What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions

The Dubsism 15 Most Important Sports Stories of 2022

As we enter a new year, once more we find ourselves having just completed what has proven to be a tumultuous twelve months.  Frankly, I think that 2022 was a year with more “downs” than “ups.” Part of me feels like Winston Churchill in the 1930s when he was warning England of the dangers that were coming. Just like the English of the time, I’m not sure there a lot of sports fans out there who want to hear there’s some troubling times ahead.

Let’s be honest, When you look at this list, many of them are not positive, and many of those aren’t going away anytime soon. After all, as is the tradition with this year-end series, it isn’t about the “biggest” stories; it’s about the ones which had the most impact in 2022 and may very well live into 2023 and beyond. The reason for that is simple; far too many of the important stories in 2022 have little to do with the games themselves. Sports is being overshadowed by external forces.

Now, having said that, I don’t think the future is all doom and gloom. Even the heaviest storms are followed by bright sunshine, and many of the stories about to be discussed here offer those rays gleaming through the darkness. But to quote Winston Churchill, I’m afraid we’re still in for some stormy weather.

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

~ Winston Churchill

Until sports can really be about sports again, it will continue to be dominated by off-the-field stories. But as you peruse this list, you’ll see why much of that isn’t changing anytime soon.

15) Aaron Rodgers Confirms He’s Weird

For many fans of the National Football League (NFL), this may not be news. Throughout his career, Aaron Rodgers has marched to the beat of his own drummer. But when you are one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the league, you can do that. Those same fans can go back through the Green Bay Packers’ quarterback’s 18-year career and pick their own person favorite moments.

But my favorite happened this past off-season when it came out that Rodgers has more than once traveled to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu and taken the “psychoactive brew” ayahuasca. He credits it with a lot of “personal healing,” helping him “forge the bond between the ‘Sacred Valley’ and Lambeau Field” and “see all his dead relatives.” That last part is what became the “verbal meme” running joke amongst the sports media, but I thought it was hilarious.

Face it…call him “weird” if you want, but the sports world needs more Aaron Rodgers. He does his own thing and really doesn’t give a damn what anybody else thinks. But that also means he isn’t some duplicitous asshole who waves banners for causes he doesn’t really believe in, isn’t a serial drink-driver, wife-beater, serial sexual miscreant, or any miscellaneous convicted felon whose past fans ignore as long as he gives their team hope (more on that in a bit).

14) The Tale of Ime Udoka and the Boston Celtics

This story is the first one with a theme which I think which will carry downstream for a while. You can ascribe this phenomenon to whatever root cause you like, but the fact remains this situation exists because there are organizations getting involved in playing a role which needs to be left to the justice system. This is complex, but it works like this.

Ime Udoka was suspended from his role as the head coach of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Boston Celtics for having an extra-marital (yet consensual) relationship with a female member of the team’s staff. Per an ESPN article, his suspension “was a product of multiple violations of team policies,” However, despite the fact Udoka’s unnamed partner in said relationship was also employed by the Celtics, team owner Wyc Grousbeck said “no one else within the organization faced discipline as a result of the investigation.”

There’s two components in that statement which need a breakdown. First is the use of the term “investigation.” What the hell does a basketball team know about doing an “investigation?” That’s a job for a law enforcement agency, not a bunch of lawyers hired by the Celtics who can’t compel evidence those being investigated may not want to divulge.

More importantly, keep that in mind as you wonder why what’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander. It’s pretty clear that Udoka and his partner in the extra-marital shenanigans violated the same rules, yet she faced no punishment. You can give me all the word-parsing or legal-ese explanations you can conjure, none of them will touch the real reason why this double-standard exists. The keys lie in the aforementioned ESPN article.

Start with the phrase “power dynamic associated with a superior’s improper relationship with a staff member.” That relationship is never really spelled out, but then again it doesn’t really need to be. This was never a criminal complaint, and even though this never saw a courtroom, the standards for a civil matter are not nearly as stringent as “beyond a reasonable doubt.” But it matters because it’s at least part of keeping Udoka’s partner in the relationship from suing the Celtics.

Again keep in mind who is doing the investigating as you consider the next key. According to that same ESPN article, the Boston Celtics “will not stand in Udoka’s way should he have the chance to become a coaching candidate elsewhere.” That’s 100% about the Celtics not facing a “breach of contract” or similar type suit.

Finally, there’s was the “tear-jerker” moment intended to foster the belief the Celtics give a damn about workplace behavior in any capacity beyond their own liability.

…[Brad] Stevens, the team’s president of basketball operations, became emotional when describing the number of women employed by the Celtics who were targeted by unfounded social media rumors and allegations.


If the Boston Celtics gave a damn about protecting any of their employees…contracted, salaried, or hourly…they would have enforced their policies uniformly, fired both employees who violated them, let the “cheaters” worry about what happens with their respective spouses, and not given a damn about the “court of public opinion.” In other words, the only “protection” the Boston Celtics care about is that of the Boston Celtics.

By the way, this won’t be the first time on this list you see the theme of an organization straying out of it’s lane in the interests of it’s own self-interest.

13) The NFL Enters the Stream-U-Verse

One could take the less cynical view of this and say the NFL is simply looking to the future. It’s possible…I guess.

The more realistic view is that the NFL has been looking for a way to make a revenue stream which recovers some of the losses incurred by the “cord-cutters” ditching cable TV en masse. If you remember, in the last few years, the league has experimented with putting games on Yahoo! and Twitter, just to mane a few examples. This year, the NFL went with a season-long trial of it’s Thursday Night being shown exclusively on Amazon Prime. Now, NFL Sunday Ticket is moving to You Tube.

Even the lowest-wattage crystal ball can see two things. First, at some point over-the-air television will go the way of dial-up internet and land-line telephones; reserved for the oldest of grandmothers and the most isolated of shut-ins. Even now, there’s a large number of viewers (like myself) who get their “old-school” network TV as part of something on their stream box.

The second thing is the proverbial “elephant in the room” question. All four of the “major” North American sports leagues have the ability to either keep their product on proprietary basic-cable/subscription services. But for that to happen, the revenue streams would have to replace the oceans of cash that is network-based advertising. This year’s moves seem to make the NFL the most-likely to be the first to make such a move when the time comes.

The question is: Will they?

12) The Continuing Saga of Men in Women’s Sports

The main problem with modern American progressivism is that as an ideology, it simply doesn’t know when to say “no.” That’s why it has an amazing inability to get out of it’s own way. This unique talent explains how in it’s quest to eliminate victimization, it usually creates more victims.

The push to include “transgender” athletes in women’s sports is the perfect examples of this, and University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas (pictured above) has become the “poster penis child” for this issue. Literally one of the first posts in the history of this blog was about how the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) would not let somebody with internal testes compete as a woman. Twelve years later, not only is somebody whose junk is out for all the world to see being allowed to compete as woman, I’m going to get called names for saying that no matter what Lia Thomas says, he is not a woman.

We’ve managed to take the Hans Christian Andersen folktale The Emperor’s New Clothes and make it about gender. 200 years ago, Andersen had the concept of “reality is what it is, not what you want it to be” nailed. I’m the kid who says “But he’s got nothing on!”

As far as I’m concerned, you can play dress-up and call yourself whatever you want; I couldn’t care less. But when you start insisting that “transgenders” be allowed to compete as women, I will shout “If you have a dick, you aren’t a chick!”

There’s a simple reason for that. It’s completely unfair to actual female athletes. The reality is that men are in general bigger, stronger and faster than women. If over a century of Olympic records aren’t enough to prove that to you, then you’re making reality what you wish it to be.

If you’re one of those people, think of it this way. Let’s suppose for a moment those who want to see women in professional sports leagues like the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) get paid on par with their counterparts in the NBA? How long do you think it will take for the WNBA to fill up with guys who couldn’t cut it in men’s basketball and decided to identify with a gender that potentially could get him paid a million or more dollars per year?

If you still doubt that, ask yourself why isn’t it the other way around; why are there no “transgenders” trying to compete in men’s professional sports?

That’s reality.

11) The DeShaun Watson Contract

Remember what I said about fans not caring about a player’s past if he gives their team hope? I rest my case…

This was the final straw for me in terms of listening to the NFL spew it’s lofty load of shit about their sensitivity to women’s issues after yet another sexual assault and/or domestic violence case. The problem isn’t the trade which got DeShaun Watson out of Houston; I actually understand getting him away from the crime scene. I also understand the Cleveland Browns’ interest in acquiring a guy who by all accounts might very well be the elusive “franchise quarterback.”

What pushed me over the line was the fact that the Browns signed Watson to a contract which made the vast majority of his 2022 salary a “signing bonus.” That’s a crucial distinction insofar as it makes most of that money out of reach of the suspension everybody knew was coming for Watson’s being accused of sexual misdeeds by nearly 25 women, all of whom had filed civil suits against the former Houston Texan. Again, I can understand the Browns and Watson agreeing to such a deal, but why on earth did the NFL let such a contract stand knowing full well it was all about Watson avoiding any fines levied by the NFL…which per the collective bargaining agreement can only be taken from salary, not signing bonuses.

10) The Stupidity of Brittney Griner

Here’s another case where the substance of the story quickly got wrapped up in politics, both domestically and internationally. Say what you will about this case, but the layering of geo-political intrigue obfuscated one important fact. Brittney Griner went to prison in Russia because she’s seriously fucking stupid.

Think about it. She got arrested at a Moscow airport holding a vape cartridge containing hash oil. That’s a serious offense in Russia. That means she either smuggled the thing into the country, or more likely, acquired it illegally in Russia. Either way, there could be no way she didn’t know taking it to the airport was asking for trouble.

That brings us to the stupid part. Why risk smuggling something through a Russian airport when getting caught could mean 10 years in prison when you could pick up the same item legally in New York at the end of your flight?

You can dress that up in all the “social justice” nonsense you want; that’s still 1st-dregree criminal stupidity.

9) The American League’s New Home Run King

In 2022, the baseball world watched yet another New York Yankee ascend to the throne of being the American League’s home run king. First it was Babe Ruth with 60 in 1927. Then it was Roger Maris with 61 in 1961. Now, Aaron Judge’s 62 in 2022 stands alone as the single-season mark in the Junior Circuit.

8 ) Baseball’s New Collective Bargaining Agreement

There was a lot of “red meat” in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between Major League Baseball and the Player’s Association. Feel free to discuss all the rule changes which will be coming in 2023, but the real story coming from this negotiation cycle was the fact that the “rank and file” of the Player’s Association split with it’s own eight-member Executive Committee.

The problem came when the Executive Committee – mostly comprised of higher-paid players (New York Yankees’ pitchers Zack Britton and Gerrit Cole, New York Mets’ shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitcher Max Scherzer, free agent pitchers Andrew Miller and James Paxton, free agent infielder Marcus Semien, and Houston Astros’ catcher Jason Castro) – spent the entire bargaining cycle spewing a line about how they were looking out for the “young player,” then voted 8-0 against a deal which among other things allowed for pay increases for minor-league players and raised the major-league minimum salary.

This represented the split between the “haves and have nots” in baseball. Five members of the Executive Committee (Britton, Cole, Lindor, Paxton and Scherzer) are represented by Scott Boras…who just happens to be one the most powerful agents in the game. In fact, the only member of the committee who earned under $12 million in 2021 was Jason Castro, who earned $3.5 million. Even more telling of this split is the fact that out of the 1,695 players who accrued Major League service time this season, only 86 banked more than $12 million. That’s only 5%, and the other 95% voted overwhelmingly in favor of this new deal.

The “rank and file” had never voted against the Executive Committee before, and don’t think the owners didn’t notice that…and don’t think that won’t factor into the next round of negotiations in five years.

7) The Impending Death of the NCAA, Part II

We are now in Year Two of what will be the protracted and long-anticipated death of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The NCAA’s days as a corrupt parasite greedily running two professional sports leagues are very much numbered. I’ve said it before and I will say it again…there’s no way I would shed a tear at the demise of an organization which rakes in billions from football and men’s basketball, yet will levy punishments for buying a kid a four-dollar bagel.

Despite what you may think, the NCAA’s attempts to delay the inevitable will ultimately force that bloated bureaucracy to collapse under it’s own weight. Like Frankenstein’s monster, the NCAA is losing control of it’s own creation. The Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rules, the Transfer Portal, and the continuing phenomena known as conference realignment are forming the “perfect storm” sweeping aside the hegemony that was the NCAA iron-fist rule.

Last year, I said the NCAA scrambling to draft a new constitution was a direct response to the major athletic conferences forming alliances. With the major players of the Pac-12 joining the B1G Ten (UCLA and USC so far…and more coming), along with Texas and Oklahoma heading for the SEC, those two leagues could easily flex enough coordinated muscle to control the world of college football today. They are on the verge of being able to squeeze the NCAA out of the picture entirely.

The end is coming…and not a moment too soon.

6) Did We Just See The Second-Greatest Rightie Slugger Ever?

I’ll keep this one short and sweet. The greatest right-handed bat in the history of the game was Henry Aaron. There’s really not much debate to that. The real discussion is all about number two? I say it’s Albert Pujols, and here’s why.

There are six statistical categories in which Henry Aaron is the all-time leader: At-Bats, Runs Scored, Hits, Home Runs, Runs Batted In, and Total Bases. Don’t look now, but Albert Pujols just finished his career ranked #2 in four of those categories.

Actually, look now…that’s why the table exists.

Going all the way back to Abner Doubleday, one thing about baseball has never changed; the team who scores the most runs wins. You can have all the .350 “contact hitters” you want…I’ll take the guys who slug the ball and cross the plate anytime.

5) The Robert Sarver Situation

For those of who who don’t follow the National Basketball Association (and judging by the television ratings, that’s most of you), you may not know the name Robert Sarver. He’s the soon-to-be-former owner managing partner of the Phoenix Suns and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. The reason why “soon-to-be-former” is in play is he’s allegedly an asshole.

Amidst swirling rumors, ESPN published a report in November 2021 accusing Sarver of “conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards;” a phrase echoed by an investigation conducted by the NBA. The NBA’s officials spotlighted three bullet points concerning Sarver’s conduct.

Mr. Sarver, on at least five occasions during his tenure with the Suns/Mercury organization, repeated the N-word when recounting the statements of others.

Mr. Sarver engaged in instances of inequitable conduct toward female employees, made many sex-related comments in the workplace, made inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female employees and other women, and on several occasions engaged in inappropriate physical conduct toward male employees.

Mr. Sarver engaged in demeaning and harsh treatment of employees, including by yelling and cursing at them.

~NBA Investigation

However, after leveling accusations of racism and misogyny, the NBA also back-pedals in it’s own publication.

As reflected in the report, Mr. Sarver informed the investigators of his personal and professional efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion, including hiring practices at the Suns/Mercury organization and contributions to social and racial justice causes. The investigation made no finding that Mr. Sarver’s workplace misconduct was motivated by racial or gender-based animus.

~NBA Investigation

So, he’s a racist and and a sexist, but he’s not really a racisr and a sexist? First of all, there’s that whole thing I mentioned earlier about what the hell does a basketball team know about doing an “investigation?” Do you really think that changes from a team to a league doing it?

As contradictory as it may seem, this actually makes sense. For whatever reason, Sarver has made some enemies in ranks of the NBA, which is why he’s being “forced” to sell. There’s no better way to do that that a public “tar and feathering” in “cancel culture” America.

The problem is that anybody whose got the wherewithal to buy a professional sports franchise also has a background to which such general allegations can be attached. I’m a middle-class blogger, and you can easily do that simply by scrolling through my archives. But for the person who might want to buy a basketball team, they they may not be interested in getting such a public excoriation…and you can’t force somebody to sell if you don’t have a buyer.

If you doubt that, just look at the mess the National Football League (NFL) has with Washington Redskins Generals Commanders owner Daniel Snyder.

4) The Saudi Golf Kerfuffle

The LIV Tour tour shook up the world of professional golf by challenging the established European and American tours by lobbing nuclear bombs of money at big-name golfers. By attempting to create a rival tour, a schism quickly formed across the golf world.

The name (now called the LIV Golf League) uses the Roman numerals for 54 (LIV), which signifies the number of holes played in this league’s events, as opposed to the traditional 72. But LIV also seriously escalated the prize money over Professional Golfer’s Association (PGA) events.

The source of LIV’s money is where the controversy arises. This tour is funded by something called the Public Investment Fund, which is really a financial front for the royal family and de facto government of Saudi Arabia. Because the Saudi monarchy is near the top of the list of accused of human rights violators, cries of “blood money” broke out along with journalists and commentators dismissing the tour as “sportswashing;” subterfuge used by the Saudis to obfuscate charges of corruption and human rights abuses by hiding behind the publicity generated by this big-money golf tour.

3) The Passing of Vin Scully

As cliché as the saying is, there’s no description more apt than “the end of an era” to mark the day Vin Scully retired at the end of the 2016 baseball season, There was a time when some baseball announcers became the “voice” of team. Such iconic men behind the mic included Ernie Harwell for the Detroit Tigers, Mel Allen for the New York Yankees, and Harry Caray for the Chicago Cubs. But none became more synonymous with a team than did Vin Scully with the Dodgers.

I can’t even specify the “Los Angeles” Dodgers. Scully started broadcasting Dodger baseball from the booth at Ebbers Field in Brooklyn in 1951…seven years before the team moved to California. Scully served as the voice of the Dodgers for 65 years; a large part of that tenure came by the fact that he was one of the few “old-school” broadcasters who successfully navigated the sojourn from radio to television.

It wasn’t uncommon for radio broadcasters to work alone, but that was unheard of in television…unless you were Vin Scully.
While his NBC Saturday Game of the Week broadcasts were well-known for his partnership with Joe Garagiola, Scully was notorious for being a solo act for Dodger games. I’ve said it before, and I’m going to say it again…that’s why this will always be one the funniest things ever on YouTube.

Sadly, this may very well be the last time I get to use that bit of genius. So…good afternoon Vin Scully, wherever you may be…it will always be time for Dodger baseball.

2) Indonesian Soccer Riot

October 1st… Malang, Indonesia. The home team Arema FC has just had it’s 23-year long streak snapped of not losing at home to main rival Persebaya. At first, it started with simple jeering back and forth between fans. Then bottles started being thrown. Before anybody knew what was happening, fans poured from the stands on the the pitch at Kanjuruhan Stadium.

Most reports say that originally, the fans on the field were mostly those of the home team, who were demanding answers from Arema FC management as to how this loss at home could have happened. No reports really know what happened next, but the situation quickly broke the containment of the stadium, and violence was pouring into the streets of Malang.

Outside the stadium, at least five police vehicles were overturned and burned. But it was inside Kanjuruhan Stadium where things truly got out of control. In attempt to regain control of the crown, police fired tear gas cannisters…which had the exact opposite effect. Panicked, the crowd began stampeding away from the tear gas, then turned and attacked the police. In turn, the Indonesian police responded in kind by defending themselves with batons and riot shields.

By the time it was over, 125 people were dead, and countless hundreds were injured…most being trampled by the crowd.

1) The Little League Miracle

One of the favorite annual sporting sporting events in the Dubsism house is the Little League World Series. This is for a multitude of reason, but the two most important are the fact that it’s all about the game; none of these kids are going to be free-agents, enter the transfer portal, or facing a slew of lawsuits from personal trainers. That means it’s all about the sheer joy of baseball not only as the game itself, but you get to watch as these kids both live life-long memories and learn lessons which will last just as long.

Having said that, there is no life without death, and that part of the lesson visited Williamsport this August with the tragic Easton Oliverson situation. Oliverson was a member of the U.S. Mountain Region from Utah when he fell off a bunk bed at the Litttle League complex and suffered a fractured skull. The injury was so severe he had to be air-lifted to a hospital in Philadelphia, where the team of neurosurgeons gave him less than a ten percent chance of surviving.

But after two surgeries, Oliverson was released from the hospital in Philadelphia to continue his miraculous recovery back home in Utah. Within two weeks, Oliverson went from the verge of death to walking, talking, and posting inspirational messages on his Instagram account.

Life inevitably ends in death. Sometimes, those journeys are far shorter than they should be. But regardless of the number of steps on that path, none of them mean much if they aren’t accompanied by hope. The story of Easton Oliverson should be the reminder of that for all of us.

Got a question, comment, or just want to yell at us? Hit us up at  dubsism@yahoo.com, @Dubsism on Twitter, or on our Pinterest, Tumblr, or Facebook pages, and be sure to bookmark Dubsism.com so you don’t miss anything from the most interesting independent sports blog on the web.

Got a question, comment, or just want to yell at us? Hit us up at  dubsism@yahoo.com, @Dubsism on Twitter, or on our Pinterest, Tumblr, or Facebook pages, and be sure to bookmark Dubsism.com so you don’t miss anything from the most interesting independent sports blog on the web.

About J-Dub

What your view of sports would be if you had too many concussions

One comment on “The Dubsism 15 Most Important Sports Stories of 2022

  1. Pingback: The Fourteenth Annual Dubsy Awards | Dubsism

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