The Story That Just Won’t Die…

Lord knows; I really wish this story would die. But this story seems to be like the vampire in all those old movie sequels from the 30s and 40s; someone keeps pulling the stake out of the vampire’s heart and that allows him to go around and terrorize the neighborhood for about two hours until someone sticks the stake back in his heart. Of course, I am talking about the Tiger Woods/lynching in a back alley story…

Tiger Woods was the direct object of the sentence that has offended so many; if you doubt that, go back and diagram the sentence that Kelly Tilghman uttered. Tiger Woods has said that this is over and done with as far as he is concerned and it is time to move on. Amen and amen to that! However, some people will not let it go; and now, Jim Brown has decided to make his thoughts known – weeks after the fact – on the subject. Naturally, he thinks Tiger Woods should have been more angry and said so more forcefully and more proximal to the event.

Let me set the stage here. Jim Brown was probably the best football player I ever saw play the game; he has been a social activist and a positive force in poor black neighborhoods for the past 40 years; he is a larger contributor to society than 99% of the folks out there. Having said that, this is not Jim Brown’s fight and his criticism of Tiger Woods is as ineptly phrased as was Kelly Tilghman’s original statement.

What Jim Brown means is that he – Jim Brown – would have reacted to this differently and more vociferously than Tiger Woods did. That does not make Jim Brown right and Tiger Woods wrong; that means Jim Brown and Tiger Woods have different opinions on this matter. But saying something along those lines will not garner nearly as many headlines and so Jim Brown takes a cheap shot and goes for the headlines.

I am a male of the Caucasian persuasion. If I were to say what Jim Brown said in the way Jim Brown said it, someone should call me “racially insensitive” for my remarks. After all, what I am doing is telling someone of a totally different racial and ethnic make-up how he ought to think about a remark that I find offensive. Translate that for just a moment and you should realize that I would be telling Tiger Woods that he is not smart enough or mature enough to have his own mind on this subject and that he needs my assistance. I try my best not to do things like that; would that Jim Brown and Al Sharpton and a few other minority spokespersons might do likewise.

And speaking of Tiger Woods, he remains the only reason that the sport of golf continues to command any meaningful attention in the US sporting firmament. The numbers from last year have been crunched and here they are:

    On CBS, the ratings for tournaments where Tiger Woods finished in the top five averaged 4.6. When he was not in the field or out of the running for the championship, the ratings averaged 1.7. Almost two-thirds of the TVs were turned off or were tuned in elsewhere when Tiger Woods was not a factor.

    On NBC, the effect was less dramatic. With Tiger Woods in the top five, the ratings were 3.5; with him “out of it”, the ratings were 2.2.

    Ratings on The Golf Channel are not available because ratings on The Golf Channel are about as meaningless as wondering if a homeless person has Wednesday afternoon clear on his calendar.

Here is a Quick Quiz for the golf aficionados out there:

      Which tournament has the largest purse value? [Answer below]

The NHL just extended its TV deal with Versus Network for 3 years. I am sure there are sports fans who get Versus as part of their cable package and do not even know it is there. I get it; but if you ask me what channel it is on my cable system, I have to go and look at the program guide. It is not even close to being in my “power rotation”. Here is the really scary thought – if you are a hockey guy:

    Maybe Gary Bettman and the rest of the NHL braintrust did not have any other offers when it came to acquiring the rights to televise NHL games outside Canada. That would be a sobering thought, would it not?

Many people talk about how things were “back in the day”. I can tell you this for sure; “back in the day”, no one said things like “back in the day”. Nonetheless, I am old enough to remember a time when cable TV did not exist; it was a technological curiosity that had been demonstrated in laboratory environments but had exactly zero commercial footprint. When the Congress was called upon to hold hearings to figure out how to license and regulate this upstart “industry”, I remember that there was talk of cable TV being a medium that could be commercial-free; that is why everyone would have to pay a small monthly fee to have it in their homes. That fee was supposed to offset the revenues from ads that would clutter up the over-the-air networks.

So, how is that working out for you? Do you have loads of commercial-free networks on cable? No? Then of course, you no longer have to pay that “small” monthly fee, right? How did all that happen right under the noses of those ever-vigilant Congressional overseers?

Quick Quiz answer: The British Open has the largest purse value of any tournament on the PGA schedule this year.

I hope you noticed that I took an entire day off from any reporting of silly-stuff related to the NFL at the middle of the hiatus between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl. I think I deserve a medal for that.

Finally, here is an item from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:

“John Daly withdrew from the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic on Saturday, citing a rib injury.

“So does that mean he injured a rib, or got injured trying to swallow one?”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…

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