Augusta National Friends Condi, Clemens Re-Ups, Recession-Proof Nikes & The NY Giants Get Weird

(Editors' note: We are at the tail end of a waiting period. We're waiting for the NFL to kickoff. We're waiting for the college football season to start. We're at the end of the interminably long baseball season, waiting for MLB playoffs to get going. Thank goodness for the Olympics, which provided a two-week sports-respite from the dog days. While we twiddle our thumbs and wait for games that matter, Vince and I decided to go back-n-forth on a few needle-mover issues that have popped up recently.)

VINCE: Roger Clemens is un-retiring at age 50. Why on earth would he interrupt his retirement to suit up for a minor league squad in Texas nicknamed the Skeeters?

KHALID: My only concern is that there's a team called the Skeeters? I'm sorry but whhaaaa??? I mean, they had a meeting about this name idea? A meeting in which grown men walked in wearing silk ties and suspenders. Someone's job was to collect the best names and pitch it to the owners. Skeeters? Come on, they're just asking for trouble.

VINCE: Skeeters is what the locals call mosquitos. And the team nickname was chosen via a fan poll. But, still…the Sugar Land Skeeters. We're veering close to good 'ol Yankee smarm, so I'll chill, but, word, I'm sayin'…At any rate, Clemens says he's just suiting up for one start and then he'll see where it goes from there. However, I'm still flummoxed. You're 50, sir. After every ten-year interval of life, you become too old for a list of things, ya know? When you turn 10, you shouldn't be wearing diapers or throwing tantrums. When you turn 20, you shouldn't be earning an allowance for chores or dismissing the importance of homework. When you turn 30, you're too old to have three roommates — even if you live in New York City or San Francisco. You see where this is going. When you're 50, you're too old to be playing professional sports — on any level. Let that ride, fam.

KHALID: I'm having a hard time getting past the name — Houston metro area slang or not. I'm sorry but that's hilarious. That being said, I guess Clemens is bored with the daily, slow-paced doldrums of retirement life. For some guys, playing is all they have, all they know. The age doesn't bother me as much. Jamie Moyer pitched in the majors this season and he's what 47? 48? 90? It would make more sense if RC owned the team or something; that way the reasoning would be obvious. The way it is now, it's more like, "This is what turning 50 gets you?"

VINCE: Speaking of being too old for something — I think "horse-playing" is still cool for dudes in their early 20s, especially athletes. That's how Steve Weatherford referred to what went on in the video he tweeted of Jason Pierre-Paul hurling Prince Amukamara into an ice-bath.

Dig it — I'm not on the Bullying Train. I think America has gone a little overboard. One kid calls another kid four-eyes and it's a federal offense. A little balance, please. But, do you know what's crazy, though? I watched the JPP/Amukamara video  and actually felt sorry for Amukamara. Prince is six-feet, 208 pounds and a grown man. But I felt for the dude.

Knowing you, I can predict where you stand on this. So, let me just go ahead and ask: How small is your violin?

KHALID: Well, Amukamara is 208 pounds. Even by NFL standards that's not considered small. Just shows you how strong JPP is., geez. Is it a little, uh, awkward? Yeah. But I hope it doesn't violate any NFL regulations. If you can't throw another man in a tub of ice water in an NFL locker room, where exactly can you throw another man in a tub of ice water? The real problem is Weatherford's decision to share the pic in the first place. Thanks, narc.

VINCE: Definitely a lack of judgement from Weatherford, but I'm not in the business of mustering enough energy to finger-wag at the dime-droppers. Something about that video makes me uncomfortable, though. JPP had the dude over his shoulder like Amukamara was his child. It's one of the more emasculating visuals I've seen in a while.

Make a dude wear a dress, make them shave their heads or perform "Call Me Maybe" at the end of a film session — I get all that. I understood Roy Williams trying to make Dez Bryant carry his shoulder pads. Many fields/industries have initiation processes and the frat-like, hyper-macho climate of the NFL is going to go harder than most. But at what point does your respect for your teammate as a man kick in?

KHALID: I wonder what the line is? Like, if you let another dude (one who is no more  han a couple of years older, btw) carry you around like a knapsack, what is the thing that makes you say, "I understand I'm a youngun and I gotta pay dues, but I'd rather get punched in the sternum?"

Is it putting another guys used socks in your water bottle? Letting another guy give a surprise tattoo? Wearing high heels and a prom dress?

What's the point of no return, because we are getting uncomfortably close to wherever it is.

VINCE: I have a better question, though. What's the point of no return on sneaker prices? What's the ceiling. Word is that the new Zoom LeBron Xs — due this fall — will retail at $315. That's a jaw dropping number. Of course, outrage has ensued.

National Urban League president and CEO Marc Morial released a statement taking LeBron and Nike to task, saying that releasing a shoe at the price in the of such a harsh economic climate is "insensitive at best."

Why can't LeBron and Nike make a $315 sneaker, though? Gucci sells its loafers for twice that?This sneaker — obviously — is not for the poor or the prepubescent. There's such a thing as a luxury item. The LeBron Xs are obviously being presented and sold as a luxury item. If a consumer doesn't have the means to cop a luxury item, then fall back. This is not some act of immorality.

Few things bother me more than grandstanding.

KHALID: I agree 100 percent. At the end of the day its not a moral issue. At the end of the day, the temperature of the hood its not gonna rise or fall based off of the price of this shoe. Nobody should feel compelled to buy them, this isn't the 80's anymore, consumers are nuanced enough to know that buying shoes with Lebron's logo on them has no bearing on their success as an athlete. Morial is trying to fight the good fight but there are better wars to wage.

VINCE: So Condoleeza Rice is getting a green jacket. Condi and biz exec Darla Moore became the first two women to get accepted into the Augusta National Golf Club. It was a private club, so Augusta National  had every right to make it an all dudes club, but, they finally diversified. This comes 10 years after Martha Burke and the National Council of Women's Organizations set it on Augusta and Hootie Johnson, it's director at the time. I'd like to interrupt the slow clap we're giving Augusta membership/leadership and say that, for all we know, this could be a high profile case of tokenism.

KHALID: I guess this can be considered a progressive moment, but I'd love to know how and why? At this point, if you're a woman, don't you just hit Augusta National with an extra stereotypical, next-level eye roll and a shoulder shrug? Should a former Secretary of State be grateful that some good ol' boys from south Georgia "let" her do anything? Condoleeza Rice doesn't need Augusta National. They need her. Just as a principal point, if it takes until year 12 of the 21st century, then maybe they shouldn't change it at all.

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