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Separation of football and state; getting his shot; and non-pro plays of the year

Separation of football and state; getting his shot; and non-pro plays of the year

By Jarom Moore | Posted - Oct. 2, 2012 at 2:37 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY — Woody Johnson and the Jets have a team that seems to be falling apart, but there is something that could be done to bring a smile to his face and it has nothing to do with football.

The very political Johnson was asked if he would rather have his Jets get a winning season or have the Republican party lead by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan win the election and he chose Romney.

"Well, I think you always have to put country first," Johnson said. "So I think it's very, very important that not only for us but particularly for our kids and grandkids that this election come off with Mitt Romney and Ryan as president and vice-president."

This came Monday morning on Bloomberg TV, a day after the Jets lost 34-0 to the 49ers. Maybe this is the reason that the Jets brought in Tim Tebow. With the legion of followers for Tebow there could be a few political ads with the charismatic quarterback to get some following for the party.

Athletes getting political:

It's not just Johnson getting into the political game. Two other athletic figures are making waves. One is throwing his hat behind Romney is while the other is voicing his opinion against a teammate.

The first is John Elway, Hall of Fame quarterback turned Broncos team president, has officially announced his support for Romney. Saying that he believes the country needs a president to get America working again.

The other is Ravens center Matt Birk, who has ended up on the opposite side of teammate Brendan Ayanbadejo and his support of gay marriage.

Recently Ayanbadejo has voiced his support for gay marriage and a state delegate, Emmett Burns Jr., wrote the Ravens owner, Steve Bisciotti, asking him to stop players from talking about the subject.

This forced Vikings punter Chris Kluwe to write a profanity laden letter to Burns about players' right to freedom of speech and also in support of gay marriage.

Now, Birk, current teammate of Ayanbadejo and former teammate of Kluwe, has issued his own statement from the opposing side of the argument. His letter includes this statement.

"I am speaking out on this issue because it is far too important to remain silent. People who are simply acknowledging the basic reality of marriage between one man and one woman are being labeled as "bigots" and "homophobic." Aren't we past that as a society?"

"A defense of marriage is not meant as an offense to any person or group. All people should be afforded their inalienable American freedoms. There is no opposition between providing basic human rights to everyone and preserving marriage as the sacred union of one man and one woman."

The classic stereotype of football players as simple meat heads is fading away with players from both sides making rational arguments about issues that are affecting the nation.

Both sides have the right to argue and the First Amendment is about protecting both sides of the argument especially if it is unpopular for either side.

Getting his shot:

A few weeks ago a viral campaign got started for Adam Greenberg to get a shot at a hit in the Major League after getting hit in the head with the first pitch he faced.

Now, over seven years later he is getting that chance. Matt Liston is a documentary film-maker who started the grass-roots campaign just to get him his chance. He tried to get him back with the Cubs, Liston's favorite team and where Greenberg had his injury, but the team wasn't able to make it happen.

He will get his chance Tuesday night with the Marlins, who was the team that hit him years ago, as they play the Mets. This video shows him on the "Today Show" as Greenberg gets offered and accepts the offer. This game will have no real meaning for either club, as they are both well out of the playoff race, but for this still young man it could mean everything.

No one is quite sure how it will work, if it is just a pinch-hit or if he will play any position for the game, but for Greenberg his one-day contract, which isn't normally legal but was allowed, means that he gets a chance to compete and try to help the team win.

"I don't want to get a hit, I want to score a run," Greenberg said.

Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said he wanted to let Greenberg leadoff, but it's not going to happen now apparently. However, Greenberg will get his shot and that is all that matters to him.

"When I step into the box, I win."

Plays of the year in the non-pro ranks:

It's not everyday when a high-school or flag football game will wow people, but that happened last week in each level.

The first was shown yesterday on KSL.com for a flag football behind the back pass.

Exactly why he did it, or if it actually made a difference on the play or the game is irrelevant, it is really cool, but is it cooler than this throw form a high school game in Washington?

Tumwater High was playing Olympia Capital High and Tumwater had just scored a touchdown that brought the team down two at 21-19, and were ready to go for two. They went into their bag of tricks and brought out the old wedding bouquet toss.

The Tumwater coach Sid Otton had a play where his quarterback would go play-action then simply toss the ball over his head to their 6-5 receiver. The play started and sure enough he was able to get the two-point conversion and take the game into overtime where they were able to pull an upset in 2OT.

Really neither seemed necessary, but both were pretty awesome and isn't that what sports are all about.

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Jarom Moore

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