My Friday Five: Powerball, Playoffs & As Told By Ginger Reboot?

Photo: Chris White 1. Powerball During the past week, the Powerball jackpot got near and, eventually, eclipsed the $1 billion mark....

Photo: Chris White
1. Powerball

During the past week, the Powerball jackpot got near and, eventually, eclipsed the $1 billion mark. That prompted millions - whether lotto pros or not - to play. Including yours truly, although I didn't get close to spending my life's savings on tickets.

I'm not a lotto pro myself. In fact, I can count how many times I've played on one hand. However, with a chance to win outright or share in the jackpot, I had to try. I would have been ecstatic to win $1 million or, at least, something, but I ended up not matching a single number on any of the tickets I purchased. Really not that surprising. I'll more than likely won't waste my money on it again. Not only because I think the whole thing is a crock but, here in North Carolina, only 76 cents of every $2 spent on a ticket goes to schools in this "education lottery," according to local station WRAL. That adds up to $529 million for schools, according to WRAL, which is not that much considering school systems' budgets are in the billions of dollars.

2. Bengals/Steelers Disgrace

The Cincinnati Bengals played the Pittsburgh Steelers in the wildcard round of the AFC Playoffs this past weekend. It was, actually, a pretty exciting game in a cold, rain-soaked Cincy. However, the actions of a few bad apples turned attention away from the game itself.

Let me go back to before the game even began. Why? Earlier in the week, one of the trending topics on Facebook was about a local Cincy radio station - 700 WLW, according to TMZ - that aired a fake news alert warning women about Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, amid his history with sexual assault allegations. I'm not a Steelers nor a Roethlisberger fan but I was appalled by this. Sexual assault is no laughing matter but, in my opinion, the radio station made it just that in an effort to trash the opposing team. WLW did eventually pull the spot.

Fast forward to the game itself. There was a moment in when Roethlisberger was injured on a play and had to be carted off to the locker room. Some Bengals fans in the stadium cheered when he went down and some even threw things at him as the cart drove by. Near the end of the game, the Steelers had one last drive to win. During the drive, Bengals outside linebacker, Vontaze Burfict, made a nasty hit to the head of a defenseless Antonio Brown of the Steelers, prompting a penalty for 15 yards. After the initial penalty call, Benagls cornerback, Adam Jones, made contact with an official which prompted another 15-yard penalty. The back-to-back penalties ended up giving the Steelers a chip shot field goal for the win. As the Steelers left the field, some fans continued to throw debris onto the field.

Both teams racked up $64,000 in fines since the game, including Jones, and Burfict has been suspended for three games. Some of the other fines included: Steelers linebacker coach, Joey Porter, being fined $10,000 for coming onto the field after the aforementioned hit by Burfict; two Bengals defensive linemen being fined about $9,000 each for penalties and - get this - Steelers coach, Mike Munchak, being hit with a $10,000 fine for pulling the Bengals' Reggie Nelson's hair during the game, according to Cincinnati.com.

Where has sportsmanship gone? I mean, for real. Especially in the NFL this season. This will continue to be a problem until something more is done than just fining players a piddly amount of money - to them- for their actions. Most players and coaches in the League get paid millions of dollars and some choose to act like fools on the field. If I was a league official, coach, what have you, I'd say it's either put up or shut up. Policies need to be changed to where the players and coaches who choose to act like children are suspended for several games and fined, not just $10,000, but at least $50,000 depending on severity of the offense. I'm tired of this selfish, childish BS ruining the game.

3. Panthers in the Playoffs

The Carolina Panthers begin the road to the Super Bowl on Sunday. The NFL got what it wanted with a Seahawks/Panthers matchup, with the winner going to the NFC Championship. Now, if you know me, the team I hate the most is Duke. The Seahawks are right up there with Duke - I'll say Duke is 1-A and Seattle is 1-B. And Seahawks fans have been hard at work doing what they do best: trash talking. All week, I've seen posts on social media from supposed Seattle fans talking a bunch of BS about the Panthers and the team's fans.

There is one type of these posts that I'd like to personally address: calling Panthers fans bandwagon fans. For those who may not know what "bandwagon" fans are, these are people who start following a team when the team is playing well. I've seen some Seahawks fans say that many Panthers fans are bandwagoners and that, quite frankly, pisses me off. Let this be known to not just Seahawks fans but NFL fans alike: do not ever call me a bandwagon fan. I was born and raised in North Carolina and I've been a Panthers fan for more than a decade. I pulled for the team when it played in its first Super Bowl in 2004 and I continued watching games and supporting the team, even through the unsuccessful seasons. If I had all the money in the world, I would get season tickets to games as well, but I have watched all games on television this season and in seasons past.

That being said, it's a new season for Carolina. 15-1 is in the past. The Panthers are 0-0 now. All it takes is three wins for a Super Bowl championship. Time to prove all the haters and naysayers wrong.

#KeepPounding

4. The Oscars

Nominations for this year's Oscars ceremony were announced on Thursday, with The Revenant leading the field with 12 nominations. I was ecstatic to see The Martian and Bridge of Spies pick up several nominations, including Best Picture. Those were two of my favorite films this season and both deserve the recognition.

The nominations announcement always gets critics and fans up in arms each year. It seems like the criticism has hit a fever pitch this year, however, as The Atlantic reported that this is the first time in 19 years that "the Oscars have been this white" - meaning the plethora of Caucasian actors, directors, etc. being nominated and many of color getting snubbed. This is also the first time since 1999 that all directors and screenwriters nominated are men, according to The Atlantic. Both are sad trends that continue to perpetuate the film industry even today. Not saying that a person is entitled to get a nomination based on race or sex alone but, at the same time, something more should be done to better showcase and/or position people of color or of the opposite sex for awards nominations if they deserve them. It's time for the film industry to join the 21st century.

5. As Told By Ginger Reboot?

Social media went berserk earlier this week with news that the beloved Nickelodeon series, As Told By Ginger, would get the reboot treatment and make a return to television in 2017. Ginger aired from 2000-2006 and was touted for its "progressive storytelling" of the turbulent adolescence of Ginger Foutley, according to Fuse. Ginger was nominated for three Emmys as well. The news about the show's revival was first reported by MoviePilot, but that post was later deleted and so began a whirlwind of conversation and skepticism that it would even happen. A few days after the MoviePilot post, a Nickelodeon official told several news outlets that a reboot of the show was not in the works after all. Boo!

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