Character Building at UT

October 5, 2019

Jeremy Pruitt. Just win, baby
(rockytoptalk.com)

Well it seems University of Tennessee head football coach Jeremy Pruitt has finally had his “Come to Jesus” moment. Pruitt at long last kicked scumbag Jeremy Banks off the team after a new video surfaced of the sophomore linebacker threatening to “smack” a woman after slapping a cellphone out of her hand as she attempted to put the miscreant’s behavior on the record.  Banks, of course, had the requisite pants drooped down below his ass as he cursed, spewed threats, and proudly declared, “I been thuggin’.”  The woman claims Banks has been harassing her for months.

Apparently a different video (below) earlier in the week of Banks using the King’s English to unleash profane threats at police officers while being arrested three weeks ago wasn’t enough for Pruitt to give up on the fine young man.  Banks had been pulled over for a traffic violation and was then detained when police found an outstanding warrant.

Pruitt covered his player’s ass at the time with an insincere and scripted response:

“Jeremy’s (Banks) behavior and comments are unacceptable and portrayed himself and our football program very poorly and he understands that. We will address the matter internally. I’m determined to do what I can to help Jeremy grow up and become a better man. Our team and staff respect our law enforcement and we will continue to educate our players on how to carry themselves at all times.”

Not only is Pruitt a shitty coach (6-10 record in his 2nd year), he has questionable values.  In this truncated version of the police video, you can’t see the “student-athlete” call his head coach in the middle of the night, looking to be let off the hook for what must be the umpteenth time judging by Pruitt’s discussion with the officers.

“So why do you, I mean, why do you have to arrest him just ’cause he’s got a warrant?” Pruitt can be heard saying over the phone.  “This is the silliest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.” Pruitt goes on to say, “I’ve worked at four places and never had no crap like this except for here.”

Pruitt previously worked at football factories Alabama, Georgia, and Florida State where criminality is de rigueur and filthy pond scum like Banks are routinely excused for their aberrant and criminal behavior.  To his credit, Pruitt does finally relent and tells the cops to do their “civic duty.”

“While I will continue to support Jeremy in the next steps in his life, information I recently received made it clear that this decision is in the best interest of the football program and the university,” Pruitt said in announcing that Banks will be let go from the team and be free to go about his “thugging” in what will no doubt end in a prison term some time down the road.

These athletes are the people we’re told are being exploited and who are supposed to be paid for their fine contributions to the universities they represent.  And of course, it won’t be long before Banks plays the race card.

There is Crying in Baseball

March 19, 2016

 

I guess major league baseball players had to do something to enliven the insufferably boring game they play so they’ve decided to create a stir by supporting Adam LaRoche, the puerile, soft-hitting White Sox first baseman who quit on his team four days ago like a pouty brat because he was told by executive vice president Kenny Williams not to bring his 14-year old son Drake to the ballpark EVERY day.

 

Major league players, who always point to the sanctity of the clubhouse as a place where what goes on there stays there, apparently can disregard that credo when they want to mouth off about their boss who made the grown-up decision that children should not be omnipresent in a workplace environment.  White Sox pitcher Chris Sale essentially called Williams a liar while he whined about the LaRoche situation to reporters, apparently distraught that there’s no “safe space” in the White Sox locker room for him and his other pampered and overpaid loser teammates that finished 19 games out of first place last year.

 

Centerfielder Adam Eaton lamented that, “We lost a leader in Drake,” apparently oblivious to how stupid it sounds that grown men, all multi-millionaires, need to find a beacon of leadership in a 14-year old boy.  But leadership is, after all, in short supply in a league where sociopathic behavior like that of David Ortiz pummeling and destroying a dugout phone with his bat is dismissed as simply being competitive, and wife-beaters like Aroldis Chapman get nominal suspensions.  But hey, these major league softies aren’t even allowed to run over the catcher or slide anymore.

 

Dodgers’ pitcher Clayton Kershaw, apparently simpatico with LaRoche, conducted an entire interview today with his 14-month old daughter on his lap.  Perhaps this toddler could suit up and take the mound when playoff time rolls around so her old man can be spared the indignity of another one of his post-season collapses.

 

Former players got in on the act as well.  Chipper Jones, that champion of household cohesion, posted on Twitter, “Big ups to my boy for standing up for his beliefs.  We play a game.  Good for U brother.”  Jones, who is on his third wife, this one a former Playboy model who specialized in naked shower scenes, also has an out of wedlock son he sired with a Hooters waitress while cheating on his first wife.  But he’s a voice for the major league contingent of the family values crowd.

 

Sadly, this is the age we live in. Me, me, me.  From Twitter accounts to cell phone worship, the millennial generation has an insatiable need to be heard and to put its entire doings online for public consumption.  Everyone has to pretend they think it’s cute when Stephen Curry lets his obnoxious daughter hijack an interview after the 2015 NBA conference finals, before he finally releases her from his lap and lets someone who appears to be a team official clean up his mess.  This spectacle, unwittingly, bears sad testimony to the way many athletes deal with kids—have them and let someone else take care of them when the hard work starts.

 

LaRoche’s actions are equally selfish.  He wants the kid around 24/7, but there is no way he can monitor his son’s actions every minute, so fellow teammates and coaches are expected to bear the brunt.  While most players publicly expressed support for LaRoche, some must certainly be aggravated by the constant intrusion, and they are muted lest they be judged harshly by other teammates or the court of public opinion.

 

Jones claims that “we play a game,” but when LaRoche cites a piffling request to walk away from $13 million a year to play said game, he only reinforces the notion of the selfish, spoiled athletes who are so insulated they don’t even realize that most adults don’t have the luxury of quitting their jobs or EVER bringing their kids to work.  But I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts, that if some other team has use for a sniveling, .207-hitting baby like LaRoche, he’ll tuck his tail quick and come running back despite his “principled” stand.

Fab Five Fairly Fizzles

March 23, 2011

 

It was rather refreshing to see Grant Hill slap down Jalen Rose in response to Rose’s ridiculous pronouncement that Hill was an “Uncle Tom” for essentially valuing education and actually knowing both his parents. Hill wrote a well thought out piece for the New York Times in which he declared pride in his parents and gratitude for his Duke education. This rebuttal resulted from the firestorm that was created by Rose’s smack talk in the Fab Five documentary recently aired on ESPN.

 

I’m going to engage in some revisionist history here, because as a Michigan graduate I was a fan of the five young ballers who went to the NCAA basketball title game as freshmen, and then repeated the feat the following year as sophomores, although they lost both contests. The group was brash and energetic, and I witnessed a good number of their games either on TV or live in Crisler Arena.

 

But the passage of time has lent a different perspective than the one I held all those years ago, and I now have to consider the real legacy of the Fab Five. Perhaps after all the smoke has cleared, the only thing these Wolverine hoopsters really did was help usher in the era in which we’re now mired, an era where mediocrity is not just rewarded, but exalted. An era in which, not unlike the Fab Five themselves, people become famous not for their accomplishments, but for simply being famous. An era that has spawned the Kardashians and the Hiltons and Kate Gosselin and other non-talents who will do anything to get their faces on the idiot box. An era of lowered standards and in-your-face sportsmanship.

 

Because if you take the time to look at the ledger, the Fab Five really didn’t accomplish much. Consider this: I, me, yours truly has won as many Big Ten Championships, won as many NCAA championships, and won as many NBA title rings as every member of the Fab Five combined. That’s right…not one single member of that vaunted ball team won a single championship of any kind beyond high school. In fact, their only real claim to fame is having lost two consecutive NCAA championship games and contributing to the me-first mentality that now pervades a sports world where it is more important to make it on Sports Center than it is to win games.   But even any evidence of that ersatz achievement has been eviscerated as the team’s Final Four banners were removed from the Crisler rafters in the wake of Chris Webber’s conviction for lying to a grand jury about accepting illegal funds from a Michigan booster while Webber was in school.

 

Incidentally, Uncle Tom Grant Hill won two NCAA Championships at Duke, was voted NBA Rookie of the Year in 1995, and won a gold medal in the 1996 Olympics. Some Fab Five.

Sports Announcers, Like Their Hard News Brethren, Struggle With the Truth

August 2, 2010

 

When a witness testifies in a court of law he swears to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” This is because jurists of yore realized long ago that telling partial truths can be, and often is, every bit as much a falsehood as telling a flat-out lie. Saying that someone shot at you without disclosing that you shot at him first may be technically true, but is certainly not the whole truth. This failure to disclose has become standard operating procedure in the world of sports broadcasting. In order to drive ratings, announcers whore the product to ludicrous and sickening lengths.

 

This weekend, while broadcasting the Greenbrier Classic of the PGA Tour, CBS’s Jim Nantz was the pimp. I used to consider Nantz an able broadcaster and thought of him favorably until a few years ago at the Masters when he told me that it was a lovely day at Augusta and so implored me to “watch with a loved one.” Such saccharine palaver has now become a Nantz staple and this weekend was no exception. Nantz spent so much time sucking on D.A. Points’ shaft it was a wonder this middling golfer was able to pull his clubs out of the bag.

 

Points flirted with shooting a 59 on Saturday, and the CBS coverage was over-the-top, to say the least. The cameras lingered on Points ad nauseum even after he bogeyed the seventeenth hole to end any hopes he may have had to fire the magical number. Points did his part by playing slower than Jim Furyk on Quaaludes and milking every moment with over-exaggerated gestures for the cameras. Still Nantz and his fellow panderers–including perennial prick turned affable announcer Nick Faldo–gushed about this historic moment. What they downplayed, like all the talking heads on sports talk shows who dared not ruin this special moment with the facts, is that par on the Greenbrier course is 70…not 72, not even 71, but 70!! Thus a 59 is only 11-under…excellent to be sure, but a far cry from the 59’s shot by Al Geiberger, Chip Beck, and David Duval on par-72 courses. Moreover, a 59 on this course, this week, was almost pedestrian. J.B. Holmes had come close earlier in the day by shooting a 60, and indeed, on Sunday, Stuart Appleby would win the tournament by shooting the hallowed 59 number. On short courses softened by rains, PGA Tour players are going to go low and Points’ run at 59 warranted about half the coverage it received.

 

Once Points was in the clubhouse, Nantz and the CBS team turned all its attentions to the winless Jeff Overton, finally showing a graphic titled “On a Run.” Overton’s “run” included a 2nd place finish, two 3rd place finishes and a missed cut in his last six events…he would eventually piss away a three-shot overnight lead…a budding Jack Nicklaus he. They also ignored Overton’s petulant behavior which included a loud “FUCK” after a mis-hit fairway wood and thrown clubs, transgressions that draw condemnation when performed by Tiger Woods, the ONLY current athlete that merits any gushing.

 

Unfortunately, Nantz isn’t the only offender. While watching a Detroit Tigers-Tampa Bay Rays game last week, the announcers (I’ve successfully forgotten their names) gushed about Miguel Cabrera’s ability and his chance to win the Triple Crown. Never mind that Cabrera was leading only one of the three categories necessary to win the award; the fact that he was at bat was enough for the announcers to wax poetic and show old videos of Carl Yastrzemski, baseball’s last Triple Crown winner. Why bother viewers with pesky facts when you can tailor the facts to fit your storyline??? Later in the broadcast these same buffoons rambled at length about the Hall of Fame prospects of Tiger centerfielder Johnny Damon. Damon, like all players of the era, has grossly inflated numbers due to the confluence of gutless, specialized pitchers, juiced baseballs, and juiced players, but the announcers ticked off Damon’s numbers like they have some relevance in this bastardized era in baseball’s storied history. So you understand, Johnny Damon is by NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO stretch of the imagination a Hall of Famer, but the media machine has to keep the brain-dead, attention-challenged viewing public happy. Oh, by the way, Cabrera and Damon’s Tigers were no-hit that day.

Tiger in the Tank

February 19, 2010

 

Well, it finally happened. Tiger Woods went down the road of all sniveling cowards this morning when he delivered the “heartfelt” apology that the media has been demanding for the past three months. Up to this point, I, like many others, had been disappointed by the golf great’s marital indiscretions, but I had at least held out hope that Woods would have the courage to continue delivering his hearty middle-finger salute to the media jackals insisting on an apology that NO ONE, outside his family and friends, is entitled to.

 

That Tiger would lower himself with such a charade is my biggest letdown of this entire tawdry affair. The man whose trademark has always been a confident swagger looked every bit like Sylvester Stallone trying to emote as he faked his way through the orchestrated dog and pony show with all the robotic sincerity of the Manchurian Candidate. Tiger spoke of core beliefs and spiritual awakenings, but there was plenty of time for soul-searching in the three-plus years that he was crossing the globe porking anyone that could fog a mirror. If you believe one of the dime-store sluts he was hooking up with, Woods was slipping the Jimmy to her while his wife was delivering one of their children. Seems like that may have been a good time to rethink his ways, but alas, it appears family wasn’t that important until endorsement contracts started drying up.

 

Tiger has more money than he will ever know what to do with, and if privacy and family were really his primary concern, he would have continued his silence and eventually returned to the golf course, sans sponsorship, and with the insistence that he would speak to the media only of golf. This morning’s statement looks like nothing more than a desperate act to recapture his adoring corporate sponsors, and for what? I, for one, thought he would at least announce when he would be making a return to golf, but absent that, what was the point? If he thinks the relentless media assault will be any less severe after today, he’s not as smart as we’ve all been giving him credit for. Until he answers questions outside of his controlled cocoon, the media savages will tear him limb to limb, and if, as many say, he is fulfilling some part of a “twelve-step program,” is this not the most insincere manner of doing so? Would it not be more appropriate to meet face-to-face with those he’s hurt and apologize from the heart?

 

Those who insist that Woods let down his sponsors and fans need to grow up and look in the mirror. A vast majority of the pious hypocrites calling for his hide have committed similar, if not worse, violations of their own marriages, and the argument that Woods marketed himself as a family man while reaping mega-contracts is only valid if we subject everyone to the same standard. Charlie Sheen and serial philanderer Michael Jordan appear in ads together selling underwear, even as Sheen appears in the tabloids seemingly every week for a sundry list of indiscretions including drug and alcohol abuse, and domestic violence, but I have yet to see anyone hold his feet to the fire. The list of bad people shilling products is endless, and it’s utterly despicable that some are holding Tiger to a higher standard than politicians who rape and pillage their constituency, teachers who sleep with their students, and priest who molest little boys.

 

Tiger committed no crimes (other than a speculative drunk-driving violation on Thanksgiving night), and owes nothing to the Pollyanas who still believe in Santa Claus or the media whores who spent the day gleefully ranking celebrity apologies and fretting that Woods hadn’t debased himself quite enough for their liking. Gloria Allred tried to cash in on the debacle by staging her own press conference this afternoon with her client– a weepy porn star, who insisted she was in love with Woods and was owed an apology–trouble is, I couldn’t tell which one was the whore.

 

I have always been a Tiger Woods fan, and I won’t pretend that I’m not going to watch him play when he returns, because despite his failings, he is simply beautiful to watch on a golf course. I only wish that he confined his entertainment value to that venue, and not slipped into the reality show miasma of the “celebrity apology.”

Dan Dierdorf Needs To Stuff It!

January 16, 2010

 

 

 

Well I have now seen it all. CBS’ Dan Dierdorf managed to announce the entire Colts/Ravens playoff game with a curious, but severe handicap…he spent the entire night with not one, but two penises stuffed in his mouth. Peyton Manning and Jim Caldwell should be well satisfied with their sacks fully drained as the former Hall of Fame lineman Dierdorf fellated both men with gusto continuously throughout the broadcast.

 

I’m not even certain Dierdorf watched the same game I did. He gushed and gushed and gushed again about how fresh the Colts looked in a feeble defense of head coach Caldwell’s gutless decision to lie down three weeks ago against the Jets, thereby forfeiting a wonderful opportunity to grab an undefeated season. Never mind that the Colts looked anything but dominant in squeaking out a win in a game that was much closer than the 20-3 score would indicate. Let there be no mistake; the Colts didn’t win this game, the Ravens lost it.

 

The “fresh” Colts averaged 1.7 yards on 25 carries, and their passing offense dinked and dunked all night, while the Ravens moved the ball on the ground at a 4.6 yard per carry clip and dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage. Manning was NOT sharp, missing receivers all night and being bailed out of two interceptions by an Ed Reed fumble, and an interference call (it’s the playoffs and Manning gets all the calls since he whined like a little bitch several years ago when the Patriots kicked his ass in Foxboro).

 

Were it not for the Ravens’ numerous penalties, fumbles, and dropped passes (and some wretched coaching from John Harbaugh just before the half), they cakewalk to a win. I understand that’s all part of the game, but to hear Dierdorf tell it, Caldwell single-handedly brought home the bacon by interrupting his menstrual cycle long enough to bring his team off the field against the Jets.

 

Then, once the game was over, Dierdorf finally guzzled down Caldwell’s load by intoning that the issue of the Colts quitting against the Jets was in the past and that Caldwell was vindicated. Dierdorf clearly doesn’t understand that there are two more wins to be had if Caldwell’s Colts want real vindication. And oh, by the way, Dan…the Colts could be 17-0 right now, on their way to perfection, and giving you abundant opportunity to pontificate further about the gutless one. Come to think of it…maybe Caldwell did us all a favor.

A-Rod the Nimrod

March 22, 2009

 

If you need the perfect example of unbridled hubris all you need to do is look at the cover of the most recent Details magazine. There you’ll see, in all his glory, Alex Rodriguez, the choke-artist third baseman for the Yankees, with his sleeves rolled up to reveal his steroid-enhanced, over-inflated biceps.

 

It would take a greater mind than mine to guess which is bigger, his arms or his ego. This, I suppose, is what passes for contrition in the world of baseball, where everyone lies until they’re busted, and players like Rodriguez, who come up small when it matters most, have a sense of entitlement to rival members of Congress. But A-Rod, who has always been faint of heart, be it with two runners on in the ninth, or while witnessing the birth of his child, has the balls to grace the Details cover–a mere month after being exposed for steroid use–thoroughly unashamed that the big numbers he has posted (albeit very few in post-season) came from a jar. Shame is clearly no consideration for a great guy who would dump his wife for a strumpet like Madonna.

 

But birds of a feather flock together, so the juicer and the lip-syncher should make beautiful music together. Rodriguez has always been hyper-sensitive to criticism, but this will be one year where he can’t claim he doesn’t like being needled.

Goodell Has no Gonads

 

February 20, 2009

 

If you checked the very back pages of your sports section today, you found the story tucked in among the daily transactions that the gutless NFL has decided to fine Steelers’ wide-receiver Santonio Holmes $10,000 for his end-zone celebration following his game-winning catch in Super Bowl XLIII. This fine, coming a full nineteen days after the fact must be music to the ears of referee Terry McAulay, whose crew was responsible for whistling a whopping eighteen penalties on game day, and now gets to tack on another for shits and grins. And on the nineteenth day, GOODELL created a nineteenth penalty.

 

Goodell, the tough-talking commissioner of the NFL, who wasn’t heard from the day after the game, when Cardinals fans were rightly upset at this missed call from a crew that hadn’t missed so much as an untied shoelace all day, snuck this fine through in typical NFL fashion…behind closed doors and under cover of night. Had the penalty been assessed during the game, as it should have been, the Cardinals would have been in excellent position to drive the field and win the game. But the NFL has long been in the business of apologizing for screw-ups that cost team games, usually throwing their own sacrificial lamb, Mike Pereira, the Vice President of Officiating, to the wolves.

 

This time, Goodell himself decided to woman up and offered the following feeble explanation. “As you know, part of this rule is to avoid having a reaction from opposing players and, from what I could see, only seeing it once, it didn’t seem like it was anywhere near that.” Sort of like saying the point of homicide laws is to prevent people from getting killed, but since Nicole Brown didn’t complain afterwards, we’ll let O.J. walk free. Oh, wait a minute–.

 

But don’t you worry….Goodell and Pereira are putting the finishing touches on a new rule that will fine players for wearing their socks too high. You can close the barn door now, Roger, the cows are gone.

Golf is the Only Sport That Matters

 

 

February 2, 2009

 

 

The time has come, at last, to deposit the NFL in the “Dustbin of Sports” alongside the charter member NBA, steroid-abusing MLB, and the sports of cycling, boxing, tennis, and track and field. Yesterday the Pittsburgh Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII by defeating the Arizona Cardinals in a thriller, but what I’ll most remember about the game was the omnipresence of referee Terry McAulay who got more face time than Pacman Jones at a sleazy strip club. The game was awash in penalties—18 accepted in all—and violated what used to be an understood maxim in big games…”Let ‘em play.”

 

But the NFL becomes more and more ludicrous with each passing season. Terry McAulay and his crew essentially took away any rhythm that might have otherwise been established. I’m not going to cry for the Cardinals…there were egregious calls on both sides of the ball, but it did seem as if the Cards got the short end of the stick. A ridiculous late hit call on Ben Roethlisberger, a no-ejection on James Harrison for a street mugging, a ticky-tack chop block call on Edgerrin James, and a critical no-call on what should have been a no-brainer when Santonio Holmes used the ball as a prop in his end-zone celebration after scoring the winning TD. And then, on the last play of the game, with everything at stake, the booth review team thought it unnecessary to have a look at Kurt Warner’s fumble—even though numerous viewings of the tape still don’t yield a definitive answer.

 

This is the same Terry McAulay whose crew screwed the Titans in their playoff game against the Ravens earlier in the Divisional playoffs when they missed a delay of game penalty on the Ravens on a play in which Baltimore converted a key third down and then went on to kick the winning field goal. Ed Hochuli, he of the big arms and even bigger ego, cost the Chargers a game earlier in the season against Denver, but he was rewarded with the Dolphins-Titans playoff game. Refereeing is becoming worse and worse and I believe it’s largely due to instant replay—the fix has become the problem.

 

The rules state video evidence must be “indisputable,” but this rule seems to be skirted when it’s convenient. The very same Santonio Holmes who scored yesterday’s game-winner, was involved in a goal-line controversy against the Ravens in the regular season and was awarded a TD after referee Walt Coleman determined the ball had crossed the goal-line even though the call on the field was no TD, and replays were inconclusive. Walt Coleman was the referee who put in his biggest fix by invoking the “Tuck Rule,” which essentially allowed the New England Patriots to win a Super Bowl they shouldn’t have even been playing in.

 

With the media all in a lather today about the non-review of the Kurt Warner play, NOT A ONE ever addresses the most indefensible aspect of instant replay: Why aren’t coaches allowed to challenge in the last two minutes of either half? Think about how preposterous this is…at the most critical junctures of the game, coaches have to rely on the Pooh-Bahs in the booth to seek justice. And the NFL wonders why people think the fix is in.

 

The NBA is already one hundred percent devoid of credibility. Referee Tim Donaghy is doing time as we speak for using “inside information” to alter the outcome of games, and commissioner David Stern would have us believe he’s a “rogue.” But the truth is no one takes the NBA seriously anymore as it is officiated by blind old men who don’t even bother with the rules anymore….traveling is so epidemic they’ve actually coined a term for a rules violation and players are lauded for their ability to “jump stop.” A typical Kobe Bryant drive to the hoop features more steps than an A.A. meeting, but this rapist is the poster boy for the league.

 

The inmates have always run the asylum in the NBA. All-time top-50 player Scottie Pippen once famously refused to enter a game when the last play wasn’t called for him. Toni Kukoc went on to hit the game-winner, justifying the play call, but Pippen sulked that he didn’t get the rock. And this year Stephon Marbury, who has ruined every team he’s played for, is being paid $21.9 million by the Knicks to wear street clothes and pout. He’s what passes for a superstar in this most ridiculous of all leagues.

 

Major League Baseball is composed of greedy, hormone-injected musclemen who whine about everything and are given outrageous long-term contracts based on “upside”, which they demand to renegotiate as soon as they’ve done something as pedestrian as hit .280 with 25 homers. Pitchers who throw a mere 200 innings are considered “workhorses” and the universally acknowledged “strongest union in sports”—the Major League Baseball Players Association—refuses to honor any other unions’ work stoppages.

 

Tennis players routinely tank for appearance fees, and recent gambling probes have uncovered strange “betting patterns” on several matches. The seeding system at tennis tournaments ensures that the best players don’t face any good opponents until the semi-finals or finals, and its instant replay system makes it incumbent on the player to do the umpire’s job.

 

Track and field doesn’t even make any pretense of being on the up-and-up anymore. Ben Johnson, Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery, and countless other Olympians have been banned from the sport and/or jailed for illegal steroid use. And cycling, widely considered the dirtiest sport, was until recently dominated by Lance Armstrong, a former cancer victim and seven-time Tour de France winner who tries to tell us with a straight face that in a sport where mere seconds or even hundredths of seconds decide the outcome, he–as a clean athlete—was defeating rivals who were using.

 

This all brings me finally to golf. There will be the naysayers who will say golf isn’t even a “sport,” but virtually every pro athlete plays the game and is frustrated by his inability to master it. The sainted Michael Jordan is a weekend hack despite his lies to the contrary. The game requires power to drive the ball 300-plus yards, accuracy to hit the ball close (as Sam Snead once said, “We have to play our foul balls.”), and touch, tempered by nerves of steel, to put the ball in the cup. There are no teammates to pick up the slack when you have an off-day, and the only penalties called are those you call on yourself. What an outrageous concept! Fair play and integrity!!

 

What’s more….golfers actually have to EARN their money!!! There are no contracts, long-term, short-term, or otherwise. Each and every year, players have to perform well enough to keep their cards…those that don’t wind up grinding it out on lesser tours where the money pales next to that of the PGA Tour.

 

Golf courses are blissfully free of the obnoxious music and histrionics that medicate the brain-dead and attention-span challenged fans of most other sports; and save the occasional “you da man”, golf is free of the hip-hop generation of fans who think they’re entitled to inject themselves into the play on the field. Golfers are well-spoken and almost without exception (John Daly aside) don’t make the tabloids or police blotters. And if you can name the last time Tiger Woods tanked, I’ll buy you a lifetime of free dinners.

 

I grew up a sports freak, but with each passing year, I find myself becoming less and less interested. I gave up on the NBA years ago, baseball followed shortly thereafter, and now the NFL is an afterthought unless I have money riding. For now, and probably forever after, only golf endures.

In Defense of Michael Phelps

 

 

February 4, 2009

 

So the media has found its quarry, and is now doing what it does best: tearing down the very heroes they created, fawned over, and exalted to Brobdingnagian stature. The sanctimonious media which tanked, in all its white guilt, to ensure we have a black president, are now finding moral compass in assassinating the character of a hugely successful, likable, and driven 23-year old who happened to enjoy a few tokes of the good herb at a South Carolina frat party.

 

These sportswriters (and I use the term “writer” loosely)—you know, the ones who charge their papers for 3-martini lunches and hoard the free liquor in the press box—are wringing their hands about the coming end of the world as we know it because Michael Phelps indulged in something any normal 23-year old should indulge in.

 

Never mind that Phelps works harder in one day than these fat louts work in their entire lives; in their minds, Phelps signals the beginning of the end. Phelps is a role model they cry…but Charles Barkley disabused us of any such notions years ago, and in a world where nudity, violence, and misogyny are the Holy Trinity of pop culture, it’s laughable that Phelps is being pilloried as he is.

 

The very language used by the vast majority of the writers is indicative of how ignorant they are about a subject of which they shoot their mouths off. Virtually every piece I read on the topic referred to Phelps smoking a “bong pipe.” NO ONE…and I mean NO ONE says “bong pipe.” You smoke out of a bong, or you smoke out of a pipe, NO ONE smokes out of a “bong pipe.” But when have journalists ever let their ignorance stand in the way of a good story?

 

Jemele Hill, the race-baiting writer for ESPN, who was suspended last year for making an ill-advised reference to Adolf Hitler in one of her columns, was on ESPN in recent days, lecturing Phelps about his indiscretions, and of course, pointing out how much money he will lose in endorsements. I find it curious how all the pious media always translate everything into dollars and cents—as if the set-for-life Phelps will really be hurt by a few lost endorsements. Hill, who will accomplish far less in her life than Phelps has already accomplished in his, has the temerity to tell the Olympian how he should be spending his free time. I can’t wait for her tutorial for Tiger Woods on how to hit a 175-yard cut shot.

 

And Pat Forde, another ESPN hack, writes in one of his pieces how his impressionable progeny, budding young swimmers they, have seen their world affected by this “crashing news.” Forde trots out all the bromides about role-models and obligations, never realizing that Phelps’ influence is minimal and has slipped through the cracks in a youth culture dominated by luminaries like Fifty Cent, Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan, and rapist Kobe Bryant. He doesn’t even see the irony in the fact that today’s children wouldn’t be caught dead doing anything of a physical nature if it involved anything more than pulling themselves from in front of their computers or idiot boxes to waddle their corpulent asses to the fridge.

 

Phelps is a 14-time gold medal-winner who is by all accounts a hard-worker (DUH!!), generous, and a respectful young man. He is free to come out my way anytime to smoke some of the good California medicinal…perhaps the perfect prescription for the uptight, self-righteous media members now standing in line to tear down the monster they created.