04.17.15

Philately Will Get You Nowhere : China’s Marbury Stamp

Posted in Basketball at 8:57 pm by

(you know the old saying, “Grenada makes, China takes”)

Would you have preferred “Return To Sender” for a headline? Chuck D. once famously declared, “most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamp”, but until Belize gets around to honoring Von LMO, Stephon Marbury is Coney Island’s most contemporary product to receive such an honor, as the NY Post’s Marc Berman (for fuck’s sake, WHO ELSE?) explains :


“I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that people will be able to buy a stamp of me to mail packages anywhere in the world,’’ said Marbury, who plans to give a speech at the National Museum of China in Beijing. “I am truly humbled. Never did I imagine in all of my 38 years of living that I — a kid who grew up 7,000 miles away from Beijing and a kid who came from the projects of Coney Island — would have a stamp of myself. I can never have dreamed it.”

Marbury plans to be back in the United States in late April and attend some playoff games. In his speech, he plans to announce he will be back for another season with Beijing.

Conflict Resolution With ESPN’s Britt McHenry

Posted in Sports TV at 5:00 pm by

So it seems Britt McHenry really turned on the charm when picking up her towed vehicle in Virginia earlier this week. The good news, however, is that since she didn’t Tweet anything that would bum anyone out, there’s no reason for ESPN to suspend her!

(KORRECTION KORNER : ok, well, it seems Ms. McHenry was indeed suspended for a week, but the towing company in question are trying to be good sports about the incident, admitting that “parking enforcement is contentious by nature”, and professing that “neither Gina, our lot clerk, nor our company, have any interest in seeing Britt McHenry suspended or terminated as a result of her comments”. Fair enough, jobless people are less likely to have cars to tow).

From The “What Could Possibly Go Wrong?” Dept : Beer-Serving Robots Coming To Bulls, Blackhawks Postseason

Posted in Basketball, Beer, Hockey, The Marketplace at 3:11 pm by

Crain’s Chicago Business’ Danny Ecker reports that Chicago’s basketball and hockey franchises intend to streamine beer sales with the above device starting with tomorrow’s Game 1 of the Bulls/Bucks series.

Fans buy a prepaid card from a cashier next to the machines, which they can use to tap a sensor on the DraftServ unit. They grab a cup and then, like pumping gas, buyers pour as much beer as they want into their cup, with the final price deducted from their card.

Drinkers pay by the ounce, as opposed to the standard-size offerings at regular arena concession stands. They’ll have a choice of Bud Light and Budweiser at 42.5 cents per ounce, or Stella Artois and Goose Island at 47.5 cents per ounce.

Though Ecker points out “the DraftServ prepaid cards are designed to keep fans from being overserved, too, with a 40-ounce maximum dispensed over a set time increment,”, there’s no mention of whether or not anyone — human or machine is entrusted with making certain no one who is already inebriated is being further inebriated.

04.15.15

If Only Crusher Blackwell Had Stuck Around Long Enough To Guest Edit Lucky Peach

Posted in Food, Professional Wrestling at 11:42 pm by

On this, the 32nd anniversary of the late Jerry Blackwell defeating Kerry Von Erich to win the NWA Missouri Heavyweight Title, let’s recall a fateful conversation between Blackwell and serial interrupter Mean Gene Okerlund.

Colishaw Pleads For Hamilton’s Return

Posted in Baseball at 10:10 pm by

Of the far-fetched notion the Angels would consider dumping Josh Hamilton onto the AL West rivals that experienced the troubled outfielder’s greatest successes, the Dallas Morning News’ Tim Colishaw writes, “he would at least provide entertainment,”, which is a nice way of saying his misfortunes would provide meaty subject matter for Colishaw before Cowboys training camp.

For Hamilton, it would provide a kick-start to the final chapter of his major league career. You think he can’t handle an apology for his remarks about this being a football town? You think he hasn’t dragged himself into and out of holes a hell of a lot worse in his life?

Hamilton still has the house here. He has a ballpark that conjures the finest memories of his career here. Even in 2012, when fans booed him during the one-game playoff with Baltimore after he had sat and slumped his way through September, Hamilton was fifth in the A.L. MVP voting.

He would consider a trade to Texas, literally, a gift from God.

Would you trade Choo straight up for Hamilton, no strings attached? Choo is owed $116 million from now through 2020. The Rangers would save $33 million in the long run. The Angels would get three years from Choo after Hamilton’s contract has expired.

04.14.15

With This Sort Of Sparkling Repartee, How Could Fox Sports Possibly Preempt Mike Francesa?

Posted in New York, New York, Sports Radio at 4:34 pm by

04.13.15

Terry Collins : Company Man With A Social Conscience

Posted in Baseball, New York, New York at 11:57 pm by

Not to take anything away from a successful Mets home opener that saw Jacob deGrom in dominant form, almong with Jeurys Familia collecting his 2nd save since the suspension of Jenrry Mejia, but Newsday’s Anthony Rieber reports billboards encouraging club ownership to, y’know, fuck off, are clearly visible from the 7 Train.

The billboards will be up until May 3. They were put up by Gary Palumbo, 39, of New London, New Hampshire, who raised $6,700 on the online donation site Kickstarter for the effort, according to an Associated Press report.

“They asked us to be patient through the Madoff issue and to let them go through their rebuilding process, and then they said when the time was ready, they were going to reinvest back into the team and get it ready for competitiveness,” Palumbo told the AP. “That was supposed to be last year, but with the [Matt] Harvey injury, that kind of set everything back. And so once we went into this offseason and they signed [Michael] Cuddyer and then did nothing else, that was really the tipping point for me. That demonstrated that the Wilpons are still not financially capable of doing what needs to be done for the long-term best of the team.”

Manager Terry Collins told the AP: “I think it’s a waste of time, but that’s just my own opinion. You want to spend $6,000? Go feed the homeless.”

As I’m sure Terry’s aware, you and a friend could purchase Citi Field’s 2 priciest tickets and attend somewhere in the range of six (6) whole Mets home games for roughly what Palumbo spent on these useless billboard. Perhaps the well-adjusted types that pay that sort of money to enrich Collins’ paymasters could also be feeding the homeless, but hey, that’s just my opinion.

04.12.15

Two Necks Are Better Than One : A Feedback-Friendly “Oh, Canada”

Posted in Hockey at 5:48 pm by

Above : Big Sugar’s Geordie Johnson prior to last night’s Montreal / Toronto tilt.  Still plenty of time for the Mets to book Loren Connors for tomorrow’s home opener!

04.11.15

Moreno : Hamilton Had An Anti-Drug Clause (That No One Else Knows About)

Posted in Baseball at 8:33 pm by

Since Josh Hamilton’s most recent, high publicized substance abuse relapse, the Angels have made no secret of their desire to use the incident as a get-out-of-the-onerous-contract card. After learning this week that Hamilton’s self-reportage slippage won’t absolve them of their contractual commitments, the former Anaheim ball club responded by giving the outfielder’s locker away (something Randy L. and the Yankees never did to A-Rod), followed by owner Arte Moreno (above) suggested the born-again reprobate would never again wear an Angels uniform. Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown considers a situation in which “the Angels continue to act as though Hamilton’s struggle with addiction is a personal affront to them.”

Moreno hinted at language in Hamilton’s contract that would protect him from Hamilton’s relapse. Hamilton is due $83 million over the next three seasons. The union almost certainly would contest an attempt to dock Hamilton’s salary or void his contract, no matter the circumstance, and in fact did almost before Moreno had completed the thought. That Hamilton was found to be within the guidelines of the drug agreement would seem to further undo Moreno’s plan.

“We have a contract with Hamilton and that contract has specific language, that he signed and that was approved, that said he could not drink or use drugs,” Moreno said. He added, “There is the possibility of pursuing it.”

Within a couple hours, the Players Association responded, “The MLBPA emphatically denies Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno’s assertions from earlier today that the Angels had requested and received the approval of the union to insert language into Josh Hamilton’s contract that would supersede the provisions of the Joint Drug Agreement and/or the Basic Agreement. To the contrary, the collectively bargained provisions of the JDA and the Basic Agreement supersede all other player contract provisions and explicitly prevent clubs from exactly the type of action Mr. Moreno alluded to in his press comments today.”

04.10.15

Mushnick : Why Can’t My Kids Drop N-Bombs, Too?

Posted in Racism Corner, Sports Journalism at 7:46 pm by

Sportsmanship aside, the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick has a curious takeaway from Andrew Harrison’s ill-advised insult of Frank Kaminsky ; to wit, why aren’t white people allowed to utter equally offensive slurs?

It’s interesting that Kentucky coach John Calipari would explain and excuse his team’s postgame misconduct after their only loss as being representative of what “kids” do. Exactly. Black kids are now prompted, encouraged to profanity and to call one another “n—-r.” But I’m white, thus I can’t write that. That would make me a racist. It’s not about wrong or right; it’s about black or white. And that’s crazy.

Where were all the media-op activist black preachers, politicians and social police the last week, those who would allow “n—-r” to be resurrected among blacks, but only blacks? That’s not merely backwards, that’s crazy backwards!

Jesse Jackson still commands the respect and attention of our president and media despite calling New York “Hymietown.” But Donald Sterling, half-shot 80-year-old, is sentenced to hell by the same president and media after whispering a racist thought into the ear of his 30-year-old, see-through girlfriend.

It’s crazy. The N-word wasn’t allowed in my parents’ household, or in my household. But my daughters had it hammered into their ears by blacks. They came to figure that they shouldn’t use the N-word, not because it’s wrong — a slur above slurs — but because they’re white! That’s crazy, no?

Phil’s done a lot of remarkable things in his long career, but making Stephen A. Smith seem totally reasonable by comparison has to be very close to the top of the pile.

Clips’ Barnes : Without Your Hate, He’s Nothing

Posted in Basketball at 6:36 pm by

Chris Ballard’s Sports Illustrated profile of Matt Barnes received considerable notice for the Clippers forward’s comments concerning Kobe Bryant (and to some extent, for tales of Allen Iverson dropping $40K at a strip club), but of some import are Barnes’ attempts to manufacture motivation with the help online haters across the globe :


Sometimes, Barnes clicks on profiles, to see who’s dissing him. Sometimes he responds. Then he seeks out more insults. He admits this is a bit masochistic, but he fears that without sufficient anger he will lose his edge. And, to Barnes, that edge is everything. “That negativity is what keeps that chip on my shoulder, what makes me a dog, what makes me an a–hole on the court.” he says. And being an a–hole, he knows, is what’s kept him in the league. So he stores away the criticisms. Later, during the game, if he needs inspiration during a down moment, he cues up the hecklers in his head. “And then I’ll be like, ‘Lock back in, let’s go!’”

Barnes is so grateful for your disrespect that he even has a gesture planned. “If I ever win a ring, I’m going to get it sized for my middle finger,” he says. “To thank all the people who doubted me, because you guys are what drove me to my ultimate goal.”

04.09.15

Blyleven : Detroit’s A Rude, Ugly City. Other Than That, However, It’s Alright

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV, twitter twatter at 8:28 pm by

Fox Sports North analyst Bert Blyleven amused himself during a rain delay prior to Thursday’s Twins/Tigers tilt at Comerica Park by taking a couple of Twitter shots at the city of Detroit (“It is the best I have seen downtown Detroit though! Thank you low clouds!…guess I ruffled some feathers with my last tweet about download Detroit! Guess all you that responded haven’t seen how ugly your downtown is,”). Bert’s since deleted the offending remarks, but not before adding, “I apologize for my comments: the city of Detroit. It is an exciting time here led by the Ilitch family.”

04.08.15

Dolan : I Regret Calling An Elderly Knicks Fan A Hateful Mess (Even Though I Was Right)

Posted in Basketball, New York, New York at 10:33 pm by

James Dolan is hardly going to submit to a Q&A with the likes of Howard Beck or Frank Isola, but when Billboard Magazine’s Matthew Belloni wants to discuss the Cablevision CEO’s partnership with Irving Azoff, or the progress (?) of vanity project JD & The Straight Shot, guess who has all the time in the world? Alas, not all of the questions were of the soft toss variety, especially the inquiry into Dolan’s ill-advised handling of customer complaints :

Does it annoy you when people say you’re anti-union?

Yes. It’s a well-known tactic of some of these unions to personally go after the people who are running the companies. It doesn’t reflect well on them at all. We hold to our values, and when people want to cooperate and work together to build a business together, both do well. Just go talk to the guys at Local One or a lot of the other unions at Madison Square Garden. They all think they’re doing well. Radio City Music Hall — when we took over, there was one show there, the Christmas show. Maybe about five concerts a year. That place is humming, now. That means everybody who works there is going to be busy, and they’re almost all union people. One squeaky wheel does not make a bad train.

Someone said that during a negotiation, you got out your guitar and started playing a song called “Lockout Blues.” True?

That was during the NBA lockout. I was on the negotiating committee.

You’re paying Phil Jackson $12 million a year for five years. Still worth it?

You got to believe, baby! I believe, I believe! I enjoy being out of the limelight. I enjoy having two experts in there that I trust. I barely have to do a thing. It can stay like that for me forever. As long as we continue to make progress — and I’m sure we will. I believe!

What do you say to fans who want you to sell?

I don’t respond to people like that. I learned a lesson this year about that. I won’t do it again.

Yes, you emailed a fan and told him off and suggested he might be an alcoholic. Do you regret what you wrote?

I don’t believe what I said was wrong. I believe responding to him was wrong. I believe what I said was absolutely correct. But that’s the thing — why engage with people like that? That was a mistake.

For Serial Francesa Baiter Buchanan, This Is The Sports Radio Parody Equivalent Of Ted Williams’ Final AB

Posted in New York, New York, Sports Radio at 12:21 pm by

Earlier this week, of the retiring A.J. Lee, Booker T. made some reference to “going out on top”, which (aside from the WWE’s new “kill ‘em with kindness” approach) was only slightly less hysterical than claiming the disgruntled Lee had nothing left to achieve after a few years in the business. Conversely, amazing Mike Francesa Tribute Artist Bill Buchanan aka Mike Zaun, is absolutely at the top of his game presently. Though he’ll be missed, at least the real thing will continue to generate internet fodder.

04.07.15

Will Bynum’s Highlight Reel : The Most Impressive EPK This Side Of Danzig Talking About A Wolf Shaking A Baby

Posted in Basketball, Hip Hop at 6:56 pm by

PG Will Bynum recently signed a 10 day contract with Washington, and while it would be quite a stretch to claim the above video collection of Bynum’s recent Chinese Basketball Association exploits was what sealed the day, DC Sports Bog’s Clinton Yates found more to like than just ” people in matching shirts hitting thundersticks, military officers in hats and a Michael Beasley sighting.”

It’s three-plus minutes of up-and-under scoop shots, drive and dishes, pull-up threes and fantastic lob passes to Yi. This is what Kevin Hart thinks he looks like when he hoops it up.

What really sets the video off, though, is the soundtrack. The background beat is a song called “Onslaught 2? by Slaughterhouse from their self-titled debut album, featuring Fatman Scoop. This will mean nothing to you if you weren’t into a particular brand of hip-hop in 2009, but it was a mid-level hit, mainly gaining popularity for its earworm worthy production. If it hadn’t come up here, I probably would have never thought about that track ever again.

04.06.15

An Important Announcement From The Entertainment Division Of Cumbucket Media

Posted in 12XU, Air Traffic Controllers, Austin, Rock Und Roll at 5:31 pm by

Tomorrow night at Beerland :

FROM COLUMBUS, OH : it’s the first central TX appearance of the new look UNHOLY TWO, as well as their first foray in this territory since the release of 2014′s piledriver-onto-the-concrete, ‘Talk About Hardcore’. One esteemed Northeatern analyst opined, “In their utter barbarity, this band has found itself a workable, scalable truth, beats dents into it with a hammer, then beats them right back out. Unlike your car, or your penis, it starts the first time, every time.” Gratuitous sexism aside, I approve this message.

BURNT SKULL apparently have a new song or perhaps even new SONGS. This is undoubtedly BAD NEWS for the competition, though if they imagine this sales pitch being recited by Wayne “Bad News” Barrett, perhaps the announcement of their own obsolescence will at least seem more entertaining.

Austin guitar/drums duo INJURIES are putting the blood back in bludgeon. Their recent demo cassette on the hotter-than-shit Drug Front imprint was the recent toast of SXSW (and by that, I mean some dumb motherfucker left it on top of a plugged in toaster and now there’s melted plastic all over MY OTHERWISE SPOTLESS KITCHEN).

SPIDER SABICH features inept guitar wankery, an over-reliance on occasionally functioning delay pedals. an utter lack of beginning-middles-ends to alleged “compositions” and all the stage presence you’d associate with the late Darrell Porter kiting a check. It should go without saying that this “project” features a member of Air Traffic Controllers, but there you go. It’s been said!

Tori Hunter Couldn’t Be More Upset With Joe West Than If Cowboy Joe Tried To Officate A Gay Wedding

Posted in Baseball at 5:22 pm by

On the bright side, it seems the Twins veteran OF is on somewhat better terms with local members of the Fourth Estate.

04.05.15

Baseball & Mental Health : We’re A Long Way From Dr. Allen Lans

Posted in Baseball, Mental Health at 10:45 pm by

While the Red Sox have launched an in-house department of behavioral health (a little too late for the likes of Foulke, Lackey and Papelbon, don’t you think?), the Nationals have appointed Rick Ankiel as their new life skills coordinator, the sort of position that might been helpful for 5 year minor league vet Adrian Cardenas.  The 2B/LF, drafted 37th overall by Philadelphia in 2006, had the proverbial cup of coffee with the Cubs in 2012, but not before plenty of soul-searching about what threatened to become a somewhat joyless pursuit, one that Cardenas chronicles in part in this week’s New Yorker (“Ways To Stay Sane In Baseball”) (link swiped from Baseball Think Factory) :

Ankiel will use his first-hand experience with failure on and off the field to help mentor players in the Nationals system. He won’t replace a sports psychologist but rather will serve as a less formal outlet for coaches, managers, and players to vent. And yet, there will still be issues of trust and of showing weakness. While quitting in baseball is discussed among players, often disguised as empty rhetoric—“If I don’t start hitting the ball out there, I might as well just quit”—there can still be issues of trust and concerns about showing weakness, even for people with more promising careers than mine was. Shortly after his M.V.P. performance last year in the World Series, the San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner admitted that while in the minors, “I contemplated going home and not choosing to have this lifestyle.” During batting practice, he said, he’d stare at airplanes as they flew by, imagining himself in a seat. His mom, Debbie, said, “It was awful. He called all the time. He didn’t like baseball. He didn’t like nothing.” In the same interview, Bumgarner said, “I’ve never told anyone this story before,” but Bumgarner clearly talked to his mother; by “anyone” he was likely referring to anyone in a position to control his professional future.

I understand Bumgarner’s hesitation. In 2011, my .314 batting average in AAA led the team and I committed only nine errors all year. Still, I was not promoted to the major leagues when rosters expanded in September. From that point on I kept my mouth shut, no matter what mental struggles I was experiencing. There could have been a slew of reasons why I didn’t get the call up, of course, but I suspected that my quitting for a week the year before raised some red flags about my commitment to the game. In 2012, I made my major-league début; that was also the year that I walked away from the game for good.

A player is often aware of the possibility that a team employee—doctor or not—may divulge information to management that could put his job at risk. This “possibility problem” will not necessarily change overnight.

04.04.15

Shaq’s Legal Right To Publicly Ridicule Those Born With Serious Diseases Upheld

Posted in Basketball, The Law at 7:50 pm by

The Toronto Sun reports that TNT hoops analyst Shaquille O’Neal can celebrate the dismissal of a defamation lawsuit filed by a Michigan man who found himself the target of the 4-time NBA champ’s sophisticated sense of humor :

O’Neil  was slapped with legal papers last summer after allegedly mocking Jahmel Binion, who suffers from genetic disorder hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, on social media by making disparaging comments about his looks in a ’selfie’ he had posted online, which depicted the male with facial deformities, patchy hair growth and missing teeth, which are all symptoms of his rare condition.

O’Neal subsequently apologized to Binion after learning of his health woes, but it wasn’t enough and the disgruntled male demanded damages of $25,000.

However, the sports icon hit back, insisting there was nothing defamatory about his post as he only shared the image with the caption, “Smile today”. He also shot down Binion’s invasion of privacy claim because the picture was made public when he posted it on social media.

The case recently went before a Michigan judge, who chastised O’Neal for his “highly offensive” actions, but declined to take the suit any further as the defendant has no ties to the stat

04.03.15

Moreno Water Carrier : MLBPA Did Hamilton No Favors

Posted in Baseball at 10:30 pm by

Given that Josh Hamilton’s most recent substance relapse was self-reported, an independent arbitrator ruled Friday the embattled Angels outfielder would face no disciplinary measures, an edict which caused great discomfort amongst Hamilton’s employers. While writers ranging from Ken Rosenthal to an unusually reasonable Bill Plaschke took umbrage at the Angels’ public scolding of Hamilton following the ruling, the OC Register’s Todd Harmonson took an entirely different tact, instead blaming the Players Association for helping Hamilton avoid suspension.

Yes, the Players Association representatives technically did what they were supposed to do as advocates for a member, but did they really act in Hamilton’s best interests by keeping Manfred from doing anything?

Without an injury, Hamilton could be in the Angels clubhouse Friday – where his locker is being used by someone else in his absence – and subject to all the pressures of a new season.

His recovery from shoulder surgery only delays that, and without someone holding Hamilton accountable there’s nothing to make him seek the help he clearly needs. He already had backed off the use of personal accountability coaches because he thought he could handle his situation without someone by his side all the time.

Think dealing with the boos after striking out in the playoffs was tough? Try returning to face a hostile crowd that considers your contract one of the worst in baseball history.

And that’s at home.

Mike Francesa Has Accomplished What Fox Sports 1′s Expensive Launch Failed To Do…

Posted in Sports Radio, Sports TV at 1:39 pm by

…to wit, New York’s Number 1 has — perhaps unintentionally — caused some of us to actually remember the names of former TSN sportscasters Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole.

04.02.15

The Bay Area’s Housing Crunch Extends To DePaw University Grads

Posted in Baseball, Dogs, Real Estate at 10:26 pm by

A’s left-hander Sean Dolittle and girlfriend Eireann Dolan made headlines this week when the latter offered to purchase tickets from Oakland fans vowing to avoid the club’s upcoming LGBT Pride Night (June 17). This noble gesture overshadowed another, somewhat less crucial story regarding the couple, that being one in which they claim they were pressured to prepare a resume for their dog. SF Gate’s Chris Johnson explains what happened last February when Dolittle and Dolan attempted to sign a lease for a new apartment :

The catch was that the couple was required to write a resume for Stella, their loveable, friendly 5-year-old Rhodesian ridgeback. Nothing too complicated, the landlord assured them. He provided them with a three-page sample resume for dogs and a word of advice. “Think about it a little more in-depth than what you would do for yourself,” Dolan recalled.

That’s when Dolan’s wry sense of humor kicked in. She put together a tongue-in-cheek resume for Stella that hit all the high points, from her pedigree to her educational achievements. Stella’s college: DePaw University, Grades K through 9. Stella confirmed that she worked as a dog during the baseball season and continued her work as a dog in the off-season. She was also listed among Oakland’s Hella Well-Behaved and Quiet Dogs and her skill set included donning a trench coat and climbing atop another dog (not like that!) in order to walk in upright to a bank and apply for loans.

Apparently, Stella’s resume did little to impress management. The couple was denied an apartment. The official reason: their vehicle was five inches taller than the garage stall provided for it.

A Not Particularly Subtle Suggestion That Texas’ A.D. Is A Horrible Human Being

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts at 10:24 am by

(bum steer. and on the left, Bevo)

As Texas prepares to hire a men’s basketball coach who doesn’t resemble Scott Weiland to replace Rick Barnes, The Oregonian’s John Canzano — mindful of UT Athletic Director Steve Patterson’s miserable tenure as Portland Trailblazers club president (“he pretends to know where the money is buried. He grew up in arenas, learning how to work the room. The surprise is how woeful he is once he gets control of the room,”) — warns alleged target VCU’s Shaka Smart that perhaps he could, y’know, do better?


Patterson likes to take credit for the Trail Blazers “rebuild,” but anyone who was there knows better. During a four-year period beginning in 2003, Patterson fostered an unhealthy culture inside the organization, he fired more than 100 employees, he threw what was then the Rose Garden Arena into bankruptcy, cracked down on anyone who crossed him, and plotted from his president’s office to also become the team’s general manager (2006-07).

Remember the time Patterson fined Darius Miles $150,000 and publicly scolded the small forward for berating his coach in a film session? I do. So does then-coach Maurice Cheeks. Because that act of support for Cheeks was followed by a back-room deal between Patterson and Miles in which the small forward would receive every penny of the fine back, plus interest. When I informed Cheeks of the arrangement, he said, “I might as well pack my bags.”

In Patterson’s short time in Texas, he’s talked about playing football games in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. He ran off Mack Brown from the football program like a teenager who didn’t know how to break up with his girlfriend. Rick Barnes revealed this week that Patterson told him after his NCAA Tournament loss that he’d be back for another season, then shifted course, demanding that he fire assistants or be gone himself. Also, that tidbit was leaked, in a move that had familiar fingerprints all over it.

04.01.15

Zirin : When It Comes To Doing The Right Thing, Coach K’s No Dean Smith

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts at 9:05 pm by

Early Wednesday morning, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski declined an opportunity to comment on Indiana’s bonkers Religious Freedom Act, telling reporters, “when we get to Indiana, I’m not going to talk about social issues or poverty or anything else. I’m just going to talk about this Duke basketball team.” And while Krzyzewski would attach his name later in the day to a joint statement issued by all four 2015 Final Four head coaches, The Nation’s Dave Zirin would’ve preferred a more principled stance the first time around.

To be clear, I am not arguing that Mike Krzyzewski should come out and stand with the LGBT community, if that is not what he believes. The man is a longtime Republican donor who in 2002 deeply upset people in Durham when he held a fundraiser on campus at the Duke Inn and called his party Blue Devils for Dole. In other words, Coach K has a number of options for how he could respond to this mushrooming controversy. He could support the school that pays him an annual $10 million salary and stand with their statement. He could support the NCAA, an organization whose artificial restrictions of what his players can earn has made him an incredibly wealthy man. He could even join the many Republicans in the state of Indiana who oppose the law and make an “I Stand With NASCAR” joke. Or Coach K could take a deep breath, hike up his big boy pants and say, “You know what? Duke and the NCAA and NASCAR are wrong. I support this law because I believe in God, freedom, and heterosexual florists. Oh, and gay weddings are overrated, and it’s about damn time America woke up to that fact!”

But instead, Coach K, like a certain fellow Nike pitchman, just gave us his version of “Republicans buy sneakers too.” It also looks particularly weak in the aftermath of the passing of Coach K’s great rival, Dean Smith. The passionately principled Coach Smith would not have only spoken out against the law. He would be leading a delegation to the statehouse to confront Mike Pence in between practices, no matter how much backlash it would have meant for him back home in North Carolina.

03.31.15

Scarbinsky : Saban Failed To Show Up For A Teachable Moment

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 10:37 pm by

Alabama head coach Nick Saban faced the media Monday after S Geno Smith’s 2nd DUI bust in as many years and DT Jonathan Taylor’s 2nd domestic abuse charge in roughly the same span. Though Taylor was dismissed from the team Tuesday, AL.com’s Kevin Scarbinsky was unimpressed with Saban’s remarks, arguing the latter “spent far more time and energy defending himself, his decisions, his program and even his two players,” rather than addressing the real issues at hand.

He made sure to tell us that Geno Smith is a good person, despite his second DUI arrest in two years. Saban used those exact words to describe Jonathan Taylor – “I still think he’s a good person” – despite Taylor’s record of two domestic violence arrests in two different states while a member of two different SEC football programs in less than a year.

This is all Saban said about domestic violence during his 13 minutes at the podium:

“I certainly don’t condone that kind of behavior, especially when it comes to how females are treated. That’s something we try to create a lot of awareness for with our players. We would certainly be very cautious about any player that had any character problem but especially something like this would be something that we would be very careful about, you know, in the future.”

This is all he said about drunk driving:

“Rather than try to condemn Geno for what he did, which I don’t approve of, I don’t even drink so I don’t approve of driving and putting other people in danger when they’re drinking. So I don’t want you to think I’m condoning what he did. I don’t. We’re disappointed in it.”

It would’ve been encouraging to hear the angry Saban thunder away at the NCAA’s hypocrisy in accepting huge amounts of money from beer advertising during the NCAA Tournament while its schools battle the very real problems of underage and excessive drinking on college campuses.

Imagine the headlines today if Saban had attacked the issue of domestic violence with the same fire and fury he once turned on unscrupulous agents when he compared them to “pimps.”