In case you did not know, there is a WNBA team in Las Vegas – the Las Vegas Aces. As far as I am concerned, from this point forward, they should be called the Las Vegas Asses. The team pulled a no-show for a scheduled game against the Washington Mystics over the weekend because of travel problems. You can understand a team not showing up to play a scheduled game in a situation where they cannot get to the venue; that was not the case here; the Las Vegas Asses were in DC.
The team took about 24 hours to get to Washington meaning they were in airports and on aircraft for a very long time, but they arrived in DC about 5 hours before the scheduled tip-off. Instead of trying to make the best of things – and look to see if they could find a voodoo doll that would cast spells on the offending airline – they had a team meeting and called their union and decided to pull a no-show because of “health and safety reasons”.
To say that was a bush league stunt would be a compliment. The WNBA is a minor league at best; it strives for attention and recognition – but not this kind of recognition. Let me be clear; when I say the WNBA is a minor league I mean just that. Minor league baseball teams play to equal or larger crowds; minor league hockey games draw crowds equivalent to what the WNBA draws. Every time I read or hear one of the WNBA players talk about professionalism and how dedicated they are and how they should be seen as professional athletes, my answer will be:
- The Las Vegas Asses
Minor league baseball teams travel by bus from place to place. Look at any minor league team schedule and you will see bus trips that cannot be comfortable for the team – – but they show up, grit their teeth and play the scheduled games. And do not even begin to compare a delayed flight with the travel rigors encountered by minor league hockey players in Canada in the Western Hockey League or the Ontario Hockey League.
Having just mentioned Canadian sports, let me make an awkward transition here to the Canadian Football League where Johnny Manziel made a disastrous debut for the Montreal Alouettes last Friday night. He threw 4 INTs in the first half – the first one coming on his first pass attempt – and the Alouettes lost the game by 41 points. Ironically, the opponent was the team that just traded Manziel to the Alouettes earlier that week. To be fair, Manziel had all of 4 practice sessions with his new team before hitting the field Friday night and that was his first live action football in more than a year. Nonetheless, Johnny Football looked more like Johnny Faulty – – or even Johnny Fatal.
The only positive spin I can put on this would be that at the current exchange rate, 4 Canadian INTs only equals 3 American INTs. That is the best I can do. Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel turns out to be a gorilla with a flashlight.
The Urban Meyer Saga continues to evolve – but it is not getting any prettier. Brad Rock covered Utah football for the Deseret News back when Urban Meyer was the coach there – before his time at Florida where he won a national championship. He wrote a column for that paper last week about Meyer’s time at Utah and included comments from players who were on Meyer’s teams there. This is the sort of historical perspective that I have not seen in any of the “national reporting” on the current mess. Here is a link to Brad Rock’s column; I think it is well-written and deserves to be read in its entirety.
Over the weekend, lots of commentators on the Urban Meyer Saga expressed surprise that Meyer changed his story thereby “proving” that he lied to the media and the public at the Big-10 media fest to kick off the football season. Calm down everyone; let me lay this out in simple declarative sentences for you:
- Football coaches lie. They lie all the time. They lie to recruits. They lie to parents of recruits. They lie to the press. They lie about academic progress. They lie about injuries. They lie about player suspensions. They lie about opponents’ strength.
- Lying is a critical skill for football coaches. Truthful football coaches will not succeed. Lying can become a way of life.
So … when Urban Meyer was asked a question at Big-10 media day about domestic abuse allegations against one of his coaches, he did what comes naturally to a successful football coach. He lied. That is not an admirable thing, but it is a totally understandable thing. That is what football coaches do all the time.
In the media frenzy to pile on Urban Meyer, there seems to me to be an under-reported aspect to the story.
- The abuse victim says that Urban Meyer’s wife, Shelley, knew of the abuse incidents. Assume that is absolutely true for a moment here…
- The reporting focus has been that if she knew, then Urban Meyer must have known also. More than likely correct. HOW-EVAH [/Stephen A. Smith]
- Shelley Meyer is a Registered Nurse and she is an Instructor of Clinical Practice at Ohio State.
- Two pillars of nursing ethics are non-malfeasance (doing no harm to the patient) and beneficence (doing the right thing for the patient).
- It would seem to me that Shelley Meyer had a professional obligation to report and act on her knowledge of abuse here AND that as an employee of THE Ohio State University, she had a responsibility to make all of this known.
Again, I want to be clear. Neither Urban Meyer nor Shelley Meyer abused the victim here; neither is the source of her pain and suffering. Nevertheless, given their positions and given their employer, they each had an obligation to alert others to the situation with the intention to prevent any further abusive situations. Based on the reporting to date, it would appear that neither one of them discharged that responsibility in an efficient or effective manner.
Finally, here are two observations from sportswriters about the Urban Meyer Saga from over the weekend:
“Death Valley, Calif., recorded the hottest month on record, with an average of 108 degrees in July.
“Though Urban Meyer’s seat at Ohio State is already threatening to break it.” [Dwight Perry, Seattle Times]
“The only way Urban Meyer should be allowed to coach again is if he fires his wife.” [Scott Ostler, SF Chronicle]
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………