Friday, August 19, 2005

Summer Sports Notes

So while I've been lounging around the house this summer, I've noticed a few things happened in the world of sports. Here's a few thoughts:

Little Boy Green. I have always hated the Philadelphia Eagles, and when Mr. Owens signed with them, I had all the more reason to do so. People use the word "distraction," "disruptive," and sometimes "distasteful" to describe this person. I say epitomizes all that is wrong in the world of sports. He used the phrase "be a man" in his invitation to have his coach do what he wants. He tells people "I'm a grown man" as some sort of excuse for being allowed to behave as he does. Mr. Owens is not a man; he is a child. He is like a spoiled teenager whose hormones and impulses drive his thoughts and actions.

And he was given a timeout by the Eagles, a move I heartily applaud. But he has been coddled enough. When (not if) he throws his next tantrum or his next prank, this team and the league need to send him to his room until he realizes he isn't the only person on the planet and that he and football can survive just fine letting others have attention. That or send him, in his infamous fatigues, to Brat Camp.

(I refused to call him "T.O." because nicknames and cute shortened versions of one's name lend an air that he is actually important.)

The right to remain silent. What seems to have been lost in all the rhetoric here is that Rogers was harangued by people for some time before he blew his stack and injured men doing their jobs (sort of). Mr. Rogers should not have attacked these men; however, everyone has a breaking point and given his circumstance we should be surprised he held his temper so long.

Further, the incident has brought me back to a problem I've noticed throughout sports. Why must an athlete or coach talk to anyone? Dale Hanson, among others, whined long before the violence about Rogers's refusal to talk to the media. Could it be that much of the anger had come from reporters initially, and not from Rogers?

Sports fans should notice that often players and coaches are fined for not speaking to the press, and not just when they refuse to participate in special media days (another odd idea--everyday is Media Day) or autograph sessions. I'm sure in most cases, it is good PR to speak to the media who can easily hurt a man's career (right Mr. Switzer? right Mr. Reeves?). However, what is the rationale for forcing players and coaches to give their usually banal thoughts?

A little juice, Mr. Palmero? I'm more than a little disappointed the Rafael Palmero has not only tested positive for steroids, but that he lied so much and so long about it. He should probably quit trying to convince us that there was some sort of accident and that he is going to discuss "his side of the story." Unless his side is to tell the truth (including why he seems to have lied so vehemently to Congress, a moment that strikes me as being like gangsters shooting other gangsters for being gangsters), I'm not sure anyone is going to be listening except to find more soundbytes for talk radio hosts and comedians to skewer. Otherwise, just shut up.

Does anyone remember Steve Moore? Hockey is back, and none too soon. I am excited that soon I will be able to watch slap shots and hear the scrape of blades on ice. But wait a minute! Bertuzzi gets to return to play after serving only twenty games. Why this guy isn't living out the next ten years in prison followed by an exciting career sacking groceries is beyond my comprehension. Both Commissioner Gary Bettman and the Players Union should be ashamed for letting this happen. I'm also taken aback that Wayne Gretsky supports the decision, noting that he is happy Bertuzzi will now be available to play for Team Canada.

Bertuzzi will earn 5.2 million dollars this year while Steve Moore will struggle to walk normally. If we can't get rid of Bertuzzi, how about a clause that states Moore's family gets at least half of Bertuzzi's salary until Moore can play again?

The most popular sport an afterthought. Just thought I'd throw in a thought that while the U.S. National Team is poised to go back the World Cup, and this team may be even stronger than last, the sport of soccer still gets little or no press. Most of the local media coverage for FC Dallas has been over the new stadium, not the actual games. I know that soccer is not the most popular sport in the United States (most who even mention it on talk radio do so in derision), but how much broadcast time does Mr. Owens really need?

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