The Last Gladiators – Sports Doc

Last Gladiators

Director: Alex Gibney
Writers: Jim Podhoretz, Larry Weitzman
Stars: Donald Brashear, Marty McSorley and Chris Nilan

Today’s sports documentary suggestion is “The Last Gladiators” which can be found on Netflix streaming. The film takes a look at some of the last enforcers in the National Hockey League (NHL). The story is centered on Chris “Knuckles” Nilan a former enforcer for the Montreal Canadians. There are other players known affectionately as “goons” who are mentioned but the story always makes its way back to Chris.

Chris Nilan

“Gladiators” tells the story of men whose main job was to fight and protect their teammates. Nilan’s story is a complicated one that we see play out in sports all the time. He was raised in a tough hardnosed household. Nilan suggest that his upbringing followed him to the role he would go on to take in his hockey career. We get to take a look at the life of man who is pushed to the limit on the field of play but struggles to turn off that engine when he is off it.

The film paints a narrative of these enforcers whom more than a few have hard life after their playing days were over. The film is mostly about Nilan but it does a good job of using his contemporaries to give some perspective on what the era was like in the NHL. The meat of the story comes with Nilan’s struggles off the ice with drug addiction and his in ability to adjust with life post playing. It speaks to a tragic tale that is seen in all sports after the fans stop cheering and they have to live their lives.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr

So When Does Belichick Apologize?

Bill Belichick

This week Richard Sherman apologized for his post game outburst during his interview with Fox’s Erin Andrews. Still it appears to be a hot topic in the world of sports reporting. To me it wasn’t that big of a deal and I didn’t have an issue with Sherman. The person I had the biggest problem with after Sunday’s championship games Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s assertion that Broncos wide receiver intentionally tried to take out Aqib Talib of the Patriots. I felt that was a pretty low for a coach to make that kind of accusation against a player.

Pick plays or “rub routes” are not that uncommon in football and are used more often by the Broncos and weird enough the Patriots. There was no call by the officials on the field and the play did not appear malicious. But according to Belichick “I think it was a deliberate play by the receiver to take out Aqib. No attempt to get open….” and he followed up with “I’ll let the league handle discipline on that play. … That’s one of the worst plays I’ve seen.” Well the league officials made their ruling and decided that there was no ill intent on the play.

There is a history between Welker and Belichick as Welker was a Patriot for six seasons prior to playing in Denver this year. His departure from New England was due some problems with negotiating his new contract. In a lot football fans minds it appeared to be sour grapes after a game against one of his former standout players. Maybe Bill was just being a sore loser or maybe he legitimately thought that Welker was being dirty. With almost a week gone by and a chance for the league to rule and him to see the tape, it’s time for Belichick to be classy and apologize to his former player.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow On Twitter @Kholtjr