will find a new home. For awhile it looked as though that would be in Portland with the Trailblazers, but now I’m not so sure.

The other football

Sigh. Soccer.

In the MSL, we have

  • Steve Birnbaum, Defender, DC United (2-6-3, 11th — last — in Eastern Conference)
  • Benny Feilhaber, Midfielder, Los Angeles Football Club (7-4-3, third in Western Conference)
  • Zac McMath, Goalkeeper, Colorado Rapids (2-9-2, 12th — last — in West)
  • Daniel Steres, Defender, LA Galaxy (6-7-2, eighth in West)

Sadly, most of the international soccer news seems to be anti-Semitic and/or anti-Zionist in nature.

Miscellaneous

Finally, here are a few items that fall under the general heading of “Jewish sports”:

There, all caught up. Now that there’s only baseball to worry about, things should be a little easier.

And now, the rest of the story (UPDATE)

Posted on: May 16th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

To take a page from Paul Harvey (no relation to major Mets disappointment Matt)…

I have been majorly remiss in not reporting on anything but baseball. So let’s address that now.

NBA

Omri Casspi has laid up his final shot for the Warriors. (Photo: Facebook)Omri Casspi was waived by the Golden State Warriors just before the end of the regular season, thereby terminating his chance to make it into the playoffs. It’s not a stretch to say that the timing sucked. Casspi — the first Israeli to make it to the NBA — was a pretty good guy to have coming off your bench, regardless for whom he played. Obviously it was too late in the season for another team to pick him up, but here’s hoping we’ll see hime again next season. By the way, T.J. Leaf may be the first Israeli to make it to the post-season, but he’s not a MOT.

NHL

At this point, Andre Burakovsky (Washington Capitols) and Brendon Leipsic (Las Vegas Knights) are the only two Jice-men still active.

Burakovsky — whose connection with Judaism has been an issue over the last couple of years (he claims he’s not Jewish but the Jewish Sports Review stands by their “ruling” that he is based on their qualifications) —  appeared in 56 games for the Caps (49-26-7, third in the Eastern Conference), putting 12 pucks in the net and assisting on a baker’s dozen. Washington leads the Tampa Bay Lightning two games to one in their conference matchup. They beat the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round, four games to two. In the next round, they put away the Pittsburgh Penguins, also 4-2.

Leipsic, a 23-year-old rookie, had five goals and 17 assists in 58 games for the amazingly successful expansion Knights, who ended their inaugural season with a mark of 51-24-7, good for third place in the West. They are tied with the Winnipeg Jets in the Conference Finals at 1-1, having knocked out Jason Zucker and the Minnesota Wild in the first round. The Knights then ousted the San Jose Sharks, 4-2, in round two to move to the next-to-last step.

Zucker had an outstanding season for the Wild (45-26-11, fourth in the Western Conference). He appeared in all 82 games and led all Jewish players in goals (33) and assists (31). Zucker did not put up a point in the series with the Jets. He is also a finalist in the running for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, given to “the NHL player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.” According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune,

Zucker and his wife, Carly, raised funds for the Zucker Family Suite and Broadcast Studio at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, a space that allows children and their families to watch Wild games in a game-like setting. They donated $160,000 to start the project, and also contributed $1,600 for each goal Zucker, who wears No. 16, scored (33) this season. In seven months, the project has raised more than $900,000.

Zach Hyman and the Toronto Maple Leafs made great leaps over the last two seasons. They came in at 49-26-11, fourth in the East. Compare that with 29-42-11 in 2015-16 and 40-27-15 last year. They were eliminated in the first round of this year’s playoffs by the Boston Bruins.

Michael Cammalleri — at 35 the senior statesman among Jewish NHLers — appeared in a total of 66 games, split between the LA Kings (15 games, three goals, four assists) and Edmonton Oilers (51 games, 4/18), to whom he was traded in mid-November. The Kings finished in the seventh spot in the West with a record of 45-29-8. They were swept by the Knights in the first round. The Oilers were pretty awful, however, 36-40-6, eighth in the West.

Jason Demers appeared in 69 games for the Arizona Coyotes  (29-41-12, last in the West), contributing six goals and 14 assists.

Jakob Chychrun, also a member of the Coyotes, had his share of injuries, appearing in just 50 games with four goals and ten assists.

Josh Ho-Sang was a lightning rod for the NY Islanders this year. For some reason, he was constantly in the news, an indicator of why the team was doing poorly, even though he scored twice and assisted on 12 in just 22 games. He spent most of the year with the AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Some said he had a bad work ethic, a bad attitude, etc. Others say he was injured and didn’t want to let on. Let’s just hope for better times ahead. The Isles finished 11th in the East at 35-37-10.

NFL

Not much to report since the Arizona Cardinals selected Josh Rosen as their No. 1 pick (10th overall) in the NFL draft, much to the former UCLA QB’s annoyance. And that annoyance has stirred up something that may or may not be there, as far as anti-Semitic sentiments go. Tablet Magazine took a tongue-in-cheek approach in this piece.

Image result for josh rosen, anti-semitism

Despite the JSR’s declaration that Rosen meets their requirements, this piece from The New Yorker would seem to go against the one about not identifying with another religion. According to the article by Zach Helfand, “Rosen is the son of a Jewish father and a Quaker mother. He had a bar mitzvah but attended a Catholic high school, where he went to weekly mass and gave confession twice a semester.” So unless that confession thing was just going through the motions…

BTW, the question of religious identity is always tricky. A Jewish lad might have a bar mitzvah (although I guess “having” one is a moot point since it’s automatic) but later decide to convert. A Nazi might say, once a Jew, always a Jew. I leave this issue to more enlightened and educated minds.

As for the handful of other JFLers:

  • Ali Marpet preparing for a new position on the O-Line?
  • The NY Giants waived Adam Bisnowaty, who never made it to the official roster. UPDATE: Since posting this earlier today, news came down that he was claimed off waivers by the Detroit Lions.
  • Also around: Mitchell Schwartz, KC Chiefs, of whom great things are expected next season; and Nate Ebner (New England Patriots), who will be coming back from a season-sending injury.

MSL

Soccer. Ugh.

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know my antipathy for the sport. Too much running around with nothing to show for it. Too much moving back and forth of players between teams and leagues. Too much time between games. Zzzzzz. But in the interest of fair play, I should mention the few Jews in the Major Soccer League. Thanks to the folks at JSR and Bob Wechsler for doing the leg work on this.

According to their calculating, these are the Jews of the MSL (standings as of this writing):

  • Steve Birnbaum, Defender, DC United (1-5-2, 11th — last — in Eastern Conference)
  • Benny Feilhaber, Midfielder, Los Angeles Football Club (6-2-2, second in Western Conference)
  • Zac McMath, Goalkeeper, Colorado Rapids (3-6-1, ninth in West)
  • Daniel Steres, Defender, LA Galaxy (2-5-2, 11th — but not last — in West. That’s another thing: 23 teams in the league? They couldn’t have found one more to make things easy?)

Wechsler added in his email on the topic:

  • Andrew Jacobson of Vancouver and Zach Pfeffer of Colorado have retired.
  • Jonathan Spector of Orlando does not identify as Jewish. His Jewish grandfather was Art “Speed” Spector, was the first player ever signed by the Boston Celtics.
  • Kyle Beckman of Real Salt Lake is listed as Jewish in many sources. He recently married a woman in a Greek Orthodox ceremony. From what I hear, you must be willing to be ID’d as Greek Orthodox in order to participate in its wedding ceremony.

So there you have it, folks. I know there are several items I’ve neglected, such as Soren Thompson‘s upcoming induction into the USA Fencing Hall of Fame, and for that my apologies. I hope to do better in the future.

In the meantime, don’t forget about my most recent book, Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War, in this, the 80th anniversary of that special season.

Breaking News: Arizona Cardinals select Josh Rosen as their #1 pick

Posted on: April 26th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

He was the 10th overall selection. Mazel tov, Josh. The Cardinals had traded up to get him.

Here’s the story from the local paper, the Arizona Republic. And the video announcement.

Earlier today the Washington Post published this article, “A guide to Josh Rosen, the best quote in the NFL Draft.”

Josh Rosen to the Cardinals.

Rosen is the first Jewish first-round pick since Harris Barton by the San Francisco 49ers in 1989. Other Jewish first-rounders: Sid Luckman, 1939, Chicago Bears; Merv Pregulman, 1944, Green Bay Packers; Dan Dworsky, 1948, LA Dons; Mike Sommer, 1958, Washington Redskins; Ron Mix, 1960, NFL Baltimore Colts and AFL LA Chargers; Steve Tannen, 1970, NY Jets. HT to Bob Wechsler for the info.

Nice to be included (Josh Rosen)

Posted on: April 25th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

USP NFL: COMBINE S FBN USA INI haven’t been posting nearly enough about UCLA QB Josh Rosen, who is expected to go very nice in the NFL draft. So it was a nice surprise to get an email from USA Today asking for my comments. Here’s the result from Josh Peter’s article “Josh Rosen can join Sid Luckman on short list at NFL draft”:

Rosen’s father is Jewish, and his mother is Christian. He attended a Catholic high school, St. John Bosco in Southern California. But he had a bar mitzvah and he identifies as Jewish.

“That’s pretty much the primary consideration for inclusion,’’ said Ron Kaplan, author of Kaplan’s Korner, a blog about Jews and sports. He later added by email, “Here’s wishing him mazel tov (good luck).’’

Short but sweet.

Break them off a piece of that Kit-Kat bar

Posted on: April 11th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

As in, give them a break.

Image result for pardon the interruptionYesterday’s Pardon the Interruption featured segments on two Jewish sports figures: Josh Rosen, who will be a high pick in the upcoming NFL draft,  and Phillies skipper Gabe Kapler.

The segment on Rosen led off the program as co-hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon opined on whether the former UCLA passer is “too cocky” and the knock on athletes coming from well-to-do families being tough enough to compete on a professional level. (Can’t help thinking that some of this complaining about Rosen’s attitude has at least a little something to do with his Judaism, but that might just be my paranoia).

A few minutes later, the conversation turned to whether Philadelphia fans and media were being too hard on the unorthodox (not being used in the religious meaning here) rookie manager, who likes to use analytics in making his decisions.

You can listen to the program here:

   
 

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