The Courtland Experiment featuring Christopher Johnson
My name is Christopher Johnson also known as “C. J.”. Welcome to my opinion column called The Courtland Experiment. I am the youngest columnist on this website. When I say young, I mean young. I started in this business interviewing celebrities when I was 10-years old. I took a sabbatical to finish high school. After high school, I got back into the business and did some part-time work interviewing athletes and celebrities. I bring the Millennial perspective to the website. I comment on sports, politics, current events and I write movie reviews. I’m also the co-host of “The Legends of Inside Sports,” (YouTube) with legendary DC radio sports broadcaster and TV host Harold Bell.
This is my Archives Page where all of my opinion columns and articles are stored.
Left to Right: Photo #1 – C.J. with MLB Hall of Famer Dave Winfield at the 2001 NBA All-Star Game, Photo #2 – C.J. with NFL Super Bowl XXII MVP Doug Williams
Photo #3 – C.J. on assignment with legendary sports broadcaster Harold Bell. Photo #4 – Me and Harold Bell covering the Washington Wizards at the Capital One Arena Press Box, Washington, DC
Photos courtesy Gary Johnson and Christopher Johnson
Posted January 14, 2016
Posted January 7, 2018
Posted December 31, 2017
2017 – The Year In Review
Posted December 17, 2017
The duo talk the NBA’s OKC big 3 and chemistry issues, the Houston Rockets unstoppable back court, this weeks NFL action, Roy Moore, Trump’s tax plan and former White House Staffer Omarosa getting the boot from the White House and the fallout from the sexual harassment claims throughout all industries.
Moral Bankruptcy aka the Republican Agenda (Posted December 13, 2017)
Congratulations Alabama for not embarrassing yourselves by elected a pedophile who thought America was great during slavery. Milk toast Democrat Doug Jones narrowly defeated the child molesting religious extremist in a tightly contested, and very important Senate race. The P*ssy grabber and Chief went all in on his support for Roy Moore admitting the Senate seat was worth more than not supporting an alleged attempted child rapist.
This election may have seemed like a layup, even for a Democrat in the deep south where the map is as red as it gets. The bible thumping Roy Moore only lost by about 1 point. This race shows that America is learning and getting wise to the Republicans bullshit. The Republicans talk about family values and conservatism, but they only care about ruthlessly pushing through the agenda of their big donors. The whole Republican platform is disingenuous.
The deficit hawks of the right are forcing through a tax bill that would add 1.4 trillion dollars to the deficit. They care about sexual harassment, when Democrats are accused but if its their president who has 19 accusers and has admitted on tape doing what he’s accused of, then all of a sudden Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell turn into Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder.
The Republicans have no morals and their policies clearly show it. However, I’m not letting the Democrats off the hook. The 2016 election was probably the worst debacle anyone could have imagined and the party still seems to struggle to clearly get across its message. What does the Democratic party stand for other than being opposed to the Republicans? I have no clue.
If the Democrats continue to resist going to a more populist direction they will continue to trot out more Hillary Clinton like candidates and lose to even worse candidates than Donald Trump. We as a country may have dodged a bullet with Alabama, but we still have a long way to go to overhaul our broken and corrupt political system tainted by big money donations.
Christopher Johnson is the youngest columnist on this website. He comments on sports, politics and current events. Chris is also the co-host of “The Legends of Inside Sports,” (YouTube) with legendary DC radio sports broadcaster and TV host Harold Bell. In his spare time he’s the Lead Guitarist for a band called The Courtland Experiment. You can also follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
Patriot Privilege by Christopher Johnson (Posted Dec. 10, 2017)
Patriot Privilege by Christopher Johnson
In a week of physical football that resulted in several players being suspended for personal fouls, one case stood out to me in particular. Rob Gronkowski Tight End of the New England Patriots was suspended just one game for dropping a “Hulk Hogan- like” elbow on a Buffalo Defensive Back well after the whistle was blown on the play. This was a deliberate premeditated non-football act of aggression.
There have been players as recently as this week who have been suspended for football play like Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver Ju Ju Smith Schuster for laying out Bengals enforcer Vontaze Burfict. Even though Ju Ju knocked the holy ghost out of Burfict and stood over him with an Allen Iverson level of disrespect.
Gronk’s hit happened to a defenseless player during the dead ball and reportedly caused the player to sustain a concussion. What makes this worse is Gronk’s response, which was that he felt he was held on the previous play and he was frustrated. You don’t get to attack another player because you felt you got held on a previous play. His one game suspension is a slap on the wrist and doesn’t set a good example for young football players coming up the ranks. If guys are getting suspended one game for football hits of this magnitude then I feel something even dirtier should get a harsher sentence. Then again, its Roger Goodell we are dealing with so who knows.
Harold Bell and Christopher Johnson (Posted Dec. 3, 2017)
The Great Kirk Cousins Debate
Posted November 30, 2017
For the past 2 seasons whether you want to admit it or not Washington Redskins signal caller Kirk Cousins has been one of the better Quarterbacks in the National Football League (NFL). Although his statistics have always been solid it’s the constant improvement and consistency that make Cousins worth the money he’s been seeking. I can understand the hesitation from the Redskins to make Cousins one of the highest paid Quarterbacks in football fearing a “Joe Flacco-like” situation that occurred with the Baltimore Ravens. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, in 2012 Flacco was playing the best football of his career and jump-starting a Super Bowl run. As a result, the Ravens made a decision to make Flacco the highest paid Quarterback (QB) in the game. Once he got paid his production dropped off and the team has not come close to a Super Bowl again.
Cousins, although solid in his early time as a starter, had issues making plays out of nothing and taking over games, but that’s just not the type of player he is. Kirk Cousins is a consistent and fearless leader who is smart and will learn from his mistakes. He is also a more than solid QB capable of picking defenses apart by spreading the ball around and executing a game plan.
Here’s the bottom line. Kirk Cousins is better than more than half of the starting QBs in the NFL league easily and is still improving every season. His career trajectory and numbers are very similar to New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees. I know, that sounds crazy. I’m not saying he is going reach Drew Brees’ level of greatness, but the potential is there as Cousins continues to improve. The Redskins would be insane to let Cousins go. The team should open their checkbook and sign him to a long-term deal. It is too hard to find a QB capable of being a franchise guy. If he somehow is on someone else’s roster next season then the Redskins will be competing with the woeful Cleveland Browns for the number one pick in the next NFL draft.
Until Next Time
Harold Bell and Christopher Johnson.
Fighting Blind: The Biff Cline Story
By Christopher Johnson (Originally Posted June 16, 2006)
Publisher’s Note: I first met Biff Cline when he walked into my office in 2003. I looked up and he was just walking around. I asked if I could help him and he introduced himself and explained that he used to work in the building as a bouncer when it was a nightclub about 30 years ago. He just wanted to look around and rekindle some old memories.
To be honest, I had my doubts that this small yet well built man was a former light heavyweight contender. One day I decided to check with some local boxing historians and see what I could learn about Biff Cline.
I learned that Donald “Biff” Cline was a contender for the light heavyweight boxing crown who was managed by his father for most of his career. In fact, next to Sugar Ray Leonard, Biff Cline is arguably Prince George’s County Maryland’s greatest boxer of all time. He was also a star full back at Suitland High School.
He fought on ABC’s Wide World of Sports and was a contender for the light heavyweight U.S. title as part of a boxing tournament. He was also trained by the legendary Angelo Dundee and was inducted in the Washington, D.C. Boxing Hall of Fame. Biff Cline was a real life Rocky Balboa. Biff knows the seamy side of the sport firsthand and wants to clean up the sport. Boxing was good to Biff, but it also left him blind in one eye.
After his boxing career ended Biff joined the ranks of the Capitol Police as a uniform officer. He held a series of odd jobs such as bouncer and maintenance worker. Biff Cline has a unique story. He suffers from pugilistic dementia. This form of dementia is a neurological disorder, which affects career boxers, and others who receive multiple punches to the head. Biff’s short-term memory is not good. He can’t remember what he told you 5 minutes ago, but he can remember every detail from an event 30 years ago.
Biff is about 60 years old and looks 15 years younger. He’s still in great shape and looks like he could kick your ass right now at the drop of a hat.
Biff Cline is one of the most sensitive people I’ve ever met. If you judge Biff by his attitude, you would never know that he’s fallen on hard times. He’s one of those guys who respects and gets along with everyone. He grew up around black people and over time adopted enough elements of the culture that he just blends in with everyone.
Thirty some years after his career ended, Biff has assembled his memoirs in hopes of landing a book or movie deal. Life has been hard for Biff. He’s been divorced twice and lives in a room at a house with friends in a Maryland suburb outside of Washington, D.C.
Biff served in Vietnam in 1968 during the TET Offensive, was a bouncer, construction worker, U.S. Capitol Police officer and bodyguard. He is one of the many boxers who have been exploited by the sport of boxing. He says he’s been drugged by crooked ring handlers, told to take dives and had his record “beefed up” to falsify the number of wins. Like most boxers, Biff quit boxing and then made a comeback a few years later.
In 1974, he quit the police force to come back as a light heavyweight, under the management of his now-deceased father, Chris Cline. Biff soon had a string of first-round knockouts and a spot in Ring magazine’s national rankings. “I missed wanting to be world champion,” says Cline.
Cline’s training finally seemed to pay off in 1977, when ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” televised his fight against Ray Elson, an equally fierce puncher. Howard Cosell, the legendary sportscaster who was announcing the fight, called Cline a “rough, rugged youngster.” Biff gave me a tape of that fight to watch. The fight was brutal. As both men threw “haymakers,” Cline’s father mysteriously jumped into the ring and stopped the fight. To this day, Biff claims that he did not lose that fight. “I never lost,” Cline recalled. “I had my TV fight, and my father stopped it. He shouldn’t have.” In 1992 Biff Cline’s dream of being a boxing champion ended. He suffered a detached retina in his left eye in a fight. He took to wearing a black patch that he still wears today.
With a young daughter to help care for, he needed extra money. He was hired as a bouncer at area nightclubs where he put his boxing skills to work. Instead of bouncing guys out, he would knock them out. “I was scared. I didn’t want to do it. I’m very nonviolent, believe it or not.”
In 1979, Cline returned to the Capitol Police but later returned to boxing in yet another comeback attempt. By that time his skills had eroded and a cloud later known as the Ring Magazine Scandal tainted his career.
In 1976, Ring Magazine fabricated records of selected boxers, to elevate them, thereby securing them lucrative fights on the American ABC television network, as part of the United States Championship Tournament. The United States Championship Tournament was a promotional effort by promoter Don King to capitalize on the patriotism surrounding the United States Bicentennial and the American amateur success at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. Cline’s record is listed as 14-3-1 included 11 knockouts. During his ring career, Biff he met the likes of Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Dwight Braxton and Marvin Hagler. Speaking of Dwight Braxton, who later became Dwight Muhammad Qwai, Biff fought Qwai in 1979 and claims that he was drugged before the fight. He lost that fight which was for the Light Heavyweight title. This as well as other “cliff hangers” are an important part of his story.
In 2006, Biff Cline was shopping his manuscript about his life called “Fighting Blind: The Biff Cline Story.” He was looking for an agent to help him get a movie deal and to help him protect his intellectual property.
Boxer Biff Cline as he looks today.
Boxing has not been kind to Biff Cline. He is blind in one eye and has a degenerative back disease that has left him unable to work. He currently is living with a family in a Maryland suburb. Although he has little material wealth, Biff Cline has a mountain of pride and a love for people of all races and cultures.
My youngest son Christopher (C.J.) is a boxing fan. I introduced him to Biff and Biff has always taken the opportunity to encourage C.J. to perform well in school and to be a good citizen. The Biff Cline that I’ve come to know is a very sensitive man with a very gentle spirit. He appears to be more concerned about others than he is about himself at times.
Christopher sat down with Biff and conducted an exclusive interview for Black Men In America.com. Portions of the interview were challenging for young Christopher. This was his first experience with a sports celebrity and someone who suffers from memory loss. At times he had to remind Biff that he had already shared some things and at other times he had to gently get him back on track when it came to answering specific questions. The great thing about Biff is that he makes you feel comfortable. He knows that he suffers from dementia and gives you license to stop and correct him.
If Biff Cline says he’s your friend, you can go to your grave knowing that you’ve got a friend for life.
Here we are in December 2017. I’ve lost touch with Biff. I don’t know if he’s dead or alive. Biff was a vibrant character who left a lasting impression on me and on my young son Christopher. Bill Cline was C. J.’s first major interview. Let’s look back down memory lane and read C.J.’s interview with former light heavyweight boxer Bill Cline at the Black Men In America.com office in Temple Hills, MD on June 16, 2006.
Where is Biff Cline? The last I heard, Biff is living in Pensacola, Florida. Biff, if you or someone you know is reading this column, get in touch with me and let me know that you’re OK.
Gary Johnson – Founder and Publisher, Black Men In America.com
Fighting Blind: The Biff Cline Interview
By Christopher Johnson, Black Men In America.com
BMIA.com: Biff, thank you for coming to the office for this interview. Please tell our visitors what division you fought in and what was your final ring record?
Biff Cline: Thank you for having me Christopher. I was a professional fighter from 1971 to 1981. I had my first bout as a heavyweight. I was 185 lbs., which seems terribly light these days. Heavyweights now are typically over 230 lbs. I turned pro when I was 24 years old. By the time of my 8th professional fight I was fighting on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. My fights up to that point were all first round knockouts against mostly mediocre opponents. I had everything going against me for this 8th fight. I was 30 years old. My opponent was highly ranked and I knew that I was in over my head, but I thought that I could go in and knock this guy out like I had done the others. At that time many people considered me the hardest puncher in boxing pound for pound.
BMIA.com: What happened?
Biff Cline: My father, who was my manager stopped the fight in the 8th round. I was taking some punishment the last few rounds but I was ahead on all the scorecards. My dad later lost his manager’s license because he was found guilty of beefing up my record and doing some other crooked things. He also mismanaged my money. He bought a carryout restaurant in District Height, Maryland (Chris and Biff’s) and paid cash for it. As a result of my father being banned from boxing I formed a corporation called Biff Cline Enterprises with Fred Burke and 20 other investors to try and provide income.
BMIA.com: How did you feel about yourself as a boxer?
Biff Cline: Before my television fight I wasn’t sure whether or not I had all of the stuff to be a heavyweight champion. After I saw my TV fight I knew positively that I could be a world champion and one of the hardest punchers in boxing. I was still working a job and trying to train and be world champion. The newly formed corporation afforded me money ($200.00 a week) and all I had to do was just train. I had a lot going on. In 1973, I had a wife and a new daughter and my focus was on taking care of them and trying to fight.
BMIA.com: How did that work out?
Biff Cline: I realized that I needed a manager, so I called the legendary Angelo Dundee who was Muhammad Ali’s trainer. Angelo also trained Sugar Ray Leonard. Angelo thought I was good enough to fight for the title. In 1978, I had a fight with Dave Ditmars and knocked him out in the 6th round at the D.C. Armory. Did I mention why I formed the corporation?
Biff Cline: OK, you know I have trouble with my short-term memory.
BMIA.com: That’s OK. What was your workout routine like?
Biff Cline: I did roadwork and did concentration curls to build my arm muscles to help me become a devastating puncher. I trained all day.
BMIA.com: I remember watching the fight and George Foreman said you had the body of a bodybuilder.
Biff Cline: That’s right. I worked hard and sparred hard in the gym. I was never considered a gym fighter. I sparred with anyone who would fight me. I sparred only to learn. I’ve never been knocked out. I was stunned a few times but never knocked out. I fought wars in the gym. I sparred with a guy fighter Irish Mike Baker who was one of the greatest fighters to ever step in the ring. I trained against quality competition.
BMIA.com: So this helped you?
Biff Cline: Yeah, but then I started having trouble with the corporation. They wanted too much of my money. I had a lot of problems and left the corporation.
BMIA.com: What was it like to fight on ABC’s Wide World of Sports?
Biff Cline: It was kind of scary. The person that I fought had a lot more experience than me. I felt better after I saw the tape of the fight.
BMIA.com: You were inducted into the Washington, D.C. Boxing Hall of Fame. How did that feel?
Biff Cline: It made my whole career worth it. I didn’t win the heavyweight title so getting inducted was the next best thing.
BMIA.com: What did you like most about boxing?
Biff Cline: I didn’t like boxing. I had two football scholarships offers as a fullback. I played for Columbia Prep School. I had a football injury (pinched nerve in my neck and vertebrae). I was getting a hot pain down my arm and my hand was shaking, but I still wanted to pay my way. I got a job in construction and later got a draft notice and served in Vietnam. I’m very patriotic. I wanted to serve. I ended up serving 2 years and 11 months and got out in 1969.
BMIA.com: What did you do when you came home?
Biff Cline: Smoking pot and doing drugs. I was trying to use drugs to escape the horrors of the war. I was sprayed with Agent Orange and I had a liver disorder and other complications as a result of being in combat. I also got a “Dear John” letter from my girlfriend. So in 1971 I quit the drugs and I knew I had to do something to keep away from the drugs, so I turned to sports. I wanted to play fullback for the Washington Redskins but that didn’t work out.
BMIA.com: Do you follow the sport of boxing today?
Biff Cline: No. I don’t like boxing. I have enough trouble forgetting the past, so boxing is a reminder of some bad times. Don’t get me wrong. Boxing is a great sport. It’s the ultimate in one-on-one competition. Football is my first love when it comes to sports.
BMIA.com: Do you follow any other sport?
Biff Cline: Not really. I’m more focused on trying to get my house back that I loss in 2004. I’m shopping my life story called: “Fighting Blind: The Biff Cline Story.”
BMIA.com: What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in boxing?
Biff Cline: If you want to get into boxing, don’t do it unless you want to be the best. If you want to learn how to defend yourself you might want to consider karate. You can learn how to box to defend yourself. Be careful of sparring because it causes brain damage. That’s what I suffer from. I have a friend of mine named Buddy Harrison who has a school on Alexander Ferry Road, in Clinton, Maryland. That’s a good place to learn. He was one of the best boxers around at that time and his son is good boxer too.
BMIA.com: If people reading this article want to help you, how can they help you?
Biff Cline: People can help me sell my life story in the form of a book and a movie. I need a publisher or someone who can advance me some money. I’m just trying to get stable. From 1986-1990 my only job was as a bouncer. My marriage was breaking up so things were just rough.
BMIA.com: Biff we’re going to conduct a word association exercise where I call out a name or a phrase and you respond with the first thing that comes to your mind. OK?
Biff Cline: OK. Let’s do it.
- BMIA.com: Don King.
- Biff Cline: Promoter.
- BMIA.com: Muhammad Ali.
- Biff Cline: The greatest of all time.
- BMIA.com: Sugar Ray Leonard.
- Biff Cline: One of the greatest of all time.
- BMIA.com: Angelo Dundee.
- Biff Cline: The greatest manager of all time.
- BMIA.com: Mike Tyson.
- Biff Cline: Greatest puncher of all time.
- BMIA.com: George Foreman.
- Biff Cline: The other greatest puncher of all time.
BMIA.com: Biff, thank you for taking the time to come to our office for this interview.
Biff Cline: Thank you Chris. If you need anything, you call me.
Left to Right: Christopher Johnson and former heavyweight contender Biff Cline at the Black Men In America.com office.0