There are some questions an employer cannot ask you during an interview. Eight to be exact. Bet you can't name all of them without looking.
Well, these are the things they can't ask you about:
1. Your Age
2. Your Marital Status
3. Your U.S. Citizenship
4. Any disabilities you may have
5. Your Religious Views
6. Your Smoking, Drinking, Drug Use
7. Your race
8. For women, if you are pregnant
Seven of the eight relate to the company that is the National Football League. There's been a lot of talk at the NFL Combine about Manti Te'o and the fake girlfriend story that followed him to Indianapolis. Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio on the Dan Patrick Show Tuesday brought up the idea that NFL teams will want to know about Te'o's sexuality. Te'o became involved in an online relationship with who he thought was a girl and turned out to be a guy, who told Dr. Phil that he was in love with Manti.
The topic that is an openly gay player in the National Football League. Te'o made it clear that he is not gay, but many who are skeptic about the whole scam have their doubts. The interviews at the NFL Combine are the equivalent of any normal job interview. Yeah, they interview for jobs like the rest of us. You just don't see it in Us Weekly.
Any sly and creative employer might try to split hairs and phrase questions to avoid any problems when interviewing potential employees. Could some organizations in the NFL be trying to do this?
Michigan's Denard Robinson joined Dan Patrick today and said some teams asked him if he had a girlfriend, if he was married or engaged. So, some of these teams asked one of the seven they are not allowed to ask. Is there an exception for the league? Was this their was of trying to find out if a player might be gay or straight? Maybe it's just me, but how is this process any different than the guy who interviews for an accounting job at Smith and Barnes?
An openly gay player in the National Football League remains one of the issues the country's most successful professional sports league struggles with. With Chris Culliver's comments during Super Bowl week and the macho mentality that is carried from the high school locker room into the professional one make it the elephant in the room when stories like Manti Te'o's surfaces.
You can say that it's a closed-minded thinking of some players or front office personnel looking to avoid a large media gathering on a teams facility every day during OTA's, training camp and the regular season. We all saw the result of "Tebow Mania." ESPN hunkering down at Jets camp for two weeks last summer was the tip of the iceberg.
So maybe they're looking out for that player that might be the first player coming out of the closet. The fear that this player will be swamped by pestering reporters every time the locker room doors open is understandable, but isn't it also the duty of the NFL to create a platform to accept all players regardless of sexual orientation?
The NHL took a stand with the "If You Can Play, You Can Play" campaign. Professional football is one of the best in good publicity. Maybe work on that, instead of contemplating the relocation of a team to London?
A part of getting older includes having an open mind. Maybe it's not just these NFL clubs that have this issue. Maybe we should be more open too. As Bob Dylan once sang, "The time they are a changin." Maybe this is the time for the league, it's teams and players and us as fans to make some changes.
Intolerance, interrogation and witch hunts have not had positive outcomes in the history of mankind. As a guy who minored in history in college, I had to throw that out there.
We heard about it, we knew it would happen, and now it has. The Pitt Panthers will not open up with a pushover to start the 2013 college season and their new adventure in the Atlantic Coast Conference. It begins on Labor Day night with the Florida State Seminoles coming to Heinz Field for a nationally televised game. Beats a Saturday afternoon game against Old Dominion on ESPN 3, right?
It's obvious that the Panthers schedule will be an upgrade from the previous year. New (if you want to call some of them that) opponents and a larger national spotlight than in years past.
Now, nobody wants to be the turd in the punch bowl, but how many out there believe that Pitt, who finished 6-7 overall, 3-4 in the Big East will be able to be a 6-6 team in their first year in a better conference? The arguments could be different after Labor Day, based on how the Panthers perform, but as of now, you could place Pitt as a team with sub .500 record in conference play. Pitt has some softies thrown in there (New Mexico, Old Dominion, Duke), but after watching them against Youngstown State in week one, anything can happen.
West Virginia is a great example of a school that jumped out of the Big East early and went to the Big XII, and while the welcome party was nice, but after the first five games, the schedule got harder for the Mountaineers. No defense and an offense that was asked to score 35 or more points per game lead to a 7-6 overall record, and a 3-5 conference finish. The Pinstripe Bowl loss to former Big East opponent Syracuse made it even worse. As for men's hoops, it has been a LONG year for Huggins and his team. Overall, a rough start for West Virginia in it's first go-around in a new conference.
Will Panther fans be O.K. with a turbulent start in the A.C.C.? The "glass is half empty" crowd is probably prepping for it. We're talking football right now. Pitt hoops is not even at the Garden for their final conference tournament yet.
There are some upsides to Pitt being in the A.C.C. over West Virginia's move to the Big XII.
The Panthers are playing familiar foes. Syracuse is joining them, Notre Dame is still there, and hey, Pitt beat Virginia Tech last year. Miami (FL) is going to be a regular again. Hopefully things go better than the last time the Canes were in Pittsburgh for a game. West Virginia don't have a history with any of teams in the Big XII
Travel is better for Pitt. The Mountaineers are playing teams in the central part of the country. A lot of trips to Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa and Kansas is tough on them. Pitt won't have that problem, and starting times won't favor the central time zone.
In late April 2014, we'll step back and evaluate Pitt football and basketball's first seasons in the A.C.C. Will they have a better experience than their former I-79 rival in Morgantown, or will they be reeling, looking to adjust to a new environment?
Spring Training for Pirates Fans
Well, pitchers and catchers have reported, and so did everyone else over the past week as camps opened across Florida and Arizona for Spring Training.
The Pirates made news when they extended Hurdle's contract through 2015 and that got the juices flowing for baseball in the Steel City.
For the sports fans in Pittsburgh, the need for hockey is being fulfilled after the lockout ended back in January. But it's never too early to get ready for baseball. April will be here before you know it.
So like all the players down in Bradenton, Florida, it's time for fans to get back in the swing of things.
First off, let's see how much you remember and if you need a refresher for 2013.
This is Bob. Bob owns the Pirates. Bob has money. But Bob doesn't want to spend too much on players for the teams future. It's OK to be mad at Bob if the team doesn't win again this year. That's why Bob is here.
Another thing to remember is the number 20. That's the number of seasons since the Pirates last had a winning year.
Another number to know is 82. That's the number of wins the Bucs need to make that other number go away, and one Bob wishes would go away too.
Remember Zoltan? That was fun for a while, huh? Maybe the Pirates will bring that back. The green weenie is a backup option if needed. The third option would be to watch another bad movie with Ashton Kutcher or Seann William Scott in it.
Here are some other things to know while you watch the Pirates in 2013.
-Bob Walk hates the D.H.
-Greg Brown may have a heart attack calling a Pedro Alvarez home run.
-Steve Blass or Walk will have to resuscitate him.
-Lacee Collins was fired in June of last year and is never coming back. ROOT Sports hired some guy named Robby Incmikoski. It will take you some time to pronounce his last name correctly.
-Dan Potash is still #1 in all of our hearts. Robby WhatsHisName will have a hard time outdoing Dan.
-Tim Neverett's depth perception will trend at some point on twitter. #TNDP
-There will still be Skyblast's and "All You Can Eat" seats. So if they go downhill in September again, there's always Blues Travelers.
-The Houston Astros, the Pirates National League Central punching bag is now in the American League West. Don't worry. Pittsburgh has a series against Houston May 17-19 at PNC Park.
-For you social media freak, here are some fun hashtags.
#BUCN, #Buctober (Use sparingly), #(Number of Wins)ToGo #RaiseIt and #STFD
There's no doubt that the Pirates feel they may have the skipper who can turn the Pirates into a winner after two decades of sailing in rough, losing waters.
The organization decided to extend the contract of manager Clint Hurdle, and Bucco fans have their reservations about the decision. Feelings that you can't blame many for having, especially the pessimistic thinking of the average Pirates fan.
Since Jim Leyland's departure, the Pirates have gone through managers like Taylor Swift goes through boyfriends. The main difference being, Swift has been able to turn those failed partnerships into hit singles and Grammy awards. The Pirates don't have anything to show for it. The tipping point came after third base coach Jon Russell was promoted to manager after Jim Tracy was fired. People had to be assured that PNC Park was not the sight for the filming of "Weekend at Bernies III."
In comes Clint Hurdle, a guy who has had one winning season. A miraculous one that ended in a National League pennant for the Colorado Rockies, before losing to the Boston Red Sox in the 2007 World Series. So Hurdle, who has had a losing record his entire career as a manager, comes into Pittsburgh, which could be considered by many as a place where careers go to begin their end, and brings energy and a goal to make the team a winner. Not an easy feat for a Pirate skipper over the last twenty years.
In his first two seasons, Hurdle had the Pirates playing well and making fans fall in love again with the American past time. But when the weather turned colder and the days got shorter, the Bucs fell apart. 2011 was easier to stomach as a fan, but 2012 for many, if not all, was unacceptable.
The Pirates were division leaders and one of the best teams in the game last season. A 6-21 September proved to be the dagger as Pittsburgh clinched its twentieth straight losing season in a style that only the Pirates could do it in.
Many question Hurdle's extension because of two straight collapses at the end of the season. Trades, which include the Brad Lincoln trade always come back up in conversations, but Hurdle's presence has raised the attendance at home games and has fans eager to see what this team does in 2013. Fans still showing up to game after two decades of a mediocre product is nothing short of a miracle.
Hurdle is the not the only guy to point the finger at. As long as Bob Nutting is around, he'll keep receiving the most grief from the fans. Nutting is a guy who owns a wallet that rarely opens wide enough to satisfy the needs to build a winner. The Velcro must have something sticky on it.
The argument about Hurdle wanting guys like Clint Barmes and the recently departed Rod Barajas left judgmental eyes on Hurdle. He wanted them, and they didn't produce. Barmes plays well in the field, but has a pitiful batting average. Barajas, we talk all night.
The Pirates have a promising team, which includes a pitching staff that is getting stronger, the best center-fielder in baseball, and a third baseman that when he's hot can help the team win.
Maybe the third times the charm for Hurdle and these Buccos? It's up to Hurdle to work with what he's got. Hurdle knows his boss won't spend the money that a team like the Indians have shelled out this winter. But, if the Pirates finish 79-83 again, Hurdle and general manager Neal Huntington might be thrown overboard.
It's a sport that often gets overlooked. One that finds it's popularity at the high school and college level in the United States, and when the summer Olympics make their round every four years, we pay attention to the sport of wrestling.
For those of you who are used to the scripted theater of over-juiced grown men in Speedo's hitting each other with chairs, we are talking about "real" wrestling. The kind of wrestling that has been around since the ancient days of the Olympics in Greece, an event that you would think gained immunity from being crossed off the list of sports at the summer games when the modern games were first held in Athens in 1896.
Well, apparently the International Olympic Committee, which has taken heat in the past, mainly in the area of corruption, decided that the ancient sport could be cut from the 2020 summer games.
When the announcement was made on Tuesday, even the people who have never attended a live match in their lives were shocked to hear that wrestling didn't make the cut. The reason it has received such support is because wrestling is a respected sport worldwide.
A respect that other events like track and field get. Events that Socrates himself probably attended and might have had money on. What makes it even worse, there are several events that we watch, especially this past summer with the London games and think "Why is this a sport?" "Why am I watching this?" that made the cut. The kind of events they push towards the end of the two weeks of competition.
Other sports like trampoline and rhythmic gymnastics, which is a nice way of saying you can't work a balance beam or rings but you can twirl a ribbon, will be there for us in seven years. Hopefully China's Dong Dong is still competing in trampoline years from now. I kid you not, that's his real name.
So, wrestling will have to make its case for inclusion along with baseball and softball, which were axed from the 2012 summer Olympics, and other events such as karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu. What is wushu?
Of all the events the I.O.C. could keep off the docket, keeping wrestling on the outside looking in is a slap to the face of the ancient event. We've all wrestled once or twice in our lives. Whether it was with a sibling, a fraternity brother (I'm in this category), or if you competed in high school and/or college, we've all attempted to wrestle.
Some will say a lack of interest and commercialism might have lead to the ousting of wrestling. It may not be mainstream like basketball or football in the United States, but it is respected. That's why the reaction from young wrestlers, casual fans, and the once in a while observer was taken back by the I.O.C's decision.
Enjoy trampoline, and if we have wushu in 2020, the Olympic Committee will lose its last ounce of respect.
For the new offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, Mike Yurcich is jumping from the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference in Division II, to the Big XII conference in the FBS. A promotion well-deserved by the man who behind Shippensburg's multiple offense and has been a part of the success the Red Raiders have had in Mark Maciejewski's first two seasons at the helm.
After Rocky Rees hung up the whistle after the 2010 season, Coach "Mac" (as the students and community know Maciejewski as), was named his successor after two decades of Rees as head coach. Mac is man who would bleed red and blue if it was humanly possible.
A lot of things changed for Shippensburg football in 2011. A new attitude under a man who has been with Shippensburg since he put the pads on as a student athlete, new uniforms, and a new offensive style when Mac brought in Mike Yurcich to run the offense. From the get go, the new Red Raider created a fast-paced, unpredictable offense that had a few bumps in the road early on in 2011, but found its way to a 7-4 record and began breaking previous school records.
For 2012, the only way to go was up. Key starters returned and lit up scoreboards all over Pennsylvania this past season. The Red Raiders averaged 47 points per game, over 500 yards of offense per game, and saw individual school records being smashed on a weekly basis.
What has been even more impressive is how Yurcich and Mac have molded their student athletes into high profile players in Division II. The most highlighted is quarterback Zach Zulli. Zulli was a special teams player his freshman year, and while Steven Adams looked to be the number one QB on the depth chart in 2011, Zulli impressed his first year under center, or in this case, back in the shoutgun. A mobile quarterback with a good arm, Zulli was able to win the Harlon Hill Trophy this season as the best player in Division II (their equivalent of the Heisman).
With offensive stats near the top of the national rankings in Division II, Oklahoma State and other programs across the country had to be hearing about this team in Pennsylvania that was piling up numbers week after week. The Cowboys made Yurcich their third coordinator in four years. So they are hoping he stays and can make them a contender for the national championship.
Mike Yurcich being hired at Oklahoma State speaks highly of what Mark Maciejewski set out to do when he took over in 2011. During a conversation I had with him, Mac referred to offseason practices like a big bus. You gotta figure out the right seats for the right players. Yurcich was the perfect co-pilot of that Shippensburg bus and they almost rode it to an undefeated, conference championship season and into the second round of the Division II tournament.
What the Red Raiders have done in two seasons under a new head coach with a new offense has been exciting to watch and has made football on Shippensburg's campus a weekend event that students want to go to. With the best player in Division II on their roster, a talented group of players and more national recognition, Mike Yurcich knows that he accomplish a lot in two years at the school in south-central Pennsylvania that is often forgotten, and will continue his success in Stillwater.
There's nothing like a spontaneous celebration. The Ole Miss football coaching staff gave us that on Wednesday morning as they landed Robert Nkemdiche on Signing Day.
Sure they landed the top high school recruit in the country on a day when the Rebels surprised the college football world with their recruiting under a new head coach and following a 7-6 season.
While it was in the heat of the Signing Day moment, it does go down as one of those random, didn't see it coming type of celebration in the Ole Miss coaches meeting room.
It brought back memories of the Mars Rover landing. The team that landed the vehicle on the martian planet had a celebration that compared to the own down in Mississippi yesterday.
When it comes to their celebrations, who did it better?
It's never too early to start talking about Super Bowl XLVIII, right? It's a pretty significant one. The first time the NFL will play on of the biggest games on the sports world's calendar in a cold climate in an open-air stadium.
Since the announcement, there have been grumblings about playing a football game in the Meadowlands in early February. The weather could be 50 degrees and sunny or 10 degrees and snowy in the New York City area.
The game has evolved into a week long event that includes media day, the host city's economy gets a nice jump, all leading up to the big event on Sunday. The pregame, the actual game, and the halftime show. Oh wait! The halftime show.
Today, reports surfaced that the NFL was having doubts about being able to put on a halftime show in next years Super Bowl. You know Beyonce wouldn't be wearing that outfit she wore Sunday if she performed at Super Bowl XLVIII. A heavy jacket, pants and boots would be a proper and warmer attire for New Jersey in February.
The league realized today that it might be hard to book a performer with the catch that it might be mild or really cold on Super Bowl Sunday. Now, I know that there are some groups that don't mind performing in the cold. B.E. Taylor performed the national anthem and performed at halftime when the Steelers hosted the Browns back on December 30 on a cold, snowy day. But, not all performers are like B.E. Taylor. Performers known world-wide (not a knock on B.E. Taylor) might refuse to perform in cold conditions. The crew that sets the stage for halftime could have trouble in the event of inclement weather. How did the league not think about that when they announced the game a few years ago?
The league is trying new things and is attempting to expand its biggest event to colder climates with stadiums that don't have a dome or retractable roof. Popular opinion would show that the Super Bowl should be played in a warmer climate or in an indoor stadium in a city like Minneapolis or Detroit.
The halftime show is one large part of why Super Sunday is so popular. It brings in viewers that rarely watch football, and since Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction, it gives us another talking point on Monday morning. You know Beyonce's outfit was brought up at some point the next day, along with half the lights going out at the Superdome.
A mild weekend in February is the hope of the league, and booking the performer for next year could be difficult. Maybe a local high school marching band is available? Create a "blast from the past" themed show when we remind everyone what the halftime show was like in the infant years of the Super Bowl. The University of Michigan and Ohio State marching bands can have a battle at halftime.
It's a test by the NFL that may result in a few bad marks, and it may not happen again. But hey, wasn't it a risk by the league to play a championship game against the old American Football League at the L.A. Coliseum on two TV networks in front of a crowd that filled only two-thirds of the stadium? Maybe almost 50 years later, the big game changes again?
If you're gonna play any game in a climate like that, make it the Pro Bowl. Let's see how much these guys really want to play when you take them away from the warm, sandy beaches of Honolulu for the joke of an All Star game that it has become. Then we might take an interest in the game.