Tuesday, December 20, 2011


In a college football world where every coach always seems to
be looking out for number one, it was refreshing to hear Mark
Richt looking out for others. The Georgia Bulldogs head football
coach was cited by the NCAA for "impermissible" payments.
Richt apparently paid some of his assistant coaches more than
$60,000 from his own pocket over the course of a three-year

The veteran coach of the Bulldogs didn't think a few members
of his loyal staff were being compensated fairly by the university,
so he supplemented their incomes. How cool is that?

In a day and age where coaches like Lane Kiffin and Todd Graham put
blinders on and chase the almighty dollar, it's nice to see a guy
taking care of the guys who take care of him. Loyalty and dedication
was rewarded by Richt, who some say put his job on the line with these
"transgressions". (The NCAA has so many silly rules that
it's nauseating). Not by a long shot. Richt enhanced his reputation
as a coach and person who is grounded and of high-moral
fiber. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Richt
helped out in a number of ways.

• To former recruiting assistant Charlie Cantor, $10,842 over an
11-month period through March 2011.
• To former linebackers coach John Jancek, $10,000 in 2009 after the
previous university administration declined to give Jancek a raise when
he turned down a coaching opportunity elsewhere.
• To director of player development John Eason, $6,150 in 2010 when his
new administrative position called for a salary reduction after he
stepped down from an assistant coaching position on Richt's staff.

Richt also paid a total of $15,227 when the school -- citing "difficult
economic conditions being experienced by the University" -- refused
bowl bonuses to 10 non-coach staff members: director of sports medicine
Ron Courson, video coordinator Joe Tereshinski, strength coaches Keith
Gray and Clay Walker, football operations manager Josh Brooks, high
school liaison Ray Lamb and four administrative assistants.

He also paid a five-year longevity bonus of $15,337.50 due to tight
ends coach Dave Johnson when he took a job at West Virginia in 2008
just short of his fifth anniversary coaching at UGA and $6,000 to fired
defensive ends coach Jon Fabris in 2010 when Fabris was unable to find
a job after his UGA severance package expired.

 As we've seen over the past few months, there are a lot of quality coaches
in college sports, but not a lot of quality people. The University of Georgia
has a great coach and person in Mark Richt. Paying more $60,000 from
his own pocket for his assistants? How cool is that?

Monday, November 21, 2011


Sexual molestation, infidelity, murder, cheating, lying, lockouts
....it's all been part of a sports world that's turning into a one
giant cess pool. This guy is going to prison for selling drugs,
that guy got caught using performance-enhancing drugs and
blamed it on tainted meat, blah, blah, blah. It's getting rather
nauseating, isn't?

Then a guy like Tim Tebow, who is squeaky clean, comes along
and a lot of people seem hell bent on trying to dirty him up. The
Denver Broncos quarterback seems to be about the only thing
in the sports world that hasn't been stained by scandal, ego, and
greed. Tebow always says the right things, treats everyone with
respect, and now is helping his team win football games. Yet,
everyone wants to find the chinks in his armour. They make fun
of his "Tebowing", the act of going on one-knee to pray to somebody
up above. Opponents, media members, and fans everywhere make
fun of him.

There have been plenty of experts and analysts to mock him and
his ability as well. Tebow can't drop back, throw, read a defense,
or do anything except, well, win. He has won four of his five NFL
starts and has pumped new life into a team that had been on life-
support after the first five weeks of the season. John Fox, the Broncos
said that if Tebow had to play in a pro-style offense, "he'd be
screwed". How's that for confidence in your starting quarterback?

Why are people so quick to criticize Tebow? Is it because he
seems too good to be true? Do they hate the fact that he brings
religion into the stadium every week? Or do people hate the
fact that the former Florida Gator icon has a life that isn't as
quite as miserable as theirs? It's probably a combination of all

Tebow is turning out to be Doug Flutie with two extra growth
sports. Like Flutie, he's a Heisman winning quarterback who
did superhuman things while he was in college. Flutie, like Tebow,
had plenty of haters, too. Most of them were NFL scouts who
said said Flutie was too short and couldn't play in an NFL-style
offense. After playing in the USFL in Canada, Flutie came
back to prove them all wrong. He had great flashes and won
some games for the Buffalo Bills before being replaced by
somebody who was bigger, stronger, and much better looking
when it came to playing quarterback.

That will happen to Tebow, eventually. His flaws when slinging
the football, might be too much to overcome. Teams will eventually
figure out a way to stop him in the last five minutes of the game,
and he'll eventually be replaced. It may be in the next three games or
the next three years, but he's not long for the NFL.

But right now, his teammates believe in him and Tebow is
proving that he can win, perhaps not play at high-level, but
win. He may be winning "ugly" but Tebow is winning, and
that's the bottom line in the NFL. However, his attitude,
charisma, and character is certainly refreshing. I've grown
tired of writing about liars, cheaters, and ego-driven millionaires.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


We live in a society of front-runners and users. There are some
people we can't stand, but still befriend them because they can
help us get more money, a better job, or great tickets to the Super
Bowl. People will be friends with you until they deem you no
longer useful or helpful to them, or you become unpopular with
a certain crowd and it's bad for their image to be seen with you.
They'll only do the right thing if it's right for them and it keeps
them in good standing with the right people.

Last week, child abuse allegations were made against Syracuse
assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine. In the wake of the Penn
State mess, people have already convicted Fine of being a sexual
predator and friends have run away from him quicker than Usain
Bolt pulls away from the field in the 100 meter dash. In the court
of public opinion, Fine is a child molester, pervert, and someone
with serious problems. He may be exonerated down the road, but
his reputation has been ruined forever. There will always be the
uncomfortable stares and the people who turn the other way when
they see Fine coming. Jim Boeheim is not going to be one of them.

Boeheim, the Hall of Fame  basketball coach of the Orange, has
worked side-by-side with Fine for the last 36 years and has known
him for a half-century. When the world was throwing Fine into
the same cess pool as Jerry Sandusky, Boeheim stood up for his
friend and told anyone who would listen that he believed in
Fine's innocence.

“I have been friends with Coach Fine for 50 years," Boeheim
said last week. " And that buys a lot of loyalty from me and
it should."

Boeheim, unlike most people, doesn't believe loyalty is a
one-way street. He should be applauded for not turning
his back on a friend who dedicated his life to helping him
turn Syracuse into a national power. Beoheim should be praised
for not selling out a friend who made tremendmous and personal
sacrifices to help the team and athletes become the best it could
be. It's been said that you find out who your real friends are when
adversity strikes. Fine has a real friend in Boeheim.

A lot of coaches in Boeheim's position would have rinsed their
hands of Fine as quick as the allegations came down. Few of them
would want anything to do with a person who's being accused of
child molestation, after all, it's not good for their image and "legacies".

Critics and crisis management "experts" say that Boeheim is
"risking everything" in defending his friend.  Everything being
his job, reputation, and legacy. It's bold and refreshing to hear
Boeheim pretty much say, "to hell with those things." Boeheim
is not going to sell out a friend and is taking a stand in the face
of public criticism, believing in his friend and what he thinks
is right. And there are no shortage of people who have criticized
the stance Boeheim is taking.

"If you can get in trouble for supporting a friend you’ve known
for almost 50 years, I don’t want to live in that country,” Boeheim said
last week. “Is that clear? And yet people are saying stuff like that.
That’s sad. That’s a sad world. When you can’t be loyal to your
friends, I don’t like that world.” Neither do I.

Friday, November 11, 2011


I never knew Brian Bill or Pat Tilman but I admired them more than anyone I've ever met, outside
of my parents. Bill and Tilman took very different paths to the military, but tragically, both suffered
the same fate, dying as they fought for our freedom.

As the nation took a breath from the mind-blowing events at Penn State and paid tribute on Friday
to those who fought  and died while serving our country, I couldn't help but think of Bill and Tilman
and how they made the ultimate sacrifice for the United States.

A lot of people say they love our country, but if someone took a poll, it would probably come after money, family, sex,  Facebook, and before the IPad and the IPhone in the rankings of what we like
the most in our everyday lives. There are few people who would actually fight for our country and
do the things necessary to protect our freedom which we take for granted every  single day. Yes,
we do. Each of us takes our freedom for granted all the time. Oh, sure, there are moments when we appreciate it, like when those who  died fight for it, come home in a casket or an act of terrorism
is thwarted. It's sad, but not many of us can say that it's not true.

Tilman gave up millions that came his way from  playing in the NFL. But after 9/11, the former
Arizona Cardinals safety said, "football's not important to me, serving my  country is." He became
a Ranger and went on a few missions before he was killed by his own battalion in a dangerous
canyon in Afghanistan. It was sad, tragic, and made even worse because the government lied to
everybody at first,saying that Tilman was a hero and killed by enemy forces. But what Tilman did,
giving up the riches and the good life of the NFL, to serve our country should be admired. He
should be remembered and admired along with the others who fought and died in wars that tried
to rid evil and destruction

Brian Bill wasn't a former NFL player, but he was a man who was a great athlete and a person
who had accomplished so much. He was a triathlete, mountaineer, spoke French fluently and
aspired to be an astronaut. Bill became a Navy SEAL  and was a member of the elite Team Six.
He was bold, brave, and more courageous that most of us could only dream of being. Bill was
killed along with more than 25 other SEAL's when their helicopter they were traveling in, was
brought down by a rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan.

Tilman and Bill were in the prime of their lives with so much ahead of them. But they, like so many others, never made it back to home soil. It's so sad that we sometimes forget about the people who are still
fighting faceless enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan, in wars most of us really don't support anymore. It's
really sad that most people don't think of the dangers our troops experience everyday, many of them
not even old enough to legally drink yet, fighting to protect our freedom. Fighting for our freedom. That statement sometimes seems corny. But it is very real. Tilman and Bill are real heroes and I'll never forget
the sacrifice they, along with so many others, made for us and our freedom. That's what
I'm thinking about on this Memorial Day.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


On his first day on the job, Theo Esptein, the new Chicago
Cubs president of baseball operations, was asked if he was
going to reach out to Steve Bartman, the scapegoat of the
2003 National League Championship Series. Epstein, who
didn't navigate through the Red Sox and shark-infested
media waters of Boston without being savvy, said that
it was time to reach out Bartman.

"From afar, it seems like it would be an important step,
maybe a cathartic moment that would allow people to
move forward together. I'm all about having an open mind,
an open heart and forgiveness."

As smart as the Yale-educated Epstein, his statement about
giving Bartman "forgiveness" just accentuates what is wrong
with the sports culture, our world, and the fans of Chicago.
Eight years after the Cubs imploded in the NLCS against
the Florida Marlins, people are still blaming Bartman for the loss.

As I write this, I'm thinking of former NBA great Allen Iverson's
diatribe on  his feelings about being criticized for not practicing
hard.  Iverson, at the time, was averaging more that 20 points a
game an MVP candidate.

"We're talking about practice, not a game, but practice,"
Iverson said emphatically. "Wait, wait, wait. Not a game,
but practice."

Eight years later, the Cubs are still not talking about a player,
but a fan. Not someone who played in the game. But a
fan. Not a player like Alex Gonzalez, who butchered a
tailor-made double-play ball that would've gotten the
Cubs out of the inning, but a fan.

After reaching for a ball that supposedly caused Cubs
outfielder Moises Alou, whose defensive prowess will
never be confused with that of Ichiro, to miss a ball,
everybody in Chicagoland blamed Bartman for what
followed. Leading 3-0 in Game 6 and just five outs
from reaching the World Series,  everybody immediately
vilified Bartman as if he were serial-killer John Wayne Gacy.

Thanks to Alou, who made a tantrum of epic proportions,
with a death stare on a kid wearing a headphone, a Cubs
hat, and a green turtleneck, fans showered Bartman with
beers and berated him with words reserved for players like
John Rocker.

The Cubs go through the regular-season and the playoffs,
and they blamed Bartman for their loss. And still are. Epstein
is talking about "forgiveness"? For what, being a fan who did
what everybody else would do?

Bartman's life as he knew it was destroyed the moment Alou
yelled at him in front of Chicago and the entire baseball world.
He went into hiding. Reporters from ESPN stalked him at
work. He received death threats, hate mail, and had to have
police protection outside of his own house. He was a die-hard
Cubs fan who suddenly was wanted dead by every fan of
the Cubs.

IT'S INSANE. Fans directed their hate at another fan, not
another player, but a fan. Imagine having your life destroyed
and being vilified for being part of a play that didn't even
count. It was nothing more than a long strike.

Fate is twisted and it is cruel. In 1996, Jeff Maier reaches
out and helps a ball hit by Derek Jerek to carry over the fence.
He is immortalized in New York, while Bartman tips a ball
that's out of play and he is ostracized. Do you think a day
goes by when Bartman doesn't think about what happened
and all the hate that comes his way. This guy loved the
Cubs but now, can no longer even go to the friendly confines
of Wrigley Field that turned out to be anything but friendly
for Bartman.

Theo, get Bartman. Bring him out of hiding and support him.
As the new messiah in Chicago, people in the Windy City will
follow your lead. In a normal thinking world, Bartman wouldn't
need "forgiveness", but you're right, he needs it now. This
kid has been tormented long enough. Nobody should have to
live in the world Bartman has for the last eight years. Free
Bartman, give him back his life and the happiness that he