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SR’s Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place and around the NFL.

FAB 1. Remembering The Bucs’ Quirky 1998 Season

Tampa Bay was coming off an unexpected winning season under a coach who had been on the staff for two years. The next year was a season full of sky-high expectations.

Having just signed an undersized, speedy star receiver in free agency, the Bucs became the media darlings in the offseason, and preseason favorites to make the playoffs and possibly win the division. Instead, the team underwhelmed, underachieved and didn’t make the playoffs.

No, I’m not talking about last year’s Buccaneers.

I’m talking about the 1998 Buccaneers.

If you thought last year was full of unexpected twists and turns from being under the microscope of the HBO Hard Knocks cameras, to a Week 1 bye week due to Hurricane Irma to narrow losses due to missed field goals to an injured quarterback and a defense that suddenly became allergic to touching opposing quarterbacks, the 1998 season was whacky, quirky and downright befuddling.

Tampa Bay’s 2017 season didn’t feel right from the start, and that’s exactly how it felt in 1998, too.

The Bucs’ 1998 campaign always stuck in my craw for some reason. After making the playoffs in 1997, Tampa Bay missed the postseason in ’98, but then returned to the playoffs from 1999-2002. I’ve always wanted to revisit that year, and there are enough parallels to last year’s underachieving Bucs season to make it relevant.

So if you were a Bucs fan back in 1998, be prepared to jog down memory lane. If you weren’t a Bucs fan back then, buckle up as you learn about one of the wildest, roller coaster seasons in franchise history.

To help me on this journey I put the word out to several former Bucs players, but given the topic and the bad memories associated with a season gone wrong I wasn’t surprised when my calls and texts weren’t returned by a majority of them. But I did enlist the help of former Bucs center Tony Mayberry, a three-time Pro Bowler, and defensive end Chidi Ahanotu, who was coming off a 10-sack season in 1997, to help me tell the story of that fateful season.

Like all NFL seasons, we begin in the offseason. Tampa Bay had just come off a 10-6 season to end a 13-year playoff drought. After a 20-10 victory over Detroit in the NFC Wild Card playoff game at Houlihan’s Stadium, the Bucs lost a hard-fought playoff game in Green Bay, 21-7. The Bucs placed a franchise-record eight players in the Pro Bowl.

The 1998 season was primed for success after the team’s breakthrough ’97 campaign. There was only one problem.

Construction on the new Raymond James Stadium was lagging and the NFL gave the Bucs two road games to start the season before Ray-Jay would see its debut in Week 3. As if that were bad enough, the NFL also placed the Bucs in Canton, Ohio for the Hall of Fame Game against Pittsburgh, which meant that Tampa Bay would have five preseason games that year – all on the road.

Raymond James Stadium – Photo by: Getty Images
Raymond James Stadium – Photo by: Getty Images

“The NFL had it out for us because we had that great 1997 season, so they kicked us in the gut,” Ahanotu laughed. “It was tough. It was tiring traveling to all those plays. It’s always easier to roll out of bed, drive to the stadium and go play football.”

The Hall of Fame Game was followed by a game against Kansas City in Oklahoma that saw the team sit at the airport nearly the entire evening due to the fact that the flight crew had logged too much on-duty time per airline regulations and a new crew was needed before takeoff. After a road trip to Miami, Tony Dungy’s troops traveled long distance to Oakland before the preseason finale in New Orleans. In the span of five weeks the Bucs traveled 15,485 miles.

“It was crazy when you think about it,” Mayberry said. “Coach Dungy had us locked in to deal with certain adversities. That was one of the things he tried to use to keep us focused and unified as we went through tough times together.”

Little did the Bucs know, the madness was just beginning.

The 1998 season began with two road games at Minnesota and Green Bay. New wide receiver Bert Emanuel, who was acquired via free agency with a rich contract, would hurt his knee against the Vikings in the 31-7 loss and miss several weeks. Wide receiver Jacquez Green, who was Tampa Bay’s second-round pick, set a franchise record with a 95-yard punt return for a touchdown in a 23-15 loss to the Packers.

The Bucs got their first win of the 1998 regular season in Week 3 in the first game ever at the new Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay trailed Chicago 15-0 at halftime before rallying for 27 points in the second half for a 27-15 victory. Tight end Dave Moore caught a pass one-handed and raced 44 yards for a touchdown to help key the comeback, and Warrick Dunn ripped off a 44-yard touchdown to help seal the win.

Former Bucs WR Bert Emanuel - Photo by: Getty Images
Former Bucs WR Bert Emanuel – Photo by: Getty Images

Tampa Bay’s winless streak on the road would continue on Monday Night Football a week later as the defense couldn’t contain running back Barry Sanders, who rushed for 131 yards and rookie cornerback Terry Fair returned a kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown. Bucs quarterback Trent Dilfer threw a pick six and had two touchdown passes called back due to penalties in a 27-6 defeat.

Ahanotu, one of the team’s best defensive players, was lost for the year during the Detroit game.

“One of the things was that I got hurt and didn’t play the whole season,” Ahanotu said. “That was the only season where I missed that many games – I only played in four games. I got hurt in the spring because Frank Middleton decided to hit me full force on my shoulder with no pads on. Me and Frank didn’t get along, but I abstained from retaliating. I’m still pissed off about it to this day. You don’t have to go full speed and clock people in the spring, Scott. You know how that works. I was doing a spin move from the left end position into Frank and he was going full force and he jammed me up and it popped my shoulder out.”

Ahanotu swears that his absence in 1998 was a big reason why the team failed to make the playoffs.

“In 1997 – that was my breakout year,” Ahanotu said. “We went to the playoffs for the first time, and that offseason I was primed to have my best season – a Pro Bowl season. I was in my best shape ever and the game was slowing down for me and then I got hurt in the fourth game of the season. … Because I was lost for the season that year is why we didn’t make it to the playoffs and why it was kind of an off year.

“I know that sounds pompous and self-centered, but from an analysis standpoint, people don’t realize that anytime I wasn’t there, Warren didn’t have a double-digit sack year. People didn’t realize how important I was to Warren because we ran a lot of games. He and I made magic out there. We knew each other and what we were doing. We had timing. We could do it with our eyes closed. Even though we didn’t get along at the end, but we made magic out there and it’s those little things people don’t realize.”

Sapp’s weight had ballooned up that season and he recorded just seven sacks that year, and was tied with defensive end Regan Upshaw for the second-most QB kills behind nose tackle Brad Culpepper, whose nine sacks actually led the Bucs that year. So perhaps Ahanotu has a point. When Ahanotu was healthy and returned in 1999, he produced 6.5 sacks, while Sapp had a then-career-high 12.5.

Back to the 1998 season. Not only did Tampa Bay start the ‘98 season 1-3, the Bucs were also 1-3 in the division after that loss at Detroit.

Former Bucs QB Trent Dilfer - Photo by: Getty Images
Former Bucs QB Trent Dilfer – Photo by: Getty Images

Two more home games were the tonic for the team’s ails, as the Bucs defense asserted itself in wins against the New York Giants and the Carolina Panthers. Safety Charles Mincy had a pick-six off Danny Kannell in the first quarter as Tampa Bay’s defense held New York’s offense to only 135 yards. Kannell was intercepted three times in a 20-3 victory. Dilfer passed for only 85 yards in that game and was shows signs of regression, rather than building on a breakout, Pro Bowl season he had the year prior.

The Bucs edged the Panthers 16-13 after trailing 13-3 in the fourth quarter. Dilfer rushed for a touchdown and then threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Karl “The Truth” Williams in the end zone with 1:39 left in regulation to help Tampa Bay reach .500 with a 3-3 record.

Tampa Bay’s road woes continued in New Orleans as the Bucs offense sputtered in a 9-3 loss in the Superdome. Tampa Bay had the ball inside the 25-yard line three times, but came away with zero points. Dilfer threw an interception, tight end Patrick Hape fumbled at the 3-yard line and a touchdown pass to Bert Emanuel was ruled incomplete because officials ruled he trapped the ball.

The Bucs’ helter skelter 1998 season resumed with another home win – this time against a Minnesota team that would eventually wind up 15-1 with its only loss at Tampa Bay, 27-24. Derrick Brooks picked off Randall Cunningham to help the Bucs take an early lead following a Warrick Dunn touchdown. The Vikings would rally and take a 24-17 lead in the third quarter following a 17-17 tie at halftime. A field goal and a touchdown run by Mike Alstott would allow the Bucs to prevail, and Alstott’s 38-yard run in crunch time sealed the victory. Alstott (128 yards) and Dunn (115 yards) both eclipsed the century mark on the ground for Tampa Bay in its biggest win of the year.

However, the Bucs’ 4-0 record at home would be challenged by Tennessee in a Thursday night game. The Bucs were down 24-22 with two minutes left in the game and Tampa Bay’s defense needed a big stop on third-and-8 at the Oilers’ – yes, they were still the Oilers back then – 29-yard line to get the ball back and have a chance at a game-winning field goal. After being flushed from the pocket, quarterback Steve McNair scrambled 71 yards for the game-clinching touchdown as the Oilers won 31-22. The Bucs were back below .500 at 4-5.

The Bucs began to dig themselves quite a hole with another pair of losses. Tampa Bay remained winless on the road, losing at Jacksonville as the Jaguars came from behind to win 29-24 after a 70-yard touchdown from running back Fred Taylor with just over two minutes remaining.

The Bucs would lose their second straight home game the following week against Detroit. Tampa Bay trailed 21-7 before rallying in the second half, but Dilfer threw an interception in the end zone and the Lions survived, 28-25.

Tampa Bay finally broke through on the road and got its first road win in six tries with a 31-17 win at Chicago. Ronde Barber would score his first NFL touchdown on a blocked punt and Dilfer threw a Hail Mary touchdown to Brice Hunter to end the first half with Tampa Bay leading 21-14. At 5-7, the Bucs were still in the hunt for a playoff berth, but needed to go on a wining streak.

Former Bucs CB Ronde Barber and Packers QB Brett Favre – Photo by: Getty Images
Former Bucs CB Ronde Barber and Packers QB Brett Favre – Photo by: Getty Images

After a 15-year absence from hosting Monday Night Football, prime time returned to Tampa Bay on December 8 when Green Bay came to town. MNF commentator Dan Dierdorf pissed off Sapp and the defense during the pre-game, lamenting how few sacks the Bucs had put up in 1998 compared to its franchise-record 44 in ’97. That lit a fire under Sapp and Co., and Brett Favre was sacked eight times and fumbled six times in a 24-22 victory. Dilfer connected on two touchdown bombs – a 64-yarder to Green and a 62-yarder to Emanuel in the first half, before running for a 6-yard TD in the fourth quarter. The Bucs were now 6-7.

“Didn’t we beat Pittsburgh at home?” Mayberry said, recalling the 16-3 win the following week. “It was a rainy day and that helped us because their defense was really good. I remember that. I think the rain played to our advantage. It became kind of a ‘mudder’ game, and that’s what we were good it.”

Tampa Bay was 7-7 and controlling their own destiny. Two more wins would likely ensure a Wild Card spot, but then came a Week 16 loss at Washington, 21-16.

“I remember that game,” Mayberry said. “It wasn’t pretty, was it? We had a couple of games … you know, football is a funny thing the way the ball bounces.”

The Bucs had built a 16-7 lead late into the fourth quarter when Green fumbled a kickoff when the score was 16-13 with just over six minutes remaining. The Bucs had two chances to come back to win, but Dilfer threw two interceptions to end both of those drives late in the game. Tampa Bay fell to 7-8 on the season and would be assured of missing out on a winning record in Dungy’s third year as head coach.

Tampa Bay needed to win its Week 17 game at Cincinnati to have any chance of securing the final Wild Card spot in the NFC playoffs. Warrick Dunn (89 yards) and Mike Alstott (69 yards) would combine for 158 yards on the ground with Alstott scoring three touchdowns. Dilfer was 10-of-16 for 111 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, while Tampa Bay’s defense had two interceptions in a 35-0 shutout.

The Bucs needed to win in Week 17, and for the Giants to beat the Eagles and the Chargers to beat the Cardinals in order to get into the playoffs as the last Wild Card team. Tampa Bay and New York did their part, but on the play ride back home the Bucs learned that Arizona beat San Diego on a last-second 52-yard field goal to advance to the postseason. The Bucs would be eliminated by the time they touched down in Tampa Bay.

The wild 1998 season was over.

“It’s hard to remember that specific season, but what was vivid in my mind was the flight back from Cincinnati,” Mayberry said. “That was the only we could get in the playoffs as we did not control our own destiny at the time. It was just such a disappointment finding out that Arizona won. I think I purged the rest of that season from my mind.

Former Bucs head coach Tony Dungy – Photo by: Getty Images
Former Bucs head coach Tony Dungy – Photo by: Getty Images

“Now that you’ve brought this to my attention I am kind of amazed by that year with all of the things that happened starting from the very beginning. We did get to see the Hall of Fame, though. That was kind of cool. So my memories of that season pretty much consist of the Hall of Fame and the plane ride home from Cincinnati. Everything in between those two events was just a blur.”

There were some distinct similarities between the 1998 Buccaneers and last year’s Tampa Bay team. Both teams were overhyped media darlings before the season and both underachieved. Both the ’98 and 2017 Bucs had at least seven fewer sacks than the previous season and neither team had a player with double-digit sacks. Both teams struggled away from Raymond James Stadium with the ’98 Bucs posting a 2-6 record on the road, while last year’s Tampa Bay team went just 1-7.

The key for the ’98 season was that the Bucs bounced back and posted a then-franchise-record 11-5 season the next year, winning the division and advancing to the 1999 NFC Championship Game. Will this year’s Tampa Bay team follow suit and (finally) make the playoffs, too?

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  1. The Eagles did the right thing ignoring Trump. Why would any black man want to meet a racist, they aren’t going to change Trumps view of them. Only a few white guys wanted to go, enough said. I don’t enjoy rehashing the past, so didn’t need Fab 1 to 3. I don’t get having Cappa competing for right guard. I would hope by now Benenoch would be that guy. Cappa should be competing at right tackle, we’re going to need a starter there sooner rather then later. I hate to think we moved up in the 3rd round for a back up guard. Would’ve been better off drafting a right tackle still on the board at that point.

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    • perhaps moving up in the 3rd for a backup OG is better than moving up in the 2nd round for a kicker?…progress?

      Seriously though, I agree Cappa must be our next best thing at RT.

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    • surferdudes; very good points.

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    • I don’t get this line of thinking at all. Cappa IS a guard. We may try to train him at RT, but that isn’t what he’s naturally suited to play. His skillset is that of a guard, flat out. He currently doesn’t have the feet to play tackle. He certainly doesn’t have the reach, with his very short arms. He doesn’t have the strengths of a tackle. He’s a mean road grader who gets low and pushes defenders around. There has been some talk of us trying him at RT, and if so, then so be it. But if we had wanted to draft an obvious Demar Dotson replacement with that pick, it would have made a heck of a lot more sense to draft a tackle than to draft a guard.

      If Cappa wins the starting RG job outright, which I think is distinctly possible, that would be a big win for this team. For one, we could cut JR Sweezy and save some money to roll over into 2019’s currently problematic cap situation. And since Sweezy has, for his entire career, been an average or below average overall player, it would mean a talent upgrade on an O line that was pretty rough last season. Adding Jensen is a great addition to help that problem, but it won’t be enough on its own. We ALSO need much better play from either LT or RG, preferably both. But we’ve gotta be better at one of those spots. We can’t compensate for two weaknesses on the line. And Donovan pretty much is the player he is at this point. So if Cappa was to beat Sweezy out (read: be better than him), that would be good both for the team now AND in the future.

      He isn’t going to beat out Demar, at least not at this point. If he’s eventually going to play RT, then he needs some serious development to get there. So, he isn’t going to beat out what was a top 5 RT from last season, nor should we really care about that, since Dotson was, ya know….a top 5 RT last season. What he CAN maybe do is beat out a marginal player at his natural position, maybe giving us a LG-C-RG interior that’s comprised entirely of above average starters. So, let’s maybe let him do that, and count on Demar to keep playing great football. He’s currently expected to be 100% by training camp, which is in plenty of time. Worries about him this year are very premature. If he isn’t ready then, we can adjust at that time. Makes a ton of sense to me.

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  2. The GB game that year then the follwing Steelers game were 2 of the funnest games I attended. Forgot about those, thanks for the memories. As far as Dilfer, the guy was always terrible to my eyes. Still cant believe he won a SB in Baltimore. Heck of an analyst tho. For the die hards back then Dilfer was definitely hated. I was always a Testaverde fan too. He had his share of bad games but was much better than Dilfer. Should have kept Vinny. He went on to play well after here. Although most have. Glad we have a qb now, took way too long to find a good one. Those were the good ole days Scott. Never missed a game back then.

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  3. 2 things:

    1. I don’t care for nostalgia, so F5:1-3 were useless to me.

    2. Comments on Trump. Ignoring him is the best thing. He’s an ignorant clown. Shouldn’t even legitimize him by showing any respect. The Eagles did the right thing.

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    • I agree that Trump is an ignorant clown, but im also in agreement with Scott here. If there was a possibility some good can be been accomplished, than we need to try.

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      • I would agree, if it were any other president, that using such a meeting as an opportunity for dialogue would be preferable… But, Trump is a scumbag… He isn’t going to give any ground on a political issue that he feels gives him an edge with his base. He is a liar and a manipulator. Maybe he would’ve sat down for a conversation with players, and used it as a photo-op, but that’s where it would stop. He literally has no interest in addressing any of the concerns that have motivated the players’ protests. He encourages police violence. He is willing to exploit racial animus for political gain, especially if he can wrap it up in the flag and pretend to be a patriot. He is the enemy of the people, a divider and manipulator. He’s a fascist piece of shit. I’m all for dialogue, but #FuckfaceVonClownstick isn’t capable of hearing or understanding (or caring about) the facts.

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      • Let us try to put aside our anti-Trump bias for a moment. Let’s just look at what he has actually done.
        (First off, I have actually seen Mr. Trump speak about an issue. Then a few hours or days later, read or hear what the media says about it. Twisted like a pretzel to fit the Liberal narrative.I am 67, never seen anything like it.)
        Unemployment at 18 year low, ALL TIME low for Blacks and Hispanics. GDP over 4% now. Was over 3% his 1st 4 qtrs. Prior administration never had 3% or over in a year. There are more jobs available than there are applicants to fill them. Bonuses from hundreds of corps. Raises in wages. Companies moving back to America and building infrastructure! Not everyone can be an NFL player and make millions of dollars. The rest of us just have ….jobs. 1st meeting between Korea’s leaders. 1st meeting between USA and Korean President. This is a 70 year war! Other nations have changed their trade policies with us….more to our advantage. Nafta…out. Iran deal….out. China has come around, and is a big part of why NoKo may give up nukes. Illegal immigration down. ISIS getting beat down and shrinking. He is only doing EVERYTHING he said he would do if elected.I have relatives who live in south Arizona, and want the wall built as soon as possible. The illegal immigrants use his land as if it was their own. I married an immigrant. It took us 3 years to get everything in order and legal. Plus about $10,000. And she was Thai. NOTHING in her background to suggest any problem.The biggest reason it took so long was because of, what I call “Line Jumpers”….They just ignore any line, any rule, any control. And the rest of us just have to suck it up. And America elected him.For the life of me why do people make waves about illegal immigrants being separated from children when criminals in America EVERYDAY get separated from their children. Nobody sez “boo!” about Americans being separated from their children. Our borders are becoming more secure. Trump’s opinion shared by many, that you should show respect for the national anthem and flag…. is just his opinion. …we all are entitled to our opinions. He will not (and cannot) force people to be respectful.
        To bring attention to police killing blacks…a total of 223 blacks were shot and killed by police in 2017 in the entire USA. Were ANY of those 223 killings justified? Common sense says most would be justified. By contrast, 326 blacks were killed by other blacks IN CHICAGO ALONE!! And how many of THOSE were justified? Very very few. 75% of murder victims black, but only make up 33% general population. 70% of offenders are black. Seems like that would get some attention. And that year is no aberration. This black on black murder violence is ongoing. Thank God for people like Kanye West, Candace Owens, Clarence Thomas, Morgan Freeman, Herman Cain, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, 50 Cent, LL Cool J, Lynn Swann, Karl Malone, Tony Dungy, James Meredith (remember him? had the balls to confront the Democrats and the Democrats terrorist military arm the KKK and enrolled at Ole Miss in early 60s I think) Why in God’s name would you want an American President to fail? And why, if you are black, would you be a Democrat? Democrats owned EVERY slave in 1860 in America. Democrats went to war to protect slavery. Republicans went to war to abolish slavery. And died by the hundreds of thousands and were predominantly white. After losing that war Democrats founded the KKK to continue to try to control blacks. Then the Democrats enacted the Jim Crow laws. Segregation then, now and forever was their slogan in the 60s. Democrats killed the freedom riders who came to Mississippi to register blacks to vote.Democrats blocked the doors of Little Rock Arkansas to prevent a few black girls from enrolling at the high school. The National Guard had to come and FORCE them to admit them. Democrats fought the 1964 civil rights bill. Then they opposed the voting act which followed.Bill Clinton in the 90’s promoted and signed a crime bill which ripped the black family apart by throwing black men (and some women!)in jail….forever. Hillary called them “super-predators” and they got lengthy sentences. Trump just pardoned Alice Johnson, serving A LIFE SENTENCE! (did 20 years) for selling cocaine. These men were buried by the Democrats. Which left the family without a male role model or breadwinner. and the Democrats said…”Here! Some food stamps! and some section 8 housing…and a check for your children ….but only if there is no man in the house. The Government, the new father. Also blacks are forced to attend subpar schools because democrats oppose parents choosing which school their child attends and so that school gets the taxes for that child. Parents choose, the government pays as the government pays now. Except you,the parent decide….. and now….it’s the Plantation Mentality. Welcome to the farm!”
        Don’t believe me ….read the history books. We are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. Among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness! God bless America.
        By the way, I was born into a multi-generation of 100% Democrats in a town of all Democrats that was in a Democratic county, and Democrat state. I was raised on this Democrat propaganda. I went to Vietnam for 2 and a half tours…then came back and got a degree on the GI Bill. And became a Conservative….in a hotbed of Liberalism! Well….that’s it! Peace be with you.

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        • I knew when I saw that there were so many comments there must have been some political subject matter. What you said is absolutely correct and factual which sadly is not something those folks want to hear or even attempt to consider. They prefer the name calling and porn star wisdom.

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    • So agree. Scott still doesn’t get it even though I know he’s not a racist; he is like many right wing uninformed people. I have read all of Trumps books and all books about those that don’t like Trump. I find it odd that Fox News isn’t so bad if you remove 5 PM and on. I have a hard time understanding the like for Trump that Scott has since he has screwed the small people and vendors his whole life as an elitist. Will never forgive the coward draft dodger that he is. I would never put that guy in my fox hole. He is absolutely no leader.

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      • Which branch of the military did Obama serve?

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  4. I remember 98′ and 99′ and when King took over. Dilfer ran up to him one game, if I remember correctly, and told him what he needed to do wi the ball. King told him “he gots this. Leave me alone” or something close to that.

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  5. I enjoyed the read and the history as I think history does repeat itself. For those of you who don’t enjoy “rehashing the past” or “care for nostalgia” you seem like bittermen to me. Please, don’t maintain any memories.

    No matter what your thoughts of Trump, having dialogue at least shows an effort to understand differenting viewpoints and providing insight to someone who may think differently. It would have been the exact thing that the folks who are protesting are asking from the protest…that is to be heard. They left a play unused because of pride. There have been a lot of African American and Hispanic folks that considered Trump worthy of befriending in the past before he became President so I struggle to think he is a racist. It is an easy and weak comment/judgement to make and call someone to push an agenda. Is he poor at communicating and does he engage in Twitter too much, ABSOLUTELY! But is he a racist, I don’t think so and I certainly hope not as there is no place for that in our Society.

    Nice work Scott!

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    • Memories are fine, but I’ve always tuned into SR’s Fab 5 for

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    • Well yea. Clearly, if he has black friends, he can’t be a racist. Because that’s how racism works. Except that it isn’t, at all, in any way, and your suggesting it is only serves to demonstrate your personal lack of understanding.

      “Dialogue” only works that way when it involves two parties both sharing and listening in good faith. trump has literally never done this at any point since he’s entered the political realm. “Dialogue” with him or anyone like him (and there are plenty on BOTH sides of the aisle) serves no productive purpose. At this point, Trump is interested in only one kind of person – those that agree with him. That’s it, full stop. He has no interest in what anyone else thinks or has to say. He’s made that clear by summarily dismissing everyone who opposes him in any way. There’s no productive “dialogue” to be had with a person like that.

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  6. Really not the place to be talking about the president. You’ll destroy your website with dissension. Stick with football. Very very touchy subject that should be avoided!

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    • Agree

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  7. It’s only June, but this sentence should be concerning at any time of the year: “Spence was seeing time as a third-string defensive end on Thursday.”

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  8. Dilfer was one of the most overrated QB’s in Buccaneer History. A guy who was notorious for turning over the football in the most inopportune moments, Always the least prepared to play, and never had Football as his first love. Golf was more important to him and it showed. I know most will disagree with me, But Shaun King had more talent. He might have made a good Strong Safety, however. Trump? It is sad that the NFL had to become one of Trump’s punching bags. It didn’t serve him or the NFL well.

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  9. Spence is just too small to play DE; we should trade him to a 3-4 team and get something. I hope next week Goodwin starts over Jackson; not cool for him not to get as many reps as possible with Winston. I’m wondering if our DE’s have really improved, I sure hope so. Very disappointed in the two QB’s we have for back up. Winston goes down, we’re going nowhere and I don’t want to hear about Fitzpatrick being 2-1 when he was in as anybody could have won those two games. Why didn’t we draft a QB in the later rounds?

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    • I agree Horse. He is better suited for Linebacker in a 3-4 defense. And I was thinking the same thing about Godwin. Jackson will probably only be here one more season, maybe he would be better in the slot and let Godwin play on the outside. Godwin is ready to break out.

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  10. Memories are fine, but I’ve always tuned into SR’s Fab 5 for insights on the current team. I’m not bitter, but the past is the past, and I don’t have much interest in stories about the team of 20 years ago.

    This column’s best moments, in my opinion, have always been when Scott gives us a peek at some behind the scenes player development, and other insider info from team sources.

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    • Very good explanation and I understand your reasoning. I guess as a long time Bucs fan I am still holding on to the ONE TIME we were great…lol.

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    • Agree, maybe he’s trying to burn the Fab 5
      so he can use the excuse Twitter & Podcast is the future?

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  11. Scott, I appreciate that you’re trying to make something productive out of Trump, but the loyalty that you show this guy is both very hard to comprehend and certainly undeserving.

    Why would a “face to face meeting” be at all fruitful? It wasn’t for the bipartisan Congressmen that went to a face to face meeting with Trump to agree a deal on DACA – he later squelched on that deal. It wasn’t for Justin Trudeau who came out with a deal to exclude Canada from steel tariffs aimed at China…only to then have steel tariffs imposed on Canada. It wasn’t for Chuck Grassley who just got the tables turned on him with Trump’s policy change on ethanol. It wasn’t for Rex Tillerson, who got sent to Africa so Trump could give him the boot behind his back while out of the country. It wasn’t for Preet Bharara who had an agreement with Trump at Trump Tower to remain as the AG for the S.D. of NY….only to then be fired by Trump days later. And on and on.

    This guy is no deal-maker…he has bought and sold real estate for a living (with less than average success…it was his Dad that made all the $)…congratulations, so has my neighbor. No Bank on the planet – outside of Russia – will do any business with this guy any more.

    He hasn’t made a single successful deal in nearly a year and half as POTUS….except for the ones enriching his own pocket – like the deal for foreign dignitaries to stay exclusively at his Trump Hotel in DC, paying the top rack rates….does Expedia not apply to them. Or the deal to lift restrictions on his Trump hotels expansion in China…in return for lifting sanctions on ZTE. Or the deal to give Melania’s close friend the $25m contract to arrange his inaugural celebration….at the same time he gave the exact same contract to another firm that actually arranged the celebration….wonder what Melania’s friend did with that $25m she received (and it is confirmed she got it)? He’s a heck of a deal maker when it means doing a number on everyone else, American too, to enrich himself.

    The Eagles did the right thing – as did the Warriors.

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    • Well said. Tough to argue with so many such specific examples.

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  12. I would agree, if it were any other president, that using a meeting as an opportunity for dialogue would be preferable to avoidance… But, Trump is a scumbag… He isn’t going to give any ground on a political issue that he feels gives him an edge with his base. He is a liar and a manipulator. Maybe he would’ve sat down for a conversation with players, and used it as a photo-op, but that’s where it would stop. He literally has no interest in addressing any of the concerns that have motivated the players’ protests. He encourages police violence. He is willing to exploit racial animus for political gain, especially if he can wrap it up in the flag and pretend to be a patriot. He is the enemy of the people, a divider and manipulator. He’s a fascist piece of shit. I’m all for dialogue, but #FuckfaceVonClownstick isn’t capable of hearing or understanding (or caring about) the facts.

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  13. Love the trip down memory lane. That season was very frustrating. Did Dilfer try the single bar facemask that year or in 99? Would love to see more articles like this one!

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  14. The NFL lost about 15% viewership last year due to getting involved with politics now I see the usual real clowns on this site start talking politics again about Trump, This team has a well below average amount of fans, this site compared to the Denver Bronco site has about 2000 less comments each article , I think Trevor and Mark would discourage these real clowns from going into politics on this site and not run off any more pewter fans .

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  15. Scott is very naive as to the world; most people who haven’t seen much of the world
    should keep quiet. Trump is a communist sympathizer; he sure fits the make up, especially since he loves ruthless rulers.
    Our democracy is falling because many of his following haven’t done their homework to the check the facts themselves.

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    • Horse, I have always admired your football knowledge and level headedness, but you are obviously not a student of economics and geopolitics. You need to check the facts. Ruthless rulers are totalitarian dictators known as fascist. Examples would be Sadam, Pol Pot, Muammar Gaddafi, and Mussolini.
      Examples of ultra left wingers who became communist would include Mao, Castro, Ho Chi Min, all the Soviet Premiers, Stalin, and Hitler (yes, he was a an extreme socialist [ the term Nazi means National Socialist German Worker’s Party in German, and of course Jerry “moon beam” Brown. As you can see the left wing socialist were much more murderous. Socialist start off as egalitarians, but soon morph into totalitarians.
      Trump may have to deal diplomatically with dictators, but not with commies.

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      • What? Totally disagree. I have read books on everyone of the guys you just mentioned and I sure didn’t come up with your observations. Trump is actually both, a dictator and a communist sympathizer; he’s no hero for mankind. He’s all about Donald J Trump.

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    • He doesn’t really sympathize with communists. He sympathizes with fascists, dictators, authoritarians, and oligarchs. He doesn’t have the intelligence or empathy to understand anything other than power and manipulation.

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      • Hitler only paid lip-service to “Socialism”, you are misinformed.

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    • Bingo. Yahtzee. We were attacked. And it’s as if it never happened according to the President.

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  16. If I knew Trump nI probably would not like him because he reminds me of a couple of very demanding and egotistical, yet very successful bosses I worked for . They rubbed people the wrong way, but produced.
    So, let’s have a look:
    -Best economic growth in 4 decades (soon to be 5% per annum)
    – lowest unemployment rates (3.8%) this century [lowest black, hispanic, female rates ever]
    -huge tax cut for most of us
    -corporate tax rates still higher than the rest of the industrialized countries- but getting better
    -ISIS almost wiped out
    -North Korean summitt
    I wish I still lived in Tampa so I could boo the Eagles

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    • Reading is fundamental and more importantly, facts matter!

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    • It’s an interesting list….but could just easily read like this:

      – economy doing well, despite POTUS efforts to stall it with trade wars. Maybe the health of the economy is largely independent of any POTUS.

      – huge tax cuts for the top 0.1% of society, tax rise for the truly middle class (anyone who actually itemized their taxes…yours are going up), minuscule short-term tax cut for lower classes (yes, she can afford her Costco membership on that refund this year), set to reverse to a tax rise by law within a decade.

      – effective corporate tax rates were already among lowest in the world (no sizable corp paid statutory rates), and now are unnecessarily low such that corporations gave $1 trillion of the $1 trillion tax cut back to shareholders (ie largely the top 1%) this year.

      – ISIS reduced in Iraq and replaced with numerous new terrorist groups in Syria and Africa

      – North Korean summit has not happened and has little chance of resulting in anything substantial outside of photo ops if it ever does occur.

      – a huge new threat totally unnecessarily created in nuclear Iran!!!! Own goal!

      – icing international relations with America’s longest standing allies…Canada is the enemy now???, really?!

      – pulls out of the most important international agreement on climate change (now the only dissenting nation on earth), because it was a deal Obama agreed.

      – cuts clean energy suppprt in favor of supporting coal, despite the near 100:1 ratio of jobs in favor of clean energy, putting small and medium sized renewable companies at risk of closing this year.

      – eliminates controls on mentally ill people being able to purchase guns

      So I guess there’s always another side of the coin.

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  17. Scott, you may want to avoid and political or patriotic statement on this site. The level of ignorance here is astounding. People who are controlled by their emotions, when a simple check of the facts would prove them off base. If they got their news from Investors Business Daily or the Wall Street Journal instead of the Communist News Network (CNN) they would be better served.

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    • Oh, now I see where you’re coming from; I thought as much.

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      • Horse and I see everything exactly opposite
        Horse Sees Trump a loser and kaepernick a winner
        He sees Mariota a loser and “Winston a winner and playoff QB”
        He sees Koetter a winner, I see him a loser

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        • Mariota is a loser. The dude sucks. Did you watch him play last season? He had one of the worst seasons I’ve seen in a while from a QB. 15 GS, 3235 yards(215/game) 13 TD’s vs 15 INT’s. 7.1 YPA, and a 79.3 QB Rating. Mariota is living proof that it’s a team sport. That team went 9-6, and Mariota was absolutely god awful. It’s amazing what happens when you have a great OLine, great running game, and above average defense. If you’d rather Mariota over Jameis, you lose all credibility as a football fan

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  18. Pewter Fans, I apologize. I let my emotions get the best of me. I wanted Pewter Report to be just about the Buccaneers and football. Next time Scott or anybody else mentions anything relating to politics I will keep quiet. As most of us can tell it’s very controversial and none of us are going to change our minds. Scott say what you want. I’m only going to stay focused on the Buccaneers from now on. Go Bucs!

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    • @horse I respect your decision to stay quiet in the future and I understand it too. But, for me, many of my hero’s are the people who stood up through history and said, no way am I going to let this crap just happen and let people go on in ignorance or worse. I am fortunate to live in a time where I can speak up in the face of this absurdity without fear, unlike many of those in the past. And it would be a slap in their faces for me to just let people go on thinking this madman was just different or unusual or spoke brashly but didn’t really mean anything or was a great businessman or an intelligent leader we should trust or had all of our best interests in mind….no, I will not turn a blind eye any time I see this.

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  19. I, for one, like a little review – history teaches us much and gives perspective. And as Bucs fans, our past is part of of who we are with regards to the team (lighten up, guys…it’s only a game). Plus people – cut Scott some slack. There’s only so much that can be written about voluntary OTA’s where viewing is limited and “vanilla” is the flavor of the day at One Buc Place. So, yeah, ’98 was disappointing and frustrating although the Giants game in ’99 was agony. I remember watching that game in disbelief at how one player could be so irredeemably bad – Dilfer was brutal. I saw that game in a sports bar in Vegas and I can still hear the howls of laughter when Dilfer chucked that ball while on the run. Dungy should have permanently benched him at that point.

    Scott, some advice which is by no means original – avoid any whiff of politics. The previous posts show that it just can’t be done on this site. The amount of over the top, inappropriate, and completely misused words (both political and scatalogical) along with misplaced chest-pounding bravado is, in a word, disheartening.

    Otherwise, GO BUCS!!!

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  20. I won’t go as far as some have in dismissing all looks back at the past. I enjoy it to an extent. 3/5 of a Fab 5 is an awful lot of looking back, especially when the first two were kinda the same thing. As one part, it would be fine, but I don’t personally get much out of reading 7,500+ words/15 Microsoft Word pages more or less about the 1998 season.

    I do get that it’s still the offseason, and content can be difficult to generate. Still, it seems like there could have been SOMETHING done other than such an in depth look at one random, mediocre season 20 years ago. One Fab is one thing, but this just got boring for me as a reader.

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  21. Trump is the Anti Christ we’ve been told will come again. The Devil in plain site. Look at him, he’s the seven sins all rolled into one. I’m surprised an atheist like me can see this but Christens like Scott can’t.

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  22. I’m not commenting much on the politics. It’s pointless people believe what they want. i will say I voted for Trump and after his time in office so far I’d vote for him again. Especially if the other choice is Hilary! What a complete scum bag she and her corrupt husband are. Most corrupt politicians ever.

    Anyways back to football, Ah remembering the good old days. Lol. I remember watching the Giants game the strip fumble of Dilfer and that big guy running it in was hilarious although I’m sure I wasn’t laughing then. Can’t blame that one on Trent as I remember.

    I was at the super bowl where The Ravens and Dilfer won. Had great seats. Saw the Police perform live. Cool military flyover that evening. Have tons of pictures. Ironically as a Bucs fan it’s the only super bowl I’ve been to. The Ravens thanked Dilfer for the super bowl win by promptly cutting him shortly after. Lol.

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    • Most corrupt politicians ever? Maybe you haven’t been following the rampant criminality in the Trump administration and his campaign. Maybe FuxNuze doesn’t want you to know about it because it’s the official state propaganda outlet for Trump. Perhaps you believe all the nonsense Trump spews about “fake news”… when he literally makes up stories to disinform people and to undercut the facts and the Mueller investigation. If you believe him, you’re gullible AF. This man is like a mob boss. Talk about corruption! Jeezus, there’s no comparison with any previous president (certainly of the modern era).

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  23. That 1998 season was so disappointing…

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  24. I have refrained from posting on this site for a long time. But I feel compelled to do so now.

    Whomever the owners of this site are, please fire Scott immediately. Despite being asked by his readers, many times nicely in the beginning, and increasingly stridently of late, he continues to force his political views down our throats in ways that show contempt for others’ views and are damaging to your economic interests.

    It is the same behavior displayed by religious zealots who come at it from an imagined moral high ground based on nothing more than their personal opinions and feelings, which somehow in their minds gets contorted into a right or in Scott’s case apparently a need to force feed their views to others in order to get them to accept, agree and validate those beliefs.

    If you the owners (or Scott’s partners, however this business is structured) would please take the time to read all of the posts generated in response to Scott’s articles focused on politics +/or religion, it would hopefully give you an understanding of how he has corrupted the previously overwhelmingly positive affinity and even loyalty many of us used to feel for this site and replaced it with contempt and anger.

    Using facts that misrepresent the argument, Scott might point to page views, ad dollars etc as indicating that forcing his political and religious views on your customers is not hurting the business. But the large number of people whose blood boils while posting a response like mine would tell you he is doing lasting damage to your site’s reputation and whatever the business is today it is less than it could be and could be were Scott’s outrageous and disrespectful behavior reigned in.

    How can you have so little concern for us that you’d continue enabling him to take advantage of us in this way, while harming your interests at the same time?

    Thanks for listening.

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    • I’ve got to agree with you. I’m not supporting any of the sponsors I used to go to Ford Garage quite a bit but not anymore .
      I won’t set foot in another Walmart again . I have spent many thousands of dollars in the store from my grandkids and kids, not anymore.
      Trevor and Mark you guys better stop Scott from commenting anymore. If you can’t stand up and say something then tell me so I can delete this APP.

      If you don’t respond I’m done with Pewter Report.

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      • As always, I read all the comments on my SR’s Fab 5. Thank you all for taking the time to read it and, more importantly, taking the time to comment. Regardless of anyone’s opinion on the Bucs-related topics I write about, I rarely, rarely have to edit or delete anyone’s comments. I believe in the freedom of expression and the last thing I’m going to do is try to deny that here. The same goes for those topics that involve stories where the NFL and the President directly intersect. Unfortunately, it is news – not just here but on ESPN, the Tampa Bay Times sports section and plenty of other sports sites. I also rarely, rarely edit or delete comments when I am being called names and being personally attacked. is a free website, not a subscription-based site, and you are free to come and go as you please.

        However, many are coming as we are actually enjoying a 20% traffic increase this offseason, which is a surprising number considering this team is coming off a 5-11 season – yet it’s a testament to our strong reporting this offseason on Bucs free agency and the draft. And for that we thank you – new visitor and longtime visitor alike.

        I’m making a general reply to all, but since Horse is demanding a reply, I’ll address this to him. There’s no need in trying to coerce Mark and Trevor to get me to do something. I’m a very good listener and do listen and take their input as we are a team, but at the end of the day I run the company and am the leader of the team – and this is my column.

        For the Trump-haters out there – or those that disagree with some of the President’s stances – I’ll try to sum up the last section in one or two sentences for you: If you don’t ask, the answer’s “no.” There can never be any mutual understanding between 2 differing parties without dialogue, which involves talking and listening.

        That’s it. No politics.

        The gist of my point is to encourage talking and listening – as much of it as possible. Substitute Obama for Trump and make it about another issue he didn’t see eye to eye with half the country on – if you need to look at it that way to understand. I don’t care. Take the politics out of it. The message is to talk, and more importantly, listen. That’s typically the only way we as human beings can gain understanding and empathy.

        Whether it’s this issue or any thing, dialogue is usually a good thing. I think you’d agree, right?

        After all, there have been about 50 instances of dialogue right here after this article – and due to the fact that I’ve read 49 posts and will only post this one myself – I’m doibg the vast majority of listening.

        In the end, I’m not shoving my political views down anyone’s throat. I’m simply encouraging dialogue- of any all kind. If we choose not to engage in dialogue in any form or fashion, don’t expect ANYTHING to change in any arena, be it politics, sports, etc.

        As Wayne Gretzky said (or at least this quote is attributed to him): “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”

        If you have a problem with my belief in the fact, that encouraging an attempt at dialogue between enemies or friends – regardless of the topic or the outcome – is a good thing, then PewterReport,com and this column might not be the place for you.

        But given the diversity of thought exchanged in these comments, and the fact that I/we only edit or delete a comment once in a blue moon, I think we are all in the right place. You’re always welcome here … and you’re invited to stay.

        One last thing. Please understand that there is only so much we can write about the present day Bucs, which we do about 99 percent of the time (outside of draft analysis), in the offseason and we have already covered a great amount of present-day topics. There are still 7 weeks to go during the summer until training camp and we have a lot of web space to fill! That said, there may be another topic or two from yesteryear, as I did last summer when analyzing the impact RB James Wilder made in Tampa Bay. That research changed my opinion of him and I firmly believe he should be inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor as a result.

        As always, thank you for your time, your comments, your passion and your loyal commitment to and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers! Love you guys – all of you!

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        • Scott, I appreciate your effort – the search for common ground, and for understanding is admirable.

          This week has hopefully brought to your attention what is so different this time – why this Administration is not merely a difference of political views, like more/less taxes, is Medicare a good/bad idea, should we have bigger/smaller government, should we increase/decrease the military presence in the Middle East, should we balance the budget or not, and so forth. This is about a difference of values.

          I have mentioned this before on PR – Trump (and his team) flaunts the law with great regularity (e.g., emoluments, bribery, breach of contract, etc.); he espouses misogyny; he is a serial adulterer; he befriends dictators (Putin, Un, Duarte, Jinping) and demeans America’s closest friends (there’s a special place in hell for Justin Trudeau apparently). These aren’t differences of political view, they are differences that say one either likes the rule of law or doesn’t, either believes all people are created equal or doesn’t; either denounces dictators or doesn’t.

          And this week we have all seen that one either is in favor of Child Detention Camps, or isn’t. No POTUS before this one ever created such a detestable policy as this one, regardless of what Trump would have us believe, no POTUS before him ever did this. This isn’t about Republican versus Democratic views – I personally share some with each side – this is about a difference of values.

          I don’t believe you share these values with Trump and his team, it’s time to jump ship Scott….American values are waiting.

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  25. Scott, if you are going to tell a story, at least get your facts right.
    Alice Johnson was not a drug “user” she was a drug “pusher” who had direct contact with the Medelin drug cartel,
    I don’t think it was to harsh of a sentence for a person who pushed narcotics and sucked the life out of people just to make money like the parasitic narcissist who pardoned her.
    This was also on the heels of our Clown in Chief saying the death penalty should be handed out to drug pushers.
    But this was before Trump found out pardoning people make him feel like a king, which is what he thinks he is.
    If it just wasn’t for that irritating Constitution and the free press that keep getting in the way and reporting on all of the stupid things he says and does like accusing the Canadians of burning down the White House during the War of 1812.
    I mean for gods sake.
    The fact of the matter is if Trump doesn’t have a room full of sycophants to drool over him, he doesn’t want to meet with them.
    Trump has turned a political statement about a protest about police brutality and twisted it into a disrespect of the military,
    This coming from a clown who dodged the draft four or five times.
    You can keep supporting this oafish buffoon and ignore the facts like the rest of his lemmings but I remember four years ago when we had a distinguished man in the White House who Trump also tried to besmirch by questioning his citizenship and when proved wrong, wasn’t man enough to apologize.
    And when tough issues of the day were brought to him like this one, he was the one who would invite the parties involved for a sit down to discuss the subject, not just hurl invectives from a podium in front of a pack of sycophants.
    That is what a real leader does. He leads. He doesn’t wait for others to suggest a sit down.
    And why does this guy keep sucking up to dictators and despots like Putin and Kim Jung. Why does he admire them so.

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  26. Scott,

    Well said. Now let’s ALL move on to the next topic…

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  27. Nice read Scotty, you know I lovecavwalk down memory lane. Bring back more Orange! Go Bucs!

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