Jerry Greene, sports columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, passed away earlier this week. He was an e-mail pen-pal and his column From the Cheap Seats was the source of some of the closing quips that I use in these rants. I never met him in person but he was a wonderful “electronic acquaintance”.
Rest in peace, Jerry Greene…
Well, Drew Rosenhaus carried through on his promise. He dropped Johnny Manziel as a client because Manziel did not seek the counseling/help that Rosenhaus said was a prerequisite to their maintaining an agent/client relationship. It is not difficult to note here that this is a monumental event because it represents a situation where a sports agent actually told the truth about what he was about to do. It is also easy to point out that Rosenhaus was able to maintain an agent/client relationship with other NFL players with a “notorious streak” such as Plaxico Burress, Josh Gordon and Greg Hardy. However, this matter involves things of much greater gravity that than.
[Aside: Recall that this is the second sports agent to drop Manziel. Earlier this year, Eric Burkhardt announced that he had terminated his agent/client relationship with Manziel citing essentially the same issues that Rosenhaus has alluded to here.]
Johnny Manziel is in the process of flushing whatever possible career he may have had in the NFL down the commode of life. Frankly, that is his action to take and just as frankly, I do not particularly care about his “possible career’. He is also in the process of ruining his life and possibly damaging the lives of others as he continues his non-stop participation in the “partying scene”. Many folks look at his “partying behavior” as merely youthful indiscretions that will sort themselves out with maturity. The problem here is that some fraction of the population gets to a point where maturity is not enough to give them the ability to say “Enough is enough!”. I am not competent to make a diagnosis here, but I have seen enough of life to recognize that Johnny Manziel is awfully near a precipice – if indeed he has not already gone over it.
Manziel insists that it is his intention to play NFL football in 2016 and for years after that. That stands in stark contrast with the fact that he remains unsigned by any team despite the fact that several teams could use a “quarterback upgrade”. Just as he seems to be unable to control his partying behaviors, he seems not to be able to recognize that teams and GMs are moving ahead without him. What seems patently obvious to many others seems to be completely opaque to him.
There is another depressing sort of story rumbling around in the sports world today. Sheryl Swopes was a star player in the WNBA and is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. When her career finished, she decided to go into coaching. She spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Mercer Island High School in suburban Seattle. Then in 2013, she took the job as the head coach of the women’s basketball program at Loyola, Chicago.
Swopes said that she intended to put Loyola ‘on the map” in women’s college basketball; her stated intention was for Loyola to compete with programs such as UConn, Notre Dame and Tennessee and that she was taking the long view because achieving that stature was not possible as a “quick fix”. She has been at Loyola for 3 seasons now and the team record for that period is 31-62; if the goal is to be like UConn, Notre Dame and/or Tennessee, winning one out of 3 games over a 3-year stretch is not a good imitation at all.
Now things get a lot worse. Loyola announced that it is embarking on a full investigation of the women’s basketball program in the wake of:
Ten of the twelve players on the team with remaining eligibility have requested releases from the school so that they can go elsewhere to play – and –
An unspecified number of those players have alleged “player mistreatment” within the Loyola program.
I have not read any reports that specify the sort of “player mistreatment” alleged here but those sorts of allegations placed in juxtaposition with that number of players asking out of the program has to be worrisome. Here is a link to a recent ESPN.com report on this matter. Somehow, I do not think this will end well…
In a strange move, the Carolina Panthers rescinded the franchise tag they had on CB, Josh Norman, and simply released him making him a free agent. Norman was a large part of the Panthers’ defense that took the team to the Super Bowl last year; to say that this move was unexpected would be the understatement of the month. This move is so unusual that I suspect there will be some sort of angle to this story that becomes known somewhere down the road; my “spider sense” is tingling here…
On a more upbeat note, Ohio State set a record recently for the largest attendance at a spring football game. The school announced that “more than 100,000” fans showed up at Ohio Stadium (aka “The Horseshoe”) for the spring intrasquad game. When packed to the gills for a real game, “The Horseshoe” holds 104,944 so there wasn’t all that much extra space in there for that exhibition game.
Finally, let me close with a quip by Jerry Greene formerly of the Orlando Sentinel that I have had on my clipboard for a couple of months:
“Beijing had dangerous air pollution, and Rio has water pollution out of a cheap horror movie. What’s next? Perhaps holding the Olympics atop an active volcano? (Of course it would be a great opening ceremony to watch on TV.)”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………