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Classless Bengals-Chiefs trash talk latest sign incivility taking over sports

By Phil Mushnick,


We interrupt this open-ended period of media mourning and despair over the second retirement of Tom Brady to bring you a column of flagrant defiance and disrespect for the departed.

Nothing is any longer beneath us. Nothing. Everything must be done in excess, to the point of stomach disorders. No sports event can be held without people lining up to sacrifice their dignity and class for public approval.

Trash talk — and worse — is now the chosen path for presumed popularity. The media will carry your message, no charge.

Down, down, down we go. It’s the only chosen direction other than the exit lane, and for good.

Cincinnati mayor Aftab Pureval chose the Bengals-Chiefs AFC Championship game to try to add to his popular acclaim by acting and speaking like a smug, hip guy, unaware that he was making a complete jerk of himself.

Whereas mayors used to make fun, friendly and dignified wagers before big games — a Philly cheesesteak for a Nathan’s hot dog, a Maryland crab cake for Wisconsin cheddar — Pureval chose to embarrass himself and his city with a mindless crack (via a City Proclamation, no less) about the Bengals playing in “Burrowhead Stadium,” as Cincinnati QB Joe Burrow entered the title game 3-0 versus the Chiefs with one win at Arrowhead Stadium.
Cincinnati mayor Aftab Pureval trash-talked the Bengals ahead of the AFC Championship game.
Getty Images

And then this:

“Burrow has been asked by officials to take a paternity test confirming whether or not he’s [Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes’] father.

“And whereas Kansas City is named after its neighboring state, which is, you know, just kind of weird.”

see also Cincinnati mayor Aftab Pureval admits he ‘deserved’ Travis Kelce dig

Though Mayor Pureval likely thought he was being clever, he succeeded only in igniting a stupid, classless war of juvenile putdowns , as if there was a supply chain shortage of knuckleheads.

So Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, rather than ignore such nonsense to win by default, chose to return fire:

“I hear the mayor of Cincinnati has tried to bring some smoke that’s weak as hell,” Lucas said. “No need to respond. K.C.’s got class. Cincinnati has Jerry Springer and no rings. See them Sunday.”

And then, after the game, into a CBS and stadium microphone, star K.C. tight end Travis Kelce, who is from Cincinnati, went full Vince McMahon:

“I have some words for that Cincinnati mayor: Know your role and shut your mouth, you jabroni!”
Travis Kelce fired back at Cincinnati mayor Aftab Pureval after the Chiefs beat the Bengals in the AFC Championship game.
Getty Images

Kelce didn’t bring up the fact that the Chiefs’ win was helped by mindless incivility and circumstantial ignorance: a late hit out of bounds by Cincy’s Joseph Ossai that put K.C. close enough to kick the game-winning field goal on the next play.

see also
Travis Kelce torches Bengals, Cincinnati mayor after Chiefs win: ‘Burrowhead my ass’

But incivility is now a primary requisite in all sports played and witnessed by people of all ages. There’s no room for the well-comported, no one to represent their best interests as civilized sportsmen and sportswomen.

Even the wives, girlfriends, parents and siblings of players are now invited to join the fray as their “social” media messaging of gripes, trash-texting and often vulgar put-downs and challenges become the sidebars that surround the games. And all media are happy, if not eager, to carry such “news.”

Meanwhile, Emperor Nero, Roger Goodell, surrounds NFL fields with hollow, pandering public relations messages including “Inspire Change,” “End Racism” and “Choose Love” while selling the NFL to sports gambling operations designed to sucker money from fans, and turning the Super Bowl into a rap concert starring vulgar, N-word-spewing, crotch-grabbing, gun-smitten, socially corrosive recording “artists.”

As gigantic sinkholes go, this one wasn’t formed by nature. It was man-made by those who should know better, but chose much worse. Why? What’s the upside? Again, you can’t shame the shameless.

Will NCAA tourney networks tackle Tide troubles?

Keepin’ It Real: At 19-3, Alabama’s appearance in the NCAA Tournament seems guaranteed. So how are CBS and TBS going to handle it? Will it just show up in a graphic, such as, “Darius Miles, junior forward, Washington, D.C., out, charged with capital murder ”?

Or will the Jan. 15 near-campus murder of 23-year-old Jamea Harris , the mother of a 5-year-old — Miles’ 20-year-old alleged accomplice was accused of shooting her with a gun handed him by Miles — be ignored altogether? Such info could ruin the mood.
Darius Miles was charged with capital murder.
Tuscaloosa County Jail

Maybe the TV folks can simply say that Miles left through “the transfer portal.” Or just heap praise on ’Bama coach Nate Oats, who recruited Miles, for “overcoming distractions.”

Friday it was noted here that Colin Cowherd — Fox Sports’ credibility-barren, truth-challenged know-it-all — last week first declared of Aaron Rodgers “he fits” for the Jets, only to declare, three days later, and as if he never said anything to the contrary, “this is why Aaron Rodgers doesn’t fit” for the Jets.

Thursday on his FS1 show, Cowherd addressed the Nets’ 139-96 loss in Boston :

“I watched Brooklyn last night, with KD [Kevin Durant], fall behind to the Boston Celtics, 46-19.”

Cowherd watched Durant play in Boston last night, despite the fact that Durant didn't make the trip to Boston.

— Funhouse (@BackAftaThis) February 2, 2023

Fascinating! But impossible. Not only didn’t Durant play due to an injury, he didn’t even make the trip!

Yet Fox pays Cowherd $6 million a year to make stuff up.

An arrest warrant was issued Thursday for Bengals running back Joe Mixon , who allegedly pointed a gun at a woman and said, “You should be popped in the face.”

The charge was dismissed , but could be refiled after further investigation.

see also cincinnati bengals Arrest warrant for Joe Mixon for allegedly pointing gun at woman dismissed for now

Nevertheless, this could give the NFL’s TV partners another chance to pretend they don’t know nothin’ as they’ve done on Mixon’s behalf for his punching a 20-year-old University of Oklahoma student in the head, breaking four bones in her face, when he played (and remained on full scholarship) for the Sooners.


“Yes, Commissioner Goodell?”

“Please send Joe Mixon the ‘Inspire Change’ letter.”

Covert flagship matchup

Several readers asked that I let Adam Silver know that they were upset Monday with the Lakers and Knicks, two of the NBA’s oldest and most historic franchises, identifiable for their ageless uniforms, even before their game, as both teams wore uniforms that were foreign to them.

The game, however, did include the Graphic of the Week. During live play, TNT posted, “Lakers No Points In Last 1:26.” Golly, that’s nearly a minute and a half!

Kyrie Irving wants out of Brooklyn ? Great!

The Penn State-Lehigh Valley (PSULV) women’s basketball team has won some tight games this season, starting with 77-4 over Bucks County CC, followed by 100-21 over PSU-Mont Alto, 114-25 over Bergen County CC, 102-36 over PSU-Hazelton, 102-35 over PSU DuBois and 111-18 over PSU-Scranton.

Not sure what NBC finds so appealing in ABC/ESPN’s pedestrian, cliché-afflicted, candor-cautious college football analyst Todd Blackledge, but it has spirited him away to call NBC’s newly landed Big Ten football telecasts.
Todd Blackledge will call Big Ten football on NBC.
Getty Images

What’s the worst that could happen if TV’s executive producers told — ordered — game analysts to only speak when they have something to say worth hearing? Years ago, there was a football analyst, former Giant Al DeRogatis, who was heard that way. That’s why everyone listened to every word he said.

DraftKings last week laid off 140 employees. Could it be running low on young adult suckers, er, uh, clients?

How did the Red Chinese expect its spy balloon to beat U.S. detection with those enormous Nike logos and LeBron James photos on both sides?

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