Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tunney Side of Sports; “Coming up next … Knowing what you stand for!”- #260, December 21, 2009

After Further Review … On My Honor, I Will is a wonderful book just released by my friend and colleague Randy Pennington. The subtitle is “The journey to integrity–driven leadership.” It makes a wonderful present for those involved in leadership, as well as anyone who has a responsibility to and/or for others, e.g. coaches, teachers, parents.

The title reminds me first and foremost of the Boy Scout oath that I said often as a scout (Troop #9, Alhambra, California). At that young age, perhaps we really never knew how significant that oath would mean to us later in life. We faithfully recited it, and, of course, intended to practice it as scouts, but the real value may not have sunk in then.

Unfortunately, former NBA referee Tim Donaghy never was a Boy Scout and never learned this oath; or if he did, it got lost somewhere in his adult life. Donaghy, you will recall, is the NBA referee who bet on NBA games in which he officiated, as well as provided inside information to gamblers so that they could place bets based on his information. Donaghy pleaded guilty and served a 15-month sentence (should have been 15 years!) for felony wire fraud charges. Donaghy, out walking amongst us now, has recently released HIS book (ghost-written?) called Personal Foul – and it is certainly a “personal foul.” His accusations and impeachment of fellow officials is disgraceful. A rat turns on others to save himself. Further, Donaghy incriminates coaches, players and supervisors with accusations that often are not substantiated by fact.

With my 4 decades of officiating, this crime hit me right in the pit of my stomach. Ouch! Not only would I never even think of such debauchery, but never have witnessed it with any of my officiating colleagues.

Donaghy claims “addiction” (to gambling) as a great part of his problem. Hogwash! While some may have “gambling addictions,” a sense of honor, justice and just do the right thing would/should overtake such compulsions. The words “greed,” and “easy money,” are more often the case rather than addiction. Donaghy crossed a line he never should have been near.

In On My Honor, I Will, author Pennington discusses several characteristics that define integrity, and then asks the reader to rate (1-5 scale) him/herself. Here are just a couple: “I know what I stand for” – “I make decisions based on what’s right for all parties.” Wonder how Donaghy would rate himself on those traits?

Will you “On Your Honor” practice good for others?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tunney Side of Sports; “Coming up next … What defines a Sportsman” #259, December 14, 2009

“Everything he does has such grace about it,” said Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane about the New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. Jeter was recently named 2009 Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated. SI writer Tom Verducci began his story on Jeter this way: “Every sunrise is a fresh shot at victory – every day an invitation to compete with that same smile and delight of that (little) boy in the mirror that looked back at him …”.

As a kid, I was a Yankees fan listening to their games on the radio. Major League teams had not moved west of St. Louis, so Red Ruffing, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, et al, had become “my team.” I didn’t get to know them as we do about sports stars today, i.e., their ups, their downs, the ins & outs of their off-field personalities – which is probably too much information anyway.

There have been many other great Yankee players that I admired, but when I watch Jeter play, what strikes me first and foremost is his smile. He looks like he’s having fun playing baseball by treating every day, every game, and every batting practice like he’s happy just to be there.

One of his coaches said, “Players gravitate toward him. He is well-liked, has a great disposition, a good sense of humor and, of course, that smile, but when it comes to working, that grin melts into a serious look.” Is there any part of the above that prevents any of us from adopting that kind of behavior?

Certainly credit must go to his mother (Dorothy) and father (Charles) for instilling in him the values of integrity, humility and respect for others. Maybe this example expresses it: Dorothy and Charles have been in the Yankees clubhouse only once, and that was back in 1995 when Derek first reached the big leagues. His parents were reluctant to go there, saying “this is where you work.” Proud, you bet! But respectful of him and his place of work. Is that so hard to do? That behavior transmitted their values to their son. We all can do that!

What Jeter dislikes most is an attitude of “not caring.” He believes that you must care about winning. Having fun includes an attitude of caring about winning. That’s a passion that all athletes need to follow.

Will you practice the Jeter values in everything you do?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

“Coming up next … Plan your successes with SRO!” #257, Nov. 30, 2009

After Further Review … As we prepare for closure of 2009, it’s important to reflect not only what GOOD came our way, but what plans/goals we have for 2010. Far too often we tend to remember the “bad” rather than the “good.” Why is that? What is it in our mindset that leads us toward the negative, rather than the positive?

Well, for one thing, the news permeates our daily lives, whether it be television, internet or newspaper; it too often features the bad and the ugly. How can we direct (i.e. control) our thinking towards positive, enlightening opportunities? How ‘bout count your blessings!

Sports provides us with an example. The hue and cry of sports fans who have ended a season of disappointment can be heard to say, “Wait’ll next year!” That puts a positive spin on a frustrating season, looking ahead for better things to come. Here’s a thought to make that a possibility – the word is DETERMINATION.

You can search dictionaries and thesauruses available for definitions; however, what it really comes down to is your firmness of purpose. They tell this story of Miami Head Coach Don Shula, whose Dolphins team lost to the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl VI. Coach Shula, disappointed at his team’s 24-3 loss, said to his players in the locker room immediately after that game, “Gentleman, we start today preparing for next season.” The next (1972) season, Shula’s Dolphins never lost a game (17-0)! Then, those Dolphins won Super Bowl VII, followed by winning Super Bowl VIII.

Using a football analogy for singleness of purpose, here’s a way to accomplish wait’ll next year. The idea revolves around setting a goal, as Coach Shula did. In football, the goal of the offensive team is to score a touchdown. In order to accomplish this, football gives that team 4 downs. If a team uses those downs successfully to gain 10 yards, football rewards them with another 4 downs. In goal-setting terms, we call those short range objectives (SRO).

As you reflect on 2009, did you try to go for a touchdown every time or did you build your successes on SRO? Now is the time to study what you did well this year, analyzing how to build your plan of success. Teams who didn’t have a great 2009 season are now dissecting their plan that may have caused failure. Then, they set a plan for success based upon SRO.

Will you reflect on the good you did in 2009?

NOTE: A huge THANK YOU to each and every one of you who took time to vote for me as a nominee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Pro Football Hall of Fame Committee has selected its top 25 to be voted on for the class of 2010. I was not selected, however, as I said above, “Wait’ll next year!” Indeed, I do count my blessings.

To learn more about Jim Tunney, or if your organization would like to secure Jim as a speaker, please visit and click on Jim Tunney

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tunney Side of Sports; “Coming up next … Every day is a time for giving.” #256, Nov. 23, 2009

After Further Review … It has always seemed to me that the celebration of the American holiday THANKSGIVING ought to be Thanksgiving EVERY day, not just the 4th Thursday in November. A couple of old saws come to mind.

First, are the words my father taught me: “Count your blessings.” Having spent my early years in the Great Depression (1930’s), our family didn’t have much money. Oh, we weren’t poor, but whatever money we had was earned (key word: earned) through the many jobs my father, as well as each of us in our family had, we were indeed, grateful for what we had.

The second is the philosophy I first heard expressed by my friend and colleague, Dr. Nido Qubein – now President of High Point University in North Carolina. Dr. Qubein said, “We should give without remembering; receive without forgetting.” That philosophy has served me well through many years as an educator and sports official. As an educator (see, I had decades of opportunity to be part of thousands of young people’s lives. Hopefully, I was able to transmit to these young people the importance of giving.

Being involved in sports all my life (at age 12 my ambition was to be a coach), I learned many things. Number one: it’s not about me. As a player, it was about the teams I was fortunate enough to play on – thus the acronym T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Accomplishes More). That same philosophy held for me as an NFL official. As crew chief (i.e. referee in the “white hat”), 24 of my 31 NFL years, it was the crew of 7 of us that became a family-on-the-field to serve the game of football better. My question after every one of my 500+ NFL games was “Did I leave the game today better than I found it?”

What I see and hear from some of today’s sport-stars is: “I told y’all, I’m not putting any more on my back;” meaning I am avoiding responsibility to help my T.E.A.M. more. It betrays the philosophy of giving and helping others. As Herm Edwards, former coach of two NFL teams, has always said, “Playing in professional sports is a privilege, not a right.” We need more of today’s players adopting the Edwards code.

Will you give without remembering and receive without forgetting?

Note: Many feel it’s time to elect an on-field game official to the Pro Football (NFL) Hall of Fame. To vote for nominee Jim Tunney, go to - scroll through nominee names to find TUNNEY; click on TUNNEY; drag and drop into voting area. You can vote once each day! Last day to vote is Saturday, November 28, 2009.

To learn more about Jim Tunney, or if your organization would like to secure Jim as a speaker, please visit and click on Jim Tunney

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tunney Side of Sports; “Coming up next … Is it all worth it?” #255, Nov. 16, 2009

After Further Review …”Pops, I hate this game,” said a prominent sports figure in a recent interview. The “Pops” he referred to was his father. The “game” was tennis, and it was said by Andre Agassi, when he was just a youngster – later to be the world’s #1 player.

Agassi described his life in a recently released autobiography called “Open.” He explains how and why he got started, and how his father Mike pushed him every “volley” of the way. Andre claims he never wanted that kind of life.

Traditionally, tennis’ prevailing custom was white shorts, white shirt, white tennis shoes and a close, cropped hair cut. Not Agassi! “Locks” flowed down his back. Now we learn (in Open) that it was a “hair piece.” Why would he do that? Just to be “different?” Talent, not wigs, helps you stand out from others.

Agassi also discussed his extensive use of “crystal meth,” a dangerous chemical substance. Agassi rationalizes its use because, as he said, he was in a “bad marriage” at that time and very unhappy. Does he think he is the only star player to go through difficult times? Where was his Dad and/or his coach or trainer during those tough times?

When the ATP confronted him about the use of meth, Agassi lied to them, reportedly saying it was an accident or words to that effect. Did the ATP just accept his word or should they have pursued their suspicion? Did the ATP look the other way?

Agassi’s life, by his own words, is just “great” now. He is married to former Women’s Champion tennis player Steffi Graf and they have 2 young children. But, why the book? Was it for the money? Reportedly Andre and Steffi have more money than they could possibly need. To Agassi’s credit, in 2001 he opened the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, a tuition-free charter school in Las Vegas, which enrolls ALL of its at-risk students on scholarships. His foundation also provided $720,000 to assist in the building of the Andre Agassi Cottage for Medically Fragile Children. For all of this, congratulations are certainly due Agassi, a guy who dropped out of school in the ninth grade. However, of major concern is his father’s tyrannical behavior to which Andre was subjected as a youth.

Will you help your kids grow by keeping a balance in their lives?

Note: Many feel it’s time to elect an on-field game official to the Pro Football (NFL) Hall of Fame. To vote for nominee Jim Tunney, go to http://www.fanschoice/vote.aspx - scroll through nominee names to find TUNNEY; click on TUNNEY; drag and drop into voting area. You can vote more than once!

To learn more about Jim Tunney, or if your organization would like to secure Jim as a speaker, please visit and click on Jim Tunney

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Tunney Side of Sports #254, Nov. 9, 2009 - Who's Your Role Model?

After Further Review ... The month of November is always special for me. My father and mother were both born in this month, but now both deceased. What brings them to mind is the term “role models.” They were both that for me, as well as for my brother and two sisters.

In my books – Impartial Judgment and It’s the Will, Not the Skill – I discussed role models, as well as the term “mentors,” which I believe we all need. Coach Herm Edwards, about whom It’s the Will, Not the Skill was written, said loud and clear the meaningful influence his parents had on him.

As an educator and life-long learner, I am often asked about how we can correct or improve today’s schools. Dedicated, committed teachers and better salaries, of course, and consistent standards of behavior, you bet. However, my #1 answer is always - parenting. By that, I not only mean awareness of what and how your kids are doing, but a close involvement in their daily lives and school/activities, including texting, Facebook and the like; not a parole officer type of surveillance, but a partnership.

When I speak to corporate groups about “customer care,” I use the phrase “Customer’s don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” That holds true for parents and their kids as well. When did your child ever ask what your S.A.T. or G.P.A. or I.Q. was? While that may be important data, what kids want to know is “Dad, Mom, do you love me – do you care about me?”

This brings me to the world of sports, where the word “role model” is tossed about so lightly. Are professional athletes supposed to be role models? Every one of them? I believe they are; yet, not based solely on their athletic skills, but on their character and behavior. How much will a young person remember about his/her youthful admiration of an athlete’s prowess, when that young person becomes an adult, as well as a parent? Hopefully, they will remember the character of that athlete.

The “role model” tag is not restricted to adults. Peer role models can carry much weight, and influence others seeking ways to better their lives. For example, selection of a captain for a T.E.A.M. needs to be based on strength of character, coupled with potency of athletic skill.

Will you follow this motto: Excellence is good, exemplary is better?
Note: Many feel it’s time to elect an on-field game official to the Pro Football (NFL) Hall of Fame. To vote for nominee Jim Tunney, go to http://www.fanschoice/vote.aspx - scroll through nominee names to find TUNNEY; click on TUNNEY; drag and drop into voting area. You can vote more than once!

Friday, October 23, 2009

“Coming up next … O Captain, My Captain,” October 26, 2009

Afer Further Review ... Walt Whitman wrote “O Captain, My Captain” about President Abraham Lincoln in 1865 emphasizing the importance of Lincoln’s leadership in troubled times.

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Jackson evidently didn’t read much of Whitman’s writings, or if he did, decided to ignore the challenge of leadership. Jackson, who was named the Warriors captain for the 2009-2010 season, recently renounced that title.

“Being captain was over-rated to me, anyway. You don’t do anything but go out before the game and talk to the refs. I don’t want to do that, anyway.” Jackson was quoted by AP writer Janie McCauley. There’s somewhat of a disconnect here. In the world of sports, being named captain is: 1) an honor, 2) a privilege, and 3) above all, a responsibility.

Jackson was named captain by Warriors Head Coach Don Nelson, even though Jackson and Nelson have had their ‘run-ins.” Jackson claimed that Nelson failed to support him in a confrontation Jackson had in a game last season. Perhaps Nelson’s idea to name Jackson as captain was to “jack-up” (little play on words) his confidence, as well as help to bring the Warriors together as a T.E.A.M. – a move that obviously didn’t work.

Denying his team’s captain role is certainly Jackson’s right. However, his disgruntled response smacks as narcissistic. Being a captain, Mr. Jackson, is not about you, but about your role as a leader of your T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Accomplishes More). Jackson’s athletic history certainly highlights his physical skills and prowess, but at the same time, raises questions about his background as a leader and team player.

In a recent speaking engagement to a corporate audience, whose conference theme was “Leaders of the Pack,” I related a subject matter I often use: “Leadership is not so much about ability, as it is responsibility.” A leader “steps up” to help others. Michael Jordan comes to mind. It has been said about former NBA star and Hall of Famer, Jordan, that his leadership and abilities made others (his teammates) around him better.

Leadership in today’s climate is challenging. Coach Nelson was undoubtedly trying to express confidence in Jackson’s abilities, as well as pull the Warriors together as a team as they begin the season. If the Warriors lack a player who can do that, the season may be already lost.

Will you step-up to accept responsibility when it comes your way?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tunney Side of Sports; “Coming up next … Character and Courage” #251, October 19, 2009

After Further Review … “’By rights the NFL should be able to celebrate a history of abiding enlightenment,” writes Alexander Wolff in the October 12, 2009 issue of Sports Illustrated. The subjects of Wolff’s article were Woody Strode (#27), Jackie Robinson (#28) and Kenny Washington (#13), who made up the backfield of the 1939 UCLA Bruins.

My father was Kenny Washington’s high school coach (Lincoln – Los Angeles). I met Jackie Robinson when he was a halfback at Pasadena (California) Junior College. Other than Fritz Pollard, a black QB in the 1920s, Washington became the modern day (after WWII) “first” black NFL player.

Gridiron magazine called Washington “the greatest football player we have ever seen.” Legend has it that Kenny once “threw the ball 100 yards.” My dad said it was true – not legend. (Kenny says “it was only 93 yards.”) I stayed close to Kenny in his later years (he died at age 52), since he had been part of my father’s CHARACTER and COURAGE. My dad’s character was to acknowledge Kenny’s athleticism, not his skin color, and the courage to support and encourage (there’s that word courage again) him to go to UCLA and onto the NFL. Few NFL teams had black players; others (George Preston Marshall, Washington Redskins owner, as well as George Halas, owner/coach of the Chicago Bears) chose to keep their teams “lily-white,” as Wolff says in his article.

The NFL didn’t move much beyond the segregation that blacks faced in the 40s, 50s and into the 60s. Doug Williams, a black quarterback, led the Redskins (yes those same Redskins), to a Super Bowl title in 1988. Today’s black players are not only dominant in the NFL, but respected as well – except for those few who tend to imperil the game by show-boating and trash talking.

While the efforts of the NFLPA are working towards benefits for current and retired NFL players, we must not overlook, but applaud, the ongoing DIRE Need Fund and the Caring for Kids program of the NFLA (Alumni). Under the 17 year tenure and leadership of CEO Frank Krauser, the character and courage that the NFLA promotes stands tall along with those who supported and encouraged the Washington’s, Robinson’s and Strode’s some 70 years ago.

Much has yet to be accomplished in helping indigent former players (of all colors). Only when the NFLPA and the work of the current NFLA come together, along with a better effort from the owners, will character and courage win out!

Will you keep character and courage first and foremost in helping others?

To learn more about Jim Tunney, or if your organization would like to secure Jim as a speaker, please visit and click on Jim Tunney

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tunney Side of Sports; “Coming up next … A Good Reminder” #250, October 12, 2009

After Further Review ... “’Cause I’m the hall monitor,” said 9-year old Lin Hao, the Chinese schoolboy who marched in the Opening Ceremonies of the 29th Olympic Games in Beijing, with China’s Flag Bearer, 7”6’ Yao Ming. Yao Ming, of course, you know as the Houston Rockets NBA star, who played in the Olympic Games for his native country China.

Lin Hao, perhaps, is a name you don’t know – yet. When an earthquake hit Chengdu’s Sichuan Province, China, killing 70,000+ people, Lin Hao was among those buried beneath the rubble, yet survived. Lin Hao had pulled a classmate out of the rubble, then ran back in to rescue another, when he was caught in the tumbling walls. Alive when the rescuers got to him, Lin Hao was asked “Why did you go back into that building that was crumbling?” Here was 9-year old Lin Hao’s response: “’CAUSE I’M THE HALL MONITOR!” You may call it responsibility, or leadership or determination. Whatever you call it, please put “HERO” next to Lin Hao’s name! Extraordinary!

There is no question that the spectacular opening of the 29th Olympic Games was the finest I have ever witnessed. The precision and splendor of that opening was exceeded only by the people who directed and performed in it. It was easy to be convinced that the light show, the drumming sequence and especially the ‘cube’ happening was controlled solely by electronics. I was delightfully surprised when it was not, as the performers beneath those cubes popped their heads up at the conclusion. Extraordinary!

Zhang Yimou, who directed the opening ceremonies, said “We (meaning every ‘cube’ performer) worked for 4 months - 8 hours a day - and we never got it perfect – until that opening night performance.” Personal responsibility and a “never-give-up” attitude, coupled with TEAMWORK, gave the world China’s extraordinary best.

Critics knocked the Chinese performers as “sterile” and lacking passion (they missed the fact that there are 1.3 billion Chinese!). I disagree. When you witness perfection, it may appear “sterile” and “passionless,” but what often is missed is the extraordinary effort given to achieve perfection. Extraordinary performances are given by ordinary people giving extra effort to perform the extraordinary!

Will you practice responsibility when it comes your way?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Tunney Side of Sports, “Coming up next: The Culture of a T.E.A.M.” - #249, Oct. 5, 2009

After Further Review … “We’re not just going to beat ‘em, we’re gonna embarrass ‘em” was a statement by an NFL player talking about an upcoming opponent. Football, as it is with any contact sport, is an emotional one. Players must get themselves emotionally ready for every game. You can’t take an emotional week off.

Granted that this player was probably “psyching” himself and his teammates up for that game, however, he unknowingly also provided some incentive for his opponent. What reaction would you have if someone said that to you? Most players would respond by giving extra effort to ensure their best performance. That sort of trash talking also breeds ill will.

The real issue is the disrespect of opponents by saying “We’re gonna embarrass ‘em.” Some players need to be reminded that football is a G.A.M.E. – important yes, but needs to be kept in perspective. It is healthier to show respect for an adversary, than insolence. I have never felt good about being an intimidator, mostly because I never liked being the “intimidatee.”

In my book “It’s the Will, Not the Skill,” we decry players who “dance in the end zone” after scoring a touchdown. By scoring, you have already frustrated your opponent; there is no need to “rub salt in the wound.” Sure, players should get excited and celebrate success, but not to extremes. How often have you seen the sack of a QB by a lineman, who then celebrates as if he’s just won the Nobel Prize, and his team is behind 35-0?! That word T.E.A.M. certainly says more than just the 4 letters themselves. In football, no running back scores a touchdown without the effort and support of the other ten.

Teams need to develop and sustain a T.E.A.M. culture which becomes their “face.” The NFL’s greatest teams had such a culture, e.g. Lombardi’s Packers, Landry’s Cowboys, Shula’s Dolphins, Noll’s Steelers, Ditka’s Bears, and Madden’s Raiders. Different in nature, but their own face.

At the risk of offending some of today’s great coaches, let me cite the culture that second year Head Coach Mike Singletary is bringing to the San Francisco 49ers. One only needs to recall last year the way he handled rookie TE Vernon Davis. Mike is a no-nonsense guy and stepped-up to not only be the 49ers leader, but to establish a culture that is focused on creating a winning climate. Of the 12 years that I spent on the field with Mike (#50 MLB Chicago Bears), I never once saw him disrespect his opponent.

Will you develop your own “culture” to be an example of civility?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tunney Side of Sports, “Just do the Right Thing” - #248, Sept. 28, 2009

The National Football League is experiencing “disconnects” i.e. ‘some things just don’t make sense’) in its 2009 season. Here are a couple:

1) In the Sunday night game with the New York Giants at the Dallas Cowboys new stadium, Giants place kicker #9 Lawrence Tynes lined up to kick the winning field goal with 4 seconds remaining. Dallas Head Coach Wade Phillips waited until the play clock had almost expired, then, standing alongside the line judge, quickly called “time out.” The New York Giants center snapped the ball on count and Tynes kicked it through the uprights - “field goal good” – Giants win! But wait – the time-out was called just before the ball was kicked.

Coach Phillips did what other coaches have done, and what the NFL rules permit. But is it right? “Freezing the kicker,” as it is euphemistically called, is a legal strategy and, although it seldom works, you never know …? The Giants reassembled and Tynes kicked it through the second time – Giants 33/Cowboys 31. A possible solution: not allow a time-out once the kicking team has broken the huddle or has set its formation. Question: What happened to fair play?

A 2nd ‘disconnect:’ how ‘bout Michael Crabtree, the first round pick of the San Francisco 49ers? This All-American wide receiver from Texas Tech was selected because he is thought to be the next Jerry Rice. You kiddin’ me? Crabtree, as of the end of September, has yet to report. He wants more money, saying the $20 million that was offered was not enough. Crabtree and his agent – and, therein, may lie the real issue – said he deserved to be selected higher.

Well, excuse me! No one said the NFL draft was perfect! Example: Alex Smith drafted No. 1 by the 49ers in the 2006 draft and Tom Brady drafted #199 by the New England Patriots in the 2000 draft are miles apart in accomplishments. So while the selection process isn’t perfect, how does a player, who has NEVER played one NFL down, believe he is worth more than $20 million? Players want to play; yet some agents seem to be looking out for the money to be gained, rather than the importance of the player playing. What kind of T.E.A.M. mate will Crabtree be? It seems to me that he could live very nicely on $20 million. Question remains what happened to fair play?

Will you see the big picture when making these kinds of decisions?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tunney Side of Sports, "Maintain Your Focus" - #247 - Sept. 21, 2009

“When you lose focus, it’s no good” I wrote in our book “It’s the Will, Not the Skill” ( That phrase became an issue in the first week in the 2009 NFL season, and not just on the football field. Does the name Serena Williams come to mind? Williams, the USTA’s #2 professional women’s tennis player, lost her focus in the semi-final U.S. Open tournament on Sunday (1st week of the NFL).

During that semi-final match against Kim Clijsters with the second set score at 5-6, 15-30, Williams was called for a foot fault on her second serve by the line judge, making the game score 15-40. Williams then berated the line judge with vile language. The Chair Umpire penalized Williams a point for that outburst, making the set score 7-5 Clijsters and THE MATCH! Williams received a fine of $10,000 for “unsportsmanlike conduct/using threatening language and gestures.”

This incident is about behavior and loss of focus. Williams, has since “sincerely apologized,” saying, “In the heat of battle, I let my passion and emotion get the better of me.” While anger is possible in any of us, keeping our “cool” is vital to remind ourselves what our main focus must be.

Loss of focus also happened in the Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants second quarter as Redskins WR #89 Santana Moss and Giants CB #23 Corey Webster got into a pushing/shoving altercation that developed into a slugfest with both players going to the ground. Although offsetting fouls were called, perhaps both should have been ejected. Offsetting fouls have no loss of yardage for either team, and while the NFL philosophy is “try not to eject” players, this type of fighting needs a stronger game enforcement. While both Moss and Webster will be fined, expulsion from the game would be a powerful reminder of the consequences, when focus is lost.

In Cincinnati, with 11 seconds remaining, the Denver Broncos defeated the Bengals as Broncos WR #14 Brandon Stokely reacted quickly by catching a tipped pass and running 87 yards for the winning touchdown. Stokely kept his focus by (1) not quitting on a pass thrown to a teammate; (2) and, more importantly, as he approached the goal line well ahead of the defenders, Stokely ran parallel at the 1-yard line consuming some 3-4 seconds of time. That’s maintaining focus.

Will you maintain focus on “W*I*N” (What’s Important Now)?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tunney Side of Sports, “Sportsmanship can’t be Legislated” - #246, Sept. 14, 2009

After Further Review … It’s a classic irony: For the 2009 College football season, the NCAA instituted a “High Five Walk Through” following a football game, as well as several players from each T.E.A.M., not just the captains, shaking hands at mid-field prior to the coin toss. The NCAA is attempting to create a sportsmanship-among-collegiate-players-image. The effort is well-intended, albeit misdirected, as was the case at the recent Oregon vs. Boise State game.

The irony came about when University of Oregon RB LeGarrette Blount threw a punch that sent Byron Hout, Boise State’s DE, to his knees. Blount delivered that punch immediately following the game as the players met in mid-field to share “pleasantries.” The Ducks lost to the Broncos 19-8.
Expected to be the star performer, Blount didn’t have a good game that night finishing with a minus five yards on 8-carries. The University of Oregon took strong action and suspended Blount for the entire 2009 season. Blount, a senior, said in a tearful statement, that he understands “I made a mistake and have to pay for that mistake!” Some said that his “cheap shot” is “the way the Oregon team was being coached.” I disagree. Blount alone must accept full responsibility.

If you’re going to blame the coach, then it follows you need to blame the University President and so on. When looking for answers as to Blount’s behavior, you need to look deeper. Without placing the blame on anyone but Blount himself, the question becomes: Was he not disciplined early in life? Where and how did he learn responsibility? Did anyone teach him to keep his “cool” (i.e. poise) in heated times? The absence of these behaviors in one’s youth fails to give needed direction when one reaches adulthood.

Further, the hateful behavior of the Bronco’s Byron Hout, the player who “taunted” Blount and “tapped him on the shoulder” should not go unnoticed. What responsibility does the perpetrator, (Hout), have in this matter? Words, however derogatory, should never be an excuse for physical retaliation. Trash talking is often the fuse that sets off fights, riots and the like.

The real issue seems to be: Can we legislate sportsmanship? I think not. Sportsmanship is best taught by example – from parent to child – and from coach/teacher to player/student. Ample situations occur in our lives each day that create important, positive, and meaningful lessons, if attended to

Will you recognize teachable moments in good sportsmanship?

To learn more about Jim Tunney, or if your organization would like to secure Jim as a speaker, please visit
and click on Jim Tunney

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tunney Side of Sports, “Officials are part of the Game” - #245, Sept. 7, 2009

After Further Review ...“You know what I want to know about referees and umpires? Absolutely nothing,” writes Sports Illustrated writer Phil Taylor in a recent back page article called, “Hey Ump, just make the call.” Taylor said in his article that Umpires (i.e. game officials) should have “an absence of personality, be charisma-free and as bland as baby food.” Hmm, wonder why Taylor had his picture included in this story?

But I digress. I do agree with Taylor’s assumed premise, which he failed to state, that fans are interested in players, coaches and teams – not officials. Fans don’t go to the games to watch officials; most fans don’t even know who the officials are -- until one makes a call against their team. It is important, as well, for officials to remember the game is for players and coaches.

Taylor continues “Once officials get a whiff of fame, it raises the possibility that they’ll play to the crowd or the cameras.” Fame? Infamy, maybe! Notoriety surfaced in the NFL in 1976 when the Referee (white hat) was required to announce – at the time of penalty enforcement – the player’s number, the type of foul committed, declined or accepted, and the yardage involved in the penalty. When that occurred, television scripted the Referee’s name as he announced the foul and penalty. Why? Because the sportswriters in the booth and TV announcers wanted to know this information. The officials didn’t ask for it. I personally disliked telling the world that “#76 was holding,” thereby causing his team to be set back 10 yards or even costing his team a touchdown. But the fans want that!

What is needed today is an encouragement of young sports enthusiasts stepping up to put on an official’s uniform to help our school sports programs survive. Almost every newspaper today has a call out for “officials needed.” The intimacy of putting on the official’s uniform and experiencing what officials must deal with helps one understand the game. (Give that a try, Mr. Taylor!) If we regard sports as an important opportunity for young people to learn how to get along with others, how to deal with setbacks and the value of fair play, we need officials. While I am in full agreement with Taylor on the issue of anonymity, officials must be there too!

Will you maintain your focus on players and coaches, and not officials, while watching a game?

Visit to learn more about Jim Tunney; if your organization would like to secure Jim as a speaker, please visit
You can also tweet Jim at

Monday, August 24, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street, “Practice like you Play” - #243, August 24, 2009

After Further Review … “Why We Fight” (in our training camp) was the headline in a recent story in Sports Illustrated, by Peter King. The story described what New York Jets rookie Head Coach Rex Ryan wants in his pre-season training camp. Ryan, according to King’s story, told his players what the “rules of engagement” are: “If and when there is a fight, offensive players should pull defensive players off the pile and vice versa. Never should an offensive player grab another (offensive player) during a fight, because,” said Ryan, “that could give a defender a chance to get a ‘free shot’ when his foe is being held.”

You gotta be kiddin’ me! What happened to the coaching/teaching philosophy “Practice the way you want to play in a game?” That adage is preached by virtually all coaches. Practice sloppy – play sloppy. Drop passes in practice and you’ll drop them in a game. Jerry Rice, WR #80 of the San Francisco 49ers, would catch a pass – in practice – and run all the way to the goal line, because that’s what he intended to do in a game.

Having officiated dozens of NFL pre-season practices, I observed a variety of coaching philosophies. Hall of Fame Coach John Madden and Tom Flores, for example, both successful coaches with the Oakland Raiders, used to allow a fight to play itself out. (Note: current Raiders rookie Head Coach Tom Cable took that to a new level recently when he, allegedly, punched one of his assistant coaches.) Hall of Fame Coach Don Shula (Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins) said, “You have to understand that this is an emotional game - a player can lose his temper. When a fight happens during practice,” continued Shula, “you break it up quickly.”

What Shula and most coaches emphasize is that fighting in a game will get a player ejected (see NFL Rule 12-3-1-a, page 82) and, said Shula, “We can’t afford to lose players!” Practice like it’s game conditions. Ryan’s idea (“You have to go out there -- on the field -- knowing the guy playing next to you has your back; it bonds you”) can be detrimental to a player in game conditions. Learning to control your emotions is part of what T.E.A.M. sports is all about. It will serve you well in many life situations. Seems to me that there are better ways to “bond” team mates.

Will you find ways to build rapport with team mates?
(Note: watch for my new site: “Tunney Side of Sports”)

Friday, August 14, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street - "Water - an essential to good health" - #242, 8-17-09

After Further Review ... “Hey Coach, can I get some water,” asked a player recently. “Water? We don’t drink water during practice,!” shout some coaches as they prepare their football teams in August for the upcoming season. I vividly recall my coaches not allowing water during practices.

The philosophy, then, was 1) water would make you lethargic; 2) physical contact could create vomiting; 3) and, denying water would ‘toughen you up’ for the rigors of the game. Water was a sign of weakness. I accepted that from coaches in those days; it was the way they were trained. They also believed that using weights (barbells, etc.) would make you muscle bound, thereby limiting flexibility.

Much has changed. We now know that “weight training” – done under supervision - can be most useful in developing muscle strength. This is not to say that “push -ups” and “sit-ups” don’t do the job, but technology and equipment have progressed. Being part of the PRECOR T.E.A.M., I learned that their equipment helps maintain a healthy cardio-vascular system, improves strength and flexibility, with an enlightening effect on wellness.

What we have learned in the last 2-3 decades is that physical training and conditioning improves preparation for a sport. First and foremost, a physical examination by a doctor trained in cardio conditioning is vital; not just for professional athletes and adults, but kids as well. Yes, kids, those 8-14 year-olds who look physically fit may have “hidden” issues that only a physical exam can reveal.

The death of Minnesota Vikings Korey Stringer in 2001, who died of multiple organ failure caused by heat stroke after collapsing during an August practice, certainly alerted the Stringer family to closely watch son, Kodie, now age 11 (5’9” and 240 pounds). Kodie’s mother, Kelci, is determined to make the past meaningful to her son, as well as for others.

The NFL, so mindful of the death of Korey Stringer, has alerted its teams, coaches, trainers and players of the value of hydration, i.e. water. The NFL must be a leading example to football programs in colleges, high school, Pop Warner, et al, about the value of water. Many non-athletes count on water for a healthy life style and often use it for weight control.

The warning here is for everyone who believes in exercise and physical conditioning: drink water frequently!

Will you take a lesson from those who didn’t?

Friday, July 31, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street, “Is There a Place for Dignity?” - #240, August 3, 2009

After Further Review … Now that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has completed his arduous task of deciding the NFL future of Michael Vick, it seems appropriate to discuss: How you would decide and why? Vick has completed serving his 23-month sentence in a Federal penitentiary and repaid $70 million to the Atlanta Falcons, to whom he was under contract since being drafted in 2001. The Falcons released Vick in June 2009.

Vick was indicted on charges of illegal dog fighting – training pit bull terriers to fight other dogs. Without going into great detail, Vick was part of a group that operated “Bad Newz Kennels” on his property in Virginia. The dog fighting scheme was to sometimes punish the losing dog by drowning, strangulation, hanging, gunshot or electrocution. If that doesn’t upset your stomach, well …

To recap the history of this hideous crime is not what is intended here. The question now is two-fold: 1) What should happen to Vick’s future - NFL? Yes or no? 2) How can NFL players or just ‘plain’ citizens (excuse that reference) be prevented from falling into the same “pit?”

For Vick’s NFL future, I wish him well. At first, my inclination was to say “never again in the NFL.” Being part of the NFL is a privilege – one that I had for 31 years. A violation of that privilege to the degree of severity of Vick’s, substantiates my original thought. However, Vick has paid his price – prison as well as financial. The decision here is to support Commissioner Goodell’s purposefulness. Hopefully Goodell will ask of Vick the same thing Brooklyn Dodgers Executive Branch Rickey asked of Jackie Robinson 60+ years ago: “Hold your temper and don’t respond to taunts.”

With regard to “prevention,” it is perplexing to understand how the Falcons’ coaches, players, and, yes, fans, didn’t discover this early-on and caution Vick of the criminal implications, notwithstanding the inhumanity of it. The NFL takes great strides to educate their wealthy superstars of impending harm. Further, and maybe of more value to our young people, Vick “hung around” with the wrong people. Why didn’t his common sense tell him “this is wrong?” Why didn’t someone step up to warn him?

When does “just do the right thing” come into play? Vick is not a hoodlum. Did his college education at Virginia Tech not teach him decency?

Will you look at decency as a stepping stone in your actions?

For more information about Jim Tunney, please visit his website:, or if you would like to respond to this message, please send your email to

On the Tunney Side of the Street, - Are You a Clutch Performer? - #239, July 27, 2009

After Further Review … Are you a clutch performer? Can you depend on your skills to be successful, when it comes down to that “defining moment?” Do others rely on you to “come through,” when the going gets tough?

These questions came to mind as I watched the recent Major League Baseball All-Star game, which had the slogan “Clutch Performer!” That phrase also comes to mind as I watch players hit home runs in the bottom of the ninth, or make a saving catch of a “sure” home run ball.

Having been on the NFL field with “clutch” quarterbacks such as Joe Montana (49ers), Steve Young (49ers), Roger Staubach (Cowboys), John Elway (Broncos), Terry Bradshaw (Steelers), Jim Kelly (Bills), and Dan Marino (Dolphins), I saw them consistently come through to win games. Indeed, their T.E.A.M. knew they would be successful in that last drive of the game.

So what does it take to be a “clutch” performer? Here are Webster’s definitions of the word clutch: “to grasp,” i.e., to understand the situation (better than others). Webster further goes on to say “control or power” and “done during a crucial situation.” Do those mentioned above measure up to those definitions? Surely, you could add others with those qualities. Let’s look at a few qualities that define “clutch players/performers:”

First, it takes your WILL! As described in my book, “It’s the Will, Not the Skill,” it’s a desire – a passion. A “never quit” attitude and a belief that whatever the challenge, you can do it! Remember - the task ahead of you is never as great as the power behind you!

Second, prepare thoroughly – there is no substitute. “Practice, practice, practice,” legendary Green Bay Coach Vince Lombardi used to drill – passionately – into his World Champion Packers.

Third, focus – that means concentrate on the task and block out all distractions. As someone said, “When you brush your teeth, just brush your teeth.” In this day of multi-tasking, we often allow distracting thoughts to interfere with our task-at-hand. Does talking or texting on a cell phone while driving come to mind?
Fourth, courage. You must be willing to take a chance, risking failure. Clutch performers’ step-up without being afraid to fail. It takes courage to enjoy being competitive. Courage can bring out the best in you.

And fifth – finally, but not all-inclusive – is the word talent. Those mentioned earlier had great talent. Yet, it was the elements of Will, Preparation, Focus and Courage that put those players in the “class of clutch players.”

Will you develop your talents to be a clutch performer?

Friday, July 17, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street, #238, July 20, 2009

After Further Review … Andy Roddick withdrew from the U.S. Davis Cup T.E.A.M.’s quarterfinals played the week following Wimbledon. Roddick, who lost to Roger Federer in the 132nd All-England Club Championships 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14, strained his right hip flexor muscle in the 8th game of the 4th set.

If you watched that match, lasting 4 hours and 16 minutes, you may have noticed that Roddick slipped as he scrambled back to position after returning a ball. Roddick’s feet went out from under him causing him to go down; then he laid there for a few moments, but got up grimacing. He won the next game and that set at 6-3. Roddick continued to play 30 more games, losing to Federer 16-14 in a fifth set.

That physical endurance marathon was the longest fifth set in a major final dating back to 1927. Roddick endured 107 “winners,” including 50 “aces” by Federer - one shy of a Wimbledon record. It’s staggering to play that long with that intensity and not sustain an injury. What is even more staggering is that Roddick played 31 games after his injury; which brings me to the question: Do you have the courage to continue on in your job, your sport, or whatever when faced with a difficulty? Does the word “quit” come to mind?

In my book, “It’s the Will, Not the Skill,” we say, “There’s no ‘quit’ in my dictionary” and “You only ‘quit’ when you retire.” Having been on-the-field with athletes for more than 50 years, I observed how their ‘sticktoitivity’ (made-up word!) i.e., perseverance wouldn’t let them quit.

Frank Sinatra sings in his epic “That’s Life” that “many times I wanted to quit, but my heart just wouldn’t buy it.” And that’s what it really is – HEART! There are times in life when we face a “set back,” or get knocked down or just wanna give up; but our mettle – call it “guts” – just won’t let us. As I speak with young people (kids), they often see no hope – no future. They hear too much negativity from friends, parents, and the media. With a strained hip flexor hurting on every shot, Roddick (age 22) said, “At that point, like everything else, there are two options: you lay down or you keep going. The second option sounded better to me.”

Will you help others – as well as yourself – by choosing the second option as Roddick did?

On the Tunney Side of the Street, #237 – July 13, 2009

After Further Review … Manny Ramirez, left fielder of the Los Angeles Dodgers, was ejected by home plate umpire John Hirschbeck “for throwing equipment” in the top of the fifth inning of the Dodgers vs. the New York Mets. Ramirez’s childish behavior occurred after Hirschbeck had called him out on a called 3rd strike. It was Ramirez’s second strikeout in 4 innings. He had already driven 3 runs with 2 singles, giving the Dodgers a 3-0 lead.

After Ramirez’s ejection he said, “It’s ok, I was coming out in the next (fifth) inning anyway.” What? Ramirez didn’t complain after his first (called) strikeout, but did on the second one. He didn’t protest the ejection; nor did Dodgers’ Manager Joe Torre. Torre later said that he probably was going to take Ramirez out by not sending him to take his left field position for the bottom of the fifth.

Ramirez is, without a doubt, a powerful influence as a Dodger – as he was on the Boston Red Sox when they won the 2004 World Series. Ramirez is currently batting .386 (5 for 13) with one homer and six RBI’s (at this writing), and he is invaluable to his teammates. Doug Mientkiewicz, then of the Red Sox, said, “We needed Manny in the middle of our order. Young guys get better pitches to hit.” Mientkiewicz continued, “We are more patient. We play better - relaxed.”

Manager Torre took a difference stance. Torre said, “We really don’t care who our hero is; we’re trying to win ball games. Our younger players found out something about themselves as they stepped-up to take on the pressure/responsibilities once Ramirez was not in the lineup.”

Ramirez just returned from a 50-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy. Since Ramirez’s return, Torre has often pulled him out after 5-6 innings to ease him back into playing full time. There is no question that Ramirez is the MVP of the Dodgers. Torre further said, “If there is a late scratch for the 2009 All-Star Game, I hope he is given some consideration.”

While I admire and respect Joe Torre, he is speaking with his heart and not his head. First and foremost, MLB imposed a necessary drug-related suspension – no objection from Ramirez or the Dodgers. Second, his supercilious attitude in being ejected is cavalier, especially for a professional. No problem in disagreeing with the umpire, but MLB rules of “throwing equipment” are there for two reasons: disrespect of authority and injury from the thrown equipment (i.e. bat).

Will you maintain appropriate decorum in your disagreements?

Friday, July 3, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street, #236, July 6, 2009

The All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, aka Wimbledon, concluded its 132nd championships this past weekend. If you have never had the pleasure of seeing the sport of tennis played in jolly ole’ England, it is quite spectacular. Traditionally this event has been - some say - “stuffy” England style.

Well, much has changed! Yes, they still do not play on the first Sunday and all the matches are played on grass. It’s a different game on grass than what we play here in the “colonies” on cement surfaces. However, because England in June is such a rainy month, centre court now has a retractable roof. Wow! A breakthrough!

Although head-bands and caps worn backwards are allowed, the all-white clothing worn by the athletes – both ladies and gentlemen - is still a requisite. Further, the equipment (e.g. racquets) have improved their power through the use of materials such as carbon fiber, fiberglass, and titanium vs. the laminated wood racquets used by Jack Kramer, Don Budge, Rod Laver, et al.

Strategies and the powerful serves (150 mph) have made the game faster, however, the most notable is the physicality of the players. The 3, 4 and occasionally 5 hour matches demand top physical conditioning. Women and men are using weight training equipment to shore up their legs, shoulders and arms – let’s call it “outer strength.” The lessons learned from tennis - at any level, not just Wimbledon – are some of the following: (1) physical conditioning done on a regular basis will improve your “work-on-the-job.” Suggested here is a 30 minute sustained exercise at least 3 times per week. Age is a factor to determine the best exercise program for you. (2) Keep your eye on the ball – an adage that serves (no pun intended) not just in sports, but in anything one does. In tennis, “See the ball hit the racquet strings,” – in football, “Watch the ball land into the hands of the receiver,” – and, of course, in baseball/softball, “See the ball hit the bat.” This adage can be applied to anything you do. Can you think about ways it can apply to your job? (3) If you never lose two points consecutively in tennis, you will never lose a game, a set or a match. A great test of resilience. Recover, adjust, be positive and believing in your abilities are major lessons toward success. Let’s call that “inner strength.”

Will you apply these lessons from tennis to your life?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street, #235, June 29, 2009

After Further Review … Recently I had the pleasure of playing in the 28th Annual National Football League Alumni (NFLA) Charity Golf Classic at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. This year the Northern California Chapter honored Fred Biletnikoff, former Oakland Raiders receiver and MVP of Super Bowl XI, and Dwight Clark, former San Francisco 49ers receiver, who made “the catch” in the 1981 NFC Championship game.

I was fortunate to have officiated both of those contests. Although those games may be prominent in my history, what really stands out for me is the opportunity to be a member of the NFL Alumni and its charitable giving. The Northern California chapter, now in its 28th year, has raised more than $3 million for charity and CARING for Kids.

The NFL Alumni, with its 32 chapters, has consistently donated its time, inviting former NFL players who spend their own time and money, to help raise funds not only for CARING for Kids, but also for the support of the Dire Need Fund (DNF). The DNF is there for former players who need financial aid for medical or personal needs. All 32 chapters are manned by former players, who volunteer their time and efforts to raise funds for these charities. Together those 32 chapters have raised and contributed an average of $2.5 million every year, for the last 5 years. Equally important to its charitable giving is that these former players have devoted themselves to promoting the positive image of professional athletes. Their volunteerism is an example for all.

There is currently a need of many former NFL players for increased medical assistance due to injuries sustained as a player. Groups are forming to petition NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to provide funding for these players. While that is logical and necessary, it seems here that the petition needs to be directed to the 32 NFL Club OWNERS. That’s where the funds for helping needy players lie.

Well, ok, but what about the NFLPA – the National Football League Players Association? Yes, of course, they, too, need to step-up to help their own. Under new Executive Director De Smith, they plan to do just that. We’ll see. However, to ask current players to donate part of their salaries to help their former brethren is a hard sell. The power lies with the OWNERS! With a new (CBA) Collective Bargaining Agreement on the horizon, the owners could restructure some of those “out of control” bonuses and salaries and provide funds to help former players in need. They are the ones that made the NFL what it is today.

Will you support the efforts to help former NFL players in need due to injuries?

For more information about Jim Tunney, please visit his website:, or if you would like to respond to this message, please send your email to

Friday, June 19, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street #234, June 22, 2009

After Further Review … Whew! The NBA 2008-2009 season is finally over and the Lakers are the CHAMPS ! The interest in professional basketball was at an all-time high with the Orlando Magic in the finals for only the second time in their history.
Since Kevin Garnett (Celtics), “Melo” (Nuggets) and LeBron (Cavs) were not present, the focus was on Dwight (Magic) and, of course, Kobe of the Lakers. These mega-stars, plus many others, are obviously maintaining fan interest. However, several things still are troublesome with the NBA.

First and foremost, the game was designed, and played for years, as a T.E.A.M. sport. Today’s “stars” are certainly just as talented as some of those in the past, yet, when one cites the champions of the past, the team name is mentioned first. In today’s game the fans’ attention seems to focus on individual players – excellent as they may be -- but the T.E.A.M. takes second place. Seldom do you see an NBA team “move the ball around” to get the best open shot. Too often, it’s just cast-away, hope that it goes in and if it doesn’t, fall back and play defense. Should the NBA move the 3-point arc to 26 or 27 feet so that a team must work together for the best open shot?

Second, maybe they should raise the basket to 12 feet, which has been suggested in past years. When the rules changed some 30+ years ago to allow the “dunk,” the game of basketball became an “above-the-rim” game. Raise the basket and it becomes a different game.

Third, refereeing the NBA game is the most difficult of all officiating. TNT’s Charles Barkley (2006 NBA Hall of Famer) said, “It’s terrible officiating. They’ve been stinking the whole playoffs.” May I suggest, Sir Charles, that the officiating issues lie with the rules and the interpretation thereof, not with the officials. When you allow players to shuffle their size 15+ Nikes (called “traveling”) to balance themselves for a “slam dunk” or “carry” the ball (called “palming”) -- plus the allowance of aggressive physical contact -- you can easily see how the game has become harder to officiate. Finally, today’s players seem to want to draw attention more to their appearance than the stars of the past. Almost every NBA player feels it necessary to adorn himself with tattoos. Yes, I know tattoos are “in” and today’s younger generation loves them; but why does an NBA player need that kind of attention?

Will you watch the NBA for the individual ‘showmanship’ or the game of basketball to be played as a T.E.A.M. sport?

Friday, June 12, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street #-233, June 15 2009

After Further Review … Next Sunday is Father’s Day – a day when sons and daughters pause in their daily rushing- through-life to pay tribute (giving a Hallmark card of “thanks”?) to their Dads. The amount of time I had being in the same home as my children when they were growing up pales to the amount of time since then that we have not.

Yet as a Father, the love, respect and caring for each of my children has become stronger. Distance and time must NEVER diminish that love. The respect, love and gratitude I have for my father, who’s been gone now 44 years, also has not lessened. The joy of Father’s Day is more than son or daughter to Father, but equally Father to his children. That’s why recalling Gene’s story is a special Father’s Day tribute:

Gene’s son was a scrawny, gangly kid who couldn’t get the ball up to the basket, yet he continued to try over and over, even after dark. Add to this his fear of most everything – elevators, flying, and of course, failure. Even so, he left home to go to a college 800 miles from his small mid-western home to pursue his basketball dream. How could this gaunt of a kid, even though he had some success in his town, hope to make the team in this basketball powerhouse of a college? The athletes recruited to play at this school are in the top 1-2% in the nation. Gene was proud, but aghast at his son’s courage.

The measure of a man is not that he gets knocked down, but how he gets back up. Gene’s son was not an exception to that. He steeled his body by performing all the menial, and meaningful, chores a Father would want of a son. He learned dignity and showed class in resisting the temptation to criticize his teammates, as well as resisting the opportunity to leave school early, staying for his 4th year. He said, “Dad, when I graduate, I’ll have something that others (who left college early to go to the pros) don’t – a college degree!” Gene could not have been prouder.

The spindly kid who left Poplar Bluff, Missouri, gateway to the Ozarks, has flown more miles than (perhaps) all the citizens of his home town, ridden in elevators higher than any in that town, and graduated last month from the University of North Carolina as a 4-time NCAA All-American. His name - Tyler Hansborough.

Will you cherish the love of your parent/child relationship regardless of time and distance?

Monday, June 1, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street # 231, June 1, 2009

After Further Review … On May 2, 2009, the game of football lost a great player in Jack Kemp, when he succumbed to cancer. Throughout his football playing days at Fairfax High School and Occidental College (both in Los Angeles), to the newly-founded American Football League (1960) with the LA/SD Chargers, and then to the Buffalo Bills, where he quarterbacked the Bills to AFC Championships in 1964 and 1965, Jack was a leader.

Much more than just an All-Pro Quarterback, Jack was a Statesman. He served as a Congressman for 18 years, representing Western New York; was appointed HUD Secretary by President G.H.W. Bush, and was the Republican Vice Presidential nominee as Bob Dole’s running mate in 1988. However, Kemp accomplished much more than those titles indicate.

Jack was a personal friend as well as an NFL colleague, so when you read the following story (published in Chicken Soup for the Sports Fan’s Soul), you will see the admiration so many of us had for his leadership:

In 1961, when he was quarterback and captain of the San Diego Chargers, they were scheduled to play the Oilers in Houston for the AFC Championships. Traditionally, the night before the game, Coach Sid Gilman, took the entire team to a movie. Shortly after Jack sat down in the theatre, he noticed that Paul Lowe, Ernie Wright, Ernie Ladd and Charlie McNeil, all African-Americans, were missing. Jack asked around and discovered they had been told to sit in the “blacks only” balcony. When he reported this to coach Gilman, Jack insisted they leave. And so they did -- walking out as a team in a silent, powerful demonstration of their belief in equality. Jack believed they were a T.E.A.M. both on and off the field.

Of even more impact was when Kemp was to play in the 1965 AFC All-Star game in New Orleans, only to find that his black teammates were denied taxi and restaurant service. Captain Kemp led a discussion to boycott New Orleans with the result of moving that All-Star game to another city. The first boycott of a city by any professional sports team! Jack often said, “We don’t tolerate bigotry on the field and it has no place off the field as well.”

Being elected to the U.S. Congress for 9 consecutive terms is just one of Kemp’s many accomplishments. However, he was prepared for it when he said, “Pro football gave me a good sense of perspective to enter politics. I have already been booed, cheered, cut, sold, traded and hung in effigy.” I will miss Jack Kemp.

Will you step up and do something for others as Jack Kemp did?

For more information about Jim Tunney, please visit his website:, or if you would like to respond to this message, please send your email to

Sunday, May 24, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street, #230 May 25, 2009

After Further Review … Can the words “civility” and “sports fan” be used in the same sentence? If the simple definition of civility is “courtesy” and the word “fan” is abbreviated from fanatic (excessively enthusiastic), can a fan be courteous?

This became an issue at a recent NBA playoff game when a couple of fans wanted to cheer on their team by standing up, thereby blocking the view of other fans, who were cheering the same team, but seated. All of the fans were in seats near the playing floor. The seated fans asked those standing to “Please sit down, we can’t see.” Those standing refused to sit. If you were the one standing, what would you do?

What needs to be pointed out is that those standing were younger (20-30s), while those sitting were older (50-60s). Older fans want to sit more than stand, and at stadium events usually sit throughout the performance. Attending concerts by Bennett, Streisand or the Philharmonic, an older audience is seated, except for an occasional “standing ovation.”

Younger fans want to stand throughout - rock concerts and the like. You may have noticed that during the recent NCAA basketball playoffs, all the students from the participating schools stood the ENTIRE game! That’s what today’s students do!

During the confrontation that took place at the aforementioned NBA playoff game, the standing fans said (in response to the request to sit down), “We paid for these seats and we’ll stand if we want to.” “Well,” said those sitting, ”If you paid for the seats, SIT in them!” “No” was the reply … “You stand up.” And so the banter continued.

This happens in other venues as well. Since today’s younger fans want to stand, the question is: Do they have that right, even if they block the view of those behind them? One of the arguments of those standing is that the enthusiasm (of standing) is more supportive of the players, and thus the players play better with that enthusiastic (standing) support. Excuse me? My observation of players is that, while, they are glad the fans are there, they don’t – and shouldn’t – pay much attention to whether their fans are sitting or standing!

Will you be considerate of others in the arena, as well as in other places in our society?

Monday, May 18, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street #229, May 18, 2009

After Further Review … You have read this before, but it bears repeating … Kurtis the stock boy, was busily working at the supermarket, when a new voice came over the loud speaker asking for a carry-out at register 4. Kurtis answered the call and as he approached the check-out stand, he noticed the beauty of the new check-out girl.

After his shift was over, he waited by the time clock to find out her name, and when she punched out, he looked at her card – Brenda. The next day, he waited again and offered her a ride home, which she accepted. When he dropped her off, he asked if maybe he could see her again, outside of work. She said it wasn’t possible, and explained she had two children and couldn’t afford a sitter. He offered to pay for the sitter. Reluctantly, she accepted his offer for a date for the following Saturday, but when he arrived at her door she said she was unable to go. The sitter had cancelled, to which Kurtis said, “Well, let’s take the kids with us.”

She tried to explain that taking the children was not an option, but again he wouldn’t take no for an answer. Finally Brenda brought him inside to meet her children. She had an older daughter who was just cute as a bug. Then Brenda brought out her son - in a wheelchair. He was born with Down Syndrome.

Kurtis asked Brenda, “I still don’t understand why the kids can’t come with us?” Brenda was amazed. Most men would run away from a woman with two kids, especially if one had disabilities – just like her husband and father of her children had done. Kurtis had a different mindset. So that evening Kurtis and Brenda loaded up the kids, went to dinner and the movies.

When her son needed anything, Kurtis would take care of him. When he needed to use the restroom, Kurtis picked him up out of his wheelchair, took him and brought him back. The kids loved Kurtis. At the end of the evening, Brenda knew this was the man she was going to marry. A year later, they were married and Kurtis adopted both of her children. Since then, they have added several more kids.

If you watched Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009, you saw Kurtis. He was wearing a Cardinals’ jersey with #13 and the name “Warner” on the back. Yes, Kurtis is Kurt Warner, starting QB of the Arizona Cardinals!

Will you reach out to someone today to give them needed support?

For more information about Jim Tunney, please visit his website:, or if you would like to respond to this message,
please send your email to

Friday, May 8, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street, #228, May 11, 2009

A recent television special detailed the earthquake that virtually destroyed Chengdu’s Sichuan province brought this to mind: “’Cause I’m the hall monitor,” said 9-year old Lin Hao, the Chinese schoolboy who marched in the 2008 Opening Ceremonies of the 29th Olympic Games in Beijing, as the co-leader with China’s Flag Bearer, 7”6’ Yao Ming. Yao Ming, of course, you know as the Houston Rockets NBA star, was playing in the Olympic Games for his native country China.

Lin Hao, perhaps, is a name you may never know. When that earthquake hit Chengdu’s Sichuan Province, China, on May 12, 2008, killing 70,000+ people, Lin Hao was among those buried beneath the rubble, yet survived. Lin Hao had pulled a classmate out of the rubble, then ran back in to rescue another, when he was caught in the tumbling walls. Alive when the rescuers got to him, Lin Hao was asked “Why did you go back into that building that was crumbling?” Here is 9-year old Lin Hao’s response: “’CAUSE I’M THE HALL MONITOR!” You may call it responsibility, or leadership or determination. Whatever you call it, please put “HERO” next to Lin Hao’s name! Extraordinary!

The spectacular opening of the 29th Olympic Games was the finest I have ever witnessed. The precision and splendor of that opening was exceeded only by the people who directed and performed in it. It was easy to be convinced that the light show, the drumming sequence and especially the ‘cube’ happening was controlled solely by electronics. I was delightfully surprised when the performers beneath those cubes popped their heads up at the conclusion. Extraordinary!

During an NBC interview with Zhang Yimou, who directed the opening ceremonies, Yimou said “We (meaning every ‘cube’ performer) worked for 4 months - 8 hours a day - and we never got it perfect – until that opening night performance.” Determination and a “never-give-up” attitude, coupled with TEAMWORK, gave the world China’s extraordinary best.

Some critics knocked the Chinese performers as “sterile” and lacking passion. I disagree. When you witness perfection, it may appear “sterile” and “passionless,” but what one often misses is the extraordinary effort to achieve perfection. Extraordinary performances given by ordinary people giving extra effort to perform the extraordinary!

Will you give your extra effort to every task you have in order to achieve the extraordinary?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street, #227 May 4, 2009

After Further Review ... FORTY-ONE MILLION, SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS GUARANTEED to 21-year old QB Matthew Stafford, who was selected first in the 2009 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions. Stafford, who left the University of Georgia after his junior year, is expected to resurrect the Lions franchise. It is important to note that his overall contract is for $78 million for 6 years and loaded with “ IF’s.”

Stafford’s contract is 20% more than the Atlanta Falcons contract given Matt Ryan (Boston College), the first year pick in the 2008 draft. Ryan did have a better-than-average year for a first year QB as the Falcons made the playoffs.
However, if Lions veteran QB Daunte Culpepper has a good year with no injuries, Stafford may be standing on the sidelines holding a clipboard, not a football.

There are more than a few football fans, as well as many others, who are scratching their heads, saying “How in the name of Bobby Layne can a football T.E.A.M. “guarantee” that kind of money to someone who has NEVER played one down in professional football?” Given the Lions 2008 record (0 wins and 16 losses) can any rookie quarterback – as great as Stafford was in college – create a winning record – let alone win the NFC North? It takes a T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Accomplishes More) to win in the National Football League.
The issue here is not so much about Stafford – he is simply the 2009 poster child – but the amount of money “guaranteed” to ANY unproven NFL player. Further, the total amount of money to be paid – much of it guaranteed – to the top 10 players chosen in this year’s draft, may approximate $250 million!

At some point, the NFL owners are going to have to revise the awarding of this kind of money to rookies. In today’s economy, that amount of money is out of line. Now, if the owners would take, say, half of that $250 million and help the many retired NFL players (who made the NFL what it is today) with medical bills, it would be the best thing they could do with those dollars. The money provided by the NFL Alumni dire need fund for these purposes is simply not enough. The NFL owners need to step-up and do the right thing.

Can you imagine the top-of-the-class graduate at Yale Law School guaranteed, or even offered, more money than the partners in the best law firm in New York?

Will you become aware of the financial plight facing retired NFL players?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street, #226, April 27, 2009

After Further Review … John Madden’s recent retirement from NFL broadcasting recalls his quote from the foreword of my book Impartial Judgment: “I never thought that was possible. I mean, who are these guys? Ever hear of a kid growing up wanting to be a referee? Or going to college to be one? Then, all of a sudden, boom! There they are telling you what to do?” Madden retired from on-field coaching in 1979 after 10 years as Head Coach of the Oakland Raiders with a record of 100 victories. The Raiders were the winningest T.E.A.M. in the 70s. He’s now retired from broadcasting as the “best there ever was.”

I had the privilege of refereeing in the NFL every year Madden was the Raiders Coach. The Raiders were a no-holds-barred group of renegades. They played all-out, every play, every down. As a referee, it was challenging! As successful a coach as Madden was, he said later that he “finally” became well-known when, after his retirement, he did a Miller’s Lite beer commercial by busting through a fence. His 30-year career as a broadcaster has taken that fame to the pinnacle. He was always a coach; but as a sportscaster, he coached audiences, not players.

Madden lessons stand out. Lesson #1 – Following their Super Bowl XI victory over the Minnesota Vikings, which I refereed, the Raiders started the 1977 pre-season against the Seattle Seahawks in the King Dome. Before that Seahawks game, which I was assigned to referee, I talked with Coach Madden on the field before the game and noticed his diamond-filled Super Bowl ring. I said, “John, that’s a beautiful ring, but I don’t understand; you were the coach in Super Bowl XI and I was the referee. We were both on the field for the same 3+ hours; you got that beautiful ring and all I got was this (inexpensive) watch that the League gave me. How come – what’s the difference?” Madden smiled and said, “Because you don’t care who wins!” Profound.

Lesson #2 – After Coach Madden retired, he became a sportscaster on CBS for NFL games. His partner was Pat Summerall. Madden said he and Summerall would ask each other before EVERY game, “Is your bucket full?” Meaning, did you do your homework on the players, coaches, formations and strategies so that you could help the viewer better understand the game they were about to see. That lesson on preparation remains paramount with me today. I will miss John Madden.

Will you miss the “Maddenism” that you have heard from the Coach for the last 3 decades?

Monday, April 20, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street #225, April 20, 2009

After Further Review ..."You play to win the game," we say in my book "It's the Will, Not the Skill." This means you play within the rules and with respect for your opponents. So, then will someone provide an explanation why the game of ice hockey, especially at the professional (NHL) level, permits fighting (i.e. pugilism, fisticuffs)? I mean, a better explanation than, "Well, that's hockey!"

Not being much of a hockey fan - never played it, don't much watch it - I'm sure hockey enthusiasts will say, "He just doesn't understand the game." Perhaps. However, when you stop to think about it, with all the protective gear - helmets, pads, gloves, etc. - how much damage can be caused by hitting an opponent with one's fists? NHL rules say fighting is ok UNTIL the combatants fall to the ice, then the official steps in and breaks it up. Huh? What does fighting have to do with "playing to win the game?" Last time I looked, the T.E.A.M. that wins is the one who scores the most goals - not the number of knock downs. Let's see how that works in the upcoming NHL playoffs.

A bigger concern is the role model issue. Young players, who may aspire to play in the big leagues, tend to emulate the pros. "Be like Mike" is true in all sports. What about lacrosse, field hockey and soccer? Those are contact sports, yet fighting is not permitted - doing so calls for expulsion. Why shouldn't fighting be allowed in all sports?

In the NFL - it doesn't get more physical than that - fighting is subject to expulsion. NFL officials are quick to step-in to stop any pushing or shoving (after the play), which would lead to fisticuffs. When a fight does happen, NFL teammates want to protect their brother, and then what follows is a brawl - not football Fighting detracts from the purpose of the game. In the NBA, if players begin fighting, they are ejected. Further, if their teammates leave the bench and go onto the court, they are fined by the League.

Each sport has its own mindset and the mindset of hockey is "fighting is part of the game." I don't see it. If we want our young players to emulate their professional role models, we need to change that mindset.

Will you watch hockey for the players' athleticism, or for their pugilistic abilities?

For more information about Jim Tunney, please visit his website:, or if you would like to respond to this message, please send your email to

Friday, April 10, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street #224, April 13, 2009

After Further Review … March Madness concluded last week with the University of North Carolina easily defeating Michigan State at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. A record crowd of 72,000+ attended. For a number of college basketball fans, they wished the season would go on and on and on!

For others, they now move on to the National Basketball Association playoffs ending in a couple of months. NBA games are played (almost) every day of the week and with players moving from team to team, player fan base and team loyalty is dubious. Some have suggested that a pro basketball game really doesn’t start until the last 2 minutes of the 4th quarter – meaning that NBA players don’t play at their top pro level ability until then.

The reason for the above mention of the pro game is because it has influenced the college game – in the wrong direction. Today’s college game has few seniors. If you are unfamiliar with the meaning of “one and done” in relation to college basketball, read on. Most top college players leave school after their junior year, some after their sophomore year and a few even after their freshman year – thus “one and done.”

As you watch the style of play in today’s college game, you’ll notice how much it emulates the pro game of violent collisions – e.g. charging/blocking, hard contact on a shooting player, etc. Player size has created constant contact. One can’t legislate size, but size has brought bruteness, which seems to bring about the lack of finesse, legal screens, pick & roll, etc. Today, it’s all about slam dunks.

However, what is even more bothersome is the palming of the ball (carrying) and the permissiveness of traveling. Watching the final four, as well as the entire March madness, I couldn’t help but think how much greater Bob Cousy, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird could have been in their college playing days, if they could “carry” and “travel” with the ball as players do today.

I have played, coached, and officiated basketball over 4 decades, but with the pros influencing the college players and they, in turn, influencing the kids’ game, I am disappointed that the game of basketball is not played as it was intended. Change doesn’t always bring growth for betterment.

Will you agree that today’s basketball should be about agility, speed and finesse and not about brute force?

For more information about Jim Tunney, please visit his website:, or if you would like to respond to this message, please send your email to

On the Tunney Side of the Street, #223, April 6, 2009

After Further Review … The National Football League is tightening its physical contact rules which begs the question: Are other professional sports also concerned about player safety? With the National Hockey League playoffs about to get underway will aggressive or overaggressive player behavior escalate? The Chicago Blackhawks have a good shot at being in the playoffs, but their power forward was suspended for three games for a “blow to the head of an unsuspecting player” during a recent game. My concern is the unnecessary roughness in the sport of hockey. Let’s be clear about hockey – I am not a fan. Growing up in southern California, winter time was devoted to football – then basketball, baseball and some “kick the can.” Not many ponds or lakes in So. California froze over.

One has to admire the adeptness of a hockey player who can carry a stick and hit a puck at full speed, let alone guide it toward the opponent’s goal to score. Gordy Howe, Mario Lemieux, and Wayne Gretsky – all in the NHL Hall of Fame - are to be admired; Gretsky, especially, with his ability to move to where the puck was “going to be” – not where it was. You gotta love that anticipation.

The trouble I have with hockey is the unnecessary contact. Many may argue that the word unnecessary is an unnecessary word, because hockey is very much a contact sport. Agreed. Physicality and aggressiveness are important in hockey. While excessive play in the NFL, NBA and MSL is important as well, there are rules that prohibit a player from smashing into an opponent from behind. In hockey, from the NHL on down, ‘boarding,” although not permitted by rule, seems to be admired! How does one rank finesse, speed and agility in hockey among the physical skills needed to be successful (read: to win)? Should there be some sense of fair play in that type of contact?

Hockey rules, at all levels, legislate against “high-sticking, slashing, tripping” but don’t seem to enforce a hard block in the back of an opponent (boarding). Although that player may know he may get “blasted,” he has little way to protect himself. All of this style of play and over-aggressive behavior finds its way into the style of play of our younger generations.

Will you watch hockey for its aggressiveness or for the speed and finesse used by the best of players?

Monday, March 30, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street #222, March 30, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street #222, March 30, 2009

After Further Review … During Major League Baseball spring training this year, they played a thing called the “World Baseball Classic” at Los Angeles’ Dodgers Stadium . It featured teams from all over the world (of course), and did have a classic final game finish. Japan beat South Korea 5-3 on a two-run single in the 10th inning by Ichiro Suzuki, who, incidentally, plays for the Seattle Mariners in the American League . The interesting aspect of that final game was that the United States T.E.A.M. wasn’t in it!

The U.S. team had lost in the semi-finals to Japan, who had 16 players from U.S. Major League rosters. What happened to the great MLB stars that we watch from April to November each baseball season? Well, most of them didn’t show! Our “superstars” didn’t care much for this game and declined to participate.

Japan had 3 MLB players and South Korea had only 1 MLB player. One Major League manager said, “Most of these teams have players that probably could play in the big leagues.” Some major league scouts feel that more than a few Japanese and Korean players could – and should – be playing in the “big show.” One of the Korean players said, “Korean and Japanese players are excellent and, perhaps, have better skills than some of today’s Major League players.”

Where were the MLB stars? Well, most were with their teams in the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues, getting ready for the 2009 season . Why do they play this game now and why title it World Baseball Classic? The All Star game played mid-way through the regular MLB season is always a classic The players selected want to play, not just for the “honor,” but because if their League’s All Star team wins, that League’s team gets home field advantage in the World Series – a worthwhile endeavor! While this World Baseball Classic drew a crowd of almost 55,000, it makes little sense to play now. Maybe $$$, but not much sense.

The National Football League used to have a college all-star football game played in the pre-season between the previous year’s NFL champion vs. a collection of college all-stars, but that was discontinued in the early 1970’s. Many teams felt the NFL players and coaches involved needed to be working with their teammates to get ready for the season.

Will you support All-Star games that don’t include the top players?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street, #221, March 23, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street #221, March 23, 2009

After Further Review … “Collapse of Distinction” is a new book by colleague Scott McKain, subtitled “Stand out and move up when your competition fails.” While this book is about the business world – NOT sports – the title and its impact are intriguing. I thought about the “collapse of distinction” when I learned about the impasse between first year Denver Broncos Head Coach Josh McDaniels and Broncos star quarterback Jay Cutler.

The Denver Broncos have always distinguished themselves as an outstanding NFL franchise. However, the firing of Head Coach Mike Shanahan by Broncos owner Pat Bowlen at the end of the 2008 NFL season, did not sit well with the Broncos players and/or fans. Shanahan, whom I’ve known since he was hired as Broncos Quarterback Coach, has distinguished himself as a top NFL Coach. He is only one of six NFL coaches to win back-to-back Super Bowls (XXXII and XXXIII); but when the Broncos went 7&9 (2007) and 8&8 (2008), Bowlen believed a change was needed.

Enter McDaniels, who inherited Cutler as his starting quarterback. Cutler is rated by most experts as a quarterback with a strong arm, but, coming from Vanderbilt University, had not much big-time experience. This issue, however, is not about how Shanahan and/or Cutler performed. This is about new Coach McDaniels arriving on the Broncos scene and wanting to trade Cutler. Cutler’s feelings were hurt.

McDaniels wanted New England Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel, but he was quickly snapped up by the Kansas City Chiefs The “hurt” Cutler failed to report for a voluntary program, which McDaniels asked of all current Broncos players. Cutler then expressed his unhappiness to the press, and asked to be traded. None of this is unusual in the business of Pro Football -- business is the operative word. Professional sports are in the business to win. One NFL Head Coach said to me, “As Head Coach, you don’t get paid to coach, you get paid to win.” McDaniels came to the Broncos to win, and thus was taking charge to resurrect the Broncos winning record.

Trade issues happen on every team on a regular basis. What is important is that when issues like these occur, they need to be resolved internally, and not in the press. Neither side wins in the press. Issues debated in the press, collapses the distinction of the T.E.A.M. Let’s hope McDaniels and Cutler can resolve their family squabbles by settling them in one-on-one meetings.

Will you strive to resolve disputable issues internally to keep distinction from collapsing?

For more information about Jim Tunney, please visit his website:, or if you would like to respond to this message, please send your email to

Saturday, March 14, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street #220, March 16, 2009

After Further Review ...“They almost like handed him crumbs. It’s almost like a slap in the face,” said the mother of a prominent National Football League player. That player is reported to have a contract through 2011 that would pay him $24 million. The team for whom he is under contract wants to renegotiate his contract that would pay him $6.725 million for the 2009 season, “Handing him crumbs?” Hardly! In the interest of fair play, I will not mention the team, the player or his mother’s name, because this is not so much about this player – it’s about the whole concept of professional players’ salaries.

In today’s (2009) stressful economic times, offering a player a salary at or about $6+ million per year would be tempting to many NFL players. While the player in question remains nameless, it is important to note that he has been invaluable to his T.E.A.M. In the several seasons he played he was, without question, largely responsible for his T.E.A.M. making the playoffs and is regarded as one of the NFL’s marquee players. Further, he has done much for the community in which he resides; you can’t fault a mother for sticking up for her son.

Salary issues are always difficult to address, particularly when the NFL has established each team’s salary cap for 2009 at $127 million (for players) per team. As the NFL continues to grow in popularity, the money is there. With the current economic meltdown affecting individuals and businesses in all walks of life, will the NFL have a financially successful year in 2009 as it had in 2006, or 2007 or 2008? Major League Baseball is currently experiencing a decline in their ever-popular Grapefruit and Cactus League attendance. Some Major League baseball teams are offering a “free ticket on your birthday” or a “buck-a-game” ticket for regular season. If attendance falters, teams will need to revisit players’ salaries.

Corporations have already pulled back their financial support for stadium naming rights. Further, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has voluntarily cut his salary 10-20% and NFL headquarters has reduced staff, as well as have many NFL Clubs’ office staff Unfortunately, there is little evidence of players or coaches stepping-up to cut their salaries. That being said, it must be noted that many of them donate monies and do enormous charity work in their communities.

It has long been advocated in these writings that IF all NFL players would voluntarily cut their salaries 10% (many variations are possible), and pass those savings onto the fans so that parents can take their families to the games, the NFL would encourage a friendlier and more widespread fan base.

Will you continue to support your favorite T.E.A.M. regardless of players’ salaries?

Friday, March 6, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street, #219, March 9, 2009

On The Tunney Side of the Street, #219, March 9, 2009

After Further Review … “Got milk?” We have all seen that slogan/advertisement over and over. The Milk Industry pushes its product by using dozens of superstars with their upper lip coated with milk. They pay big bucks to professional athletes encouraging the public to drink more milk. But - have you seen the Milk Industry’s latest gimmick using high school kids to coat their upper lip with that white stuff? “Do you want your high school senior to star in a milk mustache ad?” says the ad now running on the front page of the sports section of USA Today. The question asks high school seniors, “Think you have what it takes to be a SAMMY award winner?” SAMMY, is Scholar Athlete Milk Mustache of the Year award.

SAMMY is in its 10th year of these scholar-athlete awards. Twenty-five student athletes can win a $7500 college scholarship – and ... and… “Your very own milk mustache ad (picture, of course) in USA Today.” PUHLEESE! You kiddin’ me? High school seniors in a national milk mustache ad? Leave the kids alone! While I applaud the Milk Industry for encouraging high school seniors to excel in “academic, athletics and community involvement” and, of course, for drinking milk, let’s not make national celebrities out of kids. In today’s fast-paced society, we move young people along too quickly.

This is also evidenced as high school football players are now being awarded “Heisman” trophies, which traditionally have been reserved for the outstanding collegiate football player each year. John Heisman, for whom the award is named, was a prominent college football player and coach (circa late 1800’s and early 1900’s), yet never wanted a trophy named for him, but allowed his name to be used for this collegiate award. To give “The Heisman” to high school players diminishes that distinction. Let’s keep this recognition for the award it was intended. Let kids grow up without this type of superfluous adulation.

Scholarships are always needed and wanted, especially in today’s economic times. Having been a Director on the National Football Foundation’s local chapter for 20+ years, we proudly recognized scholar-athletes with a financial scholarship and a banquet, announcing their achievements to their local community. There are 120 chapters of this Foundation throughout the United State who give these scholarships annually.
SAMMY blows the whole idea of scholarships out of proportion. Oh, BTW, the 2009 SAMMY award applications are due tomorrow!

Will you encourage students to seek scholarships without becoming “superstars” too early in life?

For more information about Jim Tunney, please visit his website:, or if you would like to respond to this message, please send your email to