Cue Gene Autry:
I’m back in the saddle again…
Today’s commentary will deal with events that have gone down while I have been away. I am sure that I have missed some of the inanities of the sports world in the past two weeks, but the stuff here refuses to be ignored.
Regarding all of the hand wringing and moralizing about Alex Rodriguez and his changing story about his steroid usage, the commentaries that I find most annoying are the ones that talk about A-Rod’s “credibility” with regard to these stories and the ones that boldly assert that he is not yet telling the whole truth here. Ho- hum!
Alex Rodriguez has – by his admission – been involved with steroids for about eight years now. He has not been on them continuously by his account but it has been eight years. For all of that time, he has denied any such usage.
Translation: He has lied about that for eight years.
Now with a failed test confronting him, he has decided to “tell the truth”; absent the revelation of that failed test, he would still be asserting that he never took steroids.
Translation: He would still be lying.
A big part of the problem is that he “told the truth” by reading it from a piece of paper and evading just about all the follow-up questions. Therefore, I wish everyone would cease and desist from any philosophical peregrination with regard to his truth-telling now. He has been lying about this for eight years; he would still be lying about it now if he could; he is saying the minimum that he thinks he can get away with about the subject now that he cannot deny it. More importantly, he will continue to do so – - unless he is under oath sometime in the future in which case he may possibly opt not to follow in the footsteps of folks like Marion Jones, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Miguel Tejada. End of message with regard to veracity in this matter…
One aspect of this story is yet to be told – having nothing to do with A-Rod. How did Selena Roberts come into possession of the data regarding his failed test for steroids? If – I said IF – these came from documents that a court had put under seal at some time, then there could well be an investigation as to the source of that leak. In that case, we might see Selena Roberts subpoenaed to reveal that source. If that were to happen, let me say now that I would have zero sympathy for Roberts should she refuse to testify fully. If that is the way she got the documents, the person who gave them to her committed a criminal act and she aided and abetted that criminal act. That would not be a “freedom of the press” issue; that would be a “protecting a criminal” issue. Remember, this comment is based on a supposition not yet proven to be the case. Stay tuned…
I did not find the antecedent comments that must have provoked this comment from Larry Bowa regarding former Dodger pitcher Brad Penny, but the following is vintage Larry Bowa:
“Is this the same [Brad] Penny that never went to meetings, that came late, left early, was never in shape, always had an excuse when things didn’t go right, didn’t help the young kids at all?”
I do not recall the name of the player, but when Bowa managed the Phillies, he and one of the guys on the bench clearly did not get along. After the season, the player ripped Bowa up and down. Bowa said in response that he would be happy to talk to any manager or GM on any team in baseball to tell them all about this player such that the player would never be in the major leagues ever again. Whatever happened to the adage?
What happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse.
Darryl Strawberry has written a “tell-all book”. I hope someone has notified the Nobel Committee. In addition, Mike Tyson claims that he too is in the process of writing a “tell-all book”. Let me be clear about this; I shall not be providing any reviews or summaries of these literary oeuvres in this space. If you find the private lives/escapades of either of these gentlemen even marginally interesting, you will have to read these books for yourselves.
ESPN did not renew Emmitt Smith’s contract. Praise be to the Lord for that. I guess that ESPN now stands for:
Emmitt Smith Pontificates Nevermore.
Elgin Baylor is suing the Clippers – and owner Donald Sterling – claiming that he was a victim of discrimination, that he was fired because of his age and his race and that during his tenure with the Clippers he was grossly underpaid as the GM when compared to other NBA executives. A few points here:
1. Elgin Baylor was GM of the Clippers for 22 years.
2. In that tenure, the Clippers won the NBA championship zero times and made the playoffs a total of three times.
3. Whether or not he was hamstrung by the actions of the owner, that record does not justify him holding onto his job for 22 years.
4. If he knew for 22 years that he was “grossly underpaid”, why didn’t he demand a raise? Might it have been those long periods of time when the Clippers where bottom-feeders in the NBA with the teams he assembled?
The WTA had a tournament scheduled in the United Arab Emirates. Officials there would not allow one of the players into the country because she is an Israeli. The WTA played the tour anyway. That is an absolute abomination; the WTA should be shunned for that.
Moreover, the players on that tour who participated in that tournament have now forfeited any and all claims they may ever have regarding how they might be discriminated against. If a player played under those conditions, she participated in that crass discriminatory act. The WTA and the players who participated in that event are loathsome.
The Atlanta Falcons say they would be willing to trade the rights to Michael Vick to another NFL team. I should say they would… I would also suspect that the phone has not been ringing off the hook in Falcons Headquarters. I have not had time to go back and review all of the events in last year’s “Michael Vick Saga”, so from memory let me hit a few of the high points:
He may be released from prison in June 09 – - assuming that no added criminal behaviors are uncovered and added to his cafeteria tray before then.
He will be a PR disaster wherever he goes to play.
He is still suspended by the NFL and has to be reinstated by the same Commissioner to whom he lied about his involvement in dogfighting while the investigation was ongoing.
He will be subject to the NFL substance abuse policy.
He was involved in a gambling enterprise in addition to a dogfighting enterprise.
He has not played football for 2 years.
He still has a lot of time left on the 10-year contract that he signed about five years ago and that contract was worth something north of $125M. Assuming that lots of that money was in the form of an upfront bonus, let me guess that $50M is left to go on the contract over the next five or six years.
Forget any other “issues” here. The chances are that Michael Vick will not be able to play for an NFL team in 2009 and the best one might hope for would be to have him for the 2010 season – - assuming that he is a model citizen during the intervening year. So, what might another team be willing to offer for his services now in February 2008? A box of practice kicking tees?
Finally, here are two observations from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald that are definitely on point:
“The NFL combine begins Wednesday. Somebody told me it involved college players working out for pro teams. I had assumed it involved college players harvesting grain on large farm equipment.”
“Recently retired Brett Favre has waffled on intentions to tentatively cancel a news conference to announce plans to possibly change his mind.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………