Ask Gary: How profane are locker rooms?

by Gary Shelton on October 15, 2016 · 3 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

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Saturday, 4 a.m.

You've spent a lot of time in college and professional locker rooms. Have you heard a lot of inappropriate stuff? Evidently Aqib Talib says it's pretty rampant.

Rick Martin

I've heard a lot of swear words, but most of them were directed at me after I wrote that a certain guy couldn't play. Kenyatta Walker. Melvin Johnson. Dwight Smith. And so forth.

The thing you have to remember, Rick, is that there are a lot of places to hide from the media  in the locker room. So if someone wants to tell filthy jokes or talk about women, there is a weight room or a training room or meeting rooms, and the media isn't allowed in any of those. There is a cafeteria. There are a lot of places if you feel a need to be crude.

I was in the Dolphins locker room once, and Roy Foster was wrapped in a towel while a woman sportswriter was in the room. He did a dancing-girl dance behind her, and I have to admit, it was funny. The guy is a 300-pound

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Rockette. But, yes, it was inappropriate.

I saw Warren Sapp spit tobacco juice into a white towel and have his exchanges with the media. Not the most sanitary sight. But it wasn't profane (and Warren could be).

So the short answer to your question is, no, I haven't witnessed the burst of crudity that Donald Trump exhibited.. When Richie Incognito said the lewd things about Jonathan Martin's sister,  that wasn't when the media was in the room, either.

Remember, for a lot of years, this was Tony Dungy's locker room. He wouldn't put up with it, and his players (Lynch, Alstott, Brooks, Barber) wouldn't put up with it.

Anymore, there is such limited access that there is really no reason for crudity. Even baseball has writers in the locker room for less time when the players are actually there. There are so many other places to hide.

It seems like, more than ever, the NFL has become injury roulette. I heard a theory recently that the collective bargaining agreement dictates so little practice time that their bodies just don't get conditioned, as seen with all the muscle injuries. What do you think? Might the owners expand their rosters to have more back-up players (especially now that the Arena league might be in danger, providing a new pool of potential players)?

Barry McDowell

What makes it hard to buy that the players aren't in shape enough is all the old players who are struggling with their health. There are so many older players whose bodies are wrecks.

I think there are certain injuries (pulls, etc.) that can be offset by conditioning. But good condition doesn't prevent concussions, for instance.

Rosters have expanded greatly in the last 25 years. They've gone from 45 to 53. But I don't see why all 53 can't be dressed for games. You're paying them, right? If you dress the 53 plus the practice squad players, you at least have a backup for every player. You at least don't have to finish a game with a wide receiver playing quarterback.

Do you have any insight you can share about the demise of the Tom Jones/Rick Stroud show on WDAE? The national shows do nothing for me.​

Barry McDowell

I talked to Tom Thursday night at the Lightning game. He said the station was nice to him as he and Rick were told of the decision. The ratings were good. He didn't know a lot more of the inner workings behind it. (The less ownership tells you, the less they have to answer for). That was similar when I got the news from my radio station. We had the top-rated show in town, and I was the only guy there who actually attended games. But they didn't like my paycheck.

I'm guessing, but a lot of times, these decisions aren't even made in town. Usually, when a station goes to a syndicated national show, it's because local shows are more expensive. Everyone is streamlining.

It's a shame. I thought Tom and Rick had the best local show going. I hope they'll be back.

How about those Chicago Cubs? Being down 5-2 to the SF Giants after 8 innings of Game 4 of the NLDS and pulling it out to win 6-5 in the ninth inning to win the series. So that's what good baseball looks like!

Howard Powders

I really think this is the year the goat dies. The Cubs are so good, and Joe Maddon is the perfect manager to deflect attention from the players.

You're right. It's been a long time since we've seen that level of baseball. I hope it comes back around, but I fear it will take some time to get there. Still, it isn't like we haven't seen excellence. Remember Evan Longoria in Game 163? Remember Matt Garza beating the Red Sox in Game Seven.

In 2000 MLB had two players with $100 million contracts. In 2016 MLB has 48 players with $100 million contracts. How can MLB owners still ask/demand that tax payers pay for their stadiums?

Scott Myers

Scott, I haven't done the breakdown, but I would imagine most of those 48 players aren't on teams that are trying to get stadiums built. I could be wrong, of course, but the main areas where they're talking about stadiums are Oakland and Tampa Bay, neither of who have hefty payrolls.

Baseball owners, of course, would tell you that payroll and stadiums being built are different things. That's because they want it both ways. Owners want stadiums built because, in the past, they've usually gotten them built.

These days, with stadiums costing so much, there often has been a public-private partnership. The difference would be if a team is leaving town. Then the new town usually makes a sweetheart deal to get the team.

If I ran a community, I'd want some assurances about the future of the team before I paid too much. You could always turn into the Marlins, who have struggled at the gate. That's my secret fear of a new Rays' stadium. Attendance will go up some in Tampa, but I don't think it will be enough to make this a cash cow.

How about this: How about if you build a stadium, you're guaranteed that the team will spend so much money in order to compete?

Has anyone had a better offseason than Steve Yzerman for not only successfully re-signing Steven Stamkos who was the most sought after free agent in hockey, but also managing to fit all the key Lightning players under the salary cap? And also can you think of anyone who has had a hall of fame career as a player and gone on to be such a dynamic talent in management as Yzerman is proving to be?

Larry Beller

I usually hate giving too much praise on a team's offseason until we see the results. Remember Lovie Smith's first Bucs' team when we thought Anthony Collins and Michael Johnson would be good?

But I've said the same: It was a dynamite job to keep everyone together. Of course, Stamkos deserves most of the credit for staying. The Lighting left him in a situation where he could have gotten more money. And I don't think any of us would truly be happy if he were elsewhere.

As I sat at the game Thursday night, however, I was very impressed by the team he has put together. There are a lot of excellent weapons. This team comes at you in waves. Some teams will stop them on this night or that one, but not very many. It's going to be a fine season, I think. If I'm wrong, I'll wear it.

What chance do you think the Gators have of making the SEC Championship game?
Jim Willson
I think they have a fighting chance. I really do, because the East half of the SEC doesn't have nearly the teeth that the West does. Can Florida play with Georgia? From the looks of it, they can.
I don't think Florida has enough offense to be considered a great team. Part of that had to do with having to start over at quarterback. But Florida's defense is the best in the division. Of course, now the Gators have to play a conference game at LSU, which is not an easy place to play.
What is your take on the lower NFL TV ratings this season?
Jim Willson
This is just a guess, but I think the NFL was hurt by missing stars from its early season. The same thing happened in the NBA when Michael Jordan left, right?
This season, the league was minus Peyton Manning (retired), Tom Brady (suspended) and J.J. Watt (injured). Aaron Rodgers wasn't playing well. Drew Brees' team is struggling. Adrian Peterson is limping. Carolina is off to a terrible start. And baseball had a strong finish.
Football will survive just fine. It's a great game, and it has young stars like Julio Jones and Ezekiel Elliott. Soon enough, the games will matter, and we'll be able to
separate the big games from the little ones.
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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Beller October 15, 2016 at 7:43 am

First I am also very disappointed the Rick and Tom show is off the air just as I was when your show was cancelled. The TB fans are missing out on a lot of good sports talk because those shows are gone. Mike and Mike is a national show and has almost no talk about local teams so it doesn’t hold my interest.

You didn’t really answer the second part of my question about Steve Yzerman. I was trying to make the point that I can’t recall a superstar player going on to be just as good at the management level in any sport at least in recent years. Can you? Full disclosure, I’m from the Detroit area and was a big fan of Yzerman as a player. I’m so glad we have him here for his second career.


Gary Shelton October 15, 2016 at 11:30 pm

Larry, I’m sorry. There haven’t been many superstars who have really flourished. I’d say that Mario Lemieux, who won two Stanley Cups as the team owner, would be the gold standard. I’m not sure he didn’t save the Penguins.

Ted Williams did for a while; the Senators all hit better. But overall, he wasn’t a success. Lou Piniella was a fine player and a very good manager.

But Yzerman has done wonders for this franchise. For one thing, and people forget this, he built a farm system that is paying off. The Lightning never had that before.

Ever see Yzerman during a game. He studies it. It’s his homework. I’m a fan.


Rick Martin October 14, 2016 at 5:43 am

I was really disappointed to hear Rick and Tom’s Show being cancelled. It has been WDAE’s best show. They did a very good job with quality discussion. It caught me off guard that they’d even be cancelled. I can imagine their work schedule was hectic pulling off that gig while covering their teams. I’ve listened to Mike and Mike and it seems like 3 hours of commercials. It isn’t worth listening.

I’m enjoying the MLB post-season coverage. The networks (FS1, TBS, MLB, ESPN) are doing an outstanding job from analysis, camera coverage, sound – and the games have been very interesting to the end. It seems that every playoff team has a former Rays player (or manager).

Thanks for your comments on locker room talk. I thought it was funny that the press goes to chronic bad boy troublemaker Aqib Talib to make a point about locker room talk. Of all the players in the league, he probably is the least representative of the players in the league, in my opinion.


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