Mumpsgate 2014: Why Didn’t the League Step In?

Sidney Crosby is not the first player to contradict the mumps, contrary to what the national media would have you believe. Arguably, Crosby is the face of the league, always atop of the leader boarder, but he is one of the many that have fallen victim to a disease that usually affects children.

“Mumpsgate” started back in September in Southern California. A local health agency had released an alert for those living in Orange County, California that there had been a mumps outbreak. Unfortunately, there are some Anaheim Mighty Ducks that happened to live and ultimately three Anaheim players would end with the mumps or mumps like symptoms.

According to the Center of Disease Control, mumps are spread “by droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat of an infected person, usually when a person coughs, sneezes or talks.” So, not only are the mumps spread like the cold or the flu, but that the NHL is a breeding ground for the mumps. It’s hard to avoid a cough or a sneeze in the locker room or flying drops of saliva when hitting a guy against the boards or sharing water bottles.

To date, at least fourteen players have been confirmed that have the mumps or mumps like symptoms. Of course, as mentioned before Sidney Crosby is one of those fourteen; but so is teammate Beau Bennett. Bennett having the mumps is actually a problem seeing as days prior he was photographed visiting sick kids at a children’s hospital which is a public relations disaster

So why hasn’t the league stepped in? They have known since mid-October when some players tested positive for mumps. Sure, they get a pass for the first couple of weeks because they had no idea the fire storm that would occur. But not only should they have done something to protect their players, but what about all the people that the players come in contact with? It’s not like the players/staff only spend time in their homes and at the rink, they are in contact with a ton of people every day.

But it’s now the middle of December and thanks to Crosby’s positive mumps test, the national media is now reporting about Mumpsgate. So yet again, why hasn’t the league stepped in and required that everyone in the league get the vaccination? While the vaccination is not perfect and won’t necessarily solve the problem, it will go a long way in stopping the spread of the virus.

The league completely missed the net when it comes to dealing with Mumpsgate. They wouldn’t have been overstepping their boundaries by requiring that each team organization take care of their players. The team organizations are not completely innocent either, they knew that this was going on and could’ve stepped in and forced their players to get vaccinated.

Ultimately, Mumpsgate is a complete Public Relations and Public Health disaster. By not doing anything the league shows no regard for their players and staff of the teams or the community in which all of them live.

Shutout: Not the Way Manziel Wanted to Start

The beginning of the Johnny Manziel Era in Cleveland started off with so much hype until he snapped the ball, then it started to look like the beginning of a Greek tragedy.

Have no fear Manziel fans, being shut out yesterday by the Bengals was actually a good thing. Johnny Manziel needed to have a poor first outing for the Bengals, it was the only way this whole saga could have started.

Why?

Well, let’s be honest for a second shall we? Johnny Manziel has a bit of an ego, scratch that, his ego is couldn’t fit in this room with us. Since he won the Heisman trophy and was shot to an even bigger platform of stardom, he’s been a bit too cocky. His flashing of his money sign after he was drafted (22nd in the first row, let’s not forget) and hanging out with LeBron James and Drake come to mind. Which not to hate on James and Drake, but Manziel’s ego is big enough without having those two around to pump him up.

So Manziel needed a bit of a reality check. He needed to be reminded of the fact that he is a rookie in the National Football League. What he did in college means nothing now that he’s in the big leagues. He hasn’t matured enough on the field to have an ego, he needs to take a look at Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Manning and Brady are hands down fantastic quarterbacks, future Hall of Framers without a doubt, but they don’t have signs they flash after a touchdown and they’re not getting into altercations (allegedly) at 2:30 in the morning.

Getting shut out by the Bengals at home was exactly the reality check Manizel needed. He can now look at the game tape from yesterday’s disastrous game and know what not to do on the field. He now knows that he needs to buckle down and focus on football instead of hanging with his crew. Yes, he’s only twenty two, but he’s a starting quarterback in the NFL so it’s time to get out of the college mode and get into serious work mode.

Hopefully, Manziel and the Browns will use yesterday’s loss as a learning tool to craft Manziel into a quality quarterback. It’s uncertain if he could ever reach Manning or Brady quality, but he could still in his own right be a decent quarterback. Only time will tell just how Manziel will be as a quarterback, but hopefully he checks his ego at the door and steps up his game.

Seidenberg Not Facing Suspension for Toews Hit

Jonathan Toews took a nasty hit from Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg during the second period Thursday night at the TD Garden in Boston.

Toews hit the boards awkwardly and Seidenberg was charged with a boarding call. A boarding call, according to the official league rules is:

“A boarding penalty shall be imposed on any player or goalkeeper who checks or pushes a defenseless opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to hit or impact the boards violently in the boards. The severity of the penalty, based upon the impact with the boards, shall be at the discretion of the Referee (http://www.nhl.com/ice/page.htm?id=26329).”

Chicago Blackhawks Jonathan Toews (19) and Boston Bruins Dennis Seidenberg
Chicago Blackhawks Jonathan Toews (19) and Boston Bruins Dennis Seidenberg

Seidenberg only sat in the penalty box for two minutes, a result of his minor penalty and will not face a hearing with the department of player safety because of his actions. Then in defense of Seidenberg, Bruins coach Claude Julien stated after the game that the hit on Toews was legal and was essentially Toews’ fault because he wasn’t paying enough attention to know he was going to get hit.

Let’s flashback to the playoffs last year, Blackhawks v. Blues where Brent Seabrook drilled David Backes into the boards causing the Blues captain to lose consciousness. Seabrook was ejected from the game and subsequently suspended three games during the playoffs. Seabrook, like Seidenberg, could have pulled back from the hit.

Why is the department of player safety not stepping in and punishing Seidenberg? This gross oversight shows that there seems to be no consistency in disciplining players. Players need to know that hits like these are not acceptable and in order to learn that lesson players need to be suspended and fined. If they are not reprimanded then they run the risk of committing such hits again and putting even more players themselves.

It’s time that the department of player safety actually started caring about player safety and treating all players the same, instead of only punishing certain players and letting others get away with the same hits.

First Things First

Welcome to my baby and brain child, First Down Sportanista! Now I know you’re probably scratching your head a bit at the name, but it is a play on words because a fashionista is someone devoted to all things fashion and since I am a girl completely devoted to sports, it just seemed to work.

I will be posting on here twice a week with one post covering a current event in sports like rule changes, CBA announcements, surprising player trades, etc and occasionally posting a 30 for 30 Reaction or Hooked Till the Credits post.

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