The following is the introduction of a new weekly column, “Sports, Pop Culture and Everything Else.”

Sports and politics – both bring out a level of passion unmatched in society’s great arena. You could make the argument that people rally behind a team – democrat or republican – in the same they root for their favorite sports team or vice versa.

Regardless, the idea behind this new weekly column is to escape the realities of politics and discuss the world of sports. We’ll talk popular culture as well: Hollywood, music, Internet, media and … just about everything else.

My journalism career began in the sports department at The Sacramento Bee and continued to NBC Sports before I transitioned into the world of politics as editor here at Even now, I still write for

So, let’s begin with this initial column …

Ari Gold is bringing football to Los Angeles. If you don’t know who Gold is, then you’re cheap and don’t get HBO. Or, you’re just not interested in Entourage, a pretty dumb show that is entertaining for 30 minutes a week thanks to cheap jokes and Los Angeles’ finest looking 20-somethings. Now, you’ll set your DVR.

The theme this season with Jeremy Piven’s brash character, Ari, is his attempt to bring a National Football League team to Los Angeles.  In reality, it’s an issue that continues to swirl amongst sports media but has yet to reveal any true progress.

It’s insane that Los Angeles, the second-largest city and television market in America, doesn’t have a franchise in the country’s most popular sport. (Sorry baseball, but it’s true – you’re now the sports version of The Real World, no one is really watching anymore. Further side note, I love baseball and I also watch The Real World.)

It’s been 14 years since the NFL was played in Los Angeles. I can’t blame the city for not trying harder considering the last two teams were the Raiders and the Rams, but c’mon, this is ridiculous.

To me, it’s an indictment on the leaders of Los Angeles. If you can’t bring an NFL team to your city, maybe you don’t deserve one.

Perhaps it’s simply that true sports fans don’t exist in the city. Dodgers fans can’t seem to name the team’s rotation or show up before the third inning (played out rip by a Giants fan but count it) and Lakers fans turn their back as soon as things go awry (Kobe only has a couple more good years). Don’t make me bring up the Clippers.

OK, maybe that will wake up Los Angeles.

The bottom line is this: Ari Gold wants to bring the NFL to Los Angeles. He’s not real though. So who is the true Ari Gold? I went to Mr. Google to find out and here’s what the top hit told me:

The plan here is to build a stadium in Los Angeles once an NFL team commits to the city (there have been rumors about the Jacksonville Jaguars but nothing concrete).

“We can claim some of the most legendary athletes, successful franchises and storied organizations in all of sports. Fourteen years have passed, however, since the last NFL game was played in Los Angeles. Los Angeles Stadium is a world class facility that will bring the NFL back to Los Angeles to begin the next chapter in our proud sports history.”

They even have a Facebook page … but only 839 people like it. More people like Chandler Bing … times one-thousand.

The point isn’t that Chandler Bing is extremely popular (though apparently he is). It’s that Los Angeles has yet to rally together and gain significant momentum towards bringing an NFL team to the city.

John Semcken, a development partner in charge of the Los Angeles Stadium Project, told ESPN in November 2009 that he guarantees a deal gets done. But if Chris Farley taught us anything, you can get a good guarantee by sticking your head up a butcher’s …  you get the idea. What Semcken has done is … well … nothing impactful, or at least not publicly impactful.

Semcken says an NFL team will make its home in Los Angeles and that it’s just a matter of time. 

I agree.

I say the NFL will probably show up. Thing is, it just won’t be until the third inning.

Other quick notes:

– I saw this note in the Press-Enterprise on Friday morning in regards to Magic Johnson’s support of Barbara Boxer. “The Laker great and failed late-night TV host has endorsed Boxer, D-Calif., …”

Huh? Failed late-night TV host? What a random description of a world-famous athlete. How would Bill Clinton be introduced? “The former United States President and a member of the Little Rock Rugby club, where he was a bench player.”

– Arnold Schwarzenegger has to feel good knowing that The Expendables will never come close to losing as much money as his state does each day.

– Scottie Pippen will be honored into the NBA Hall of Fame today. To me, Pippen is the most underrated of all the overrated basketball players of all-time. It’s your interpretation of what that means.

– Is it weird that I’d rather watch HBO’s Hard Knocks than an actual Jets game?

Eat Pray Love comes out in theaters today. I didn’t read the book, but I imagine it’s pretty boring. I’m glad the movie at least offers a shortcut to that.

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