No, this is not an April Fool rant. This is just me in my normal cranky mode…
The women are having their version of March Madness in a parallel universe to the men’s tournament. If you would like to contemplate the depth of the competition in women’s college basketball this season consider that the Women’s Final Four consists of all four #1 seeds in each of the regional brackets. Can you spell “CHALK”?
Chris Mullin is the new head coach at St. John’s. Fifty years ago, St. John’s was one of the 20 most important college basketball programs in the US; twenty-five years ago, St. John’s was “a contender”; for the last decade or so, St. John’s is an after-thought when the topic of discussion is collegiate basketball. Chris Mullin is – arguably – the best player ever to come out of St. John’s and the school is betting that he can translate his NBA Front Office experiences to the recruiting trail so that he can get athletes who will make St. John’s relevant again. Oh, and then, he has to “coach those athletes up” and – not to put too fine a point on it – he has never coached before. I liked Chris Mullin as a player and he seems to be an interesting person when you hear him interviewed. Nonetheless, I think he may be in over his head here trying to resurrect a program that has been left to decay for too long.
In NFL news, the league announced the punishments for the Falcons and the Browns regarding rules’ violations in the last year or two.
The Falcons admitted they piped in recorded/amplified crowd noise for home games in Atlanta. For this the NFL fined the team $350K; suspended former marketing director, Roddy White, 8 games and suspended GM Rich McKay for 4 months even though he is the on the Competition Committee which has to present a potential rule change for this upcoming year during the course of his suspension. Oh, and the team lost a 5th round draft pick too.
The NFL suspended Browns’ GM, Ray Farmer, for 4 games without pay for texting with a Browns’ assistant coach during a game.
I understand why piping in extra noise is a violation of the rules because it could provide an on-field advantage to the Falcons at home. However, unless the league can demonstrate that the GM either ordered that behavior or knew about it and condoned it, I do not see why the GM gets punished here. Moreover, it seems as if the league is cutting off its nose to spite its face because McKay is a key member of the Competition Committee and they have some serious work to do if they are to come up with a proposed change to the PAT rule for 2015 by mid-May. I just do not get this punishment…
I do not even understand why there is a rule against the GM texting with an assistant coach during a game. Obviously, therefore, I do not understand the severity of the penalty levied against Ray Farmer. Imagine for a moment that I had the phone number of one of the Brown’s assistant coaches and knew that he would have his phone with him during a game. If I texted him a question such as “Why don’t you throw deep against this defense?” That would not be a violation. So, why is it a violation of the GM texts anything similar to that?
In the last week, we learned that Nebraska DE, Randy Gregory, tested positive for drugs at the NFL Combine. In a public statement, he said that the positive test resulted from some stuff he smoked in December and it was still in his system but that he had not smoked anything since. I will assume he is telling the whole truth here and I will simultaneously proclaim that he also tested positive for STUPIDITY. Look folks, the NFL tests everyone who comes to the Combine for drugs; I know that; agents know that; players know that; my grandmother probably knows that and she has been dead for about 40 years. If a potential high draft pick tests positive at the Combine when they know months in advance of the date and time of the “sampling”, then that potential high draft pick is dumber than soup.
The former CEO of Chiquita Brands International – think Chiquita Banana – has purchased a minor league baseball team. Fernando Aguirre now owns the Erie Sea Wolves of the AA Eastern League. The Sea Wolves are the AA affiliate of the Detroit Tigers and Aguirre is currently a minority owner of the Cincinnati Reds. That gives the “appearance of a conflict of interest” if not an actual “conflict of interest” but I have not been able to find anything that says that MLB is concerned about this or has any action in mind to obviate that “apparent conflict of interest.” According to one report I read, Aguirre is also a minority owner of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans which is the A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs in the Carolina League. So maybe MLB does not see this multiple ownership situation as any kind of a conflict of interest?
In any event, I wonder how long it might be until some kind of “Special Banana Split” becomes a food offering at Erie Sea Wolves’ games…
Regarding the brouhaha over Indiana’s religious freedom law, I have already tired of the calls to sports radio stations and pronouncements from folks on either side of this debate. In simple terms, here are some declarative statements:
No, it would not be feasible to move the Final Four to another state on 5 days’ notice.
No, the NFL and the NBA are not going to revoke those franchises in Indiana and their failure to do so does not indicate in any way that they condone this new law or oppose it.
Yes, it was abjectly stupid of the Indiana Governor to sign the bill when he did and even more stupid for him to weasel-word every answer to every question about what the new law would and would not cover.
Grandstanding pronouncements from “celebrities” who do not live or work in Indiana are nothing more than “Hey, look at me!” actions.
For all the “holier than thou” folks out there saying that each and every form of discrimination is evil, let me say unequivocally that if I owned a business I would absolutely discriminate against doing business with certain types of people such as:
People with outrageous B.O.
The edict of the Governor of Connecticut forbidding any employees of the State of Connecticut from traveling to Indiana – thus the UConn coaches cannot attend the NABC meetings there this week – is another grandstanding play. I wonder what would happen if one of those coaches decided to go and pay for it himself without using state funds. Seems to me that if he wanted to do that and the governor tried to stop him, that might be seen as a form of involuntary incarceration.
Finally, here are two comments from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald last weekend:
“The Fort Lauderdale Strikers open their new season in six days. If you know the coach’s name is Marcelo Neveleff, you’re probably playing for him.”
“The International Game Fish Association Museum in Dania Beach is closing, verifying that the only thing more boring than fishing is visiting a fishing museum.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………