Filling Time Until The Tournament Starts Today …

Several weeks ago, the powers that be at ESPN escorted Adnan Virk out of the building and off the campus alleging that he leaked inside information about ESPN plans related to MLB-related programming.  Virk had about two years to go on a recent contract he had signed with ESPN for significant money; the firing was in the category of “termination for cause” and Virk was not going to be on the air nor was he going to be paid.  Virk denied all that and filed suit alleging unjust termination; ESPN counter-sued for something or other and I figured this would go on for at least 6 months while lawyers on both sides amassed billable hours.  Then, all of a sudden, the problem(s) went away.

Adnan Virk was hired by DAZN (pronounced “Da Zone” of course) which is a “digital platform” that has some stature in Europe but is just now trying to gain notoriety here in the US.  [For the record, I could not explain to you what a “digital platform” is any more than I could convince you to believe much of anything contained in a “political platform”.]  According to reports, DAZN hopes to use baseball programming/reporting as one avenue into the American marketplace; and they see Virk as an important part of their strategy there.  Whether you like Adnan Virk or not, you must concede that he is an avid baseball fan.

The thing that is surprising in all of this is that both sides agreed to drop their legal actions at the same time DAZN hired Virk and Virk agreed not to pursue any legal avenues to get any of the ESPN money that was in his contract there.  I have to say, this is not the way I expected that kerfuffle to end…

A couple of weeks ago, Pacman Jones was arrested at an Indiana gaming casino on charges of disorderly conduct, public intoxication, intimidation and resisting arrest.  This was not your run-of-the-mill confrontation in a bar somewhere; this behavior allegedly happened when “gaming agents” at the casino went to investigate “possible cheating at a table game”.  [Aside: the folks who regulate gaming in Indiana said at the time of the arrest that there could be other charges filed later.  I have seen no such reports in the last couple of weeks.]

I have lost count of the number of times that Pacman Jones has been arrested for a wide variety of improprieties to include things like disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, assault and – my favorite one – “felony assault with a bodily substance” which was a result of him spitting on a police officer.  To date, none of those charges have resulted in any significant spans of jail-time because Jones has been available to play in the NFL since 2005 – save for one year when he was suspend ed and made a cameo appearance in the CFL for about an hour-and-a-half.  Time will tell what happens to these pending charges.

Jones’ most infamous brush with the law involved his presence at a Las Vegas strip club where he proceeded to “make it rain”.  That evidently created a scuffle that resulted in gunfire that resulted in multiple people being wounded.  Jones got a suspend ed sentence out of that mess and lost a big civil suit to two of the wounded individuals.  Believe it or not, that was more than a decade ago.  Time flies when you are having fun…

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times put a punctuation mark on this latest incident and the latest charges for Pacman:

“New Denver DB “Pacman” Jones was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, public intoxication, intimidation and resisting arrest at an Indiana casino.

“In other words, Chargers 4, Broncos 0.”

The AAF is going into its 7th week; the games continue to be competitive and interesting; the quality of play has improved as teams have gained experience playing with one another; the TV ratings are not spectacular, but they are not dismal either.  Right now, the worst record in the AAF belongs to the Memphis Express (1-5).  Much of the lack of success for the Express can be attributed to their lack of QB competencies.

For the first three games, Express coach, Mike Singletary, played Christian Hackenberg at QB.  To say that ploy was unsuccessful would be like saying Manute Bol was tall.  Finally, Zach Mettenberger took over at QB; while he did not make everyone involved with the AAF stare in wonderment at his performance, he was a big step up from Hackenberg.  Then Mettenberger got hurt and had to be replaced by Brandon Silvers.  [FYI, Brandon Silvers is not the son of Phil Silvers.]  Silvers played 4 years at Troy as the QB there and was invited to minicamp by the New Orleans Saints.  Looking purely at stats from college days, Mettenberger and Silvers would seem to be comparable prospects.

But now, the Memphis Express has yet one more QB to develop and consider as its starter.  Johnny Manziel signed an AAF contract and was assigned to the Memphis Express.  His arrival in Memphis after being released by the Montreal Alouettes and subsequently banned from the CFL is interesting.

  • The AAF seeks to “regionalize” its teams by having players from area colleges and universities play together on AAF teams.
  • Manziel played at Texas A&M which is about 150 miles from San Antonio where the AAF has a franchise.
  • The San Antonio Commanders are in first place in the AAF West and chose to pass on obtaining Manziel to keep Logan Whiteside as its starting QB.
  • The Express – with the worst record in the AAF – had first pick on this “waiver candidate” and snapped him up.

It is still not clear what Manziel did to earn him his release in Montreal and then the CFL’s announcement that it would not recognize any contract that any other CFL team might reach with him.  Whatever it was, it must not have been sufficiently sordid to keep him out of the AAF.  The Johnny Football saga is not over yet…

Finally, in light of the news that celebrities and other rich folks have bribed college coaches to get their kids preferential admissions treatment at various top-shelf colleges and universities, consider this Tweet from Brad Dickson:

“The scandal continues to grow. It’s now alleged that Lori Loughlin & her husband bribed an official $250,000 to get their not-so-bright dog into obedience school.”

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