Len’s Top 5 – September 17, 2014

1. Quick Hits

  • The Minnesota Vikings have reversed field and have banished Adrian Peterson from all team activities until his case is resolved.
  • Anheuser-Busch fires a shot across the NFL’s bow. They said in part, “We are not yet satisfied with the league’s handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code.”
  • Ray Rice has appealed his indefinite suspension.
  • Beltway baseball: The Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals both clinched division titles last night.
  • A grand jury will decide whether to indict Tony Stewart in the on-track death of a fellow NASCAR driver in upstate New York.
  • The members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in Scotland are voting tomorrow whether to allow women to join for the first time in its 260 year existence.

2. Flagpole Runner-uppers

Here’s how not to lead. Make a decision and then when the heat of public opinion ramps up change your mind. The Minnesota Vikings piously pronounced that while the legal system would play out Adrian Peterson would rejoin the team. And then when the public outcry escalated, including strong criticism from the governor of Minnesota Mark Dayton, they quickly ran back into their rabbit hole and completely banned Peterson. The Vikings learned their lesson well. They saw commissioner Roger Goodell ban Ray Rice for two games and then change that to indefinitely when the video surfaced. Again, how did Goodell think Janay Rice became unconscious in that elevator? I think the NFL and its teams need to hire a good meteorologist. That way they can see which way the wind is blowing before they make any more dumb decisions.

3. Get a Grip

So CBS pissed off Rihanna. She recorded the opening song for their new Thursday Night Football series which debuted last week. When the Ray Rice video story broke, CBS scrapped their typical pregame show to deal with the issue. Among the casualties were Rihanna’s song. Here’s what she tweeted to her 37 million followers. “CBS you pulled my song last week, now you wanna slide it back in this Thursday? NO, F*** you! Y’all are sad for penalizing me for this.” (I cleaned it up.)
Is she serious. Wasn’t she the one physically abused by Chris Brown? Let me know when Rihanna comes back to the real world. By the way, she got her wish. CBS isn’t using her song. Happy now Rihanna?

4. A Matter of Perspective

Maybe you knew that the U.S. won the Basketball World Cup on Sunday, maybe you don’t. It didn’t create a blip on the American sports radar. Not so in Serbia. They got crushed by the U.S. in the final 129-92. What does a 37 point loss (and a silver medal) get you in Serbia? A hero’s welcome. The country went nuts at the team’s homecoming. Kind of cool, no?

5. Had Their Phil

Denver Broncos fans are signing a petition to ban Phil Simms from broadcasting their games. At last check they had around 39,000 signatures. I once incurred the wrath of Broncos fans when I asked some tough questions to a rookie quarterback named John Elway who was off to a slow start. Actually my favorite announcing story goes back to the early days of the Big East Conference. I’m a Syracuse graduate, and the Syracuse athletic director complained to the local paper that Bill Raftery and I were biased against Syracuse on our basketball broadcasts. At the same time Georgetown complained that we were too “pro-Syracuse.” With both sides complaining we knew we were doing something right. Too many fans want the announcers waving pom poms for their team.

Happy Birthday: Washington hockey star Alexander Ovechkin. 29.
Bonus Birthday: Knicks President Phil Jackson. 69.

Today in Sports: 10 years ago today. Barry Bonds became the third player to hit 700 homers behind Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth. 2004*
Bonus Event: They signed the Constitution. 1787.

Hello Wyoming! You’re the only state that didn’t open the Top 5 yesterday. Among the places it was opened was India, the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates. Don’t you feel bad about that Wyoming?

Need a gift for that young sports fan in your life? Check out my books. And if you’d like a personally autographed copy contact the Dolphin Bookshop at 516-767-2650.


Mashable Media Summit 2010: Tuesday June 8th

A day packed with powerful presentations and interviews, Mashable's Media Summit (in partnership with CNN) featured the intersection of social and digital media and lifestyle themes. Len spoke about his transition from old media to new media. Watch his presentation here!

To buy Len's newest book, The Greatest Moments in Sports - Upsets & Underdogs, visit:

Len's Book Signings/Appearances 2014:

The Greatest Moments in Sports - Upsets & Underdogs

    Munsey Park Elementary School, Manhasset, N.Y. Monday March 3. 5:30pm.

National Radio & TV Interviews:

  • NBC's Today Show "Spanning the World" Friday October 3rd.