It Was Me Who Got Knocked Out: Knockout on NUVO TV

I arrived late… To be honest, you could say that everything about this assignment was, is and has been delayed. On top of that, not one producer from the show has responded to my numerous requests for an interview and ALL of the crew has asked that I not use any of their names for fear of retribution from obtaining further production work. Television production is a small world and if you don’t play by their rules, you won’t get hired for new productions. Many of the personalities I am dealing with here are the same larger than life egos I worshiped in the boxing racket as a youth. I guess I’m finding myself struck by the realization that their fears, concerns and motivations day to day aren’t that much different than any of those that the rest of us face during our own recurrent rat race. It seems to me that this crew appears to be driven by the same survival instinct to hustle and protect what’s theirs as I am.

What started out as a simple profile piece about a Boxing reality show has turned into a totally un-cooperative excursion that included, in one instance, my being asked to drive a family back home from Las Vegas to New York City, which I did… and that was the fun part of this trip!

The show is called “Knockout” and this is my story of my experience embedded with the production crew for this Reality TV event. After 34 unreturned phone calls, 11 un-answered emails and 5 text messages, I arrive in Las Vegas and it’s raining. I get to the hotel. A crew member asks me to drive with him to the location at Floyd Mayweather Sr.’s training facility. His Gym is a large shed off of Paradise Blvd. It’s Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. He calls Steve Marcano, the show’s Executive Producer and Creator, as we’re driving:

Crew Member: “Steve, it’s me. I’m on my way… I have Brett here from Latino Rebels…” silence as he listens… “sure…”

He hands me the phone as I drive.

Steve Marcano: “Hey, just show up and do whatever…”
Me: “Are you going to be there?”
Steve Marcano: “Yeah, but it’s media day so just make yourself available…”
Me: (Sarcastically)”Sure, so I can be interviewed by myself…”
Steve Marcano: “See you…” [Click] … Silence

I hand the phone back while GPS orders us to take the next right turn. We arrive. The gym is buried in a subdivision on a street behind the strip. It looks like the only hold out of an industrial storage area surrounded by 70’s style desert housing built all around it; right up to the property line. I make note that the shed appears to be about 50 x 200 feet in size.  As we pull up, a group of men are exiting the building and heading to their vehicles. My friend, who has also asked to remain nameless, calls out: “Steve!” They shake hands as I walk over… “Go right in,” he says. I introduce myself. I ask him when he wants to sit for his interview. “Whenever…” is his noncommittal response. He then proceeds to get into the car and they drive off.  What I didn’t know at the time was that these were to be the last words that Marcano would speak to me during my trip.

Let me give you a little background on what’s going on. I was introduced to Mr. Marcano by a mutual friend via a phone call a short while back. I was interested in doing a piece for the website Latino Rebels. We are a website and grass-roots community that has come on strong over the last 2 years to become a destination site for Latino issues and information. We tackle stories that cover the gamut of issues that interest and affect Latinos that mainstream media most often ignores. Boxing is a big draw in the Latino community and I thought it would be a good angle that could give our readers a perspective inside a world whose internal workings are often shielded away the outside world. The producer wanted a puff exposure piece; I insisted on total access to do a profile about the many personalities and egos involved in the show and larger boxing world and experience. He agreed to my wishes and here we are… here and ready to create something different from the standard, typical press rampage that most often accompanies the launch of a new show.

Knockout was conceived by Steve Marcano and produced with his partner Emilio Ferrari. It’s a reality show concept where young fighters are trained by 3 Pro trainers: Reuben Guerrero, Floyd Mayweather Sr. and Yoel Judah. The series focuses on 9 young fighters in 3 different weight classes, training them for a professional “bout” coinciding with the series finale. Besides the 3 pro trainers, the show has some serious boxing cameos made by four division world champions Robert Guerrero and Nonito Donaire, five time world champion Zab Judah, newly crowned IBF welterweight champion Shawn Porter, former Muhammad Ali business manager Gene Kilroy and undefeated blue chip prospects Jessie Vargas and Andy Ruíz have taped special appearances on the show. On paper, at least, the supporting case and lineup gives the impression of packing a hefty punch, both literally and bad-temperedly.

And if that alone doesn’t indicate a strong probability of explosive action in the ring, there is a fierce, ugly rivalry between Mayweather, Sr. & Guerrero (check out the video clip below of them challenging each other to their own match). There is a lot of video footage of the boiling bad blood between these dudes. This is just a small sample of many such incidents during production. We’re talking Jerry Springer quality footage here, both with and without the boxing gloves!

The series premiered on NUVO TV on April 9, 2014. Jennifer López is one of the owners of the network. Boxing is ingrained in Latino culture. Case in point, Mexico has produced over 100 champions; Puerto Rico over 60. Latinos demand all or nothing from a fighter we take into our hearts… Panama still has not forgiven Roberto Durán for his “No Más’ quit against Sugar Ray Leonard.

To say that anticipation for this show is high is an understatement! Boxing is a sport of survival where the margin for error is very small and we Latinos are precisely that: Survivalists born out of the picaresque need to be crafty, tough and fierce regardless of the foe thrown at us in the ring of life! This is a sport that resonates with many of us because, well, we fight to survive every day. We fight for ourselves. We fight for our families. 

In the event of this story though, the tale takes a turn next; not a turn for the better…

I spent four days in Vegas waiting around. No scheduled appointments happened as planned, no asks to tag along on the last of the shoots. Each time I inquired about observing the elements of the show or getting an interview I was met with a “we’ll do it later…” or  ”hang a round here for a while and we’ll get to it” toned response.

During all of this frustrating and unplanned down time, I spoke to all of the boxers and most of the crew. These conversations literally took place in the lobby, outside the hotel or in hotel hallways. Those involved with the production had been shooting for a month and were tired. The shoot had been grueling. Many shoot locations, on the fly segments, poor organization and late hours.

When you shoot a show like this, there is no such thing as a ten hour work day. You use multiple crews working round the clock and it’s mandatory that they be mobile and agile. After all, this is Las Vegas, so nightlife and getting to know the contestants is part of the story as well. Many of the crew liked the idea of the program. The consensus being that this was going to be a different type of reality show. “With a normal show you have actors and they know their lines and the blocking of each scene to tell the story. With Boxers and these trainers, simply put, you don’t have that luxury. These guys all have egos and trying to get them to do what you want or even expect is like herding cats…”

“Just getting these guys together requires a massive amount of energy and testosterone,” says Emilio Ferrari executive producer. And he is right. There is ego everywhere around this show. It permeates ever fiber of the production. From the Exec’s and cast on down to the PA’s, this production has created a truly hierarchical atmosphere. They group together, each occupying their respective corners, just as they are used to doing in the ring, each group staying true to the allegiance of those belonging to their respective cliques. Production, administration, talent, trainers… and I would see this repeated constantly over a four day period in the hotel lobby. Communication between groups was fast and then on the run… I spent hours eavesdropping on the crew. 

The trainers themselves chose those fighters each felt they could best work with and get the most out of within the allotted, short amount of time  and prepare each of them them for the matches. These boxers come from all over. Some are already professionals including Ricardo Mayorga at 40 years of age. Mayorga is a three (3) time world champion who is back in the ring after a 3 year stint with on the MMA circuit. “I’m glad to be back…” he uttered in relief as he eased back into the familiar confines of the boxing ring.

You need to understand too that, television is an animal that never fills its appetite nor does it seem to satiate that of the consumers that devour its output in an age where cable and satellite TV providers are considered to be slouching if they only offer their users a thousand channels of programming, 24 hours a day. The levels of network production are structured. You have the big 5 networks, namely: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CW. Smaller networks include: Premium cable HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, Starz. Basic cable FX, USA, TNT, TBS, AMC, Bravo, among others. Add to that the productions from companies like: Netflix and Amazon, etc. Add all of these together and you have a lot of series production and I haven’t even touched the growing genre of web-based series’.

The Production process can be defined as a “hurry-up-wait-then race” to complete your show prior to receiving network approval and then racing to meet air deadlines. It’s expensive and, no matter how much you plan (and you plan everything countless times), you never end up with what you thought your show was going to be initially. Producing a television series is an exercise in pretending you have control but really it’s practically an anarchistic, pure chaos proposition. The networks are trying to produce a product that people will watch and advertisers will pay for. The public hungers for and demands entertainment. When a network “green-lights” a production they are committing a lot of dollars on the hope that people will support the show. It’s a gambling addict’s dream! This dichotomy is heightened when pulling together a TV series show and even more still with reality series style of programming.

Reality series programming is just crazy. You have multiple personalities assembled upon the premise of a competition and an unpredictable series of challenges in forced situations that you make every attempt to display that they appear as natural, real-life situations. Often times, what you are left with is a scenario where any resemblance to reality is purely a coincidence. The producers have to show each contestant’s personality so the audience can decide how they cast each in a role as either a “good guy” of a “bad guy.” The producers manipulate this to connect the emotions of the viewers to the individual contestants, thus keeping viewers tuning in to watch each progressive episode. And you only have a limited amount of time for this in each episode, all while moving the series forward to its conclusion.

Production of a reality series isn’t like any other production. You can schedule the events and challenges but you can’t schedule how they will unfold on camera. You can’t control the information you’re accumulating as the ammunition to create each episode, so you shape and mold this information in post production by editing the best pieces you’ve collected to create  that program’s brand of “reality.” And don’t forget that these contestants aren’t actors. They don’t have scripted lines or blocking places to reach in order to create drama, either real or manufactured and they don’t have a written story to tell. This isn’t an intended soap-opera style drama like “Dallas” or an organic, timed comedy like “How I met your Mother.” This series is 12 to 15 people fighting, (literally) for attention and a grand prize. In the case of Knockout, the grand prize has not yet been announced as of time of the publishing of this article.

I heard that the budget for the show was $300k total, which breaks down to $50k per half hour episode with 6 episodes guaranteed. You know, this isn’t a huge budget but is still a lot of money by the standards and norms of broadcast cable network production. I met over 26 people involved in the show from Producers, Talent and crew. I didn’t get to look at a show budget so I don’t know how much people were paid individually, but I did hear that salaries were low, the work hours very long and many of the crew members had not been paid. I cannot corroborate this but I heard it from several different sources directly.

I saw and lived the chaos of these professionals, during my time on set, trying to finish the last weekend of the month-long production. The crew was tired. They had been working many full days and nights following the fighters & trainers all over Las Vegas. The home base was at Mayweather’s Gym and a community house where they would gather around a dining room table to share information, but these crews were everywhere Vegas would allow their cameras to inhabit… Casinos, dance clubs, strip clubs, 711 style convenience stores, late night taco joints… everywhere. My only witness to the production in action took place on the day I arrived at the Gym, referenced at the beginning of this article. They were doing wrap around tag shots of the fighters introducing themselves in 20 seconds or less.

Now I readily admit that my limited exposure to the production makes this article seem lop-sided. This is made even more odd by the fact that I had cleared the topic with the producers long before I arrived. And I must reinforce to you how difficult it is to create and produce series television. This isn’t a home made YouTube video. Emilio Ferrari is a seasoned professional. He has many film and television credits under his belt.

There is a hierarchy in television. Network is King, Executive Producer is Queen; all the way down to production assistants as serfs and hand maidens. The barrier to entry is low because you are a slave until you’ve paid your dues. And you make connections to build your resume and begun building a television production career. That’s the reality of how television production works.

But why should any of this matter to you, the reader? Face it, we live in a reality TV driven environment which is intensified to asphyxiating levels by new technologies and social medias. We have an unprecedented ability in today’s technological age to peer into the lives of those personalities we choose to follow AND make famous! Some of these personalities choose to push a constant feed of glimpses into their lives, where you, the consumer have to willfully make an effort to turn this carousel of imagery off if you are to have a life of your own. It’s can become exponentially overwhelming as it’s made to be that way. Created to form a world where nothing is shocking and even less is private. 

As the authors of this piece, we find ourselves troubled and even insulted by a perceived lack of respect the participants in this reality program have toward you, the consumer of their product and an overt assumption that by showing up and turning cameras on, that you would fall rank and file into the premise of what is being sold here. This doesn’t resonate with us. This isn’t what we love about the sport of boxing nor is it what resonates with the Latino community in our opinion. What resonates with us is the battle, fight and survival embodied by the champions we were raised to love because their fight and perseverance so represented the very battle many of us face day in and day out.

What we have been given access to during this process represents a disingenuous form of theater and that is not a shade of picaresque that we feel will be bought by those this program aims to reach. A week and a half ago, Manny Pacquiao returned to the ring against Timothy Bradley, which is a bout that was necessitated by a controversial split-decision awarded to Bradley back in 2012. Most serious and causal boxing fans considered that result to be nothing short of robbery as the stats pointed to a Pacquiao victory as the Filipino star landed 253 punches to Bradley’s 149 but was somehow, inexplicably judged to have lost that fight. On Saturday, April 12, 2014, Manny handily defeated Bradley in their rematch in a unanimous decision for the WBO welterweight title; further putting him firmly back in control and on the fighting map again.

This bout and result, of course, revived talks of the fight that the world most wants to see, Pacquiao vs. Mayweather, Jr. But this fight continues, as it has for years now, to remain a universe away from becoming a reality because Mayweather refuses to work with Top Rank CEO, promoter Bob Arum, who represents Pacquiao. Mayweather holds the cards. We get that, but there is a feeling that we don’t believe occured during the age of the fighters that we came to love for a spirit and animal fight that echoed what we battle in the ring of life regularly. We poured through the list of the great fighters and all of us have names of those who impacted us etched across our hearts and souls. They may be Latino, they may not be. That doesn’t always matter to us. They were and remain fighters that we identify with and the producers of the Knockout series don’t care or feel to have lost sight of that. They need to produce and showcase trainers and fighters that we would like to sit in a bar, grab a beer with and talk about that ring that we all battle within regularly.

This is what the public needs from you, the producers of Knockout. Until you produce this, we will likely not identify with nor affiliate with the product you have arrogantly thrown together and tossed in our faces. Remember your roots and where you came from.  Those of us who are still there and persist through a current age of rampant controversial and corrupt decisions won’t connect with you otherwise. We’ll be watching but likely not for long unless you course correct and unless fix this.

Addendum: The show premiered on NUVO TV on April 9, 2014 and will continue to air on Wednesdays at 10 Eastern, 9 Central. The networks website still doesn’t list a grand prize for the competition.

About the Authors: This article was produced in collaboration between accomplished Content Creator, Brand Builder and Entertainment Executive, Brett Nemeroff as well as Chief Technology Rebelde, Tony Vargas. Brett & Tony have also been pleased to welcome young writer and newcomer to the Latino Rebels family, Anissa M. Vargas, to this collaboration. We LITERALLY couldn’t have done this without you, Ani!

From Cienfuegos to LA: Yasiel Puig, Human Trafficking and “America’s Pastime”

Last week Tony Castro published an article titled “Yasiel Puig’s ties to the Zetas could spell disaster.” His lead focused on possible danger at Dodger Stadium in the wake of recent allegations in Los Angeles Magazine and ESPN’s The Magazine that the Cuban outfielder owes money to human traffickers probably linked to the dangerous drug cartel. The articles say little about new security measures in Chavez Ravine, as both the team and MLB are hesitant to speak about them, but what is very clear is that Puig and many other Cuban stars have been brought to the US by criminal organizations that thrive thanks to our anachronistic policies in relation to the island and our broken immigration system. They also highlight at the top level of “America’s pastime” the way in which violence and corruption permeate our daily lives with the promise of money and the “American dream.”

Yasiel Puig in 2013 (CREDIT: Ron Reiring)

Yasiel Puig in 2013 (CREDIT: Ron Reiring)

In our immigration debates the Cuban case holds a special place. With the so-called “wet foot-dry foot” policy (officially the Cuban Adjustment Act) begun in 1995, Cubans who make it to US soil are usually allowed to become permanent residents. On the surface it seems that they have an easier path once they enter the country. The recent Puig story, with its cast of murderous human traffickers, points in a different direction.

I will not get into the details of Puig’s saga that are well narrated in the two magazine stories. What did come as a surprise was the reach of the human trafficking networks that regularly bring Cubans to the US through Mexico and other countries. According to ESPN’s Scott Eden, Puig was smuggled by Tomás Valdez Valdivia:

The boss of a thriving alien-smuggling operation, Tomasito and his crew ferried defectors from the coasts of Cuba to either Isla Mujeres or Cancun, under prior arrangement with the migrants’ relatives in the United States, chiefly South Florida. Once those families had paid —for years, the going rate for a garden-variety smuggle of a regular Cuban civilian has been $10,000 a head— Tomasito’s crew would transport the migrants to the Mexico-Texas border, usually at Matamoros or Nuevo Laredo. There, the Cubans would take advantage of the 1995 revision to the Cuban Adjustment Act…

He further asserts that “Within South Florida’s tight-knit Cuban-émigré community there are probably tens of thousands of people who have been brought out of Cuba by Cancun-based lancheros.”

Puig’s case was particular. He would not bring in the standard $10,000. According to both reports, Miami-based Raúl Pacheco was supposed to pay the smugglers $250,000 in exchange for 20% of the player’s future salary. The supposed danger at Dodger Stadium seems to come from Pacheco’s failure to deliver on his part of the deal.

The story, as told by both lengthy magazine articles, would be a comedy of errors were there not real lives involved: from the beginning, when the smugglers couldn’t find Puig and his three companions on the Cuban coast, through their detention in a seedy hotel in Isla Mujeres when Pacheco couldn’t come up with the promised money, to their “rescue” by a rival gang of smugglers. This last “stealing” of the human cargo is what seems to have precipitated the current threats of violence in Dodger Stadium and the October 2012 murder in Cancún of Yandrys León, “principal helmsman of the cigarette boat that brought Puig and the others out of Cuba.”

There is much money at stake in the trafficking of Cuban players. As Jesse Katz reports in Los Angeles Magazine, “Since 2009, at least 20 defectors have signed MLB contracts, worth more than $300 million.” And there are many more people involved than the professional human traffickers. In order to command such high salaries, players must pass through a third country:

Although Mexico was not his ultimate destination, Puig could not afford to take a straight path to the United States. A foreign-born player who immigrates without a contract is treated as an amateur by MLB; he can negotiate only with the team that drafts him. By declaring himself a free agent before arriving, that player can entertain all comers; the difference is worth millions. Federal law, of course, bars Americans from paying money to Cubans—or “trading with the enemy”—so a ballplayer like Puig needs not only to defect but also to establish legal residency in a country that he does not actually intend to live in.

Eden reports that a $20,000 bribe helped Puig obtain Mexican residency within 15 days, allowing him to sign a $42 million contract with the Dodgers.

Along similar lines, scouts, agents and other MLB agents also play the game. Eden quotes Dodger superscout Mike Brito:

How he got from Cuba I don’t care. I don’t wanna find out either. I never ask any Cuban player that. And even if I knew, I wouldn’t tell you. Only thing we care about is when a guy is in a territory where we can sign him. Sign players and keep my mouth shut. The less you talk, the less you get in trouble.

In making his argument for the widespread role of human smugglers from Cuba, Eden also mentions the case of “El Duque” Hernández, whose sanitized official story is presented as one of heroism and determination, but which is also tainted, according to the ESPN article, with these more nefarious connections.

The threat of a Zetas attack in Dodger Stadium sounds spectacular, haunting and a bit absurd. I personally doubt that it will materialize, but this story does raise a series of important questions linking “America’s pastime” to broader issues of corruption, inequality and migration. Yasiel Puig is not your average migrant, but his case does shed light on the dangerous forces that are unleashed by a broken migration system. We might continue hearing more about Puig because he is in the sports spotlight, yet the mainstream media tells us less about the thousands upon thousands who are brought anonymously by human traffickers across our nation’s Borderland.

***

luisLuis Marentes is an associate professor of Spanish at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who wants to explore ways in which to communicate and learn through the new social media. His academic work has focused on Mexican and Latin@ culture in the first half of the 20th century. As a member of a Pars-Mex New England family, Luis also has a great interest in the Middle East, and would hope to help foster an international dialogue. Follow @marentesluis.

Sorry, CNN, Pelé Is Not Dead

This story comes from Fusion’s Fidel Martinez, who saw the following tweet from Anthony De Rosa:

Wha?

It also showed up here:

Sure, CNN apologized through its PR department:

But still, it’s Pelé. You need to make sure:

And just to confirm, the great one was hanging with Ronaldo today on Twitter:

Yes, Mexico’s Lone Olympic Alpine Skier Will Compete in a Mariachi Costume

We got this one from Bleacher Report after Twitter follower Esteban tweeted the following story to us:

No way, we thought. But once we went to NBC’s Olympic page, we saw this:

HubertusvonHohenlohe7

http://www.nbcolympics.com/

And this:

HubertusvonHohenlohe1

http://www.nbcolympics.com/

And this (by the way, we want this):

HubertusvonHohenlohe5

http://www.nbcolympics.com/

Then we knew it HAD to be true. Mexican Prince is a mariachi outfit or to the purists, a charro one.

And this is the dude who is doing it:

Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe might be the most interesting competitor in the Alpine skiing field at the Sochi Olympics. Having qualified in the slalom, he would be the oldest competitor in the sport at 55 years of age. Descended from the reigning dynasty of a former principality in what is now Germany, von Hohenlohe, has competed in 15 World Championships and Sochi would be his sixth Olympic Games. In Vancouver, he was the lone Mexican athlete at the Games.

As you imagine, our community had a lot to say about Prince Hubertus. You gotta love what people with money do for attention. Here are just a few of those comments:

LOL instead of screaming he should laugh like a mariachi while going down hill lol

omg i want one!!..lol I would totally be singing as i try to learn to ski..lol When I sing “aye aye aye aye canta y no llores” will probably be due to pain..LOL!! Good Luck Hubertus

hahahhaha it looks horrendous XD

I love him already!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is too cool!!! A german mexican!!

Oh, Spanish Mexico.

Drake as ARod in SNL Skit: Brilliance

Ok, in between a skit that featured Piers Morgan (Taran Killam), Chris Christie (Bobby Moynahan) and Justin Bieber (Kate McKinnon), Drake got to play ARod.

CNNArod

The results are brilliance. “I’m also suing steroids for being inside of me.”


Cold Open – Piers Morgan Live (Drake) – SNL 1… by IdolxMuzic

Seahawks Richard Sherman’s Only Fault Is His Humanity

For the record, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman gave the best postgame interview since the days of Muhammad Ali. Just seconds after Sherman made a clutch play against San Francisco 49er Michael Crabtree that earned Seattle a trip to the Super Bowl, Sherman was on TV, being asked by Erin Andrews about how it felt.

sherman

The response was pure gold:

As a media guy, I always thought that sports networks are always too quick to rush and get the postgame hit as quickly as possible. 99.9% of all postgame interviews are a snoozefest, and Sherman’s raw honesty was beyond refreshing.

Of course, social media jumped in a called Sherman every name in the book, and let’s not pretend race was not a part of it. What if Wes Welker did the same thing to Tom Brady? There is an excellent summary by Tommy Tomlinson that pretty much vindicates Sherman for being himself.

And then you have Sherman himself, who took to Twitter late last night to share his thoughts. First tweet is to Seattle’s fans:

Then there is this one, which to be honest with you, speaks to all the haters out there:

This one speaks to how crazy the game was. Crabtree and his 49er teammates (especially, Anquan Boldin) were talking trash all day. Stay true to yourself, Richard, who by the way is a Stanford grad.

Then there are these:

And yes, he did shake up the world:

By the way, Crabtree (the guy who lost) comes across as a sore loser when he tweeted this:

And this whole “Sherman is a thug” thing? Would a “thug” wish the best for NaVorro Bowman, whose tragic knee injury was replayed and replayed on TV? In fact, Bowman’s injury took more air time than Sherman’s own postgame words:

 

Richard Sherman is human, and last night during one incredibly intense game, we saw a range of emotions. What would you do if someone jawed at you for hours and then you got the last laugh? Good for Sherman for being himself. That’s what it is all about.

And in an age where sports has become corporate and boring in a lot of ways, Richard Sherman put a smile on my face. Here’s hoping more and more athletes toss away the fear of being themselves and start being themselves.

As for my final thoughts?

***

EDITOR’S NOTE: Julio (Julito) Ricardo Varela (@julito77) founded LatinoRebels.com in May, 2011 and proceeded to open it up to about 20 like-minded Rebeldes. His personal blog, juliorvarela.com, has been active since 2008 and is widely read in Puerto Rico and beyond. He pens columns on LR regularly. In the last two years, Julito represented the Rebeldes on CBS’ Face the NationNPR,  Univisionand The New York Times. Currently, he is a digital producer for Al Jazeera America’s The Stream. The views expressed in any of the LR columns written by Julito on this page do not reflect the editorial stance of Latino Rebels or Al Jazeera America. His opinions are his own and his alone.

The Case of Alex Rodriguez and The Things That Bothered Us About “60 Minutes” Story (VIDEO)

Last night, we caught the “60 Minutes” two-part segment about Alex Rodriguez’s major league problems with Major League Baseball.

bosch1-web

Here is the full segment:

Granted, ARod is no saint and yes, several of the Rebeldes are Yankee fans, so we have our issues with Rodriguez. Nonetheless, is it just us or were you bothered by the following:

  1. Scott Pelley. Can you be any more sanctimonious? There is cheating in baseball! Wow. It seems as Pelley is stuck in 2009. Hey, Scott, baseball players cheat, but fans still go to games. Integrity of the game? Why didn’t you ask MLB that very same question? By the way, most baseball fans are not “outraged” as you claim. It is sad to see how you let MLB get off the hook (see below).
  2. Ok, Anthony Bosch? You have to give it up for his honesty (yeah, I did it), but the dude has been doing this for years. Did he need to cry? He did make a point that PEDs are “part of baseball,” but aren’t you an enabler, too? Here’s a thought: you should have never done it, but we’re sure the allure of hanging with pro players was too strong, given that you started doing this to young high school players.
  3. Speaking of Pelley, you need a Spanish editor. A COJOTE? COJOTE? Please stop saying cojote. And while you are it, that Spanish editor could have told you that it is spelled cohetes.
  4. MLB has power. Did you see who they hired to investigate this? Also, looks like MLB is like the FBI now, offering protection for witnesses. They will pay for information to make them look better. MLB is the biggest enabler going in all this.
  5. The whole “seedy Miami” motif in the second part of the segment. Is this “60 Minutes” or “Scarface?”
  6. And as for Rodriguez? ARod, give it up. You have made millions. Millions. Walk away and take your punishment. Very few are sympathetic to you, and it’s clear to us that your ego is huge.

By the way, this whole thing pissed off the players union (MLBPA), as the following statement shows:

It is unfortunate that Major League Baseball apparently lacks faith in the integrity and finality of the arbitrator’s decision and our Joint Drug Agreement, such that it could not resist the temptation to publicly pile-on against Alex Rodriguez It is equally troubling that the MLB-appointed Panel Arbitrator will himself be appearing in the “60 Minutes” segment, and that Tony Bosch, MLB’s principal witness, is appearing on the program with MLB’s blessing.

MLB’s post-decision rush to the media is inconsistent with our collectively-bargained arbitration process, in general, as well as the confidentiality and credibility of the Joint Drug Agreement, in particular. After learning of tonight’s “60 Minutes” segment, Players have expressed anger over, among other things, MLB’s inability to let the result of yesterday’s decision speak for itself. As a result, the Players Association is considering all legal options available to remedy any breaches committed by MLB.

MLB responded to MLBPA, by the way:

We have notified the Major League Baseball Players Association on numerous occasions that we intended to respond to all of the attacks on the integrity of our Joint Drug Program. Those attacks continued yet again yesterday with Mr. Rodriguez’s statement. Out of respect to the grievance process and at the request of the MLBPA, we waited until a decision was rendered to make our response.

It is ironic that the MLBPA is complaining about MLB’s participation in this program given that Mr. Rodriguez’s lawyer is also participating in the show.

As to Mr. Bosch’s appearance, he is not controlled by us and is entitled to speak however he chooses about his interactions with Mr. Rodriguez.

At this stage, everyone gets a #NoMames, because in the end, baseball fans have become so cynical, most of us really don’t care about the reputation of a very rich ballplayer whose worried about his reputation. Take a number, ARod.

Yasiel Puig’s Not So Excellent Moment (VIDEO)

So this week the dashboard video showing Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig getting arrested in Florida for reckless driving was released.

puisig

Here it is. Along with what NBC Los Angeles reported:

Footage shows the trooper pull Puig over and scold him for putting the lives of his passengers and other drivers at risk.

“(Puig) is probably going to jail, I’m going to tell you that right now,” the trooper tells the occupants of the car.

When asked why, the trooper says, “Why? For reckless (driving) — 110 miles an hour? One, two, three lives at risk? … You tell me.”

A short moment later, the trooper asks the Cuban native in Spanish, “Is this your mother?”

When Puig responds that she is, the trooper — apparently surprised by the answer — says in English, “Oh, you’re going to jail.”

The trooper orders Puig to step out of the car. Puig reluctantly emerges from the car and is handcuffed.

“Sir, please don’t do this to me,” Puig tells the trooper in Spanish after being taken into custody. He is later heard cursing while sitting in the back of the patrol car.

Now maybe NBC Los Angeles is not seeing the same video we saw, but yeah we know that Puig messed up BIG TIME, but the NBC report makes it seem like Puig was insane or evil or uncooperative.

Listen, Puig got caught, he got arrested and he looked pretty contrite and embarrassed by it all. You can easily tell that by his tone in Spanish, which was respectful to the trooper, who to be honest with you, was a bit over the top at times.

And did you hear any curses from the video NBC Los Angeles displayed? Did you?

We find it hard to believe that a Los Angeles news station can’t brush up on its Spanish some more.

And this isn’t “outrage” here. Puig was speeding and it was reckless, but let’s not paint him as some guy who was being resentful and angry about it all.

Victim Blaming Dominates Jameis Winston Verdict Reaction

MLS to “Refrain From Providing Comment” on Univision Pocahontas Models Posing with MLS Cup

This past Sunday we got a tweet tip about a photo taken on the set of Univision’s “República Deportiva” showing the popular sports program’s two Senadora models dressed in Pocahontas outfits next to the MLS Cup.

After finding out that the photo was deleted from Twitter (and no one knows why), we were able to still find the image, pictured below. On the left is Alba Galindo and on the right is Carolina Macallister. They are both dressed in hypersexualized Pocahontas costumes, and from what we can gather (based on Galindo’s tweets), they dressed like that because it was Thanksgiving.

MLSCup

As they say, the optics are not that good for MLS, at least that is what people who are familiar with the league have told us. In conversations we had with sources, the picture above was not taken by Univision or “República Deportiva,” it was taken by an individual contracted by the MLS to do press and promotion.

So we reached out to MLS yesterday (we have removed any personal contact information on this thread):

We noticed that MLS EVP of Corporate Comm tweeted some reaction, but we were hoping to connect with someone, since we have information that the photo was actually taken by a MLS press person contracted by the league and not Univision.

We have a few questions and we’re hoping to talk with someone this morning.

This is what we got back:

We appreciate your inquiry and interest in Major League Soccer. We will refrain from providing comment on this topic.

Best regards,

Dan

_______________________
Dan Courtemanche
Executive Vice President, Communications
Major League Soccer

So we followed up:

Thank you. Is there a reason why you choose to refrain from commenting on this topic? We have a source saying that an MLS press person under contract by the league took the picture, it was posted on the Univision Rep Dep Twitter and then it was deleted.

Is this accurate? Was the picture taken and sanctioned/approved by MLS?

Am just doing my job and following up as to why the picture was deleted, who deleted it, did MLS ask it to be delete it and why did an MLS contracted press person take the picture in the first place.

Ok we will report that since we have confirmation that the photo came from an MLS contractor doing press and not from Univision. We will then report than MLS has refrained from comment as your email states. Thanks.

And we will refer to your tweets as well as other MLS tweets about this. Thank you for your help.

The reply we got back:

Thank you.

Dan
_______________________
Dan Courtemanche
Executive Vice President, Communications
Major League Soccer

For the record this is what Courtemanche tweeted out on Sunday:

Part of the criticism directed at MLS has to do with its’ “Don’t Cross the Line” campaign, which states, “promotes unity, respect, fair play, equality and acceptance, will be revealed throughout the 2013 MLS season. Major League Soccer is committed to providing an environment in which clubs, coaches, players, fans and partners are treated with dignity and respect.” Many have told us that the Pocahontas picture and MLS’ decision “refrain from providing comment” goes against the very same campaign they are promoting.